Δευτέρα, 23 Αυγούστου 2010

THE CRYPTO-CHRISTIANS OF PONTUS


THE CRYPTO-CHRISTIANS OF PONTUS
By Theofanis Malkidis


Crypto-Christians (or Klosti) have been present in Pontus (Black Sea region of Turkey) since 1650 and resulted from the fanaticism of certain ‘Derembeys'. During this period, the Ottoman Empire parted into ‘Derembrelics', in other words, feuds or themas.[1] The leaders in those areas, in many cases, showed exceedingly high fanaticism, and oppressed the Christian population, thus forcing them to convert to Islam. The early attempts towards the islamization of the Pontus Greek population first appeared in the Ofis region,[2] followed by Surmena , Argyroupolis, Ionia and other regions.

1. Introduction.
In public, these Christians exhibited the typical appearance of a Muslim and took part in the usual Islamic rituals just as a genuine Muslim would. At the same time they could be found in places where undercover priests held liturgies and were present at all private gatherings associated with the Christian Orthodox faith.
The Crypto-Christians avoided arranged marriages to Muslims in many ways, thus allowing marriage between Christians to continue. This lasted until February of 1856, when pressure by the European powers on the Sultan, led the way to the signing of the "Hati-Humayum" which resulted in all Ottoman citizen being allowed the right to revert back to his or her original creed, in this case Christianity. This policy existed between 1856 and 1910, however the policy changed in 1910 with the arrival of the Neo-Turks and their implementation of a Panislamic policy. Until then, it was not unusual to see entire villages in Pontus revert to Christianity

2.The changes in the Muslim state and Crypto-Christians.
2.1. The Tanzimat
The period of great change in the Ottoman State "the Tanzimat [3] period" was initiated by the Sultan Abdul Medjit (1839-1861) and his Act, "The Hati Sherif" in the year 1839 [4] which was ratified and later expanded to the Hati Humayim in 1856.[5] This period is partly overlapped with the administration of Abdul Hamit B' (1876-1909). The consequence of these reforms affected the economy, with an increase in trade with Europe, a more intense penetration of Western business firms, and a re-organization of local agricultural produce with a hope for the Empire's survival,[6] as well as political, economic and social effects particularly with regard to the non-Muslim population. Thus the most serious repercussions of the reforms was the future of social development. Greek-Turkish relations were therefore directly connected with the existence of Crypto-Christians within the Ottoman Empire.
2.2. Hati Sheriff.
The creation of the Hati Sheriff, which Minister of Foreign Affairs and six times Grand Vizier Moustaffa Ressit Pasha greatly contributed to, was co-ordinated in such a way that would satisfy both the conservative Muslims as well as the liberals. The table of privileges that was issued on 21 October / 3 November 1839 contained the following points of privileges;
- Warranty of life assurance, honesty and property on all subjects.- Order on the fixing and revenue payments.- Arrangement [7] of enlistment and military duties in general.
These privileges were to be enforced on the followers of any creed and in the same way, irrespective of formal religious beliefs, [8] but at the same time it made no explicit mention of equality amongst Muslims and non Muslims.[9] The difference in taxation with the "haratsi" the capita impost and other rates and duties at times imposed, still went on for the former, with the exception of the "capita impost" when in May 1855 a case was brought forward for a compulsory military enrolment of all non-Muslim citizens of the empire. From one point of view they were considered a threat to the Muslims who believed that it was only them who had the right to carry arms or be armed, while at the same time the Christians were hoping that there would be a change in their up to then status of being able to exercise an exemption in military duty. Therefore this section of the reforms was not applied and the pre-existing conditions continued, with Christians having to pay a special tax for exemption. [10] This new act however was not widely accepted because the Muslim population reacted against the better welfare of the Christians, not only in a political sense but materialistically as well as economically as was evident by their communities in the capital city Constantinople and also in the big cities of the country like Andrianopolis, Smyrna, Caesarea or Ikonio.
Assassinations took place in 1840-1842 against Christians. Prominent citizens in certain areas quite often refused to abide by the reforms and as a result were forcibly islamized. In Caesarea three entire villages were forced to change their creed during that period and part of the above population chose crypto-Christianity thus preserving both creed and ancestry. Preservation of morals, traditions and cultural inheritance were some of the defence measures used during these peculiar and very painful times.[11] In the year 1843 an Armenian of Constantinople, who had been forced into Islam, was given the ‘death penalty' upon reverting back to Christianity.[12] The Ottoman authorities felt the pressure exerted on them by the European powers in relation to these reversions, but it did its best to evade this inviolable Muslim law of imposing the death penalty for those who apostated from Islam. [13]
2.3. Hati Humayun.
The Hati Humayun of 6/18 February 1856 was issued after pressure exerted by the European powers whose aim was the establishment of equal rights to the Christians of the Ottoman Empire.[14] In this way they were also depriving the Russians of mixing with the affairs of the Ottoman state. By enforcing the Hati Humayun, all Christians obtained equal rights with Muslims in terms of religion but also legality. To this the Sultan emphatically said: "My heart makes no exception between the slave of my empire. Rights and privileges will equally be shared with no distinction to all with no exception".[15] In towns and villages Greek- Christian schools were opened. Freedom to worship one's own religion was granted both inside and outside of the church which was one of the most important changes. [16] The Ottoman state ratified the National and General Regulations of the Patriarchy, which would become the Constitution chart of the Orthodox Church till 1923. Of great value was the opinion of German clergyman H. Gentzer on the Greek communities of Minor Asia for the period after 1836. "In Asia Minor the Greeks are making an unexpected progress. They grow in number quickly because there are a lot of children in every family. They move from place to place all the time. At first a grocer will migrate. Then some families will move there too. A teacher follows, a church is erected, a priest is elected and soon a new Greek community is set up". [17] The example of Amissos (Samsounta) is most characteristic. Until 1860 Amissos was only a small village of 4,000 inhabitants. But within 50 years it became the biggest and busiest port with a population of 40,000 people of which 2/3 of them were Greek. [18]
From 1856 until the official recognition of Cappadocia and Pontus Crypto-Christians by the authorities in 1911, there were several sources detailing the Crypto-Christians with the most characteristic being that of P.S. Sideropoulos (or Pehlil), who unveiled himself to his boss the Italian Consul Fabri.[19] On May 14th, 1856 Sideropoulos was finally recognized as a Christian [20] by the Ottoman authorities. This was great news for all those who were still hiding their true faith, and on July 15th, 1857, 1590 Crypto-Christians congregated at the church of Theoskepastos in Trapezous, after a memorandum to the Sublime Port, the ambassadors of the European powers and the Ecumenical Patriarchy. [21]
A report of the British sub-consul A. Stevens in 1857 addressed to the British ambassador Stanford regarding the Kromni district in Pontus, stated that in 55 villages, 9,535 Muslims resided there, 17,260 Crypto-Christians and 28,960 Christian Greeks. Gervassios the Bishop of Sevastia made reference to the Crypto-Christians of Asia Minor by saying that, after European interventions there in the year 1858, 25,000 of them confessed publicly their Christian creed. [22] The return to Christianity by these Ottoman subjects frightened the authorities who followed the developments with great unease.
To hinder these changes, the names of Christians on official lists were altered with the addition of the words "Tenessour Roum" beside their names. This basically meant that he or she was an apostate or a denier of his or her creed. Christians who were labelled in this way had to undergo the corresponding added sufferings. Their children were not allowed to inherit their parents' properties.[23] The proceedings were implemented with the aim of halting the trend of Christians returning to their former creed but also to safeguard domestic income. [24]
The period after 1869 is characterized by an increase of persecutions towards the Crypto-Christians. Some tried to gain Russian citizenship as a means of escaping this. In the year 1876 there were acts of violence in the Pontus region which persisted for many more years.

The reforms that took place in the Ottoman state came to a peak in 1876 together with the preparation of the New Constitution by the Great Visier Midhat Pasha, the head of the Neo-Turk movement. During this period, the Ottoman state took the shape of a Constitutional monarchy, but soon Abdul Hamit B' abolished the Parliament. It was only shortly before the Young Turk movement in 1908 that he was forced to proclaim the second constitution for a new parliament assembly on July 23rd 1908.

3. The 1876 Ottoman Constitution and the Crypto-Christians.
The constitution resulted in the equality of rights among all citizens to be declared for all religions and it was then that Crypto Christians of Cappadocia openly declared their creed. The Greek Stavriotes, who took their origin from the Stavroti village, led a double life for a great length of time, being Christian in private and Muslim in public.[25] During the Easter of 1877, 300 Stavriote families were bold enough to publicly declare their Christian creed celebrating "Ressurection", in church thus taking advantage of the constitution. The 1876 constitution charter was no longer in use and formally, nothing changed in their district. People were able to send their children to Greek Orthodox schools, attend church and go to matrimonial ceremonies.[26] Up until 1898 the Ottoman authorities took a soft approach towards these events, but after the 1897 Greco-Turkish War, wild persecutions broke out against Asia Minor christians, especially in the neighbouring Trapezus area. The Abdul Hamit "Kulturkampf" cultural battle, waving the Pan-Islamic flag, did not prove to be free of bloodshed. The Sultan put forth a plan towards an enforcement of Ottoman culture fomenting religious devotion to Islam. Studying in Greek schools was banned, children born by non recognized Christian parents were considered "bastards` and illegitimate, and on a grand scale military enlistment was carried out. [27]
4. Neo-Turks and the Crypto-Christian Question.
The Neo-Turk movement first appeared in the Ottoman political field with the issue of the magazines ‘The interpreter of Times' (Tercuman-I ahwal), and ‘Picture of Thoughts' (Tasvir-I- Efkar) with the basic aim of radically changing the operating structure of the Ottoman State. [28] In the first phase of development of the Young-Turk movement there were groups with differing objectives to that of the leading group, and the atmosphere in general was expressed by slogans and the general policy of a Pan-Islamic Ottomanism, Turkish nationalism and modernization. Very few of these groups thought that Christians and Muslims should have equal rights within a modern Muslim state. Some followers of a Pan-Islamic ideal advocated for the islamization by force of the Christian population and particularly the children, a movement which was met with the approval of those living in the remotest parts of the empire, and away from the urban districts where Christians were a minority.
The islamization problem developed into a serious one for the Patriarchy and the church in general, forcing its religious leadership to send out ecclesiastical reports (takriria) to the Ottoman State with the aim of discussing the particular problems.[29]
The Neo-Turks appeared in the decade of 1870 with the so-called Modern Ottoman party, a party of liberals who owned big farm properties, and the small bourgeois class, which had just started to come into being. With the bankruptcy of the Ottoman State in 1875, the party, mobilizing the people, made the Sultan Abdul Hamit B' appoint the Great Visier Midhat Pasha, who despite wearing the mask of political liberalism and of rights, amalgamated the non Muslim citizens with Islamic and Turkish ideology. The Neo-Turks took shape with the establishment of their own club, "Unity and Progress" at the Military Medical Academy of Constantinople in 1889. But the climate of freedom of movement did not last long, and its leading hierarchy were persecuted and gathered close together around the ‘Committee' of Union and Progress in Paris (1897). The Union played an important role in its base. [30] As a result of the 1905 census, and around 1907 and the 1908 revolt, things again led to tension concerning the Crypto Christians and Stavriotes who were demanding to be registered as Christians, a request which was answered with acts of violence. [31]
The 1908 Neo-Turk revolution resulted in the Sultan restoring the parliament which he suspended 1878. It was something that was welcomed by Christian Greeks and other minorities and religions of the state. But they soon realized the chauvinistic character of the movement, as it was realised that they were now planning the extermination of the non Muslim inhabitants. It was a period characterized by a seeming retreat of the Ottoman administration on the relevant demands of Crypto Christian recognition. Through memoranda, Stavriotes attempted to bring their demands into action once again, but it took them at least 2 or 3 years before a tentative solution was given with the acceptance of the Neo-Turk side of the Crypto Christian problem. The Stavriotes insisted on being censured as Crypto-Christians. Although the Neo Turks spoke for reforms, they were practically chauvinists. Turkish was established as the official language. Up to secondary school, the language used was now solely Turkish. The right to become a Member of Parliament was only allowed to those who had good knowledge of the official language and their ‘Osmanism' was proclaimed as their national ideal. It was a way of practically denying the existence of other nationalities, and thus trying to assimilate them by force. The Young Turks' main aim was to build their rebellion around legal and constitutional frameworks in order to keep order all over the country, in this way crushing the fight of the working class and the national liberation movement of the non-Turk populations.[32]
The French historians E. Dicault and M. Lheritier wrote that, "the modern Turkey of 1907 was more nationalistic rather than liberal. Ahmet Keza in the Young-Turk gazette adopted the right of self-control, but this right was claimed mostly by the Turks ...".[33] The constitutional Ottoman Empire, for all its declarations, which affected people of various nationalities, simply continued the Sultan's policy. The reforms were neither materialized nor respect shown to its minorities.
At the Young Turk conference in Thessaloniki in 1911 decisions were adopted which turned against every non Muslim minority who lived within the boundaries of the Ottoman State. "Turkey should eventually become a Muslim country. The Mohammedan's concept and power should keep control throughout the country. Any other religious propaganda should be banned. The existence of the Empire depends on the forces and power of the Neo-Turk party and the crushing of any other ideology antagonizing it. The Muslimization of peoples should be completed as soon as possible. Of course, it is clear that it cannot be accomplished by convincing them and that the only way is to use armed force. The feature of the empire should remain Mohammedan and upon this we should see that Muslim laws and decrees will be respected by all. The right of all other nationalities to have their own organizations should be obliterated. Any form of decentralization or self administration will be considered treason for the Ottoman Empire. Nationalities are elements of no value. They may be allowed to keep their creed but not their language. Expanding the Turkish language is one of the most basic principles for securing the Mohammedan superiority and the assimilation of non Mohammedan populations".[34]
The German ambassador in Athens A.Wangenheim wrote to the German Chancellor of State F. Bulow explaining to him what the Turk premier and Minister of Defence, field Marshal Sefrer Pasha, said about the new state of being "The Turks have taken up an extermination battle against the Christians of the empire. Turkey is going to be the starting point where the majority of them exists, and then outside Turkey, where there are centres of resistance".[35]
Since the very beginning, the Neo-Turks tried to crush the Crypto-Christian turn over, and at the same time inflict a strong blow to the religious beliefs of the Greeks. Nazim Bey, one of the leading members of the movement said to the Greek poet Argyropoulos, "the Greek feeling must for the sake of the salvation of Turkey be diminished not only at school but also anywhere it comes up". [36] The Turk ambassador Ahmed Reza used to say about the Greeks of Asia Minor during the same period, "Modern Turkey wants to put an end with the confusion of these two nations, that is, the Greeks and Turks, because by the word Greek it means all Christians. He wants the Greeks to understand that the Greeks of Turkey are Turks not Greeks. The Ecumenical Patriarch should stop being the centre of Hellenism. The Ottomans who are the only masters of their home will surely impose their will on all the benevolent ones, and with the tolerant ones, but with a greater stability than ever before".[37] This programme was brought into action with the outbreak of World War I, on all respects that dealt with the Christian nationalities of the Ottoman state, leading to an enormous rush of people islamicizing, long before the compulsory population exchange took place. [38] [39]
5. The present status of Crypto-Christians of the Pontos dialect speakers.
Up until the mass expulsion of the Greek population of Pontos,[40] Ionia, Thrace and Cappadocia, the muslimized Greek speakers of Pontos kept in touch with the Greek Christians. In 1914, according to official statistics of the Ecumenical Patriarch which were entered in the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs records, an estimate of the Greek speaking Muslims came to 190.000.[41] The prior of St. John's convent, Panaretos in his report to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes the following about the Greek speaking people. "They are Greeks who were forcibly islamized during the dark centuries of slavery, and even today adopt Mohamedanism, but their mother tongue is Greek. They are aware of their Greek origin, and that they were islamized by force, and they keep this as a shrine and are not alientated by it. Turkish is taught at school, and as for their women, they speak Greek even more fluently. And this is despite the fact that they live enclosed by a Turkish environment".[42]
The expulsion of the Greek population (as well as Muslims) after 1923, and the upcoming mass crime of Genocide, [43] left behind those people with no contact to Hellenism or the church. The only exception were those who had settled in Constantinople, who created strong Greek speaking communities which kept their traditions and the Pontic dialect.
Nowadays, there are almost no Crypto-Christians living in Turkey. But there are families which were of mild religious beliefs who stayed back in Pontos for various other reasons. Today these ‘unknown' number of Greek speaking Muslims (Crypto-Christians), are pioneered by college youths in an attempt to find answers about their ancestors' culture, history and their identity. However they face a difficult battle of self determination in the search for their identity in the present situation. Regarding the numerical data of Greek speaking Crypto Christians, only assumptions can be made. In Surmena, the capital of the district consists of 19 villages, 5 of which today are populated purely by Greek speakers. The Surmena Pontians, who have a special tendency to education, business and fishing have numerous settlements in Constantinople. In the Galiena district (ancient Guliena) which consists of 18 villages and settlements, half the population of the district are islamized locals while the other half have re-established themselves from the villages Kullish and Archangelos of the Surmena district in the 3rd decade of the twentieth century. The Turkish language has only recently started to replace the Pontic dialect, which is not spoken by people, at least below the age of 20. The Tsa΄kara region (Kato-Chorion) is purely Greek-speaking and the last to become islamized (end of 19th century) with a sufficiently highly developed religious feeling of Crypto-Christianity. Rcently its youth have been affected by leftist ideas and a claim of self determination, self recognition and a search for their own identity. The people there are mostly stock breeders while many have migrated to Constantinople where they have constituted a powerful federation, working as scientists, businessmen and statesmen, eg. from the "Sineck" village of Katochorion the former president of Turkey Seudet Sunay drew his origin.
The Of district (ancient Ofis region) consists of 49 villages which were completely Greek, but nowadays only one the Evenkioy remains as a Greek-speaking village. There the Muslim celebration of Ramadan takes place, and Triod which comes from the Greek Triodion. [45] The majority of its inhabitants are Muslims and regarding their identity mainly leftists mention it, but also a good number of islamists. The Ofls inhabitants, mainly yeomen and stock breeders, have re-established their communities in Constantinople and other cities. The Greek-speaking writer Omer Asan from Erenkroy who has published the book Pontos Culture (Pontus Kulturu) in Turkish, has greatly contributed to the search for identity of these people.[46] References have even been made in a Turkish magazine which emphatically states that "the traces of the Orthodox tradition are obvious, and here everybody speaks Pontic-Greek. The Rum (remnants of the Roman Empire) and Orthodox is clearly seen".[47]
Ano Matsouka (upper Matsouka) consists of 8 villages located at the Zygana pass with Hapsikoy at the very centre. It contains Christian Greek villages of which the greatest majority of its population derive from Greek speaking settlements from the Tonia district that settled there after 1924. Greek speaking communities of Ano Matsouka can be found today at Yalova, Gebdge and Constantinople itself. The Tonia district (ancient Thoania) consists of 18 villages, 7 of which are purely Greek speaking. The people of the surrounding area still keep many elements of their Pontic Hellenism, while at the same time they are renowned for their love of weapons and preserving the custom of the "vendette". It is from the Alexandrana village that the former minister A. Sener originated, while the inhabitants of the district still contain large communities, in Yalouz and Karamourseel, at Gemze, Bouyouk Tsakmese, Constantinople and elsewhere. With a consciousness of their identity, they comparatively do possess some pioneering members of their youth who are affected by their leftist members.
In conclusion, given the lack of numerical data, and the Turkish authority's fear of conducting research into its national origins and minorities, [48] it is far too difficult to do a thorough evaluation in regards to the number of Pontos Crypto-Christians which exist in Turkey today. [49]
Socially, the Pontos Crypto Christian Greek speakers, were, and still remain, a conservative unit group of people, with tight bonds between each other, their family and their relatives. As mentioned, they continue practicing endogamy, and they are extremely resistant to any changes imposed on them. For instance changes that are imposed by the Turkish authorities aimed at the introduction of a unique Turkish identity and language.
Nevertheless, during the last few decades and years, a feeling of a specific identity is increasing amongst them. Any attempt from the youth of Pontos to express in words or text their Pontian dialect, history or cultural identity is faced with hatred by the Turkish authorities, whilst the lives of Pontians who dare to express their views are threatened.[50] This oppression is accompanied by pseudo scientific attempts at distorting the rich history of these people and their region, as the official Turkish policy is that their historic identity is of Turkish origin.
Concerning the language, it seems that a large part of the Islamized Greek speakers of Pontos, particularly in the Trapezus (Trabzon) district, Tonia, Ofis, Sourmena, Matsouka as well as some in the Constantinople boroughs, have preserved their Pontic dialect virtually unchanged. So in those districts, the language, which is illegal in Pontos and all other parts of Turkey, helps them to bond and to keep their identity. Of course there is not a single school in Turkey where Pontians are able to learn or promote their language. Pontos youths, especially those coming from inland, due to their families keeping their own language and not knowing Turkish, first come in contact with the Turkish language at school and have to learn it through rigorous teaching methods. Even in Primary schools there is a net of young pupils who reliably inform and pass on information to their teachers. Pontian schoolmates who speak the Pontos dialect in private may be subjected to strict ‘convincing' methods by teachers or even the police. At Junior and Senior High Schools the work of ‘terrorising' is handed over to racists and clans of fascists like for instance the Grey Wolves. Under these conditions Pontian students are excluded from Universities and Colleges. Students of Pontic descent who make an attempt to show their Pontic origin and culture by means of printed material are forcibly discriminated against. One instance being when a Pontic magazine was issued at the Trapezus (Trabzon) University in 1999. The students responsible faced the danger of being sentenced to imprisonment by the Turkish authorities. According to Turkish policy, any activity by youths which may concern their Pontic identity, is an attempt to re-birth the "Pontos Empire".[51]
As a continuation of this policy a demand was made by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to deport about 50 Greek-speaking students who travelled to Greece in search of their identity. [52] The deportation cases of Redza Gildiz, Fethi Giultepe and Kara Bayram are the most widely known. The Principals of the Panteion University, Pontic Greek societies, University teachers, citizens and active members of Greek society were strongly against it.
On an official level, the Greek state does not involve itself with the question of the Greek speakers (Crypto Christians) of Turkey. Only the Greek society shows some level of interest, either through Pontian societies or non government organizations. The Pontian associations, through presentations to Greek, Turkish and other official groups, has tried to raise awareness of the Greek speakers of Turkey and the oppression they are forced to endure. The restrictions in Turkey today on the lack of freedoms of Islamized Pontians has been denounced by the non- governmental organization "The International Union for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples"[53] with a written memorandum to the Organization for the European security and Co-operation (O.E.S.C.) and also the Human Rights Bureau of the U.N.O. In Switzerland there was also a verbal intervention at the 58th meeting of the U.N.O. The same subject was addressed to the Committee for the Human Rights and by the French non government organisation "AMRAP" - The Movement Against Racism for Friendship Among Peoples".[54] The non government organization of the International Union for Liberation, made a special statement against the systematic attempts being made on banishment of the Pontic dialect (as being one nearest to the ancient Greek), spoken today, but also the persecution against Pontic thinkers (intellectual people) like the writer Omer Asan. Describing this situation the International Union for the Rights and Liberation of People expressed their wish to insist on the problem of the lack of freedom of speech of the Pontian people in Turkey. That statement was also made to pass on information regarding the condition of life of these people, so that the international community can be informed of the situation. Furthermore as has been pointed out in the statements to non-govermental organizations, the interventions towards the abolishment of discrimination against these people constitutes a step towards the preservation of a lively community and civilization that has enriched the whole of humanity.
6. Conclusions
Despite the 1839 and 1856 reforms, and the 1876 constitution, the problem of Crypto Christianity is still affecting the whole of Asia Minor (Turkey) and Pontos today. Persecution is the dominant feature. After the outbreak of World War I, persecutions against Christians became more intense by the Neo Turk regime, of which the Stavriotes, the inhabitants of Mt Ak Dag, were the most severely tortured, and who through forced islamization, tried to avoid the tortures. Bishop Gervassios stated that out of 19629 soldiers, Greek Christians and Crypto-Christians of the district, only 1.300 will survive. [55]
In Pontos, after the Russian army had retreated in the year 1916, those that had recently declared their Christian creed were tortured whilst their enlistment to the Labour Battalions was intensified. The First World War was followed by the Greco-Turkish War which resulted in a re-escalation of tension and persecutions. After the Lausanne Treaty, and an earlier agreement concerning an exchange of populations (only for those who had officially turned to Christianity), it left many Crypto Christians behind. Nowadays the problem of Greek speaking Crypto-Christians is part of a saga which has lately filtered into talks between Greece, Turkey, Europe, U.S.A. and other world organizations. [56]
References
[1] Inaldjik X. Ottoman Empire (trans M. Kocolakis Athens-Alexandria 1997).[2] For the Pontos region we know that soon after the Trapezous besiege its most prominent families were forced to become islamized as well as a great number of youngsters. According to the Metropolitan of Trapezous, Chryssanthos' information, the islamization in Pontos was carried out in the period 1648-1687 by pressures exerted from the side of feudalists the Derembeys, as they were called mentioning the following «because of the Derembeys pression and sufferings and persecutions those from the Akompsios (Tshoroh) river up to Trapezous solid populations of Grecians the Rizaeon region inhabitants, Ofis, Surmena and Gimora were totally islamized. All Christians, being given the name Iskender...» Metropolite of Trapezous Chryssanthos. The church of Trapezous. Pontis archives. Estia Athens 1933, yet see Photiades K. The Minor Asia Islamization and the Pontis Crypto-Christians, Thessaloniki Kyriakides Brothers 1988 and of the same author Sources of History of the Crypto-Christian problem Thessaloniki, Kyriakides Bros, 1977. Andriotis "Crypto-Christian problems Thessaloniki", 1974.[3] About Reforms, see Issawi C. "The Economic History of Turkey" Chicago, 1950, Owen R. The Middle East in the World Economy 1800-1914. London 1961, Baily E. British Policy and the Turkish Reform Movement. London 1942. Shaws-Shaw E. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge 1977.[4] Evangelides T., The History of Trapezous. Thessaloniki, 1994 p. 199. Apostolides D.,History of the Pontos Hellenes. Thessaloniki, 1935 p.107, Millioris N. The Crypto-Christians. Athens 1962 p.23.[5] Lamsides , Pontos under the Turks. Pontos Archives (34) 1977-1978, p.60-61.[6] Bailey F., British Policy and the Turkish reform movement. A study in AngloTurkish relations, 1826-1853. New York 1970 p. 87.[7] Karykopoulos X., The International regime of the Economical Patriarchy. Athens 1979, p. 41.[8] Lewis B., The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Oxford Univercity Press, 1963, p.105.[9] Zervos I., The Hellenism of Pontos. Athens 1919, p.16.[10] Pavlides I., Pontos M. Asia History Pages, Thessaloniki 1958, p. 73.[11] Vacalopoulos A., A History of modern Hellenism, Thessaloniki 1961-1980 v.1, p.100.[12] Panaretos, Pontos through the Centuries. Drama 1927, p.67, Scalieris, Peoples and Races in Minor-Asia. Athens 1922, pp. 384-385.[13] Fotiades K., The M. Asia islamization and Pontos Crypto-Christians, Thessaloniki 1988, p. 227.[14] Petropoulos D.- Andreades E., Religious life in the provinces Ak Seraï- Gelvera, Athens 1971, p. 55.[15] Shaw S., The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic. London 1991, p.156.[16] Apostolides D., History of Pontos Hellenism, Thessaloiki 1975, p.107.[17] Gelzer H., Gestliches und Weltiches. Leipzig 1900, p.230.[18] Bryer A., The Pontic revival and the New Greece. In the Hellenish and the 1st Greek war of Liberation Continuity and change. Salonica 1976, p.189.[19] Lamsides O.- Ioannides S., History of Trapezous and its surrounding area, statics. Konstantinople 1870, p.144.[20] Parcherides J., History of Kromni. Trapezous 1912, p.50, Fotiades K.: Islamization and the Crypto Christians offer to natio-religious battles. Thesaloniki 1974, p.29.[21] Chryssanthos, The Trapezous church. Athens 1924,[22] Gervassios (Soumelides Bishop of Sebastia), The stavriotae. Konstantinople 1919, p.52.[23] Valavanis G., Moder General History of Pontos. Athens 1925, p.270.[24] Economides D., Pontos and consequent Rights of the Hellines residing in it. Athens 1920, p. 76-77. [25] Gevassius p.60, Valavanis G. p.266.[26] Papadopoulos A., The under slavery Hellenism of the Asian Greece. Athens 1909, p.5.[27] Poulton H., Top Hot Grey Woft and crescent Turkish nationalism and the Turkish Republic. London 1997, p.84.[28] Concerning the Neo-Turks see Mardin S., Genessis of Ottoman Thought. Princeton 1962, where analytical presentation of the movement thought.[29] Takriria highlights of the Ecumenical Patriarchy addressed to the Diran about the Stavriotae and islamization. Konstantinople 1909, p.p.17-34.[30] Durant Peoples' Court. The Silecent Crime. The Armenian enocide. Athens 1988 prolog[31] Papadopoulos A., The Islamization of Minor Asia and the Pontos Kryptochristians. Athens 1909, p.5.[32] The U.S.S.S.R. Academy of Science[33] Concerning the Young-Turks see Mardin S., Genesis of Ottoman Thought. Princeton 962, where analytical presentation of the movement thought.[34] Zarerand, E. United and independent Turan, Leiden 1971 p. 36-38[35] Fotiades, K., «The persecutions of Pontos Greeks» in Fotiades, K.- Charalambides M., Pontium People. A Wright to Memory. Athens, Gordios, 2003, 2nd edition, pp.31-97. and Fotiades, K. Sources of the history of CryptoChristians, Thessaloniki, Kyriakides Bros, 1997.[36] Rodas, M., The way German policy caused the destruction of Pontos Hellenism. Athens 1978 p.18[37] Rodakis, P., The Turkish nationalism, the Armenian genocide and the uprooting of Hellenism of the Minor Asia, Athens 1986, p.19. the Minor Asian curse.[38] Gavriilides, A. Pages of the bitter calamity of Pontos. Athens 1924, p.87. Balioulis, P. Pages of Pontos disaster. Athens 1957. Hrton, G. The Minor Asia curse. Athens 1982.[39] Gregoriades, F.Division-Minor Asia. Athens 1971,v.2 p. 437. Psiroukis, N.,The Minor Asia destruction. Athens 1973,p. 208.[40] Koromila, M., The Greeks of the Black Sea from the Copper Era to he beggining of the 20th century. Athens, "Panorama" Cultural Club, 1991.[41] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greek archives A/1920. The Hellenism of Pontos, A report of Archimandrites Panaretos, p.12, and Skalieris, G. The Trapezous Empire, Athens 1921, p. 47.[42] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greek archives A/1920. The Hellenism of Pontos. A report of Archimandrites Panaretos, p.11.[43] See Fotiades K ., The genocide of Greeks of Pontos. 14 volumes, Thessaloniki, 2000-2005.[44] Since 1941 there requests concerning the restoration of «islamized Pontian Crypto-Christians to Greece» in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1938-1941. Pontos refugees and various problems p.5. The request was not realized to aoid disturbances concerning the Greco-Turk relations.[45] Fotiades K. Sources of history for the Crypto-Christians problem. Thessaloniki. Kyriakides Bros 1997, p.14.[46] Omer Assan with studies in economics besides the Offis accent Pontean dialect fluently speaks modern Greek. An author who comes from a region of great islamic tradition became an active member of Turkish left resulting to undergo severe persecutions during the 1980's. His father happened to be both Coup d'Etat of 1971 and 1981. He was awarded the Ipektsi award for having contributed for the Greco-Turk friendship for his book that has been translated in Modern Greek too (Omer Assan: the Pontos Culture. Thessaloniki. Kyriakides Bros 1997) but him and his editor have been summoned in he past to face the Turkish courts. Particularly, when in 1996 his book was printed by the firm Belge, the book that writes down the language, cuisine, even some humorous stories from the Greek-speaking villages, he was regarded by some, that he belongs to an organized group from Greece, who mobilizes people on the purpose that they will detach part of Turkish Land, the book-edition was banned and they were accused by the attorney for "an insult on the face of Kemal". The Omer Assan book that was seized by the Turkish police was out in Thessaloniki of copies, in succeeding one another editions concerning the first written thing to remember in the most modern history on the question of the Pontean language speaking Crypto-Christians.[47] GullenA. Pontus Mussulmanari, Aktuel Istanbul 1992 p.p. 58-60.[48] See the work Minorities in Turkey (trans Kontos ), Athens, Infognomon, 2002.[49] Omer Assan supports the idea that the Pontean is spoken in 60 villages of Trapezous region most of which are lcated in the Ofis district and that according to moderate estimations this dialect is spoken by almost 300.000 people, Kathemerini newspaper 23/7/1999 .[50] A typical example of this conduct from the side of the Turkish authorities is a teleoptical serial which was dramatized some time ago in Trapezous and in which an ex-service arrmy officer and a say teacher ejaculated allegation from one side that Ponteans are of Turkish discordance and from another side threats against Pontean people who claim their right to keep in touch with Ponteans in Greece. Furthermore Pontean Greek travellers to Pontos have to undergo strict controls and watching by the Turkish police authorities[51] Most recently the garrison commander of Kiutsuktsekmetze Konstantiople colonel Ali Gungur Ongore suports the idea that Greece trains youths with the prospect of reviving of the Greek Pontos. The Colonel speaking in a specially prepared day, on the subject: «Cyprus in the iron collar of the E.U.» said that 35 youths from the Black Sea region who support the "breaking apart" "the Greek Pontos are being trained in camps in Greece and that the sightseeing excursions in the Black Sea districts that are organized by Greece, aim at reviving the oracle of the Greek Pontos The subject had also been put forth or the Kerassous Millitary Commander Brigadier Baki Onurlubas speaking about secret Greek plans, on the Pontos problem. A few days after this notification, a great project of the subject was shown in the T.V. meanswhich resulted that the book was banned. "The Pontos Culture" by Omar Assan. The way this project was made and also the sources this problem got started gives an impression of search of threat. Something which is exclusively an army task. "Macedonia ews agency" 5/12/2002.[52] Mehmet Karadeniz is the first Muslim from Pontos who came to Greece in 1989. Founder of the internet a communication forum among Ponteans all over the world Karadeniz came to Greece in a procession seeking for his identity, since according to his proclamations "when you have a mother tongue which ever it may be you start seeking the reason why it is so. «I don't want to cause anybody any problem to any system. But when you press me not to express myself something must be done about it». (Kathimerini newspaper 23/7/1999.[53] Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Meeting on Human Dimension Rights, Warsaw, October 1998.[54] United Nations Economic and Social Council 24 February 1998 andUnited Nations Economic and Social Council 25 January 2002. Also see Charalambidis, M. The Pontian Question in the United Nations, Athens 2004.[55] Gervassios, op.cit. p.56[56] See. International Union for Human Rights and Peoples Liberation, non-governmental Organization, authorities by the U.N.O. filed at the Warsaw session of the Organization or the Security and co-operation in Europe. October 1998. In the statement under the title «Pontians: The oppression of freedom of speech» mentioned the present situation of Islamized Pontians in Turkey and the problems they meet with. See: Graf V.