[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Pogroms Report

Dec 06, 1999 07:41 PM
by Hazarapet

BRUSSELS - REUTERS, 12-06 The nearest successful example [of "collective=20
denial"] in the modern era is the 80 years of official denial by successive=20
Turkish governments of the 1915-17 genocide against the Armenians in which=20
some 1.5 million people lost their lives and subsequent genocide pogroms as=20
recent as November 1999.  This denial has been sustained by deliberate=20
propaganda, lying
and coverups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing
scholars.  The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not
referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial
ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic
arenas of cooperation.

Yet what should have also been mentioned is that, along with our century=E2=
first genocide, the depopulation of Greek Orthodox and Assyrian Christians
from Asia Minor was part and parcel of Turkey=E2=80=99s policy of eliminatin=
g its
Christian minorities.

 The extermination of more than 300,000 Pontian Greeks in the Black Sea
region was carried out roughly within the same time frame as the Armenian
Genocide and through the use of similar methods.  According to U.S. Consul
George Horton, up to 200,000 Armenian and Greek Christians in Smyrna (now
renamed Izmir) were killed in 1922 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk=E2=80=99s troo=
occupied and burned down this once cosmopolitan city.  Metropolitan
Chrysostomos, the spiritual leader of Smyrna=E2=80=99s Orthodox Christians,=20=
to abandon his flock, was seized by Turkish troops while conducting
religious services in the city=E2=80=99s cathedral, and was dismembered in t=
streets by a Turkish mob.  Over one million more Greeks were ethnically
cleansed from Turkey under Ataturk=E2=80=99s regime.

 During the 1950=E2=80=99s through the 90=E2=80=99s, modern-day Kristallnach=
ts in the form of
anti-Greek pogroms led to the exodus of the remaining 200,000 Greek Orthodox
from Istanbul and marked the final death-blow to Constantinopolean
Hellenism, one of the world=E2=80=99s oldest and most distinguished historic
Christian communities.  The Aegean islands of Imbros and Tenedos were
likewise depopulated of their predominantly Greek inhabitants.  The
Assyrians, also an ancient Christian community of Asia Minor, encountered a
similar fate having been extinguished from their ancestral homeland in
eastern Turkey by massacres, forced conversions, and ethnic cleansing
campaigns up through 1998.

On November 26, 1999, the New York Times wrote: "[a]ccording to the most
recent UN statistics, the Christian population in Turkey has diminished from
4,500,000 at the beginning of this century to just about 150,000. Of those,
the Greeks are no more than 7,000.  Yet, in 1923 they were as many as 1.2
million".  While our nation=E2=80=99s media has remained hesitant in address=
Turkey=E2=80=99s elimination of its indigenous Christian communities earlier=
century, it has remained shamefully silent in reporting the Turkish
government=E2=80=99s abuses of its few remaining Christians today.

 Under the code-name "Operation Attila", Turkish troops launched two
invasions of Cyprus in 1974 killing thousands of Greek Cypriots and
ethnically cleansing 200,000 more from the territory that Turkey continues
to occupy.  Human rights organizations have extensively documented the
widespread destruction of Greek and Armenian churches under Turkish control
and the erasing of the island=E2=80=99s two-thousand-year-old Byzantine Chri=
civilization.  The few enclaved Greek communities in the occupied
territories are subjected to severe human rights abuses and continue to live
in a constant state of fear.

 The roughly 2,000 Greeks left in Istanbul today are subjected to threats,
hate crimes and violent attacks.  Christian cemeteries have been desecrated;
their bones dug up, scattered, and fed to dogs.  The latest such attack
occurred at the Agios Eleftherios cemetery in Istanbul this April, while
another cemetery in the Istanbul suburb of Kanitili was desecrated last
year.  During the past few years the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the seat of
Orthodox Christianity located in Istanbul, has been the target of three bomb
attacks; the latest explosion occurring on December 3rd and critically
wounding a deacon.  Weeks later, on January 13th, a Greek Orthodox shrine
was torched and its sexton found bound, gagged and murdered, his corpse
shoved down a well.  The dying Greek community in Turkey is prohibited from
congregating freely, speaking openly, or practicing its religion.  In an
attempt to asphyxiate the continuity of the Orthodox church even further,
the Turkish state has closed the Patriarchate=E2=80=99s Halki seminary despi=
condemnation by Congress and the international community.

 This same deeply ingrained ethic of reflexive denial that has led Turkish
apologists to deny past and present horrors=E2=80=94from the Armenian Genoci=
earlier this century to the ethnic cleansing of up to three million Kurds
from southeastern Turkey today=E2=80=94pervades every aspect of Turkey=E2=80=
self-evaluation and continues to stunt its moral and spiritual growth.  One
of the saddest tragedies of present-day Christianity may not lie in the fact
that Christians are still being persecuted, as they are in China, the Sudan
and elsewhere, but that our nation=E2=80=99s leadership and its information-=
are facilitating the martyrdom of Europe=E2=80=99s oldest remaining Christia=
communities for the sake of a questionable and as yet unproven strategic
alliance with a government that has perpetrated the largest Christian
holocaust of our century.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application