The Treaty of Lausanne
The Turks Talk About Rope in The House of Somebody Who Has Been Hanged
By Leonidas Koumakis*
Only one year remains until the conclusion of a century since the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, a treaty that sealed the painful compromise between Greece and Turkey after the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922.
Just a mere thirteen years ago, on 09/04/2009, my article about the unending Turkish nonsense to demand from others everything that she despises herself was posted for the first time. It was entitled “Treaty of Lausanne: The Turks talk about rope in … house of the hanged!”
This article remains so timeless that one would say it was written in the present time, in July 2022 and not 13 years ago. It is worth reminiscing about exactly as it was written then, without any additions or deletions.
It is known that the Turkish Republic, in the context of its endless strategy for “new borders” at the expense of Greece, regularly invokes the “need to demilitarize the islands of the Eastern Aegean” with the claim that this is imposed by the Treaty of Lausanne.
Apart from the fact that the military organization of the Greek islands of Eastern Aegean is not unified and that the islands are unambiguously recognized as Greek by a number of international agreements, this undefined and vague “demand” of Turkey’s is broached at a time when Turkey itself maintains the Turkish Αrmy of the Aegean (created in 1975) on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor (based in Izmir).
This army is not integrated into NATO and includes the overwhelming percentage of Turkey’s landing craft along with a large number of rubber military craft carrying up to 12 people to nearby and inaccessible shores!
Simply put, the Turks want the demilitarization of the Greek islands by ”invoking” the Treaty of Lausanne in order to contrive an easy prey in their expansionist aspirations as soon as the “right opportunity” presents itself, just as they did when they stripped the defense forces of Cyprus by using various tricks before invading the martyred island of Aphrodite at the first opportunity with the backing of our great “allies”.
Turkey’s shameless “invocation” of the Treaty of Lausanne brings to mind the wise popular Greek proverb “In the house of the hanged they do not talk about rope”. Here is why:
The Treaty of Lausanne is a multilateral international treaty which is placed under the protection of Turkey on one hand and under the protection of England, France, Japan, Italy, Serbia, Romania and Greece on the other. That is, Turkey was the only counterparty vis-à-vis six countries, including Greece. The text of the treaty explicitly refers to the obligations that Turkey has to respect, among other obligations are the human rights of the Greek minority in Constantinople, Imbros, and Tenedos.
In fact, Article 37 of the Treaty stipulates that the Treaty is of superior formal force vis-à-vis any other law or regulation or internal official act that could apply to Turkey. In other words, Turkey was deprived of any right to pass laws on its own against the obligations it assumed under the Treaty of Lausanne. (Article 37 Turkey undertakes that the stipulations contained in Article 38 to 44 shall be recognized as fundamental laws, and that no law, no regulation, nor official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation, nor official action prevail over them).
Moreover, in the context of the negotiations for the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, the Turkish delegation insisted on (and finally imposed) that there should be no (i.e. not recognized) national minorities but only religious ones, which it demanded for fear of the Kurds (mainly Muslims) living in Turkey.
It goes without saying, however, that exactly the same applies to the Muslims of Greek Thrace who live in Greece, according to Article 45 of the Treaty on “reciprocity” (which Turkey also very regularly invokes). With one difference: Turkey is persistently and systematically trying to “Turkify” them, and by force! That is, according to the peculiar mentality of the Turks, Kurdish Muslims are forbidden to be an ethnic minority within Turkey. However, the Muslims of Greek Thrace, whether Pomaks or Roma, are allowed to be forcibly converted into a national minority.
Besides this, both the notorious Turkish Deep State and its Turkish agents with their minions that have flooded Greek Thrace under the indifferent, “European” gaze of Greece help in supporting this goal.
Turkey also insisted on (and compelled) that there be a numerical balance between religious minorities, namely the Christian minority of Constantinople, Imbros, Tenedos and the Muslim minority of Greek Thrace – and both religious minorities were excluded from the population exchange for special reasons. Of course, as it has happened over the years, Turkey had absolutely no intention of keeping Christians on its territory. It just wanted to force Greece to keep Muslims because it had (and has) its own designs.
In accordance with Article 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey also undertook the explicit obligation to respect an extensive form of self-government on the islands of Imbros and Tenedos whose population was Christian at a rate surpassing 90% at the time of signing.
But what has Turkey done since its signing of the Treaty of Lausanne which it dares to invoke shamelessly today? In short: Turkey has not respected even a single article of the Treaty of Lausanne; there is not a single article of the Treaty of Lausanne which Turkey has not violated.
And yet it has the absolute audacity to invoke the Treaty of Lausanne where it thinks it is in its interest.
It is impossible, in the context of a short article to mention all the actions and schemes of the Turkish “Republic” that damaged the Greek-Turkish compromise of 1923 with brutality and with unprecedented thuggery.
We will limit ourselves, briefly and concisely, to Turkey’s most blatant mischief that demonstrates unambiguously the peculiar mindset of Turkey to show disdain for all the obligations it undertakes after signing an international treaty and at the same time having the audacity to demand with unprecedented tediousness what it thinks is in its interest.
A. On the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, Turkey ostentatiously ignored the special form of self-government which it undertook to maintain on the two islands which were (literally) delivered to them by the British under the Treaty of Lausanne. Even before the ink had dried on their signatures, without any delay the Turks rushed to appoint a Turkish commander on both islands and to immediately send Turkish officers to the justice, customs, police and port authorities dismissing all the elected local officials whom they (supposedly) had an obligation to keep intact.
Upon the passage of article no. 1151 of the legislation of 1927 approved by the Turkish National Assembly, the self-government administration of the islands of Imbros and Tenedos was effectively abolished, the Greek Schools were shut down under various pretexts, the teaching of the Greek language was banned, and the persecution of Christians continued unabated until their complete annihilation.
However, because the Christian inhabitants of the islands of Imbros and Tenedos were very attached to their homeland and refused to leave despite the unbearable conditions, in 1964
Turkey decided to implement the infamous political project known as Eritme Programi (Project of Dissolution) by the implementation of the no. 35 decision (secret) of the National Security Service of Turkey (see Deep State).
At that time, while undergoing great instability that prevailed on the domestic political scene, Greece presented the “right opportunity” and the Turks do not let such “opportunities” go to waste.
Naturally, Greece did not even utter a word of complaint about all these blatant violations of the Treaty of Lausanne, and Turkey continued (and continues) to benefit undisturbed. How effective the “dissolution program” implemented by the Turks on the islands of Imbros and Tenedos was, can be shown by a simple juxtaposition of the real numbers: Of the 90% (at least) of the total population of the islands that were Christians, today there are only 1% left (mostly elderly) who can tolerate the difficult conditions and still remain on the two long-suffering islands.
B. In the area of religious, educational and “freedom” to establish and control charitable institutions (Articles 38 to 44 of the Treaty) the Turks left nothing standing: Yet another calamity befell the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople with persecutions, arson, atrocities, intrigues, interventions, refusals to accept the universality of the Patriarchate, constant dismissive behavior and abductions, and conversions of two important Christian churches (Panagia Kafatiani of Galatas and the Church of Christ the Savior) assisted by the “tool”, namely the pseudo-Priest Efthym, who together with his entire family were blind instruments of the darkest circles of Turkey (Deep State, Turkish National Intelligence Organization).
Through the familiar Turkish method of “respecting” the Treaty of Lausanne, Christian education suffered a catastrophic attack: The closure of the Theological School of Halki, the dismissal of native-born Greek teachers and other Greek teachers, the obligation to teach most subjects in the Turkish language (initially) and then all – except for the course of Greek language and the addition of a special “military” course taught by an officer of the Turkish army.
As far as the Greek charitable foundations are concerned, minority foundations were forbidden to acquire new real estate either by purchase, or by donation, or by inheritance. At the same time, the Turks undertook to end the recognition of legal status in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in order to create insurmountable obstacles to the management and representation of the huge Patriarchal property.
With law no. 2762 passed in 1935 on” Waqfs” by the Turkish National Assembly (since then it has been changed many times to achieve their goals), the management of minority institutions and schools was ”entrusted” to a commissioner appointed by the Turkish authorities to make it easier to seize the vast property holdings of the minorities. The result, of course, is that of the 12,000 minority properties that existed at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, today there are a few hundred left who are in constant and immediate threat!
C. In the field of civil and political rights of Greek Christians, a methodical, heartless, but “effective” network of measures and actions was aimed at the extermination of the Christian population from Constantinople:
Turks began with the expulsion of the Greeks of the city from banking institutions, from all sectors and categories of public services and from large companies as well. By implementing the Law no. 2007 of 1932 Turks banned Greeks from being employed and performing the functions of 30 professions (including musician, photographer, carpenter, tailor, barber, waiter – even itinerant salesman), while later Turks banned other professions to make sure that the Greeks of Constantinople would start fleeing in order to survive.
All this was executed in an unprecedented climate of terror with campaigns that had the slogan “Vatandas Turkce konus”, that is,” Citizens speak Turkish!” so that it would be easy to prosecute anyone who dared to speak Greek in the streets for “Insulting Turkism”– he had to be doing it because he was insulting the Turks!
Naturally, for those who stubbornly insisted on staying in their homeland, there was much more in the works on the menu for Turkish variety of “respect” for the Treaty of Lausanne:
1. Recruitment of twenty ages of Greeks in May 1941, for the annihilation of the Christian element of Constantinople, on the occasion of the Second World War, which was a wonderful opportunity in the timeless strategy of “neutral” Turkey.
2. Varlık Vergisi i.e. selective imposition of exorbitant wealth taxes on Christians (Law no. 4305 of November 1942) meant to exhaust them financially and exile them into forced labor projects for those who were unable to pay within a few weeks when the arbitrary tax was imposed on them. This tax, as well as the “mobilization of 20 ages” was invented by the Turks when Greece was fighting with its “allies” in the Second World War and Turkey maintained its “sophisticated neutrality”.
3. Pogroms, i.e. raids carried out flawlessly by the Deep State of Turkey, under the forceful guidance of the Turkish Government on the night of September 6, 1955. Target: the Christian population of Constantinople. Results: the murders of 20 Christians, hundreds of rapes, destruction, looting and burning of 2,600 Christian homes, 4,340 shops, 73 churches, 26 Greek schools, three Greek-speaking newspapers and a raid on Christian cemeteries with desecration of the tombs.
4. Deportations. Because Turkey was eager to eliminate the Greeks who stubbornly insisted on not leaving Constantinople, the Turkish government denounced the Greek-Turkish Trade Agreement in 1964 with the result that the Turkish authorities used inhumane and summary procedures to deport about 12,000 Greek nationals, native inhabitants of Constantinople, who were supposedly protected by the Treaty of Lausanne.
Those who were expelled took with them three times as many relatives and friends. Thus, between 1964 and 1966, about 48,000 Greeks were forced to leave their ancestral homes.
By using these tactics (and many others impossible to include in a short article) Turkey literally contravened every obligation it made to Greece and five other contracting countries with the Treaty of Lausanne but also all the obligations it undertook by signing the principles of the UN Charter, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Paris Charter and its commitments under the Conference On Security And Cooperation In Europe (CSCE) and the (Organization For Security And Cooperation In Europe (OSCE).
So then, Turkey is now asking Greece to “demilitarize the Greek islands” and has the bottomless audacity to invoke the Treaty of Lausanne!
What could Greece possibly do to contend with a country that behaves like some people when you spit them in the face, pretend they don’t understand and answer you “Glory be to God, it’s raining!”?
A lot. Greece can do a great deal that it should have already started doing a long time ago. So be it – it’s never too late. But it needs to start somewhere. The simplest action is to start with the Treaty of Lausanne. Since Turkey invokes the Treaty of Lausanne, Greece should start with that.
In our humble opinion, Greece must immediately call for the numerical balance between Christians and Muslims living in Greece and Turkey to be restored, as Turkey itself persistently demanded (and imposed) when signing the Treaty of Lausanne.
In 1923 the Christians in Constantinople, Imbros and Tenedos were 120,000 people and the Muslims in Greek Thrace 80,000. Today the number of Christians in Constantinople, Imbros and Tenedos has been reduced (with the implementation of a long-term, well thought out and deliberate plan) to 2,000 and the number of Muslims in Greek Thrace has increased to more than 100,000 people, within a perpetual, Turkish propaganda rush with crocodile tears for allegedly “oppressing” them!
This massive, methodical, callous and cynical upheaval of the numerical balance of Christians and Muslims in Greece and Turkey, whose full and exclusive responsibility belongs to Turkey, must be restored with a stable, long-term strategy.
So let us move forward. That is what the Treaty of Lausanne, often invoked by Turkey, provides for and that is what Greece must begin with. Nowadays there are many ways to restore the numerical balance of Christians and Muslims in Greece and Turkey. Greece must insist on every private and public step on this necessity as a first, minimal step of “restoring” some elementary mutual trust between Greece and Turkey.
And there is so much more to do to continue the efforts.
After all, in order to discuss and resolve issues with Turkey on an equal footing, Greece must start from a mutually agreed basis that was concluded in 1923 together with five other countries that participated in the process of the Treaty of Lausanne.
If Turkey dreams that “we will work it out” on the ruins it created in Constantinople, Imbros, Tenedos, occupied Cyprus and with Turkey’s Deep State spread out in Greek Thrace and over the Greek islands of the Aegean, Greece must finally tell Turkey clearly that it is deluding itself miserably.
No matter how powerful the backers they manage to acquire, whatever “super-weaponry” they procure, whatever “appropriate opportunity” they happen upon, there will never be Greeks who allow them to satisfy their expansionist appetites without bloodshed, a much more dangerous option for Turkey itself (with the explosive internal mosaic of the peoples of Asia Minor), than for Greece.
To all the above Greece should add Turkey’s contempt of Articles 20 and 27 of the Treaty of Lausanne concerning the martyred Cyprus and which are as follows:
“Turkey declares that it recognizes the annexation of Cyprus declared by the British Government on 5 November 1914” (Article 20 of the Treaty).
“No power or jurisdiction in political, legislative or administrative matters shall be exercised outside Turkish territory by the Turkish Government or authorities, for any reason whatsoever, over the nationals of a territory placed under the sovereignty or protectorate of the other Powers signatory of the present Treaty, or over the nationals of a territory detached from Turkey. It is understood that the spiritual attributions of the Moslem religious authorities are in no way infringed“(Article 27 of the Treaty)
In 1570 the Ottomans invaded Cyprus and in 1878 they sold it to the British. In 1923 they explicitly and categorically renounced all rights over Cyprus under Articles 20 and 27 of the Treaty of Lausanne.
In 1974, however, the Turks invaded the Republic of Cyprus once again, installing a regime of puppets on about 40% of the Cypriot territory. Since then, they have been attempting, methodically and systematically, to modify the population of the inhabitants of the Republic of Cyprus (82% Greek Orthodox, 12% Turkish-speaking Muslims, 6% foreigners), by the abduction or destruction of Cypriot property, the looting or destruction of religious and cultural treasures as well as the transformation of the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus into a global center for drug trafficking and illegal gambling.
(*)Member of the International Hellenic Association (IHA)
Translated by Prof. Ellene Phufas
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