Saturday, 26 January 2013

Challenging neo-Ottoman histories of Thessaloniki


Infognomon Politika  reported a worthwhile event that took place in Thessaloniki last night at which Yiannis Tachopoulos presented his book (in Greek) Thessaloniki, Mazower and the Ghosts of Ottomanism. Tachopoulos wants to repudiate Mark Mazower’s 2006 book, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950, which depicts the Turkish occupation of one of the great Greek cities as a model of multiculturalism, lamenting the end of heterogenous Thessaloniki after liberation in 1912 and its incorporation into Greece.

The Infognomon Politika article says Tachopoulos’ book challenges Mazower’s thesis that has come to dominate academic and intellectual debates around Thessaloniki, and in which (my translation): ‘Thessaloniki is portrayed not as a Greek city, brutally dehellenised in 1430 after the Turkish conquest and again with the slaughter of 1821, [but] an Ottoman city, rehellenised after its liberation in 1912, destroying in the process a multicultural city that had lasted five centuries. According to Mazower, Thessaloniki ceases to be a Greek city 2,300 years old, and is transformed into a city of Ottoman ghosts.

‘Tachopoulos’ book is a tribute to mark the 100 years anniversary of the liberation of the Thessaloniki at a time when there is a systematic campaign to de-emphasise the city’s Greek identity in preparation for its post-national, neo-Ottoman future.’

In the brief video above, Mazower speaks about the Greek economic crisis; the state of history teaching in Greece; and his latest book on international governance.

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