The office of possibly the world’s only daily newspaper to be produced by a father-and-son team can be found in the bustling Constantinople neighbourhood of Ferikoy.
But calling Apoyevmatini’s premises an “office” is a little misleading. The Greek-language paper – one of the oldest in Turkey – is written, laid out and sent to the printers from the book-lined back room of 81-year-old Mihail Vasiliadis’s apartment.
Vasiliadis the elder is a shrewd journalist of the old school and it is easy to be impressed by his determination to keep his paper alive, despite its print run now being limited to just 600 Constantinople-Greek families, a remnant of a once-thriving minority.
His grit has proved useful in a turbulent, six-decade career in Turkey and Greece – wary neighbours who have gone through conflict, social turmoil and military coups. It also fuels him as he and his son Minas, 36, work anywhere between 15 to 18 hours a day to make sure Apoyevmatini’s loyal readers get their copy.
“I think you cannot find another example where two guys are publishing a daily newspaper,” Mihail laughs. “I should apply to the Guinness Book of World Records”.
Apoyevmatini is one of the oldest of Istanbul’s minority-language papers – Agos (whose chief editor Hrant Dink was murdered in 2007) is published in Armenian and Turkish, and Salom serves the country’s Jewish community. The Vasiliadis’ paper – founded by Konstantinos and Antonis Vasiliadis, two of Mihail’s uncles, in July 1925, less than two years after Turkey became a republic – is an intriguing mix of the local and the international, as Mihail explains.
“When we look today, we see that all the world is watching this area … Turkish-Greek relations; Cyprus; the new developments in the eastern Mediterranean are major issues that I cover.”
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