Under the terms of the agreement regarding the exchange of
populations in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Greek population of
Constantinople-a thriving community-and the muslim community
residing in Western Thrace were exempted from the exchange process.
In the beginning of the 20th century there were 300,000 Greeks
residing in Constantinople.
They had managed to survive there despite centuries of oppression
and persecution under the Ottoman yoke. But the Turks were
determined to expel all Greeks from their ancient home using all
available means. Thus, the Turks systematically used the following
measures in order to accomplish their objective :
a) In May 1941, large numbers of young men ranging in age from
18-38. were conscripted into the Turkish army from the Greek and
Armenian communities The Turkish intention was to exterminate these
young men through the well-known method of <<forced-labour
battalions>>. If this extermination plan was not successful it was
due to protests from the Western allies and the defeat of the
Germans in Stalingrad in December 1942. Seeing the tides of war
shifting, the Turkish authorities permitted the discharge of these
b) On 11 Noverriber 1942, the Turkish government passed a law
regarding taxation of property of non-muslims, known as the VA RLIK
VE RGISI. Through this !aw non-muslim citiizens had to submit,
without the right to appeal, to the discretion and arbitrary
judgment of the tax clerks. The tax clerks, in turn, were instructed
to appraise property at amounts many times over the actual value of
each property. Then, if the individual concerned was unable to make
payments of the enormous tax share (quota), the property was seized
and the unfortunate owners were exiled to ACKALE, in Anatolia.
As a result (of the use) of these harsh and inhuman measures, by
1955 only 25,000 people were left, rather than the 450,000 that
should have been their number given a normal rate of growth in 35
On the night of the 6th September 1955, and using the Cyprus
situation as a pretext, the Turks dealt the coupdegrace to the
remaining inhabitants. The whole story of this pogrom is as follows
On Saturday the 3rd of September, 1955, the wife of the Turkish
Consul in Thessaloniki asked for, and received, from a photographer
in Thessaloniki supposedly for a keep-sake a series of photographs
and films of the Turkish Consulate and the neighboring home where
Kemal Ataturk was born. The very next day she and her family left
At ten past midnight on the 6th of September,1955, in the garden of
the Consulate, between the two buildings, dynamite exploded
resulting in broken windows in both buildings. The Greek authorities
rushed immediately to the scene. They established that two more
explosive devices had been positioned in the Consulate yard and that
within the building there was only one Turkish guard. In the
investigation that followed it was determined that the explosives
were placed there by the guard and his accomplice, a Turkish student
at the Law School of the University of Thessaloniki, Oktai Egin Faik,
who had brought the dynamite from Turkey a few days earlier.
On the 6th of September, Turkish newspapers using forged versions of
the photos of the Turkish consul's wife and even before the
explosion took place in Greece, depicted Kemal's birthplace as
totally destroyed. By the evening, newspapers all over Turkey knew
of the alleged destruction of Kemal's home setting off waves of
anger among the Turkish populace.
The Turkish authorities then transported large groups of people in
trains and military vehicles from Anatolia to Constantinople.
The attack by the angry mobs began at 5 : 50 P.M on the 6th of
September 1955 and ended at 02 : 00 A.M on the 7th of September
1955. The police calmly assisted and even guided the mobs, in their
relentless path of destruction.
At 00 : 20 A.M on the 7th of September 1955 martial law was finally
declared, at 02 : 00 A.M curfew began and at 02 : 30 A.M the
authorities had restored a semblance of order.
Screaming slogans <<Today your property, tomorrow your lives>> the
mobs had perpetrated terrible crimes. Those who guided them knew
that by terrorizing the last Greek residents of Constantinople they
would compel them to desert their homeland, once and for all.
Simultaneously by destroying monuments which were proof of the
glorious Greek past of Constantinople, they would eradicate even
future reminders of the Greek presence.
The results of the vandalisms were :
1. the Theological School of Halki, the Marasleios School, The
Monestary of Valoukli, the Zappeio School for Girls and many other
sites, suffered great damage.
2. of the 83 Greek Orthodox churches in the <<Polis>> 59 were burned
and most others suffered serious damage to the icons and ancient
paintings of great value.
3. the tombs of Patriarchs were destroyed, Christian cemeteries and
ossuaries were defiled ;
4. 3,000 homes were looted and destroyed ;
5. 4348 Greek stores were looted and destroyed ;
6. 200 Greek women were raped ;
7. hundreds of Greeks were ill-treated or tortured, such as the old
Bishop of Derkon Iakovos; the metropolitan of Ilioupolis Yennadios,
whose beard was cut off and who was then dragged through the streets
so that he would die shortly thereafter from ill-treatment; and
Bishop Pamphilou Yennadios that was thrown into the burned ruins of
8. 15 Greeks were murdered and among them a 90 year old monk at the
Valoukli Monastery, Chrys. Mantas, who was burned alive. Many others
in the monastery were seriously wounded.
After the pogrom a great portion of the Greek population left
Constantinople to save their lives.
On the 20th of September,1975, in a special 35 page Survey section
of the influential English magazine, The Economist, it was written :
<<Turkish charges that the Moslem population in Western Thrace is
harried by the Greek authorities are gross exaggerations. In 1923
there were 300,000 Greeks living in Constantinople and 110,000 Turks
living in Thrace. Today, there are 15,000 Greeks living in Istanbul
and 120,000 Turks in Thrace. The Greeks ask, with some
justification, which country has been putting the pressure on which
It is important for us to realize that today,1982, only 4,000 Greeks
still remain in Constantinople.
In the pages to follow you will find irrefutable photographic
evidence of a typical sample of Turkish cruelty, which managed to
destroy the Hellenic population of Constantinople.
Saint Sophia in the 10th century
(Drawing of an artist of the 19th cent).
Saint Sophia today, a turkish
Ruins of the church of St
Constantine and Helen after having been burnt.
A picture that even Vandals
Even cemetries have not been
Open graves and bones dispersed.
A vision of the last Judgement.
A jubilant turkish mob after looting Greek property.