BAGHDAD — The Islamic State militant group attacked the ancient archaeological site of Nimrud in northern Iraq and damaged it with heavy vehicles, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said Thursday.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on ancient structures and artifacts in Syria and Iraq that the group has destroyed in the name of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Last week, Islamic State militants videotaped themselves destroying statues and artifacts in the Mosul Museum and at the Nergal Gate entryway to ancient Nineveh. The militants captured the city during its offensive blitz through much of Iraq last June. “The terrorist gangs of ISIS are continuing to defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity after they committed a new crime that belongs to its idiotic series,” the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page, referring to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.

Continue reading the main story

Race in Iraq and Syria to Record and Shield Art Falling to ISISMARCH 8, 2015
Destruction of Antiquities by ISIS Militants Is DenouncedFEB. 27, 2015
ISIS Onslaught Engulfs Assyrian Christians as Militants Destroy Ancient ArtFEB. 26, 2015
Iraqi Campaign to Drive ISIS From Tikrit Reveals Tensions With U.S.MARCH 3, 2015

Nimrud is the sprawling site of a city founded by the Assyrian King Shalamansar I, who died in 1245 B.C. Among the most impressive objects at Nimrud are the colossal statues known as “lamassu,” mythological creatures that depict either lions or winged bulls with bearded human heads. Pairs of the 17-ton statues are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum.
Many of the massive Nimrud statues remain buried at the site. But the ISIS video from the Mosul Museum clearly shows at least one statue from Nimrud being defaced. And the site has many areas that archaeologists have not yet explored.

George C. Papagiannis, the Unesco world heritage officer in charge in Iraq from 2009 to 2011, said the loss of any artifacts from Nimrud was a dark blow to historical preservation. “These extremists are trying to destroy the entire cultural heritage of the region in an attempt to wipe the slate clean and rewrite history in their own brutal image,” he said.

He added that Nimrud was recently nominated by the Iraqi government to be placed on Unesco’s list of world heritage sites, locations chosen for their “universal value.”

Ihsan Fethi, a member of the Iraqi Architects Society, said, “I cannot even describe the immensity of this loss.” He added, “This is one of the most famous and probably one of the most important sites in the world.”

Nimrud is also famous for its bas-reliefs and steles that depict scenes of war and hunting as well as fantastical figures like bird-headed genies. Many of those are in museums. As well, Nimrud was the site of extensive excavations that yielded carved ivory, jewelry, crowns and other artifacts that are stored in the archaeological museum in Baghdad, which in recent days reopened to the public.

But the Nimrud site itself has suffered since the United States-led invasion in 2003, when it was virtually abandoned as Iraqi state structures collapsed. Looters stole and damaged many sculptures. However, Mr. Fethi said, the site was partly safeguarded by its remote location, and until now, its major structures were in good condition.

“Leaving these gangs without punishment will encourage them to eliminate human civilization entirely, especially the Mesopotamian civilization, which cannot be compensated,” the ministry added in its statement.

ISIS Attacks Nimrud, a Major Archaeological Site in Iraq

It called on the United Nations Security Council to come to Iraq’s aid.

The destruction also comes on the heels of several years of wholesale ransacking of Syria’s ancient sites by many parties in the country’s chaotic conflict.

Mohammad Rabia Chaar, a Syrian writer and journalist now living in Belgium, said he had returned to Syria to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad but became disillusioned in part because of the looting and destruction, and was eventually driven out by threats from Islamic State militants, before they in turn were largely driven from that province last year.

”Go and see Idlib, how all the ancient hills have been destroyed and looted, how bulldozers are digging.” he said. “The feeling of sickness is growing more and more, day after day, against these imperialist Muslims. Daesh wants people with no memory, with no history, with no culture, no past, no future.”

He said that while human lives were worth more than statues, erasing history and civilization was “killing them not physically but because of their thoughts.”

Omar Al-Jawoshy contributed reporting from Baghdad, Tom Mashberg from New York, and Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon.

Christian Genocide in the Middle East and Public Apathy in America
By Dr. Alexandros K. Kyrou
Posted 2015-01-07 20:02 GMT
One of the last diplomats to leave Smyrna after the Turks set the great Anatolian port city ablaze in September 1922 was the United States’ Consul General, George Horton. Reflecting on the carnage and depravity of the Turkish forces tasked by Mustafa Kemal to destroy Smyrna’s Greeks and every physical semblance of their three-millennial presence in the magnificent city on the western littoral of Asia Minor, Horton wrote that “one of the keenest impressions which I brought away from Smyrna was a feeling of shame that I belonged to the human race.” The shame that Horton expressed stemmed from his shock and disgust, both as a witness to the Turks’ genocidal frenzy and as a diplomat aware that several Western governments, including his own, had contributed to the horrors that took place in Smyrna.
The destruction of Smyrna marked the dramatic, fiery climax–although it would not be the telos–of the Turkish nationalists’ genocidal project to annihilate the historic Christian populations of Asia Minor. The mass murder and mass expulsion of the Ottoman Empire’s and Turkey’s Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks from 1915 to 1923 marked the twentieth century’s first large-scale and systematic state-directed genocide, establishing a model that would inspire and be replicated by other criminal regimes throughout the following century. Moreover, the Turks’ policy of genocide encouraged imitation elsewhere, precisely because that holocaust against Christians was astonishingly successful and without penalties for the perpetrators. Indeed, the Turks not only achieved their objectives–the slaughter of three million Christians and the expulsion of another two million from their ancestral homes did, in fact, produce an essentially homogeneous Muslim Turkey–but they did so without any consequences, evading all accountability and any justice.

One of the chief reasons that Turkey escaped responsibility for its crimes against humanity was the complicity, albeit indirect, of several of the Western powers in those crimes. During the First World War, the Allies condemned the Turkish nationalist leadership that controlled the Ottoman Empire for its acts of genocide. However, once the war ended, various Western Allied powers (most notably France, Italy, and the United States), in pursuit of commercial concessions from the Turks, entered into diplomatic understandings with the Turkish nationalists, pushed aside and buried the issue of genocide, and even provided military aid and support to Kemal’s regime, thereby enabling the founder of the Turkish Republic to complete by 1923 the bloody “nation-building” project begun by his colleagues in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Despite the duplicitous postwar actions of several Western governments, popular sentiment in those same societies was deeply sympathetic to the plight of Christians in the Ottoman Middle East. A remarkable variety of international relief and aid efforts emerged throughout the West, especially in the United States, in response to the humanitarian crisis produced by Turkey’s policy of annihilating its large Christian population. The extermination and expulsions of Christians–Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks alike–in Turkey were widely reported in the United States, producing strident calls by several prominent diplomats, politicians, influential religious leaders, scholars, and the press to respond decisively to the crisis as a moral imperative and a Christian duty. Two years before the US even entered the war, Americans had answered this call to action by organizing the highly publicized, nationwide charity that would become known eventually as Near East Relief, which channeled millions of dollars in aid to Christian survivors of the genocide.

In sharp contrast to the American public’s outrage over the Muslim Turks’ extermination of Christians a century ago, the most recent genocide of Christians in the Middle East by fanatical Muslims, under the moniker of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has witnessed a very different response in American society–apathy.

In the year 2014, ISIS launched a reign of terror against Arab and Armenian Christian populations reminiscent of Turkey’s genocide a century earlier. As Islamic State forces advanced across the northern arc of the historic Fertile Crescent (the territory stretching across northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq), ancient Eastern Christian communities were decimated. An undetermined number of Christians, many several thousands, were killed or enslaved by the Islamic State’s forces in 2014. In order to escape this fate, almost 250,000 Christians fled the areas occupied by the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s cleansing of the Christian populations under its control recalls and reiterates the project of nationalist Turkey, one in which nationalist Islamic forces functioned to create a homogeneous Muslim society in the territory under their control.

Tragically enough, the erasure of Christians in Iraq and Syria in 2014 is only the most recent episode in the wave of violence and persecutions against Christians that has been underway since the fateful United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 catalyzed the state failures and Islamist extremist mobilizations that are producing anarchy in the Near East. During the last decade of bloodshed and chaos in Iraq, and more recently in Syria, perhaps as many as 100,000 Christians have been killed and more than 1.5 million have been made refugees. As a result, Christianity now faces the possibility of extinction in the lands of its origin.

The American government’s response to this humanitarian catastrophe has been characterized by overt indifference. The Bush administration dealt with the embarrassing fact that its Iraqi misadventure had unleashed the destruction of the country’s ancient and large Christian population by ignoring and suppressing that fact. Simultaneously, the Bush government, either deliberately or through sheer folly, implemented occupation policies that undermined the security and prospects for survival of Christian communities in Iraq.

The Obama administration has continued and compounded the fecklessness of its predecessor administration. Most recently, in an effort to erase the humiliation produced by his reckless comment made in late July, that the White House had no policy to deal with the Islamic State, President Obama rushed to launch a policy initiative in early August. In a televised national address, President Obama announced that he had ordered military action against the Islamic State, rationalizing the move to limited air war in Iraq and Syria by invoking the US’ moral obligation to protect Iraq’s Yezidi religious minority from genocide at the hands of the Islamic State. The privations of the Yezidis certainly justified a response and aid, but the genocide and plight of the much larger Christian communities of Iraq, brutalized for more than a decade by the region’s mélange of Islamist extremist groups and actively and passively persecuted by the Baghdad government, were largely ignored in President Obama’s speech.

The US government’s indifference to the genocide of Christians in the Middle East is shocking, but, unfortunately, not surprising. The demonstrated disregard for the suffering of Christians in the Middle East by the administrations of Presidents Bush and Obama is entirely consistent with a double standard established by the moralizing hypocrisy of Woodrow Wilson in the midst of the first genocide of the twentieth century. In fact, American administrations have been willing not only to turn a blind eye to genocide against Christians in the Middle East; they have gone beyond that, by consistently supporting, at least since the 1980s, Turkey’s genocide denial efforts.

Yet, where is the public outrage? Although the US government has remained consistent in its indifference and duplicity on this subject, the attitude of the American public has undergone significant change. A century ago, the Turks’ genocide against Armenians and other Christians provoked public outrage and led to large-scale humanitarian relief efforts in the United States of America. A century ago, America’s civil society leaders, public intellectuals, and media mavens actively promoted awareness of the Turks’ crimes against humanity, and led popular initiatives to rescue Christians from death and suffering. The invocation in the public sphere of Christian duty and moral imperatives was sufficient to produce societal concern and action. In contrast, today, as the Islamic State completes the destruction of the historic Christian centers that Kemal’s forces did not reach, the American public’s response is one of apathy. The apathy is reflected in the measurable lack of public awareness campaigns and in the absence of activism when it comes to coverage about and support for the Christian victims of Islamist violence.

The cultural and intellectual currents, as well as official policies, that have aimed to expunge religion, in general, and Christianity, in particular, from the American public sphere have been corrosive for any commitment to respect for faith and, especially, for assigning value to the survival of Christianity in human civilization. Signs of America’s emerging a-religious culture has also been instrumental in explaining public misperceptions about the Middle East as home only to Muslims and Jews, thereby rendering reporting on Christians in the Middle East largely incomprehensible or meaningless. In a word, the cumulative social and cultural changes attendant to the specific drivers and modes of secularization in America go a long way to explaining the reasons for American public apathy towards the annihilation of the Mideast’s Christians. Indeed, the knowledge, principles, and the very language–“Christian duty,” for example–that produced widespread outrage and drove humanitarian relief in response to genocide against Christians a century earlier have no place in today’s public dialogue, and for some, are viewed as vestiges of an exclusivist American identity that must be terminated.

The domestic politics of faith and US foreign policy concerns regarding religion have contributed to a worrying cynicism in how Washington policymakers engage on the issue of the Middle East’s disappearing Christians. This past August, President Obama introduced the Yezidis–a group unknown to Americans, indistinguishable victims, free from any association with Christianity–to justify limited military action against the Islamic State. Given current American political sensitivities towards Islam and social changes generating ambivalence and hostility towards Christianity, the President (much as with his predecessor) made no clarion call for action to protect today’s Middle East Christians–a group whose experiences in the Ottoman Empire were marked by the same options–pay a poll tax, convert, flee, or be killed–that face the Yazidis and the Christians suffering in the ISIS footprint.

This year, 2015, will be a year of centennial remembrance and commemoration of the Christian–the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek–genocide. It will also be a year of genocide denial, already planned and launched by the Turkish state, as well as by Turkey’s apologists in the US government, American media, and academia. In recognition of this tragic centennial, as well as the unfolding genocide in the Middle East in our time, this blog will return to these issues in several postings throughout 2015.

Dr. Alexandros K. Kyrou is Professor of History at Salem State University, where he teaches on the Balkans, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire.

© 2015 Assyrian International News Agency | Terms of Use | Site Map | Services | RSS | About AINA
Today’s Assyrian date: 6764 ,21 (adar) ܐܕܪ

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Outcry over Isis destruction of ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud
Militants’ latest assault in Iraq described as war crime by Unesco and condemned as part of systematic campaign to erase millennia of culture

A look at the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud before it was looted and bulldozed by Islamic State fighters.
Kareem Shaheen in Beirut
Friday 6 March 2015 13.00 EST Last modified on Monday 9 March 2015 16.09 EDT

Activists, officials and historians have condemned Islamic State (Isis) for the destruction of the ancient Assyrian archaeological site of Nimrud in Iraq, with Unesco describing the act as a war crime.

“They are not destroying our present life, or only taking the villages, churches, and homes, or erasing our future – they want to erase our culture, past and civilisation,” said Habib Afram, the president of the Syriac League of Lebanon, adding that Isis’s actions were reminiscent of the Mongol invasion of the Middle East.

Iraq’s tourism and antiquities ministry said on Thursday that Isis had bulldozed the ancient city, south of Mosul, which was conquered by the militants in a lightning advance last summer.

“Daesh terrorist gangs continue to defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity,” the ministry said, using the group’s Arabic acronym.

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Detail of an Assyrian relief from Nimrud showing horses and horsemen of the royal chariot, 725BC. Photograph: Steven Vidler/Eurasia Press/Corbis
“In a new crime in their series of reckless offences, they assaulted the ancient city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy machinery, appropriating the archaeological attractions dating back 13 centuries BC,” it said.

The destruction of the site, which became the capital of the Neo-Assyrian empire, was confirmed by a local tribal source speaking to Reuters.

“I condemn with the strongest force the destruction of the site at Nimrud,” Irina Bokova, the head of Unesco, said in a statement. Bokova said she had spoken with the heads of the UN security council and international criminal court on the issue.

“We cannot remain silent,” Bokova said. “The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime. I call on all political and religious leaders in the region to stand up and remind everyone that there is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage.”

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A sculpture of a guardian figure in Nimrud. Photograph: Nik Wheeler/Corbis
Nimrud was first excavated in the 1840s by the British explorer Austen Henry Layard, who unearthed the winged bull gatekeeper statues later sent to the British Museum. The site also contains the palace of Ashurnasirpal, the king of Assyria.

Many of the site’s relics are in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and other reliefs, wall paintings, clay tablets and ivory furniture recovered in the 1950s and 60s are in Iraq’s national museum in Baghdad, said Augusta McMahon, senior lecturer on Mesopotamia and the ancient near east at Cambridge, and who has carried out excavations in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.

But the Nimrud site itself still hosts large numbers of reliefs and winged bull statues left in their original locations, and the palace grounds were reconstructed by the Iraqi government in the 1970s and 80s, said McMahon, adding that the winged bull statues in particular were probably targeted by the militants.

But she said Isis could not erase the ancient heritage, pointing out that the relics had survived prior invasions. “We still know the names and feats of Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal,” she said. “Similarly, the actions of Isis do not completely destroy memory, even while they destroy unique artefacts.”


Mark Altaweel, a lecturer in near eastern archaeology at University College London, said the Isis attack probably targeted the palace grounds and the reliefs there. No imagery of the destruction has yet been released by the group.

A tribal source told Reuters that Isis members had come “to the Nimrud archaeological city and looted the valuables in it and then they proceeded to level the site to the ground.

“There used to be statues and walls as well as a castle that Islamic State has destroyed completely,” the source was quoted as saying.

Tom Holland, a historian, told the Guardian: “It’s a crime against Assyria, against Iraq, and against humanity. Destroy the past, and you control the future. The Nazis knew this, and the Khmer Rouge – and the Islamic State clearly understand it too.”

The site’s destruction is the latest assault by Isis against the ancient heritage of minorities that have coexisted in the Middle East for millennia. Last week, the group destroyed ancient Assyrian artefacts in Mosul museum in a video that triggered widespread condemnation and horror. The group had earlier also burned many priceless manuscripts at the city’s library.

Christopher Jones, a PhD student in ancient history at Columbia University who blogs about the neo-Assyrian empire, said: “What is at risk? Everything that doesn’t conform to the most strict Wahhabi standards of acceptability, anything that is beloved by people that Isis doesn’t like, anything that represents non-Isis interpretations of Islam such as Shiism or Sufism, and anything from before the time of Muhammad.”

Sanhareb Barsom, an official with the Syriac Union party across the border in Syria’s Hassakeh province, where the Assyrian community has also come under assault by Isis, told the Guardian: “These are not Assyrian artefacts, these are artefacts for all of humanity.”

Isis kidnapped more than 200 Assyrians in a sweep through villages south of the Khabur river last month, where members of the community had settled after the Simele massacre in the 1930s by the then-kingdom of Iraq.

“They are targeting a people as well as its history and culture,” Barsom said, calling for the intervention of international organisations to save Iraq’s heritage. “It’s an attempt to end the existence of a people in their ancestral land.”

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An ancient statue of a winged bull with a human face. Photograph: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of Chaldeans, Iraq’s main Christian sect, fled their historic homes on the plains of Nineveh in the face of the Isis advance, escaping forced conversions. The militant group also attempted to starve and enslave thousands of members of the ancient Yazidi sect living around Mount Sinjar, triggering air strikes by the US-led international coalition.

“It’s unprecedented,” said Afram of the Syriac League. “No one did that before.” He compared the attack to that of the Mongol invasion of the Middle East, saying Isis militants were going further in their destruction of ancient heritage.

“This is as if they are specialised in erasing whatever signals that we were present in any part of this region,” he added.

Afram condemned the lack of action by the international community, saying there had to be a real military action plan, an inter-faith religious campaign to put an end to religious strife, security cooperation, and action by the “Arab armies” to end the crisis. He said the international community was treating the strife in the Arab world as if it were part of a “basketball game”.

“All this world, from the UN to the security council, really cares about nothing, they don’t care about people who are slaughtered on a daily basis,” he said. “I don’t believe that there is an international community, or that there are values anymore.”

David Vergili, a member of the European Syriac Union, said Isis had done “tremendous damage to the social fabric of the Middle East”.

He added: “Preserving cultural and historical heritage in Iraq and elsewhere should be a concern for the whole civilised world as the birthplace and epicentre of our civilisation.”

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The month of September brings with it the end of summer, the beginning of a new year on the Orthodox calendar, and the anniversaries of dates that have ravaged Hellenic civilization and culture. On September 14, we commemorate the Hellenic Genocide. We remember once again the Hellions of Asia Minor who were systematically murdered by the governments of the Young Turks and Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

The destruction of Asia Minor Hellenism began in 1071 when the Byzantine armies were defeated by the Seljuk Turks. In this historical event lies the origin of the Hellenic Holocaust which continues up to the present day. In 1453, Constantinopoulis fell to the Turks. The great, honorable, and brave Constantinos Palaiologos led 5,000 brave Greek soldiers against 80,000 Ottoman Turkish soldiers. The fall of Constantinopoulis, and the fall of the Empire of Trebizond eight years later extended the Hellenic holocaust to all Hellenic regions.

The Ottoman Empire brought with it massacres, torture, slavery, the kidnapping of boys for the Janissaries, the enslavement of women into the harems, and intolerable political and economic pressure that resulted in the further decimation of Hellenism. For even when Hellenes were not massacred, the destruction of Hellenism occurred with the loss of national identity. Conversions to Islam and Turkification contributed to the nightmare of the loss of independence and national sovereignty.

In May 1919, the armies of a a free and independent Greece entered the glorious and long suffering city of Smyrna. For a brief time it appeared that the extermination of the Hellenic race had ceased. During the First World War, the Young Turks began to murder the Hellenic populations in Asia Minor, along with the Armenians and the Assyrians.

Ultimately, Mustafa Kemal Pasha became an instrument of western imperialism and as such Turkish racism earned the unconditional assistance of the United States, Great Britain, France, and Italy. The murderous psychopath Mustafa Kemal was aided by the western powers while the Greek Army in Asia Minor was cut off by an embargo imposed by the western powers. In September 1922, beautiful Smyrna was conquered by the Kemalists and burned. Over 100,000 Greeks and 30,000 Armenians were slaughtered.

Special mention must be made of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Smyrna. This brave and noble Greek Orthodox Cleric supported the Greek liberators in 1919, and was a voice for the aspirations of a nation that had been enslaved, humiliated, massacred, and denigrated for centuries. When the news broke that the Kemalist aggressors would retake Smyrna, it became apparent that the Greeks and the Armenians would not survive.

Metropolitan Chrysostom was offered refuge by the French Consulate. This Saint refused the offer of safety and chose to share the fate of his flock. Metropolitan Chrysostom was handed over to a fanatical Muslim mob by the crazed and sadistic Kemalist General Noureddin Pasha. He was humiliated by having his beard cut off, and then his eyes, ears, nose, and hands were cut off. Metropolitan Chyrsostom was canonized as a Saint by the Orthodox Church of Greece in 1992. (He is very much AXIOS and deserves to be remembered and prayed for).

When the Kemalist-Young Turks murder machines ceased-over 1,500,000 Armenians, 1,000,000 Greeks, and 800,000 Assyrians had lost their lives. The decimation of Hellenism continued when the west supported Kemal’s plan to ethnically cleanse Asia Minor and Eastern Thraki of well over 1,000,000 Hellenes. In this day and age, we are inundated with stories of ethnic cleansing throughout the world, but there is still no recognition of the horrors that have been perpetrated against Hellenism.

Over 1,000,000 Hellenes were forced to abandon the land and homes where their ancestors and descendants had lived for over 3,000 years. This ethnic cleansing and Genocide was supported by the “civilized” powers in the west and legitimized by the Treaty of Lausanne. Today the world commemorates Aushwitz and the crimes of Stalin, but there are no memorials for the dead of Smyrna and Pontus in those ancient Hellenic lands.

On September 6, 1955 crimes against humanity took place in a country that was a member of the NATO alliance. The Turkish government of Adnan Menderes (of the so called “democratic” party) incited terrorism against the Hellenes of Constantinopoulis and Imbros. First, the Turks bombed their own consulate in Thessaloniki and then blamed the Greeks. Then they organized the fanatics, the criminals, and the parasites, and encouraged them to attack the Greek population, the Churches, homes, and businesses.

In Smyrna, Greek Army officers serving with NATO were assaulted and their wives violated. Throughout these terrorist attacks, the police did not interfere. On September 6 we remember the end of Hellenism in Constantinopoulis and Imbros. In the 1960’s, the Turkish authorities proceeded to finish the job by ethnically cleansing the last remnants of Hellenism.

During these attacks in Constantinopoulis, Imbros, and Smyrna, there were absolutely no condemnations, protests, or sanctions coming from Washington (that universal protector of “human rights” and “democracy”). Following the September 6 pogroms, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles wrote identical letters to Greek Prime Minister Alexander Papagos and Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes urging the “allies” to consider NATO. There was no sympathy for Greece expressed, nor was there any condemnation of Turkey’s blatant aggression.

Hellenism is today being eradicated in Cyprus. Over 200,000 Greeks have been ethnically cleansed in the occupied territories. In 1996, Turkish death squads murdered Cypriots Tasos Isaac and Solomos Solomou. As in Asia Minor in 1922, and Constantinopoulis in 1955, there is not a single protest emanating from the “civilized powers.”

Black September, a month to commemorate and recall our losses, and to reevaluate where Hellenism stands today in Cyprus, Macedonia, the Aegean Sea, and Northern Epirus. The losses of Hellenism have been numerous in terms of lives lost, and in terms of territory that has been conquered. Let us remember, commemorate, and mourn all that has been lost in Asia Minor and Constantinopoulis. Remember Smyrna and Pontus, and the victims of the Hellenic Genocide.

Documentation of the Hellenic Genocide

Let us remember and honor the memories of those who worked to protect Hellenes, Armenians, and Assyrians from the Turkish aggressors. Let us honor prominent American officials such as George Horton and Henry Morgenthau who worked tirelessly to assist the refugees that fled from Asia Minor. Let us honor them also because their important work remains alive in their important writings and texts. George Horton documented the Hellenic Genocide in “The Blight of Asia”, and Henry Morgenthau documented the ethnic cleansing of Hellenes in his important, “I was sent to Athens”.

Further documentation and texts on the Hellenic Genocide include Edward Hale Bierstadt’s “The Great Betrayal” which was published in 1924, and which Turkish supporters in America worked to discredit. This is a powerful and moving document describing the agony of Asia Minor Hellenism. Journalist Edward Herbert Gibbons has left behind accounts of Turkish Genocide against Hellenism in his 1920 biography of Prime Minister Venizelos.

The American Hellenic Society, an early version of the Greek lobby in America has left behind an important document, “Persecution of the Greeks in Turkey” which describes in great detail the atrocities of the Greeks in Asia Minor during the First World War. Specific atrocities, statistics of the dead in various regions, numbers of victims deported and ethnically cleansed, and the names of Hellenic villages where the Turkish exterminations took place during the First World War are all recounted here.

The American Hellenic Society has also left behind a document submitted by Prime Minister Venizelos, “Greece Before the Peace Congress of 1919”, which was submitted to the victorious powers of the First World War. The Prime Minister makes frequent references to the exterminations of Greeks and Armenians in the case he put forward for the rights of Greece in Asia Minor and Constantinopoulis.

Marjorie Housepian Dobkin’s, “Smyrna 1922 the Destruction of a City” is a briliantly researched account of the events that led to the final extermination of Asia Minor Hellenism. Thea Halo’s “Not Even my Name” is a memoir recalling the Genocide that affected Hellenism in Pontus.

“The Miracle” by Leonidas Koumakis is an invaluable contribution to the documentation of the destruction of Hellenism in Constantinopoulis and Asia Minor. The author recounts the conspiracy against Hellenism during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and describes the ethnic cleansing of Hellenes by the Turkish state. “The Crucifixion of Christianity” by Dimitrios Kaloumenos is a recounting of the September 1955 pogroms in Constantinopoulis and contains numerous photographs of the destruction that serve as an indictment against the Turkish state.

“In 1992, Helsinki Watch published, “Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity, The Greeks of Turkey”. The document refers to specific harassment against the Greeks of Constantinopoulis, and Imbros and Tenedos”. The document is further evidence of the ethnic cleansing of Hellenism by the Turkish authorities.

Up to our own day, Hellenism remains under assault. The State Department’s “Country Reports on Human Rights” has documented the terrorist bombings against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the discriminatory closing of the Halki Seminary.

Cypriot Hellenism suffers under the Turks today. The plight of the Cypriots is recounted in the Documentary film, “Attila 74 the Rape of Cyprus” by film director Michael Cacoyannis. Furthermore, the destruction of Cypriot culture is described in the text, “The Occupied Churches of Cyprus” by a Greek Cypriot priest, Rev. D. Demosthenous.

You can find most of the above books at HEC bookstore

Let us remember the agony of Hellenism.

HEC-Hellenic Electronic Center

The following article was submitted to us by Sofia Kontogeorge Kostos.



World Peace Held to be Menaced Unless the United States Assumes Control of the Sultan’s Former Dominion

B y H E N R Y M O R G E N T H A U
Ex-Ambassador to Turkey

I am one of those who believe that the United States should accept a mandate for Constantinople and the sev-
eral provinces in Asia Minor which constitute what is left of the Ottoman Empire.I am aware that this proposition is not popular with the American people. But it seems to me to be a matter in which we do not have much choice. Nations, like individuals, are constantly subject to forces which are stronger than their
wills. The responsibilities to which individuals fall heir, are frequently not of their own choosing. The great European conflicts in August, 1914, seemed to be a matter that did not immediately concern us. In two years we learned that it was very much our affair. The impelling forces of history drew us in, and led us to play a decisive part. It we could not keep out of this struggle, it is illogical to suppose that we can avoid its consequences.

One of the most serious of these consequences and the one that perhaps most threatens the peace of the world is a chaotic Turkey. Unless the United States accepts a Turkish mandate the world will again lose the opportunity of solving the problem that has endangered civilization for 500 years.

The United States has invested almost $40,000,000,000 in a war against militarism and for the establishment of right. We must invest three or four billions more in an attempt to place on a permanent foundation the nations to whose rescue we came. An essential part of this program is the expulsion of the Turk from Europe and the establishment as going concerns of the nations which have been so long subject to his tyranny. Unless we succeed in doing this we can look for another Balkan war in a brief period perhaps five years.

Another Balkan war will mean another European war, another world war. It is for the United States to decide whether such a calamity shall visit the world at an early date. If we assume the mandate for Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire probably we can prevent it; if, as so many Americans insist, we reject this duty, we shall become responsible for another world conflagration.

Perhaps the most ominous phase of world politics today is that new voices are interceding in behalf of the Sultan and his distracted domain. The Government at Constantinople is making one last despairing attempt to save the bedraggled remnant of its empire. It has reorganized its Cabinet, putting to the fore men who are expected to impress Europe favorably; but it is not punishing the leaders who sold out to Germany and murdered not far from a million of its Christian subjects. The new Sultan has given interviews to the press, expressing his horror at the Armenian massacres, and promising that nothing like them shall ever occur again. More ominous than these outgivings is the fact that certain spokesmen in behalf of the Turk are making themselves heard in the allied countries. Again it is being said that what Turkey needs is not obliteration as a State, but reform.

Probably the financial interests which look upon Turkey as a field for concessions are largely responsible for this talk; the imperialistic tendencies of certain European countries are blamable to a certain extent, for, strange as it may seem, there are still many people in England, France, and Italy who urge that the
Turks, bad as his instincts may be, is better than the Oriental peoples whom he holds in subjection.

If we listen to these arguments, and to the fair promises of the Turkish Government, we shall put ourselves into the position of a society which fails to protect itself against the habitual criminal. Every civilized society nowadays sees to it that constant offenders against decency and law are put where they can do no harm. Yet the Turk is the habitual criminal of history, the constant offender against the peace and dignity of the world, and if we permit him to remain in Europe, and to retain an uncontrolled sovereignty, it is easy to foresee the time when a regenerated Russia will again be dependent on him for a commercial outlet, so that the dangerous situation of the world-order will be duplicated and perpetuated. We cannot hope sanely for peace unless America establishes at Constantinople a centre from which democratic principles shall radiate and illuminate that dark region of the world.

If we look at the Near Eastern situation we perceive that Italy and Greece are reaching out to such distances for territory and power that both, if their ambitions are gratified, will find themselves not only unable to govern the new lands they have acquired, but will be greatly weakened at home through expenditures in the maintenance of troops and Governments in their colonies. The danger is not only that the Balkans will
be more Balkanized than ever, but that Russia, too, will be Balkanized. The only safety lies in setting up a beneficent influence through a strong Government in Constantinople, which would counteract the intrigues and contentions of embittered rivals.

A brief survey of the history of Turkey in Europe will suffice to make clear the danger of accepting in this late day any promises of reform from that quarter. I have always thought that the final word on Turkey was spoken by an American friend of mine who had spent a large part of his life in the East, and who on a visit to Berlin, was asked by Herr von Gwinner, the President of the Deutsche Bank, to spend an evening with
him to discuss the future of the Sultan’s empire. When my friend came to keep this appointment he began this way: “You have set aside this whole evening to discuss the Ottoman Empire. We do not need all that time. I can tell you the whole story in just four words:Turkey is not reformable!”

“You have summed up the whole situation perfectly,” replied von Gwinner.

The reason why this conclusion was was so accurate was that it was based, not upon theory, but upon experiment. The history of Turkey for nearly a hundred years has simply amounted to an attempt to reform her. Every attempt has ignominiously failed. Up to fifteen years ago Great Britain’s policy in the Near East had as its controlling principle the necessity of maintaining the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The folly of this policy and the miseries which it has brought to Europe are so apparent that I propose to discuss the matter in some detail, particularly as it is only by studying this attitude of the past that we can approach the solution of the Turkish problem of the present.

From 1853 to 1856 Great Britain and France fought a terrible, devastating war, the one purpose of which was to maintan the independence of Turkey. At this time the British public had before them the Turkish problem in almost the same form as that which it manifests today. As now, the issue turned upon whether they should regard this question from the standpoint of civilization and decency, or from the standpoint of national advantage and political expediency.

The character of the Turk was the same in 1853 that it is now; he was just as incapable politically then as he is today; his attitude toward the Christian populations whom the accident of history had placed in his power was identically the same as it is now. These populations were merely “filthy infidels,” hated by Allah, having not rights to their own lives or property, who would be permitted to live only as slaves of the mighty Mussulman, and who could be tortured and murdered at will. All European statesmen knew in 1852 that the ultimate disappearance of the Ottoman Empire was inevitable; all understood that it was only the support of certain European powers that permitted it to exist, even temporarily.

It was about this time that Czar Nicholas I. applied to Turkey the name, “sickman of the East,” which has ever since been accepted as an accurate description of its political and social status. The point which I wish to make here is that as it was then. The Turk had long since learned the great resource of Ottoman
statesmanship—the adroit balancing of one European power against another as the one security of his own existence.

Yet, there was then a school of statesmanship, headed by Palmerston, which declare that the preservation of this decrepit power was the indispensable point in British foreign policy. These men were as realistic in their policies as Bismarck herself. Outwardly they expressed their faith in the Turk; they publicly pictured him as a charming and chivalrous gentleman; they declared that the stories of his brutality were fabrications; and they asserted that once given an opportunity, the Turkish Empire would regain its splendor and become a headquarters of intelligence and toleration. Lord Palmerston simply outdid himself in his adulation of the Turk. He publicly denounced the Christian populations of Turkey; the stories of their
sufferings he declared to be the most absurd nonsense; he warned the British public against being led astray by cheap sentimentality in dealing with the Turkish problem.

To what extent Palmerston and his associates believed their own statements is not clear; they were trained in a school of statesmanship which taught that it was well to believe what it was convenient to believe. The fact was, of course, that the British public was under no particular hallucinations about the Turk. But its mind was filled with a great obsession and a great fear. The thing that paralyzed its moral sense was the steady progress of Russia.

This power, starting as a landlocked nation, had gradually pushed her way to the Black Sea. There was something in her steady progress southward that seemed almost as inevitable as fate. That Russia was determined to obtain Constantinople and become heir to the Sultan’s empire was the conviction that obsessed the British mind. Once this happened, the Palmerston school declared, the British Empire would come speedily
to an end. It is almost impossible for us of this generation to conceive the extent to which this fear of Russia laid hold of the British mind. It dogged all the thoughts of British statesmen and British publicists. There appeared to be only one way of checking Russia and protecting the British fireside—that was to preserve the Turkish Empire. England believed that, as long as the Sultan ruled at Constantinople, the Russian could never occupy that capital and from it menace the British Empire.

Thus British enthusiasm for Turkey was merely an expression of hatred and fear of Russia. It was this that led British statesmen to disregard the humane principles involved and adopt the course that apparently promoted the national advantage. The English situation of 1853 presented in particularly acute form that question which has always troubled statesmen: Is there any such thing as principle in the conduct of a
nation, or is a country justified always in adopting the course that best promotes its interests or which seems to do so? As applied to Turkey it was this: Was it Great Britain’s duty to protect the Christians against the murderous attacks of the Mohammedans, or should she shut her eyes to their sufferings so long as this course proved profitable politically?

I should be doing an injustice to England did I not point out that the British public has always been divided on this issue. One side has always insisted on regarding the Turkish problem as a mater simply of expediency, while another has insisted on solving it on the ground of justice and right. The part of hu-manity existed in the days of the Crimean war. Their leaders were Richard Cobden and John Bright—men who
formed the vanguard in that group of British statesmen who insisted on regarding public questions from other than materialistic standpoints.

Cobden and Bright saw in the Ottoman question, as it presented itself in 1853, not chiefly a problem in the balance of power, but one that affected the lives of millions of human beings. It was not the threatened aggression of Russia that disturbed them; their eyes were fixed rather on the Christian populations that were being daily tortured under the Turkish rule. They demanded a solution of the Eastern question in the
way that would best promote the welfare of the Armenians, Greeks, Syrians, and Jews, whom the Sultan had maltreated for centuries. They cared little for the future of Constantinople; they cared much for the future of these persecuted peoples. They therefore took what was, I am sorry to say, the unpopular side in that day. They opposed the mad determination of the British public to go to war for the sake of maintaining the Turkish Empire.

The greatest speech John Bright ever made was against the Crimean war. “That terrible oppression, that multitudinous crime which we call the Ottoman Empire,” was his description of the country which Palmerston so greatly admired. Richard Cobden had studied conditions at first, hand and had reached a conclusion identically the same as that of my friend whom I have already quoted —that is, that Turkey was not reform-able. He ridiculed the fear that everywhere prevailed against Russia, denied that Russia’s prosperity as a nation necessarily endangered Great Britain, declared that the Turkish Empire could not be maintained, and that, even though it could be, it was not worth preserving.

“You must address yourselves,” said Cobden, “as men of sense and men or energy to the question— What are you to do with the Christian population? For Mohammedanism cannot be maintained, and I should be sorry to see this country fighting for the maintenance of Mohanmedanism. * * * You may keep Turkey on the map of Europe, you may call the country by the name of Turkey if you like, but do not think that you can keep up the Mohammedan rule in the country.”

These were about the mightiest voices in England at that time, but even Cobden and Bright were wildly abused for maintaining that the Eastern question was primarily a problem in ethics. In order to preserve this hideous anachronism England fought a bloody and disastrous war. I presume most Englishmen today regard the Crimean war as about the most wicked and futile in their national existence. When the whole thing was over, a witty Frenchman summed up the performance by saying: “If we read the treaty of peace, there are no visible signs to show who were the conquerors and who the vanquished.” There was only one power which could view the results with much satisfaction; that was Turkey. The Treaty of Paris specifically guaranteed her independence and integrity. It shut the Black Sea to naval vessels, thus protecting Turkey from attack by
Russia. Best of all, it left the Sultan’s Christian subjects absolutely in his power.

The Sultan did, indeed promise reforms—but he merely promised them. Despite experience to the contrary, the
British and French diplomats blandly accepted this promise as equivalent to performance. It is painful to look back to this year 1856; to realize that France and England, having defeated Russia, had a free hand to solve the Ottoman problem, and that they refrained from doing so. That absurd prepossession that this Oriental empire must be preserved in Europe simply as a buffer State against the progress of Russia entirely
controlled the minds of British statesmen—and millions of Christian peoples were left to their fate.

What that fate was we all know. The Sultan’s promises to reform, never made in good faith, were immediately disregarded. Pillage, massacre, and list continued to the chief instruments used by the Sublime Porte in governing his subject peoples. Again the Sultan maintained his throne by playing off one European power against another. The “settlement” of the Eastern problem which had been provided by the Crimean war last until 1876.

These twenty years were not quiet ones in the Ottoman dominions; they were a time of constant misery and torture for the abandoned Christian populations. Great Britain and France learned precisely what the “integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire” meant in 1876, when stories of the Bulgarian massacres again reached Europe. Once more Europe faced this everlasting question of the Turk in precisely the same form as in 1856. Again the British people had to decide between expediency and principle in deciding the future of Turkey. Again the British public divided into two groups. Palmerston was dead, but his animosity to Russia and his fondness for the Turk had become the inheritance of Disraeli. With this statesman, as with his predecessor, Turkey was a nation that must be preserved, whatever might be the lot of her suffering Christians. The other part, that played by Cobden and Bright in 1856, was now played by Gladstone.

“The greatest triumph of our time,” said Gladstone in 1870, “will be the enthronement of the idea of public right as the governing idea of European politics.” And Gladstone now proposed to apply this lofty principle to this new Turkish crisis. Many of us remember the attitude of the Disraeli Government in those days. We are still proud of the part played by two Americans, McGahan, a newspaper correspondent, and Schuyler, the American Consul at Constantinople, in bringing the real facts to the attention of the civilized world.

Until these men published the results of their investigations the Disraeli Government branded all the reports of Bulgarian atrocities as lies. “Coffee house babble” was the term applied by Disraeli to these reports, while Lord Salisbury, in a public address, lauded the personal character of Sultan. But these two Americans showed that the Bulgarian reports were not idle gossip. They furnished Gladstone his material for his famous Bulgarian pamphlet, in which he propounded the only solution of the Turkish problem that should satisfy the conscience of the British people. His words, uttered in 1876, are just as timely now as they were then.

“Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely, by carrying away themselves.
Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and their Yugbashis, their Kaimakans and their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.”

Gladstone’s denunciation stirred the British conscience to its depths. The finer side of the British character manifested itself; the public conscience had made great advances since 1856, and the masses of the British people began to see the Ottoman problem in its true light. Consequently, when Russia intervened in
behalf of the Bulgarians and other persecuted peoples, England did not commit the fearful mistake of 1853—she did not go to war to prevent the intervention. British public opinion at first applauded the Russian armies; when, however, the Czar’s forces approached Constantinople, the old dread of Crimean days seized the
British public once more. Again Englishmen forgot the miseries of the Christians and began to see the spectre [sic] of Russia seated at Constantinople. Again Great Britain began to prepare for war; the British fleet passed the Dardanelles and anchored off Constantinople. England again declared that the safety of her empire demanded the preservation of Turkey, and gave Russia the option of war or a congress at which the treaty she had made with Turkey should be revised.

Russia accepted the latter alternative, and the Congress of Berlin was the result. This Congress could have freed all the subject peoples and solved the Eastern question, but again civilized Europe threw away the opportunity. At this Congress England, in the person of Disraeli, became the Sultan’s advocate, and again the Sultan came out victorious. Certain territories he lost, it is true, but Constantinople was left in his
hands and a great area of the Balkans and a larger part of Asia Minor. As for the Armenians, the Syrians, the Greeks, and the Macedonians, the world once more accepted from Turkey promises of reform. Thus Gladstone and the most enlightened opinion in England lost their battle, and British authority again became the instrument for preserving that “terrible oppression, that multitudinous crime which we call the Ottoman

Had it not been for the Congress of Berlin it is possible that we should never have had the world war. The
treaty let Austria into Bosnia and Herzegovina and so laid the basis for the ultimatum of July 22, 1914. It failed to settle the fate of Macedonia, and so made inevitable the Balkans wars. By leaving Turkey an independent sovereignty, with its capital on the Bosporus, it made possible the intrigues of Germany for a great Orient empire. No wonder Gladstone denounced it as an “insane covenant” and “the most deplorable chapter in our foreign policy since the peace of 1815.”

“The plenipotentiaries,” he said, “have spoken in the terms of Metternich rather than those of Canning. * * * It was their part to take the side of liberty— as a matter of fact, they took the side of servitude.”

The greatest sufferers, as always, were the Christian populations. The Sultan treated his promises of 1878 precisely as he had treated those of 1856. It was after the treaty, indeed, that Abdul Hamid adopted his systematic plan of solving the Armenian problem by massacring all the Armenians. The condition of the subject peoples became worse as years went on, until finally, in 1915, we had the most terrible persecutions in history.

The Russian terror, if it ever was a terror, has disappeared. England no longer fears a Russia stationed at Constantinople, and threatening her Indian Empire. The once mighty giant now lies a hopelessly crippled invalid, utterly incapable of aggressive action against any nation. What her fate will be no one knows. What is certain, however, is that the old Czaristic empire, constantly bent on military aggression, has disappeared forever. When we look upon Russia today and then think of the terror which she inspired in the hearts of the British statesmen forty and sixty-two years ago the contrast is almost pitiful and grotesque. The nation that succeeded Russia as an ambitious heir to the Sultan’s dominions, Germany, is now almost as powerless.

Moreover, the British conscience has changed since the days of the Crimean and Russo-Turkish wars. The old-time attitude, which insisted on regarding these problems from the standpoint of fancied national interest, is every day giving place to a more humanitarian policy. Glandstone’s idea of “public right as the governing idea of European politics” is more and more gaining the upper hand. The ideals in foreign policy represented by Cobden and Bright are the ideals that now control British public opinion. There are still plenty of re-actionaries in England and Europe that might like to settle the Ottoman problem in the old discredited way, but they do not govern British public life at the present crisis. The England that will deal with the Ottoman Empire in 1919 is the England of Lloyd George, not the England of Palmerston and Disraeli.

For the first time, therefore, the world approaches the problem of the Ottoman Empire, the greatest blight of modern civilization, with an absolutely free hand. The decision will inform us, more eloquently than any other detail in the settlement, precisely what forces have won in this war. We shall learn from it whether we have really entered upon a new epoch; whether, as we hope, mediaeval history has ended and modern history
has begun.

If Constantinople is left to the Turk, if the Greeks, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Arabs and the Jews are not freed from the most revolting tyranny that history has ever known, we shall understand that the sacrifices of the last four years have been in vain, and that the much-discussed new ideas in the government of the world are the merest cannot. Thus the United States has an immediate interest in the solution of this problem. The hints reaching this country that another effort may be made to prop up the Turk are not pleasing to us. We did not enter this war to set up new balances of power, to promote the interest of the concessionaires, to make the new partitions of territory, to satisfy the imperialistic ambitions of contending European powers, but to lend our support to that new international conscience that seeks to re-
organize the world on the basis of justice and popular rights. The settlement of the Eastern question will teach us to what extent our efforts have succeeded.

If this mistake of propping up the Sultan’s empire is not to be made again, either that empire must be divided among the great powers—a solution which is not to be considered for reasons which it is hardly necessary to explain—or one of these great powers must undertake its administration as a mandatary [sic]. The great powers in question are the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. Of these only the first two are capable of assuming this duty. Lord Curson has told me personally that for political and economic reasons Great Britain cannot assume the Ottoman mandate. Lloyd George has said essentially the same thing. And Stephane Lauzanne, who speaks in a semi-official capacity for France, said, in an interview Nov. 1 with a correspondent of the times:

“In the offer of a mandate to her America should see more than the selfish desire of Europe to involve her in European affairs. It is true she fears to be the centre of intrigues and difficulties. She fears distant complications. However, the question is nobler and higher than that. America is an admirable reservoir of energy. She holds the secret of that which is best in our modern life—to build largely and to build quickly. She has youth; she has power; she has wealth; she has that which she calls efficiency. We in Europe are old,
poor, enfeebled, divided. It would be prodigiously interesting if America, after she has given us to her power, of her money and her material, should give us also an example.

“And what an example it would be if America were to accept the mandate for Constantinople! Here is a city which is one of the marvels of Europe and of the world, which is the jewel of the Orient, and which after twenty centuries of European civilization remains the home of wickedness and corruption. Every one disputes possession of its hills and harbors, and no one tries to make of it a great modern city which, rid of
international intrigues and rid of politics, would be the shining pole of Europe. Only America can transform Constantinople; only America can establish herself there without suspicion of bad faith and without jealousy; only America can civilize the capital of Islam.

“To do that America has no need of regiments of soldiers or of cannon. She has need only of her workers and her constructors. A Hoover or a Davison would be enough. And America is full of Hoovers and Davisons.”

I recognize the tremendous problems which confront us in our own country. Those problems must and will be solved. But the day is past when the individual citizen can permit absorption in his personal affairs to exclude the consideration of the community’s or the nation’s wellbeing. A new social conscience has maintained itself. And it is equally true that the United States, as a member of the League of Nations, must take an active and altruistic interest in world affairs, however pressing our own problems may seem. The European situation, indeed, is really a part of them. Our associates in the war cannot drift into bankruptcy and despair without involving the United States in the disaster. The losses we would suffer in money would be the least distressing, should the world fall into the chaos which is threatening. If we cannot solve our own problems and at the same time help Europe solve hers we must be impotent indeed.

So much, then, for the general principles involved; what are the practical details of such a mandate? Last May William Buckler, Professor Philip M. Brown, and myself joined a memorandum to President Wilson, outlining briefly a proposed system of government for the Ottoman dominions. This so completely embodies my ideas that I reprint it here, with two slight omissions:

“The government of Asia Minor should be dealt with under three different mandates, (1) for Constantinople
and its zone, (2) for Turkish Anatolia, (3) for Armenia. The reason for not uniting these three areas under a single mandate is that the methods of government required in each area are different. In order, however, to facilitate the political and economic development of the whole country, these three areas should be placed under one and the same mandatory power, with a single Governor in charge of the whole, to unify the separate administrations of the three States.

“Honest and efficient government in the Constantinople zone and in Armenia will not solve the problems of Asia Minor unless the same kind of government is also provided for the much larger area lying between Constantinople and Armenia, i.e., Turkish Anatolia. Constantinople and Armenia and mere fringes; the heart of the problem lies in Anatolia, of which the population is 75 per cent. Moslem.

“The main rules to be followed in dealing with this central district are: “1. That is should not be divided up among Greeks, French, Italians, &c. “2. That the Sultan should, under proper mandatory control, retain religious and political sovereignty over the Turkish people in Anatolia, having his residence at Brusa or Konia, both of which are ancient historic seats of the Sultanate. “3. That no part of Anatolia should be
placed under Greeks, even in the form of a mandate. The Greeks are entitled by their numbers to a small area surrounding Smyrna. Under no circumstances should Greece have a mandate over territory mainly inhabited by Turks.

“The above solution of the problem of Asia Minor means refusal to recognize secret deals such as the Pact of London and the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and especially the Italian claims to a large territory near Adalia. If Greeks and Italians, with their long-standing antagonism, are introduced into Asia Minor, the peace will constantly be disturbed by their rivalry and intrigues. Italy has no claim to any part of Anatolia, whether
on the basis of population, of commercial interests, or of historic tradition.

“No solution of the Asia Minor problem which ignores the fact that its population is 75 per cent. Turkish can be considered satisfactory or durable. The only two countries having any prospect of successfully holding a mandate over Anatolia are Great Britain and the United States.

“The large missionary and educational interests of the United States in Anatolia must be adequately protected, and it is illusory to imagine that this can be done if Anatolia is subjected to Greek, French, or Italian sovereignty.

“Only a comprehensive, self-contained scheme such as that above outlined can overcome the strong prejudices of the American people against accepting any mandate to cure the ills of Turkey and to deliver her peasantry from their present ignorance and impoverishment requires a thorough reconstruction of Turkish institutions, judicial, educational, economic, financial, and military.

“This may appeal to the United States as an opportunity to set a high standard, by showing that it is the duty of a great power, in ruling such oppressed peoples, to lead them toward self-respecting independence as their ultimate goal.”

The Armenians are wholly unprepared to govern themselves or to protect themselves against their neighbors. Mere supervision will not be adequate. What the Armenian State requires is a kind of receivership, and we should take it over to trust, to manage it until it is time to turn it over when it is governmentally solvent and on a going basis. Anatolia should be under a separate management and have its own Parliament; its Executive should be a Deputry Governor under a Governor General at Constantinople. The three Governments should have a common coinage, similar tariff requirement, and unified railroad systems; and in other respects should be federated somewhat as States in this country are.

The commercial importance of such an arrangement is enormous, for Constantinople must continue as Russia’s chief outlet to the world, and it is the gateway to the East. The commercial policy would, or course, be an open-door policy. All nations would have equality of opporturniy in trade and would be free in regard to colonization. As a matter of fact, the commercial situation is of little importance to us. Prior to the war our foreign trade amounted to only about 6 per cent. of our total trade; and although it increased during the war to about 11 per cent., it is likely to recede soon to the neighborhood of 8 per cent. It will consist largely of raw materials, such as wheat, cotton, copper, and coal, which other nations must get from us, whether or no. Foreign trade is a mere incident; our prosperity is not what we are fighting for.

It need not require the extension of large credits from us to put these nations on a sound footing. They could be financed by bond issues issued in each case against the resources of the territories involved. If the United States held the mandates, there would be no difficulty, I apprehend, in floating such issues. And as for the policing necessary, that need be very small, provided a man of strong will and quick decision,
fertile in resources and of unshakable determination, were assigned to the Governorship General at Constantinople. The opportunity would be a great one for an American completely imbued with our institutions. The succession of able pro-Consuls whom we have sent to the Philippines shows that we shall not lack such men. We shall surrender our mandates over these three territories when we have finished our work. We shall not necessarily leave them all at the same time; we shall turn each one over to its people
when the public opinion of the world, expressed in the League of Nations, has decided that it is capable of directing its own affairs. It might be necessary for us to remain in Constantinople longer than elsewhere, and there is reason to suppose that Constantinople will become the Washington of the Balkans and perhaps of Asia Minor, the central governing power of the Balkan confederation. But if left without the guidance and help of outside intelligence and capital, those peoples will necessarily continue to retrograde. They must have security of property if they are to have an incentive to labor. Unless they have that, the blight of Souteastern Europe will remain, and the Turks, originally a marauding band of conquerors, who have held a precarious and undeserved footing for more than 500 years on European soil, will continue to menace its peace and safety. If ever there was a chance to put them out, we have that chance now. The United States is the only Government which can undertake the purification of the Balkans without incurring ill-will and jealousy. We need not indulge in over polite phrases. This is the only nation which can accept these mandates and maintain international good feeling. It is absosutely our fault if the Turk remains in Europe.

The difficulties inherent in this situation can be cured only at the source. The League of Nations, when it comes into being, must not operate exclusively through a central agency at Geneva, because it cannot learn in that way the real difficulties and the wants of dependent peoples. That can be done only in the directest [sic] way, through representatives on the spot. The people, moreover, want to be heard. They are wonderfully relieved after they have had their say. That fact has its touch of pathos, perhaps to some a touch of the ridiculous; bit of a factor of the human equasion [sic] which we cannot afford to ignore. And if we supply
American tribunals, disinterested and just, before which these peoples can state their grievances and their aspirations, we will have taken a long step toward their pacification and stabilization.


Typed word for word. (SKK)

(For educational, archival and “fair use” purposes only.)

Please see:

· The New York Times, Editorial -“The Turkish Mandate” – November 9, 1919

· The New York Times – Front Page – By Henry Morgenthau, Ex-Ambassador to Turkey –

“Turk’s Eyes on Europe, Says our Ex-Ambassador” – November 12, 1922 –

By Gene Rossides

Published July 26, 2004

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, are the persons in the Defense Department primarily responsible for the erroneous statements and policy judgments regarding Turkey to the great detriment of U.S. interests in the region and worldwide. In the article herewith, you can surmise who the three administrations are in reality, and their shameful deeds.


Perle resigned on March 27, 2003 as chairman of the Defense Policy Board after disclosures that his business dealings included a meeting with two Saudis, one an arms dealer, and a contract for $750,000 to advise telecommunications firm Global Crossings Ltd. that was seeking Defense Department permission to be sold to Chinese investors.

In a New Yorker article, Seymour Hersch reported that Perle faced conflict of interest between his work on the board and his private business dealings. He reported that Perle is “a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P.” He also reported that Perle attended a luncheon meeting on January 3, 2004 with two Saudis, Adnan Khashoggi and industrialist Harle Zuhair, who told Hersch that the agenda included an item “to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme.” (New Yorker, March 17, 2003, pages 76-81.)

Perle resigned as Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1987, before the end of the Cold War, and went to Turkey and negotiated an $800,000 contract for International Advisors Inc. (IAI), a company which he initiated. He recruited Douglas Feith, his special assistant at Defense, to head IAI.

Perle became a consultant to IAI and received $48,000 annually from 1989 to 1994. IAI registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. IAI received $800,000 from Turkey in 1989 and then received $600,000 annually from 1990 to 1994.

Douglas Feith:”The stupidest guy …on earth?”

From 1989 to 1994, Douglas Feith headed IAI and registered as a foreign agent for Turkey. He received $60,000 annually and his law firm Feith and Zell received hundreds of thousands of dollars from IAI

Neither Perle, when he was on the Defense Policy Board, or Feith as Under Secretary of Defense, recused themselves on matters dealing with U.S.-Turkey relations.

Feith was Perle’s protégé. According to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, “Feith was not popular with the military. He appeared to equate policy with paper.” Woodward wrote that General Tommy Franks “tried to ignore Feith though it was not easy. The general once confided to several colleagues about Feith: “I have to deal with the [expletive] stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day.” (Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 281.)

Paul Wolfowitz:Monumental Misstatements

Wolfowitz has committed major mistakes of policy and judgment regarding Turkey to the serious detriment of U.S. interests. Wolfowitz’s remarks on Turkey have contained false and misleading statements with serious errors of fact and omission of Orwellian proportions.

On July 14, 2002, Wolfowitz in a CNN Turkey interview stated:

“I think a real test of whether a country is a democracy is how it treats its minorities. And actually it’s one of the things that impress (sic) me about Turkish history—the way Turkey treats its own minorities.”

How does one respond to such a statement? Armenian, Greek and Kurdish Americans have expressed their outrage. See Exhibit 1 to AHI joint letter of September 4, 2002 on AHI website at for a list of Turkey’s violations of the human rights of its minorities committed throughout the 20th century, a number of which continue up to the present time.

Also on July 14, 2002, in a speech at the Conrad Hotel, Istanbul, Wolfowitz referred to Turkey:

“as a staunch NATO ally through forty years of Cold War….It is the great good fortune of the United States, of NATO, the West, indeed the world, that occupying this most important crossroads we have one of our strongest, most reliable and most self-reliant allies.”

This is another false and misleading statement by Wolfowitz with serious errors of fact and omission. The record shows that during the Cold War, Turkey brushed aside U.S. interests on many occasions and deliberately gave substantial assistance to the Soviet military. See Exhibit 2 of the September 4, 2002 letter which sets forth examples of Turkey’s unreliability as an ally and refutes the assertion of Turkey as a self-reliant ally. Turkey’s vote on March 1, 2003 refusing to allow U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a second front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship is a dramatic example of Turkey’s unreliability as an ally.
Wolfowitz’s effusive comments in his July 14, 2002 speech regarding Ataturk may play well in Turkey, but the rest of the world is familiar with Ataturk as a brutal dictator and mass killer of Armenians, Greeks and Kurds. John Gunther in his book, Inside Europe refers in his opening sentence to Ataturk as “The blond, blue-eyed combination of patriot and psychopath who is dictator of Turkey.” (1938 edition p. 378.) See Exhibit 3 of the September 4, 2002 letter for the details of Ataturk’s mass killings of Armenians, Greeks and Kurds. Ataturk and Turkey are hardly the models, as suggested by Wolfowitz, for Afghanistan and other Muslim nations to follow to achieve democracy.

In his July 14, 2002 speech Wolfowitz also stated:

“When the ¡illness’ of international terrorism struck the United States last
September, Turkey quickly offered unconditional support…”

Wolfowitz conveniently omits the fact that Turkey is an international terrorist state by virtue of its aggression against Cyprus in 1974, and a national terrorist state by its actions of ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against its 20 percent Kurdish minority. The double standard on the rule of law and international and national terrorism that the U.S. applies to Turkey damages the U.S.’s war on international terrorism and makes a mockery of our moral and legal positions. See Exhibit 4 of the September 4, 2002 letter which discusses Turkey as an international and national terrorist state.

Wolfowitz refers often to Turkey’s democracy. The fact is otherwise. Turkey is still a military-dominated government, in which the military controls foreign affairs and national security policy and has harmful influence over domestic affairs. There is an absence in Turkey of minority rights, human rights, press freedom, speech freedom and religious freedom. Falsehoods and myths regarding Turkey’s democracy have been propagated for years by Defense and State Department officials. Freedom House in its 2003 annual report calls Turkey only part-free.

On March 13, 2002, in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Wolfowitz failed to recognize that Turkey violated the NATO Treaty by its invasion of Cyprus and that the violation continues to this day. See Exhibit 6 of the September 4, 2002 letter which discusses Turkey’s violation of the North Atlantic Treaty by its invasion of Cyprus.

The false and misleading statements made by Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz on Turkey raise serious questions as to his credibility and the factual basis of his advice to the President and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on other issues such as Iraq.

The U.S. double standard policy toward Turkey on the rule of law and the appeasement of Turkey these past decades, pursued by a handful of Defense and State Department officials and Turkey’s paid foreign agents, have seriously damaged U.S. national interests.
President Bush said “enough is enough” regarding the violence in the Middle East. The President, in the interests of the U.S., should tell his advisors that “enough is enough” regarding Turkey’s aggression and occupation in Cyprus, its genocide against the Kurds, its blockade of humanitarian aid to Armenia, its national torture policy, its thousands of political prisoners, its jailing of journalists, the lack of religious freedom, its denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish military’s control of national security and foreign policy and its harmful influence on domestic policy.

Secretary Rumsfeld should ask for the resignations of Wolfowitz and Feith.

( The author of this Op-Ed item, is Gene Rossides, President of the American Hellenic Institute
and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the first Nixon Administration.)

Hellenic News of America
26 West Chester Pike
Havertown, PA 19083
tel: 610-446-1463
fax: 610-446-3189

Press Office
212-681-4640 FOR RELEASE

The following proclamation was issued by Governor of New York State, George
E. Pataki, in commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Asia Minor
Catastophe presented to the Holocaust Memorial Observance Committee of Asia
Minor on Sunday, October 6, 2002.

P r o c l a m a t i o n

Whereas, the Empire State is home to many ethnic communities whose
members benefit from the freedom and democracy upon which our Nation was
founded; as a global leader in many areas of basic human and social
rights, New York State has a prominent role in acknowledging events in
history — many of them tragic and distressing — that teach valuable
lessons from which our greater society benefits; such events are the
destruction of the city of Smyrna and the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus
and Asia Minor, tragedies that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of
Greek civilians during World War I; and

Whereas, these Greeks, whose ancestors had lived in communities along
present-day northern Turkey near the Black Sea for three millennia, were
singled out by the Turkish authorities for expulsion from their ancestral
lands along with Armenians and Assyrians; from 1915-1923, Greeks of Asia
Minor endured immeasurable cruelty during a Turkish Government-sanctioned
systematic campaign to displace them; destroying Greek towns and villages
and slaughtering additional hundreds of thousands of civilians in areas
where Greeks composed a majority, as on the Black Sea coast, Pontus, and
areas around Smyrna; those who survived were exiled from Turkey and today
they and their descendants live throughout the Greek diaspora; and

Whereas, in 1922, Smyrna, the largest city in Asia Minor called “the
jewel of the Mediterranean”, a cosmopolitan hub populated by a highly
educated Greek community and flourishing commercial and middle-classes, was
sacked and burned and its inhabitants massacred by the Turkish forces; the
pier of Smyrna became a scene of final desperation as the approaching
flames forced many thousands to jump to their death, rather than be
consumed by flame; George Horton, the Consul General of the United States
in Smyrna at the time of the catastrophe, is quoted as saying, “…the
destruction of Smyrna happened, however, in 1922, and no act ever
perpetrated by the Turkish race in all its bloodstained history has been
characterized by more brutal and lustful features, nor more productive of
the worst of human sufferings inflicted on the defenseless and unarmed. It
was a fittingly lurid and Satanic finale to the whole dreadful tragedy…”;

Whereas, it is believed by many that acknowledgment and awareness of
this shameful event will not only teach future generations, but also will
help mankind prevent such crimes from being repeated; this concept is
particularly important as our State works to instill in youth, a universal
respect for other cultures, races, religions and viewpoints; and

Whereas, it is fitting that all freedom-loving people worldwide and
New Yorkers alike, share in the solemn commemoration of the of Great
Catastophe of Asia Minor of 1915-23, and join with the Greek-American
community and its many religious, communal and philanthropic organizations
as they honor the sacrifices and memory of their noble ancestors;

Now, Therefore, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New
York, do hereby proclaim October 6th, 2002 as the

80th Anniversary of the Commemoration of the Burning of Smyrna and the
Persecution of the Greeks of Asia Minor

in the Empire State.

Riggs, Henry H. Days of Tragedy in Armenia: Personal
Experiences in Harpoot, 1915-1917, Ed. Ara Sarafian.
Ann Arbor, Michigan: Gomidas Institute. 1997.

NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Protestant Reverend Henry H. Riggs a third generation American missionary and his wife, the missionary Mary W. Riggs, served in Harpoot, (Kharpert) of the Ottoman Empire. In Chapters XIII and XV the word “deportations” takes on new meanings, as Rev. Riggs describes why the so called “deportations” were far worse than massacres. Photographs do not describe unbearable thirst and hunger. Photographs do not describe feelings of unfathomable desperation and deprivation—regardless of whether or not they were Armenians—Assyrians or Greeks—the Reverend Henry H. Riggs does! (SKK)

Chapter XIII Suspense and Delay

Resistance overcome, the brigands turned to work their will upon the defenseless women and children. All were stripped of their clothing. Then some of the brigands seized the most beautiful of the young women, threw them on their horses, and galloped away; while the rest stopped to gather up the booty. At last, the women, naked and terror-stricken, were left alone with their children, and when the attacking party were well out of the way, the guards returned from their hiding places, and succeeded in requisitioning from a nearby village enough clothing of some sort to make it possible for the women to continue their journey. One of those sufferers, a wealthy lady of the highest type of refinement and education, the daughter of a Christian minister and the wife of a prominent businessman, told us this story of her own experiences, with hesitation and confusion of face, [as] it may well be imagined. Yet, we soon learned that her experience was one of the less horrid of the stories that were brought to me day by day by women of just that type, whose experiences they could tell only to the women of our missionary circle—stories which showed all too plainly what it meant for beautiful and refined Christian women to be left absolutely defenseless in the hands of heartless and lustful Moslem guards, who made their days a horror and their nights unspeakably worse by their obscene and insatiable demands. Many of the women had committed suicide rather than continue to live such a nightmare. (120-1)

This period of delay gave opportunity for correspondence with the authorities in Constantinople and, as has been mentioned, the appeals of Mr. Ehmann resulted in the liberation of the inmates of German institutions. Beyond this protection of German interests, however, the cold-blooded German ambassador refused to “interfere in the private affairs of Germany’s ally”! There are reasons to believe that orders for the same exemption for American institutions had been sent out by the authorities in Constantinople, for Mr. Morgenthau, the American ambassador, was tireless in his efforts along every line, and personally much more highly esteemed and respected than the crafty and domineering von Wangenheim. But these orders, if they were actually sent out, were ignored and suppressed by the local authorities in Harpoot. In answer to every appeal they told us that our pupils and teachers would have to go, though they made halfhearted promises that our people should be allowed to go with later caravans. (121)

Chapter XV The Turkish Idea of Deportation

But for most of the women and children was reserved the long and lingering suffering that made massacre seem to them a merciful fate—suffering such as was foreseen and planned by the perpetrators of this horror. I speak guardedly and state as a fact this horrid indictment of the Young Turks by whom the crime was committed. One of their leaders, the member of Parliament of whom I have already spoken, Hadji Mehmet Effendi of Harpoot, angered by a protest that I had made, spoke more frankly than he otherwise would have done when, before the beginning of the deportation from Harpoot, he said to me, “The Armenians know what massacre is, and think they can bear that. But let them wait and see what deportation is. They never dreamed of being deported. They will soon learn how much worse it is than massacre!” This man professed to believe that the Armenians had brought this on to themselves by their disloyalty to the benevolent and forbearing Turkish government! ( 140)

Many chapters could be filled with the stories of suffering brought by the people who came to us after passing through the ordeal by which the Turkish government designed to exterminate them. But the mere telling of horrible stories is no part of my purpose in writing this book. My object in dwelling as fully as I do on these heartbreaking scenes is to try, though I realize that I shall not succeed in the effort, to perform my duty as a witness in putting before the world a true picture of the human suffering involved in the Turkish application of the plan of deportation to the Armenians. I must therefore still further continue this painful chapter to give a few more isolated instances of such suffering.
Even where actual violence was not used, the guards were frequently active in tormenting their charges. Hunger and thirst are terrible tortures, and many well-authenticated cases were known where the guards deliberately subjected the people to gratuitous privation. Instead of allowing the people to camp near to some abundant supply of water, the guards sometimes forced them to stop at a great distance from water, so that only by walking a long way each time could the people get water. In other cases, where the water supply was not sufficient for the multitude, the guards were said to have taken possession of the spring and allowed only those to drink who would pay for it. For anyone who has had experience of the agony of real thirst, there is no need of enlarging on the cruelty of such treatment, or on the fatal results of such suffering on those forced beyond the limits of their strength. (141-2)

Driven to death, threatened, outraged {raped}, starved and perishing with thirst, it is not to be wondered at that the vast majority of the weary host lay down by the roadside to die. And of those who escaped and found their way to us, many were emaciated and weakened beyond description, and many more heartbroken at the loss of those who had not survived the ordeal. On several occasions, mothers who succeeded in coming to us for help told how with their own hands they had thrown their little ones into the river, rather than endure the prolonged agony of seeing them slowly starve to death at their empty breasts, as they themselves were starving. If any of my readers are inclined to condemn these mothers for [having] having committed child murder, and cannot put yourselves in their places enough to imagine the possibility, then consider the agony of the mother who did not, when she had the opportunity, send her child to the more merciful death; and then, [imagine] as both she and the child grew weaker and weaker, [and] calmly faced the prospect of death. When, one morning, the little one was too ill to walk, and the mother too weak to carry it, she sat down by the child’s side to wait for the end to come. But no! The gendarme came along and ordered her to start and brutally forced the mother to her feet and drove her on, leaving the helpless little sufferer lying there by the roadside. As the frantic mother was relentlessly driven away from her little one, she heard the last despairing wail, “Oh Mamma! Mamma! Don’t leave me!” and thought, as she dragged herself through the endless hours, of that pinched little face staring up at the pitiless sun, and the parched little voice crying out in vain for water, with no one to listen but the vultures and the scavenger dogs that always watch so patiently for their feast to be ready. What would you do if that was your baby, and you knew that that end was coming some day? (143)

Another woman found her way to my study one day. She had told Mrs. Riggs the story of her sufferings on that journey from which she had at last escaped and returned. But of these she told with a hard, indifferent apathy, so accustomed had she become to them. Her real heartbreak was revealed when she told of her two daughters, eleven and thirteen years old, sweet young things, who had helped her as they dragged themselves along the weary road, but who, both in one day, had been snatched from her and dragged off to no one knows what slavery, and her poor distraught mind was ever busy wondering
where they were, and what they were suffering in their captivity. So that, when she had told the story she uttered a great cry, “Oh! I should be so happy—so happy if I could only know that those two dear girls are dead!” Another woman, who had been sitting there during this recital suddenly sprang up, threw herself down on her face, and passionately kissed the floor again and again, and spreading out her hands she cried out, “Oh! God, I thank Thee that I have no daughters!”
But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck!” (143-4)

Note about the author. (Sofia Kontogeorge Kostos)
Text excerpted from Chapters XIII and XV by (SKK)
The photographs were added from other sources. (SKK)

Article by author, professor, and columnist, Christos Yiannaras, in Kathimerini, 24 August 1997.

A rather “incidental” item appeared in the magazine Economicos Tachidromos of 14 August 1997. It referred to a speech Henry Kissinger gave some three years prior, during which he said the following:

The Greek people are a difficult if not impossible people to tame, and for this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots. Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

Were such a condemnatory speech to appear in the Greek press today, regarding — let us say — Greece’s inability to organize the 2004 Olympic Games ( even if it were a reprint of something said years ago ), there would be a storm of protest and much anger. It would make the front pages of the papers, and would no doubt be the lead story on all of the televised newscasts. The party in power would “strongly condemn” such a statement, and all of the opposition parties would issue their own caustic rejoinders. There would be a veritable “fiesta” of outrage; but, unfortunately, such a reaction would never occur over issues having to do with things that seriously impact the lives of contemporary Hellenes: such things as our language, our ecclesiastical tradition, our history, or the continuation of our culture.

By some strange coincidence, one week before the article in the E.T., the exceedingly “progressive” periodical, Samizdat, published ( 6 August 1997 ) an incognito article that predicted the inevitable and desirable Latinization of our Greek alphabet. It was declared, moreover, that such a development would have a “liberating” affect on contemporary Greek thought. It would seem that the author — writing under a nom de plume — has been mobilized to advance the political agenda that Kissinger so blatantly expounded. Are such people paid operatives of some dark conspiratorial power that is seeking to destroy Hellenism? Not really. Quite simply, these individuals are just our run-of-the-mill “progressive” Greek intellectuals, and nothing more.

The almost total indifference in Greece to the insulting and startlingly revealing declaration by Kissinger is something — I must confess — that I am beginning to understand. It is proof positive that the strategy outlined by “Henry the Great” [Kissinger] has been deployed and is already showing impressive results. I understand and await the Latinization of our alphabet as an example of things to come; This Latinization will be the result of the strategy that is working against Hellenism. But I was once young and have grown old, and have yet to understand just what kind of Hellas our native-born “progressives” have in mind. What kind of a country do they think will emerge as a result of their agitations on behalf of the Kissingers of the world?

What is it that they are pursuing and what is it that they fear? For years now I’ve been following the methodical war they’ve been waging — virtually unchallenged — in the Sunday pages of our “progressive” newspapers: the disdainful formality of their writing, the fanatical ironies and sarcasms, the jeering and the mockery concerning anything having to do with the continuance of our language or the ecclesiastical traditions of our people. We are dealing here — it would seem to me — with the psychological hang-ups of a backward peasantry burdened by a naked indifference as to whether our race continues, the quality of our lives, and the future of the native culture of our country. Do these people have an exemplary model, perhaps, of some “advanced” western nation, where the progressive mindset they espouse has worked to bring down the existing establishment? Maybe they have the same faulty vision of the West that [Adamantios] Korais had two centuries ago. Or they may even be anticipating the initial successes Marxism enjoyed in 19th century European thought.

Our “progressive” intellectualism, together with the political agitations of its adherents, are promoted by many who’ve been educated for years in the West; individuals who’ve taught in the universities of the West, and who’ve maintained continuous working relations and social contacts with the scientific and academic communities there. How is it that these people continue to ignore the growing threats against such vital and essential components of our civilization? Such things as our language, religion, and culture. I will contribute my personal observations concerning these questions. I have met, in western countries, Greek scientists and academicians with decades-long experience as professors and researchers, who are permanently afflicted with the inferiority complex of the backward peasant; the complex they carried with them when they left Greece to go to the West. Their main objective being to persuade the inhabitants of their new environment that “yes I had the misfortune of being born a Greek and an Orthodox Christian, but look at what a good westerner I’ve become.” And because they’ve been taught that “western” means anticlerical, that it is synonymous with having a disdainful view of the falsely characterized “medieval Byzantium,” that it requires that one display a sarcastic mockery of any metaphysical speculation, and that one be an ardent proponent of utilitarian rationalism, our “progressive” immigrants strive to embody all of these putative western concepts. This is how they have imperceptibly imprisoned themselves inside of their inbred peasant inferiority complex. They are perfectly capable practitioners of their particular disciplines, but totally incapable of correctly perceiving the spiritual ethos being promulgated all around them.

This particular malady — the psychological complex afflicting our neo-Hellene “progressives” — is a very difficult if not impossible illness to combat. It can’t be cured by mere argument against it, no matter how compelling. I have only one suggestion to make to our political leadership (or to some enterprising private firm): let some responsible international polling company take a survey of European public opinion. How many agree or disagree with Kissinger’s statement? How do our European partners envision our country in the future? Do they prefer us without our unique language? Without our religious traditions? Do they want us to be a colorless culture of consumer-drones, devoid of distinctive characteristics? Maybe from such a study our “progressive” political agitators will learn something new and useful.

Translated by staff

Turkey: Pamuk Trial Tests Commitment to Free Speech
Judiciary Must Acquit Novelist and Set Firm Precedent for Prosecutors

(Istanbul, December 8, 2005)—The Turkish judiciary must promptly acquit the novelist Orhan Pamuk and sharply dismiss the indictment against him if Turkey is to allay serious doubts about its commitment to free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch is sending observers to Pamuk’s trial, which begins Friday, December 16.
Pamuk is to be tried on a charge of “insulting Turkishness” under article 301 of the criminal code at Şişli Primary Court No. 2 in Istanbul. Turkey’s most widely known novelist with works translated into thirty-five languages, Pamuk was indicted for telling the Swiss magazine Das Bild in February that, “Thirty thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands.” If convicted, he could be imprisoned for up to four years.

“The trial of Orhan Pamuk will show the world which direction Turkish justice is heading,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The right signal would be prompt acquittal and a strong statement from the bench affirming that Turkish law protects freedom of expression.”

Turkey has made significant progress in the protection of freedom of expression since the early 1990s when hundreds of citizens were imprisoned for their nonviolent opinions, and minority languages such as Kurdish were forbidden by law. To Human Rights Watch’s knowledge, no prisoners of opinion are currently jailed.

However, many restrictions on freedom of expression persist in Turkey. In recent months many writers have faced trial, and some have been convicted for similar charges of insulting the army, insulting the government or insulting the memory of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic. Under the new criminal code, Turkish courts have acquitted some writers, but have sentenced others to fines and terms of imprisonment, currently awaiting appeal.

“Pamuk’s conviction or a postponement of his trial would signal a serious reverse to recent reforms in Turkey,” Cartner said.

Last year the Turkish parliament amended the constitution to make international human rights treaties applicable in Turkish domestic law. The Council of Europe and some European Union member states have been helping to train Turkish judges and prosecutors in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court has clearly ruled that the right of free expression includes the right to criticize public institutions in very strong terms.

The European Union enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, has expressed “serious concern” about the Pamuk case. He even suggested that it may have been staged as a deliberate challenge to recent reform trends.

“From the world-renowned poet Nazım Hikmet in the 1930s to Orhan Pamuk today, Turkish judges have prosecuted and imprisoned the country’s greatest writers,” said Cartner. “A Turkish judge needs to make a really strong declaration to prove that those days are finally over.”

Numerous writers, politicians and human rights activists have been brought before the courts under article 301 (insulting “Turkishness” or the organs of state) and similar criminal provisions related to insult.

Hrant Dink, editor of Agos magazine, and Sehmus Ülek, vice-president of the Mazlum-Der human rights organization, are also currently on trial for “insulting Turkishness” under article 301.
Ersen Korkmaz, owner of Demokrat Iskenderun newspaper, is being tried for “insulting the government” under article 301.
Fatih Taş, owner of the Aram publishing house, is charged with “insulting Turkishness and the security forces” under article 301 of the Turkish criminal code, and with “insulting the memory of Kemal Atatürk” under Statute 5816, the law to protect Atatürk.
Ragip Zarakolu, owner of the Belge publishing house, is on trial for “insulting Atatürk” under Law 5816, and “insulting the armed forces” under article 301.

On December 2, 2005 five prominent newspaper journalists—Ismet Berkan, Murat Belge and Haluk Şahin of the daily Radikal, together with Erol Katırcıoğlu and Hasan Cemal of the daily Milliyet—were indicted under article 301 for criticizing a court’s decision in September to halt a conference on the destruction of the Armenian population of Anatolia in 1915. The conference went ahead later that month in Istanbul’s Bilgi University.

Each of the above individuals was charged for nothing more than the peaceful expression of his opinions.

If the Turkish courts fail to protect free speech in the Pamuk trial, the current government led by the Justice and Development party (AKP) may try to deny its own responsibility in this matter by pleading that it has no influence over independent courts. However, the government has had a role in allowing this prosecution to be opened. Despite calls from international and domestic human rights organizations, the AKP government failed to repeal criminal code articles that infringe free speech when adopting a new criminal code in June 2005. These include article 299 (insulting the president), article 300 (insulting the flag) and article 301 (insulting Turkishness, or the organs of state).

Moreover, the Turkish Ministry of Justice has failed to ensure that the annual performance review of judges and prosecutors includes an assessment of their knowledge of and compliance with international law.