"Atatürk Pavilion" belonged to wealthy Trabzon Greek banker Konstantinos Kapagiannidis

Atatürk Pavilion trabzon

The residence of wealthy Greek banker Konstantinos Kapagiannidis (1868-1915) is situated in the Trabzon province of north-eastern Turkey. It was built in 1890 (some say 1913) to western standards. It comprises stone walls, tiled flooring and a heating system that was well ahead of its time.

Kapagiannidis used it as his summer retreat.

Kapagiannidis was a member of the Greek (Rum) community of the former Ottoman Empire which was targeted by the Neo-Turks and later by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his forces during the Greek Genocide.

Konstantinos Kapagiannidis
Konstantinos Kapagiannidis.

Today, the mansion is called the "Atatürk Pavilion" named after the consummator of the Greek Genocide, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

5 9Atatürk didn't buy it. It was gifted to him by the Turkish authorities after he visited the mansion in the 1930's. He later "donated" it to the state. It was turned into a museum after his death.

The website of Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism doesn't acknowledge that the mansion was built by a member of Turkey's Greek community. But that's not surprising. Rarely are historic monuments in Turkey described as belonging to Greeks or being Greek.

The term "Greek" is rarely if ever used.

A sign at the entrance to the mansion does, however, acknowledge that the mansion was built by "Trabzon banker Kostaki Kabayanidis." But again, no mention of him being Greek.

One of the motivations in the extermination of Greeks and others during the genocide was their wealth. Greeks, Armenians and Jews controlled a large portion of the Ottoman economy. The Greeks were very influential in banking not to mention, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, architecture and law.

Naming a Greek-built mansion after one of the main perpetrators of the Greek Genocide is naturally highly offensive. The act would also be considered cultural appropriation.

Greek Genocide Resource Center.

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Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor