Recognition of the Pontian Genocide on May 19 each year

Every May is a month of remembrance for all the Hellenism of the East [Asia Minor (Pontus, Ionia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, etc.) and Eastern Thrace] . Because on May 19, 1919, the Turkish nationalist officer Mustafa Kemal landed in Samsun, Pontus, declared a revolt against the Ottoman authorities and began the formation of the army from scratch, with “yeast” the old terrorist groups of the “Union and Progress” committee. were burdened with the Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks during World War I.

Thus began the second phase of the Genocide of the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire by Pontus and Bithynia, which would culminate three years later, with the defeat of the Greek Army, the massacre of Greeks and Armenians in Ionia and the destruction of Smyrna. To be precise, however, we must emphasize that the genocide was caused by the military nationalists who in 1908 staged a coup d’etat against the Ottoman government and today continue to rule our neighboring Turkey as an aggressive and fanatical “deep state . ” As paradoxical as it may seem to us, the Ottoman Ottomans did not take part in the genocide, who were also massacred and oppressed by the nationalists. Besides, theThe Ottoman Empire was overthrown by Kemal Ataturk, creating a new state that he abusively called the ” Republic of Turkey “. military violence a new nation, the Turkish, in place of the old multilingual and multinational Ottoman Muslim Muslims. 

This anniversary of May 19 is unfortunately considered to concern only the Pontians . However, this is not exactly the case and it is due to the chaotic way in which the refugee memory claimed from the second half of the 80’s what was owed to it. And that’s exactly why the first law recognizing genocide, which he instituted as Remembrance Day on May 19,, included the events that took place only in the area of ​​Pontus. And then came the second law on genocide – which he introduced as Remembrance Day on September 14 – to include all the people of Asia Minor – leaving, unfortunately, outside the region of Eastern Thrace, where the single genocide began. in April 1914. However, the Pontic institutions made remarkable efforts to highlight these historical pages. 

The genocide of the Christian communities (Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians) by Turkish nationalism in the period 1914-1923 – and especially that of the Greek population of the Ottoman Empire which then settled as refugees in Greece – was treated with caution and even in a negative way. The Asia Minor-Pontic events caused an ambiguity from the beginning. The deterioration of their importance, the concealment of the number of victims throughout Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace (at least 800,000), the rewarding of Turkish nationalism, and even the justification of the genocide of Christian populations have been commonplace in post-’22 Greece Greece. . 

Modern Greek ideology, as shaped by the dominant system of power, did not include the historical experience of Eastern Hellenism. The denial of history has determined the priorities of historical science, literature and art. Few historians have chosen to study the facts. Attempts were made by the refugees themselves and their organizations, as well as by sensitive individuals such as the Merlier couple. The Hellenism of the East and its destruction were not part of the modern Greek scientific priorities. 

The first substantial differentiation of the refugee discourse, the rupture with the climate of consensus that had been created in previous decades and the questioning of the dominance of the dominant interpretations – both regime and those of the Left – would emerge in the mid-1980s and lead in formulating the demand for the recognition of the genocide suffered by the Pontians by Turkish nationalism. 

An interesting and original meeting will take place this decade. The existing political heritage of the Pontic area, with the knowledge and accurate remarks that the first generation had bequeathed to the “Pontian descendants”, as Valavanis wrote in ’25, met with the political tradition of the extra-parliamentary Left and anti-imperialist proletariat. Left of the ruling socialist party and transformed into a modern radical movement. Characteristic is the first sentence of the first relevant public text-proclamation which had as its title: ” Pontus, 64 years of Refugee, Alienation and Silence“64 years have passed since the Greek bourgeoisie, after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, ratified the concession of Pontian territory to the Turkish military with the Treaty of Lausanne.

Treaty-monument of bourgeois logic, where peoples are treated as “things” interchangeable . On the other hand, it raises the issue of the behavior of the Greek State and its political formations towards the refugee populations. Behavior that was the concealment of their treatment by Turkish chauvinism even administratively … The behavior of the state had all the characteristics of theft (exchangeable property) and racism. Racism that still survives today, having spread throughout society, emphasizing its passivity. 

The main ideological direction of this new current will be the effort to recognize the genocide that took place in the Asia Minor Pontus. The “Italians” team will play a particularly important role. A characteristic element of the way in which the memory of historical events was perceived was the complete cut off of the Pontic experience from the historical experience of the rest of Eastern Hellenism. In other words, an anhistorical concept was chosen for political reasons. The form in which they approached the Pontic was related to the anti-imperialist movement, considering that the great colonial and imperialist force in our region is Turkey. Influenced by Samir Amin’s analysis, they set out to “fight against imperialism and its substitutes.” 

The station

The organized Pontic space initially reacted strongly to these new approaches. The view of the right-wing Pontians, as a result of the general perception of the Right, was that the issue of genocide should not be raised. Top executives have challenged the historic event itself. But then the initial reaction of the conservative Pontian space will subside and at the Second World Congress of Pontic Hellenism, in 1988, the goal of proposing the demand for recognition of the genocide will be accepted by all. Research production will increase and there will be intense media intervention to make these unknown historical moments known. 

The gradual increase in the ability of citizens to intervene in the central political scene, to co-shape ideological and social standards and to influence political decisions will allow the organized Pontian space to advance its views and demands. In February 1994, the Greek Parliament unanimously recognized the Genocide in Pontus and established May 19 as the official Day of Remembrance.The success of the Pontic area, which was the first political conquest of the refugees since 1922, mobilized the rest of the Asia Minor organizations, which, led by the Socialist MPs of Asia Minor origin, succeeded in recognizing the genocide of the Greek population throughout Asia Minor. and to establish as an official Day of Remembrance on September 14 , the day of the burning of Smyrna by the Turkish troops. 

The unanimous decision of the Greek Parliament in 1994 and the activation of the Pontic diaspora in the direction of international recognition of the genocide provoked a strong reaction from the Turkish governments, and especially from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the various parastatal mechanisms of the “deep state”. Of course, in Turkish society, and especially in its part related to the anti-Kemalist Left, the opposite reason had begun to exist. 


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