If we had more time it would be a much better summary… anyway, here it is, tomorrow I’ll send maps as well !
The Greeks inhabited Anatolia even before the fall of the Hittite Empire (12th century BC), and the semi-mythical age of the Trojan War. The first Greek cities of Western Anatolian coast became major economic and cultural centers and were pioneers in the birth of Western philosophy, centuries before Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They founded colonies from the northern Anatolian shores (“Pontus”) to western Europe (Marseille). After Alexander the Great, the spread of Greek Culture Hellenized most of the other Anatolian peoples, until the arrival of Turks in Anatolia, in 1071 (Battle of Manzikert).
The amount of the Greeks living in the Ottoman Empire until the Great War varies from account to account. Most records and researches estimate a number from 1,7 to 2,5 million native Greeks (1, 729, 738 in 1914, according to the Ottoman government, c. 10% of the population). As the ottoman census system accounted Muslims, regardless of nationality, as one entity, the Greeks were considered the second largest ethnicity in the state. By then Greeks were concentrated in Eastern Thrace, Western Anatolian and Pontic coasts.
With the rise of the Young Turks, non-Muslims became an obstacle. They were the bourgeoisie class of the empire (and the Young Turks wanted a Turkish bourgeoisie), and their existence nullified the claim that the Ottoman empire was solely Turkish. Before WWI, 50% of invested capital in industry was Greek, as was the 60% of manufacturing. In 1912 out of 18.063 trading offices in the Ottoman empire, 46% were Greek, 23% were Armenian and 15% were Muslim. In 1914, out of 6.507 industries and crafts 49% was Greek, as was the 46% of bankers, 52% of doctors, 49% of pharmacists, 52% of architects, 37% of engineers and 29% of lawyers . In Constantinople the Greeks were c. 30% of the population and controlled the economic life of the capital . The Greeks, along with the rest minorities, supported the Young Turks’ revolution and their proclamations about reforms.
Even before the start of WW1, Greeks were persecuted, mainly from the “Special Organization” (Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa), a secret special force of the stated. Areas deemed important for the national security (Eastern Thrace, Gallipoli, Pontus) were evacuated from Greeks, villages were burned, women and children killed, an economic boycott was initiated, Greek businesses and real estate were confiscated and, in many cases, foreign observes drew parallels with the Armenian Genocide. On the other hand, the main reason for Greece entering WW1 with Entente’s side was the promise that she would be rewarded with western Anatolia. When the war finished, it seemed natural for the Western public opinion that the Ottoman Empire would be punished.
The internal strife between Entente powers, mainly the British and French desire to blockade Italy for expanding in Anatolia, gave the chance to Greek PM Eleftherios Venizelos to promote the Greek administration of the Aydin Vilayet, presenting the deploring situation of the Christians in the area even after the armistice. Venizelos was granted a landing and on May 15, 1919, Greek troops landed on Smyrna, which was a Greek-majority city at the time. As was natural, they were greeted by the Greeks and Armenians as liberators, after 6 centuries of Ottoman rule.
On the other side, while generally the Ottoman forces surrendered, the Greek landing shocked Turks. While they were willing to accept a short-term mandate by Western Powers, the Greeks were different case. The native Greek population and the long historic connection of the area with Greeks seemed to be a solid case for the annexation of Western Anatolia to Greece. Also, hundreds thousand Circassians and Turks became refugees after the Russian persecutions and the Balkan Wars, and they were seeing their world shrinking. The landing of the “eternal enemy” to Anatolia, was an existential threat for Turks. During this danger, many of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide and other war crimes during WW1 are now considered heroes from large parts of the Turkish public. They take refugee in the national cause of Kemal.
As the Greek troops were welcomed as liberators by the Greeks, they were attacked in the same day by Turkish soldiers and irregulars. During the next few days the violence rose from all sides, as Turkish irregulars hit Greek troops and villages inside and outside the occupation, and the Greek Army, along with Anatolian Greeks willing to commit reprisals, stroke back with similar manner, against irregulars and civilians alike.
4 days after the landing, on May 19, Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli, landed to Samsun willing to gather troops and initiate an independence struggle. The Greeks in Pontus, far from the Greek army and having no chance of annexation with Greece, are forming partisan bands to defend themselves.
• June 22, 1919, Amasya Circular
• 4-11 September 1919, Sivas Congress
• October 22, 1919, Amasya Protocol
Now, when the Ottoman parliamentary elections took place, in December 1919, the overwhelming majority in the house was the pro-Kemal “Association for the Defense of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia”
• February 12, 1920, “National Oath”
When the Parliament adopted the “National Oath”, the Entente occupied Constantinople on March 16, arresting several MP’s and the sultan dissolved the house on April 11. Mustafa Kemal called for a national election to establish a new Turkish Parliament seated in Ankara – the “Grand National Assembly” (GNA). On 23 April 1920, the GNA opened with Mustafa Kemal as the speaker; two sources of authority were existing in Turkey.
By then it was evident that the Greek Army was facing a difficult task. While it was a battle-hardened force, having better numbers and equipment in comparison with the Turkish irregulars, it was forced to expand the area of operations to control the bases of the latter. This led for the need for more and more Greek troops and materiel in Anatolia. The Treaty of Sevres (August 20, 1920) was a triumph for Venizelos foreign policy (Eastern Thrace was annexed with Greece, except Constantinople, Smyrna prefecture was under Greek control, but Ottoman sovereignty, and after 5 years a plebiscite under the League of Nations would decide the fate of the area), but it was evident that Greece had to earn by arms what she accomplish with diplomacy. At the same time, the national division, the quasi-civil war from WW1, was very much alive. A few days after the Treaty of Sevres, Venizelos survived an assassination attempt in Paris by two exiled royalist officers. On October 25, 1920, king Alexander of Greece died in a freak accident: He was bite by a makaka monkey in the royal menagerie and the trauma was infected.
Venizelos had promised for elections, for he did not wanted to be viewed as a dictator (he rose in power with the help of the Entente armies in June 1917). In result, the Greek people, tired with the state of constant war since 1912, voted for the Royalists (November 1, 1920). Venizelos quit politics and went to France and the new government set for a Plebiscite concerning the return of the exiled king Constantine, Alexander’s father. Despite the warnings of the Entente powers to not bring him back, the royalists leaders hide this from the public, and the referendum on November 22, 1920 resulted in 99% in favor of his return (Venizelists abstained). In result, the Entente powers did not recognized Constantine as head of state and froze all loans to Greece. After the French elections of 1920, the new French government saw Greeks as the proxy of British interests in Middle East and approached Kemal.
On the other side, the newly formed USSR viewed Kemalist Turkey as a natural ally against the capitalist western powers. Soon, Kemal gained valuable diplomatic and material support. The Treaty of Moscow, known as the “Treaty of Brotherhood” (March 16, 1921) was a major boost for the Turkish National Movement, in financial and materiel terms. (In 1920 alone, Bolshevik Russia supplied the Kemalists with 6,000 rifles, over 5 million rifle cartridges, and 17,600 shells as well as 200.6 kg (442.2 lb) of gold bullion. In the subsequent two years the amount of aid increased)
• First Battle of İnönü 6-11 January 1921
• Second Battle of İnönü March 23 – April 1 1921
The diplomatically isolated Greek Royalist government, chose to end its deadlock by launching an all-out attack against Ankara, the headquarters of the Turkish national movement. In late May 1921, king Constantine, moved to Anatolia as the only Field Marshal of the army, to lead the attack
• Battle of Kütahya–Eskişehir July 10-24, 1921
• Battle of Sakarya/Sangarios, the climactic battle of the war, August 23 – September 13, 1921, Greek advance stopped 40 km from Ankara. The Greek army had, by know, the same problem Napoleon had in Russia. Overextended supply lines, weak logistics, the whole economy of the country started to crumble. The soldiers, far from the Greek inhabited land on the coast, were entrenched and ill-equipped in a far, barren Turkish land. Demoralization of the Greek soldiers.
• August-September 1921: The Amasya Trials
• Treaty of Ankara, October 20, 1921, France withdraws from Anatolia, adopts a pro-Kemal stance.
• February – March 1922: Conference of London decided that the Treaty of Sevres needed to be revised. Proposal of an armistice by the Great Powers. Kemal, now having the advantage, declined any compromise while Greek army was still in Anatolia
The royalist government proceeded, in April, to an extreme measure: It divided the banknotes. The left side was used as the currency at half the value of the entire banknote. The right-hand side of the bill was exchanged with interest-bearing admission at half the value of the entire bill.
Voices in Greece to end the campaign, imprisonment of politicians, anti-war communist propaganda within Greek army ranks, further demoralization.
• Battle of Dumlupınar, 26-30 August 1922, the last battle of the war. Most of the Greek army is destroyed. The remnants of the army retreated to Smyrna. Retreating Greek soldiers commit war crimes against Turkish civilians. Greek army evacuates Anatolia. Anatolian Greeks follow the Greek army.
• September 8, 1922. Turkish Army enters Smyrna. Initiation of mass war crimes against Greek civilians in western Anatolia.
• September 13, 1922. Great Fire of Smyrna. Complete destruction of the Greek and Armenian quarter of the city, c. 100.000 civilian victims, Greeks and Armenians. Survivors from all Western Anatolia are moving to the opposite Greek islands with every available mean. Albeit a matter of nationalistic debate between official historiographies, most sources (even some Turkish) agree that the fire started from the Turks.
• Armistice of Mudanya (October 11, 1922)
• Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations (January 30, 1923). 1,5 million Anatolian Greeks are compulsory exchanged with 355.000 Muslims of Greece. Only exceptions the Greeks of Constantinople and the Muslims of Western Thrace. The first formal and compulsory exchange in history. ¼ of Greece’s population are refugees. Huge humanitarian issue. Many refugees had different cultural background from mainland Greeks and many of them even didn’t know the Greek language. For the next years the main issue of Greek politics is the settlement and assimilation of refugees in Greek society.
• Treaty of Lausanne. 24 July 1923. Establishment of modern Republic of Turkey.
Clash of modern nationalisms (here the Greek and the Turkish here), led to the cleansing of minorities, the creation of centralized nation-states and to innumerable suffering of civilians.
Unwillingness of modern Turkey to recognize the genocides of the Anatolian Christians during WW1 and the Turkish War of Independence. Still an issue to modern politics.