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Dodecanese (Dhodhekánisos) Group of c.20 islands forming a department of Greece, in the se Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Crete. The capital and largest island is Rhodes. The islands were under Ottoman control (1500–1912), before passing to Greece (1947). The main occupation is agriculture, such as fruit growing, livestock raising, and diving for sponges. Area: 2174sq km (839sq mi). Pop. (2002 est.) 188,900.