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Ted Karakostas/NY Time 06/29/11

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The following letter in response to Mark Mazower (June 29, op-ed) seeks to challenge the fiction that
Greece and Turkey decided to "swap" populations. The outcome of the First World War resulted in the
collapse of the Ottoman and other empires. As a result there were changes of borders and newly
independent countries came into existence. As a result of the Ottoman collapse, the Greek Orthodox
populations of Asia Minor saw an opportunity to fulfill their centuries long dream of escaping the
Ottoman Turkish tyranny.
 
During the First World War, the Sublime Porte instigated a policy of genocide and racial-religious
extermination against the Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians. American diplomats such as Ambassador
Henry Morgenthau and Consul General George Horton did much to publicize the Turkish slaughter. In the
aftermath of the Ottoman defeat, the Great Powers supported Greece's claims in Asia Minor which was
not imperialistic (unlike the claims of the Europeans) but based on the realities that various cities in
Asia Minor had majority Greek populations and that Greece had both historical and religious connections
to this region.
 
 The rise of Mustafa Kemal led to the final genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor. Kemal himself was
 assisted with arms by Britain, France, Italy, and Soviet Russia while the Greeks were denied the right
 to defend themselves. The systematic destruction and burning of Smyrna, the extermination of the
 Pontian Greeks and other massacres throughout Asia Minor are historical facts that have proven
 inconvenient for pro-Turkish policymakers and "scholars". Greece had no desire to remove the Turks
 living in Macedonia, but did so in order to make room for the one million plus Greek Orthodox refugees
 forcibly evicted by the Turks in the final victorious campaign to create a racially pure Turkish Republic.
 
 The actions of Greece and Turkey are not by any means comparable. Turkish actions were based on
 genocide, while Greek actions were based initially on a justified course of liberating oppressed Greek
 populations in Asia Minor, while subsequently accepting the insidious fate forced upon them by the
 politics of the period. Greece had no desire to "swap" anyone".
 
                                 Theodoros Karakostas
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 11:22  
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