Book Release for Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks

Title: Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks. Studies on the State Sponsored Campaign of Extermination of the Christians of Asia Minor (1912-1922) and Its Aftermath: History, Law, Memory.
Editors: Tessa Hofmann, Matthias Bjornlund and Vasileios Meichanetsidis
Publisher: Aristide D. Caratzas Publishser, Melissa International, Ltd.
Date of Publication: 2012
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0-89241-615-8

Price: US$75.00
Description: Hardcover, 512 pages, 37 photographs, maps
Availability: Caratzas Publisher website at the URL and through major online vendors such as ($54.04) and ($75.00)

About the Book

The period of transition from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the foundation of the Turkish Republic was characterized by a number of processes largely guided by a narrow elite that aimed to construct a modern, national state. One of these processes was the deliberate and planned elimination, indeed extermination, of the Christian (and certain other) minorities. According to demographic studies, the numbers are stark: In 1912 the areas of Asia Minor and Thrace were inhabited by about 4-5 million Christians and 7-8 million Muslims; by 1923 only 250-300,000 Christians remained.

Raphael Lemkin, the legal scholar who introduced the term genocide into international law, formulated his early ideas on the definition of this war crime by studying the destruction of the Christians of Asia Minor, while the distinguished Turcologist Neoklis Sarris has noted that the annihilation of the Christian minorities represented an integral element in the formation of the Turkish Republic. As the editors of this volume note the recent resolution by the International Association of Genocide Scholars recognizing the Greek and Syriac genocides suggests a wider range of victim groups. This volume therefore represents an effort to provide an outline and a direction of a more extensive study of the deliberate destruction and elimination of a Greek presence that spanned over three millennia, in the space that became the Turkish Republic.

The last two decades have seen a massive amount of research of the genocide of the Armenian population in the Ottoman/Turkish space; our publishing house has produced a number of works, most notable of which was the eyewitness testimony of the Leslie A. Davis, US Consul in Harput (The Slaughterhouse Province: An American Diplomat's Report on the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917). Much less scholarly work has been done on the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor and Thrace; there are many reasons for this, including the fact that Turkish governments have been successful in intimidating diplomats in the context of Turkish-Greek relations of the last generation, and of subverting academic integrity (inducing some scholars to make a career as denialists supported by international NGOs, all in the name of countering nationalism).

The volume includes article contributions on the areas subtitled: Historical Overview, Documentation, Interpretation; Representations and Law; Genocide Education; Memorialization; Conceptualization; and a very extensive Bibliography.

Reviewers' Remarks

"The book presents valuable statistical and population data on the mosaic of ancient and modern peoples in Anatolia. Studies range from government policy to perpetrators, to the Greek invasion of Asia Minor, and to the efforts of the American Near East Relief and the International Rescue Committee. One study explores the role of genocide in support of nationalism. This informative read will stimulate further study and thought regarding the mass murders of the 20th and 21st centuries. Highly recommended. Most levels/ libraries." e (August 2012)

Special Remarks by the Publisher

The first such work is the collective volume is The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks, edited by Tessa Hofmann, Matthias Bjornlund, and Vasileios Meichanetsidis, published February 2012; we have been posting some of the reviews and other notices (the latest being that in the August 2012 issue of Choice, published by the American Library Association).

The subject of the volume is echoed in current events, namely the rise of militant Islam and the effort to seize control of Syria; one key theme of the current struggle is the campaign by the militants to eliminate the ancient Christian community, which is largely Greek Orthodox (Antiochian Patriarchate). The western press has so far played down the persecution and some murders of Christians; indeed it appears to have gone along with the effort by the Islamic militants to claim that it was the Assad forces that had killed the (Christian) women and children in Homs. In fact these atrocities were perpetrated by the "Free Syrian Army," in the (successful) effort to oust 50,000 Christians from that city and to put the Assad regime in a bad light.

We see parallels to the Ottoman Christian genocides in the current process of persecution of the Christians in Syria, viz. in the expulsions of populations, deliberate use of terror, mass murder, destruction of churches and other elements that lead to genocide. We have thus been monitoring these events and have been posting and accumulating press articles on subjects that touch this process. Where we deem it necessary we have added some minimum commentary in order to clarify a particular theme.--Aristide Caratzas, Publisher

(Posting date 05 November 2012)

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