“If they [the Greeks] want to fall into the sea again – if they feel like being chased after again – they are welcome. The Turkish nation is ready and has the faith to do it again. Someone must explain to the Greek government what happened in 1921 and 1922. If there is no one to explain it to them, we know how to stick like a bullet on the Aegean, rain from the sky like a blessed victory, and teach history to the couriers of ahl al-salib [the people of the cross] all over again,”
“Sadly, this dark page of history remains mostly forgotten or ignored. Only a handful of scholars have shed light on and exposed the persecution of Christians in Smyrna in 1922. One is Lou Ureneck, Boston University professor and journalist, who penned The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide. In it, he described the harrowing story of an American Methodist minister – Asa Kent Jennings – and an American naval officer – Arthur J. Hepburn – who helped rescue more than 250,000 Christian refugees during the burning of Smyrna by Turkish forces.”
“Turkish soldiers burned and plundered Smyrna’s Christian neighborhoods, murdering defenseless residents. According to the statistics of the church, of the 459 bishops, metropolitans and clergy of Smyrna, some 347 were murdered in an atrocities manner. Scholar Speros Vryonis reported that among them was Chrysostomos, the last metropolitan of Smyrna. Men, women and children – none were spared. Turkish soldiers forced Greek men to join labor battalions. Some were sent on death marches to the interior. The ‘lucky’ ones were able to flee their homes in the city to seek shelter in Greece and other states.”
“But discrimination against the tiny minorities of Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians/Syriacs and Jews who remained has continued up until the present day. In addition, the Turkish government has been trying to cover up its role in the fire and the slaughter of Greek and Armenian Christians. For decades, the Turkish official state ideology has glorified September 1922. “We have buried the Greeks in the sea” is a common and proudly used expression in Turkey.”
Read the whole article here.