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The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks As a Case of Violent Turkification – – By Matthias Bjornlund

The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks As a Case of Violent Turkification – – By Matthias Bjornlund

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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Journal of Genocide Research
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713431069
The 1914 cleansing of Aegean Greeks as a case of violent Turkification
Matthias Bjørnlund
To cite this Article
Bjørnlund, Matthias(2008) 'The 1914 cleansing of Aegean Greeks as a case of violent Turkification', Journal of Genocide Research, 10: 1, 41 — 58
To link to this Article: DOI:
10.1080/14623520701850286
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Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 
The 1914 cleansing of Aegean Greeksas a case of violent Turkification
MATTHIAS BJØRNLUND
In1992,GreekhistorianIoannisHassiotiswrotethat“[i]tisstrangethatbothGreeand Armenian historians should have treated the first persecutions of the Greeks in1913–14 and the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as separate phenomena.”
1
Thetendency to treat as separate phenomena various aspects of CUP policies of whatI would dub “violent Turkification”—interconnected policies of, for example,ethnic cleansing and genocide aimed at the homogenization of the OttomanEmpire—is not new, nor can it merely be seen in the writings of Greek andArmenian scholars. Before, during, and after WWI, the wide range of mainlyWestern diplomats, missionaries, etc. in the empire would primarily witness andreport on the specific aspect of CUP policies that was the Armenian genocide—afact that has often been reflected in scholarly accounts that have likewise tendedto focus on this event rather than on the persecution of other groups.
2
Two mainreasonsforthisseemtobethat:(1)before,during,andaftertheArmeniangenocidemany such observers (especially missionaries) worked among Armenians ratherthan among, for example, Greeks or Assyrians; and (2) these observers were there-fore generally more receptive to the suffering of those they had often literally builttheir lives around, and were placed at geographical locations where they couldmainly observe the destruction of the Armenians. A third reason is that manysaw the Armenian genocide, with its widespread, large-scale, and systematicmassacres and death marches, as more condensed in time and more radical in itsintent and execution than other campaigns of destruction.But a number of observers did see other non-Turkish groups as targets of CUPpolicies and would view these policies as connected. To name a few examples: inthe Ottoman Senate, Ahmed Riza would during WWI, as the only high-level andvocal Turkish voice of dissent, criticize the persecution of Armenians, Greeks, andArabs and the confiscation of their property.
3
Danish diplomatic minister atConstantinople, Carl Ellis Wandel, reported on how the CUP would use extermi-nation to bring a stop to what they considered as Arab, Armenian, and Greek domination in the Ottoman parliament that would lead to their loss of power.
4
George E. White suggested that the purpose of the CUP was to “create auniform state, one in Turkish nationality, and one in Moslem orthodoxy
 Journal of Genocide Research
(2008),
10
(1),March, 4157
ISSN 1462-3528 print; ISSN 1469-9494 online
/
08
/
010041-17
#
2008 Research Network in Genocide StudiesDOI: 10.1080
/
14623520701850286
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 19 :06 22  F eb r u a r y 2011
 
through deportation of Armenians and Greeks and suppression of the “unorthodox”Alevis.
5
Member of the
American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief 
,William Walker Rockwell, stated that the number of Armenians and Syrians hadbeen severely decimated as a result of CUP policies and that there had been“awful misery among the Palestinian Jews.”
6
H. F. Ulrichsen, MP, member of theorganization
Danish Friends of Armenians
,
7
and secretary to Wandel 1914–16,contended that the CUP and the Kemalist“‘cleansing policy’ [‘Udrensningspolitik’][
. . .
] had as its aim the removal of all the foreign bodies—Christians and Jews—which were influencing Turkey to such a large degree.”
8
Such views have now begun to be reflected by researchers of the CUP and earlyKemalist periods who emphasize the role of “ethnic reconfiguration”
9
or “demo-graphic engineering,”
10
the planned, interconnected, and proactive (as opposed to“accidental,” isolated, or reactive) elements of these policies. While Turkish his-toriography has traditionally denied or downplayed such policies, these scholars,whether or not they use the “g”-word, now suggest that the Armenian genocidewas an aspect of a policy of Turkification, albeit usually described as its mostextremely violent aspect.
11
According to Taner Akcam, the CUP had prior toWWI “formulated a policy that they began to execute in the Aegean regionagainst the Greeks and, during the war years, expanded to include the Assyrians,the Chaldeans, the Syrians, and especially the Armenians, a policy that eventuallybecame genocidal. [
. . .
] Detailed reports were prepared [by the Special Organiz-ation] outlining the elimination of the Christian population. These measures wereimplemented in the Aegean region in the spring of 1914.”
12
This study aims totake a closer look at these pre-war persecutions of Aegean Greeks as an aspectof violent Turkification, i.e. as more than an isolated (series of) incident(s) withlittle or no relation to other instances of CUP group persecution or to anyoverall CUP goal of Turkification. The sources consist of published reports,memoirs, etc., and scholarly works, with an emphasis on unpublished Danisharchival material that supplements existing knowledge of the events.
The beginnings of violent Turkification
Seen from the vantage point of observers in the major harbour city of Smyrna(Izmir), and in Constantinople (Istanbul), the Ottoman capital, CUP policies of group persecution began in earnest with the attempted ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Greeks living along the Aegean littoral.
13
Attempts at removing non-Turkish influences from the economy had been initiated by the CUP after aradical faction of the Committee had gained power in 1913, and this policy wassupplemented with the cleansing of more than 100,000 Greeks from the Aegeanand Thrace in the spring and summer of 1914.
14
Papers reported that thousandsof Greeks in Thrace were forced by the authorities to embark for Greece orconvert to Islam,
15
and that Greeks from around Rodosto were reported to be suf-fering on the fields and roads while Muslim Albanians and Cretans were installedin their houses.
16
This was apparently the result of careful deliberations and pre-liminary research by the CUP, though it was decided to hide the connection
MATTHIAS BJØRNLUND
42
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 19 :06 22  F eb r u a r y 2011

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