The Ten Demands: A Fight for Justice

by Stavros Terry Stavridis

When the news of the Ward/Yowell eyewitness testimony became known in Constantinople, the Pontian Greeks demanded the intervention of the United States to get the Kemalists to stop the deportations and massacres of their fellow country people who lived along the shores of the Black Sea. The Central Committee of the Greek Dioceses of Pontus demanded justice for its people.

The Central Committee of the Greek Dioceses of Pontus based in Constantinople appealed to US President Warren Harding on May 20, 1922. They offered 10 conditions that should have been imposed on Turkey to stop the massacres and to save the Hellenic race in Pontus from complete destruction. These important terms are quoted in full below:

1. Immediate cessation of the massacres

2. Urgent liberation and repatriation of all deportees and civil prisoners

3. Release of all those who are serving in the regiments “Amele Tabourou”

4. Release of all political prisoners and annulment of all decisions given by the fatal “ Courts of Independence” against the life and property of the Christians.

5. Free return to Pontus of all the Greeks, natives of his district, whatever reasons and dates of their removal maybe

6. To oblige the Mussulman immigrants, who were taken there from other places and established in the country by the Turkish Government, with a view to change its ethnological character to leave Pontus

7. Reparations of all damages and injuries inflicted to the Christians by the Turks since 1914 up to the enforcement of the present claims

8. General cancelling of all the official and private acts of violence such as seizure, confiscation, spoliation transfer of Greek movable and immovable property, under whatever denomination it may be, to names of the Turks.

9. Arrest and punishment of the principal authors of massacres and devastation.

10. Formation of Pontus to an autonomous country under the suzerainty of H.M the Sultan, and under the effective and efficacious protectorate of one or all the Allied Powers together, with all rights for all the native populations enjoying a proportional participation to the legislative and administrative authority, as well as to the public security and other employment. This proportion is to be based on the respective pre-war lists, so as not to let go the immense human losses which were the result of the Turkish massacres since eight consecutive years.”

This Pontian organization hoped that their appeal to Harding would be favorably received and the conditions that they demanded would be imposed on Turkey. Obviously such demands sought by the Pontians were just but the U.S and European powers were not really interested in going to war with Kemalist Turkey. They had their agendas in Asia Minor, as each of them competed for economic concessions from the Kemalists.The ten demands outlined above were never fulfilled by the United States or the European powers. The cry for justice went unheeded, as the Pontian Greeks were left to fend for themselves.

© 2005 Not to be reproduced or distributed without the consent of the author.

(Posted originally October 2005; reformatted March 2007)

About the Author

Stavros Terry Stavridis was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949 of Greek parents. He migrated to Australia with his parents in September 1952. Stavros has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Political Science/Economic History and B.A (Hons) in European History from Deakin University and M.A in Greek/Australian History from RMIT University. His MA thesis is titled "The Greek-Turkish War 1919-23: an Australian Press Perspective."

Stavros has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, lecturing at University and TAFE (Technical and Further Education, the equivalent of Community College in the US) levels. He has presented papers at international conferences in Australia and USA and has also given public lectures both in Australia and on the West Coast of the US. Many of his articles have appeared in the Greek-American press. He currently works as a historical researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

Stavros' research interests are the Asia Minor campaign and disaster, Middle Eastern history, the Assyrian and Armenian genocides, Greece in the Balkan Wars 1912-13 and the First World War and history in general.

Readers interested in the works of Stavridies may read more of his fine articles posted on HCS at the URL

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