İzmit massacres

The İzmit massacres were atrocities committed in the region of İzmit, Turkey, during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) which took place during the Greek genocide. An Inter-Allied Commission of Enquiry that investigated the incidents, submitted a report, on 1 June 1921, about the events. In general it is accepted that the Turkish troops massacred more than 12,000 local civilians, while 2,500 were missing[1][2] and stated that the atrocities committed by the Turks in the Izmit peninsula "have been more considerable and ferocious than those on the part of the Greeks."[1][4]

İzmit massacres
Part of Greek genocide
Izmit Ismidt map old town.png
Town map with significant locations.
DateMarch 1920 – June 1921
Locationİzmit district, Ottoman Empire
Participants(mainly) Turkish nationalist Army and irregulars,[1][2] on a minor scale: native Greeks, Hellenic Army (insubordinate role), Circassian mercenaries[3]
Deaths12,000 by the Turkish Army (+ 2,500 missing)[1][2]
~ 300 by the Greek Army[3]

BackgroundEdit

Ethnic cleansing policies undertaken by the Ottoman government were launched in various regions of the Ottoman Empire, including the Izmit region as early as 1915. This included the massive deportation of local Greek and Armenian communities.[1] In 1915, The New York Times reported that 19,000 Greeks from the Izmit province had been uprooted from their homes and driven to purely Turkish districts.[5] The Armenian Metropolitan of Izmit, Stephan Hovakimian stated, that, of the 80,000 Armenians belonging to his Diocese, 70,000 had been lost in exile, succumbing to hunger and exhaustion from long marches, and the slaughter of men and women upon arrival at their destination.[6] Later, in 1918, after the Armistice of Mudros a number of attacks by nationalist bands against the local Christian population were reported.

IncidentsEdit

This violence increased against the local Greek population, from March 1920 and especially during June–July 1920, when the advance of the Hellenic Army in the region was imminent.[2] These groups were operating as far as Üsküdar, while some of them were organized by the Turkish Nationalist Movement.[2]

As a result of this activity, several villages of the region were burnt and their inhabitants killed, especially in the regions south, north and northeast of Adapazarı, as well as south and southeast of Iznik.[2]

The presence of the Hellenic Army in the region from July 1920, limited the activity of the Turkish bands, although in Karamürsel, south of the Gulf of İzmit, some Turkish nationalist groups were still attacking surrounding villages inhabited by Greek populations.[2]

Later, the Hellenic Army in the region, was accused of supporting assaults against some villages east of Beykoz. Accusations included the killing of civilians and the burning of small settlements.[7] Accusations also included violence perpetrated by local Greek civilians who had previously suffered from Turkish atrocities [7]

From the spring of 1921, the activity of the Turkish bands increased in the region extending geographically to the south of Izmit, which resulted in the destruction of the Christian villages there.[2]

Evacuation of IzmitEdit

In the early summer of 1921, due to the developments of the ongoing Greco-Turkish War, the retreat of the Hellenic Army was imminent. The Christian population had become panic-stricken fearing a wholesale massacre by the Kemalists,[8] so it was decided that the civilians were to be evacuated. As a result, a total of 22,000 inhabitants who had sought refuge in the city during the Hellenic occupation in addition to the ca. 10,000 Greek and Armenian inhabitants of the city who wished to be evacuated in order to avoid persecution by the Turkish nationalist movement, left the area.[9] According to the British High Commission, 33,000 people were evacuated. Of these, approximately 21,000 were Greeks, 9,000 were Armenians, and 3,000 were Turks and Circassians. They were distributed as follows:- [8]

AftermathEdit

An Inter-Allied Commission of Enquiry that investigated the incidents in the region generally accepted the claims by Greek authorities that 32 villages had been looted or burned, and that more than 12,000 local civilians had been massacred by Turkish forces, and 2,500 were missing. The Commission accepted these figures as "fundamentally true, notwithstanding a certain amount of exaggeration in the figures".[1][2]

According to British journalist and latter historian, Arnold Toynbee, as a result of the activities of the Hellenic Army and irregulars, up to 300 persons were killed.[3] Toynbee in general omits to notice the conclusion of the Allied commission. Moreover, Winston Churchill, stated that the Greek atrocities were "on a minor scale" compared to the "appalling deportations of Greeks from the Trebizond and Samsun provinces", which were undertaken by the Turkish nationalists in the same year.[1]

Partial list of affected settlementsEdit

The Allied commission concluded that 35 villages in the region were affected due to the activity of Turkish nationalist bands.[1][2] A partial list of the villages according to Greek reports:[10]

  • Fulacık (Gr: Φουλατζίκ): Looted, burned and population partially massacred. According to Kostas Faltaits who recorded the testimony of one of the survivors, the looting and massacre began on 23 June 1920. Turkish regulars and irregulars were under the command of Kemal, the political administrator of Karamursel. 300 men and boys 14 and older were locked inside the church of St. George before it was doused with petrol and set alight.[11]
  • Büyük Saraçlı
  • Papuççular (burned)
  • Kara Tepe (Gr: Καρα Τεπέ): Looted, partially burned, town's church bombed, population massacred. According to journalist Kostas Faltaits who interviewed a survivor of the massacre at Kara Tepe, the town was first looted on 15 May 1920. But on 25 March 1921, Kemalists returned and continued the looting and also massacred the population.[12]
  • Küplü (Gr: Κιουπλιά): Partial massacre, racketeering, looting, partial deportation to interior.[13]
  • Iznik (Gr: Nicaea/Νικαία): On 27 August 1920, a large band of Nationalists led by a certain Djemal (otherwise spelt Cemal), surrounded the Greek quarter of Iznik, seized the entire population numbering about 600, and massacred them. No survivors had been found.[14]
  • Fındıklı (Gr: Φουντούκλια): 4 villages, population partially massacred, looting, rape. According to journalist Kostas Faltaits who interviewed a survivor of the massacre, the events started on 20 June 1920. All 500 homes were burnt and out of 2,500 Christians less than half survived. Girls were raped in front of their mothers. Kemalist soldiers were under the command of Hadji Bey.[15]
  • Lefke[16]
  • Ortaköy: Completely burnt, looting, rape, massacre. According to an eye witness testimony, the majority of the 10,000 Greeks of Ortaköy were massacred. The events began in March 1920 when regular and irregular Kemalist forces arrived under the command of the kaymakam of Geyve, Hamid Bey. Civilians were beheaded and massacred with knives and hatchets.[17]
  • Eşme
  • Konzes (Gr: Κόνζες): Looted and its inhabitants massacred. According to journalist Kostas Faltaits who interviewed a survivor, the looting and massacre started on 18 February 1921. Djemal (otherwise spelt Cemal) of Nicaea (Iznik) directed the looting and massacre, along with Sekip (the Tax Collector of Karamursel) and other civil servants, officers, lieutenants and corporals. A contingent of the Hellenic Army arrived at Konzes on 20 February 1921 and saw the land covered with corpses, men's and women's clothes, hands, feet, noses, ears and fingers.[18]
  • Ak Hisar
  • Düzce
  • Bolu
  • Karasu, 14 villages (among them Kestane Pınarı, Parali, İncirli, Çoban Yatak, Kirazlı, Kas Başı)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Shenk, 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Reports on atrocities in the districts of Yalova and Guemlek and in the Ismid Peninsula, p. 11
  3. ^ a b c Toynbee, Arnold Joseph (1922). The Western question in Greece and Turkey. Constable. pp. 287–297–298–299. ISBN 9781152112612. OL 1108521W.
  4. ^ Ionian vision: Greece in Asia Minor, 1919-1922, Michael Llewellyn Smith, page 215, 1998
  5. ^ Turks are evicting native Christians. 12 July 1915. The New York Times, p. 4
  6. ^ K.Faltaits. The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey. Cosmos 2016. pp.103-4
  7. ^ a b Reports on atrocities in the districts of Yalova and Gemlik and in the Izmit Peninsula, p. 10
  8. ^ a b British Reports on Ethnic Cleansing in Anatolia, 1919-1922: The Armenian-Greek Section edited by Vartkes Yeghiayan 2007 ISBN 9780977715329 p 211
  9. ^ Solomonidis, 1984: p. 170
  10. ^ Evdoridou, p. 111-144
  11. ^ The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-1921 by Kostas Faltaits 2016 ISBN 9781932455281 pp 43-51
  12. ^ The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-1921 by Kostas Faltaits 2016 ISBN 9781932455281 pp 65-69
  13. ^ Asia Minor Tragedy: An Eye-Witness Testimony by Michail Angelou Kiriakatiki Athens 2013 pp 196-197
  14. ^ British Reports on Ethnic Cleansing in Anatolia, 1919-1922: The Armenian-Greek Section edited by Vartkes Yeghiayan 2007 ISBN 9780977715329 page 172
  15. ^ The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-1921 by Kostas Faltaits 2016 ISBN 9781932455281 pp 71-74
  16. ^ Lefke (Osmaneli, Bilecik)
  17. ^ The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-1921 by Kostas Faltaits 2016 ISBN 9781932455281 pp 91-98
  18. ^ The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies from the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-1921 by Kostas Faltaits 2016 ISBN 9781932455281 pp 75-80

SourcesEdit