So, the Cyprus Co-op (CCB) is no more! Years of bad management, reckless lending and illegal unenforceable loans brought the bank to its knees, with financial exposure amounting to BILLIONS!
In a deal that was thrashed out behind closed doors, without the statutory accountability to the public, the Government decided to break up the CCB and take on most of the non-performing loans (which now means that liability rests with the public purse) whilst handing over most of the 'good part' to the Hellenic bank. Is that good for the Hellenic Bank or will it be a Poison Chalice? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, the Church (which formerly owned a large chunk of the Hellenic Bank) has almost sold up and intends to start its own Bank............you really couldn't make this up!
Leslie Manison of the Cyprus Mail had the following to say....
The deal negotiated for the Hellenic Bank to acquire the “good part” of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank (CCB) and for the government to take over the “bad part” has generally been viewed as very favourable for Hellenic Bank, but bad for the Cyprus tax-payer.
Although the fine details of these arrangements have yet to be published and related legislation passed it is still possible to explore in more depth some of the issues and consequences that would most likely arise from a Hellenic Bank-Co-op Bank deal. In particular how are the balance sheets and policies of Hellenic Bank and the central government likely to be affected? And what could be the expected repercussions of the deal on the overall financial system, on the behaviour of the non-financial private sector, and more broadly on the macro-economy?
Questions on competence
The first issue that should be stressed is that the deal has been put together in a shambolic, partly illegal, non-transparent, uncompetitive and inequitable manner following the failure of Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and his advisors to privatise the CCB. The issue of development bonds of 2.35 billion euros announced on April 10, 2018 and a later issue of one billion euros placed on the balance sheet of the CCB and to be transferred subsequently to Hellenic Bank as a key element of the deal violated public debt management laws in that the House of Representatives was not informed about these bond issues.
Furthermore, a bill that would enable the government to extend guarantees to Hellenic Bank for possible impairment of certain assets acquired from the CCB was not presented to the attorney-general. Moreover, the proposed agreement between Hellenic Bank and the CCB was not vetted by the attorney-general.
Indeed, the stealthy and unprofessional way in which the deal has been prepared and managed not only raises questions about the legality of the deal, but poses the issue of whether the government was acting in the best interests of the public at large or was just engineering things to especially favour the acquisition of the “good part” of the CCB by Hellenic Bank, leaving the “bad” part of the CCB to be a heavy financial burden on the law-abiding tax-payer for generations to come. Moreover, the government is paying to give a package of risk-free assets to Hellenic Bank, a company whose major shareholders are connected closely with the ruling political party and whose record in managing and productively deploying financial assets has been poor.
Impact on Hellenic Bank
As a result of the acquisition of deposit liabilities of 9.7 billion euro and certain assets (government bonds of 4.1 billion euros, performing loans of 4.6 billion euros, and cash of 1.6 billion euros) from the CCB the size of Hellenic Bank’s balance sheet nearly trebles to over 17 billion euros. This purchase improves the quality of Hellenic Bank’s asset portfolio in the sense that its NPLs are reduced from 53 per cent to approximately 20 per cent of its gross loans. In addition the balance sheet comprises 4.6 billion euros of “protected” government bonds which should provide a steady interest income stream of around 115 million euros per annum.
It is debatable whether this income together with revenue from performing loans will be sufficient to more than offset the costs associated with a greatly increased number of employees and with the provisioning related to new loans (IFRS 9 regulatory requirements) and impairment of existing loans as well as interest expenses on deposits to yield satisfactory profits for Hellenic Bank. Much will depend on whether the bank can reduce substantially its NPLs and can extend new loans for economically viable projects.
According to Hellenic Bank and Central Bank personnel, if a deposit of a CCB customer is moved to Hellenic Bank as a result of the deal and the total of his/her deposits at the bank then is above 100,000 euros the excess will not be insured for protection. But depositors in the three months following the deal becoming effective will have the right to remove fixed deposits prematurely without penalty. If enacted these proposed regulations for depositors could induce a considerable outflow of funds from Hellenic Bank with deposits of individual customers moved to other banks to keep below the 100,000 euro limit and also into cash. This loss of deposits and cash if quite large (above two billion euros) could harm Hellenic Bank’s liquidity position, but at the same time reduce its interest expenses on deposits and on the holding of cash at the Central Bank.
There has been the misleading viewpoint propounded by politicians, media commentators and even managers of the Central Bank of Cyprus that your insured deposits of up to 100,000 euros would be safer or at less risk if held at Hellenic Bank rather than remaining at the CCB. However, for each bank it is the government that takes the risk in providing protection if a bank cannot fund its insured deposits in the event of its collapse. So in truth the deposit risk remains with the government and ultimately with the tax-payer.
Impact on government
The deal could prove to be very expensive for the central government and ultimately for the law-abiding tax-payer. The government has had to issue Development Bonds totalling 3.35 billion euros to bolster the “good part” of the CCB, raising its debt to GDP ratio from 97.5 per cent at end-2017 to currently between 115 per cent and 120 per cent. In addition, the government has agreed to protect the assets of the Hellenic Bank by providing guarantees which could eventually be very costly if exercised. Moreover, the deal between the government and Hellenic Bank is imbalanced and one-sided with built-in incentives for one party, that is, the Hellenic Bank, to call in the government’s undertakings and guarantees if certain conditions are not satisfied.
Furthermore, the government has agreed to take over the “bad part” of the Co-op Bank comprising mainly NPLs of 8.3 billion euros, with the latter assets in turn to be managed by a Loan Management Company set up by the government. In this connection the government will incur considerable costs associated with the capital required for the setting up of this company and of provisioning for the impairment of loans and for losses on loans sold to third parties at a discount. Considerable costs also are likely to be associated with the implementation of Estia, a scheme aimed at helping vulnerable households and possibly businesses repay their loans by subsidising their monthly instalments. Furthermore, the government has agreed to make redundancy payments to the 1000 plus employees of the CCB who are expected to be laid off as a result of the deal.
All these costs and additional debt obligations will have to be met ultimately by law-abiding Cyprus tax-payers. And with the surge in public debt arising mainly from efforts to prop up the banks the government will have difficulty in borrowing in international markets and will be forced to rely on tax revenue and/or cutting back on traditional outlays to meet its new expenditure and debt servicing obligations. It will have to raise tax rates and/or undertake real serious efforts to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance in order to substantially increase tax revenue. And with the government finances likely to be severely strained, scope for outlaying funds for urgently needed improvements to the health and education services and for environmental protection as well as for productive infrastructure investments will be greatly limited.
It is noted that at a time when collecting tax income is and will be at a premium the chairman of the House finance committee is submitting bills to provide tax relief to persons who begin to service their non-performing loans. But it can be argued that such measures are most likely to be counter-productive in encouraging and providing incentives for more debt defaulting and tax evasion over the medium-term.
Impact on the real economy
From the expenditure side the main driver of the recent fast growth of the Cyprus economy has been private consumption. Buoyant consumption expenditures have been facilitated in part by households and business entities not paying their debts, income taxes and other obligations such as car insurance. However, if as a result of the Hellenic Bank-Co-op Bank deal there is a substantial and necessary increase in tax collections from the private sector and if new related legislation on foreclosures and insolvencies as well as greater political will to combat strategic debt defaulting prevail, then the growth of private consumption will be curtailed significantly.
In addition with a return to fiscal austerity as a consequence of the strains on public finances and excessive adherence to EU fiscal rules domestic demand will be further reduced. And with a considerable decrease in the growth of domestic demand entrepreneurs will be more starved of private investment opportunities and are likely to lower their capital expenditures. Accordingly, Cyprus is likely to enter a recession in the coming years, the severity of which will depend importantly on the extent of external demand stemming mainly from foreign tourists and property buyers in offsetting the decline in domestic demand.
The providing of private credit to finance economically viable projects is integral for healthy and sustained economic growth. In the Cyprus context it is critical that its banks have secure funding sources mainly in the form of deposits to finance such projects. Thus, it is of concern that as a result of the gross mismanagement of the large pool of funds of the CCB and the shambolic and failing efforts to privatise the CCB that its deposits have been seriously run down in recent months, with a considerable part of the deposit withdrawals being kept as cash or deposited abroad, that is outside the domestic banking system. And as mentioned above the proposed deal could lead to further outflow of funds from the banking system as entities reduce their deposits with Hellenic Bank to 100,000 or less in the wake of the transfer of their deposits from the Co-op Bank to their Hellenic Bank accounts.
And with the private sector holding more cash the large underground economy of Cyprus involving more untaxed cash transactions will be fuelled and fostered. Such a development would run counter to the need for the government to substantially raise tax revenue to finance the costly and extremely over-generous deal involving the acquisition of the good part of the CCB by Hellenic Bank and the transfer of the bad part to the government.
Is there an alternative?
Is there an alternative to the Hellenic Bank-Co-op Bank deal that would be less costly to the tax-payer, contribute better to financial stability, and provide an improved and sound basis for productively using bank funds to generate economic growth? Given these objectives and the questionable motives of the main shareholders of Hellenic Bank in wanting to acquire the cherry-picked assets and deposit liabilities of the Co-op Bank on very favourable terms it is recommended that the government take over the balance sheet of the good part of the Co-op Bank that was headed to Hellenic Bank and in due course establish a new bank. While retaining its retail operations with households the mission and role of this new bank would be to intermediate and utilise financial savings including its access to equity funding to promote economic development. The managers of the new bank should be competent professionals who should be supported by a staff of lawyers, accountants, debt restructuring experts, financial analysts, economists and other talented personnel selected on the basis of their capabilities rather than their loyalty and connections with ministers and politicians. When in place management and staff should begin directing the bank toward specialising in development banking activities somewhat along lines suggested by Savvakis Savvides in his recent paper “The Alternative Way to Deal with the Cyprus Co-Op Bank”.
As this bank would be government-owned with possible contributions to capital from international organisations such as the European Investment Bank there would be little need for costly guarantees and protection schemes aimed at making assets risk-free.
Deposits of CCB customers would be automatically moved to the new bank upon its activation with those up to 100,000 euros insured for protection by the government. Problems as described above relating to financial outflows from banks arising from the transfer of deposits of CCB customers to the Hellenic Bank that cause their total individual deposits at a bank to exceed the 100,000 euro insurance limit would thus be avoided.
Financial instability reflected in runs on deposits usually emanate from the wasteful use and abuse of bank funds by bankers in extending numerous loans to customers who do not have the ability to repay and to those who are unwilling to repay as was the case in Cyprus in the run-up to the 2012/13 crisis. Similarly, the run on the deposits of the CCB during 2018 reflects the strong perception that the funds of the bank are being mismanaged and abused, a view supported by the bank’s prevailing extremely high level of NPLs and certain dubious lending of late.
In this connection it is this writer’s opinion that the management of a new bank comprising competent professionals will be able to use the balance sheet of the good part of the CCB that was headed to Hellenic Bank much more prudently and productively than the influential and politically-connected shareholders and management of Hellenic Bank. And this greater competence of the new bank in deploying its loanable funds would in turn help to restore some semblance of financial stability and provide a stronger basis for bringing about the healthy and sustained recovery of the Cyprus economy. That is a recovery after the inevitable economic slowdown associated with the substantial increase in private savings required to effect the large repayments of the huge amounts of household and business debt and tax liabilities.
NO REQUEST MADE Madeleine McCann probe blow as Home Office DENIES police have requested more cash to hunt for missing girl as funding running out. The government said it's received no formal request for more funding in the search for Maddie, who disappeared on a family holiday to Portugal in 2007
THE search for Madeleine McCann has been dealt a huge blow after the Home Office denied cops have asked for more money to continue their investigation. It will come as a bitter disappointment to parents Kate and Gerry McCann who have never given up hope that Maddie, who disappeared on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007, is still alive.
Madeleine McCann disappeared more than a decade ago while her family was on holidays in Portugal. The Met Police said earlier this week it was 'in dialogue' with the Home Office over more funding to carry on the 11-year hunt - which has cost £11million to date. But the Home Office today told The Sun Online no formal request has been made.
A spokesman said: "To date no request has been received from the Metropolitan Police Service to extend funding for Operation Grange beyond the end of September 2018."
Time is running out as cash for the search is expected to dry up in just over a fortnight. Despite a thorough search spanning several countries, there has been no significant clues as to what could have happened to Maddie. Her parents Kate and Gerry have maintained their daughter is still alive and are now fighting for more funding as they fear the investigation could be shut down in the face of police cuts.
Parents Kate and Gerry have continually appealed for information around the whereabouts for their daughter. Maddie would now be a teenager and this computer generated image suggests what she might have looked life. However, detectives believe they they can crack the case.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman told the Star: "The investigation continues and we are in dialogue with the Home Office over more funding."
At the time, the Home Office said it had yet received a formal request for further cash, but a bid would be “carefully considered”.
A source close to the family said the McCann's have "no idea" if the search will end or carry on. They told MailOnline: "It is a daunting prospect they face once more."
"Kate and Gerry are grateful to the Metropolitan Police for everything they have done over the years and hope of course that the inquiry into their daughter's abduction will continue if more funds are requested and made available."
It comes after it was revealed detectives involved in the case have been secretly visiting Portugal in the past year. Five return flights were booked to the country, where the toddler from Leicestershire disappeared in 2007, Met Police documents revealed. Officers have also poured through 40,000 documents filed by Portuguese officials who have been involved in the investigation.
Maddie was three when she disappeared from a holiday apartment in the Algarve region of Portugal while her parents dined with friends nearby. She disappeared on the evening of May 3 from her bed in a holiday apartment in Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, Praia da Luz, where she had been sleeping with her brother and sister.
APOSTOLOS ANDREAS, Cyprus - Left behind by technology and cast aside during war, feral donkeys are munching their way to a revival on a remote peninsula in northeast Cyprus - and they are impossible to miss. Dotting hills and sand dunes and blocking country roads along the sparsely populated Karpass panhandle, the donkeys have thrived in the more than four decades since war split Cyprus in two, forcing huge population shifts and leaving them to their fend for themselves.
Experts estimate there must be about 2,000 today, from 800-900 during a previous field study in 2003, covering an area of 132 sq km (51 sq miles).
“They used to be domestic donkeys, and then they were abandoned,” said Tugberk Emirzade, a biologist and wilderness guide who took part in the last field survey.
This easternmost point of the island is a focal point for pilgrims among the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot population because of a monastery dedicated to the Apostle Andrew, one of Jesus’s first followers. The donkeys eagerly await visitors. Cars mean people, and people mean food.
Drivers frequently find packs on the meandering narrow roads, refusing to budge until the windows are wound down. Ears back and snouts pulled into a grin, the donkeys stick in their muzzles in the hope of a reward. Once a fixture of Cypriot households, the creatures turned from beasts of burden to beasts of boredom as they were gradually replaced by tractors in the 1960s and 1970s.
When their Greek Cypriot owners were forced to flee in a 1974 Turkish invasion, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, they were left to roam in the open. Emirzade said there was concern about the impact of such a large population of donkeys in the area, partly because their droppings make the ground more fertile and could crowd out rare native plants that thrive in poor, sandy soil.
Locals complain about damage to crops, and the animals have also caused traffic accidents. The biologist said further research and actions are needed, possibly involving castrating donkeys, sending them to farms, or using them in environmental education and tourism.
“There is a need for management to reduce the negative effects of the donkey population,” he said.
A Paedophile was pardoned by the president, released from prison and allowed to return to live in the village where his victim lives! His wife who was connected to his abuse, but never charged, has been allowed to continue working at a school!
According to information gathered by the Cyprus Mail,
Age criteria that made possible the early release from jail with presidential pardon of a child molester and others with similar offences was drafted by the justice ministry and conveyed to the attorney-general a few days after President Nicos Anastasiades’ re-election early in 2018. The government however, argues that no criteria existed under previous governments and a lot of sex offenders had been released indiscriminately in the past. However, the current criteria only excludes from early release, those convicts who had committed sexual offences against minors up to the age of 13. If the victim was older but still a minor, the convict was not excluded from early release.
The government has been under heavy fire for the past couple of days following the early release of a child molester who had benefitted from a general presidential pardon granted by President Nicos Anastasiades after his re-election in February this year. The man was released on Sunday and he returned home to the same neighbourhood as his victim, now an adult, who was not however informed of his release.
He had been sentenced to three years in jail and was due to be released on March 29, 2019.
Main opposition Akel MP Irini Charalambidou had accused the government of setting age criteria to enable the release of a prominent individual who had been jailed for sexually abusing a child. She said the problem was not the 2014 law, which includes severe custodial penalties for such crimes, but the long-established practice of presidential pardons that commute the sentences of child molesters by one-quarter.
“In January 2018, the prison governor was clear that people jailed for life or committed crimes against minors were not granted a presidential pardon,” Charalambidou said on her Facebook page.
“In the meantime, age criteria have emerged as a deus ex machina so that certain people are released from prison,” she said. “It’s as if a child that is abused or raped when 14 suffers less, so leniency must be showed through presidential pardon, to the criminal who hurt them.”
Responding to Charalambidou, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that the criteria was introduced during the current administration’s term for the first time after identifying the weaknesses of the existing system. He added that before the criteria, when the Akel-backed Demetris Christofias administration took office in 2008, 22 people who had been convicted for sexual offences against minors of all ages had also been released early, among others.
“In 2018, on the basis of the defined criteria, apart from lifers, also excluded were those convicted for sexual offences against minors up to 13-years-old, or against minors up to the third degree of kinship.”
“Pardon was granted based on the charges and not based on specific individuals included on the list, which, apart from the convict in question, included others with the same offence,” the minister said. The minister said the presidential pardon was granted with the agreement of the attorney-general to a list of convicts drafted on the basis of the criteria (by the prison administration) and submitted to the attorney-general, as part of the established practice applied since 1960, upon the assumption of office by the new president.
The minister however, did not specify when or who drafted the criteria and why it had been decided to set 13 years of age as the ceiling. A source told the Cyprus Mail that the criteria was drafted by the justice ministry and conveyed to the attorney-general a few days after Anastasiades’ re-election last February. The source said the criteria was not only specific to child molesters but it also included other offences.
Earlier on Thursday, the head of a child watchdog was tasked with drafting stricter criteria relating to the release of convicted child molesters from prison. The decision came after Anastasiades had to issue a statement apologising following the public outcry, which greeted the news that the state had pardoned the man.
The case was made public by Anastasia Papadopoulou, the head of the council for the implementation of the national strategy to fight sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography, who met Anastasiades on Thursday to discuss the criteria that should govern presidential pardons given upon their election to office.
According to a written statement issued by deputy government spokeswoman, Klelia Vassiliou, the president asked Papadopoulou to draft comprehensive proposals regarding the criteria that should be put in place to preclude certain categories of offenders from receiving the general pardon but also a comprehensive policy to support the victims of sexually-related crimes, irrespective of age.
Although not harmless, the evidence is unequivocal that vaping is much safer than smoking. But misinformation and scaremongering could still be putting people off switching.
Search for the term ‘vaping’ online and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is an activity fraught with risks. The top stories relate to health problems, explosions and that vaping leads to smoking in teenagers. For the average smoker seeking information on vaping, a quick internet search offers little reassurance. Might as well continue smoking, the headlines imply, if these products are so dangerous.
But the reality is that they are not. In the past year, more than any other, the evidence that using an e-cigarette is far safer than smoking has continued to accumulate. 2017 saw the publication of the first longer term study of vaping, comparing toxicant exposure between people who’d stopped smoking and used the products for an average of 16 months, compared with those who continued to smoke. Funded by Cancer Research UK, the study found large reductions in carcinogens and other toxic compounds in vapers compared with smokers, but only if the user had stopped smoking completely. A further recent study compared toxicants in vapour and smoke that can cause cancer, and estimated excess cancer risk over a lifetime from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Most of the available data on e-cigarettes in this study suggested a cancer risk from vaping around 1% of that from smoking.
E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking because they don’t contain tobacco. Inhaling burnt tobacco - but also chewing it - is hugely damaging to human health. Remove the tobacco and the combustion and it is hardly surprising that risk is reduced. That doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are harmless. But it does mean that we can be relatively confident that switching from smoking to vaping will have health benefits.
These new studies and others have influenced policy, at least in the UK. In England, a broad consensus endorsed by many health organisations has existed since 2016 encouraging smokers to try vaping. This year additional organisations, like the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association issued new reports also pointing to e-cigarettes as a positive choice for smokers trying to quit. And for the first time, Public Health England included e-cigarettes in its advertising for ‘Stoptober’ an annual stop smoking campaign. In Scotland, a large number of organisations led by Health Scotland issued a statement making clear that vaping is definitely safer than smoking that was also supported by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.
Overseas, many countries still ban e-cigarettes and using them can result in fines or even imprisonment for vapers or vendors. Yet gradually this is changing. 2017 saw a complete reversal of New Zealand’s position on these devices and their new policies look very similar to those in place in the UK. Canada is also legalising e-cigarettes, although details of the regulatory framework are still being ironed out. These countries are following the research evidence and in time others may follow.
A primary reason for caution in many countries is the fear that vaping will lead to smoking, particularly in young people. This year we did see research suggesting that some teenagers experimenting with vaping go on to smoke when followed up a year later, and this included studies from the UK. There seems little doubt that there are groups of young people susceptible to both. Yet these studies can’t prove that it was the act of trying an e-cigarette that lead to subsequent smoking - many other factors could explain this, including the simple fact that tobacco is still widely available. 2017 saw the publication of the world’s largest study to date of young people and vaping, including over 60,000 teenagers. It found that while experimentation with these products was occurring, regular use by teens who had never smoked remains very low, at less than 1%. Meanwhile in the UK and many other countries like the USA, youth smoking rates continue to decline at an encouraging pace. If vaping was causing smoking, these trends would reverse.
So, what is the average smoker to make of the continued controversy, and seemingly insatiable press interest around e-cigarettes? Who should they believe? Good sources of information do exist but they are not prominent enough. We need clear public information, from reputable sources, to shout above the noise and deliver the facts. And these are the facts. If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you is to stop smoking. If you choose to vape to stop smoking, that’s great, and no one should criticise you for that choice. I think we may well see a public information campaign along those lines in the near future. And from my perspective, it can’t come soon enough.
The Cyprus Mail reports that a man convicted of sexually abusing a minor along with his wife, for FOUR YEARS has been PARDONED and allowed to live in the same area as his victim!
The head of a children’s watchdog charged on Tuesday that the state had pardoned a man convicted of sexually abusing a minor and he is now free, living without supervision in the same neighborhood as his victim. Anastasia Papadopoulou, the head of the council for the implementation of the national strategy to fight sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography, posted on Facebook that a presidential pardon had been granted at the recommendation of the attorney-general to a child molester.
By doing so, she said, the procedures where paedophiles are put under supervision were bypassed. According to Papadopoulou, the law mandates that newly-released convicts are put under supervision to prevent them from reoffending but nothing of the sort was done in this case.
This process was bypassed in this case, she said, and the court did not impose supervision when sentencing and the responsible authority was never informed of the premature release.
“No restrictive or protective measure has been imposed,” she said.
Papadopoulou said the victim, now an adult, knew of the release when she heard the celebrations for the return of the offender to the neighbourhood. “And now she dreads the time she will see him before her. No one informed her. Once more, no one protected her.”
The woman had suffered sexual abuse for four years at the hands of the man and his wife, Papadopoulou said. The wife was never charged with any offence and is still employed at a school, she added. The victim spoke of her ordeal with help from other people, managing to stand before a court where she went through a lot “because we told her break your silence and we will be there as a state and as society. “Let us think for a while how she felt when she heard the return celebration and how she feels every time she stands at the door and contemplates daring to go out.”
What is going on with this Paedophile agenda? We have a president who instigated and supported blatant THEFT from the very citizens he was elected to protect. He then pardons Then he pardons Efi Herododou, who left someone for dead (nothing to do with any connection with her father) and now, he is allowing mainstream Paedophilia. This is not just unique to Cyprus, in the UK, their are entire Paedophile rings within the Government and the police and anyone who gets too close is 'deal with' All this so called political correctness has NOTHING to do with fairness and equality, it is about creating an environment where people are afraid to speak up about anything, it was the thin end of the wedge and all over the media, we see people's fear of speaking up and now we are expected to stay silent while a CHILD MOLESTER is allowed to live in the same area as his victim? NO! NO! NO! I support ANY ACTION that would have this man EXPOSED, NAMED and SHAMED, or left to the retribution of the public! Enough of this rubbish..........It was not the president's child who was molested, so he does not care.........SHAME ON HIM!!!
The events of September 1955
The Istanbul pogrom, also known as the Istanbul riots or September events (Greek: Σεπτεμβριανά Septemvriana, "Events of September"; Turkish: 6–7 Eylül Olayları, "Events of September 6–7"), were organized mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Tactical Mobilisation Group, the seat of Operation Gladio's Turkish branch; the Counter-Guerrilla, and National Security Service, the precursor of today's National Intelligence Organisation. The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece—the house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had been born in 1881—had been bombed the day before. A bomb planted by a Turkish usher at the consulate, who was later arrested and confessed, incited the events. The Turkish press, conveying the news in Turkey, was silent about the arrest and instead insinuated that Greeks had set off the bomb.
A Turkish mob, most of which had been trucked into the city in advance, assaulted Istanbul's Greek community for nine hours. Although the mob did not explicitly call for Greeks to be killed, over a dozen people died during or after the attacks as a result of beatings and arson. Armenians and Jews were also harmed. The police remained mostly ineffective, and the violence continued until the government declared martial law in İstanbul and called in the army to put down the riots.
The pogrom greatly accelerated emigration of ethnic Greeks from Turkey, and the Istanbul region in particular. The Greek population of Turkey declined from 119,822 persons in 1927, to about 7,000 in 1978. In Istanbul alone, the Greek population decreased from 65,108 to 49,081 between 1955 and 1960. The 2008 figures released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry placed the number of Turkish citizens of Greek descent at 3,000–4,000; while according to the Human Rights Watch (2006) their number was estimated to be 2,500.
Some see the attacks as a continuation of a process of Turkification that started with the decline of the Ottoman Empire,rather than being a contemporary, bilateral issue. To back this claim they adduce the fact that roughly 40% of the properties attacked belonged to other minorities. The pogrom has been compared in some media to the Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany. Historian Alfred-Maurice de Zayas has written that in his view, despite the small number of deaths in the pogrom, the riots met the "intent to destroy in whole or in part" criterion of the Genocide Convention.
Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was the capital of the Byzantine Empire until 1453, when the city was conquered by Ottoman forces. A large indigenous Greek community continued to live in the multi-ethnic Ottoman capital city. The city's Greek population, particularly the Phanariotes, came to play a significant role in the social and economic life of the city and in the political and diplomatic life of the Islamic but multi-ethnic, multi-religious Ottoman Empire in general. This continued even after rebellions against Ottoman rule in Greece and the establishment of an independent Greek state in 1829, although during the Greek War of Independence massacres against local Greek communities occurred. A number of ethnic Armenians and Greeks, who served in the Ottoman Imperial diplomatic service and were even leading politicians in the 19th and early 20th century, were targeted.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the population exchange agreement signed between Greece and Turkey resulted in the uprooting of all Greeks in modern Turkey (and Turks in Greece) from where many of them had lived for centuries. But due to the Greeks' strong emotional attachment to their first capital as well as the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Greek and worldwide orthodoxy, the Greek population of Istanbul was specifically exempted and allowed to stay in place. Nevertheless, this population began to decline, as evinced by demographic statistics.
Punitive Turkish nationalist exclusivist measures, such as a 1932 parliamentary law, barred Greek citizens living in Turkey from a series of 30 trades and professions from tailoring and carpentry to medicine, law and real estate. The Varlık Vergisi tax imposed in 1942 also served to reduce the economic potential of Greek businesspeople in Turkey.
In early 1950s, Turkey had close relations with Greece. In 1952, Paul of Greece became the first Greek Monarch to visit a Turkish head of state, which was soon followed by Turkish president Celal Bayar's visit to Greece. However, the relations soured starting in 1953, when the armed struggle of the Greek Cypriots aiming for Enosis, annexation of Cyprus by Greece, started. Soon after, Georgios Grivas, a retired general of the Greek Army formed EOKA. This turn of events was politically exploited in Turkey by the Turkish nationalists of Kibris Türktür Cemiyeti (Cyprus is Turkish) organization, although EOKA had never targeted the Turkish Cypriot community before the anti-Greek pogrom events of September 1955.
Greece appealed in 1954 to the United Nations to demand self-determination for Cyprus. Britain had the ruling mandate over the mostly ethnic Greek island, and wanted the Cyprus dispute to be resolved without being taken to the United Nations Security Council, where it could be problematically framed as an anti-colonialist struggle. To this end, Britain diplomatically encouraged Turkey to agitate Greece. The British ambassador to Greece also incited, saying in an August 1954 speech that Greco-Turkish ties were superficial, so nothing would be lost if, for example, something were to happen to Atatürk's house in Thessaloniki. More bluntly, an official of the Foreign Office said that some agitation would be much to Turkey's benefit. In any case, said parliamentarian John Strachey, Turkey had a large ethnic Greek minority in Istanbul as a card to play against Greece if it considered annexing an independent Cyprus to Greece.
The concerns about the events in Cyprus led to the formation of a number of nationalist student and irredentist organizations in İstanbul, such as the National Federation of Turkish Students (Turkish: Türkiye Milli Talebe Federasyonu), the National Union of Turkish Students, and Hikmet Bil's (editor of the major newspaper Hürriyet) "Cyprus is Turkish" Association (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türktür Cemiyeti), who had protested against the Greek minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In 1955, a propaganda campaign involving the Turkish press galvanized public opinion against the Greek minority, targeting Athenogoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, in particular, accusing him of collecting donations for Enosis. Leading the pack was Hürriyet, which wrote on 28 August 1955: "If the Greeks dare touch our brethren, then there are plenty of Greeks in Istanbul to retaliate upon." Ömer Sami Coşar from Cumhuriyet wrote on 30 August:
Neither the Patriarchate nor the Rum minority ever openly supported Turkish national interests when Turkey and Athens clashed over certain issues. In return, the great Turkish nation never raised its voice about this. But do the Phanar Patriarchate and our Rum citizens in Istanbul have special missions assigned by Greece in its plans to annex Cyprus? While Greece was crushing Turks in Western Thrace and was appropriating their properties by force, our Rum Turkish citizens lived as free as we do, sometimes even more comfortably. We think that these Rums, who choose to remain silent in our struggle with Greece, are clever enough not to fall into the trap of four or five provocateurs.
Tercüman, Yeni Sabah, and Gece Postası followed suit. The "Cyprus is Turkish" Association (CTA) stepped up activities in the weeks leading up to the riots, increasing the number of branches from three in August to ten by the time the attacks took place. On September 4, Hikmet Bil ordered students at Taksim Square, the heart of the city, to burn Greek newspapers. The same day, Kamil Önal of the CTA—and the National Security Service—handed out to students twenty thousands banners emblazoned "Cyprus is Turkish".
The intercommunal violence in Cyprus prompted Turkey to transmit a diplomatic note to United Kingdom. United Kingdom then invited Turkey and Greece to a conference in London, which started on August 26. The day before the Tripartite London Conference (29 August–7 September 1955) began, Prime Minister Menderes claimed that Greek Cypriots were planning a massacre of Turkish Cypriots. Seeing the opportunity to extricate Britain, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan advised the Turkish delegates that they should be stern. Foreign minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu paid heed to Macmillan and launched a harsh opening salvo, stating that Turkey would reconsider its commitment to the Treaty of Lausanne unless Greece reconsidered its position on Cyprus. The Greek delegates, surprised by harshness of the speech, blamed the British.
Deflecting domestic attention to Cyprus was politically convenient for the Menderes government, which was suffering from an ailing economy. Although a minority, the Greek population played a prominent role in the city's business life, making it a convenient scapegoat during the economic crisis in the mid-50s which saw Turkey's economy contract (with an 11% GDP/capita decrease in 1954). The DP responded first with inflationary policies, then when that failed, with authoritarianism and populism. DP's policies also introduced rural-urban mobility, which exposed some of the rural population to the lifestyles of the urban minorities. The three chief destinations were the largest three cities: Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Between 1945 and 1955, the population of Istanbul increased from 1 million to about 1.6 million. Many of these new residents found themselves in shantytowns (Turkish: gecekondus), and constituted a prime target for populist policies.
Finally, the conference fell apart on 6 September, the first day the subject of Cyprus would be broached at the conference, when news broke of the bombing of the Turkish consulate (and birthplace of Atatürk) in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki.
Main targets of the Istanbul riots.
The 1961 Yassıada Trial after 1960 coup d'état accused Menderes and Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu of planning the riots. Though both of them rejected the claims, it is believed by scholars that Menderes assented to the organization of protests in İstanbul against the Greeks, but the extent of knowledge of Zorlu, who had been in London for the conference, is unclear. Interior minister Namık Gedik was also accused of involvement, though he was not tried as he committed suicide before the trials started. According to Zorlu's lawyer at the Yassiada trial, a mob of 300,000 was marshaled in a radius of 40 miles (60 km) around the city for the attacks. The role of National Security Service was not clarified at the trials, since the sole aim of the junta was to sentence the DP government.
The trial revealed that the fuse for the consulate bomb was sent from Turkey to Thessaloniki on 3 September. During the Yassıada Trial it was claimed that a twenty-year-old university student named Oktay Engin was given the mission of installing the explosives, two sticks of gelignite, in the consulate's garden. The consul M. Ali Balin allegedly first pressured consulate employee Hasan Uçar, but Engin was brought in when Uçar resisted. Both of them were arrested after the attack.
Engin was born in Komotini (Turkish: Gümülcine) to Faik Engin (a well-known parliamentarian in the late '40s; he was one of the three Turkish members of the Greek parliament between 1946-1950) and became one of the few Turkish students to graduate from the Greek gymnasium in those years. Turkish officials encouraged him to study law, offering him a scholarship, so that he could promote the interests of Turkish citizens in Greece. He thus entered Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1953. When he was in his second year, he was accused of incitement in the bombing incident. Engin said that he had been followed by Greek intelligence agents so closely from the start of his university education, that he could name one ("Triondafilos").
In his 2005 book, Speros Vryonis documents the direct role of the Demokrat Parti organization and government-controlled trade unions in amassing the rioters that swept Istanbul. Ten of Istanbul's 18 branches of the "Cyprus is Turkish" Association were run by DP officials. This organization played a crucial role in inciting anti-Greek activities. Most of the rioters came from western Asia Minor. His case study of Eskişehir shows how the party there recruited 400 to 500 workers from local factories, who were carted by train with third class-tickets to Istanbul. These recruits were promised the equivalent of 6 USD, which was never paid. They were accompanied by Eskişehir police, who were charged with coordinating the destruction and looting once the contingent was broken up into groups of 20–30 men, and the leaders of the party branches.
While the DP took the blame for the events, it was revealed in 2005 that the riots were in actuality a product of the Turkey's Tactical Mobilization Group; a clandestine special forces unit. Four star general Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu, the right-hand man of General Kemal Yamak who led the Turkish outpost of Operation Gladio under the Tactical Mobilization Group (Turkish: Seferberlik Taktik Kurulu), proudly reminisced about his involvement in the riots, calling them "a magnificent organization".
Before the 6 September, some of the buildings of the Greeks and other non-Muslim minorities are marked with cross signs in order to make the arson easier,
Municipal and government trucks were placed in strategic points all around the city to distribute the tools of destruction (shovels, pickaxes, crowbars, ramrods and petrol), while 4,000 taxis were requisitioned from the Drivers Association and Motor Vehicle Workers' Trade Union (Turkish: Şoförler Cemiyeti ve Motorlu Taşıt İşçileri Sendikası) to transport the perpetrators. In addition, flags had been prepared by the Textile Workers' Union (Turkish: Tekstil İşçileri Sendikası).
A protest rally on the night of 6 September, organised by the authorities in Istanbul, on the Cyprus issue and the bombing of Atatürk's home was the cover for amassing the rioters. At 13:00, news reports of the bombing were announced by radio. However, most people at the time did not have radios, so they had to wait until 16:30, when the daily İstanbul Ekspres, which was associated with the DP and the National Security Service (NSS), repeated the news in print.
According to a September 2005 episode of the weekly show Files on the Greek Mega Channel, the accompanying photographs were seen by Salonican photographer Yannis Kyriakidis on September 4 (two days before the actual bombing). The consul's wife had brought the film to the photo studio that belonged to Kyriakidis' father to be printed. The photographs were then photomontaged, according to the program.
On the day of the event, the editor, Gökşin Sipahioğlu, called the owner, Mithat Perin, asking for permission for a second run. The weather was bad, so Perin declined thinking the prints would not get sold. The newspaper's main dealer, Fuat Büke, soon called and offered to pay for the run in advance. By the time Perin went to inspect the Tan Press, 180,000 copies had already been printed. Sensing something fishy, Perin tore up the paper and stopped the run. The prototype was still intact however, and the workers secretly resumed printing after Perin left. They had eventually printed 300,000 copies (on paper stocked in advance), of which 296,000 were sold. This was far above the newspaper's average circulation of 30,000–40,000 (by comparison, the best-selling Hürriyet sold 70–80 thousand copies). Perin was arrested the next day. Gökşin Sipahioğlu later alleged the NSS had pressured him to do it, while Perin says Sipahioğlu himself was an agent. Perin's innocence, however, was cast into doubt after intrepid journalist Uğur Mumcu published an excerpt from a 1962 letter between Perin and the undersecretary of the NSS, Fuat Doğu, stating that in his 25 years of journalism, he had acted in full knowledge of the NSS and had not refrained from doing anything.
At 17:00, the riots started in Taksim Square, and rippled out during the evening through the old suburb of Beyoğlu (Pera), with smashing and looting of Greek commercial property, particularly along Yüksek Kaldırım street. By six o'clock at night, many of the Greek shops on Istanbul's main shopping street, İstiklal Avenue, were ransacked. Many commercial streets were littered with merchandise and fittings torn out of Greek-owned businesses. According to the eyewitness account of a Greek dentist, the mob chanted "Death to the Giaours" (non-Turks), "Massacre the Greek traitors", "Down with Europe" and "Onward to Athens and Thessaloniki" as they attacked. Predictably, the situation came soon out of control and the mobs were shouting "First your property. Then your life".
The riot died down by midnight with the intervention of the Turkish Army and declaration of martial law. The police, which supported the attacks by preparing and organizing the operations, was ordered to hold a passive stance and leave the mob to roam the streets of the city freely and commit atrocities against the civilian population. The Turkish militia and police that coordinated the attacks refrained from protecting the lives and properties of the victims. Their function was instead to preserve adjacent Turkish properties. However, there were a few cases where police officers prevented criminal activity. On the other hand, the fire brigade, whenever it reached a fire, claimed that it was unable to deal with it.
According to most sources, between 13 and 16 Greeks and one Armenian (including two clerics) died as a result of the pogrom. However, a number of deaths were never recorded due to the general chaos, so estimates vary. An early source gives the number of dead as 0, but later sources and witness accounts do not affirm this. According to a number of other sources the total death toll is estimated to be at least 30. Apart from the thirty identified victims, an additional of three unidentified bodies were found inside the shops, while three burned bodies were found in a sack in the region of Besiktas. Moreover, 32 Greeks were severely wounded. Men and women were raped and islamized by force, and according to accounts including those of the Turkish writer Aziz Nesin, men, including a priest, were subjected to forced circumcision by members of the mob. Moreover, an Armenian rite Christian priest died after the procedure. Priests were also scalped and burnt in their beds and Greek women raped. Nesin wrote:
A man who was fearful of being beaten, lynched or cut into pieces would imply and try to prove that he was both a Turk and a Muslim. "Pull it out and let us see," they would reply. The poor man would peel off his trousers and show his "Muslimness" and "Turkishness": And what was the proof? That he had been circumcised. If the man was circumcised, he was saved. If not, he was doomed. Indeed, having lied, he could not be saved from a beating. For one of those aggressive young men would draw his knife and circumcise him in the middle of the street and amid the chaos. A difference of two or three centimetres does not justify such a commotion. That night, many men shouting and screaming were Islamized forcefully by the cruel knife. Among those circumcised there was also a priest.
Material damage and cost
The material damage was considerable, with damage to 5317 properties, almost all Greek-owned. Among these were 4214 homes, 1004 businesses, 73 churches, 2 monasteries, 1 synagogue, and 26 schools. Over 4,000 Greek-owned businesses, 110 hotels, 27 pharmacies, 23 schools, 21 factories, 73 Greek (and other Christian) churches and over a thousand Greek-owned homes were badly damaged or destroyed. The American consulate estimates that 59% of the businesses were Greek-owned, 17% were Armenian-owned, 12% were Jewish-owned, 10% were Muslim-owned; while 80% of the homes were Greek-owned, 9% were Armenian-owned, 3% were Jewish-owned, and 5% were Muslim-owned.
Estimates of the economic cost of the damage vary from Turkish government's estimate of 69.5 million Turkish lira (equivalent to 24.8 million US$), the British diplomat estimates of 100 million GBP (about 200 million US$), the World Council of Churches' estimate of 150 million USD, and the Greek government's estimate of 500 million USD. The Turkish government paid 60 million Turkish lira of restitution to those who registered their losses.
Representatives of the World Council of Churches investigating the vandalized sarcophaguses of the deceased Ecumenical Patriarchs, in the Patriarchal cemetery in Balıklı.
In addition to commercial targets, the mob clearly targeted property owned or administered by the Greek Orthodox Church. 73 churches and 23 schools were vandalized, burned or destroyed, as were 8 baptisteries [?] and 3 monasteries. This represented about 90 percent of the church property portfolio in the city. The ancient Byzantine church of Panagia in Belgradkapı was vandalised and burned down. The church at Yedikule was badly vandalised, as was the church of St. Constantine of Psammathos. At Zoodochos Pege church in Balıklı, the tombs of a number of ecumenical patriarchs were smashed open and desecrated. The abbot of the monastery, Bishop Gerasimos of Pamphilos, was severely beaten during the pogrom and died from his wounds some days later in Balıklı Hospital. In one church arson attack, Father Chrysanthos Mandas was burned alive. The Metropolitan of Liloupolis, Gennadios, was badly beaten and went mad.
Elsewhere in the city, the Greek cemetery of Şişli, as well as the cemetery of the Patriarchates in Balıklı were targeted. Crosses and statues were vandalized, while sepulchers and burial vaults were opened and the remains of the dead were removed and dispersed by the fanatic mobs. Moreover, at Balıklı cemetery, the sarcophaguses of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchs were desecrated.
An eyewitness account was provided by journalist Noel Barber of the London Daily Mail on 14 September 1955:
The church of Yedikule was utterly smashed, and one priest was dragged from bed, the hair torn from his head and the beard literally torn from his chin. Another old Greek priest [Fr Mantas] in a house belonging to the church and who was too ill to be moved was left in bed, and the house was set on fire and he was burned alive. At the church of Yeniköy, a lovely spot on the edge of the Bosporus, a priest of 75 was taken out into the street, stripped of every stitch of clothing, tied behind a car and dragged through the streets. They tried to tear the hair of another priest, but failing that, they scalped him, as they did many others.
On the occasion of the pogrom's 50th anniversary, a seventy-year-old Mehmet Ali Zeren said, "I was in the street that day and I remember very clearly...In a jewelry store, one guy had a hammer and he was breaking pearls one by one."
One famous eyewitness was James Bond novelist Ian Fleming, who as an MI6 agent was present under the cover of the International Police Conference on 5 September (which he ditched in favour of covering the riots for The Sunday Times). Fleming's account was published on 11 September, bearing the title "The Great Riot of Istanbul". It has been said that Fleming may have been tipped off by Nâzim Kalkavan, the Istanbul station chief of the MI6, who appears in 1957's From Russia, with Love as "Darko Kerim". According to Fleming's biographer, John Pearson, Kalkavan was rather like Kerim bey.
A number of Turkish eyewitness accounts were published in 2008 by Ayşe Hür in an article that appeared in Taraf.
There are accounts of protection offered to the minorities by their fellow citizens that were successful in fending off the mob. The most organized team rallied behind air force captain Reşat Mater. Mater happened to be off duty and visiting his home in Cevizli's Muhasebeciler Street, which was right next to the rally point, İstanbul Caddesi. Mater first hid some of his neighbors in his house, then he took to the street with his gun and his uniform. The boys in the neighborhood joined him, bringing domestic implements as substitute weapons. The mob passed by after seeing the barricade. Mater later rose all the way to Commander of the Air Force, making him third in the military line of command. His son Tayfun, who witnessed the pogrom, maintains ties with those who survived and fled to Greece.
While the pogrom was predominantly an Istanbul affair, there were some outrages in other Turkish cities. On the morning of 7 September 1955 In İzmir, a mob overran the İzmir National Park, where an international exhibition was taking place, and burned the Greek pavilion. Moving next to the Church of Saint Fotini, built two years earlier to serve the needs of the NATO Regional Headquarters' Greek officers, the mob destroyed it completely. The homes of the few Greek families and officers were then looted.
Considerable contemporary documentation showing the extent of the destruction is provided by the photographs taken by Demetrios Kaloumenos, then official photographer of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Setting off just hours after the pogrom began, Kaloumenos set out with his camera to capture the damage and smuggled the film to Greece. Famous Turkish photojournalist of Armenian descent, Ara Güler, also took many photographs during the pogrom.
After the events, 3,151 people were immediately arrested, the number of arrested later rose to 5,104. On 7 September, the Menderes government closed the "Cyprus is Turkish" Association (CTA) and arrested its executives. 34 trade unions were dissolved. The Minister of Internal Affairs Namık Gedik resigned on 10 September.
The investigation initially focused on the "Cyprus is Turkish" Association. CTA detainee, and spy, named Kamil Önal had one of his CTA associates burn an intelligence report originating from the National Security Service (NSS) that was at the CTA office. In addition, a member from the Kızıltoprak branch, Serafim Sağlamel, was found to be carrying an address list of non-Muslim citizens. However, on September 12, the government blamed Turkish Communists for the pogrom, arresting 45 "card-carrying communists" (including Aziz Nesin, Kemal Tahir, and İlhan Berktay). This type of "false flag" anti-Communist propaganda was a staple of the Counter-Guerrilla. When opposition leader İsmet İnönü delivered a speech criticizing the government for rounding up innocent people instead of the actual perpetrators, the communists were released in December 1955. An angry Menderes said that İnönü would not be forgiven for his speech, pardoning the communists.
Oktay Engin and consulate employee Hasan Uçar were arrested on 18 September. Engin was first charged with executing the attack, but he presented an alibi so the charge was dropped to incitement. He was detained for nine months. Three months later, he escaped to Turkey before the Greek courts sentenced him to 3.5 years. In addition, Turkey refused Greece's extradition request.
87 CTA leaders were released in December 1955, while 17 were taken to court on 12 February 1956. The indictment initially blamed the CTA only for inciting some students to burn Greek newspapers in Taksim Square. In response to police chief Kemal Aygün's question about the Cominform's role in the affair, Şevki Mutlugil of the NSS cooked up a report, which concluded that the Comintern and Cominform had conspired to sabotage NATO. As proof, the prosecution submitted some brochures from the Communist Party of Turkey and a pair of letters from Nâzım Hikmet which called on the workers of Cyprus to stand against imperialism. To bolster the claims, the indictment claimed that NSS agent Kamil Önal had contacted the Comintern while on duty in Lebanon and defected, effectively exonerating the NSS.
The remaining prisoners were released on 12 January 1957 for lack of evidence, by order of the Istanbul First Penal Court (Turkish: İstanbul 1. Ceza Mahkemesi).
The chargé d'affaires at the British Embassy in Ankara, Michael Stewart, directly implicated Menderes' Demokrat Parti in the execution of the attack. "There is fairly reliable evidence that local Demokrat Parti representatives were among the leaders of the rioting in various parts of Istanbul, notably in the Marmara islands, and it has been argued that only the Demokrat Parti had the political organisation in the country capable of demonstrations on the scale that occurred," he reported, refusing to assign blame to the party as a whole or Menderes personally, however. The Foreign Office pointedly underscored the fact that British citizens were also victims of the attack.
Although British ambassador to Ankara, Bowker, advised British Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan that the United Kingdom should "court a sharp rebuff by admonishing Turkey", only a note of distinctly mild disapproval was dispatched to Menderes. The context of the Cold War led Britain and the U.S. to absolve the Menderes government of direct political blame. The efforts of Greece to internationalize the human rights violations through international organizations such as the UN and NATO found little sympathy. British NATO representative Cheetham deemed it "undesirable" to probe the pogrom. U.S. representative Edwin M. Martin thought the effect on the alliance was exaggerated, and the French, Belgians and Norwegians urged the Greeks to "let bygones be bygones".
By popular vote, the Cyprus issue was dropped from the U.N. agenda on 23 September 1955. Britain had successfully avoided a potential diplomatic embarrassment.
Greek population in Istanbul and percentages of the city population (1844-1997). The Turkish policies, after 1923, led virtually to the elimination of the Greek community.
The compensation package allocated by the Turkish Assembly was only 60 million Turkish liras. While 12.7 million Turkish liras were given to churches for compensation out of 39 million Turkish liras claimed for damages, the rest of the 60 million Turkish liras was distributed among applicants.
Tensions continued, and in 1958–1959, Turkish nationalist students embarked on a campaign encouraging a boycott against all Greek businesses. The task was completed eight years later in 1964 when the Ankara government reneged on the 1930 Greco-Turkish Ankara Convention, which established the right of Greek établis (Greeks who were born and lived in Istanbul but held Greek citizenship) to live and work in Turkey. As a result of tensions over the Cyprus issue, Turkey prohibited all commercial dealings by Greeks holding a Greek passport resulting in the deportation from Turkey of around 40,000 ethnic Greeks. They were allowed to take with them only 20 kg of their belongings and cash of 22 dollars. Moreover, the property they left was confiscated by the Turkish state ten years later. As a result of these policies, the Greek community of Istanbul shrank from 80,000 (or 100,000 by some accounts) persons in 1955 to only 48,000 in 1965. Today, the Greek community numbers about 2,500, mostly older, Greeks.
The Georgian community in Istanbul was also affected. It is estimated that there were about 10,000 Catholic Georgian residents in Istanbul in 1955. Most of the Georgians emigrated to Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States following the pogrom. As of 1994, there were only about 200 Catholic Georgians and a handful of Jewish Georgian families left in Istanbul.
After the military coup of 1960, Menderes and Zorlu were charged at the Yassiada Trial in 1960–61 with violating the constitution. The trial also made reference to the pogrom, for which they were blamed. The accused were denied fundamental rights regarding their defence, and they were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.
The editor of the Istanbul Ekspres, Gökşin Sipahioğlu, went on to found Sipa Press; an international photo agency based in France. The owner, Mithat Perin, already a DP member, became a parliamentarian.
2005 exhibition assault
In 2005, Turkish nationalists attacked a photography exhibition dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the 1955 riots held in İstanbul. The exhibition itself was initially heralded as a major step forward for the development of democratic values in preparation of Turkey's admittance into the European Union. The military prosecutor at the time of the riots, vice admiral Fahri Çoker, kept documents and approximately 250 photographs of the events in order to educate posterity. He entrusted them to the Turkish Historical Society, stipulating that they be exhibited 25 years after his death.
Two hours prior the opening of the exhibition, a nationalist lawyer and former president of Ülkü Ocakları Ramazan Kirik, Kemal Kerinçsiz, inspected the gallery and angrily walked out. Upon the opening of the exhibition, two people stood in front of the venue shouting and announcing that this exhibition was a misrepresentation of reality and that it wasn't considerate towards the sufferings of the Turkish people.
Moments later, a 20–30 militant nationalist mob that belonged to the Ülkücüler nationalist organization raided and defaced the exhibit by hurling eggs at the photographs and trampling over them. Some of the photographs were thrown outside windows only to be stamped upon by other raiders. The raiders also distributed pamphlets and flyers that said, "Turkey is Turkish, will remain Turkish," "death to traitors," "love it or leave it," "Cyprus is Turkish and will remain Turkish," "why not the pictures from Cyprus but these," and "don't defend those who set fire to Atatürk's house."
The raid was led by Kerinçsiz and nationalist lawyer Levent Temiz who have been taken into custody in 2008 for their suspected connection with Ergenekon. The assault was described by Feyyaz Yaman, the director of the gallery, as a repeat of the 1955 rioting in itself. The President of the Turkish Historical Society Orhan Silier condemned the attacks and stated that such acts of this event "will affect Turkey's image abroad." He also mentioned that "These protests show that groups based on the same violent methods, fear and paranoia, still exist."
The incident was shown in Screamers, a 2006 documentary film about the Armenian Genocide.