Trisha Shetty

Hellenoturkism

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Hellenoturkism

Hellenoturkism is a political concept that encompasses two things: a) a fact of civilization i.e. the co-habitation and interdependence, since the 11th century A.D., of the Greek and Turkish peoples and cultures, and b) a political ideology based on the above civilizational phenomenon, which aims at establishing a Greek-Turkish political ensemble.

From Empire to Confederation

From the time of the Persian Empire and Alexander the Great, to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century A.D., the Intermediate Region has been covered by an ecumenical empire that had common civilizational characteristics, despite the fact that it passed into the hands successively from the Persians, to the Greeks, to the Romans, the Byzantines and, finally, the Ottomans. This common civilization of the Intermediate Region, called since the time of Jesus, Roman, bore the characteristics, since the 11th century A.D. and for the last thousand years, of Greek and Turkish cultures. The Ecumenicity of the Empire was hellenoturkism.

In the 15th century, a Greek philosopher, George of Trebizond, 1395-1484 (the date of his death varies from 1472 to 1486 depending on the sources), who aimed at synthesizing Turkish Islam in the form of Bektashism and Christianity in the form of Greek Orthodoxy, is considered by supporters of hellenoturkism as the founder of their ideology. He addressed the new ruler of the Empire, Mehmed the Conqueror, in a letter of 1466, as the legal emperor of the Romans and of the whole Universe and also as the common emperor of both Greeks and Turks.

In the 19th century, after the founding of the Kingdom of Greece in 1832, the majority of the Greek population remained in the Ottoman Empire and were divided between two trends: the nationalists of the so-called Western Party and the federalists of the so-called Eastern Party. The latter wanted to stay in the Empire and transform it into a purely Greek-Turkish Empire. The two trends also developed in the State of Greece with the most vocal defender of a Greek-Turkish common State being the member of Parliament of Greece, in 1864, Georgios Typaldos-Iakovatos.

In the 20th century, the ideology of hellenoturkism was revived by the historian Dimitri Kitsikis who since 1966, in his numerous books, articles and conference papers, as well as with his political activity in both Greece and Turkey, as adviser of Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis the Elder and Turkish President Turgut Özal, has striven to establish the basis of a Turkish-Greek Confederation.

Eleftherios Venizelos on the 10th of May 1933, in a meeting of the Committee of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared and repeated three times the following: "One day will come when we will create with Turkey an Eastern Federation". Venizelos' close collaborator, Leon Makkas, in his Souvenirs, referring to his meetings with the founder of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, wrote: "Kemal was the apostle of a large Greco-Turkish Empire in the East, a double-headed Empire, with two administrative capitals and one spiritual capital, the Augustian city which was successively called Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul and which will always remain, by its very geographical position, the Queen City of a whole Eastern world. I did not anymore have in front me the Peter the Great of Turkey, but rather a Victor Hugo chanting his Orientales".

A bilingual "Greek Turkish Confederation" (East Mediterranean Confederation) between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus (with national capitals in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia, and Confederation parliament in Istanbul) would (to an extent) be a reincarnation of the Byzantine/Ottoman Empires; thus filling the political, cultural and economic vacuum that's left behind by the absence of these two historic superpowers in the East Mediterranean region. It would have the largest economy and military in the area covering the Balkans, the Middle East, the East Mediterranean, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and become one of the key global great powers due to its geographic location. During the 2010-2015 Greek financial crisis, the Greek-Turkish Confederation idea was brought back with renewed insistence in Turkey as well as in Greece

References

Hellenoturkism Wikipedia


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