Karamanlides are a Turkish-speaking ethnic group that are of Orthodox Christian faith.
They numbered seveal hundred thousand and lived in the Karaman region of Turkey (in the Central Anatolia) and their origin is debatable: Most evidence would point to them being Orthodox Greeks that adopted Turkish language however it has been raised that they are possibly Turks that converted to Christianity. The fact that they wrote the Turkish language with the Greek alphabet is an indicator that they were ethnic Greeks. A strong argument that they were ethnic Greeks would say that although they spoke Turkish and took their name from Karaman which is Turkish, it is quite unlikely that any Turk or Muslim would ever convert to christianity as under the Ottoman Sharia law such an action had the penalty of death. The sheer number of Karamanlides and the fact that their origins are in Anatolia, the heart of the Ottoman Empire would suggest that they were a large group of Christians given the choice of keeping their language or their faith as was common during the Ottoman Empire.
In the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey (1923), Turkey and Greece decided to exchange population based on religion, rather than on language, so all Muslims of Greece were deported to Turkey, while all Orthodox Christians of Turkey were deported to Greece.
Following this treaty, Greek-speaking Muslims (such as the Epirus and Cretan Muslims) were sent to Turkey and all Turkish-speaking Christians (including the Karamanlides) were sent to Greece.
The Karamanlides had no easy time in their new country, as they did not speak Greek, and during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, usage of Turkish in public was forbidden.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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