|WELCOME TO NICK KOUZOS HOME PAGE.
A trip “back to roots” and “back to history” of Asia Minor.
This is an introduction to Kouzos family history and “tree” traced back to the end of 19th century. The “site” goes beyond the interest of a family genealogy investigation, as it explores the historical events of a period that reshaped the world in South Eastern Europe and Middle East. This is also taking particular interest for the more contemporary developments which seem to resemble and reproduce similar geopolitical situations. The story of the family is typical and very similar to the stories of millions of Greeks and Armenians and other minority nationalities, which experienced the tragedy of expulsion and de-rooting of the total Christian population from their homes in Asia Minor, at the beginning of the 20th century. The “curtain” of this tragedy “fell” after a disastrous campaign of the Greek Army, that took place, with the encouragement of the “Great Powers” ( Great Britain, France and Italy and to some degree United States) after the defeat of Germany and its ally, Turkey, in the First World War. These events lead to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and subsequently to the creation of modern Turkey as we know it to day. The defeat of the Greek Army and the tragic consequences which followed were mainly due to the sudden change of policies of the same powers that, truly, abandoned their ally, at the time, in order to protect and best serve their evolving new interests in the area. These events are affecting the relationship between Greece and its western allies even today. Further, they are affecting the relationship with Turkey and leave open old wounds, such as the “Cyprus issue” and the …”gray” areas of Aegean sea.
The most recent and most threatening claim against Greece announced, was the idea of ‘Blue Homeland’ which violates international law for the sea, and deprives all Greek islands to have an ‘economical zone’. At the same time, Turkey has issued a ‘Casus Belli’ threatening statement, to be exercised, if Greece extends the island’s territorial water limits from six to 12 miles, a right that is given to Greece according to international law for the sea. Turkey, for obvious reasons, has not signed the international law, claiming that, since it has not signed this law, it is not obliged to conform. This is a wrong assumption under any law. On top of this argument, Turkey is violating the international treaty of Lausanne, signed by seven nations after the first world war, under which, the sea frontier in Aegean sea have been set to maximum of three miles from the coast of Asia Minor.
An inspiration for me to build this “site” has been created during a trip to Peramos of “Asia Minor” in Turkey, that I made together with my wife Vanda.Roubanis, back in 1997. The place is now named “Karsiyaka”. Peramos was a small Greek town on the Kapidag Peninsula\ on the north coast of Asia on the sea of Marmara.
This was the birthplace of my Grandfather Nick Kouzos and my Father Antony Nick Kouzos.
My desire was to write about the sufferings of my Parents, my Grandparents and their relatives from both branches of my family, who derive their origin from Asia Minor in order to help keep their memory alive but most of all to make a mark of the unique culture they belonged to, which unfortunately was so brutally and unjustly destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century.
The destruction of Greek minority gave birth to the Modern Turkish State.
“It is very important to mention, at this stage, that 50% of the capital invested in Turkish industry belonged to Greeks of Asia Minor.
Also, out of the 18.063 trading companies in Turkey 46% belonged to Greeks, 23% to Armenians and 15% to Muslims, 46% of the Banking sector belonged to Greeks, as well as 52% of the doctors were Greeks, 49% of the pharmacists, 52% of the Architects 37% of the engineers and 29% of the solicitors.
Further 528 from a total of 654 wholesale companies belonged to Greeks”.
Finally, I wanted to write the story of Asia Minor in such a way that would help people, who share their origins from both sides of the Aegean Sea, Greeks and Turks, who have either similar or even conflicting stories and experiences to declare, to speak up, exchange their views, brake the ice and throw light on the “shadow” of preoccupation created by nationalists, extremists as well as from National propaganda that is generated from both sides.
I believe that a major benefit could come out of this, because only in this way and if the truth is fully exposed, real understanding and even, possibly, friendship may develop between two people’s that have lived through enormous sufferings for many generations due to historical circumstances that made them share as well as fight over the same homeland.
The interested reader is invited to navigate among the various pages and enter his comments or even contribute with information, which will be logged in the “Guest-Log” page.
I will be even happier if I receive messages from the Turkish side that could enrich the pages of this site with personal stories or historic references from their side and point of view. Most of all I would enjoy receiving stories of Greek Turkish friendships that undoubtedly had been developed and were lost in the turmoil of war and destruction.
You can sent your message if you visit my contact page at https://nickkouzos.com/el/contact-me/?lang=en, or at my email nkouzos@gmail,com
Finally I would like to apologise to my Turkish friends if some of this information appears to be biased, my intention is not to offend the Turkish Nation or the Turkish people and culture, which I truly appreciate, in spite of all biter family experiences.
I do also appreciate that the period I deal with is a period, which reshaped the world and one cannot be expected to judge all events with today’s moral or cultural standards.
On the other hand drawing historical parallels and comparing historical experiences are very educational and valuable and one can derive wisdom and draw conclusions from a much deeper understanding on current events and options presented to all of us that will influence our lives and the lives of our children.
After all the Modern Turkish Nation was created out of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the destruction of Greeks and other minorities in the area, nobody can forget that.
Τhe justification of the Turkish people lies in the fact that the Greeks and Armenians undermined the Ottoman Empire and supported the great powers that aimed to dismember the empire.
Religions played a big role in this conflict, since Islam had a completely expansionist policy, resulting in continuous expansionary wars, Islamizing the peoples it enslaved or turning them into second-class citizens by imposing taxes on Christians that was not an acceptable practice for Muslims, under their religion, in a similar way banking interests were not acceptable, just consider Islamic banking.
I wonder why this part of the history is not strictly mentioned in any historical book in high schools of western powers, including UK, France, Italy, Germany and USA.
THE TWO BRANCHES OF THE FAMILY, PERAMOS OF KYZIKOS AND SMYRNA.
The Greeks favour the use the name “Asia Minor” which is the Western part of Turkey, because it associates with their own lost homeland.
During my trip to old Peramos, that took place in 1997, as mentioned above, I felt very close to my Grand Father Nick Kouzos, the last Greek school headmaster of this small Greek town, and my Grand Mother Olympia Agoroglou, daughter of Nikolis Agoroglou, sister of Alekos and Socrates Agoroglou from Peramos of Kyzikos, as well.
I have never met my Grandfather who died very young in Turkey, before 1918.
My Grandmother Olympia Kouzos, alone, with her four children, fled to Greece, as a refugee, during 1924 and died in Athens in 1965.
The other branch of the family is from a different area of Asia Minor. My Mother, Evaggelia Kouzos, family name Konsolidis or Consolas from Kirkagats of Asia Minor (Turkey) situated 120Km North East of Izmir, was also a refugee who fled to Greece, with her Mother Anastasia, her Grand Mother “Nene” and her elder sisters, Dorothea , Renea and Olympia, all rescued by the retreating Greek army, from certain massacre, in August 1922.
So, from both branches of my family, the Father and the Mother, my origin is from these areas.
In both cases, their towns and Christian communities were totally destroyed and all friends and relatives were either massacred or dispersed around the world as refugees. The survivors, around 1.6 million, came to Greece as refugees, but quite a big number was scattered around the world, to the States, France, Australia and many other places. (The total Greek population in Asia Minor was close to 2.5 Million during 1900)
“It is very important to mention that 50% of the capital invested in industry of the Ottoman Empire, belonged to Greeks of Asia Minor.
Also, out of the 18.063 trading companies in Turkey 46% belonged to Greeks, 23% to Armenians and 15% to Muslims, 46% of the Banking sector belonged to Greeks. In high professional individuals Greeks in percentage terms were: 52% of the doctors , 49% of the pharmacists, 52% of the Architects, 37% of the engineers and 29% of the solicitors.
Further 528 from a total of 654 companies involved in wholesale trade belonged to Greeks.” In relative terms, the number of people expelled or killed was huge for the period, as it represented a considerable percentage of the total population of mainland Greece at the time, which barely reached 4.500.000
The destruction of any people’s homeland and culture has always been a painful and a dramatic experience. This is why we can see that in many cases around the world, this painful memory is maintained for many generations and a desire always exists to preserve as much of the culture and information about these lost communities.
So, the drive to go “back to roots”, in these cases, is more than curiosity or an interesting “hobby”, it covers a deeper human need due to which, complete societies, even whole nations have survived in centuries.
This page is the smallest contribution I could make to the memory of my Grandparents who participated in the preservation of a culture, ahead of their time, which unfortunately was destroyed in the name of the conflicting interests of the “Great Powers” at the beginning of the 20th century.
This culture was the living proof of the continuation of ancient civilisation of Hellenism that endured waves of historical changes through centuries that included, religious, racial, cultural and national mixtures. The link that helped this civilisation to survive was Byzantium, an Empire that managed to survive waves of hostile attacks from North West and East for 1200 years. (Persians, Arabs, Mongols, Venetians, Crusaders, Vikings, Visigoths (Godths of West, Ostrogoths (Godths of East) Bulgarians, Slavs Vandals, Hunnes “An underdeveloped, repulsive race”, as described by the Byzantines.
I am very proud to be the Grand son of Nick Kouzos and Grand nephew of George Kouzos when I discover the work and publications they have issued to contribute to the Greek Education Community of Asia Minor, during the 19th and 20th century.
In spite of it’s destruction the survivors of this culture influenced the evolution of Modern Greece. It is really a great pity that that this culture did not survive for the benefit of mankind including the Turkish Nation with which, for centuries, Greeks managed to coexist in many areas of the Ottoman Empire.
Today, all this has been forgotten and all any one could expect, is to defend the “right of remembrance”.
THE ASIA MINOR HOLOCAUST OF 1922
From the New York Times By EDWIN I. JAMES. Copyright, 1922 by
The New York Times Company. Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES LAUSANNE, Dec. 1.– 1923
‘A black page of modern history was written here today.
Ismet Pasha stood before the statesmen of the civilized world and admitted that the banishment from Turkish territory of nearly a million Christian Greeks, who were two million only a few short years ago had been decreed.
The Turkish Government graciously allows two more weeks for the great exodus.’
The statesmen of the civilized powers accepted the Turkish dictum and set about ways to get those thousands of Greeks out of harm’s way before they should meet the fate of 800,000 Armenians who were massacred in Anatolia from 1910 to 1917.
The stories of both branches of the family are described in two different pages of this site, one page deals with Kirkagats, the birth place of my mother, closely related to Smyrna, the largest and richest city with large Greek Population that was burned down to ashes, which is more well known, and the second chapter that refers to Peramoa smaller town with 5.000 pure Greek inhabitants. describrd in the link http://web.archive.org/web/20051108171548/http://members.aol.com/peramos/index.html
In both chapters, I include comments and pictures wherever available, but the general historic background is common to both and could be of interest to many people who would like to obtain deeper knowledge of this tragic period.
A short comprehensive account on the historic events that lead to the defeat of the Greek Army in Turkey, during 1922, is given in a speech made by Nancy Horton the daughter of George Horton the Consulate General of USA in Smyrna, during the period of the conflict and specifically during 1922. See special page with extracts from the speech in English.
A full version of the speech in Greek can be found in the relevant Greek section of this site.
The general background about the long standing conflict between Greece and Turkey is given in page “Historic Confrontation” and in the chapter “Chronological Events”, which gives the historical events in a chronological sequence. Other relevant information is shared in various “chapters” linked with this document, indexed in the left of this page.
To navigate within this site, please look at the list of chapters provided in the column left of the present page.
INDEX OF LINKS TO VIDEOS FROM TRAVELS “BACK TO ROOTS”
Back to root videos taken during travels to Turkey, in search of my family roots in Constantinople, Peramos, Kirkagats and Smyrni,
(The first attempt to find traces of family roots, starting the story from Istanbul (Constantinople) where Kouzos family went after the burning of the town of Peramos of Kyzikos, together with thousands of Greeks who tried to hide in the years from 1915 to 1924.)
Back to the roots Nick Kouzos (Part.2)
“Arriving to Peramos”
(Traveling from Lesbos island (Mitilini) across to Asia Minor coast and traveling further deeper, up to Kirkagats town, home of the other branch of the family, Konsolidis branch)
SMYRNI @ KIRKAGATS A trip Back to roots of Asia Minor and the tragic story of a Greek family among 1.5 million Greek Nationals who were expelled after the defeat of the Greek Army during 1922.
Note, inserted on the 31st of year 2019:
The relationships between Greece and Turkey have been deteriorating after 1937 and certainly more during the recent years after the change of direction that both EU and Turkey have taken as regards Turkey’s application for full membership in EU that both parties have come to realize that such an integration is not possible and is not desired for reasons that are not openly disclosed.
Turkey has come to believe that West has gone back to the position prevailing during the first World War. Turkey believes that they deserve a better position in the international scene as they represent the leading power of the Islamic world.
As a consequence they want to take a re -visionary position on most treaties including the treaty of Lauzanne , which defines the state of the Aegean islands, frontiers with Syria and the share of Mediterranean Sea.
On top of that Turkey has not signed the international law for the rights of the islands to have their own EEZ ect.
This may result to a serious conflict with Greece.
As this note was written (April 2021) Turkey has violated International law by invading Cyprus EEZ, signing an agreement with Libya violating the rights of Greece in Mediterranean sea and finally starting exploration activities in areas that require bilateral agreements to define EEZ for both countries, in addition to air violations flying its air fighters over a number of Greek islands in East Aegean Sea.
Some negotiations have started with minimal expectations to resolve the differences.
The open press conference held of the Ministers of exterior of both countries, held in Ankara during the 15th of April 2021, clearly exposed the conflict between the two countries.
Immediately next day Greece and France started researches in the sea areas claimed by both Greece and Turkey. My estimate is that Turkey will react aggressively after the meeting for Cyprus that will be held on the 27th of April 2021.
Last update 13 November 22
The current situation with Cyprus is that Turkey refuses any discussion under UN mediation unless the Turkish Cypriot part of North Cyprus is recognised as an independent state entity. This exposes the real intentions of Turkey all the way along. This is not accepted by Cyprus neither Greece or UK or UN.
Last update 7nth December 23
Current situation which is considered a very good period considering the complicated relationships between Turkey and West, This is reflected with the good climate established due to the visit of Mr Erdogan planed for the 7nth of December 23.
Thoughts around President’s Erdogan visit to Athens during December 2023
Σκέψεις γύρω από την επίσκεψή του Προέδρου της Τουρκίας Ερντογάν τον Δεκέμβριου του 2023
The content of the link is from an article written in Greek, here under translated into english:
With the announcement of the visit of the President of Turkey Erdoğan to Athens, completely spontaneously, thoughts come to mind that come from the sufferings that arose from the long history of conflicts experienced by Hellenism.
I’m not sure how they count the generations, I probably belong to the second generation, after the generation of 22 who, either as young children or elderly, came as refugees from Asia Minor.
Perhaps I belong to this generation that tries to preserve in its memories the hearings and stories of parents and grandmothers who have almost disappeared.
I feel that I am obliged to pass on, like a relay runner, the baton of the memories of the last generation of Asia Minor Greeks, to write about them, and keep the stories fresh as they were told to me by those before me.
In this effort I notice that there were and still are two or more Greeces, which have not yet merged, given that there were different cultural experiences, in different regions and at different times. that the different conditions allowed the formation of different cultural levels and mentality.
Examples of these differences are the Phanariotes, Greeks from Smyrna, the Pontians which altogether stand opposite, to Arvanites, the Cretans, the Maniates, the Epirotes, the Macedonians, the Islanders, Greeks from Hydra, and Spetses, Iptanesians and others.
But they are united by the pain of oppression and the tradition in which religion and Ancient Greek culture play an important role. At the time this pain was going to be forgotten, Cyprus events came to the scene followed by the persecution of the last Greek inhabitants of Constantinople, during 1955.
Why did the Treaty of Lausanne protect the Islamic element in Western Thrace and did not protect the Hellenism of Constantinople?
This is what I would like, first of all, to ask Mr. Erdogan.
So, it is worthwhile to reflect on the most recent conflict that caused great pain to the Greek minority of Constantinople and the rest of Greece
The pain from the persecution of the last Greek minority, which was expelled from Turkey, during 1955, was vividly reminded by the documentary film “The Unlost Homeland” by Eftychia Fragou,
The documentary was shown at the 15th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival 2021.
A few words about the film and the introductory trailer together with a few words from the creator of the film Mrs. Eftychia Fragou can be watched at the link below. “The Not Lost Homelands”…
The opportunity to learn about September 1955 (video) -veteranos | National Issues.
Perhaps after this, you may understand why I refer to the many ‘Greeces’, because one of them you find, scattered throughout the world and carry, perhaps, more than mainland Greeks , the ‘baton’ in the longest ‘relay; for the survival of Hellenism.
They do that the same time that many of us, in the Metropolis, deal with issues of micro-politics competing against each other.
You can access some additional information about Greek and Turkish relationships in by Blog timesforchange wordpress.com
under ‘Back to roots’ chapter, where you can read many contemporary articles and videos by category, historical, political, issues on Greek and Turkish conflicts, travelling to our lost homelands. etc.
Most of the articles have been written in chronological sequence describing the events happening in each period
……to be continued.