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By Renee Hirschon

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Extra resources for Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey

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There are silences in every nation's history that underlie an active effort to forget.!! Turkish nationalist historiography is distinguished by the enormity of the effort to negate the previous existence of non-Turkish populations in the land tllat eventually became Turkey. In fact, as the legitimising ideology of the new republic, however, Turkish nationalism was invented against the ! I 49 backdrop of major shifts in population composition. It is easy to see why this nationalism opted for an ethnic version of the national narrative: a conceflt of Turkishness was constructed in an attempt to present the remaining population as homogeneous, and it glossed over any real diversity.

In ,1924 the Comintern decided that Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian natives of the wider region of Macedonia should join up in a united autonomous entity under Bulgarian sovereignty in an autonomous Balkan federation. With their influence in the Comintern, the Bulgarian communists hoped to control this entity. The implications of such a decision for the Greek Communist Party (KKE) were grave, since it amounted to surrendering Greece's newly 58 I 17ul1los Veremis acquired territory to its vanquished Bulgarian rival.

The national schism had resulted in a parliament dominated by the liberal camp, precluding a coalition of bourgeois political forces to face the crisis. By 1925 most liberal politicians were unwilling to take harsh economic measures since that would benefit the anti-Venizelist opposition and extraparliamentary right-wing forces. Instead, they were prepared to abdicate their responsibilities by allowing a caretaker military figure like General Theodore Pangalos to step in and make the unpopular decisions.

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