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 (1913-1923). It was instigated by two successive governments of the Ottoman Empire; the Committee of Union and Progress Party (CUP), 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 labor battalions, arbitrary executions, and destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments. According to various sources, approximately 1 million Ottoman Greeks perished during this period.
The New York Times: January 13, 1915.
The first phase of the Greek Genocide commenced in 1913 in the region of Eastern Thrace where entire Greek communities were forcibly and often violently deported. Other methods used to persecute Greeks in this region were the boycotting of Greek businesses, killings, heavy taxation, seizure of property and preventing Greeks from working on their lands. With the outbreak of the Great War in July of 1914, all Ottoman Greek males aged between 21-45 were forcibly conscripted into labor (or concentration) camps. Most of them perished under appalling conditions after being forced to work around the clock with little food or water. These camps were also a means to break up and disarm Greek communities and accelerate their eventual destruction.
In the Spring and Summer of 1914, the ethnic cleansing of Greeks along the western shoreline of Asia Minor was carried out on the orders of the central government. In 1915, under the advice of German military personnel, the CUP deported Greek communities from the Dardanelles and Gallipolli regions under the pretext of military necessity. These Greeks were not permitted to take anything with them. Goods in their shops were later sold by Ottoman authorities. Entire communities living along the western coastline of Asia Minor were deported to the interior or to Muslim villages where they were forced to choose between Islam or death. Homes in villages that were not burnt were seized by freebooters of neighboring communities. In some instances, Greeks were forced to sign declarations saying they were leaving of their own free will. In most cases, before deportations took place, Ottoman gendarmes (police) and çetes (armed irregulars) seized money and valuables from communities, committed massacres and burnt churches and schools. In the region of Pontus, Greek communities were deported during the peak of winter when fatalities could be at their highest.
The New York Times: 10 July 1921.
According to figures compiled by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by 1918, 774,235 Greeks had been deported from their homes, many of them to the interior of Turkey, never to be seen again. Following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in WW1, prominent leaders of the CUP were given death sentences in Ottoman Courts-Martial for their role in organizing the massacre of Greeks during the war. But the post-war formation of the Turkish Nationalist movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk interrupted the proceedings to bring the perpetrators to justice. Instead, the Kemalist Nationalists continued the CUP policy of persecuting Greeks. This culminated in the burning of the city of Smyrna (today Izmir) to the ground and the expulsion of all remaining Greeks from Turkey. All able-bodied Greek males were refused exit from Turkey and instead were sent to the interior where most perished in slave labor camps or were massacred.
April 6 (Eastern Thrace region)
May 19 (Pontus region)
September 14 (Asia Minor as a whole).
The following map depicts massacres of Greeks during the Greek Genocide. It does not include deaths resulting from deportations and labor battalions (concentration camps). This mapping project was created by the Greek Genocide Resource Center in April 2017 and is an ongoing project.
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Last updated: 16 May 2018