The Greek Genocide History
The genocide I’m revolving my term paper around is the Greek Genocide. The Greek Genocide started during and after World War I from 1914 to 1923. More specifically, the Ottoman Empire were the central antagonists that perpetuated this systematic extermination of millions of innocent Greek lives. Amongst the lofty death toll, other unfortunate consequences of this genocide included but were not limited to: deportation by force, agonizing death marches, rape, and imposing religion on to the Greeks. The Greek Genocide was one of the most infamous genocides in recent European history, and the foundation of the genocide started off back in 1908 when the young Turk movement revolted against the Muslim sovereign, the Sultan.
The Turkish nationalist movement was a revolutionary reform group that centralized its existence on eradicating the regime of the infamous Ottoman Sultan Abdelhamid ll. The Turk’s movement premise was to inaugurate a government that was just and constitutional and to dethrones Abdlhamid once and for all. The goal became more transparent as time progressed, and in 1889 a conspiracy towards Abdlhamid grasped the attention of everybody in the city, and as a result, a revolution was being constructed by the intellectual minds of college students to overthrow Abdelhamid.
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The most notable mastermind behind this conspiracy was Ahmed Riza, who was a part of a Young Turkish movement known as the Committee of Union and Progress. This committee’s ideology was one of a sturdy, collective government without the presence of foreign influences. Moving along towards the actual genocide, the Ottoman Empire provoked the mass extermination of the Greeks. Between 1914 to 1923, the adversity and repercussions of World War I, the Ottoman Empire, and the Republic of Turkey’s forerunner, was all subject to a methodical and meticulous annihilation according to an article written by the Institute on the Holocaust&Genocide in Jerusalem. This genocide in simple terms was orchestrated to assure the abrupt end of Turkey’s Greek population.
This act was a joint collaboration of two governments; the perpetrators were the Young Turks and the Kemalism nationalists. This mass extermination consisted of death marches and massacres all across Ottoman Turkey, as they were described. The total number of those who perished is close to one million Ottoman Greeks, an appalling number noted by historians. The very start of the genocide occurred back in 1915. In mid-April, it was historically noted that approximately 250 Armenian natives were incarcerated from their homeland of Anatolia.
This number rose as time progressed and within the next few months a whopping 1.5 million Armenians had been diverted from Anatolia indefinitely. The place where the massacre occurred is now present-day Turkey, and killings also occurred in the central, northern, and western regions of the country. The untimely death of the Armenians also correlated with the extermination of the Assyrians. It was estimated that about 250,000 Assyrians also perished as a result of the genocide according to Armenian weekly. The consistent pressure applies byOttoman forces raised concerns from neighboring Greeks.
These onslaughts eventually led to the Greeks catching exposure from the rage and fury of the Ottoman Empire. As early as the spring of 1916, an order was placed by the Ottoman Empire to physically remove all Pontic Greeks from all of Turkey’s regions, in particular, the Ottoman Empire targeted Greeks who were living in the coastal towns of the Black Sea. The main reason for this move was because the Ottoman Empire suspected that the Greeks were possible security threats and relaying Intel to Russia. Also with news of the recent killings, the Ottoman Empire was frightened that a revolt might take place in light of their recent actions towards their neighbors.
This caused panic within the Ottoman Empire, and as a result, drastic measures took place and the beginning of an all out war was about to happen. With news spreading about Greek cooperation with Russia, the Ottoman Empire imposed a deportation protocol carried out by a special ops force connected with the Ottoman Empire called the “Teskilat-i Mahsusa”.
The founder, Enver Pasha, was a strong advocate of Western Imperialism and was actually the same guy who carried out the order to slay the Armenians. He orchestrated is organization by recruiting convicted murders who were freshly released from prison, and had nothing to live for. He manipulated and brainwashed these people and convinced them that, in what he described, an “ethnic cleansing” of the Greeks was purely justified in the fact that they were a threat to the Ottoman Empire.
Documents uncovered by historians reveal that Pasha would personally go to these prisons and seek out the most volatile, injurious inmates and reward them based off of the prison term they were facing. Moving along, the way they executed their plan to kill the Greeks was systematically masterminded by the Teskilat-i Mahsusa. First, they invaded the Turkey regions, rounding up all the greeks isolating them, then they tortured, robbed, and raped Greek Women, and lastly they executed them with no remorse.
Luckily for the Greeks, with insight knowledge on the previous attacks on the Armenians, some were able to evade the deportations carried out by the Ottoman Empire by setting forth to the mountains. The Mountains provide them higher grounds and cover from the enemy. With all of the commotion surrounding the genocide, surprisingly there were no efforts to involve international nations.
The Greek Genocide is widely referred to the as the “lost genocide” across the globe, and it’s not surprising why there wasn’t any international help to stop the massacre. Along with the lack of international efforts, there also wasn’t a tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators. According to historians, during the midst of the Greek genocide, the Amasya trials took place in 1921. These trials contrary to popular belief, didn’t benefit the Pontic Greeks at all.
It was more in favor towards the perpetrators, the Ottoman Empire. During these trials The national Turkish movement organized a trial in which they prosecuted Greek representatives in hopes to kill them all within the realm of the law during that time period. During this trial, is was estimated that about 400-450 Greeks were killed as documented by an article covering the Amasya trials.
All in all, the Greek Genocide took a devastating toll on the morality of the Pontic Greek people. Not only was the genocide unjust, there was absolutely no motive to murder all of those innocent people. To this day, there are still a plethora of people who are completely oblivious that this genocide even occurred, and the majority of these people are modern-day Greeks.
This genocide is one of many genocides in all of history that has been overlooked and neglected, and because of that, it has been lost deep in the realms of history for quite some time. The prolonged pain and agony the Pontic Greeks and Assyrians endured during the genocide are still felt by their descendants today. With that being said, the inhumane and cruel punishment inflicted by the Ottoman Empire will not only taint Turkey’s reputation, but it will haunt the country for the rest of eternity.
- Akçam, Taner, et al. The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity : The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, Princeton University Press, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/kean/detail.action?docID=869206.
- Genocide in the Ottoman Empire : Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923, edited by George N. Shirinian, Berghahn Books, Incorporated, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/kean/detail.action?docID=4677001.
- RCen, Greek Genocide. “An Overview of the Greek Genocide.” Greek Genocide Resource Center, 6 June 2018, www.greek-genocide.net/index.php/overview.
- “The Untold Genocide The Greek Genocide.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 June 2015, youtu.be/9fvdD9gBbYU.
- Hovannisian, Richard G.. The Armenian Genocide : Wartime Radicalization or Premeditated Continuum, Routledge, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/kean/detail.action?docID=4930914
- Kevorkian, Raymond. The Armenian Genocide : A Complete History, I. B. Tauris & Company, Limited, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/kean/detail.action?docID=738284.
- Bloxham, Donald. “The Armenian Genocide of 1915-1916: Cumulative Radicalization and the Development of a Destruction Policy.” Past & Present, no. 181, 2003, pp. 141–191. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3600788.