Sunday, September 25, 2016
THE 1914 PERSECUTIONS AND THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT AN EXCHANGE OF MINORITIES BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY
The article THE 1914 PERSECUTIONS AND THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT AN EXCHANGE OF MINORITIES BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY, written by Yannis G. Mourelos and published in the journal of the Institute for Balkan Studies, 1985, Issue 2.
The first attempt at an Exchange of Minorities between Greece and Turkey in 1914 may be viewed as a precursor of the applications in 1919 and 1923-1924. This paper analyses the principles and procedures for the realisation and execution of the project within the sensitive Balkan area in the critical interim between the end of the Wars of 1912-1913 and the eruption of World War I. Special emphasis is given to the conception of the idea of exchange on the part of Turkey ; to the constrained cooperation by Greece, in an atmosphere of blackmail as a result of the persecutions against the Greek population of Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace; and, primarily, to the problems encountered by the Mixted Greco-Turkish Commission up to its dissolution in December, 1914.
The Greek-Turkish Negotiations: Conditions of emigration, Appraisal of properties, Arbitration procedures.
Excerpt from the article:
"In the aftermath of the 1912-1913 wars, the situation in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean was particularly fragile: the status quo in the area was profoundly upset by the collapse of European Turkey, and both the wars' winners and losers were forming new alliances while the Great Powers were engaged in a common effort to prevent the upheaval from spreading to Europe.
While these new alignments were changing the political identity of the Balkans, migrations of large populations were affecting the ethnic composition of the peninsula. It is estimated that in the years 1912-1914 about 890,000 people of various nationalities crossed the borders of the Balkan countries, including those of the Ottoman Empire.
These migrations were prompted by various reasons: a) As soon as the hostilities had broken out, civilian populations spontaneously fled the battlefields; b) the new political map of the area drawn by the treaties of London and Bucharest, prompted ethnic minorities to migrate to their mother countries; c) and finally, minorities were forcefully moved for political and strategic reasons at the end of 1913 and during 1914. It is to this kind of movement that the phenomenon of population exchange is related.
The authority of the idea of population exchange belongs undoubtedly to the Sublime Porte. The doctrine of complete ottomanization of the Empire dates back to the years of Abdul Hamid and the ancient regime, the Armenian massacres being a clear example of this."
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