Episode 60 – Turkish Last Names: Honest Storytellers

The ethnic cleansing of Turks in Bulgaria and Greece touches me personally, as I, along with millions of Turks today, are products of those tragic days, much ignored in the biased Western media, academia, and politics, as all three love to start the clock in 1915, with total disregard for the hinterland of 1915. What follows is a sad but true story of a people, the Balkan Turks, persecuted, victimized, massacred, and then even blamed for their own demise, while the perpetrators of these heinous hate crimes and war crimes, namely the Balkan Christians, aided by ARF Armenian terrorists in Bulgaria, are excused, revered, and even exalted. If few people know about the Balkan massacres of 1912 and 1913 in America today, that is because of the dense atmosphere of anti-Turkish and anti-Islam bias in the media, academia, and politics. No one wants to cover this uncomfortable truth, unpleasant fact and embarrassing track record for the Western culture, history, and heritage. First, a little background. The 1877 Ottoman-Russian war ended disastrously for the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria became independent in 1878. Not stopping there, Bulgaria eyed expansion into nearby Macedonia, using the ethnic Bulgarians in Macedonia as an excuse to attack Macedonia. This is like Russia today using Donbass Russians as an excuse to attack Ukraine. An alliance was established between the Armenian terrorists in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian insurgents in Macedonia. Bulgaria had long turned into a sanctuary for the ARF’s violent activities. In 1901, for example, the ARF terrorists joined the Bulgarians in fighting the Ottoman Empire near Edirne and many ARF-terrorists were killed in that war. Bulgarian Military Academy provided training on the use of guns and bombs to future Armenian terrorists like Garegin Njdeh . Finally in 1906, the ARF established its own Armenian Military Academy in Dubnitsa, Bulgaria. During the 1st Balkan War of 1912, the Armenian terrorists led by Andranik and Njdeh joined the massacres of Turks, started by Bulgarian and Greek irregulars and regulars. What happened in the Turkish village of KIRLIKOVA, which is in Northern Greece near the Bulgarian border today, on one freezing cold October day in nineteen twelve is very personal to me. This is the story of my family’s tragic roots, but also, in a way, the story of every Turk. The entire Turkish population of the village of KIRLIKOVA was exterminated except for a one-year-old baby. The Armenian terrorists and other assailants, who were ferociously practicing their art of killing on unarmed, noncombatant, defenseless, and innocent Turkish farmers, probably did not notice during the mayhem in that killing field, a little baby among the countless piles of blood-soaked Turkish corpses. That little baby was none other than my father. What follows is a story of mortality, migration, and renewal; a tale of history forging Turkish identity. The Balkan-Christians united in 1912 against the Ottoman Empire with the purpose of ethnically cleansing the Balkan peninsula of its Turkish and Muslim populations. Bulgarians and Greeks jointly attacked the Ottoman forces in today’s Bulgaria, without bothering to distinguish combatants from noncombatants. ARF- terrorists like Andranik and Garegin Njdeh and many other Armenian murderers enthusiastically joined this carnage. Serbians and Montenegrins, on the other hand, attacked the Ottomans combatants and noncombatants in the rest of the Balkans. The Ottoman armies lost and retreated. Hundreds of thousands of terrified Balkans Muslims, mostly Turks, followed in desperation the retreating Ottoman armies. A train full of “Turkish babies” with few babysitters was about to make its last scheduled run from Selanik to Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire. Among the tiny passengers was this one-year-old baby. Pinned on his baby clothes was scribbled a faint note on a crumpled, old piece of paper: “Akif’s son Ratip. Born 1911. KIRLIKOVA.” That baby was my father and that is all the information we know about him to this day. He was taken to the Orphanage in Bebek, Istanbul. He was raised there by the Ottoman Empire until 1923 and Türkiye after that. He attended public schools was admitted to Istanbul University, Forestry Department, which, ironically, was mostly staffed by Jewish professors fleeing persecution by Greeks in Thessaloniki and by the Nazis in Germany. But that’s another story for another time. My father graduated in 1939 as a Forest Engineer and served Türkiye with distinction for 34 years before passing away in 1973.

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