Remembering The Events Of September 1955 When An Anti-Greek Racist Pogrom In Turkey Killed Dozens Of Innocent People

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Remembering The Events Of September 1955 When An Anti-Greek Racist Pogrom In Turkey Killed Dozens Of Innocent People

The events of September 1955 in Istanbul, Turkey, have gone down in history as the most violent anti-Greek pogrom to have taken place since the Second World War. Carried out by the 'Tactical Mobilisation Group' and organised by the Turkish government, the events led to the deaths of around 30 people and the destruction of thousands of Greek owned businesses and Greek owned private property.

The events were triggered after fake news emerged that a Greek had bombed the Turkish consulate in the city of Thessaloniki, something that later turned out to be false. What later transpired was that the bombing was organised by Turkey itself as a 'false flag' incident. The Turkish student involved later confessed to his actions.

Even before the bombing had taken place, the Turkish state had moved the Tactical Mobilisation Group into Istanbul and stockpiled shovels, hammers and other weaponry that they could hand out to Turkish civilians seeking to attack Greeks.

As news of the bombing spread, the atmosphere exploded into fury and two nights of brutal rioting and pillage took place against the 100,000 or so Greeks that were still living in Istanbul at that time.

71 churches, 41 schools, 8 newspapers and more than 4,000 businesses were destroyed or severely damaged, around 30 were killed and many hundreds were wounded.

The events led to a mass emigration of Greeks from the city of Istanbul. It is estimated that out of a Greek population of around 100,000 in 1955 there are only around 3,000 citizens of Greek descent still living in Istanbul today. This is in large part due to the pogrom but also due to the ongoing day-to-day discrimination that continued against the population, including boycotts of Greek businesses.

Both countries had expelled large numbers of each other's citizens previously, prior to the Second World War, and relations between Greece and Turkey remain poor to this day. They reached a low point in 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus, then part of the Greek state. It continues to occupy the north of the island, though this is not recognised as a legal occupation by the international community.

Just this year, the Greek navy has been deployed en-mass, along with the support of the French navy, to stop Turkish ships from entering Greek and Cypriot territorial waters. Turkey is allegedly sending ships into these waters to establish the location of hydrocarbon deposits and it is believed that it seeks to establish oil and gas drilling in the region.

The rise of an Islamist dictatorial government in Turkey under Recep Erdogan has only led to further damage the relationship between Greece and Turkey and his fiery rhetoric, as well as Turkey's actions in Syria and Libya, have taken Greco-Turk tensions to a level not seen for decades.

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Thinking Humanity: Remembering The Events Of September 1955 When An Anti-Greek Racist Pogrom In Turkey Killed Dozens Of Innocent People
Remembering The Events Of September 1955 When An Anti-Greek Racist Pogrom In Turkey Killed Dozens Of Innocent People
The events of September 1955 in Istanbul, Turkey, have gone down in history as the most violent anti-Greek pogrom to have taken place since WWII.
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