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Cappadocian Greeks

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Title: Cappadocian Greeks  
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Subject: Greeks, Greek genocide, Niğde, Cappadocian Greeks, Cappadocia
Collection: Ancient Greeks, Cappadocia, Cappadocian Greeks, Ethnic Groups in Greece, Ethnic Groups in Turkey, Turkish People of Greek Descent
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Cappadocian Greeks

Cappadocian Greeks
Kapadokyalı Rumlar
Cappadocian Greeks in traditional clothing, Greece.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Greece (especially northern Greece)
 Greece 44,432 (More than 100,000 including descendants) [1] - around 100,000-400,000 (1920s estimate)[2]
Greek language, Cappadocian Greek language, Karamanli Turkish
Greek Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
other Greeks

Cappadocian Greeks also known as Greek Cappadocians (Greek: Έλληνες-Καππαδόκες, Ελληνοκαππαδόκες, Καππαδόκες; Turkish: Kapadokyalı Rumlar[3]) or simply Cappadocians are a Greek community native to the geographical region of Cappadocia in central-eastern Anatolia,[4][5] roughly the Nevşehir Province and surrounding provinces of modern Turkey. Greeks settled in Asia Minor in antiquity,[6] and the population of Cappadocia was progressively Hellenized until Greek was the only language spoken by the 6th century.[7] Following the Greek-Turkish population exchange of the 1920s a majority of the Cappadocian Greeks were relocated into the borders of modern Greece. Today their descendants can be found throughout Greece and the Greek diaspora worldwide.


  • Historical background 1
    • Early migrations 1.1
    • Roman Period 1.2
    • Byzantine Period 1.3
    • Turkish Cappadocia 1.4
    • Modern 1.5
    • Persecution and population exchange 1.6
  • Language 2
  • Culture 3
    • Early Cappadocian Greek literature 3.1
    • Contemporary literature 3.2
    • Cuisine 3.3
  • Notable Cappadocian Greeks 4
  • Video 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Historical background

Mount Aktepe near Göreme and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Early migrations

The area know as Cappadocia today was known to the Ancient Persians as Katpatuka, a name which the Greeks altered into Kappadokia (Cappadocia).[8]

Apollonius of Tyana (1st century ad), a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher from the town of Tyana in Cappadocia.
Before the Greeks arrived in Asia Minor, it was controlled by the Hittites. Mycenaean Greeks set up trading posts along the west coast around 1300 B.C. and soon started colonizing the coasts. In the Hellenistic era, following the conquest of Anatolia by Alexander the Great, Greeks began to settle in the mountainous regions of Cappadocia.[9] This Greek population movement of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC solidified Greek presence in Cappadocia.

After the death of Alexander the Great, Eumenes of Cardia, one of the Diadochi of Alexander the Great, was appointed satrap of Cappadocia, where he set up Greek settlements and distributed cities to his associates.[10] Eumenes left behind administrators, judges and selected garrison commanders in Cappadocia. In the following centuries the Seleucid Greek Kings founded many Greek settlements in the interior of Asia Minor,[10] and this region would become popular for the recruitment of soldiers. Unlike other regions of Asia Minor where Greeks would settle in cities, most of the Greek settlements in Cappadocia and other interior Anatolian regions were villages.[11] The Hellenistic Kings would make new Greek settlements in Cappadocia and other surrounding regions in order to secure their hold on this volatile region,[12] under their rule Greek settlements would increase in the Anatolian interior.[12]

In the centuries following Alexander the Greats death Ariarathes, the son of a Persian satrap who formerly controlled Cappadocia, gained control of Cappadocia and left it to a line of his successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty. These kings began to intermarry with neighboring Greek Hellenistic kingdoms, such as the Seleucids. During their reign Greek towns were beginning to appear in the southern regions of Cappadocia.[13] Ariarathes V of Cappadocia who reigned from 163 to 130 BC is considered to have been the greatest of the Kings of Cappadocia.[14] He was predominantly Greek by descent, his father Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia was half Greek Macedonian[13] and Persian and his mother was Antiochis, was the daughter of the Seleucid Greek King Antiochus III[15][16] of the Greek-Macedonian Seleucid dynasty.[17] By the 1st century BC, regions of Cappadocia had been ravaged by Armenian King Tigranes the Great, who had relocated a great number of Cilician and Cappadocian Greeks to Mesopotamia[18] (geographically in modern Iraq, eastern Syria and south-eastern Turkey.
Greek Kings of Cappadocia. (left) Ariarathes V of Cappadocia (ca. 163-130 BC) who is considered to have been the greatest king of Cappadocia and was predominantly Greek by descent. (right) Archelaus of Cappadocia (36 BC – 17 AD) was the last king of Cappadocia and was of Greek descent.

Roman Period

Archelaus who was a Roman client prince was the last to rule as a king of Cappadocia. He was a Cappadocian Greek nobleman,[19][20] possibly of Macedonian descent and was the first king of Cappadocia of wholly non-Persian blood.[21] He ruled over Cappadocia for many years before being deposed of by Tiberius who took possession of Cappadocia for Rome.[21] The region of Cappadocia produced some notable Greek individuals in antiquity, such as Apollonius of Tyana (1st century ad) who was a Greek Neo-Pythagorean philosopher[22] who became well known in the Roman Empire and Aretaeus of Cappadocia (81-138 AD) who was a native Greek, born in Cappadocia and is considered to have been one of the foremost surgeons on antiquity.[23][24][25] He was the first to distinguish between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus, and the first to provide a detailed description of an asthma attack.[25][26]

Gregory of Nazianzus (c.330-c.389 AD).

By late antiquity the Cappadocian Greeks had largely converted to Christianity.[27] They were so thoroughly devout to Christianity that by the 1st century AD, the region of Cappadocia served as a stronghold for Christian Monasticism[28] and was of significance importance in the history of early Christianity.[27] In the early centuries of the Common Era Cappadocia produced three prominent Greek patristic figures, known as the three hierarchs.[29] They were Basil the Great (c. 330-79), Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.[30] Gregory of Nazianzus (c.330-c.389 AD)[31] (later known as Saint Gregory of Nazian) and Gregory of Nyssa (died c. 394).[32] These Cappadocian Greek fathers of the fourth century[33] revered the ancient Greek cultural pursuit of virtue, even studying Homer and Hesiod and “stood squarely in the tradition of Greek culture”.[34]

Byzantine Period

By the fifth century the last of the Indo-European native languages of Anatolia ceased to be spoken, replaced by Koine Greek.[35] At the same time the communities of central Anatolia were becoming actively involved in affairs of the Byzantine Empire and some Greek speaking Cappadocians such as Maurice Tiberius (r.582-602) would even serve as Emperors.[36][37]

The region became a key military district after the advent of Islam and the subsequent Muslim conquests led to the establishment of a militarized frontier zone (cf kleisoura and thughur) on the border of Cappadocia. This lasted from the mid-7th to the 10th century during the Arab–Byzantine wars, immortalized in Digenis Akritas, the Medieval Greek heroic epic set in this frontier region. During this period Cappadocia became crucial to the empire and produced numerous Byzantine generals, notably the Phokas clan, warlords (see Karbeas of Tephrike), and intrigue, most importantly the Paulician heresy. Since the Cappadocian Greeks lived in such volatile region they began to create underground cave dwellings in the volcanic formations of eastern Cappadocia. They eventually built entire underground towns which they would take refuge in during times of danger. The Cappadocian Greeks took refuge in rock-cut underground towns from the Romans and later from Iconoclasts.[38] Centuries later they would serve as protection from Muslim Arab,[27][39] Turkish and Mongolian threats.[38] The most famous of these underground cities are at the Greek villages of Anaku-Inegi (Ανακού) and Malakopi-Melagob (Μαλακοπή) today known as Derinkuyu and Kaymakli which have chambers extending underground to depths of over 80 meters.[27] The underground cities continued to be used as refuges (Greek: καταφύγια) from the Turkish Muslim rulers.[40] As late as the 20th century the locals were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution.[40]

In the Middle Ages many Cappadocia had hundreds of settlements and Byzantine rock-cut churches were carved out of the volcanic formations of eastern Cappadocia and decorated with painted icons, Greek writing and decorations. Over 700 of these Churches have been discovered[41] and date from the period between the 6th century to the 13th century,[27] many of these monasteries and churches continued to be used until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey 1920s.[28] The Greek inhabitants of these districts of Cappadocia were Troglodytes. In the 10th century Leo the Deacon recorded a journey to Cappadocia by Nikephoros Phokas, in his writings he mentions that its inhabitants were called Troglodytes, in view of the fact that they “went underground in holes, clefts and labyrinths, as it were in dens and burrows”.[42] The Byzantines re-established control of Cappadocia between the 7th and 11th centuries, during this period churches were carved into cliffs and rock faces in the Göreme and Soğanlı region.[39] In the Middle Ages the Cappadocian Greeks would bury their religious figures in and around monasteries. In recent years mummified bodies have been found in abandoned Greek monasteries of Cappadocia, and many, including bodies of mummified babies, are on display in the Nigde Archaeological Museum. A well preserved mummified corpse of a young Christian woman is popular with tourists, the blonde haired mummy is believed to be a nun and dates from the Byzantine era, from the 6th to the 11th century.[43][44] It was discovered in a sixth-century Greek chapel in the Ihlara Valley of Cappadocia.[45] During the tenth century the Byzantine Empire had pushed east into formerly Arab-ruled lands, including most of Armenia, and had resettled thousands of Armenians into various regions of Cappadocia. This population shift intensified ethnic tensions between the Cappadocian Greeks and the Armenian newcomers in Cappadocia,[46] and left Armenia largely devoid of native defenders.[46]

Turkish Cappadocia

Basil Giagoupes (Bασίλειος Γιαγούπης), a 13th-century Cappadocian Greek feudatory lord who held the court title of general (amir arzi) in the army of Mesud II, Sultan of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.
In 1071 AD the Byzantine Empire suffered a considerable defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in Armenia.[47][48] This defeat would open the interior of Anatolia to invasion by Central Asian Seljuq Turks who would overrun most of Byzantine Asia Minor.[47] This began the transformation of Asia Minor from an entirely Christian and overwhelmingly Greek-populated region to a primarily Muslim and Turkish center.[47][48] Several Armenian royal families, which included Gagik of Ani and Adom and Abu Sahl of Vaspurakan, sought vengeance on the local Greek Orthodox population after persecutions of the Armenians and Syriac Monophysites by the Byzantines.[49] They used the opportunity provided by the Seljuq conquest to target the Greeks, they tortured and then assassinated the Greek Orthodox metropolitan of Kayseri and pillaged wealthy Greek owned estates.[49] The local Greek landowners eventually killed the Armenian royal Gagik.[49]

By the 12th century all of Anatolia was overrun by

  • Kappadokes An online Cappadocian Greek community
  • Greek Town in Cappadocia

External links

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See also

Το Αλάτι Της Γης - Καππαδοκικό Γλέντι

  • Documentary on the Cappadocian Greeks culture, traditional songs and dances:

The Cappadocian Greek-American immigrant and renowned Hollywood director Elia Kazan made an Academy Award winning movie America, America about his uncle, who grew-up in Cappadocia and then was sent on foot as a teenager, with the entire family savings, to escape persecution and establish a new life in Istanbul, and eventually, to bring the rest of the family there.


Twelve notable Cappadocian Greeks: (top row) Ioannis Pesmazoglou, Pavlos Karolidis, Sofoklis Avraam Choudaveroglous-Theodotos, Dimitrios Mavrofrydis, Ioakeim Valavanis, Georgios Georgiadis.

Notable Cappadocian Greeks

The Cappadocian Greeks continued a number of Anatolian culinary traditions passed down since Byzantine times. These include the preparing of wind-cured meats known as pastirma,[97][98][99] a delicacy called in Byzantine times "paston,"[100][101] along with the use of the ubiquitous Central Anatolian spinach-like herb madimak to make dishes such as a variant of spanikopita.[102]


The Cappadocian Greek-American immigrant and renowned Hollywood director Elia Kazan wrote a book "America, America" about his uncle, who grew-up in Cappadocia in an environment of increasing persecution. Sent on foot by his father as a teenager, with the entire family savings, to Istanbul, Elia's uncle was supposed to establish a new life and, eventually, to bring the rest of the family to the city. In the end Elia's uncle traveled much further, to America, later fulfilling his filial duty and bringing his family over as well. Kazan made his book into an Academy Award winning movie America, America in 1963.

Contemporary literature

The Persian poet Rumi (1207-1273), whose name means "Roman", referring to his residence amongst the "Roman" Greek speakers of Cappadocia, wrote a few poems in Cappadocian Greek.[93][94][95][96] These verses are one of the earliest literary attestations of the spoken Cappadocian vernacular.

Cappadocian Greek children wearing traditional costumes in Greece.

Early Cappadocian Greek literature

The Cappadocian Greeks have been isolated from the rest of the Greek-speaking world for centuries and this has made their culture, way of life, and customs somewhat distinctive. Their culture has been strongly influenced by the topography of its different regions. In commercial cities like Kayseri and Malakopea upper level education and arts flourished under the protection of a cosmopolitan middle class. The economy of Cappadocia was largely based upon agriculture and mining and the rural centers which lay upon the valleys and plains. The Cappadocian Greeks have distinctive traditional songs and dances which are still performed in Greece.


In the 1920s when the Cappadocian Greeks arrived in Greece, the Cappadocian Greek spoken by them was hardly intelligible to the Greeks of mainland Greece as it had been cut off from the rest of the Greek-speaking world for centuries. The Cappadocian Greeks who were linguistically Turkified[60] revived their use of Greek,[66] the language of their ancestors although they learned the modern Greek language, while their ancestral Greek dialect, the Cappadocian Greek language went to the brink of extinction. The Cappadocian Greek language was believed by some scholars to have been extinct, but in 2005, descendants of the Cappadocian Greeks were discovered still speaking their traditional language fluently in central and northern Greece.[62] Today it is still spoken mainly by elderly Cappadocian Greeks in various regions of Greece including in Karditsa, Volos, Kilkis, Larisa, Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, Kavala, and Alexandroupoli.[86]

The Cappadocian Greeks traditionally spoke a dialect of the Greek language known as Cappadocian Greek. Cappadocian Greek diverged from the other Byzantine Greek dialects early, beginning with the Turkish conquests of central Asia Minor in the 11th and 12th centuries, and so developed several radical features, such as the loss of the gender for nouns.[89] However, having been isolated from the crusader conquests (Fourth Crusade) and the later Venetian influence of the Greek coast, it retained the Ancient Greek terms for many words that were replaced with Romance language ones in Demotic Greek.[89] After centuries of Ottoman rule the Turkish language began to emerge as the dominant language of Cappadocia. Many Greeks began to speak Turkish as a second language and became bilingual, this was the case with the “Kouvoukliotes” who were always Greek speakers and spoke Turkish with a strong Greek accent,[90] and there were Cappadocian Greeks who only spoke the Turkish language and had given up the use of Greek centuries earlier, known as the Karamanlides.[64] At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cappadocian Greek language still had a strong presence at Gülşehir (formerly Arabison/Arapsu) north-west of Nevsehir, and in the large region southward as far down as Niğde and Bor.[27] Greek was also still spoken at Silli north-west of Konya, in Pharasa[27] and other villages in isolated communities in the interior of central Turkey prior to the Genocide of 1915 and subsequent population transfers.[82] Many Cappadocian Greeks completely abandoned Greek when they learned Turkish, although in the western regions of Cappadocia many Greeks still retained their native language. John Robert Sitlington Sterrett travelled through Cappadocia in 1884 and noted: "Melegobi is a large and flourishing village, inhabited almost exclusively by Greek-speaking Greeks. The Greeks are numerous all through the western part of Cappadocia, and generally cling to their language with great tenacity, a fact worthy of notice, inasmuch as the Greeks in other parts of Asia Minor speak only Turkish. Instances of Greek-speaking towns are Niğde, Gelvere, Melegobi (Μελοκοπια), and Ortakieui in Soghanli Deressi."[91] In the early 20th century scholars and linguists studying the Cappadocian Greeks observed that many Cappadocian Greek villages had begun to replace their native Greek language for the Turkish language. During the 19th century British scholar John Pinkerton was informed by the Turkish-speaking Greeks that past Turkish rulers of Anatolia had caused them to lose the knowledge of the Greek language,[92] Pinkerton reprted that:

Greek inscription in Mustafapasa, Cappadocia.
Anatolian Greek dialects until 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian in green, with green dots indicating individual Cappadocian Greek speaking villages in 1910.[88]


The modern region of Cappadocia is famous for the churches carved into cliffs and rock faces in the Göreme and Soğanlı valleys,[39] the region is popular with tourists,[41] many who visit the abandoned underground cities, houses and Greek churches carved and decorated by Cappadocian Greeks centuries ago. The formerly Greek town of Güzelyurt (Karvali) has become popular with tourists who visit the abandoned stone mansions built centuries ago by wealthy Cappadocian Greek businessmen.[74] Today, more than 700 Greek Orthodox churches[41] and over thirty rock-carved chapels, many with preserved painted icons, Greek writing and frescos, some from the pre-iconoclastic period[39] that date back as far as the 6th century, can still be seen.[27] As of 1985 these Greek cave churches were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[87]

Following the population exchange there was still a substantial community of Cappadocian Greeks living in Turkey, in Constantinople,[60] they had settled there during the Ottoman era and formed enclaves of their native communities,[59] the majority of whom also migrated to Greece following the Anti-Greek Istanbul Pogrom riots of 1955. On their arrival in mainland Greece, many Cappadocian Greeks settled in villages similar to their original Cappadocian villages; the new settlements were named after towns and villages left behind in Cappadocia, with the addition of the word “Nea” (New). For example Cappadocian Greeks from Sinasos (present Mustafapaşa near Ürgüp) who settled in the northern part of the island of Euboea in Greece named their new settlement Nea Sinasos "New Sinasos". Other examples include Nea Karvali in northern Greece, and Neo Prokopi in central Greece.[1] The regions of Greece with significant settlements of Cappadocian Greeks include the cities of Karditsa, Volos, Kilkis, Larisa, Chalkidiki, Kavala, Alexandroupoli and Thessaloniki.[86] Today the ancestors of the Cappadocian Greeks can be found throughout Greece, as well as in countries around the world particularly in Western Europe and North America and Australia as part of the Greek diaspora.

Cappadocian Greek athletic seminary team "Argaios" in Kayseri (1907). The team was named after Mt. Argaios, a famous volcano in Cappadocia.

In 1922, after living in Cappadocia for thousands of years,[6] the remaining Cappadocian Greeks were expelled to Greece as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey defined by the Treaty of Lausanne,[5] the descendents of the Cappadocian Greeks who had converted to Islam were not included in the population exchange and remained in Cappadocia,[84] some still speaking the Cappadocian Greek language. Many Cappadocian towns were greatly affected by the expulsion of the Greeks including Mustafapasa (Sinasos), Urgup, Guzelyurt and Nevsehir as the Greeks constituted a significant percentage of the towns population.[73] The Cappadocian Greeks were taken to the coastal town of Mersin in order to be shipped to Greece. Many would lose all of their belongings due to corrupt officials and looters.[73] The Cappadocian Greeks who were migrating from Cappadocia were replaced by Muslims migrating from mainland Greece, mainly from Thrace; some of these Muslims were Greeks (see Greek Muslims), although most were of Slavic, Turkish and Gypsy origin. Many of the Cappadocian Greek churches were converted to mosques after the Greeks left in the population exchange of the 1920s. These include the Church of St Gregory known today as "Buyuk Kilise Camii (Big Church Mosque)".[85]

By the early 1900s the region of Cappadocia was still inhibited by Christian Cappadocian Greeks as well as Muslim Turks[42] and also communities of Armenians and Kurds. By the beginning of the First World War, the Greeks of Anatolia were besieged by the Young Turks.[81] Thousands of Greeks were massacred,[81] approximately 750,000 Anatolian Greeks were massacred in an act of Genocide and 750,000 exiled.[78][82] The Greeks were targeted prior to and alongside the Armenians and Assyrians. Ionian and Cappadocian Greek deaths alone totaled 397,000, while Pontian Greek deaths numbered 353,000 people.[78] Turkish official Rafet Bey was active in the Genocide of the Greeks of the Anatolian interior, on November 1916 he stated “We must finish off the Greeks as we did with the Armenians…today I sent squads to the interior to kill every Greek on sight…”.[83] During the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) countless numbers of Greeks were deported by the Turks to the Mesopotamian desert where many perished.[83] On January 31, 1917, Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg of Germany reported that:

Persecution and population exchange

Scholars passing through Cappadocia during the 19th century described the Cappadocian Greeks and their habits. In 1838 British scholar Robert Ainsworth wrote that “The Cappadocian Greeks are, generally speaking, pleasing and unreserved in their manners, and their conversation indicated a very high degree of intelligence and civilization, where there are so few books, and so little education, and consequently, little learning.[80] Demetrius Charles Boulger later described their character:

Dawkins, a Cambridge linguist who conducted research on the Cappodocian Greek natives in the area from 1909-1911, recorded that in 1909, [40] As late as the 20th century the locals were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution.[40]: καταφύγια) from the Turkish muslim rulers.Cappadocian Greek continued to be used as refuges (underground citiesThe

In the early 20th century, Greek settlements were still both numerous and widespread throughout most of today’s Turkey.[77][78] The provinces of Cappadocia and Lycaonia had a large number of Greek settlements and sizeable populations in urban centres such as Kayseri, Nigde, and Konya.[77] The Cappadocian Greeks of the 19th and 20th centuries were renowned for the richness of their folktales and preservation of their ancient Greek tongue.[79]

A passage in the Underground City
A Cappadocian Greek wedding in Kermira (Germir), Kayseri, Cappadocia, in 1902.


Many shifts of population took place in central Anatolia during the period of Ottoman rule.[69] Subsequent to the 1571 Ottoman conquest of Cyprus, the Ottoman Sultan Selim I decided to transfer Greeks from Cappadocia, particularly from the Kayseri region, to Cyprus.[70][71] During this period the architect Sinan, who was born of Greek parentage and a native of Cappadocia wrote a letter to the Sultan asking for his family to be spared from this population transfer.[71][72] During the Ottoman era, Cappadocian Greeks would migrate to Constantinople and other large cities to do business. By the 19th century, many were wealthy, educated and westernized. Wealthy Cappadocian Greek businessmen built large stone mansions in regions of Cappadocia such as Karvali (modern Güzelyurt) many of which can still be seen today.[73][74] The Cappadocian Greeks wrote the earliest published novels in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, using the Greek Alphabet and Turkish language.[57] Cappadocian Greeks from different regions would specialize in a particular profession, such as the caviar trade.[75] Demetrius Charles Boulger later describes their work character, "Each village is connected with some particular guild in Constantinople; one supplies bakals or small storekeepers, another sellers of wine and spirits, another dryers of fish, another makers of caviare, another porters, and so forth."[76]

Although the Karamanlides abandoned Greek when they learned Turkish they remained Greek Orthodox Christians and continued to write using the Greek Alphabet.[64] They printed manuscript works in the Turkish language using the Greek alphabet, which became known as ‘Karamanlidika’.[60] This was not a phenomenon that was limited to the Cappadocian Greek Karamanlides, as many of the Armenians living in Cappadocia were also linguistically Turkified, although they remained Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) Christians, they spoke and wrote in the Turkish language although still using the Armenian Alphabet.[60] Some Jewish inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire were also Turkified and although they retained their religion, they also wrote in the Turkish language but using Hebrew script.[65] The Cappadocian Greeks, Armenians and Jewish minorities of the Ottoman Empire had created Graeco-Turkish, Armeno-Turkish, and Judeo-Turkish literatures by developing their own written traditions.[65] Despite the fact that they had lost all knowledge of their own languages after they had been Turkified,[60] the majority of Karamanlides and many Turkophone Armenians eventually revived their original native tongues.[66] While most Cappadocian Greeks had remained Orthodox Christians a significant number of the Karamanlides even converted to Islam during this period.[56] As with other Greek communities, these converts to Islam were considered "Turks",[67] as being a Muslim was synonymous with being Turkish to the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire. Greek writers would erroneously describe Greek converts to Islam as “Tourkeuoun” (Τουρκεύουν) or becoming Turkish.[67] European visitors to the sultans' realms would also subjectively label any Muslim a "Turk" regardless of his or her mother tongue.[68] The Greeks believed that by converting to Islam and ‘losing’ his or her original Christian religion, the individual was also stepping out of the Greek national community. This inaccurate way of thinking was even popular years after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.[67]

Frescoes in St. John (Gülşehir) Church, Cappadocia, Turkey.

Over the course of the 15th century the Ottoman Turks conquered Cappadocia, the Cappadocian countryside remained largely Greek populated, with a smaller Armenian population even after the Ottoman conquest.[39] During the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murad III (1574 to 1595) the region of Cappadocia became largely Turkified in culture and language through a gradual process of acculturation,[56][57] as a result many Greeks of Cappadocia had accepted the Turkish vernacular and later became known as ‘Karamanlides’. This name derives from the region of Cappadocia which was called Karaman by the Turks in honor of the Turkish chieftain Karamanoglu, though the Cappadocian Greeks continued to call the region ‘Laranda’, its ancient Greek name.[58] These Turcophone Greeks lived primarily in the region of Karamania although there were also significant communities in Constantinople and in the region of the Black Sea.[59][60] Cappadocian Greeks living in remote less accessible villages of Cappadocia remained Greek-speaking and Christian, as they were isolated and consequently less affected by the rapid conversion of the bordering districts to Islam and Turkish speech.[61][62] The Greek Cappadocians retained the original Greek names of many regions of Cappadocia which were renamed Turkish names during the Ottoman era, such as the town known as ‘Hagios Prokopios’ in the Middle Ages, and renamed ‘Urgup’ by the Turks was still called ‘Prokopion’ by the local Greeks of the early 20th century.[63]

Abandoned Greek Orthodox churches carved into a solid stone cliff face, Göreme Open Air Museum, Cappadocia, Nevşehir/Turkey.

) valley where his portrait, which was painted from life still survives to this day. Belisirma He dedicated a church in the Peristrema ([55].Mesud II) in the army of the Seljuq sultan of Konya, amir arzi, such as Basil Giagoupes (Bασίλειος Γιαγούπης), a wealthy Cappadocian Greek feudatory lord of a strongly Greek district who held the court title of general (Sultanate of Rum During this chaotic period there is evidence that some native Cappadocian Greeks had joined the invading Turkish nomads. Some even managing to rise to levels of prominence in the Seljuq [50] remained numerous, even under the pressure of the Turkmen nomads,possibly constituting majorities in some urban centers.Pamphylia and Lycaonia, Cappadocia Despite the turmoil in Anatolia, by the 13th century the Greeks of [54], converted to Islam, and came to be identified as Turks.Turkish language adopted the Kurds and Armenians During the centuries of Turkish rule in Asia Minor many Greeks and other peoples of Anatolia such as [53] although in the beginning of the 20th century, the proportion of Christians in Anatolian population was more than 20%.[52] largely because of Christian conversions to Islam. Many Byzantine Greek leaders were also tempted to convert to Islam in order to join the Ottoman Turkish aristocracy.,[52]

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