Anastasios Papadopoulos, better known as 'Kotsa Nastas' was a Pontic Greek freedom fighter during the Greek Genocide. He was the General in charge of protecting the civilians of the region on top of the mountain Toptsam in the south of Pontus. He was born in 1896 at Entik Pounar, a village near Erpaa in Pontus. He was tall with a very deep voice. His father, Papa Kyriakos, a priest, was very well known in the region and was a legate to the Metropolitan of Amaseia. Kotsa Nastas took to the mountain of Toptsam at the age of 19. The leader of the freedom fighters at Toptsam at that time (1915) was Captain Yiacof.

Other freedom fighters to join him on the mountain and who were also from his village included Theofilos Hatzi-Pavlidis, Anastasios Tektonidis, Mikhail Ioannidis, Ioannis Yelastopoulos, Dimitrios Hatzi-Pavlidis, Vasilios Papadopoulos, Dimitrios Ioannidis and others. In one battle close to Entik Pounar between the freedom fighters and the Turks in 1916, Captain Iakof was killed and as a result Kotsa Nastas took on the leadership. His actions gave hope to the Greeks of the region while at the same time the Turks referred to him as Kotsa Giaour (Kotsa the dog/infidel). The Turks tried to defeat him many times. At one stage they ordered Liva Pasha to lead an assault against him, however Liva Pasha was defeated and Tsamit Pasha replaced him. Due to their inability to dislodge him, the Turks eventually came to an agreement with him thus securing the safe removal of the women and children from the mountain.

Soon after the signing of the Exchange of Populations, Kotsa Nastas was killed at the Turkish village of Ezenous from chettes in the region. His murderers cut off his head and hung it on a telegraph pole at the town of Tokat. His death was celebrated by the Turks of the region who shouted chants of "We killed the leader of the Greeks!". In an attempt to take possession of his body, his brother George Papadopoulos was also killed. His wife Despina fled to Greece where she settled in Kissa in Kozani along with two of his sisters and his brother Amvrosios Papadopoulos.

 

Source:
Encyclopedia of Pontian Hellenism. Malliaris Paedia.

 

 

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