A strange announcement made by the Turkish Foreign Minister shows how much Turkey is rattled on the subject of the Pontian Genocide.
The participation of the hundreds and thousands of people in the memorial events organized in Greece and abroad on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus, and the associated events covered by major foreign newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, were accompanied by statements of the leaders of the political parties in Greece who promised to work for the internationalization and recognition of the Genocide by foreign parliaments for the first time, with the ultimate goal of Turkey’s ack-
It is the first time that the Turkish Foreign Minister has issued such a strong announcement, showing how much Turkey has “been cornered” on this issue. The announcement states: “The attempts of some extreme circles in Greece to overshadow this important day with fantastic allegations against our history, with actions aimed at triggering hatred against Turkey, as well as statements by some politicians in Greece, which distort historical events, having their own political motives, can not be accepted.
We remind those who relied on these unfounded allegations, on Greece’s responsibility for the atrocities committed by its Army, which also violated the laws of war upon the invasion of Anatolia, as well as its obligation to pay compensation, which was laid down in the Treaty of Lausanne.
We mention that when the atrocities committed by the Greek Army against the Turks reached an inconceivable magnitude, the allies of Greece established a Committee and recognized inhuman crimes of the Greek Army. In fact, these unfounded claims that are aimed at our history have nothing to do with reason, conscience and justice. This rhetoric is incompatible with our goals of promoting our bilateral relations and leaves a negative heritage to future generations … “
To put the facts in order and to inform our readers responsibly and objectively, we present the following about the statements of the Turkish Foreign Ministry:
Firstly, the issue does not concern some “extreme circles” in Greece and, as demonstrated on Sunday 19 May 2019. The issue concerns the entire political scene and the parties of Greece. Therefore, this argument, regarding extremist circles in Greece and the few and absurd voices within Greece and predominantly within the SYRIZA party questioning and attempting to undermine the question of the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus Asia Minor and Thrace, from 1914 to 1923, was blown appart. There can not be an “extremist circles” in all political world and parties in Greece.
Secondly, as regards the responsibilities of Greece invoked by the Turkish Foreign Ministry as “atrocities” of the Greek Army that had acted in Asia Minor and the obligation to pay war compensation from Greece to Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne, let us note the following:
The Genocide of Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians began with a central plan of the Neo – Turks in 1914, five years before the Greek Army went to Smyrna and Asia Minor. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire itself accepted that it had committed genocide from 1914 to October 1918, when the armistice Treaty of Moudros was signed, and even constituted the Courts of War in which the perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide were tried. Therefore, the argument concerning the presence of the Greek Army in Asia Minor is at least inconsistent.
As for the “atrocities” of the Greek Army and the war compensations that Greece had to pay under the Treaty of Lausanne, the truth here is inconsistent. Greece was obligated to pay war compensation because it was the loser in the Asia Minor War and it had nothing to do with “atrocities” or war crimes.
Equally, in the Treaty of Sevres, which took place with Turkey on the losing side, envisaged that special courts would be set up to examine the war crimes committed by the Turks against the Anatolian Christians from 1914 until 1918. Also, concerning Greece’s war compensations, Greece has granted Karagac, which lies west of the Evros, in Turkey as a compensation for the compensation, which Turkey’s Prime Minister Ismet Inonou has accepted.
Therefore, there is no question of war compensation.
Thirdly, with regard to the argument that “This rhetoric is incompatible with our goals to promote our bilateral relations and leaves a negative heritage to future generations”, let us emphasize that the rhetoric of denial is the main obstacle that undermines the future of the next generations. As the genocides feel right and proud of their actions, they are at all times ready to commit the same and worse as it has been proven since 1923 to date.
Finally, with regard to Turkey’s arguments, with which Turkey attempts to hide the its crime behind the presence of the Greek Army in Asia Minor, besides systematically slaughtering the Greeks of Pontus and Asia Minor continuously from 1914 until 1918, that is, before Greek Army landed on Smyrna, there is the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Why did they kill them? Had also the Armenian army invaded Asia Minor? And did the Turks conduct Genocide on the Armenians to defend themselves? Of course not. They had prepared and planned from 1911 for the cleansing of all Christian populations and mconducted it from 1914 until 1923, with a break of several months after the signing the armistice Treaty of Moudros and the disembarkation of Mustafa Kemal in Amisus, 19 May 1919.
This is the truth and it is not extremist, nor are those who struggle to expose it. Extreme were the actions of the Young Turks and the Kemalists, and Turkey must acknowledge them. This is a one-way street for peace.
By Savva Kalenteridi