Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Greek Genocide in Thrace

Good luck and well done to the Pan Thracian Union of America, which is organising for 6 April outside the UN building in New York a commemoration to mark the genocide in the last century of Greeks in Eastern Thrace, Constantinople, Imvros and Tenedos. (See video above and go here, here and here for more information).

Historical pointer to the Greek Genocide: In reaction to two hundred years of humiliating military defeats, foreign domination and retrenchment of the Ottoman empire, Turkish nationalists from 1914 onwards embarked on a campaign to physically exterminate all non-Turkish/Muslim elements from Anatolia, Asia Minor and Thrace. Just like the Nazis blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat in the First World War, so the Young Turks attributed the prostration of the Ottoman empire to the 'minorities'. The outcome was the genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. Modern Turkey was founded on genocide, its leaders were men who supported and committed genocide, the country's national ideology justified and is steeped in genocide. The Greek Genocide in Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace and Pontos, the pogroms in Constantinople, ethnic cleansing in Imvros and Tenedos and the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus, are all a result of the genocidal ideology that underpins post-Ottoman Turkey and is still a prominent feature of that country's makeup.

On the resentment and self-loathing at the heart of Young Turk and Kemalist ideology: I came across this article in the Turkish Daily News recently, by Oktay Eksi, repudiating the 'yearning' for the Ottoman empire cultivated by the Islamists and which could have been written 100 years ago by those Turks preparing genocide. Here's an extract:

'We wonder what the aim or "yearning" is of those attempting to install an "Ottoman fashion"

'Which of the 36 Ottoman sultans, excluding Mehmet the Conqueror, Selim the Brave, and Suleiman the Magnificent, can be remembered with respect and admiration for being far-sighted?

'Do you know of any other dynasty that allows its founders, in other words the Turkish people, to be quashed by minorities?

'Which dynasty, which lived a third of its entire history in degradation, can again be longed for?

'Let's try to endure its military defeats. Aside from the magnificent works of Architect Sinan [a Greek, by the way. JA], we don't know what else Ottoman history has contributed to civilization that can make us proud?

'Can we rationalize 600 years of history with Sinan alone?

'Don’t those who yearn for a return to the Ottoman era know that envoys from foreign countries were far more influential than either the Sultan or the government on very important issues during the last century of this period?

'Perhaps their failure to digest the basic principles of the republic that replaced this era lies at the heart of this yearning?'