07 February 2009

2734) 1919 Memorandum By Greek Members Of Turkish Parliament To American Commission on Mandates Over Turkey

Published by The American-Hellenic Society, Inc., Columbia University, New York, 1919

The undersigned Greek deputies, as members of the Turkish Parliament during the whole war, . .
were in the best possible position to observe from the very beginning the sufferings of our people, to understand their sentiments and to realize what their desires and claims may be at the present time. We therefore consider it our duty to submit the following statement to the Honorable American Commission on Mandates over Turkey, whose well known impartiality permits us to believe that the claims of the Greek population in Turkey will be considered favorably and will be eventually made known to your Government as well as to your liberal country.

I. A brief inquiry is sufficient to make clear the aspirations of the Greek people in Turkey: any Greek of any social standing, whether young or old, man or woman, will quite spontaneously and without the slightest hesitation give the following answer when questioned upon the subject:

1. We demand the total abolition of the Turkish rule over the Greeks.

2. We desire to be united to the Greek Kingdom, thus forming one national state, under a democratic government.

The Greek nation knows its past history and remembers it, our people's hearts are filled with the ambition to create a future equal to their past; this state of mind sufficiently explains their being utterly adverse to the idea of living under another nation's rule, even if this nation be highly civilized; moreover, their experience of the rule that has weighed so heavily upon them up to this day has been such that it easily explains the willingness of the people to submit, if necessary, to any sacrifices, in order to compass their national unity. What has this rule been like?

A few cultured men, who contrived to escape on the day Constantinople was taken (May 29th, 1453) took refuge in Italy and brought with them the first spark of civilization, the pure light of which now shines in your great country. Those who were left behind were slaughtered on the very same day; women were enslaved, monuments and works of art were destroyed, and the whole city was set on fire and burnt to ashes; thus the Turkish rule was established.

There followed the dreadful trials of the next five centuries:

enslavement, deportation, robbery, plundering, conversions to Mohamedanism by force, a systematic seizing of Christian boys to fill up the Janissary ranks, then the slaughter of 50,000 Greeks in Peloponnese, in 1769, the massacres in Chios, Smyrna, Aivali, Constantinople and Adrianople, during the Greek war of Independence of 1821-1828, the bloody events in Crete and Samos, the massacres in Syria and finally the recent Armenian and Greek tragedies, which ended in the extermination of over 1,500,000 Christians in the course of five years; all these events were no sudden outbreaks of a momentary national hatred, but repeated manifestations of a situation which one may say constitutes the normal state of things in this country. According to the principles of the Turkish rulers, Christians were slaves and nothing more and the lowest Mohamedans had the right to dispose of their lives as they pleased; their honor and their properties and belongings were at the Moslems' mercy and the pains they endured when under torture were the daily entertainments which their masters enjoyed most.

The Turks were never lacking in false pretences to deceive the civilized world each time its wrath was aroused; just at present they are trying, among other strange assertions, to make people believe that the Turkish nation is not . . .
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