Politics 10:40 15/01/2020 Region

Analysis: Turkey eliminated its minorities from the economy with exorbitant taxes

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

After the near total physical elimination of the minorities from the Ottoman Empire 1915-23, the Turkish government embarked in 1941 on the financial ruin of the remaining Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and a small number of Turkish Muslims.

Turkish journalist and political analyst Uzay Bulut, formerly based in Ankara, wrote an in-depth article posted on the greekcitytimes.com website, titled: “Wealth Tax Law: How Turkey’s Non-Muslims Were Eliminated from the Economy.”

The chauvinistic government of then Prime Minister Shukru Saracoglu enacted the Wealth Tax Law on November 11, 1942. While the Genocide of the minorities in Turkey has attracted much international attention in recent decades, the seizure of their wealth through taxes has not been as well publicized. The minorities residing in Istanbul were not subjected to mass deportations by the Ottoman authorities due to the presence of foreign embassies in that city which was then the Ottoman Empire’s capital.

Turkish scholar Bashak Ince wrote that the stated aim “was to tax previously untaxed commercial wealth and to rein in the inflationary spiral of World War II. However, the underlying reason was the elimination of minorities from the economy and the replacement of the non-Muslim bourgeoisie by its Turkish counterpart.”

The Turkish researcher Ridvan Akar, who wrote a book about the exorbitant Wealth Tax Law, described it as “economic genocide against minorities.”

Here are the four groups and the percentage of taxes imposed on them according to the 1941 tax law: Armenians (232%), Jews (179%), Greeks (156%) and Muslims (4.94%).

“The way in which the law was applied was scandalous,” wrote Ince, an assistant professor of political science. “Converts paid about twice as much as Muslims, while non-Muslims ended up paying up to ten times as much. In addition, non-Muslims were required to pay their taxes in cash within 15 days; as a result, they had to sell their businesses or property to Muslim businessmen at low prices to cover the bill. The law was also applied to the many poor non-Muslims (numbering 26,000), such as drivers, workers, and even beggars, whereas their Muslim counterparts were not obliged to pay any tax.”

Those who could not pay the taxes were sent to labor camps at Askale, near Erzurum, deported or their properties seized by the government, wrote Bulut.

Author Sidney Nowill described the labor camp as “an area cooler than Moscow in the winter.” The tax debtors were put to work breaking stones, but the tragedy did not end there!

“Out of 40,000 tax debtors,” Ince wrote, “about 5,000 were sent to these camps, and all of these were members of non-Muslim communities. Unfortunately, 21 people died in these camps and the government usurped their wealth and sold it to Turkish Muslims at low prices.”

Furthermore, “The government also confiscated the property of the tax debtors’ close relatives, even if they had been sent into labor service.”

Bulut also quoted historian Corry Guttstadt who wrote in her book, “Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust,” about the financial and psychological ruin the Wealth Tax inflicted on the minority non-Muslim citizens of Turkey: “People who were unable to pay were granted a two-week extension on request, but interest was charged for this period. Many families were forced to sell their shops and businesses, their houses, even their carpets, furniture, and other household articles to raise the tax money…. Some people committed suicide in despair. The extraordinary tax was also levied on foreign Jews, and if they were in no position to pay, their property was confiscated down to the beds and cupboards. Although the law stipulated that people over 55 years old were exempt from labor service, 75 and 80-year-old men and even sick people were dragged to the train station and deported.”

Turkish Prime Minister Saracoglu stated at the time: “This way, we’ll break the foreigners’ tight grip over our market and put Turkish money into the hands of Turks.”

Turkish Researcher Sait Chetinoglu has investigated and written extensively on the Turkish government’s Wealth Tax policy, based on historical documents and testimonies of the victims. A Greek-Turkish woman, Marika Shishmanoglu, was quoted as saying that the unreasonably large tax of 30,000 Turkish liras was charged on her father who was forced to sell both of his houses and his shop and was still unable to pay the full amount of the taxes levied on him. So he was deported to the Askale labor camp. Her uncle was also charged an extraordinarily large amount of tax and was financially ruined. He was deported to Askale too. Her father died at the labor camp of Sivrihisar of a heart attack at the age of 57.

“The Wealth Tax was repealed in March 1944, under the pressure of criticism from Britain and the United States,” Bulut wrote. “It was the so-called ‘secular’ Republican People’s Party (CHP), for example, that imposed this ‘jizya -- kafir [infidel] tax’ on Turkey’s non-Muslim citizens.”

Turkish journalist Bulut concluded: “The founders and ideologues of Turkey -- since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923 -- propagated a discriminatory and Turkish supremacist mindset that revealed itself under the slogan ‘Turkey for the Turks.’ All succeeding governments have consciously attempted to make this slogan a reality, turning the lives of religious minorities into hell on earth. The current aggressive policies of the ruling AKP government against non-Muslims are just a continuation of this mentality.”



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

16:36
New Zealand PM says to fight hate, study social media algorithms
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that world leaders and tech firms looking to stamp out violent extremism online would...
16:21
French ambassador to Armenia: ‘We were peaceful like our mountains, you invaded like ferocious winds’
French Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Lacôte took to Facebook on Saturday to share a poem entitled “Impromptu” by renowned...
15:59
Serzh Sargsyan: At some point Artur Vanetsyan realized real essence of ‘rookie wolves’, stopped halfway and urged others to do so
The electoral campaign, which launched against a backdrop of regular encroachments on Armenia’s state borders, must consolidate all...
15:18
EURO 2020 official song ‘We Are The People’ unveiled from Martin Garrix, featuring Bono and The Edge
"We Are The People", the official song of UEFA EURO 2020, has been officially released with less than a month until the tournament...
14:59
Serzh Sargsyan: We have no moral right to step aside and indifferently watch country’s collapse
The signing of a memorandum on the formation of an electoral alliance between the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the...
14:30
Marc Garneau: Canada concerned by reports of Azerbaijan’s incursion into Armenian territory
Canada is concerned by reports of Azerbaijan’s incursion into the territory of Armenia, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a...
14:13
RPA, Homeland Party sign memorandum on electoral alliance
The former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the Homeland Party moved to sign a memorandum on the formation of an electoral alliance...
13:53
Ex-Indian official: Coronavirus has ‘right to live’ like the rest of us
At a time when the whole world is seeking solution to get rid of the Covid pandemic, Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former chief minister of the...
13:33
Armenia determined to take every measure to ensure its territorial integrity – Foreign Ministry
Armenia is determined to take every measure to ensure its territorial integrity amid the Azerbaijani encroachment on the country’s...
13:21
Artsakh reports 4 new daily coronavirus cases
Artsakh confirmed 4 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours, bringing the country total to 2,730 on Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported....
12:59
Joe Biden revokes controversial Trump orders on monuments, immigration
US President Joe Biden on Friday revoked a series of controversial executive orders issued by the Trump administration, striking down his...
12:52
Armenian expert: Quick steps needed to avoid new losses amid Azeri aggression
Quick steps are needed to avoid new losses amid Azerbaijan’s encroachment on the sovereign territory of Armenia, according to military...
12:19
Borrell: EU following closely ‘worrying developments’ along Armenia-Azerbaijan border
The European Union is following closely the “worrying developments” along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, EU High Representative for...
12:04
Armenia’s daily coronavirus cases rise by 282 on May 15
Armenia has confirmed 282 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 220,729 as of 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15, the...
11:56
Zinedine Zidane 'to quit Real Madrid at end of season'
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is set to leave the club at the end of the season, regardless of whether his side successfully retain their La...
11:49
Armenia’s ombudsman seeks support to advance concept of security zone around Syunik and Gegharkunik
Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan has urged all government agencies, MPs, the competent public and political...
11:32
Situation on Armenia's border areas remains unresolved after Azerbaijani incursion – Defense Ministry
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that as of Saturday morning the Azerbaijani troops have not fully withdrawn from Armenia’s...
10:57
US expects Azerbaijan to immediately pull back troops from Armenia
The US is closely monitoring the situation along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and expects Azerbaijan to immediately pull back its...
10:37
Armenian ombudsman heads to Gegharkunik Province to get acquainted with border situation
Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Arman Tatoyan has headed to Gegharkunik Province with the representatives of his staff to get...
10:10
India’s daily COVID-19 deaths near 4,000
India reported a smaller rise in daily coronavirus infections on Saturday, but deaths stayed near the 4,000 mark, with the World Health...
20:30
Chairperson of the CSTO Collective Security Council issues instructions to activate the mechanisms of emergency consultations
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ara Aivazian held a phone conversation on Friday with the Chairman of the CSTO Council of Foreign...
20:17
Residents of Verishen and Akner villages can no longer use pastures and raise livestock due to the presence of Azerbaijani armed servicemen
The Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, together with the representatives of the Office and the head of Goris community Arush Arushanyan, held...
19:51
Azerbaijan's expansionist appetite is a result of the anti-Armenian policy led by Nikol Pashinyan's regime - Armenia bloc
Political bloc 'Armenia' (Hayastan) comprising of ARF Dashnaktsutyun and Reviving Armenia party, led by ex-president Robert Kocharyan...
19:35
Sabine Gaber talks about the long-lasting and successful partnership with Ameriabank
Ms. Sabine Gaber, member of the Executive Board at OeEB (Development Bank of Austria), talks about OeEB’s mission, actions taken in...
18:56
Acting Defense minister says Armenian army has full control over the Black Lake area near the border
The acting Defence Minister of Armenia Vagharshak Harutyunyan had a telephone conversation on Friday with the Defence Minister of the Russian...
18:11
Parliament to convene an extraordinary sitting
By the decision of the Parliament Speaker, an extraordinary sitting of the National Assembly of Armenia will be convened on Friday. As the press...
17:31
Time is not on our side - Tigran Abrahamyan
The Head of "Henaket" analytical center Tigran Abrahamyan commented on Facebook the situation in Syunik province.  "My...
16:53
The criminal presence of the Azerbaijani servicemen in the territory of Armenia has the intention to terrorize the people - Ombudsman
The Human Rights Defender of Armenia Arman Tatoyan and the representatives of the Office have conducted fact-finding activities since early in...
16:26
Pashinyan officially addressed the Chairperson of the CSTO Security Council to activate the mechanism of emergency consultations
\Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan today appealed to the incumbent Chairperson of the CSTO Collective Security Council, President...
15:48
Pashinyan did not ask Putin for help, Peskov says
Armenia's acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan did not ask for assistance due to the situation in the Syunik province, the press secretary...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}