1908: Six months in Smyrna under the Young Turks

At the end of 2021, while trying to collect statistics on the fires that broke out every year in Smyrna, I set out to index a number of Greek-language Smyrna newspapers from 1908, including the traditional newspapers «Amalthea» and «Imerisia» («Daily»), the socialist «Ergatis» («Worker») and the illustrated magazine «Kosmos («World»). The richness and variety of events that took place in Smyrna in the second half of that year, i.e. in the first six months after the Young Turk Revolution, much impressed me and planted in my mind the idea of delving into that period.
A year later, my friend Professor Hervé Georgelin of the Department of Turkish and Modern Asian Studies at the University of Athens, invited me to participate in an international conference organised by his department in collaboration with the School of Economics and Political Sciences. He thus gave me the opportunity to put my idea into practice and to imerse myself in that eventful six months in Smyrna, a period of great enthusiasm, reconciliation between ethnic communities and unbridled freedom, which unfortunately did not last long. I therefore accepted the invitation and submitted a proposal for a speech entitled «Smyrna in 1908», which was approved. My paper, which took me 3 months to complete, ultimately came out somewhat longer than expected, around 180 A4 pages. So the speech I gave on 11 May 2023 was a summary of my full paper, which I hope will soon be published in a book.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 11.5.2023

My speech (English)