The badge of the Order of Excellence was presented by the President of the Turkish Republic Abdullah Gül to Evangelia Balta on June 11, for her contribution to the literature and culture of Greeks in Asia Minor. Balta, a historian working at the National Research Foundation, is a leading scholar in Karamanlidika, a dialect of Orthodox Christians in Asia Minor which is based on the Turkish language and written with the Greek alphabet.

At the decoration ceremony, which was held at the presidential mansion in Ankara, President Gül said that the Turkish Republic does not only honour those dealing with recent Turkish culture, but also those who study the country’s past cultural history.

The event was attended by Lakis Vingas, representative of the Greek community in Istanbul, who expressed his warmest congratulations to Evangelia Balta for this great distinction and her very important work, concerning the history of the Christian Orthodox population of Asia Minor and Istanbul.

Evangelia Balta organized a major scientific conference about Karamanlidika and the different forms of language writing (Armenian, Ladino Judeo-Spanish, Greek) of the Ottoman Empire, this year at the Sismanoglio Cultural Center of the Greek Consulate General in Istanbul.