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Letter to IAGS 05/01/07

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To:  International Association Genocide Scholars

Genocide Newsletter,

 

Dear Sirs,

On behalf of the Hellenic Electronic Center, an international association whose membership consists of 35,000 Hellenes and 34 Hellenic Organizations in the US and abroad, we would like to put forth our view that the policies of the crumbling Ottoman Empire and the nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (founder of the Turkish State which succeeded the Ottomans) that were directed toward the Christian populations of Asia Minor, Greeks and Assyrians as well as Armenians, constitute genocide. There is overwhelming evidence that the policy of the Young Turks targeting the Greek communities on the coast of Asia Minor for deportation was in fact a policy of genocide.

As early as 1914, the Young Turk government of Constantinople ordered local authorities in Smyrna to take action against the local Greek population. Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos cited the extermination of the Greek populations of Asia Minor in a major speech before the Greek Parliament during the First World War, as justification for Greek involvement in the First World War. Furthermore, in a memorandum submitted to the International Peace Conference of 1919, Venizelos justified Greek claims toward portions of Asia Minor by citing specific instances of massacres against the Greek population. In addition, the American Hellenic Society published a report in 1919 on the massacres of Greeks in Asia Minor, citing specific events, and providing the names of villages affected, and numbers of Greeks residing there before and after the implementation of Turkish policies.

As evidence, we cite the work of Herbert Adam Gibbons who mentioned that at least half a million Greeks perished during the First World War at the hands of the Turkish government[1]. During the period of the Kemalist persecutions, then Consul General to Smyrna, George Horton, who witnessed the unfolding violence against Smyrnaʼs Christians, chronicled the decades of fierce slaughter of Christians under late Ottoman and early Turkish rule in The Blight of Asia. Hortonʼs book attests to the genocide of the Greek populations by the Ottomans and Kemalists alike, and sought to trigger international condemnation of the acts -- in marked contrast to the staunchly pro-Turkish policies of the Great Powers who sought to minimize or suppress reports of the massacres of Turkeyʼs Christian subjects. Also relevant is the work of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau I was Sent to Athens that recounts the atrocities by the Kemalists.

We also cite as proof with regard to the intent of the Turkish leadership to perpetrate Genocide

against the Greeks, the protests voiced by Greek Orthodox clerics such Metropolitan Chrysostom of Smyrna, Chrysanthos of Trebizond, and others who made public their opposition to the Turkish policies. The hideous murder of Chrysostom of Smyrna and the slaughter of Smyrnaʼs Greeks and Armenians in the aftermath of the entry of the Kemalists, attests to the murderous intent and praxis of the Turkish leadership. We also cite Edward Hale Bierstadt's The Great Betrayal and more recent work such as Thea Halo's Not Even My Name, as evidence that the Greek population was targeted for destruction and that genocide was committed against them.

Therefore, we strongly believe that the Armenian Genocide will be better served if the Armenian, Hellenes and Assyrians join forced to demand recognition of all three Genocides.

Capt, Evangelos Rigos

HEC director

Member of IAGS

 
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