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We all are aware, to different degrees, of the genocide of the jewish people by the Germans, But how much, if at all, do we know about the pontian genocide by the Turks - a genocide measured as the second greatest genocide in history?


In mythology, Pontos is mentioned as the area were Jason and the Argonauts sailed to find the Golden Fleece. It is also believed it is the area where the Amazon women lived. Pontos was first mentioned by Xenophon (430 - 355 BC)Anabasis, when his 10,000 soldiers had reached the Pontian sea and cried out 'Thalassa! Thalassa!' - "The sea! The sea!", the local people understood them. They were Greeks too and, according to Xenophon, they had been there for over 300 years.


In time, other Greeks followed their path and, as numbers grew, Greek colonies were established along the Black Sea coastline (currently northern Turkey). This area came to be known as 'Pontos' meaning 'of the sea' (in Ancient Greek). Over Thousands of years the Pontos region flourished, contributing to the development of a rich civilization with a strong Hellenic basis. For many years later they lived under Ottoman rule but maintained a strong sense of Hellenism and Greek Orthodoxy. Great wealth and prosperity helped Pontos grow and soon the cities of Pontos had grown to become almost autonomous city states. Pontos was also inhabited and invaded by the Persians, Romans, Alexander the Great, Germany, Russia and finally, the Turks. The land also had its share of royal rulers such as Mithridates family and the Commnenus family, which made Trabzond (Trapezounda) the capital of the Byzantine Empire from 1204 to 1461.


After World War 1 (Australia was at Gallipoli, Turkey) Moustafa Kemal, also known as Ataturk or 'father of the Turks' had emerged. His views for the Neo-Turks was for a Turkey for the Turks. Russia invaded and the Greeks of the area were seen as a threat. The Turks had German advisers who suggested it would be better to rid the Greeks who were of the same religion as the Russians.


Between 1916 - 1923 a large campaign started to rid Turkey of the Greeks. Those who fled were lucky, while others were put through hell. Whole villages were moved further and further away from the Turkish/Russian front and into the depths of Asia Minor with the only destination being death. Many died from hunger, disease, cold and heartache. If they were lucky, they died at the beginning. Author Harry Tsirkinidis, in his book, 'At Last We Have Uprooted Them', wrote: "Using knifes they killed her cousin Theodora and pulled out her heart and splattered the blood onto the other women to terrorise them. Some women, having thrown their children first off the bridge on to the sharp cliff, jumped themselves to save their honor and dignity."


The end of the genocide came in 1923, with the event known in diplomatic language as 'The Exchange'. In the book 'Black Sea', author Neal Ascherson writes: "The Turkish guide-books on sale in Turkey today offer this account of the 1923 catastrophe: 'After the proclamation of the Republic (Turkish), the Greeks who lived in the region returned to their own country. Their own country? Returned? Pontians had lived in that area for over 3,000 years. The Pontian dialect was not understandable to 20th century Athenians."



In remembrance, Pontians separate from the rest of Asia Minor because, unlike the others who were forced to leave the area in one hit, the Pontians grabbed their arms to fight the Turks. The torture lasted for several more years. May 19 was chosen as Remembrance Day because it is on that day in 1919 and during the 19th hour that Kemal stepped foot into Pontos at the port of Samsunda. The actions of the Turks have been widely condemned. Let us never forget the 353,000 people who lost their lives.


The genocide continues, by NOT recognising these attrocities committed, in turn, in itself is the final stage of genocide!!!!

Also note that we do not connect the Blood thirsty people of Asia Minor then, to the people of Turkey Today, even though it has just been abit over 80 years. We (as free living democratic people) cannot hold responsible the people of today for the actions of those taken years ago.