Another way of looking at the coming celebration.

WHOEVER THINKS FREELY THINKS WELL: RIGAS VELESTINLIS

During the year 2021, Greece celebrates the 200th anniversary of the revolution of 1821, after 400 years of slavery under the yoke of the Ottomans and the Venetians.Greece is preparing to wear its festive clothes while tensions between Greece and Turkey are escalating underlining the fact that this conflict continues and will continue indefinitely.

Greece and the Balkans continue to experience the remnants of the wider national upheavals that the rest of Europe has outgrown in recent centuries.The reasons are varied, one of which is religion but also other ethnological and geopolitical characteristics and interests between the West and the East.

This note focuses exclusively on the elements of the Greek-Turkish conflict and even more specifically on the characteristics of the revolution and its effects on the formation of modern Greece. and the newly formed state relations with Turkey and the rest of the international community.

The first element that must be understood is Turkey’s perception of Greece.

For Turkey, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire living under conditions of equality with the other ethnic groups, that ensured freedom of economic activity and religious independence, ie secularism and the possibility of economic growth, while Greece was used as a tool for the distraction of the Ottoman Empire.

Under these circumstances the various ethnic communities, according to Turkish allegations, coexisted peacefully and in many cases were also favored towards the Greek population under a favorable tax regime. Nothing more untrue!

These conditions were disturbed by the National Revolutions, which, at the same time with the awakening, were instigated by the West, including Russia, which also wanted the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

The Turkish barbarity is denied by the Turks who counter argue the medieval barbarity of the West that existed at the same time, see period of Inquisition , Venetian rule, crusades, etc., despite the fact that the west had already entered the Renaissance period , in which the Ottoman Empire did not participate neither experienced the effects of two social and liberating revolutions namely the American and French .

Therefore, Turkey’s reaction to the Greek revolution, such as the massacres in Chios but also the genocide of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians, the Turks justify as normal reactions to the aggressive actions of the respective ethnic groups that sought to expel the Turks from their country.

In short, the Turks regard the Ottomans as the natural successors of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, which they regard as real tyrants and oppressors of the indigenous peoples who should regard the Turks, essentially, as liberators.

Especially for Greece, it is considered the most important instrument of the West that is expanding, to the detriment of Turkey, for the last 300 years, extending to the revolution and the subsequent Balkan wars when Greeks carried out purges of indigenous Muslim populations.

The Turks were unaware of, or unable to comprehend, the effects of cultural differences and the influence of basic tactics, such as the Islamization of populations that, combined with coordinated demographic intervention attempting to change population ratios cannot but provoke independence movements.

In short, the Turks see any liberation or revolutionary movement as a terrorist activity against the state.

But the 18rh century was the century that produced many romantic revolutionary movements that laid the foundation of the end of autocratic monarchic ruling of nations.

The most important movements were the American and the French revolutions that also produced constitutions.

At the same time, the Turks, due to their militaristic and religious tradition, were not able to realize some of the values and possibilities of specific cultural, political, commercial and administrative practices that did not allow them to absorb non Muslim groups of peoples they conquered and ruled as subjects.

High Gate had difficulty understanding the national liberation character of the Greek revolution.

The Sultan was particularly outraged by the fact that «Rum Millet» rebelled despite the privileges it enjoyed.

The idea of national identity did not exist in Ottoman political vocabulary. In the decrees of Sultan Mahmut II, but also in the relevant narratives, we see a strong certainty that Russia instigated the millet of Rums on the basis of the common religion, as well as we see his surprise at the determination and persistence of the revolutionaries.

Characteristic is the disgust of MahmutII: «The persistence of the Rums for the sake of their… ‘false’ religion must become an example [to Muslims].»

In general, as we have said, the «national» interpretation was slow to enter the arsenal of Ottoman analysis.

The High Gate gradually moves from the traditional interpretation that the revolution was carried out by the enemies of Islam, to the recognition that the Rums were a separate «millet» – a nation, as if all enslaved nations sought independence; in other words, there were millet-nations in the empire, which challenged the political sovereignty of the Muslims.

Here it is important to note that there were no Turks but only Muslims, while, on the contrary, there were Rums as well as Albanians. and others.

This shift from religion to nation in relation to non-Muslim Ottoman nationals also shows the shift in the meaning of the concept of millet from religious to national, which is visible at this time. This, of course, does not mean that the emphasis ceases to be emphasize the role of religion: e.g. A relevant text states that the Russians helped the Rums because they have the same religion, the «evil» Rums attack the (Muslim) believers, the massacre of the Ottomans in Tripoli is due to the sins of the Muslims, etc. Let us not forget that we are talking about a highly transitional period, in which the axes that defined reality for an Ottoman Muslim (political and religious superiority over non-Muslims) had begun to change

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