The genocide of the Greeks of Pontus: when white turns into black

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou

The genocide of the Greeks of Pontus in comparison to the genocide of the Armenians was more sophisticated because it didn’t have to leave traces behind, ones that could be used as accusations against the Turks nationalists. More specifically the Austrian Minster of Foreign Affairs reports to Berlin on the policy of their allies.

“The policy of the Turks is to extinguish the Greeks as enemies of the state as it has done previously with the Armenians through a generalized persecution of the Greek element. The Turks implement a tactic of dislocation of the populations without distinction and possibility of survival from the coast to the interior of the country, so that the displaced are exposed to pauperization and starvation. The abandoned houses of the exiled are plundered by the Turkish battalions of punishment or burned and destroyed. And all the other measures which were on the daily agenda of the persecutions against the Armenians are repeated now against the Greeks”.

Not only is this testimony indicative of the method; it also demonstrates the problem of the repercussions in case there is no condemnation and recognition of a genocide. For a genocide may hide another one. The reactions raised against the genocide of the Armenians were not enough to obviate the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus. In substance the Turks changed only the methodology, but the result was the same again. This change renders the issue of the recognition of the genocide more difficult because many of the Greeks of Pontus died as they couldn’t suffer weather conditions of the winter. And this is the reason why the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus was named: in French Le massacre blanc (Τhe white massacre). The Turks did not allow them to take with them neither blankets nor food. And they only allowed stations in deserted places. This is confirmed by the French confidential reports of that time.

“Six weeks now massive massacres against the Greeks take place. The number of those killed is up to 40,000”.

In another report of the Intelligence Service of the French Army Headquarters we find:

“From serious sources, 50,000 people were exiled in the interior under the already-known conditions. The Hellenism of the Black Sea coast underwent an absolute extinction”.

In total this information shows the necessity of the recognition of the genocide of the Armenians and the Greeks of Pontus so as to set an end to this deadly series with Smyrne, Imvros, Tenedos, Constantinople and Cyprus. Even now shadows of the past are coming back to remind us of the crimes which some try to hide in indifference and everyday life. However, these crimes cannot come under statute of limitations.

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