EL GENOCIDIO GRIEGO
(THE GREEK GENOCIDE- IN SPANISH)
Translation : Daniel Cruces Perez
1. Introduction: History
The Greeks who live in Black Sea or Pontus-Greek word for “sea”- Asia Minor, Thrace, Kappadokia, in former Ottoman Empire, today Turkey is an especially significant part of the Greeks outside Greece, which after a long-term existence in this particular area, was forced to abandon it through violent means.
The persecutions which started soon before the beginning of the World War I from the Young Turks were increased during this war, and they continued as well as culminated after 1919, when Mustafa Kemal acquired the de facto authority in the tottering Ottoman state. The persecutions, which then developed into genocide, were the most tragic moment and 1.000.000 Greeks lost their lives. The Greek genocide is one of the biggest crimes against humanity which still remains unpunished, since an important part of the Greek nation which inhabited the territories of the Ottoman state were murdered. The Greeks who survived, were exiled under inhumane conditions, which had targeted to its total extermination, thousands were converted to Islam and remained in Turkey, while the remains of this mass murder became refugees in the whole world.
Most of them were found in Russia and the former Soviet Union, in Greece, and later in Germany, in the USA and Canada, in Australia. A great number of years have been essential for their identity and memory to recover. The massive assassination of the Greek people was undeniably a crime which was committed, a crime which after a certain period of silence became known in the entire world. Turkey, the Young Turks and the supporters of Mustafa Kemal from 1914 to 1923 organized and implemented the Genocide of the indigenous Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians.
Yet, the Turkish state denies the genocide of these populations and distorts reality while trying to deny its major responsibilities. The reaction policy of Turkey about the matter of the genocide against the indigenous populations continually uses the same excuse: the Armenian and Greek threat against the Ottoman empire, the state of the Young Turks and the established order of Mustafa Kemal. Consequently, due to this, the Armenians, the Greeks, the Assyrians and others, from 1908 to 1924 experienced the extermination and persecutions. In this way the massive crime and the uprooting of historical populations from their mother country were committed. That was actually the ‘final solution‘ for the Armenian and Greek issue. It was the ‘ final solution ‘ , the first genocides of the 20th century and as there had been lack of punishment, the Hebraic holocaust then followed.‘ Who remembers the Armenians ‘ Hitler had said while planning his own ‘ final solution ‘ and who revealed the matter of the Greek holocaust to avoid the continuity in Constantinople, Imvros, Tenedos, Cyprus, Pontus?
Nearly one century later, the Turkish policy of the genocide denial has not changed at all as far as the Turkish politicians and governments are concerned, although in the last years more and more people in Turkey attempt to state the historical truth.
This status does not allow these different opinions to be heard openly or tends to criticize them or suppress them with every possible means, such as the assassination of the Armenian journalist Hran Dink in 2007.
However, it seems that violence cannot silence the truth completely. ‘The struggle of the humanity against any imposition is the struggle of memory against oblivion’, wrote the well-known Czech writer Milan Kountera. And he is absolutely right: although many people, who are not related to humanity, ignore the historical crimes because of their political, financial and other reasons, humanity is obliged to strive against these with all its powers. As time goes by, this will not be an obstacle for the new generations of the Greeks and of all the democratic people throughout the world and definitely in Turkey. All these people will not forget and will not abandon this struggle, because they know that sooner or later the time will come that it will be unthinkable to deny the genocide of the Greeks and the battle of memory struggling against oblivion will be resolved. Only then, all the populations will live peacefully, truly twinned and in friendly terms, and light will have defeated darkness.
2.The Greek Genocide
The decision for the genocide was taken by the Young Turks (Cemal, Enver and Talat pasha) in 1911, was put into practice during the World War I and was completed by Moustafa Kemal (1919 –1923).
The persecutions were originally appeared in the form of cases of violence, destruction, deportations and exiles. Soon though, they became better organized and extensive and turned massively against the Greeks (against the Armenians).
The first phase of the Genocide of the Greeks is traced in 1908 and lasts until the beginning of World War I, when the Eastern issue, the rise of the Young -Turks in powerful positions in the ottoman empire, the Balkan Wars and Germany’s assistance as a strategic ally of the Ottoman state, created the right conditions for the initiating the expulsions of the Thracian Greeks. During that period, there are no longer declarations by the Young- Turks about fair and equal treatment of all in the state, on the contrary the Greeks are to be exterminated. Major part in this extermination has the “Special Organization”, which, having a para-military structure, makes the Greeks and the Armenians a target.
The second period started in 1914, when the conflicts that arose during World War I, promoted the genocidal policies. The Young -Turk government orders a number of actions taken in order to further continue the extermination of the Greeks, together with the genocide of the Armenians.
The period 1919-1923 is the third, last and more intense face of the genocide, as the establishment of Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) in the interior of the Ottoman state which is coincident with the establishment of the Soviet Union and the aid provided towards the nationalistic movement of Kemal, as well as the change of course in the exterior policy affairs of the great European forces.
The Young-Turks, and Kemalist authorities pre-planned and realized the genocide. The orders for the deportations of the Greek populations to Kurdistan, Syria and elsewhere, either in the form of governmental decisions, either as a bill of the National Assembly, such as 1041 of the 12th June 1921 and 941 of the 16th June in the same year, had been signed both by the Young-Turks and Kemal himself.
Consequently until 1923, the Young-Turks and the Kemalists, having taken harsh measures against the Greeks, through the means of expel, rape, slaughtering, deportations and hangings, exterminated hundreds of thousands of Greeks.
Among the victims of the genocide there was a great number of women and children, groups of the Greek population that consisted a particular plan of the extermination plan.
This can be verified through the reports and documentations of the foreign ambassadors, consuls, embassies, and others, where one can find references on the acts of slaughtering and brutality.
The Genocide forced the surviving Greeks, to abandon their homeland. The final chapter of this mass murder deals with the forcible removal of the survivors from their homeland. With the treaty referring to the population exchange, signed both by Greece and Turkey in 1923, the uprooting of the Greeks from their land is completed, closing the issue of one of the bloodiest mass murders in the history of mankind.
After 27 centuries of presence, prosperity and contribution of a historical nation, the Greeks of Thrace, Pontus, Asia Minor, Cappadocia, abandoned the land of their ancestors, their homes, churches, graves, a culture of world wide appeal.
The Greeks from former Ottoman Empire, nowadays in Greece, in the U.S.A., in Canada, in Australia, in Europe, and throughout the world wants justice to be attributed in the name of their ancestors that were murdered during the genocide from the Ottoman State. A genocide that consists part of a greater crime committed against that cost the life of 1.000.000 Greeks and more than 1.220.000 Greeks became refugees
3. The Epilogue (?)
The presence of Greeks in Thrace, Pontus, Asia Minor, Cappadocia, after the Ottoman domination over this region, the Greek influence and their contribution to various cultural achievements were threatened. The authority system and the government, the discriminations against the Christians, the conditions of the financial and political life threatened the continuity of the Greeks in the region.
With the creation of the Young Turks group in the ottoman state, a nationalistic ideology appeared and consolidated, and with the domination of power in 1908, there was a desire for the Christian populations to become extinct, a dream which came true during World War I, the Greeks were a central target.
When the Armenian Genocide was about to end, it was time for the Greeks to be exterminated by the same means: massacres, atrocities, massive violence, arrests of women and children, violent conversions to Islam, marches of death. These facts are confirmed by survivors of the genocide as well as foreign witnesses, whereas lots of people left the region taking refuge in Russia.
The Greek Genocide continued even after the end of World War I and systematically after 1919, when on May 19th of the same year Mustafa Kemal arrived at Sampsunta. Operations of massive assassinations, deportations, banishments, destruction of cultural and religious places took place as well as burning down villages and cities. Nobody can explain these crimes and this fact is confirmed by the Turks, many foreigners and allies of Kemal’s coup.
Between 1916 and 1923 approximately 1.000.000 from more than 2.600.000 Greeks (census 1914) were lost due to massacres, deportations and marches of death. This premeditated destruction of the 50% of the Greeks, constitutes genocide according to the criteria of U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (article 2, paragraphs a, b, c, d and e).
A struggle to ask for and point out the truth will find a lot of nations agreed. In order not to repeat the crimes, the responsible and the reasons that led them have to be found out. The truth must be sought and presented to the international public opinion, which knows how to judge and sentence without self-interest. Nowadays, when other nations suffer genocides from racist states, it is time for the first step to be taken to recognize the crime of Greek genocide of the. On the other hand, the contemporary Turkish state has to answer for the Greek genocide, without making propaganda and pleads inconsistency as a state in order to be exculpated from the charge. This state, as the creation of Mustafa Kemal, and the Young Turks are responsible for the crime of genocide. Each nation has the right to intensely demand from the authorities of the crimes and offences committed against it to recognize them. The greater the harm and the longer the facts were hidden, the more intense the desire for such recognition becomes. Recognition, which is a substantial way to fight against genocide; Recognition which constitutes the confirmation of a nation’s right to the respect of its existence according to the international law and the historic truth.
Theofanis Malkidis PhD, Member of International Association for Genocide Scholars.