Sept. 6-7 marked the 60th anniversary of pogroms against non-Muslims in Istanbul that forced thousands to emigrate from Turkey. For the first time, the city’s remaining non-Muslims, now a dwindling community, held a church service to honor the victims of the pogroms.
Riots erupted on Sept. 6, 1955, after a newspaper fabricated a report of a bomb attack on the house in which Ataturk was born in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. Turkish-Greek relations had soured at the time over the future of Cyprus. Turkish mobs that were clearly pre-organized took to the streets, attacking and plundering homes and shops owned by non-Muslims, mainly Greeks. Churches and cemeteries were vandalized. Several non-Muslims were killed and many injured.