is a sign that Turkey is purged of the traitors, the Christians,
and the foreigners, and that Turkey is for the Turks"
should be borne in mind that it has been for some time the policy
of the Turkish nationalists to exterminate and eliminate the native
Christian element in Turkey."
George Horton, American Consul
General to Smyrna
As an American of Hellenic descent and
a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, I was shocked to read
your comments referring to the so called "Greek occupation"
in Asia Minor. Sir, for a period of many centuries, the Hellenic
nation was conquered, brutalized, and dehumanized. Christian children
were taken into the Janissaries, converted to Islam, and trained
in the murderous
ways of the Ottomans. The earliest Turkish conquest against the
Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire began in August 1071. The Turkish
invasions were completed with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453
and the conquest of the Empire of Trebizonde in 1461.
The Turkish Empire lasted until 1918 when
it mercifully collapsed following the extermination of over one
and a half million Armenians, the first genocide of the twentieth
century. Quite frankly, there is no such thing as a Turkish War
of Independence. To give praise to a mass murderer like Mustapha
Kemal is to profane the memory of his Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian
Governor, you have not been properly informed
regarding the events of 1919-1922. The Greek entry into Smyrna
was a liberation, not an occupation. The Christian populations
of Asia Minor and Anatolia were being exterminated when the Ottomans
collapsed. The Greek army's presence in Smyrna was the fulfillment
of the right to self determination which the Greeks who occupied
those land for 3,000 years were entitled to.
Governor, you praise Mustapha Kemal but
American Consul General to Smyrna George Horton used the word
"extermination" to describe Kemal's policies towards
the Christians. Similarly, a New York Times headline of August
5, 1922 declared "Extermination Turks Aim". Kemal's
responsability for murder can be illustrated by the slaughter
that took place in Smyrna when that ancient Hellenic city was
set ablaze by the Turkish invaders and Kemal's soldiers proceeded
to slaughter over 100,000 Greek and 30,000 Armenian civilians.
The fate that befall Smyrna's Greek Orthodox
Archbishop illustrated what kind of man Kemal was. One of Kemal's
top Generals Noureddin Pasha handed over the Archbishop to a Turkish
mob who proceeded to humiliate him by shaving his beard and then
to murder him by cutting off his eyes, nose, hands, and ears,
and then throwing his remains into the Sea. Kemal and his associates
were butchers and war Criminals.
As such, I am greatly disturbed not only
that the Governor of Alabama would honor such a horrible man who
belongs in the same category as Hitler and Stalin, but that the
Governor would slander the Greek Army and the honorable and idealistic
Greek soldier who fought for patriotic and spiritual ideals. The
Greek cause in Asia Minor was a cause for freedom meant to overthrow
the misery, slavery, and death imposed upon those people for centuries.
Aristedes Sterghiades, the Greek governor
of Smyrna during the brief period of that city's liberation recognized
the rights of Greeks and Turks. In fact, historians like Marjorie
Housepian (Smyrna 1922, the Destruction of a City) and Michael
Liewellyn Smith (Ionian Vision) have made clear that Turks in
Smyrna were actually treated with preferential treatment. As such,
the claim that the Greeks deliberately committed atrocities against
Turks is absolutely untrue.
When all is said and done, Mustapha Kemal
began his campaign as a stooge of the western powers. The Italians,
the French, and the British all armed Kemal because they had imperialistic
ambitions and were jealous of the Greeks. The Greeks had more
right to be in Asia Minor than any of the western powers. There
were well over one million Greeks in Asia Minor.
Asia Minor was once the heart of Christian
civilization. The Seven Ecumenical Councils which interpreted
the truths of the Christian faith all took place in Asia Minor.
Kemal brought an end to Hellenic and Christian culture in Asia
Minor. I greatly deplore your comments and your plans to commemorate
the bloody military campaign of Kemal.
I would like to note the example that Kemal
left behind in Turkey. In 1955, Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes
used the anniversary of August 30 to incite the Turkish people
against their Greek neighbors. The rhetoric of Menderes was fulfilled
on September 6, 1955 with a violent and horrible pogrom against
the Greek population of Constantinople in which Greeks were beaten,
raped, and their Churches, homes, and stores destroyed. Kemal's
final legacy was leaving behind a cult of personality honored
by the Turkish military. America does not need to import this
Turkish Cult of Personality which is a hallmark of authoritarian