By Nicholaos L. Moraitis. Ph.D.
A long look at today’s world and the position of Hellenism in it led to the conclusion that, today more than ever before, we, the Hellenes of abroad, must come together to examine the problems concerning us. It is no coincidence that at this junction in history is the anniversary of the destruction of the Hellenism of Asia Minor. We regret to say that it seems to have been forgotten among the Hellenic communities around the world.
Following the tragic events in Cyprus in 1974, which resulted in the occupation of almost half the island by the hordes of Attila and the expatriation of 200,000 Greek-Cypriots refugees, the Greek-American community stood faithfully on the side of Cypriot Hellenism, and offered great help, economically and politically (e.g. the arms embargo to Turkey), both on an individual initiative basis and through various organizations (Church, AHEPA, Hellenic-American Institute, United Hellenic-American Congress, Hellenic-American Development Alliance etc.
Lately, however, in spite of the continuing occupation of Cyprus, and the national threat and crisis in Greece, an unexplainable indifference can be observed on the part of Global Hellenism, which will prove disastrous if a way is not found to halt and reverse it. Nevertheless, to say that on the shoulders of Greek-Americans lies most of the burden of substantial support to the Cyprus case and to Aegean threat by Turkey cases, since Washington is the center where power strings are pulled.
This lack of interest is an ominous reality, and it is due, as I see it, not to apathy on the part of each individual, but to the lack of an appropriate medium, a carrier of ideas, a conductor, to urge, direct, illuminate and enlighten the Greek-American Community, and to keep us always in wakefulness and vigilance.
The creation of such an entity has become imperative today as never before, because, along with the Cyprus problem, the Aegean is increasingly becoming the object of designs, so that both the islands and the sea-space of the Aegean are in direct danger from the Turkish greed. Furthermore, the very territorial integrity of our land of birth is in danger. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for the first time the very existence of the Greeks as a nation is endangered.
Some people think erroneously, and I emphasize that, that there is only a certain legal problem between Greece and Turkey, which must be solved in the framework of International law and International practice. I believe that Turkey has expansionist designs which aim at annihilating Hellenism. Consider this: In the period from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the revolution of 1821, the Turks exterminated millions of Greeks. In 1821 Greeks numbered 5 million, of which 1 million constituted the newly established state of Greece in 1830, and the remaining 4 million remained under Turkish yoke in Asia minor, and were exterminated during the Asia minor catastrophy. And while at the time of the signing of the Lausanne treaty in 1923 there were 200,000 Greeks living in Constantinople, today there are reportedly 4,000-6,000 left, their numbers dwindling because of persecutions and purges. Already the Turks seek to have the Patriarchate closed down, to once and for all seal the destruction of the last token of Hellenic life in that area.
So, in that period we lost the Hellenism of Byzantine, of Pontos (the north shores of Asia Minor to the black Sea), to Eastern Thrace, of Asia Minor proper, of Eastern Romylia,
The following ancient Greek toponyms, with today’s modern names in parentheses, testify to the Hellenisity of those areas: Aesani (Cavdarhisar), Alexandria (Troas), Amisos (Samson), Adrianople (Edirne), Ancyra (Ankara), Antioch (Antakya), Antioch of Pisidia (Yalvac), Antiphellus (Kas), Aphrodisias (Geyre, nr. Caracas), Aspendos (Belkis), Assos (Behramkale), Attaleia (Antalya), Brusa (Bursa), Claudipolis (Mut), Cnidos (Datca), Colophon (Degirmendere), CONSTANTINOPLE (Istanbul), Dephne (Harbiye), Didyma (Yenihisar), Edessa (Urfs), Ephesus (Efes, nr. Selcuk), Filyos (Hisaronu), Flaviopolis (Kadirli), Galipoli (Gelibolu), Gordion (Yassihuyuk), Halicarnassus (Bodrum), Heraklea (Erekli), Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Issos (Dortyol), Kanes (Kultepe), Lampsacus (Lapseki), Laodices (Denizli), Magnesia ad Sipylus (Manisa), Magnesia ad Meander (soke), Midas (Yazilikaya), Milidia (Nr. Arslantepe), Miylassa (Milas), Myra (Demre), Neocaesarea (Niksar), Nicaea (Iznik), Nikomedia (Ismit), Nyssa (Sultanhisar), Olba-Diocaesarea (Uzuncaburc), Pergamum (Pergama), Philadeiphia (Alasehir), Philomenion (Aksehir), Phocea (Foca), Phoenicus (Finike), Pompeiopolis (I) (Viransehir), Pompeiopolis (II) (Taskopru), Sardis (Sart, nr. Salihli), Seleucia (Silifke), SMYRNA (Ismir), Telmessos (Ggulluk), Theodosiopolis (Akhisar), Thyatira (Trabzon), Tripolis (Buldan), Troy (Truva) and Xanthos (Kinik).
And if we are no extremely careful and responsive, we will lose the Hellenism of Cyprus, too.
What is left, then? Hellenism of insular and mainland Greece. Turkish expansionism is already unfolding and threatening the Hellenism of the islands, which is its immediate target, along with the Hellenism of Cyprus. After that nothing else would be left but the taking and destruction of mainland Greece. That constitutes the Turkish target for the forceable future. After such a horrible tragedy there would remain only the emigrant Hellenism, which would inevitably disappear eventually in the melting pots of the host countries. I have the unshakable belief that the Greeks of abroad must have their own homeland if we are to survive as a nation, and that is desirable and necessary can be seen in the classic examples of the Jews, or the Armenians.
Our native land is facing the specter of annihilation, as do Greeks as a nation. And we, the Greek-Americans of the United States, cannot bear to remain indifferent, cannot take the matter lightheartedly, because Turkish expansionism has been planned, nurtured, strengthened, imposed, and thrust forward by certain circles in the American capital. (I am referring in particular to Henry Kissinger, and to Michael Flynn, today). These circles, by rote repetition of the stale story about the “strategic importance of Turkey”, “impending the former Soviet attack”, “impending Islam”, etc., mislead and disorients the political leadership of this country, the legislators, the intelligent, the america public in general.
Turkey has already formed an Aegean Army of 150,000 troops, and 120 landing craft opposite the Greek islands in the Eastern Aegean Sea. There is a reasonable and just indication towards a specific policy, the policy that brought the Turkey into Cyprus, the policy that keeps arming Ankara under the pretext of acting in the framework of NATO, and which policy is aimed at he occupation of the Aegean islands and the destruction of the Aegean insular Hellenism.
However, this policy against Greece can be reversed with a well-planned, methodological, and continuous dissemination of information to the political leadership, members of the legislative and executive branches, intellectuals, public figures, and the American public. This can be accomplished only with the creation of an organ, the purpose of which would be to embrace the Hellenes of the U.S., to bring them together, to come in contact with the prominent leaders, statement, scientists and men of letters among them, to inform, coordinate and direct them, so that they, the Hellenes, in turn, will become carriers of the developed ideas to points of impact, e.g. the President, Senators, Secretaries, of Departments, and other face of power.
If this concept comes to fruition here in the U.S., it can later can be expanded to other countries with sizable Hellenic communities, such as Canada, Australia, etc., so that all the Hellenic elements around the world would be united into an international bond of Hellenism, aiming at saving our native land from the Turkish peril and threats, manifest and lurking. this must be done as soon as possible, because if Turkish expansionism over the Aegean materializes tomorrow, it will find us unprepared, and the consequences will be catastrophic.
In view of all the above, we all have to take an action, which, under the present crucial circumstances for our native land, I considered a struggle for country and family, for altar and hearth, for the survival of HELLENISM.
Nicholaos L Moraitis. Ph.D.
International Relations-Comparative Politics-
Member of International Hellenic Association (USA)