|Kosmeteio Foundation - "House of Constantinopolitans"|
40 years of support to expatriated resourceless Constantinopolitans
The tradition of organizing care towards the weak and destitute is an age long tradition of the Greeks of East. It is well known the tradition of establishing institutions such as orphanages, hospitals, nurseries have their origin to Byzantium. This tradition continued in the ages under Ottoman rule as one observes today in Constantinople. The same tradition expressed itself in Greece after the uprooting of the Greek community of Istanbul from their homeland. One of the Foundations established in Athens is the Kosmeteio Foundation which was established in 1970 by the Constantinopolitans couple Kimon and Maria Kosmetos. The Foundation is running a “House of Constantinopolitans” residing at the district Heralion of Attica and consists a building of 33 flats build in 1970. Before describing the operation of the Foundation we will give information for the history of the Kosmetos family.
Kimon Kosmetos born in Constantinople and has been a member of the Greek Community and has been a very successful entrepreneur. His activities were in the fields of flour mills, jewelry and other commerce activities. Kimon Kosmetos fortune was victim several times of the anti-minority state policies in 1924, 1942 and 1964. In 1924 all his property against the Lausanne treaty being out of Istanbul was declared as abandoned while in 1942-43 because of the notorious Capital Tax most part of his real estate was confiscated. He had to pay the enormous tax amount of 300.000 Turkish Liras placing him among the top in the list of taxpayers which was implemented only to Greek, Armenian and Jew all of the being citizens of Turkish Republic while the Muslims paid only an insignificant amount of tax. Finally Kosmetos family was deported in 1964 together with the 12.500 Greeks of Istanbul and through a secret Decree all of his real estate property was confiscated by the Turkish State.
In the following table the real estate property of the Kosmetos family confiscated in 1943 are shown by the implementation of the Capital Tax devised by Ismet Inonu (President of Turkey 1938-50) and Sukru Haracoglu (Prime Minister of time). The third economic blow came to Kosmetos, together with many Greeks of Constantinopole, in 1964 when Turkish Government carried out massive deportations. All the real estate of Kosmetos family was blocked and this happened again when Ismet Inonu was the Prime Minister of Turkey. All these acts were gross violations of Lausanne Treaty, the international treaties signed by Turkey and of course the Constitution of Τurkey as well. Under these circumstances Maria Kosmeto after the death of Kimon donated all his property in Istanbul to Swiss Federation
After their deportation Kimon and Maria Kosmetos were living in Zurich while were oftenly were visiting Athens-Greece. At the end of 1960’s the Greek state provided a land field on which Kosmetos family with their expenses raised the above mentioned building of 33 flats. While having donated all their rest property in Athens to the Greek state with which they reached into an agreement by which the State to provide the expenses of heating petrol and some maintenance costs of the Foundation building. Through a Decree the Kosmetos Foundation was established foreseeing the provision of house to economically weak and unable expatriated Greeks at the “House of Constantinopolitans” which started to function in early 1970’s. After the death of Kimon, Maria Kosmetos took care of the Foundation while when in 1985 she passed away the Association of New Cycle of Constantinopolitans undertook the care of the Foundation.
The Confiscated Real Estate Property of Kimos Kosmetos in 19431
Activities of the Kosmeteio Foundation
The prime activity of Kosmeteio Foundation is the provision of home to needy expatriated Greeks of Constantinople. The entrance to a flat is done after the decision of the administrative board of the Foundation. During the last 5 years there has been much effort to maintain the building of the “House of Constantinopolitans” since the almost 40 years passed creates the need of changing the infrastructure such of plumbs, water supply etc. The provision of heating petrol by the Greek state is an important help. All the guests stay free of any charge in the House of Constantinopolitans while they have to pay themselves the costs of electricity and water supply.
External view of the house of Constantinopolitans
During the last years efforts has been done by the Foundation administration to organize a preemptive medical care for the 50 guests of the House of Constantinopolitans. The recent crisis in Greece has also affected the guests of the Foundations and efforts are being done by the administration to guarantee food provision which most of them are families. Otherwise no state subsidy or support is received.
Taking into account the above we kindly ask you to consider the possibility of financial support to “House of Constantinopolitans”.
1. Ali Sait Cetinoglu, Varlik Vergisi 1942-1944,-Ekonomik ve Kulturel Jeonid.