Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Greek: Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, romanized: I Antallagí, Ottoman Turkish: مبادله, romanized: Mübâdele) stemmed from the "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on 30 January 1923, by the governments of Greece and Turkey. It involved at least 1.6 million people (1,221,489 Greek Orthodox from Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace, the Pontic Alps and the Caucasus, and 355,000–400,000 Muslims from Greece),[3] most of whom were forcibly made refugees and de jure denaturalized from their homelands.

Kayaköy (Livisi), in southwestern Anatolia, once a Greek-inhabited settlement, was turned into a ghost town after the population exchange.[1] According to local tradition, Muslims refused to repopulate the place because "it was infested with the ghosts of Livisians massacred in 1915".[2]
The minaret of the Tzistarakis Mosque in Athens has been destroyed like many other mosques in Greece. Now the building is used as a Museum of Greek Folk Art.

The initial request for an exchange of population came from Eleftherios Venizelos[4] in a letter he submitted to the League of Nations on October 16, 1922, as a way to normalize relations de jure, since the majority of surviving Greek inhabitants of Turkey had fled to Greece by that time. Venizelos proposed a "compulsory exchange of Greek and Turkish populations," and asked Fridtjof Nansen to make the necessary arrangements.[5] The new state of Turkey also envisioned the population exchange as a way to formalize and make permanent the flight of its native Greek Orthodox peoples while initiating a new exodus of a smaller number (400,000) of Muslims from Greece as a way to provide settlers for the newly-depopulated Orthodox villages of Turkey; Greece meanwhile saw it as a way to provide propertyless Greek Orthodox refugees from Turkey with lands of expelled Muslims.[6]

This major compulsory population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion, was based not on language or ethnicity, but upon religious identity, and involved nearly all the indigenous Orthodox Christian peoples of Turkey (the Rûm "Roman/Byzantine" millet), including even Armenian- and Turkish-speaking Orthodox groups, and on the other side most of the native Muslims of Greece, including even Greek-speaking Muslim citizens, such as Cretan Turks. Each group were native peoples, citizens, and in cases even veterans, of the state which expelled them, and neither had representation in the state purporting to speak for them in the exchange treaty.

Historians have described the exchange as a legalized form of ethnic cleansing.[7][8][9]