What happened to the remaining Lycians in Lycia?

The Lycians that remained in Lycia following its decline may have intermarried with the Aegean Greeks who were resettled in Lycia in the early 19th century; both groups were Orthodox Christian and spoke the same language.  However, following the Turkish War of Independence in which Greece (The Ottoman Empire had lost Greece as part of its territory by this time) invaded Turkey in hope of a Greater Greece but was repelled, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was drawn up in the peace settlement.  This is a very sad part of history as both Greece and Turkey agreed to a mutual exchange of populations, irrespective of those populations’ wishes.  Greece expelled approximately 600,000 Turks, while the Turks expelled about 750,000 Anatolian Greeks (some were allowed to stay in Istanbul).  These figures differ, depending on the source. In deciding ethnicity, the criterion used was religion.  A Turkish-speaking Orthodox Christian in Turkey was thus considered Greek, and expelled to Greece, while a Greek-speaking Muslim who knew no Turkish was considered Turkish and expelled to Turkey.  Those expelled, even if they spoke the language of their new country, seldom felt entirely at home in their new "national homeland" and rather felt strong nostalgia for the "enemy" land that they had left behind, where life had been for most, good.  Now they had to build new lives from scratch.  With the departure of the Greeks, Turkey lost the skills of an entire commercial and industrial middle class.

In some places in the ancient Lycia region, you may come across abandoned houses that once belonged to the expelled Anatolian Greeks.  The largest abandoned area is the formerly prospering town of Levissii, now known as Kayaköy (stone village), a Greek town near Fethiye.  It is a haunting hillside settlement of some 2,000 buildings - houses, shops and churches, with roofs, tiles and timber gone, having been scavenged by nearby Turkish villagers.  Its 6,000 inhabitants were forced to re-settle in Greece.  Kayaköy's story is told in Louis de Bernières’s epic novel Birds Without Wings

The Anatolian Greeks from Kalkan (once a Greek fishing and trading village) were resettled near Athens.  They were resettled as a community (like most Greek immigrants from Turkey) and named their new town "Kalamaki", after Kalkan's previous name.  The Greek buildings of Kalkan and Kaş have fared much better than those of other places, due to their location on the sea, and are protected and beautifully preserved.  Kalkan's Greek buildings now form the "Old Town", the centre of Kalkan where houses, shops, pensions and restaurants are located - it is a charming area with bougainvillea-draped streets that wind down to the harbour.  The rooftop dining on these restaurants provide excellent views across the harbour to the islands.

Kayaköy village
Kayaköy village near Fethiye, see better photos here.

Abandoned Anatolian Greek houses near the
village of Yavu, once a small settlement.


Kalkan Greek House
Kalkan Greek houses

Kalkan Greek Houses

Kalkan Greek House

This building which now overlooks Kalkan's beach was built in 1854 and was used at different times as an inn, customs house, for cotton storage and as an oil production facility.  Lovingly restored by its owner according to the original plans in 1997 and 1998, under the supervision of Turkish Ministry of Culture.

Kalkan circa 1950
Kalkan circa 1950, before tourism