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The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks

The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks

Product #: 978-0-89241-615-8

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Studies on the State Sponsored Campaign of Extermination of the Christians of Asia Minor (1912-1922) and Its Aftermath: History, Law, Memory

Edited by Tessa Hofmann, Matthias Bjørnlund and Vasileios Meichanetsidis 

hardcover; 512 pages, 37 photographs, maps

The period of transition from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the foundation of the Turkish Republic was characterized by a number of processes largely guided by a narrow elite that aimed to construct a modern, national state. One of these processes was the deliberate and planned elimination, indeed extermination, of the Christian (and certain other) minorities. According to demographic studies, the numbers are stark: In 1912 the areas of Asia Minor and Thrace were inhabited by about 4-5 million Christians and 7-8 million Muslims; by 1923 only 250-300,000 Christians remained.

Raphael Lemkin, the legal scholar who introduced the term genocide into international law, formulated his early ideas on the definition of this war crime by studying the destruction of the Christians of Asia Minor, while the distinguished Turcologist Neoklis Sarris has noted that the annihilation of the Christian minorities represented an integral element in the formation of the Turkish Republic. As the editors of this volume note the recent resolution by the International Association of Genocide Scholars recognizing the Greek and Syriac genocides suggests a wider range of victim groups. This volume therefore represents an effort to provide an outline and a direction of a more extensive study of the deliberate destruction and elimination of a Greek presence that spanned over three millennia, in the space that became the Turkish Republic.

The last two decades have seen a massive amount of research of the genocide of the Armenian population in the Ottoman/Turkish space; our publishing house has produced a number of works, most notable of which was the eyewitness testimony of the Leslie A. Davis, US Consul in Harput (The Slaughterhouse Province: An American Diplomat's Report on the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917). Much less scholarly work has been done on the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor and Thrace; there are many reasons for this, including the fact that Turkish governments have been successful in intimidating diplomats in the context of Turkish-Greek relations of the last generation, and of subverting academic integrity (inducing some scholars to make a career as denialists supported by international NGOs, all in the name of countering nationalism).

The volume includes article contributions on the areas subtitled: Historical Overview, Documentation, Interpretation; Representations and Law; Genocide Education; Memorialization; Conceptualization; and a very extensive Bibliography.


"Rarely does a new publication raise both the serious study and public awareness of its subject to a new level. The volume under review is such a work. In recent years genocide scholars have increased their attention on the systematic state sponsored eradication of the historic Christian communities of Asia Minor by the Ottoman Empire and its successor state. Many scholarly works have appeared focusing on the fate of the Armenians during this period, but little has been written of a similar scope and quality concerning the Ottoman Greeks. The publisher, editors and contributors to this volume are to be congratulated for making a significant contribution to addressing this serious gap in the literature and providing scholars interested in investigating this subject with important studies, copious documentation, and visual and bibliographic aides. Moreover they have placed the historical information concerning Asia Minor Greeks into the theoretical and legal context of the field of genocide studies.... Everyone concerned with making the genocide of Ottoman Greeks better known should advocate that public libraries, universities and cultural institutions add this fine volume to their collections. The publishers and the scholars who came together to create this important publication have established a new standard of excellence for the field." — C. G. Hatzidimitriou, AHIF Policy Journal (Winter, 2012-13)


"The book presents valuable statistical and population data on the mosaic of ancient and modern peoples in Anatolia. Studies range from government policy to perpetrators, to the Greek invasion of Asia Minor, and to the efforts of the American Near East Relief and the International Rescue Committee. One study explores the role of genocide in support of nationalism. This informative read will stimulate further study and thought regarding the mass murders of the 20th and 21st centuries. Highly recommended. Most levels/ libraries." — Choice (August 2012) 

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