Crete in Collective Memory in the Republican History/Crete as a Memory Space

Suda E. Z.

XLI Международный Харакский форум «ПОЛИТИЧЕСКОЕ ПРОСТРАНСТВО И СОЦИАЛЬНОЕ ВРЕМЯ: АКСИОЛОГИЯ ВЛАСТИ И ОБЩЕСТВЕННЫЙ ИДЕАЛ, Stavropol, Russia, 25 - 27 April 2023, vol.1, no.15, pp.70-77

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Stavropol
  • Country: Russia
  • Page Numbers: pp.70-77
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This study will examine how the Cretan issue was handled in the Republican period by dividing it into periods, and the characteristics and differences of the periods in terms of the handling of the issue will be exemplified through selected sources.

As a basic thesis, it is possible to categorize the treatment of the Cretan issue in the official thesis and the sources that follow it as the memory of capture, loss, exchange and immigration during the Ottoman period. Crete has been included in the social memory in a way that ranges from the point where Turkish nationalism and the right consider it as a loss and see foreign powers as responsible for the loss, to the romantic memories of the immigrants and from there to a more “from below” perspective to cultural approach and finally as a touristic memory site.

There are many examples of historical documents, records and memoirs about Crete that were translated into contemporary Turkish and published in the Republican period. For example, Tarih-i Sefer ve Feth-i Kandiye.

Memoirs, of which Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasha's memoirs are an example, include the memoirs of Ottoman-era soldiers, bureaucrats and pashas on Crete and their views on the subject. Beyond pashas and memoirs, especially in the 1950s and 60s, and following this trend in the following years, it is possible to see studies that emphasize the loss of Crete, address various aspects of this event, and relate the trauma of loss to other foreign policy events, especially the Cyprus issue. In these studies, approaches that blame others, foreign powers, western powers, and feed this attitude with conspiracy stories are dominant in a way that territorial losses from the Ottoman Empire to the present day constitute the main material of right-wing politics and nationalism. It is possible to give many examples of such studies from different periods. However, what is striking is that the sources of the theses and arguments have remained more or less the same. The main work that such approaches take as a source is Cemal Tukin's article on Crete in the Encyclopedia of Islam.

In the later period, there are valuable works that can be considered within the intersection of memoir and literature. There are works that examine life in Crete, the exchange and arrival, settlement and the cultural and economic traumas it created through individuals, heroes and families, and ethnographic compilations based on oral history studies. These studies include compilations such as space and the cities of exchange. There are many examples of this genre in the publications of the Lausanne Mübadilleri Vakfı (The Foundation of Lausanne Exchangees. In recent years, valuable studies on the cultural characteristics of those who migrated from Crete to Turkey have also been published.