Turkification of the Western seaboard of Asia Minor 1914

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Turkification of the Western seaboard of Asia Minor 1914

Post by Peter H » 31 May 2007 12:45

http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/tcimo/tulp ... /ejz18.htm
The loss of the Balkan provinces had a tremendous impact on the political and administrative elite of the Empire, not only because the history or economic importance of the provinces. A disproportionate part of the elite hailed from the Balkan provinces. Politicians like interior minister and party leader Talât Pasha, administrators like Evranoszade Rahmi, the governor of Smyrna (İzmir), or officers like Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) all hailed from the Balkans themselves and had lost their own homeland. In most cases their families were among the refugees. This helps to explain why the political leadership of the empire from 1913 onwards focused strongly on Asia Minor, or Anatolia, as the Turkish heartland. They adopted it consciously as their new homeland, which was to replace the lost provinces.

The first effects of this policy could be seen in the early months of 1914. The secretary of the ruling Committee of Union and Progress (which had established a one-party dictatorship after a coup d’état in January 1913) in Smyrna, Mahmut Celâl (who was later to become Turkey’s third president) was instructed by Talât Pasha to Turkify the Western seaboard of Asia Minor. With the help of militias of the so-called ‘Special Organisation’ he succeeded in forcing up to 200.000 Greek Orthodox to flee the coastal provinces and move to the Greek islands of the Aegean directly opposite the mainland. The means employed consisted mainly of veiled threats and intimidation. Militias would come at night and start drumming in the main square. At the same time the local Ottoman authorities would announce that they could not guarantee the inhabitants’ safety from the next day onwards. For most, this was enough encouragement to leave. Those most affected were the Greek businessmen and commercial farmers, as the drive behind the campaign was economic as much as it was political: the Ottoman government aimed to replace the non-Muslim bourgeoisie, which completely dominated the modern industrial, financial and commercial sectors of the economy, with a ‘national’, that is to say: Muslim, bourgeoisie of their own.

In May 1914, the Ottoman government sought to give permanence to the new situation by concluding an agreement on population exchange with the Greek government. Greek prime minister Venizelos accepted the plan in principle, on condition that it would be voluntary. A mixed commission on the pattern of the Turco-Bulgarian agreement of 1913, was to be established to oversee the just disposal of properties, but nothing ever came of this. The activities were suspended indefinitely in August 1914, because of the outbreak of the European war.

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 31 May 2007 12:56

The Greek-Ottoman war scare of 1914:

http://www.cyprus-conflict.net/turkey-g ... istory.htm
After the Treaty of Bucharest, when the future of the islands was being considered by the powers, Turkey began a campaign to force Greece to withdraw from Chios and Mitylene by a combination of economic and naval pressure and by the persecution of the Greek minority in Asia Minor. (These tactics were to be repeated fifty years later when Turkey began to take reprisals against the Greeks in Istanbul and the islands in order to put pressure on Greece over the Cyprus question.) A boycott of the Greeks in Turkey began in November 1913, and, at the same time, some 30,000 Greeks were deported or driven from their homes on the coasts of Thrace and Anatolia. [Venizelos claimed at the Lausanne Peace Conference in 1923 that a total of 430,000 Greeks had been expelled from these areas and had taken refuge in Greece in the months just before and after Turkey's entry into the first world.] The Turkish authorities claimed that their jobs and homes were needed for the Moslem refugees who were pouring in from Macedonia. Turkey began to expand her navy and bought two dreadnoughts which were being built in British yards. In July 1914, Greece countered this show of force by acquiring two secondhand American battleships.

Relations between Greece and Turkey became increasingly strained and on June 12, 1914, Venizelos gave a warning in a parliamentary speech that Greece might be forced to fight to protect the Greeks in Turkey from further persecution. A month later he left Athens in order to meet the Turkish grand vizir in Brussels to discuss a possible settlement of the dispute. But, before they could meet, the Greco-Turkish quarrel was swallowed up in the outbreak of the first world war.

User avatar
Mr Holmes
Member
Posts: 1009
Joined: 30 Jun 2005 12:14
Location: Australia

Re: Turkification of the Western seaboard of Asia Minor 1914

Post by Mr Holmes » 31 May 2007 14:37

With the help of militias of the so-called ‘Special Organisation’ he succeeded in forcing up to 200.000 Greek Orthodox to flee the coastal provinces and move to the Greek islands of the Aegean directly opposite the mainland.... Those most affected were the Greek businessmen and commercial farmers, as the drive behind the campaign was economic as much as it was political: the Ottoman government aimed to replace the non-Muslim bourgeoisie, which completely dominated the modern industrial, financial and commercial sectors of the economy, with a ‘national’, that is to say: Muslim, bourgeoisie of their own.
Thank you Mr H,

I have not read the following link at all (I'm sleepy) but it may help to provide a context for possible economic repurcussion, if at least indirectly, to this expulsion of both elements of the landed elite as well as the middle to upper classes.

http://www.helsinki.fi/iehc2006/papers2/pamuk.pdf
(by Sevket Pamuk, Agricultural Output and Productivity Growth in Turkey Since 1880)

Since I have not yet read the link, I am of course in no position to state that since 200,000 Greeks were expelled that Turkey's financial status automatically took a dive. A shake up of an economy usually produces flow on effects (Turkey would be no exception here, Italian and Balkan Wars). I wonder how long (or quickly for that matter) Turkey was able to recoup the assets and begin to set up (or repair) an infrastructure especially with the two forthcoming blows to its economy: the First World War and the Fourth War of Liberation.

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 01 Jun 2007 10:36

Thanks Nick.Interesting link.

It had this to say:
World War I (1914-1922) led to a very large decline in the population of Turkey, by more than 20 percent. Agricultural output declined by as much as 50 percent during the same period but recovered along with population during the interwar years.
I think some see short term pain as bearable in the long run.


I've posted this before but it gives some background to the Greek-Turkish crisis of 1914:

Mark Mazower's Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430-1950:
As it marched towards Salonica across the Vardar valley, the Hellenic Army was far less violent towards Muslim civilians than its Serbian and Bulgarian allies (in fact, many Muslim peasants fled into Greek-held territory to get away from the other armies, and, especially, from the bands of irregulars which accompanied them), and for the most part it preserved its discipline. When Bosnian Muslims, recently settled by the Young Turks in villages in the plain, greeted the troops in the traditional gesture of surrender by offering them bread and salt, there was no trouble.....

....What stoked tensions and kept them high was the arrival some months after it ended of Greek refugees from Bulgarian and Ottoman Thrace in the east. From late 1913, more than one hundred thousand Greeks suffered ethnic cleansing of their own: they were driven out of their homes by Bulgarian and Ottoman troops and fled westwards. Once safely in Greece, they wanted revenge and took it on local Muslims. Immigrant families occupied Muslim properties and tried to drive out their owners. Others were resettled in Muslim communal buildings. The refugees could often count on the sympathy of Greek gendarmes and denounced Muslim farmers to get them arrested or their homes searched. With no diplomatic representation of their own (at least before the arrival of an Ottoman consul in Salonica in 1914), and no political representation in Greece before the elections of 1915, Muslim grievances and remonstrations fell on deaf ears.....

...Of the 140,000 who had left by April 1914, only 24,000 were from the newly conquered Greek territories: the vast majority had fled the Serbs and Bulgarians, some in anticipation of future troubles, or another war. Nevertheless, the extent of the exodus was reaching the international press, casting a shadow over Greece’s image abroad and jeopardising its relationship with the Ottoman government....

...The Turkish press had their own mirror-image of the Greek allegations: it was all the fault of the Greeks and their purported ‘systematic plan to force the Muslims to emigrate’. Yet this too glossed a more complex reality. The brutality of lower-ranking Greek officials, and the anti-Muslim outlook of many of the men were unmissable. But in the upper echelons of power other considerations were operative. The government was concerned at losing the ‘sober and hardworking’ Muslim farmer through emigration: who would then farm the new lands? No one in Athens dreamed in 1914 that more than one million Greeks might eventually be forced to leave Anatolia. On the contrary, the need to make sure that they were properly treated was a major curb on any officially sanctioned Greek anti-Muslim policy. Junior officers often had to be reminded that every time they drove out a Muslim farmer from Macedonia, there were two more Greek farmers in Anatolia who risked the same fate. The Ottoman government did not bother to hide the link, and there was a clear relationship between the expulsions of Greeks and Turks. Indeed the Turkish authorities began their own deportation of Greek populations from the western coast of Anatolia in the spring of 1914, and were stopped only in a few areas by the protests of powerful beys who feared losing their Christian workforce. The arrival of the Muslim refugees from Macedonia in Anatolia led to the formation of irregular chetté bands which wreaking their revenge on the Christian peasants. In May 1914 40,000 Anatolian Greeks fled the Turkish town of Chesme for the safety of Chios. Not for the first or last time, victims were becoming perpetrators, adding another twist to the spiral of nationalist war...

At the highest levels of the Greek state, however, there was, for all the harassment and persecution, no desire to provoke a large-scale emigration and had it not been for the pressure exerted by incoming Greek refugees, the persecution of Muslims in Greece would have subsided more quickly. As it was, experienced observers in Salonica in spring 1914 were impressed by the extent to which the Greek authorities were trying ‘not to offend the susceptibilities of their Moslem subjects’ and predicted that ‘in time Greek rule may benefit them. In 1915 national elections took place in which Muslims could vote. They were considerably freer than the 1912 elections to the Ottoman parliament had been, and 16 Turkish MPs took their seats in Athens supporting the anti-Venizelist camp. Indeed Salonica’s Muslim (and Jewish) voters became a crucial base of support for Venizelos’s main opponent, something which the Venizelists would neither forgive nor forget, as tempers frayed and the country fell apart during the First World War and its aftermath....

User avatar
Mr Holmes
Member
Posts: 1009
Joined: 30 Jun 2005 12:14
Location: Australia

Post by Mr Holmes » 02 Jun 2007 07:50

I think some see short term pain as bearable in the long run.
Most likely. In any case, I would presume that say a bank, for example, had a Greek manager, it could be safe to presume that a number of his higher subordinates may have been Muslim so takeover may have been a simpler affair. I guess the difficulties would arise in the industrial and agricultural sectors where the extra hands are all too precious. Something that the Greek government was able to see, but from the opposite end: the population of Greece was much smaller than that of Turkey's, so all labour was highly valued and retention would of necessity be of paramount importance, if economic prudence was to be observed.

Thanks for the re-posting of that quote from Mazower's book. I really must purchase it some day. Mazower refers to the 100,000 Greeks being driven out eastern Thracian lands. Mango (p. 122) touches on this as well:
The peace treaty [the 29 Sept., 1913 Istanbul Treaty] provided for an exchange of populations on either side of the frontier. In Turkish eastern Thrace only Bulgarians were officially affected. But, unofficially, the CUP coerced also as many Greeks as it could to leave the area. According to the leading CUP member, Halil (Menteshe), 100,000 Greeks were pushed out.
I have never heard of this (the following passage)!
When Bosnian Muslims, recently settled by the Young Turks in villages in the plain, greeted the troops in the traditional gesture of surrender by offering them bread and salt, there was no trouble.....
What is the significance of the two offerings? Is there a ritual associated with the offering?

Thanks,

Nick

(One last, probably off-topic, question: Mazower has this written,
Indeed Salonica’s Muslim (and Jewish) voters became a crucial base of support for Venizelos’s main opponent, something which the Venizelists would neither forgive nor forget, as tempers frayed and the country fell apart during the First World War and its aftermath....
I can understand the Muslims forging an anti-Venizelos bloc, what was it that roused Salonica's Jews?)

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 02 Jun 2007 15:46

Nick,

"Bread and Salt" hospitality in the Balkans(and elsewhere):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_salt


As regards Venizelos,his opposition was the conservative Laiko Komma (Popular Party).This had links to the royalty as well.

My understanding is that King Constantine and V had a fall out in 1913 on how to make terms with Bulgaria.The King favoured a harsh peace term and more Greek acquisitions while V favoured a more lenient approach.See here: http://www.venizelos-foundation.gr/endocs/bio10-14.jsp

In Salonika the Bulgarians were still seen as a constant threat to peace,with their unfilfilled ambitions of annexing that city.This I understand was what drove the Muslims and Jews into the opposition camp.

Regards
Peter

User avatar
Mr Holmes
Member
Posts: 1009
Joined: 30 Jun 2005 12:14
Location: Australia

Post by Mr Holmes » 08 Jun 2007 14:59

Thanks for the heads up. (I've ordered a book on Venizelos' biography from Amazon, hopefully further information will be gleaned from there, too.)

Cheers

Nick

Return to “The end of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1923”