Constantinople, 23 June 1914.
The relationship between Greece and Turkey.
[Refers to] Leg. No. 28, 20 June 1914.
I have now received the report from the Danish consulate in Smyrna regarding the unrest in the vilayet Aidin that I announced in my latest report on the relationship between Greece and Turkey. Among other things, the consul [Dutch citizen Alfred van der Zee] reports the following:
3 months ago, the General Governor of Smyrna [vali Evranoszade Rahmi Bey] - presumably on the orders of the government - began an inspection tour of the small towns of the coastal region of the province. It seems as if the Governor during his travel has secretly advised the local officials to force the Greek population to abandon the said towns. Similar occurrences are said to have taken place in other coastal provinces.
The reason for these steps are that as long as the Greeks are in possession of Chios and Mytilene, the related population of the coastal areas are a danger to the Empire.
As a consequence of this attitude and the pieces of advise given in secret a serious boycott movement was initiated. As it did not succeed in making the Greeks emigrate, other precautions were taken. At one point a number of Muhammedan refugees arrived from Thrace and Macedonia. The authorities then made an announcement according to which those Greeks who were Ottoman subjects should give every third room to the Turkish refugees.
As the Greeks would not live under the same roof as the Muslims, the emigration then started to take on larger dimensions. Leaving in such a hurry forced the Greeks to sell houses and possessions at very low prices - simply because the local peasant population does not have much money.
At this point the real unrest started, first in Adramyt, opposite the Northern part of Mytilene. The threats evolved into violent acts, and stricken by panic scores of Greeks fled to Mytilene.
The disturbances spread to Kelmer, Kilissekeuy, Kinick, Pergamos, and Soma. Armed ´Bashibozuks´ attacked the Greek population, raped the Greek women, killed the children, etc. Finally, the gangs also attacked non-Ottoman subjects.
From Pergamos the gangs went to Dikili, plundering and robbing, and from here they split up, some going to Menemen, others to Phocea. Thus, at the first-mentioned place, the villages Ali-Agha and Gerenkieuy were plundered. At another place, in Serekieuy, the population put up a fight. They fought from 8.30 in the evening to 1 at night, but as they then ran out of ammunition most were killed after one last heroic fight.
The gangs did not dare to attack Menemen (that has 20,000 inhabitants) and restricted themselves to shooting those persons that had dared to leave the town. Still, the Greeks decided to send away their women and children, and the 13th of this month 700 women and 400 children went to the railway station to leave for Smyrna. But the authorities forbade the selling of tickets and let the trains pass without stopping.
Then the refugees tried to go back. A few miles from there the bashibozuks drove the cattle from the village Ouloujak and ordered the inhabitants to emigrate. But this time too the vali ordered that the railway trains were to drive by without letting the refugees aboard. For two days and nights the refugees stayed at the railway station - they did not dare to go back. - - - - -
Here, the consul ends his report for now. But he announces that a sequel will come soon.
At the same time it is reported in a telegram from Smyrna to ´Tanin´ that a gang of 8,000 to 10,000 robbers continues to commit their acts of violence in the vilayet, but that the government has taken precautions that will undoubtedly restore order.
But all the present embassies have received the Turkish government's invitation to send representatives to Asia Minor, so that they can see for themselves that the Greek accounts are exaggerated. These representatives have left for Smyrna on the 21st of this month.
There has, as far as I know, not yet been sent a reply from Athens to the Turkish government's note of the 19th of this month, but it is said that the situation is now less serious, and that the risk of war has been temporarily halted.
The Constantinople journal ´Stamboul,´ which has close connections to the French embassy, writes today that the French government has suggested that a commission be established which will investigate and sort out the unsolved controversial issues between Turkey and Greece, especially the emigration question, and the journal underlines all the circumstances that point toward the reaching of an understanding:
The energetic precautions taken by the Turkish Interior Minister, Talaat Bey, in Asia Minor, the negotiations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the reopening of Orthodox schools and churches that have been opened at the request of the Russian ambassador, and the visits that the Turkish diplomatic minister has paid to the Greek Foreign Minister.
The Turkish press is less optimistic, though; it admits that the situation has improved significantly, but it ascribes the improvement to other causes and gloats at the probable defeat suffered by the Greek government and the retreat it now must make.
´Le Jeune Turc´ of the 21st of this month thinks that the reason why the Greek government has become less aggressive must be sought in the fact that France has refused to pay out the second rate of the Greek loan as long as peace is not secured, and in the fact that Greece's attempts at buying warships in America have stranded.
Other Turkish journals are stating today that Turkey has made no concessions regarding the island question, and that Greece, when it comes to the emigration question, has in reality only found a pretext to threaten Europe with a war.
´Terdjuman Hokikal´ [Tercuman-i Hakikat] claims that the Turkish government has clearly refused to accept the decisions taken by the London Conference regarding the islands, and that the Great Powers have applauded Turkey's attitude by not replying, and it draws attention to the fact that the attempts by the Greek government to get guarantees from the Great Powers have also been fruitless.
C. E. Wandel