Persecution of the Greeks in Turkey Since the Beginning of the European War

persecution since beginning

Translated from Official Greek documents by Carroll N. Brown Ph.D and Theodore P. Ion D.C.L.
Oxford University Press, 1918.
72 pages

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The persecution of the Greeks in Turkey, since the declaration of the European war, are nothing but the continuation of the program put into operation by the Young Turks in the year 1913, with the object of annihilating Hellenism.

In order that those who are ignorant of conditions in Turkey may understand the objects and the mainsprings of these persecutions, as well as the methods by which the uprooting of Hellenism in the territories subject to Turkey was sought, it is necessary, before narrating the persecutions that began with the last motnhs of 1914, to review briefly the occurrences of the preceding period. There will thus be no room for doubt that we have here to do with an intensive continuation of a program which had as its object the annihilation of Hellenism in Turkey.

Table of Contents

PART I: Work Preparatory to the Extermination of the Greek Populations in Turkey
I. The abolition of the Ecclesiastical and other Privileges of the Greek Church.
II. Compulsory enlistment of Christians.
III Requisitions and contributions
IV Conversions to Mohameddanism

Part II: Deportations en masse
I    Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Marmora, Kirk-Kilisse
II   Trebizond
III  Kerasounda
IV  Amisos (Samsoun)
V   Cydonia (Aivali)
VI  Condition of the deported people
VII Statistics of deportations

Appendix A
Appendix B

Deportation en masse (from pages 37-38).

The abolishment of the privileges of the Greek Church, the drafting of Christians into the army, the conversions to Mohammedanism, the commandeerings and the murders of the Greeks in Turkey, constituted so to speak, the work preparatory to their annihilation, and this was completed by the sixth measure which was applied, namely, the deportations en masse.

This was designed in order to bring about the complete annihilation of the Greek nation by the devastation of the flourishing Greek communities in the Ottoman Empire.

This measure which was first applied in the Gallipoli peninsula and the Hellespont, on the pretext of military necessity, was quickly extended to all the settlements along the coast and to the islands in the sea of Marmora, which are inhabited by Greeks. The towns of Cydonia (Aivali) and Amissos (Samsoun) and, generally the settlements along the coasts, except the two great centers, Constantinople and Smyrna, where there is a compact Greek population, were reduced to ruins.

This measure was taken in consequence of a decision of the Young Turk Committee, and was put into execution in the year 1915. The Greek Legation at Constantinople, by a communication dated June 15, 1915, No. 3501 (Ministerial Archives, No. 7085), informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the decision which had been taken at Constantinople for the forcible conversion of Greeks to the Mohammedan faith by mixed marriages between Turks and Greek women who had been brought into these Turkish villages for settlement there.

The same Legation, by another report, under the same date, No. 3500 (Ministerial Archives, No. 6557), announces the beginning of the execution of this decision in the following manner:

Among the decision taken by the Turkish Committee is the conversion to Islam of the Greek populations, which is difficult as long as there exist compact Greek settlements. Military necessity affords a most suitable pretext to have the Christians scattered, thus making their Turkification easy. The deportations en masse of the inhabitants of the islands of Marmora (Koutali, Kalolimnos, Marmora, etc.), have the same object, because those that are deported are not settled in Christian villages; as for the men, they either imprison or put them to forced labour, while the women and children they sent to Turkish villages.


Conversions to Mohammedanism (from pages 19-20).

Having thus aimed at and achieved the financial ruin of the Greek people, they sought to decrease their numbers by forced and crafty conversions to Mohammedanism. One who recalls the first years of the government under the Young Turk constitution immediately remembers the turmoil which this quesion provoked even in the Turkish parliament. Consequently, an age limit for such conversions was fixed and the necessary formalities were decided on.

During the period of the persecutions, as the conversions to Mohammedanism formed part of the system which was planned, it was thought proper quietly to lay aside thr laws and regulations and to pursue by every means and in a systematic manner the Islamization of the Christians.

One of the most diabolical methods adopted was the creation of the so-called Orphan Institutions at Panormo [Bandirma], the founder of which was General Liman Von Sanders himself, who had the impudence to demand from the Greeks 10,000 Turkish pounds for the maintenance of these institutions...

These Orphan Institutions have in appearance a charitable object, but if one considers that their inmates are Greek boys, who became orphans because their parents were murdered, or who were snatched away from their mothers, or left in the streets for want of nourishment (of which they were deprived by the Turks), and that these Greek children receive there a purely Turkish education, it will be at once seen that under the cloak of charity there lurks the 'child collecting' system instituted in the past by the Turkish conquerors and a new effort to revive the janissary system.

The Greek boys were treated in this manner. What happens to the Greek girls? If we review the consular reports about the persecutions from the year 1915 to 1917 we shall hardly find one of them which does not speak of forcible abductions and conversions to Mohammedanism. And it could not have been otherwise, since it is well known that this action, as has been stated above, was decided upon in June, 1915, in order to effect the Turkification of the Hellenic element. This plan was carried out methodically and in a diabolical manner, through the 'mixed settlements' of Greeks and Turks, always with a predominance of Mohammedan males and of Greek females in order to compel mixed marriages. This is evident from a report from Constantinople dated January 14, 1916, in which it is stated that the Turkish Government instructed the Governor of Broussa to place the Greek refugees by groups of ten to thirty families in Mussulman villages with a proportion always of ten per cent, to the Mohammedan population.


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