Cohabitating with the other side of the Population Exchange: The symbiosis between Christian refugees and exchangeable Muslims in Greece during the period 1914-1924
The Population Exchange, the events that led to the signing of the LausanneConvention and the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of refugeeswho fled to Greece after 1922 mark in many respects a definingmilestone for modern Greek history. The magnitude of the Asia MinorCatastrophe and the trauma caused by the events of 1922-1923 to theGreek national identity normally resulted in the collective perceptionof the Population Exchange exclusively in the light of the tragedy of theAsia Minor Hellenism and the efforts of the refugee resettlement in thenew homeland.However, the 1923 Population Exchange has also another side, whichis almost unknown in Greek historiography: the Muslims of the Greek‘New Lands’ who immigrated to Turkey according to the terms of theConvention concerning the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations.Despite the condemnation to oblivion of the Population Exchange’s oneside, Christian refugees and exchangeable Muslims met in the sameplace and lived together, intermittently, during the period 1914-1924 inthe same settlement, in the same district, even in the same house.The aim of the paper is to survey the context and the characteristicsof the symbiosis of these two population groups in the period from thefirst refugee settlements in the Greek state after the Balkan Wars untilthe final migration of Greece’s Muslims under the terms of the exchangein December 1924. Moreover, an effort will be made to determine whetherthe war conflicts, the conditions of nationalism’s exaltation, religiousfanaticism, political disputes and the retaliation intentions by the victimsof persecutions within the framework of minority policies formulatedthe terms of symbiosis between Christian refugees and Muslims. Towhat extent, that is, the above mentioned context of the years 1914-1924created tensions and conflicts between Christian refugees and Muslimsor, whether, in spite of the period’s circumstances, there was room forpeaceful coexistence between the two sides of the Population Exchange.