Tell them lies— repeat them over and over again and eventually they’ll believe it— even if there isn’t an ounce of validity or evidence to back the claim.
It’s an old trick used repeatedly in politics by politicians in practically every nation on the planet.
Such was the case in Turkey where Recep Tayyip Erdoğan perpetuated one of the world’s greatest lies to an audience that will no doubt— believe him.
The lie— that the once-thriving cosmopolitan city of Smyrna, known as İzmir today, was burned by retreating Greek troops in 1922.
“The biggest blow given to this beautiful city was by the Greek soldiers who burned Izmir as they retreated,” Erdogan said, perpetuating a historically false claim that’s has been proven incorrect by numerous eye witness accounts.
And embellishing the falsehood, he continued that “our ancestors did not want to destroy or burn. They always wanted to build and create.”
The ancestors Erdogan speaks of— the early founders of the modern Turkish Republic, perpetrated one of the most egregious human atrocities of the twentieth century when they decimated the Christian presence In Anatolia, leaving millions dead in their path of annihilation.
For history’s sake, and for the memory of the millions of victims, proof exists that prove Erdogan’s comments to be an outright lie.
“The Turkish army’s arson of Smyrna is a historical fact based on eyewitness testimony, according to Lou Ureneck, author of the book “Smyrna, September 1922” (HarperCollins, 2015).
In a statement to The Pappas Post, Ureneck continued:
“The evidence appears in the U.S. National Archives and other locations as well. The Greek army had departed Smyrna a week before the fire. So, the charge of Greek army arson is demonstrably false. At the time, the Turkish command in Smyrna claimed the fire was started by a group of Armenians, which they claimed to have in custody. American naval officers who were in Smyrna demanded to see the arson suspects, but the Turkish command was unable to produce them.
“The fire began as a series of fires to the east of the American Girls School in the Armenian district of Smyrna. The American director of the school saw and reported Turkish soldiers lighting the fires. American sailors in the city speculated that the reason was to smoke out Greeks and Armenians who were being sheltered at the school. Further evidence of the Turkish arson was provided in testimony in a London courtroom the following year in a trial that sought to settle insurance claims by tobacco companies. Eyewitness testimony at the trial established that Turkish soldiers lit cushions and other flammable objects and threw them into the homes of Armenians. The arson was accompanied by widespread brutality and killing of civilians.
“The fire at Smyrna burned for more than three days. It destroyed most of the city, killed thousands and caused inestimable suffering to hundreds of thousands of Greek and Armenians residents of Smyrna. It is a tragedy of unspeakable proportion.”
Perhaps someone should send a copy of Lou Ureneck’s book to Mr. Erdogan.
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