3288 - A note on the history of massacres for the special correspondent of Morning Post (Constantinople, December 5, 1918)

N. Lygeros
Translated from French by M. Theodosiadou

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The purpose of the massacres of Greeks organized by the Turks and the Germans, like those of the Armenians, was the extermination of a race.

On the pretext of seeking refuge for the Turks who had been forced out of Europe after the Balkan wars, 250 000 Greeks were expelled.

While pre-war persecutions aimed at the expulsion of the Greeks of Thrace and Asia Minor, those of the second period were undertaken to exterminate the Hellenic race in Turkey.

In April 1914, von Jagow justified these persecutions by declaring that every Greek citizen in Turkey was a representative of panhellenism, and therefore constituted a danger to the country.

German agencies, like the German Bank of Palestine were engaged in a violent propaganda, pushing the Muslims into the hatred towards Christians.

The Treaties of Adrianople in June 1915 between Turkey and Bulgaria:

1) Creation of a Turkish-Bulgarian commercial union as a corollary to the political union.
2) Wrest control of the commerce of the east from the Greeks.
3) Establishment of Muslim agencies addressed to the Muslims only, in order to break off business relations with Greeks.
4) Reduction of the Patriarchate’s privileges.
5) Defence of the teaching of the Greek language in the future.
7) Forced conversions of the population of Christian groupings to Islam, imposition of mixed marriages.

Methods of persecutions:

1) Abolition of privileges
2) Enlistment of Greeks
3) Contributions and requisitions
4) Forced conversions to Islam
5) Deportations
6) Assassinations

Christians were incorporated in the workers’ battalions and sent into the interior. Those who formed part of them, were reduced to a skeleton state, both by the burning plains of Mesopotamia and the icy mountains of Caucasus. They were dying by millions. Entire battalions succumbed to typhus or cholera. Many were those who were massacred by the Turkish guards who were tired of watching over them. A trustworthy informant says to me that 150.000 Greeks enlisted in these battalions, perished.

Approximately 250.000 Greeks of Thrace and of the coasts of Asia Minor fled to Greece, of which 40.000 served in the Greek army in Macedonia.

Due to 300 desertions in the district of Kerasounta, 88 villages were razed to the ground in three months. Approximately 30.000 inhabitants, mainly women and children, were made to walk to Ankara in mid-winter, without having the right to take a single object with them. One quarter died on the way.

In December 1914, the town of Aivali was encircled by the Turks. All men were arrested, while their wives and daughters were raped.

These mass deportations were decided by the Committee at the beginning of 1915. According to a very moderate estimate, the number of the deportees comes up to 450.000.

Rafet Pasha, ex-governor of Bitlis was sent to Samsun with the strict order to become the curse for the Greeks. He has fully accomplished his mission.

More than 150.000 were deported from this district and that of Trebizond. Fearing the fate of the Armenians, hundreds of girls committed suicide falling into the rivers. In the province of Samsun, 108 villages were entirely evacuated and burned.

In summary, there is the certainty that 450.000 Greeks were deported and died, 150.000 were enlisted in the workers’ battalions and died, 250 000 fled from Asia Minor and Thrace to Greece and 350.000 were deported after the Balkan wars, before the Great War.