Istanbul's Greeks celebrated Christmas with their traditional "kalanda" activity where Zoğrafyon Greek High School student chanted Christmas carols on Istiklal Avenue.
Since 2009 Istanbul's Greek community has celebrate Christmas with a special walk on Istiklal Avenue, singing Christmas carols and giving presents to street passers-by. The crowd has been received by Greek Consule to Istanbul and his spouse.
"Calanda means Christmas carols in Greek," Özcan Şabudak, Zoğrafyon Greek high school vice principal, said. "Children used to collect tips by singing carols and donated to charity organizations. Now we are doing the walk to motivate Istanbul's closed Greek community to be more active. We encourage them to confront their fears and be more confident as minority citizens."
Yani Klimentaki, an Istanbul-born Greek, said he was happy to see his community celebrate Christmas in joy even though he complained that many of his friends had to leave Istanbul due to pressures.
Klimentaki's remarks remind us one more time how challenging it could be to live as minority in Turkey. The Christmas celebration on Istanbul Avenue should mean something to other people as well.
Maybe it is time that people in Turkey asked themselves why the few remaining Greek community still lived long with fears. (BK/HK)