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Book Review: The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey

by Theodore G. Karakostas — activist, author, writer.

Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 03:36 PM UT

The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Survivor Testimonies From the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-21 by Kostas Faltaits. Translated and Edited by Ellene S. Phufas-Jousma and Aris Tsilfidis. With a Prologue by Tessa Hoffman.

The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey
Survivor Testimonies From the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-21
by Kostas Faltaits.
Translated and Edited by Ellene S. Phufas-Jousma and Aris Tsilfidis.
With a Prologue by Tessa Hoffman.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932455280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932455281
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces

Book Editorial Review

In March of 1921, journalist Kostas Faltaits arrived in Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) sent by newspaper Embros to cover Greece’s movements in the Greco-Turkish War. By the time he arrived in the region of Nicomedia (today’s Izmit) - a region inhabited by a large number of Greek, Armenian and Circassian communities - Kemalist forces had set fire to many of the villages, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. Faltaits came face to face with the fleeing survivors of these massacres, and was able to collect these valuable and graphic eye-witness testimonies which were published in both Greek and French at the time. Translated for the very first time in English and with a prologue by Tessa Hofmann, this edition will shed some light into just one of the many chapters of the Greek Genocide, a genocide which claimed the life of approximately one million Greeks living in the former Ottoman Empire.

Purchase Information: Amazon

Kostas Faltaits was a Greek Journalist for the Newspaper Embros and covered the Greek Struggle in Nicomedia (Izmit) in 1921. What Mr. Faltaits reported on was the systematic extermination of the Greek population by the Kemalist armies under General Mustafa Kemal. Indeed, surviving witnesses to the slaughter of civilians in Greek villages stated that Kemal himself presided over some of the massacres.

As with any text that deals with the horror of genocide, it is not easy to read and I found myself stunned by the various eyewitness accounts documented by Mr. Faltaits. Mothers killing their own children to spare them from the Kemalist horrors. The raping of Greek women. In one particular case, a Greek Priest named Father Phillipos Kalokidis was humiliated and degraded before being murdered in cold blood.

This is a historically important work that was originally translated into French. This book was widely distributed in Greece at the time and was cited as documentary evidence by the Greek Foreign Ministry in making the case for Greece's rights in Asia Minor at the time. The book included horrifying details of massacres in Greek villages throughout Nicomedia. The original title of the book at the time of publication according to the editors was "These are the Turks".

This is an important document about the Greek genocide and deserves to be placed alongside other works of the 1920's such as the Black Book of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, George Horton's the Blight of Asia, and Edward Hale Bierstadt's the Great Betrayal. The book has introduced me to a Greek hero that I knew nothing about. Mr. Faltaits was a superb journalist who bravely went about reporting on the horrors undertaken by the Kemalist forces and during a period when Greece was being actively betrayed by alleged western "allies".

There is a heartbreaking chapter on the Armenian genocide where Mr. Faltaits spoke with the local Bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Bishop said that out of the 80,000 Armenians in his flock, 70,000 were slaughtered. The Bishop provides graphic details of the torture, rape, and murders of the Armenian people. A common theme in all the chapters of this book is the sadistic pleasure of the Turks in raping, torturing, and slaughtering defenseless Armenian and Greek civilians.

U.S. President George W. Bush
U.S. President Barack Obama

A century later, Turkey has still not been punished for its crimes against humanity. A few years ago, when resolution for the Armenian genocide was introduced in Congress, the Bush administration lobbied against it. In addition, eight living past and present Secretaries of State actively lobbied to block recognition of the Armenian genocide. The pro Turkish policies that enabled the rise of Mustafa Kemal to complete the work begun by the Young Turks remain in effect up to the present day.

Mention is made in the prologue by Tessa Hoffman of Arnold Toynbee. Toynbee was a parodoxical figure. During the First World War, Toynbee worked for British intelligence and unequivocally condemned the Armenian Genocide and had published a book "Armenian Atrocities The Murder of a Nation". Toynbee subsequently turned into a supporter of the Turks and proceeded to accuse Greece of atrocities while ignoring or diminishing the horrors of the Kemalists.

This is an excellent historical work on the genocide of the Kemalists. It is also an excellent example of principled journalism. Mr. Faltaits has done a great service to history and helped to ensure that the victims of Turkish genocide would not be forgotten.

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