Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code is a clear example of ethnic cleansing. According to the famous Article 19 “A person of non-Greek ethnic origin leaving Greece without the intention of returning may be declared as having lost Greek nationality”.
The Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code (No: 3370 of 1955), in force for about 45 years, caused directly the loss of the Greek citizenship of approximately 60 thousand Muslim Turks without any notification.
Although it was stated that the reason of losing the citizenship will be with the intention of not returning back, the Greek citizens of the Turkish minority were stripped unfairly, for only because they went on holiday or went to Turkey with related reasons, while studying or working abroad (in an EU or non-EU country) and even while doing their compulsory military service in the Greek army.
The Greek Minister of Interior in April 2005 announced that 46.638 Muslim Turks were deprived of the Greek citizenship until 1998. Even though, on 23 January 1998, this article was repealed by the Greek Parliament, Turks who have lost their citizenship are still in a ‘stateless’ status.
When it is considered that the unofficial number of deprived citizens is about 60.000 –almost half of the total population of the minority- it is exposed how the incident is tragic.