Monday 13 October 2014

The End of Apoyevmatini - Istanbul's Greek-Language Newspaper

In September 2010, I photographed the offices of Apoyevmatini - Istanbul's only remaining daily newspaper in the Greek language.

Once enjoying widespread distribution, the newspaper was going through harsh times as its readership had shrunk in parallel with the slow disappearance of Istanbul's Greek population. In 2010, this tiny office in the Suriye Pasajı (Syria Business Arcade) in the city's Beyoglu district, was all that had remained of Apoyevmatini.

Inside this dilapidated office, the Apoyevmatini staff kept diligently preparing the 500-odd copies of each day's paper for its remaining readers. Until very recently, the newspaper was prepared by hand and Xerox machines. As recounted by the local Today's Zaman newspaper:

"Each page was prepared by hand; the infrastructure installed in the newspaper's office consisted of a 486 microprocessor-based PC, an inkjet printer and one photocopy machine. Text was written and printed, and then cut in a rectangle shape of physical width matching that of the newspaper's column. All the rectangles assembling the final columns would then be glued to a thin sheet A2 sized paper which would be photocopied and become the master copy for that page."

In October 2014, I received sad news that this office had shut down due to a lack of funds. For some time now, Beyoglu had been undergoing an ugly, Dubai-style gentrification with trashy bars, generic restaurants and shopping outlets steadily replacing the older buildings and the last vestiges of Istanbul's non-Muslim urban past. The rising rents in the area may have been the last nail in Apoyevmatini's coffin.

Fortunately, this does not mean the end of the newspaper. Apoyevmatini will now be prepared and distributed from the home of Mihail Vasiliadis, its owner and sole staff member. If the financial situation still doesn't improve, however, the newspaper may shut down for good.