Istanbul pogrom

series of state-sponsored anti-Greek mob attacks

The Istanbul Pogrom was a pogrom directed primarily against the Istanbul's Greek minority on September 6 and 7, 1955. Jews and Armenians living in the city and their businesses were also targeted in the pogrom, which was, according to some circles, orchestrated by the Turkish government.

A Turkish mob, most of which was trucked into the city in advance, assaulted Istanbul’s Greek community for nine hours. Although the leaders of the pogrom did not explicitly call for Greeks to be killed, between 13 and 16 Greeks (including two Orthodox clerics) and at least one Armenian died during or after the pogrom as a result of beatings and arson.[1]

Thirty-two Greeks were severely wounded. In addition, dozens of Greek women were raped, and a number of men were forcibly circumcised by the mob. 4,348 Greek-owned businesses, 110 hotels, 27 pharmacies, 23 schools, 21 factories, 73 churches and over a thousand Greek-owned homes were badly damaged or destroyed.[1]

Estimates of the economic cost of the damage vary from Turkish government's estimate of 24.8 million US$,[2] the British diplomat estimates of 100 million GBP (about 200 million US$), the World Council of Churches’ estimate of 150 million USD, and the Greek government's estimate of 500 million US$.[1]

The pogrom greatly accelerated emigration of ethnic Greeks from the Istanbul region, reducing the 200,000-strong Greek minority in 1924 to just 2,500 in 2006.[3]

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  • Robert Holland, Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, 1954–59, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998, pp. 75–78.
  • The Washington Post, “In Turkey, a Clash of Nationalism and History”, an article by Karl Vick referring to the events as a “pogrom”.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Speros Vryonis, The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6–7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul, New York: 2005, ISBN 978-0-9747660-3-4
  2. "Turkish currency exchange rates 1923-1990". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  3. According to the Human Rights Watch the Greek population in Turkey is estimated at 2,500 in 2006. "From “Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity” series of Human Rights Watch" Archived 2006-07-07 at the Wayback Machine Human Rights Watch, 2 July 2006.