interesting letter from AHEPA brother and supreme president, Mr. George J. Dariotis to Time magazine editors:
“As the largest Hellenic-American organization, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is appalled to read that you described Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a man who, “expelled the Greeks” from Turkey in your “Leaders & Locations” section of the TIME Centennial News Quiz, published December 31, 1999.
While Ataturk did shape Turkey into a secular state as a dictator, he did so by committing widespread human rights violations against his own people and with the ethnic cleansing of millions of Turkey’s Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and other Christian minorities. According to reports by U.S. Consul George Horton, Ataturk’s troops slaughtered as many as 200,000 Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna (now renamed Izmir), burning this once-cosmopolitan city to the ground. According to Winston Churchill, “Kemal celebrated his triumph by transforming Smyrna into ashes and by slaughtering the whole of the indigenous Christian population.” Ataturk’s precedent in fact set the stage for the later Jewish holocaust perpetrated by Hitler. I do not believe the simple word “expelled” applies to any of these situations.
Although Ataturk did institute many reforms following western models, he also established a ruthless dictatorship that he used to suppress Muslims and crush any dissent to his program of secularization. And while he created a limited parliamentary system of government, Ataturk also established Turkey’s military dominance over civilian government and perpetuated the Ottoman authoritarian tradition.
As all of these facts attest, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was in reality a man of violence and destruction. Is TIME, through its Education Program, educating its readership to condone such actions of violence and hate? AHEPA, through its 60,000 members, respectfully requests that an acknowledgement of these facts be published for your readers.”