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27 September 2007

Comments

Hermes

I think I have said this before but when overseas Greeks get the right to vote and their own Greek ministry, I will nominate Stavros as Minister of Diasporan Affairs.

demonax

Stavros
I agree with most of what you say, about Greek feelings of emnity being provoked by perceived injustices at the hands of the Turks; but am not convinced that Turkish hatred for us is just religious hatred for the infidels or involves some Turkish compulsion to dominate. The Turks blame the Greeks for wrecking the Ottoman empire – which was the highpoint in their history – we screwed up this paradise for them, not just by revolting against them and passing on nationalist aspirations to the other minorities in the Balkans and elsewhere, but also – in the last hundred years of the empire – when it effectively developed a semi-colonial status in relation to Europe – Ottoman Greeks, as well as Jews and Armenians, had real power – political but especially economic – which Turkish nationalists resented, envied and felt humiliated by. Don’t undersestimate this sense of Turkish humiliation – at the hands of Greeks and other Europeans.

Stavros

Demo,

Enver Pasha, one of the Young Turk leaders said the following about Turkish loss of territories in the European part of the Empire: "How can a person forget those fields, those meadows, over which the blood of the ancestors has flowed? To abandon them, along with our mosques, our tombs, our dervish lodges, our bridges and our fortresses, over whose squares Turkish raiders let their horses run, to the children of yesterday, and then, after 400 years, to be cast out of Rumelia and to move to Anatolia, this is something that cannot be borne. I would be gladly give remaining years of my life in order to take revenge on the Bulgarians, the Greeks and the Montenegrins."

As you can see humiliation was a major driving force motivating Turkish nationalism. It still is today. The Turks feel deeply humiliated by the EU's reluctance to admit them as a full member and believe me when I say they will not take it lying down.

The Turks are very good at forcing the vanquished to endure abject humiliation as they did in Smyrna after they occupied it. The Greeks and Armenians had to be dehumnanized and eradicated because they posed a threat to the cohesiveness of the new Turkish republic.

The Young Turks movement was inspired by the writings of Namik Kemal, who was rigorously opposed to any concessions towards the ethnic minorities in the empire. He also believed that the Turks were destined to rule those inferior cultures and peoples like the Greeks and Arabs.

peter

There can never be but enmity with the eternal enemy. Platitudinal flim flam with the turks are just a past time. It is the law of nature that two distinct and disparate race groups have to compete for the same limited living space.

turan.1982@hotmail.com

I am an Australian with a Turkish background and I find this funny that people who still talk about our past between the Turks and Geeks like it will stick with us fore ever. Ill tell you how a modern day educated Young Turk thinks and that is that they don’t care. History we should learn from not carry it like it’s a legacy that should be past on to generation to generation, especially this one. I have a lot of Greek mates and I love them dearly lets night fight lets have kebab.

Stavros

Turan,

On a person to person level, I don't believe most Greeks and Turks, especially the young, "hate" each other. Unfortunately, if it was just about history I would agree with you. Since you and your mates live in Australia you may not be as aware of some of the issues that divide us. Issues that are in the here and now, not the past.

I have two young sons as well that would probably agree with you, that history is boring and irrelevant. In time they may realize that those who forget their history are more apt to repeat it. I pray that you and your mates will live in a world in which you continue to love each other. In order to do so it means that we sometimes have to be willing to sacrifice some of the things we consider important and compromise. It is not as easy as it sounds.

sezgi

Actually, Greeks and Turks get along quite fine, not only in the nth generation but especially those presently from the respective neighbors. There will always be the token Greek or Turk attached to imaginary notions of racial pride (e.g. like the Greek dude still stuck on Alexander the Great who told me that I must surely be Greek from looking at my features and coloring, and when asked about the swarthier Greeks with black-hair replied "They are rape-seed," or like the funny Turkish dude who would check his "Turk bone" at the back of the head...). However, from both sides my observations (as well as first hand accounts from my Greek friends) are that Greeks and Turks feel closer to each other than to many, many other groups of people.

I know blue-eyed grandmothers with tearful childhood memories of escaping Yugoslavia near the turn of the last century. Why? Because they were Muslim; because there was war. *That* time, no one discussed the Muslim casualties as well, and it was repeated less than a century later, only more poignantly. Amongst all of our faults, historic and present -- and I will grant you that we have some major flaws -- it really is true that the Turks have a certain way of dealing with *war* and close the battle's chapter once it is complete.

But, I suppose it is too much to expect for anyone to erase a memory, especially when the memory itself still lives in the world. And, Turkey is full of Greek memories. I don't know if Greece has any nostalgia for something Turkish, but maybe it is not really my place to wonder that.

In some sense, I feel myself to have aspects of both Turk and Greek within me, which certainly would not be entirely inconsistent with my likely genetic inheritance. There is something in me that needs the directness of nature, something raw, hard, calm, and absolute, which is Turkish. There is another thing that is smoother, liquid in my human relations, warm: and that feels somehow Greek in me. Both, however, have unrelenting endurance, something constant.

If it will be that Turks and Greeks will clash till the end, I will not be too surprised. But, somehow, I feel it to represent a deeper clash of human elements, a necessary conflict to maintain a balance so that neither element subsumes the other, but both retain their distinct qualities for all time to come. And, yet, by the same nature, I will still be attracted to that which is Greek, as what is Greek is often drawn to me and mine.

Stavros

Sezgi,

I'm not sure your definition of "fine" coincides with my definition of the word. Greek-Turkish relations are anything but fine. As I wrote in my post, on a people to people basis, Greeks and Turks are capable of co-existence. They have proved that in places like Cyprus and Constantinople, where they lived side by side for centuries. Unfortunately there are a number of political issues that not only divide us, they may eventually cause a war between the two countries.

I have never been one to dabble in racial purity however, Greeks and Turks, despite sharing things like food, music and a common humanity, are divided by significant cultural differences. That does not necessarily mean that they cannot live peacefully side by side, though it does explain, in part, why we are inclined to disagree so violently at times.

At the risk of offending any blue eyed grandmothers, the Muslim casualties that you refer to were the product of centuries of Ottoman subjugation and repression including a widespread effort to convert Christians to Islam. The effort to portray Muslims as innocent victims during the wars since the break-up of former Yugoslavia is also disingenuous. Everyone has blood on their hands. As for Turks being more capable of letting bygones be bygones and accepting the status quo, I think that is only when the status quo is to their liking.

I will agree wholeheartedly that Turkey is full of Greek memories, many good, some of which belong to members of my own family, living and dead. When I visited Turkey, some years ago I did not feel like a stranger, I felt a connection, perhaps because I was born there. I am reminded of a story my Uncle told me about his younger sister, my mother. She developed a life threatening skin infection that the doctors were unable to cure. An Orthodox priest was called in to pray for her as well. My distraught grandfather eventually sought out a well known and respected local holy man, a Turk, who was dressed in rags, to come to his home and pray for my mother who was getting worse by the day, running a high fever. He prayed quietly for her for hours, read from his tattered copy of the Koran and left without asking for either money or payment. My mother began to get better soon after and recovered her health. I'm not sure why I am telling you this story except to point out that we share the same God and he listens to our prayers even when they are coming from those we consider our adversaries.

For what it's worth, I hope your Turkish and Greek natures live within you harmoniously and in synergy.

Manoug

I thought I should add my two cents worth here. I am of mixed background Greek, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Armenian. I was born and grew up in the states, and came to Australia when I was 21. My parents are from Istanbul, where there is an ever shrinking minority. There is one thing which is not put into perspective which is that Turks are invaders. They have "resentment?" for lands which were firstly occupied by them in barbaric fashion albeit long ago? All the land they retain had existing ancient civilizations millenias old. Kurdish nomads, Armenians, and Rum. The resentment of those thrown back out of Europe in an albeit crappy fashion was already initially demonstrated by the brutal treatment of Armenians, Italians, Jews and Greeks during the Genocide around 1915. Yes the Armenians under the influence of Russia and Europe did create problems. Only because all minorities under Turk power were not only treated as second class subservient so called pagan or gavur citizens, not able to take up government positions such as even a trash collector, or be an officer in service to the military and even subject to higher taxes. Turks only exist as a strong military power at present as puppets of the USofA to sustain their goals to destabalise and create a balance of power against Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Turkey is a nation which America is strategically using like Japan, and Israel. The recent occurrences in Iraq are an attempt at a newer partner. Regarding the pogrom of 1956 which someone mentioned, some city Turks protected our family. Others I know of had their houses broken into, mothers & daughters of close family were raped. Churches were vandalized, my moms school had a church which was demolished. When the Cypriot Greeks would kick up a fuss with Turks in Cyprus there would be trouble in Istanbul for Christians. My grandfather had farmland, and was held at knife point to give up his land under threat of three daughters, and his wife being attacked. My wifes family in Edirne, Turks continually took bits and pieces of. I know of now grown men who had their fathers slain by Turks to grab their farmland. This is not ancient history as some believe, and to top it off the Christian minorities ran away only to find Turks accepted peacefully everywhere with grudges about their nation not being accepted in the Euro union? Another thing is Turks were & many still are by and large uneducated, this ignorance instills an inferiority complex which encourages their brutality, and patriotic hatred. The so called democratic Turkish government uses censorship, propaganda, and terrorism to keep it's population dumb, and it's ignorant resentment and patriotism high just like in America. That is why on the whole I believe "we have difficulties getting along".

Stavros

Manoug,

Thanks for your comments

Account Deleted

Sorry i find your post very biased.
First off, your accounts of Cyprus are completely incorrect. I served as a soldier on the island of Cyprus before turkey liberated the island in 74. Members of my family where killed because Greeks bombed schools and hospitals, they committed many atrocious war crimes on Cyprus. It was a bloody battle. EOKA was a terrorist group backed by the Greek government and Makarious, who killed countless Turks and British people in an attempt to ethnically cleanse the island in order to join the island with Greece. Yes, Turks also commited war crimes and human rights violations during the strife, but i find it upsetting how the Turks always seem to be betrayed as the evil ones. As gaurentee power, Turkey liberated the island by saving the Turkish minority that was under constant military attack by Greeks, using legal means. I was there and fought side by side with my Turkish officials. Turkeys intervention was its right, as a guarantee power, through treaty and international legitimacy. Why it is conveyed as an invasion, one shall never know.

I nonetheless, despite your articles biased tendency, thankyou for posting this article. However, you insist the Turkish government is some de facto terrorist one like Hamas that enforces propaganda and denies education to Turks. Poverty is the cause of a lack of education in some eastern provinces, the secular government is of no relevance. I wish some day a strong leader can take turkey by the reigns and reinforce ataturks image of a turkey integrated with Europe, and a protector of the west, where our human rights come first, and our nationalist greed is denounced. Thankyou.

Account Deleted

"However, you insist the Turkish government is some de facto terrorist one like Hamas that enforces propaganda and denies education to Turks."

Excuse me for not stating, but this comment was directed at Manoug.

Stavros

Kaya,

Please excuse the delay in responding. I usually don't wait this long but I didn't want my response to be an emotional one.

I'm not sure that I can say very much that would change the way you and many others, like you, see the world. There are two sides to every conflict and how we see things really depends on where we sit.

The population of Cyprus before 1974 was 80% Greek. If the Greek objective had ever been to annihilate the Turkish population it would not have been hard given the numerical advantage that they enjoyed. In fact, the partition of the island was a foreign policy goal of the Turkish government and they fomented much of the troubles in Cyprus through the TMT, a terrorist organization if ever there was one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Resistance_Organization

Unfortunately, Turkish Cypriots now find themselves living in abject poverty, like many of their mainland counterparts, in a pseudo-state run by a corrupt military. Be careful what you wish for you may just get it.

The Turkish government would make Hamas seem like a collection of pathetic amateurs when it comes to the application of terror for political purposes such as ethnic cleansing. Ask the Armenians, the Greeks, the Assyrians, or the Kurds. I do not consider Turks evil, just some of their past and recent behavior.

I would welcome Turkey's integration into the West but not until it acts like a country willing to live at peace with its neighbors instead of pushing them around like some neighborhood bully. I don't think that Turks need a strong leader. What they need is more democracy and human rights.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Account Deleted

Thankyou for your reply stavros,

But i find it hard to believe you cannot recognize that Greeks commited just as much atrocities, if not more, during the '74 intervention. Makarious and the mainland was a supporter of Greek terrorist groups against the Turks mainly EOKA. As i said, i was there when the Greeks tried to rid the island of the Turkish minority to unify the island with Greece under Enosis. I have lived here since the war. I also recognize the fact that Taksim was a Turkish ideology, a violent one at that, much like ENOSIS. But being as unbiased as i possibly can, i find it evident that those who cannot admit that both sides where equally at fault and committed war crimes clearly do not know the complete history, or the facts, of the conflict in Cyprus.
I live in North Cyprus, in Girne (Kyrenia), i have traveled the country. I have also been to the Greek side; Larnaca, Paralymni, the Greek side of Nicosia etc etc. But during my entire time here, i have never seen abstract poverty, or bad standards of living on the North side. In fact its very respectful living standards, i have only ever seen poverty in villages a few select times. I welcome you to come to the North side and visit it, and see for yourself. No good saying it has much poverty unless one comes to the country and analysis it for himself. Greeks are more than welcome here (mind you your American so you should have no problem), the way they have welcomed and continue to welcome me on the South when i go shopping in Carrefour.
And im glad you welcome Turkey's integration, the way the mainland Greek government has also said to support Turkey in its EU membership bid, and i recognize Turkey's problems and Hamas like actions in the past. But thats just it. The past, the distant past. And i do hope Stavros that they do reform in order to avoid such treacherous recurrences, and they will. I just think Cyprus is a very tricky subject, and i fully support both Cypriot leaders in there bid for a bizonal, bicommunal cyprus. Lets look to the future now, and forget the past. If we dont, then we will never reach a solution. I am willing to forget, because i know both Greeks and Turks, traditonally and culturally, i very similar, and to see the two fight over a matter that occurred 30 odd years ago is a burden for us all.
Again, thank you for your article, and long live Cyprus. I think its seen enough blood over the past few centuries.

Account Deleted

I would just like to add, i just properly read your first paragraph, quote:

"Please excuse the delay in responding. I usually don't wait this long but I didn't want my response to be an emotional one. "

Believe me, its an emotional topic for all, especially those who where there as you can imagine, so please excuse me if i insulted you. Im merely expressing and showing to you the other side of the conflict, as you said, there are always two sides of a war.

I would just like to add i enjoy your GreekOdyssey blog, and i have grown fond of your site and its many posts. Its irritating mind you; i am a fluent speaker in Greek, just i never have brought myself to be able to learn to read it, so thank you for translating most of the Greek you include in your posts!

My best wishes to you Stavros,

Kaya

Stavros

Kaya,

You didn't insult me. I don't think either one of us can be unbiased on this subject nor do I buy for a minute your contentions, which I believe to be erroneous. We could spend hours on this subject and we would be no closer to a resolution one way or another. I too would like to put the past aside, to move on, however, remembering the past is essential. Otherwise we run the risk of repeating it.

I pray that that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will find a just solution. I worry that your military leaders will never allow it. I will only consider visiting occupied Cyprus when its former Greek inhabitants have their property returned to them and they are allowed to return to their rightful homes.

I will defer to your assessment of the economic situation, after all you live there, although even you must admit that your half of Cyprus doesn't come close to matching the economic vitality of the "other" half.

Thank you for your comments and the way they are offered. I am surprised to hear that you enjoy reading MGO, I'm sure it can be quite irritating at times but hopefully in a good sort of way. I wish I could write a post in Turkish. My parents left Turkey when I was five years old so I never learned the language.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Dmetri

I have an answer to this post. But it is too long, detailed, complex and contradictory to go into here. If you are interested in hearing what I have to say, may I draw your attention to a memoir about growing up Greek in Turkey in the 1960s called 'Mother Land', by Dmetri Kakmi. It was published by Giramondo Publishing in Australia. The British edition is coming out in August 2009 and the Turkish edition, called Anayurt, is soon to be released.

Stavros

Dmetri,

It sounds like an interesting book and I have added it to my reading list for obvious reasons.

An interview of Dmetri Kakmi is here:

http://www.readings.com.au/interview/dmetri-kakmi

James Bond

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Sorry Kaya, but you are the pot calling the kettle black. It is the turks (not all, but many of them, including the government) who deny any wrongdoing and refuse to recognize the atrocities they committed. At least the german government and most germans have fessed up to their actions in WWII.

Like a previous poster said, we should learn from the past and not let it spoil the future, but you can't expect the victims and descendents to just simply forget everything.

Lastly, even now, the Turks are actively erasing any trace of the original inhabitants of anatolia (contrary to what the whore Halide Edip preached, turks were not the original inhabitants). William Darlymple's book is a good one on this subject ("from the holy mountain).

Not to mention those 3 protestants who were tortured and killed.

 Christine Toskos

I want to know if EOKA was a terrorist group what was Moussafa Kemel Auturk who murdered 4 million Orthodox Christians from 1914 to 1923. Who is the barbarians? EOKA who wanted the British to keep their promise to reunite Cyprus with their Motherland GREECE or the Turks who are nothing but terrorists against civilization!

petros

i attended grade school in greece.we were reminded daily to never forget that constantinople was ours and to go and liberate it.unfortunately,because of poverty we left greece.now,i believe in peaceful coexistese.however,it is not possible until
the turks become civilized and allow freedom of religion and respect minority rights.

Claudio_V

Seriously, how can any one group, barring the sue of force, threaten a civilization as influential and established as the Greek one? The laws of hospitality decree the host must be welcoming, but the guest, or eventual permanent resident, is also obligated to respect the new found customs.

"when in Rome, do as the Romans do..."And where do you think the Romans got that notion?

Great website. Keep civilization alive!

petros

i could not said it any better,thank you claudio v.

Roland

This is a bit of a problem you leave out.
Greeks have always been treacherous towards fellow Christian peoples and allies.
Especially the Latin Kingdoms that came to aid you against the Turks over the centuries.
This treachery eventually cost the Greeks most of there homeland.

Stavros

Constantinople fell twice, once to the Latins and finally to the Turks.

It experienced first hand the brutality of the western crusaders who in 1203 had sacked the city in one of the greatest atrocities in history, magnified several-fold by the immense cultural and intellectual loss in what was one of the great centers of world civilization. This shocking act of barbarism surpassed the sacking of Rome by the Goths or the, relatively humane, in comparison, subsequent sacking of Byzantium by the Turks. Here is how it was recorded by one Byzantine historian:

"No one was without a share in the grief. In the alleys, in the streets, in the temples, complaints, weeping, lamentations, grief, the groaning of men, the shrieks of women, wounds, rape, captivity, the separation of those most closely united. Nobles wandered about ignominiously, those of venerable age in tears, the rich in poverty. Thus it was in the streets, on the corners, in the temple, in the dens, for no place remained unassailed or defended the suppliants. All places everywhere were filled full of all kinds of crime. Oh, immortal God, how great the afflictions of the men, how great the distress!"

The Byzantine historian Nicetas Koniates wrote: "even the Muslims are human and well-disposed, compared to those people who carry the cross of Christ on the shoulders"

“Better the Sultan’s turban than the cardinal’s hat”

petros

roland, i do not know what history book you have read?i can not recall a single instanse that the greeks were treacherous to their
fellow christians.modern day roman catholics admit the mistakes that have made against the
orthodox people.history states that the greeks
of constantinople asked the romans for help in1453, but were turned down because they refused to become roman catholic and subjects
of the roman pope.

helen

Hello All ,

What are you talking about guys ??? I am really disappointed about your comments.Greeks and Turks are the humanbeings who have more common attitudes than the others.

Account Deleted

I am Ahıska Turk fro istanbul and I find funy to hear all those things about the Turkish and Greek conflicts...first of all we are all human...and yes I love my history and my people...as everybody do...

Hande

History, history, history...Keeps repeating all the time. I dont really understand whats the importance to keep bring up this subject and be stuck on the past? And pointing in one way or another who did what, who is guity etc etc?..Where is this going to lead anyway?
I can agree with mr Turan's comment up there little bit...
If we now need to go into the history about "young turks" period (as it mentioned) when turks and greeks lived side by side and suddenly a war started between this two people. It was England,France and Russian among others who were involved behind this mess and confused the Rumelian greeks by provocating them against turks.And sadly it was those greeks who took part of this revolt(some of them)
but why were they so naive to allow themselves to fell in this trap that caused by these countries who didnt even had anything to do in Turkey?

And funny, its also mostly pointed that "Turks" are adversed and bad ones. I can say one thing very open. Turks dont hate greeks!
Like Greeks has been thinking all this years about Turks.But ironicly its actually more the Greeks who still has hate for the Turks because of the history/politics.
Greece and Cyprus doesnt even come close for a peace with Turkey.Because they are not willing to let go the past and to get rid of this hate, as long as the hate and the hostility remains inside it will be impossible to find the peace and the future cant be as well as too.
Its really really sad why it just cant be like in the old times, lived side by side as friends with peace.But that is just up to us if we want it.

Ozzy

Interesting site. As a Turk myself, I wanted to add my two cents here. My father and his family used live in Greece and were forced to move to Turkey in 1940s. As a result, they lost their home, farm etc. Now you can argue that maybe they shouldnt have been there at first place then same logic applies to British in Australia, North America, Dutch in Caribbean, French in Africa, Greek and Turks in Cyprus etc etc. They came to Turkey with no money and suffered big time. Like you said there are always two sides of the story.

Stavros

Oz,

Indeed, there are two sides to every story but occasionally the story gets somewhat muddled.

I know nothing of your family's history although I am a bit puzzled that their forced exile took place in the 40s when Greece was either occupied by Germans, Bulgarians and Italians or was in the midst of a fierce internal civil war in which Greeks spent most of their time killing each other.

Most of the Turks, remnants of the Ottoman Empire, living within Greek borders were exchanged for the vast numbers of Greeks living in Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne. Under this treaty two minorities were protected, Muslims living in Thrace and Greeks living in Istanbul. One has almost been totally expunged while the Muslim population in Greece has increased from prewar levels.

I might add that the Greeks of Cyprus are not newcomers, they have been inhabitants of this island since ancient times whereas the Turks arrived much later.

I'm surprised that your family was treated so shabbily upon their arrival in Turkey, especially given the fact that so much property was unwillingly left behind by Turkey's former Greek inhabitants. Ultimately, it is the little people that all too often end up as victims of the grand designs of their respective nations.

For what it is worth, the sense of loss when people lose their ancestral homes is deep seated and genuine. In that sense our two families share something in common.

Christine Toskos

I just want to remind people to beware of the site the are writing their comments on. I found a website called Cyprus Forum. Being Cypriot I thought I found a place where Cypriots all over the world could comment about the injustice of Cyprus. Where a Barbarian country, Turkey, thought they had a right to conquer and enslaved 1/3 of our island. Stealing the land of Greek Cypriots. Land that had been in our families for over 5,000 years. Yes, even before the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I read that as Greeks we should accept Mustafa Kemel Aututurk, the murderer of 4 million Orthodox Christians in Asia Minor where the majority were Greeks/Armenians and the minority were Turks. They condemned the Nobel Peace Winner, Makarios as a terrorist. When I compared the honorable fighters for EOKA to the US Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. They had the nerve to ban. That's when I notice they were not a Cypriot Forum at all. They are employed by the Turkish Government paper called Zuma which wants to conquer all of Cyprus and the islands of the Aegean Sea. They consider Macedonia and Thrace Turkish lands.

 Christine Toskos

Why can't we Greeks finally kick the barbarian Turks off our island of Cyprus? We were force to run or be killed back in 1974. It is 35 years and the issue remains the same:TURKS GET OUT OF CYPRUS!! Do they think we will forget the injustice they committed against us? I pray that God will allow the Turks to destroy themselves. Let's face it: They are muslims, they hate westerners yet they want to be part of Europe because they want to take and contribute. Why can't we just sent them back to their home in Turkmenistan. There must be a peaceful way to get rid of them! Enough Greeks being killed by Muslim Turks! Free not only Cyprus but Armenia, Assyria, Constantinople, Pontia, and Symrna.

 Christine Toskos

I just saw Starvos video on Cyprus and it brought me to tears. Even though I was born in the US my roots are on Cyprus. My first cousin, Mihalis is still missing since 1974. My aunt still wears black praying she will see him before she dies. But, let's face it is very unlikely. My family is scattered all over the world because we cannot live in our beloved Kyrenia. This summer my cousin wanted to take me to Kyrenia for a visit. I couldn't go. I knew that if I saw the barbarian living in our house I would say something unkind. I probably be arrested and maybe even shot. So, as a coward I did not go. But, how long we this unjustice last?

New Yorker

com'on guys, I mean.. you make it look like Turks are a nation of vicious killers or pure evil and Greeks are pure angels. Can u be a little realistic?
I don't believe those greek stories like 'we're so naive.. but Turks are evil.' Please just don't pretend like you're the best nation ever. Every nation is sinner, trust me..

effie.bottas

you turks are just borrowing Constantinopole it will always be GREEK, in spirit and right.

effie.bottas

ps- get the heck out of cyprus and go home to Turkmenistan

petros

effie, you are right.the turks homeland is
Turkmenistanand not the greek lands that they
stole from us.
petros

Ray

Greeks under Alexander the Great forged an empire extending all the way to the heart of Central Asia. Over a thousands years later, the Turks forged an Empire that extended from Central Asia all the way into Europe. A bit ironic isn't it?

That is all in the past now though. I think people need to stop judging each other on what happened in history and before many of us were ever born. I have no animosity towards Greeks and actually find I have far more in common with my Greek friends than any others. How can you hate on someone who is so similar?

I doubt my post will make a good impression on those who are determined to see Turks as evil etc. still, I can say to you for what it is worth - I have not hatred towards Greeks. I respect them very much. I respect their culture, their history and hope that in the future Greek and Turk people will become closer friends instead of eternal enemies as some of you seem to want.

Truth be told - we are all brothers and sisters of the same species.

petros

ray,i agree with you.however,alexander the great did not enslave people and did not
practice ethnic cleansing.it is sad that the
modern turkish nation can not feel like you.
they still prohibit the freedom of religion
and refuse to aknowledge the atrocities that
have committed against minorities.
petros

Kosta

Petros,

Good point. Alexander the Great included Persians and others in his army and in positions of power. So there is not the irony that Ray wishes to point out.

New Yorker,

Greece is not the best nation. No nation is. However, the issue is this. Turkey (basically the military which does not answer to civilian authority, unlike civilized nations) is a continuous threat. I wish I saved it when one of the Turkish generals expressed a desire to extend the borders BACK to the Adriatic. The violations of Greek airspace is so frequent, it ceases to be news. Instead, the media should report when it doesn't happen.

Also, recently a Turkish scholar did show that in one year, 972,000 Armenians disappeared from the populations records from the previous year in 1915.

What was the reaction of Turkey? Silence. Pure silence.

Now I have no problems with Turks themselves, as long as they are not rabid nationalist/genocide deniers. Those I put in the same boat as Greek nationalists that romanticize the rule by Metaxas and the Colonels. In fact, the neighbors to my parents are a wonderful Turkish family, and if they asked, I would do most anything to help them.

I would recommend reading George Horton's account of the sacking of Smyrna in 1922. Please contrast the behavior between the Greek and Turkish armies. We are no angels, but we are not savage beasts either.

For those who dream of freeing Constantinople,

Constantinople is and will always be. Istanbul is just a Turkish slurring of the name. However, as in many cases in history, there is a winning side and a losing side. I place blame squarely on the Greek army for overextending its supply line (something Alexander the Great never did, which is why he never lost) in the war of 1919-1923. We should have dug in at the coast, kept the supply line short, as that is where the Greeks were, and where the wealth was. Why try to penetrate deep into Anatolia? Instead, take back Constantinople.

But now? The Turks have effectively cleansed through genocide, population exchanges, and harassment of as much of the Christian population as possible. Constantinople is a city of around 11 million people. Greece is a nation of 11 million people. For those who wish Constantinople to be taken by force, that would mean we'd be the greatest perpetrators of genocide ever. I cannot subscribe to that. We need to live in peace, accept history for what it is, and move on.

However, that does not mean we ever give up our demands for human rights. Why the Greek government supports the Turkish admission to the EU is beyond me, when it is so obvious that Turkey is not a civilized nation. First they must put their house in order. Then the talks for admission can begin.

Kosta

Hellatzis

I believe the picture you have for this blog entry is of a Greek player and a Norwegian player.

Hellatzis

BTW, fantastic web site. Congratulations on the work you have put in it. I'm impressed with the topics and your writing style. Your elegant and humane responses to bloggers, even those you disagree with, is commendable. Με πατριωτικους χαιρετισμους απο Melbourne, Australia, home to one of the largest Greek communities outside mainland Greece.

Stavros

Hellatzis,

Thanks for the heads up. I have rectified the oversight on my part and appreciate your kind words. Always good to hear from fellow Greeks done under.

Υιά χαρά, φίλε

None of your bussiness

The Turks destroyed the Byzantine Empire, enslaved us for 400 years, invaded Cyprus in 1974 and tries to attack us at Imia in 1996. Even now they send their planes and breach our borders at the Aegean Sea. And they support Fyrom and call her Macedonia while it isn't. We Greeks can never be friend or even have peace with our "eternal" foe. If they want to have peace with Greece at least, they need to recognize all their crimes.

Ps: I am not answering any comment from others who try to prove me wrong because historical facts cannot be challenged.

Amillennialist

"I'm not sure why I am telling you this story except to point out that we share the same God and he listens to our prayers even when they are coming from those we consider our adversaries."

While searching for images of Black Tuesday, I discovered this site. I've had a chance to read only this post and all its comments, but I have to agree with the poster above, your content and style is top-notch, Stavros.

I want to offer a few thoughts in response to several of the points raised here: The reason there will never be peace between Greeks and Turks is because one adheres to an ideology commanding the enslavement or slaughter of all who refuse the "invitation" to convert. The other is one of its many victims.

This goes a long way toward explaining not only the deep-seated animosity of Greeks toward Turks (how can you not feel some dissonance at 1400 years of Islamic rape, slavery, and slaughter?), but also the condescension, sense of entitlement, arrogance, and denial-of-wrongdoing by Muslims in general, and Turks in particular.

Of course, predators want to "forgive and forget" the past -- once their victims can defend themselves. That's why Muslim memories go back only a few decades and only to when they finally met "infidels" who were able to stand up for themselves. Muslims forget conveniently their nearly one and one-half millennia of genocide, slavery, rape, kidnap, and forcible conversion of non-Muslims -- including Greeks -- in obedience to Allah and in accord with Muhammad's example.

Which brings me to my last point: With all due respect, we Christians and Muslims do not worship the same god. Jesus Christ committed no sin, healed the sick, raised the dead, spoke only the truth, died for the sins of the whole world, and resurrected. He commanded His people to love even their enemies, going so far as to pray (and die!) for those who were murdering Him.

On the other hand, Muhammad committed genocide, pedophilia, rape, torture, mutilation, slavery, theft, extortion, wife-abuse, polygamy, religious and gender apartheid, deceit, and blasphemy and taught others to do the same, claiming, "Allah made me do it." In other words, Muhammad violated all Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule and demanded under penalty of death that you should, too.

One should not be surprised when -- to the degree that his followers' knowledge, zeal, and resources allow -- Muslims wage war against their non-Muslim neighbors. Since conquering Rum (the Rome of the East, Byzantium) was one of Muhammad's personal goals, it is clear that the history of Greeks and Turks has always been the history of Islamic supremacism and jihad.

http://amillennialist.blogspot.com/2004/07/allah-and-his-false-prophet-command.html

Stavros

A,

Thanks for your comments. I'd like to say in my defense that the statement you quote was not made in an attempt to be politically correct. It merely highlights that the adherents of the three great monotheistic religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims claim to believe in the same God (the Father).

We Orthodox believe that God will judge each of us individually not based on simply who we profess to be but rather how we live our lives. A Christian who seeks truth in religions such as Buddhism or Islam has much more to fear than a Buddhist or Muslim who unknowingly lives their life according to Christian principles i.e. love, charity, humility, and forgiveness.

I have serious problems with what Islam teaches, as you do. We must resist jihad and its attempts to attack, subvert and convert. That said we must resist the the human response of demonizing our adversaries or even more importantly, ALL Muslims.

I hope this helps.

Amillennialist

Thank you for your courteous reply, Stavros.

I must ask, where did I "demonize ALL Muslims"? I merely referenced what Muhammad said and did and what his followers do in obedience to him. I even noted, " to the degree that his followers' knowledge, zeal, and resources allow."

If that's "demonizing ALL Muslims," then what does that say about their god? About those who knowingly follow such a demon?

You believe in Jesus. Then you have a responsibility to say what He says. Jesus did not preach that "living according to Christian principles" earns any favor with Him. Christ and His Apostles declared, "No one comes to the Father but by Me," and "all have sinned and are justified freely by His grace . . . it is by grace you have been saved, not by works . . . ."

How can you think that anyone who calls Christ a "blasphemer" -- for Muhammad declared that anyone who claims that allah has a son is a blasphemer, and Christ called Himself the Son of God -- can please Him? How can anyone who extols as the "Ideal Man" (Muhammad) someone who committed genocide, pedophilia, rape, and slavery in his god's name please the Living God? How can those who humiliate, enslave, rape, and butcher the Bride of Christ please her Groom?

Muhammad lied. He was a liar and murderer from almost the beginning of his "prophetic" career. When he claimed to represent the God of the Bible, he did so in order to gain credibility among the Jews and Christians of Arabia. When they rightly rejected his blasphemy -- and after he had achieved sufficient military capacity -- he went to war against them.

When you equate Muhammad's allah with the Son of God, you blaspheme Him. To someone who knows Jesus' words and works that should be obvious, unless you're unfamiliar with what Muhammad actually said and did. If that's the case, then here's a bit on that (linked previously):

"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).

"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter . . . " (Qur'an 5:33).

[Ibn Kathir says of this verse: "'Wage war' mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil." So, Muhammad requires execution, crucifixion, or cutting off hands and feet from opposite sides for "disbelief."]

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

"It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise" (Qur'an 8:67).

"Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror'" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).

"Allah's Apostle was asked, 'What is the best deed?' He replied, 'To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad).' The questioner then asked, 'What is the next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause.' The questioner again asked, 'What is the next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). . .'" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25).

"Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them). And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole of the world). But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do" (Qur'an 8:38; ayah 39 from Noble Qur'an).

Regards,

Amillennialist

By the way, I thought you might be interested in this:

http://sofiaecho.com/2010/02/10/855589_eight-turkish-planes-violate-greek-airspace-and-are-chased-off-by-greek-fighters#comments

Benny

I came across this site because I wanted to find out whether Greeks and Turks disliked each other and if so whether this might shed any light on the present problems in Cyprus. It appears that some do indeed dislike each other. Furthermore the root seems to be an ancient animosity wrapped up in events surrounding the collapse of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

Being neither Greek, Turkish nor a believer in any of the 3 middle Eastern religions I would like to make the admittedly trite point that which if any of those faiths you happen to follow depends almost entirely upon where you happen to be born. (This observation is not an invitation for Amillennialist to give me a theological treatise on why the Creator chooses to separate the righteous from the infidels at birth.)

On a purely factual point, the Ottoman Empire did not require its citizens to convert to Islam. The Millet system gave a large degree of autonomy to other cultural and religious groups. That is why the Orthodox Church and the Greek culture survived intact during 500 years or so of Turkish domination and kept the dream of Byzantium alive.

On that point I was fascinated to hear from Petros that Greek grade school taught him that Constantinople was merely on loan to the Turks. Does anyone know if they still teach that?

Finally here is another historical fact for 'None of your bussiness' although the tone of his post suggests he already has all the facts he needs: -

If the 1974 Greek-backed military coup in Cyprus had succeeded, then Nicos Sampson would have become president of the RoC. In an interview with the Greek newspaper Eleftheropitia 7 years later he said "Had Turkey not intervened I would not only have proclaimed Enosis, I would have annihilated the Turks in Cyprus." So it was clearly his view that there would have been no opposition to a wholesale slaughter absent the Turkish army.

Any surprise that they came in?

Amillennialist

Benny,

That's an interesting rhetorical technique. Do you find that insult as a form of introduction is effective in making friends and influencing people?

If not an invitation to a dissertation, your uncharitable and arrogant nescience is certainly an invitation to correction.

First, the God of the Bible does not "separate the righteous from the infidels at birth." YHWH gives life to all, Christ died to pay completely for the sins of all, and the Holy Spirit brings the saving Gospel message to all. So, it is not God who separates and condemns, it is those who persist in evil who condemn themselves. Since, all people are born with a conscience, an innate understanding of right and wrong (even though it is fallible in all of us, it's there), there's no way on Earth that a Muslim doesn't know that it's wrong to enslave, rape, and butcher others solely on the basis of religious belief.

Second, the whole "3 middle eastern religions" nonsense is a false construct set up by Muhammad and Muslims in order to confuse, propagandize, and deceive non-Muslims into either conversion or submission, for how can you criticize another religion just like yours, unless you're some kind of "Islamophobe"?

Considering the history of jihad, its resurgence, and the fact that you reject the "3 middle eastern religions," you should know that when Islam comes to town in full force, you'll be one of the first under the sword. As a pagan/atheist/agnostic (?) you will NOT be afforded the "protections" (against Muslims) granted the "People of the Book," those mythological creatures you've been propagandized into thinking enjoyed such a golden age under Ottoman rule.

I suppose if you think that the second class status forced on the dhimmi peoples under Islamic tyranny -- which included constant degradations, humiliations, oppressions, and violations of you and yours, including genocide and rape -- is acceptable, then you've got good times ahead.

Amillennialist

Amillennialist

"Since all"

Stavros

Well said A.

I get rather tired with the well worn image conveyed by Ben (and others) of the Ottoman Empire or Kemal's Turkey as some kind of tolerant multi-cultural haven where subject peoples held hands and sang Kumbaya with their benevelont masters.

The Ottomans exerted considerable pressure on their subjects through sharia and their dhimmitude status in order to convert Christians to Islam. Many did. The Orthodox Church was merely used as a tool to govern subject Christians, its position being just as tenuous as that of its adherents. The Sultan, after all, ordered Patriarch Gregory hung from a door when the Greeks revolted in the Peloponnesus.

The advent of Kemal's secular state only temporarily replaced Islam with Nationalism as the driving force of the Turkish nation. The Kemalists were less concerned about spreading Islam through conquest than they were in purifying so-called Turkish lands including Cyprus (where they were the minority) of all non-Turks.

Ben, in your quest for answers in Cyprus besides researching Sampson perhaps it would be useful if you delved into the role of Great Britain who colonized the island and regularly played off Turk against Greek as a means to their own imperial ends. Or how about the Turkish government's role in the Istanbul pogrom it engineered against its own citizens who happened to have Greek names? Just a suggestion.

BTW, massacres and genocide are a Turkish specialty, even the German's took lessons as anyone even faintly familiar with their history will tell you, but don't take a Greek's word for it, just ask the Armenians, Serbs, Assyrians, Arabs or Kurds.

Apologies if this wayward Greek has strayed too far off the plantation.

Amillennialist

And the Jews.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was Hitler's special advisor for exterminating Jews.

Albert Speer wrote regarding Hitler and Islam:

"Hitler had been much impressed by a scrap of history he had learned from a delegation of distinguished Arabs. When the Mohammedans attempted to penetrate beyond France into Central Europe during the eighth century, his visitors had told him, they had been driven back at the Battle of Tours. Had the Arabs won this battle, the world would be Mohammedan today. For theirs was a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.

"Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.

"Hitler usually concluded this historical speculation by remarking, 'You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?'"

Benny

Amillennialist,

I accept that I took a rather intemperate sideswipe at you and apologise for that.

Not being a theologian I am reluctant to become involved in a debate on religion. But I do not believe that the Koran has a monopoly on exhortations to the faithful to abuse the human rights of unbelievers. Similar stuff can be found in the Old Testament. Onward Christian soldiers.

The point I was trying to make is that very few people actually choose a religion. If they have one it is because it was the religion of their parents and it is reinforced by their communities whilst they are young. Children are trusting. As the Jesuits are alleged to say, 'give us a child till the age of seven and we will have him for life.'

So if religion is the principal barrier to better Turkish/ Greek relations then things are pretty depressing. There are more antagonists being born by the minute.

I am with Darwin rather than Adam and Eve. As with evolution, it seems to me that there is a perceptible although painfully slow tide in the affairs of Man. From small warring groups we slowly developed nations and now have supra-national organisations such as the UN and EU that enshrine human rights. So I would like to think that Turks and Greeks will see each other differently one day.

I am in awe of the astonishing beauty and complexity of the universe and no longer find it possible to believe that it all exists to test my faith in your God.

So I will leave you to wait for Rapture whilst I follow the path to Hell.

Can we leave it there?

Benny

Mark

Hehehe. From Policani, meaning you're an Orthodox Albanian that at some point spoke Greek and identified with Greeks due to religion. I forgot his name but a Greek bishop opened 100 Greek language schools in 1770s and told all Orthodox Albanians and Vlachs to speak Greek, 'God's language.' So be proud of your adopted culture, but don't get too carried away: you are as 'Hellene' as me or a Vlach.

Looking at the pictures especially the guy all the way on the left has a 100% Northern Albanian look. My guess would be that at some point you came from Northern Albania to escape the Turks (like Himariotes and the Suliotes); converting to Orthodoxy was allowed, Turks hated Catholics a lot more that the Turk collaborating Orthodox Church.


****"It experienced first hand the brutality of the western crusaders who in 1203 had sacked the city in one of the greatest atrocities in history"

Does the 'Massacre of Latins' ring a bell? But yeah, the Turks saved Orthodoxy, over the years the West would have crushed you and they were less forgiving than the Turks.

Generally speaking, Greeks are backstabbers, and have ZERO friends in the region, you have either fought against everyone of them or assimilated by force all their people, committing ethnocide. The evil Church will always keep you behind so as much as I hate the Turks, I am glad they are breathing on your neck, and always will. When you shake hands with a Greek, count your fingers as they say. Just ask the Albanians, FYROM-ans, the Bulgarians and now EU. Honor is missing from your 'culture.' and I hope the Machiavellian tactics backfire on you.

By the way: The Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are virtually identical in DNA--and totally different from the mainland Greeks.

Benny

Stavros,

I am not suggesting that the Ottoman Empire was 'a good thing' nor that religious and cultural toleration were perfect by modern Western standards. But it was very unusual for its time. There was nowhere else in the world where a subject people could expect to enjoy such freedoms. I doubt there is any country that grants taxation powers to minorities even today.

Although the Millet system was undoubtedly adopted to further the interests of the Empire by facilitating governance and containing dissent, it is also true that Islam itself teaches tolerance of other religions in the territories that Muslims control.

Now Amillenialist might well regard that as suspect, preferring the jihadist passages as the true characterisation of the Koran. But Christianity has its own paradox in the OT's God of Wrath and the NT's God of Love. Taking an eye for an eye is incompatible with turning the other cheek. At the end of the day, the exercise of power demands flexibility and needs religions to suit. Even if Hitler did not have the one he wanted.

Since both Islam and Orthodox Christianity believe themselves to be the authentic voice of God, neither could be content in subservience to the other. All the same, the idea that the Millet system was instrumental in preserving Greek culture has widespread scholarly support. So if you think that this is a misconception, I should appreciate it if you would point me to some contrarian texts. (Please don't take this the wrong way but, since all nations put a spin on their histories, I would prefer it if your sources were not Greek.)

I was aware of the Sultan's execution of Gregory V in response to the uprising. The fact that it did not work presumably explains the slaughter of the body politic a few months later in Cyprus. It seems that did work, there being no political/ religious leaders left to continue the insurrection.

I am not sure what there is to say about the role of the British Empire in Cyprus. Its presence stopped Cyprus becoming embroiled in ethnic violence - for a while.


Stavros

Ben,

I am going to guess that you are British. I would prefer that your sources were not those paving the way to your permanent dhimmitude status. Like many other Eurpoeans I fear you will soon to be a stranger in your own land. Here is an abridged excerpt that I think encapsulates OUR history which I believe will soon be YOUR history in short order.

From: The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude,
By Bat Ye’or. Published in 1996 by Associated University Press, 440 Forsgate Drive, Cranbury, NJ 08512

"From its origins, the Muslim state evolved, prospered, and survived through the productivity and fiscal yield of the workforce formed from the indigenous Christian people it conquered. Without this incalculable wealth, which went into the Muslim state's treasury, the Empire would not have been able to function. The influx of nomads into conquered lands fostered conflicts of a political, economic, and religious nature between Muslim immigrants and native inhabitants. The contrast between nomadic wretchedness with its cultural poverty on the one hand and, on the other, the prodigious material and cultural wealth, arts, sciences, and literature of Christian civilization was counterbalanced by the Muslim sense of racial superiority and of the divine election of the umma. Thus the contradiction between conviction and daily reality gave rise to reactions of hostility, contempt against dhimmis, and hatred, which were expressed in institutional regulations.

Concurrent with the growing hostility toward the natives by an Islamic community which was constantly expanding through immigration, a high birth rate and by conversions, it could flourish only by eliminating those it supplanted. Meticulous in details, zealous at all times, constant in the long term, this destruction was the conscious, methodical work of jurists and theologians. Sometimes imposed on the authorities by popular pressure and sometimes decreed by fanatical leaders, the persecution of the indigenous religions and cultures was manifested in all aspects of life.

At the fiscal level, the dhimmis were penalized by the payment of exhorbitant taxes. On the legal level, legislation favored the economic, religious, and cultural rights of the Muslim community to the detriment of the rights of the local inhabitants. Waves of general destruction struck churches, convents, and synagogues canceled religious celebrations and were tantamount to a prohibition. The pillage of churches, the confiscation of religious property in and the holding of communal leaders to ransom deprived them of the means of supporting the clergy, the schools and, above all, the mass of indigent beggars, invalids, peasants, and workers pursued by the tax collectors. The wealth of the conquered peoples, transferred to the Islamic treasury, was reserved exclusively for the umma: the proliferation of mosques and koranic schools.

The combined and cumulative effect of these diverse factors stemmed the demography of the dhimmi populations. Even if a few dhimmis--bankers, merchants and doctors--could still acquire wealth and prestige in the shadow of the Sultan's court, these illusions could not change realities."

I would also recommend Professor Speros Vryonis' (born and raised in the USA) work:

The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom Of September 6 - 7, 1955, And The Destruction Of The Greek Community Of Istanbul

The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization From the Eleventh Through the Fifteenth Century, by Speros Vryonis Jr (University of California Press: The Regents of the UCP

BTW, please don't take this the wrong way but since all nations put a spin on their histories, I would prefer it if your sources regarding the benevolent role of the British Empire in Cyprus were not British.

Pardon me now while I tend to Mark and his ramblings.

Stavros

Mark,

Obviously, your hatred of Greeks is only matched by your ego.

Yes, I have roots in Politsani, a village where Greek is the spoken language although its residents are able to speak Albanian in order to deal with people like you. We love our Orthodox faith and our language. It will take more than your rantings on the Internet or the depradations of any number of our "friendly" neighbors or the ruler of the moment to destroy those two things.

Quite frankly I have no idea where my early ancestors came from. All I know is that they passed down their Orthodox faith and the Greek Language to me for which I am eternally grateful. I don't care if they were Arvanites, Slavs, Vlachs or men from Mars. I don't care if I am not a direct descendant of the Ancient Greeks. All I care about is that my ancestors, rest their souls, did not succumb to conversion and that they prized Hellenic culture.

Now please go away and bother someone else.

cypriot

Me being an original turkish cypriot i would like to add to some of these comments about cyprus. first the greeks cypriots attacked the turkish cypriot community in cyprus with the help of greece. so you gave an invertation to turkey to come to cyprus. its not like greece or south cyprus can match the power of turkey then or even now. for those saying we will take your lands backs turkey is a regional power in the mediteranian and no country there can match its power and thats the truth

George

"cypriot" above: Save it. We know you are not Cypriot. The occupied area is no longer closed off and we know what the average Turkish Cypriot thinks: they think that Turkish troops there are a mistake and that the division of the island is a mistake.

My guess is you are a Turkish settler from the mainland who got lands there for free, because having a dozen Turkish Cypriot friends I have never heard one of them express the opinion you have.

As far as Turkey being a regional power le'ts not make jokes. Its not. It doesn't have energy and foreign interests have huge control over the most important sectors. It is a regional military power only and has to be since it surrounded by regional military powers.

Saying your are a regional military power in a region of national security states all with huge military isn't exactly enviable.

And your military system does very poorly outside of Turkey and 90% of the action its military has seen in the past 50 years has been killing Kurdish men women and children and created a parasitic military class that has left you poorer than you would have been.

Your statements don't do much except illicit pity. You are saying "we can invade a country of a few thousand people."

The price you paid in retarding your develoment and possible integration into the EU would have been the most anti-Turkish Greek strategist's dream.

You do realize that irony, right? Your own generals created a situation for the past 30 years that was a huge benefit to Greece relative to Turkey!

Your diplomats can't go anywhere without facing disrespect. Your country is seen as a shameful place whose solders don't excel at anything but killing women and children

Benny

Stavros,

The extract you quote does not even mention the Millet system. I now know a little about Bat Ye'or and she clearly has a very particular point of view about Islam. Something of a conspiracy theorist it seems. As I say I am not suggesting that life was a picnic for non-Muslims during the Ottoman Empire but the academic consensus is that the Millet system afforded them an unusual degree of religious and cultural autonomy.

You are quite right that I am British but wrong that that fact should cloud my view of Britain's role in Cyprus. I was making a simple point. Britain wanted (and still wants) a presence there for its own purposes. It was not and is not there for the express benefit of the Cypriots. But absent that presence there would surely have been an 'ethnic cleansing' in Cyprus decades ago. What would have stopped it?

Enosis has been around since at least 1821.

George

The Millet system was organized slavery and genocide on par with the Holocaust. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive, and disinformatively revisionist.

The academic consensus is that the millet system was a horrid and oppressive regime.

It is absurd and quite nonacademic to suggest Greek or Slavic or the victims source materiel is to be excluded in understanding it. I this obviously the bulk of the academic work in this area. Pretty much like saying Jewish sources on the Holocaust should be avoided.

If one is going to exclude anyone it would perverse and sick sources like Bernard Lewis, a man who has clear political agenda, long active in direct upper level AIPAC work bringing military leaders of Turkey and Israel together. That is not tin foil hat stuff, but a matter of record, and something discussed with discomfort in Ha'artz and the Jerus. Post. He is also a genocide denier.

Lewis' portray of the Devsirme is so perverse. to him and his acolytes it is kind of a "Fresh Air Fund" for Christian boys. to apply Lewis' take to the Holocaust we would be reading "Arbeit Macht Frei" without irony and thinking Jews were actually freed after doing a bit of shoe mending in the camps.

The problem with analysis of the millet system in the English language is the sources are mainly Jewish. Why? Becasue the Jews were objectively and factually a preferred class in the millet system. They were exempt from the Deverme, often exempt from direct tax, and had other exemptions that Christian minorities did not. They were even exempt from the post millet (post tanzimat) draft for much logner than the Christians were.

If I was Jewish I would see the millet system a lot differently. But a lot of the English language sources on this comes from Jewish academics, who rely on Turkish and Jewish primary sources, which is problematic since it leaves out the huge victim classes of Slavs, Greeks, Armenians, etc.

Cyprus:
Benny, the British are the root cause of the ethnic tension on Cyprus. It is too funny to hear a Brit try and say the opposite.

I suggest you do a bit more reading of British history. The British, in a systematic way, ALWAYS stoked ethnic tensions in areas they sought to oppress and control. It isn't just an observable, and observed, phenomena -- it was the PRIME modality of late British colonialism. One only has to look at the British were doing in the Indian subcontinent.

Break your own mythology Benny, don't just buy it. It isn't too hard to break is it, your own statement on Cyprus might fly in a pub, but couldn't even fly in a British university.

Stavros' family is, from I can tell the area on the border with Albania. The British specifically are criticism the Greeks on the issue of the Chams. Very few Brits know that the Greek right wing anti-Nazi forces, which were directly under the control of Brish SOE during the war, were ordered by the SOE to attack and burn the Albanian villages, even when no Albanian forces, who were typically working with the Nazis, were present ion the villages. The British ordered the Greeks to push the Albanian families over the border.

You need to deconstruct specifically British counter insurgency doctrine. It is quite different the that of the US (we have our own sins and own mythologies of CO, including false understandings of the effectiveness of our CO in Greece whci led to blunders while in Vietnam). The British always stoked minority tension as part of CO. They did so shamelessly and to great effect in Cyprus, Palestine, India, and a dozen other places.

As far as Enosis, get a grip. Your statement shows a total lack of knowledge of early Post Ottoman territorial dispute settlement. Enosis at that time and later was look at as soemthign that woudl be done in trade. The peopel who thought up those trades and minority exchanges won NOBEL PRIZES for peace. Adn it wasn't a Greek idea, it was a idea suggested and promoted byt he great powers. It started with the Bulgarian Greek exchange (which was really a dejure settlemnt in 1919 of a defcto situation from Balkan2).
It was copied with the Greek Turkish exchange.

To put it simply a trade would have occurred if the British weren't there with their preference for getting groups fighting against each other to divert attention from British hegemony.

George

Roland wrote:
"Greeks have always been treacherous towards fellow Christian peoples and allies.
Especially the Latin Kingdoms that came to aid you against the Turks over the centuries."

Hey "Roland," I assume you give the same credence to Hitler's take on the Jews, American racists' take on the Negros, etc.

The "Latin Kingdoms" murdered more people in the "Crusades" than Hitler did given the relative population. They killed innocent Jews, Moslem and Orthodox Christians wholesale, torched cities etc. The Latin Crusades were nothing but a wholesale wanton destruction.

The Byzantines protected the west (and the Slavs) from the ascendant power of the Moslems (which has no problem going across north Africa, taking over Spain, and part of France). That Byzantine protection lasted until an army of illiterate French, German and English second sons with no land of their own, controlled by Venetian businessmen, who (on the record) coveted Greek Byzantium vast trading empire, decided to go on a mindless rampage in the Near East, eventually running away with their tales between their legs.

Roland, if the US had, in 1942 simply bombed gone to Britain, in the middle of Britain stand against the Axis, killed as many British women and children as they could find, and burned and bombed the place, you would be saying of that:
"British have always been treacherous towards fellow English Speaking peoples and allies.
Especially the United States that came to aid you against the Germans over the centuries."

Oh and Roland, exactly how many engagement did the "Latin Kingdoms" have against the Turks and what were their results? They just kept loosing against Turks in Asia Minor during the Crusades. Even after, with Lapanto, that battle was simply a response to the Ottoman threat against Rome, not an aid to Byzantium.

petroskar@att.net

benny,
do not spread turkish propaganda.history
tell us that the only reason hellenism and
orthodoxy survived under the otoman rule
because greek monks ,under candle light and
in caves were able to teach children about
christianity and hellenism.otoman turks were
very brutal and oppresive during the 400 years
of slavery.this is why the greeks said "it is
better to live one hour as a free man,than 40
years as a slave and in prison." get your facts straight benny.petros


Mihalcea Emil

Well, the Ottoman Empire was build from the Byzantine Empire, taking territory after territory from the Byzantines. The Greco-Persian wars, the Fall of Constantinople and many other things add to this feud. Technically, the turks had taken what was rightfully greek. And today it is still in their blood that need of conquest and glory (laughable). Like our fellow greeks, the romanians suffered at the hands of the Ottomans, but we confronted them every time. If it weren't for us, Europe would have spoken turkish. Oh, and by the way. I think the turks are hated for the conversion of the Aghia Sophia from Constantinople. Nice piece of story, I enjoyed it. Respect from Romania!

Stavros

Mihalcea,

We have a number of Romanians here in our parish in Maine. Respect to you and a blessed Pascha.

Aegean_deniz

''peace at home,peace of the world''
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Osman Oz

Do you really believe that
"because greek monks ,under candle light and
in caves were able to teach children about
christianity and hellenism.otoman turks were
very brutal and oppresive during the 400 years
of slavery"

They were the superpower at that time and do you think it would be possible if they wouldnt want to have a multireligious, multicultural and multiethnic empire?

History and life is mathematics. Please dont be that much rude and narrow minded. Look at some example empires with cleansing methodologies: French in Algeria. British in Africa, Australia and N.America. Spanish in L. America.

If there are countries like Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia Croatia etc with all their heritage and culture today, it is because Ottoman Empire was also their empire not just Turks'. They worked for it, studied, went to Istanbul for better education etc. When their sons were accepted to military schools, parents were happy for the kids future. Like a Turkish, Greek or Makedonian student getting a scholarship from Harvard or Oxford.

There is an empire with a good governing system and you dont even want them collect taxes. The tax collected from Hungary was around 11 million gold in a year and on average central government was investing 15-16million gold in a year.

There are large scale management issues and of course nothing is perfect. You cannot compare 15-16-17-etc th century with today's ideals.

For those times, Ottoman system was revolutionary.

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