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Venizelos - English

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Athens, January 12, 1934

Mister President,

For almost seven centuries the whole of the Near East
and a large part of Central Europe was a theatre for
bloody wars. The main cause of this was the Ottoman Empire
and the absolutist regime of the Sultans.

The subjugation of Christian peoples, the religious wars
of the Cross against the Crescent which inevitably followed,
and the successive resurgences of all the peoples who aspired
to their liberation, created a situation which remained a
permanent source of danger as long as the Ottoman Empire
retained the imprint of the Sultans.

The foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1922, when the
national movement of Moustafa Kemal Pasha triumphed over
its adversaries, put a definitive end to that state of
instability and intolerance.

Indeed, very rarely has such a radical change been achieved
in so short a time in the life of a nation.

An empire in decline, living under a theocratic regime
where the notions of law and religion intermingled, was
turned into a modern nation state, full of vigour and life.

Through the impetus given by the great reformer Moustafa
Kemal Pasha, the absolutist regime of the Sultans was abolished,
and the state became truly secular. The whole nation
embraced progress, rightly ambitious to be present at
the forefront of civilized peoples.

But the consolidation of peace went hand in hand with
all the internal reforms which gave the new, predominantly
ethnic Turkish state the image it has nowadays. Indeed,
Turkey did not hesitate to accept legally the loss of
provinces inhabited by other nationalities and, satisfied
with the ethnic and political borders defined by the treaties,
she became a true pillar for peace in the Near East.

We, the Greeks, who had been driven for centuries of bloody
battles into continuous confrontation with Turkey, were
the first to feel the effects of the deep change which
occurred in that country, the successor of the old
Ottoman Empire.

Having discerned, very soon after the catastrophe in
Asia Minor, the opportunity of an understanding with
reborn Turkey - which came out of the war as a national state-
we offered her our hand which she took with sincerity.

This rapprochement, which shows that even peoples divided
by the most serious differences can come closer to each other
when they become filled with the sincere desire for peace,
was beneficial both for the two countries involved and
for keeping the peace in the Near East.

The man to whom this invaluable contribution to the cause
of peace is due is, of course, the President of the
Turkish Republic, Moustafa Kemal Pasha.

Thus, I have the honour, as the leader of the Hellenic
Government in 1930, when the signature of the Greek-Turkish
pact marked a new era in the march of the Near East
towards peace, to propose Moustafa Kemal Pasha as a candidate
for the distinguished honour of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yours sincerely,

[Translation from French into English by Stella Colston]
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 14:02  
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