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The Menemen Massacre occurred on June 16–17, 1919, shortly after the Greek forces landed in nearby Smyrna, as part of the post the World War I partition of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman prefect of Menemen, Kemal Bey, and the six gendarmes accompanying him were assassinated by Greek soldiers in the evening of the first day. These deaths became the opening act for further killings carried out on the civilian population of Menemen the following day by a Cretan brigade aided by a number of accomplices from the local Greek minority. The event was termed as a "massacre" by an inter-allied commission composed of four generals representing the Allied Powers.[citation needed]

The number of casualties among the civilian Turkish population of the town during the single day of June 17 vary between two hundred, according to the October 1919 report drawn up by the Inter-Allied Commission; to one thousand, according to a delegation that arrived the next day (June 18, 1919). Captain Charns, the head of that delegation, contrasted the number of Turkish victims against the non-existence of any Greek wounded, either civilian or military. The October report, prepared by the British officers and medical delegates from the British and Italian consulates in Smyrna, rejected the 1000 casualties figure as an exaggeration, finding that at least 100 had died, and mentioning a French officer's investigation the day after the massacre reporting that 200 Turks had been killed, and 200 injured.[1]

Historian Justin McCarthy, rejecting the findings of the Inter-Allied Commission, claimed the massacre was preplanned, indicated by the fact that before the attacks all Greek houses in the city had been marked with white crosses and were not affected by the pillage and destruction.[2]

British Admiral Calthorpe, commenting to London on the fact that some Turks of Menemen had managed to survive, stated:

In my opinion the Greeks are responsible for the whole affair... Only their complete lack of organization prevented them from obtaining a greater measure of success. It is also possible that the unexpected presence of British witnesses cooled them a little.

—Somerset Gough-Calthorpe, Calthorpe to Curzon[3]

See also


  1. Report of the Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry (May-September 1919) by the Members of the Commission; Adm. Bristol, the US Delegate - Gen. Hare, the British Delegate - Gen. Bunoust, the French Delegate - Gen. Dall'Olio, the Italian Delegate. The statements in defense of the Greek government presented by Col. Mazarakis.
  2. Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, Darwin Press, 1996, p. 270 ISBN 0-87850-094-4.
  3. Foreign Office document FO 371/4220, № 112194, Calthorpe to Curzon, Constantinople, 22 July 1919.

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