In order to understand why Greeks often seek genocide recognition only for the victims in the region of Pontus, it's worth watching the following bizarre interview aired on the OPEN TV channel in April 2019.
The channel's hosts interviewed well known genocide historians Kostas Fotiadis and Vlassis Agtzidis. Fotiadis (bottom left in video) has researched the genocide in the Pontus region extensively and has published numerous books on the events in Pontus. However, his level of expertise on the genocide is confined to that region. His understanding of the events in other regions of Ottoman Turkey is limited.
In the interview, Mr Fotiadis claims that the events in Pontus were "different" and that since there was not one single Hellenic military soldier in Pontus, it was therefore a "clear" genocide there. He highlights "certain problems" the Hellenic military created in western Asia Minor and he says the Turks will use the "excuse of war" to refute the genocide. At one stage, Mr Fotiadis makes a bizarre statement that Pontic Greek males were fighting "with" Mustafa Kemal's army and for that reason the Kemalists found Pontus devoid of males and were able to commit the genocide in Pontus, a bizarre comment which raised the eye brows of historian Vlassis Agtzidis. Mr Fotiadis's comments also worried the two TV hosts who were quick to remind Mr Fotiadis that the scale and type of misdeeds committed by the Hellenic military and the Turkish regimes were in no way comparable; and that the Turks were committing atrocities in times of peace too.
Historian Vlassis Agtzidis was quick to remind the audience that in order to understand the events during that period, one needs to put everything in the right historical context. He reminded Mr Fotiadis and the audience that Pontus was also the scene of war, between the Ottoman Empire and the Russians (1916-18) and that the Turks cannot use the excuse of war to deny the genocide of unarmed civilians. He reminded Mr Fotiadis that the Turks claim that Pontic Greek guerillas also committed atrocities. Unfortunately, Mr Fotiadis has been making these absurd denialist comments for close to 3 decades, thus influencing the thoughts and minds of many Pontic and non-Pontic Greeks worldwide. Although we aren't seeing regional recognitions as much these days, one of the reasons Pontic and non-Pontic Greeks in some parts of the world (in particular Canada) still seek recognition only for the region of Pontus, is due to the ill-informed comments of Mr Fotiadis. Watch the interview below. To read more about Kostas Fotiadis and the Pontian lobby, click here.