"Today we pause to reflect on the victims of the Greek Genocide from the region of Pontus. May they forever rest in peace. We will never forget them. And while the eternal flame today burns bright for Pontus, let us not forget that Pontus was just one of many regions where the Greek Genocide occurred. Our respects go out to all Greek victims. Εις μνήμην | In Memory.
This was the message from the Greek Genocide Resource Center today.
MAY 19 | Today we pause to reflect on the victims of the Greek Genocide from the region of Pontus. May they forever rest...
The Greek Genocide Resource Center explained that "The Greek Genocide (or Ottoman Greek Genocide) refers to the systematic extermination of the native Greek subjects of the Ottoman Empire before, during and after World War I (1914-1923). It was instigated by two successive governments of the Ottoman Empire; the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) party, and the Turkish Nationalist Movement of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It included massacres, forced deportations and death marches, summary expulsions, boycotts, rape, forced conversion to Islam, conscription into labour battalions, arbitrary executions and destruction of Christian Orthodox culture, and historical and religious monuments. It is likely that the victim toll of the Greek Genocide was somewhere in the vicinity of 1 - 1.5 million."
Of this number, 353,000 of the Greek victims were from the region of Pontus on the Black Sea.
"In the region of Pontus, the Kemalists burned countless Greek villages and sent men, women and children to the interior where large numbers perished," the Resource Center said.
To this day, the Turkish Republic refuses to acknowledge that a genocide took place, and say it is up for historical debate.
This is despite even the fact that the International Association of Genocide Scholars in 2007 made a resolution that recognised the massacres against the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks as genocide.
As validated by a report of French military colonel Mougin, on 13 August 1923 in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi) in Ankara, the founding father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938) declared: "At last we've uprooted the Greeks..."
Many more quotes from Turks themselves, foreign diplomats and military officials, and testimonies can be on the Greek Genocide Resource Center website.
Although the Greek Genocide is not well known internationally, especially since it happened simultaneously with the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, this is set to change with the upcoming release of a new documentary titled Lethal Nationalism: Genocide of the Greeks 1913-1923.