Dominika Maria Macios

The Poles in the Ottoman Empire and their opinion about the extermination of Greeks and Armenians, 1908-1923. 

The partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1791, 1793, and 1795, as well as the unsuccessful Polish uprisings of the XIX century caused a movement called The Great Emigration. The Poles emigrated to France, England, Switzerland, and also to the Ottoman Empire. One of the reasons for choosing The Ottoman Empire was the Polish tradition, according to which the Ottoman Empire never recognized the partitions of the Commonwealth. Another one was the idea of a “great war.” It was the belief that through armed conflict in the East the relations between Russia, Austria, and Prussia could be upset, which could ultimately lead to Polish independence.

Additionally, Poles considered the Ottoman Empire as the eternal rival of Tsarist Russia, and the common coalition against The Russian Empire was one of the goals of Polish diplomacy in the framework of the “Polish Question.” Due to that, Prince Adam Czartoryski established a Polish settlement near Constantinople, and supported regimenting Polish troops in the Ottoman Army during the Crimean War.  This idea of a friendly relationship between Poles and Ottomans caused not just soldiers but also the Polish intellectual elite to choose the Ottoman Empire as a settling place at the end of the XIX century, and in the beginning of the XX century. In the country of the Padishah, the Poles were farmers, doctors, engineers, officers, journalists, government officials, diplomats, and representatives of Western Countries.

In my paper, I would like to present the results of my research concerning the extermination of Armenians and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, as seen through the prism of Polish opinion, illustrated with examples from archival materials, and publications published by Poles who lived in Ottoman Empire, like Józef Pomiankowski, Leon Ostroróg, and Ahmed Rustem Bey.  I am going to show what Poles thought about the Greeks’ and Armenian’s situation in The Ottoman Empire, what the reasons for the extermination were, and the ultimate effects of the genocidal policy of Ottomans.