Turkish Genocides: The massacre on the Greeks 1923
Already in the 4th century Constantinople was the seat of the Christian patriarchs and remained so in spite of the Muslim conquest of this metropole, which besides Rome was the cultural and religious centre of the Christian world. The fate of the patriarch of Constantinople in 1923 can be read in the report from U.S. State Department authored by Noel Barber:
The Turkish commander, Nurredin, a man with a sadist reputation, asked the Greek patriarch Monsignor Chrysostemos to give meeting. When the patriarch arrived, Nurredin spat on him, pointed to some papers, and told him that he was to be sentenced to death at a trial in Ankara.
“Now nothing is left but for the people to pass their judgement!”, he shouted. “Begone from my sight!” The old man was descending the stairs when the Turkish general appeared on the balcony above and shouted to the Turkish mob: “Treat him as he deserves!” A patrol of 20 French marines had escorted the patriarch to the headquarters of the general, but with strict orders not to intervene. Horrified they had to watch how the mob cut him to pieces, punched out both of his eyes, cut off his ears, then the nose and the hands, all while he was still alive….
The murder of the patriarch was seen as a blanket permission to murder all Christians. The wife in the American mission in Smyrna, escaping in the last minute, saw terrified how Turkish soldiers ransacked their home and destroyed everything. According to her testimony the most terrible robberies and killings were followed by rape of all non-Muslim women. The American teachers at the school were terrified watching how soldiers were murdering civilians in the streets in front of the school, how they forced themselves into the homes, killing the families and throw the bodies in the streets. In just a few hours, twenty women who had escaped into an English house had been dragged out and raped. The grave of an American was opened and the dead cut into pieces. All Christians instinctively ran towards the harbour. Thousands reach the sea, jumped in and swam to the ships of the western powers. But not to safety, as due to a command of strict neutrality towards Turkey nobody was permitted on board.
21 foreign warships were anchored outside the port of Smyrna on that day: Three American destroyers; two English warships, three cruisers and six destroyers; an Italian cruiser and a destroyer; and three French cruisers and two destroyers. They followed the order of strict neutrality, while the Turks took control of the city after the fleeing and dying Greeks.
“We were in the harbour, and they were on the [kaj], and at midnight a horrible screaming started.”, wrote Ernest Hemmingway, correspondent for the newspaper “Toronto Star”. Some drowned, others were shot or crushed to death, while the captains of the European ships were merely watching. “Non-interference” was the order of the day.
The Greeks and the Armenians were screaming all night through, and their terrible screams were heard everywhere. The next morning, almost everybody dead, a few surviving women and children were collected. Kemal Mustafa Atatürk, founder of the ‘modern’ Turkey, in his house on the hill overlooking the city, watched the burning inferno where Christians were burned to death, and said that this was a sign that Turkey had now rid themselves of their traitors, the Christians and the foreigners, and now we shall have a Turkey only for Turks.