Turkey accused Greece’s parliament on Tuesday for supposed “baseless and delirious statements” about the Greek Genocide in Pontus.
Turkish state-run media Anadolu Agency said Greece’s statements were “under the pretext of marking the anniversary of the start of the Turkish War of Independence on May 19, 1919.”
Of course in the entire statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, they do not once mention the word genocide.
Turkey celebrates its so-called “War of Independence” on the same day as the commemoration of the Greek Genocide of the Pontus region.
“The date of 19 May 1919, when the first step of our War of Independence was taken, is a sacred day not only for our nation, but also for all oppressed nations who fought against imperialism. On such a day, the baseless and delirious statements made by the Greek Parliament and institutions under the pretext of marking the anniversary of May 19, 1919 does not accord with historical facts or values of the 21st century,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Turkey believes that the Greco-Turkish War 1919-1923 was an “anti-imperialist struggle” and not one to forge a “Turkey for the Turks.”
The Greek Genocide began in 1913 against the Greeks of Asia Minor, mostly hidden from the world because of the massive distraction of World War I. However, the Greek Genocide in Pontus began on the same day that Mustafa Kemal landed at the Black Sea town of Sampsunta (Samsun) and began a murderous campaign against Christian minorities.
“This painful occupation turned into a planned and disgraceful invasion that had no justification and was the scene of atrocities. It should not be forgotten that the terrifying dimensions reached by the atrocities committed less than five months after the occupation were serious enough to require the Allies to establish an investigative commission,” the statement added.
Turkey claimed there was no justification, but that is of course because they deny they began a genocide against the Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire in 1913.
Although Turkey says indirectly that the Greek Genocide, actively avoiding to use the word genocide, is “baseless,” this goes against academic consensus.
In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars adopted a resolution that recognized a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.
On 26 November 1916 Rafet Bey informed Dr. Ernst von Kwiatkowski, the Austro-Hungarian consul in Sampsunta: “We must at last do with the Greeks as we did with the Armenians.”
Two days later, 28 November 1916, Rafet Bey informed Consul Kwiatkowski:”We must now finish with the Greeks. I sent today battalions to the outskirts to kill every Greek they pass on the road.”
In addition, Damad Ferid Paşa, the Ottoman Turkish Grand Vizier, described Turkey’s policy of extermination against the Christians in June 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference as crimes “… such as to make the conscience of mankind shudder with horror for ever.”
There are countless quotes made by Turks, Greece, Americans and Europeans who attest to the genocide, but to this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge this, and only focus on specific events from 1919 onwards when the Greek Army attempted to liberate Asia Minor, and not the genocide that had been ongoing since 1913.
The Greek Genocide Resource Center has cataloged these quotes, as well as newspaper clippings attesting to the genocide.
The Greek Genocide will become more well known with the upcoming release of Lethal Nationalism: Genocide of the Greeks 1913-1923.