According to the 2000 Census, the island of Imbros had a total population of 8,875. The same census also reported 7,254 people in Gökçeada town, and 1,621 in the remaining villages. The main industries of Imbros are fishing and tourism. The population is predominantly Turkish but there are still about 300 Greeks on Imbros; large numbers of Greeks have emigrated.
The island is noted for the vineyards and wine produced.
Before and shortly after the First World War the population of Imbros was ethnically Greek, with Greeks making up approximately 97.5 percent of the islands population in 1927.
Because of their strategic position near the Dardanelles, the western powers, particularly Britain, insisted at the end of the Balkan Wars in 1913 that the island should be retained by the Ottoman Empire when the other Aegean islands were ceded to Greece.
In 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres with the defeated Ottoman Empire granted the island to Greece. The Ottoman government, which signed but did not ratify the treaty, was overthrown by the new Turkish nationalist Government of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, based in Ankara. After the Greco-Turkish War ended in Greek defeat in Anatolia, and the fall of Lloyd George and his Middle Eastern policies, the western powers agreed to the Treaty of Lausanne with the new Turkish Republic, in 1923. This treaty made the island part of Turkey; but it guaranteed a special autonomous administrative status on Imbros and Tenedos to accommodate the Greeks, and excluded them from the population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey, due to their presence there as a majority.
However shortly after the legislation of "Civil Law" on 17 February 1926 (Medeni Kanun), the rights accorded to minorities in Turkey were revoked, in violation of the Lausanne Treaty.
The island was primarily inhabited by ethnic Greeks from ancient times through to approximately the middle of the twentieth century. Data dating from 1922 taken under Greek rule and 1927 data taken under Turkish rule showed a strong majority of Greek inhabitants on Imbros, and the Greek Orthodox Church had a strong presence on the island.
Article 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) exempted Imbros and Tenedos from the large-scale population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey, and required Turkey to accommodate the local Greek majority and their rights:
The islands of Imbros and Tenedos, remaining under Turkish sovereignty, shall enjoy a special administrative organisation composed of local elements and furnishing every guarantee for the native non-Moslem population insofar as concerns local administration and the protection of persons and property. The maintenance of order will be assured therein by a police force recruited from amongst the local population by the local administration above provided for and placed under its orders.
Thus, under the Turkish Republic, the islands were to be largely autonomous and self-governing, with their own police force. This provision was not guaranteed by anything more than the faith of the Treaty.
In addition, the following grievances apply particularly to Imbros:
All of these events have led to the Greeks emigrating from both islands. Before 1964, the population of Imbros was 7000 Greeks, and 200 mainland Turkish officials; by 1970 the Greeks were a minority at 40% of the population, and there remains only a very small Greek community on Imbros today, comprising several hundred mostly elderly people. Most of the former Greeks of Imbros and Tenedos are in diaspora in Greece, the United States, and Australia.
Çınarlı : Çınarlı is the main town on Imbros, known as Panaghia Balomeni (Παναγία Μπαλωμένη) in Greek. Most of the settlements on Imbros were given Turkish names in 1926. Çınarlı is in the middle of the island; there is a small airport under construction nearby. Bademli köyü : Older Greek name is Gliky (Γλυκύ). It is located to the northeast of the island, between Çınarlı town and Kaleköy/Kastro. Dereköy : Older Greek name is Shinudy (Σχοινούδι). It is located at the center of the west side of island. Due to the emigration of the Greek population, (largely to New Zealand and the USA; some to Greece and Istanbul before the 1970s), Dereköy is empty today. However, many people return on every 15 August for the festival of the Virgin Mary. Eşelek / Karaca köyü : It is located at the southeast of the island. It is an agricultural area that produces fruit and vegetables. Kaleköy : Older name is Kastro (Κάστρο) (Latin and Greek for castle). Located on the north-eastern coast of island, there is an antique castle near the village. Kaleköy also has a small port which was constructed by the French Navy during the occupation in the First World War, and is now used for fishing-boats and yachts. Şahinkaya köyü : It is located near Dereköy. Şirinköy : It is located in the southwest of island. Tepeköy : Older Greek name is Agridia (Αγριδιά). It is located in the north of the island, and is home to the largest Greek population on the island. Barba Yorgo is a well-known inhabitant of the island. An extinct volcano is located south of village which is the highest point of island. Uğurlu köyü : It is located in the west of the island. Yeni Bademli köyü : It is located at the center-northeast of island, near Bademli. It has many motels and pensions. Yenimahalle : Older Greek name is Evlampio (Ευλάμπιο). It is located near Çınarlı Town on the road to Kuzulimanı port. Zeytinli köyü : Older Greek name is Aghios Theodoros (Άγιος Θεόδωρος). Demetrios Archontonis, known as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, was born there on 29 February 1940. It has a famous café where Madam Dibek (elderly Greek lady) used to serve her special Turkish/Greek style coffee which is prepared in a hand mortar. After she died, her husband is now continuing her legacy. Others : Yeni Bademli köyü, Eşelek / Karaca köyü, Şahinkaya köyü, Şirinköy and Uğurlu köyü' were established after 1970.
|Town & Villages||1927||1970||1975||1980||1985||1990||1997||2000|
|Çınarlı (Panaghia Balomeni)||-||-||3578||615||3806||342||4251||216||767||70||721||40||553||26||503||29|
|Zeytinli (Aghios Theodoros)||-||-||30||507||15||369||36||235||72||162||25||130||12||82||12||76|