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Source: DK/RA-UM/UM, 2-0355, ”Konstantinopel/Istanbul, diplomatisk repræsentation”, ”Noter og indberetninger om den politiske udvikling, 1914-1922”, ”Verdenskrigen. Rapporter fra Smyrna. Nov. 1914-marts 1916”
Embassy register: 1914/184
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 72/No. 5
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 07/06/2013

Konsul i Smyrna (Alfred van der Zee) til Gesandtskabet i Konstantinopel (Carl Ellis Wandel)


No. 72 / No. 5 [report written in English]
Consulat Royal de Danemark. Smyrne, le 19 Juin 1914. Journal No. 72 - No. 5.

To His Excellency Mr. C. E. Wandel, H. M's Minister Resident, Constantinople.

Disorders in the Vilayet of Aidin.


I have the honour to confirm my letter of the 15th. Inst. and to report to Your Excellency as follows:

About three months ago the Governor General of Smyrna [Rahmi Bey], acting as I understand it on instructions from the Ministry, made an inspection in the small towns situated on the coast of this province. It would appear that in the course of this tourneé administrative he gave semi-official orders to the sub-governors to force the Greek population resident therein to evacuate these towns. No order of expulsion was decreed but the Turkish officials were to make use of the tortuous and vexatious measures so well-known to them.-

The like instructions were, I understand, given by the Governors of the other maritime provinces.-

The reason for this measure was from what I gather the belief that so long as the Greeks were in possession of Chios & Mytilene, the presence of a kindred population on the opposite littoral constituted a source of danger to the Empire. As a result of these instructions a severe boycott was shortly after proclaimed, and measures, many and different, were adopted to compel this population to quit their hearths and homes.-

As the rayah Greeks clung however to their fields it was decided to take more active steps.-

The immigration of Thracian & Macedonian refugees gave the local authorities the opportunity for more harassing measures.-

A proclamation was issued that in order to house the mouhadjirs, one room out of every three in the dwellings belonging to the rayah Greeks was to be given to them; further, the local Authorities were to see to the execution of this order.-

The results are easily comprehensible. Unable to live with their guests, the Greek rayah began to emigrate, selling their
property for what they could get for it and seeking new lands for their exertions, but the process was naturally a slow one as
in a land where the peasant has little money it was naturally difficult to realise property from one day to another.-

The local authorities then determined to activate matters and more imperious orders were sent from headquarters.-

As a direct consequence of these orders trouble broke out at Adramyt, on the coast just opposite the northern part of Mytilene.-

After open hints that it would be advisable for them to leave the place, menaces that they would be done to death were resorted to, and finally the threats began to take shape in the murder of villagers returning from their fields and the waylaying of townsmen.-

A reign of terror was instituted and the panic-stricken Greeks fled as fast as they could to the neighbouring island of Mytilene.-

Soon the movement spread to Kemer, Kilissekeuy, Kinick, Pergamos and Soma. Armed bands of Bashibozuks attacked the people residing therein, lifted their cattle, drove them from their farms and took forcible possession thereof.-

The details of what took place [are] harrowing, women were seduced, girls were ravished, some of them dying from the ill-treatment received, children at the breast were shot or cut down with their mothers.-

Not content with driving the rayahs out, these blood-thirsty emissaries of a "so-called Constitutional Government" then attacked the property of foreigners, driving out their employees, lifting their cattle, and looting their farms. In answer to complaints made to the Authorities the reply was "let foreigners go and buy farms in their own lands".-

From Pergamos the bands advanced to Dikili, driving out the people and looting the town, then, dividing forces, some bands took the direction of Menemen and others went south towards Phocea.-

In the Menemen district the villages of Ali-Agha and Gerenkieuy were partly sacked after having been looted, the affrighted inhabitants fleeing in all directions.-

At Serekieuy, a village in the same district, the people determined to resist and a fierce fight took place lasting from 81/2 at night till about one o'clock in the morning when the villagers' ammunition having failed a hand to hand struggle was sternly fought in which most of the defenders, who were by far the minority, fell, after having heroically fought for their lives and for the honour of their women.-

The few survivors who escaped sought refuge in Menemen which the bands then threatened, but as Thyis is town is one of some 20,000 inhabitants they dared not openly attack it, but satisfied themselves with shooting the inhabitants who strayed out of its near neighbourhood.-

The inhabitants thereupon decided to leave it but before so doing & perhaps hoping against hope, they determined to send away their wives and daughters.-

On the 13th. Inst. some 700 women and about 3 to 400 children came to the railway station with the intention of taking train for Smyrna but by orders of Government no tickets would be given them & the train passed without stopping.-

The scenes that followed are indescribable, the tears and screams of the women, the cries of the children, the attempts of the men to commandeer the train, all proved fruitless. The gendarmerie on duty drove them back and with black despair in their hearts they sadly turned once more towards the homes they had abandoned. A few miles further down at the village of Ouloujak [Ulucak]the bashibozouks drove away all the cattle belonging to the Greeks and ordered the inhabitants, on threat of death, to leave the place. The unfortunate villagers were only too ready to comply with these arbitrary orders, but once again, by order of the Vali, the station-master was forbidden to deliver tickets & trains passed without stopping.-

Afraid to return they lay huddled for two days and nights in the neighbourhood of the station, vainly calling to the passengers in the through trains to get assistance sent to them.-

I shall take the liberty of continuing my Report in a few days, as soon as some reliable particulars from the ill-fated quarters come to hand.-

Meanwhile, I remain Your Excellency's obedient servant
Alfred van der Zee

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