Before the first World War, an estimated five million ethnic Greeks and Armenians lived throughout the territories that constitute modern-day Turkey. By 1923, at least 2.5 million had been massacred, with the rest fleeing for their lives to Greece and the then-USSR, or had been converted to Islam by force.
The term "Pontus" comes from the Greek word for coast, and was applied to the Greek civilization which had lived on the south-eastern coast of the Black Sea. It had been an area populated by ethnic Greeks since at least the days of Alexander the Great, once forming a part of the Byzantine Empire, but ever since the Turkish invasion of Asia Minor they had been in conflict with the Turks.
In an effort to rid Turkey of all Christianity, the Greek people of Pontus and Asia Minor were systematically wiped out, just like the Armenian people were wiped out during the Armenian Holocaust. Of an estimated 700,000 Pontian Greeks living in 1914, by 1922 at least 300,000 had been massacred, with the rest exiled to Greece.
Like the Armenian Holocaust, the Turkish government officially denies that the Hellenic Holocaust ever occured, instead claiming they all dies as casualties of war or famine.
16 July 1916: According to the German Consul Kuchhoff: "The entire Greek population of Sinope and the coastal region of the county of Kastanome has been exiled. Exile and extermination in Turkish are the same, for whoever is not murdered, will die from hunger or illness."
See also: Armenian Holocaust