Ruben H. Melkonyan
Key words – Young Turks; Kemalists; non-Muslim minorities; Lausanne; Greek citizens living in Istanbul; discriminative policy; monoethnic Turkey; Ecumenical Patriarchate of Costantinople; Cyprus; deportation.
It՛s widely known that the history of Ottoman Empire is full of examples of state persecutions, discrimination, massacres and genocides against Christians. The aspirations to create monoethnic, that is Turko-Islamic state became more obvious during the government of the Young Turks. The same policy was adopted by the authorities of the Republic of Turkey established in 1923. This fact can be explained by following circumstances. First of all, Turkish state had already become instiutionally hostile against all non-Turkish nations. Besides, the majority of the founders of Turkey were former Young Turks, the bearers of nationalist ideology. However, there are specialists, including the Turks, who bring the period of governmenr of Young Turks even up to 1960 and ascribe some elements of young Turkizm to the Democratic Party which was in power in 1950-60s. Main periods of the policy of discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in the history of Turkish Republic were: 1. Exchange but in reality exile of Greeks in 1923 2. The “20 classes” draft in 1941 3. “Tax of Wealth” in 1942 4. Pogroms of 6-7 September 1955. However, the comparison of facts shows that the last and one of the most important links of this chain was the exile of the Greeks from Istanbul in 1964 which is not sufficiently examined yet. On March 16,1964 the government of Turkey officially stated that it unilaterally considered invalid the agreement signed between Turkey and Greece in 1930. This meant the emergence of legal basis for exile of the Greek citizens living in Turkey. At that time nearly 12.500 Greek citizens were living in Turkey. All of them were condemmed to exile. However deportation of these 12500 people meant inclusion of much more wide masses as they were connected by marital and family ties with the Greeks, citizens of Turkey. Exile of the Greeks in 1964 became the important stage of consecutive politics of ethnic purges in Turkey.