09/08/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – September 6-7 marks the anniversary of the 1955 pogrom in Istanbul that primarily targeted Greek Orthodox residents, but also Armenians and Jews. The anniversary was marked by the first memorial ceremony in Istanbul to commemorate the occasion. The commemoration occurred at Istanbul’s Panagia Greek Orthodox Church.
The impact of the pogrom was devastation, both in terms of property and human life. According to some estimates, at least 300 were dead and 400 were raped. Over 70 churches and more than 4,000 stores and 2,000 residences were looted. The pogrom was planned by the government and occurred at a time when the Turkish authorities were inciting public opinion against the Greeks because of the dispute over Cyprus. Many have commented that one of the long lasting impacts of the pogrom was how it solidified a culture within Turkey where non-Muslims do not have equal citizenship.
The anniversary also occurs at a time of heightened tensions between the Greek and Turkish governments. Turkey has never acknowledged their role in the pogrom, nor in the genocide a few decades earlier. Both events left Turkey’s local Christian community significantly smaller and more oppressed. Some Turkish leaders are also threatening genocide against Greeks again. Such language further isolates and oppresses those few Greek Christians who remain living in Turkey.
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