German General Otto Liman von Sanders was the commander of the Turkish Fifth Army. He arrived in Turkey at the end of 1913 at the request of the Young Turks to reorganize the Turkish military. In a report to the Ottoman authorities, von Sanders wrote that the entire Greek population of Ayvalik must be deported immediately to the Interior otherwise "he would be unable to take the responsibility for the security of the army". Sanders was reported as saying, "Couldn't they throw these infidels into the sea?"

The deportation of the Greek population of Ayvalik to the Turkish Interior was carried out on von Sanders' orders and many died as a result.  The Ayvalik deportations took place in 1917, the destinations being Yenişehir and Bilecik located 350km and 400km to the interior. 

In a 1919 newspaper article titled First Hun Held For Atrocities, Sanders' arrest for Greek and Armenian massacres was recorded:

"Sanders is first of the German commanders to be seized for trial for violation of the rules of warfare. And he’s going to be tried in Constantinople, too. Sanders was in command of the Turkish forces which were operating under direction of Berlin. He is known to have sanctioned Turkish Atrocities, including massacres of Greeks and Armenians."

Sanders had been arrested by British forces when he attempted to return to Germany in February 1919. He was held at Malta for six months as a war criminal. Liman von Sanders retired from the army in October 1919 and died in Munich on 22 August 1929.