ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Zeki Arıkan

Keywords: Ayvalık, Mytilene, Greeks of Ayvalık, oil and soap production, The Young Turk Revolution, state of siege, smuggling


Ayvalık was established by Greeks who arrived from Mytilene in the second half of the XVIIth century. Olive oil and soap production showed a remarkable progress. The town was destroyed during the 1821 rebellion. After a short period, however, the town entered into a recovery process. Apart from the rulers, the population of the town was fully composed of Greeks. At times, social unrest took place, but they were suppressed before they got worse. Greeks of Ayvalık were supported by Greece. After the Young Turk Revolution, Greeks of Ayvalık organized and prompted a revolt in the town. The military intervened in the demonstrations that took place in June 17th, 1909. Due to this, the situation worsened. Military troops were sent to Ayvalık and a state of siege was declared. The weapons were confiscated. There were debates between Turkish and Greek newspapers. With measures taken, the events were quelled and state of siege was removed. The primary reason behind the events was smuggling. A lot of people was disturbed by the fact that The Constitution of 1908 tried to prevent smuggling. The events showed the extensiveness of smuggling in the town. The primary material of this study consists of newspapers and archive documents of the period.