The destruction of Smyrna: how the Turks put an end to the Greek presence on their territory by burning down a city

  • Norberto Paredes @norbertparedes
  • BBC News World

image sources, Public domain

At the beginning of the last century, a mainly Greek city washed by the Mediterranean Sea was on the west coast of what is now Turkey.

Smyrna was a prosperous city where Turks were a minority and made up less than a third of the population, against a Greek and Christian majority. Both groups coexisted with smaller communities of Armenians and Jews.

At that time, its inhabitants were unaware that the multiculturalism that characterized the metropolis would cease to exist a few decades later and that this millennial city would be renamed İzmir, the Turkish translation of the original Greek name.

In August 1922, after having won the final battle of Dumlupinar of the Greco-Turkish war, the army of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – considered “the father of modern Turkey” – took another step towards the objective of reducing the Hellenic influence in Anatolia (now Turkey).

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