Turks living in the Aegean islands of Rhodes and Kos under Greek sovereignty have a multitude of problems at present. These can be summarized under various headings such as Citizenship, the Right to Education in Turkish, Free Practice of Religion, Environment of Hatred and Oppression, Foundations (Waqfs) and Protection of Cultural Heritage Inherited from the Ottoman Turks.
Greece has been implementing various policies for the cultural assimilation of Island Turks. Part of cultural assimilation policies adopted by Greece was its actions towards cutting off all ties between the Turkish foundations and island Turks, and consequently destroying architectural monuments inherited from the Ottomans.
It is known that establishment of the foundations on the islands started with the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes and Kos in 1522.
Over the centuries, foundations led to the development of a feeling of unity and solidarity among the island Turks. Foundations have provided opportunities for island Turks in important areas from worship services to education and has also contributed to the preservation of common traditions.
After the end of the Second World War, the island was assigned to the sovereignty of Greece in 1947, Greece started launching a policy for the gradual destruction of Muslim Turkish foundations.
Unlike other foundations in Greece, foundations in Rhodes and Kos are subject to heavy taxes in addition to the same property taxes as commercial institutions. On the other hand, the Greek governments compelled the foundations to sell part of their properties by continuously forcing the Foundation Administration to make huge payments. By dwindling the Turkish foundations, Greece has been trying to bring the Turkish presence in Rhodes and Kos to an end.
In summary, the Turks living in Rhodes and Kos today are on the brink of losing their Turkishness let alone preserving their cultural identity, including foundations. An atmosphere of fear prevails among the island Turks and they feel intimidated.
We wish that the book Turkish Foundations in Rhodes and Kos will be beneficial to researchers who will conduct studies on this subject and also raise awareness in the international arena on the assimilation policies implemented by Greece.