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Historical Constantinople Apoyevmatini newspaper closes offices

A historical Greek language newspaper in Turkey, Apoyevmatini, is about to close its office in Istanbul, which has housed it throughout its entire 90-year history.

However, despite no longer being able to cover the rent with its tiny circulation of only 600, Apoyevmatini’s chief – and only – editor, Mihail Vasiliadis, has vowed to continue issuing the four-page daily from his home.

“I resist, therefore I am alive. Why wouldn’t I resist? While we are here talking, there are a handful of people resisting thousands on our border,” the 75-year-old Vasiliadis told news website Bianet, referring to Kurds fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across the border in northern Syria.

Apoyevmatini is an emblematic newspaper of the diaspora that sold tens of thousands of copies in the 1920s, but Vasiliadis has downplayed the significance of the closure of its office.

As he told this reporter he has not been using the office for many years and it was just basically empty space. A far cry from the time when 35 people worked there putting out the paper.

The loss of readership occurred when the Turkish government pogromed most Greek remaining in Turkey. This and not a crisis in the printed media sector that shrunk his redership to a mere 600 copies.

Accepting the likely disappearance of the daily in the near future, Vasiliadis has proposed the creation of a museum and a Greek newspaper archive at the site of Apoyevmatini’s iconic location in the Syria Arcade on İstiklal Avenue to at least safeguard its memory. The building was erected by a great uncle of his, Dimitris Vasiliadis, who was also the founder of Apoyevmatini, he says.

Still, Vasiliadis doesn’t think it’s time to shutter Apoyevmatini just yet, stressing that it could survive if the means are gathered to employ an editor from Greece.