100 YEARS FROM THE ASIA MINOR DISASTER. The Asia Minor Disaster was the dramatic conclusion of the three-year Asia Minor Campaign, fuelled by the irredentist Great Idea (Megali Idea). A fierce counterattack by the Turks in August 1922 led to the collapse of the front and the withdrawal of the Greek troops, which had landed in Smyrna with the Allies’ authorisation in 1920 and then advanced inland into Anatolia. In September 1922, the Turks burned down Smyrna, forcing thousands of Greeks to abandon their ancestral homes and flee across the Aegean. The toll was tragic: thousands of deaths and casualties, pillaging, and the eradication of the Greek element from Asia Minor. Greece received a huge wave of refugees, especially after the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 and the convention on the exchange of populations. The refugee question would dominate political, social and economic developments in interwar Greece. The refugees gradually assimilated into Greek society, which they enriched with their spirit of enterprise and their culture and traditions, while always keeping alive the memory of their lost homeland.
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