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August, 2006

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 The Greeks of Ottoman state, the genocide of Greeks of Pontos and the Treaty of Lausanne  

Prof. Theofanis Malkidis

Democritus University of Thrace GREECE



Some of the consequences of the destruction of Hellenism in Turkey were: the arrival in Greece of Greek refugees from Turkey, the internal developments with the undertaking of power because of the “critical national circumstances” from the revolutionary committee (colonels: Plastiras, Gonatas and lieutenant commander Fokas), the reconstruction of the army of Evros that constituted powerful negotiation arm in Lausanne, the removal of king Konstandinos, the posting of Eleftherios Venizelos as diplomatic representative of the country, and the committal as persons in charge for the destruction, D.Gounaris, N. Stratos, P. Protopapadakis, G. Baltatzis, N. Theotokis, G. Chatzianestis (15th  November 1922).

The Greek people attributed the destruction to the political leadership of the country which resulted after the elections in 1920 as well as to the interventions of the Palace. The repeated governments that succeeded  immediately after the destruction of Hellenism in Thrace, Pondos and Ionia as well as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees, resorted to the reception of unsuitable measures such as censorship, prohibition of public concentrations, in order to silence the accentuated spirits, disorientate the common opinion and to face important issues that concerned mainly the refugees and their care, as well as the imposition of military discipline to the dispiriting troops[1]. The change of seven ministers of Finances within 4 months from the revolutionary Plastira’s government reveals the amount of the problems in a country that accepted more than 1.300.000 refugees. In general at this critical time period, from 1924 to 1928, 10 Prime Ministers intervened, three elections and eleven military movements took place or ultimatums were sent. Even the president of democracy had to be dismissed once and resigned twice. In this time period the constitutional question was temporarily resolved, because of the nomination of the Greek Republic, before its break down by the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas in 1936, that restored king Georgios II.

The collapse of the forehead had also direct results in the great forces that felt now closer to Kemal’s forces and irregular rebels (ceteler). Thus the Allies sought and achieved truce that was signed in Moudania on 11 October 1922 without the cooperation of Greek delegation. The general Mazarakis with colonels Plastira and Sarigianni, who constituted the Greek delegation, denied initially to sign the truce, without authorisation of the government and the decision of the Greek Parliament . The allies and particularly the English, at the duration of the persecutions that the Turkish army started, against the Greek populations, sent big departments of Arabic army of Mesopotamia and occupied Mosul, felt now intensely the presence of Kemal’s Turkish army in Canak kale absence of Greek forces, sought the truce, ensuring their interests, mainly the control of Stena and the maintenance of their economic privileges (capitulations). Both the French and the Italians acted the same, while the Soviet government 2 years ago had already signed the pact of Friendship, with the de jure arrangement of Kemal in Turkey strengthening simultaneously his army.

Mustafa Kemal on 4 October 1922 addressing to the Big Turkish National assembly declared that you seek the “complete evacuation of enemy from each department of our nation” anticipating the final retirement of Greek army from the Eastern Thrace, while one year later in the first anniversary of victory (September 1923) it declared in his festive speech to the big Turkish national assembly, “let us not forget that in the Asia Minor, the brave Greek army was not defeated, its political leadership was”, giving his own interpretation to the positive result of Turkish fight of independence[2]. The Greek army with the treaty of truce of Moudania, was ordered to vacate, not only the Asia Minor, where there was henceforth written the tragic conclusion of historical presence of many centuries, but also the Eastern Thrace, where huge forces and the Greek element existed for centuries, in 15 days while in Pontos the genocide was continued that cost 353.000 lives of Greeks. In total 1500.000 Greek roughly, left as refugees from Thrace, Pontos, Kappadokia, Ionia, and came to Greece[3].



Genocide means the destruction of a group as the outcome of governmental policy. It was on December 9, 1948 the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution delineating the full meaning of Genocide and condemned it as “a crime under international law.”[4]

Specifically speaking, the Genocide, according to the statement issued by the U.N., “means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as:

·                                 Killing members of the group;

·                                 Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

·                                 Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

·                                 Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

·                                 Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group[5].

The Greek Pontian Genocide, is the third biggest Genocide of the 20th century, and was centrally planned and administered against the entire Greek Pontian population of Pontos, by the Turkish government and the Ottoman Empire, as only Governments have the means, the machinery and the central planning to implement it. It was carried out between the years 1916 and 1923 in atime of peace and not war[6].

To remember the definition of Genocide , Genocide is the organized killing of people for the purpose of putting an end to their collective existence not because they have done something, but of what they are, and in the case of the Greek Pontians, because they were Greeks and Orthodox Christians[7].

Germany has taught the Youngturks that the only way they will make the general area of Pontos their country, was to physically exterminate the Ethnic groups of people that existed there for more than 3,000 years. This very same plan will later be used against the Jews.

The German general of the Turkish Army, Liman Von Saunders with the excuse of military reasons, advised the Turks to deport the Greek Pontians from the shores of Black sea to inland for protection from the enemy’s Navy.  The intent of the deportations was to set on fire the villages, rob and to alter the ethnic character of the Greek areas, in order to easier change to Islam those who remained behind.

The Greek Pontian people were subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and starvation.  The great bulk of the Greek Pontian population was forcibly removed from Pontos, where they lived for three millennia, to be sent the work camps and to the white death marches, where the vast majority was sent into the winter cold and summer heat, to die from the elements, thirst and hunger.

Large numbers of Greek Pontians were methodically massacred throughout the area of Pontos. Women and children were abducted and horribly abused. The entire wealth of the Greek Pontian people was expropriated.

The deportations, hangings, massacres and burnings, have created, especially in western Pontos, during the years of 1916 – 1923, a large number of orphans, who had nowhere to go.  Many of them ended up in Turkish homes and they have been changed over to Turkish citizens and Islam.  



The opening bell of the genocide came with the order in 1914 for all Pontian men between the ages of 18 and 50 to report for military duty. Those who "refused" or "failed" to appear, the order provided, were to be summarily shot. The immediate result of this firman (decree) was the murder of thousands of the more prominent Pontians, whose name appeared on lists of "undesirables" already prepared by the Young Turk regime[8].

Added thousands ended up in the notorious Labor Battalions (amele taburu). In a precursor of what was to become a favorite practice in Hitler's extermination camps, Pontian men were driven from their homes into the wilderness to perform hard labor and expire from exhaustion, thirst, and disease. German advisors of the Turkish regime (what a surprise!) suggested that Pontian populations be forced into internal exile. This "advise" led directly to the emptying of hundreds of Pontian villages and the forced march of women, children, and old people to nowhere. The details of this systematic slaughter of the Pontians by the Turks were dutifully recorded by both German and Austrian diplomats.

The Pontians, unlike Greeks elsewhere in Asia Minor, did try to organize armed resistance against their butchers. Pontian guerrilla bands had appeared in the mountains of Santa as early as 1916. Brave leaders, like Capitan Stylianos Kosmidis, even hoisted the flag of independent Pontus in the hope of help from Greece and Russia (which never arrived). But the struggle was unequal. The Turkish army, assisted by the blood-thirsty Tsets, cuthroats of mostly Kurdish extraction, attacked and destroyed undefended Pontian villages in revenge[9].

On May 19, 1919, chief butcher Kemal himself disembarked at Samsous to begin organizing the final phase of the Pontian genocide. Assisted by his German advisers, and surrounded by his own band of killers -- Topal Osman, Refet Bey, Ismet Inonu, and Talaat Pasha -- the founder of "modern" Turkey applied himself to the destruction of the Pontian Greeks. With the Greek army engaged in Anatolia, a new wave of deportations, mass killings, and "preventative" executions destroyed the remnants of Pontian Hellenism. The plan worked with deadly precision. In the Amasia province alone, with a pre-war population of some 180,000, records show a final tally of 134,000 people liquidated.

The memory of the Pontian Genocide is dedicated to all those in Europe and the U.S. who shamelessly advocate admitting Turkey into the EU and describe it as a "democracy." They are all blind as they are shameless.

24 July 1909 German Ambassador in Athens Wangenheim to Chancellor Bulow quoting Turkish Prime Minister Sefker Pasha: "The Turks have decided upon a war of extermination against their Christian subjects."

26 July 1909 Sefker Pasha visited Patriarch Ioakeim III and tells him: "we will cut off your heads, we will make you disappear. It is either you or us who will survive."

14 May 1914 Official document from Talaat Bey Minister of the Interior to Prefect of Smyrna: The Greeks, who are Ottoman subjects, and form the majority of inhabitants in your district, take advantage of the circumstances in order to provoke a revolutionary current, favourable to the intervention of the Great Powers. Consequently, it is urgently necessary that the Greeks occupying the coast-line of Asia Minor be compelled to evacuate their villages and install themselves in the vilayets of Erzerum and Chaldea. If they should refuse to be transported to the appointed places, kindly give instructions to our Moslem brothers, so that they shall induce the Greeks, through excesses of all sorts, to leave their native places of their own accord. Do not forget to obtain, in such cases, from the emigrants certificates stating that they leave their homes on their own initiative, so that we shall not have political complications ensuing from their displacement.

31 July 1915 German priest J. Lepsius: "The anti-Greek and anti-Armenian persecutions are two phases of one programme - the extermination of the Christian element from Turkey.

16 July 1916 German Consul Kuchhoff from Amisos to Berlin: "The entire Greek population of Sinope and the coastal region of the county of Kastanome has been exiled. Exile and extermination in Turkish are the same, for whoever is not murdered, will die from hunger or illness."

30 November 1916 Austrian consul at Amisos Kwiatkowski to Austria Foreign Minister Baron Burian: "on 26 November Rafet Bey told me: "we must finish off the Greeks as we did with the Armenians . . . on 28 November. Rafet Bey told me: "today I sent squads to the interior to kill every Greek on sight." I fear for the elimination of the entire Greek population and a repeat of what occurred last year" (meaning the Armenian genocide).

13 December 1916 German Ambassador Kuhlman to Chancellor Hollweg in Berlin: "Consuls Bergfeld in Samsun and Schede in Kerasun report of displacement of local population and murders. Prisoners are not kept. Villages reduced to ashes. Greek refugee families consisting mostly of women and children being marched from the coasts to Sebasteia. The need is great."

19 December 1916 Austrian Ambassador to Turkey Pallavicini to Vienna lists the villages in the region of Amisos that were being burnt to the ground and their inhabitants raped, murdered or dispersed[10].

20 January 1917 Austrian Ambassador Pallavicini: "the situation for the displaced is desperate. Death awaits them all. I spoke to the Grand Vizier and told him that it would be sad if the persecution of the Greek element took the same scope and dimension as the Armenia persecution. The Grand Vizier promised that he would influence Talaat Bey and Emver Pasha."  31 January 1917 Austrian Chancellor Hollweg's report: ". . . the indications are that the Turks plan to eliminate the Greek element as enemies of the state, as they did earlier with the Armenians. The strategy implemented by the Turks is of displacing people to the interior without taking measures for their survival by exposing them to death, hunger and illness. The abandoned homes are then looted and burnt or destroyed. Whatever was done to the Armenians is being repeated with the Greeks[11].  



It is estimated that 353,000 Greek Pontians perished between 1916 and 1923[12]. There were an estimated  700,000 Greek Pontians living in the area of Pontos on the eve of W.W.I. Well over  300,000 were deported in 1922. Hundreds of thousands were butchered outright. Many others died of starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics, which ravaged the concentration camps. Tens of thousands, approximately 150,000 in the east fled to the Russian border to lead a precarious existence as refugees.

In the cities of Pontos the Kemalists have created the Temporary courts of Liberty, which were putting on trial and executing the leaders of the Greek Pontians.  More than 353,000 Greek Pontians have found martyric death by the Young Turks and Kemalists.

The expulsions and massacres carried out by the Nationalist Turks between 1920 and 1922 added tens of thousands of more victims. By 1923 the entire landmass of the historic Pontos had been expunged of its Greek Pontian population, who lived in the area for over three Millennia.

The destruction of the Greek Pontian communities in this part of the world was total and final.

The decision to carry out genocide against the Greek Pontian people was made by the political party in power in the Ottoman Empire. This was the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), popularly known as the Young Turks.

There are five protagonists known  in the Greek Pontian Genocide.

The three figures from the CUP controlled the government;

1) Mehmet Talaat, Minister of the Interior in 1915 and Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) in 1917; Who is the father of the two most diabolical plans of history:

The first is called ARMENISIZ ARMENISTAN which means Armenia without Armenians, which means, you have guess right, do away with all the Armenians.

And the second is called WHITE DEATH MARCHES, which means force them to march in the snow and winter cold, without food and clothes, to die from the elements, that way will not be accused of Pontian genocide later.  However the goddess of Historia forgives but never forgets.

2)Ismail Enver, Minister of War;

3)Ahmed Jemal, Minister of the Marine and Military Governor of Syria.

This organization believed in the creation of a new Islamic Empire stretching from Anatolia into Central Asia whose population would be exclusively Turkish. These concepts justified and popularized the secret CUP plans to liquidate the Greek Pontians of Pontos and the Ottoman Empire.

(4) Mustafa Kemal May 19th, 1919, Mustafa Kemal comes to Amisos (Samsounta) as a representative of the Ottoman Government.

Kemal starts his criminal work by preaching the hatred against the Greek Pontians.  A member of the Kemalist group was another criminal under the name,

(5)Topal Osman, known in history as the biggest executioner of the Pontian Greeks.  Êemal himself appointed him as his representative to the area of Pontos, with limitless powers over the life and death on the Greek Pontians[13].

We must point out that even to this day, Turkey, systematically denies, that genocide was ever committed against Pontian Greeks, Greeks of Ionia (Asia Minor), Thrace, Armenians, Assyrians and others.   



The truce of Moudania stated that an international conference on the signature of final treaty of peace should be convened, which meant an agreement that would ensure substantially the economic interests of the Allies, which were in danger from Kemal’s new establishment of power and from the danger of obliteration of the Greeks of Istanbul. Little before the contracting of the treaty the first subject that occupied the interested sides was which countries would be invited to the negotiations that had been programmed for Lausanne. The United States of America declared that they did not wish to participate as they were not at war with Turkey. They transmitted however through diplomatic process, to the governments of England, France and Italy that they owed to take into consideration the American interests as well in the new regulations, that were identified with the continuation of policy of “open doors”, for further economic infiltration in new Turkey, subjects that were placed at the same time also by the same Americans, in direct contacts with the new leadership of Kemal. The American minister of exterior Houtz before the first deliberation in Lausanne sent directives, on the same question in the ambassadors of USA, in London, Paris and Rome (30/10/1922), commanding the American diplomats to notify to the governments of the western Forces that the USA will not tolerate the American interests in Near East not to be taken seriously into consideration in the Near East[14]. Finally the U.S.A. took part in the Conference of Peace in Lausanne, as observers, having as representatives the American ambassador the admiral Bristol High Commissioner in Istanbul, the expert for Eastern subjects Grew that later will declare that  “the Greeks have been annoying enough in Lausanne”, an executive of Standard Oil and Lewis Heck that dealt the purchase of oils in Istanbul. The forces of Entente during the preparations of the conference of peace, did not wish the presence of representatives of the Soviet Union, at the duration of negotiations that probably would support, because of a  non imperialistic zeal and other private reasons, and agreed only to invite the Soviet delegation, when they would discuss the problem of Stena. Chicherin the Soviet Foreign Secretary will reach Lausanne in December 1st, in order to assist the meeting, on the question of Stenon.

In 8 /20 November 1922, the conference of Lausanne begins - meanwhile 400.000 Greeks still lived in Asia at that time, 300.000 in Istanbul and in 100.000 Pondos apart from those who were Christians in secret- and lasted totally 9 months with an interruption of 75 days. The Lord Korzon proposed the creation of three delegates, the policy that would discuss the territorial problems in which chairman was appointed himself, the economy that would examine the problem of debt of Ottoman empire, where chairman was named the French representative since the French bankers were immediately interested and the law that would deal with the subject of minorities, in which chairman was appointed an  Italian diplomat, whose presence would strengthen the Greek – Italian oppositions and facilitated the English drawings for the exploitation of Greece as a mean of blackmail to Turkey. Representatives of Greece in the conference of Lausanne were Eleytherios Venizelos and Dimitrios Kaklamanos, attorney Minister in London. Representatives from Kemal’s side were Ismet Pasa, Minister of Abroad and the deputy of Adrianoypolis, the former deputy of Trapezounda Hassan Bey and Riza Nour Bey Minister of Health and Social Care as well as the deputy of Sinope, for whom testimonies reported that took part in the persecutions against the Christian populations of Ionia and Pontos[15]. Kemal’s party that were henceforth the unique and uncontradictable force of power in the former Ottoman territory and the de facto interlocutor in Lausanne opposed the sign “Turkey to Turkish” continuing, the nationalistic dynamics that had been developed with the Movement of Neo-Turkish (1908). The Turkish delegation did not come to Lausanne in order to sign an agreement that would be dictated by the big forces, but to negotiate a treaty of peace on the beginning of new national Kemal’s Turkish state and to consolidation Turkism having no concern about the minorities of the former Ottoman empire. New nationalistic Turkey had come out strengthened from the war and decided to claim by all means the achievement of their national objectives.

From the English side head was the Foreign Secretary Lord Korzon who also was the chairman of the conference, “Lord of oils of Mosul” as he was named and continued being representative of Britain even after the fall of Lloyd George’s government of coalition. The Italians were represented by Mousolni who approached the Greek representatives supporting, for their own reasons, the march of the Greek army in the Eastern Thrace and afterwards the interruption of work of conference, granted his place to the marquis Garoni and the French Prime Minister Pouankare, to whom  Venizelos said at the duration of discussions that, “France betrayed Greece”. The claims of Turks towards Greece in the conference, where the Swiss chairman Hubb hoped “ the Greek-Turkish war to be the last in the history of humanity”, was: martial compensations, concession of Western Thrace, (finally if the 51% of Macedonia after the Balkan wars belonged to Greece the corresponding percentage for Thrace, northern, Eastern, westerner, was by far the smallest suppression of Greek fleet, removal of Ecumenical Patriarchate, complete evacuation of Greeks of Istanbul and the rest that lived in Asia Minor. When the discussion about Thrace according to the Treaty of Lausanne began, Ismet Pasa asked for the regions that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire to be returned toTurkey according to the treaty of Constantinople. Ismet, and later Inonu stressed that the agreements of Sofia and Berlin that forecasted their concession in Bulgaria had not ever been ratified by the government of the Soultan. As for the concession of Karagats, the invoked reasons of concession were the Turkish railway station of Adrianoypolis and the defensive safety of the city, on the thought that it was not reasonable for Greece to have the possibility of commercial and military exclusion of the capital of Eastern Thrace. This demand was refuted by the British representative Lord Korzon and Venizelos presenting statistics that the city of Karagats was exclusively Greek, suggested a small region of the right bank of Evros to be given to Turkey, for manufacturing a railway station.

The territorial and military Committee of Congress of Lausanne began on 22 November 1992, the discussion about the borders of Thrace and Korzon’s choice to begin the discussion with this aimed to bring the Turkish side at a disadvantage and to evince the Allies’[16] unity. In that discussion Venizelos pointed out that there had been revolution in Greece and the army had been reorganized in order to save Eastern Thrace, for which he had asked to be sacrificed in order to be placed head of the Greek delegation, believing that if this concession happened other demands would not exist[17]. Turkey however came back asking a department of the right side of Ebros and referendum on the Western Thrace, without however determining with clarity the limits of the region in which they mentioned. Ismet Pasa, stressed that he did not ask the return of Western Thrace but wanted to protect the Turkish populations that were found there.

Serbia and Romania supported that the river Evros should be the border of Western Thrace and a demilitarised area be created Easternly and westwards the river, therefore they considered the Turkish demands destabilising. It should also be noted  that Bulgaria supported the solution of a conjunction of the western and Eastern Thrace in an autonomous region, under the control or the Society of Nations or the big Forces, a solution that was supported before the truce of Moydania and allowed the guarantee of freedom of existence of all nationalities that lived in the space of Thrace (Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian, Armenian, Jews, etc), the peace in the Balkans, the freedom of Stena and allowed the exit of Bulgaria in Aegean, exit that in this way did not pass neither from Greek nor from Turkish territory.

On 10th January 1923 the conference dealt with the Turkish demand which was the removal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. All delegations denied this claim, the USA particularly, wished to use it for their interventions in Soviet Russia and in Near East. Venizelos supported that an action like that would involve political, economic and social destruction, panic to the Greeks of  Constantinople and finally Greece would not bear a new wave of refugees. Lord Korzon pointed out something like that would be an offence to the religious sentiment of all Christianity, “but most importantly would also involve economic damage in Istanbul”. The Italian representative Montagna and chairman of sub-committee of exchange of populations supported the right of Turkey to remove unilaterally the Patriarchate, which apparently was beneficial to the Italian policy and the Vatican would not have any concrete problem with this idea. The Turkish representatives finally agreed to compromise with the proposal of Lord Korzon, which was assured orally by of Ismet Pasa. According to Korzon the Patriarchate should remain as a religious institution without any political, administrative and ecclesiastical powers and competences. This situation is continued up to today. On 18 January 1923, the final drawing that had been worked out by the side of Big Forces determined as Greek-Turkish border, the Bulgarian – Turkish of 1916 (on Evros), with Karagats initially remaining to Greece.  



On 30 January 1923 the Greek-Turkish convention and the protocol about the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations” was signed. According to the first article of the protocol of 1st May 1923, the exchange of Christian Turkish nationals with the Muslims of Greek citizenship had to be obligatory. Both  Greeks and Turkish nationals would not have the right to return to the places that they were born and lived without the authorisation of the Turkish and Greek government. There were 1.500.000 Greek orthodox and 460.000 Muslim Greek citizens exchanged. The exchange took place in the base of religion therefore there were not many Greeks from Pontos. Those people had been forced violently to change their religious beliefs. They still remain in the region up to today. The Greeks of Istanbul were excluded, they were characterized as not exchangeable, although they were 390.000 on total population of Constantinople 1.000.000, according to Lord Korzon’s research the conference’s chairman , they all lived there long before the 30/10/1918.he also presented information about the Greeks of Imvros and Tenedos (12.000) and the Muslim women of Western Thrace (roughly 100.000). The characterization of the minority of Thrace as religious - Moslem is owed to the insistence of a member of Turkish delegation Riza Nour Bey who stressed: “the existing minorities are only religious, not racial. Therefore the Turkish delegation does not accord with pleas about the protection of racial or linguistic minorities”. The Turkish delegation was in favour of the withdrawal of Greeks from Istanbul, something that caused discontent to E. Venizelos, who reacted by supporting that something like this would mean the destruction for Greece, that already had accepted refugees that exceeded by far the number of 1.300.000[18].

Several writers do admit that one of the most basic results of the treaty of Lausanne, was the obligatory exchange of populations, Lord Korzon regarded it as “ mischievous and immoral”, and that “the Turkish proposals about the exchange of populations were faulty and defective solutions for which the humanity will pay for a long time . It is perfectly clear, that the Turks want to get rid of the Greeks or make their staying hard and impossible”[19]. At the same time the USA were in favour of the obligatory exchange of populations. Being impossible to determine who was Greek and who was Turkish from the national point of view, the experts of exchange followed the Ottoman criterion that had been applied for many centuries and that were exclusively religious: “Greek”  was the one who belonged to the Christian-Orthodox millet, “Turkish” was the one who belonged to the Muslim-Sunni  millet, irrelevantly from his maternal language[20].

The basic parameter of the obligatory exchange of populations is an arrangement of self-government-article 14 – for the Greeks of Istanbul, Imbros and Tenedos and the characterization of the Moslem minorities of Thrace not exchangeable. The Turks themselves had proposed the term religious minority, not racial, but was erased at Turkish requirement, when it was formulated by Big Forces. Another term had actually been proposed as well which was Turkish Moslem minority, but it was not accepted because it was thought that an Albanian Muslim minority also existed in Greece and should not be characterized likewise. Venizelos proposed, for better protection, the minorities  not to be enlisted and not to have civil rights, also not to elect and not to be elected. It has not been clarified who was the one that proposed the exchange of populations, Ismet pasa formulated the place that it emanated from the Greek side, it is supported that the exchange of populations was not completely new solution in the Greek-Turkish conflict as “Venizelos himself had proposed a similar solution in a more limited scale just before the First World War”[21].The exchange was related to Venizelos’ will, “to be unloaded as fast as possible from the 350.000 roughly Mohammedans in order to open space to the Greek refugees”, knowing however simultaneously, there had been minimal importance on the conditions of how the Greeks would finally leave[22], from the Turkish side.

In Lausanne Venizelos supported that the proposal belongs to the Norwegian High Commissioner of Society of Nations Fr.Nansen. Nansen spoke for pressures from the Big Forces that prompted him to this direction. Other consideration indicates that by the obligatory exchange of populations, where 193.356 Greeks left Turkey for Greece and 354.647 Turks left Greece for Turkey, the Convention of Lausanne was more to Greece’s advantage rather than Turkey’s. The result of this convention of was the violent expatriation of the Greek element. “… The treaty of Lausanne imposes sacrifice from both States…”, E. Venizelos had said[23]. The French historian Driault raises the number of murdered Greeks from the Turkish prosecutions that continued, to thousands and considers the disappearance of Greeks from Turkey the greatest and the worst ever since the fall of Istanbul. “… Exchange of populations was decided. 1.5million refugees resorted to European Greece. It was the biggest destruction of modern Hellenism. This drama… deeply convulsed the Greek soul[24]. “The most important article of the treaty was however that that imposed the obligatorily exchange of populations, more than 1,5 million Greeks came to Greece from Asia. The ethnological and political map of Close east was modified considerably. When Mohammedans abandoned Macedonia, the governments of Liberals acting decisively installed  Greek villagers from the east to the abandoned Greek territories having as a result the complete predominance of the Greek element in a region where the ethnological heterogeneity had created international complications repeatedly. At the same time hundreds of thousands of refugees shaped areas of degradation in big cities where unemployment, poverty and the lack of homing created permanent hearth social and political agitation”[25]. “Later the Greek-Turkish Convention had as a result the complete change of the ethnological composition of all countries that surround the Aegean and Euxeinos Pontos”[26]. “The treaty of Lausanne inaugurated new season in the international law, the obligatory immigration and exchange of populations. Thousands of people were used as objects, the most living part of Hellenism that by being expulsive and violently expatriated, unwillingly helped Eastern Thrace to become turkish, while other 900.000 refugees from Minor Asia allowed the same in Western Minor Asia , as well the exploitation of Mosul from big forces and TURKIS PETROLEUM”[27].



The homonym treaty was signed On 24 July 1923 in the university of Lausanne at three o’clock in the afternoon. Venizelos sent a telegram  to the Prime Minister Gonatas and the head of the Revolution Plastiras saying: “Pleasantly I declare that this afternoon, in the big room of the university of Lausanne the treaty of the peace was signed having taken all relative conventions, statements and protocols into consideration. This treaty, contracted after The Destruction of Ionian issue  does not mean Greek triumph… unluckily”[28].  The treaty was signed by Turkey from the one side and by the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan Greece, Romania and the Serbia Croatia Slovenia state on the other side. By the treaty it was considered that, the Eastern problem was solved and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire was made official. The chance of the Aegean islands was fixed, Cyprus that devolved officially in the sovereignty of the British was made official after, being rented in 1878, and its annexation in 1914. Eastern Thrace was attributed finally to Turkey, the capitulations were suppressed, the question of Mosul was referred to the arbitration of the Council of Society of Nations (in 1926 it was attributed to the English), there was no further reference to the Armenians and Kurds and an arrangement about Stena  was regulated with favourable terms for Turkey, which achieved improvement of this terms in 1936 with the convention of Montreux. The treaty of Lausanne included 143 articles and was accompanied by 5 special conventions, 4 statements, 6 protocols, a final act and many explanatory letters. In the first article it becomes explicit that “from the very beginning of this Treaty being valid, the situation of Peace would be restored between the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania and Serbo-Croatian-Slobenian state on the one hand and Turkey, on the other ”[29]. In the 2nd to 12th  articles the borders of Turkey with Bulgaria, Greece, Persia, Iraq, are fixed and the processes of definition of frontier lines. For the particular subject there was great discussion and mainly on the delta of Evros, but finally after intervention of the Society of Nations that judged in favour the Greek places[30], the two parts agreed. The sovereignty of Greece is recognized in the 12th article, “on the islands of Eastern Mediterranean except Imbros, Tenedos and Lagouson islands (Maurion)”. In the 15th article it is reported that Turkey resigns in favour of Italy of any rights in Pondos and from titles on Dodecanese. Here the Greeks of Pondos should be mentioned, that then had been discussed to be installed in Thrace. In the 13th article, it is stressed that, “to guarantee peace the Greek Government is compelled to maintain special metres, that will be used for installation of naval base at the islands of Mitilini, Chio, Samo, and Ikaria”, and that “no fortress will be erected, the Greek aviation will not approach the territory close to the coast of Anatolia (the metre is also in effect for Turkey) and the Greek military forces in these islands will be limited to the usual number of army, and forces of constabulary and police”. The 14th article mentions the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, where the Greeks constituted the overwhelming majority (9.200 in Imbros and 2.850 in Tenedos), that were attributed to Turkey, it mentions “a special administrative organisation constituted from local elements and providing all guarantee to not Moslem native population concerning the local administration and the protection of persons and fortunes. The maintenance of order between the native populations would be guaranteed by inducted police, which would be commanded by the local administration. The agreements between Greece and Turkey, concerning the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations, would not be applied to the residents of the islands of Imbros and Tenedos”. Today few Greeks have remained there as in Istanbul after the political arrangements decided by Kemal, while in Pondos the terrorism of population that speaks the local dialect, similar to the ancient Greek language, is continued.  In the 16th~17th articles Turkey resigns from every requirement in both territories and islands that their sovereignty has been arranged via the Treaty (eg Cyprus), while in the articles 22 until 27 subjects that have to do with the acceptance of borders from Turkey are regulated, in article 28 the suppression of various capitulations is reported, while the articles 30 until 36 regulate matters of citizenship. Articles 37 until 45 the treaty, concern the protection of the minorities, Greeks in Turkey and Muslim in Greece, the obligations of the two countries, from which the reciprocity in the presence of Greek national minority in Imbros, Tenedos and Istamboul of also Moslem - religious minorities in Thrace, results. The articles 46 until 57 regulate the Public Ottoman Debt, a question that occupied a lot the Big Forces, while the articles 59 and 60 constitute special reports on the economic obligations between Greece and Turkey. In the articles 64 until 118 there is reference on the economically subjects, transport and sanitary questions, force of conditions that had been signed by Turkey and the remainder contracting countries from 1884 and then, and they come back in force and concern various subjects (duties, circulation of cars etc), last but not least, there exists the annex on the safety of persons, merchandises etc. The matter of captives of war as well as political detainees, the exchanges, the questions of cemeteries, are regulated by the articles 119 until 136 while the articles 137 ~ 143 concern general provisions, while in article 142, it is pointed out “the stipulated in 30 January 1923 between Greece and Turkey special Convention about the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations is valid between this two High Contracting Parts, as it would be had it been included in the present Treaty”[31].. The “Convention about the arrangement of Constantinople passage” (with article 4 neutralised concrete land areas in the territory of Turkey and the islands of Samothrace, Limnos, Imbros, Tenedos and Lagouses (Mayries), the “Convention about the Border of Thrace”, the “Convention about the installation and juridical jurisdiction” were incorporated in the Treaty of Lausanne. Still the treaty of Lausanne included commercial convention, which Turkey denounced in 8/6/1929, in order to apply new tariff, the convention “about the exchange of the Greek and Turkish populations, the Greek-Turkish agreement “about the output of political detainees and the exchange of captives of war”, the statement “about amnesty”, the statement “about the Moslem’s properties in Gree


 In Lausanne a continuous transaction existed between all contracting that aimed mainly at the protec

ce”, “with the term of reciprocity in favour of the Greek householders, who had abandoned Turkey before 18 October 1912, or dwell not in Turkey”. Thereinafter there were statements about sanitary issues, juridical administration, and the text of agreement “about the protection of minorities in Greece”.

 8. tion of the Allies’ economic interests - Big Forces, were exchanged and identified the geo -strategy and economic interests of West with those of the renewed by Kemal’s forms former government owned Ottoman rendered ignoring the history and the will of populations. The treaty of Lausanne was: “an international street race for oil”, the treaty that smelled “blood and oil”, “the bigger bargain of the century”, “oil and glory in Lausanne”, “the engagements of Britain in the Mesopotamia and the oils”, as it was written to the press characteristically[32].

The British politician and Prime Minister Loyd George intensively denounced the treaty: “as the peak of unfairness and biggest villain for the entire humanity”, and that “… no-one supports that this treaty constitutes honest peace. It is not simply peace. The arson of Smyrne  and the composed slaughter of tens of thousands of Greek in inner Small Asia and in Pondos proves that the Turkish always remain the same ” the consul of the USA in Smyrne G.Horton, will stress that “… during the conferences in Lausanne but also after the completion in agreement, I supported in public that the American missions in the abroad should have reacted in this sordid treaty… those lobbyists who participated in the conference of Lausanne had decided to act taking into consideration the protection of the petrol interests only. I willingly declare and support that the developments that rendered the signature of treaty of Lausanne  possible were determined by the petrol interests. In the race of who would ensure first the favour of Turkey, the winners were the Americans. The object of all negotiations was Mosul and the right for exploiting oil”[33]. Also, Musolini will say to the Greek minister of exterior Alexandris when he visited him in Rome, “… the decisions of Lausanne are unfair to Greece”. The main concern of the Greek government was to protect the big territorial and economic requirements of kemal’s Turkey. The treaty that was signed in the conference of peace in the Swiss city revised the treaty of Sevron (1920), which as the treaty of Versailles sealed the A' world war. It is however acquaintance the so called tendency of revisionism that followed certain countries at the interwar with Germany being first and with a view to reverse the results of the 1st world war. A policy that failed to meet their requirements and resulted in the 2nd world war. What however the European countries did not achieve and lost in the 1st World War was achieved by Turkey in 1923 with the treaty of Lausanne. For the supporters of Kemal “the treaty of Lausanne constitutes substantially international recognition of claims as they were included in Turkish National Contract”, while the Italian newspaper Mesagero wrote “… Turkey lost at the World War but achieved an undeniable diplomatic victory in Lausanne”[34].

The opinions of Kemal , were expressed later as well, when Turkey turned away the remains of Hellenism in Pondos, began the expulsion of Hellenism of Istanbul, Imbros and Tenedos (cephalic tax -1942), they continued it in 1955 a few days after the beginning of fight of the National Organisation of Cypriote Fighters in Cyprus, against the British colonists, in 1964, in 1974 in Cyprus and up to today with the nationalistic movements in Thrace. Precisely for the rescue, as Kemal’s theory proposes and the treaty of Lausanne, the Muslims of Greece! The treaty of Lausanne was not revisionist, but allocate at the constant practice that Turkey followed, a dynamics of continuous review, direct sample of which was the treaty of Montreux - 20/7/1936- that suppressed the Stena, Imbros and Limnos being unfortified and the annexation from Turkey of in 1938 of santzak (prefecture) of Iskenderum (Hatay), whose majority of residents was of Syria origin, aiming at the complete re-establishment of the Ottoman sovereignty and in particular the simultaneous disappearance of the remaining nationalities apart from the Turkish ones. Cyprus and the Turkish claims in Aegean and the Thrace, as the so called “purification” against the Greeks of Turkey are the proofs of this continuous tendency of revision[35].



 Immediately after the treaty of Lausanne, it is supported that the ”turkmenization” tendency had passed a stage of recession, after Mustafa Kemal turned hence to his interest in the socio-economic reconstruction of his country and moreover put emphasis on “Turkism”. However, he wanted to restore the prestige of the significance of the terms Turkish-Turkey, to create a homogeneous state cultivating simultaneously a patriotism of Western European type. Despite all the above however, after his statement, about “the finality of the borders”, a big part of the Turkish population did not agree. Characteristic is the fact that in order to ratify the treaty of Lausanne Kemal was forced to dissolve the big Turkish national assembly and to announce new elections. At the same time, the borders that imposed the treaty of Lausanne did not accept a big percentage of Kemal’s system, the Islamists as the partisans of “pantourkism” and “pantoyranism”, others because a new Turkish empire should be created, according to them, that would replace the Ottoman Empire and others because they considered that the Turkish nation is the chosen people and should dominate the other nations. The treaty of Lausanne constituted a landmark for the Hellenism, who after was murdered widely, in Pondos, in Thrace, Kappadokia, Ionia, the Greeks that after remained although they were protected by the Treaty they were also turned away by the Supporters of Kemal’s system[36]. Today just a few Greeks live in Turkey in order to remind the treaty of Lausanne, and a few thousands of Greek Muslims in Pontos[37], that by a tragic chance had not been included in the negotiations and today face terrorism and fascism May 19 has been recognized by the Greek parliament as the day of remembrance of the Pontian Greek Genocide by the Turks. There are various estimates of the toll. Records kept mainly by priests show a minimum 353,000 Pontian Greeks exterminated through systematic slaughter by Turkish troops and Kurdish para-militaries. Other estimates, including those of foreign missionaries, spoke of 500,000 deaths, most through deportation and forced marches into the Anatolian desert interior. Thriving Greek cities like Pafra, Samsous, Kerasous, and Trapezous, at the heart of Pontian Hellenism on the coast of the Black Sea, endured recurring massacres and deportations that eventually destroyed their Greek population. Thus, by government decree 1,500,000 Armenians and 353,000 Pontian Greeks were annihilated through exile, starvation, cold, illness, slaughter, murder, gallows, axe, and fire. Those who survived fled never to return. The Pontians now lie scattered all over the world as a result of the genocide and their unique history, language (the dialect is a valuable link between ancient and modern Greek), and culture are endangered and face extinction.  A double crime was committed - genocide and the uprooting of a people from their ancestral homelands of three millennia. The Christian nations were not only witnesses to this horrible and monstrous crime, which remains unpunished, but for reasons of political expediency and self interest have, by their silence, paroned the criminal. The Ottoman and Kemalist Turks were responsible for the genocide of the Pontian people, the most heinous of all crimes according to international law. The international community must recognise this crime.




[1]  Vakalopoulos K. Greek History (1204-1940) Thessalonica 1991, p.404. (In Greek)            
[2]Christodoulou M. The developments in the relations among Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, Leukosia 199 p.559 (In Greek)            
[3]  Malkidis F. «The refugees  1922  in society of Thrace», History, vol.5 (2003), p.97- 125.  (In Greek )
[4] Yearbook of the United Nations, 1947-1948 (New York: The United Nations, 1949) 595-599. The professor of Law of University of Yale, Raphael Lemkin it introduced  the term  "genocide "   in 1944. The term of Lemkjn constituted the base of terminology that used  the UN in order to  drawn up  the "Treaty of Genocide " of   9th of December  1948. Then was coded the particular crime and were fixed even punishments for criminals but this did not stop the exercise of violence against teams of persons with their diversity from the criminals. For the significance of genocide and particularly in the region of current Turkish state see. Permanent Court of Populations. The crime of silence. The genocide of Armenians.  Paris 1988.
[5] Yearbook of the United Nations, 1948-1949 (New York: The United Nations, 1950) 595ff.
[6] Hionides, C. 1988. The Greek Pontos: Mythology, Geography, History, Civilization. Boston, Mass.
[7] Hofmann T., (ed.)  Verfolgung, Vertreibung und Vernichtung der Christen im Osmanischen reich, 1912-1922, Münster- Hamburg, Lit Verlag, 2005.
[8] Fotiadis K. The genocide of Greeks of  Pontos, vol.1 Thessalonica,  p.234. (In Greek)
[9] Georgiadis C. The Pontos Guerrilla, Kavala 1963. (In Greek)
[10] Fotiadis K. The genocide of the Greeks in Pontos, vol.10-14. Thessalonica 2002~2005 German, Russian, English, Soviet Union, Austrian files )
[11] Fotiadis K. The genocide..op.cit. vol.1, p.345.

[12] Black book, The Tragedy of Pontus 1914-1922, Central council of Pontus, Athens 1922.

[13] Malkidis F. National and International dimensions of Pontian question. Athens 2006. (In Greekl)

[14] Psyroukis N., The destruction of Asia Minor, Athens 1982 p.197 (In Greek).            

[15] Charalambidis M., Aspects of the new Eastern Question .Athens, Gordios editions, 1998.


[16] Tsioumis K., The Muslim minority of Thrace(1923-1940), Thessalonica 1994 p.21. (In Greek)            

[17] Svolopoylos K., The decision on the exchange of populations, Athens 1987, p.54. (In Greek)            


[18] Alexandris A., The Greek minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974, Athens 1983. Chapter III “The Lausanne Negotiations” p.85. (In Greek)            

[19]  Kitromilidou M, The Ionian issue in the Cypriote newspaper of PAFOS , Lefkosia1994, p.89. (In Greek)            

[20] Kitsikis D., The history of Ottoman Empire 1280-1924, Athens 1988 p. 194. (In Greek)            

[21] Clogg R.The History of Greece in Brief 1770~1990, Athens1995 p.106.

[22] Dakin D., The Unity of Greece1770~1923 Athens 1984 p. 106

[23] Drault E. La guestion d’Orient. 1918~1937, Paris, 1938.

[24] Venezis I., The earth Of Eolos, Athens 1969 p.17. (In Greek)            

[25] Tsoukalas K., The Greek Tragedy, Athens,1981,p. 30. (In Greek)            

[26] Pallis I , Statistics about refugees, 1925 p. 398 (In Greek)            

[27] Kipouros H., Thrace needs a lot of effort, Athens 1994, p17. (In Greek)            

[28]  Dafnis G., Hellas between wars 1923~1940, Athens 1973~1974, p. 34. (In Greek)            
[29] Demokritus University of Thrace ~ Law school. Actions signed in Lausanne, Athens ~ Komotini 1993, p.11. (In Greek)            
[30] Rodakis P. The Gordian Knot of the nations, Athens 1990, p.174.
[31] Actions….op.cit., p.45.
[32] Charalambidis M. The Pontian Question today (In Greek), Athens 1999, and the Pontian Question in United Nations, Athens 2006. 
[33] Horton G., According to Turkey, Athens 1992, p.240~242.
[34] Kitromilidou Maria, op.cit. p. 202.
[35] Magriotis G., Thrace, the bastion of the Greek North, Athens 1993, p. 222. (In Greek)            
[36] Malkidis F. «Greek society and Kemalists ». Asia Minor edition, vol.21 (2002), p.165-182. (In Greek)
[37] Bryer A., The cryptochristianics of the Pontos, Athens 1983. Asan O. Pontus Kulturu, Istanbul 1996. (In Turkish)