11 Apr 1918: Turks Harry Greeks, Daily Herald, SA

Daily Herald 11041918

TURKS HARRY GREEKS
AWFUL STORIES TOLD
TORTURES INFLICTED

Daily Herald, South Australia.
April 11, 1918.

    Among the many black records which
have  recently been made public none
is more  shameful than that which des-
cribes the persecution of the Greeks in
Turkey since the beginning of the war,
carried on for the deliberate purpose of
exterminating Hellenism (says the
"Daily Telegraph".) This disgraceful
chapter in the history of the Young
Turks and their German accomplices
forms the subject of a long memorandum
issued by the Hellenic Ministry for Fo-
reign Affairs, which has been issued in
Athens, and for a copy of which we are
indebted to the courtesy of M. Venezelos.
    It is a scathing indictment of the me-
thods adopted by the Young Turks on
the direct instigation, as is shown by
documentary evidence, of Germany. The
programme was not so much to restore
a constitutional regime as to create a
great national Turkish State, which
would be independent, politically and
ecomically, and how they set about
realising the programme is shown in the
memorandum. Appended is a summary
of its principal passages:-
    Following her traditional policy, Aus-
tria set herself to annulling the results
of the Balkan war of 1912, which had
given Greece the power and prestige ne-
cessary for protecting the Hellenes who
still remained under the Ottoman yoke.
Assisted by Germany, Austria succeeded
in dissolving the Balkan League and in
attaining the results which she desired.
    As a consequence the domination of the
Young Turks was assured in Turkey, which
thanks to Enver Pasha, was henceforth
submitted exclusively to the influence of
Germany. In their programme the Turks
had the assistance of the Bulgars, who, even
in their defeat, were anxious to strike a
[blow] at Greece, and more particularly of
Germany, because Hellenism constituted a
serious obstacle to her commerial and in-
tellectual predominance in the East. Thus,
at the moment when the Greeks in Turkey
were expecting some improvement in their
miserable lot, a terrible and systematic
persecution began, which deprived 400,000
Greeks of their property and homes, and
compelled them to seek refuge in Greece.
       -Serving Germanic Interests.-
    The adhesion of Turkey to the coalition
of the Central Empires and her participa-
tion in the war began a new era of more
savage and more efficacious persecution
against Hellenism. During the first period
of tribulation the perecutions were col-
lective, and might bring about the destruc-
tion of entire Greek districts, but at least
the victims were allowed to seek safety in
flight. In the second period, however, in-
augurated after Turkey's participation in
the war, the manifest object was the anni-
hilation of the Greek races. There was
another difference. Basing a policy of
neutrality on the chimerical hope of
thereby arresting the anti-Hellenic perse-
cutions, the governing powers in Athens
remained in appearance for those who
were ignorant of the facts, the powerless
spectators of the extermination of Hellen-
ism, but were in reality the accomplices
of the assasins.
    Under various forms the persecutions
of the second period disclose the action
or the complicity of Germany. Both
the Kaiser and his Foreign Minister tried
to make excuses for the Turks, as is
shown by the telegrams received from
the Greek Minister in Berlin. The per-
secutions of the second period, howevever,
revealed who were the guilty parties. At
the beginning of 1915 the Deutsche Palas-
tine Bank circulated throughout the East
a pamphlet in the Turkish language, ex-
citing the fanaticism of the Mussulmans,
recomending hatred of the Christians,
an advising the cessation of all com-
mercial relations with them. In 1917
Count Metternich, German Ambassa-
dor in Turkey was recalled by the Kai-
ser on the demand of Enver Pasha and
the German military authorities in Con-
stantinople, for having, "by intervening
in favour of the Christians, wounded the
amour propre of the Turks, and [illegible]
served German interests."
    No doubt as to the culpability of
Germany is possible after the evacuation
of Aivali. The Grand Vizier admitted
to the Greek Minister that the depor-
tation of the Hellenes from that town
was due to the formal demand of Gene-
ral Liman von Sanders, commander of
the 5th Army Corps. After having resis-
ted the Ottoman Government had been
obliged to yield in face of the threats
of the German general, who had declared
that without this measure he would not
be responsible for the safety of the
amry. The German Ambassador had
given reasons of political necessity for
sparing the population of Aivali, but
General Liman declared that in time of
war miiltry necessities took precedence
over political reasons, and that the Ger-
man General Headquerters, to which he
had referred, had already given its con-
sent.
    The Young Turks and the Germans
worked hand in hand in carrying out the
plan of destruction. The means they
employed were as follows:-
   1. Abolition of privileges,
   2. Enrolment of Christians in the
army.
   3. Requisitions and forced contribu-
tions.
   4. Forced conversion to Islamismn.
   5. Individual crimes.
    Thanks to these measures, the ground
was well prepared for the collective ex-
termination of Hellenism.
       -Extermination of Christians.-
    A means found for sapping the founda-
tions of Hellenism in Turkey, and of
achieving its extermination was that of
military enrolment, in which diabolical
ingenuity was displayed. Under the
absolutist regime, Christians were de-
prived of the right of joining the army,
military service being replaced, so far
as they were concerned, by the pay-
ment of an annual tax. After the es-
tablishemnt of the constitutional regime
a law was passed making all persons up
to the age of 31 liable to military ser-
vice. After Turkey entered the war a
legislative decree raised the miliary age
to 48, persons belonging to the reserve
classes being allowed to obtain exemp-
tion on payment of a tax of £T45. The
effect of this was that people of Greek
nationality who did not desire to serve
were obliged to sell their property in
order to procure exemption, or else to
place themselves in the position of de-
serters, but in any case the object of
the law, the extermination of the Christ-
ians, was achieved. Another system of
persecution was the establishment of so-
called labor battalions for Christians,
which were sent to Anatolia to build
roads and carry out other forms of labor.
A series of official reports describe the
miserable lot of these people. Without
pay, badly fed, and badly clothed, ex-
posed to all the inclemencies of the
weather, the burning sun of Baghdad
and the intense cold of the Caucasus
they died in thousands.
    But enforced enrolment was not the
only method which the Mussulmans
adopted for the extermination of the
Greek element: requisitions and forced
contributions assisted in the work of
destruction. Whole fortunes were con-
fiscated, and wareouses were pillaged.
At the beginnig of the constitutional
regime, the Turks made use of the
commercial boycott, but this system was
perfected later with the assistance of
the Deutsche Palastine Bank. Mussul-
mans were forbidden to have commer-
cial relations with the Greeks who,
moreover, were deprived of the right to
import merchandise. Anatolia became
the centre of bureaus for the import and
export of goods destined exclusively for
Mussulmans, with the result that Greek
commerce was destroyed. The ruin of
the Greeks was completed by the re-
servation of all business exclusively for
the Turks. Finally, the Government de-
cided to alienate all the property of
those Greeks who, compelled by neces-
ity, had emigrated from one village to
another.
         -Death or Islam-
    Achieving in this way the economic
suppression of Hellenism, the Govern-
ment next attempted the numerical sup-
pression of the Greek element by means
of forced conversions to Islamism.
[Ilegible] the methods employed [..] this
connection was the establishment of or-
phanages at Panderma, of which the
founder was none other than Liman
Pasha, who had the audacity to demand
from the Christian population a con-
tribution of £10.000 towards the expen-
ses. This orphanage had the appear-
ance of a charitable institution, but its
real character is revealed when it is
stated that all the children of parents
massacred by the Turks, or [...]
driven from their homes, were interned
there and educated according to Mus-
sulman principles. This applies to
boys, but as for the girls they were
compelled to contract marriages with
Turks. Christian families were sent
to Mussulman villages, and were not
allowed to leave on any pretext. They
had to work or starve, and that meant
a choice between death and conversion
to Islamism. Various Consular reports
show conclusivey that forced conver-
sion to Islamism is regarded in Turkey
as one of the surest means of exter-
minating the Hellenic element.
    But there were still other means. In-
dividual murders took the place of the
general massacres which characterised
the first period of persecution, and they
were carried out for the purpose of get-
ting rid of notable personage who might
exercise a salutary influence on the un-
fortunate people who suffered under the
oppression of the Ottoman yoke. The
victims were openly seized in the vil-
lages, carried away, tortured, and finally
executed. Testimony to this is to be
found in the reports of the Greek Con-
suls. In the district of Mendessa more
than 200 Greeks were thus murdered be-
tween July 1913, and December, 1915.
    The violation of Greek women was
common, and in this the ferocity of the
Turks appears in all its horror. A re-
port from the Greek Consul at Aivali
mentions incidents which are too ter-
rible for reproduction except in the pages
of an official document, and the Consul
at Panderma says that he finds it im-
possibe to describe incidents which took
place in certain villages. The mourn-
ful catalogue of the victims of indivi-
dual crimes perpetrated by the Turks fill
many pages of the memorandum, and
the same is true of the collective atroci-
ties committed in connection with the
wholesale evacuations of countless vil-
lages. It is calculated that more than
200,000 souls have been deported from
one part of the Ottoman Empire to ano-
ther, and, in addition to this, there are
innumerable victims whose fate is un-
known.


"TURKS HARRY GREEKS" Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924) 11 April 1918: 8. Web. 30 Apr 2022 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124539104>.

 

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