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Greek-Turkish population Exchange

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Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Joined: 15-07-06
Jul 31 2007 08:38
Greek-Turkish population Exchange
JH wrote:
I've read that there were Greek anarchists in Alexandria in the late 19th and early 20th century, as there were in Turkey where I think the organised working class was mainly Greek speaking rather than Turkish speaking before the exchange of populations. I'm not sure where you'd find out more about this.

If you can read any Spanish there are a couple of threads about Islam and anarchism on alasbarricadas, the Spanish equivalent of libcom. I've seen leaflets produced by the CGT in Arabic aimed at the immigrants from North Africa and I think they have contacts in Morocco

Devrim wrote:
Which Alexander? The one now in Turkey, or Egypt? I think they probably would have spoken Arabic, or Ottoman in both of them. Most of the 'Greeks' expelled in the populaion exchange/ethnic cleansing' were Turkish speaking Christians. Ottoman is a nightmare. Very few people speak it today.

If you want to get in contact with AKI (who have written stuff about the origins of Turkish anarchism), Khawaga. PM me.

Also, if you are interested in history of the communist left in Turkey in the 1920s, our work on it maybe of interest.

Devrim

JH wrote:
I was referring to Alexandria in Egypt. I think the politics may have been brought over by Greeks who left Turkey to work in Egypt. The definition of 'Greeks' and 'Turks' in the population exchange gets confused between religion and language but the majority who ended up in Greece were Greek speaking. The Turkish speaking Christians came mainly from villages in Cappodocia and the interior of Anatolia. The 'Greeks' in cities like Istanbul and Izmir where there was some left wing politics would have mostly spoken Greek as their first language.
Quote:
Yes, I think in that Alex, there would have been Greek spoken. You are also right about Greek speakers in Izmir, and Istanbul. I think that those from the villages were probably a majority of the exchange/cleansing though.
Devrim
JH wrote:
Most of the people in the population exchange were from villages rather than cities, but these were mainly Greek speaking villages near the Aegean or Black Sea coasts. There are still villages in northern Greece which started as refugee settlements where older people speak a Pondic dialect from the area around Trabzon which is quite different to standard Greek. When I lived in Greece there was still a Pondic nationalist group calling for an independent Greek state on the Black Sea. There were also some villages where older people spoke Turkish rather than Greek but this is probably dying out by now.
Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Jul 31 2007 08:56

I think that it is difficult to find precise demographic figures on the victims of the population exchange.
However, if one goes to Western Thrace today, one finds large areas where Turkish is still in everyday use. I was also shocked to discover a Fenerbache pub full of local Turks, and Turkish footbal on sattalite TV when on holiday on Rhodos.In addition I believe that there are two 'Turks' in the Greek parliment.
Whether these Turkish speakers are the remenants of a pre-population exchange population, the descendents of those 'exchanged', or a mixture of the two I do not know.
What I do know, however, is that large numbers of Turkish speaking Christians were deported in the exchange, just as large numbersof Greek speaking muslims were deported to Turkey from the islands.
The new Turkish state has as its goal the creation of a 'Turkish' state (by which they meant 'white Turks'-ethnic Turkish Sunni Muslims). Christians weren't a part of this vision in any way. Even if they happened to be ethnic Turks.
Of course what is a 'Turk', and what is a 'Greek' was a bit of a strange question in villages where the two communities had lived side by side for hundreds of years, intermarrying (with the wife taking the husband's religion).
Turkish was the language spoken by 'Greek' villagers even in the Agean region. I remember talking to an old man about it there. He said that they had taken away the 'Greeks' who spoke Turkish, and brought them the 'Turks' who spoke Greek.
Both sides had an interest in the national issue. Nobody had an interest in the problems of villagers expelled from their villages, and moved to a country where they couldn't speak the language.
Devrim

Mark.
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Joined: 11-02-07
Jul 31 2007 19:24

The Muslims in Western Thrace were excluded from the population exchange by the Treaty of Lausanne in return for allowing 'Greeks' to remain in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos. There's also a small Turkish speaking Christian minority there that pre-dates the population exchange.
Rhodes and Kos were occupied by Italy, escaped the population exchange and still have Muslim minorities. The Greek speaking Muslims were mostly from Crete - some of them also settled in Rhodes and Kos. Most of the Muslims in the population exchange were Turkish speakers from areas of what is now northern Greece that had been part of the Ottoman Empire a few years earlier.
I've heard of refugee villages on Evvia where Turkish used to be spoken. I'm not sure about other areas. Whether Christian villagers in Anatolia spoke Greek or Turkish depended on the area. Sometimes 'Greeks' who spoke Turkish were replaced by 'Turks' who spoke Greek but I think this was probably the exception.
There was an interesting book about all this published last year by the Economist journalist Bruce Clark - 'Twice a Stranger: Greece, Turkey and the minorities they expelled'.
http://www.aworldtowin.net/reviews/twiceastranger.html http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/CLATWI.html
Reading it confirms how artificial the distinctions between 'Greeks' and 'Turks' sometimes were.

Pemulwry
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Joined: 6-07-07
Aug 1 2007 17:09

its also interesting the way that Greek leaders like Venizelos used the population exchange in the 1920's to "solve" the demograhic issue of Northern Greece.

Before thre exchange, Northern Greece was far from majority ethnic Greek. The Greek state had won Macedonia and Thrace during the Balkan Wars but had inherited an area made up of Greeks, Turks and Bulgarians. Once the Turks were expelled, much of the North was majority Bulgarian speaking. But by placing Pontian refugees from Asia Minor into these areas, they managed to solve a "problem" that had worried Greeces ruling class.

Also interesting that in the preceding years of struggle between the new Bulgarian state, Greece and the Ottomans there was a third party advocating an independent Macedonia called HMRO which was an Anarchist group.

does anyone here have info about HMRO beyond the usual nationalist bullshit that you get when dealing with the time?