Turkey // The North Aegean //

The Turkish Aegean islands

Strategically straddling the Dardanelles, Gökçeada and Bozcaada were the only Aegean islands to revert to Turkey after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne concluded the Greek-Turkish war. While the islands’ Greek Orthodox inhabitants were exempt from that year’s population exchange, both islands were re-militarized after 1937, and the Turkish authorities began to assert their sovereignty more forcefully. Although a formal population exchange was never instigated, most of the islands’ Greek population had left by 1974, to be replaced by Turkish settlers.

Both islands have good beaches: the smaller Bozcaada is fashionable with weekenders from İstanbul, thus expensive, while larger Gökçeada is cheaper and more dramatic, with less tourism.