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The Turkish Pogrom Of 1955 And The Elimination Of The Greek Minority Of Istanbul

2555 words - 10 pages

With an official statement, issued on 7 September 1955, the Menderes government expressed its deepest sorrow for the losses suffered by Greek minority in Istanbul. The Turkish Prime Minister blamed the riots on communists, underlining its commitment to the exemplary punishment of the perpetrators (Xristidis 2000). The interpretation of the pogrom as a conspiracy of international communism was repeated during the extraordinary meeting of the Grand National Assembly, which took place on September 12, 1955. However, under the force of circumstances, Adnan Menderes admitted that the government knew about the demonstration on September 6th, in advance. Also, the Turkish Prime Minister argued that, the riot was a spontaneous expression of national sentiment of the Turkish people who was stimulated by the news about the imminent massacre of Turkish Cypriots on 28 August. Moreover, he stated that the hysteria that gripped the crowd was so strong that immobilized the police forces, which found themselves between their quest to restore order and their commitment to the homeland, thus leaving full freedom of movement to the protesters. The claim of the Turkish government that the country suffered a severe blow because of the Communists was met with scepticism by foreign observers (Guven 2006). First of all, the number of Communists in Turkey was small and secondly, their activities were under the watchful eyes of the Turkish Intelligence Services (MIT). It seems that, only a small percentage of people who were arrested immediately after the episodes were communists. The arrest of those who had communist beliefs, such as the well-known Turkish writer Aziz Nessin, was totally unjustified, since there was no evidence for their participation in incidents. Also, in the lists of suspects of the police included people who had died or were serving in the Turkish Army during the episodes (Guven 2006). Therefore, it was not possible for the communists to had organized and executed a plan for the implementation of which required the mobilization and coordinated effort of many individuals. However, this theory put forward by Adnan Menderes, in an attempt to conceal the role of his government in planning, organizing and implementing the pogrom of 6-7 September 1955, the ultimate goal of which was the strengthening of the policy of Turcification adopted by Ankara against the Non-Muslim minorities and especially the Greek minority of Istanbul.
The reconstruction of Turkish policy was inextricably linked with the decision of the Greek government to internationalize the Cyprus issue in August 1954. This initiative by the Greek government caused the strong reaction of Great Britain, for which the entire control over Cyprus was necessary to maintain influence in the strategic Middle East region. Also, Britain was fired the reaction of the Turkish government during the discussion of the Cyprus problem on the forum of the United Nation. The reason for this was that the...

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