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US should press Turkey on terrorism
by Theodore G. Karakostas
Boston Globe, 25 March 2002


''It is a sign that Turkey is purged of the traitors, the Christians, and the foreigners, and that Turkey is for the Turks.''- Mustapha Kemal

The above words belong to the founder of the supposedly secular and democratic Republic of Turkey. In truth, Mustapha Kemal put an end to the ancient cultures of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks in Anatolia. His military ''victory'' in September 1922 led to the mass slaughter of over 100,000 Greek and 30,000 Armenian Christians in the historic city of Smyrna. In 1923, Kemal ordered the expulsions of over one million Greeks from Asia Minor.

For Greek Orthodox Christians, terms like jihad, giavhour, and infidel, which are used by modern-day mass murderers such as Osama bin Laden, are nothing new. Turkish leaders have used these words to denigrate and provoke hatred of Christians for centuries, ranging from the era of the Ottoman Empire to the recent history of the Turkish Republic, which has sponsored violent pogroms against its Greek and Armenian minorities. Although Mustapha Kemal became known for secularizing Turkey, he waged his war against civilian Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian populations in Asia Minor as a jihad.

Greek Orthodox Christians remember the atrocities of Kemal and his associates through memorials and through the martyrdom of clerics such as Archbishop Chrysostomos of Smyrna, whose dismemberment was ordered by one of Kemal's top generals. For Orthodox Christians, the demented and murderous policies of the Taliban and Al Qaeda today resemble those of Ottoman and Kemalist Turkey between 1914 and 1923.

Like Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, the Young Turks and Mustapha Kemal's nationalists celebrated the death of the innocent.

The Young Turks planned and carried out the genocide and mass extermination of more than 1.5 million Armenian Christians. As the war against terrorism evolves, Washington should finally get serious about fighting evil in all its forms and should recognize the Armenian genocide. The United States should tell Turkey that it will not allow its censorship of history to be imported to America. The United States should also recognize Turkey's extermination of the Greeks and Assyrians.

In the worldwide fight against terrorism, the United States must pressure allies who are active in promoting terror. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is frequently bombed by terrorists in Constantinople. Turkish authorities must be pressed to stop creating a climate in which attacks on Christian institutions are encouraged. Discrimination against the patriarchate is enforced by the forcible closure of its only theological seminary.

Finally, the United States must pressure Turkey to end its sponsorship of terror and ethnic cleansing in Cyprus. Turkey's invasions of Cyprus in 1974 resulted in the forced expulsions of over 200,000 Greeks on the basis of their ethnic and religious heritage. Over 1,600 Greek Cypriots remain missing. The Turkish government, whose forces occupy the north of Cyprus, are responsible for atrocities which occur there, such as the brutal killings of several Greek Cypriot civilians during the summer of 1996.



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