Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey is the first large-scale population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion in the 20th century. It involved some two million people, most of them forcibly made refugees and "de jure" denaturalized from homelands of centuries or millennia, in a treaty promoted and overseen by the international community as part of the Treaty of Lausanne Fact|date=October 2008. The document about the population exchange was signed at Lausanne, Switzerland in 1923, between the governments of Greece and Turkey. The exchange took place between Turkish citizens of the Greek Orthodox religion established in Turkish territory, and of Greek citizens of the Muslim religion established in Greek territory.


In Greece this was called the "Asia Minor Catastrophe" ( _el. Μικρασιατική καταστροφή).Significant refugee displacement and movement occurred in the upheaval following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and its evolution into modern Turkey, especially following the Balkan Wars, World War I, and the Greco-Turkish war (1919-1922), which was part of the Turkish War for Independence. These included exchanges and expulsion of about 100,000 Slavs and BulgariansFact|date=October 2008 and 500,000 Turks from Greece.

The Treaty of Lausanne affected the populations as follows Fact|date=October 2008: almost all Greek Orthodox Christians (Greek- or Turkish-speaking) of Asia Minor including a Turkish-speaking Greek Orthodox population from middle Anatolia (Karamanlides), the Ionia region (e.g. Smyrna, Aivali), the Pontus region (e.g. Trapezunda, Sampsunta), Prusa (Bursa), the Bithynia region (e.g., Nicomedia (İzmit), Chalcedon (Kadıköy), East Thrace, and other regions were either expelled or formally denaturalized from Turkish territory, numbering up to 1.2 million people. About 500,000 people were expelled from Greece, predominantly Turks, but including other Muslims, Muslim Roma, Pomaks, Cham Albanians, and Megleno-Romanians.


The Turks and other Muslims of Western Thrace were exempted from this transfer as well as the Greeks of Istanbul and the Aegean Islands of Imbros (Gökçeada) and Tenedos (Bozcaada). Due to punitive measures carried out by the Republic of Turkey, such as the 1932 parliamentary law which barred Greek citizens in Turkey from a series of 30 trades and professions from tailor and carpenter to medicine, law, and real estate,cite book | first=Speros | last=Vryonis | title=The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6–7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul | publisher= [http://www.greekworks.com Greekworks.com, Inc.] | location=New York | year=2005 | isbn= 0-97476-603-8 ] the Greek population of Istanbul began to decline, as evidenced by demographic statistics. The Varlık Vergisi capital gains tax imposed in 1942 on wealthy non-Muslims in Turkey also served to reduce the economic potential of ethnic Greek businesspeople in Turkey. Furthermore, violent incidents as the Istanbul Pogrom (1955) directed against the ethnic Greek community greatly accelerated emigration of Greeks, reducing the 200,000-strong Greek minority in 1924 to just over 5,000 in 2005 [ According to figures presented by Prof. Vyron Kotzamanis to a conference of unions and federations representing the ethnic Greeks of Istanbul. [http://www.hri.org/news/greek/apeen/2006/06-07-02.apeen.html#03 "Ethnic Greeks of Istanbul convene"] , "Athens News Agency," 2 July 2006.] .

The expelled populations suffered greatly. According to Bruce Clark, leaders of both Greece and Turkey, as well as some circles in the international community, saw the resulting ethnic homogenization of their respective states as positive and stabilizing since it helped strengthen the nation-state natures of these two states. [cite book | first=Bruce | last=Clark | title= | publisher=Granta | location=London | year=2006 | pages=18 | isbn=1-86207-752-5]

At the same time, forced deportation has obvious challenges: social, such as forcibly being removed from one's place of living, and more practical such as abandoning a well-developed family business. Countries also face other practical challenges: for example, even decades after, one could notice certain hastily developed parts of Athens, residential areas that had been quickly erected on a budget while receiving the fleeing Asia Minor population.

ee also

*Greek refugees
*Greeks in Turkey
*Turks of Western Thrace
*Cretan Turks


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