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Autour des photographies de l'ingénieur archéologue Félix Sartiaux à Phocée, 1913, 1914, 1920

A Multidimensional Analysis of the Events in Eski Foça (Παλαιά Φώκαια) on the period of Summer 1914

Une ville ottomane dans la tourmente : une analyse multidimensionnelle des événements à Phocée (Eski Foça, Παλαιά Φώκαια) dans l’été 1914
Emre Erol

Résumés

Cette communication veut discuter des dynamiques de changement dans la région de Phocée qui fut l’un des lieux d’affrontement des nationalismes en compétition dans le dernier siècle de l’Empire ottoman. On y soutient que l’analyse du changement à une micro-échelle fournit des arguments de valeur pour nos théories au niveau macro sur le changement et la transformation de l’Empire ottoman en République turque moderne. De plus, on y démontre aussi que la compréhension complète de la campagne ottomane ne peut être possible qu’en tenant compte de multiples facteurs comme l’analyse du discours, du pouvoir et des structures. Les particularités régionales, soutient-on, sont aussi importantes que les facteurs globaux pour comprendre l’histoire de la période.

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Notes de la rédaction

This paper is written based on the talk [An Ottoman Town in Turmoil: People’s Lives in Eski Foça (Παλαιά Φώκαια) from the Balkan Wars to the Turkish Republic] that was presented to the conference “Autour des photographies de l'ingénieur archéologue Félix Sartiaux: Phocée 1913-1920” by INALCO in Paris on the 25th of November 2010. This is a preliminary paper of a wider research project concerning the history of the county of Foçateyn from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic.

Texte intégral

  • 1 It is also referred to as Phokaia and/or Phocaea in English/Latin, Παλαιά Φώκαια in Modern Greek, Π (...)
  • 2 Industrialization of shipping is a concept coined by maritime historians that refers to the drastic (...)
  • 3 This number is derived from the number of all the residents of the county of Foçateyn in 1914. Sinc (...)

1Around 1910, Eski Foça1, the center of the Ottoman county of Foçateyn, was another bourgeoning boomtown that was located on the shores of Western Anatolia. Although it was predominantly a mining town with considerable agricultural production, its economic character was reshaped with the increasing volume of trade in the late 19th century as a result of increasing European economic presence in the Ottoman markets and due to the globalization of world markets as a result of the industrialization of shipping2. In 1914, right before the summer of the “organized chaos”, which resulted with the forced migration and killing of the Ottoman Greeks, the county reached a population of approximately 23.0003 people most of whom were Ottoman Greeks who had been migrating from the islands on the Aegean initially for better job opportunities and later for ideological reasons too. Muslims, Kurdish, Turkish or otherwise had long been the residents of the county along with non-Muslims such as Greeks, Armenians and Jews. This cosmopolitan outlook reached its peak in the pre-World War I context. On a given day, one would have heard around 8 languages in the harbor of Eski Foça. However, in the early Republican period Eski Foça was an almost deserted ghost town that was demographically engineered into a “homogenous” national community. Only less than 1/3 of its population was left. Devastated by constant warfare, migrations, banditry and state violence Foçateyn lost its human resources, infrastructure and economic “know how”.

  • 4 Tilly, Charles, “Reflections on the History of European State-Making in Charles Tilly, Ed., The Fo (...)

2The story of this radical transition in Eski Foça is parallel to the story of a multidimensional century of change in the last century of the Ottoman Empire. Wars, European imperialism and capitalism, competing nationalisms as savior projects, elites, inter-communal and inter-ethnic tensions and modernization reforms all played their part in this period of turmoil which resulted with the construction of the nations such as Armenian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian, Serbian and Turkish. These processes took place with respective nationalisms’ mutual exclusion of whole communities from their lands, properties, identities or even lives. Many nation states in contemporary Eastern Europe and Middle East rose out of this period of wars of rival nationalisms and the violence of inter-communal groups, inter-ethnic groups and states. Remembering the famous quote of Charles Tilly, brilliantly summarizes the process of the creation of post-Ottoman nation states: “war made the state and the state made war”4 .

  • 5 This approach is based upon the approach of William H. Sewell Jr. that is presented in his article (...)

3Nationalisms, like many other “grand narratives”, almost always ended up as destructive political projects. Their historically negative portfolio often agitated researchers. This in return created many research that disregarded or ignored various other elements that were also important as much as national ideologies in the making of certain historical events. I propose that the full comprehension of the transition in the county of Foçateyn is possible only through the simultaneous analysis of the roles of the meaning (such as discursive analysis of the ideologies), power (such as the roles of states, agency and wars) and scarcity (such as economy and modernity)5. This is only possible with the inclusion of all agents of change from peasant to the Sultan, from the European banker to the shopkeeper Nico and Mehmet and from pamphlets and newspapers to the multinational treaties.

4Such a multidimensional analysis would also help us to avoid the ideological biases such as legitimization or victimization of certain arguments. This is precisely because such arguments, which are often formulated to support a particular nation state’s political position, often emphasize one aspect (like the role of elites or states) of this complex social phenomenon of transition in the Ottoman Empire. Eski Foça, as the center of the county of Foçateyn, constitutes a valuable example that helps to develop our understanding of the transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic. Consideration of the roles of the ordinary people and the local networks along with other more global factors such as capitalism or ideologies helps us to understand the peculiarities and regional differences in the process of the creation of the Greek and Turkish nations in places like Foçateyn. However, within the limited scope of this paper I will only be making a limited discussion of my wider research. I will try to demonstrate the merits of a multidimensional approach by analyzing the events on the summer of 1914 in the county of Foçateyn. In doing so I will be talking about the roles of the Muslim local actors of the transition in the county of Foçateyn.

5Modern day Eski Foça is located on the Western Anatolian shores. It is one of the rare settlements in Anatolia that still exists on the same spot that it was established thousands of years ago. The county of Foça stretches to the Aegean Sea as a huge peninsula at the end of the İzmir bay and before Çandarlı bay. It is right across the modern day Karaburun peninsula and adjacent to Menemen County, an inland county with famous fertile arable lands. Across the central town of Eski Foça there are three major islands, and there are many small islets through the coast of the county. Thanks to that protective nature, it had always been an important pillar of Aegean trade networks and this importance has gained a new dimension in 19th century. The Ottoman county of Foçateyn, identical to modern county of Foça, was shaped like a triangle that had two of its sides stretched across the Aegean shore. The inland side was adjacent to a very productive basin in the Empire that was fed with the waters of Gediz River and its various arms. Therefore Foçateyn played the role of a natural harbor of a productive hinterland. Modern day Foça still has the same administrative boarders more or less unchanged from Ottoman Empire.

6Under the Ottoman administration Foçateyn was a county (Kaza) that was administrated as a part of the Aydın province (Vilayet), which was one of the most prosperous and well developed regions of the Empire in the 19th century with regards to its agricultural output, trade volume, population and urbanization rate. In addition to that, given the poor conditions of Ottoman land transport; Aydın province, having mostly stretched on the shores of the Aegean Sea, was also advantageous in logistics. Foçateyn as a county, similar to few others that were located on the shore, had enjoyed all of the generic advantages of being a settlement on the shores of Aydın province. However Foçateyn had more than the usual. Its proximity to a productive hinterland, abundance of its natural resources and the protective nature of its bays and islands grabbed the attention of many lawful and outlaw peoples of the Empire and beyond.

A bourgeoning boomtown

  • 6 The term is used by Faroqhi to describe the crucial role of Western Anatolian agricultural lands th (...)
  • 7 For further discussions about the long term economic affects of the increasing European presence se (...)
  • 8 Although it is generally assumed that the penetration of European capital would force pre-capitalis
    (...)
  • 9 These patterns of migration had been frequently used in the last century of the Empire. As a typica (...)

7The level of this attention on Foçateyn gained a new dimension in the late 19th century. The province of Aydın, traditionally regarded as “the capital’s orchard”6, was dominated by the agricultural production of small land owning peasants. However, especially after the increase of European presence in the Ottoman markets (especially after the agreement of Balta Limanı7), Ottoman previsionist economic logic came under serious challenge that in return challenged the role of Aydın province from being “the capital’s orchard” to being the hinterland of the global markets. The county of Foçateyn was no exception in this trend. It was enriched by the European demand for raw materials that were no longer restrained by the Ottoman logic as a result of a series of successive capitulary agreements. Nevertheless, small land owning Ottoman peasantry resisted to the structural challenges brought by the process of the integration with the world markets and the subsequent capitalist changes in the relations of production8. As a result in many places, such as Foçateyn, there was a deficiency of free labor. In the case of Foçateyn, and in many other cases in the Aegean cost, this deficiency was resolved with the migration from the Aegean islands9 and from newly independent Kingdom of Greece. Between these two routes, the former dominated the latter as the major source of migration in the county of Foçateyn.

  • 10 For instance in the year of 1894, 363 steamships and 2706 sail ships entered the port of Eski Foça. (...)
  • 11 When the Ottomans lost their monopoly over certain irregular customs taxes with the agreement of Ba (...)

8The increase in the population and the volume of economic activities in the region brought prosperity to Foçateyn. Eski Foça, the center of the county, became a center of its economic and administrative activities as well. Compared to the beginnings of the 19th century, the port of Eski Foça has witnessed a drastic increase in the amount of ships visiting in the period of early 20th century10. Ironically, this period of prosperity and economic development carried the seeds of its own destruction. Although, some parts of the Ottoman periphery, such as the province of Aydın, benefited from the increasing presence of European economic dominance, this was not a rule but an exception. In addition despite the fact that the Ottoman center would have hardly survived its thirst for cash without European creditors, Ottoman states’ relation with the European presence was often antagonistic and cautious at best11.

9In 1875 Ottoman treasury bankrupted as a result of the constant pressure of the need for cash and its inability of efficient taxation. When it bankrupted, Ottomans had already been failing to pay their debts to European creditors whose economic presence and later dominance led to the spread of the ideas of the National Economy (Milli İktisat) among the Ottoman elite. The idea of a national economy is but one of the aspects in the creation of the Turkish nation. The idea of a national and supposedly “loyal” bourgeoisie that is expected to build up a native industry played a central role in the ideas of Young Turks and later among the members of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). This idea had its first major repercussion in the injection of nationalist agendas into the various Boycott Movements (with intervals from 1908 to 1914) that affected places like Foçateyn whose population was predominantly non-Muslim and therefore “disloyal” from a nationalist perspective. For the nationalists all non-Muslims were traitors to the national interests since they benefited from the exploitation of Ottoman economy by European powers. However, as it is always the case, the perceived threat was not parallel to the reality in which non-Muslim communities had been experiencing more complex changes in a non-linear and heterogeneous manner. In the end political parties and people used various Boycott Movements for their own ends. The result was further erosion of people’s will to live together.

10The above-mentioned glimpse of the events in the last century of the Empire explains two things. First of all, as it was mentioned in the beginning, the transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic can only be fully understood with the consideration of multiple elements. In this example one can discuss how economic structures present in the Ottoman Empire brought its demise whereas it also brought a relative ability of resistance to the small land owning peasants. Subsequently, this seemingly structural and economic phenomenon relates to the creation of the waves of migrations, which later will be a concern for the Ottoman nationalist elites whose ideological discourse was also deeply related to the very same crisis that the Ottoman economy experienced. Furthermore it also shows us how “the local” or “the periphery” which is the county of Foçateyn with Eski Foça in its center, can help us to see that no single approach can claim a monopoly of explanatory power over the whole transformation from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic alone. Before proceeding with the peculiarities of the transition in the county of Foçateyn I would like to discuss the existing literature and approaches on this critical time interval.

The peculiarities of the transition in the county of Foçateyn

Existing litterature and main approaches

  • 12 For a visual representation of this tremendous century of migration and for the approximate number (...)

11The literature that is concerned with the traumatic events of the last century of the Empire (such as forced migrations, population exchanges or demographic engineering projects) often ends up emphasizing one aspect of the reality. For instance, once can often encounter narratives in which “barbarous” Turks/Muslims slaughter Christian communities and drive them out of their lands. On the other hand one can also encounter narratives in which “backstabbing traitors” are “rightfully” punished in times of war. As it is always the case, reality is much more complex and grey rather than black and white. Starting roughly around 18th century people on the Ottoman lands, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, were subjected to atrocities and they were all drown out of their lands, ripped of their properties and lost their lives12. In fact, almost all communities in the former Ottoman lands were so agitated by their experience of atrocities or the stories of those atrocities; their hatred against each other was mobilized by nationalist intellectuals for their ends in a manner of a blood feud. For all sides of this “blood feud” atrocities from the “other” were underlined whereas “our” atrocities were silenced or legitimized.

12Although all politically motivated research uses one aspect of the reality to legitimize its own point of view, not all research based on this approach does this out of a political choice. Most of the critical works that unraveled the dynamics of the Ottoman transition emphasize a single aspect of change primarily due to the seer burden of the required academic labor. It is possible to identify a trend in which the more global a research question is the less it is possible to employ multiple theoretical approaches. For instance research questions that are centered on the history of the formation of Turkish nationalism or of the Committee of Union and Progress are less likely to focus on the influence of non-discursive elements in theory of the research. On the other hand, the more a research question is centered on the actual events of a particular region or locality in the era of Ottoman transformation, the more likely the theory of research is multidimensional. I think this is related to the ever-changing definitions of a “good research” and to the economics of available academic material. I believe that the Ottoman historiography already made considerable progress to rewrite the story of the Ottoman transition thanks to the influence of interdisciplinary approaches in the field. With the increasing availability and variety of what is considered as “source material” more and more “unorthodox” histories are produced that enhance our understanding of the global and the local alike. However more has to be done to complete the big picture.

  • 13 Scholars such as Taner Akçam, Matthias Bjornlund and Fuat Dündar wrote some prominent examples of t (...)

13When it comes to the tragedies of the period from Balkan Wars to Turkish Republic, there are three distinguishable approaches that can be identified based on their use of theoretical approaches. First approach consists of a group of studies that emphasize the role of elites, political parties, states and the savior projects in the center of their analysis13. This group of studies dominates the field today. Broadly speaking, this line of approach focuses solely on the role of nationalisms (especially Turkish but sometimes also Armenian and Greek too) as continuous and top to down political projects. This line of approach is not misleading but lacking. Primarily based on the use of discursive analysis and the analysis of power relations (often on a macro level), this group of studies primarily focus on the dynamics of the formation of the Turkish Nationalism and its primary agent: Committee of Union and Progress (or often a few prominent leaders among them). Although very valuable in their own right, these studies often fail to address the roles of the ordinary people, structural factors (such as economic or geographic), local actors and rival nationalisms. They often over-emphasize discursive analysis and the analysis of power relations among elites or states. This in return, indirectly conceals the role of structural elements. Not always but often such studies fail to explain regional peculiarities and the deviations that existed throughout the period of the creation of Turkish nation state that was far from being a linear process.

  • 14 Scholars such as Donald Bloxam, Ronald Grigor Suny and Erik Jan Zürcher wrote some prominent exampl (...)

14Another approach consists of a group of studies that emphasize the role of certain events and/or turning points in the course of the history of the late 19th and early 20th century. Such studies14 often employ the use of the analysis of power relations. They often underline the devastating and transforming roles of wars, such as Ottoman-Russian wars, Balkan Wars, World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, or certain political events such as Young Turk congresses, 31st of March incident and Bab-ı Ali coup. Such narratives, although accurate in their arguments, often end up analyzing the roles of the decision makers or bigger structural elements such as the European balance of power. Therefore they are also lacking in the sense that they do not talk about the role of the agency of the ordinary people such as workers or peasants and they give little attention to the local networks that were often decisive in the success of the project of the creation of a Turkish nation.

  • 15 Scholars such as Ryan Gingeras and Y. Doğan Çetinkaya wrote some prominent examples of the studies (...)

15Finally there is a third, and chronologically more contemporary group. This set of academic studies15 focus more on the role of the local networks, inter-communal and/or inter-ethnic conflicts and the agency of the ordinary people in line with other structural factors such as the role of European capitalism. This paper considers itself very much in line with this group. The emphasis of this group of studies unravels the reasons behind the regional peculiarities in the creation of the Turkish nation and the Turkish nation state. The attempt of this group of studies is to demonstrate the role of the factors that were not taken into consideration before. They constitute an attempt to complete the missing parts of a puzzling period of the transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish republic.

16The main concern of this paper is to discuss the peculiarities in the events that occurred in the county of Foçateyn on the summer of 1914. In general, the ousting of Greeks on the summer of 1914 resulted with the homogenization of Western Anatolian population, disappearance of regions’ economic “know how” and destruction of its towns. The method employed here is to use a multidimensional analysis with certain questions in mind: What is the relationship between imposed social change, migration, competition and radicalization of “ordinary people” in the transformation of Ottoman countryside? What were the structural elements behind the popular acceptance or non-acceptance of the nationalist agendas? How similar is the transition in the county of Foçateyn to the narrative of the transition for the whole Empire?

Forces that affected the transformation: state reforms

17There are four distinct groups of forces that affected transformation in the county of Foçateyn. Understanding the affects of each requires the simultaneous use of discursive, power relations and structural analysis methods. These forces are state reforms, European imperialism, ideologies and wars.

  • 16 In the year of 1823 the Foçateyn is reported to be under constant threat of piracy. In one occasion (...)

18These seemingly global forces, which affected the history of the Ottoman Empire in general, were in constant interaction with what might be called as the regional peculiarities. Therefore in order to discuss the regional peculiarities we have to identify the forces that it interacted with. Neither these regional peculiarities, nor the more global forces were more important in the way they affected history. Regional peculiarities can be understood as all the “peripheral/local” elements that were in constant bargain with the more “central/global” forces. For instance the local networks such as the nomadic groups, bandits, workers of certain services (docks, mines or mills), emerging bourgeoisie, local representations of state power and peasants played significant roles in the realization of “savior projects”. Inter-communal and inter-ethnic conflicts also affected the outcomes of more global forces. For example the omnipresent phenomenon of brigandage in the Western Anatolian countryside of late 19th century Ottoman Empire created inter-communal conflicts between brigands and the peasants that later evolved into inter-ethnic conflicts16. These pre-existing tensions helped the nationalists when they tried to transfer the ambivalent feelings against the “other” into certain feelings of distrust and hatred. Finally geography played a very significant role as a structural element among regional peculiarities. Eski Foça’s role as a boomtown due to its geographical location, sustainability of banditry due to the mountainous landscape of Western Anatolia and finally proximity of Aegean islands to the Anatolian mainland all played their role in the shape of events to come in the period of Ottoman transition.

  • 17 Çetinkaya accuratly demonstrates that the new public space, which became available to the Ottoman s (...)

19Ottoman reform attempts for modernization, which are often traced back to the period of Selim III, had very important repercussions on the everyday lives of Ottoman subjects. Modernization attempts were stretched across a period of time that is longer than a century and they were often initiated after periods of crisis. The motivations, practices, affects and the reach of the reforming agendas were far from being homogenous. For various reasons some parts of the Empire, especially urban centers, were much more transformed compared to the peripheral areas and compared to the Eastern parts of the Empire in general. The county of Foçateyn, administrated together with one of the most developed provinces of the Empire, had experienced considerable transformation as a result of state’s reforming agenda. In the early 20th century the repercussions of a long century of reforms were overwhelmingly visible on the countryside. Ottoman state’s presence in the public and the private realms of the Ottoman society was constantly increasing. This meant that the “old order” was constantly challenged by the reforming practices. Old hierarchies were challenged and replaced by new ones. In summary, the old social fabrics were directly or indirectly removed and Ottoman subjects’ relations with each other and with the state were redefined17.

  • 18 Although we know today that there were a lot of exceptions to the black and white picture of the ro (...)
  • 19 For the affects of modern education on non-Muslims see: Somel, Akşin. “Christian community schools (...)

20Although the old idea of “Millet system” was challenged with the modern concept of universal citizenship, in the early 20th century when, Ottoman society was still a bifurcated society of patronage where Muslims were often in government recruitment and military whereas Christians were getting under Western patronage through business and diplomacy. This general outline had many exceptions such as Christians in high bureaucratic positions and rich Muslim merchants and entrepreneurs18. Nevertheless the very attempts that tried to create universal citizenship failed to do so and many Ottoman subjects’ loyalties to the throne were more undermined than enhanced. Especially with the influence of modernity on the education in the Empire, both Muslim and non-Muslim generations experienced a break with their elders in the way they perceived the world around them. This affect was rather limited and late in Muslim part of the population whereas it was much early and had a radical affect on the non-Muslim generations19. Ottoman subjects met ideas like nation, nationalism, citizenship most of which started to be discussed and spread in the newly emerging modern public spheres. These radical changes in the government, education and public sphere gave birth to new conflicts and new political demands that were delivered to the masses by the generations that rose up in these newly founded institutions.

Forces that affected the transformation: European imperialism

21The roles of the changes that occurred as a result of European imperialism’s penetration into the Ottoman markets are far-reaching and very complex. European traders and European interest in the Ottoman economics were present before the last century of the Empire. However, subsequent to the Ottoman defeats against Russia, Ottomans had to allow the increasing presence of the European money and entrepreneurship both as a diplomatic leverage to gain support of powerful states and as a means to fulfill their treasury’s every increasing thirst for cash money. In a simplified summary, European money and interest penetrated the protective tariff barriers of Ottoman provisionist logic. This in return meant greater import of manufactured goods and greater export of raw materials. Facilitating and sustaining this flow of goods required skilled intermediaries and the development of modern infrastructure in order to increase mobility. Europeans, for various cultural, diplomatic and pragmatic reasons, often preferred Ottoman non-Muslims to Muslims for the role of intermediaries. Although this preference was never black and white, non-Muslims, especially Ottoman Greeks benefited enormously from this role. As a result the already existing social, economic and educational gaps between Muslim and non-Muslim subjects of the Empire are deepened. European demand for raw materials and a limited number of manufactured goods initiated a development in some sectors of the Ottoman economy but Ottoman economy overall was shrinking in competition to industrialized Europe.

22Since the native industry was insufficient for the demands of the Ottoman war machine, the Port had to buy its military needs and many other technological investments from abroad. This created an enormous pressure on the Ottoman treasury that was already having problems before the penetration of European capitalism. In the end Ottomans failed to sustain a constant flow of cash and their economy bankrupted under the pressure of foreign loans and the need for more and more money in order to stop the century long Russian offensive. When the Ottomans bankrupted on 1881, European creditors established Duyun-u Umumiye (Public Debt Administration) and gained many privileges such as collecting some taxes instead of the Ottoman state. European economic domination was formalized and Ottoman state somewhat became a semi-colony of the Western European states.

  • 20 For one example of the various workers’ strikes in the harbor of Eski Foça see: (BOA) DH.MKT 2684/3 (...)

23In the county of Foçateyn this general outline had different reflections. Eski Foça of 1910s was a story of economic development. The trade volume was increasing and the local raw materials that were produced were presented to the interests of various markets around the world. These developments changed the outlook of Eski Foça. New neighborhoods, salt depots and public offices were built and the demand for workers increased significantly. The considerable weight of trade activities in the local economy increased compared to the previously important mining and agricultural activities. The presence of Public Debt Administration (PDA) in Eski Foça under French management was a crucial factor in the county. Although it appears that most of the employees of the PDA offices were Muslims, there is also evidence that PDA often employed non-Muslim workers. This is understandable since PDA was almost always in constant conflict with the “old”, pre-capitalist forms of economic relations and it tried to change them into more “modern/efficient” relations. This meant that it was in constant conflict with the workers, artisans and guilds of the places that it operated. Eski Foça was no exception to this. PDA wanted to build new and modernized quays that would enable big ships to board directly in front of the depots. This meant the disappearance of many jobs for the boat and lighter workers whose jobs were to carry the goods from and to the ships that docked outside the shallow waters of the harbor. As a result, it seems like PDA tried to use inter-ethnic rivalry for its own ends in order to break workers’ unity and resistance20. These events later contributed to the creation of the nationalist discourse in which the non-Muslims would be the traitors who allied with the imperialist enemies.

Forces that affected the transformation: ideologies

24In order to talk about the history of the state’s interventions on peoples’ lives and the phenomena of migrations, demographic engineering and nation building we need to talk about the agents of those changes. In the last century of the Ottoman Empire, nationalisms, whether Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Bulgarian or Serbian, played a central role as the discourses of legitimate violence. Nationalist rhetoric was often delivered to the masses through elites, state apparatuses, political parties or secret organizations. This often resulted with the over-emphasis of those actors as the reasons behind the transition that took place. No doubt that those actors’ roles were central, but they have found there “sleeping beauties” ready to be woken up. Reasons behind the popular acceptance of nationalist discourses are often ignored. This paper aims to raise awareness for the discussion and elaborates on the Ottoman/Turkish side of the history.

  • 21 Teskilat-i Mahsusa was officially administrated under Harbiye Nezareti (Ministry Of War) on 5 Augus (...)
  • 22 There is no clear evidence that unravels the nature and the structure of the groups that were assoc (...)
  • 23 For the members of CUP politics were brutalized and ends justified the means. For the discussion of (...)

25In the Ottoman Empire, a secret society, which later evolved into a political party, played the central role in the unfolding of the events that surrounded the collapse of the Empire and the establishment of the Turkish Republic. This organization was İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti [Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)]. Although the idea of nationalism was there in the Empire before Young Turks and before CUP, CUP’s gradual evolution into a Turkish nationalist party with a revolutionary agenda and its hold on power present very crucial turning points. Once established21, CUP kept its clandestine paramilitary groups22 in use whether or not it was in power. CUP used them to grasp the parliamentarian power with undemocratic ways, to crush political resistance or to realize their nationalist projects. Forged with the military experience of fighting against nationalist guerilla groups and secret societies throughout the years in which the Ottomans lost the Balkans, these mostly Balkan emigrant men, who formed the majority of CUP, created their own organization and its paramilitary wing based on the idea that they learned the hard way in the years of Balkan defeats. The idea was simple; all means were justified for their political ends. Politics was just a method to seize power and so was the guerilla warfare or clandestine assassinations23. These elites, who identified their interest with that of their state, did their best to preserve and develop the power of Ottoman polity in a time where there was a will and a consensus on the destruction of the “sick man of Europe”.

  • 24 CUP’s physical, human and discursive tools did not diminish when Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI (...)

26The CUP was not always what it became after Bab-i Ali coup. However once the coup was over and once the party got rid of all opposition, it became a party that acted like a state within state. Understanding the events stretching from 1913 to 192224 requires keeping this dilemma in mind. On the one hand there was the Sultan and the Ottoman parliament. On the other hand there was a party that was never democratically successful but was in power. Furthermore this party [Party Of Union and Progress (PUP)] was just the public face of the committee (CUP) that ruled it behind the curtains. Some institutions and people, throughout the vast Ottoman geography, were loyal to one group whereas some were loyal to the other. This divided nature of Ottoman elites had almost disappeared when the CUP triumvirate installed its dictatorship after 23 January 1913 that enabled it to deliver its radical decisions in the Empire. But what was the human resource of the projects of the CUP? What were the reasons behind the unequal acceptance or resistance to the policies of the CUP? History of this period of turmoil in the county of Foçateyn gives answers to those questions.

Forces that affected the transformation: wars

  • 25 For a discussion of the various elements in Young Turk mind set and especially for the influence of (...)

27Finally, wars also played crucial roles with the ways that they altered the power relations, locally and globally, and with the way they affected the perception of legitimate violence in the Ottoman society. Turkish nationalism was fueled with wars such as various wars with Russia (but most importantly the War of 93), nationalist uprisings (such as Illinden uprising of 2 August 1903), Balkan Wars and the World War I. These wars, when considered altogether, make one thing clear: the last century of the Empire witnessed almost omnipresent warfare. To put it in a nutshell, in various ways, these wars affected both elites and ordinary people alike. If four words would be chosen to define the affects of war, those would be resentment, injustice, insecurity and migration. Muslims of the former Balkan provinces of the Empire and especially the majority of the members of the Young Turks had first-hand experience of violence, inter-communal and inter-ethnic, when they were killed, thrown out of their homelands and assaulted by paramilitary groups and bandits. The experience of violence from Christians were very much alive and they were transferred from one generation to the other as feelings of resentment for generations to come even after they took refuge in the Ottoman lands25. As a result of this constant warfare; insecurity, in almost all of the Ottoman countryside and in the former Ottoman lands, became a matter of everyday life. Outlaws, draft dodgers, former soldiers often dominated the ranks of bandits and chettes. States, either the failing Ottoman state or the newly established Balkan states, failed to or consciously did not protect the security of its very own citizens. They seized the opportunity to use insecurity for their radical nationalist projects. Injustice often became a norm in some sort of logic of a blood feud in which one “national” community’s violence legitimized others’ violent response in a vicious cycle. Nation states used each other’s respective nationals (“the enemies within”) for diplomatic and political leverage.

  • 26 Migration for better life opportunities can be considered as examples of limited, small-scale, priv (...)

28Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries the county of Foçateyn, like most other places of the Empire, was under constant pressure of various migrations. There are two driving forces behind these migrations: ideological and individual. These drives often overlapped but the former was almost always sponsored by states for the construction of their respective nations either in forms of wars and agreements or in the form of forced migrations. Individually motivated migrations, in the case of Foçateyn, were a rather limited phenomenon that lasted primarily around mid-19th century up to early 1900s. These migrations were basically “private projects26” for prosperity. In the case of Foçateyn these migrations were characterized with the migration of predominantly Ottoman Greek populations from the Aegean Islands for better jobs and life standards. These migrants often became sharecroppers and/or they filled the need for the free labor in the harbor of the boomtown of Eski Foça. Migrants constituted the work pool of many seasonal occupations such as salt extraction, lighter/dock loading, construction, fishing and mining. These migrations are important since later, the new population balance they created was perceived as a treat by Turkish nationalists.

  • 27 For the discussion of the idea of positivism among Young Turks see: Hanioğlu, Şükrü. “Blueprints fo (...)

29Minds of the members of CUP, like many of their contemporaries elsewhere in Europe, were preoccupied with the positivist ideas of a future society27. CUP members, most of whom were military officers, thought that the “sickness” of the Ottoman Empire could be diagnosed with tools of science such as sociology. The cure for the Ottoman failures rested in the creation of a Prussian inspired “Nation in Arms” through construction of a politically and militarily sustainable Muslim and Turkish motherland that was to be developed by a national economy. Intellectuals in the late Ottoman Empire, more specifically Young Turks and members of CUP, were not always nationalists. Ideas of liberalism, socialism, Islamism, Ottomanism and Turkism existed simultaneously and they often used each other’s rhetoric that makes it impossible to define them as separate spheres. The idea of Turkish nationalism gradually dominated minds of the most of the CUP members especially after the Balkan Wars and the subsequent installation of CUP’s dictatorship in 1913. When elites such as the members of the CUP brought their nationalist ideas they found both supporters and resistance among the Ottoman population.

  • 28 CUP was also concerned about the loyalties and identities of its Muslim subjects. Its policy was ve (...)
  • 29 The term sleeping beauty here refers to the nationalist perspective of a primordial idea of the nat (...)
  • 30 There were many cases in which people seized the opportunities that were presented by the nationali (...)
  • 31 I think there is a striking similarity between how workers tired to improve their living conditions (...)

30For the members of the CUP, and especially for the infamous Triumvirate, if an organ in the society was irreparably sick the only method to heal the body was to get rid of that irreparable organ. For CUP this “irreparable” part of the Ottoman society were the disloyal elements that were often, but not limited to, non-Muslims28. When CUP diagnosed the sickness of their state and decided on the method of “cure” there was already a popular support for nationalism among various Ottoman subjects. Some non-Muslim groups such as Armenians, Greeks, Albanians or Bulgarians, were already supporting nationalism before their Muslim counterparts in the society. However it is misleading to argue that CUP installed the nationalist agenda to Ottoman Muslims from top to down. As it was the case with their non-Muslim and European counterparts, Young Turks found their “sleeping beauties”29 ready to be woken up30. For many people nationalist project presented an opportunity of social mobility and they acted as “public projects”31 for certain groups in the society.

  • 32 The idea of a national and native economy with a powerful industry that is built and run by loyal(...)
  • 33 These border lands of the Ottoman Empire included places that were subject to the claims of other s (...)

31For CUP, there were three pillars that the Turkish nation would be built upon: cultural, economic32 and demographic. Although Turkish nationalists tried to construct these pillars simultaneously, demographic project had to be taken care of urgently. When the WWI was imminent and the idea of the “union of the elements” (İttihad-i Anasır) was no longer feasible even among the Muslim part of the population, the demographic agenda became a pressing matter to be resolved. Having witnessed the loss of Balkans, annexation of Bosnia Herzegovina, Russian claims on the Eastern provinces and the Albanian revolts Ottoman elites’ definition of the “loyal elements” was shaken to its foundations. These general feelings of betrayal and disenchantment (with Ottomanism and Pan-Islamism) were transformed into radical savior projects in the minds of the few CUP leaders. For the leaders of CUP a World War was imminent. They had to take sides with the alliance that would help them keep their territorial integrity and even give them opportunities to seize their recent losses. Although it was not their initial intention, they ended up in an alliance with the Central Powers. However, before this alliance was formed and before WWI broke out, they had to legitimize their existence on their present borders based on the modernist and positivist logic of statistical population numbers that dominated the international politics. Subsequently they had to forge and reshuffle their demography in a way that would secure their legitimate rule on them and stop other states like Greece or Bulgaria to make territorial claims. The result was an attempt to increase the proportion of Turkish/Muslim subjects on the “border lands”33(hence, Foçateyn).

  • 34 Bayar, Celal. Ben de Yazdım / Milli Mücadeleye Giriş. Vol. 5, İstanbul: Baha Matbaası, 1967. pp. 15 (...)
  • 35 For the Eşref Kuşçubaşı report see: Bayar, Celal, Ben de Yazdım / Milli Mücadeleye Giriş. Vol. 5, I (...)
  • 36 As mentioned before, CUP was not always a nationalist group. Its perception of the non-Muslim commu (...)
  • 37 A prominent member of CUP, Halil Menteşe, explains the details of the policy against the Greeks in (...)
  • 38 BjØrnlund, Matthias, “The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks as a case of violent Turkification” in Jo (...)

32Based on how the members of CUP perceive it, the atrocities through the summer of 1914 against Ottoman Greeks were, in today’s terms, measures of “preemptive strike”. That is to say when Eşref Kuşçubaşı presented his report34 to fellow party members on the situation of non-Muslims on Western Anatolian shores, he underlined the fact that in case of a World War, these “consciously Greekified” regions on the Western Anatolia would stab the Ottoman army in the back. He was underlining that the young Greeks, who now reside on the shores, were receiving military training on the Islands. He was also stressing that the Greeks were bringing more Greeks from the Kingdom of Greece through marriage and they were consciously trying to increase the population of Greeks. He complained that Muslims had no control over the region around the Aydın province railway network and they were denied of jobs in the railway35. Therefore Eşref urged that measures must be taken immediately in order to avoid the loss of these “historically Turkish” lands. It is not possible to understand the true nature of all Greek migrations to the Western Anatolian shores. However it is clear that both economic reasons and ideological reasons motivated people. It was clear that two rival nationalisms claimed the same territory as “historically theirs”and both tried to use demography to support their claims. Once the treat perception was fully established36 after Eşret Kuşçubaşı’s report, all Ottoman Greeks were now one big homogenous group of “dangerous elements” that had to be gotten rid of. The county of Foçateyn was one of the scenes of the violent “preemptive strikes” that were designed and carried out by CUP37 and its clandestine organization Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa. Ousting of Ottoman Greeks was only the beginning and CUP carried on its project of demographic engineering with ever increasing intensity and violence, over its various “disloyal” subjects, until the surrender of Ottoman Empire and the dissolution of CUP38.

Summer 1914

  • 39 For a detailed discussion on the nature of the correspondences and examples of them see: Dündar, Fu (...)
  • 40 For a detailed analysis of the ousting of Greeks see: ibid. pp. 191-246.
  • 41 Ibid., p. 207.
  • 42 For instance in the case of the ousting of Greeks on the Western Anatolian shores Rahmi Bey, the go (...)

33Based on the eyewitness accounts, memoirs, photographs and secondary literature, I think the best way to describe the way that the atrocities of 1914 in Foçateyn took place is to employ the term organized chaos. It is clear by the public and secret correspondences of CUP39 and the memoirs of its prominent figures like Mahmut Celal Bayar or Dr. Mehmed Reşid Şahingiray, that demographic engineering was consciously employed as a method of warfare in a planned manner40. The CUP leadership, which established its dictatorial rule by then, took the decision and they did their best to conceal this planned nature of the events in order to avoid diplomatic repercussions41. CUP used its own hierarchy; right down to Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa and this clandestine organization used various local groups like chettes to carry out the ousting of the “enemies within”. As it is understood from eyewitness accounts, the primary aim was to make Ottoman Greeks feel threatened and leave by themselves. However this didn’t take place as it was planned and there was not enough initiative to stop violence. A close look at the case of Foçateyn unravels why this did not always succeeded. It is crucial to underline the fact that CUP’s decision of forced migration was not supported by the entire Ottoman state or society. The decision to act was not unanimous even within the CUP cadres42. However CUP used the instruments of Ottoman state to carry its will and it faced both popular support and resistance alike. Nevertheless, especially in the case of Foçateyn, popular support was largely missing but nonetheless present in some rare cases. The nature of this support is very crucial to understand in order to discuss the history of this nationalist project from a non-elite perspective.

A French witness: Charles Manciet

  • 43 Also referred to as Σερεκιοι or Γκερένγκιοϊ.
  • 44 The original of this account, which was written by Charles Manciet on 18th of June 1914 can be foun (...)

34On the 11th of June 1914 around 18:30, a member of the philhellene archaeologist Felix Sartiaux’s excavation team, Charles Manciet, witnessed the starting of the ousting of Ottoman Greeks from the county of Foçateyn. On that evening, he was working near the road to Menemen from Eski Foça. He was surprised when he saw a long convoy with their packs at hand. He learned that these people were Ottoman Greeks who were running away from Gerenköy43 and they were seeking refuge in Eski Foça44. This is particularly important since on the day Manciet witnessed the refuge seeking Ottoman Greeks, the ousting was yet to start in Eski Foça. This explains the relative density of violence in Eski Foça, compared to the rest of the county. Since Eski Foça was the last place to be cleansed of Ottoman Greeks in the county, many others took refuge in this town (and also in Yeni Foça) that later made it impossible for them to escape. This was simply because there were not enough vessels to carry them to the closest safe heaven that was often the Islands in the Aegean (Midilli/Λέσβος or Sakız/Χίος).

  • 45 Ibid., pp. 185-191.

35According to Manciet, the next morning (12th of June, 1914) witnessed a tremendous panic among people since they thought that the chettes that they ran away were about to come to Eski Foça. Initially people locked themselves in their houses but later, around noon, approximately 1000 people fled with fishing boats and sails to Midilli. He and Felix Sartiaux were surprised to see people flee without their belongings before the enemy showed up. Subsequently, Sartiaux, Carlier, Dandria and Manciet all went to the governor and insisted for protection of their lives and property. Four Gendarmeries were assigned to them and they used their houses as sanctuaries for Christians. They were able to safeguard around 800-900 people. At the same night, around 20:00, Manciet heard gunshots from the army (he assumed the group to be a part of the regular army which was not the case) that was marching silently over the mountains surrounding Eski Foça. He recalls hearing two different directions for gunshots and assumes that there were two armies from opposite direction encircling Eksi Foça. Based on what was previously discussed on the approach of CUP, the gunshots and the gradual approach of the bandit and chette hordes that were initiated by Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, must have aimed installing panic among the non-Muslims so that they would flee by themselves. Manciet states that these two armies started to plunder the city in the night and by the morning (13th of June, 1914) gunshots were getting close to their homes. When they left their houses, he recalls seeing the most disgraceful acts ever imaginable45.

  • 46 Talat Pasha refuses such claims of a chain of command between Community of Union and Progress and T (...)
  • 47 Researchers often tend to see CUP as one big homogenous group of nationalists. Although CUP evolved (...)

36Ousting of Ottoman Greeks was coordinated through CUP hierarchy 46. Talat Paşa was on the top with Mahmut Celal Bayar (Aydın provincial representative of CUP) and İzmir/Smyrna Governor Rahmi Bey47 on the provincial level. Under them came Eşref Kuşçubaşı who was probably the architect of the actual events on the field. He was experienced in guerilla warfare, a fierce nationalist and a pragmatist. He was commandingchettes or çeteler as the people often referred it. Chettes consisted of a group of bandits, draft dodgers, thieves and convicts most of whom were granted amnesty in order to increase the human resource of the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, the clandestine organization of CUP. Although there are no hard facts about the members of this clandestine group, it is logical to assume that forced migrated Muslims (muhacirs) constituted an important part in this group. On the morning of the 13th of June 1914, the nature of these outlaw people played a significant role in the outcome of the ousting plans. Plundering of the non-Muslim properties was a common practice of the chettes. This is predictable in three ways. First of all they were already bandits and thieves. They were not bounded by any professional conduct and therefore their guerilla warfare had no norms that would stop them from looting. Secondly, although coordinated by Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, they were not under state duty and therefore in case of diplomatic pressure their acts might be presented as their own ill conduct. This gave these groups some sort of autonomy while practicing their violent acts. Furthermore, for leaders like Eşref Kuşçubaşı, plundering of private property by chettes might have looked like a legitimate act that would help the transfer of wealth into the “national economy”. Finally, since the very character of this whole demographic engineering project was its secrecy, it is logical to assume that plunder might have been perceived as an opportunity to lessen the economic burden of these operations which would otherwise create major costs that would be hard to conceal.

  • 48 According to Dündar, CUP government was cautious about the international attention. Both the boycot (...)

37Manciet states that on the morning of the 13th of June, people and cavalry who were armed with rifles occupied Eski Foça. Christians rushed to the shores but there were no ships left for them to board. It seems like since there were no vessels left to leave many people tried to defend themselves in their homes. This made things worse since plunder-seeking chettes had to force them out of their property. Manciet’s account describes one such violent scene where a Christian house was assaulted by chettes for plunder and when the man tried to defend his house and his family at the entrance of his house he and later his wife were killed by chettes. According to Manciet, two big steamships that were docked right outside the harbor were great fortunes for Christians. These Frenchmen convinced these ships to allow Christians on board and many victims had the opportunity to leave. Around noon Manciet and his fellows, horrified with the plundering and killings, threatened the Gendarmeries, who were until then bystanders, to take action and help the deportation. Their intimidation succeeded and Gendarmeries allowed safe passage to those who were still trying to reach the shore and to the steam ships. Manciet also recalls seeing packed camels climbing the mountains through the roads connecting Eski Foça to outside. They were full with the plunder taken from the town. All these support the idea that these atrocities were planned in nature. Although they were cautious to avoid loss of life killings took place in certain parts of the town when the chettes and the property owners encountered each other48.

  • 49 Although this term means peasant and although it is also used for Muslim peasants the writer of the (...)
  • 50 He was condemning violence publicly and he even suspended Foça, Ayvalık and Biga governors from the (...)
  • 51 Kelekyan, Diran. Seyahat Etrafında Dahiliye Nazır-ı Muhteremiyle Mülakat, Sabah newspaper, 29 June (...)

38When the 13th of June was over, those who were poor or not resourceful enough to find a vessel and those who were too old to run away became the target of the organized chaos. Manciet recalls that most of the wounded were among those older than 60 and sometimes even 90 years old. Those people were wounded when they were defending their property. According to Manciet’s eyewitness account the nature of the atrocities took a crucial turn around the 17th of June. He states that soldiers were sent from İzmir to establish order but these soldiers ended up plundering the town. Manciet states that the atrocities he had witnessed were of an organized nature that aimed at circling Christian peasant populations (reaya49) of the region. According to him, murder and plunder continued until the 18th of June when he finally read in the (resmi gazete) official newspaper that the order was restored and there would not be any danger for Christians. Simultaneously, between 11th and 13th of June, Talat Paşa was already on his visit to Western Anatolian coast. His aim was to discourage Ottoman Greeks from their “self motivated” migration attempts that has already resulted with the runaway of many Ottoman Greeks in Trakya region. It is important to underline that as he moved on his route from Balıkesir to Manisa, which included visits to Burhaniye, Ayvalık, Balya, Bergama and Dikili, atrocities against the Ottoman Greeks were still taking place all around him. He was very careful in giving the impression that Ottoman government was doing its best to establish order50. Later when he was asked if there were any murders through the process he answered that only Foça and two villages of Menemen witnessed such atrocities and he added that the guilty parties were severely punished51.

Oral historical accounts of the Muslim residents

  • 52 There is no written material left by the Muslim population of the county of Foçateyn about the even (...)
  • 53 He was born in Bağarası on 1317 (1901) and he was a local resident for his entire life. EBOHA Mehme (...)
  • 54 He was born in Yeni Foça on 1323 (1905) and he was a local resident for his entire life. EBOHA Mehm (...)
  • 55 EBOHA Mehmet Peker interview, conducted in Eski Foça, 1995-1997.
  • 56 EBOHA Mehmet Tahsin Kalkan interview, conducted in Menemen, 1995-1997.

39Although Manciet’s account provides a valuable insight about the organized nature of the events and its violent practices, it fails to deliver the situation of local Muslim residents of the time. When assessed critically, oral historical accounts of the Muslim residents52 of Eski Foça reveals a complicated picture. Mehmet Peker53 states that he watched the events of 1914 from his house, located in the center of the town. He remembers the members of the chettes as foreigners to his region and he curses them as “rats” who “looted, stole and burned down Greek property”. Mehmet Peker also states that once his Greek neighbors left, their houses were occupied by muhacirs [forced Muslim migrants] from Yanya [Ιωάννινα]. Mehmet Tahsin Kalkan54, who remembers the days of pillage and violence in great shame and depression, states that once the Greeks were almost gone “there was so much looting going on… everybody took what was left from Greeks, food, carpets, furniture…”. His account tells us that despite locals were either bystanders or in some cases resistance, there were still opportunists especially on the last day of the events when it was thought that the Greek would not return. Mehmet Peker55 states that “those [Greeks] who were gone in 1914 came back to their houses [1919-20] and the muhacirs that lived there ran away when the Greeks came… our sharecroppers were back”. He states that they [local peasant Muslims like his family] were happier with Greeks as their sharecroppers compared to having muhacirs. Most of the native townspeople of the county of Foçateyn hid away and they safeguarded their neighbors’ to the best of their abilities. There were even cases, like the example in Yeni Foça56, where a local Muslim mother tried to defend the execution of her Greek neighbor by risking quarrel with chettes. However not all accounts of the events were of this nature. There is a striking difference in the behaviors of the Muslim communities on the basis of their relations with the local networks. That is to say people who did not belong to the local network of the county of Foçateyn were more active in these nationalist projects and they saw them as legitimate acts of revenge.

  • 57 For a summary of these mass movements see: McCarthy, Justin, Forced Migration and Mortality in the (...)

40Muhacir is the name that is given to the forced Muslim migrants in the late Ottoman Empire. This very diverge group of people, who had been experiencing murders, pillage and forced migration themselves57, were largely radicalized against Christian populations. They had been witnessing various forms of violence from the post-Ottoman nation states. These injustices to their properties, lives and dignity were delivered by the states that had to protect them or by the communities who considered them as the “other”. Just as in the case of Eksi Foça and in the case of Turkish nationalism, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian or Macedonian nationalisms were as violent in oppressing and murdering the “other” for sake of national homogenization. As a consequence, these muhacir groups were much more inclined to participate in the violent acts of demographic engineering initiated by CUP.

A muhacir account

  • 58 EBOHA, Ferit Oğuz Bayır interview, Eski Foça, 1995-1997.

41This inclination is very much evident when the accounts of the Muslims such as Mehmet Peker, and Mehmet Tahsin Kalkan, who both belonged to the local networks, are compared to the accounts of a muhacir. Ferit Oğuz Bayır58 was born on 1899 in Simav. Coming from a migrant family, he spent his early years in Edirne. He was educated in one of the modern teachers’ schools (Dar-ül Muallimin) of Abdülhamit II and he states that he learned that he was a Turk from his teachers who wrote books about Turkism. He vividly remembers some of the tragic events of the Empire such as the Balkan Wars. He states that the life in Edirne is vivid in his memories with all its injustice and brutality. He says that the life and the animosities of that era are still alive in “us”. This man, who was educated in a modern institution and who experienced 1908, siege of Edirne and the Balkan Wars has a radically different view on the events that took place in the Western Anatolia. According to his evaluation everybody knows that Greeks who tried to escape with boats or other things (in 1922, second time after they started to come back in 1919) were stopped and the punishments they deserved were delivered to them in and around the harbor of Eski Foça. This brief piece from Bayır’s interview is enough to show the contrast between the way migrants perceived the events.

  • 59 Reşat Kasaba also suggested a similar method of comparison in his work where he tried to identify t (...)
  • 60 This comparison of muhacir groups to the old Greek neighbors is a repeated topic in both Mehmet T (...)

42It can be observed that people who belonged to the local networks were radically different in their perception of the “other” compared to the migrant groups who were alien to the local networks59. For the latter these radical nationalist projects presented both the opportunity of personal revenge and economic security that was lost since they were forced out of their lands. For instance local Muslims preferred their old Greek neighbors in the fields as sharecroppers since muhacirs had no respect to the rights of ownership60. This is understandable since muhacirs also must have felt injustice on their part. In the end they saw Greek property as an exchange to their own losses in their respective homelands. They must have asked for more land than they were given in order to compensate their losses. This was twice as hard in a place like the county of Foçateyn where arable land was already scarce due to geography. This paper has limited itself to the events of the summer of 1914. However the latter periods of similar forced migration and demographic engineering projects shed even more light into this difference of popular support among the respective populations. In addition this paper is also only limited to the discussion of Turkish sources. However my preliminary research indicates that the difference between the migrant and the native also exists among the Greek community.

  • 61 Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi/İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). (...)

43When the summer of organized chaos was over the population of the entire county of Foçateyn decreased down to 4000. It was organized yet it was also chaos since the very forces that were used to realize the radical political ends of CUP were uncontrollable in their nature. Furthermore, as it was demonstrated above, many local factors also played their part in increasing or decreasing the level of violence. When WWI begun the worse was yet to come. Nationalist “blood feud” between Greek and Turkish nationalists was going to take its toll on the people up until much later. In October 22, 1914 ousting of Greeks came to an end yet this time Ottoman government took responsibility in reshuffling Greeks into inner Anatolia as a diplomatic leverage against Greece61. This was followed by Greek occupation of Western Anatolia in 1919 and the subsequent horrors. Later, Turkish War of Independence that claimed back the Greek occupied territories followed it. This process brought yet another destruction of people and settlements. Finally Lausanne treaty marked the end of the long period of wars for the people of the region. Lausanne became the biggest “legal” tragedy of the era when the populations exchange between Greece and Turkey was mutually agreed as a way to end further conflict. All these procedures had their own dynamics and they all caused injustice and destruction for many people on all sides of the conflict.

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Yiakoumis, Haris, (2008), Phocée (1913-1920) Le Témoignage de Félix Sartiaux. Paris : Editions Kallimages.

Zürcher, Erik Jan, (2010), Milli Mücadelede İttihatçılık. Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.

Zürcher, Erik Jan, (2010), The Young Turk Legacy and Nation Building/From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey, Londres et New York: I.B. Tauris.

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Notes

1 It is also referred to as Phokaia and/or Phocaea in English/Latin, Παλαιά Φώκαια in Modern Greek, Παλαιάς Φώκαιας in Classical Greek and Foça-i Atik in Ottoman documents. Today, in modern day Turkish Republic, it is known as Eski Foça.

2 Industrialization of shipping is a concept coined by maritime historians that refers to the drastic changes that took place in 19th century. These changes were related to the volume of goods that were carried and the types of vessels traversing the world. Basically it referred to a transition from wood to steel and from sails to steam in shipping industry. Downes argues that these changes in the shipping triggered further changes in the construction of modern waterfronts that constituted a part of the Ottoman modernization process. Downes, Brant William, Constructing the Modern Ottoman Waterfront: Salonica and Beirut in the late Nineteenth Century. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Stanford University, 2008, pp.3-5.

3 This number is derived from the number of all the residents of the county of Foçateyn in 1914. Since seasonal migration was a widespread phenomenon in the Western Anatolian region it is not possible to give exact numbers for the settlements in the county. In the times of summer, most of the residents in the county migrated to Eski Foça that was the biggest settlement of the whole county.

4 Tilly, Charles, “Reflections on the History of European State-Making in Charles Tilly, Ed., The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, N. J. Princeton Univ. Press, 1975, p. 42.

5 This approach is based upon the approach of William H. Sewell Jr. that is presented in his article Rethinking Labor History: Toward A Post-Materialist Rhetoric (CSST Working Paper 44, 1990). It is important to underline that the examples given here are not direct adaptations of Sewell’s approach. The examples and the theoretical framework that I use represent my reformulation of Sewell’s approach.

6 The term is used by Faroqhi to describe the crucial role of Western Anatolian agricultural lands that supported İstanbul for centuries through Ottoman provisionist (iaşe) network. Faroqhi, Suraiya, Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520–1650. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. p. 81.

7 For further discussions about the long term economic affects of the increasing European presence see: Pamuk, Şevket, Yüz Soruda Osmanlı-Türkiye İktisadi Tarihi 1500-1914. İstanbul: K Kitaplığı Yayınları, 2003, pp. 248-255. Eldem, Edhem, “Capitulations and Western Trade”, in Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. 3, p. 283-336. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

8 Although it is generally assumed that the penetration of European capital would force pre-capitalist forms of ownership and economic systems to evolve into capitalist ones, its effects in the Ottoman Empire were diverse and different than this presumption. A thesis by Birsen Bulmuş convincingly demonstrates that small peasantry in the county of Foçateyn preserved itself despite of the destabilizing affects of the increasing European presence in the county. For further details see: Bulmuş, Birsen, The agricultural structure of the Foça region in the mid-nineteenth century: An examination of the Çift-Hane system and the big farms in the light of the temettü defters, 1844-45. Unpublished master thesis, Presented to Bilkent University, 1997.
The real change came due to this resistance of small land holding peasantry. European presence increased the volume of trade and created a shortage of free labor that would be filled with the migration of Greeks from the Aegean islands.

9 These patterns of migration had been frequently used in the last century of the Empire. As a typical Mediterranean phenomenon, islands often became sources of labor for the mainland whenever there was a need for workers. As early as 1870 a British consular report underlines this phenomena and states that the province of Aydın has no space for British workers since migrants from the Aegean Islands easily supply any need of labor. See: Reports from Her Majesty’s diplomatic and consular agents abroad, respecting the condition of the industrial classes in foreign countries. Londres: Harrison and Sons, 1870. p. 259.

10 For instance in the year of 1894, 363 steamships and 2706 sail ships entered the port of Eski Foça. These ships belonged to British, Italian, Greek and Ottoman origins. See: (Provincial Almanac of Aydın) Salname-i Vilayet-i Aydın, 1893, p. 221.

11 When the Ottomans lost their monopoly over certain irregular customs taxes with the agreement of Balta Limanı (1838) they felt the need to go for European creditors in order to fulfill their need for cash in the Crimean War with the Russians. This was primarily because they were no longer able to extract money from this part of their income in times of need. Pamuk, Şevket, Yüz Soruda Osmanlı-Türkiye İktisadi Tarihi 1500-1914. Istanbul: K Kitaplığı Yayınları, 2003, pp. 248-249). This thought them a lesson in the long term. War and reforms were very expansive and their sustainable finance was only possible with the development of a strong national economy. This meant that although they needed European money in the short term, they had to establish their own national bourgeoisie in the long run. For further reading see: Keyder, Çağlar, Türkiye’de Devlet ve Sınıflar, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2007, pp. 82-84.

12 For a visual representation of this tremendous century of migration and for the approximate number of people that suffered forced migration see: McCarthy, Justin, Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire/An Annotated Map. Turkish Coalition of America 2010.

13 Scholars such as Taner Akçam, Matthias Bjornlund and Fuat Dündar wrote some prominent examples of the studies in this group. These scholars did not only write about these subjects and there are many other valuable works as well. The aim is to address some examples to the groups addressed here.

14 Scholars such as Donald Bloxam, Ronald Grigor Suny and Erik Jan Zürcher wrote some prominent examples of the studies in this group. These scholars did not only write about these subjects and there are many other valuable works as well. The aim is to address some examples to the groups addressed here.

15 Scholars such as Ryan Gingeras and Y. Doğan Çetinkaya wrote some prominent examples of the studies in this group. These scholars did not only write about these subjects and there are many other valuable works as well. The aim is to address some examples to the groups addressed here.

16 In the year of 1823 the Foçateyn is reported to be under constant threat of piracy. In one occasion, pirates took refuge in the island of Orak just across the harbor of Eski Foça. Their presence cause panic among people and subsequently a small group who accused Greek farmers of collaboration with pirates attacked them. The government cleverly resolved the unrest. They captured pirates and those who were responsible of attacking peasants. For details: Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (BOA) HAT 872, No 38758-A (1823), HAT 872, No 38758 (1826).

17 Çetinkaya accuratly demonstrates that the new public space, which became available to the Ottoman subjects thanks to the Ottoman reforms, gave people a new political arena where “different sections of the Ottoman society found appropriate and convenient ways in which they could represent themselves”. Nationalist policies were among those new forms of representations that challenged the traditional social fabric. Çetinkaya, Y. Doğan, Muslim Merchants and Working-Class in Action: Nationalism, Social Mobilization and Boycott Movement in the Ottoman Empire 1908-1914. Unpublished PhD thesis, presented to University of Leiden, 2010

18 Although we know today that there were a lot of exceptions to the black and white picture of the roles of the Muslims and non-Muslims in the Ottoman economy, the presence of this knowledge for Ottoman intellectuals in the past is a debate. That is to say although many Christians such as the members of the Greek bourgeoisie were not necessarily comprador and therefore work against the benefits of the Ottoman Economy the dominant perceptions of the Ottoman elite about them was saying the opposite and in the end how it was perceived mattered more than the reality.

19 For the affects of modern education on non-Muslims see: Somel, Akşin. “Christian community schools during the Ottoman reform period” in: Elisabeth Özdalga (ed.), 2005, Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy. Londres: Routledge, 2005, pp. 254-273.

20 For one example of the various workers’ strikes in the harbor of Eski Foça see: (BOA) DH.MKT 2684/3 (1910). PDA had often written correspondence letters to İstanbul in order to deal with the various demands of the workers. These demands included increase of salaries and various resistances to modernization attempts.

21 Teskilat-i Mahsusa was officially administrated under Harbiye Nezareti (Ministry Of War) on 5 August 1914. However similar groups existed and operated under that name before that date.

22 There is no clear evidence that unravels the nature and the structure of the groups that were associated with the CUP. However it is clear that CUP, most of whose members were experienced in fighting against guerilla warfare, created their own groups to fight for their causes. Powerful CUP leaders like Enver and Talat might have had their own clandestine groups that gradually evolved into what is known as Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa. The existence of such groups and the way they organized are only partially visible in various forms of documents. For a detailed discussion of the topic see: Koçak, Cemil. “ ‘Ey Târihçi, Belgen Kadar Konuş!’: Belgesel Bir Teşkilâtı Mahsusa Öyküsü” in Târih ve Toplum (Yeni Yaklaşımlar), Sayı: 3, (Spring 2006), pp. 171-214.

23 For the members of CUP politics were brutalized and ends justified the means. For the discussion of the development of this political culture among Young Turks see: Gawrych, George. “The culture and politics of violence in Turkish society, 1903-1914”, in: Middle Eastern Studies XXII/3 (1986), pp. 307-330.

24 CUP’s physical, human and discursive tools did not diminish when Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI. On the contrary, through processes of negotiation and competition, they were partially merged with the Turkish nationalist struggle under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal. However this period requires a specific research that is beyond the limits of this paper. For further reading on the relationship between CUP and the Kemalist national movement see: Zürcher, Erik Jan, Milli Mücadelede İttihatçılık. İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2010.

25 For a discussion of the various elements in Young Turk mind set and especially for the influence of forced migrations, wars and identity politics see: Zürcher, Erik Jan, The Young Turk Legacy and Nation Building / From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey. I. B. Tauris: London and New York, 2010.

26 Migration for better life opportunities can be considered as examples of limited, small-scale, private strategies in which wage earners develop ways to improve their life standards. Greek migrations from late 19th century to the Western Anatolian shores are good examples of such projects. For the concept of private and public projects: Linden, Marcel van der; Lucassen, Jan, Prolegomena for a Global Labour History. Amsterdam: International Institute of Social History, 2009. p. 13.

27 For the discussion of the idea of positivism among Young Turks see: Hanioğlu, Şükrü. “Blueprints for a future society: the late Ottoman materialists on science, religion and art” in: Elisabeth Özdalga (ed.), Late Ottoman society. The intellectual legacy, Londres: Routledge, 2005, pp. 28-89.

28 CUP was also concerned about the loyalties and identities of its Muslim subjects. Its policy was very much in line with the traditional Ottoman logic in which regional homogeneities were to be avoided. This policy is not visible in all of the documents of the CUP. On the topic see: Dündar, Fuat, İttihat ve Terakki’nin Müslümanlaru İskan politikası (1913-1918). İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008.

29 The term sleeping beauty here refers to the nationalist perspective of a primordial idea of the nation in which the Hellenes or the Turks are out there waiting to be made aware of their “real” selves.

30 There were many cases in which people seized the opportunities that were presented by the nationalist projects of their respective “national” elites. A good example of one such situation can be seen in the Ottoman boycott movements where Muslim merchants used the opportunity of protesting their non-Muslim competitors for sake of the “national” interests that helped their personal interests. For a detailed discussion: Çetinkaya, Y. Doğan, Muslim Merchants and Working-Class in Action, op.cit. 2010.

31 I think there is a striking similarity between how workers tired to improve their living conditions through public projects like strikes and how nationalist projects also served as public projects for various groups such as workers and merchants in the Empire. For the concept of private and public projects: Linden, Marcel van der; Lucassen Jan, Prolegomena for a Global Labour History, op.cit. pp 13-16.

32 The idea of a national and native economy with a powerful industry that is built and run by loyal national bourgeoisie plays a central role in the construction of the ideal Turkish nation. The idea of Milli İktisat had its own affects (the Boycott movements) in CUP’s fight against the disloyal elements in the society.

33 These border lands of the Ottoman Empire included places that were subject to the claims of other states and especially places that would easily be conquered in case of a war. This meant that all sea and land borders had to be homogenized or reshuffled in a way that no other legitimate national claims would be made. Therefore CUP’s logic required that the non-Muslim elements of the population should be locked in the middle of the Empire. For further reading see: Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi/İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları. 2008, pp.179, 246.

34 Bayar, Celal. Ben de Yazdım / Milli Mücadeleye Giriş. Vol. 5, İstanbul: Baha Matbaası, 1967. pp. 1574-1576.

35 For the Eşref Kuşçubaşı report see: Bayar, Celal, Ben de Yazdım / Milli Mücadeleye Giriş. Vol. 5, Istanbul: Baha Matbaası , 1967, pp. 1579-1589.

36 As mentioned before, CUP was not always a nationalist group. Its perception of the non-Muslim communities was subject to change. Post 1908-1913 period represents a time interval in which CUP seeks the alliance of various groups in the Ottoman society. In the end, for various reasons, it failed to gain the trust of the non-Muslims. This worked in both ways and with the Balkan Wars, CUP was sure that non-Muslim’s intentions were against the interests of the Ottoman unity.

37 A prominent member of CUP, Halil Menteşe, explains the details of the policy against the Greeks in this period. He says that governors and other bureaucrats would not intervene and the ousting of Greeks would be taken care of by CUP and its “teşkilat”. Arar, İsmail, Osmanlı Meclisi Mebusan Reisi Halil Menteşe’nin Anıları. Istanbul: Hürriyet Vakfı Yayınları, 1986, pp. 165-166

38 BjØrnlund, Matthias, “The 1914 Cleansing of Aegean Greeks as a case of violent Turkification” in Journal of Genocide Research. Vol: 10-1, 2008, pp. 41-57.

39 For a detailed discussion on the nature of the correspondences and examples of them see: Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi / İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008, pp. 191-219.

40 For a detailed analysis of the ousting of Greeks see: ibid. pp. 191-246.

41 Ibid., p. 207.

42 For instance in the case of the ousting of Greeks on the Western Anatolian shores Rahmi Bey, the governor of İzmir and a member of CUP openly rejected to this project more than once through its different phases. For details see footnote 50. However, it is also argued that later in his life he might have supported the ousting of Greeks based on his personal benefit. For details see: Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi/İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008, pp. 201-202.

43 Also referred to as Σερεκιοι or Γκερένγκιοϊ.

44 The original of this account, which was written by Charles Manciet on 18th of June 1914 can be found in: Yiakoumis, Haris, Phocée (1913-1920). Le Témoignage de Félix Sartiaux. Paris : Éditions Kallimages, 2008, pp. 185-191.

45 Ibid., pp. 185-191.

46 Talat Pasha refuses such claims of a chain of command between Community of Union and Progress and Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa in his personal letters that were published in Murat Bardakcı’s book. Nevertheless there is a contradictory picture. He wrote those letters in exile when he was running away from possible Allied trial and Armenian terror. In the very same letter he underlines that his presence in the asylum is well known by everyone. This makes me think that he wrote a letter assuming that it might be read. On the other hand oral historical accounts and various research that is referred in this paper show us that the nature of events were rather planned than spontaneous criminal activities. For various letters of Talat Pasha about the issue see: Barkaçı, Murat, Talat Paşa’nın Evrak’ı Metrukesi. Istanbul: Everest Yayınları, 2009, pp. 152-162.

47 Researchers often tend to see CUP as one big homogenous group of nationalists. Although CUP evolved into a predominantly nationalist party much later, it was not always so. In addition, even among the nationalists of the party there were cliques and political differences. One good example of this is the case of İzmir governor Rahmi Bey. He always opposed to the ousting of Greeks despite the fact that he was one of he local leaders of the CUP in İzmir. It is logical to assume that his familiarity with the local networks was influential in his decision to oppose to the ousting of Greeks. He must have been able to asses the economic and social dangers of such a radical project on a regional level. In order words sacrifice of regional prosperity for sake of a greater “national good” must have given him hesitation to act. For the accounts of Rahmi Bey’s stand see: Barkaçı, Murat, Talat Paşa’nın Evrak’ı Metrukesi, op.cit.. pp. 165-170. and Bayar, Celal, Ben de Yazdım/Milli Mücadeleye Giriş. Vol. 5, op.cit. pp. 1579-1582.

48 According to Dündar, CUP government was cautious about the international attention. Both the boycott movements and the ousting of Greeks were closely watched by foreign observes. Based on the secret correspondence and the archive documents, Dündar argues that those governors who were “unsuccessful” in ousting of the Greeks in a silent way were removed from their positions (Menemen and Foçateyn governors) and these were presented as individual cases of misconduct. However Dündar points out that the secret and organized nature of the events shows themselves at this point. He underlines the fact that governors such as the governors of Bergama or Kınık, were not removed from their positions although Greeks were also ousted in their regions. He also states that Talat Paşa was visiting the region, when the events were taking place, in order to show to the international community that he was against the “misconducts” in the region despite he was among the ones who planned it. Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi / İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008, p. 207.

49 Although this term means peasant and although it is also used for Muslim peasants the writer of the accounts uses this term to refer to the Greek residents of the county.

50 He was condemning violence publicly and he even suspended Foça, Ayvalık and Biga governors from their positions. See: Azlolan Memurlar, Ahenk newspaper, 17 June 1914, No 5453, p. 2.

51 Kelekyan, Diran. Seyahat Etrafında Dahiliye Nazır-ı Muhteremiyle Mülakat, Sabah newspaper, 29 June 1914, No 8902, p. 1.

52 There is no written material left by the Muslim population of the county of Foçateyn about the events of 1914. This is probably due to the fact that most of the residents of the county of Foçateyn were illiterate. However this paper will use oral historical documents that were archived by Prof. Dr. Engin Beber who conducted several interviews about the history of the county in the early Republican period. His interviews are especially detailed and accurate about the period after the Greek occupation (1919). However his interviewees also present valuable insights about early the period of early 1900s. There are rather limited and emotionally loaded memories about the events of 1914. References to this archive will be cited as EBOHA (Engin Berber Oral Historical Archive).

53 He was born in Bağarası on 1317 (1901) and he was a local resident for his entire life. EBOHA Mehmet Peker interview, conducted in Eski Foça, 1995.

54 He was born in Yeni Foça on 1323 (1905) and he was a local resident for his entire life. EBOHA Mehmet Tahsin Kalkan interview, conducted in Menemen, 1995-1997.

55 EBOHA Mehmet Peker interview, conducted in Eski Foça, 1995-1997.

56 EBOHA Mehmet Tahsin Kalkan interview, conducted in Menemen, 1995-1997.

57 For a summary of these mass movements see: McCarthy, Justin, Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire/An Annotated Map. Turkish Coalition of America, 2010.

58 EBOHA, Ferit Oğuz Bayır interview, Eski Foça, 1995-1997.

59 Reşat Kasaba also suggested a similar method of comparison in his work where he tried to identify the reasons of the level of destruction that was caused by Greek and Turkish nationalisms. See: Kasaba, Reşat, Greek and Turkish Nationalism in Formation: Western Anatolia 1919-1922. EUI Working Paper RSC No: 2002/17. Italy: European University Institute, 2002.

60 This comparison of muhacir groups to the old Greek neighbors is a repeated topic in both Mehmet Tahsin and Mehmet Peker interviews. Both interviewees were native residents of Foçateyn and their account shows us the discontent they had with the new community they were living with. EBOHA, Mehmet Tahsin (conducted in Menemen) and Mehmet Peker (conducted in Eski Foça) interviews, 1995-1997.

61 Dündar, Fuat, Modern Türkiye’nin Şifresi/İttihat ve Terakki’nin Etnisite Mühendisliği (1913-1918). Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2008, p.179.

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Référence électronique

Emre Erol, « A Multidimensional Analysis of the Events in Eski Foça (Παλαιά Φώκαια) on the period of Summer 1914 », Cahiers balkaniques [En ligne], 40 | 2012, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2012, consulté le 01 août 2014. URL : http://ceb.revues.org/911 ; DOI : 10.4000/ceb.911

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