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The Turkish massacres of Phocea 12.06.1914

Reader comment on item: Kastelorizo - Mediterranean Flashpoint?
in response to reader comment: Not what i meant

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Mar 28, 2012 at 17:16

Alexandros wrote :

> That was not what i meant, of course they were persecuted by the Turks, but my great grand Father had foreseen and they left a couple of months earlier than the occupation of the city,<

Only now I realized that by "moved" you meant the Greek verb "έφυγαν" which I feel is not so neutral at all and makes my comments redundant for which I apologize.

As to your ancestor's decision to leave before May 1919 you must remember that the Turks began massacring Greeks in Asia Minor much earlier than 1919, even before Gabriel Princip shot Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo commencing a chain of fateful events that led to a pernicious global war. In June 1914 the Turk chose a small and ancient town of Phocea - whose colonists had once founded the city of Marseilles - to carry out a bloody pogrom in the best Turkish traditions. Your greatgrandfather must have seen it as Phocea is not far away from Smyrna and he drew his conclusions.

Having quoted an eye-witness account George Horton writes about the horrors of the Phocean massacre that :

" It is necessary to the complete and substantiated picture the gradual ferocious extermination of the Christians which had been going on in Asia Minor and the Turkish Empire for the past several years, finally culminating in the horror of Smyrna; it is a peculiarly graphic recital, bringing out the unchanging nature of the Turk and his character as a creature of savage passions, living still in the times of Tamerlane or Attila, the Hun;—for the Turk is an anachronism; still looting, killing and raping and carrying off his spoil on camels; it is peculiarly significant, also, as it tells a story strongly resembling some of the exploits of Mohammed himself; it also gives a clear idea of what happened over the entire coast of Asia Minor and far back into the interior in 1914, temporarily destroying a flourishing and rapidly growing civilization, which was later restored by the advent of the Greek army, only to go out in complete darkness under the bloody and lustful hands of the followers of Mustapha Khemal; it rings again the constant note, so necessary to be understood by the European or American, that this was an "organized movement," as Monsieur Manciet says:

"We found an old woman lying in the street, who had been nearly paralyzed by blows. She had two great wounds on the head made by the butts of muskets; her hands were cut, her face swollen."

"A young girl, who had given all the money she possessed, had been thanked by knife stabs, one in the arm and the other in the region of the kidneys. A weak old man had received such a blow with a gun that the fingers of his left hand had been carried away."

"From all directions during the day that followed families arrived that had been hidden in the mountains. All had been attacked. Among them was a woman who had seen killed, before her eyes, her husband, her brother and her three children."

"We learned at this moment an atrocious detail. An old paralytic, who had been lying helpless on his bed at the moment the pillagers entered, had been murdered."

"Smyrna sent us soldiers to establish order. As these soldiers circulated in the streets, we had a spectacle of the kind of order which they established; they continued, personally, the sacking of the town."

"We made a tour of inspection through the city. The pillage was complete; doors were broken down and that which the robbers had not been able to carry away they had destroyed. Phocea, which had been a place of great activity, was now a dead city."

"A woman was brought to us dying; she had been violated by seventeen Turks. They had also carried off into the mountains a girl of sixteen, having murdered her father and mother before her eyes. We had seen, therefore, as in the most barbarous times, the five characteristics of the sacking of a city; theft, pillage, fire, murder and rape."

"All the evidence points to this having been an organized attack with the purpose of driving from the shores the Rayas, or Christian Ottomans."

Doesn't it remind us of something more recent ? The Turkish atrocities in Cyprus in 1974 were perpetrated by the same "creature of savage passions, living still in the times of Tamerlane or Attila, the Hun;... still looting, killing and raping and carrying off his spoil ..." ?


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