of New York State, George E. Pataki
: US Governors
Those of us of Hellenic, Armenian, Assyrian ancestry,
and Eastern Orthodox faith, as well as those of us who believe in
the democratic principles of human rights and historical accuracy
would like to express our appreciation and gratitude for the recent
proclamation that acknowledged the Genocide of the Hellenic population
of Asia Minor. As Americans of Eastern Christian background we are
truly aware of the horrific consequences of fanaticism and hatred.
The proclamation is particularly welcome at a time when our country
is waging a war for freedom against terror and mass murder.
As Americans of Hellenic, Armenian, and Assyrian descent,
we were appalled and horrified by the September 11 attacks on America.
The fanatical and murderous stance of Osama Bin Laden recalls the
hateful attitude of Mustapha Kemal who's forces burned the beautiful
city of Smyrna and slaughtered the Christian populations. ''It is
a sign that Turkey is purged of the traitors, the Christians, and
the foreigners, and that Turkey is for the Turks", is the declaration
of Mustapha Kemal.
In a letter to the State Department dated September 27,
1922 American Consul General to Smyrna George Horton wrote, "I
wish to repeat the consistant policy of the Turk, since the fall of
Abdul Hamid, has been the expulsion, killing, and elimination of the
Christian races". Consul Horton described the atrocities directed
against the Christian populations:
"After the great fire, as a result of which the whole
Christian population was forced upon the quay where it remained for
days stretching its hands to the battleships in the harbor, screaming
and pleading for help and dying of hunger and thirst, the conduct
of the Turks was abominable. Miss Emily MacCullam, director of the
Girls school in Smyrna, who returned from that city this morning,
says that there are still great throngs of these miserable creatures
on the quay and along the seashore, without water and without food
and dying, and that the stench of these dead bodies is terrible. There
are still two hundred thousand waiting on the quay to be taken off.
It has been announced that all of the men from eighteen to forty-five
years of age are to be taken as prisoners of war and marched into
the interior, and she saw, corroborating statements by others recently
from Smyrna, large bands of men being marched away by Turkish guards".
Consul Horton left behind numerous first hand accounts
regarding the Genocide that was perpetrated against the Greeks, and
worked fervently to protect the lives of Greek and Armenian Christian
Consul Horton represented the idealism, justice, and compassion of
America. The recent proclamation in the State of New York is a continuation
of Consul Horton's determination to make known that the Hellenic population
of Asia Minor was deliberately and intentionally targeted for extermination.
"EXTERMINATION TURKS AIM" declared the NY Times
in describing the Kemalist policy towards the Greeks of Asia Minor
on its front page on August 5, 1922, one month before the burning
of Smyrna. Yet, years before the culmination of the Hellenic Genocide
in 1922, Turkish leaders were intent on eradicating the Hellenic populations
of Asia Minor. In 1920, journalist Herbert Addams Gibbons recounted
the massacres of Greeks in May 1919, "The Turks had taken with
them all wealthy Greeks and most of the Greek women and girls. Thousands
of dead in the streets and the fields and along the roads met the
eyes of Greek (liberating) soldiers".
In 1924, Edward Hale Bierstadt
published his book "The Great Betrayal" which documented
the Genocide of the Hellenic population. Massacres, expulsions, deportations,
marches are all vividly described in this book which documents in
extensive detail the Turkish attempts to eradicate Hellenism from
the soil of Asia Minor. Further documentation of the
Hellenic Genocide exists in the memoirs of American Ambassador Henry
Morgenthau's, "I was sent to Athens" (1929) and Consul
Horton's own, "The Blight of Asia" (1926).
Even when the slaughter of Hellenic civilians ceased,
Mustapha Kemal presided over the further ethnic cleansing of Hellenism.
As Winston Churchill wrote in his six volume set, "The World
in Crisis",Turkey lost a great mass of citizens who had for centuries
played a vital part in the economic life of every Turkish village
and township. Smyrna and portions of its littoral had been populated
extensively by Greeks for thousands of years. It's prosperity was
largely attributable to their intelligence and to their industry and
agriculture". The New York Times noted on January 11, 1923:"In
the name of peace and justice 1,000,000 men, women, and children are
to be torn from their homes and forcibly taken to other lands".
Governor, congratulations on the proclamation regarding
the Hellenic victims of Turkey's Genocide. This proclamation reflects
the openness of America and the American love of truth and justice.
This unconditional recognition of historic truth indifferent to the
advocates of censorship and revisionism elsewhere, is a proud moment
for America. America is at war today against an enemy who's ruthlessness
and cruelty is similar to that of the Turkish leadership of 1922.
We are thankful and grateful for the proclamation.
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