Cham Albanians
Total population
c. 170,000[1]–690,000[2][3]
Regions with significant populations
 Greece44 Muslim Chams,[5] 40,000 Christian Orthodox Chams[2][6]
 United States50,000–70,000[2][7]
Albaniana (Cham Albanian dialect)
Islam (majority)
Orthodox Christianity (minority)

a. Also Greek, Turkish, and English, depending on residing state.

Cham Albanians or Chams (Albanian: Çamë; Greek: Τσάμηδες, Tsámidhes), are a sub-group of Albanians who originally resided in the western part of the region of Epirus in southwestern Albania and northwestern Greece, an area known among Albanians as Chameria. The Chams have their own particular cultural identity within Albanian sub-groups. A number of Chams contributed to the Albanian national identity and played an important role in starting the renaissance of the Albanian culture in the 19th century. The Chams speak their own dialect of the Albanian language, the Cham Albanian dialect, which is a Southern Tosk Albanian dialect and one of the two most conservative ones; the other being Arvanitika.

During the late 1930s Chams suffered from intimidation and persecution under the dictatorship of General Metaxas.[2][8] Following the Italian occupation of Albania in 1939, the Chams became a prominent propaganda tool for the Italians and irredentist elements among them became more vocal. As a result, on the eve of the Greco-Italian War, Greek authorities deported the adult male Cham population to internment camps. After the occupation of Greece, large parts of the Muslim Cham population collaborated with Italian and German forces.[9][10][11][12] This fueled resentment among the local Greek population and in the aftermath of World War II the entire Muslim Cham population had to flee to Albania. Most Chams settled in Albania, while others formed émigré communities in Turkey and the United States, and today their descendants continue to live in these countries. Since the fall of Communism in Albania, Chams in Albania have campaigned for right of return to Greece and restoration of confiscated properties. According to Laurie Hart, the remaining Orthodox Cham communities in Epirus are nowadays assimilated and entirely identify with the Greek nation.[13] On the other hand, Bugajski includes the Orthodox among Cham Albanians.[6] In Albania, the Cham dialect and other traditions have been preserved, while in Greece linguistic rights and Orthodox Cham heritage have been suppressed in public space and been subject to assimilation policies. As such, the use of Albanian has been relegated to private space within the household.[14]


Etymology and definition

The name Cham, together with that of the region, Chameria, is from an extinct local Slavic *čamŭ, itself from the local Greek hydronym Thyamis (Θύαμις in Greek, Kalamas in Albanian). Çabej treats Cham as a direct continuation of Thyamis.[15][16] A folk etymology attributes the name to Turkish cami (Greek tzami), literally, 'mosque-goer, mosque attendee' which presumably was used by Orthodox Christians for the descendants of Muslim converts. However, this is unlikely since the word's broader ethnographic and dialectal sense encompasses the entire Albanian-speaking population of the Thesprotia and Preveza regional units of Greek Epirus, both the Muslim and Christian populations.[17][verification needed]

Chams account for the greatest part of the erstwhile substantial Albanian minority in the wider area of the Epirus region; outside Chameria proper, there are only two Albanian-speaking villages further northeast (near Konitsa in Ioannina regional unit), whose inhabitants belong to a different Albanian sub-group, that of the Labs.[18] Today, in the Greek context the use of the term has become largely associated with the former Muslim minority.[18]

Ethnic appellations

Cham Albanians are known primarily by the Albanian form of the name Chams (Çam or Çamë) and the Greek name Tsamides (Τσάμηδες). It can be found in English sources also as a hybrid form of both names, Tsams.[19] Prior to 1944, Greek sources often referred to Chams as Albanophones (Greek: Αλβανόφωνοι)[20][21] or simply Albanians of Epirus.[20]

In Greece, Muslim Chams were referred to by a number of names by different authors. They were called Albanochams (Αλβανοτσάμηδες, Alvanotsamides),[21] and Turkalbanians (Τουρκαλβανοί, Tourkalvanoi)[22] or Turkochams (Τουρκοτσάμηδες, Tourkotsamides).[23] From the middle of the nineteenth century however, the term Turk and from the late nineteenth century onwards, derivative terms such as Turkalvanoi have been used as a pejorative term, phrase and or expression for Muslim Albanian populations by non-Muslim Balkan Peoples.[24][25][26][27][28][29] Amongst the wider Greek-speaking population until the interwar period, the term Arvanitis (plural: Arvanites) was used to describe an Albanian speaker regardless of their religious affiliations.[30] In Epirus today, the term Arvanitis is still used for an Albanian speaker regardless of their citizenship and religion.[30]

At the same time, the Albanian speaking population in Thesprotia, who is very rarely characterized as Christian Chams,[21] is often referred by Greeks as Arvanites (Αρβανίτες),[18] which primarily refers to the Albanophone Greeks of southern Greece but is commonly used as for all Albanian-speaking Greek citizens. The local Greek population also calls them Graeco-Chams (Ελληνοτσάμηδες, Elinotsamides),[21] while Muslim Albanians sometimes designate them as Kaur, which means "infidel" and refers to their religion.[21] This term was used by Muslim Albanians for the non-Muslims during the Ottoman Empire.[21] The term shqiptar ("he/she who speaks clearly"), the Albanian ethnic endonym which came to prevail after the 18th century, was being used by Christian Albanian-speakers in the region as well, but today is used mostly as a means to differentiate themselves from other groups in the region (Greeks, Vlachs). Greek-speakers use the term "skipetaros" (shqiptar) to refer pejoratively to Orthodox Albanian-speakers in Thesprotia.[31][32]

Some Aromanians living the region also use a regional self appellation Tsamuréńi for themselves derived from the words Chameria and Cham.[33]

Chams in Turkey are known by the name Arnauts (Arnavutlar), which applies to all ethnic Albanians in Turkey.[34]


Cham communities now mostly exist in Albania, the United States and Turkey, as a result of their expulsion from their homeland, Chameria in Greece after World War II. A minority still lives in this region.[2]


Chameria according to various views. Approximate geographical outline of Chameria according to R. Elsiein green.[35]

Main article: Chameria

Chameria is the name applied by the Albanians to the region formerly inhabited by the Chams, along the Ionian coast from Konispol to the north to the Acheron valley south. This area corresponds to a few villages in the southern part of the Saranda district in Albania (the municipalities of Konispol, Xarrë and Markat)[36] and to the regional units of Thesprotia and Preveza in Greece.[36][37] This area is part of the larger region of Epirus.

Much of the region is mountainous. Valley farmlands are located the central, southern and the western part of Thesprotia, while the terrain of the Preveza regional unit is mostly hilly. There are two rivers in the region: the Thyamis and Acheron.

The main settlements in which Chams originally resided were: Paramythia,[38] Filiates,[38] Igoumenitsa,[2] Parapotamos,[39] Syvota,[40] Sagiada,[41] Perdika,[40] and Margariti.[21] Preveza and Ioannina also had significant Cham Albanian communities.[42] The Orthodox Chams originally resided in Fanari,[17] Louros[17] and Thesprotiko.[17]

The Albanian speaking exclave of Chameria, in the beginning of the 20th century, was located along the Ionian coast, and apart from Konispol, its northernmost part, it included the western part of Thesprotia prefecture and the northern part of Preveza.[43] In terms of modern Greek administration, the Albanian exclave included the provinces of Thyamis and Margariti and the westernmost villages of the provinces of Paramythia and Filiates. In Preveza prefecture, it included the northern regions such as the Fanari plain, the surroundings of Parga and villages of the upper Acheron valley, with two settlements of the latter region located in Ioannina prefecture.[37]


Maximum extent of Cham Albanian dialect: 19th century till 1912/1913 (Hatched line), according to Kokolakis.M. Population (irrespective of linguistic background) shown by religion: Muslim majority (Brown), Orthodox majority (Pink), Mixed (Light Brown). Colored areas do not imply that Albanian-speakers formed the majority of the population.

After the expulsion of the Muslim Chams from Greece, they were spread throughout Albania. The majority of Muslim Chams settled in the outskirts of Vlorë, Durrës and Tirana. Several hundred Chams moved into properties along the Himara coast and to existing villages along the coast such as Borshi, or established entirely new villages, such as Vrina, near the Greek border.[2]


Some Chams live in Turkey and the United States. The number of Chams in diaspora was estimated by Miranda Vickers in 2007 at 400,000.[2] The first wave of this diaspora left for Turkey during the Greco-Turkish population exchange of 1923. They have populated the areas of Erenköy and Kartal in Istanbul,[44] as well as a number of towns in the area of Bursa, especially Mudanya.[42] After the Second World War, others settled in İzmir, Gemlik and Aydın.[7] After 1944, another part migrated to the United States of America,[2] where they were mainly concentrated in Chicago, as well as Boston and New York City.[45]


This section is in list format but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (July 2015)
Timeline of Cham history Chronology Events 1210 Albanians mentioned in Western sources, opposite Corfu. 1358 The Despotate of Arta is established by Peter Losha, an Albanian chieftain. 1380 John Zenevisi, forms the Principality of Gjirokastër, which incorporates the northern part of the Chameria region. 1414 The region falls under Ottoman and Venetian control. 16th century The process of Islamization begins among the Albanians, but initially makes little headway. 1622 A group of Albanian origin, the Souliotes, form a confederation in the mountains of Souli, resisting Ottoman troops. 18th and 19th centuries Widespread Islamization of the population occurs, and the majority of Albanians become Muslims by the late 19th century. 1792–1803 Ali Pasha, who had incorporated all of Epirus into his pashalik, declares war on the Souliotes. The Souliotes are able to resist for nine years, but are eventually defeated and evicted from Souli. The survivors of the population are evacuated to the Ionian islands. 1821–1829 The Greek War of Independence. Revolutionary General of the Greek Army, Markos Botsaris, was ordered by the provisional Greek government to convince the Muslim Chams to join the Greek cause but without success.[46] 1827 The former bishop of Paramythia, Grigorios, translates the New Testament into Albanian, as his flock could not understand the 1st century Greek of the New Testament well. 1878 The Albanian National Awakening begins. A separatist Albanian movement, the League of Prizren, is established, and names Abedin Dino as leader of the local branch in Chameria. 1879 Father Stathi Melani opens the first Albanian-language school of the region in Sagiada. 1912–1913 The Balkan Wars. Epirus is annexed by the Greece. Albania declares its independence from the Ottoman Empire, asking for sovereignty over the whole region of Epirus. Six Cham delegates from Chameria and Ioannina sign the declaration. The Treaty of London gives the majority of Chameria to the Kingdom of Greece, with only a few villages going to Albania. 1922 During the Greek-Turkish population exchange, a few thousands of Cham Albanians leave Chameria. 16,000 Greek refugees are settled in the region until 1926, when later they were moved on to other parts of Greece.[47] 1926 Albanians are officially recognized as a minority, and are promised compensation for their land and Albanian-language schools. 1927 The new Greek government passes a law that deprives minorities, including Chams, from citizenship, rescinding the earlier concessions. 1928 More than 100 village names are changed to Greek in the prefectures of Thesprotia, Preveza and Ioannina. 1935 Albania and Greece sign an agreement that would allow the creation of Albanian-language schools for the Chams. This agreement too was nullified as a dictatorial regime took power in Greece. 1936 The Greek state creates a new prefecture called Thesprotia, from parts of Ioannina and Preveza prefectures, as to exercise better control over the Cham Muslim minority. 1939 Following the Italian annexation of Albania in March, Albanian conscripts in the Greek Army are disarmed and put to construction work, while others are sent to internal exile in the Aegean Islands. 1940 Italy invades Greece, but is repelled. In April 1941, the German Army conquers Greece. 1941–1944 The Axis Occupation of Greece. The majority of the Muslim Cham elites actively collaborated with the occupation forces. A minor part joined the Resistance in both Albania and in Greece (from May 1944) at the end of the war without significant contribution.[48] 1944–1945 Following the withdrawal of German forces, the majority of the Muslim Chams fled or were expelled into Albania by the forces of the right-wing National Republican Greek League. 1946 The Chams are organized as refugees in Albania, and petition unsuccessfully for return to their homeland. 1952 Greece confiscates Cham properties and nullifies their citizenship. The Communist government in Albania gives them compulsory Albanian citizenship. 1991 The National Political Association "Çamëria", a pressure group advocating the return of the Chams to Greece, is established. 1994 Albania passes a law declaring 27 June The Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the Albanians of Chameria. 1999 Albania and Greece agree to create a bilateral commission, focusing only about the property issue as a technical problem. It has not yet functioned. 2004 Chams create the Party for Justice and Integration to represent their interests in Albanian politics. 2011 Chams create the PDIU, as two Cham political parties were merged.

Medieval era (up to 1434)

See also: Origin of the Albanians

The first undisputed mention of Albanians as an ethnic group in historical records dates from the second half of the 11th century, where they are named as the inhabitants of Arbanon in central Albania.[49] During this time, the earliest mention of Albanians within the region of Epirus is recorded in a Venetian document of 1210 as inhabiting the area opposite the island of Corfu.[50] Nevertheless, significant movements of Albanian populations in the region are not mentioned prior to 1337.[50] Groups of Albanians moved into Thessaly and the Peloponnese as early as 1268 as mercenaries of Michael Doukas.[51]

Elements of the Albanian population began, in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, for various reasons, to emigrate to Epirus. In the first decade of the 14th century, some Albanian clans were reported in Epirus and Thessaly, mainly hired as mercenaries from the Byzantines.[52] A major migration occurred in the 1340s and 1350s[53] when Albanian tribesmen supported the successful Serbian campaign against Byzantine possessions the region.[54] During this migration period, two short-lived Albanian entities were formed in Epirus: the Despotate of Arta (1358–1416) and the Principality of Gjirokastër (1386–1411). While the area of Vagenetia (medieval name of Chameria/Thesprotia) was mainly under the control of Italian rulers: either Venetians or the Despotes of Epirus based in Ioannina. That time, representatives of Vagenetia, together with a delegation from Ioannina, asked the Serb ruler Simeon to protect them from the Albanian threat.[55] Both Albanian entities were annexed and in 1419, many Albanians fled from Epirus and moved to Morea.[56] Those tribes that settled in southern Greece would become the ancestors of the Arvanites.[54]

Ottoman rule (1434–1913)

See also: Ottoman Albania and Ottoman Greece

The region of Epirus was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the early 15th century. Cham Albanians weren't the only Albanian-speaking population in the region even though they constituted a significant component of the Albanian-speaking population in the part of Epirus, which was incorporated in Greece after 1912. Besides Cham Albanians which lived in Thesprotia, Albanian-speaking communities lived in the northern part of Prefeza prefecture (the Fanari plan (Albanian: Frar and the hinterland of Parga) and the Parasouliotic villages Zermi, Krania, Papadates, Rousatsa as well as Derviziana and Mousiotitsa, which are part of Ioannina prefecture.[57] There were also other Albanian groups which in the 19th century had become Greek-speaking as attested by primary accounts about them older than the 19th century and toponyms of Albanian origin in specific regions. These areas included the settlements along the Tyria river valley, the region to the northeast of Ioannina Lake, the region south of the Fanari plain in Preveza and partly the area extending to the south Tzoumerka mountain range.[58]

From the establishment of Ottoman rule until 1864, the region of Chameria was included in the Eyalet of Rumelia. It was divided between the sanjaks of Delvina and Ioannina, which were second order administrative divisions.[59] After 1864, this territory was organized under the Vilayet of Yanya (Ioannina), which was further divided into the sanjaks of Ioannina, Preveza and Gjirokastra.[60] Between 1787 and 1822, Ali Pasha controlled the region, which was incorporated into his Pashalik of Yanina, a de facto independent state under only nominal Ottoman authority.[61]

Under Ottoman rule, Islamization was widespread amongst Albanians. Until the end of the 16th century, Chams were still predominantly Christian,[62] but by the end of the 17th century the urban centers had largely adopted Islam. The growth of an Albanian Muslim elite of Ottoman officials, like pashas and beys, such as the Köprülü family, who played an increasingly important role in Ottoman political and economic life, further strengthened this trend.[59] In northern Chameria the vast majority became Muslims, while south of Acheron and down to Preveza, Albanians remained Orthodox.[63] Muslim Chams were mostly followers of the Bektashi order,[44] especially after the 18th century,[64] when the Bektashis made considerable gains in influence in the rugged areas of southern Albania and neighbouring Greek Macedonia in northern Greece.[65][64] The Chams have their own peculiar cultural identity, which is a mixture of Albanian and Greek influences as well as many specifically Cham elements.[65] Although the Chams were primarily of Albanian origin, the Greek-speaking Muslims of Epirus also shared the same route of identity construction.[65][66] Albanian Chams did not face any dilemma over their ethnic identity or relations with other Albanian socio-cultural and dialectal subdivisions.[65][67] In general religion, and not ethnicity, defined each community in Ottoman society.[68] Under this context the Muslim communities in Ottoman Epirus were classified as "Turks", while the Orthodox as "Greeks" regardless of their ethnic origin,[68][69] though some exceptions existed.[70][71]

The process of Islamization of the Chams started in the 16th century, but it reached major proportions only in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to the population census (defter) of 1538, the population of the region was almost entirely Orthodox, with only a minority, estimated less than five per cent, having converted to Islam. The main instigator for the beginning of mass conversions in the region were the draconian measures adopted by the Ottomans after the two failed revolts of the Greek monk Dionysius the Philosopher as well as a number of Muslim local farmers, against the Ottomans.[72] In their wake, the Ottoman pashas tripled the taxes owed by the non-Muslim population, as they regarded the Orthodox element a continuous threat of future revolts. Another reason for conversion was the absence of liturgical ceremonies in Chameria, especially in the northern part of the region.[72] According to the French historian Fernand Braudel, in the wider region of which today is Southern Albania and Northwestern Greece, "it lacked the church discipline; in the churches was not performed any religious ceremony, which meant that Christianity did not have deep roots there".[73] This combination resulted in the first wave of conversions in the beginning of the 18th century, by a number of poor farmers. At this time Muslims became the majority in a few villages like Kotsika, near Sagiada. The wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries between Russia and the Ottoman Empire negatively impacted upon the region.[74] Increased conversions followed, often forced, such as those of 25 villages in 1739 which are located in current day Thesprotia prefecture.[74] During the entire 18th century, Muslims were still a minority among the Albanian population of the region, and became the majority only in the second half of the 19th century. Estimates based on the defter of 1875 show that Muslim Chams had surpassed Orthodox Chams in numbers.[72]

In a number of cases however, only one person, usually the oldest male member of the family, converted into Islam, in order not to pay taxes, while all other members remained Christians. As a result, historians argue that the Cham Albanians were either Christian or Crypto-Christian as late as the first half of the 19th century. During the second half though the majority of Chams became fully islamized and Crypto-Christianity ceased to exist.[72] As a result of the social structure of the Ottoman Empire, the Muslims of the region, the vast majority of whom were Albanians, being favored by the Ottoman authorities, were feuding with their Orthodox neighbors.[63]

Albanian National Awakening (1870s–1912)

Main article: Albanian National Awakening

As Ottoman society was founded on the religion-based millet system and not on ethnic groups, schools in Chameria, as elsewhere where Albanians lived, were conducted only in Turkish and Greek. Christian Albanians could attend Greek schools, and Muslim Albanians Turkish schools, but Albanian language schools were highly discouraged.[75] Nationalist sentiments during the late Ottoman era was weak in the region with Muslim Albanian Chams referring to themselves as Myslyman(Muslims) or Turks while local Orthodox Albanian speaking Christians referred to themselves as Kaur (i.e infidels) and did not find the term offensive.[76] During the Albanian National Awakening a number of local Albanians would establish private, unrecognized Albanian-language schools. In 1870, the despot of Paramythia, Grygorios, translated the New Testament into Albanian, as his followers could not understand well the Greek language.[77][verification needed] While, in 1879, the first Albanian school of the region was created in Sagiada by father Stathi Melani. At that time, the region was under the short-lived rule of the League of Prizren.[59][verification needed]

Some Chams also played an important role in the National Renaissance of Albania (Rilindja Kombëtare). Several Chams were heads of cultural clubs and patriotic organizations, which aimed at the establishment of an independent Albanian state.[63] Amongst them, the most distinguished personalities during the last years before independence were Abedin Dino, Osman Taka and Thoma Çami.[59]

Abedin Dino was one of the founders of the League of Prizren (1878) and one of the main contributors in the Albanian independence.[59] He was appointed as the chief representative of the League of Prizren for Chameria, and established a local League branch in Ioannina. When the League was disbanded in 1881, he continued fighting against Ottoman forces in Albania. He was killed by the Ottoman army while on his way to participate in the formation of the League of Peja.[59]

Another leader of the Prizren League active at the same time was Osman Taka. When the League of Prizren was formed he was named as the head of the local branch in Preveza. When the Ottoman forces managed to seize the Preveza League in 1886, Osman Taka too was arrested, accused of treason, and sentenced to death. He was executed in Konispol in 1897.[59][verification needed]

Thoma Çami was one of the main contributors to the revival of Albanian culture during this period. He was a founder and the first chairman of the organization "Bashkimi", the best-known cultural club of the National Renaissance. He also wrote the first scholarly history book for Albanian schools, but died before the declaration of independence.[59][verification needed]

Albanian intervention occurred when after the Congress of Berlin in 1878, parts of Chameria, were to be ceded by the Ottoman Empire to the Kingdom of Greece. Even before negotiations started, the Ottoman side used a number of Albanian national figures for delaying purposes and appointed Abedin bey Dino, as Ottoman foreign minister.[78] Moreover, Abedin Dino managed to gather various Albanian personalities in Preveza, from all over Albania and Epirus,[79] who believed that the Ottomans will provide full support to the Albanian movement and were against annexation of Epirus to Greece.[80][81][82][83] They also organized a meeting there in January 1879[59] and on 28 February 1879, signed a petition with a threat to take arms to prevent an annexation of Preveza to Greece.[84] As a result of the unrest created, led by Abdyl Frashëri, another Albanian national figure, the local Ottoman governor was recalled.[85] Abedin Dino was also recalled from Preveza, while the recently arrived Albanians left the city and returned to their homelands.[86]

In January 1907 a secret agreement was signed between Ismail Qemali, a leader of the then Albanian national movement, and the Greek government which concerned the possibility of an alliance against the Ottoman Empire. According to this, the two sides agreed that the future Greek-Albanian boundary should be located on the Acroceraunian mountains, thus leaving Chameria to Greece.[87][88] As part of the agreement, Qemali in exchange asked the Greek authorities to support the Albanian movement and the Greek side agreed, provided that no armed Albanian activity will emerge south of the Acroceraunians.[89] Qemali's reasons for closer ties with Greece during this time was to thwart Bulgarian ambitions in the wider Balkans region and gain support for Albanian independence.[90]

When the Ottoman defeat was imminent and before the arrival of the Greek army in the region, Muslim Cham and Lab armed units burned a number of Greek villages: 3 in the vicinity of Preveza (Tsouka, Glyky, Potamia), 4 in Thesprotia (Alpohori, Manoliasa, Keramitsa, Fortopia) as well as a number of villages in the regions of Ioannina, Sarande and Delvina. From these actions, many villagers managed to escape to the nearby island of Corfu.[91] The local Orthodox Albanian speaking population did not share the national ideas of their Muslim Albanian speaking neighbours, whereas instead they remained Greek-oriented and identified themselves as Greeks.[92]

Throughout this period the Albanian speaking zones in Thesprotia and adjacent areas that later became part of Albania was considered a nuisance for both the Greek state and Christians of Epirus who self identified as Greeks.[93] The non-Greek linguistic factor posed a hindrance to Greek territorial ambitions.[94] Tackling this issue was undertaken through two policies. The first was that Greek historians and politicians attempted through concerted efforts to conceal the existence of the Albanian language within the region.[95] The second was to present the argument that the language spoken by the local population had no relation upon their national affiliations.[96] According to the prevalent ideology in Greece at the time, every Orthodox Christian was considered Greek, whereas after 1913, especially the area of Southern Albania deemed "Northern Epirus" by Greece, Muslims were considered Albanians.[97] With the incorporation of the area within Greece, these discursive policies alongside the practical were continued.[98] This was due to the sizable Albanian Muslim population being considered a real problem for the Greek state and hence any pro-Albanian movement eventuating had to be eliminated by all means.[99]

Chams had their own delegates in the Vlora Congress of 1912, when Albanian Independence was proclaimed. Four representatives from Chameria and two representatives of Ioannina took part in the congress, and the six of them were in favor of Independence. They were Jakup Veseli from Margariti, Kristo Meksi and Aristidh Ruci from Ioannina, Rexhep Demi from Filiates, Veli Gërra from Igoumenitsa, and Azis Tahir Ajdonati from Paramythia.[100] The Muslim Cham communities in the regions of Paramythia, Margariti and Preveza, according to information gathered by the Greek foreign ministry during 1908 to 1911, were supporters of the Ottoman administration and shared an Ottoman national identity, while still being sympathizers of the Albanian national movement to a certain degree.[101] Especially in the Sanjak of Preveza, Muslim Albanians embraced ideas regarding the Albanian national movement of the time. Amongst them large landowners and state employees who came from other places were hostile to the local Greek population and persecuted them. Also though unknown in numbers, the proportion of Muslim Albanians over a prolonged period increased within this area, due to official Ottoman resettlement policy regarding geo-strategic interests and concerns.[102][103]

Modern history

Balkan Wars, World War II and first years of Greek rule (1913–1923)

With the onset of the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), Muslim Chams were uneager to fight as part of the Ottoman army.[104] Nonetheless, most of the Lab and Cham beys formed irregular armed groups that fought against the Greek units, burning a number of villages in the regions of Paramythia, Fanari and Filiates. On the other hand some beys in Margariti were not willing to fight and were ready to accept Greek rule due to the general anarchy in the Ottoman Empire.[105] Local Christians were enlisted as part of the Greek forces. Within a few days after the Greek army secured control of the region, a Greek Cretan paramilitary under commanders Deligiannakis and Spiros Fotis, killed 75 Cham notables of Paramythia who were gathered to pledge allegiance to the Greek state.[106] Occurrences of atrocities perpetrated by Greek forces within the region were recorded mainly by the Albanian side, whereas those events were noted only indirectly, though clearly by Greek government officials.[107] A few months later, more Cham notables were murdered by Greek authorities. In their internal correspondence, Italian diplomats in the region noted that this was a tactic employed to end Cham Albanian influence in the region by eliminating the elite class which had the role of dissemination of Albanian national ideology in the broader population.[106]

Following the defeat of Ottoman forces in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, an international boundary commission awarded the northern part of the region of Epirus to the Principality of Albania, and the southern part to the Kingdom of Greece, leaving Greek and Albanian minority areas on both sides of the border. Most of the areas inhabited by Chams, except for a few villages, were assigned to Greece.[108] After the end of the Balkan Wars, Greek authorities suspected that a local anti-Greek movement was possible, supported by the Provisional Government of Albania and Italy, and decided to disarm the population. Moreover, Albanian representatives accused Greece of assassinations and persecution of Cham representatives. These accusations were rejected by the Greek government.[109] In the December 1915 legislative elections, due to the general boycott declared by the party of Eleftherios Venizelos, two of the three deputies of Preveza electoral periphery were Muslim Chams: Ali Dino and Musli Emin Ramiz.[110] Persecution of Chams continued during World War I at a smaller scale than in the Balkan Wars. Many villages mainly in the former kazas of Filiates and Paramythia were burnt down.[106]

After the final incorporation of southern Epirus into Greece, Chams had the right to choose between Greek and Turkish nationality, under the 4th provision of the Athens peace treaty.[111][112] It can be inferred that during the Interwar period the Muslim Cham community did not appear to have a clear-cut understanding of their national affiliation beyond their local religious affiliations.[1] Chams were in fact divided amongst themselves as to where their loyalties lay.[44] In the event, the Chams chose the Greek nationality instead of the Turkish. This convention gave special rights to religious minorities, but not to ethnic minorities, under the third provision.[113] In accordance with the Greek policy on minorities at the time, Orthodox Cham Albanians were counted together with Greeks, while the Muslim Chams were counted in the census as a religious minority.[23] Although the Albanian government complained that Chams were discriminated against by the Greek authorities, there is little evidence of direct state persecution at this time.[114]

During this period, the Muslim Cham beys lost the political power they enjoyed during Ottoman rule, but manage to briefly retain their economic influence.[115] The Muslim portion of the population was under a sui generis rule of the Greek authorities and the local muftis, who were recognized in these areas.[116] In the region of Epirus there were the muftis of Ioannina, Paramythia, Filiates, Margariti, Igoumenitsa, Parga, Preveza, Sagiada and Thesprotiko.[117] Soon with the outbreak of WWI, Greek authorities imposed significant restrictions on land rights of Cham Albanian property owners. Additionally, a new tax system which targeted large estates of Muslim landowners was employed and massive grain expropriation was used again Cham properties to support Greek war effort. This led to starvation and dozen of deaths in the region. A military report of the Italian general commissioner to the Italian Ministry of Defence notes that from July 1917 onward the rule of the Greek authorities in Epirus had forced more than 3,000 Chams to seek refuge towards Istanbul and Anatolia.[118]

Population exchange and appropriation of property (1923–1926)

Chams in Filiates in 1915, by Fred Boissonas

At the conclusion of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), Greece and Turkey signed the Treaty of Lausanne, according to which the Muslims of Greece would be exchanged with the Orthodox Christians of Turkey, making a unique exception for the Muslims of western Thrace and the Orthodox Christian population of Istanbul. The treaty used religion as the indicator of national affiliation, thus including Muslim Cham Albanians in the population exchange.[119]

Greek officials had two options. The first was to exchange Muslim Chams with Greeks from Turkey, under the population exchange. The second option was to exchange them with a community of the Greek minority in Albania. They approached the Albanian government in 1923, but Albanian officials refused to consider the second scheme.[44] In January 1923, the Greek representative of the population exchange committee regarding the Muslim Chams declared officially that Greece "has no intention to proceed to an exchange of Muslims of Albanian origin".[120]

Muslim Chams nevertheless were to become part of the Greek-Turkish population exchange, yet the Albanian state asked for an exemption.[1] The majority of the Muslim Cham community had no idea of their ethnic origin or preferences beyond that of their local religious affiliations and considered themselves simply Muslims.[1][44] Though by the time of the population exchange, the Muslim Cham population had been nationalized and constituted a "de facto Albanian national minority".[121] As such, Greek officials viewed the Muslim Chams as a population that were hostile to Greece’s national interest of security and territory. In doing so, the Greek state insisted on the Muslim Chams migration to Turkey by both handing down ultimatums and utilizing harassment tactics that were undertaken by local paramilitary groups to pursue that aim.[122]

In May 1924 however, a delegation of the League of Nations visited the area to investigate the issue of exchangeability. The delegation met groups of Albanian Cham Muslims from various villages in the area that had been chosen by Greek authorities and local muftis.[123] The local muftis were supportive of the Greek administration.[124] Later, the delegation concluded that the vast majority of the Cham community declared that they were of Turkish origin and wished to be included in the exchange.[125] One year later, a second commission in general confirmed the conclusions of the first one.[126]

After pressure by Italian and Albanian delegates which made a case that the Chams primarily self-identified as Albanian nationals, Greece accepted in 1925, two years after the exchange had officially begun, that Muslim Chams were not subject to the exchange.[44] The Greek minister in London, Kaklamanos, promised that "the compulsory exchange shall not be applicable to the Moslem [sic] subjects of Albanian origin".[23][42] But Muslim Chams had to prove their ethnic origin in order to remain in Greece.[127] According to the Greek decision, which was presented by Eleftherios Venizelos to the local administration in Epirus, only those who were born in Albania or whose fathers were born in Albania could stay in Greece, thus excluding the genuine Chams of the Chameria region.[23] On the other hand the Albanian state insisted that the Chams were forced to leave Greece because the Greek authorities were making life "unbearable" for them.[128]

In the meantime, the Greek authorities did send a number of Cham Albanians to Turkey. According to the contemporary Greek political historian Athanasios Pallis, only 1,700 were exempted and the League of Nations estimated that 2,993 Muslim Chams were forced to leave for Turkey, even after their compulsory exchange was prohibited, by declaring themselves as Turks rather than Albanians.[129][130][131] In Turkey, Cham Albanians were accommodated in Istanbul and Bursa. The majority of them were from Ioannina and outlying areas and Preveza.[42] About 16,000 Greek refugees from Asia Minor were settled in Epirus,[132] mainly in the same areas.

The members of the Muslim Cham community owned vast tracts of land without the accompanying title-deeds. Under the Treaty of Lausanne some of this land was appropriated, on financial terms agreed to with the owners, to meet the needs of the landless refugees from Anatolia and Thrace who were settled in Epirus. This measure was applied across the board and there were no exceptions: as well as the Chams, Greek landowners and monasteries were also required to give up some of their property. The Chams, however, sought compensation not as Greek citizens, but under the terms providing compensation for certain West European nationals whose property had been appropriated. Both Greece and the League of Nations rejected the demand.[128]

Four different laws were passed between 1923 and 1937 that expropriated the properties of Muslim Chams, while leaving those of local Orthodox Albanian speakers and Greeks intact.[23] Official Greek policy was that properties belonging to either Muslim citizens in Greece, who were exempt from the exchange of populations, or to foreign citizens, be preferentially expropriated.[133] Albanian reports to the League of Nations and the reply by the Greek government reveal that part of the dispute concerned changes to the status of local Albanian landlords. During the Ottoman era, revenues were received by Albanian landlords from nearby villages. After these lands became part of the Greek state, local peasants expropriated from Albanian landlords what they considered was their property and refused to pay such taxes.[1] While the majority of the Muslim Cham population consisted of middle sized land owners with land that varied in fertility, production and size.[134] There were other Muslim Chams though who were more limited financially and in land.[135]

The first law was passed on 15 February 1923, expropriating the lands and second homes of Muslim Chams, in order to give it to Greek refugees and to landless Greek farmers. Compensation was set at below 1914 market price, and not 1923 values. On the other hand, the compensation for the homes would be given by 1923 value. Nevertheless, some Chams were never compensated.[23] As a result of this policy, a number of petitions were addressed to the Ministry of Agriculture or to the officials of the Refugee Settlement Commission from Muslims of Albanian origin in Paramythia, Dragoumi, Filiates, and other parts of the region, but no answer was given.[133] This law was reported even to the League of Nations, but in June 1928 the Albanian petition against Greece was turned down.[1][23] The Albanian government responded to these events with accusations of discrimination during 1925–1928. While the Greek side stated that the same expropriation policy was implemented nationwide for all Greek citizens.[136]

However, during the period of 1922–1926, the Greek government used the settling of Greek refugees as a tool for applying pressure on Muslim Chams to leave Greece.[137] These refugees in accordance with Greek law of the time took advantage of land expropriations and settled in the houses of Cham Muslims, which made some sell their land and become landless.[138] There were also government restrictions on the right to lease, sell or cultivate land due to Muslim Chams being classified as "exchangeable" which led to the gradual financial devastation of the Muslim Cham population.[139] Due to the fluidity of the situation, there were some Muslim Chams who sold their properties to the incoming refugees with a view of proceeding with a migration to Turkey, due to the exchange, while the League of Nations sought to be informed of those developments.[140] As such, in 1925 the Greek government by means of a special operation was still trying to persuade Muslim Chams to leave the country.[141] It was only by 1926, when the Muslim Chams were decided by the Greek government not to be exchanged that most of these refugees were resettled to other parts of Greece.[47][142] Thereafter, only a limited number of Asia Minor Greek refugees remained in the region and were resettled throughout settlements within the provinces of Filiates, Margariti and Paramythia.[143] After 1926, with the relocation of the refugees to other parts of Greece, the Greek government took careful discretion in Greek Epirus to implement its land reform and expropriations toward the Muslim Cham population so as to prevent discrimination occurring against them regarding the matter.[136] In 1928, the Albanians took their concerns regarding property ownership, expropriations and restitution, issues over minimal socio-political representation and military recruitment. The League of Nations in its findings relegated the matter of property restitution or (re)-compensation of expropriated lands to bilateral negotiations. The League of Nations also stipulated that it would not deal with other raised Albanian concerns, as they had been subject to past reports and discussions. In sum, the League of Nations decision regarding the Greek position relating to the Muslim Chams was considered a clear vindication.[144]

Reginald Leeper, the British ambassador at Athens in 1945, in a letter to the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in April 1945 mention that the Greeks can blame Cham Albanians for the murder of the Italian General Enrico Tellini which was the pretext for the Italian bombardment and occupation of Corfu at 1923.[145]

Pangalos regime (1926)

Theodoros Pangalos

An unexpected turn in Chams' fate occurred when an Arvanite general, known for his pro-Albanian feelings, became prime minister of Greece. On 24 June 1925, a group of officers, fearing that the political instability was putting the country at risk, overthrew the government in a coup and their leader, Theodoros Pangalos became the head of the dictatorial government. His main priorities in foreign relations were to establish good relations with Albania and to protect the rights of both minorities, Chams in Greece, and Greeks in Albania. For this reason he officially decided that the Albanians of Chameria would not be sent to Turkey after 1926, putting an end to the population exchange. He also decided that refugees from Asia Minor would not settle in Chameria, but rather in Western Thrace, as was originally decided.[47]

Pangalos was an Albanian-speaker, and declared himself proud of his half-Albanian identity.[146] His priority in establishing good relations with Albania was soon materialized by four agreements between the two governments, among others addressing the confiscation of Cham properties before 1926, when Greek refugees from Asia Minor were settled in the region. This agreement stated that Chams would be compensated at least as much as foreign citizens or ethnic Greeks.[117] In a public statement he also recognized that Chams were an ethnic minority and promised that Albanian schools would be opened in the region.[47][147] But after a few months he was overthrown, and his pro-Cham policies were immediately abolished.[47]

Discrimination and normalization (1927–1936)

In August 1926, Theodoros Pangalos was deposed by a counter-coup, and Pavlos Kountouriotis was restored as President of Greece. Pangalos' actions had encouraged Albania to be more persistent in pursuing Cham claims.[72] Pangalos' overthrow also meant a backtracking of Greece's official stance on the issue: discrimination against the Chams continued,[21]

Main article: Party of the Chameria

On the first elections in 1926, Cham Albanians created their own political party, called the Party of the Chameria founded by an eminent figure of that time, the famous Prevezan cartoonist Ali Dino. It managed to gain 1,539 votes from the Preveza and Ioannina prefectures.[148] In the subsequent elections, the party did not gain the support of the local Albanian population and Ali Dino ran under Farmer-Labor ticket, gaining only 67 votes in 1932.[148]

In 1927, the Greek government abolished four of the nine Vakoufs, the muftis of Parga, Preveza, Sagiada and Thesprotiko.[117] Furthermore, beginning in 1927 with the publication of the relevant Presidential Decree, the Greek government implemented a policy depriving Muslim Chams and other minorities of their Greek citizenship if they would leave Greece. According to the 1927 decree, Greek citizens of non-ethnic Greek origin ("allogeneis") could lose their citizenship if they left the country.[149] Such a practice is seen by scholars as a legal exclusion of Chams and other minorities from Greek society, since it made a distinction based on national affiliation, which was effectively set as a criterion above citizenship in Greek legal order.[149]

In 1929, the League of Nations asked Greece to open Albanian-language schools, since they had been officially recognized as an Albanian minority. The official position however of the then Greek prime minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, was that since the region had never had Albanian schools, even under the Ottoman Empire, this issue could not be compared with the rights demanded by the Greek minority in Albania.[147]

Nevertheless, following pressure from the League of Nations and as a result of the agreements signed during Pangalos' regime, Greece officially announced the establishment of four bilingual primary schools in Filiates, Igoumenitsa, Paramythia and Sagiada.[150] All these schools would be Greek, but Albanian would also be taught in the three first classes. An Albanian delegation led by the Albanian ambassador, Mid'hat Bey Frashëri, asked the Greek government for 15 schools, with full teaching in Albanian, in the main towns and villages of Chameria, a request that was immediately rejected by Greek officials.[151] After negotiations, the Albanian government accepted the Greek proposal and an agreement was signed in 1935 that would allow the Greeks of Albania to open new private schools in Himara and Korca, in exchange for the four bilingual schools in Chameria. But once again, the change of the Greek government with the coup d'état of Ioannis Metaxas made this agreement void.[150]

At this time, the Greek government tried to resolve another core issue pertaining to the Cham Albanians, the property dispute. In 1928, the Venizelos government had withdrawn from the Greco-Albanian agreement, signed by Pangalos that would compensate Chams equally with other Greek citizens. Muslim Chams tried to regain their properties under the Law of 1926, which gave them the opportunity to dispute the confiscation of their properties before the courts. Following these actions, Greece passed two laws, in 1930 and 1931, which gave bigger compensations to the Muslim community, but not as much as to other Greek citizens.[147] The first law doubled the promised compensation, and forced the state authorities to give 3/4 of the promised compensation, even if they appealed the decisions in the courts. The second law returned some of the lands that were not settled by Greeks to Cham Albanians. Both laws were implemented on a limited scale, because of the change of the Greek government and the establishment of the dictatorial Metaxas Regime.[23] At that time, members of the Cham community suffered from discrimination due to severe expropriations of their lands.[152]

During this period, a number of villages were renamed in the region. More than 100 village names were changed in Thesprotia, Preveza and Ioannina.[60][153] Many other names had already been changed in 1913 when the region came under Greek sovereignty. Villages like Shëndiela in Preveza were translated into Greek Agia Kyriaki (Saint Kyriake), while other toponyms such as Ajdonati or Margëlliç had been immediately renamed with new Greek names (Paramythia and Margariti).[60] The majority of villages and towns of the region got new names, mainly Greek ones, in 1928 and 1929. Another period of Hellenization of toponyms occurred in the 1950s, when the remaining Albanian or Turkish names were finally renamed into Greek, with very few exceptions.[60] Today, only a small number of Albanian toponyms, like Semeriza (from Albanian Shemërizë, meaning Saint Mary), survive from Ottoman times.[17]

In September 1930, the proposal for exchange of the Cham minority with the Greek minority of Albania was renewed, this time by the Albanian government. King Zog of Albania attempted to reach an agreement with the Greek government on the resolution of all differences between the two countries. The Albanian government believed that a voluntary population exchange of the two minorities would resolve a number of internal problems for both sides and improve Greek-Albanian relations. However, this proposal was rejected by the Greek side, who feared that Albania would forcibly evict its Greek minority from the country, making the exchange involuntary.[154][155]

The Venizelos government (1928–1932), despite the former Greek-Albanian crisis, took measures to intensify the improvement of the Cham communities both on economic and social basis. In 1931 a law was passed that allowed direct payment of reimbursement through the granting of analogous bonds and the direct return of improperly expropriated urban properties. A number of Cham families responded to these favorable regulations. Moreover, the Albanian government accepted the Greek proposal for the payment of indemnifications in bonds, allowing that way the promulgation of the relevant legislation and thus enabling the process of paying indemnification to the Albanian citizens. Thus, in 1935, according to Greek diplomatic reports, most of the Albanian demands that concerned the Cham communities appeared to be settled.[156] In April 1930, the League of Nations heard claims by small property Muslim Cham landowners that illegal expropriations occurred within the region, while Greek authorities stated that the region had been exempted from those land reform laws. In June 1930, the Greek government passed a special law that properties within Thesprotia were exempt from the Agrarian land laws which satisfied the League of Nations regarding the matter.[157] During this time though, there were ongoing efforts by Greek authorities to prompt the dislocation of the Muslim Cham population by means of hard-line policies and migration to Turkey, while discouraging or even forbidding it to Albania.[158] The Muslim Chams by the 1930s were viewed in Greece as a hostile population and unable to be integrated within the socio-political structures of the state.[159]

Repression under the Metaxas regime (1936–1940)

The harshest period of discrimination against Cham Albanians occurred during the dictatorial regime of Ioannis Metaxas, Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 to 1941.[115][160][161] The nationalistic character of his regime was imposed on all minorities in Greece. As with Slavic-speakers, Aromanians and Roma, Albanian-speaking minorities were prohibited from using their own language outside home.[162] Those who used Albanian words in school or in the army, were punished physically or humiliated.[162] The Greek language was imposed in the schools and elders who had no knowledge of the language were forced to attend night-schools, in order to learn to read, write and even speak the Greek language.[162] Meanwhile, either due to the absence of Greek or for reasons of demographic importance, Greek education was expanded with the establishment of kindergartens in some Orthodox Albanian speaking villages.[163]

In 1936, the Greek state created a new prefecture called Thesprotia, from parts of Ioannina and Preveza prefectures, as to exercise better control over the Cham Muslim minority.[164] The colonization of the area with Greeks and the confiscation of Cham property increased and Albanian place names were replaced with Greek ones.[161] In villages where both Muslim Chams and Christians lived, Muslim heads of the local administration were replaced with Christian ones. During the same period harassment by the local police towards Chams became more and more frequent.[160]

Second World War and expulsion

Greek-Italian War (1940–1941)

At the same time, a negative influence about the position of Cham Albanians came from Albania. Following the Italian invasion of Albania, the Albanian Kingdom had become a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italians, especially governor Francesco Jacomoni, used the Cham issue as a means to rally Albanian support. Although in the event, Albanian enthusiasm for the "liberation of Chameria" was muted, Jacomoni sent repeated over-optimistic reports to Rome on Albanian support.[165]

In June 1940 a Muslim Cham by the name of Daut Hoxha was found headless in the village of Vrina in Southern Albania. Daut Hoxha was a notorious bandit killed in a fight over some sheep with two sheperds.[166][167][168][169][170][171][172][173][174] Hoxha's death was used as the final excuse from fascist Italy in order to attack Greece. Italian propaganda officially described him as "an Albanian from Chameria animated by great patriotic spirit" murdered by Greek spies inside Albania, declaring the imminent liberation of Chameria.[175] As the possibility of an Italian attack on Greece drew nearer, Jacomoni began arming Albanian irregular bands to use against Greece.[165]

At the beginning of World War II, when Greece announced its full mobilisation prior to the Italian invasion, Cham Albanians requested to be included in said mobilisation; in response, Greece included them in the mobilisation but had them work in construction rather than give them arms, which alienated the Albanians.[176] Cham Albanian community leaders were arrested and forced into exile by Greek authorities on the same day that Italy invaded Greece, giving the community indubitable proof that the Greek state held a negative perception towards the Chams and leaving their community without leadership, which probably influenced their behaviour towards the Greeks in the following months. When the Greek army reoccupied the area during the early stages of the Italian invasion, they exiled nearly the entire male population - specifically all males older than 14 - to camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Corinth, which left the Cham Albanian women, children and elderly defenseless and unguarded, resulting in murders, rapes and robberies. The Greek forces turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by local Greeks against Chams.[177][176]

On the eve of the Greco-Italian War, Greek authorities disarmed 1800 Cham conscripts and put them to work on local roads.[115] The Greco-Italian War started with the Italian military forces launching an invasion of Greece from Albanian territory. As Chams were used as a propaganda theme by Italians, the invasion force of Italy in Epirus was called "Ciamuria [sic] Army Corps".[178] Part of the Chams supported the Italy's attack on Greece.[179] The invasion force included native Albanians, estimated at 2,000–3,500 strong, (among them Chams and Kosovars), in three volunteer battalions attached to the Italian army.[178][180] Their performance however was distinctly lackluster, as most Albanians, poorly motivated, either deserted or defected. Indeed, the Italian commanders, including Mussolini, would later use the Albanians as scapegoats for the Italian failure.[165] During 28 October – 14 November while the Italian army made a short advance and briefly took brief control of part of Thesprotia, bands of Cham Albanians raided several villages and burned a number of towns, including Paramythia and Filiates.[21]

In November, as the Greek counter-offensive managed to regain Thesprotia, the Greek authorities seized all Muslim Cham males not called up or with the Italians, and deported them to island exile[115][181] for security reasons.[182] Until the invasion of Greece by the German army, the Muslim Cham population of the region of Chameria was composed of women, children and the elderly. The adult male Muslim Chams would be restored to their land only after fascist Italy gained control of the region. In 1941, Greece was occupied by German, Italian and Bulgarian armies, who divided the country in three distinct occupation zones.

Occupied Greece and collaboration with the Axis (1941–1944)

Main article: Axis-Cham Albanian collaboration

Italian occupation

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, 28 villages in the region were inhabited exclusively by Muslim Chams, and an additional 20 villages had mixed Greek-Cham populations.[183] Germany was against the annexation of the region to Albania that time.[184] Nevertheless, Fascist Italian as well as Nazi German propaganda promised that the region would be part of Great Albania after the end of the war.[185] After the defeat of Greece, the establishment of the Italian occupation authorities in Epirus was completed up until middle May 1941[186] and the following month the first armed units consisting of Cham Albanians were active in the region.[187] As a result of this pro-Albanian approach, large parts of the Muslim Cham population actively supported the Axis operations and committed a number of atrocities against the local population in Greece and Albania.[185][188] Apart from the formation of an Axis collaborationist local administration and armed battalions, a paramilitary organization named Këshilla and a paramilitary group called Balli Kombëtar Çam[21] were operating in the region, manned by local Muslim Chams.[189] The results were devastating: many Greek, but even some Muslim Albanian and Orthodox Albanian speakers (Arvanites) lost their lives and a great number of villages were burned and destroyed.[190] Assassinations of Greek officials,[191] Albanian community leaders and other notables from both communities followed[192] that perpetuated a cycle of revenge and retribution that worsened communal relations.[121]

German occupation

From 29 July-31 August 1943, a combined German and Cham force launched an anti-partisan sweep operation codenamed Augustus. During the subsequent operations, 600 Greek and 50 Albanian citizens were killed and 70 villages were destroyed.[193] On 27 September, combined Nazi-Cham forces launched large scale operation in burning and destroying villages north of Paramythia: Eleftherochori, Seliani, Semelika, Aghios Nikolaos, killing 50 Greek villagers in the process. In this operation the Cham contingent numbered 150 men, and, according to German Major Stöckert, "performed very well".[194] In another incident, on 27 September, Cham militias arrested 53 Greek citizens in Paramythia and executed 49 of them two days later. This action was orchestrated by the brothers Nuri and Mazar Dino (an officer of the Cham militia) in order to get rid of the town's Greek representatives and intellectuals. According to German reports, Cham militias were also part of the firing squad.[195] On 30 September, the Swiss representative of the International Red Cross, Hans-Jakob Bickel, while visiting the area, concluded that Cham bands are completely out of control, terryfing and committing atrocities against the unarmed Greek population.[196]

After the capitulation of Fascist Italy, in September 1943, the local British mission proposed an alliance to the Chams and to fight together the Germans, but this proposal was rejected.[197] Collaborationist Cham bands were also active in southern Albania. German General and local commander Hubert Lanz decided to initiate armed operations with the code name Horridoh in the region of Konispol, in Albania. Albanian nationalist groups participated in these operations, among them a Cham battalion of c. 1,000 men under the leadership of Nuri Dino. The death toll from these operations, which began on 1 January 1944 in the region of Konispol, was 500 Albanians.[198] Whereas, it appears that, most of the local beys, the majority of whom were part of the nationalist resistance group Balli Kombëtar[2] (not to be confused with the collaborationist Balli Kombëtar Çam)[21] and the mufti did not support such actions.[21][115]

First expulsion

Main article: Expulsion of Cham Albanians

During the summer of 1944, the head of the local resistance organization, Napoleon Zervas, asked the Cham Albanians to join EDES in its fight against the left-wing ELAS, but their response was negative.[115] After that and in accordance to orders given specifically to EDES by the Allied forces to push them out of the area, fierce fighting occurred between the two sides.[115] According to British reports, the Cham collaborationist bands managed to flee to Albania with all of their equipment, together with half million stolen cattle as well as 3,000 horses, leaving only the elderly members of the community behind.[199] On 18 June 1944, EDES forces with Allied support launched an attack on Paramythia. After short-term conflict against a combined Cham-German garrison, the town was finally under Allied command. Soon after, violent reprisals were carried out against the town's Muslim community,[63] which was considered responsible for the massacre of September 1943.[199]

Moreover, two attacks took place in July and August with the participation of EDES Tenth Division and the local Greek peasants, eager to gain revenge for the burning of their own homes.[115] According to Cham claims, which are not confirmed by British reports,[199] the most infamous massacre of Albanian Muslims by Greek irregulars occurred on 27 June 1944 in the district of Paramithia, when this forces captured the town, killing approximately 600 Muslim Chams, men women and children, many having been raped and tortured before death.[63] British officers described it as "a most disgraceful affair involving an orgy of revenge with the local guerrillas looting and wantonly destroying everything". British Foreign Office reported that "The bishop of Paramythia joined in the searching of houses for booty and came out of one house to find his already heavily laden mule had been meanwhile stripped by some andartes".[115]

On the other hand Chris Woodhouse, the head of the Allied Military Mission in Greece during the Axis occupation, who was present in the area at the time, officially accepted the full responsibility of the decision for the expulsion of the Chams although he criticized the vendetta way in which this was carried out; including in his "Note on the Chams" military report of 16 October 1945 a brief description of the situation that led to the Paramythia events: "Chams are racially part Turk, part Albanian, part Greek. In 1941-3 they collaborated with Italians, making the organization of guerilla resistance in that area difficult. I never heard of any of them taking part in any resistance against enemy. Zervas encouraged by the Allied Mission under myself, chased them out of their homes in 1944 in order to facilitate operations against the enemy. They mostly took refuge in Albania, where they were not popular either. Their eviction from Greece was bloodily carried out, owing to the usual vendetta spirit, which was fed by many brutalities committed by the Chams in league with the Italians. Zervas' work was completed by an inexcusable massacre of Chams in Philliates in March 1945, carried out by remnants of Zervas' dissolved forces under Zotos. The Chams deserved what they got, but Zervas' methods were pretty bad – or rather, his subordinate officers got out of hand. The result has been in effect a shift of populations, removing an unwanted minority from Greek soil. Perhaps it would be best to leave things at that."(PRO/FO,371/48094).[63] During this time, small numbers of Muslim Roma from Filiates also fled to Albania alongside the Muslim Chams.[200] They settled in village of Shkallë, near Sarandë, where due to immigration in recent years, some have resettled in Greece.[200]

Resistance, Greek Civil War, repatriation by ELAS and final expulsion

As the end of World War II drew near, a small number of Muslim Chams became part of the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS),[21] as well as the anti-fascist National Liberation Army of Albania.[201] In the ELAS, a mixed Cham Albanian-Greek battalion named IV "Ali Demi" battalion was formed, named after a Cham Albanian who was killed in Vlora fighting against the Germans. At the time of its creation in 1944, it consisted of 460 men, some of whom were Chams.[21] However, the majority of the elites of the Cham community had become corrupted by the occupying forces and the atmosphere against the local Greeks who had suffered under Germans, Italians and Chams, led to an explosive polarization which would have constrained any motivation for joint Greek-Cham resistance.[48]

Although there is no evidence of contribution against the Axis, Cham units in the ELAS participated in the first phase of the Greek Civil War fighting against the EDES.[202] Having limited support in Epirus due to the right-wing EDES dominance in the area and in preparation of taking up the country's control after the German withdrawal from Greece, turned to the Chams for conscription. Seeing the omens several hundred Muslim Chams enlisted in its ranks. Local ELAS forces with the participation of those Chams volunteers, aided with ELAS forces from the central Greece, attacked EDES in Epirus and succeeded to take the control in the Thesprotia region in late 1944.[115] As a result of this short-term ELAS victory, in January–February 1945, about four to five thousand Chams returned to their homes from Albania, mainly in the border areas of Filiates and Sagiada. But after the final defeat of ELAS during the battle of Athens and its capitulation (see Varkiza Agreement), EDES veterans and local communities were eager to take revenge for the Cham's participation.[115] Led by an EDES veteran, Col. Zotos, a loose paramilitary grouping of former EDES guerrillas and local men went on a rampage. In this second massacre, committed at the town of Filiates, on 13 March, some sixty to seventy Chams were killed. Many of the Cham villages were burned and the remaining inhabitants fled across the border into Albania.

The exact number of Cham Albanians that were expelled in Albania and Turkey, is unknown. Mark Mazower and Victor Roudometof, state that they were about 18,000.[115][203] while Miranda Vickers says that they were 25,000 that fled into Albania.[63] Chameria Association claims that Cham Albanians that left were 35,000, from whom, 28,000 left to Albania and the rest to Turkey.[204] After the war, only 117 Muslim Cham Albanians were left in Greece.[63] Violence by the EDES groups was much more limited compared to incidents perpetrated against German populations that time throughout Europe, in particular by the advancing Soviet Army. EDES managed to secure control of the region after the initial conflicts.[205]

Postwar situation (1945–1990)

Main article: Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Immigrants

Muslim Chams who fled to Albania were given refugee status by the communist-led Albanian government and were organized under the aegis of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Immigrants (CAFC). The Albanian state gave them homes in specific areas in the south of the country, so as to dilute the local Greek element in the region (known as Northern Epirus to Greeks).[19]

In 1946, they formed a congress, where they adopted a memorandum accusing Greece for their persecution, and asked the international community to react in order to return to their homeland and to receive reparations. The CAFC claimed that 28,000 Chams were evicted, 2,771 killed and 5,800 houses were looted and burned.[63][206]

The new post-war Communist government of Albania took the Cham issue to the Paris Peace Conference, demanding the repatriation of the Chams and the return of their property. The following month a delegation of the CAFC was sent to Athens to lodge a protest with the government of George Papandreou. These demands were never answered. The United Nations Assembly in New York did however acknowledge the humanitarian crisis facing the refugees, and gave US$ 1.2 million via the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), specifically for refugees from northern Greece.[63] Meanwhile, in 1945–1946, a Greek Special Court on Collaborators found 2,109 Chams guilty of treason in absentia and sentenced them to death, while their immovable property was confiscated by the Greek state.[23] No war criminal of Cham origin has ever been brought to trial, however, as these had all managed to flee Greece in the aftermath World War II.[63]

For those Albanian speaking communities in Thepsrotia who remained in Greece after 1945, their Albanian identity was discouraged as part of a policy of assimilation.[citation needed] The abandoned Cham villages were repopulated by adjacent Greek and Aromanian-speaking communities.[63][207][208][209]

In 1953, the Albanian government gave all Chams the Albanian citizenship and forced them to integrate into Albanian society. Despite this, many older Chams still regard themselves as refugees deprived of their Greek citizenship and claim the right to return to their property in Greece.[2]

Under the People's Republic of Albania

During Enver Hoxha's regime, the Cham Albanians were believed to be of questionable loyalty and could easily become agents of a foreign power.

During the People's Republic of Albania (1944–1985) the country was governed by Enver Halil Hoxha. The 40-year period of Hoxha's regime was characterized by the use of Stalinist methods to destroy associates who threatened his power. The regime was increasingly conspicuous towards the Cham community. It believed that they were of questionable loyalty and could easily become agents of a foreign power. This view was probably based because they were Greek citizens and their elites were traditionally rich landlords, while collaboration with the Axis and anti-communism were also significant factors that contributed to this.[210] At the end of 1945, numerous Cham Albanians were imprisoned by the authorities of the People's Republic of Albania, while they were branded as "war criminals", "collaborators of the occupation forces" and "murderers of the Greeks". Although the representatives of the community protested against these developments, this resulted in further arrests and exiles of Cham Albanians.[211] Thus, the communist regime in Albania took a very distrustful view of the Cham community. Many of them were transferred further north, away from the southern border region.[211][128]

In 1949, during the Greek Civil War (1946–1949), the leadership of the People's Republic of Albania tried to mobilize the Cham community in order to fight with the communists.[212] After their negative response they were labelled "reactionaries" and suffered a certain degree of persecution within Albania. Moreover, the Cham issue was neglected by the local regime.[213] In 1947 the regime revealed a conspiracy in which 85 Chams were allegedly part in the creation of an armed nationalist group named "Balli Kombëtar".[211] In 1960 another anti-communist conspiracy was uncovered under Teme Sejko, a Cham admiral of the Albanian navy from Konispol. The alleged perpetrators, among them also 29 Chams, were accused as agents of "American, Yugoslav and Greek separatists". As a result, Sejko was executed and several of his relatives persecuted, while other members of the Cham community were imprisoned.[214]

Current situation

Politics in post-communist Albania

Following the fall of the Communist regime, the Chameria Political Association was formed in Tirana in 1991. Since its creation, its goal is the collection and recording of personal testimonies and accounts from Chams who left Greece in 1944–45 and are now living in Albania – personal archives, documents and other data – in a bid to preserve the historical memories that the older generation carry with them.[2]

Annual Cham Protest on 27 June 2008 in Konispol, Albania

In 1994, Albania passed a law that declared 27 June, the anniversary of the Paramythia massacre of 1944, as the Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the Albanians of Chameria and built a memorial at the town of Konispol.[215] This decision has not received any international recognition.[216] A number of Cham Albanian supporters pay tribute to the victims every 27 June in Saranda and Konispol. This event is called the "Cham march" (Marshimi çam). In 2006, the biggest Cham March, with around 10,000 people participating, occurred at the Albanian-Greek border. The participants designated themselves as Greek citizens of Albanian ethnicity and expressed the desire for "a peaceful return to their homeland and to the graves of their forefathers"[2]

In March 2004, the Institute of Cham Studies (ICS) was established with a board of 7 members. According to Miranda Vickers, the Institute’s primary aim is to attempt to "fill the huge gap in knowledge about the entire Cham issue". In the same year, the Chams also created their own political party, the Party for Justice and Integration (PJI), in order to campaign in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.[2]

In 2005, a diplomatic incident occurred when the President of Greece, Karolos Papoulias canceled his planned meeting with Albanian counterpart, Alfred Moisiu, in Saranda, because 200 Chams were demonstrating about the Cham issue. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Albanian authorities did not take adequate measures in order to protect the Greek President "by deterring known extremist elements, who are trying to hinder the smooth development of Greek-Albanian relations". The Albanian president's office stated that President Moisiu expressed "deep sorrow at this unexplainable decision, which was based upon misinformation, of the small, peaceful and well monitored demonstration".[2]

Recently, a few Chams have managed to find their way back to their families' old homes, and have tried to rebuild them. At the same time, several hundred ethnic Greek minority families from Albania have settled in towns such as Filiates.[2]

In Greece


The Greek census of 1951 counted a total of 127 Muslim Albanian Chams in Epirus.[217] In more recent years (1986) 44 members of this community are found in Thesprotia, located in the settlements of Sybota, Kodra and Polyneri (previously Koutsi).[5] Moreover, until recently the Muslim community in Polyneri was the only one in Epirus to have an imam.[121] The village mosque was the last within the area before being blown up by a local Christian in 1972.[121] The number of Muslim Chams remaining in the area after World War II included also people who converted to Orthodoxy and were assimilated into the local population in order to preserve their properties and themselves.[218][219][220]

Christian Orthodox

According to a study by the Euromosaic project of the European Union, Albanian speaking communities live along the border with Albania in Thesprotia prefecture, the northern part of the Preveza prefecture in the region called Thesprotiko, and a few villages in Ioannina regional unit.[18] In northern Preveza prefecture, those communities also include the region of Fanari,[221] in villages such as Ammoudia[222] and Agia.[223] In 1978, some of the older inhabitants in these communities were Albanian monolinguals.[224]

According to Hart, today these Orthodox Albanian speaking communities refer to themselves as Arvanites in the Greek language and self-identify as Greeks, like the Arvanite communities in southern Greece.[13] On the other hand, Bugajski includes the Orthodox among Cham Albanians.[6] They refer to their language in Greek as Arvanitika and when conversing in Albanian as Shqip.[225][226] In contrast with the Arvanites, some have retained a distinct linguistic[227] and ethnic identity, but also an Albanian national identity.[32] In the presence of foreigners there is a stronger reluctance amongst Orthodox Albanian speakers to speak Albanian, compared to the Arvanites in other parts of Greece.[228] A reluctance has been also noticed for those who still see themselves as Chams to declare themselves as such.[229] Tom Winnifrith on short stays in the area (early 1990s) found it difficult to find Albanian speakers in urban areas[230] and concluded in later years that Albanian is not longer spoken at all in the region.[231] Amongst some Orthodox Albanian-speakers of the area, like the residents of Kastri village near Igoumentisa, there has been a revival in folklore, in particular in the performance of "Arvanitic wedding".[232]

In Turkey

Muslim Chams in Turkey form the second largest community of Chams, after Albania.[2] This community was established after the two World Wars. After the First World War, Chams were forced to leave for Turkey during the population exchange,[1][44][131] and another migration wave followed after the Second World War, when a minority of the Chams expelled from Greece chose Turkey over Albania because of their anti-communist sentiments.[7] From 1913 to 1944, about 85,000 Albanians, most of whom were Chams, emigrated to Turkey.[233]

The exact number of Muslim Chams in Turkey is unknown, but various estimates conclude that they number between 80,000 and 100,000,[7] from a total population of 500,000 to 6 million of full or partial Albanian descent that live in Turkey.[234][235] The Chameria Human Rights Association declares that most of them have been linguistically assimilated, although they maintain Albanian consciousness and regional Cham traditions.[45] A considerable number of Chams in Turkey have changed their surnames to Cam or Cami, which in Turkish means pine, in order to preserve their origin.[7] They are organized within the "Albanian-Turkish Brotherhood Association" (Albanian: Shoqëria e Vllazërisë Shqiptaro-Turke, Turkish: Türk-Arnavut Kardeşliği Derneği), which fights for the rights of Albanians.[7]

In the United States

See also: Albanian American

Chams in the United States are the fourth most numerous population of Chams, after Albania, Turkey and Greece.[2] The majority of this community migrated to the United States shortly after their expulsion from Greece, because the Communist government in Albania discriminated and persecuted them.[2] They managed to retain their traditions and language,[2] and created the Cham League in 1973, Chameria Human Rights Association (see below), which later merged and became Albanian American Organization Chameria which aimed to protect their rights.[236][237]

Cham issue

Main article: Cham issue

Political positions

Albania demands the repatriation of the Muslim Chams who were expelled at the end of World War II, and the granting of minority rights. The Chams also demand the restoration of their properties, and reject a financial compensation.[63] Greece on the other hand states that the expulsion of the Chams is a closed chapter in the relations between the two countries. However, Greece agreed to the creation of a bilateral commission, focused solely on the property issue as a technical problem. The commission was formally set up in 1999, but has not yet[when?] functioned.[63]

During the 1990s, Albanian diplomacy used the Cham issue as counter-issue against the one related with the Greek minority in Albania.[1] Chams complain that Albania has not raised the Cham issue as much as it should.[2] It was raised officially only during a visit to Athens of former Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta at the end of 1999, during his meeting with his Greek counterpart, Kostas Simitis, but it received a negative response.[63] After 2000, there was a growing feeling in Albania, since the Kosovo problem has been to an extent addressed, that the Albanian government should turn its attention to the Cham issue.[1] On the other hand, that Greece is a member of the European Union and NATO, which Albania wishes to join, is one of the main factors why the Albanian government is reticent about the issue.[2]

The Greek government on the other hand considers the Cham issue as a closed chapter. According to the Greek official position, the Chams would not be allowed to return to Greece because they have collaborated with the Italian-German invaders during the Second World War, and as such they are war criminals and are punished according to Greek laws.[63] In an attempt to give a solution, in 1992 Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis proposed a trade-off in relation to their properties, only for the cases where their owners had certifiably not been convicted or participated in crimes against their fellow Greek citizens. Mitsotakis also proposed that the Albanian government likewise compensate ethnic Greeks who had lost properties due to alleged persecution during the communist regime in Albania.[131] This proposal however was rejected by the Albanian side.

The Cham issue has been linked with the issue of the War Law, in the context of World War II and especially the war between Greece and Albania. Their exodus is connected with similar World War II events following the defeat of the Axis: such as the exodus of the German populations of Gdańsk, Pomerania, Silesia East Prussia and Sudetenland.[238] The case of the properties who are under sequestration, taking into account that the stance of war against Albania was revoked by the Greek government in 1987, is seen by some Greek law experts and the Albanian government as in force and thus preventing restitution or expropriation as they are interpreted as "enemy property".[239] Under the Greek law it is not certain if the case of the Cham properties can be classified as such.[238] Nevertheless the restitution of these properties can be legally blocked due to activity against the state, which appears to be according to Greek law experts a significant factor in this case.[240][241] The confiscated properties of those who collaborated with the Axis cannot raise any legal issue. The same appears to be the case of the abandoned properties which were expropriated in the 1950s.[240]

The "Cham Issue" has not been a part of the agenda for international organizations.[2] Since 1991, delegates of the Cham community have begun an attempt to internationalize the "Cham Issue", but the only official support for this issue has come from Turkey.[63] Meanwhile, in 2006, Members of the Party of Justice and Integration met European MEPs, including the chairwoman of Southwest Europe Committee on the European Parliament, Doris Pack and introduced their concerns about the Cham Issue. Although this group of MEPs drafted a resolution about this issue, it was never put to a vote.[2]

In September 2016 the Enlargement Commissioner of the European Union Johannes Hahn mentioned the Cham issue as an "existing one" between Albania and Greece, alongside other matters that the two countries needed to resolve.[242]

Citizenship issue

Following their expulsion in 1944, initially only the 2,000 or so Chams who were sentenced to death as collaborators were deprived of their Greek citizenship. The remainder, who represented the vast majority, lost theirs under a special law of 1947.[23] Orthodox Albanian speakers within the region remained in Greece and retained the Greek citizenship, but without any minority rights.[2] In 1953 the Albanian government forcefully granted the Albanian citizenship to the Chams, while in Turkey and the United States, the Chams have acquired the respective citizenships.[63]

The Chams demand the restoration of the Greek citizenship as a first step towards solving the Cham issue. The restoration of the citizenship, rather that the regaining of the confiscated properties, is reported to be considered as the primary issue.[2] They argue that the removal of their citizenship was a collective punishment, when even the Greek courts have charged a minority of Chams for alleged crimes.[243] They have demanded dual citizenship,[2] a policy followed by Greece in the case of the Greek minority in Albania.[243]

Property issue

See also: Right to return

After World War II, the properties of Cham Albanians were put under escrow by the Greek state. In 1953, the Greek parliament passed a law, that considered as "abandoned" the rural immovable properties, whose owner had left Greece without permission or passport.[23] After three years the properties were nationalized. Homes were nationalized in 1959, when a law passed by the Greek parliament considered them abandoned and allowed their conquest by other inhabitants of the region. These two laws nationalized Chams properties, and allowed others to settle in their homes, but the owner was the Greek state.[23] In the 1960s and 1970s an ad hoc commission for the property alienation in Thesprotia gave by draw the rural properties to farmers with and without land, while homes and urban properties in Igoumenitsa, Paramithia, Margariti, Filiates, Perdika and Sybota were given to homeless people.[23]

Minority issue

The Chams are not a recognized minority by both global and peripheral international organizations, such as the United Nations and the OSCE. The decisions of the Cham representatives in general do not have any legal dimension or commitment in international politics.[238]

Cham organizations ask for their repatriation and minority rights. They have also asked for minority rights for the Orthodox Albanian speakers residing in Greece.[63] This position is supported even by politicians in Albania. In January 2000, the current Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha, then head of the opposition demanded more rights for the Cham minority in Greece, which includes cultural rights for Albanians living in Greece, such as the opening of an Albanian-language school in the town of Filiates.[63]


Main article: Liberation Army of Chameria

The Cham issue has become a dispute in both countries, and several diplomatic incidents have occurred. It had been also used by the Albanian organizations of liberation armies (Kosovo and National Liberation Army), in order to fuel the irredentist dreams of the descendants of the Chams.[1] Moreover, there is a reported paramilitary formation in the northern Greek region of Epirus, called the Liberation Army of Chameria[2][244] As of 2001, the Greek police reported that the group consisted of approximately 30–40 Albanians. It does not have the official support of the Albanian government.[2]


Chams have created a number of organizations, such as political parties, non-governmental associations and the Chameria Institute.

Chameria Association in Albania

Main article: National Political Association "Çamëria"

The National Political Association "Çamëria" (in Albanian: Shoqëria Politike Atdhetare "Çamëria"), a pressure group advocating the return of the Chams to Greece, receipt of compensation and greater freedom for the Orthodox Albanian speakers in Greece, was founded on 10 January 1991.[2] This associations holds a number of activities every year, with the help of the Party for Justice and Integration, as well as other organizations. Annually on 27 June, the Cham March is organized in Konispol. This march is held to remember the expulsion of the Chams.[245] One particularly disingenuous endeavor by the organization leaders has been to create unhistorical links in the public mind by presenting the ancient Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus (4th–3rd century BC) as an Albanian hero, thus revealing the extreme and irredentist aims of the association.[128]

Chameria Association in the US

Main article: Chameria Human Rights Association

Chameria Human Rights Association (Shoqëria për të drejtat e Njeriut, Çamëria) is a non-governmental organization, based in Washington, DC, United States, which protects and lobbies for the rights of Chams.

It describes as its mission: the Right of Return of Chams "to their homes in Greece and live there in peace and prosperity with their Greek brothers"; the Property Rights; Other Legal Rights "ensuring to the Cham people all other legal and minority rights deriving from the Greek Constitution and Laws, the Treaties and laws of the European Union, and other rights originating from international treaties and conventions to which Greece is a party"; and the conservation and propagation of the rich history, culture, language, and other cultural aspects of the Cham people.[236]

Democratic Foundation of Chameria

Main article: Democratic Foundation of Chameria

Another organization of Cham Albanians is based in The Hague, Netherlands. The Democratic Foundation of Chameria (Fondacioni Demokratik Çamëria) was founded in 2006 and aims to resolve the Cham issue, internationalizing the question in peaceful ways. Every year it organizes protests outside the International Court of Justice, where it intends to bring the Cham issue, if the governments of both countries will not find a solution.[246]

The organization aims to resolve the Cham issue in three directions: "lawfully and peacefully drawing attention to the legal position, the living and working conditions of the inhabitants and former inhabitants of Chameria; entering into negotiations with all types of organisations, both governmental and non-governmental; safeguarding the legal interest of inhabitants and former inhabitants of Chameria by means of legal proceedings, when necessary."[246]

Party for Justice and Unity

Main article: Party for Justice and Unity

The Party for Justice and Unity is a parliamentary party in Albania which aims to protect and uphold the rights of ethnic minorities inside and outside Albania, especially concerning with the Cham issue. The party was created after the 2009 parliamentary elections, in September from two deputies of the new Albanian parliament: the sole representative of Party for Justice and Integration, Dashamir Tahiri and Shpëtim Idrizi, a Cham MP of the Socialist Party.[247] Currently it has 2 MPs in the Albanian parliament, which makes it the fourth biggest party in Albania.

Party for Justice and Integration

Main article: Party for Justice and Integration

The Party for Justice and Integration (Partia për Drejtësi dhe Integrim), which represents the Chams in politics was formed in Albania in 2004. The party declares in its statute that it belongs to the center right, which is the political homeland for the vast majority of Chams marginalized by the Communist regime. Since the demise of the one-party state, the Chams have consistently put their faith in the center right parties to pursue their rights with Greece. However, the Chams are fully aware that Tirana’s politicians, whether Democrats or Socialists, only really focus on the Cham question during election time.[2]

The party won the plurality of seats in the municipality of Saranda, Delvina, Konispol, Markat, Xarrë and was one of the main parties in big municipalities like Vlora, Fier, etc, on the last municipal elections in 2007.[248]

Chameria Institute

In March 2004, the Institute of Cham Studies (Instituti i Studimeve Çame), also known as Chameria Institute or Institute of Studies on the Cham issue was established with a board of 7 members. The Institute’s primary aim is to attempt to "fill the huge gap in knowledge about the entire Cham issue". One of the first actions taken by the board of the ICS was to hold the first ever Cham Conference in Tirana in May 2004.[2]

Its declares as its mission, "to make researches [sic] in the history and culture fields of the cham community as an inherent and important part of the Albanian nation." Also it seeks "to evolve and stimulate public scientific debate and to accomplish studies", "to organize scientific activities and publishes their outputs." Institute of Cham Studies seeks "to create a wide contacts network with analog research centers in Albania and abroad (Balkan, Europe and Northern America) and participating in mutual activities."[249]

Cultural Association "Bilal Xhaferri"

Main article: Cultural Association "Bilal Xhaferri"

In 1993, a group of journalists and writers of Cham origin, founded in Tirana the Cultural Association "Bilal Xhaferri" (Shoqata Kulturore "Bilal Xhaferri"), nicknamed also as "the Cultural Community of Chameria" (Komuniteti Kulturor i Çamërisë). The association is a non-profit organization which aims to keep and promote the values of Cham Albanian culture and tradition. The association has established a publishing house, which publishes books especially about Chams and Chameria. It is named after the well-known dissident writer, Bilal Xhaferri and since its creation has published in Albania, Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, his hand-written memoirs and stories which were incomplete due to Xhaferri's premature death.[250][251]


According to Miranda Vickers, the Chams number approximately 690,000.[63][252] According to Cham organizations, the descendants of the "original Chams" number 170,000.[1] Many of them live in Albania, while other communities live in Greece, Turkey and the USA. Their religions are Islam and Orthodox Christianity.[citation needed]

Historical demographics

The population of the region of Chameria was mainly Albanian and Greek, with smaller minorities. In the early 19th century, Greek scholar and secretary of the local Ottoman Albanian ruler Ali Pasha, Athanasios Psalidas, stated that Chameria was inhabited by both Greeks and Albanians. The later were divided between Christians and Muslims, while Greeks were the dominant element of Chameria.[253] There was a dispute regarding the size of the Albanian population of the region, while in the 20th century some believe the term Cham applies only to Muslims.[13] According to a contemporary Armenian American estimate from The New Armenia in 1912, there was a global total of 1,500,000 Tosk Albanians, of which 200,000 were Chams.[254] According to 1913 Greek census, in Chameria region were living 25,000 Muslims[132] whose mother tongue was Albanian, in a total population of about 60,000, while in 1923 there were 20,319 Muslim Chams. In Greek census of 1928, there were 17,008 Muslims who had as mother tongue the Albanian language.[23] During the interwar period, the numbers of Albanian speakers in official Greek censuses varied and fluctuated, due to political motives and manipulation.[255]

An estimation by Italian occupational forces during World War II (1941) included also Orthodox communities of Albanian ethnicity. According to this in the region lived 54,000 Albanians, of whom were 26,000 Orthodox and 28,000 Muslim and 20,000 Greeks.[23] After the war, according to Greek censuses where ethno-linguistic groups were counted, Muslim Chams were 113 in 1947 and 127 in 1951. In the same Greek census of 1951, 7,357 Orthodox Albanian-speakers were counted within the whole of Epirus.[256]

Chams in Greece (1913–1951)
Year Muslim
1913 25,000 Unknown Greek census[132]
1923 20,319 Unknown Greek census[23]
1925 25,000 22,000 47,000 Albanian government[23][59]
1928 17,008 Unknown Greek census[23]
1938 17,311 Unknown Greek government[23]
1940 21,000–22,000 Unknown Estimation on Greek census[23]
1941 28,000 26,000 Unknown Italian estimation (by Axis occupational forces during World War Two)[23]
1947 113 Unknown Greek census[23]
1951 127 Unknown Greek census.[23] 7,357 Orthodox Albanian-speakers were also counted within the whole of Epirus.[256]

Current demographics

In 1985, the Albanian population of Epirus, including Chameria and two villages in Konitsa was estimated 30,000.[257] In 2002, according to author Miranda Vickers, in Chameria, the Orthodox Albanian population was estimated at 40,000. However, some scholars claim the term Cham in the 20th century applied only to Muslims, while both the Orthodox Albanian (Arvanitika) speaking and bilingual (Greek-Albanian) communities of the region identify with the Greek state and are part of the Greek nation.[13][258] In the region today resides a small number post-1991 Albanian immigrants.[63]

Albanian is still spoken by a minority of inhabitants in Igoumenitsa.[259] According to Ethnologue, Albanian language is spoken by about 10,000 Albanians in Epirus and the village of Lechovo, in Florina.[260]

The only exact number of Chams in Albania comes from 1991, when Chameria Association held a census, in which were registered about 205,000 Chams.[63]


See also: Religion in Albania

Chams living today in Albania are overwhelmingly Muslim, but it is difficult to estimate their current religious affiliation: the former Communist regime had proclaimed the country "the only atheistic state in the world", and even after its fall, the majority of the population self-declared agnostic, or irreligious. Current estimates conclude that this applies to a majority of Albanians, with 65–70 per cent of the population not adhering to any religion.[261][262][263] Conversely, in Greece and Turkey almost all of Chams adhere to their country's respective prevailing religion.[7][verification needed][117][verification needed]


Classification of Cham dialect

Main article: Cham Albanian dialect

Cham Albanians speak the Cham dialect (Çamërisht), which is a sub-branch of the Tosk Albanian dialect.[264] The Cham dialect is one of the southernmost dialects of the Albanian language, the other one in Greece being the Arvanitic dialect of southern Greece, which is also a form of Tosk Albanian. As such, Arvanitika and Cham dialect retain a number of common features.[18]

Albanian linguists say that this dialect is of great interest for the dialectological study and the ethno-linguistic analysis of the Albanian language. Like Arvanitika and the Arbëresh varieties of Italy, the dialect retains some old features of the Albanian, such as the old consonant clusters /kl/, /ɡl/, which in standard Albanian are q and gj, and /l/ instead of /j/.[265]

Cham Albanian Standard (Tosk) Albanian Arvanitika English
Kljumësht Qumësht Kljumsht Milk
Gluhë Gjuhë Gljuhë Language
Gola Goja Gljoja Mouth

Linguists say that these features give the Cham dialect a conservative character, which is due to the close proximity and its continuous contacts with the Greek language. They argue that this conservative character, which is reflected in a number of peculiar features of the dialect, is endangered, as are the Albanian toponyms of the region, which are no longer in use, and which have provided valuable material for research into the historical evolution of Albanian.[265]

Literature and media


Main article: Albanian literature

See also: Bejte, Markos Botsaris, Bilal Xhaferri, and Muhamet Kyçyku (Çami)

Page from the dictionary of Markos Botsaris

The first Albanian-language book written in the region of Chameria was the Greek-Albanian dictionary by Markos Botsaris, a Souliote captain and prominent figure of the Greek War of Independence. This dictionary was the biggest Cham Albanian dictionary of its time, with 1,484 lexemes.[266] According to albanologist Robert Elsie, it is not of any particular literary significance, but is important for our knowledge of the now extinct Suliot-Albanian dialect,[267] a sub-branch of the Cham dialect.[266] The dictionary is preserved at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.[267]

During the 19th century, Chams started creating bejtes, which were a new kind of poems, mainly in Southern Albania. The most well-known bejtexhi was Muhamet Kyçyku (Çami), born in Konispol. He is the only poet in Albania that has written in the Cham dialect and was apparently also the first Albanian author to have written longer poetry. The work for which he is best remembered is a romantic tale in verse form known as Erveheja (Ervehe), originally entitled Ravda ("Garden"), written about 1820. Kyçyku is the first poet of the Albanian National Renaissance.[268]

In the modern period, the best-known Albanian writer is Bilal Xhaferri, who is considered as the most influential dissident under the Communist regime. He was born in Ninat, but was forced to migrate in the United States at an early age because of his anticommunism. He lived and died in Chicago, at 51 years of age, but he contributed to Albanian literature with more than 12 books of novels and poems. Canadian albanologist Robert Elsie considers him "the best Cham Albanian writer and poet."[268]


The Chams' culture and politics are represented by three local media in Albania and the United States. Due to the harsh Communist regime in Albania, Chams did not manage to publish any media in the 1945–1990 period.[250] On the other hand, Cham emigrants in the United States established a newspaper and a magazine, both edited by Bilal Xhaferri, and headquartered in Chicago. The first Cham Albanian newspaper was published in 1966, named "Chameria – motherland". (Çamëria – Vatra amtare), and is still being published in Chicago,[45] while the magazine "Eagle's wing" (Krahu i shqiponjës) started publishing in 1974.[250]

The newspaper "Chameria - motherland" is mainly political, and tries to internationalize the Cham issue. In 1991 it became the official newspaper of the National Political Association "Çamëria", and since 2004 it is also the official newspaper of Party for Justice and Integration. The newspaper is published in Albania by a joint editorial board of the organization and the party, while in the United States it is published by Chameria Human Rights Association.[245]

On the other hand, the magazine "Eagle's wind" is primarily a cultural magazine and is no longer published in the US since 1982. The Cultural Organization "Bilal Xhaferri" republished the magazine in Tirana, and since 1994 it is self-described as a monthly "cultural Cham magazine".[250][251]



Cham Albanians' music has its own features, which makes it differ from that of other Albanian music. Cham Albanian folk music can be divided into three main categories: the iso-polyphonic, the polyphonic and the folk ballads.[citation needed]

According to German scholar Doris Stockman, Cham music "may give an impact to further explain the inner Albanian relationships, among the vocal practices of the various folk groups in South Balkan, more than it had been done that far, as well as to offer new material to comparative studies concerning the complex of problems of the folk polyphony in Europe".[269]

Iso-polyphony is a form of traditional Albanian polyphonic music. This specific type of Albanian folk music is proclaimed by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". Chams sing a different type, called the cham iso-polyphony. Although they border with Lab Albanians, their iso-polyphony is influenced more by the Tosk type.[269][270][271][272] The song of Çelo Mezani, a polyphonic folk song narrating and lamenting the death of Cham Albanian revolutionary Çelo Mezani is considered to be the best-known Cham Albanian song.[273]


Main article: Dance of Osman Taka

Cham Albanian dances are well-known in Albania. The best-known is the Dance of Osman Taka. This Dance is linked with Osman Taka, a Cham Albanian leader who fought against Ottoman forces, and who managed to escape from death by amazing Ottoman forces with this dance. It is an old Cham dance, but under this name its known only since the 19th century.[274]

Main article: Dance of Zalongo

The Dance of Zalongo (Albanian: Vallja e Zallongut) refers to an event in history involving a mass suicide of women from Souli and their children. The name also refers to a popular dance song commemorating the event.[275][276] It is inspired by an historical event of December 1803, when a small group of Souliot women and their children were trapped by Ottoman troops in the mountains of Zalongo in Epirus.[277] In order to avoid capture and enslavement, the women threw first their children and then themselves off a steep cliff, committing suicide.[278] The song of the dance goes as follows in Albanian:[279]


In 1889, the Danish ethnographer Holgert Pedersen collected Cham folk tales and published them in Copenhagen nine years later, in the book "On Albanian folklore" (Zur albanesischen Volkskunde).[280] More than 30 Cham folk tales were collected, the majority of which about bravery and honour.[281] The Chams of the southern Chameria region believe that they are descended from the legendary "jelims", giants from southern Albanian mythology, whose name derives from the Slavic transmission of the Greek word Έλλην (ellin) which means "Greek".[282]



The folk outfits of the region are colorful. The most common men's outfit for Muslims and orthodox was the kilt known as fustanella, embroidered with silver thread, the doublet, short shirt with wide sleeves, the fez, the leather clogs with red topknots and white knee socks. Other parts of the outfit were the silver chest ornamental and the holster embroidered with silver thread used to carry a gun or a pistol.[283]

This kind of dress was common for all Albanians, but there was difference in the length in the south where men, including the Chams, wore shorter ones, up to the knee. The kilt of high society men was made of many folds (about 250 – 300) and later was substituted by slacks and the former one was only used on special occasions.[283]

Women's dress

The common outfit for the women became a kind of oriental silk or cotton baggy pants. They wear the cotton pants daily, whereas the silk ones only on special occasions. Other parts of this outfit were: the silk shirt weaved in their home looms and the vest embroidered with gold or silver thread, which sometimes was completed with a velvet waistcoat on it.[283]

During 1880–1890 the town women mostly wore long skirts or dresses. They were dark red or violet and embroidered with gold thread. Other parts of this outfit were the sleeveless waistcoats, silk shirts with wide sleeves embroidered with such a rare finesse. On special occasions they also put on a half-length coat matching the color of the dress. It was embroidered with various flowery motives.[283] Another beautiful part of the outfit is the silver belt, the silk head kerchief and a great number of jewelry such as earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces etc.[283]


The main architectural monuments in the region of Chameria that belonged to Chams were mosques, homes and Muslim cemeteries, as well as old Albanian towers, known in Albanian as Kullas, which have survived, only because they are in the middle of forests scrub land, in old military zones near the Albanian border. The majority of them have been disappeared.[284]

But, there are very few surviving mosques, which were transformed into museums, following the model of the Yugoslav communists, despite the existence of some Muslims in many localities. Muslim cemeteries are frequently desecrated by modern building works, particularly road building.[284]

At the same time, Cham domestic and administrative buildings, mosques and cultural monuments are slowly covered by vegetation. Pasture lands once used by Chams for their cattle is now converged into forests, because of the depopulation of the region. Thus the geographical and architectural legacy of Cham presence in north western Greece is gradually vanishing.[2]


Main article: Albanian cuisine

Cham Albanians cuisine is seen as a mixture of Albanian and Greek cuisine, and maintains the main characteristics of the Mediterranean and the Ottoman cuisine. Their cuisine includes many kinds of cheese. Lamb is mostly baked with yogurt, differently from other cuisines. This dish has become one of the most popular in Albania.[283]


As with the majority of Mediterranean cuisines, Chams use a lot of vegetables and olive oil. The most common appetizers are trahana and tarator, while seafood soups are part of their cuisine. Chams are well-known in Albania for the different ways of making bread and traditional Turkish pies, the börek (called byrek in Albanian).[283]

Notable individuals

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Roudometof, Victor (2002). Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian question. Westport, Connecticut, United States of America: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 182. ISBN 9780275976484.
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  5. ^ a b Ktistakis 2006, p. 9 (citing Krapsitis V., 1986: Οι Μουσουλμάνοι Τσάμηδες της Θεσπρωτίας (The Muslim Chams of Thesprotia), Athens, 1986, p. 181.
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  8. ^ Vickers, Miranda. The Cham Issue - Where to Now? (PDF). Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. p. 12. Retrieved 3 August 2017. The Greeks must accept the historical truth about the confiscation of Cham-owned land, and the intimidation and persecution the Chams suffered under the dictatorship of General Metaxas during the late 1930s.
  9. ^ Meyer, Hermann Frank (2008). Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg [Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII] (in German). Ch. Links Verlag. p. 705. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1. The Albanian minority of the Chams collaborated in large parts with the Italians and the Germans.
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  11. ^ M. Mazower (ed.), After The War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943–1960, Princeton University Press, 1960, ISBN 9780691058412, p. 25.
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  13. ^ a b c d Hart, Laurie Kain (1999). "Culture, Civilization, and Demarcation at the Northwest Borders of Greece". American Ethnologist. 26: 196. doi:10.1525/ae.1999.26.1.196. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2017. Speaking Albanian, for example, is not a predictor with respect to other matters of identity .. There are also long standing Christian Albanian (or Arvanitika speaking) communities both in Epirus and the Florina district of Macedonia with unquestioned identification with the Greek nation. .. The Tschamides were both Christians and Muslims by the late 18th century [in the 20th century, Cham applies to Muslim only]
  14. ^ Vickers 2007, p. 2 "Whereas in Albania and the diaspora Cham communities have managed to preserve their dialect, traditions and folk songs, in Greece itself those Orthodox Chams, now numbering around 40,000, who were allowed to remain in Greece, have suffered from assimilation and the public suppression of their Albanian heritage and language. As a result, Albanian is only spoken privately in the home."
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  66. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "It’s worth mentioning that the Greek speaking Muslim communities, which were the majority population at Yanina and Paramythia, and of substantial numbers in Parga and probably Preveza, shared the same route of identity construction, with no evident differentiation between them and their Albanian speaking co-habitants."
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  68. ^ a b Nußberger Angelika; Wolfgang Stoppel (2001), Minderheitenschutz im östlichen Europa (Albanien) (PDF) (in German), Universität Köln, p. 8, archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016, retrieved 23 April 2015, "alle Orthodoxe Christen unisono als Griechen galten, wahrend "Turk" fur Muslimen stand..." (...all Orthodox Christians were considered as "Greeks", while in the same fashion Muslims as "Turks")
  69. ^ Poulton, Hugh (2000). "The Muslim experience in the Balkan states, 1919‐1991." Nationalities Papers. 28. (1): 47–48. "While the Christian population hence faced a threat of ethnic assimilation arising out of the nature of the millet system itself, Muslim populations in the Ottoman Empire clearly faced a parallel threat of Turkification. It is important to note, however, that the Ottoman state recognised no official differentiation by language or ethnicity among its Muslim citizens: the modem notion of being a "Turk" was until the end of the nineteenth century alien to the Ottoman elites, who regarded themselves as "Ottomans" rather than "Turkish." In fact the term "Turk" had the connotation of being an uneducated peasant. Ottoman Turkish, the language of state, was not the vernacular of the mass of the Turkish-speaking population, and along with being a Muslim, knowledge of it was a requirement of high office in the Ottoman state.'° Ethnicity per se was not a factor in this respect and many Grand Vezirs and high officials were originally from Albanian, Muslim Slav, or other Ottoman Muslim populations. Indeed when the dervişme system—whereby the subject Christian populations had to give up a number of their most able sons, who were then educated and raised as Muslims to run the Empire in both civilian and military capacities—was still in operation (it fell into abeyance in the seventeenth century and had disappeared by the eighteenth) the state officials were necessarily from non-Turkish Christian backgrounds. In spite of this, however, vernacular Turkish became widespread as the mother tongue among the Muslim populations (and even the Christian populations) of Anatolia, although this process was less pronounced in the Balkans."
  70. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. It is quite characteristic that it was in 1880, when the British Valentine Chirol visited the Christian "Albanian" village of Tourkopalouko (today Kypseli, at the northwest part of the Preveza prefecture), that his confidence for his Greek friends in Yanina "was first shaken". He was surprised that no one in the village spoke or understood any other language than Albanian although his friends "had assured me that south [of the river] Kalamas there were no Albanian communities" (V. Chirol, "Twixt Greek and Turk, or Jottings during a journey through Thessaly, Macedonia and Epirus, in the Autumn of 1880", Blackwood’s Edinbrurgh Magazine, n. 785, March 1881, p. 313).
  71. ^ Elias G Skoulidas (22 February 2011). Identities, Locality and Otherness in Epirus during the Late Ottoman period.(doc). European Society of Modern Greek studies. p. 7. Retrieved 18 April 2015. "Nikolaos Konemenos takes a different approach, by not denying his Albanian identity, although he participated in Greek public life. He accepts this identity and embodies it, without excluding the other identity: κι εγώ είμαι φυσικός Αρβανίτης, επειδή κατάγομαι από τα' χωριά της Λάκκας (Τσαμουριά) και είμαι απόγονος ενός καπετάν Γιώργη Κονεμένου 'λ που εμίλειε τα' αρβανίτικα κι όπου ταις αρχαίς του προπερασμένου αιώνος... είχε καταιβεί κι είχε αποκατασταθεί στην Πρέβεζα...[I too am a natural Albanian, because I originate from the villages of Lakka (Tsamouria) and I’m a descendant of a kapetan Giorgis Konemenos, who spoke Albanian and who at the beginning of the last century... had come down and had settled in Preveza]. The spelling mistakes in this passage are a good indicator of what is happening."
  72. ^ a b c d e Isufi, Hajredin (2004). "Aspects of Islamization in Çamëri". Historical Studies (in Albanian). Tirana, Albania: Institute of History. 3 (4): 17–32.
  73. ^ Isufi (2004) citing: Braudel, Fernand (1977). Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip Second. Vol. I (2 ed.). California, United States of America: Harper Collins. p. 1418. ISBN 9780060905675.
  74. ^ a b Giakoumis, Konstantinos (2010). "The Orthodox Church in Albania Under the Ottoman Rule 15th–19th Century." In Oliver Jens Schmitt (ed.). Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa. Peter Lang. p. 85. "In the 18th century Islamization increased and a large number of inhabitants of Labëri, Filiates, Pogon and Kurvelesh converted."; p. 86. "In 1739, twenty five villages in Thesprotia were forced to convert to Islam en masse. It has also been noted that conversions intensified after the wars of Russia with the Porte (1710–1711, 1768–1774, 1787–1792, 1806–1812)."
  75. ^ Somel, Selçuk Akşin (2001). The Modernization of Public Education in the Ottoman Empire, 1839–1908: Islamization, Autocracy, and Discipline. Istanbul, Turkey: BRILL. p. 414. ISBN 9789004119031. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  76. ^ Tsoutsoumpis: p. 122: "However, until the eve of the Balkan Wars and indeed long after the incorporation of the area in Greece national feeling was weak among the peasantry. Although nationalist feeling might have been weak among the local peasantry, local societies were seldom free from strife."
  77. ^ Mouselimis, Spyros (1976). Ιστορικοί περίπατοι ανά τη Θεσπρωτία (in Greek). Thessaloniki, Greece. p. 128.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  78. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 24: "Just before the start of the Berlin Conference the Porte, in order to use Albanian unrest for delaying purposes, appointed a member of the Albanian League, Abded Din Pasha Dino, a big landlord from Epirus, as foreign minister. In secret directives Abded Din Pasha promised to the Albanian League the support of the Porte in its conflict with Greece."
  79. ^ Skoulidas p. 152: "Μεγάλη υπήρξε και η κινητοποίηση του Abeddin bey Dino, ο οποίος συγκέντρωσε στην Πρέβεζα αλβανούς ηγέτες από ολόκληρο τον αλβανικό και τον ηπειρωτικό χώρο, οι οποίοι διαμαρτύρονταν για την ενδεχόμενη προσάρτηση της Ηπείρου στην Ελλάδα. Υπήρξαν ελληνικές εκτιμήσεις, με τη συνδρομή του ιταλού υποπρόξενου Corti, ότι ο Abeddin βρισκόταν στα όρια της χρεοκοπίας και ότι θα μπορούσε να εξαγοραστεί με 100 χιλιάδες φράγκα, όμως οι σχετικές κινήσεις δεν προχώρησαν υπό το πνεύμα μήπως υπάρξουν επιπλοκές στις διαπραγματεύσεις, τις οποίες οι ελληνικές θεωρήσεις"
  80. ^ William Norton Medlicott (1956). Bismarck, Gladstone, and the Concert of Europe. University of London, Athlone Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780837105673.
  81. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 24
  82. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (1989). History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Joint Committee on Eastern Europe Publication Series. Cambridge University Press. p. 365. ISBN 0-521-27458-3.
  83. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening, 1878–1912. Princeton University Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780691650029.
  84. ^ Gawrych, George (2006). The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 54. ISBN 1-84511-287-3.
  85. ^ Ortayli, İlber (1998). Belleten. Vol. 62. Türk Tarih Kurumu. p. 153.
  86. ^ Skoulidas, 2001, p. 157: "Η Υψηλή Πύλη, για άγνωστους λόγους που ενδεχομένως σχετίζονταν με την σημαντική κινητοποίηση και παρουσία Αλβανών στην Πρέβεζα που θα μπορούσε να καταστεί επικίνδυνη για τα συμφέροντα της, ανακάλεσε τον Abeddiii bey Dino στην Κων/λη και στη θέση του έστειλε τον Costali Pasha, προκαλώντας τη δυσαρέσκεια του Vessel bey Dino, του καδή της Πρέβεζας και άλλων αλβανών προκρίτων, οι οποίοι στη συνέχεια αποχώρησαν στις ιδιαίτερες πατρίδες τους..."
  87. ^ Kondis, Basil (1976). Greece and Albania, 1908–1914. pp. 33–34.
  88. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou, Hristina (1997). Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις και το βορειοηπειρωτικό ζήτημα κατά περίοδο 1907– 1914 (Thesis). National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. p. 168.
  89. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou. Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις. 1997. p. 168. "Ο Ισμαήλ Κεμάλ υπογράμμιζε ότι για να επιβάλει στη σύσκεψη την άποψη του να μην επεκταθεί το κίνημα τους πέραν της Κάτω Αλβανίας, και ταυτόχρονα για να υποδείξει τον τρόπο δράσης που έπρεπε να ακολουθήσουν οι αρχηγοί σε περίπτωση που θα συμμετείχαν σ' αυτό με δική τους πρωτοβουλία και οι Νότιοι Αλβανοί, θα έπρεπε να αποφασίσει η κυβέρνηση την παροχή έκτακτης βοήθειας και να του κοινοποιήσει τις οριστικές αποφάσεις της για την προώθηση του προγράμματος της συνεννόησης, ώστε να ενισχυθεί το κύρος του μεταξύ των συμπατριωτών του. Ειδικότερα δε ο Ισμαήλ Κεμάλ ζητούσε να χρηματοδοτηθεί ο Μουχαρέμ Ρουσήτ, ώστε να μην οργανώσει κίνημα στην περιοχή, όπου κατοικούσαν οι Τσάμηδες, επειδή σ' αυτήν ήταν ο μόνος ικανός για κάτι τέτοιο. Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση, ενήμερη πλέον για την έκταση που είχε πάρει η επαναστατική δράση στο βιλαέτι Ιωαννίνων, πληροφόρησε τον Κεμάλ αρχικά στις 6 Ιουλίου, ότι ήταν διατεθειμένη να βοηθήσει το αλβανικό κίνημα μόνο προς βορράν των Ακροκεραυνίων, και εφόσον οι επαναστάτες θα επι ζητούσαν την εκπλήρωση εθνικών στόχων, εναρμονισμένων με το πρόγραμμα των εθνοτήτων. Την άποψη αυτή φαινόταν να συμμερίζονται μερικοί επαναστάτες αρχηγοί του Κοσσυφοπεδίου. Αντίθετα, προς νότον των Ακροκεραυνίων, η κυβέρνηση δεν θα αναγνώριζε καμιά αλβανική ενέργεια. Απέκρουε γι' αυτόν το λόγο κάθε συνεννόηση του Κεμάλ με τους Τσάμηδες, δεχόταν όμως να συνεργασθεί αυτός, αν χρειαζόταν, με τους επαναστάτες στηνπεριοχή του Αυλώνα."
  90. ^ Blumi, Isa (2013). Ottoman refugees, 1878–1939: Migration in a post-imperial world. A&C Black. p. 82; p. 195. "As late as 1907 Ismail Qemali advocated the creation of "una liga Greco-Albanese" in an effort to thwart Bulgarian domination in Macedonia. ASAME Serie P Politica 1891–1916, Busta 665, no.365/108, Consul to Foreign Minister, dated Athens, 26 April 1907."
  91. ^ P. J. Ruches. Albanian historical folksongs, 1716–1943. a survey of oral epic poetry from southern Albania, with original texts. Argonaut, 1967, p. 99-100 " The Labs and Cams... implements. Sacked and put to the torch before the arrival of the Greek army...being evacuated to Corfu, the ragged inhabitants of Nivitsa mourned".
  92. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The Albanian-speaking, Orthodox population did not share the national ideas of their Muslim neighbors and remained Greek-oriented, identifying themselves as Greeks."
  93. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Prior to this period, Chamouria was already a nuisance both for the Greek state and the Christians of Epirus who identified themselves as Greeks."
  94. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "As the less ambitious Greek irredentists' target in 1912 was to include all the areas up to a line including Korçë-Gjirokastër-Himarë within the frontiers of the expanded Greek state, the aim was to obscure the fact that the Christian, or even the Muslim population, didn’t speak Greek but Albanian."
  95. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Concealing the existence of the Albanian language appeared as a concept as soon as the possibility of Greek expansion into Epirus appeared.... The first policy was to take measures to hide the language(s) the population spoke, as we have seen in the case of "Southern Epirus"."
  96. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The second was to put forth the argument that the language used by the population had no relation to their national affiliation."
  97. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Under the prevalent ideology in Greece at the time every Orthodox Christian was considered Greek, and conversely after 1913, when the territory which from then onwards was called "Northern Epirus" in Greece was ceded to Albania, every Muslim of that area was considered Albanian."
  98. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The existence of a region (Chamouria) whose population was roughly half Muslim and almost entirely Albanian speaking was considered a serious problem for the Greek state, which had to be confronted both practically and discursively."
  99. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The existence of a region (Chamouria) whose population was roughly half Muslim and almost entirely Albanian speaking was considered a serious problem for the Greek state, which had to be confronted both practically and discursively. Every pro-Albanian movement in these areas had to be eliminated by all means."
  100. ^ a b c d e Vlora, Ekrem (2001). Kujtime [Memories] (in Albanian). Tirana, Albania: Shtëpia e librit & Komunikimit. ISBN 9789992766163.
  101. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou. Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις. 1997. p. 121. "Ειδικότερα για τους Τσάμηδες στις υποδιοικήσεις Παραμθιάς, Μαργαριτίου και Πρέβεζας, στο ελληνικό Υπουργείο είχε σχηματισθεί η εντύπωση ότι κατά το διάστημα 1908–1911 αυτοί έτρεφαν αρκετές συμπάθειες για το εθνικό αλβανικό Κίνημα, αλλά ότι, καιροσκόποι και εφεκτικοί απέναντι στην οθωμανική Διοίκηση στην πλειονότητα τους, με στοιχειώδη αλβανική συνείδηση, έκλιναν προς τον Τουρκισμό ή είχαν καθαρά τουρκικά αισθήματα. Για το γεγονός αυτό προβαλλόταν εκ μέρους των Ελλήνων η εξήγηση ότι οι Τσάμηδες είχαν ασπασθεί σχετικά πρόσφατα τον ισλαμισμό, όχι όμως και τον μπεκτασισμό, σε αντίθεση προς τους άλλους μωαμεθανούς της Ηπείρου, για τους οποίους δεν είχαν ευνοϊκές διαθέσεις."
  102. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou. Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις. 1997. p. 122. "Ειδικότερα στο σαντζακι της Πρέβεζας όσοι έτειναν να ασπασθούν τις εθνικές αλβανικές ιδέες, αν και ήταν οπαδοί του Ισμαήλ Κεμάλ, δεν συνεργάζονταν με τους ' Ελληνες και καταδίωκαν τους χριστιανούς, συμπράττοντας με τους Τούρκους, ιδίως οι μεγαλοϊδιοκτήτες ή οι κρατικοί υπάλληλοι που προέρχονταν από άλλα μέρη. Ο αριθμός των Τουρκαλβανών στο σαντζακι αυτό εξάλλου αυξανόταν, άγνωστο σε ποιο ποσοστό, καθώς η τουρκική Διοίκηση συνέχιζε την τακτική της εγκατάστασης άλλων, που είχε εγκαινιάσει από παλαιότερα."
  103. ^ Şeker, Nesim (2013). Forced Population Movements in the Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic: An Attempt at Reassessment through Demographic Engineering. European Journal of Turkish Studies.
  104. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Muslim Chams were not eager to fight on the side of the Ottoman army during the Balkan Wars"
  105. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou. Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις. 1997. p. 212: "Μεταξύ των Αλβανών μπέηδων της Ηπείρου, οι περισσότεροι Λιάπηδες και Τσάμηδες, που είχαν έντονα ανθελληνικά αισθήματα, είχαν ήδη σχηματίσει άτακτα σώματα και πολεμούσαν εναντίον του ελληνικού στρατού και των ελληνικών σωμάτων, καίγοντας χωριά στις περιοχές Παραμυθιάς και Φαναριού. Ορισμένοι μπέηδες, αντίθετα, στα διαμερίσματα Δελβίνου, Αργυροκάστρου, Χείμαρρος και Μαργαριτίου φαίνονταν έτοιμοι να αποδεχθούν την ελληνική κυριαρχία, για να απαλλαγούν και από την αναρχία που συνεπαγόταν η σκιώδης τουρκική εξουσία"; p. 360: "Αλβανοί μουσουλμάνοι από το σαντζάκι Ρεσαδιέ, μετά την κατάληψη του από τον ελληνικό στρατό, διέφυγαν προς τον Αυλώνα. Πολλοί από αυτούς είχαν πολεμήσει με τους Τούρκους εναντίον των Ελλήνων, και είχαν πυρπολήσει αρκετά χωριά στα τμήματα Φιλιατών και Παραμυθιάς. Εκεί, πριν από την οριστική εγκατάσταση των ελληνικών αρχών, είχαν γίνει εναντίον τους και ορισμένες αντεκδικήσεις από τους χριστιανούς, καθώς και συγκρούσεις μεταξύ αλβανικών και ελληνικών σωμάτων."
  106. ^ a b c Dorlhiac 2023, p. 62
  107. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "While there is no Greek source describing the behavior of the Greek army against the Muslim population after they seized the area, there are several relevant descriptions in Albanian sources. There are only indirect (but clear) references to atrocities committed by the Greek army.... in the spirit of the times, offensive acts such as defilement of mosques and, obviously, looting, would most certainly have taken place.... For example see HAMFA, The Vice-governor of Paramythia to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 30.03.1917 (1917/A/4X(16)).... The lieutenant of the Greek Army Dimitrios (Takis) Botsaris, after a looting incident during the First Balkan War, pronounces an order that "from this time on every one who will dare to disturb any Christian property will be strictly punished" (see K.D. Sterghiopoulos..., op.cit., pp. 173–174). In pronouncing the order in this manner he left Muslim properties without protection. Botsaris, coming from Souli, was a direct descendant of the Botsaris' family and was fluent in Albanian. He was appointed as lieutenant in charge of a Volunteers' company consisting of persons originating from Epirus and fighting mostly in South Western Epirus."
  108. ^ Clogg, Richard (2002). Concise History of Greece (Second ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 67. ISBN 9780521004794. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  109. ^ Pitouli-Kitsou. Οι Ελληνοαλβανικές Σχέσεις. 1997. p. 360-361: "Μετά το τέλος του πολέμου στην περιοχή επικρατούσε έκρυθμη κατάσταση, και οι ελληνικές αρχές είχαν υπόνοιες για την οργάνωση σ' αυτήν, μελλοντικά, κάποιου κινήματος, μετά από συνεννόηση πιθανώς των Τσάμηδων με τους Ιταλούς εκπροσώπους και την κυβέρνηση του Αυλώνα, η οποία διατηρούσε δίκτυο κατασκοπείας των κινήσεων του ελληνικού στρατού. Κανένα αξιόλογο κίνημα δεν διοργανώθηκε όμως στο τμήμα Ρεσαδιέ, μετά τη διενέργεια του αφοπλισμού . Βέβαιο είναι, ότι οι Τσάμηδες, που βρίσκονταν στον Αυλώνα, μαζί με πρόσφυγες από την Κορυτσά και το Αργυρόκαστρο, πήραν μέρος σε συλλαλητήριο, που έγινε στην πόλη στις 22 Μαΐου με την παρότρυνση των προξένων των δύο Αδριατικών Δυνάμεων, για να διαμαρτυρηθούν "κατά της περικοπής των συνόρων της Αλβανίας υπέρ της Ελλάδος", που θα είχε ως αποτέλεσμα να περιέλθει το σαντζάκι Ρεσαδιέ στην Ελλάδα. Οι ίδιοι απηύθυναν τέλος αναφορά προς τον ' Αγγλο Υπουργό Εξωτερικών, με την οποία κατήγγειλαν φόνους και διώξεις των Αλβανών προκρίτων από τα ελληνικά σώματα και τις ελληνικές αρχές. Την αναφορά αυτή διέψευσε λίγο αργότερα η ελληνική κυβέρνηση με συγκεκριμένα στοιχεία."
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  113. ^ Dinstein, Yoram (1996). Israel Year Book on Human Rights, 1995. Jerusalem, Israel: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 456. ISBN 9789041100269. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
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  117. ^ a b c d Manta, Eleftheria (2004). ΟΙ ΜΟΥΣΟΥΛΜΑΝΟΙ ΤΣΑΜΗΔΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΗΠΕΙΡΟΥ (1923–2000) [Cham Muslims of Epirus (1923–2000)] (in Greek). Thessaloniki, Greece: Ίδρυμα Μελετών Χερσονήσου του Αίμου. p. 225. ISBN 9780521004794.
  118. ^ Dorlhiac 2023, p. 63
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  120. ^ Manta, Eleftheria (2009). "The Cams of Albania and the Greek State (1923–1945)". Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. 4. (29): 2. "On 19 January 1923 the Greek delegation which had participated in the negotiations in Lausanne had declared, through Dimitrios Caclamanos, official representative of Greece at the negotiations, that "Greece has no intention to proceed to an exchange of Muslims of Albanian origin."
  121. ^ a b c d Baltsiotis 2011.
  122. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The presence of a population considered hostile to national interests near the frontier caused anxiety to Greek officials which was exacerbated by a militaristic perception of security and territory. The central Greek state was eager to push the "hostile" population to migrate to Turkey. To that end it utilized harassment tactics which were carried out by local paramilitary groups. This was a practice that was well known and had been adopted as early as the period of the Balkan Wars. In other cases it just forced people to leave the country, after handing down ultimatums."
  123. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 2. "For the implementation of the decision the Mixed Commission appointed a special three-member delegation, which was assigned the task of local investigation of the issue. The delegation visited Epirus in May of that same year, where they met groups of people from the villages of the region, people who had been chosen by the Greek authorities and by the Μuftis."
  124. ^ Tsitselikis.Old and New Islam in Greece. 2012. p. 370. "In 1913, the Moufti of Paramythia, Hafiz signed a memorandum declaring their wish to join Greece rather than Albania at a time the latter was in the process of gaining its independence. In March 1917, the Moufti of Paramythia expressed his gratitude and loyalty to the Prime Minister Lambrou and King Constantine. In 1934, the Moufti of Paramythia, Hasan Abdul, similarly denounced Albanian propaganda in his region."
  125. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 2-3. "Their conclusions were that the vast majority of Muslims residing in Epirus declared that they were of Turkish origin and wished to be included in the exchange."
  126. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 3. "According to the conclusions of the Greek authorities, at that time the Çams of Epirus did not yet have a clearly developed ethnic consciousness. Perhaps they felt themselves more Muslim than Albanians or Turks; it was religion that played the prime role in their self-determination. This also explains the general confusion which initially prevailed amongst them regarding what their position should ultimately be, i.e. if they should take part in the exchange and depart for Turkey or remain in the regions where they were living. The conclusions that the three-member delegation arrived at, together with the incessant disagreements and mutual recriminations exchanged between the Greek and the Albanian sides, ultimately led to the Council of the League of Nations September 1924 decision. This called for the treatment of the whole matter as an issue connected with the implementation of the Treaty on the Protection of Minorities and required the gathering of more information. Thus, the three neutral members of the Mixed Commission decided to visit Epirus in order to examine the situation from up close, a visit which took place in June, 1925. In the end what the three members ascertained through meetings they had with various representatives of the Çams did not differ essentially from the conclusions which the three-member delegation had come to a year earlier"
  127. ^ Tsitselikis, Konstantinos (2002). "Exchange of population: A paradigm of legal perversion". In European Commission for Democracy through Law (ed.). The Protection of National Minorities by Their Kin-state. Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe. p. 141. ISBN 9789287150820.
  128. ^ a b c d Grigorova – Mincheva, Lyubov (1995). "Comparative Balkan Parliamentarism" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2010.
  129. ^ James, Alice (December 2001). "Memories of Anatolia: generating Greek refugee identity". Balcanologica (in English and French). Paris, France: Federation of Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Revues). V (1–2).
  130. ^ Pallis, Athanasios A. (1925). "Exchange of Populations in the Balkans". The Anglo-Hellenic League. London, UK.
  131. ^ a b c Mai, Nicola; Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie (2005). Russell, King (ed.). The New Albanian Migration. Sussex, UK: Sussex Academic Press. p. 87. ISBN 9781903900789. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  132. ^ a b c Pentzopoulos, Dimitris (7 October 2002). The Balkan Exchange of Minorities and Its Impact on Greece. London, UK: C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 128. ISBN 9781850656746. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  133. ^ a b Kritikos, Georgios (2005). "The Agricultural Settlement of Refugees: A Source of Productive Work and Stability in Greece, 1923–1930" (PDF). Agricultural History. Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America: Department of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 79 (3): 321–346. doi:10.1525/ah.2005.79.3.321. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  134. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Besides beys, it seems that the majority of the Muslim population consisted of middle sized estate owners. The land they owned varied in size, fertility and production."
  135. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Although there is no sufficient written proof to support the idea, it’s almost certain that families owning very small parcels of land, or just a few small fields and a small number of sheep, were not an exception and were also present in villages.... According to a 1936 document, at the Muslim village of Liopsi there are 170 families. More than one hundred of them "prosper" as they own land at the Chamouria plain, the rest of them being "poor and driven to desperation", The Local Authorities Inspector [attached at the General Governance of Epirus], Jianina 30.07.1936, HAMFA, 1936, 21.1. At the document it is underlined that at the neighboring village of Kotsika 150 persons left to Turkey during 1926–1927, reducing the current (at 1936) population to 450. One can suppose that the emigrants were coming from the "poor" families, although further research should be undertaken."
  136. ^ a b Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 4.
  137. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. " Two years earlier, Greek refugees from Asia Minor had been settled in the area. These newcomers were used as a tool for applying more pressure against Muslims for them to decide to leave Greece."
  138. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The newcomers took advantage of the land expropriations, and settled in the houses of Muslims. These actions were in accordance with legal provisions applicable to the whole territory of Greece. It is highly probable, therefore, that some Muslims, pressed by the legislation relating to expropriation and the presence of refugees who presented a threat to them, sold their estates and remained landless."
  139. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The restrictions imposed on the right to sell, rent or even cultivate land, due to the consideration of Muslims as "exchangeable", gradually led to the financial devastation of the Muslim population."
  140. ^ Ktistakis 2006, p. 14. "Η δεύτερη Αναφορά, εκείνη "των Μωαμεθανών κατοίκων των χωριών Γαρδίκι και Δραγούμη", αφορούσε την κατάληψη σπιτιών και κτημάτων από πρόσφυγες. Σύμφωνα με την ελληνική εκδοχή, οι Τσάμηδες είχαν πουλήσει τα σπίτια τους ελπίζοντας σε ανταλλαγή. Όταν όμως δεν αναχώρησαν, ζήτησαν την ακύρωση των πωλήσεων. Για τα κτήματα ζήτησαν και έλαβαν από τους πρόσφυγες το 1/3 της παραγωγής. Η Τριμελής Επιτροπή της Κοινωνίας των Εθνών θεώρησε ικανοποιητική την ελληνική εξήγηση αν και ζήτησε να κρατηθεί ενήμερη των εξελίξεων." ["The second Report, that of the "Mohammedan residents of the villages of Gardiki and Dragoumi", concerned the occupation of houses and estates by refugees. According to the Greek version, the Tsamides had sold their houses hoping for an exchange. But when they did not leave, they demanded the cancellation of the sales. For the estates they asked for and received from the refugees 1/3 of the production. The Tripartite Committee of the League of Nations considered the Greek explanation satisfactory, although it asked to be kept informed of the developments."]
  141. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "For instance, as late as February 1925, the General Administration of Epirus undertook the task of carrying out a special operation with the purpose of persuading them to leave the country."
  142. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The great majority of the refugees were resettled when it was decided that the Muslim population would not be exchanged."
  143. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 4. "In reply to all accusations the Greek side clarified that the expropriation was of general character and implemented in the same way for all citizens of the state. Not only was there no special discrimination against the properties of the Çams, but the government took care to implement the measure more leniently in their case and, especially in Epirus, to limit the influx and establishment of refugees. In any case, according to the 1928 census, in all of Epirus there resided only a total of 8,179 refugees, of whom 323 were in the province of Paramythia, 720 in Filiates and 275 in the province of Margariti, numbers that cannot support the Albanian accusations on privileged treatment of refugees to the detriment of the Albanians"
  144. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 5.
  145. ^ Robert Elsie; Bejtullah D. Destani; Rudina Jasini (18 December 2012). The Cham Albanians of Greece: A Documentary History. I.B.Tauris. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-78076-000-1.
  146. ^ Kentrotis, Kyriakos D. (1984). "Die Frage des muslimanichen Tehamen". Diegriechich-albanichen Beziehungen (in German). pp. 288–295.
  147. ^ a b c Hart, Laurie Kain (1999). "Culture, Civilization, and Demarcation at the Northwest Borders of Greece". American Ethnologist. 26 (1): 196–220. doi:10.1525/ae.1999.26.1.196. JSTOR 647505.
  148. ^ a b Mavrogordatos, George Th. Stillborn republic: social coalitions and party strategies in Greece, 1922–1936. University of California Press. California, 1983.
  149. ^ a b Tsitselikis, Konstandinos (2004). Citizenship in Greece: Present challenges and future changes (PDF). Thessaloniki, Greece: University of Macedonia. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  150. ^ a b Meta, Beqir (2005). "Kosova and Çamëria in the First Half of the XXth Century – A Comparative Look". Historical Studies (in Albanian). Tirana, Albania: Albanian Institute of History. 3 (4): 20.
  151. ^ Halili, Rigels (2007). "The issue of Epirus in political writings of Mid'hat bey Frashëri". Nationalities Affairs. Warsaw, Poland: Albanian Institute of History (31): 275–286.
  152. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "A concrete description of the lives of the Muslims is clearly referred to in a special report drawn by K. Stylianopoulos, the "Inspector" in charge of Minority issues, who was directly appointed by the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and was accountable to him. The report relates to us in graphic terms that "[...] persecutions and heavier confiscations, even led to the decision of classifying as chiftlik the town of Paramythia [...] and in that way small properties and gardens had been expropriated against the Constitution and the Agrarian law; not a single stremma was left to them for cultivation and for sustaining their families, nor were the rents of their properties paid to them regularly (some of them being even lower than a stamp duty). They were not permitted to sell or buy land, and were forced to evaluate their fields at ridiculously low prices (as low as 3 drahmi per stremma), [...], only to be imprisoned for taxes not paid for land already confiscated or expropriated..... Report, 15 October 1930, Archive of Eleftherios Venizelos, Minorities, f. 58/173/4573. See the more detailed report on illegal real estate expropriations and confiscations and the financial results upon the Muslim population at the documents contacted by the General Inspector of the Central Department (of the Ministry of Agriculture) to his Ministry, dated 13. 01. 1932 and 7 August 1932 (HAMFA, 1935, f. A/4/9/2), where he underlines that even plots of 2–3 stremmata had been expropriated."
  153. ^ For a more detailed view on settlement renames see Institute of Neo-Hellenic Studies` collection
  154. ^ M. V., Sakellariou (1997). Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Athens, Greece: Ekdotike Athenon. ISBN 9789602133712. The Albanians believed that a voluntarily exchange of the Greeks of Northern Epirus for the Muslims of Chameria...Northern Epirus.
  155. ^ Hetaireia Makedonikōn Spoudōn. Hidryma Meletōn Cheresonēsou tou Haimou (1995). Balkan studies. Vol. 36. Thessaloniki, Greece: Institute for Balkan Studies, Society for Macedonian Studies. p. 88.
  156. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 5. "Despite the crisis in relations between Athens and Tirana and the broader problems this caused, the Venizelos government (1928–32) seemed determined to intensify efforts for the improvement of the Çams' situation on the economic and social levels. The first issue that had to be dealt with was definitely the land one and the government made efforts to settle the issue of reimbursement, for this constituted a permanent source of grievances for the Albanian population. Thus, by mid 1931 a law was passed which provided for the direct payment of reimbursement to Greek citizens through their granting of analogous bonds and the direct return of improperly expropriated urban properties. Indeed, some Albanian families began to respond to these new favorable regulations and to accept the reimbursement determined by the state. On the other hand, the Albanian state accepted the Greek proposal for the payment of indemnification in bonds, thus freeing the way for the promulgation of the relevant legislation on 15 June 1933 and the hastening of the process of paying indemnification to the Albanian citizens. According to information from the Greek embassy in Tirana, by the middle of 1935 a great number of Albanian demands had been satisfied and consequently one of the most chronic problems for Greek-Albanian relations seemed at least to be coursing towards settlement".
  157. ^ Ktistakis 2006, p. 14. "Τον Απρίλιο του 1930 έφθασαν στην Κοινωνία των Εθνών καταγγελίες μικροϊδιοκτητών Τσάμηδων για παράνομες απαλλοτριώσεις σε κτήματα στην Τσαμουριά κάτω των 30 εκταρίων που προέβλεπε ο αγροτικός νόμος του 1926. Η ελληνική αντιπροσωπεία απάντησε ότι ο αγροτικός νόμος προέβλεπε εξαιρέσεις για την περιοχή της Ηπείρου και οι ίδιοι ισχυρισμοί είχαν απορριφθεί από το Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας. Πάντως, τον Ιούνιο του 1930 ψηφίζεται ειδικός νόμος για τα απαλλοτριωθέντα κτήματα στην Τσαμουριά και η αρμόδια τριμελής επιτροπή της Κοινωνίας των Εθνών έμεινε ικανοποιημένη." ["In April 1930, the League of Nations received complaints from small landowners from Tsami about illegal expropriations of estates in Tsamouria under the 30 hectares provided for by the agrarian law of 1926. The Greek delegation replied that the agrarian law provided for exceptions for the region of Epirus and they themselves claims had been rejected by the Council of State. However, in June 1930 a special law was passed for the expropriated estates in Tsamouria and the competent three-member committee of the League of Nations was satisfied."]
  158. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Various documents indicate that the Greek Authorities either prompted dislocation, or, as one document vividly puts it, "all of our services, but most of all the Sub-prefecture and the Gendarmerie [Χωροφυλακή] of Filiati and Igoumenitsa are working hardly to reinforce the [migration] flow". Practical incentives were provided to individuals and most of all to families wanting to migrate to Turkey. Another mechanism that was used in some cases was the demographic disruption of Muslim communities targeting the disassociation of the social web of the communities with a view to put additional pressure to emigrate. This migration flow presents a prima facie controversial acknowledgment in consideration of the fact that we have mentioned that an Albanian national minority was called into being: The great majority of the emigrants chose to leave for Turkey and not Albania. However, a closer reading of the relevant documents indicates that the Greek Authorities were unofficially encouraging (legal) migration to Turkey while discouraging, or even forbidding, migration to Albania. One more fact that should not be underestimated is that there was an underground migration to Albania, which was not documented in the reports of Local Authorities to the Centre (since, for instance, no passports were issued) and only indirectly referred to in Greek sources. However, this migration is testified to by the relevant Albanian bibliography which includes the testimonies of members of the community. This underground migration of individuals and families to Albania continued until 1940."
  159. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "In the 1930s it was obvious that the Chams were viewed as a hostile population and "a lost cause for "Hellenism"
  160. ^ a b Tsoutsoumpis 2015, p. 127
  161. ^ a b Vickers 2002, p. 5
  162. ^ a b c Tsitsipis, Lukas D.; Elmendorf, William W. (1983). "Language Shift among the Albanian Speakers of Greece". Anthropological Linguistics. Indiana, United States of America: The Trustees of Indiana University. 25 (3): 288–308. JSTOR 30027674. Metaxas' linguistic totalitarianism as part of his political platform is well remembered by senior Arvanitika informants. They mention that he introduced open discrimination against the Arvanitika language and punished its use at school or in the army.
  163. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Parallel measures were taken at the same time regarding the language in Christian Albanian speaking villages. The most important and easily confirmed measure consisted of opening kindergartens in villages selected either by the absence of knowledge of Greek or by their demographic importance. According to a 1931 document, these villages included Aghia, Anthoussa, Eleftheri[o], Kanallaki, Narkissos, Psakka, Aghios Vlassios, Kastri (Dagh) and Draghani."
  164. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "Finally, so as to exercise better control over the minority, the Greek state created in late 1936 a new prefecture, that of Thesprotia, consisting of areas that previously belonged to the Prefectures of Ioannina (Yanina) and Preveza, embodying all the Muslim population.... According to the suggestion of the General Administration of Epirus to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (24 October 1936), the presence of Albanian Muslims and the difficulties in "administrating" them from a far away capital calls for the creation of a new prefecture (HAMFA, 1937, A4/9)."
  165. ^ a b c Fischer, Bernd Jürgen (1999). Albania at War, 1939–1945. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-1-85065-531-2.
  166. ^ Mario Cervi, Eric Mosbacher. The Hollow Legions. Doubleday. 1971, p. 21 "Hoggia was an illiterate cattle-drover and notorious brigand who had been sought by the Greek authorities for twenty years: the 'celebrated partiot' had an exceptional vivid police record."
  167. ^ Owen Pearson. Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism To Communism 1940–1945. I.B.Tauris, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84511-104-5, p. 18 "He was in fact a notorious bandit sought by the Greek police for murders that he had committed many years before, but was killed in fight with two sheperds after a quarrel over some sheep".
  168. ^ P. J. Ruches Albania's captives. Argonaut, 1965, p. 142-144 "his ingrained 'faith' permitted him to slit the throat or shoot a Christian Greek and an Albanian Moslem with equal facility".
  169. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941. Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 978-0-521-33835-6,"In June unknown assailants had decapidated an obscure, Albanian bandit and sheep stealer, Daut Hodja."
  170. ^ Martin L. Van Creveld. Hitler's Strategy 1940–1941. Cambridge University Press, 1973. ISBN 978-0-521-20143-8, "the headless corpse of Daut Hoxha, cattle thief,..."
  171. ^ Bernard Newman. The New Europe. Ayer Publishing, 1972. ISBN 978-0-8369-2963-8, "Then a certain Albanian brigand, Daut Hoggia..."
  172. ^ Tobacco, arms, and politics. Museum Tusculanum Press, 1998. ISBN 978-87-7289-450-8, "Thereafter a deceased Albanian sheep-thief, became the focus of attention. The thief -Daut Hoxha-..."
  173. ^ Curt Riess. They were there"Daut Hohxa, a bandit described by Italians as an Albanian patriot."
  174. ^ Reynolds And Eleanor Packard. Balcony Empire. Kessinger Publishing, 2005. ISBN 978-1-4179-8528-9, "a local drunkard and bandit, Daut Hoggia..."
  175. ^ P. J. Ruches Albania's Captives. Argonaut, 1965, p. 142–144." the death of an Albanian brigand...This was the cause celebre Musolini chose to trumpet around the world to justify the move he was soon to make."
  176. ^ a b Gizem Bilgin, Aytaç (2020). Conflict areas in the Balkans. Lanham: Lexington Books. p. 116. ISBN 9781498599207.
  177. ^ Baltsiotis 2011, Paragraph 56.
  178. ^ a b Jowett, Stephen; Andrew (2001). The Italian Army 1940–45: (1) Europe 1940–43. Osprey Publishing. pp. 6–7. ISBN 1-85532-864-X.
  179. ^ Ethnologia Balkanica. Vol. 6. 2002. Very soon numerous voluntary Albanians fled to the Italian lines and parts of the Albanian population of Chameria supported Mussolini's attack against Greece.
  180. ^ P. J. Ruches Albania's captives. Argonaut, 1965, p. 147
  181. ^ Petrov, Bisser (2005). "The Problem of Collaboration in Post-war Greece 1944–46". Balkan Studies. Los Angeles, California, United States: University of California. 25 (3): 15–36. Chams recruited in the army, and replaced their active service by labour service. Some time later the authorities rounded up all men, who had not been mobilized and sent them to camps and islands.
  182. ^ Ethnologia Balkanica. Vol. 6. 2002. Cham support for the Italian army was paid back by the Greeks. Most of the male population were interned "for security reasons".
  183. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 152
  184. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 7: "Greek Thesprotia was not included amongst the territories annexed to Albania and remained under the control of the High Command of Athens because of the German reaction. It seems that, amongst other factors which worked against such an annexation was the fact that, in contrast to Kosovo, the inhabitants of Epirus were by a vast majority Greeks, which could not justify any administrative reorganization in that region."
  185. ^ a b Meyer, p. 152: "Aufgrund des Versrpechens dass ein Teil des Epirus eines Tages zu Albanien gehoren werde, kollaborierten nicht wenige Tsamides mit den Italienern", p. 464: "setzten die deutschen Versprechungen... die sogenannte Tsamouria, nach Kriegsende in "ein freies, selbstandiges Albanien" eingegliedert werde."
  186. ^ Manta. The Cams of Albania. 2009. p. 7: "Up until the middle of May that year their establishment in Paramythia and other Epirote cities and the organization of their services, were completed."
  187. ^ Theodoros, Sabatakakis (2003). "Οι Βρετανικές Υπηρεσίες κατά την Περίοδο του Δευτέρου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου στην Ελλάδα [British Intelligence in World War II Greece]". Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences: 30. doi:10.12681/eadd/17487. hdl:10442/hedi/17487. Retrieved 10 May 2015. ...τον Ιούνιο του 1941, ξεκίνησαν τη δράση τους οι πρώτες ένοπλες συμμορίες Αλβανών τσάμηδων στην Ήπειρο...
  188. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 702
  189. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 152, 464.
  190. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 179. "It is difficult however, to make final statements on Cham participation in this systematic persecution of the Christian population in the region, especially as there is evidence that the arbitrary rule of the Dino clan was directed even against some Muslims and Albanian-speaking Christians (Arbanits) (Isufi 2002: 2 19—254)."
  191. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 178.
  192. ^ Giorgos Margarites (2005). Anepithymetoi sympatriotes. Stoicheia gia ten katastrophe ton meionoteton tes Elladas. Bibliorama. Athens. pp. 155–156, 160.
  193. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 204, 476.
  194. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 469
  195. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 469-471
  196. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 498
  197. ^ Kondis, Basil (1997). "The Developments of the Northern Epirus Question". Epirus, 4000 Years of Greek History and Civilization. Ekdotike Athenon: 401. ISBN 9789602133712. Retrieved 10 May 2015. After the capitulation of Italy in September 1943, the British mission in Epirus tried to arrive at an understanding with the Chams in the hope of persuading them to turn against the Germans. The Chams refused
  198. ^ Hermann Frank Meyer. [Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 539
  199. ^ a b c Hermann Frank Meyer. Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII Ch. Links Verlag, 2008. (in German) ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1, p. 620
  200. ^ a b Lambros Baltsiotis (2015). "Balkan Roma immigrants in Greece: An initial approach to the traits of a migration flow." International Journal of Language, Translation and Intercultural Communication. 1. (1): 5. "In general terms, it seems that previous ties of any kind with Greece facilitate not only the migration but also a more permanent way of living in the country. This is the case with the Muslim Roma of Filiati in Thesprotia who, following the expulsion of the Muslim Albanian Chams from Greece in 1944–1945, were settled in the village of Shkallë, Sarandë in Albania. The majority of the families, more than fifteen, gradually settled in Greece."
  201. ^ Eriksonas, Linas; Leos Müller (2005). Statehood before and beyond ethnicity: minor states in Northern and Eastern Europe, 1600–2000 (vol 33 ed.). P.I.E.-Peter Lang. p. 308. ISBN 9780820466460.
  202. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 182. "They did not have the opportunity, however, to make any significant contributions in fight against the Germans. Likewise, the Cham partisans quoted above could describe the battles against EDES, but non-against the Germans. Admittedly these fighting units were formed at the end of the war and therefore could no longer exert any broad influence on the Cham population"
  203. ^ Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict. ISBN 0-275-97648-3. p. 158
  204. ^ "Document of the Committee of Cham Albanians in exile, on Greek persecution of the Chams, submitted to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1946". Online version Archived 17 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  205. ^ Γκότοβος, Αθανάσιος (2013). Ετερότητα και σύγκρουση: ταυτότητες στην κατοχική Θεσπρωτία και ο ρόλος της Μουσουλμανικής μειονότητας. University of Ioannina, Dodoni Journal. p. 65. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2016. Σε σύγκριση πάντως με τα αιματηρά επεισόδια με θύματα (εθνοτικά) Γερμανούς... επειδή τελικά ο Ζέρβας μπόρεσε να επιβάλει την αναγκαία πειθαρχία για την περιφρούρηση του συγκεντρωμένου σε διάφορα ασφαλή σημεία άμαχου μουσουλμανικού πληθυσμού
  206. ^ "Document of the Committee of Chams in exile, on Greek persecution of the Chams, submitted to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1946" (in Albanian and English). Tirana, Albania: Cham Anti-Fascist Committee. 1946. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  207. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The process of extinguishing any signs of previous minority existence occurred both in real and symbolic ways. The villages of Muslim Chams were repopulated by Greek speaking populations from the adjacent mountainous areas and Vlachs, immediately after their expulsion."
  208. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 187. "The social component of the respective redistribution or property transfers is evident. At the point where the "national" redistribution halted in the prewar period, the "hellenization" of property was taken up once and for all after the war. The economic mobilization of loyal majority groups (i.e., Vlachs along the entire northern Greek border) for the purposes of national homogenization was more often than not carried out to the disadvantage of minorities. In this case it was combined with a strategic purpose, namely the "national stabilization" of the border region and the guarantee of ideological and thus military loyalty to the central state. This becomes evident in a series of laws giving a social or populist character to the expropriation of the Chams and explicitly concerned with supporting border settlers: Athanasakos (n. d.:70 f.) names: 1. N.Δ. 2536/1953 "on the resettlement of the border regions and the enforcement of these populations" art. 6. and 2. N. Δ. 2180/1952 "on the compulsory expropriation of lands for the restitution of the landless farmers and cattle-breeders" which were completed and modified later. According to the aforementioned, the financial revenue office took possession of the properties. In coordination with the direction for agriculture and under the Committee for the expropriations they were bestowed on persons entitled to a share. According to the same author, these persons received title-deeds in the 1960s to 1970s by buying them for the amounts defined by the Committee. The owners of urban properties received acts of concession."
  209. ^ Koukoudis. The Vlachs. 2003. p.293. "After the Axis Occupation and the Civil War, most of them gradually rehabilitated in villages and towns in the prefecture of Thesprotia and Preveza in the gaps left by the departed local Moslem Albanians, the Çams, and also in various villages in the Pogoni and Kourenda areas in Ioannina prefecture. Their most important settlements in villages and towns in Thesprotia and Preveza prefectures are in Sayada, Asproklissi, Igoumenitsa, Agios Vlassios (Souvlassi), Parapotamos (Varfani), Plataria, Myli (Skefari), Paramythia, Ambelia (Vrestas), Rahoula (Tsifliki), Xirolofos (Zeleso), Karvounari, Skandalo, Hoika, Perdika (Arpitsa), Milokokkia, Katavothra (Ligorati), Margariti, Kaloudiki, Morfi (Morfati), Dzara, Parga, and their largest settlement, Themelo (Tabania) in Preveza prefecture."
  210. ^ Kretsi 2007, p. 57.
  211. ^ a b c Kretsi 2007, p. 58.
  212. ^ Charles R. Shrader. The withered vine. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. ISBN 978-0-275-96544-0, p. 188.
  213. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 185.
  214. ^ Kretsi 2007, p. 63.
  215. ^ Albanian Parliament (1994). "Law Nr.7839, datë 30.6.1994, "For declaring 27th June in the national calendar as 'The Day of Genocide Against Albanians of Chameria from Greek Chauvinism' and to build a memorial in Konispol"" (in Albanian). Tirana, Albania: Center of Official Publication website. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  216. ^ Kouzas 2013, p. 134: "Η μνήμη της γενοκτονίας, όμως, είναι ένα εσωτερικό θέμα της Αλβανίας και δεν έχει διαστάσεις διεθνούς αναγνώρισης." [The 27 June is commemorated as a day of genocide. The commemoration of genocide, however, is an internal issue of Albania and has not received any international recognition.]
  217. ^ Ktistakis 2006, p. 8.
  218. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "A few hundred Muslims stayed behind. 127 of them were counted in the 1951 census, while the rest, whose number remains unknown and in need of research, converted to Christianity and intermarried with Greeks..... Except for two small communities that mostly avoided conversion, namely Kodra and Koutsi (actual Polyneri), the majority of others were baptized. Isolated family members that stayed behind were included in the Greek society, and joined the towns of the area or left for other parts of Greece (author’s field research in the area, 1996–2008)."
  219. ^ Sarah Green (2005). Notes from the Balkans: Locating Marginality and Ambiguity on the Greek-Albanian border. Princeton University Press. pp. 74–75. "Over time, and with some difficulty, I began to understand that the particular part of Thesprotia being referred to was the borderland area, and that the 'terrible people' were not all the peoples associated with Thesprotia but more specifically peoples known as the Tsamides –though they were rarely explicitly named as such in the Pogoni area. One of the few people who did explicitly refer to them was Spiros, the man from Despotiko on the southern Kasidiaris (next to the Thesprotia border) who had willingly fought with the communists during the civil war. He blamed widespread negative attitudes toward the Tsamides on two things: first, that in the past they were perceived to be 'Turks' in the same way as Albanian speaking Muslims had been perceived to be 'Turks'; and second, there had been particularly intense propaganda against them during the two wars –propaganda that had led to large numbers of Tsamides' being summarily killed by EDES forces under General Zervas. Zervas believed they had helped the Italian and later German forces when they invaded Greece, and thus ordered a campaign against them in retribution. Spiros went on to recall that two young men from Despotiko had rescued one endangered Tsamis boy after they came across him when they were in Thesprotia to buy oil. They brought him back to the village with them, and Spiros had baptized him in a barrel (many Tsamides were Muslim) in the local monastery. In the end, the boy had grown up, married in the village, and stayed there."
  220. ^ Kretsi 2002, p. 186. "In the census of 1951 there were only 127 Muslims left of a minority that once had 20,000 members. A few of them could merge into the Greek population by converting to Christianity and changing their names and marital practices. After the expulsion, two families of Lopësi found shelter in Sagiáda and some of their descendants still live there today under new names and being Christians. Another inhabitant of Lopësi, then a child, is living in nearby Asproklissi..... The eye-witness Arhimandritēs (n. d.: 93) writes about a gendarmerie officer and member of the EDES named Siaperas who married a very prosperous Muslim widow whose children had converted to Christianity. One interviewee, an Albanian Cham woman, told me that her uncle stayed in Greece, "he married a Christian, he changed his name, he took the name Spiro. Because it is like that, he changed it, and is still there in loannina, with his children". A Greek man from Sagiáda also stated that at this time many people married and in saving the women also were able to take over their lands."
  221. ^ Οδηγός Περιφέρειας Ηπείρου (10 December 2007). "Πρόσφυγες, Σαρακατσάνοι, Αρβανίτες Archived 18 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine". cultureportalweb. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  222. ^ Georgoulas, Sokratis D.(1964). Λαογραφική Μελέτη Αμμουδιάς Πρεβέζης Archived 27 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Κέντρων Ερεύνης της Ελληνικής Λαογραφίας. pp. 2, 15.
  223. ^ Tsitsipis, Lukas (1981). Language change and language death in Albanian speech communities in Greece: A sociolinguistic study. (Thesis). University of Wisconsin. Ann Arbor. 124. "The Epirus Albanian speaking villages use a dialect of Tosk Albanian, and they are among the most isolated areas in Greece. In the Epiriotic village of Aghiá I was able to spot even a few monolingual Albanian speakers."
  224. ^ Foss, Arthur (1978). Epirus. Botston, United States of America: Faber. p. 224. ISBN 9780571104888. "There are still many Greek Orthodox villagers in Threspotia who speak Albanian among themselves. They are scattered north from Paramithia to the Kalamas River and beyond, and westward to the Margariti Plain. Some of the older people can only speak Albanian, nor is the language dying out. As more and more couples in early married life travel away to Athens or Germany for work, their children remain at home and are brought up by their Albania-speaking grandparents. It is still sometimes possible to distinguish between Greek- and Albanian-speaking peasant women. Nearly all of them wear traditional black clothes with a black scarf round their neck heads. Greek-speaking women tie their scarves at the back of their necks, while those who speak primarily Albanian wear their scarves in a distinctive style fastened at the side of the head."
  225. ^ Moraitis, Thanassis. "publications as a researcher". thanassis moraitis: official website. Retrieved 18 April 2015. "Οι Αρβανίτες αυτοί είναι σε εδαφική συνέχεια με την Αλβανία, με την παρεμβολή του ελληνόφωνου Βούρκου (Vurg) εντός της Αλβανίας, και η Αλβανική που μιλιέται εκεί ακόμα, η Τσάμικη, είναι η νοτιότερη υποδιάλεκτος του κεντρικού κορμού της Αλβανικής, αλλά έμεινε ουσιαστικά εκτός του εθνικού χώρου όπου κωδικοποιήθηκε η Αλβανική ως επίσημη γλώσσα του κράτους..... Οι αλβανόφωνοι χριστιανοί θεωρούν τους εαυτούς τους Έλληνες. Στα Ελληνικά αποκαλούν τη γλώσσα τους "Αρβανίτικα", όπως εξ άλλου όλοι οι Αρβανίτες της Ελλάδας, στα Αρβανίτικα όμως την ονομάζουν "Σκιπ""..... "The Albanian idiom still spoken there, Çamërisht, is the southernmost sub-dialect of the main body of the Albanian language, but has remained outside the national space where standard Albanian has been standardized as official language of the state..... Ethnic Albanophone Christians perceive themselves as national Greeks. When speaking Greek, members of this group call their idiom Arvanitic, just as all other Arvanites of Greece; yet, when conversing in their own idiom, they call it "Shqip"."
  226. ^ Tsitsipis. Language change and language death. 1981. p. 2. "The term Shqip is generally used to refer to the language spoken in Albania. Shqip also appears in the speech of the few monolinguals in certain regions of Greek Epirus, north-western Greece, while the majority of the bilingual population in the Epirotic enclaves use the term Arvanitika to refer to the language when talking in Greek, and Shqip when talking in Albanian (see Çabej 1976:61–69, and Hamp 1972: 1626–1627 for the etymological observations and further references)."
  227. ^ Baltsiotis 2011. "The Albanian language, and the Christian population who spoke it- and still do- had to be concealed also, since the language was perceived as an additional threat to the Greekness of the land. It could only be used as a proof of their link with the Muslims, thus creating a continuum of non-Greekness."
  228. ^ Adrian Ahmedaja (2004). "On the question of methods for studying ethnic minorities' music in the case of Greece's Arvanites and Alvanoi." in Ursula Hemetek (ed.). Manifold Identities: Studies on Music and Minorities. Cambridge Scholars Press. p. 59. "Among the Alvanoi the reluctance to declare themselves as Albanians and to speak to foreigners in Albanian was even stronger than among the Arvanites. I would like to mention just one example. After several attempts we managed to get the permission to record a wedding in Igoumenitsa. The participants were people from Mavrudi, a village near Igoumenitsa. They spoke to us only German or English, but to each other Albanian. There were many songs in Greek which I knew because they are sung on the other side of the border, in Albanian. I should say the same about a great part of the dance music. After a few hours, we heard a very well known bridal song in Albanian. When I asked some wedding guests what this kind of song was, they answered: You know, this is an old song in Albanian. There have been some Albanians in this area, but there aren’t any more, only some old people". Actually it was a young man singing the song, as can he heard in audio example 5.9. The lyrics are about the bride’s dance during the wedding. The bride (swallow" in the song) has to dance slowly – slowly as it can be understood in the title of the song Dallëndushe vogël-o, dale, dale (Small swallow, slow – slow) (CD 12)."
  229. ^ Sarah Green (2005). Notes from the Balkans: Locating Marginality and Ambiguity on the Greek-Albanian border. Princeton University Press. pp. 74–75. "In short, there was a continual production of ambiguity in Epirus about these people, and an assertion that a final conclusion about the Tsamides was impossible. The few people I meet in Thesprotia who agreed that they were Tsamides were singularly reluctant to discuss anything to do with differences between themselves and anyone else. One older man said, 'Who told you I’m a Tsamis? I’m no different from anyone else.' That was as far as the conversation went. Another man, Having heard me speaking to some people in a Kafeneio in Thesprotia on the subject, followed me out of the shop as I left, to explain to me why people would not talk about Tsamides; he did not was to speak to me about it in the hearing of others: They had a bad reputation, you see. They were accused of being thieves and armatoloi. But you can see for yourself, there not much to live on around here. If some of them did act that way, it was because they had to, to survive. But there were good people too, you know; in any population, you get good people and bad people. My grandfather and my father after him were barrel makers, they were honest men. They made barrels for oil and tsipouro. I’m sorry that people have not been able to help you do your work. It’s just very difficult; it’s a difficult subject. This man went on to explain that his father was also involved in distilling tsipouro, and he proceeded to draw a still for me in my notebook, to explain the process of making this spirit. But he would not talk about any more about Tsamides and certainly never referred to himself as being Tsamis."
  230. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (1995). "Southern Albania, Northern Epirus: Survey of a Disputed Ethnological Boundary Archived 10 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine". Society Farsharotu. Retrieved 18 April 2015. "I tried unsuccessfully in 1994 to find Albanian speakers in Filiates, Paramithia and Margariti. The coastal villages near Igoumenitsa have been turned into tourist resorts. There may be Albanian speakers in villages inland, but as in the case with the Albanian speakers in Attica and Boeotia the language is dying fast. It receives no kind of encouragement. Albanian speakers in Greece would of course be almost entirely Orthodox."
  231. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (2002). Badlands, Borderlands: A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. Duckworth. pp. 25–26, 53. "Some Orthodox speakers remained, but the language was not encouraged or even allowed, and by the end of the twentieth century it had virtually disappeared..... And so with spurious confidence Greek historians insist that the inscriptions prove that the Epirots of 360, given Greek names by their fathers and grandfathers at the turn of the century, prove the continuity of Greek speech in Southern Albania since their grandfathers whose names they might bear would have been living in the time of Thucydides. Try telling the same story to some present-day inhabitants of places like Margariti and Filiates in Southern Epirus. They have impeccable names, they speak only Greek, but their grandparents undoubtedly spoke Albanian."
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  239. ^ Tsitselikis, Konstantinos (2012). Old and New Islam in Greece: From historical minorities to immigrant newcomers. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 312–313. "In the aftermath of the events of 1944–1945, Cham real estate was considered as abandoned and gradually confiscated or put at the disposal of landless peasants and refugees. On the ground, the situation until the early 1950s was out of control. Legally, the real estate was supposed to pass to state ownership as set forth by Act 1539/1938 (article 54). But in practice, the abandoned and devastated plots, fields, and houses were occupied by inhabitants of the nearby villages or by the new settlers. The situation soon became chaotic and the local police were unable to establish order. Finally, LDs 2180/1952, 2185/1952 (FEK A 217), and LD 2781/1954 (FEK A 45) regulated the transfer of ownership, and LD 2536/1953 (FEK A 225) legalized the resettlement of the empty Cham villages by newcomers from other places in Greece. According to article 17 of the LD 3958/1959 (FEKA 133), the residents of the mountainous areas of Filiates and Paramythia as well as those of 'Greek descent' originating from Northern Epirus were allowed to settle in the 'abandoned Muslim plots of Thesprotia'. The policy of national homogenization remained incomplete, however, until the 1970s, when the Hellenization of the former Muslim property was completed. This guaranteed the population’s loyalty to the state and minimized Greece’s Muslim population. As mentioned earlier, numerous Muslims of Greece chose to obtain foreign citizenship in order to be exempt from the population exchange or for other reasons. Some Chams acquired Albanian citizenship, although they could remain in Greece as citizens of 'Albanian origin'. After 1945, those who held Albanian citizenship faced expropriation of their property as its legal status was that of 'enemy property', since Albania was a conquered territory of fascist Italy and a nemesis of Greece during World War II. Thus, Albanian real estate was sequestrated according to Act 2636/1940 (FEK A 379) and Act 13/1944 (FEK A 11), which, in theory, should not have affected ownership per se. Much of this real estate remains sequestrated to this day and is registered at the Office of Sequestration based in Athens. According to article 38 of the LD 1138/1949 (FEK A 257) amending Act 2636/1940, sequestration can be abolished by joint decision of the Ministers of Interior, Economy, Justice, and the Prime Minister. Income gained by the sequestrated real estate is kept in special accounts at the Bank of Greece. It is worth noting that inhabitants of Albania (Albanian citizens) of Greek origin were exempt from sequestration or expropriation (Ministerial Decision, Minister of the Finance, 144862/3574/17.6.1947, FEK B 93). This reading of the category 'of origin', reflects the ideological nature of policies aimed at ethnicizing land ownership. According to several court decisions, the Albanian property would remain under sequestration until the removal of the state of war between the two countries. However, even though the Greek government declared the state of war with Albania to be over in 1987, the sequestration of Albanian estates was continued, as the declaration was not legally ratified. Such measures do not comply with legal standards set by international instruments banning discrimination on grounds of ethnicity (ICCPR, ECHR etc.). Meanwhile, LD 2180/1952 on 'the compulsory expropriation of lands for the restitution of the landless farmers and cattle-breeders' authorized special committees to take possession of the properties and then bestow them on persons entitled to a share. In practice, such persons were squatters tolerated by the authorities during the Civil War or later. These persons received title deeds in the late 1950s until the 1970s."
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Post-war politics and current situation


Further reading