Turkey rejects draft bill to commemorate the 1955 anti-Greek pogroms because it was “rough and hurtful”

Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.

The Turkish Parliament Speaker’s Office rejected hearing a draft bill to have the Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη, Turkish: İstanbul) pogrom against the indigenous Greek community recognized as a national day of mourning, Duvar reported.

Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said that he found the wording used in the draft bill as “rough and hurtful,” clearly finding it difficult to face the reality of the brutal anti-Greek riots that ripped across Constantinople on September 6 and 7 in 1955 because of a carefully planned Turkish intelligence operation.

Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.
Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.

The draft bill was submitted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. The HDP is a pro-Kurdish party that strongly supports the rights of oppressed minorities in Turkey.

“According to official documents, 4,214 houses, 1,004 workplaces, 73 churches, one synagogue, two monasteries, 26 schools have been damaged on Sept. 6-7 [1955]. Churches have been attacked; holy images, crosses, icons and other holy properties inside them have been damaged. Some 73 Greek Orthodox churches have been set on fire. Some 11 people lost their lives during these incidents. According to a report of Helsinki Watch group on the other hand, 15 have people lost their lives,” said Gergerlioğlu said in his motion.

Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.
Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.

Gergerlioğlu said that the first motion was rejected because it included the word of “pogrom.” The second motion excluded this word but it was still rejected, said Gergerlioğlu according to Duvar.

“We call out to the Parliament Speaker’s Office again from here. I recall Şentop’s speech during the budget discussion…We took out the word of ‘pogrom’ [from the motion]. So Şentop’s excuse has been eliminated. We once again say that our parliamentary motion should be looked into,” Gerglioğlu said.

Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople. draft bill
Anti-Greek pogrom in Constantinople.

The pogroms started when Turkish intelligence spread a fake rumor that the house of the founder of the Turkish Republic and perpetrator of the genocide against Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was attacked by Greek mobs in Thessaloniki.

The Turkish military and government transported mobs of Turks from outside of the city directly into Greek areas to kill, rape women, circumcise priests, loot shops and destroy houses.

It appears now with the rejection of this draft bill that Turkey is still unwilling to face it’s brutal past, and rather continues the brutality today against its minorities and foreign countries like Armenia and Syria.