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Menemen massacre

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Menemen massacre

Menemen massacre
Part of Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)
Location of Menemen within metropolitan Izmir.
Location  Ottoman Empire, Aidin Vilayet,
present-day Menemen and Izmir Province, Turkey
Date 17 June 1919 [1]
Target Turkish[2]
Attack type
Deaths 5000 killed, 200 wounded.[3]
Perpetrators Greek army[2]

The Menemen Massacre occurred on June 16–17, 1919 in the town of Menemen, shortly after the Greek forces landed in nearby Smyrna, as part of the post World War I Greek occupation of Turkey.


  • Killings 1
  • Contemporary accounts 2
  • See also 3
  • Footnotes 4


The Ottoman prefect of Menemen, Kemal Bey, and the six gendarmes accompanying him were assassinated by Greek soldiers in the evening of the first day. These deaths became the opening act for further killings carried out on the civilian population of Menemen the following day by a Cretan brigade aided by a number of accomplices from the local Greek minority. The event was termed as a "massacre" by an inter-allied commission composed of four generals representing the Allied Powers.[2]

The number of casualties among the civilian Turkish population of the town during the single day of June 17 vary between two hundred, according to the October 1919 report drawn up by the Inter-Allied Commission; to one thousand, according to a delegation that arrived the next day (June 18, 1919). Captain Charns, the head of that delegation, contrasted the number of Turkish victims against the non-existence of any Greek wounded, either civilian or military. The October report, prepared by the British officers and medical delegates from the British and Italian consulates in Smyrna, rejected the 1000 casualties figure as an exaggeration, finding that at least 100 had died, and mentioning a French officer's investigation the day after the massacre reporting that 200 Turks had been killed, and 200 injured.[4]

The events were protested by the Ottoman Sheikhulislam. [5] The Greek military claimed that they were attacked in the town, but the commission did not give credit to their statements.[6]They found the Greeks alone responsible for the bloodshed.[7]

Historian Justin McCarthy, rejecting the findings of the Inter-Allied Commission, claimed the massacre was preplanned, indicated by the fact that before the attacks all Greek houses in the city had been marked with white crosses and were not affected by the pillage and destruction.[8]

Contemporary accounts

British Admiral Calthorpe, commenting to London on the fact that some Turks of Menemen had managed to survive, stated:

In my opinion the Greeks are responsible for the whole affair... Only their complete lack of organization prevented them from obtaining a greater measure of success. It is also possible that the unexpected presence of British witnesses cooled them a little.
— Somerset Gough-Calthorpe, Calthorpe to Curzon[9]

Celal Bayar, the third Turkish president, wrote the testimony of the local merchant; Çerkes Sefer Efendi.

We were sitting with a few people in the coffeehouse of the marketplace. About noon we heard gunfire coming from the Greek neighborhood, everyone started running towards their houses and shutting their shops. I immediately threw myself into my house. It was raining bullets over the city. This fire started in a half hour lasted until four in the afternoon. To understand what was happening I left the house. Stepping to the street I saw three dead women in front of me. I proceeded a step or two. On one side lay a ten year old boy. I advanced a little more. A girl, shot in the knee, grew pale with fear, waiting for rescue. Now I did not dare to go further. My neighbor İshak Efendi was killed in front of his house. I returned home. After a while, Todori, my servant on my farm garden near the town, came weeping, told me that his deputy Ahmet was killed and that my cattle taken by the Greeks. I did not leave my house until Wednesday June 18. One that day order was restored. They said that British and French representatives came from Izmir(Smyrna). I regained some courage and left the house. I saw the Turkish corpses taken with carts to the Islamic cemetery in the neighborhood and buried there.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Foreign documents US". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Council of Heads of Delegations: minutes of meetings November 6, 1919, to January 10, 1920". Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States: 55–56–70. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919 (1919)". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Report of the Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry (May-September 1919) by the Members of the Commission; Adm. Bristol, the US Delegate - Gen. Hare, the British Delegate - Gen. Bunoust, the French Delegate - Gen. Dall'Olio, the Italian Delegate. The statements in defense of the Greek government presented by Col. Mazarakis.
  5. ^ Solomonidis, Victoria (1984). "Greece in Asia Minor: The Greek Administration in the Vilayet of Aydin" (PDF). University of London, King's College. p. 117. Retrieved 5 June 2014. These incidents were used by the Sheik-ui--Islam to accuse the Greek troops of alleged atrocities against the Turkish population. 
  6. ^ "US Foreign documents". Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Gidney, James B. (1967). A mandate for Armenia. Kent State University Press. p. 118. Retrieved 12 June 2014. Some of the resulting bloodshed was blamed on both parties, but some— for example, that at Menemen— on the Greeks alone. 
  8. ^ Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, Darwin Press, 1996, p. 270 ISBN 0-87850-094-4.
  9. ^ Foreign Office document FO 371/4220, № 112194, Calthorpe to Curzon, Constantinople, 22 July 1919.
  10. ^ Celâl Bayar: Ben de yazdım: Millî mücadeleʼye gidiş, Baha Matbaası, 1972, sayfalar 2532-2536. "Çarşı kahvesinde eşraftan birkaç kişi oturuyorduk. Öğleye doğru Rum mahallesinden silah sesleri gelmeye, herkes dükkânlarını kapayıp evlere doğru koşmaya başladı. Ben de derhal kendimi evime attım. Şehrin üzerine mermi yağıyordu. Saat yarımda başlayan bu ateş öğleden sonra dörde kadar sürdü. Ne olup bittiğini anlamak üzere kendimi dışarıya attım. Sokağa adımımı atar atmaz önümde üç kadının cansız yattığını gördüm. Bir iki adım ilerledim. Bir yanda on yaşında bir erkek çocuk yatıyordu. Biraz daha ilerledim. Dizinden vurulmuş bir kız çocuğu kapı önünde yuvarlanmış, korkudan rengi uçmuş, imdat bekliyordu. Artık daha ileriye gitmeye cesaret edemedim. Komşum İshak Efendi de evinin önünde öldürülmüştü. Tekrar eve döndüm. Bir süre sonra kasaba yakınındaki çiftlik bahçemde çalışan hizmetçim Todori geldi, ağlayarak yardımcısı Ahmet'in öldürüldüğünü, sığırların da Yunanlılar tarafından alındığını anlattı. 18 Haziran Çarşamba gününe kadar evimden çıkmadım. O gün asayiş sağlandı. İzmir'den İngiliz ve Fransız mümessilleri geldi dediler. Biraz cesaret alarak çıktım. Mahallemizin İslam mezarlığı yönünde arabalarla Türk ölülerinin götürülerek gömüldüğünü gördüm."[2]

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