Who burned Gyabur Izmir?

Who burned Gyabur Izmir?
Who burned Gyabur Izmir?

A question that has not found its answer, is the who burned Smyrna. The Turkish academic Baskin Oran approaches the truth, attributing the burning of Smyrna to Nuredin Pasha, that is, in the Turkish army. Of course Oran is trying to “exonerate” Mustafa Kemal, who appointed Nuredin Pasha military commander of Smyrna after he had previously acquitted him of the crimes he had committed against the Greeks of Pontus and the Kurdish Alevis of Kotzgiri.

However, even so, with the conclusion that Izmir was burned by Nuredin Pasha, Baskin Oran contributes to the historical research being done on the subject.

Here is the article:

This week, September 12-18, marks the 100 years since the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922. The disaster begins on September 13 and lasts for four whole days. 25,000 homes, workplaces, churches, hospitals, factories, warehouses, hotels and restaurants are destroyed. A huge area, at least the current Smyrna Exhibition.

Why is it called “Giabur”, before we go further: Before the Fire, there were in the city an equal number of non-Muslims (i.e. Greeks first, then Armenians, Jews, Levantines) and Muslims. Its image as a European city, especially with its nightlife, was entirely due to the presence of non-Muslims. After the fire there are no non-Muslims left. After the fire and the Exchange, the last Armenians left, and when in 1964 the Greeks who lived in the city also left, then Izmir is becoming “Turkish” as it is today, alhamdulillah.

Let’s continue by noting the following: There are no official documents that answer the question of the title of the article. There are a lot of hot things out there, but their credibility is limited to those who say and write.

The most important point: the Turkish authorities, in particular, are completely silent on this matter. Silence always speaks volumes.

Where and when the fire broke out, who did it, why all these discussions took place, historian Ayşe Hür wrote in the newspaper Taraf, on 9/14/2008, an article entitled “Who killed my beautiful Smyrna, in 1922?”. Because there is no access to her file Tarafrepublished her article in Kısa Dalga, adding some facts.

I’ll just sketchily ask the “who did it” question and give my opinion. For that matter there are six theories.

1) The fire started by itself: Those who know Smyrna, know that it is the batis that saves the city in the summer from the humidity and the heat. There is also the “donkey foot”. In the heat of summer, the fire broke out and spread because of the “donkey’s foot”. But since we know very well that the fire came from many places at once, this probability is zero.

2) The Turks burned it: Fanatical Turks burned non-Muslim neighborhoods to erase the image of “infidel” Smyrna. But four days had passed since the Turkish army liberated the city. Why would the Turks burn the city’s best neighborhoods instead of occupying them?

3) The Greek army burned it: The Greek soldiers left the city, which was liberated on September 9, by September 8 at the latest. It was five days after they left and then the fire broke out. So, the chances are zero.

4) The Greeks of the city burned Smyrna: Smyrna has always been a Greek city par excellence. In the Ottoman Empire (and of course in Smyrna), each ethnicity would be in its own garbage dump, unable to survive in any other neighborhood. After all, the Greeks remained in their homeland for thousands of years, even after that the pogrom of September 6-7, which is our national shame. And only in 1964, Prime Minister Inonou decided to deport them, because of the Cypriot, those who kept Greek citizenship had to leave. Even in Constantinople, which today has a population of 16 million, the Greeks are around 2,000.

5) The Armenians burned her: The entire Armenian neighborhood was destroyed in the fire. Especially Basmane and today’s Smyrna Fair. If the Armenians wanted to burn her, why should they burn down their neighborhoods, why not collect their valuables beforehand and why wait four days after the Turkish army has occupied the city? This “theory” was there from the beginning, but it found supporters mainly after the emergence of ASALA.

One question: Do the “proponents” of the theory that Smyrna was burned by the Armenians know that the entire Armenian quarter in Ankara burned for three days from Bent Creek to Hisar in 1916?

Let’s go now to who burned Smyrna:

6) The bearded Nuredin Pasha burned her. He is the highest-ranking officer in the army of the group we now call “religions”. I say that he burned Smyrna, and I also say the reason why he did it, because when someone is brought to court, first the judge checks if he has a criminal record for a similar crime.

In this respect, Nuredin Pasha is a person with a heavy criminal record and awful character:

a) As soon as he entered Smyrna, the dignitaries of the city came to visit him. Among them the Greek metropolitan Chrysostomos. Greek nationalist, hated by the Turks. After bidding him farewell, he sends Chrysostomos through the Turkish quarter, where he is lynched by the people.

b) Two months after the Chrysostomos episode, in Nicomedia journalist Ali Kemal, who is known for the articles he wrote against Mustafa Kemal’s government, is lynched by plainclothes soldiers at the Nicomedia railway station, where he was waiting for the train as a prisoner which would transport him to Ankara to be tried.

c) The atrocities committed by Nureddin Pasha against the Greeks and Armenians on the Black Sea, together with the infamous Topal Osman in 1921, and against the Kurds in the Kotzgiri uprising, in Sebastia, without distinguishing between women and children, are still very fresh.

Ataturk’s close friend, Falih Rıfkı Atayhe writes in his famous book Çankaya that Topal Osman, who threw “alive people into the boiler of the steamer instead of coal”, this sadistic gangster strangled an anti-Kemalist MP in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. They called him to surrender, he refused, and then they killed him.

Veli Kuciuk, who is linked to figures in the Turkish state and the Ergenekon case, erected the statue of Topal Osman when he was Brigadier General of the military gendarmerie in Kerasunda in 2000.

Nureddin Pasha, famous for his phrase “we purged those who call themselves Zo [Αρμένιοι]now it’s time for those who call him lo [Κούρδοι]» in Kochgiri, he was brought to trial in a Court Martial, at the demand of some members of the National Assembly. Mustafa Kemal intervened and he narrowly escaped condemnation for the crimes he committed.

The September 12 coup plotters wanted to move Nureddin Pasha’s grave to the state cemetery, but there was so much backlash from all sides that they were forced to cancel the decision.

In summary, one Nureddin Pasha was such a man. Mustafa Kemal did not like him at all. Because this person put him in a very difficult position in the Parliament with the Kochgiri crime, but also because he was a religious, therefore ideological opponent. Apart from the above, he planned to occupy a position in the government, after liberation. When he entered Smyrna, he made his first visit to the mufti of the city instead of the prefect. Because he was bigoted, as soon as he entered Smyrna he printed a business card that read: “Noureddin Pasha, the victor of Afyon and Dumlu Pinar, the liberator of Smyrna.”

Mustafa Kemal did not allow such things. But if you noticed, he put up with this person in two very important situations and saved him:

1) About what he did in Kotchgiri: It can be explained as follows: 1921 is a very sensitive date for the War of Independence, because the army has retreated to the east of Sangario and Ankara is in danger. War is fought with a handful of officers. In such a situation, it was not possible to purge the senior and experienced cadre of the army.

2) Regarding his involvement in the Smyrna fire: Yes, the Turkish authorities, especially Mustafa Kemal, are silent on this issue. Furthermore, in the 36.5-hour Great Speech he delivered to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1927 (declaring that he is now the sole leader), Mustafa Kemal seriously expresses his dislike for Nureddin Pasha and “puts him to the ground” in text 16 of pages. But there he does not say a word about the fire of Smyrna. And he doesn’t say anything after that. The most he said was, “Yes, this fire is an unfortunate incident.”

This matter can be explained as follows: If Kemal had said that Nuredin Pasha burned it, this statement would have been taken as “the Turks burned Smyrna.” That’s why he hid it inside and never admitted it.

Let’s end with the conclusion reached by the historian Ayse Heur: “To clarify who burned Smyrna, […] we should analyze the mentality that gave birth to a person like Nureddin Pasha, the “bearded one”. Examining the policies that led to the systematic exile, extermination of the “enemy within” and capital transfer of non-Muslim populations to Muslims, we can safely conclude who burned Smyrna».

The article is in Greek

Tags: burned Gyabur Izmir

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