What if Greeks captured Constantinople from Turkey?

Nov 2012
3,851
#1
Would they have gone further or would they have stopped right there? Would Greece have been a developed and a much different nation today if Constantinople was part of it? Would it have been the capital city or for safety reasons they would have made Athens the capital in the inner Greek areas? How differently would history have turned out?
 
Oct 2012
8,545
#2
During the Greco-Turkish War, Constantinople was a British City, not a Turkish one. Though the Greeks would have, no doubt, liked to have Constantinople, they weren't going to war with the British Empire to get it. Most the conflicts in that war were over Western Anatolia, especially Smyrna, which was still mostly Greek, even after 500 years of foreign occupation. The best possible outcome with respect to Constantinople would probably have been for the British to have kept it.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2009
9,839
#3
If Greek nationalists had their way, not only Constantinople but western Anatolia and the shores of the Black Sea might have become part of a Greek Metropole. This national and cultural idea (Megali Idea) had been expressed in the 19th century, and had been partly attempted during the Balkan Wars and after WW I.

A more fanciful approach in this same period by some Greeks was the "re-establishment of a Byzantine state" extending from Greece to perhaps Kiev. All eastern Orthodox would have been under Greek religious authority, and "protection." The practicalities seem to have been rather fuzzy.

The Greek king, Constantine was referred to by these proponents as Constantine XII, a successor to the last Byzantine emperor (C. XI).
 
Oct 2012
8,545
#6
Yes bt western parts of Anatolia would have been hard to get since they are far from the Greek mainland and contiguous with modern Turkey. But Constantinople was in getable category.
They actually won several battles and were doing quite well from 1919 to the middle of 1921. Then they lost at the Battle of the Sangarios and their front kinda fell apart. By the end of 1922 they had lost Anatolia. A Greek victory in the war, of the scale they desired, would have been difficult, but not impossible; the Ottoman state had fallen apart and had the Turks not had a leader as competent as Ataturk, the Greeks may very well have won.

But it would have been easier to conquer all of Turkey than to take Constantinople. As I mentioned, it was a British city at the time and attacking Constantinople may very well have meant war with the British Empire, something the Greeks wouldn't have had a prayer of winning.
 
Oct 2012
8,545
#8
yes but yet the Turks could take that city from the Brits right? then why not greeks?
They didn't capture the city, they were given it at the Treaty of Lausanne. Had the Greeks taken western Anatolia and either forced peace with the Turks or broken them they may very well have negotiated for the city. But taking it by military force was not an option they seriously considered.

Also, one needs to keep in mind that throughout much of western Anatolia Greek culture and Greek identity had remained strong. Constantinople had been largely, though not fully, Turkified. Given the choice between Western Anatolia and Constantinople, the Greeks would have probably chosen the former (and the latter would probably not been possible without achieving the former).
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,065
#9
If any greater Greece had been established before/during/after ww1 it would have been a nation with huge ethnic tensions and problems and bad terms with most of it's neighbors. Effectively sort like the Austrian Hungarian Empire in a way, hard to see a Empire of many diverse quarrelsome people surviving long into the 20th century.
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
#10
I doubt that. The country wouldn't have ethnic tensions because the population exchanges would result in there not being many Muslims (yes Muslims the exchanges were based on religion) left in whatever territories the Greeks take.

The eastern territory of this Greek entity would've probably been Smyrna, East Thrace, and the area of Anatolia directly between the two.

I'm not sure the British would have given the Greeks Constantinople. It was a city that was mostly Muslim IIRC. It probably would have remained an international city like Danzig or Tangier.


Meanwhile Greece with the new territories would have greater agricultural output largely due the richness of the Marmara basin and probably a higher fertility rate (richer farmers = more babies) so the country would be stronger.

On the other hand the Turks would be very revanchist and would be looking for an opportunity to drive the Greeks out of Anatolia.
 
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