The following simple but touching poem was provided to me by fellow Karamanian Professor Ekrem Ekinci, President of Isik University, Istanbul Turkey.

The poem conveys the despair of people who were uprooted without being asked. Politicians used people as pawns without regard to the people's welfare. This tragic event happened in 1924 (the infamous Lausanne treaty) . What was unique about the "exchange" is that while some people had already moved on their own for others it was a decision imposed from the top. The Turkish speaking Christians of Karamania were told one day that they must move to Greece. Similarly, the Greek speaking Muslims of Crete were told one day that they must move to Turkey. A good source about these events is the book Twice a Stranger.

Even though, unfortunately, similar stories continue to happen in the world today I have not heard of anything as cold blooded as the Lausanne treaty.

English Translation (by Professor Ekrem Ekinci and his wife Janet)
Ismet Pasha,Venizelos got together
They decided on an exchange
Did they concur with anyone, I wonder?
It has never happened before in history
They displaced us from Turkey
All our eyes are filled with blood tears

* The word PAPA means priest in Greek and it is hard to find an English equivalent. "Father Neofitos Ekonomos" is a possibility but the Greek word for father is BABA.
Turkish Original
Karamanian (Greek Alphabet)
Іσμετ Πασα Бευιζειλοζ κερδιλερ,
Τραμπα γιαπμαγα καραρ βερδιλερ,
αδζεπ πουνου πιρ φερτεμι σορτουνλαρ;
δυνζια κουρουλαλη κορουλμεμισδιρ
Τουρκιαδαν καλδπρτηλαρ πιζλαερι
Καν αγλαψιορ χεπιμιζιν κιοζλερι

Modern Turkish Alphabet

Ismet Pasa, Venizelos geldiler,
Trampa yapmaya karar verdiler,
Acep bunu bir ferde mi sordular?
Dünya kurulal? görülmemi?tir.
Türkiye’den kald?rd?lar bizleri
Kan a?l?yor hepimizin gözleri


Source: Aktar, A. The first year of Turkish-Greek population exchange, September 1922-September 1923, 41-74 Müfide Pekin (editor), Newly Formed , 1923 Turkish-Greek Compulsory Population Exchange, Istanbul Bilgi Üniversity Publications, no 112 , 2005, p. 73 (In Turkish).
All material provided by Professor Ekrem Ekinci.

Note: Some of the modern Turkish characters are not rendered correctly by HTML. The same appears to be true with some of the Greek characters but such glitches do not affect the impact of the poem.

Posted June 12, 2009. Revised June 15, 2009.

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