Greek graphic novel tells ‘visceral’ tale of forced population exchanges

A graphic novel by the Greek political cartoonist Soloup tells the story of Turks and Greeks displaced from their homes as the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War One, drawing striking parallels with the waves of migration through the region in our times, the Guardian said in its review of the book.

“Aivali: A Story of Greeks and Turks in 1922” deals with the periods massive waves of forced migration known as population exchanges, as Greek Orthodox inhabitants of Ottoman lands were made to leave their homes to resettle in Greece and Turkish Muslims went in the opposite direction.

The book’s title, “Aivali,” is the Greek name for Turkey’s Aegean coastal area known locally as Ayvalık, whose population was almost entirely Greek before the Turkish army defeated the Greeks controlling it in 1921.

The bulk of the story concerns the real-life tales of three of these migrants, two Greek and one Turk, as they make the journey. “Their words are visceral, ringing with the pain and stigma of forced displacement,” Thanos Kyratzis said in his review of the graphic novel.