1903 - Two articles of the Treaty on the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations

N. Lygeros
Translated from the Greek by Athena Kehagias

On section E’ of the Treaty of Lausanne we find various provisions including the Convention on the exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, which was signed on the 30th of January 1923.
This treaty consists of 19 articles. The first article gives the general framework. It’s symmetrical as to the Greeks and the Turks and is based on religion.
It states that the exchange is de facto permanent situation when:
“These people will be unable to return anew for settlement in Turkey or in Greece respectively without the authorization of the Turkish Government and the Greek Government respectively.”

Article 2 examines in detail the various categories of Greeks and Turks in regards to the Exchange context and it’s exceptions.
“There will be not incuded in the exchange stated in the first article ,
a) the Greek inhabitants of Constantinople
b) the Muslim inhabitants of Western Thrace. “

We already notice that the verbal characterisation is not the same as the one in the first article. While in the first the symmetry is dual as it’s based on religion, in the second article we see that the Muslims do not form a symmetric element of the Christians but of the Greeks.
Although there are reasonable explanations of the type: in Turkey there were several types of Christians and not only Orthodox Christians and in Greece there were only Turks, we can see that they don’t stand as arguments.
Because in this context, what does the expression, Greek residents of Constantinople mean ?
Were they, or were they not Turkish in relation to citizenship?
Why the expressions, Greek Christians and Turkish Muslims are not clearly stated ?
As we read the treaty, there were Greeks in Turkey whereas in Greece there were Muslims. So what is the status of the minorities in this context?
Is there really a difference between Muslims and Turkish speaking people, Pomaks Gypsies? In fact, the distinction is not clear from the treaty and the same applies regarding citizenship.

«Θέλουσι θεωρηθή ως Μουσουλμάνοι κάτοικοι της Δυτικής Θράκης, πάντες οι Μουσουλμάνοι οι εγκατεστημένοι εν τη περιοχή ανατολικώς της μεθορίου γραμμής της καθορισθείσης τω 1913 δια της Συνθήκης του Βουκουρεστίου.»

Article 2 defines periodic frames also.
“Shall they wish they could be regarded as Greek inhabitants of Constantinople, all the Greeks already settled prior to October 30, 1918, in the regions of the Prefecture of Constantinople, as that is determined by the law of 1912”

The date of 1918 is associated indirectly with the problem of the Pontian genocide and acts as a negative element.
And the law of 1912 is related to the issuance of property lists that allowed the acquisition of property to Turkey and are causing problems to the community of Tenedos because it was Greek at the time and has no property titles whatsoever according to the Turkish Government.
As far as the Muslims are concerned, Article 2 continues as follows:
“They shall be regarded at will, as Muslims residents of Western Thrace, all Muslims settled within the area east of the border ,as described in 1913 by the Treaty of Bucharest.”