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HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS ON THE AEGEAN A SYNOPTICAL REVIEW FROM ANCIENT TIMES T0 THE PRESENT By Nicholaos L. Moraitis, Ph.D.

International Relations

The Aegean: Ancient echoes in the Greek subconscious are sprung from that Hellenic Sea called Aegean. There, before times, gods dwelt in splendid, fathoms-deep palaces, while on the billowing, sparkling surface there were wafted the many-sailed ships of heroes described by Homer and Hesied and Pindar. Unto these elect spirits the Aegean was their closed Greek lake, even 3,000 years since, even as it remains to the Greeks today.

And this "closed Greek lake" impression was also felt by Socrates, who pithily observed that the Aegean was "a marsh around which the Greeks live in the manner of frogs."

Aegean. Precisely what is meant by the term? Geologists believe that the site carne into existence a million years ago. Solid earth which covered the present area, offshoot of the ancient, maternal Aegida. Subsequent to the action of violent underground forces, it was

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cleft and sundered and was plunged into the depths of the great Tithyida Ocean. Thus the churning, rushing waters inundated crevices and ravines and breaches and various other expanses. Divers peaks and mountains which form the picturesque islets of today, and

which even then made up an attractive multitude of islands of the Aegean Sea, were hidden from view. In very general outline, that comprises the history of the Aegean Sea.

Etymology of the Name, Aegean: With reference to its name, many conjectures and etymologies are advanced. Perhaps the most plausible is that the prefix aig is of Indo-European derivation denoting rapid and forceful movement. Aegean, therefore describes a turbulent sea, tempest-tossed and lashed by gales.

The advance of man in the Aegean region has been documented from most ancient of times, and is accompanied by a medley of myths, which have survived to this day. The most widely-known and most characteristic is the splendid legend of Theseus.

Theseus: According to this account, in the ancient city

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of Troezene there dwelt a youth, who was named Theseus. The lord of that region, King Pittheas, was his grandfather. His mother was called Aethra. The boy had never known his father, Aigaias, who was a monarch who so involved himself with the affairs of state that he had no time for family life. That was the explanation his mother, Aethra, gave young Theseus whenever he would ask. She would add that his father, Aigaias, reigned in Attica, and that he lived in Athens, which was the most renowned city of that period.

To his importuning that he be permitted to go to Athens to meet his father, Aethra objected, saying that he was not yet mature enough to undertake the journey. But in truth such was the command of Agaias, that the mother must not permit the son to come to Athens before he was a mature and stalwart man. But finally the moment arrived, and Theseus departed for Athens.

That first journey was historical; for according to the directions of his grandfather, Pittheas, he was to travel by sea. En route he relieved Epidavros of the notorious malefactor Perifitis, Corinth of the dreadful

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Sinen, Megara of the thief Skeiron, and Attica in the vicinity of Daphne of the malefactor Prokroustis.

His meeting with his aged father was both stirring and moving. In an emotion-filled atmosphere Aigaias acknowledged his son.

At that same period it was the practice of Athens annually to send youths and maidens to the Island o~ Crete, to be devoured by the Minotaur, a dreadful monster, half-man, half bull, kept by King Minoas, instigator of the yearly slaughter. And this he had begun, for when he had sent his son, Androgeon, to Athens to participate in the Attic games, the youth had triumphed. Subsequently, however, the youth was lost to his father, for in the course of a hunt in Attica he was slain by a wild bull.

Thereupon Minoas declared was against the Athenias, and the Minotaur's yearly devouring of Athenian youths and maidens selected by lot ensued in memory of the lost Androgeon. On the day of their departure for Crete the weeping and the wailing may well be imagined.

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When Theseus witnessed that tragic scene and learned of the Minotaur, and of the grisly practice, which was already in its third year, he informed his father, Aigaias, that he would embark for Crete, there to slay the Minotaur, and to relieve Athens of that dreadful calamity.

As was natural, Aigaias attempted in various ways to dissuade his son, but at length gave in. Theseus thereupon directed that six youths be selected; he himself would be the seventh.

As the ship was about to depart, Aigaias instructed his son that should he indeed slay the Minotaur, he change the ship's black sails to white, so that the distraught father, seeing them from the shore, would know that Theseus was returning alive and victorious.

Theseus sailed to Crete, slew the monster Minotaur, but in the moment of triumph he forgot to raise the white sails. From Sounion of Attica King Aigaias saw the return of the black-sailed ship. Overcome by grief, he cast himself into that which ever since has borne his name, the Aegean.1

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The Gods: The Aegean Sea was both homeland and dwelling-place of many gods of ancient Greece. In the extremist depths, in the very center of the Aegean, Poseidon, the god of the seas, had established at watery Aegas his splendid and eternal palace, which, as Homer has described, was built of effulgent gold.

Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and of love, sprang up from the Aegean foam. Apollo, god of light, of poetry, and of music was born in the island of Delos, that isle sacred to the Greeks.

The depths of the Aegean were crowded with gods of the sea. Triton and Neron accompanied the Greek ships in order to protect them from both tempests and pirates.

Jason: But the Aegean was not alone the abode of gods. For upon it there sailed the greatest heroes of ancient Greece----Hercules, Jason, and Theseus, thus to effect their greatest achievements. Indeed, on a first

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Journey, Hercules sailed upon the Aegean in order to bring unto Mycenae the sash of Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons in Asia Minor; on a second journey he sailed it to punish the King of Troy, Laomedon, whose city he lay waste.

Jason led the Argonaut expedition to Colchis of the Euxine Sea, in the successful attempt to seize the golden fleece.

Compelling as they are, rich in detail, certainly all of the above descriptions are myths. And yet, under the guise of mythical mantle, many of these accounts cover remote and dimly-remembered occurrences harking back to prehistoric struggles of earlier inhabitants of the Greek mainland, their efforts toward the conquest of the Aegean, and through it of their expansion toward adjacent lands for the purpose of colonization and commerce.2

The Age of Antiquity: The mythological ages were succeeded by the age of antiquity, in the course of which there were created three great Greek nations, following the struggles of the ancient Greeks against Karyes, the Leleges, the Phoenicians, and the Persians. They established the nautical kingdom of Crete, the

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Achean nation of Mycenae, the nautical hegemony of Athens, each of which produced its own civilization. And they were the Minoan or Cretan, the Mycean or Achean, and the Ionic or classical, all of which left their unique imprint on the history of this world.

Hegemony of Athens: From among these nations the maritime Hegemony of Athens emerged as the product of the triumphant wars of Greece against the attacking might of the Persian Empire. Thus Greece, with its capital in Athens, embraced most of the cities of mainland Greece, all of the Aegean with its innumerable islands, and the populous communities of Macedonia, Thrace, and Asia Minor. Then, indeed was the Aegean Sea a Greek lake.

At length the Hegemony of Athens became embroiled with the great power of Sparta, and the struggle continued for 27 whole years. This was the Peloponnesian War known to the students of ancient Greek history. I~ resulted in the dissolution of the Hegemony of Athens, following the complete destruction of its fleet in the Aigos, River near the Hellespont.

There followed the Hegemony of Sparta, which in turn was succeeded


by

the Hegemony of Thebes. The outcome

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of this civil war was to prompt the reappearance of the Persians in Phoenician ships, which from the time of Kimon had been repulsed by the Athenian fleets. 3

Alexander the Great: This situation did not endure for long, for Alexander the Great created the HellenoMacedonian Empire, and utterly destroyed the maritime Persian might. Thus the Aegean again became a Greek sea.4

The Roman Empire: But now a new situation arose in the Aegean. Greece, including Macedonia, and Asia Minor became Roman provinces.

When the Capitol of the Roman Empire was transferred to Constantinople, the Aegean assumed an especial significance, becoming, as it were, the courtyard of the Capitol, whence all routes of the far-flung Roman Empire were terminated.5

Greek the Official Language of the Byzantine Empire: From the 6th century A.D., when the Eastern part of the Roman Empire once again became homogeneous---that is, Greek, and austerely Orthodox, the Greek

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Byzantine Empire-------the Aegean again became a Greek Sea. Characteristic of that period was the action taken by the Emperor Justinian, who abolished the use of the Latin of the West, and who established Greek as the official language of the Greek Byzantine Empire.

The Crusaders Destroy Constantinople: From 1202-1204 A.D. their attempt to retrieve the Holy Land from the Mohammedan conquerors frustrated, the

Crusaders instead the fell upon and sacked Christian Constantinople. Fifty years later it was retrieved by the Byzantines. But their maritime power was vanished. The city itself, the Queen of Cities, was irrevocably despoiled, ruined, and debilitated. In 1453 the enfeebled, wraith-City was captured by the Turks.6

Greece Walks with History: Enslaved or free, Greece has always walked hand in hand with its history. Late in time, even now, Turkey----whence prompted no one knows--questions the Hellenism of the Aegean. Through various ruses and paths it endeavors to present purported established facts. Witness the Cypriot tragedy of 1974. And the grim situation persists, despite

-11the international outcry, the vote of the Assembly of the United Nations, and the decisions on the part of the Security Council.

But those accomplished facts are a stigma upon the civilization of the 20th century. Turkey, violating all sense of justice and logic, has

seized approximately 40 of the Cypriot territory, which it retains to this day, colonizes it, and attempts to call the Cypriot land its own. For 200,000 indigenous Greek Cypriots remain as refugees upon their own soil, in Southern Cyprus.

We consider this reference necessary, because the Aegean crisis involves political motives, and they are related to and planned with the Cypriot crisis. They present the initial examples of Turkish expansion in that volatile part of the globe.

The Aegean Historically Greek: Following the sudden ambitious Turkish claims upon the Aegean, there arose the question: To whom does the Aegean belong today? Certainly if we follow the acknowledged provisions of

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international justice, whereby the indigenous people, the nation, forms the sovereign factor in determining the ownership of an area, indubitably simple logic reveals that from the dawn of history the Aegean has belonged to the Greeks. We must not forget that the history of the colonization of the Aegean is very ancient; it surely did not begin scarcely four years ago upon the whim of the Turkish Government.

The Neolithic Colonization: For we may say that while the Paleolithic peoples have left but rare traces in this vicinity, traces of its Neolithic colonization are very numerous. In Thessaly such articles discovered are dated back to 7,000 B.C. Later On various peoples appeared, to whom the Greeks gave the name of Pelasgians, Leleges, and others, and while there is no unanimity~ of opinion, these are generally considered Pre-Hellenic, that is, unrelated to the Hellenes, who began to appear concretely in 3,000 B.C., to spread over that area as sovereign entities, having subjugated and absorbed the Pre-Hellenic peoples, both on the western shores as well as On the shores of Asia Minor, and in the numerous intervening islands. Thus, with conviction,

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we may safely say that by 1,500 B.C. the Aegean had become a Greek Lake. For either Greeks from the mainland crossed over and settled in Asia Minor; or, as some historians insist, the opposite occurred. And then again other historians believe both movements simultaneously descended upon the Aegean area by using both routes.

Thus in this Greek area from the Neolithic period there was located a branch of the Mediterranean race, which succeeded in assimilating and in absorbing races which had invaded and which had sett led in that region. Concisely then the Greeks of today are lineal descendants of those ancient inhabitants. Thus the Hellenic roots do not reach to depth of a mere 3,000 years since, but to a vastly more remote period, or as we have seen above, those roots go back at least 7,000 years, that is, to the initial Neolithic men, traces of whom we most frequently find.7

Therefore the Aegean had indeed been a Greek Sea from that dim period in history. And the Aegean civilization, which developed beginning with the Bronze Age, a

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resplendent branch of which was the Minoan, and another the Mycenaen civilization, is a purely Greek

civilization. Yet, independently from whether it is or is not a correct assertion, at least by 1,500 B.C. the Aegean was already the center of Hellenism It formed

a horseshoe of shores inhabited solely by Greeks, surrounding that narrow Sea of such vital import. The opening of the horseshoe is described by Crete, a land also Hellenic. And the interior of the Sea was also filled by mightily Hellenic houses, situated in those countless islands. Such was the ethnological composition of the Aegean. It should be especially emphasized that the Aegean is a Sea situated between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, even as it is between Europe and Asia. It was always a bridge, which connected those two important Seas and the two continents. For that reason, from ancient times, it has been the crossroads of peoples and of civilizations.8

Mercantile and Strategic Aegean Importance; Even more noteworthy is the mercantile and strategic importance of the Aegean. Commercially it connects Asia Minor with Europe. At the same time it is crossed

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by that maritime route, which brings the products of the Black Sea to the East and to the Western Mediterranean. From thence, by way of Suez and of Gibraltar onto the oceans.

Strategic Importance of the Aegean: The strategic importance of the Aegean is incomparable. For it is a fact that whoever has the Aegean under his control can impede and interrupt the commercial route of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. He can also check the great arteries of the Suez and Gibraltar. It also arises before the Dardanelles, and is in a position to negate their strategic significance. The Straits of the Dardanelles truly comprise a most strategic water route of communication for Russia with the Mediterranean and the Oceans!
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The Aegean Historically as a Scene of Rivalry: However, the Aegean is capable of nullifying the strategic potentiality of the Dardanelles, for it is able to play a similarly strategic role. For that reason such strategic and commercial importance of the Aegean Sea has always been an apple of discord among the various countries which have great interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

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Precisely for that reason, from ancient times unto this day it has always been the site of conflicts and of rivalry. The very fact of its commercial and strategic importance has, from time to time, prompted the appearance of competitors and of claimants. Oftentimes they have been able to place the area under their own control. However, after a long or a short interval the Greek sovereignty is re-established. In general terms, then, let us refer ourselves unto the historical course of the Aegean Sea.

On of the first rival powers to sail upon it was Troy. They appeared about 1,200 B.C. for, indeed, despite the bitter, destructive war, as Homer and other historians have pointed out, they, too, were Hellenes. On the other hand, the attacking Greeks played a most decisive role, for with the Trojan War they established in that locale a strong bridge leading to Asia Minor, by which means they spread out to Ionia, (Even some 200 years before the Trojan war Greek colonists from Mycenae had fought and conquered the Hittite armies in their attack from eastern Asia Minor against the Acheans in Lycia and other parts of the Southeastern Asia Minor}. On the other hand, the Trojans, dominating the Hellespont through which their ships sailed from the Black Sea, wished to impose their own commercial and strategic control upon the Aegean. But

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the Panhellenic campaign of the Trojan War relieved the 10 Greek Sea of that threat and freed the Straits.

The Persians formed a second force, for, having conquered all of Asia Minor, by the fifth century they had reached the shores of the Aegean. They conquered Ionia, but they were not able to alter its ethnological makeup. When they sought to control all of the sea, also having seized its eastern coast, they were defeated in the Medean Wars. Later on Alexander the Great drove them from the Eastern shore. In that manner, the Aegean again became a Greek lake.11

The Romans comprised a third power, for-they placed the Aegean under their control for five centuries. Still, ethnologically, it never ceased being Greek.12

The Byzantine period, which, as we have already pointed out, was a purely Helleno-Byzantine Empire, again transformed the Aegean into the Greek lake of the Middle Ages. When its maritime might slipped into the hands of foreigners both its power and its influence vanished.
13

The Arabs

A fourth power, that of the Arabs, appeared

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about the seventh century. For three consecutive centuries they attempted to conquer the Aegean by the might of their navies. However, in 672 A.D. they suffered a crushing defeat before the walls of Constantinople, by reason of the secret weapon of the Byzantines, "the liquid fire", which completely gutted their ships. Finally they were able to conquer it, about the year 825 A.D. In that period the Aegean suffered many ills, and the second city of the Empire, Thessalonica, was destroyed in an attack. But in 961 Nikeforos Fokas seized Crete, and thus lifted the Arabian threat, having destroyed their bases. In that manner, once again, the Aegean acquired its natural Greek characteristics. In other words, it again became a Greek lake.14

Venetians and Genoese: The Italians, chiefly Venetians and Genoese, formed a fifth power. From the 11th century their ships began sailing the Aegean, and speedily placed its trade under their baleful control. That power was rounded out by the Franks, who in 1204 destroyed the Empire. The Aegean then ceased to be Greek militarily, for the Venetians occupied many islands and ensconced themselves in Crete and in the

-19Peloponnese. Thus the commercial penetration was transformed into conquest. Even so, ethnologically and politically the Sea did not cease being Greek.

The Ottoman Turks: The Christian despoilers of Byzantion had paved the way for the Ottoman Turk. In their drive they spread over all of Asia Minor. Finally the Queen of Cities, Constantinople, was captured by the Turks on the 29th of May 1453. The invaders had already spread over the Greek mainland.15 From 1646 until 1669, when they triumphed, the Ottoman Turks bent their efforts toward driving the Venetians from Crete. In 1684 they initiated an onslaught, which they brought to a successful conclusion, for in 1689 the Venetians drove from the Peloponnese. Thus politically the Aegean was entirely under the control of the Ottoman Turks.

Yet despite the persecutions, the pillaging, the massacres, and the burning of villages in a concerted effort to transform the ethnological character of the

-20area--- something similar to what occurs today in Cyprus -- the Greek element always had a dominant ethnological and economic position. These factors contributed greatly to the outbreak of the Revolution of 1821, toward the casting off of the Turkish yoke. It must not be forgotten that although the occupation lasted a full 400 years, the conqueror

was unable to change the ethnological character of the Greeks and the Aegean.

Russia: In the course of the Turkish occupation, yet another power appeared, Russia, who aspired to impress her own naval policy upon the Mediterranean. Its fleet appeared in the Mediterranean for the first time in 1768. There followed a series of encounters between Russia and Turkey, in the course of which the Ottoman Empire suffered many blows in the battle of Tsesme the whole Turkish fleet was destroyed by fire. On July 21,1774, the Treaty of Kioutchouk Kainartji was drawn up, and thereafter the Russian fleet dominated the Greek sea. However, they soon lost that control, for other naval powers appeared:

the English and the French.16

The Greek Revolution, 1821: At that period

significant

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Greek commercial maritime influence was exerted by merchants and sailors, principally from the islands of Hydra, Spetsa, Psara, Andros, Mykonos, Mylos, Kasos, and as well as other islands. The first organized resistance of the Greek nati6@gainst the Turkish yoke exploded in 1821. The Aegean Sea then played a vital role, for thus the Greek fleets were able to control the naval communications, to assure the supplying of the embattled Greeks, and to present enormous difficulties first to the Turkish, and after to the Egyptian fleet. It must be observed that the uprising of the Greeks might yet have been quenched. But finally it was saved by the Battle of Navarino which occurred on the 20th of October 1827, in the course of which the united fleets of England, France, and Russia destroyed the mighty fleet of the Egyptians. Thus, by protocol, on the 22nd of January 1830 there was founded the independent Nation of the Greeks.17

Thereafter the whole picture changed. Greece became the newly emerged power. With the establishment of the tiny Greek Nation its people applied themselves to a series of struggles and sacrifices, in order to change the status quo of the sea, to wrest it from the

-22Turkish hold, and to place it under their own complete control. So it was done. Initially dominion over the Sea was held by the triumphant powers of the naval battle of Navarino -- England, France, Russia. In turn, Greece itself extended her own influence along the stretches of the coasts of the Aegean Sea.18

The resurrection of a new, independent Greek Nation reverberated in Evoia, in the Cyclades, and in the Northern Sporades. In 1881 with the annexation of Thessaly the coastline of Greece was extended to the mouth of the Aliakmon. The status quo of the islands of the Aegean remained undisturbed.19

The Dodecanese: However, in 1911, there appeared a new power, Italy, which as the result of a triumphant

war with Turkey seized the Greek-populated Dodecanese Islands.

The Balkan War: In 1912 the Balkan War broke out against Turkey ,with Greece fighting on the side of the Balkan Nations. Following a series of military successes Greece liberated the islands of Limnos, Samothraki, Lesbos, Chios, Samas, Imbras, Icaria, Tenedos, and

-23others. It also gained domination over most of its lands.

In 1905, with the Revolution of Therison, Crete was united to Greece. With the outbreak of the Balkan War in February of 1912, Yannina was added. And on the 26th of October 1912, Thessalonica was joined to the Mother country. On the 29th of June 1915 Kavala followed. On the 4th of October 1919 Xanthi was Greek.20

Smyrna: At the same time the Greek military forces landed in Smyrna. At that critical moment of the first World War, upon order of the Great Powers, England, the United States, and Prance, the Greek Army reached deep into the heart of the crumbling Ottoman Empire, following the triumphant Greek landing at Smyrna.21

The Greek Army in Constantinople: For the first time since the Turkish Conquest of 1453, in November of 1918 Constantinople was placed under allied control; and after all those centuries the Greek Army disembarked at the quay of Constantinople in an atmosphere of intense emotional exaltation.22

At this juncture it is appropriate to add the

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following excerpt from the historical notes of Alexander N. Damianos:


.... But from 1917 the ethnic struggle was clearly seen, for it leaned toward the Entente. Eleftherios Venizelos fearing that the war might end without any gain at all, sped to extend every assistance unto the Allies. He fled to Crete, and thence to Thessalonica, where, heading a Revolutionary Government with the co-leadership of General Danglis and Admiral Kontouriotis, he placed himself at the side of the Allies. With the assistance of the French, Venizelos reached Athens, whilst upon the insistence of the Allies,King Constantine and the Crown Prince departed for Switzerland. The ill-fated, popular Prince Alexander was placed upon the throne. The united Greek-Allied Forces under the leadership of the French Franchois D' Espere, defeated the Germans and the Bulgarians in the North, and the Turks in the East. It was the first Allied victory. What ensued is known. While it may be said that Germany was no defeated, but following the entrance of the United States in the War, and the already obvious opposition of the German Army, it was obliged to surrender. The autumn attack of General Foche obliged to sign the Armistice of 11 November 1918. The Turks, disgraced as never before, signed their noterm capitulation in Moudros, 17-30 October 1918. The united fleet of the victorious forces sailed to the ancient Queen of Cities, Constantinople. General Vakkas describes the overwhelming joy of the Greeks of Constantinople upon that historic morning when the Greek fleet sailed into the bay of the seven-hilled City: 'The Greeks gathered at the shore stood silently, dumbfounded in their astonishment. Nor could they believe their ears. The great band of the battleship continued to play the Greek National Anthem, I know thee by the edge of thy keen-cutting sword. The notes of the divine anthem resounded in the air. The first dumb amazement was followed by a wave of ecstasy; their joy shone upon their faces; there was exchanged one glance between slaves now born again. And just as the music reached the line, Hail, 0 hail, 0 victory! The crowds roared.

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"There followed a delirium of enthusiasm. From a thousand lips there was heard Long live! A soaring and indescribable frenzy rose over those waves of an ocean of people transported by joy....Never had Greek spirits cheered Eleftherios Venizelos as did hundreds of thousands of Greeks on that unforgettable morning. 23

It must be noted that in the course of the Balkan War Greece seized all the Aegean islands, with the exception of the Dodecanese, which were under Italian occupation.

Greece-Bulgarian War: The Greco-Bulgarian War followed, and Greece occupied the shores of Eastern Macedonia. Moreover, with the First World War, there occurred the miraculous. For as we have already seen, all the coasts of Thrace and of Western Asia Minor came under Greek control.

The Catastrophe Of Asia Minor; But in 1922, with the overwhelming catastrophe of Asia Minor,the Turks all but succeeded in grasping the large islands of the Aegean Sea. They did not, for with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on the 29th of July 1923, the Greek Prime Minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, succeeded in securing

Greek control over the islands of the Aegean, with


the exception of the islands of 1mbros and Tenedos, which even today languish under Turkish occupation.24

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But here attention must be called to the inexplicable attitude of the purported Allies of Greece. The epilogue of that ghastly Hellenic catastrophe in Asia Minor is bluntly given by the late Prime Minister of Great Britain, that Father of Liberty, Sir Winston Churchill. Unvarnished even with that distinguished literaly style he writes in his book, "The World Crisis, 1925," as follows: But fifteen days after the 26th of August 1922 the Greek Army, which had entered the East as the agent of Great Britain, of the United States, and of France, and which for three years had formed the mainstay of the allied policy toward the Turks, yet at the same time was also the object of inner-allied intrigue, was destroyed and cast into the sea." And he continues, "The re-entry into Europe of the Turks, as unleashed and untamed conquerors, forms the greatest of humiliations for the Allies.25 The Great Betrayal:
"
...

As Executive Secretary of the Emergency Committee for Near East Refugees, in 1924 Edward Hale Bierstadt felt himself impelled to write in his 'The Great Betrayal',
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"The United States made certain definite promises to

-27both the Armenian people and the Greek nation. These promises have been broken, and the Christian Minorities of Asia Minor have been practically obliterated. Why? Imperialism, to be sure. It would be uncharitable to put a less worthy construction on a betrayal of such generous proportions

For history indelibly records that Turkey was the ally of the German Kaiser in the First World War, and that it remained neutral in the Second World War. But in both Wars, although Greece fought at the side of its Allies, it was doomed to become a fiery sacrifice, as the world was later to witness. One after the other, in the course of the Second World War, nations of Europe dropped into the hands of the Germans without a struggle. But the small Nation of Greece, in whom previously none had placed hope, held the German Empire at bay for nine months, a delaying factor in the further advance of the Germans. Thus bitter winter came upon them in the Soviet Union, and consequently the Germans lost.

Cyprus: And yet today the great powers have forgotten who indeed is the proven Ally. Greek Cyprus is permitted to languish, many of its people refugees in their

own land. A whitewashed Turkey is consoled and encouraged. Her expansionist tendencies toward the Aegean Sea are

-28tolerated. The age-old Greek domination of the Aegean is threatened. Once again Greece receives the backhand acknowledgement of her contributions to the Allies of the West.

But the Catastrophe of Asia Minor still conceals an ever greater evil. For it is historical fact that the then Allies of Greece co-operated in the arming of the Revolutionist, Kemal Attaturk, who uprooted the Hellenes of Asia Minor by means of yet unheard of genocide and slaughter in the twentieth century. Thus they obliterated an Hellenic civilization

which had flourished on the coasts of Asia Minor for about 3,000 years. That ethnological transformation and catastrophe came with the finality of doom.

Shadow of the West: As the historian Sakellaropoulos writes in his book, "Shadow of the West"
!f

Nowhere had victory been so conclusive as it now was with the Turks. And yet nowhere was the validity of the victors a more arrogant mockery, All the advantages
of a successfully-waged war, all the laurels for whose

sake so many thousands of men had fallen upon the crags of Kallipolis, and in the deserts of Palestine, and in the swamps of Macedonia, all the staggering costs which great campaigns demand All ended in humiliation. It was one absolute, indisputable victory for the Turks,

-29which had been tossed upon the table of the council of peace by the armies. Four years later the babblers had transformed it into defeat. All the beauteous bragging of Europe and of the United States, all the eloquence of their politicians, all the buzzing of its committees and its councils led the but recently mighty of the Earth unto that bitter and opprobrious end...." 26

However, the 3,000 year-old ethnological composition of the Aegean was not destined to be disturbed, save in 1922. Thus we shall quote three salient characteristics of this period in Greek history, according to the Greek historian Ambassador Constantine Sakellaropoulos,who on page 39 of the same volume, Shadow of the West,writes as follows:
" .... Unprecedented, perhaps, in the history of all times was the phenomenon of allies, who, not just previously to their imposing it, but almost two years before they had even drawn up the peace treaty which should have been the fruit of victory although without formally rupturing the alliance, openly placed themselves at the side of the enemy, and this out of hate and rivalry against their fellow-combatants and allies. "The occurrence bore tragic results for Greece. For this attitude became one of the chief factors which created the catastrophe of Asia Minor. It was a phenomenon which prompted enormous misfortunes in general. Four years later it led to the Treaty of Lausanne, where an international conference under the chairmanship (what irony of fate!) of that individual who had so hasted to wring the Turkish submission, contrived to do nothing but to formalize the capitulation no longer of Turkey to Europe, but of Europe to Turkey ...." 27

Kemal Attaturk: On page 59 he writes:


" ... In any event, on the 15th May 1919, with the consent of the Allies, there was appointed as military inspector in Asia Minor the man who would be leader of the Turkish

-30revolutionists Kemal. Immediately upon receiving the pertinent order, and through Ismet and Fevji having striven to ensure the broad jurisdiction which he needed, sped to board a small ship, which would transport him to Samfounda. Soon after there arrived Reouf, who had come to see him. From Reouf Kemal learned that the Greeks had landed in Smyrna. Thus the decision of the highest allied council to send the Greek Army into Asia Minor was practically synchronous with the decision of the Turkish Government to send Kemal to Asia Minor. Was it indeed a simple coincidence? In any event it was fatal...28

Finally on page 111 Sakellaropoulos writes:


1t

But the Greeks having been sent into Asia Minor by those same Allies, and having received the allied order that on their behalf they should deal with the Turks, were not simply abandoned by their dispatchers and Allies. They were betrayed by most of them ... 29

George Horton, who for thirty years had been Consul and Consul General of the United States in the Near East, in 1926 no longer acting in that capacity in his own book, "The Blight of Asia" (Bobbs-Merril,Indianapolis), writes on page 206:

The Germans were, as long as they lasted, the active allies of the Turks, and during this period nearly a million Armenians and many thousands of Greeks perished; after the Armistice and during the period which led up to the destruction of Smyrna and the accompanying massacre, the French and Italians were allies of the Turks, and furnished him moral and material support; the British gave no aid to the Greeks, but contented themselves with publishing an account of the dreadful events that had been taken place in the Ottoman Empire; the Americans gained the reputation of being pro-Turk, true friends, who would ultimately, on account of this friendship, be given the permission to put through great schemes which would result in the development of the Ottoman Empire

--31-

and, incidentally, fill certain American pocketbooks. The Turks confidently believed that commercial avarice would prevent us from interfering with their savagery, or even strongly condemning it... 30

And yet, despite the betrayal and the catastrophe, through her heroic efforts Greece succeeded in retaining her supremacy over the whole Aegean. The status quo remained unchanged for 25 consecutive years, until 1947. The presence of Kemal Attaturk did not permit a change of spirit in the Greco-Turkish co-existence. Yet he did not attempt the slightest change upon that contestable Sea. So long as he was in power he never questioned the Hellenism of the Aegean Sea, and he always left that disputable Sea as was natural to it - Greek.

But following his death, with the events of 1938, and especially at about the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, there appeared upon the horizon the first signs of the Turkish expansionist policy. Indeed the appropriate occasion presented itself. Specifically, as a proviso to Turkeys entry into the War on the side of the Allies, it requested a change of the status quo of the Aegean, stipulating that in

-32-

return it be given both the Dodecanese Islands and Samos. The Allies soberly considered that demand on the part of the Turks.

Samos: The mischief was not long in appearing, when in 1943 Samos was seized by a few Greek and British Forces in connection with the action of the Second World War. The landing of those Forces was the first action liberating Greek soil from the toils of the conqueror. That is, it was the first Greek territory which was freed. Yet rather than permitting a general celebration, the English held the Island in complete isolation. Not only that, but despite its intense efforts, the exiled Greek Government in the Middle East did not succeed in making contact with the

first liberated Greek soil that Aegean isle, Samos.

Hurriedly Minister Emmanuel Sophoulis was sent to Samos. Upon his arrival he was thunderstruck when he discovered that the telegrams which had been sent to Samos through the Allied Command of the Middle East were never turned over to the Hellenes by their

-33recipients, the British. Moreover, at this juncture a characteristic anecdote emerges from the secret files of the English Foreign Office. Accordingly, a message
""-'

sent the Samians by their King, George II, never reached them at all. For in the pertinent file,

PIC/190/2.there is written proof that it was never , dispatched.

Then Samos was saved as if by a miracle, for England did not mean to deploy strong naval units to free the Aegean, in order to surrender it without a struggle into the hands of the Turks. Thus the naval action which it attempted against the Dodecanese and Samos was in danger of collapse. Furthermore, Turkey remained passive, for she saw that the Allies did not send a strong fleet, and that there existed no likelihood that its expansionist ambitions would materialize. In that manner was Samos spared.31

Finally, when the war activities in the Islands of the Aegean Sea were concluded, a Greek Administration was established on all. Excepted were the Dodecanese, which remained under Italian occupation until the 10th

-34-

of February' 1947 ,at which time the Peace Treaty of Paris was signed, marking the end of the Second World War.32

Dodecanese: In the course of that conference, both Italy and Turkey lay claim to the Dodecanese. There ensued frightful recondite behind the scenes maneuvering.

Finally, the Dodecanese were awarded to Greece as a slight token of acknowledgement of the sacrifices it had made during the Second World War, On the side of its Allies.

In any event, there is one great truth.

Should the need

arise, as it has always done in the past, even more so in the future, Greece will once again demonstrate that there exist not people with material strength, but people with traditions and with history. The Turkish Government is committing an

enormous error, for it knocks upon the portals of the Aegean with a tardiness of some 3,000 years.

FOOTNOTES

1.

P. Decharme, Mythology of Ancient Greece. Philosophy School of the University of Paris, pp. 541-545, 1878 edition.

2. Ibid., pp.76-88, 101-153, 193-245, 313-325, 306-307, 328-330, 595-601. 3. Webster Lincoln, World History, Nebraska, March 1925. Pp.71-101. 4. Ibid., pp.71-101. 5. Ibid., pp.113-148. 6. Ibid., pp. 187-190, 230-234. 7. Ibid., p. 71. 8. Ibid., pp. 15, 47, 71, 114, 158. 9. Ibid., pp. 69-70, 71-73. 10. Ibid. pp. 71-75. 11. Ibid. pp. 84-89, 102-104. 12. Ibid. pp. 123-129, 140-148. 13. Ibid. pp. 176-180. 14. Ibid. pp. 22, 161, 180, 182, 184, 186, 689.

495-498,

15. Ibid. pp. 193-194. 16. Ibid. pp. 79-92. 17. Ibid. p. 532, and also from the book: History of the Eastern Question Edouard Driault, 1900, pp. 142-179. 18. Edouard Driault, History of the Easrern Question, 1900, p. 170. 19. Ibid, pp. 142-179. 20. Eleftherios Venizelos Bible, edition 1964, (1864-1908)p. 125, World History of Webster, Lincoln Nebraska, March 1925,.pp. 532-539, Eleftherios Venizelos Bible (1912-1914) p. 15, and also from the book Operations in Thrace of the Greek Army, Athens 1969, pp. 13-28. 21. Eleftherios Venizelos Bible (1917-1922) pp. 321-432. 22. Ibid. pp. 321-432. 23. N. Damianos, Great Men of the Nation, Athens 1971. pp. 183-185. 24. From the book Operations in Thrace of the Greek Army, Athens 25. 1971, pp. 167-170. 26. Ibid. p. 170 27. K. Sakellaropoulos, Shadow of the West, edition 1961, p. 29. 28. Ibid. p. 39. 29. Ibid. p. 59. 30. George Horton, The Blight of Asia, p. 206. by

31. From the Greek Magazine Epikaira, Issue 30/1-5, Athens 1975. p. 21. 32. See Finish Peace Treaty, Paris, February 10, 1947.