- Project Runeberg -  Armenia and the Near East /
25

(1928) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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battalions” while the majority of them were still alive, thus
saving them from destruction; and, secondly, to save at any
rate part of the value of the abandoned property in Anatolia
and Eastern Thrace for the Greek refugees.

It may be objected that it was hard for the Turkish population
in Greek territory to be compelled to leave their peaceful
homes, where they had not been interfered with; and there
is no denying that they had to suffer for the sins of their
kinsmen in Turkey. But the intention was that they should
receive full compensation, and they should get plenty of
fertile land that had been left untenanted in Eastern Thrace
and Asia Minor, where they could settle among people of the
same race and faith. There appeared to be no doubt that this
plan would give good results in the future, by creating more
homogeneous populations and removing one chief cause of
the endless conflicts, often attended by massacres, in the
Near East.

On the Turkish side it has been argued that the Turkish
population in Greece left their houses and other property
intact, so that their homes were ready to receive the Greek
refugees; whereas the Turks arriving in Asia Minor found
no homes—the Greek villages being nothing but ruins—and
therefore suffered far greater hardships. It is forgotten
that the work of destruction was partly effected by the Turks
themselves; the fertile land, moreover, was still there, enough
of it to furnish more than ample compensation in a form that
would mean permanent wealth; while it would not take long
to put up houses of sufficient substance to give the shelter
necessary in that climate. Further, the Greek houses in
Eastern Thrace were left intact. On the whole, the property
abandoned by the Greeks was far more valuable than what
they would receive in return; so the Turks gained largely
by the exchange.

It has been said that the plan was unjust to the Christians
in Asia Minor, but that is not correct. The proposal concerned
the Greek population only; most of these Greeks
had already been expelled, and there could be no question
that the Turks intended to expel the few who remained.
Surely it was all to the good that this should be done in a

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