GREEK GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL FUELS BALKAN NATIONALISM
February 9, 2001
The Greek Minister of Culture has put before the Greek president a proposed law that would make September 15th a "Memorial Day" in remembrance of the "Genocide against Greek inhabitants by Turkish forces in 1922." The proposed law refers back to the Greek-Turkish War.
RAINBOW assesses that such a gesture by the Greek government would fuel nationalist sentiment in Greece and elsewhere in the Balkans. This type of behaviour by a member of the European Union would not further the interests of friendly relations in the Balkans nor could it be construed as goodwill towards Turkey. This is unfortunate given the positive developments recently initiated in this arena.
Below is a letter from Dr. Nakratzas, which eloquently articulates this sentiment.
To Mr. Evangelos Venizelos
Minister of Culture
Athens - Greece
From: Dr. Georgios Nakratzas
Rotterdam 10 February 2001
I was interested to learn from reports in the media that on 9 February 2001 you forwarded for signature to the President of the Republic of Greece a Presidential Decree, in accordance with which 15 September is to be declared the official day commemorating the Genocide of the Greeks in Asia Minor by the Turks. As Minister of Culture you will, I assume, feel a great respect for the historical truth, and I ask you therefore to permit me to inform you of certain details concerning the Genocide of the Slav-speaking Macedonians of Kilkis committed by the Greek Army in 1913, in addition to certain information on the crimes committed by the Greek Army in Asia Minor during the period 1919-1922 against the civilian Turkish population.
The Carnegie Report (ISBN 0-87003-032-9) informs us that the town of Kilkis was occupied, intact, by the Greek Army on 4 July 1913. Having occupied the town, the Greek troops removed the remaining residents and then plundered and burned their houses. The Report also mentions that in addition to the town of Kilkis the Greek Army also put to the torch 40 villages in the region, burning a total of 4,725 houses. Of the total number of 100,000 Slav-speaking Macedonians who were thus obliged to seek refuge in Bulgaria, the Greek cavalry caught up with 4,000 at the village of Akangeli. 60 of the men were taken to a nearby forest and never heard of again. On the following day, according to eye-witness accounts, the Greek soldiers committed murder and rape and stole money. The committee were also given a list of 365 individuals from neighbouring villages believed to have been massacred by the Greek army at the village of Akangeli. Finally, a European eye-witness testified to the committee that on entering the town of Yevyeli the Greeks executed 200 Bulgarian citizens. I do not know if this historical information will prompt you to recommend an additional Presidential Decree concerning the Genocide by the Greek army in 1913 of the Slav-speaking Macedonians of Kilkis.
As for the information on the crimes of the Greek army against the civilian Turkish population of Asia Minor during the period 1919-1922, there is insufficient scope in a short letter for a full description of the events involved. I shall confine myself to mentioning in brief the massacre by the Greek army of Turkish civilians at Aidini, Menemeni and Pergamum. I shall also mention the slaughter of Turkish prisoners of war in Smyrna on the day the Greek army disembarked in 1919. Finally, I shall mention briefly the burning of thousands of villages in the areas of Eski-Sehir, Uzak, Kioutaheia, etc., as well as the destruction, robbery or looting of shops and businesses, and the seizing of vast quantities of livestock and grain from Turkish villagers. For more details and eye-witness testimony I recommend that you consult my book, recently published under the title
[ASIA MINOR AND THE ORIGINS OF THE REFUGEES]
The imperialist Greek policy of 1922 and the Asia Minor Catastrophe
I ask myself if the information you will find in the book will be sufficient to prompt you to recommend the appropriate Presidential Decree.
Dr. Georgios Nakratzas
P.S. For your information, a Turkish translation of the book mentioned above is shortly to be issued by a publishing house in Istanbul (Constantinople).