Why did it
A question of
THE YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION
Sultan Abdülhamid II is forced to reinstate the 1876 Constitution and allow for multi-party democratic elections in the Ottoman Empire.
THE START OF ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS
Economic boycotts against the Christians of the Ottoman Empire (Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, etc.) begin in 1911 and will continue throughout the decade, in an effort to extract economic activity from non-Muslim/Turkish businesses of the Empire and reinforce the “National Economy” (Milli Iktisat).
8 OCTOBER 1912 – 30 MAY 1913
FIRST BALKAN WAR
Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, & Montenegro coordinate efforts and drive out Ottoman troops from the Balkans, acquiring lands that stretch from today’s Albania to the borders of today’s Istanbul. Greece gains much of the geographical territories of Epirus and Macedonia.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees are forced to leave their Balkan hometowns and start the agonizing trip, on foot, towards the borders of the Ottoman Empire.
29 JUNE – 10 AUGUST 1913
SECOND BALKAN WAR
Displeased with its cut of the winner’s pie, Bulgaria attacks its former allies. Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro are now joined by Romania and the Ottoman Empire in a new fight against Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire regains some territories to the west of Istanbul, in what is today Eastern Thrace. The flow of Muslim refugees from the Balkans towards Constantinople (Istanbul) continues.
14 NOVEMBER 1913
THE TREATY OF ATHENS
Balkan hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece officially end. The Ottoman Empire recognises Greece’s acquisition of the cities of Thessaloniki and Ioannina and its annexation of the island of Crete. The issue of the North Aegean Islands (Lesbos, Chios, Lemnos, Imbros, Tenedos), annexed by Greece during the Balkan Wars, remains unresolved.
NORTH AEGEAN ISLANDS GO TO GREECE
The “Great Powers” award the North Aegean Islands (apart from Imbros/Gökçeada and Tenedos/Bozcaada) to Greece. The Ottoman Empire refuses to give up its claims and the two countries almost go to war. The issue will be ultimately resolved by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
SPRING & SUMMER 1914
VIOLENT ATTACKS AGAINST GREEK POPULATIONS ALL ALONG THE AEGEAN COAST OF TURKEY
Paramilitary groups and gangs of bandits (çete & başıbozuk) terrorize and loot Greek-majority towns and villages along the Aegean coast of Turkey, forcing at least 150,000 Ottoman citizens of Greek descent (Ottoman Greeks) to leave the Empire for, mostly, Greece. The towns of Old Phocaea and New Phocaea are among them.
JUNE 11-13, 1914
THE LOOTING OF OLD PHOCAEA
Bandits enter the port-town of Old Phocaea / Eski Foça, pillage, loot, and kill. Within 48 hours, the entire Greek population has left the town on ships and barges. Some arrive as refugees to Mytilene/Lesbos, others to Thessaloniki.
28 JULY 1914 – 11 NOVEMBER 1918
WORLD WAR I
The Ottoman Empire enters the war in November 1914 on the side of the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria). The King of Greece, pro-German, keeps the country neutral, until Liberal Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos enters Greece in the war on the side of the Allies in June 1917.
30 OCTOBER 1918
OTTOMAN CAPITULATION I
The Ottoman Empire capitulates to the Allies and signs the Armistice of Moudros. Provisionally, British, French, Italian, Greek, American, and Japanese forces occupy Constantinople.
18 JANUARY 1919 – 1920
THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCES
A series of conferences between the victorious Allies and the defeated Central Powers to determine the terms of peace between the two belligerent sides. The conference governing the fate of the Ottoman Empire takes place at Sèvres, outside Paris.
15 MAY 1919
GREEK ARMY LANDS AT SMYRNA/IZMIR
As part of a provisional “peace-keeping”, security operation, the Greek army, lands at the Ottoman port city of Smyrna/ Izmir and occupies it, together with peripheral areas. This is the beginning of what Greeks call “The Asia Minor Expedition” (Mikrasiatiki Ekstrateia).
19 MAY 1919
MUSTAFA KEMAL LAUNCHES THE TURKISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Ottoman General Mustafa Kemal Pasha (later, Atatürk) arrives in Samsun, Black Sea, essentially launching the Turkish War of Independence (Kurtuluş Savaşı) against all foreign occupying forces, including Greece.
10 AUGUST 1920
TREATY OF SEVRES
The Ottoman Empire is partitioned among British, French, Italian, Russian, Greek, and International zones of influence. The Treaty legalises, among other things, the administration of Smyrna by the Kingdom of Greece (already at play since May 1919), under Turkish sovereignty. The Treaty is not signed by the Revolutionary Government of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal, and hence not recognised.
THE GREEK ARMY ADVANCES TOWARDS ANKARA
To protect Ottoman Greeks from continuous attacks from irregular bandits, to force the Ottomans to capitulate and sign the Treaty of Sèvres, but also inspired by the nationalist, irredentist idea of “Megali Idea” (which would create a Greater Greece) –and with the encouragement of British PM David Lloyd George– the Greek army starts advancing towards Ankara.
23 AUGUST – 13 SEPTEMBER 1921
THE BATTLE OF SAKARYA/SANGARIOS
The turning point of the Greco-Turkish war. The Greek army’s advance is stopped. For the next 11 months, the armies will find themselves at stalemate until the Greeks, no longer able to re-supply their troops, will start being chased out of Anatolia by the last Turkish offensive, from 26 August 1922 onwards.
THE GREEKS OF PHOCAEA LEAVE FOR THE 2ND TIME
As the Greek army hastily retreats and the Turkish troops advance, the Greeks of Phocaea leave their hometown for the second time in 8 years. They will never return.
9 SEPTEMBER 1922
TURKISH TROOPS ENTER SMYRNA/IZMIR
Turkish troops enter the port city of Smyrna, where the Greek army had landed 3,5 years before. A few days later, the city’s Greek and Armenian quarters will get burnt to the ground in the Great Fire of Smyrna. Of the hundreds of thousands of Greek refugees and residents that had fled the advancing Turkish troops and were packed on the quay, whoever did not manage to flee on boats, gets massacred or drowns. This is the symbolic image that comes to mind whenever the Greeks speak of “The Catastrophe”.
11 OCTOBER 1922
The armistice of Mudanya is signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece. A few weeks later, the Sultanate is abolished and the Sultan leaves Turkey.
TREATY OF LAUSANNE & POPULATION EXCHANGE
The final settlement between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece is signed. A provisional Turkish Republic is recognized as a successor state to the Ottoman Empire and regains a lot of territories ceded to foreign powers during the Treaty of Sèvres. Most importantly, an Exchange of Populations is agreed on, whereby almost all Greek Orthodox citizens of the Ottoman Empire (around 1.5 million) would have to leave for Greece, in exchange for around 450 thousand Muslim citizens of the Kingdom of Greece, who are to move to Turkey.
29 OCTOBER 1923
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk becomes the first president of the Republic of Turkey, in its new capital, Ankara.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PALAIA & NEA FOKAIA
Phocaean refugees who fled to Athens found the town of Palaia Fokaia in Attica. Those who had fled to Thessaloniki found the town of Nea Fokaia in Chalkidiki.
THE FIRST VISIT
Five Phocaean refugees from Palaia Fokaia decide to visit their lost hometown in Turkey for the first time.
FOKAIA & FOÇA
For the first time, a group of Phocaean refugees and their children, now residents of Palaia Fokaia, goes on an official visit to Eski Foça, Turkey, to meet mayor Nihat Dirim.
A lasting friendship is born.