Most of the Armenians had already been massacred during the reign of the Sultan, in 1915 1916; Kemal attempted to continue the genocide of Armenians in Transcaucasia, and of Greeks on the coast of the Aegean. Especially heartrending and horribly bloody was the genocide of the Greeks in Smyrna (Turkish Izmir) where they had lived since the tenth century BC.
It is believed that in Turkey between 1913 and 1922, under the successive regimes of the Young Turks and of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), more than 3.5 million Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christians were massacred in a state-organized and state-sponsored campaign of destruction and genocide, aiming at wiping out from the emerging Turkish Republic its native Christian populations. This Christian Holocaust is viewed as the precursor to the Jewish Holocaust in WWII. To this day, the Turkish government ostensibly denies having committed this genocide.