Over 1,000,000 Greek Orthodox Christians were massacred in the Ottoman Empire during the period covered by this important book. The Ottoman government also pursued the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people were forcibly converted to Islam. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge this atrocity as a genocide, saying that it was simply a religious conflict between Christians and Muslims.
As we continue to see our own Mother Church of Constantinople suffering from religious persecution, we remember these horrifying events, note with sorrow the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere today, and pray that such inhumanity will never again be seen anywhere in the world.
“Turkey’s destruction of its Christians: Benny Morris unravels the ‘Thirty-Year Genocide,'” by Daniel Campos, i24News, June 11, 2019:
World renowned Israeli historian Benny Morris sat down with i24NEWS to discuss his new body of work which seeks to unravel the systematic genocide of Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire before and after its collapse.
As found in The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities, between 1894 and 1924, 1.5 million to 2.5 million Christians were murdered in Asia Minor.
Many of Morris and co-author Dror Zeevi’s findings are not new, but their impeccably-researched tome aims to show that three distinct waves of massacres and religious persecution were all part of a single overarching effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population.
Written with the help of historical archives, the book makes use of testimonies from missionaries and diplomats of the time, as well as accounts from perpetrators and victims.
According to demographic research, before the three waves of violence that swept across Anatolia during this period, the region’s Christian minority accounted for 20 percent of the population. By the end of the thirty-year period, the population had been reduced to 2 percent.
Benny Morris book looks at unknown Christian genocide
Seeking to unravel why the Turks tried to rid Christians from their empire, Morris said there is no simple answer.
On one hand, according to Morris and Zeevi, Islam did played a major role in the three waves of violence: “The perpetrator– those who went out to invade and plunder Christian homes, killing the inhabitants with axes and knives and raping women– were motivated by the Islamic belief that they were killing infidels deemed dangerous to Islam and the empire.”
Asked if he believed the driving force behind the campaigns was nationalism rather than religion, Morris conceded that nationalism did play significant driving role in the persecutions, especially during the Ataturk period where “making a uniform Turkish society meant getting rid of diversity; in other words, the Christians.”…