Population exchange between Greece and Turkey
The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Greek: Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, Turkish: Mübadele) was based upon religious identity, and involved the Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey and the Muslim citizens of Greece. It was a major compulsory population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion.
The "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" was signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on 30 January 1923, by the governments of Greece and Turkey. It involved approximately 2 million people (around 1.5 million Anatolian Greeks and 500,000 Muslims in Greece), most of whom were forcibly made refugees and de jure denaturalized from their homelands.
By January 1923, the vast majority of Asia Minor Greeks and Pontic Greeks had already been driven away violently during the recent Greco-Turkish War; nonetheless, they were taken into account in the convention. According to calculations, during the autumn of 1922, around 900,000 Orthodox refugees had arrived in Greece (including 50,000 Armenians).
After the Ankara-based government of the Turkish National Movement rejected the Treaty of Sèvres that had been signed by the Constantinople-based Ottoman government, a new peace conference was organised at Lausanne, Switzerland, in order to draft a treaty to replace the Treaty of Sèvres. While the Lausanne Peace Conference was ongoing, but separate from it and its resulting Treaty of Lausanne, the "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" was signed at Lausanne on 30 January 1923 by the governments of Greece and Turkey at the insistence of Eleftherios Venizelos and Kemal Atatürk. The convention had a retrospective effect for all the population moves which took place since the declaration of the First Balkan War, i.e. 18 October 1912 (article 3).
By the time the Exchange was to take effect, 1 May 1923, most of the pre-war Orthodox Greek population of Aegean Turkey had already fled. In practice, the Exchange only involved the remaining Greeks of central Anatolia (both Greek- and Turkish-speaking), Pontus and Kars, a total of roughly 189,916. Only 354,647 Muslims were involved.
The agreement therefore merely ratified what had already been perpetrated on the Turkish and Greek populations. Of the 1,300,000 Greeks involved in the exchange, only approximately 150,000 were resettled in an orderly fashion. The majority had already fled hastily with the retreating Greek Army following Greece's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, whilst others fled from the shores of Smyrna. The unilateral emigration of the Greek population, already at an advanced stage, was transformed into a population exchange backed by international legal guarantees.
In Greece, it was considered part of the events called the Asia Minor Catastrophe (Greek: Μικρασιατική καταστροφή). Significant refugee displacement and population movements had already occurred following the Balkan Wars, World War I, and the Turkish War of Independence. These included exchanges and expulsion of about 500,000 Muslims (mostly Greek Muslims) from Greece and about 1,500,000 Greeks from Asia Minor, Trabezond/Pontus, Kars, and Eastern Thrace to Greece.
The convention affected the populations as follows: almost all Greek Orthodox Christians (Greek- or Turkish-speaking) of Asia Minor including the Greek Orthodox populations from middle Anatolia (Cappadocian Greeks), the Ionia region (e.g. Smyrna, Aivali), the Pontus region (e.g. Trapezunda, Sampsunta), the former Russian Caucasus province of Kars (Kars Oblast), Prusa (Bursa), the Bithynia region (e.g., Nicomedia (İzmit), Chalcedon (Kadıköy), East Thrace, and other regions were either expelled or formally denaturalized from Turkish territory. These numbered about half a million and were added to the Greeks already expelled before the treaty was signed. About 500,000 people were expelled from Greece, predominantly Greek Muslims, and others including Turks, Muslim Roma, Pomaks, Cham Albanians, Megleno-Romanians, and the Dönmeh.
The criterion for the population exchange as codified in the Convention was religion, not ethnicity or mother language. That is why the Karamanlides (Greek: Καραμανλήδες; Turkish: Karamanlılar), or simply Karamanlis, who were a Turkish-speaking (while Greek alphabet-using) Greek Orthodox people of unclear origin, were deported from their native regions of Karaman and Cappadocia in Central Anatolia to Greece as well. On the other hand, Cretan Greek Muslims who were part of the exchange were re-settled mostly on the Aegean coast of Turkey, in areas formerly inhabited by Christian Greeks.
Due to punitive measures carried out by the Republic of Turkey, such as the 1932 parliamentary law which barred Greek citizens in Turkey from a series of 30 trades and professions from tailor and carpenter to medicine, law, and real estate, the Greek population of Istanbul, as well as that of Imbros and Tenedos, began to decline, as evidenced by demographic statistics.
The Varlık Vergisi capital gains tax imposed in 1942 on wealthy non-Muslims in Turkey also served to reduce the economic potential of ethnic Greek business people in Turkey. Furthermore, violent incidents as the Istanbul Pogrom (1955) directed against the ethnic Greek community greatly accelerated emigration of Greeks, reducing the 200,000-strong Greek minority in 1924 to just over 2,500 in 2006. By contrast the Turkish community of Greece has increased in size to over 100,000 since the signing of the Lausanne Treaty, while Greece is also host to tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants.
The population profile of Crete was significantly altered as well. Greek- and Turkish-speaking Muslim inhabitants of Crete (Cretan Turks) moved, principally to the Anatolian coast, but also to Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Some of these people identify themselves as ethnically Greek to this day. Conversely, Greeks from Asia Minor, principally Smyrna, arrived in Crete bringing in their distinctive dialects, customs and cuisine.
According to Bruce Clark, leaders of both Greece and Turkey, as well as some circles in the international community, saw the resulting ethnic homogenization of their respective states as positive and stabilizing since it helped strengthen the nation-state natures of these two states.
At the same time, forced deportation has obvious challenges: social, such as forcibly being removed from one's place of living, and more practical such as abandoning a well-developed family business. Countries also face other practical challenges: for example, even decades after, one could notice certain hastily developed parts of Athens, residential areas that had been quickly erected on a budget while receiving the fleeing Asia Minor population. To this day, both Greece and Turkey still have properties, and even entire villages such as Kayaköy that have been left abandoned since the exchange.
See also 
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- Cretan Turks
- Cappadocian Greeks
- Fridtjof Nansen
- Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922)
- Greek genocide
- Greek refugees
- Greeks in Turkey
- Nikolaos Andriotis (2008). Chapter The refugees question in Greece (1821-1930), in "Θέματα Νεοελληνικής Ιστορίας", ΟΕΔΒ ("Topics from Modern Greek History"). 8th edition
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- Text of the population exchange convention
- Matthew J. Gibney, Randall Hansen. (2005). Immigration and Asylum: from 1900 to the Present, Volume 3. ABC-CLIO. p. 377. ISBN 1-57607-796-9. "The total number of Christians who fled to Greece was probably in the region of I.2 million with the main wave occurring in 1922 before the signing of the convention. According to the official records of the Mixed Commission set up to monitor the movements, the "Greeks' who were transferred after 1923 numbered 189,916 and the number of Muslims expelled to Turkey was 355,635 [Ladas I932, 438-439; but using the same source Eddy 1931, 201 states that the post-1923 exchange involved 192,356 Greeks from Turkey and 354,647 Muslims from Greece."
- Renée Hirschon. (2003). Crossing the Aegean: an Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey. Berghahn Books. p. 85. ISBN 1-57181-562-7.
- Sofos, Spyros A.; Özkirimli, Umut (2008). Tormented by History: Nationalism in Greece and Turkey. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. pp. 116–117. ISBN 1-85065-899-4.
- Hershlag, Zvi Yehuda (1997). Introduction to the Modern Economic History of the Middle East. Brill Academic Pub. p. 177. ISBN 90-04-06061-8.
- Yosef Kats (1998). Partner to Partition: the Jewish Agency's Partition Plan in the Mandate Era. Routledge. p. 88. ISBN 0-7146-4846-9.
- Vryonis, Speros (2005). The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6–7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul. New York: Greekworks.com, Inc. ISBN 0-974-76603-8.
- According to the Human Rights Watch the Greek population in Turkey is estimated at 2,500 in 2006. "From 'Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity' series of Human Rights Watch"[dead link] Human Rights Watch, 2 July 2006. Archived copy.
- "The Turks of Western Trace". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- Clark, Bruce (2006). Twice A Stranger: How Mass Expulsion Forged Modern Greece and Turkey. Granta. ISBN 1-86207-752-5.