Distortion of history by Erdoğan’s MP: “Greeks and Armenians burned Smyrna”

Halil Özşavlı Erdogan AKP Turkey Smyrna

Erdoğan’s officials continue attacking Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou due to what she recently stated at the presentation of the plan for the construction of the World Palace of Pontian Hellenism to commemorate the Greek Genocide in Pontus.

During a press conference, MP for the ruling Development and Justice Party, Halil Özşavlı attacked the Greek President, saying that “Greece can not teach history lessons” to Turkey, while referring to historical events, according to the usual Turkish tactics.

READ MORE: Erdoğan’s favourite newspaper blames Armenians for Great Fire of Smyrna.

“The President of the Republic of Greece at some inaugurations made some statements aimed at our country and especially regarding history,” Özşavlı said.

“Greece cannot teach us history lessons with anything. The history of Greece is full of massacres, rapes, kidnappings and thefts of historical monuments,” the AKP MP continued.

He then presented a photo from the 1922 burning Smyrna, accusing Greeks and Armenians of being responsible for the destruction of the city.

“See a photo of Smyrna from the sea, Smyrna is burning for good. Smyrna was burned by the Greeks together with the Armenians,” he claimed.

“For days, for about a week, Smyrna, the whole coastline was burned in this way and these are works of the Greeks,” he said, shamelessly reversing the historical events that culminated in the Asia Minor Catastrophe 100 years ago.

Turkish author and journalist Falih Rıfkı Atay, who was in Smyrna at the time, and the Turkish professor Biray Kolluoğlu Kırlı agreed that Turkish nationalist forces were responsible for the destruction of Smyrna in 1922.

A number of studies have been published on the Smyrna fire.

Professor of literature Marjorie Housepian Dobkin’s detailed 1970 study, Smyrna 1922, concluded that the Turkish army systematically burned the city and killed Christian Greek and Armenian inhabitants.

Her work is based on extensive eyewitness testimony from survivors, Allied troops sent to Smyrna during the evacuation, foreign diplomats, relief workers, and Turkish eyewitnesses.

A study by historian Niall Ferguson comes to the same conclusion. Historian Richard Clogg categorically states that the fire was started by the Turks following their capture of the city.

In his book Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922, Giles Milton addresses the issue of the Smyrna Fire through original material (interviews, unpublished letters, and diaries) from the Levantine families of Smyrna, who were mainly of British origin.

The conclusion of the author is that it was Turkish soldiers and officers who set the fire, most probably acting under direct orders.

British scholar Michael Llewellyn-Smith, writing on the Greek administration in Asia Minor, also concluded that the fire was “probably lit” by the Turks as indicated by what he called “what evidence there is.”

READ MORE: Turkish media provocatively likens an extension to 12 nautical miles to the Greek landing in Smyrna.