Number 206 | October 8, 2012
Death and forced exile of more than 1.5 million Muslims in Ottoman Europe
as a consequence of the Balkan Wars
Today TCA observes the 100th Anniversary of the start of the first Balkan War, which broke out on October 8, 1912. The war and those that followed caused immense suffering for all of the people of the Balkans. However, the tragedies suffered by the region’s Ottoman Muslims remain a story largely untold.
To this end, by publishing an annotated map displaying the geography of atrocities committed during the Balkan Wars, including the death and forced exile of approximately 1.5 million Muslims from Ottoman Europe, TCA commemorates the memory of these victims. The map also chronicles the settlement in Eastern Thrace and Western Anatolia of the surviving Ottoman Muslims, who had once represented a majority in their Balkan homelands. Millions of Turks today are the descendants of those who found refuge in Turkey.
Prepared by Justin McCarthy, Professor of History at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the map is a powerful visual tool to better understand the devastating effects of the Balkan Wars on Ottoman Muslim communities. "During the Balkan Wars many groups suffered, but those who suffered most were the Muslims, especially the Turks. 27% of the Muslims of the conquered areas of Ottoman Europe, mostly Turks, died as a result of these wars-the worst civilian mortality witnessed in any modern European war,” said Professor McCarthy. “I hope that this map will demonstrate the disastrous fate of these peoples during this time."
"TCA is very proud to have supported this publication and we thank Professor McCarthy for his meticulous investigation into the forgotten history of these Ottoman Muslim communities,” said G. Lincoln McCurdy, President of TCA. “The founders of modern Turkey urged the ravaged survivors of the Balkan Wars, who settled in Anatolia, to look forward, rather than back. This publication is a constructive effort to move away from the double-standards inherent in historical accounts that overlook Ottoman Muslim losses during this period when the Ottoman Empire was on the verge of collapse," stated G. Lincoln McCurdy.
The map can be downloaded from the TCA website and hard copies may be requested from TCA.