Stephen Pericles Ladas and the 1923 Greco-Turkish Exchange of Populations: the making and unmaking of a narrative

Yildirim O.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, vol.58, no.4, pp.520-539, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263206.2021.1958204
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Jewish Studies Source, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.520-539
  • Keywords: Stephen Pericles Ladas, Greek-Turkish population exchange, refugees, Lausanne Treaty, GREECE, REFUGEES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article focuses on the narrative of the 1923 Greco-Turkish Exchange of Populations with a focus on the role of a prominent figure in the making of this narrative, namely, Stephen Pericles Ladas. His 89-year-old book is still considered the standard text on the event and is unsurpassed in terms of its coverage of facts and figures. The article contextualizes and briefly examines this highly influential text on the Exchange of Minorities with a view to showing how it came to constitute the dominant narrative of the Greco-Turkish Exchange of Populations. It is argued that Ladas appropriated the findings and arguments about this event from the publications of his contemporaneous Greek intellectuals and then framed them within the parlance of international law to craft a narrative favorable to the nation-state and the League of Nations. In the absence of any challenging opinions and publications, this narrative, which was largely inattentive to the human and moral consequences of the event, became the standard account of the Greco-Turkish case to be widely quoted by the international political and scholarly circles preoccupied with the question of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities during the interwar period and after.