Today in 1955, the Istanbul pogrom or riot against Istanbul’s 150,000 -strong Greek minority began; it also targeted Jews and Armenians. When it ended, a day later, some 16 Greeks and one Armenian had died, 32 had been severely wounded, dozens of women had been raped and a number of men forcibly circumcised.
‘A man who was fearful of being beaten, lynched or cut into pieces would imply and try to prove that he was both a Turk and a Muslim. “Pull it out and let us see,” they would reply. The poor man would peel off his trousers and show his “Muslimness” and “Turkishness”. And what was the proof? That he had been circumcised. If the man was circumcised, he was saved. If not, he was doomed. Indeed, having lied, he could not be saved from a beating. For one of those aggressive young men would draw his knife and circumcise him in the middle of the street and amid the chaos. A difference of two or three centimetres does not justify such a commotion.’
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