Greek-Turkish relations: A communication of hope between Turkish Kemalist CHP leader Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu & Greek historian Mr. Paraskevas-Marios Tourtounis
In 1st January 2022, me, Paraskevas-Marios I. Tourtounis, I decided to send an email message to the leader of the Turkish historical CHP Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Republican Party, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. As a Greek historian, I felt that I had the duty to recognize Greece’s great mistake of sending, in 1921/1922, Greek military forces to attack Kemal Atatürk’s Turkish nationalists in Ankara. I apologized for this to Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, who is the legal successor of Kemal Atatürk, as he is the current leader of Atatürk’s political party. I wrote him that, if the then Greek Government would come into an agreement with Kemal Atatürk in 1921, the situation would be much better for both sides, as we would avoid the military conflict. Furthermore, I pointed out that the next Revolutionary Greek Government of Nikolaos Plastiras (took office at the end of September 1922) sent the politicians and military officers responsible for the Greek-Turkish of 1921–1922 to be judged by a military court, and one point for which they were accused of was the wrong decision for the move of the Greek Army against Kemal Atatürk’s headquarters in Ankara. Also, I added that Kemal Atatürk’s forces had punished Greece in a very painful way for this mistake of the then Dimitrios Gounaris’ Greek Government, by completely destroying, in 1922, Western Minor Asia’s whole Hellenism. Finally, I concluded that both Greece and Turkey have done serious mistakes, and that we both have to leave them behind, looking forward for a peaceful coexistence and cooperation. I feel very grateful and honored, because, in 6th January 2022, I received a very kind and hopeful response by Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. I am very glad, because he accepted my apology, and he agreed with me that both sides, Greece and Turkey, have made serious mistakes during the past. He also agreed that we must leave our mistakes rest in the past, in order to construct a better, peaceful future for our children. At this point, I would like to thank Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu so much for his very kind and hopeful response. I feel that, as a Greek historian, I have completed my duty to recognize, admit, and apologize for my country’s wrong decisions of the past. Only if we will reconcile with the mistakes of our past, we will be able to surpass them and look forward for a better future. The war between Greece and Turkey of 1921/1922 in Minor Asia teaches us that a war between two neighbor nations not only can have terrible results for the people of these countries during that time, but that, also, can create deep historical roots of mistrust and hatred between the peoples’ of the two nations in the future. For this reason, both sides owe to limit their conflict to the past, and to work together in order to build a friendly and peaceful future. Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly pointed out, in his speeches, that dialogue is the only way for Greece and Turkey to solve their differences. He added that in case an agreement will not be achieved, then Greece and Turkey can agree to send their differences to be judged on the International Court of Hague. God bless you, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu! Let’s promote Peace in our neighborhood!