Ghost Town

Before leaving Fethiye, we drove up into the surrounding mountains to see the ghost town of Kayaköy.

One hundred years ago, Kayaköy was a village of 2,000 or so ethnic Greeks. Today, it is 500 abandoned buildings, crumbling in the Turkish sun.

You might recall that I previously mentioned that the Ottoman Empire ended with WWI and that a new Turkish nation arose under Atatürk in 1923. The full story is a little more complicated.

During Great War, the British coaxed Greece into entering on the Allied side with the promise that the Turkish Aegean coastal lands would go to Greece as spoils of war. So, when the Allies prevailed, Greece moved to take possession of lands in western Turkey. At the time, it is estimated that there were already 1,000,000 ethnic Greeks living within that part of Turkey, supposedly a majority of the population in that area at the time. But from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, a Turkish Nationalist movement under Atatürk arose and violently resisted the Greek occupation, resulting in the Greco-Turkish War that lasted from 1919 through 1922. The armistice gave rise to the modern Republic of Turkey.

The war between Greece and Turkey was apparently quite vicious, with each side later alleging that its enemy had engaged in genocide; the neighboring Armenians also alleged that the Turks had massacred millions of their citizens. While the bad blood between the Turks and the Armenians still enters into international politics today, it seems that relations between Turkey and Greece are quite amicable. That could be a result of the population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey as part of the peace treaty. Those Greeks still living in Turkey in 1923 were repatriated to Greece, and muslim Turks then living in Greece were shipped back to Turkey. It was this forced repatriation that resulted in Kayaköy being the ghost town it is today.

All that remains now besides the deteriorating buildings are a few small restaurants to feed the tourists. We had an interesting dinner at one: homemade Turkish pancakes, baked in a wood-fired oven!

They were really good. A little like crepes, but baked, instead of cooked on a griddle.

But be warned, if you ever have Turkish pancakes and they give you a plate of these things, even though they’re “on the house,” DO NOT EAT THEM!!!

They are the hottest chili peppers known to man.

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