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Post A Legacy of Betrayal: Anatolia's Greeks after WWI
Created by John Eipper on 05/01/21 3:32 AM

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A Legacy of Betrayal: Anatolia's Greeks after WWI (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 05/01/21 3:32 am)

The Armenian genocide has not been fully recognized until almost now. Yet the genocide of the Anatolian Greeks is practically unknown outside of Greece.

We may even say that Constantinople was betrayed in the spring of 1453 by the Christian countries--only a few Catalans, Papals, Neapolitans with the fallen duke of Venosa and 700 Genoese guided by the gallant Giovanni Giustiniani arrived to help against the hundred thousand Ottomans.

Greece was again betrayed by its former allies after the Great War, not to mention the betrayal of Armenians and Kurds.

With the Treaty of Sevres on 10 August 1920, Greece obtained Izmir and the Thrace except for the Bulgarian Northern part and Istanbul (Constantinople). The Treaty, however, was not ratified by the new Turkish government, so the Greeks on October 1920 advanced eastward. At first they were verbally supported by the UK PM David Lloyd George. Unfortunately, at the same time the king of Greece died following a monkey bite, throwing Greece into a serious political crisis which very badly influenced the conduct of the war and the diplomatic actions.

Greece perhaps was asking too much. It also sought the Italian-occupied Dodecanese Islands, pieces of Bulgaria and Albania (the latter supposedly under Italian influence), and of course and rightly Cyprus.

Therefore, Italy, France, and the UK did not support Greece. On the contrary, their support was shifted to Kemal Ataturk, who was already openly supported by the Soviets.

Greece remained alone and in the end, was defeated. On 13 September 1922 Izmir was conquered by the Turks, and the local Greek and Armenian population were wiped out. Some sources claim that up to 100,000 Greeks and Armenians were murdered. Greece accepted an armistice followed by the Losanna Treaty on 24 July 1923 with the present borders, apparently reaffirmed in a discussion by the dictator (as per Italian PM) Erdogan.

As mentioned above, during the war many atrocities and retaliations were committed by all parties involved, after all, 700 years of Turkish attacks on the Christians could not have been forgotten.

Through 1924, 1,400,000 Greeks were expelled from their homes of many centuries, versus 500,000 Turks expelled from Greece.

We know the tragic fate of Armenians and Kurds.

We should add the Corfù incident.

On 27 August 1923, unknown terrorists killed the Italian General Tellini, in charge of drawing the International borders between Greece and Albania, together with four other persons of his staff, including an Albanian driver. It was immediately believed that the terrorists were Greeks (could they also have been Albanians resettled in Greece?) and Italy in retaliation occupied the island of Corfu for one month until the Greek government paid compensation.

JE comments:  You have to take the long, long view to understand the enmity between Turkey and Greece.  As Harry Papasotiriou recently wrote in reference to Cyprus, the Greeks cannot remember what happened on the island, and the Turks cannot forget.  We might qualify this by saying that the victims throughout the region have the photographic memories, while the perpetrators are the amnesiac proponents of "moving on."

I never knew about the demise of Greece's King Alexander.  He was just 27 when a monkey bit him after attacking his dog.  The wounds grew septic and proved fatal 23 days later.  Just a generation later, antibiotics would have saved him for certain.


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