Βy the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottoman government seriously feared losing its power over Pontus, as it had already happened with Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria. This was aggravated by the fact that a substantial percentage of the Pontian population in Turkey consisted of highly educated intellectuals and successful businessmen, who occupied a prominent position in society and exerted considerable influence upon the Ottoman economy. Therefore "drastic measures" of extermination of the Greek element had been planned by the Turkish government long ago – and were put into practice after 1908, when the party of "Young Turks" came into power and advanced the slogan of "Turkey for the Turks". In September 1911, the participants of the Young Turks conference in Thessalonica openly discussed the issue of extermination of the ethnic minorities (especially Christians) in Turkey, the most important of which were Greeks and Armenians.
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