Stories of Greek Deportation Just beginning to Leak Out, Says Frank W. Jackson.

The Evening Independent 17 October 1917.


NEW YORK, OCT 17. - Not satisfied by the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Americans [Armenians] and Syrians, the Turk has also turned against the Greek Christians in his dominions and more than 700,000 have fallen victim to a persecution in the form of death, suffering or deportation, it was declared here today by Frank W. Jackson, of this city, chairman of the Relief Committee for Greeks of Asia Minor. He said the real details of these new Turkish atrocities were just beginning to leak out.

     "The story of the Greek deportation is not yet generally known," said Mr. Jackson. "Quietly and gradually the same treatment is being meted out to the Greeks as to the Americans [Armenians]. Although closely guarded, certain echoes of these horrors come out from time to time. "There were some two to three million Greeks in Asia Minor at the outbreak of the war in 1914, subject to Turkish rule. According to the latest reliable and authorative accounts some seven to eight hundred thousand have been deported, mainly from the coast regions into the interior of Asia Minor.

     "The Greeks of Asia Minor have always been law-abiding and perfectly loyal to the Turkish government. Under Abdul Hamid they were well treated, but his successors adopted a program to crush them.

     "At the declaration of the present war all persecutions were stopped but the Spring of 1915 brought to the stage a tragic, novel drama unique in the history of the world as to its horrors and destructiveness, that is the Armenian deportation; under that innocent name the extermination of a Christian race was started.

     "Along with the Americans [Armenians] most of the Greeks of the Marmora regions and Thrace have been deported on the pretext that they gave information to the enemy. Along the Aegean Coast Aivalik stands out as the worst sufferer. According to one report some 70,000 Greeks there have been deported toward Koria [Konya] and beyond. At least 7,000 have been slaughtered. The Greek Bishop of Aivalik committed suicide in despair.

     "The latest account from Trebizond shows the towns along the Black sea are being emptied of their Greek population. From Trebizond we have a letter dated July 24, 1917, in which he says the following order came from Turkish Army Headquarters at Sheishehie: 'By 12:25 July let no Greek man over 16 and under 50 be found in Ordou. Send all such on into the interior. As for the families, we will send further orders later.

     "Mr. Crawford also wrote: 'First let us express once more our thankfulness to God for the deliverance He has sent us by the great grand Russian army and people. We are more and more appreciating what the Russians have done for this region. Immediately after the Russian occupation of this province in April 1916, hundreds of Armenians began to come out of their hiding places."

     "From the Greek Minister to the United States, George Rousses, I have a letter September 21, 1917, in which he says: "Backed by the Germans, the Turks have put into execution and even organized their wildness. They have decided to exterminate the Greek element which is the most important and numerous in Asia Minor.

     "Under pretext of necessities of war entire populations have been deported. Members of Families have been separated. The old, the men unfit for military service and the women, were sent into the interior of the country, abandoned without the slightest help and exposed to all sorts of deprivations. The men fit for military service were taken by force into the army despite the fact of having paid for exemption: some of the wealthiest have even been called on to pay this exemption fee three times over."

     The Relief Committee for Greeks of Asia Minor, Mr. Jackson said, has been organized for non-politic and purely humanitarian purposes and aims at securing means to aid these Greeks reduced by sudden persecutions to a state of want.