Notes on the Genocides of Christian Populations of the Ottoman Empire

Submitted in support of a resolution recognizing the Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic and Anatolian Greek genocides of 1914-23, presented to the membership of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), 2007.

Ottoman Genocide against Christian Minorities: General Comments and Sources

"It is believed that in Turkey between 1913 and 1922, under the successive regimes of the Young Turks and of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), more than 3.5 million Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christians were massacred in a state-organized and state-sponsored campaign of destruction and genocide, aiming at wiping out from the emerging Turkish Republic its native Christian populations. This Christian Holocaust is viewed as the precursor to the Jewish Holocaust in WWII. To this day, the Turkish government ostensibly denies having committed this genocide."

— Prof. Israel Charney, President of the IAGS

"Turks admit that the Armenian persecution is the first step in a plan to get rid of Christians, and that Greeks would come next. ... Turkey henceforth is to be for Turks alone."

— Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris, quoting the New York Times, September 14, 1915.

"While the death toll in the trenches of Western Europe were close to 2 million by the summer of 1915, the extermination of innocent civilians in Turkey (the Armenians, but also Syrian and Assyrian Christians and large portions of the Greek population, especially the Greeks of Pontos, or Black Sea region) was reaching 1 million."

— Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris, p. 285-286.

In an article for the August 1, 1926 edition of the Los Angeles Examiner, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) also affirms the slaughters. Kemal writes:

"those ... left-over from the former Young Turkish Party, ... should have been made to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred ..."

— Mustafa Kemal — Emile Hildebrand, "Kemal Promises More Hangings of Political Antagonists in Turkey," Los Angeles Examiner, August 1, 1926 (Sunday edition, Section VI).

"If members of the United Nations pass appropriate legislation such incidents such as pogroms of Czarist Russian and the massacres of Armenians and Greeks by Turkey would be punishable as genocide."

— "Genocide Under the Law of Nations," New York Times, January 5, 1947.

Contemporary newspaper commentary


"The extermination of the Armenians is well under way. Thousands of Nestorians and Syrians [of the Assyrian Orthodox Church] have vanished from the face of the earth. More than 300,000 Greeks have been deported from the Ottoman Empire, and many more sent to the interior. The fate that awaits the surviving Christians and Jews — in fact, of all the non-Turkish elements — depends on the term of the fratricidal war and its fortunes. The Young Turks are watchfully waiting to carry out their program: 'Turkey for the Turks.'"

Atlantic Monthly, November 1916

The Assyrian Genocide

Note: "Assyrian" is often used as a general umbrella term to denote peoples with closely related ethnic and Christian identities. They include: Assyrians, Chaldeans (Catholic), Syriacs, Syrian (Eastern Orthodox), Nestorians, Jacobites, and Arameans. Assyrians settlements in Anatolia/Asia Minor/Turkey date to around 2200 B.C.

Hannibal Travis, "'Native Christians Massacred': The Ottoman Genocide of the Assyrians during World War I," Genocide Studies and Prevention, 1: 3 (2006), pp. 327-371.

Abstract: "The Ottoman Empire's widespread persecution of Assyrian civilians during World War I constituted a form of genocide, the present-day term for an attempt to destroy a national, ethnic, or religious group, in whole or in part. Ottoman soldiers and their Kurdish and Persian militia partners subjected hundreds of thousands of Assyrians to a deliberate and systematic campaign of massacre, torture, abduction, deportation, impoverishment, and cultural and ethnic destruction. Established principles of international law outlawed this war of extermination against Ottoman Christian civilians before it was embarked upon, and ample evidence of genocidal intent has surfaced in the form of admissions by Ottoman officials. Nevertheless, the international community has been hesitant to recognize the Assyrian experience as a form of genocide. The Assyrian genocide is indistinguishable in principle from its Armenian counterpart, however, and its recognition by scholars and the international community may assist in the resettlement and relief of the Assyrian remnant, currently fleeing by the thousands from its homelands in Iraq."

Note: Travis's article contains 305 footnotes, providing a rich buttress of primary and secondary sources for the Assyrian genocide. Among the most —Abstracts of Foreign Language Books on the Greek Genocide are:

Sébastian de Courtois, The Forgotten Genocide: The Eastern Christians, the Last Arameans. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2004.

Eugene Griselle, Syriens et Chaldéens: Leur Martyre, Leurs Espérances. Paris: Bloud et Gay, 1918.

Yusuf Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians. Warren Point, NJ: Kimball Press, 1936.

Mordechai Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1991.

Yonan H. Shahbaz, The Rage of Islam: An Account of the Massacre of Christians by the Turks in Persia. Philadelphia, PA: Roger Williams Press, 1918.

Abraham Yohannan, The Death of a Nation, or: The Ever Persecuted Nestorians or Assyrian Christians. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1916.

Gabriele Yonan, Ein vergassener Holocaust: Die Vernichtung der christlichen Assyrer in der Turkei. Gottingen: Gesellschaft fur bedrohte Volker, 1989.

David Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006)

— "The history of this region is not a matter of general knowledge, so it is necessary to paint a broad background to the wartime activities of 'ethnic cleansing' and genocide, which will be described in considerable detail further on. By the 1920s, the multidenominational Christian populations of the region were radically depleted and almost entirely displaced from their historic settlemetns. Represerntatives of the remnants of these groups insist that they were the victims of a genocide planned and carried out by the wartime leadership of the Ottoman Empire. The Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac groups have proposed the term 'Sayfo,' meaning 'year of the sword,' as a name for this catastrophe. In many countries, parliamentary bills have been considered which would brand Sayfo as an act of genocide of the same rank and slightly better known case of the Armenian genocide." (p. 1)

— "It is possible that the Ottoman deportations [during World War I] were planned to be brutal but not fatal, to be limited and not global; to target only Armenians and not the other Christians. But designs and reality are separate phenomena. There were three separate phaess of forced migration during the war era. The first was the slow-paced exchange of minority populations begun by Talaat as Minister of the Interior before the war. The second was the 'military necessity' banishments of Armenian men started by Enver early in 1915 and carried out by the army. The third was the total removal of entire Christian populations in the summer of 1915 on the order of Talaat and organized byt he local civil administrations together with death squads of local militamen." (p. 65)

— "Through various compilations there is written evidence of massacres and attacks against Christians in 178 small towns and villages in Diyarbekir province and its nearest neighboring regions [in 1915]" (p. 76). "Despite the official declarations excluding them from the 'deportations,' non-Armenian Christians kept on being the object of mass murder" (p. 77).

— "On March 10, 1915, the Russian consult, Pavel Vvedenski, became the first civilian official to inspect a horrifying atrocity in an out-of-the-way spot on the plain of Salmas, near several small iranian towns. This was the village of Haftevan, between Khosrowa, the center of the Chaldean Catholic minority, and Dilman, an Armenian town. This was the first consciosuly planned mass execution of civilians committed by the Ottoman army in its Caucasus campaigns, the first of many. Before his eyes were the remains fo the adult Christian male population of an entire district. Vvedenski found hundreds of corpses lying exposed everywhere. All of the bodies were mutilated and, as far as he could see, most had been decapitated. ... The vice-commander of Russia's First Caucasus Army, K. Matikyan, counted the corpses and came up with a total of 707 Armenians and Syriacs (or Aisori as he called them) who had been murdered by Ottoman soldiers and Kurdish volunteers ..." (p. 81).

— Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs files formal protest, March 5, 1915, referring to "violence [that] is most noted int he areas where there are many villages inhabited by Christians, where the population has been violated and mercilessly massacred." (P. 82)

— "The Assyrian tribes were the prime target among all the Syriac groups in the Ottoman Empire, and the CUP spoke of them with the same degree of suspicion as they did the Armenians. The ethnic cleansing of [the] Hakkiri [mountains] was a consequence of a series of government decrees, some of which predated the war. The eradication of the autonomous Assyrian tribes had been a favorite idea of Talaat Pasha, the Minister of the Interior, because they made up an almost solid non-Muslim eagle's nest on an —Abstracts of Foreign Language Books on the Greek Genocide border. When war became imminent, ethnic cleansing began on a small scale and then spiraled after a few months to a full-scale operation. Talaat made the final decision at the moment it was clear that the Assyrian tribes were being defeated. He wrote to the valis of Mosul and Van accusing the Nestorians of cooperating with the Armenians and Russians. He proposed: 'We should not let them return to their homelands.'" (P. 121) "Here is the story behind their exodus, which also amounted to one of the most complete cases of ethnic cleansing. This is a tale of government plans for deportation, harassment, and massacres by local Kurdish chiefs — all leading up to a full war between the well-armed Ottoman army and the traditioanl Assyrian tribal warriors. ... The documentation is sparse, consisting of news of massacres, executions, attacks, invasions, and retreats, without much clarification. ... The massacres in the sanjak capital Baskale were so many that it gives the impression of containing a combined concentration and death camp where refugees were held captive until their execution. However, no one managed to escape from Bashkale, and thus we lack information about what went on inside the town ..." (P. 122)

— "Ceaseless ethnic cleansing by means of ruthless attacks and panic plagued the Turkish-Iranian border strip. As soon as the Russians left a village or town undefended, Kurdish irregulars or volunteers moved back in and punished the population for alleged collaboration." (P. 135)

— "Reshid [Bey] amassed great riches, as did many other local administrators and politicians [during the genocide]. They held the cities of Diyarbekir and Mardin ina state of terror during the summer and autumn of 1915. It was reported at the end of August that 120,000 'Armenians' had been deported from the province and there were none left. The majority of the deportees were dead; the victims included Christians of all denominations." (P. 152) "... Talat sent a general order for the deportation of the Armenians on June 21 ... In fact, by the time the order arrived, mass extermination of Christians of all faiths had been going on for several weeks throughout the length and breadth of the province ..." (P. 153).

— "Jacques Rhetore estimated that 200,000 Christians were killed within the province of Diyarbekir. Of that number, 144,185 (amounting to 82 percent of the Christian population) were native residents and about 55,000 were outsiders who had been killed when their deportation caravans were attacked. Victims came from all faiths, and the largest groups were from the Syriac Orthodox Church with 60,725 deaths and the Gregorian Armenians with 58,000 deaths." (P. 177)

— "There are also some further traits that were systematic. There was the similarity in urban areas of the multistep pattern of shattering the Christian population. Also, the creation of conflicts between the denominations in order to discourage solidarity and united defense. Step one, the arrest and interrogation under torture of the male notables, including religious leaders. Step two, the killing of the notables about one week later. Step three, the deportation and killing of the remaining adult males. Step four, the formation of columns of women and children who were told that they were being sent to join their male relatives and marched out of the towns. Throughout, the Christians were extorted of their wealth. ..." (P. 178)

— Refers to "the anti-Christian genocide": "... By early 1915, systematic, government-sanctioned ethno-religious hostility gradually assumed a structured form. This planning concerned the targeting of certain ethnic and religious groups, the dates at which specific areas would be evacuated, and whether certain non-Muslim groups would be temporarily excluded and for how long. The exact manner in which deportations and massacres would be carried out was the object of little high-level planning and was left to local initiative. ... It has been claimed that deportations took place in humane and secure conditions, but the lived experience of Christians in Diyarbekir province, as well as Hakkari and Sa'irt sanjaks, gives absolutely no support to that interpretation. In this region, ethnic cleansing, wholesale massacres, mass rape, and attacks on outnumbered villages were a daily occurrence throughout June, July, and August 1915. Tens of thousands of deportees from other provinces were slaughtered along the roads of Diyarbekir and the banks of the Tigris River as a matter of course. Perpetrators and instigators ranged from government officials, army officers, and local politicians to tribal aghas, brigands, local riff-raff, and released convicts. Only in the very final months of the anti-Christian policy (from September 1915) is there solid evidence that deported Christians from Diyarbekir province actually began to arrive at their stated destinations." (Pp. 296-97)

— "The Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac victims were easy to single out because they belonged to a non-Muslim group and spoke non-Turkic languages. They were thus targeted for violent ethnic cleansing as religious and ethnic groups, but not as racial groups. Thus the reason for their extermination should be sought against the background of their religious and ethnic deviation from the political standards held by the ideologues in power." (Pp. 303-04)

— "The degree of extermination and the brutality of the massacres indicate extreme pent-up hatred on the popular level. Christians, the so-called gawar infidels, were being killed in almost all sorts of situations. They were collected at the local town hall, walking in the streets, fleeing on the roads, at harvest, in the villages, in the caves and tunnels, in the caravanserais, in the prisons, under torture, on the river rafts, on road repair gangs, on the way to be put on trial. There was no specific and technological way of carrying out the murders like the Nazis' extermiantion camps. A common feature was that those killed were unarmed, tied up, or otherwise defenseless. All possible means of killing were used: shooting, stabbing, stoning, crushing, throat cutting, throwing off of roofs, drowning, decapitation. Witnesses talk of seeing collections of ears and noses and of brigands boasting of their collections of female body parts." (P. 304)

— "The intense extermination of the Christians was completed in a short period between June and September 1915. Throughout the southeast Anatolian provinces, bodies of the victims lay strewn everywhere: along the highways, outside the city gates, on hills outside town, in caves, in ravines, in wells and cisterns, in latrines, floating on the lakes and rivers. No traveler could miss them. In 1919, after the war, Edward Noel, the British political foficer, observed corpses still rotting along the roads and noted that all the male corpses were on their stomachs but the corpses of women were lying face up on their backs. It was as if an incurable plague of hundreds of Jedwabnes and Srebrenicas afflicted the region." (P. 305)

— "This book has told a story of ethnic wars, innumerable retributions of suspected collaborators, and astounding genocidal projects throughout southeastern Anatolia. What happened was indeed the feared 'general massacre' that the German diplomats in July 1915 warned the regime in Istanbul was imminent unless it lessened the brutality of the forced deportations and the Diyarbekir massacres. this term, 'general massacre,' along with others like 'extermination' and 'annihilation,' was as close as the German diplomats at that time could come to formulating the modern concept 'genocide,' as defined by the United Nations in 1948. The Vatican expressed its fear for 'the threatening destruction of en [sic] entire people,' to which the Sultan replied on November 19, 1915, acknowledging the deaths of innocent people and explaining that it had unfortunately proved impossible to separate the 'peaceful elements from those in rebellion.' Already on May 24, 1915, at the very beginning of persecution, the Entente powers labeled them 'crimes against humanity and civilization.'" (P. 315)

— From testimony of Major E. Noel, "on Special Duty in Kurdistan (1919)": "... Even if Armenian treason could be proved to the hilt, there could scarcely be any contention, even on the part of the Turks, that the other Christian communities, Jacobite, Chaldean and Syrian, were parties thereto.

"The people were not long left in doubt as to whom the word 'traitor' referred to. Orders were received from Constantinople to disarm any Christian soldiers and gendarmes. Officers were told to dismiss their Christian servants and in future to allow no Christian to have any access to them. In January 1915 all Christians were dismissed from Government employ. In February and March, Turkish officials, including even deputies, visited the tribes under the guise of purchasing transport animals, and openly preached the doctrine of death to the infidel. ... Openly the policy adopted was to: 1. Deport suspects. 2. Put to forced labour anybody found in possession of arms. 3. Put to death anybody convicted of treason. In practice, however, the secret procedure laid down was to arrange for the massacre of all three of the above classes ..." (Pp. 441-42) "The outstanding feature, which is free from all element of conjecture, is that the massacres were scientifically organized from Constantinople, and the local ignorant Muslim was only used as a tool. It is not he who should be punished but the Turk in high places, and again the local Turk who acted as his willing agent, and who filled his pockets in the process." (P. 443)

Other sources

"In 1915 the killing resumed with a full-scale, government-sponsored genocide of the Armenians and the Assyrians. At Sairt in June 1915, the massacres of Assyrians by 'The Butchers' Battalion,' a term the military Turkish governor of Van, Djeudet Bey chose for himself and his 8,000 soldiers, left at least 17,000 Assyrians dead. Sairt was only one of forty-one villages attacked that year where the Assyrian inhabitants were slaughtered."

— Thea Halo, Not Even My Name, St. Martin's Press, New York 2000/2001, pp. 288-89. Sources: American Committee for Armenian and Syrian [Assyrian] Relief. Armenia, New York: Amer. Comm. for Armenian/Syrian Relief, 1917; and Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor's Fund), The Plight of Armenian and Assyrian Christians (London: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne and Co., 1919). For further bibliographies see:

Documentation on the treatment of Assyrians was compiled by Arnold Toynbee and originally titled: Papers and Documents on the Treatment of Armenians and Assyrian Christians by the Turks, 1915-1916, in the Ottoman Empire and North-West Persia (London, 1916, Foreign Office Archives, 3 Class 96, Miscellaneous, Series II, six files, FO 96*205-210). "And Assyrian" was removed from the title by the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, James Bryce, co-founder of the English-Armenian Society, when the book was published in late 1916. The French translation presented at the Paris Peace Conference in 1920 further eliminated mention of the Assyrians by the removal of the 100 pages that referred to them. The Assyrian genocide was also reported in the British government's Blue Book and in numerous reports by missionaries and relief workers.

"[I will] relate the details of the tragic martyrdom of the Assyro-Chaldeans from the Jezireh district on the Tigris [not far] from Midyat, where more than fifty villages, whose names I know, villages for the most part fertile and flourishing ...were completely sacked and ruined while the entire population was put to the sword."

— Jean Naayem, Les Assyro-Chaldeans et les Armeniens Massacres Par les Turcs (Paris: Sebastien de Courtois, 1920), p. 162.

The Greek Genocide

Note: Anatolia (from the Greek meaning east) and Asia Minor are both terms used to designate the area now known as Turkey. Pontos, or Pontus, a large mountainous province along the southern shores of the Black Sea, and the Pontians, or Pontic Greeks, who first settled there in 800 B.C., are often specifically mentioned in documentation. The Pontian region is part of Anatolia. Other areas of Anatolia long settled by Greeks are Ionia (the western coastal province of Smyrna and environs) and Cappadocia (a large central province). Lesser known, but equally important, Greek settlements in Anatolia include Bithynia, Caria, Cilicia, Galatia, Lycaonia, Lycia, Lydia, Mysia, Pamphylia, Paphlagonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia.

Henry Morgenthau, Sr.

"The martyrdom of the Greeks, therefore, comprised two periods: that antedating the war, and that which began in the early part of 1915. The first affected chiefly the Greeks on the seacoast of Asia Minor. The second affected those living in Thrace and in the territories surrounding the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus, and the coast of the Black Sea. These latter, to the extent of several hundred thousand, were sent to the interior of Asia Minor. The Turks adopted almost identically the same procedure against the Greeks as that which they had adopted against the Armenians. They began by incorporating the Greeks into the Ottoman army and then transforming them into labour battalions, using them to build roads in the Caucasus and other scenes of action. These Greek soldiers, just like the Armenians, died by thousands from cold, hunger, and other privations. The same house-to-house searches for hidden weapons took place in the Greek villages, and Greek men and women were beaten and tortured just as were their fellow Armenians. The Greeks had to submit to the same forced requisitions, which amounted in their case, as in the case of the Armenians, merely to plundering on a wholesale scale. The Turks attempted to force the Greek subjects to become Mohammedans; Greek girls, just like Armenian girls, were stolen and taken to Turkish harems and Greek boys were kidnapped and placed in Moslem households. The Greeks, just like the Armenians, were accused of disloyalty to the Ottoman Government; the Turks accused them of furnishing supplies to the English submarines in the Marmora and also of acting as spies. The Turks also declared that the Greeks were not loyal to the Ottoman Government, and that they also looked forward to the day when the Greeks inside of Turkey would become part of Greece. These latter charges were unquestionably true; that the Greeks, after suffering for five centuries the most unspeakable outrages at the hands of the Turks, should look longingly to the day when their territory should be part of the fatherland, was to be expected. The Turks, as in the case of the Armenians, seized upon this as an excuse for a violent onslaught on the whole race. Everywhere the Greeks were gathered in groups and, under the so-called protection of Turkish gendarmes, they were transported, the larger part on foot, into the interior. Just how many were scattered in this fashion is not definitely known, the estimates varying anywhere from 200,000 up to 1,000,000. These caravans suffered great privations, but they were not submitted to general massacre as were the Armenians, and this is probably the reason why the outside world has not heard so much about them. The Turks showed them this greater consideration not from any motive of pity. The Greeks, unlike the Armenians, had a government which was vitally interested in their welfare. At this time there was a general apprehension among the Teutonic Allies that Greece would enter the war on the side of the Entente, and a wholesale massacre of Greeks in Asia Minor would unquestionably have produced such a state of mind in Greece that its pro-German king would have been unable longer to keep his country out of the war. It was only a matter of state policy, therefore, that saved these Greek subjects of Turkey from all the horrors that befell the Armenians. But their sufferings are still terrible, and constitute another chapter in the long story of crimes for which civilization will hold the Turk responsible.

Amb. Henry Morgenthau, Sr. "The Murder of a Nation," ch. XXIV in Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, 1919 (written in 1916, before Greece entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1917, therefore before the further massacres of Greeks between 1916 and 1923), pp. 52-53.

When "the civilized world did not protest against these deportations the Turks afterward decided to apply the same methods on a larger scale not only to the Greeks but to the Armenians, Syrians, Nestorians, and others of its subject peoples."

"the Greeks were the first victims of this nationalizing idea ... in the few months preceding the European War, the Ottoman Government began deporting its Greek subjects along the coast of Asia Minor."

"The story which I have told about the Armenians I could also tell with certain modifications about the Greeks and the Syrians."

— Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story

"By ridding themselves of the Armenians, Greeks, or any other group that stood in their way, Turkish nationalists were attempting to prove how they could clarify, purify, and ultimately unify a polity and society so that it could succeed on its own, albeit Western-orientated terms. This, of course, was the ultimate paradox: the CUP committed genocide in order to transform the residual empire into a streamlined, homogeneous nation-state on the European model. Once the CUP had started the process, the Kemalists, freed from any direct European pressure by the 1918 defeat and capitulation of Germany, went on to complete it, achieving what nobody believed possible: the reassertion of independence and sovereignty via an exterminatory war of national liberation."

— Mark Levene, "Creating a Modern 'Zone of Genocide': The Impact of Nation— and State-formation on Eastern Anatolia, 1878-1923."

"The Turks extended their policy of exterminating the Christians of the empire to the Armenians, Greeks, Syrians, and Lebanese."

"German military officers, diplomats, and civilians also witnessed the planning and execution of the genocide of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians as it unfolded."

"Absent a governmental intention to exterminate the Christians of the empire, it would be nearly impossible to explain how the massacres, rapes, deportations, and dispossessions of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians living in the Ottoman Empire at the time of World War I could have taken place on such a vast scale."

— Hannibal Travis, "Native Christians Massacred," Genocide Studies and Prevention, December 2006 (see further quotes from this source in the section on the Assyrian genocide).

Contemporary commentary and official pronouncements

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 coastline 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 — 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 Kastanomu 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 Austrian 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."

13 December 1916: German Ambassador Kuhlman to German 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."

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."

31 January 1917: German 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."

— Sources: Found in the archives of the Foreign Ministry of Greece, as reported by Professor Kostas Fotiadis, professor of History at Aristotelian University in Greece and compiled in a 14 volumes of documentation: Constantinos Emm. Fotiadis, The Genocide of the Pontus Greeks. Vol. 13 is: The Genocide of the Pontus Greeks by the Turks: Archive documents of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Britain, France, the League of Nations and S.H.A.T., Heodotus, Greece (2004). See also

Hundreds Killed by Turks and Bulgars in Many Towns, London Hears

New York Times, 20 April 1916

"Stories of cruelty and outrage in the expulsion of the inhabitants from the villages — features which it was impossible indeed should be lacking — are simply confirmed. A good many girls are in the hospitals at Aivali in consequence of their treatment by the moharjis."

Manchester Guardian, 29 June 1914

Priest, Old Men and Children
Are Reported Slain—Bodies
Are Thrown into Well.

— Atlanta Constitution, June 17, 1914

Hundreds Killed by Turks and Bulgars in Many Towns London Hears

The New York Times, April 20, 1916

"The story of the Greek deportations is not yet generally known. Quietly and gradually the same treatment is being meted out to the Greeks as to the Armenians and Syrians [Assyrians]. Although closely guarded, certain echoes come out from time to time. There were some two or three million Greeks in Asia Minor at the outbreak of the war in 1914 subject to Turkish rule. According to the latest reliable and authoritative accounts, some seven to eight hundred thousand have been deported, mainly from the coast regions into the interior of Asia Minor. At the declaration of the present war all persecutions were stopped, but the spring of 1915 brought to the stage a tragic, novel drama, unique in the history of the world as to its horrors and destructiveness — that is, the Armenian deportation; under that innocent name the extermination of a Christian race was started. Along with the Armenians most of the Greeks of the Marmora regions and Thrace have been deported on the pretext that they gave information to the enemy. Along the Aegean coast, Aivalik stands out as the worst sufferer. According to one report, some 70,000 Greeks have been deported towards Konia and beyond. At least 7000 have been slaughtered. The Greek Bishop of Aivalik committed suicide in despair."

— Frank W. Jackson, Chairman of the Relief Committee for Greeks of Asia Minor, October 17, 1917

"Will the outrageous terrorising, the cruel torturing, the driving of women into the harems, the debauchery of innocent girls, the sale of many of them at eighty cents each, the murdering of hundreds of thousands and the deportation to, and starvation in, the deserts of other hundreds of thousands, the destruction of hundreds of villages and cities, will the wilful execution of this whole devilish scheme to annihilate the Armenian, Greek and Syrian Christians of Turkey — will all this go unpunished?"

— Henry Morgenthau, "The Greatest Horror in History," Red Cross Magazine, March 1918.

"Les persécutions antihelléniques poursuivies en Turquie depuis le début de la guerre européenne ne sont que la continuation du plan d'extermination de l'Hellénisme mis, depuis 1913, en pratique par les Jeunes-Turcs."
"The anti-Greek persecutions carried out in Turkey since the beginning of the European War are but the continuation of the plan of extermination of Hellenism practiced by the Young Turks, since 1913."

— From the reports of diplomatic and consular officials.

Les Persécution Antihelléniques en Turquie Depuis le Début de la Guerre Européenne. D'après les rapports officiels des agents diplomatiques et consulaires (Paris, Librairie Bernard Grasset, 1918), Introduction.

"... the Greeks of Anatolia are suffering the same or worse fate than did the Armenians in the massacres of the Great War. The deportation of the Greeks is not limited to the Black Sea Coast but is being carried out throughout the whole of the country governed by the Nationalists. Greek villages are deported entire, the few Turkish or Armenian inhabitants are forced to leave, and the villages are burned. The purpose is unquestionably to destroy all Greeks in that territory and to leave Turkey for the Turks. These deportations are, of course, accompanied by cruelties of every form just as was true in the case of the Armenian deportations five and six years ago."

— Stanley Hopkins, American employee of the Near East Relief, 16/11/1921

Additional Sources

"In 1916, the Pontic Greeks along the Black Sea coast were again targeted. Six thousand Pontian men, women, and children of the Bafra area were burned alive as they took refuge in churches. In the town of Alajam another 2,500 Pontians were slaughtered. Of the 25,000 inhabitants of the Bafra region alone, 90 percent were eliminated by mass slayings or by sending them on long death marches where they were often raped and robbed and left to die of disease and starvation."

— Dr. Harry Psomiades, The Phantom Republic of Pontos and the Magali Catastrophe (The Hellenic Studies Forum Inc. of Australia, 1992)

"A study of this question may be found in Publication No. 3, of the American Hellenic Society, 1918, in which the statement is made that one million, five hundred thousand Greeks were driven from their homes in Thrace and Asia Minor, and that half these populations had perished from deportations, outrages and famine.

"The violent and inflammatory articles in the Turkish newspapers, above referred to, appeared unexpectedly and without any cause. They were so evidently 'inspired' by the authorities, that it seems a wonder that even ignorant Turks did not understand this. Cheap lithographs were also got up, executed in the clumsiest and most primitive manner-evidently local productions. They represented Greeks cutting up Turkish babies or ripping open pregnant Moslem women, and various purely imaginary scenes, founded on no actual events or even accusations elsewhere made. These were hung in the mosques and schools. This campaign bore immediate fruit and set the Turk to killing, a not very difficult thing to do."

— George Horton, The Blight of Asia (1956)

April 5, 1922: The American Consul at Aleppo, Jesse B. Jackson, filed a report from Dr. Mark H. Ward and Dr. F. D. Yowell, Director of the Near East Relief unit at Harpoot. In it Ward and Yowell testify to the tens of thousands of Greeks from the Black Sea region — two-thirds of whom were women and children — being marched south, with medical attention, food and shelter denied to them, causing many thousands to perish from 'starvation, exposure, typhus, and dysentery.'

Yowell and Ward affirmed: "The policy of the Turks toward the Greeks who were, and are still, being deported, through Sivas-Harpoot Diarbekr from the Black Sea Coast and the Konia district, seems to be one of extermination."

Yowell, May 5, 1922: "Conditions of Greek minorities are even worse than those of the Armenians. Sufferings of the Greeks deported from districts behind the battlefront are terrible and still continue. These deportees begun to reach Harpoot before my arrival last October. Of thirty thousand Greek refugees who left Sivas, five thousand died on the way before reaching Harpoot. One American relief worker saw and counted fifteen hundred bodies on the road east of Harpoot.

"In Harpoot district our relief has been to give these needy people in opposition to the wishes of the Turks who did everything in their power to prevent our doing so. We were not allowed to employ any Greeks in our work or to take any orphan children, left by dying Greek deportees, into our orphanages. Sick Greeks could not be received into our hospital except on the written order of the Turkish Commissioner.

"Two thirds of the Greek deportees are women and children. All along the route where these deportees have travelled Turks are permitted to visit refugee group and select women and girls whom they desire for any purpose. These deportations are still in progress, and if American aid is now withdrawn all will perish. Their whole route today strewn with bodies of their dead, which are consumed by dogs, wolves, vultures. The Turks make no effort to bury these dead and the deportees are not permitted to do so. The chief causes of death are starvation, dysentery, typhus. Turkish authorities frankly state that is their deliberate intention to exterminate the Greeks, and all their actions supports this statements. At present fresh deportations and outrages are starting in all parts of Asia Minor from northern seaports to the south eastern district.”

Dr. Mark H. Ward, Medical missionary for the Near East Relief, July 6, 1922: "From May, 1921, to March last, when I left, thirty thousand deportees, of whom six thousand were Armenians and the rest Greeks, were collected at Sivas and deported through Kharput to Bitlis and Van. Of these thirty thousand, ten thousand perished last winter and ten thousand escaped or have been protected by the Americans. The fate of the other ten thousand is not known. The deportations are continuing; every week's delay means deaths to hundreds of these poor people. The Turkish policy is extermination of these Christian minorities."

Documentary Evidence that Turkish Officials Ordered the Atrocities. Translated, it reads in part:

"To the Commandant of the Central Brigade: I call your attention to the following: There is nothing but death for the Greeks, who are without honor. As soon as the slightest sign is given you, destroy everything about you immediately. As for the women, stop at nothing. Do not take either honor or friendship into consideration when the moment of vengeance arrives!
— The Commandant of the Brigade, Mehmet Azit"

— Cited in Edward Hale Bierstadt, The Great Betrayal: A Survey of the Near East Problem, New York, 1924.

"The Committee of Union and Progress made a clear decision. The source of the problem in Western Anatolia would be removed, the Greeks would be cleared out by means of political and economical measures. Before anything else, it would be necessary to weaken and break the economically powerful Greeks."

— Nurdogan Taçlan, Ege'de Kurtulus Savasi Baslarken (Istanbul, 1970), p. 65. Quoted in Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, translated by Paul Bessemer (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), p. 103.

"The Turkish reprisals against the west Anatolian Greeks became general in the spring of 1914. Entire Greek communities were driven from their homes by terrorism, their homes and land and often their moveable property were seized, and individuals were killed in the process."

— Arnold Toynbee, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1922), p. 140.

For further documentation, see:

Armenian/Pontian Joint Recognition

Armenian National Committee of America



— Joins with Assyrian and Greek Communities in Seeking Justice for Turkey's Genocidal Crimes

May 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joins with Pontian Greeks — and all Hellenes around the world — in commemorating May 19th, the international day of remembrance for the genocide initiated by the Ottoman Empire and continued by Kemalist Turkey against the historic Greek population of Pontus along the southeastern coast of the Black Sea.

"We join with the Hellenic American community in solemn remembrance of the Pontian Genocide, and in reaffirming our determination to work together with all the victims of Turkey's atrocities to secure full recognition and justice for these crimes," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.

The Ottoman Empire, under the cover of World War I, undertook a systematic and deliberate effort to eliminate its minority Christian populations. This genocidal campaign resulted in the death and deportation of well over 2,000,000 Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks.

The Pontian Genocide has been formally acknowledged by Greece and Cyprus and, within the United States, by the states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, among others.

Note: While ANCA's affirmation of the Genocide of Greeks and Assyrians is greatly appreciated, many authorities consider the number of victims to be much greater than that recognized. For example, in his book Statistics of Democide, R.J. Rummel writes: "Democide had preceded the Young Turks' rule and with their collapse at the end of World War I, the successor Nationalist government carried out its own democide against the Greeks and remaining or returning Armenians. From 1900 to 1923, various Turkish regimes killed from 3,500,000 to over 4,300,000 Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians."

Bibliography of Books on the Pontic and Anatolian Greek Genocides

Note: For a more thorough list, including a large number of Greek-language sources, see

Also, a number of books and reports can be downloaded at

James Levi Barton, The Near East Relief, 1915-1930. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1943.

Edward Hale Bierstadt, The Great Betrayal: A Survey of the Near East Problem. New York: R. M. McBride & company, 1924.

Carl C. Compton, The Morning Cometh. New York: Karatzas Publisher, 1986.

Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City. New York, NY: Newmark Press, 1998.

Constantinos Fotiadis (ed.), The Genocide of the Pontus Greeks. 14 vols. Herodotus, 2004.

Les Persécution Antihelléniques en Turquie Depuis le Début de la Guerre Européenne. D'après les rapports officiels des agents diplomatiques et consulaires. Paris: Librairie Bernard Grasset, 1918.

Thea Halo, Not Even My Name. New York: Picador USA, 2000.

Hofmann, Tessa, ed., Verfolgung, Vertreibung und Vernichtung der Christen im Osmanischen Reich 1912-1922. Münster: LIT, 2004. (pp. 177-221 on Pontian Greeks)

George Horton, The Blight of Asia: An Account of the Systematic Extermination of Christian Populations by Mohammedans and of the Culpability of Certain Great Powers; With a True Story of the Burning of Smyrna. Indianopolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1926.

Ioannis Karayinnides, The Golgotha of Pontos. Salonica, 1978.

Johannes Lepsius, Archives du genocide des Armeniens. Paris: Fayard, 1986.

Bernard Lewis, The Making of Modern Turkey. London: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Manchester League of Unredeemed Hellenes, Turkey's Crimes: Hellenism in Turkey. Manchester : Norbury, Natzio & Co., 1919.

J.A.R. Marriott, The Eastern Question: A Study in European Diplomacy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940.

Manus I. Midlarsky, The Killing Trap. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Ambassador's Morgenthau Story. Garden City, N.Y.: Page & Company, 1918. Also published by the Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1974.

Henry Morgenthau, Sr., I Was Sent to Athens. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Co, 1929.

Henry Morgenthau, Sr., An International Drama. London: Jarrolds Ltd., 1930.

Jean De Murat. The Great Extirpation of Hellenism and Christianity in Asia Minor: The Historic and Systematic Deception of World Opinion Concerning the Hideous Christianity's Uprooting of 1922. Miami, Fla.: [s.n.], (Athens [Greece]: A. Triantafillis) 1999.

Lysimachos Oeconomos, The Martyrdom of Smyrna and Eastern Christendom: A File of Overwhelming Evidence, Denouncing the Misdeeds of the Turks in Asia Minor and Showing Their Responsibility for the Horrors of Smyrna. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1922.

Alexander Papadopoulos, Persecutions of the Greeks in Turkey before the European War: On the Basis of Official Documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 1919.

Ioannis Pavlides, Pages of History of Pontus and Asia Minor. Salonica, Greece, 1980.

G.W. Rendel, "Memorandum by Mr. Rendel on Turkish Massacres and Persecutions of Minorities since the Armistice." British Foreign Office Report, 1922. FO 371/7876. X/PO9194.

R. J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide, Chapter 5, "Statistics of Turkey's Democide — Estimates, Calculations and Sources."

S.J. and E.K. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

Michael Llewellyn Smith, Ionian Vision: Greece in Asia Minor, 1919-1922. London: Allen Lane, 1973.

Dido Soteriou, Farewell Anatolia. Translated by Fred A. Reed. Athens: Kedros, 1991.

Harry Tsirkinidis, At Last We Uprooted Them: The Genocide of Greeks of Pontos, Thrace, and Asia Minor, through the French Archives. Thessaloniki: Kyriakidis Bros, 1999.

C. Tsoukalas, The Greek Tragedy. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

Mark H. Ward, The Deportations in Asia Minor, 1921-1922. London: Anglo-Hellenic League, 1922.

Wikipedia Sources

All these entries feature numerous scholarly citations and references from contemporary news accounts.

The Armenian Genocide
The Assyrian Genocide
The Pontic Greek Genocide