CONSTANTINOPLE – The continuing publication of any newspaper is difficult today and Apoyevmatini occupies a unique place in publishing history. Founded on July 12, 1925, Apoyevmatini is the daily Greek-language newspaper published in Constantinople and the oldest Greek newspaper published in Turkey, according to an article in Politico by Demetrios Ioannou. The newspaper launched its online version in 2007, but has struggled in recent years with a dwindling Greek community in Constantinople and nearly closed in 2010 due to the financial crisis.
Apoyevmatini has a circulation of approximately 600 copies, meaning that it likely reaches every Greek family (which number about 600) in Constantinople, publisher Michalis Vasiliadis told Politico. The newspaper has only a few distributors in the Turkish city, but is also available online via subscription.
“We have people reading it in Australia, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, France, everywhere,” said Vasiliadis’ son Minas, the paper’s editor-in-chief, Politico reported. “We have some young Greek-Americans who, although they don’t speak very much Greek, they buy Apoyevmatini online to show it to their fathers who used to live in Constantinople.” According to Politico, “Turkish researcher Efe Kerem Sözeri saw a video about the paper’s inevitable closing, and launched a campaign that brought the paper 300 new subscribers, all of whom were Turkish,” adding that “they couldn’t read the Greek paper but wanted to support it.”
“It was very touching,” Minas Vasiliadis told Politico, noting his determination in spite of the continuing difficulty to keep the newspaper in circulation.
“I will do everything in my power. After all, Apoyevmatini is part of Constantinople’s cultural history,” he said, Politico reported.
The newspaper’s motto, still used today, is a quote from French author Victor Hugo, “New epochs bring new missions,” and was adopted by editor-in-chief until 1927 Kavalieros Markouizos, reflecting the changes facing the Greeks in Constantinople at the time, living in the volatile period of transition for the nascent Republic of Turkey out of the defunct Ottoman Empire.
A second motto was added later on, “Nobody is born, nobody dies without Apoyevmatini,” referring to the community’s birth and death announcements published in the newspaper.
According to the article September 6, 1955: Krystallnacht in Constantinople by Speros Vryonis Jr. which appeared in Orthodoxy Today, during the anti-Greek attacks, the newspaper’s offices and printing facilities were completely destroyed along with 7 other Greek newspapers. Though the damage was extensive, Apoyevmatini resumed publishing just two weeks later.
Since then, the Greek population of Constantinople has declined but Apoyevmatini continues to occupy an important role in the community, reporting the local news, and maintaining its unique place in publishing history.