UN_2015/03/02-27_item 5

Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC)
ECOSOC Member NGO

Human Rights Council — 28th session

Geneva 2-27 March 2015

Item 5 – General Debate

Delivered by Dr Dominique Morabito

 60 Year after Istanbul Pogrom of 6-7 September 1955, the worst one in the Post-War European History, the Greek- Orthodox Community is waiting Remedy Measures

 The Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC), representing the expatriated Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul, wishes to bring your attention the 60th anniversary of the Pogrom against the Greek-Orthodox (Community), Armenian and Jewish communities of Istanbul, which occurred on the night of 6 September 1955.

This night, a protest rally was organized in Istanbul under the cover of the provocative bombing, the eve in Greece, of the founder of the Republic of Turkey Kemal Atatürk’s birth home. The perpetrators of the failed bombing were arrested on site and it was proved later that they were secret service agents of Turkey.

Thus, during Istanbul’s Pogrom, a highly organized and coordinated mob of 100’000 rioters was brought and released in the city. Attackers were armed and split into storming groups of 50 men.

All the 64 Orthodox and 10 Armenian churches, 1 Synagogue and cemeteries were desecrated or fully demolished; thousands of homes, hostels, shops, factories and schools were plundered and destroyed. The Community deplored 16 deaths, more than 30 severely injured and more than 300 women raped.

A strong climate of insecurity and threat compelled the Greek-Orthodox to expatriate:  from more than 120’000 members in 1955, less than 2’000 live in Istanbul today.

Turkey paid for the material damage a limited compensation of about 10% of their own estimate (8 to 20 times lower than other states estimate), and after the coup d’état, a trial court blamed the then Prime Minister, Adnan  Menderes for the events but, legal experts consider this trial fully deficient.

So far, (a) the real planners were not disclosed, (b) remedy measures were not achieved and (c) a formal apology was not expressed to the victims.

However, last February (11/02/2015), the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Davutoğlu, characterized the events of September 1955 as “the Dark Event in the country history which should not be forgotten”. The EFC wishes this declaration to lead to a positive outcome of the ongoing discussions about the measures required for the survival of the Greek-Orthodox community of Istanbul.