Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions That Forged Modern Greece and Turkey

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I set in motion a flurry of diplomatic and military activities by the victors that were intended to leave a truncated Ottoman state and parcel out all the rest. One such move was a Greek military venture into Anatolia, which provoked resistance from the Anatolian hinterland led by Mustafa Kemal, or Atatürk. Atatürk defeated the Greeks and moved on to replace the remnant Ottoman Empire with the Turkish republic. When a multinational treaty fixed the general territorial lines of the post-Ottoman world at Lausanne in 1923, a separate Greco-Turkish treaty provided for a compulsory population exchange. This meant that some 1.2 million Turkish-speaking "Greeks" (i.e., Christians) were obliged to leave what was now Turkey, where they had lived for generations, and return to their "homeland" in Greece. So, too, about 400,000 Greek-speaking "Turks" (i.e., Muslims) had to leave Greece and return to their Turkish "homeland." The logic of nationalism required no less, and the war years, 1919-22, were deemed to have shattered beyond restoration the multinational and multireligous coexistence that had characterized the Ottoman Empire. Clark treats brilliantly both the macrohistory of the war and diplomacy leading to the expulsions and the several local histories of those different communities uprooted in order to become Turks living in Turkey and Greeks living in Greece.

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