Of the 5 banks in Trebizond in operation, 3 of them were owned by members of the Greek community: the Bank of K. Theofylaktos , the Bank of Kapagiannidis and the Bank of Fostiropoulos. The 4th was a branch of the Ottoman bank and the 5th was a branch of the Bank of Athens. The Greeks were also influential in public life. They took part in political administration, judicature, finance, agriculture and technical works.
In the courts of first instance, appeal and of commerce there was one Greek in each section. In finance they worked in tax collection, the estimates committee, tobacco monopoly, Ottoman and Agricultural Bank branches, and public debt administration. In education they were sometimes employed on the education committee and in secondary schools. They were important contributors to engineering and public works as engineers and the postal and telegraphic service as operators. The Greeks of Trebizond became renowned for building numerous churches, some of which are still standing today.
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Saint Sophia which was built in the 13th century is perhaps the most notable Greek Orthodox church. The Greeks also built numerous buildings in the city. The Ataurk Kiosk is in fact a building built in by wealthy Greek banker Konstantinos Kapagiannidis.
The Trabzon Museum was built in the early 's by banker Kostantinos Theofylaktos. Another notable building is the Trapezunta Tuition Center Frontistorion Trapezuntas which was founded in The Muslims lived within the walled part of the town while the Christian part of the population lived outside of the walls. According to D. By the early part of the 20th century, the Greeks of Trebizond made up a part of the bourgeois.
In many photos of the time, they were seen dressed lavishly; the men in tailor-made suits and the women in rich silk dresses. They were often seen traveling by carriage to their villas situated on the outskirts of the town. Greeks of Pontus: Left - Dr.
Alkiviadis Soumelidis and his wife Thalea. Right - Nicholas and Olga Orfanidis. The persecution of the Greeks of Trebizond followed the persecution of the Armenian population of the town. The Greeks of Trebizond were sent on death marches into the mountains of Bitlis around , most perishing never to return. The remainder were forcefully sent to Greece as part of the Exchange of Populations between Greece and Turkey , thus ending an almost three thousand year presence of Hellenism in the region.
Today the region has a sizable community of Greek-speaking Muslims, most of whom are originally from the vicinity of Tonya and Of. They speak the Pontic dialect, a dialect which is based on the ancient Greek. As Michael Meeker writes: " The Turks who settled along the Black Sea Coast of Asia Minor first encountered for the most part a Greek-speaking, not a Lazi speaking population, and the way of life which these Turks adopted was learned from Greek speakers.
Middle Eastern Studies. Vol 34, No. Turkey before and after Ataturk: Internal And External affairs. The Encyclopedia of Pontian Hellenism 3. Only one year after the start of the Lebanese civil war, a terrorist attack took the life of the Turkish first secretary in Beirut, Oktar Cirit. The latter was backed by Syria and even had training bases in the Bekaa valley east of Lebanon . The Syrian and Israeli occupation of Lebanon made it almost impossible for any other regional power to effectively influence Lebanese developments.
The powerful Syrian presence in Lebanon prevented any serious development in the Turkish-Lebanese relations. Until the Syrian retreat from Lebanon in , the dynamics of the Syrian-Turkish relations impacted the trajectory of the Turkish-Lebanese relations . He argues that Turkey:. The initial condition for appreciating this potential is getting free from the prejudices against the Middle East, and, mounting a campaign for economic and cultural cooperation with the region.
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However, there is a precondition to viable change; Turkey has to stop conceiving itself as an ordinary actor in the region and acknowledge its Ottoman heritage. In fact, […] this approach is not an option, but a necessity for Turkey. He believes that the geographical depth of Turkey is rooted in its location at the intersection of Asia and Europe and its close proximity to Africa. Turkey enjoys a pride of location in a twin strategic seas— Mediterranean and Black Seas. This fact invests in the country a high geopolitical premium and place it at the vortex of multiple geopolitical dynamics .
Being the center and sole heir of this culturally rich empire makes Turkey the center of attraction and positioned it to exercise influence over many countries in the Middle East and the Balkans . Instead of assuming a call boy role for big powers and playing a limited role by being part of axes, enmities and coalitions, like other marginal countries, he wants it to play a robust role in the global geopolitical game.
He wants Turkey to be a central country with an equal distance from the rest of the world and taking a proactive role in all regional and international issues. To achieve this, Turkey needs to mobilize its historical and cultural weapons to win hearts and minds by underlying common Ottoman heritage. Turkey showed no appetite to radically reconfigure the geopolitical landscape in the region. It thawed relations with old foes, avoided open confrontation and took the role of a mediator in many instances.
More significantly, the uprisings also posed a challenge to the conceptual foundations of our new foreign policy […]. Lebanon is hosting approximately 1. The refugee problem is presenting Lebanon with heavy logistical and political challenges. The coming of over a million refugees is too heavy for the fragile body-politics of the country and threatens upsetting its sensitive demographic balance.
Lebanon is divided among 18 confessional denominations each with its own sense of distinct history, identity, political consciousness, ideological orientation and future aspirations, mostly construed in contradistinction to other groups. This diversity makes it susceptible to instability and robs it the possibility of broad political consensus .
This social and political fracture has been aggravated by economic failure induced by the long-drawn civil war , Syrian military presence in most of the Lebanese territories , and Israeli military occupation of the south of Lebanon Additionally, many regional and international powers exercise a great deal of influence in Lebanon.
The scramble leaves a limited space for Turkey to exercise political influence and power on the Lebanese political and social scene. How do Lebanese Perceive Turkey? The Lebanese authorities were obliged to ban the movie from its theaters amid uproar among Orthodox Christian community in Lebanon . This was not an isolated single event staged by a fringe group but a small manifestation of the deep-seated animosity towards, hatred of, stereotype and negative perception of Turkey among Lebanese society.
The perception is not completely negative and the prospect of Turkey gaining traction in Lebanon is not absolutely bleak. There are already positive indicators on which Turkey can bank. Ayhan notes that the relations between Turkey and Lebanon developed rapidly in the post period. And unlike Iran or Israel, there is a belief that Turkey is pursuing a more impartial foreign policy towards internal problems in Lebanon . Some of the Sunni elites indicate that Turkey, as a large Muslim country, has the ability and historical clout to help solve the problems of Lebanese Muslim groups.
Some of these negative views have deep roots and ranges from the political to the artistic and the educational. Here below are some of them:. Moreover, Shiite militant groups close to Hezbollah kidnapped two Turkish pilots in , and claimed Turkey as responsible for the abduction of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in Syria  forcing Turkey to make efforts to get its pilots back through the mediation of Hezbollah. Saying that however, Turkish efforts to break the ice is steadily bearing fruits.
Its influence among the Sunni is showing a piecemeal growth. The protests took place mainly in the Lebanese cities with big Sunni population like Tripoli, Sidon and Akkar . Moreover, many Lebanese officials and Sunni party leaders condemned the attempt . The Iranian President declared his total support for Shiite Hezbollah and met mainly with Shiite figures. A chunk of the Turkish assistance was expended on Lebanese regions where Sunnis and Turkmen constitutes a majority of the inhabitants.
Lebanon has a few thousand Turkmen  who have progressively lost their sharp cultural and linguistic marker through a relentless process of Arabization ; and who live in precarious economic condition. Lebanese Turkmens actively responded to the supportive Turkish gestures and sought to maximize the benefit this accrue by establishing civil society organizations. There is a large number of associations working for Lebanese Turkmen and for boosting Turkey-Lebanon friendship . It is important to mention that most of the Turkish economic, social and cultural aid packages are given to Lebanese Sunnis and Turkmen and the majority of the heads of these civil society organizations are Lebanese Sunnis and Turkmen.
Despite best efforts, Turkish influence among Lebanese Sunni community is still modest mainly because of the significant presence that Saudi Arabia maintains in the country. This polarized political space, where local rival lock horn with the cheering support from main regional bulwarks, leaves little room for Turkey to exercise a substantial political role and influence.
Turkey Before and After Ataturk
This economic relationship between the main Lebanese Sunni Leader and Turkey did not evolve into a strong political relationship where Turkey can influence Lebanon in an equal measure as other regional powers. But, in the highly volatile region, nothing is cast in stone. If Ankara persists on its efforts, it stands a good chance to make a slow but progressively effective diplomatic inroads into the Lebanese body-politic.
The two states tried to increase cooperation between each other but the persistent Lebanese government crisis halted the application of many agreements. The third and last meeting of the Committee was held on May , in Beirut. The bilateral state-to-state cooperation boosted trade between the two countries but not to a great extent as it is shown in the following table.
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