Monday, May 29, 2006

Response to the US/Asia Minor Response

smyrna 1922
What follows is my original comment on the post regarding the US response, or lack thereof, regarding the Genocides perpetrated by the Young Turks in Asia Minor. It just turned out a little long, and I wanted to add some pictures, so I'm making it a post. Hope you guys don't mind too much:

Well, of course. Why would they want the full history to come to light? The US along with many European nations were tacitly complicit in the genocides in Asia Minor. Standard Oil among others was cozying up (throught the US Department of State, who had AMBASSADORS IN ASIA MINOR during the entire crisis!!) to Ataturk's fledgling government and everyone wanted a piece of Turkiye.

Never forget, the warships sat in Smyrna harbor in 1922 watching the burning of the city and the slaughter going on. The British seamen poured boiling water on swimmers trying to reach the ships for safety. The US revoked any rights of citizenship for any naturalized American citizens from Asia Minor who had returned to try to aid relatives.
smyrna 1922
Smyrna 1922: Victims Trapped Between the Flames and the Water

The list of crimes goes on, and if they admit to the genocides and the whole campaign of the Young Turks then everyone knows that they were there ignoring it all. People know anyway, it's rather public knowledge. It is the lack of focus on the subject which keeps this all under wraps.

The slogan, though in Klingon, er, I mean Turkish, was "Turkey for the Turks". They put everyone through this. And for the record, I know that this is always referred to as "The Armenian Genocide", and they were in fact one group of the victims. But so were the inland Pontic Greeks (pictured above on a death march) and the Assyrians who were slaughtered and put on similar death marches with little chance of escaping due to their geographic position (for a harrowing 1st hand account from a Pontic see Thea Halo's book Not Even My Name). My ancestors, the Ionian Greeks have been almost erased from history. They had a better chance for escape due to their living on the coast near the many islands and the rest of Greece. However, many of my relatives were murdered by Turks at this time. I'm merely the descendant of the ones who got away. I refer to this as the Genocides of the Young Turks or of Asia Minor personally, but it really strikes at the heart to think of the Armenians BARELY being remembered, while the other 4 groups targeted are not even MENTIONED. VDH in Between War and Peace mentioned the Ionians. He's a rare exception.

Understand my terseness here, these were my relatives. I know their names and the dates that some of them were bayonetted or shot to death. I know now who made it out and who didn't in my family and in others'. And as for the US resisting this move, they don't want to show their allegiance to a Turkey that was doing this or to lose what's left of an ally in the region. And having a Rockefeller still in the Senate can't be helping matters.


Anonymous said...

Aloha Pim,

I familiar with the genocide of 1915. Do you have any links or book titles for the events you describe?

Kiddo said...

Actually, one of the most comprehensive bibliographies is at Diamanda Galas' site :

Out of those a must read on this topic, especially US involvement has to be Dobkins' Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City.

Actually forget what I mentioned about (wait it got deleted) having too many books already.....after looking over that bibliography there are a few more titles I'd like to pick up. But it is terribly painful for me to read about this subject, so I go slow on it. I'd like to read the Morgenthau books as he was the Ambassador sent.

I'll be looking up some of these, but I highly recommend Dobkin's book, and it isn't very long but really packs a whallop. She has the quotes from just about everyone. Great writing and reporting. Not Even My Name is utterly heartbreaking, but is the account of one Pontic Greek whose entire family almost was decimated by the death marches, and who married an Assyrian survivor. But firsthand account and not scholarly. I want to look into the works of Nikos Kazantzakis that are listed in this bibliography actually.

Much of my knowledge comes from adult research, but also from digging back and finding old letters and papers from my family and interviewing relatives. I have a had-written description of our genealogy from my Great-Aunt who was born in the 1890s (here in the US) but had taken down all of the history. She writes in detail about attacks on Mytilene as far back as the 1850s and includes who was killed and who survived. But they were a wealthy family to begin with, and did fine. They came here for business and education and also to escape the Turks. On the other side, my relatives were poor village people from Smyrna and a coastal town near there. The came here because of the murders by the Turks in 1900. There had been horrid attacks in the 1890s and many in the West of Asia Minor saw the writing on the wall.

These attacks were actually spread out over a series of decades, culminating in the Turk's "final solution" which peaked in the teens to the early 20s.

Google "The Turkish Crime of Our Century". I think that site's still up, actually. Lots of info on the smaller stories that comprise the bigger picture. Plenty of rather graphic photos as well.

Kiddo said...

Actually, here's a great site for the links, the main site hosting The Turkish Crime of Our Century's older site. Links for all of these subjects.

(the English version is cheesy, but hey, what do you do?)

Anonymous said...

I found this to be a valuable resource. PG is probably familiar with it already, but I would recommend it.

Kiddo said...

Thanks William, I wasn't familiar with that actually....most of my research is pretty low-tech (books). But I was rereading my Dobkin book, and the international machinations that were going on in this area were so intricate as to be unbelievable. Luckily most ambassadors involved left behind ample letters with comments about what horrid "races" they thought the Armenians and Greeks were at the time. Very enlightening.

Stogie said...

I have begun a book to understand the Armenian genocide, called "The Burning Tigris" by Peter Balakian. Yes, there was much public support for saving the Armenians, but very little governmental or military asistance (okay, none).

I have admired the Greeks ever since I learned they threw the Ottomans out and regained their independence by their own hands, in the 1820's if I remember right. They proved that those who are Dhimmis need not remain that way if they have the courage to fight.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the references.

Bob said...

Great post. I blogged here about our shameful withdrawl of Ambassador Evans after he committed the sin of mentioning the genocide, and I think the story was at dhimmiwatch. Somewhere in there I link to a website of a Turkish apologist, which is absolutely disgusting.

Kiddo said...

This must all be recognized in the context of the greater world at this time. Dobkin in her book uses I believe the most references and gives thte clearest picture of the international situation.

This was during the rise of Nationalism, which caught both the Turks and their minority populations by storm. Also, much happened during World War I during which the Allies were involved in much intrique in this part of the world. Ataturk presented himself as the only real leader at all of the Turks, and NO Western diplomat had anything but the most base racist comments regarding the Christian minorities, as though groups forced into dhimmitude for centuries would appear respectable, especially the Armenians who were treated like dogs or the Central Anatolians who were poor farm folk.

After the war the Allies sent in the Greek army to occupy Smyrna at British request. While the Western warships sat in the harbor doing nothing but watching, the Turks fought off the unaided Greeks and then destroyed most of the city and its inhabitants (the Christian ones). I could write books on this subject on here, but I prefer to just recommend Dobkin's. She uses more sources than I could ever imagine amassing and writes thoroughly.