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Title: Crescent and Iron Cross
Author: Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic), 1867-1940
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CRESCENT AND IRON CROSS


BY E.F. BENSON



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Preface_


In compiling the following pages I have had access to certain sources of
official information, the nature of which I am not at liberty to specify
further. I have used these freely in such chapters of this book as deal
with recent and contemporary events in Turkey or in Germany in
connection with Turkey: the chapter, for instance, entitled 'Deutschland
über Allah,' is based very largely on such documents. I have tried to be
discriminating in their use, and have not, as far as I am aware, stated
anything derived from them as a fact, for which I had not found
corroborative evidence. With regard to the Armenian massacres I have
drawn largely on the testimony collected by Lord Bryce, on that brought
forward by Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee in his pamphlet _The Murder of a
Nation_, and _The Murderous Tyranny of the Turks,_ and on the pamphlet
by Dr. Martin Niepage, called _The Horrors of Aleppo_. In the first
chapter I have based the short historical survey on the contribution of
Mr. D.G. Hogarth to _The Balkans_ (Clarendon Press, 1915). The chapter
called 'Thy Kingdom is Divided' is in no respect at all an official
utterance, and merely represents the individual opinions and surmises of
the author. It has, however, the official basis that the Allies have
pledged themselves to remove the power of the Turk from Constantinople,
and to remove out of the power of the Turk the alien peoples who have
too long already been subject to his murderous rule. I have, in fact,
but attempted to conjecture in what kind of manner that promise will be
fulfilled.

Fresh items of news respecting internal conditions in Turkey are
continually coming in, and if one waited for them all, one would have to
wait to the end of the war before beginning to write at all on this
subject. But since such usefulness as this book may possibly have is
involved with the necessity of its appearance before the end of the war,
I set a term to the gathering of material, and, with the exception of
two or three notes inserted later, ceased to collect it after June 1917.
But up to then anything that should have been inserted in surveys and
arguments, and is not, constitutes a culpable omission on my part.

E.F. BENSON



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Contents_


CHAPTER I

THE THEORY OF THE OLD TURKS

CHAPTER II

THE THEORY OF THE NEW TURKS

CHAPTER III

THE END OF THE ARMENIAN QUESTION

CHAPTER IV

THE QUESTION OF SYRIA AND PALESTINE

CHAPTER V

DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER ALLAH

CHAPTER VI

'THY KINGDOM IS DIVIDED'

CHAPTER VII

THE GRIP OF THE OCTOPUS



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter I_


THE THEORY OF THE OLD TURKS

The maker of phrases plies a dangerous trade. Very often his phrase is
applicable for the moment and for the situation in view of which he
coined it, but his coin has only a temporary validity: it is good for a
month or for a year, or for whatever period during which the crisis
lasts, and after that it lapses again into a mere token, a thing without
value and without meaning. But the phrase cannot, as in the case of a
monetary coinage, at once be recalled, for it has gone broadcast over
the land, or, at any rate, it is not recalled, and it goes on being
passed from hand to hand, its image and superscription defaced by wear,
long after it has ceased to represent anything. In itself it is
obsolete, but people still trade with it, and think it represents what
it represented when it came hot from the Mint. And, unfortunately, it
sometimes happens that it is worse than valueless; it becomes a forgery
(which it may not have been when it came into circulation), and deceives
those who traffic with it, flattering them with an unfounded possession.

Such a phrase, which still holds currency, was once coined by Lord
Aberdeen in the period of the Crimean War. 'Turkey is a sick man,' he
said, and added something which gave great offence then about the
advisability of putting Turkey out of his misery. I do not pretend to
quote correctly, but that was the gist of it. Nor do I challenge the
truth of Lord Aberdeen's phrase at the period when he made it. It
possibly contained a temporary truth, a valid point of view, which, if
it had been acted on, might have saved a great deal of trouble
afterwards, but it missed then, and more than misses now, the essential
and salient truth about Turkey. The phrase, unfortunately, still
continued to obtain credit, and nowadays it is a forgery; it rings
false.

For at whatever period we regard Turkey, and try to define that
monstrous phenomenon, we can make a far truer phrase than Lord
Aberdeen's. For Turkey is not a sick man: Turkey is a sickness. He is
not sick, nor ever has been, for he is the cancer itself, the devouring
tumour that for centuries has fed on living tissue, absorbing it and
killing it. It has never had life in itself, except in so far that the
power of preying on and destroying life constitutes life, and such a
power, after all, we are accustomed to call not life, but death. Turkey,
like death, continues to exist and to dominate, through its function of
killing. Life cannot kill, it is disease and death that kill, and from
the moment that Turkey passed from being a nomadic tribe moving
westwards from the confines of Persia, it has existed only and thrived
on a process of absorption and of murder. When first the Turks came out
of their Eastern fastnesses they absorbed; when they grew more or less
settled, and by degrees the power of mere absorption, as by some failure
of digestion, left them, they killed. They became a huge tumour, that
nourished itself by killing the living tissues that came in contact
with it. Now, by the amazing irony of fate, who weaves stranger dramas
than could ever be set on censored stages, for they both take hundreds
of years to unravel themselves, and are of the most unedifying
character, Turkey, the rodent cancer, has been infected by another with
greater organisation for devouring; the disease of Ottomanism is
threatened by a more deadly hungerer, and Prussianism has inserted its
crab-pincers into the cancer that came out of Asia. Those claws are
already deeply set, and the problem for civilised nations is first to
disentangle the nippers that are cancer in a cancer, and next to deprive
of all power over alien peoples the domination that has already been
allowed to exist too long.

The object of this book is the statement of the case on which all
defenders of liberty base their prosecution against Turkey itself, and
against the Power that to-day has Turkey in its grip.

Historical surveys are apt to be tedious, but in order to understand at
all adequately the case against Turkey as a ruler and controller of
subject peoples, it is necessary to go, though briefly, into her
blood-stained genealogy. There is no need to enter into ethnological
discussions as to earlier history, or define the difference between the
Osmanli Turks and those who were spread over Asia Minor before the
advent of the Osmanlis from the East. But it was the Osmanlis who were
the cancerous and devouring nation, and it is they who to-day rule over
a vast territory (subject to Germany) of peoples alien to them by
religion and blood and all the instincts common to civilised folk. Until
Germany, 'deep patient Germany,' suddenly hoisted her colours as a
champion of murder and rapine and barbarism, she the mother of art and
literature and science, there was nothing in Europe that could compare
with the anachronism of Turkey being there at all. Then, in August 1914,
there was hoisted the German flag, superimposed with skulls and
cross-bones, and all the insignia of piracy and highway robbery on land
and on sea, and Germany showed herself an anachronism worthy to impale
her arms on the shield of the most execrable domination that has ever
oppressed the world since the time when the Huns under Attila raged like
a forest fire across the cultivated fields of European civilisation.
To-day, in the name of Kultur, a similar invasion has broken on shores
that seemed secure, and it is no wonder that it has found its most
valuable victim and ally in the Power that adopted the same methods of
absorption and extermination centuries before the Hohenzollerns ever
started on their career of highway robbery. But like seeks like, and
perhaps it was not wholly the fault of our astonishing diplomacy in
Constantinople that Turkey, wooed like some desirable maiden, cast in
her lot with the Power that by instinct and tradition most resembled
her. Spiritual blood, no less than physical blood, is thicker than
water, and Gott and Allah, hand-in-hand, pledged each other in the cups
they had filled with the blood that poured from the wine-presses of
Belgium and of Armenia.

For centuries before the Osmanli Turks made their appearance in Asia
Minor, there had come from out of the misty East numerous bodies of
Turks, pushing westwards, and spreading over the Euphrates valley and
over Persia, in nomadic or military colonisations, and it is not until
the thirteenth century that we find the Osmanli Turks, who give their
name to that congregation of races known as the Ottoman Empire,
established in the north-west corner of Asia Minor. Like all previous
Turkish immigrations, they came not in any overwhelming horde, with
sword in one hand and Koran in the other, but as a small compact body
with a genius for military organisation, and the gift, which they retain
to this day, of stalwart fighting. The policy to which they owed their
growth was absorption, and the people whom they first began to absorb
were Greeks and other Christians, and it was to a Christian girl,
Nilufer, that Osman married his son Orkhan. They took Christian youths
from the families of Greek dwellers, forced them to apostatise, gave
them military training, and married them to Turkish girls. It was out of
this blend of Greek and Turkish blood, as Mr. D.G. Hogarth points out,
that they derived their national being and their national strength. This
system of recruiting they steadily pursued not only among the Christian
peoples with whom they came in contact, but among the settlements of
Turks who had preceded them in this process of pushing westwards, and
formed out of them the professional soldiery known as Janissaries. They
did not fight for themselves alone, but as mercenaries lent their arms
to other peoples, Moslem and Christian alike, who would hire their
services. This was a policy that paid well, for, after having delivered
some settlement from the depredations of an inconvenient neighbour, and
with their pay in their pocket, they sometimes turned on those who had
hired their arms, took their toll of youths, and finally incorporated
them in their growing empire. Like an insatiable sponge, they mopped up
the sprinklings of disconnected peoples over the fruitful floor of Asia
Minor, and swelled and prospered. But as yet the extermination of these
was not part of their programme: they absorbed the strength and manhood
of their annexations into their own soldiery, and came back for more.
They did not levy those taxes paid in the persons of soldiers for their
armies from their co-religionists, since Islam may not fight against
Islam, but by means of peaceful penetration (a policy long since
abandoned) they united scattered settlements of Turks to themselves by
marriages and the bond of a common tongue and religion.

Their expansion into Europe began in the middle of the fourteenth
century, when, as mercenaries, they fought against the Serbs, and fifty
years later they had a firm hold over Bulgaria as well. Greece was their
next prey; they penetrated Bosnia and Macedonia, and in 1453 attacked
and took Constantinople under Mohammed the Conqueror. Still true to the
policy of incorporation they continued to mop up the remainder of the
Balkan Peninsula, and at the same time consolidated themselves further
in Asia Minor. By the beginning of the seventeenth century their
expansion reached its utmost geographical limits, but already the Empire
held within it the seeds of its own decay, and by a curious irony the
force that should still keep it together was derived not from its own
strength, but from the jealousies of the European Powers among
themselves, who would willingly have dismembered it, but feared the
quarrels that would surely result from the apportionment of its
territories. The Ottoman Empire from then onwards has owed its existence
to its enemies.

Its weakness lay in itself, for it was very loosely knit together, and
no bond, whether of blood or religion or tongue, bound to it the
assembly of Christian and Jewish and non-Moslem races of which it was so
largely composed. The Empire never grew (as, for instance, the British
Empire grew) by the emigration and settlement of the Osmanli stock in
the territories it absorbed: it never gave, it only took. From the
beginning right up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, it has
been a military despotism, imposing itself on unwilling and alien tribes
whom it drained of their blood, and then left in neglect until some
further levy was needed. None of its conquered peoples was ever given a
share in the government; they were left unorganised and, so to speak,
undigested elements under the Power which had forced them into
subjection, and one by one the whole of the European peoples included in
that uncemented tyranny have passed from under Turkish control. Turkey
in Europe has dwindled to a strip along the Bosporus to the Sea of
Marmora and the Dardanelles, Egypt has been lost, Tripoli also, and the
only force that, for the last hundred years has kept alive in Europe the
existence of that monstrous anachronism has been the strange political
phenomenon, now happily extinct, called the Balance of Power. No one of
the Great Powers, from fear of the complications that would ensue, could
risk the expulsion of the Turkish Government from Constantinople, and
there all through the nineteenth century it has been maintained lest the
Key of the Black Sea, which unlocked the bolts that barred Russia's
development into the Mediterranean, should lead to such a war as we are
now passing through. That policy, for the present, has utterly defeated
its own ends, for the key is in the pockets of Prussia. But all through
that century, though the Powers maintained Turkey there, they helped to
liberate, or saw liberate themselves, the various Christian kingdoms in
Europe over which at the beginning of the eighteenth century Turkey
exercised a military despotism. They weakened her in so far as they
could, but they one and all refused to let her die, and above all
refused to give her that stab in the heart which would have been implied
in her expulsion from Constantinople.

For centuries from the first appearance of the Osmanlis in north-west
Asia Minor down to the reign of Abdul Hamid, the Empire maintained
itself, with alternate bouts of vigour and relapses, on the general
principle of drawing its strength from its subject peoples. Internally,
from whatever standpoint we view it, whether educational, economic, or
industrial, it has had the worst record of any domination known to
history. Rich in mineral wealth, possessed of lands that were once the
granary of the world, watered by amazing rivers, and with its strategic
position on the Mediterranean that holds the master-key of the Black Sea
in its hands, it has remained the most barbaric and least progressive of
all states. Its roads and means of communication remained up till the
last quarter of the nineteenth century much as they had been in the days
of Osman; except along an insignificant strip of sea-coast railways were
non-existent; it was bankrupt in finance and in morals, and did not
contain a single seed that might ripen into progress or civilisation.
Mesopotamia was once the most fertile of all lands, capable of
supporting not itself alone, but half the civilised world: nowadays,
under the stewardship of the Turk, it has been suffered to become a
desert for the greater part of the year and an impracticable swamp for
the remainder. Where great cities flourished, where once was reared the
pride of Babylon and of Nineveh, there huddle the squalid huts of
fever-stricken peasants, scarce able to gain their half-starved living
from the soil that once supported in luxury and pomp the grandeur of
metropolitan cities. The ancient barrages, the canals, the systems of
irrigation were all allowed to silt up and become useless; and at the
end of the nineteenth century you would not find in all Mesopotamia an
agricultural implement that was in any way superior to the ploughs and
the flails of more than two thousand years ago. But so long as there was
a palace-guard about the gates to secure the safety of the Sultan and
his corrupt military oligarchy, so long as there were houris to divert
their leisure, tribute of youths to swell their armies, and taxes wrung
from starving subjects to maintain their pomp, there was not one of
those who held the reins of government who cared the flick of an eyelash
for the needs of the nations on whom the Empire rested, for the
cultivation of its soil that would yield a hundredfold to the skilled
husbandman, or for the exploitation and development of its internal
wealth. While there was left in the emaciated carcase of the Turkish
Empire enough live tissue for the cancerous Government to grow fat on,
it gave not one thought to the welfare of all those races on whom it had
fastened itself. Province after province of its European dominions
might be lost to it, but the Balance of Power still kept the Sultan on
his throne, and left the peoples of Asia Minor and Syria at his mercy.
They were largely of alien religion and of alien tongue, and their
individual weakness was his strength. Neglect, and the decay consequent
on neglect, was the lot of all who languished under that abominable
despotism.

With the accession in 1876 of Abdul Hamid, of cursed memory, there
dawned on the doomed subject peoples of the Ottoman Empire a day of
bloodier import than any yet. The year before and during that year had
occurred the Bulgarian atrocities and massacres, and the word 'massacre'
lingered and made music in Abdul Hamid's brain. He said it over to
himself and dwelt upon it, and meditated on the nature and possibilities
of massacre. The troubles which massacre had calmed had arisen before
his accession out of the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate, which
corresponded to the Greek Patriarchate, and was given power over
districts and peoples whom the Greeks justly considered to belong to
them by blood and religion. Greek armed bands came into collision with
Bulgarian bands, and in order to calm these disturbances by thoroughly
effectual means, irregular Turkish troops were sent into Bulgaria,
charged with the command to 'stop the row,' but with no other
instructions. Indiscriminate killing, with all the passions and horrors
that bloodshed evokes in the half-civilised, followed, and there was no
more trouble just then in the disturbed districts, for there was none to
make trouble. In 1876 Abdul Aziz was deposed by a group of king-makers
under Midhat Pasha, Murad V. reigned shadow-like for three months, and
during the same year Abdul Hamid was finally selected to fill the
throne, and stand forth as the Shadow of God. It was a disturbed and
tottering inheritance to which he succeeded, riddled with the dry-rot of
corruption, but the inheritor proved himself equal to the occasion.

For a little while he was all abroad, and at the bidding of Midhat, who
had placed him on the throne, he summoned a kind of representative
Turkish Parliament, by way of imbuing the Great Powers with the idea
that he was an enlightened Shadow of God bent on reform. This parody of
a Parliament lasted but a short time: it was no more than a faint,
dissolving magic-lantern picture. In the spring of 1877 Rumania, under
Russian encouragement, broke away from Turkish rule. Turkey declared war
on Russia, and in 1878 found herself utterly defeated. At Adrianople was
drawn up the Treaty of San Stefano, creating an independent Bulgarian
state, and, in the opinion of Great Britain and Germany, giving Russia
far greater influence in the Balkan Peninsula than was agreeable to that
disastrous supporter of Turkey, the Balance of Power. In consequence the
Treaty of San Stefano was superseded by the Treaty of Berlin.

In those arrangements Abdul Hamid had no voice, but he was well content
to sit quiet, think about what was to be done with what was left him,
and thank his waning crescent that once again the Balance of Power had
secured Constantinople for him, leaving him free to deal with his
Asiatic dominions, and such part of Europe as was left him, as he
thought fit. He could safely trust that he would never be ejected from
his throne by a foreign Power, and all he need do was to make himself
safe against internal disturbances and revolutions which might upset
him. And it was then that he begot in the womb of his cold and cunning
brain a policy that was all his own, except in so far as the Bulgarian
atrocities, consequent on feuds between Bulgars and Greeks, may be
considered the father of that hideous birth. But it was he who suckled
and nourished it, it was from his brain that it emerged, full-grown and
in panoply of armour, as from the brain of Olympian Zeus came Pallas
Athene. This new policy was in flat contradiction of all the previous
policy, as he had received it from his predecessors, of strengthening
Turkey by tributes of man-power from his subject tribes, but it would,
he thought, have the same result of keeping the Turk supreme among the
alien elements of the Empire. Times had changed; it behoved him to
change the methods which hitherto had held together his hapless
inheritance.

Now Abdul Hamid was not in any sense a wise man, and the ability which
has been attributed to him, in view of the manner in which he
successfully defied the civilisations of Europe, is based on premisses
altogether false. He never really defied Europe at all; he always
yielded, secure in his belief that Europe in the shape of the Balance of
Power, was unanimous in keeping him where he was. He never even risked
being turned out of Constantinople, for he knew--none better--that all
Europe insisted on retaining him there. As regards wisdom, there was
never a greater fool, but as regards cunning there was never a greater
fox. He had a brain that was absolutely impervious to large ideas: the
notion of consolidating and strengthening his Empire by ameliorating its
internal conditions, by bringing it within speaking distance of the
influence of civilisation and progress, by taking advantage of and
developing its immense natural resources, by employing the brains and
the industry of his subject races, seems never to have entered his head.
He could easily have done all this: there was not a Power in Europe that
would not have lent him a helping hand in development and reform, in the
establishment of a solvent state, in aiding the condition of the peoples
over whom he ruled. In whatever he did, provided that it furthered the
welfare of his subjects, whether Turk, Armenian, or Arab, the whole
Concert of Europe would have provided him with cash, with missionaries,
with engineers, and all the resources of the arts and sciences of peace
and of progress. But being a felon, with crime and cunning to take the
place of wisdom, he preferred to develop his Empire on his own original
lines. In Europe he was but suffered to exist. There remained Asia.

The policy of previous Osmanli rulers has already been roughly defined.
They strengthened themselves and the military Turkish despotism round
them by absorbing the manhood of the tribes over which they had obtained
dominion. Abdul Hamid reversed that policy; he strengthened the Turkish
supremacy, not by drawing into it the manhood of his subject peoples,
but by destroying that manhood. In proportion, so his foxlike brain
reasoned, as his alien subjects were weak, so were the Turks strong. A
consistent weakening of alien nations would strengthen the hold of those
who governed the Ottoman Empire. It was as if a man suffered from gout
in his foot: he could get rid of the gout by wholesome living, the
result of which would be that his foot ceased to trouble him. But the
plan which he adopted was to cause his foot to mortify by process of
inhuman savagery. When it was dead it would trouble him no longer.

He was well aware that the Turkish people only comprised some forty per
cent, of the population of the Turkish Empire: numerically they were
weaker than the alien peoples who composed the rest of it. Something had
to be done to bring the governing Power up to such a proportionate
strength as should secure its supremacy, and the most convenient plan
was to weaken the alien elements. The scheme, though yet inchoate, had
been tried with success in the case of the Bulgarians and Greeks, and to
test it further he stirred up Albanians against the inhabitants of Old
Servia with gratifying results. They weakened each other, and he further
weakened them both by the employment of Turkish troops in Macedonia to
quell the disturbances which he had himself fomented. There were
massacres and atrocities, and no more trouble just then from Macedonia.
Having thus tested his plan and found no flaw in it, he settled to adopt
it. But European combinations did not really much interest him, for he
was aware that the Great Powers, to whose sacred Balance he owed the
permanence of his throne, would not tolerate interference with European
peoples, and he turned his attention to Asia Minor. There were
excrescences there which he could not absorb, but which might be
destroyed. He could use the knife on living tissues which the impaired
digestion of the Ottoman Empire could not assimilate. So he hit on this
fresh scheme, which his hellish cunning devised with a matchless sense
of the adaptation of the means to the end, and he created (though he did
not live to perfect) a new policy that reversed the traditions of five
hundred years. That is no light task to undertake, and when we consider
that since his deposition, now nine years ago, that policy has reaped
results undreamed of perhaps by him, we can see how far-sighted his
cunning was. To-day it is being followed out by the very combination
that deposed him; his aims have been fully justified, and for that
precise reason we are right to classify him among the abhorred of
mankind. He had an opportunity such as is given to the few, and he made
the utmost of it, even as his greater successor on the throne of Turkey
for the present, namely Wilhelm II. of Prussia, has done, in the service
of the devil. 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant,' must surely
have been his well-deserved welcome, when he left the hell he had made
on earth for another.

Of all his subjects the Armenians were the most progressive, the most
industrious, the most capable. They therefore contributed, according to
that perverted foxlike mind, one of the greatest menaces to the
stability of his throne, which henceforth should owe its strength to the
weakness of those it governed. They, as all the world knows, are a
peaceful Christian people, and it was against them that Abdul Hamid
directed the policy which he had tested in Europe. The instruments he
employed to put it in force were the Kurds, a turbulent shepherd race
marching with and mixed up among the Armenians. By this means he had the
excuse ready that these massacres were local disturbances among remote
and insubordinate tribes, one of whom, however, the Kurds, he armed with
modern rifles and caused to be instructed in some elementary military
training. Their task was to murder Armenians, their pay was the
privilege to rape their girls and their women, and to rob the houses of
the men they had killed. The Armenians resisted with at first some small
success, upon which Abdul Hamid reinforced the Kurds with regular
troops, and caused it to be proclaimed that this was a war of Moslems
against the infidel, a Holy War. Moslem fanaticism, ever smouldering
and ready to burst into flames, blazed high, and a fury of massacres
broke forth against all Armenians, east and west, north and south. The
streets of Constantinople ran with their blood, and before Abdul Hamid
was obliged by foreign civilised Powers to stop those holocausts, he had
so decimated the race that not for at least a generation would they
conceivably be a menace again even to that zealous guardian of the
supremacy in its own dominions of the Ottoman power. Very unwillingly,
when obliged to do so, he whistled off his bands of Kurds, and dismissed
them: unwillingly, too, he gave orders that the Armenian hunts which had
so pleasantly diverted the sportsmen of Constantinople, must be
abandoned: then was decreed a 'close time' for Armenians, the shooting
season was over. There is no exaggeration in this: eye-witnesses have
recorded how at the close of the business day in Constantinople,
shooting parties used literally to go out, and beat the coverts of
tenement houses for Armenians, of whom there were at that time in
Constantinople some 150,000. But when Abdul Hamid had finished his
sport, I do not think more than 80,000 at the most survived. These were
saved by the protests of Europe, and perhaps by the knowledge that if
all the Armenians were killed, there could never be any more shooting.
The Kurds also had lost a considerable number of men, and that was far
from displeasing to the yellow-faced butcher of Yildiz. A little
blood-letting among those turbulent Kurds was not at all a bad thing.

Here, then, we see defined and at work the new Ottoman policy with
regard to its peoples. Hitherto, it had been sufficient to take from
them its fill of man-power, and leave the tribe in question to its own
devices. There was no objection whatever to its developing the resources
of its territory, to its increasing in prosperity and in population.
Indeed the central Power was quite pleased that it should do so, for
when next the gathering of taxes and youths came round the collectors
would find a creditable harvest awaiting them. Such a tribe received no
encouragement or help from the Government; that would have been too
much to expect, but as long as it kept quiet and obedient it might,
without interference, prosper as well as it could. But now, in the last
quarter of the nineteenth century, all that was changed; instead of a
policy of neglect there was substituted a policy of murder. The state no
longer considered itself secure when in various parts of its dominions
its subjects showed themselves progressive and industrious. They had to
be kept down, and clearly the most efficient way of keeping people down
was killing them. Let it not be supposed for a moment that either the
first massacre, or any that followed, was the result of local
disturbances and fanaticism. It was nothing of the sort: each was
arranged and planned at Constantinople, as the official means, invented
by the arch-butcher, Abdul Hamid, of maintaining in power the most
devilish despotism that has ever disgraced the world. Something had to
be done to prevent the alien tribes in Asia slipping out of the noose of
Ottoman strangulation, even as the European tribes had done, and
forming themselves into separate and independent states. A ruler with
progressive ideas, one who had any perception of the internal prosperity
which alone can render an empire stable, would have made the attempt to
weld his loose and wavering domination together by encouraging and
working for the prosperity of its component peoples, so that he might,
though late in the day, give birth to a Turkey that was strong, because
its citizens were prosperous and content. Not so did Abdul Hamid; the
Turkey that he sought to establish was merely to be strong because he
had battered into a blood-stained pulp the most progressive and the most
industrious of the alien peoples over whom he ruled.

It is significant that, while yet the blood of the murdered Christians
was scarcely washed from the streets of Constantinople, the Emperor
Wilhelm II. visited his brother-sovereign at Yildiz, after making his
tour throughout the Holy Land. The two can hardly, in their intimate
conversations, have completely avoided the subject of the massacres; but
after all, that was not such an unmanageably awkward topic, for Wilhelm
II. could tactfully have reminded Abdul Hamid that his own throne also
was based on the murderous progress of the Teutonic Knights. Then there
was the war between Turkey and Greece only lately concluded to discuss,
and there again--for the Emperor's sister was Crown Princess of
Greece--conversation must have been a shade difficult. Altogether, in
spite of the Emperor's lifelong desire to visit the Holy Places in
Palestine, it was an odd moment for a Christian monarch to visit the
butcher of Constantinople. But the truth is that Wilhelm II. had a very
strong reason for going to see his brother, for the fruit of German
policy in Turkey was already ripening and swelling on the tree, and the
minor disadvantages of visiting this murderous tyrant while still his
hands were red with blood was more than compensated for by the
advantages of having a heart-to-heart talk with him on other subjects.
Germany had already begun her peaceful penetration, and the real motive
of the Emperor's visit was, after swords and orders had been exchanged,
to make the definite request that bodies of colonising Germans should be
allowed to settle on the Sultan's dominions in Asia Minor, and a hint no
doubt was conveyed that there would be plenty of room for them now that
there were so many Armenian farms unfortunately without a master. But,
like Uriah Heep, the Emperor had attempted to pluck the fruit before it
was ripe, or, to use a more exact simile, before he was tall enough to
reach it. In vain he represented to Abdul Hamid the immense advantages
which would result to Turkey by the establishment of those Gott-like
German settlers in Asia Minor. Out of his colossal egalo-megalomania, of
which we know more now, he thought that any request which the
All-Highest should deign to make must instantly be granted. But he met
with a perfectly flat refusal, and the baffled All-Highest left
Constantinople in an exceedingly bad temper, which quite undid all the
good that the balm in Gilead and the sacred associations of Jerusalem
had done him. It is pleasant to think of the Pan-Islamic merriment with
which Abdul Hamid must have viewed the indignant exit of his Christian
brother, who had come such a long way to see him, and was so tactful
about the Armenian atrocities. He might perhaps--for those Christians
were very odd pigs--have expressed horror or remonstrance. Not at all:
he was much too anxious to get his request granted, to make himself
disagreeable. But did his Christian brother really think that all those
massacres over which Abdul Hamid had spent so much time and money, had
been arranged in order to settle those nasty progressive Germans in the
lands that had been so carefully depopulated? Why, the whole point of
them had been that the Armenians were too progressive and prosperous,
thus constituting a menace to the central Government, and certainly
Abdul Hamid was not meaning to put in their place settlers even more
progressive and with a stronger backing behind them. So off went the
All-Highest back home again, very much vexed with Abdul Hamid, and
possibly (if that was not sacrilegious) with himself for having been in
too great a hurry. There was more spade-work to be done yet before
Turkey was ripe for open and avowed colonisation by the Fatherland.

The episode, strictly historical, is of a certain importance, for it
shows the date at which Wilhelm II. thought that the time had come for
Germans to colonise Turkey. The peaceful penetration (which now amounts
to perforation) was even then pretty far advanced. But Abdul Hamid seems
to have seen the significance of the request, and for some little while
after that German influence had a certain set-back in Turkey. The date
of this marks an era, and Germany, 'deep patient Germany,' set to work
again, in no way discouraged, to set her cancer-nippers in the cancer
that already had begun to eat the live tissues round it.



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter II_


THE THEORY OF THE NEW TURKS

In the year 1908 a military group in Constantinople, styling itself the
'Young Turk' party, seized and deposed Abdul Hamid, and shut him up at
Salonika, there to spend the remainder of his infamous days. They put
forth a Liberal programme of reformation, one that earned them at the
moment the sympathy of civilised Europe (including Germany), and the
Balance of Power very mistakenly and prematurely heaved a sigh of
relief. For upwards of a century it had maintained in Constantinople the
corrupt and bloody autocracy of the Sultans, fearing the European
quarrels that would attend the dismemberment of that charnel-house of
decay known as the Ottoman Empire, and now (just for the moment) it
seemed as if a sudden rally had come to the Sick Man, and he showed
signs of returning animation and wholesome vitality. The policy of the
Powers, after a century of failure, looked as if it was justifying
itself, and they were full of congratulations towards Turkey and each
other. But never, in the whole century of their pusillanimous cacklings,
had they made a greater mistake.

Whether the Young Turks ever meant well or not, whether there was or was
not a grain of sincerity in this profession of their policy, is a
disputed question. There are those who say that originally they were
prompted by patriotic and high-minded aims, when they proclaimed their
object of 'Organisation,' and of reform. But all are agreed that it
matters very little what their original aims were, so speedily did their
Liberal intentions narrow down to an Ottomanisation such as Adbul Hamid
had aimed at, but had been unable to accomplish before his evil sceptre
ceased to sway the destinies of his kingdom. In any case this programme
earned its authors the sympathy of Europe, and probably this, and no
more than this, prompted it. They wished to establish themselves,
unquestioned and undisturbed, and did so; and I do not think we shall
be far wrong if we take the original Young Turk programme about as
seriously as we took the parody of a Parliament with which Abdul Hamid
opened (as with a blessing) his atrocious reign. The very next year
(1909) they permitted (if they did not arrange) the Armenian massacres
at Adana, and the Balance of Power began faintly to wonder whether the
Young Turks in their deposition of Abdul Hamid had not slain an asp and
hatched a cockatrice. Given that their aims originally were sincere, we
can but marvel at the swiftness of the corruption which in little more
than a year had begun to lead them not into paths of reform and Liberal
policy, but along the road towards which the butcher they had deposed
had pointed the way. It must have made Abdul Hamid gnaw his nails and
shake impotent hands to see those who had torn him from his throne so
soon pursuing the very policy which he invented, and to which he
nominally owed his dethronement. Strange, too, was it that his overthrow
should come from the very quarter to which he looked for security, for
it was on the army that each Sultan in turn had most relied for the
stability of his throne. But Abdul Hamid, in order, perhaps, to deal
more effectually with the subject races he wished to exterminate, had
introduced a system of foreign training for the officers of his army, a
course of Potsdam efficiency, and it was just they, on whom Sultans from
time immemorial had relied, who knocked the prop of the army away from
him. Though publicly, for the edification of Europe his deposers
professed a Liberal policy, it was not on account of Armenian massacres
that they turned him off his throne, but because of the muddle and
corruption and debility of his rule. Herein we may easily trace the hand
of Germany, no longer publicly beckoning as when Wilhelm II., just after
the first Armenian massacres, made his request of the Sultan for the
establishment in Turkey of German colonists, but working underground,
sapping and mining like a mole. For Germany, her mind already fixed on
securing Turkey as an instrument of her Eastern policy, wanted a strong
Turkey, and without doubt desired to bring an end to the disorganisation
and decay of the Empire, and create and at the same time interpenetrate
an efficient state that should be useful to her. We may take it for
granted that she, like the rest of Europe, welcomed any sign of
regeneration in the Ottoman Empire, but there was an ulterior purpose
behind that. Turkey, already grasped by the Prussian hand, must be in
that hand a weapon fit for use, a blade on which she could rely. She
strengthened the Turkish army by the introduction of Prussian
discipline, and worked on good material. Already she has realised her
ambition in this respect, and now controls the material which she then
worked on.

The troubled years of the Balkan wars which followed this false dawn,
coupled with the loss of all the territory which remained to the Ottoman
Empire in Europe, with the exception of Thrace, caused an immediate
reaction from the open-minded policy of the Young Turks, if we decide to
credit them at the outset with a sincere purpose. Organisation by a
slightly different spelling became Ottomanisation, and the aims of the
Young Turks were identified with those of the Nationalist party which
followed out and developed into a finished and super-fiendish policy the
dreams of Abdul Hamid. He, as we have seen, had invented the idea of
securing Ottoman supremacy in the Empire, not as before by absorption of
the strength of its subject peoples, but by their extermination, and
this formed part of the new programme which was to be more efficiently
administered. Already, in 1909, the experimental massacre at Adana took
place, and the Young Turk party, with its possibly Liberal aims, had
become a party that had as its main object a system of tyranny and
murder such as the world had never seen. Simultaneously Turkey itself,
Nationalist party and all, became enslaved to German influence. Link by
link the chains were forged and the manacles welded on, and before the
European War broke out in 1914, the incarceration of Turkey in Germany
was complete, and Wilhelm II. had a fine revenge for the snub inflicted
on him by Abdul Hamid when he proposed the scheme of German
colonisation in the lands depopulated by the Armenian massacres of 1895.

From the first the aim of the Nationalists, who thus formed so deadly a
blend with the Young Turk party, was Ottomanisation, or the
establishment within the Empire of an Ottoman domination which should be
pure and undefiled, and in which none of the subject peoples, be they
Armenians or Kurds, Arabs or Greeks or Jews, Christian or Moslem, should
have any part. The inception of the scheme was no doubt inspired by the
example given by Prussia's treatment of the Poles, and Hungary's of
Roumans and Slovaks. But in thoroughness of method Prussia's pupil was
to prove Prussia's master, for it aimed not merely at expropriation, but
extermination, and sought to become strong, not merely by weakening
alien elements, but by abolishing them. It did not set this out quite
explicitly in its manifestoes and the resolutions of its congresses, but
two extracts, the first from the proceedings of the 'Committee of Union
and Progress,' held in Constantinople in 1911, have a sinister
suggestiveness about them for which the acts and measures of the
Committee had already supplied the comment.

'The formation of new parties in the Chamber or in the country must be
suppressed, and the emergence of new Liberal ideas prevented. Turkey
must become a really Mohammedan country, and Moslem influence must be
preponderant. Every other religious propaganda must be suppressed....
Sooner or later the complete Ottomanisation of all Turkish subjects must
be effected; it is clear, however, that this can never be attained by
persuasion, but that we must resort to armed force.... Other
nationalities must be denied the right of organisation, for
decentralisation and autonomy are treason to the Turkish Empire.'

Could there be a completer reversion to the policy of Abdul Hamid, than
this formal resolution, passed within three years of the time when the
Young Turks deposed him? The conviction begins to dawn on one--as it
began to dawn on the Balancers of Power--that he owed his downfall not
to his illiberal and butcherous policy, but because he was not thorough
enough.

The second extract, from a pamphlet by Jelal Noury Bey, may be added,
which defines the policy, not with regard to the Christian or Jewish
subjects of the Turks, but with regard to the Arabs, Moslem by creed,
and the guardians of the Holy Cities.

'It is a peculiarly imperious necessity of our existence for us to
Turkise the Arab lands, for the particularistic idea of nationality is
awaking among the younger generation of Arabs, and already threatens us
with a great catastrophe. Against this we must be fore-armed.'

The design of Ottomanisation soon began to take practical form.
Ottomanisation was to be the highest expression of patriotism, and any
means which secured it, massacres such as, in 1909, had taken place at
Adana, or the treatment accorded to the Greeks and Bulgarians who
remained in Thrace after the Balkan wars, were in accordance with the
new 'Liberal' gospel. Thrace was the only territory left to the Turks in
Europe, and as it was largely populated by Greeks and Bulgarians, it
could not be considered as sufficiently Ottomanised. A massacre under
the very eyes of Europe was perhaps dangerous, so it sufficed to put the
entire non-Turkish population over the frontier and lay hands on their
property. In fact this was the first of the 'deportation' schemes which,
in 1915, proved so successful with the Armenians, and the effect of it
was that neither Greeks nor Bulgarians were left in Thrace. Then
followed the expulsion of Greeks from the Mediterranean sea-board, but
this was never completely carried out because the European war
intervened, and the attention of the Nationalists was claimed by their
over-lord. Later, as we shall see, a further deportation of Greeks was
begun, but again that was stopped, for Germany saw that it would never
do to have her Turkish allies murdering settlers of the same blood as
those she hoped would become her allies. Of course, when it was only a
question of Armenians she did not interfere.

The design, then, of the new 'Liberal' regime, of which those three
measures, the massacres at Adana, the expulsion of Greeks and Bulgarians
from Thrace, and of Greeks from the sea-board of the Mediterranean, were
early instances, was to restore the absolute supremacy of the Turks in
the Ottoman Empire. It was obvious that the problem was one of
considerable difficulty, since the Turks at the time composed only some
forty per cent, of the whole population. They numbered about 8,000,000,
while in the Empire were included about 7,000,000 Arabs, 2,000,000
Greeks, 2,000,000 Armenians, and 3,000,000 more of smaller
nationalities, such as Kurds, Druses, and Jews. But the Turks were
backed by Germany, and nowadays, since the abolition of the
Capitulations, which leaves all alien races unprotected by foreign
Powers, such as survive, after the extermination of the Armenians, are
completely at the mercy of the Government in Constantinople. All these
peoples speak a different language from the Turks, and have a different
religion, for the Nationalist party, with a view to the Ottomanisation
of the Arabs, have definitely stated that Arab Moslems are not of the
true faith, and that their own Allah (in whose name they subsequently
exterminated the Armenians) is the God of Love--German equivalent
Got--whereas the Arab Allah is the God of vengeance. The sinister motive
in this discovery needs no comment, for it is obvious that it releases
the Ottoman Government from the prohibition in the Koran, whereby Moslem
may not fight against Moslem. Therefore the Arabs were declared not to
be true Moslems. Later on, that motive was translated into practical
measures.

Among the first tasks with regard to the Arabs that faced the
Nationalist party from what we may call the pacific side of their
mission was to substitute the Turkish language for Arabic. Kemal Bey, a
Nationalist of Salonika, with the help of Ziya Bey, collected round him
a group of young writers, and these proceeded to translate the Koran out
of Arabic into Turkish, and to publish the prayers for the Caliphate in
their own language, and orders went out that these revised versions
should be used in all mosques. Turkish was to be the official language
for use in all public proclamations, and, with Prussian thoroughness, it
was even substituted on such railway tickets as had hitherto been
printed in Arabic. The new Turkish tongue (Yeni Lisan) had also to be
purged of all foreign words, but here some difficulty was experienced,
for Persian and Arabic formed an enormous percentage in the language as
hitherto employed, and the promoters of this Ottoman purity of tongue
found themselves left with a very jejune instrument for the rhapsodies
of their patriotic aims. Poets in especial (for the Nationalists, like
all well-equipped founders of romantic movements, had their bards) found
themselves in sore straits owing to the limited vocabulary; and we read
of one, Mehmed Emin Bey, who was forced to publish his odes in small
provincial papers, since no well-established journal would admit so
scrannel an expression of views however exalted.[1] But the translation
of the Koran was the greatest linguistic feat, and Tekin Alp, the most
prominent exponent of Nationalism, refers to it as one of the noblest
tasks undertaken by the new movement. It mattered not at all that by
religious ordinance the translation of the Koran into any other tongue
was a sin. 'The Nationalists,' he tells us, 'have cut themselves off
from the superstitious prejudice.' A further attempt was made to
substitute Turkish letters for Arabic letters in the alphabet, but this
seems to have presented insuperable difficulties, and I gather that it
has been abandoned.

[Footnote 1: This thwarted poet retired from the Committee of Union and
Progress not long after, and his place was taken by Enver.]

The Ottomanisation of religion and language, then, was among the pacific
methods of spreading Pan-Turkism through the Empire. A monstrous idol
was set up, a Hindenburg idol, in front of which all peoples and
languages, not Christians alone, but Moslems, were bound to prostrate
themselves. Indeed it was against Arabs mainly that these provisions
were directed, for the Arabs constituted the most menacing obstacle to
the spread of Ottomanisation, since they numbered in the Empire only a
million less than the Turks themselves. It was ordained by statute that
no Arab could have a seat on the Committee of Union and Progress, and
the Cabinet similarly was purged of any Greek or Armenian element. Never
any more must there be new parties in the Chamber, never any more must
Liberal ideas (to champion which the New Turk party had come into being)
be allowed to prick up their pernicious heads. For the Nationalist
party, with whom the New Turks were now identical, had taken as their
creed all that the deposed Abdul Hamid stood for, and only differed from
him in that as their schemes developed they looked forward to logical
conclusions far beyond what he had ever dreamed of. But Abdul Hamid may,
I think, be taken to be the true founder of the new Nationalism: at any
rate it was he who had first seen the possibilities of massacre as a
means of maintaining Ottoman supremacy. In the hands of Nationalists
that was to prove a more effective weapon than the printing of railway
tickets in Turkish. But already before the European War the Nationalists
had vastly extended his ideas, and had seen the danger of allowing even
Arabs to have a standing of any kind in the new state. Henceforth all
subject people were to be _rayas_, cattle, as in the old days of the
Sultans who absorbed the strength of the aliens, but did not exterminate
them. But now the cattle were not only to be used for milk, but were to
be slaughtered when advisable. Till then they must be dumb, or speak the
language of their masters only, for this alone can save them from the
shambles. Ahmed Sherif Bey, a prominent Nationalist, lays this down. 'It
is the business of the Porte to make the Arabs forget their own
language, and to impose upon them instead that of the nation that rules
them. If the Porte loses sight of this duty, it will be digging its
grave with its own hands, for if the Arabs do not forget their language,
their history, and their customs, they will seek to restore their
ancient empire on the ruins of Ottomanism and of Turkish rule in Asia.'

Here, then, is the definite statement of the Nationalists' hostility to
all things Arab, and we shall see how they translated it into practice.
Even Moslems were but cattle for them, as also were Armenians and Greeks
and Kurds. Armenians were doomed to be the first complete sacrifice on
the bloody altar of the Nationalists, and, as a Turkish gendarme engaged
in that sacrifice said to a Danish Red Cross nurse, 'First we kill the
Armenians, then the Greeks, and then the Kurds.' And if he had been a
Progressive Minister he would certainly have added, 'And then the
Arabs.'

It was not only within the present limits of the Ottoman Empire that the
Committee of Union and Progress proposed to accomplish their unitive
purpose, for after having seen a glorious and exclusive Turkey arise
over the depopulated territories of their alien peoples, a vaster
vision, for an account of which we are indebted to Tekin Alp, opened
before their prophetic eyes. Out of the 10,000,000 inhabitants of Persia
they claim that one-third are of true Turkish blood, and in the new
Turkey which, so they almost pathetically hope, will be established at
the conclusion of the European War by the help of Wilhelm II., those
Persian Turks must be incorporated into the true fold of Allah, God of
Love. The province of Adarbaijan, for instance, the richest and most
enlightened district of Persia, they claim, is entirely Turkish, and
here the needful rectification will be made in the new atlases that bear
the imprimatur of Potsdam. Similarly, all the country south of the
Caucasus must rank as Turkish territory, since the Turks form from fifty
to eighty per cent, of the population; all Kazan, for the same reason,
is truly Turkish, with the alluvial plains of the Volga, while the
Crimea, so Tekin Alp discovers, is also a lost sheep longing for the
Turkish fold. All this is Turkey (or Turania) Irredenta, and, may we not
add:--

'Jerusalem and Madagascar
And North and South Amerikee.'

And then what a glorious future awaits the Power that Europe once
thought of as a sick man. 'With the crushing of Russian despotism,'
exclaims Tekin Alp, 'by the brave German, Austrian, and Turkish armies,
thirty to forty million Turks will receive their independence. With the
ten million Ottoman Turks this will form a nation of fifty millions,
advancing towards a great civilisation which may perhaps be compared to
that of Germany, in that it will have the strength and energy to rise
even higher. In some ways it will be even superior to the degenerate
French and English civilisations.'

The arithmetic and the enthusiasm of the foregoing paragraph are, of
course, those of Tekin Alp, from whose book, _The Turkish and
Pan-Turkish Ideal_, the quotation is made. The work was published in
1915, and, appearing as it did after the beginning of the European War,
it is but natural to find in it an expression not only of the
Nationalist aims for Turkey, but of the Prussian aims for Turkey, or, to
speak more correctly, of the dream which Prussia has induced in a
hypnotised Turkey. It sets forth in fact the bait which Prussia has
dangled in front of Turkey, the hunger for which has inspired the
projected future which is here sketched out; and significantly enough
this book has been spread broadcast over Turkey by the agency of German
propagandists. The Ottomanisation of the Empire, the vision of its
further extension, free from all consideration of subject peoples, was
exactly the lure which was most likely to keep the Turks staunch to
their Prussian masters. It will be noticed that there is no suggestion
of the Turks recovering their lost provinces and kingdoms in Europe,
Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Servia, and the rest, for it would never do
to let Fox Ferdinand awake from _his_ hypnotic sleep of a sort of
Czardom over the Balkans, or cease to dangle dreams, that included even
Constantinople before the shifty eye of King Constantine So, before
Turkey was spread the prospect of appropriating Russian and Persian
spoils: Prussia had already given the lost Turkish kingdoms in Europe
elsewhere, but would there not be a dismembered Russian Empire to
dispose of? The Crimea, the province of Kazan, the province of
Trans-Caucasia: all these might be held before Turkey's nose, as a dog
has a piece of meat held up before it to make it beg. Then there was the
province of Adarbaijan: certainly Turkey might be permitted to promise
herself that, without incurring the jealousy of Austria or Bulgaria.
Greedily Turkey took the bait. She gulped it down whole, and never
considered that there was a string attached to it, or that, should ever
the time come when Germany, the conqueror of the world, would be in a
position to reward her Allies with the realisation of the dreams she had
induced, the string would be pulled, and up, with retchings and
vomitings, would come these succulent morsels of Russia and Persia.
Indeed these bright pictures flashed on to the sheet as the visions of
Nationalists are but the slides in a German magic-lantern, designed to
keep Turkey amused, and it was with the same object that Ernst Marré, in
his _Die Türken und Wir nach dem Kriege_, was bidden to make other
pictures ready in case Turkey grew fractious or sleepy. 'From the ruins
of antiquity,' he says, when speaking of the Ottoman Empire, 'new life
will spring, if we can manage to raise the treasures which time and sand
have covered.' Then he remembers that he must be less Pan-Germanic for
the moment, and dangles the bait again. 'In doing this,' he adds, 'we
are benefiting Turkey. The Turkish state is no united whole, and it has
always been very difficult to govern. Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians,
Kurds, cannot be welded together. This is a war of liberation for
Turkey.... Only by energetic interference, and by "expelling" the
obstinate Armenian element could the Ottoman Empire get rid of a Russian
domination.... The non-Turkish population of the Ottoman Empire must be
Ottomanised.'

There is no need for further quotations, which might be multiplied
indefinitely. The Prussian programme is for the moment identical with
the Turkish Nationalist programme: Turkey, in order to be kept 'in with'
Germany, must be encouraged to dream of depopulated Armenia (that dream
has come tragically true) and of annexations in Russia and Persia. All
this fitted in with the Turkish programme: Germany had scarcely to
inspire, only to encourage. That encouragement she gave, for,
simultaneously she was penetrating Turkey as water penetrates a sponge,
and reducing it to the position of a vassal state. To keep Turkey happy
she allowed the Armenian massacres to run their deadly course, and only
interfered with other massacres when they did not suit her purpose. But
supposing (to suppose the impossible) that a peace to the European War
was dictated by Germany, how much of the future Pan-Turkish programme
would be realised? Would there be a Turkey at all? I think not: there
would be a Germany in Europe, and a Germany in Asia, where Turkey once
was. Indeed, in all but name, they are in existence now; so complete, as
we shall see, has been Germany's penetration of the Ottoman Empire. Just
for the present she calls herself Turkey in those regions; that is her
incognito. But Turkey as an independent Power has already ceased to
exist, and Tekin Alp and the Nationalists still dream on with rainbow
visions of Ottomanisation, the vistas of which stretch far into Persia
and the plains of the Volga. And all the while she has been put out like
a candle, and all that is left of her is the smouldering wick ready to
be pinched between the horny fingers of her stepmother. There she
stands, her stepmother, with her grinning teeth already disclosing the
Wolf....

Whatever the end of the European War may be, in no circumstances can the
dreams of the Nationalists be realised. Even if Germany and her arms
were so victorious that Russia lay at her feet a mere inert carcase
ready for the chopper, she would no more dream of giving Russian
provinces to an independent Turkey than she would hand over to her
Berlin itself. And if, as we know, Germany can never be victorious, will
the Allies once more strive to keep the Sick Man alive, or leave in his
ruthless power the peoples whom he is longing to exterminate? Even Tekin
Alp can hardly expect that.

Here then, in brief, is the policy of New Turkey. Its subject
peoples--Armenians, Arabs, Greeks, Kurds, and Jews--are to be totally
unrepresented in its councils, though together they number sixty per
cent, of the population of the Empire. But they are not only to be
unrepresented in Government--they are, if the programme is to be carried
conclusively out, to have no existence. In accordance with the plans of
the murderous ruffians who to-day administer the Nationalist policy,
those of the Armenians who have not fled beyond the frontiers have
already been exterminated, and the same fate threatens Arabs, Greeks,
and Jews. Hence, when the Allied Governments wrote their joint note to
President Wilson, they stated that among their aims in the war was 'the
liberation of the peoples who now lie beneath the murderous tyranny of
the Turks.' From that avowed determination they will never recede.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--It is to be hoped that Tekin Alp's pamphlet, _Turks and the
Pan-Turkish Ideal_, may soon be accessible to English readers. The
author is a Macedonian Jew who writes under the pseudonym of Tekin Alp,
and his mind is such that he appears to find romance in the idea of a
united Turkey purged by indiscriminate massacre from all alien elements.
But he sets forth with admirable lucidity the aims of the Nationalist
party and the steps already achieved by them in their progress towards
their ideal. Already the sequestered ladies of the harem have come out
of their retirement and join in the crusade, and not only do men give
lectures to women, but 'women mount the platform and address the men.'
There are corporations to advance economic organisations, boy-scout
centres all over the Empire, and 'intellectual parties' among the guilds
of merchants--England and Russia appear as the most virulent foes of
Pan-Turkism, 'the colossus of darkest barbarism joined with the colossus
of a degenerate civilisation.'

In the second part of his pamphlet Tekin Alp passes on with an
enthusiasm which is as sincere as it is pathetic to the vision of a
tremendous Turkey, extending from Thrace on the west to the Desert of
Gobi on the east. It embraces, as his map shows, Egypt as far south as
Victoria Nyanza, Arabia, Persia, the greater part of India, the littoral
of the Black Sea, the plains of the Volga, the circuit of the Caspian
Sea and the Aral Sea, and in the north-east nearly touches Tomsk. All
this naturally is dependent on complete German victory in the war, and,
pathetically enough, Tekin Alp appears to think that his ideal Turkey
will meet with the approval of Germany. Indeed it is no wonder that his
pamphlet is circulated broadcast by German propagandists, for it is
precisely what Germany wants Turkey to believe.

The romance of the movement appeals also very strongly to Ziya Gök Alp,
the official bard of the butchers of Constantinople. He has written a
sort of Ode to Attila, quoted by Tekin Alp, which is a fine frenzy in
favour of barbarism. This preposterous poem begins:

'I do not read the famous deeds of my ancestors in the dead, faded,
dusty leaves of the history books, but in my own veins, in my own heart.
My Attila, my Huns, those heroic figures which stand for the proud fame
of my race, appear in those dry pages to our malicious and slanderous
age as covered with shame and disgrace, while in reality they are no
less than Alexander and Caesar,' etc. etc.

I have been at present unable to ascertain whether it is true that the
German Emperor has set it to music, under the impression that it refers
to him and the German armies. It is very popular in Prussia, which need
arouse no surprise.



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter III_


THE END OF THE ARMENIAN QUESTION

We have traced in brief the backward progress of Ottoman domination, and
have seen how, from the rough and ready methods of a military barbarism,
the Turks evolved a more emphatic and a more highly organised negation
of all those principles which we may sum up under the general term of
civilisation. The comparatively humane neglect of the unfortunate alien
peoples herded within the frontiers of earlier Sultans was improved upon
by Abdul Hamid, who struck out the swifter and superior methods of
maintaining the dominating strength of the Turkish element in the
kingdom not by the absorption of subject peoples, but by their
extermination. This in turn, this new and effective idea, served as a
first sketch of an artist with regard to his finished picture, and
starting with that the Nationalist party enlarged and elaborated it
into that masterpiece of massacre which they exhibited to the world in
the years 1915 and 1916 of the Christian Era, when from end to end of
the Empire there flashed the signal for the extermination of the
Armenian race. Abdul Hamid was but tentative and experimental as
compared to their systematised thoroughness, but then the Nationalist
party had learned thoroughness under the tutelage of its Prussian
masters. And in addition to instruction they had had the advantage of
seeing how Prussian firmness, with the soothing balm of Kultur to
follow, had dealt with the now-subject remnant of Belgians. That was the
way to treat subject people: 'the first care of a state is to protect
itself,' as Enver and Talaat could read in the text-books now translated
into Turkish, in copies, maybe, presented to them by their Master in
Berlin, and Turkey could best show the proof of her enlightenment and
regeneration, by following in the footsteps of Prussian Kultur. Perhaps
a few thousand innocent men might suffer the inconvenience of having
their nails torn out, of being bastinadoed to death, of being shot,
burned or hanged, perhaps a few thousand girls and women might die by
the wayside in being deported to 'agricultural colonies,' might fall
victims to the lusts of Turkish soldiers, or have babes torn from their
wombs, but these paltry individual pains signified nothing compared to
the national duty of 'suffering the state to run no risks.' As one of
this party of Union and Progress said, 'The innocent of to-day may be
the guilty of to-morrow,' and it was therefore wise to provide that for
innocent and guilty alike there should be no to-morrow at all. Years
before the statesmanship of Abdul Hamid had prophetically foreseen the
dawning of this day, when he remarked 'The way to get rid of the
Armenian question is to get rid of the Armenians,' and temporarily for
twenty years he did get rid of the Armenian question. But when, in 1915,
Talaat Bey completed his arrangements for a further contribution to the
solution of the same problem, he said, 'After this, there will be no
Armenian question for fifty years.' As far as we can judge, he rather
under-estimated the thoroughness of his arrangements.[1]

[Footnote 1: Lately (September 1917), when the massacres were all over,
Talaat, speaking at a Congress of the Committee of Union and Progress,
upheld as right and proper the treatment of the Armenian race.]

The race thus marked out for extermination was one of the oldest
settlements in Asiatic Turkey. Originally it was confined to Armenia
proper, a highland district comprising part of what is now the Russian
province of Trans-Caucasia, part of Persia, notably the province of
Adarbaijan, and, within the Turkish frontier, the province of Armenia,
itself. According to legend, which may well be correct, the Armenians
were the oldest national Christian Church in the world, with a liturgy
that dates from the first century of the Christian Era, while their
translation of the Bible dates from the early years of the fifth century
A.D. Here in these uplands they formed a compact and homogeneous
population, spread over towns and country alike, and were occupied in
the main with agrarian and pastoral pursuits. But they had in addition
much of the versatility and business capacity of the Jews, as well as a
strong liberal-mindedness towards progress and education, and thus,
while they still continued up to the present day their pastoral life in
the countryside, others gravitated towards towns, and by degrees they
spread over a large part of the Turkish Empire, until most of the towns
in Turkey had a progressive and peaceful quota of Armenian citizens,
tolerated by their Moslem neighbours, and, though possessed of no great
share of political influence, powerful, in that the trade and commerce
of inland Turkey was largely in their hands. Wherever they went they
established their schools; many were lawyers, doctors, and professors of
education. Certain repressive measures were brought to bear on them;
they were not, for instance, allowed to carry arms, except when, in
accordance with Turkish conscriptive laws, they served in the Ottoman
army. But many of them, by paying their exemption money, got off
military service, and they confined themselves to the arts of peace,
whether pastorally in their native highlands, or in the shops and
offices of the towns to which they migrated. They were not, till the
time of Abdul Hamid, held to be in any sense a national danger, for,
except in Armenia proper, they were too scattered and too peace-loving
an element of the population to be capable of united action, and never
do they seem to have provoked any outburst of Moslem fanaticism. They
had local quarrels and fights with the more warlike Kurds who encroached
on Armenia, and in the towns where they settled they often incurred the
vague jealousy and dislike which are the penalties of a race superior
morally and intellectually to those among whom they live. But that
superiority constituted in course of time the 'Armenian question,' to
which Abdul Hamid alluded. In all, some sixty years ago their entire
race numbered about 4,000,000 persons, of whom about 1,250,000 inhabited
Russian Trans-Caucasia, about 150,000 were in the province of
Adarbaijan, and there were smaller bodies of them in Austria and India.
The remainder, some 2,500,000, were spread over Armenia, over the
villages and towns of Turkey, notably the eastern edge of the Cilician
uplands, while in Constantinople itself there were certainly not less
than 150,000, and probably as many as 200,000. To-day, the male portion
of the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire has practically ceased to
exist: a quarter of a million men and women escaped over the Russian
frontier, five thousand escaped to Egypt, and there are a few thousand
women and girls (it is impossible to ascertain the exact number) in
Turkish harems. Turkism, as administered by Abdul Hamid first, then, far
more efficiently, by Enver Pasha, and Talaat Bey, has solved the
Armenian question.

The history of its solution falls under two heads, of which the first
concerns the manner in which it was solved in Armenia itself, where the
population was almost exclusively Armenian, both in towns and in the
country. Here the eastern and north-eastern frontiers of Turkey, across
which lie the province of Russian Trans-Caucasia and Persia, pass
through the middle of districts peopled by men of Armenian blood, and
when, in the autumn of 1914, the Turks made their entry into the
European War, their eastern armies, operating against Russia, found
themselves confronted by troops among whom were many Armenians, while in
their advance into the Persian province of Adarbaijan, there were in the
ranks of their opponents, Armenians and Syriac Christians. They advanced
in fact, in the first weeks of the war, into a country largely peopled
with men of the same blood as those on their own side of the frontier.
Though the edict had not yet come from Constantinople for the massacre
of the Armenians (Talaat Bey did not complete his arrangements till the
following April), the slaughter of them began then, first in the advance
of the Turkish armies, and following on that movement, which lasted but
a few weeks, in their subsequent retreat before the Russians. All
villages through which the Turkish armies passed were plundered and
burned, all the inhabitants on whom the Turks could lay their hands were
killed. Sometimes women and children were given to the Kurds, who formed
bands of irregular troops in conjunction with the Turkish army, and
these were outraged before they were slaughtered. A price was put on
every Christian head, and in the Turkish retreat the corpses were thrust
into the wells in order to pollute them. The excuse for this, as given
by German apologists (not apologists, perhaps, so much as supporters and
adherents of the policy), was that since behind the Turkish lines the
country was populated by a race of the same blood as that through which
they advanced, and then retreated, extermination was necessary in order
to prevent or to punish treachery and collusion. But I have been nowhere
able to find that there were instances of such, nor that the Turks put
forward that excuse themselves. Indeed it would have been an unnecessary
explanation, for but a few months after the opening of the war, Talaat
Bey's plans were complete, and the extermination of Armenians hundreds
of miles from any sphere of military operations rendered it needless to
say anything about it, or to invent instances of treachery if there were
actually none to hand.

Simultaneously the massacre of Armenians behind the Turkish lines
began. The whole male population of the district round Bitlis was
murdered, so too were all males in Bitlis itself. Then all women and
children were driven in, as a herdsman might drive sheep, from the
reeking villages round, and, for purposes of convenience, concentrated
in Bitlis. When they were all collected, they were driven in a flock to
the edge of the Tigris, shot, and the corpses were thrown into the
river. That was the solution of the Armenian question in Bitlis.

North-west of Bitlis, and some sixty miles distant, lies the town of
Mush. It used to contain about 25,000 Armenian inhabitants, and in the
district round there were some three hundred villages chiefly consisting
of Armenians. Arrangements were on foot for a general massacre there
when the arrival of Russian troops at Liz, some fifteen hours' march
away, caused the execution of it to be put off for a while, and up till
July a few folk only had been shot, and a few beaten to death, as a
warning to those treacherously inclined. Then the Russians, in the face
of superior forces, had to retire again, and the massacres were put on a
systematic footing. The account which follows is based on four
independent authorities: (1) The statement of a German eye-witness in
Mush in charge of an Armenian orphanage; (2) the statement of a woman
deported from a village near, and subsequently killed by Kurds; (3)
information from refugees escaped to Trans-Caucasia; (4) the journal
_Horizon_ of Tiflis. These supplement each other, often verify each
other, and in no instance are contradictory.

Rumours of an impending massacre reached Mush before the end of 1914, at
a time when the massacres across the frontier had begun. The Mutessarif
of Mush, an intimate friend of Enver Pasha, had openly declared that 'at
an opportune moment' the slaughter of the whole Armenian race was
contemplated, and later Ekran Bey corroborated this in the presence of
the American and German Consuls. Enver indeed seems to have been the
chief organiser with regard to the massacres in Armenia itself, while
Talaat Bey saw to the fate of those dispersed in towns throughout the
rest of Turkey. During the whole of that winter, a very severe one,
signs of the approaching extermination multiplied. In the villages round
fresh taxes were introduced, and when Armenians were unable to pay they
were beaten to death, while, if they resisted, the village in question
was burned. But by July 1915 (after the unavoidable delay caused by the
proximity of Russian troops) all was ready, and the massacre began in
earnest.

Four battalions of Turkish troops arrived from Constantinople, and an
order was given that all Armenians must leave the town within three
days, after 'registering themselves' at the Government office. The women
and children were to remain, but their money and their property would be
confiscated. Within two hours after that, owing, I suppose, to fresh
orders from Constantinople, the guns opened fire on the crowds in the
streets flocking to the registry offices, and after that systematic
house-to-house murder began. Prominent Armenians were tortured to
death, houses containing women and children were set on fire, a body of
men collected together was thrown into the river, girls were outraged
and slaughtered. For two days the massacre continued, and by the end of
the second day the Armenian question was solved as regards Mush.

In the surrounding villages the same Prussian thoroughness was observed,
and out of all the inhabitants of the plain 5000 only seemed to have
survived, who fled to Sasun (there to be subsequently massacred in
1916), while a few from outlying villages escaped to the Russian troops.
In certain villages the girls and young women were given to the Kurd
soldiery, who raped them publicly in the presence of their families, not
sparing girls of eight and ten years of age, who then, bleeding and
violated, were shot in company with the old women, for whom the Kurds
(inspired by Allah, the God of Love) had no use. Elsewhere, as the story
of a deported woman from Kheiban tells us, the women guarded by Kurdish
troops were driven out of their villages, leaving behind the corpses of
the men and of old women who could not walk, and for days were marched
along the roads, nearly naked, under the fierce heat of the July sun.
Once every other day they were given bread, but all did not get it, and
many fell exhausted by the wayside, and were either whipped to their
feet again or allowed to lie down and die. As they passed through
villages Kurds would come out and rape a girl or two, and when they
halted at night their guards would come among them.... Some few escaped;
the rest, in dwindling company, went on through days of blinding sun and
nights of shame till at last there were only a few remaining. It was not
worth while going farther, for the work of Enver Pasha was nearly done,
and the rest were pushed into the river. One alone survived, who could
swim, and she, with her two-year-old baby on her back, got across the
stream and made her way to a village where were a party of Armenians who
had escaped massacre. She arrived there at midnight, and at first they
thought she was a ghost. To them she told her story of the outraged and
ever-dwindling caravan of helpless women and girls driven onwards all
day beneath the smiting arrows of the sun, and encamped by the wayside,
where they halted with their barbarous guards and their lusts for a
terror by night. Of them none but this one was left, who had carried her
baby with her every step of that infernal pilgrimage. Two days
afterwards he died from want of nourishment, and before the week was out
the mother fell into the hands of a body of patrolling Kurds, and was
killed.

So the problem of the village of Kheiban was solved, and if in the
history of the crimes that have blackened the earth with wanton cruelty
and made God to hide His face, there is any so atrocious a tale, I do
not know it. But if among the annals of heroism and of mother-love we
want to find a nobler record than that of this woman of Kheiban, equally
am I at a loss as to where we should look for it. Among the true and
golden legends of the world shall that which she did be inscribed for a
memorial of her.

Northward from Mush, and Bitlis lies the province of Erzerum, with the
town of the same name, that contained in the autumn of 1914 some 20,000
Armenians. Here the first hint of coming trouble was the order that all
Armenian soldiers serving in Turkish ranks should be disarmed. This was
followed in June by another order that all the inhabitants of the
hundred villages in the district should leave their homes at two hours'
notice. They numbered between 10,000 and 15,000 persons. Of these a few
took refuge with friendly Kurds, but of the remainder a few only lived
to reach Erzinjan, where they were again deported, and the rest were
murdered as they marched. In Erzerum itself orders were received by
Tahsin Bey, the Vali of the town, that all Armenians were to be killed
without distinction of age or sex. He refused to carry this order out,
but his unwillingness was overruled.[1] Simultaneously, the German
Consul telegraphed protests to his Ambassador at Constantinople, and
was told that Germany could not interfere in the internal affairs of
Turkey.

[Footnote 1: At Angora a similar refusal on the part of the Governor
resulted in his dismissal, and the same thing happened at Konia and at
Kutaia.]

Here the method employed was deportation: the victims were murdered, not
in the town itself, but were given orders to leave their homes, and
under guard march (for no conveyances were given them) to other
districts. The first company was to go to Diarbekr. All these, with the
exception of one man and forty women, were murdered on the first day's
march. The remainder reached Kharput, which was another station or
collecting place for the deported. A German eye-witness tells us what
fate waited them. 'They have had their eyebrows plucked out, their
breasts cut off, their nails torn off; their torturers hew off their
feet, or else hammer nails into them as they do in shoeing horses. This
is all done at night-time, in order that people may not hear their
screams and know of their agony. Soldiers are stationed round the
prisons, beating drums and blowing whistles. It is needless to relate
that many died of these tortures. When they die, the soldiers cry, "Now
let your Christ help you."' A second caravan of five hundred families
left Erzerum: at Baiburt they were joined by another contingent deported
from that town, and the account that follows is based on the information
supplied by the Rev. Robert Stapleton, an American minister at Erzerum,
and by an Armenian woman who was among the deported, and whose life was
spared on her embracing Islamism.

The convoy numbered, when it left Baiburt, some 15,000 persons, and it
reached Erzinjan in safety. There the massacres had already taken place,
and the women and children had been deported, for they found no
Armenians there. But the convoy had not yet arrived at its goal, and it
started out again moving south by east till it came to Kamakh. There
bands of Kurds descended on them, and in the space of seven days every
male above fifteen years of age, including an aged priest of ninety, was
killed. Thereafter a pilgrimage of women, as from Kheiban, moved
southwards across plain and mountain, and every day its numbers were
diminished, for the youthful and the good-looking were carried off by
brigands. At night they were halted outside villages, and the gendarmes
and villagers took what they chose. Many died from hunger and
heat-stroke: others were left by the wayside. When they came to the
banks of the river Kara-Su there was a debauch of horror. Women and
girls and little children were raped and mutilated, and the children who
still survived were thrown into the river. Those who could swim were
shot. Thereafter the movements of this caravan are hard to trace.
Probably there was then but little left of it. But others followed on
the same route 'through fields and hillsides dotted with swollen and
blackened corpses that filled and fouled the air with their stench.'
Some of them reached Mosul, some reached Aleppo, another collecting
station, where, by the mouth of other witnesses, we shall hear of them
again.

Corroborative and additional evidence is given by the Danish Red Cross
nurses who, with a noble disregard of their own safety, accompanied one
of these caravans from Erzerum to Erzinjan. They speak of the massacres
at Kamakh, of the killing by the river, and of a _battue_ through the
cornfields, where the wheat was high, into which some Armenians had
escaped. At one time these Danish Sisters were in the charge of a
gendarme who had superintended a massacre of 3000 women and children
driven from their homes into the country, rounded up and killed. He told
the Sisters that this was the best method of getting rid of them, for
they should be made to suffer first, and besides it would be
inconvenient for Moslems to live in a village with so many corpses
about. At another place they came to a shambles, where Armenian
soldiers, deprived of their arms, and sent to make roads, had been
slaughtered: at another there were three gangs of labourers, one Moslem,
one Greek, and one Armenian. These latter were guarded. Presently, as
they proceeded along their road, they looked round and saw that the
Armenian gang was being formed up by itself, a little off the
highroad....

And so the ghastly record went on all over Armenia. At one place only,
the town of Van, was any resistance organised. There, after the massacre
had begun, some 1500 Armenians got hold of arms (probably many of these
men were soldiers who had not yet had their arms taken from them), and
for the space of twenty-seven days defended themselves against five
thousand Turkish troops, till the Russian advance relieved them. During
that advance Armenian refugees, into whose districts the massacres had
not yet penetrated, fled for refuge to the invading army, and in all
some 250,000 Armenians under its protection crossed in safety the
Russian frontier into Trans-Caucasia. How many died on the way from
hunger and exhaustion is not known. Cholera, dysentery, and spotted
fever broke out among them, and the path of their passage was lined with
dead and dying. Companies of Kurds made descents upon them, taking toll
of their maidenhood, but, with the Russian line to protect them at their
rear, they struggled on out of the cemetery and brothel of their native
country, and out of the accursed confines of that hell on earth, the
Ottoman Empire, leaving behind them the murdered myriads of their
husbands and their sons, their violated wives and daughters. Through
incredible hardships they passed, but, unlike the other pilgrimages we
have briefly traced, they moved not towards death, but towards safety
and life, and their dark steps were lightened with Hope.

Before the last of those who survived the hunger and the pestilence of
that pilgrimage had reached Russian soil, it is probable that in all
Armenia there was not a man of their race left alive, nor a woman either
unless she had accepted Islamism and the life of the harem. A peaceful
and progressive nation had been wiped out with every accompaniment of
horror and cruelty and bestial lust, and in Armenia itself there would
never more be an Armenian question. Abdul Hamid had hinted at the
solution of it, and had made, as we have seen, experiments in that
direction; but it was reserved for Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey,
enlightened men of the Young Turk party, with the advantages of a
Prussian example, to complete the work. Already Enver had said that he
would never rest until the last Armenian in the Ottoman Empire had been
killed, and before the end of 1915, as far as Armenia itself went, he
was able to see a reasonable prospect of repose before him. But there
was much work still left to do in other provinces.

We have seen that for the extirpation of Armenians in Armenia proper,
the excuse put forward, if not by the Turks themselves, by their German
apologists, was the necessity of guarding against treachery in the
vicinity of the Turkish army, and against spying and collusion between
the Armenians behind the Russian lines and those behind Turkish lines.
The same pretext was put forward for the massacres and deportations from
Thrace, from Constantinople, and from the shores of the Sea of Marmora.
Here, if anywhere, there may be thought to be some justification for
measures which might have been undertaken for the sake of public safety.
At any rate, there were definite charges brought against Armenians in
these districts, and the Armenian boatmen of Silivri, for instance, were
imprisoned, but not, as far as I know, massacred, on the charge of
revictualling English submarines, which at that time, as the reader will
remember, had penetrated into the Sea of Marmora, and indeed had reached
Constantinople itself. It is not, of course, consonant with Turkish or
Prussian justice to substantiate charges before inflicting penalties, it
is sufficient in the new World-justice to accuse. But here round
Constantinople, there was some pretence at procedure before resorting to
murder and deportation. A register was drawn up of all Armenians
resident in the capital, dividing into separate classes those who were
born in Constantinople, and those who were immigrants from Armenia, with
a view to deporting those who were not native to the city. Here, I
think, we may see traces of the Prussian instinct for tabulation, for
classification, for category-mongering. Enver and his colleagues lost
patience with these dilatory tactics. The Armenians of the province of
Brussa were deported wholesale, and long before the registration lists
of Constantinople were finished, all Armenians were moved out of the
town. Ten thousand males were massacred in the mountains of Ismid, and
the Armenian women and children taken into collecting stations for
deportation to 'agricultural colonies' (so the phrase ran in the
Pecksniff language of Prussia) situated in the Anatolian desert, in the
desert of Arabia, and in malarious marshes on the Euphrates. With this
clearing out of Armenians from Thrace, from Constantinople, and from
Armenia itself, we have finished with our first class of the Armenian
atrocities. For it reasons were at least invented by German apologists.
Military necessities, which here, as in Belgium, knew no law, dictated
it; the frightfulness involved was incidental to War. But such
considerations were not even alleged for the second class of the
murder-scheme. Before passing on, it will be well to review, quite
shortly, the reasons which dictated it, and penetrate into the infernal
councils of Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey.

The text of the scheme is to be found in the defined policy of the
Young Turk party as set forth in their Congress of 1911. 'Turkey must
become a really Mohammedan country, and Moslem ideas and Moslem
influence must be preponderant.... Sooner or later the complete
Ottomanisation of all Turkish subjects must be effected: it is clear,
however, that this can never be attained by persuasion, but that we must
resort to armed force.'

There is the text that was expanded into the discourse of murder; it is
the definition of a policy. Within a few years there followed the
European War, and that probably was the immediate cause of its being put
into effect. No more admirable opportunity for Ottomanisation could
present itself, for the entry of Turkey into the war was most unpopular
with the bulk of the Turkish population, and it was advisable to bribe
them into acceptance of it. The bribe was the houses, the property, the
money and the trade that throughout the length and breadth of Turkey was
in Armenian hands. For the Armenians were by far the wealthiest of the
alien populations, and some 90 per cent. of Turkish trade passed through
their shops and offices. Here, then, was the psychological moment:
Turkey for the Turk was the aim of the Committee of Union and Progress,
and with a discontented population, unwilling to fight, the moment had
come for restoring to the Turk this mass of property which at present
belonged to an alien race. War might have its drawbacks and its clouds,
but war would be seen to have its advantages and its silver linings, if
out of it there came this legacy of Armenian wealth. And by the same
stroke Turkey could get rid of those thousands of meddlesome
missionaries, American and French, who spread religion and learning and
other undesirable things among the cursed race. Once remove the cursed
race, and there would be an end of their instructors also, for there
would be none to instruct. 'Thanks to their schools,' so we read in the
_Hilal_, an organ of the Young Turks, 'foreigners were able to exercise
great moral influence over the young men of the country.... By closing
them (i.e. by exterminating their pupils) the Government has put an end
to a situation as humiliating as it was dangerous.'

Such, then, was the spirit that animated Enver and Talaat, and during
the winter of 1914-15 they perfected their plans. The Armenian race was
to cease, and the Valis and other officials were, each in his district,
to see to the thoroughness of its cessation. Sometimes, as happened at
Erzerum, the Vali in question, not having the broad out-look of Enver,
or quaintly and curiously having a womanish objection to the national
duty of flogging men to death and giving over young girls to a barbarous
soldiery, remonstrated with the authorities, or even refused to obey
orders. Such a one was instantly removed from his office, and a
stauncher patriot substituted. All was put on an orderly footing: here
Kurds were to be employed on the old Abdul Hamid formula, who by way of
wage would enjoy the privilege of raping as many women and girls out of
their hapless convoy as seemed desirable, while in agricultural
districts they were allowed also to take over the sheep and cattle of
their murdered victims. Here, in towns where there was more chance of
resistance than in scattered homesteads, it would be wise to employ
regular troops, backed, if necessary, by artillery, to whom would be
entrusted the murder of the whole male population, after suitable
tortures, supposing the executioners had a taste for the sport, and to
them was given the right of general plunder. Then, as soon as the number
and capacity of the vacant houses were telegraphed to Constantinople,
occupiers from the discontented townsfolk and natives of Thrace were
assigned to them. Sometimes there would be a big school building to give
away as well, but that was not always so, for it might be more
convenient to assemble Armenians there for purposes of registration or
so forth, and then, if it happened to catch fire, why Enver would
understand that such accidents would occur. Among other careful and
well-thought-out instructions came the order that, when possible, the
murders should not take place in the town, but outside it, for clean
Allah-fearing Moslems would not like to live in habitations defiled by
Christian corpses. But, above all, there must be thoroughness; not a man
must be left alive, not a girl nor a woman who must not drag her
outraged body, so long as breath and the heart-beat remained in it, to,
or rather towards those 'agricultural colonies,' as Talaat Bey, in a
flash of whimsical Prussian humour, called them. One was advantageously
situated in the middle of the Anatolian desert at the village of
Sultanieh. There, for miles round, stretched the rocks and sands of a
waterless wilderness, but no doubt the women and children of this very
industrious race would manage to make it wave with cornfields. Another
agricultural colony, by way of contrast, should be established a couple
of days' journey south of Aleppo, where the river loses itself in
pestilential and malarious swamps. Arabs could not live there, but who
knew whether those hardy Armenians (the women and children, of them at
least who had proved themselves robust enough to reach the place) would
not flourish there out of harm's way? After the swamps one came to the
Arabian desert, and there, a hundred miles south-east, was a place
called Deir-el-Zor; wandering Arab tribes sometimes passed through it,
but, arrived there, the Armenians should wander no more. In those arid
sands and waterless furnaces of barren rock there was room for all and
to spare. Sultanieh, the swamps, and Deir-el-Zor: these were the chief
of Talaat Bey's agricultural colonies.

There must be collecting stations for these tragic colonists, centres to
which they must be herded in from surrounding districts: one at
Osmanieh, let us say, one at Aleppo, one at Ras-el-Ain, one at Damascus.
And since it would be a pity to let so many flowers of girlhood waste
their sweetness on the desert air of Deir-el-Zor, slave markets must be
established at these collecting stations. There would be plenty of
girls, and prices would be low, but the reverend ministers of Allah the
God of Love, the Ulemas, the Padis and the Muftis, should be accorded a
preferential tariff. Indeed they should pay nothing at all; they should
just choose a girl and take her away, and, with the help of Allah the
God of Love, convert her to the blessed creed. No one was too young for
these lessons.... A little abstemiousness would not hurt these pampered
Christians, so when they set out on their marches they need not be
provided with rations or water. Perhaps some might die, but Talaat had
no use for weaklings at his agricultural colonies. Nor must there be any
poking and prying on the part of those interfering American
missionaries; and so Talaat Bey put all the agricultural colonies out of
bounds for foreigners....

There was no hurry over these deportations, for the plea of military
exigencies, which had caused the deportations in Armenia itself to be
terminated by massacre with a rapidity almost inartistic, did not apply
to Armenians so far from the seat of war. Their picnics could be
conducted quietly and pleasantly in the leisurely Oriental manner. Even
the men need not be murdered absolutely out of hand. Strong young
fellows might be stripped and tied down and then beaten to death by
bastinadoing the feet till they burst, or by five hundred blows on the
chest and stomach. Their cries would mingle with the screams of their
sisters in the embrace of Turkish soldiers. And, talking of embraces, if
a woman was desirable, she need not walk all the way to Deir-el-Zor, but
by embracing Islamism be transferred to a harem. But these were details
that might be left to individual taste: there were no precise
instructions save that no Armenian men must be discoverable in the
Ottoman Empire at all, and no women save those who had become Turkish
women, or who were at work on the waterless and the malarial
agricultural colonies.

Talaat Bey reviewed his finished scheme. He thought it would do, and
Enver Pasha agreed with him, and Jemal Bey (who soon after styled
himself Jemal the Great), the Military Governor of Syria, and so
responsible for the last stages of their pilgrimage, thought it would do
very well indeed. And instructions were sent out to every town in the
Empire where there were Armenians, in accordance with the programme of
Talaat Bey.

How Enver carried out his part of the programme in Armenia itself we
have seen, and by the end of the year (1915) his work was done, and
Armenia was Armenia no longer. But operations, as I have said, were
conducted in a more leisurely manner elsewhere, and the agony of that
butchery protracted. But Jemal got to work at once in the thickly
populated district round Zeitun. He had had no success in the campaign
of the winter in the direction of the Suez Canal, and his troops were
hungry for some sort of victory. The Zeitunlis were hardy independent
mountaineers, who were possessed of arms, and Jemal thought it more
prudent not to dally with deportations, but conduct a regular campaign
against them. For two or three months they resisted, entrenching
themselves in the hills, but they could not hold out against artillery
and the modern apparatus of war, and the whole tribe was wiped out. That
done, Jemal became Jemal the Great by reason of his national services,
and paid a visit to Germany. On his return we shall hear of him again.

Meanwhile, from all the reports that have arrived from missionaries and
others, we may take one or two, almost at random. At certain places, as
in the governments of Ismid, Angora and Diarbekr, the Armenian
population was completely wiped out. Sometimes tortures were added, as
at a certain Anatolian town where there was a big Armenian school, in
which a number of professors and instructors, some of whom had studied
in America, in Scotland, and in Germany, had for years been working.

What happened to them was this:--

(1) Professor A served the College thirty-five years, and taught
Turkish and history. He was arrested without charge, the hair of his
head and beard were pulled out in order to secure damaging confessions.
He was starved and hung up by the arms for a day and a night and
repeatedly beaten. He was then murdered.

(2) Professor B, who had served the College thirty-three years, and
taught mathematics, suffered the same fate.

(3) Professor C, head of the preparatory department, had served the
College for twenty years. He was made to witness the spectacle of a man
being beaten almost to death, and became mentally deranged. He was
murdered with his family.

(4) Professor D, who taught mental and moral sciences, was treated in
the same way as Professor A. He also had three finger nails pulled out
by the roots, and was subsequently murdered.

Similarly, at Diarbekr, the Armenians were collected in batches of 600,
taken out of the town, and killed to the last man. Among them was the
Armenian Archbishop; his eyes and nails were dragged out before he was
butchered.

Or let us take a look at some of the collecting camps. At one, described
by an eye-witness, we find that the convoy had arrived after several
months of travel. More than half were already dead, they had been
pillaged by bandits and Kurds seven times. They were forbidden to drink
water when they passed by a stream, three-quarters of the young women
and girls had been kidnapped, the rest were compelled to sleep with the
gendarmes who conducted them. At Osmanieh it was decided to deport the
women and children by train. They lay about the station starving and
fever-stricken. When the train arrived many were jostled on to the line,
and the driver yelled with joy, crying out, 'Did you see how I smashed
them up?'

At another camp typhus broke out; those who died of it were left
unburied, as vouched for by a Turkish officer, in order to increase the
infection....

Urfa was another collecting camp for the Armenians in that district, and
the following account is based on the information of an eye-witness.
Here, before the concentration began, the Armenians living in the town
offered resistance to the Turks, and held out until Fahri Bey, second in
command to Jemal the Great, arrived with artillery, bombarded the town,
and massacred every Armenian there. Quiet being thus restored, the bands
of deported began to arrive. They came by rail or on foot, and, with
the Prussian love of tabulation, were divided into three groups.

The first group consisted of old men, old women, and young children.
They, guarded by gendarmes, were sent marching through the desert to
Deir-el-Zor. Few, if any, ever arrived there, all dying by the way.

The second group, consisting of able-bodied men, was led off in batches
and slaughtered. Among them were Zohrab and Vartkes, Armenian deputies
who had been brought there from Constantinople.

The third group consisted of young marriageable girls. Some, perhaps,
found their way into harems.

From Aleppo (one of the final concentration camps before such as were
left of the convoys set forth for their goal, the swamps or the desert
round Deir-el-Zor) we have the detailed evidence of Dr. Martin Niepage,
High Grade teacher in the German Technical School. This gentleman, with
a courage and a humanity to which the highest tribute must be paid,
addressed a report of protest to the German Ambassador at
Constantinople, and wrote an open letter to the Reichstag on the subject
of what he had seen with his own eyes in that town. In his preliminary
matter he speaks as follows:--

'In dilapidated caravanserais I found quantities of dead, many corpses
being half-decomposed, and others still living among them who were soon
to breathe their last. In other yards I found quantities of sick and
dying people, whom nobody was looking after.... We teachers and our
pupils had to pass them every day. Every time we went out we saw through
the open windows their pitiful forms, emaciated and wrapped in rags. In
the morning our school children, on their way through the narrow
streets, had to push past the two-wheeled ox-carts on which every day,
from eight to ten rigid corpses without coffin or shroud, were carried
away, their arms and legs trailing out of the vehicle.'

From the report itself:--

'Out of convoys which, when they left their homes on the Armenian
plateau, numbered from two to three thousand men, women, and children,
only two or three hundred survivors arrived here in the south. The men
were slaughtered on the way, the women and girls, with the exception of
the old, the ugly and those who are still children, have been abused by
Turkish soldiers and officers.... Even when they are fording rivers they
do not allow those dying of thirst to drink. All the nourishment they
receive is a daily ration of a little meal sprinkled on their hands....
Opposite the German Technical School at Aleppo, a mass of about four
hundred emaciated forms, the remnant of such convoys, is lying in one of
the caravanserais. There are about a hundred children (boys and girls)
among them, from five to seven years old. Most of them are suffering
from typhoid and dysentery. When one enters the yard, one has the
impression of entering a madhouse. If one brings food, one notices that
they have forgotten how to eat.... If one gives them bread, they put it
aside indifferently. They just lie there quietly waiting for death.'

Dr. Niepage wrote this report in the hope of saving such as then (1915)
survived. No notice whatever was taken of it, and his postscript,
written in May 1916, records the fact that 'the exiles encamped at
Ras-el-Ain on the Bagdad Railway, estimated at 20,000 men, women and
children, were slaughtered to the last one.'[1]

[Footnote 1: It is right to add that at Aleppo an officer called Bekir
Sami guarded 50,000 Armenians whom he had collected from neighbouring
districts, who were threatened with massacre, and I find that a German
missionary states that there were 45,000 Armenians alive in Aleppo. This
forms confirmatory evidence, but at the same time there is nothing to
show that they were not subsequently deported to Deir-el-Zor. In this
case it is highly improbable that any survive.]

In Dr. Niepage's view, as I have stated elsewhere, the Germans are
directly responsible for the continuance of the massacres. Such, too, is
the opinion, he tells us, of the educated Moslems, and his courage in
stating this has lost him his post at Aleppo. It is to be sincerely
hoped that he has escaped the fate of a certain Dr. Lepsius, who, for
drawing attention to the fact that Germany allowed the Armenian
massacres, has been arrested for high treason.

Before the end of 1915 the German authorities, who had refused to
interfere in the massacres, and both in the official press and through
official utterances had expressed their support of this Ottomanisation
of the Empire, began to think that you might have too much of a good
thing, and that the massacres had really gone far enough. Their reason
was clear and explicit: there would be a very serious shortage of labour
in the beet-growing industry and in the harvest-fields, for which they
had sent grain and artificial manures from Germany. There had been some
talk, they said, of saving 500,000 Armenians out of the race, but, in
the way things were going on, it seemed that the remnant would not
nearly approach that figure. Would not the great Ottomanisers temper
their patriotism with a little clemency? Talaat Bey disagreed: he wanted
to make a complete job of it, but Jemal the Great, fresh from his visit
to Germany, supported the idea, and, in spite of Talaat's opposition,
made a spectacular exhibition of clemency, in which, beyond doubt, we
can trace an 'Imitatio Imperatoris,' in the following manner.

There was at the time a large convoy of men and women in Constantinople
which was to be led out for murder and deportation, and Jemal gave
orders that it should be spared and sent back to its highland home. He
gave orders also that the entire convoy should be informed who was their
saviour, and should be led in procession past his house and show their
gratitude. All day the sorry pageant lasted, the ragged, half-starved
crowd streamed by the house of Jemal the Great, with murmurs of
thanksgiving and uplifted hands, and all manner of obeisances, while
Jemal the Great stood in his porch with stern, impassive face, and hand
on his sword-hilt in the best Potsdam manner, and acknowledged these
thanksgivings....[1]

[Footnote 1: In support of Jemal's claim to clemency it must be added
that, according to a report coming from Alexandria, he hanged twelve of
the worst assassins sent to Syria as ringleaders of the massacres. I
cannot find corroboration of this.]

Here, then, is the absurd, the Williamesque side of this ludicrous
popinjay, Jemal the Great, and it contains not only the obvious seeds of
laughter, but the more helpful seeds of hope. He has a strong hand on
the very efficient army of Syria, and his visits to Berlin seem perhaps
to have turned his head not quite in the direction that the
Master-egalo-megalomaniac of Berlin intended. I gather that Jemal the
Great was not so much impressed by the magnificence of William II. as to
fall dazzled and prone at the Imperial feet, and lick with enraptured
tongue the imperial boot polish, but rather to be inspired to do the
same himself, to become the God-anointed of the newly acquired German
province, which is Turkey, and make a Potsdam of his own. This is only a
guess, but the conduct of Jemal the Great in the matter of these
Armenian refugees, and in other affairs, has been distinctly imperial.
In June of this year, for instance, he telegraphed to H.E. the Vali of
Syria, and an extract from his text is truly Potsdamish. 'One and a half
million of sandbags,' he wrote, 'are required for the fortress of
Gaza.... The bags should be made, if necessary, of all the silk-hangings
in houses of Syria and Palestine.' With his army behind him, he has
twice already defied the orders of Talaat, and I am inclined to think
that he is the coming Strong Man of the effete Empire with whom it would
be well worth while to make friends, even at a highish price. The Allied
Powers should keep an undazzled eye on him, for it is quite possible
that, having defied Talaat successfully, he may go on to defy the real
rulers of Turkey, who live in Berlin. His Syrian army, from such sources
as are available, appears to be more efficient than any other body of
troops the Turks can put into the field, and he has them in control.
Probably in the winter of 1917-1918 our troops will come into collision
with them. But in the interval, also quite probably, Jemal the Great may
resent German superintendence.[1]

[Footnote 1: See note at end of this chapter.]

But in addition to his ludicrous side, there is in him a refined
hypocrisy and a subtle cruelty worthy of Abdul Hamid. One instance will
suffice.

There had been some talk that at certain of these concentration camps
there was no water supply, and he gave orders, did Jemal the Great and
the Merciful, that water should be sent. A train consisting of trucks
of water accordingly was despatched to one of those camps, situated in
the desert, with no supply nearer than six miles, and an eye-witness
describes its arrival. The mob of Armenians, mad with thirst, surrounded
it, and, since everything must be done in an orderly and seemly manner,
were beaten back by the Turkish guards, and made to stand at a due
distance for the distribution. And when those ranks, with their parched
throats and sun-cracked lips, were all ready, the Turkish guards opened
the taps of the reservoirs, and allowed the whole of their contents to
run away into the sand. Whether Jemal the Great planned that, or whether
it was but a humorous freak on the part of the officials, I cannot say.
But as a refinement of cruelty I have, outside the page of Poe's tales,
only once come across anything to equal it, and that in a letter from
the _Times'_ correspondent at Berne on April 11, 1917. He describes the
treatment of English prisoners in Germany: 'An equally common
entertainment with those women (German Red Cross nurses) was to offer a
wounded man a glass, perhaps, of water, then, standing just outside his
reach, to pour it slowly on the ground.' Could those sisters of mercy
have read the account of Jemal's clemency, or is it merely an instance
of the parallelism of similar minds?

So the empty train returned, and Jemal the Great caused it to be known
in Berlin that he was active in securing a proper water supply for the
famous agricultural settlements in the desert, and loud were the
encomiums in the press of the Central Powers over the colonisation of
Syria by the Armenians, the progress and enlightenment of the Turks, and
the skilful and humane organisation of Jemal the Great.

There is no difficulty in estimating to-day the number of Armenian men
who survive in the Turkish Empire. All appeals to the Prussian
overlords, such as were made by Dr. Niepage, and the belated
remonstrance of the Prussians themselves when they foresaw a dearth of
labour for the husbandry of beet and cereals, fell on deaf ears, and I
cannot see any reason for supposing that Armenian men exist any more in
the Empire. It is more difficult to judge of the numbers of women who,
by accepting the Moslem creed and the harems, are still alive. Certainly
in some districts there were considerable 'conversions,' and Dr. Niepage
rates them as many thousands. But the willingness to accept those
conditions was not always a guarantee for their being granted, and I
have read reports where would-be converts were told that 'religion' was
a more serious matter than that, and, instead of being accepted, they
were massacred. But even if Dr. Niepage is right, we can scarcely
consider these women as constituting an Armenian element any more in the
country. The work of butchery, the torture, the long-drawn agonies of
those inhuman pilgrimages have come to an end because there are no more
Armenian victims available. Apart from those who escaped over the
Russian frontier, and the handful who sought refuge in Egypt, the race
exists no longer, and the seal has been set on the bloodiest deed that
ever stained the annals of the barbarous Osmanlis. It is not in revenge
on the murderers, but in order to rescue the other subject peoples,
Arabs, Greeks, Jews, who are still enclosed within the frontiers of the
Empire, that the Allied Governments, in their answer to President
Wilson, stated that among their aims as belligerents, was the
'liberation of the peoples who now lie beneath the murderous tyranny of
the Turks.' There is defined their irreducible demand: never again,
after peace returns, will the Turk be allowed to control the destinies
of races not his own. Too long already--and to their disgrace be it
spoken--have the civilised and Christian nations of Europe tolerated at
their very doors a tyranny that has steadily grown more murderous and
more monstrous, because they feared the upset of the Balance of Power.
Now at least such Powers as value national honour, and regard a national
promise as something more than a gabble of ink on a scrap of paper, have
resolved that they will suffer the tyranny of the Turk over his alien
subject peoples to continue no longer. It is the least they can do (and
unhappily the most) to redeem the century-long neglect of their duty.
Even now, as we shall see in a subsequent chapter, the direst peril
threatens those other peoples who at present groan under Turkish rule,
and we can but pray that the end of the war will come before Arabs or
Greeks or Jews suffer the same fate as has exterminated the Armenians.
Too often have we been too late; we must only hope that another item
will not have to be added to that miserable list, and that, when the day
of reckoning comes, no half-hearted and pusillanimous policy will stay
our hands from the complete execution of that to which we stand pledged.
The Balance of Power has gone the way of other rickety makeshifts, but
there must be no makeshift in our dealings with the Turk, no compromise
and no delay. What shall be done with those who planned and executed the
greatest massacres known to history matters little; let them be hanged
as high as Haman, and have done with them. But what does matter is that
at no future time must it be in the power of a Government that has never
been other than barbaric and butcherous, to do again as it has done
before.

NOTE ON JEMAL THE GREAT

Jemal the Great has very obligingly done what I suggested we might
expect him to do, and has kicked against the German control of the
Syrian army. General von Falkenhayn was sent to take supreme command,
and on June 28th of this year Jemal the Great refused to receive orders
from him. In consequence General von Falkenhayn refused responsibility
for any offensive movement there if Jemal remained in command.

This promised well for trouble between Turks and Germans, but we must
not, I am afraid, build very high hopes on it, for Germany has dealt
with the situation in a masterly manner. Jemal was already Minister of
Marine as well as commander of the Syrian army, so the Emperor asked him
to pay another visit to Berlin, and he has been visiting Krupp's works
and German naval yards, and we shall find probably that in the future
his activities will be marine rather than military, and that von
Falkenhayn will have a free hand in Syria.

But this will prove rather disappointing for Jemal, since it seems
beyond mere coincidence that towards the end of August Herr von
Kuhlmann, the new German Foreign Minister, induced the Turkish
Government (while Jemal was at Berlin) to put their navy and their
merchant fleet under the orders of the German Admiralty, and already
many Turkish naval officers have been replaced by Germans. Thus Jemal
will find himself deprived of his military command, because the navy so
urgently needed his guiding hand, while his guiding hand over the navy
will be itself guided by the German Admiralty.... In fact, it looks
rather like checkmate for Jemal the Great, and an end to the trouble he
might have given the German control.

On the eve of his leaving Germany, as yet unconscious probably of the
subordination of the entire Turkish fleet to the German Admiralty, he
gave an interview to a representative of the _Cologne Gazette_, which
deserves more than that ephemeral appearance. It shows Jemal the Great
in a sort of hypnotic trance induced at Potsdam. 'The German fleet,' he
says, 'is simply spotless in its power, and a model for all states which
need a modern navy--a model which cannot be surpassed.' ... He went for
a cruise in a submarine which proceeded 'so smoothly, elegantly, calmly
and securely that I had the impression of cruising in a great
steamship.' ... He was taken to Belgium, and describes the 'idyllic life
there': in the towns 'the people go for walks all day long,' and in the
country the peasants blithely gather in the harvest with the help of
happy prisoners.' (He does not tell us where the harvest goes to, any
more than the Germans tell us where the Turkish harvests go to.) He was
taken to General Headquarters, which he describes as 'majestic.' Finally
he was taken into the presence of the All-Highest, and seems to have
emerged in the condition in which Moses came down from Sinai.... But one
must not altogether despair of Jemal the Great. It is still possible
that, on his return to Constantinople, when he found that his position,
as Minister of Marine was but a clerkship in the German Admiralty, the
hypnotic trance began to pass off, and his ambitions to re-assert
themselves. He may yet give trouble to the Germans if properly handled.



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter IV_


THE QUESTION OF SYRIA AND PALESTINE

It is impossible to leave this heart-rending tale of the sufferings of
the Armenian people under the Turks without some account of that devoted
band of American missionaries who, with a heroism unsurpassed, and
perhaps unequalled, so eagerly sacrificed themselves to the ravages of
pestilence and starvation in order to alleviate the horrors that
descended on the people to whom they had been sent. Often they were
forcibly driven from the care of their flocks, often in the
extermination of their flocks there was none left whom they could
shepherd, but wherever a remnant still lingered there remained these
dauntless and self-sacrificing men and women, regardless of everything
except the cause to which they had devoted themselves. They recked
nothing of the dangers to which they exposed themselves so long as
there was a child or a woman or a man whom they could feed or nurse.
Terrible as were the sufferings through which the Armenians passed, they
must have been infinitely more unbearable had it not been for these
American missionaries; small as was the remnant that escaped into the
safety of Persia or Russian Trans-Caucasia, their numbers must have been
halved had it not been for the heroism of these men and women. While the
German Consuls contented themselves with a few faint protests to their
Ambassador at Constantinople, followed by an acquiescence of silence,
the missionaries constituted themselves into a Red Cross Society of
intrepid workers, and, as one well-qualified authority tells us,
'suffered as many casualties from typhus and physical exhaustion as any
proportionate body of workers on the European battlefields.' Fully
indeed did they live up to the mandate of the American board that sent
them out: 'Your great business is with the fundamental doctrines and
duties of the Gospel.'

At the opening of the European War the American Missions had been at
work for nearly a hundred years, and were disseminated over Anatolia and
Armenia. They had opened 163 Protestant churches and 450 schools, they
established hospitals, and in every possible way spread civilisation in
a country where the spirit of the governing class was barbarism. It was
not their object to proselytise. 'Let the Armenian remain an Armenian if
he will,' so ran the instructions from which I have already quoted, 'the
Greek a Greek, the Nestorian a Nestorian, the Oriental an Oriental,' and
in the same wise and open-minded spirit they encouraged native
Protestant Churches which were independent of them and largely
self-supporting. Naturally in a country governed by monsters like Abdul
Hamid and Enver Pasha in later days, they earned the enmity which is the
tribute of barbarians to those who stand for civilisation, and when,
owing to the extermination or flight of their Armenian flocks, they were
left without a charge, and their schools were closed, we find a paean of
self-congratulation going up from the Turkish press inspired by the
butchers of Armenia. But till the massacres and the flight were
complete, they gave themselves to the 'duties of the Gospel,' and their
deeds shine like a star into the blackness of that night of murder.

I will take as an example of the superb heroism of those men and women
the diary of an American lady attached to the mission at Urmia, a
document that, anonymously, is one of the noblest, least self-conscious
records I have ever read. The period of it extends over five months.

Early in January 1915 the Russian troops were withdrawn from Urmia,
which lies on the frontier between Turkey and Persia, and simultaneously
the Moslem population began to plunder the Christian villages, the
inhabitants of which fled for refuge to the missions in the city.
Talaat's official murder-scheme was not completed yet, but the Kurds,
together with the Turks, had planned a local massacre at Geogtapa, which
was stopped by the American doctor of this mission, Dr. Packard, who, at
great personal risk, obtained an interview with the Kurdish chief, and
succeeded in inducing him to spare the lives of the Christians, if they
gave up arms and ammunition and property. The American flag was hoisted
over the Mission buildings, and before a week was out there were over
ten thousand refugees housed in the yards and rooms, where they remained
for five months, the places of the dead being taken by fresh influxes.
The dining-room, the sitting-room, the church, the school, were all
given over to these destitute people, and from the beginning fear of
massacre, as well as prevalence of disease, haunted the camp. It was
impossible to move dead bodies outside; they had to be buried in the
thronged yards, and every day children were born. But here is the spirit
that animated their protectors. 'We have just had a Praise meeting,'
records the diarist at the close of the first fortnight, 'with fifty or
sixty we could gather from the halls and rooms near, and we feel more
cheerful. We thought if Paul and Silas, with their stripes, could sing
praises in prison, so could we.'

The weeks, of which each day was a procession of hours too full of work
to leave time for anxiety, began to enrol themselves into months, and
the hope of rescue by a Russian advance made their hearts sick, so long
was it deferred. Refugees from neighbouring villages kept arriving, and
there was the constant problem before these devoted friends of their
flock, as to how to feed them. All such were welcome, and eager was the
welcome they received, though every foot of space in the buildings and
in the yards was occupied. But somehow they managed to make room for all
who came, and for those villagers who, under threat of torture and
massacre, had apostatised, there was but yearning and sorrow, but never
a word of blame or bitterness. Sometimes there was a visit of Turkish
troops to search for concealed Russians, and, as our diarist remarks,
'We can't complain of the monotony of life, for we never know what is
going to happen next. On Tuesday morning we had a wedding in my room
here. The boy and girl were simple villagers.... The wedding was fixed
for the Syrian New Year, but the Kurds came and carried off wedding
clothes and everything else in the house. They all fled here, and were
married in the old dirty garments they were wearing when they ran for
their lives.... Their only present was a little tea and sugar that I
tied up in a handkerchief and gave to the bride.'

The eternal feminine and the eternal human speak there; and there, for
this gallantest of women, were two keys that locked up the endless
troubles and anxieties that ceased not day or night. But sometimes the
flesh was weak, and in the privacy of her diary she says, 'How long, O
Lord?' But for that there was the master-key that unlocks all wards, and
a little further on we read, 'One of the verses that helps to keep my
faith steady is, "He that spared not His own Son." For weeks we have had
no word from the outside world, but we "rest in Jehovah and wait
patiently for Him."'

The conditions inside the crowded yards grew steadily worse. Dysentery
was rife, and the deaths from it in that narrow space averaged thirty a
day. The state of the sufferers grew so terrible that it was difficult
to get any one to look after them at all, and many were lying in the
open yards, and the weather, which hitherto had been warm, got cold, and
snow fell. It was with the greatest difficulty that food could be
obtained for those in health, and that of a kind utterly unsuitable to
the sick, while in the minds of their nurses was the bitter knowledge
that with proper diet hundreds of lives could have been saved, and
hundreds of cases of illness avoided.

For the dead there was but a small percentage of coffins available, and
'the great mass are just dropped into the great trench of rotting
humanity (in the yard). As I stand at my window I see one after another
of the little bodies carried by ... and the condition of the living is
more pitiful than that of the dead--hungry, ragged, dirty, sick, cold,
wet, swarming with vermin. Not for all the wealth of all the rulers of
Europe would I bear for one hour their responsibility for the suffering
and misery of this one little corner of the world alone. A helpless
unarmed Christian community turned over to the sword and the passion of
Islam!'

On the top of this came an epidemic of typhoid, twenty-seven cases on
the first day. Outside in the town the Turkish Consul began hanging
Christians, and the missioners were allowed to take the bodies and bury
them. There were threats that the mission would be entered, and all
young men (possible combatants) killed, but this fear was not realised.
The typhoid increased, and the doctor of the mission and others of the
staff fell ill with it; but the patience and service of the remainder
never faltered, while the same spirit of uncomplaining suffering
animated the refugees. 'Mr. McDowell,' so the diarist relates, 'saw a
tired and weary woman with a baby in her arms, sitting in one of the
seats, and said to her, "Where do you stay?" She said "Just here." "How
long have you been here?" "Since the beginning." (two months) she
replied. "How do you sleep at night?" "I lay the baby on the desk in
front of me, and I have this post at the back to lean against. This is a
very good place. Thank you very much."'

In April there comes a break in the diary after the day on which the
following entry is made:--

'I felt on Sunday as if I ought to get my own burial clothes ready, so
as to make as little trouble as possible when my time comes, for in
these days we all go about our work knowing that any one of us may be
the next to go down. And yet I think our friends would be surprised to
see how cheerful we have kept, and how many occasions we find for
laughing: for ludicrous things do happen. Then, too, after dwelling so
intimately with Death for three months, he doesn't seem to have so
unfriendly an aspect, and the "Other Side" seems near, and our Pilot
close beside us.... I find the Rock on which I can anchor in peace are
the words of Christ Himself: "Where I am, there ye may be also." ...
That is enough, to be where He is....'

Then comes a break of two months, during which the writer was down with
typhoid. She resumes again in June, finding that death has made many
changes, and gets back to work again at once. By that time the Russians
had entered Urmia, a thanksgiving service was held, the refugees
dispersed, and the American Mission went quietly on with its normal
work.

Now I have taken this one instance of the work of Americans at Urmia to
show in some detail the character of the work that they were doing, and
the Christian and humanising influence of it. But all over Armenia and
Anatolia were similar settlements, and, as already mentioned, at the
time of the massacres there were established there over a hundred of
their churches and over four hundred schools, and from these extracts
which concern only one not very large centre, it may be gathered what
leaven of civilising influence the sum of their energies must have
implied. That lamp shone steady and clear, a 'kindly light' in the
darkness of Turkish misrule, and in the havoc of the massacres a beacon
of hope, not always reached by those hapless refugees. Indeed it seems
to have been only on the frontier that the missions were able to save
those foredoomed hordes of fleeing Christians; in Armenia and in
Anatolia generally the massacres and 'deportations' were complete, and
by the end of 1915 all American missions were closed, for there were
none to tend and care for. Even if the massacres had not occurred, the
entry of America into the war would have resulted in a similar cessation
of their work, and most probably in a massacre of the American
missioners themselves. Their withdrawal, of course, was hailed with a
peacock scream of pride by that enlightened body under Talaat and Enver,
called the New Turkish party of Progress, for their presence was a bar
to the Turkish notions of civilisation, in that their influence made for
humanity, and health and education. Now 'the humiliating and dangerous
situation' (to quote from the columns of _Hilal_) was put an end to, and
Turkish progress could make headway again.

Similarly in Syria the outbreak of war put an end to 'the humiliating
and dangerous situation' of the presence of French schools and missions.
There, for many years, French missioners had done the same work as
Americans in Armenia, work in every sense liberal and civilising, but
undenominational in religious matters and unproselytising. That came to
an end earlier than the organisations in Armenia, and in Syria now, as
over the rest of the Turkish people, Arabs and Jews and Greeks have
nothing except German influence and Kultur to stand between them and the
spirit of Turkish progress of which the Armenian massacres were the
latest epiphany. Germany, as we have seen, stood by and let the Armenian
massacres go on, professing herself unable to interfere in the internal
affairs of Turkey, though at the time there was not a single branch of
Turkish industries, railways, telegraphs, armies, navies over which she
had not complete control, exercising it precisely as she thought fit.

It is useless, then, to base any confidence in the safety of Jews,
Greeks, and Arabs from suffering the same fate as the Armenians, on a
veto from Germany. If it suits Germany to let those unfortunate peoples
be murdered or deported to agricultural colonies, Germany will assuredly
not stir a finger on their behalf nor prevent a repetition of the
horrors I have dealt with in the previous chapter. Sooner than risk her
hold over Turkey by enforcing unacceptable demands, she will, unless
other considerations of self-interest determine her, let further
massacres occur, if Talaat Bey insists on them. That spokesman of her
policy, Ernst Marré, makes this perfectly explicit in his book, _Die
Türken und Wir nach dem Kriege_, upholding from the German standpoint
the right of Turkey and the wisdom of Turkey in dealing with her subject
peoples as she had dealt with the Armenians. 'The Turkish State,' he
tells us, 'is no united whole: Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds,
cannot be welded together.' (This, by a somewhat grim and ominous
coincidence, is in exact accordance with a remark made to a Danish Red
Cross Sister by a Turkish gendarme then engaged in massacring Armenians:
'First we get rid of the Armenians,' he said, 'then the Greeks, then the
Kurds.') Or again, in defence of the Armenian massacres, 'Only by
energetic interference and by expelling of the obstinate Armenian
element, could the Ottoman Empire get rid of a Russian dominion.' Or
again, 'The non-Turkish population of the Ottoman Empire must be
Ottomanised.' Here, then, is the German point of view: the Ottoman
Government will be right to 'dispose of' its subject peoples as it
thinks fit. So far from interfering, Germany endorses, and German
influence to-day is all that stands between 'the murderous tyranny' and
its subject peoples. French, English, and finally American pressure can
no longer, since the entry of these nations into the war, be exercised
within the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, and the only protection of
defenceless aliens is the German Government. It did not stir a finger to
save the Armenians, until it saw that depopulation threatened the
prosperity of its industries, and it is idle to expect that it will do
more if the consolidation of Turkish supremacy demands a further
campaign of murder. Greeks, Arabs, and Jews are all completely at the
mercy of Talaat's murder-schedules. The only chance that can save them
is that further extermination may not suit Germany's political aims,
and that she may find it worth her while to be peremptory, and forbid
instead of endorsing.

There are unhappily many signs that the butchers of Constantinople are
planning further massacres. In February of this year preliminary
measures were begun against the Greeks settled in Anatolia. Many were
forcibly proselytised, their property was confiscated, and they were
forbidden to carry on their businesses. Deportations also occurred, and
all Greeks were removed from many villages in Anatolia, into the
interior, presumably to 'agricultural colonies' such as those provided
for Armenians. They suffered terribly from hunger and exposure, and it
is estimated that ten per cent. of them died on their marches. Since
then, however, there has been no more heard of any extension of those
measures, and there seems to have been as yet no massacre of Greeks. It
is reasonable to infer that Germany has in this case intervened. She
still hoped to win Greece over to the Central European Powers, and
clearly any massacre of Greeks by her own Allies was not desirable.
King Constantine, among his endless vacillations and pusillanimous
treacheries, probably made a firm protest on the subject. But in the
kaleidoscope of war, should Greece come to the side of the Allies, it
seems most probable that there will occur a wholesale massacre of
Greeks. From what we know of the principles on which German Kultur is
based, the most optimistic can scarcely hope that the very faintest
remonstrance will emanate from Berlin.

The case of the Arabs in Syria is even more precarious. From the moment
that the policy of the Young Turks was evolved, namely, to consolidate
Osmanli supremacy by the weakening of its subject peoples, the Ottoman
Government has been waiting for its opportunity to get rid of the 'Arab
menace.' As we have seen, they began by substituting Turkish for Arabic
as a written language in all official usages from the printing of the
Koran and the prayers for the Sultan down to the legends on railway
tickets. The Arab spirit, according to one of the spokesmen of the New
Turk party, had to be suppressed, the Arab lands had to become Turkish
colonies. 'It is a peculiarly imperious necessity of our existence,' we
read in Jelal Noury Bey's propaganda, 'to Turkise the Arab lands, for
the particularistic idea of nationality is awaking among the younger
generations of Arabs, and already threatens us with a great
catastrophe.' Against the Arabs the Young Turks formed and fostered a
special animosity; they were powerful and warlike, and Enver, Talaat,
and others saw that the idea of an Osmanli supremacy could never be
realised unless very drastic measures were taken against them. The
tenets of Islamism, it is true, forbade Moslems to fight Moslems, but
Islamism, as a binding force, was already obsolete in the counsels of
the new regime, having given place to Kultur. Of all their subject
peoples, the Young Turks hated the Arabs the most, and, had not the
European War intervened, there is no doubt that the Armenian massacres,
already being planned, would have been followed by Arab massacres. But
the armed and warlike Arabian tribes were not so easy to deal with as
the defenceless Armenians, and Turkish troops could not be spared in
sufficient numbers to render an Arab massacre the safe, pleasant, and
lucrative pursuit that massacres should be. But Jemal the Great, black
with his triumph over the Armenians at Zeitun, was Military Governor of
Syria, and, the Armenian question being solved, he began to get to work
on the Arab question. Owing to the expulsion of the French Missions from
Syria in 1914, we have no such full or detailed information as we have
from Americans in Armenia, and the following account is mainly derived
from the Arabic journal _Mokattam,_ published in Cairo, the information
in which is based on the account given by a Syrian refugee. It agrees
with pieces of evidence that have come to hand from other sources.

Ever since the beginning of the war Syria has been an area of direst
poverty, starvation, and sickness, which have been the natural
co-operators in Jemal's policy there. All supplies have been
commandeered for the troops (including by special clause from Potsdam,
the German troops); even fish caught by the fishermen of Lebanon have
to be handed over to the military authorities, and the shortage of
supplies in Smyrna, for instance, is such that at the end of 1916 there
were two hundred deaths daily from sheer starvation, while Germany was
importing from Turkey hundreds of tons of corn and of meat. Thus this
was no natural shortage, for though supplies were low all over the
Turkish Empire, there was not dearth of that kind. It was an artificial
shortage made possible by German demands, and made intentional by
Jemal's policy. Beirut was in no better case than Smyrna; Lebanon
perhaps was in sorer straits than either. Money was equally scarce, and
it fitted Jemal's policy that this should be so, for when Americans in
Beirut had raised funds in America for the relief of the destitute, the
Turkish Government forbade their distribution. Arabs and Greeks were
dying by the hundred all over the provinces, and the beneficent decrees
of nature must not be interfered with. In the streets of towns the poor
have been fighting over scraps of sugarcane and orange peel; in the
country, to quote from _Molcattam_, 'no sooner do wild plants and beans
start to grow than the fields are filled with women and children who
pick them and use them as food.' Except for military purposes (including
the victualling of German troops) transportation has ceased to exist,
and this, too, was part of the policy of Jemal the Great.

On the heels of famine, like a hound behind a huntsman, came typhus. In
the province of Aleppo before the summer of 1916, over 8000 persons had
died of it. Doctors and medicines were unobtainable, for all were
requisitioned for the needs of the army, and in Damascus and Tripoli, in
Hama and Homs, the epidemic spread like a forest fire. No help was sent
from Constantinople, none was permitted to be brought by the charitable
from abroad, for famine and pestilence among the Arabs were working for
the policy of Jemal the Great. There were no troops to spare who should
hasten on the work, but the work was progressing by swift and 'natural'
means. Hunger and pestilence--behold the finger of Allah the God of
Love! How superior He showed Himself to the discarded Allah of the
Arabs. 'Ring down the curtain,' said Jemal the Great, 'and let no news
of the ways of Allah get abroad!' So a strict surveillance was
established on the coast, all boats were chained to the shore, and if
any attempted to swim out to ships of the Allied nations which passed,
the coast guards had orders to shoot him down. Too much news about
Armenian massacres filtered through; there should not now be such
leakage. And when starvation and pestilence had firmly established
themselves, Jemal the Great went down to see what his personal exertions
could effect. All was working in accordance with his plan; the poorer
classes of Arabs were dying like flies, but mortality was not so
successful among the wealthier, who could, to some extent, purchase
food. So Jemal the Great set to work among them. He began by hanging the
heads of Syrian-Arabs in Damascus, Beirut, and other cities. No
semblance of trial, no prosecution or arraignment, were necessary: he
established courts-martial under military control, made lists of the
accused, and ordered the courts-martial to condemn them to death.
Sometimes he made mistakes, appointing as the members of his
court-martial men who were not such sturdy patriots as he, and refused
to sentence for no crime the accused whom he nominated. He remedied such
mistakes by appointing new boards of more seasoned stuff. Moslem and
Christian alike were brought before them, and a general accusation of
pro-French tendencies seems to have been sufficient to secure a sentence
of death or lifelong imprisonment. He aimed not at the poor and the
obscure, for whom hunger and pestilence were providing, but at the rich
and the influential. The higher clergy in Christian circles, Bishops and
Monsignors, were a favourite target, and among Moslems influential
Sheikhs. Sometimes there was a parody of a trial; sometimes the parody
was dispensed with, and when the black curtain was last raised over
Syria, Jemal the Great had disposed of over eight hundred of the heads
of the most influential of Syrian Arabs. He had got rid, in fact, of
the whole House of Lords, and something more. Those who are acquainted
with 'feudal values' among the Arabs will understand what that means. He
decapitated, not individuals only, but groups. For devilish ingenuity in
this combination of starvation and pestilence for the poor, and death or
lifelong imprisonment for the chiefs, Jemal the Great must take rank
with Abdul Hamid and the contrivers of the Armenian massacres. He
cannot, it is true, owing to lack of troops, obtain the swift results of
Enver in Armenia, but between typhus, starvation, and courts-martial,
his solution of the Arab question in Syria is making steady progress.
And those measures, hideously efficient in themselves, are, beyond any
doubt whatever, only the precursors of more sweeping exterminations of
the Arab race, which will be effected after the war, if the Allied
Powers do not step in to save it. The Faithful of the Holy City, Mecca,
have revolted and thrown off the Turkish yoke, and while the war lasts,
and Turkish troops are otherwise occupied under Teutonic supervision,
they will be able to maintain their independence, for there is no
considerable body of Turks which can seriously threaten them. But the
Syrian Arabs, so long as the war lasts, are being, and will be, the
victims of a quiet scheme of extermination, which, if long continued,
will be as complete as that devised and carried out by the butchers of
Constantinople for the peoples of Armenia. It is not in the interest of
the Germans to save them, and no check is being put on Jemal the Great
to hinder him from assisting starvation and typhus to ravage the
country, and supplementing their deadly work by court-martial without
trial.

Equally significant of the rage for the destruction of Arabs was the
treatment of the Bagdad Arab army corps. In spite of the need for troops
one half of it was sent from Bagdad to Erzerum in the depth of winter,
without any provision of warm clothing. There, in those cold uplands,
the men died at the rate of fifty to sixty a day. Their commanding
officer was a Turk, and a creature of Enver's, called Abdul Kader.
Though these troops had fought admirably, he openly called them Arab
traitors, and his orders seem to have been merely to get rid of them.
There were no courts-martial; they were just taken into a climate which
killed them.

While for the last thirty years the Armenians and Syrians have emigrated
in large numbers from the Ottoman Empire, there has been a large
immigration of Jews into it. This movement was originally due to the
persecution they suffered in Russia. Germany and Austria were closed to
them, and, flying from the hideous pogroms that threatened them with
extermination, they begun to settle in Palestine. Wealthy compatriots
such as Baron Edmond de Rothschild assisted them, and, with the amazing
versatility of their race, they, trades-people and town-folk, adapted
themselves to new conditions, turned their wits towards husbandry and
agriculture, and during the last thirty years have flourished and
multiplied in a manner quite unrealised by the western world. In 1881
there were not more than 25,000 of them in the home of their race, but
by the beginning of the European War, when their immigration ceased for
the present, they numbered 120,000 souls. Till then the Ottoman
Government adopted the ancient Turkish policy of neglect towards them,
for they were not powerful enough numerically to earn the honour of a
massacre, and, in addition, they were useful settlers. Backed by
powerful Western influence, French, English, and German alike, they
improved out of knowledge the values of the lands where they established
themselves, and by intelligent management, by conserving and increasing
the water supply with irrigation and well-digging, they have brought
many thousand acres into cultivation. Originally refugees, fleeing from
outrageous persecutions, their immigration by degrees took on a
different spirit. Not only were they coming out of captivity, but they
were entering into the ancient Land of Promise again. Zionism, the
spirit of the returning exiles, animated them, and, according to their
prophets, they realised that 'The Lord shall comfort Zion, He shall
comfort all her waste places.' They had sowed in tears; now, on their
return, they were reaping in joy, and, though their land was still
under the infidel yoke, they were allowed to dwell in peace, busy,
industrious, with the halo of home-coming in their hearts. They paid, of
course, their Turkish taxes, but these were not levied in any oppressive
manner, and their colonies were thrifty, self-governing, and prosperous.
Already before the war, one-tenth of the cultivated land in Palestine
was in their hands, they had their own schools, their own methods of
organisation, and, more significant than all, Hebrew became a living
language again. Germany, intent on her penetration of Turkey, made an
attempt to Germanise them also (for Germany, as we shall see, has a very
special interest in these Jewish colonies), shook her head over Zionism,
for which she tried to substitute Prussianism, and wanted to make the
German language compulsory in Jewish schools at Haifa and Jaffa, but her
effort completely failed. Nothing could show the inherent vitality of
this Jewish colonisation more strikingly.

These Jewish settlers then were left in peace; from minuteness they
escaped the notice of the Young Turk party in its schemes for the
complete Ottomanisation of the Empire, and, until the present year 1917,
no mention of 'the Jewish question' was propounded. But it will he
remembered that in 1915, certain Jewish refugees, taking warning from
the Armenian massacres, fled to Egypt, and there founded a Zionist
mule-corps, which served under the English in the Gallipoli campaign. It
seems very probable that it was this that directed the attention of
Jemal the Great to the Jewish colonies in Palestine: possibly it was
merely that he was a more thorough Ottomaniser than his colleagues in
Constantinople. In any case he ordered the 'deportation' of all Jews
from Jaffa, Gaza, and other agricultural districts. All Jews were
commanded to leave Jaffa within forty-eight hours, no means of transport
was given them, and they were forbidden to take with them either
provisions or any of their belongings. Eight thousand Jews were evicted
from Jaffa alone, and their houses were pillaged, and they robbed,
maltreated, and many were murdered. Thus, and in no other way had the
massacres of the Armenians begun, and, that there should be no mistake
about it, Jemal threatened them explicitly with the fate of the
Armenians. Next day Ludd was evacuated also; the evacuation of Haifa and
Jerusalem was threatened, and artillery was sent to Jerusalem. There can
be no doubt in fact that Jemal planned and began to carry out a massacre
of all Jews.

At that point the Germans intervened, and for the present (but only for
the present, for so long in fact as Germany has complete control over
all Turkish internal affairs, in which she protested she could not
meddle) the Jewish colonies in Palestine seem to be safe.[1] The German
chief of the General Staff telegraphed to Berlin that the 'military
considerations' on which Jemal based his deportations did not exist, and
Herr Cohn in the Reichstag drew the Imperial Chancellor's attention to
this. How seriously the menace was regarded in Germany, and how far the
deportations had gone may be gathered from his words, 'Is the Imperial
Chancellor prepared to influence the Turkish Government in such a manner
as to prevent with certainty--so far as this is still possible--a
repetition in Palestine of the Armenian atrocities?' This was
sufficient: Germany, who could not dream of interfering in Turkish
internal affairs when only the massacre of hundreds of thousands of
Armenians was concerned, sent her order, and, for the present, Jemal the
Great has been unable to proceed with the solution of the Jewish
question in Turkey, which he had just discovered. We need not yet in
fact give Jemal his Jew. But some sort of explanation to soothe the
exasperation of the Turks in not being allowed to murder when and how
and where they pleased, was thought advisable, and the explanation (an
extraordinarily significant one) was given in an inspired paragraph of
the _Frankfurter Zeitung_ not long after. 'The valuable structure of
Zionist cultural work, in which the German Empire must have well founded
interest in view of future and very promising trade relations, will, it
is very much to be hoped, be preserved from destruction so far as purely
military requirements do not make it necessary. Pan-Turkish ideals have
no sort of meaning in Palestine where practically no Turks dwell.'

[Footnote 1: This view seems to be borne out by subsequent events, for
the Jews evacuated from Jaffa have been permitted to return owing to the
intervention of the Spanish Government. It is not hard to guess who
prompted that.]

We may take it, then, that with regard to the projected Jewish
massacres, quite clearly foreshadowed by the schemes of deportation from
Jaffa and Gaza, Germany has made strong representations to the Ottoman
Government. She did not do so (indeed she officially refused to do so)
when the Armenian massacres began, for she could not interfere in
Turkey's internal affairs. But now she has discovered that Pan-Turkish
ideals have no sort of meaning in Palestine, and thus, with amazing
astuteness, has provided herself with a reason for interfering, while
still not giving up the policy of non-interference in Turkish affairs,
for Turkey, she has discovered, _has_ no affairs in Palestine. At the
same time she guards herself from diplomatic defeat by the hope that
Zionist cultural work will be saved from destruction so _far as purely
military requirements do not make it necessary_. In other words,
supposing Jemal the Great got completely out of hand, and proceeded to
indiscriminate massacre of the Jews, Germany would doubtless accept his
plea that military requirements had made it necessary.... And we were
once so ignorant as to assure ourselves that Germany had no notions of
diplomacy!

The full significance of her intervention on behalf of the Jews, when
neither the extermination of the Armenians, the persecution of the
Arabs, nor the deportation of the Greeks moved Germany to any decided
action or energetic protest, must be left, in so far as it concerns the
future, to another chapter. But as regards the present and the past it
will be useful to consider here what has prompted her to make a protest
(which we may regard, so long as her foot is on the neck of the Turks,
as having been successful) against these projected massacres. Certainly
it was not humanity; it was not the faintest desire to save innocent
people in general from being murdered wholesale, for in the similar
case of the Armenians, her bowels of compassion were not moved. Or,
possibly, if we incline to lenience, we may say that she was sorry for
the Armenians, but could not then risk a disagreement with their
murderers who were her allies, whereas now, feeling herself more
completely dominant over the Turks than she then did, she could risk
being peremptory, especially since there was that saving clause about
military requirements. For during the Armenian massacres, the
Dardanelles expedition was still on the shores of Gallipoli, and the
menace to Constantinople acute. It was possible that if she opposed a
firm front to the Armenian massacres, the Turks, already on the verge of
despair with regard to saving the capital from capture, might have made
terms with the Allies. But now no such imminence of danger threatened
them, and, with Germany's domination over them vastly more secure than
it had been in 1915, she could afford to treat them less as allies and
more as a conquered people. This alone might have accounted for her
unprecedented impulse of humanity in the minds of those who still
attribute such instincts to her, but she had far stronger reasons than
that for wanting to save the Jews of Palestine.

Her policy with regard to them is set forth in a pamphlet by Dr. Davis
Treitsch, called _Die Jüden der Türkei_, published in 1915, which is a
most illuminating little document. These Jewish colonies, as we have
seen, came from Russia, and as Germany realised, long before the war,
they might easily form a German nucleus in the Near East, for they
largely consisted of German-speaking Jews, akin in language and blood to
a most important element in her own population. 'In a certain sense,'
says Dr. Treitsch, 'the Jews are a Near Eastern element in Germany and a
German element in Turkey.' He goes on with unerring acumen to lament the
exodus of German-speaking Jews to the United States and to England.
'Annually some 100,000 of these are lost to Germany, the empire of the
English language and the economic system that goes with it is being
enlarged, while a German asset is being proportionately depreciated....
It will no longer do simply to close the German frontiers to them, and
in view of the difficulties which would result from a wholesale
migration of Jews into Germany itself, Germans will only be too glad to
find a way out in the emigration of those Jews to Turkey--a solution
extraordinarily favourable to the interests of all three parties
concerned.'

Here, then, is the matter in a nutshell: Germany, wide-awake as ever,
saw long ago the advantage to her of a growing Jewish population from
the Pale in Turkey. She was perhaps a little overloaded with them
herself, but in this immigration from Russia to Palestine she saw the
formation of a colony that was well worth German protection, and the
result of the war, provided the Palestinian immigrants were left in
peace, would be to augment very largely the number of those settling
there. 'Galicia,' says Dr. Treitsch, 'and the western provinces of
Russia, which between them contain more than half the Jews in the world,
have suffered more from the war than any other region. Jewish homes
have been broken up by hundreds of thousands, and there is no doubt
whatever that, as a result of the war, there will be an emigration of
East European Jews on an unprecedented scale.' This emigration, then, to
Palestine was, in Germany's view, a counter-weight to the 100,000
annually lost to her through emigration to America and England. With her
foot on Turkey's neck she had control over these German-speaking Jews,
and saw in them the elements of a German colony. Her calculations, it is
true, were somewhat upset by the development of the Zionist movement, by
which those settlers declared themselves to have a nationality of their
own, and a language of their own, and Dr. Treitsch concedes that. 'But,'
he adds, 'in addition to Hebrew, to which they are more and more
inclined, the Jews must have a world-language, and this can only be
German.'

This, then, in brief, and only up to the present, is the story of how
the Jewish massacres were stayed. The Jews were potential Germans, and
Germany, who sat by with folded hands when Arabs and Armenians were led
to torture and death, put up a warning finger, and, for the present,
saved them. In her whole conduct of the war, nothing has been more
characteristic than her 'verboten' to one projected massacre and her
acquiescence in others. But, as for her having saved the Jews out of
motives of humanity, 'Credant Judaei!'



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter V_


DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER ALLAH

It was commonly said at the beginning of this war that, whatever
Germany's military resources might be, she was hopelessly and childishly
lacking in diplomatic ability and in knowledge of psychology, from which
all success in diplomacy is distilled. As instances of this grave
defect, people adduced the fact that, apparently, she had not
anticipated the entry of Great Britain into the war at all, while her
treatment of Belgium immediately afterwards was universally pronounced
to be not a crime merely, but a blunder of the stupidest sort. It is
perfectly true that Germany did not understand, and, as seems likely in
the light of innumerable other atrocities, never will understand, the
psychology of civilised peoples; she has never shown any signs up till
now, at any rate, of 'having got the hang of it' at all. But critics of
her diplomacy failed to see the root-fact that she did not understand it
merely because it did not interest her. It was not worth her while to
master the psychology of other civilised nations, since she was out not
to understand them, but to conquer them. She had all the information she
wanted about their armies and navies and guns and ammunition neatly and
correctly tabulated. Why, then, since this was all that concerned her,
should she cram her head with irrelevant information about what they
might feel on the subject of gas-attacks or the torpedoing of neutral
ships without warning? As long as her fumes were deadly and her
submarines subtle, nothing further concerned her.

But Europe generally made a great mistake in supposing that Germany
could not learn psychology, and the process of its distillation into
diplomacy when it interested her. The psychology of the French and
English was a useless study, for she was merely going to fight them, but
for years she had been studying with an industry and a patience that
put our diplomacy to shame (as was most swiftly and ignominiously proven
when it came into conflict with hers) the psychology of the Turks. For
years she had watched the dealings of the Great Powers with Turkey, but
she had never really associated herself with that policy. She sat
quietly by and saw how it worked. Briefly it was this. For a hundred
years Turkey had been kept alive in Europe by the sedulous attentions of
the Physician Powers, who dared not let him die for fear of the
stupendous quarrels which would instantly arise over his corpse. So
there they all sat round his bed, and kept him alive with injections of
strychnine and oxygen, and, no less, by a policy of rousing and
irritating the patient. All through the reign of Abdul Hamid they
persevered: Great Britain plucked his pillow from him, so to speak, by
her protectorate of Egypt; Russia tweaked Eastern Rumelia from him;
France deprived him of his hot-water bottle when she snatched at the
Constantinople quays, and they all shook and slapped him when he went to
war with Greece in 1896, and instantly deprived him of the territory he
had won in Thessaly. That was the principle of European diplomacy
towards Turkey, and from it Germany always held aloof.

But from about the beginning of the reign of the present German Emperor,
German or rather Prussian diplomacy had been going quietly about its
work. It was worth while to study the psychology of the Turks, because
dimly then, but with ever-increasing distinctness, Germany foresaw that
Turkey might be a counter of immense importance in the great conflict
which was assuredly drawing nearer, though as yet its existence was but
foreshadowed by the most distant reflections of summer lightning on a
serene horizon. But if Turkey was to be of any profit to her, she wanted
a strong Turkey who could fight with her (or rather for her), and she
had no use for the Sick Man whom the other Powers were bent on keeping
alive, but no more. Her own eventual domination of Turkey was always the
end in view, but she wanted to dominate not a weak but a strong servant.
And her diplomacy was not less than brilliant simply from the fact that
on the one hand it soothed Turkey instead of irritating, and, on the
other, that it went absolutely unnoticed for a long time. Nobody knew
that it was going on. She sent officers to train the Turkish army, well
knowing what magnificent material Anatolia afforded, and she had
thoroughly grasped the salient fact that to make any way with Oriental
peoples your purse must be open and your backshish unlimited. 'There is
no God but backshish, and the Deutsche Bank is his prophet.'

For years this went on very quietly, and all over the great field of the
Ottoman Empire the first tiny blades of the crop that Germany was sowing
began to appear. To-day that crop waves high, and covers the whole field
with its ripe and fruitful ears. For to-day Turkey is neither more nor
less than a German colony, and more than makes up to her for the
colonies she has lost and hopes to regain. She knows that perfectly
well, and so do any who have at all studied the history and the results
of her diplomacy there. Even Turkey itself must, as in an uneasy dream,
be faintly conscious of it. For who to-day is the Sultan of Turkey? No
other than William II. of Germany. It is in Berlin that his Cabinet
meets, and sometimes he asks Talaat Bey to attend in a strictly honorary
capacity. And Talaat Bey goes back to Constantinople with a strictly
honorary sword of honour. Or else he gives one to William II. from his
_soi-disant_ master, the Sultan, or takes one back to his _soi-disant_
master from his real master. For no one knows better than William II.
the use that swords of honour play in deeds of dishonour.

The object of this chapter is to trace and mount the hewn and solid
staircase of steps by which Germany's present supremacy over Turkey was
achieved.

Apart from the quiet spade-work that had been going on for some years,
Germany made no important move till the moment when, in 1909, the Young
Turk party, after the forced abdication of Abdul Hamid, proclaimed the
aims and ideals of the new regime. At once Germany saw her opportunity,
for here, with her help, might arise the strong Turkey which she
desired to see, instead of the weak Turkey which all the other European
Powers had been keeping on a lowering diet for so long (desirous only
that it should not quite expire), and from that moment she began to
lend, or rather let, to Turkey in ever-increasing quantities, the
resources of her scientific and her military knowledge. It was in her
interests, if Turkey was to be of use to her, that she should educate,
and irrigate, and develop the unexploited treasures of human material,
of fertility and mineral wealth; and Germany's gold, her schools, her
laboratories were at Turkey's disposal. But in every case she, as in
duty bound to her people, saw that she got very good value for her
outlay.

Here, then, was the great psychological moment when Germany instantly
moved. The Young Turks proclaimed that they were going to weld the
Ottoman Empire into one homogeneous and harmonious whole, and by a piece
of brilliant paradoxical reasoning Germany determined that it was she
who was going to do it for them. In flat contradiction of the spirit of
their manifestoes, which proclaimed the Pan-Turkish ideal, she conceived
and began to carry out under their very noses the great new chapter of
the Pan-Germanic ideal. And the Young Turks did not know the difference!
They mistook that lusty Teutonic changeling for their own new-born
Turkish babe, and they nursed and nourished it. Amazingly it throve, and
soon it cut its teeth, and one day, when they thought it was asleep, it
arose from its cradle a baby no more, but a great Prussian guardsman who
shouted, 'Deutschland über Allah!'

Only once was there a check in the growth of the Prussian infant, and
that was no more than a childish ailment. For when the Balkan wars broke
out the Turkish army was in the transitional stage. Its German tutors
had not yet had time to inspire the army with German discipline and
tradition; they had only weeded out, so to speak, the old Turkish
spirit, the blind obedience to the Ministers of the Shadow of God. The
Shadow of God, in fact, in the person of the Sultan, had been dragged
out into the light, and his Shadow had grown appreciably less. In
consequence there was not at this juncture any cohesion in the army, and
it suffered reverse after reverse. But a strong though a curtailed
Turkey was more in accordance with Prussian ideas than a weak and
sprawling one, and Germany bore the Turkish defeats very valiantly. And
that was the only set-back that this Pan-Prussian youngster experienced,
and it was no more than an attack of German measles which he very
quickly got over. For two or three years German influence wavered, then
recovered, 'with blessings on the falling out, that all the more
endears.'

It is interesting to see how Germany adapted the Pan-Turkish ideal to
her own ends, and, by a triumphant vindication of Germany's methods, the
best account of this Pan-Turkish ideal is to be found in a publication
of 1915 by Tekin Alp, which was written as German propaganda and by
Germany disseminated broadcast over the Turkish Empire. An account of
this movement has already been given in Chapter II., as far as the
Turkish side of it is concerned, and it remains only to enumerate the
German contribution to the fledging of this new Turkish Phoenix. The
Turkish language and the Turkish Allah, God of Love, in whose name the
Armenians were tortured and massacred, were the two wings on which it
was to soar. Auxiliary soaring societies were organised, among them a
Turkish Ojagha with similar aims, and no fewer than sixteen branches of
it were founded throughout the Empire. There were also a Turkish Guiji
or gymnastic club, and an Izji or boy scouts' club. A union of merchants
worked for the same object in districts where hitherto trade had been in
the hands of Greeks and Armenians, and signs appeared on their shops
that only Turkish labour was employed. Religious funds also were used
for similar economic restoration.

Germany saw, Germany tabulated, Germany licked her lips and took out her
long spoon, for her hour was come. She did not interfere: she only
helped to further the Pan-Turkish ideal. With her usual foresight she
perceived that the Izji, for instance, was a thing to encourage, for
the boys who were being trained now would in a few years be precisely
the young men of whom she could not have too many. By all means the boy
scout movement was to be encouraged. She encouraged it so generously and
methodically that in 1916, according to an absolutely reliable source of
information, we find that the whole boy scout movement, with its
innumerable branches, was under the control of a German officer, Colonel
von Hoff. In its classes (derneks) boys are trained in military
practices, in 'a recreational manner,' so that they enjoy--positively
enjoy (a Prussian touch)--the exercises that will fit them to be of use
to the Sultan William II. They learn trigger-drill, they learn
skirmishing, they are taught to make reports on the movements of their
companies, they are shown neat ways of judging distances. They are
divided into two classes, the junior class ranging from the ages of
twelve to seventeen, the senior class consisting of boys over seventeen,
but not yet of military age. But since Colonel von Hoff organised this,
the military age has been extended, and boys of seventeen have got to
serve their country on German fronts. Prussian thoroughness, therefore,
saw that their training must begin earlier; the old junior class has
become the senior class, and a new junior class has been set on foot
which begins its recreational exercises in the service of William II.,
Got and Allah, at the age of eight. It is all great fun, but those
pigeon-livered little boys who are not diverted by it have to go on with
their fun all the same, for, needless to say, the Izji is compulsory on
all boys. Of course they wear a uniform which is made in Germany and is
of a 'semi-military' character.

The provision of soldiers and sailors, then, trained from the early age
of eight, was the first object of Germany's peaceful and benign
penetration. As from the Pisgah height of the Pan-Turkish ideal she saw
the promised land, but she had no idea of seeing it only, like Moses,
and expiring without entering it, and her faith that she would enter it
and possess it and organise it has been wonderfully justified. She has
not only penetrated, but has dominated; a year ago towns like Aleppo
were crammed with German officers, while at Islahie there were separate
wooden barracks for the exclusive use of German troops. There is a
military mission at Mamoura, where all the buildings are permanent
erections solidly built of stone, for no merely temporary occupation is
intended, and thousands of freight-cars with Belgian marks upon them
throng the railways, and on some is the significant German title of
'Military Headquarters of the Imperial Staff.' There are troops in the
Turkish army, to which is given the title of 'Pasha formation,' in
compliment to Turkey, but the Pasha formations are under command of
Baron Kress von Kressenstein, and are salted with German officers,
N.C.O.'s, and privates, who, although in the Turkish army, retain their
German uniforms.

This German leaven forms an instructional class for the remainder of the
troops in these formations, who are Turkish. The Germans are urged to
respect Moslem customs and to show particular consideration for their
religious observances. Every German contingent arriving at
Constantinople to join the Pasha formations finds quarters prepared on a
ship, and when the troops leave for their 'destination' they take
supplies from depots at the railway station which will last them two or
three months. They are enjoined to write war diaries, and are provided
with handbooks on the military and geographical conditions in
Mesopotamia, with maps, and with notes on the training and management of
camels. This looks as if they were intended for use against the English
troops in Mesopotamia, but I cannot find that they have been identified
there. The greatest secrecy is observed with regard to those Pasha
formations, and their constitution and movements are kept extremely well
veiled.

Wireless stations have been set up in Asia Minor and Palestine, and
these are under the command of Major Schlee. A Turkish air-service was
instituted, at the head of which was Major Serno, a Prussian officer,
and Turkish aviators are now in training at Ostend, where they will very
usefully defend their native country. At Constantinople there is a
naval school for Turkish engineers and mechanics in the arsenal, to help
on the Pan-Turkish ideal, and with a view to that all the instructors
are German: a floating dock is in construction at Ismid, and the order
has been placed with German firms. It will be capable of accommodating
ships of Dreadnought build, which is a new departure for the strictly
Pan-Turkish ideal. The cost is £740,000, to be repaid three years after
the end of the war. Similarly, by the spring of this year, Germany had
arranged to start submarine training in Constantinople for the Turks,
and a submarine school was open and at work in March. A few months later
it was established at the island of Prinkipo, where it is now hard at
work under German instructors. Other naval cadets were sent to Germany
for their training, and Turkish officers were present at the battle of
Jutland in June 1916, and of course were decorated by the Emperor in
person for their coolness and courage.[1]

[Footnote 1: In October 1917 a bill was passed for the entire
remodelling of the Turkish fleet after the war, on the lines of the
German fleet, 'which proved its perfect training in the battle of Skager
Rak.']

A complete revision of the Turkish system of exemptions from military
service was necessary as soon as Germany began to want men badly. The
age for military service was first raised, and we find a Turkish order
of October 1916, calling on all men of forty-three, forty-four, and
forty-five years of age to pay their exemption tax if they did not wish
to be called to the colours. That secured their money, and, with truly
Prussian irony, hardly had this been done when a fresh army order was
issued calling out all men, whether they had paid their exemption tax or
not. Germany thus secured both their money and their lives.

Still more men were needed, and in November a fresh levy of boys was
raised regardless of whether they had reached the military age or not.
This absorbed the senior class of the boy scouts, who hitherto had
learned their drill in a 'recreationary manner.' Neither Jews nor
Christians are exempt from service, and frequent press gangs go round
Constantinople rounding up those who are in hiding.

Again the Prussian Moloch was hungry for more, and in December 1916 the
Turkish _Gazette_ announced that all males in Asia Minor between the
ages of fourteen and sixty-five were to be enrolled for military
service, and in January of this year, 1917, fresh recruiting was
foreshadowed by the order that men of forty-six to fifty-two, who had
paid their exemption money, should be medically examined to see if they
were fit for active service. This fresh recruiting was also put in force
in the case of boys, and during the summer of 1917 all boys above the
age of twelve, provided they were sound and well-built, were taken for
the army. Wider and wider the net was spread, and in the same month a
fresh Turco-German convention was signed, whereby was enforced a
reciprocal surrender in both countries of persons liable to military
service, and of deserters, and simultaneously all Turks living in
Switzerland, and who had paid exemption money, were recalled to their
Germanised fatherland. By now the first crops of the year were ripening
in Smyrna, and in default of civilian labour (for every one was now a
soldier) they were reaped by Turkish soldiers and the produce sent
direct to Germany.

Already in August 1916, certificates of Ottoman nationality had been
granted to Serbians resident in the Empire who were willing to become
Ottoman subjects, and their 'willingness' was intensified by hints that
incidents akin to the Armenian massacres might possibly occur among
other alien peoples. They had to sign a declaration that they would not
revert to their former nationality, and thus, no doubt, many Serbs
passed into the Turkish army. Further enrolments were desirable, and, in
March 1917, all Greeks living in Anatolia were forcibly proselytised,
their property was confiscated, and they were made liable to military
service. Unfortunately all were not available, for of those who were
removed from the villages where they lived to military centres, ten per
cent. died on the forced marches from hunger and exposure. That was
annoying for the German recruiting agents, but it suited well enough the
Pan-Turkish ideal of exterminating foreign nationalities. When trouble
or discontent occurred among the troops, it was firmly dealt with, as,
for instance, when, in November 1916, there were considerable desertions
from the 49th Division. On that occasion the order was given to fire on
them, and many were killed and wounded. The officer who gave the order
was commended by the Prussian authorities for his firmness. Should such
an incident occur again, it will no doubt be dealt with no less
firmness, for, in April 1917, Mackensen was put in supreme command of
all troops in Asia Minor. But in spite of this desertions have largely
increased lately, and during the summer deserters out of all the Turkish
armies were believed to number about 200,000. Many of those have formed
themselves into brigand bands, who make the roads dangerous for
travellers. The exchange of honours goes on, for not long ago, in
Berlin, Prince Zia-ed-Din, the Turkish Sultan's heir, presented a sword
of honour to the Sultan William II. Probably he gave him good news of
the progress of the German harbour works begun in the winter at
Stamboul, and himself learned that the railway bridge which the Turks
proposed to build over the Bosporus was not to be proceeded with, for
the German high command had superseded that scheme by their own idea of
making a tunnel under the Bosporus instead, which would be safer from
aircraft.

Such up-to-date, though in brief outline, is the history of the
establishment of the Prussian octopus grip on military and naval matters
in Turkey. We have largely ourselves to blame for it. Upon that pathetic
and lamb-like record of our diplomacy during the months between the
outbreak of the European War, and the entry of Turkey into it in October
1914, it would be morbid to dwell at any length, though a short summary
is necessary. As we all know now, Turkey had concluded a treaty with
Germany early in August, and when our Ambassador in Constantinople, Sir
Louis Malet, who was on leave in England at that date, returned to his
post on August 16th, all that Turkey wanted was to gain time in which to
effect her mobilisation. This she did, with complete success, and our
Ambassador telegraphed to England stating his perfect confidence in the
sincerity with which the Grand Vizier professed his friendship for
England. All through those weeks of August and September this confidence
appeared to continue unabated. The Moderate party in Turkey--that is to
say, the hoodwinking party--were reported to be daily gaining strength,
and it was most important that the Allies should give them every
assistance, and above all not precipitate matters. All was going well:
all we had to do was to wait. So we waited, still blindly confident in
the sincerity of Turkey's friendship for England, while the mobilisation
of the Turkish forces proceeded merrily. By the end of September this
was nearly complete, and quite suddenly the Ambassador informed the
Foreign Office that Turkey appeared to be temporising. That was
perfectly true, but the period of temporisation was nearly over, and by
mid-October Turkey had something like 800,000 men under arms, and for
nine weeks Enver Pasha had had his signed treaty with Germany in his
pocket. Possibly this diplomatic procrastination was useful to us, for
it enabled us to bring troops from India in security, and send others to
Egypt. But without doubt it was useful to the Turks, for it enabled them
to mobilise their armies, and to strengthen enormously the defences of
the Dardanelles. Then came the day when Germany and Turkey were ready,
the attack was made on Odessa, and out of Constantinople we went. We
climbed into the railway carriages that took the last rays of English
influence out of the Ottoman Empire, and steep were the stairs in the
house of a stranger! Turks are not much given to laughter, but Enver
Pasha must at least have smiled on that day.

Already, of course, German influence was strong in the army, which now
was thoroughly trained in German methods, but that army might still be
called a Turkish army. Nowadays, by no stretch of language can it be
called Turkish except in so far that all Turkish efficient manhood is
helplessly enlisted in it, for there is no branch or department of it
over which the Prussian octopus has not thrown its paralysing tentacles
and affixed its immovable suckers. Army and navy alike, the wireless
stations, the submarines, the aircraft, are all directly controlled from
Berlin, and, as we have seen, the generalissimo of the forces is
Mackensen, who is absolutely the Hindenburg of the East. But thorough as
is the control of Berlin over Constantinople in military and naval
matters, it is not one whit more thorough than her control in all other
matters of national life. Never before has Germany been very successful
in her colonisation; but if complete domination--the sucking of a
country till it is a mere rind of itself, and yet at the same time full
to bursting of Prussian ichor--may be taken as Germany's equivalent of
colonisation, then indeed we must be forced to recognise her success.
And it was all done in the name and for the sake of the Pan-Turkish
ideal. Even now Prussian Pecksniffs like Herr Ernst Marré, whose
pamphlet, _Die Türken und Wir nach dem Kriege_, was published in 1916,
continue to insist that Germany is nobly devoting herself to the
well-being of Turkey. 'In doing this,' he exclaims in that illuminating
document, 'we are benefiting Turkey.... This is a war of liberation for
Turkey,' though omitting to say from whom Turkey is being liberated.
Perhaps the Armenians. Occasionally, it is true, he forgets that, and
naively remarks, 'Turkey is a very difficult country to govern. But
after the war Turkey will be very important as a transit country.' But
then he remembers again and says, 'We wish to give besides taking, and
we should often like to give more than we can hope to give.' Let us look
into this, and see the manner in which Germany expresses her yearning to
impoverish herself for the sake of Turkey.

All this reorganisation of the Turkish army was of course a very
expensive affair, and required skilful financing, and it was necessary
to get the whole of Turkey's exchequer arrangements into German hands. A
series of financial regulations was promulgated. The Finance Minister,
during 1916, was still Turkish, but the official immediately under him
was a German. He was authorised to deposit with the Controllers of the
Ottoman National Debt German Imperial Bills of £T30,000,000, and to
issue German paper money to the like amount. This arrangement insures
the circulation of the German notes, which are redeemable by Turkey in
_gold_ two years after the declaration of peace. Gold is declared to be
the standard currency, and no creditor is obliged to accept in payment
of a debt more than 300 piastres in silver or fifty in nickel. And since
there is no gold in currency (for it has been all called in, and
penalties of death have been authorised for hoarders) it follows that
this and other issues of German paper will filter right through the
Empire. At the same time a German expert, Dr. Kautz, was appointed to
start banks throughout Turkey in order to free the peasants from the
Turkish village usurer, and in consequence enslave them to the German
banks. Similarly a German was put at the head of the Ottoman
Agricultural Bank. These new branches worked very well, but it is
pleasant to think that one such was started by the Deutsche Bank at
Bagdad in October 1916, which now has its shutters up. Before this, as
we learn from the _Oesterreichischer Volkswirt_ (June 1916), Germany had
issued other gold notes, in payment for gold from Turkey, which is
retainable in Berlin till six months after the end of the war. (It is
reasonable to wonder whether it will not be retained rather longer than
that.) These gold notes were accepted willingly at first by the public,
but the increase in their number (by the second issue) has caused them
to be viewed with justifiable suspicion, and the depreciation in them
continues. But the Turkish public has no redress except by hoarding
gold, which is a penal offence. That these arrangements have not
particularly helped Turkish credit may be gathered from the fact that
the Turkish gold £1, nominally 100 piastres, was very soon worth 280
piastres in the German paper standard, and it now fetches a great deal
more.

Again, the Deutsche Orientbank has made many extensions, and is already
financing cotton and wool trade for after the war. The establishment of
this provoked much applause in German financial circles, who find it to
be an instance of the 'far-reaching and powerful Germano-Austrian unity,
which replaces the disunion of Turkish finance.' This is profoundly
true, especially if we omit the word 'Austrian' inserted for diplomatic
reasons. Again we find Germany advancing £3,000,000 of German paper to
the Turkish Government in January 1917, for the payment of supplies they
have received from Krupp's works and (vaguely) for interest to the
German Financial Minister. This, too, we may conjecture, is to be
redeemed after the war in gold.

In March of this year we find in the report of the Ottoman Bank a German
loan of £1,000,000 for the purchase of agricultural implements by
Turkey, and this is guaranteed by house-taxes. In all up to that month,
as was announced in the Chamber of Deputies at Constantinople, Germany
had advanced to Turkey the sum of £142,000,000, entirely, it would seem,
in German paper, to be repaid at various dates in gold. The grip, in
fact, is a strangle-hold, all for Turkey's good, as no doubt will prove
the 'New Conventions' announced by Zimmermann in May 1917, to take the
place of the abolished Capitulations, 'which left Turkey at the mercy of
predatory Powers who looked for the disruption of the Ottoman Empire.'
Herr Zimmermann does not look for that: he looks for its absorption. And
sees it.

The industrial development of Turkey by this benevolent and
disinterested Power has been equally thorough and far-reaching, though
Germany here has had a certain amount of competition by Hungary to
contend against, for Hungary considered that Germany was trespassing on
her sphere of interest. But she has been able to make no appreciable
headway against her more acute partner, and her application for a
monopoly of sugar-production was not favourably received, for Germany
already had taken the beet industry well in hand. In Asia Minor the
acreage of cultivation early in 1917 had fallen more than 50 per cent.
from that under crops before the war, but owing to the importation of
machinery from the Central Powers, backed up by a compulsory
Agricultural Service Law, which has just been passed, it is hoped that
the acreage will be increased this year by something like 30 per cent.
The yield per acre also will be greatly increased this year, for Germany
has, though needing artificial manures badly herself, sent large
quantities into Turkey, where they will be more profitably employed. She
has no fear about securing the produce. This augmented yield will, it is
true, not be adequate to supply the needs of Turkey, who for the last
two years has suffered from very acute food shortage, which in certain
districts has amounted to famine and wholesale starvation of the poorer
classes. But it is unlikely that their needs will be considered at all,
for Germany's needs (she, the fairy godmother of the Pan-Turk ideal)
must obviously have the first call on such provisions as are obtainable.
Thus, in the new preserved meat factory at Aidin, the whole of the
produce is sent to Germany. Thus, too, though in February 1917 there was
a daily shortage in Smyrna of 700 sacks of flour, and the Arab and
Greek population was starving, no flour at all was allowed to be
imported into Smyrna. But simultaneously Germany was making huge
purchases of fish, meat, and flour in Constantinople (paid for in German
paper), including 100,000 sheep. Yet such was the villainous selfishness
of the famine-stricken folk at Adrianople that, when the trains
containing these supplies were passing through, a mob held them up and
sold the contents to the inhabitants. That, however, was an isolated
instance, and in any case a law was passed in October 1916, appointing a
military commission to control all supplies. It enacts that troops shall
be supplied first, and specially ordains that the requirements of German
troops come under this head. (Private firms have been expressly
prohibited from purchasing these augmented wheat supplies, but special
permission was given in 1915 to German and Austro-Hungarian societies to
buy.) A few months later we find that there are a hundred deaths daily
in Constantinople from starvation, and two hundred in Smyrna, where
there is a complete shortage of oil. But oil is still being sent to
Germany, and during 1916 five hundred reservoirs of oil were sent there,
each containing up to 15,000 kilogrammes. Similarly during this summer
the price of fruit has gone up in Smyrna, for the Germans have reopened
certain factories for preserving it and turning it into jam, which is
being sent to Germany. The sugar is supplied from the new beet-fields of
Konia. But Kultur must be supplied first, else Kultur would grow lean,
and the Turkish God of Love will look after the Smyrniotes. It is no
wonder that the blockade of Germany does not produce the desired result
a little quicker, for food is already pouring in from Turkey, and when
the artificial manures have produced their early harvest the stream will
become a torrent.[1]

[Footnote 1: The harvest has now come in, and is most abundant.]

But during all these busy and tremendous months of war Germany has not
only been denuding Turkey of her food supplies, for the sake of the
Pan-Turkish ideal; in the same altruistic spirit she has been vastly
increasing the productiveness of her new and most important colony. The
great irrigation works at Konia, begun several years ago, are in
operation, and the revenues of the irrigated villages have been doubled.
In fact, as the report lately issued says, 'a new and fertile province
has been formed by the aid of German energy and knowledge.' At Adana are
similar irrigation works, financed by the Deutsche Bank. Ernst Marré
gives us a most hopeful survey of them, for Adana was already linked up
with the Bagdad Railway in October 1916, which was to be the great
artery connecting Germany with the East. There is some considerable
shortage of labour there (owing in part to the Armenian massacres, to
which we shall revert presently), but the financial arrangements are in
excellent shape. The whole of the irrigation works are in German hands,
and have been paid for by German paper; and to get the reservoirs, etc.,
back into her own control, it has been agreed that Turkey, already
completely bankrupt, will have to pay not only what has been spent, but
a handsome sum in compensation; while, as regards shortage of labour,
prisoners have been released in large numbers to work without pay. This
irrigation scheme at Adana will increase the cotton yield by four times
the present crop, so we learn from the weekly Arab magazine, _El Alem el
Ismali_, which tells us also of the electric-power stations erected
there.

The same paper (October 1916) announces to the Anatolian merchants that
transport is now easy, owing to the arrival of engines and trucks from
Germany, while _Die Zeit_ (February 1917) prophesies a prosperous future
for this Germano-Turkish cotton combine. Hitherto Turkey has largely
imported cotton from England; now Turkey--thanks to German capital on
terms above stated--will, in the process of internal development so
unselfishly devised for her by Germany, grow cotton for herself, and be
kind enough to give a preferential tariff to Germany.

A similarly bright future may be predicted for the sugar-beet industry
at Konia, where are the irrigation works already referred to. Artesian
wells have been sunk, and there is the suggestion to introduce
Bulgarian labour in default of Turkish. As we have seen, Hungary
attempted to obtain a monopoly with regard to sugar, but Germany has
been victorious on this point (as on every other where she competes with
Hungary), and has obtained the concession for a period of thirty years.
She reaped the first-fruits this last spring (1917), when, on a single
occasion, 350 trucks laden with sugar were despatched to Berlin. A
similar irrigation scheme is bringing into cultivation the Makischelin
Valley, near Aleppo, and Herr Wied has been appointed as expert for
irrigation plant in Syria. There has been considerable shortage of coal,
but now more is arriving from the Black Sea, and the new coal-fields at
Rodosto will soon be giving an output.

Indeed, it would be easier to enumerate the industries and economical
developments of Turkey over which Germany has not at the present moment
got the control than those over which she has. In particular she has
shown a parental interest in Turkish educational questions. She
established last year, under German management, a school for the study
of German in Constantinople; she has put under the protection of the
German Government the Jewish institution at Haifa for technical
education in Palestine; from Sivas a mission of schoolmasters has been
sent to Germany for the study of German methods. Ernst Marré surmises
that German will doubtless become compulsory even in the Turkish
intermediate (secondary) schools. In April 1917, the first stone of the
'House of Friendship' was laid at Constantinople, the object of which
institution is to create among Turkish students an interest in
everything German, while earlier in the year arrangements were made for
10,000 Turkish youths to go to Germany to be taught trades. These I
imagine were unfit for military service. With regard to such a scheme
Halil Haled Bey praises the arrangement for the education of Turks in
Germany. When they used to go to France, he tells us, 'they lost their
religion' (certainly Prussian Got is nearer akin to Turkish Allah) 'and
returned home unpatriotic and useless. In Germany they will have access
to suitable religious literature' (Gott!) 'and must adopt all they see
good in German methods without losing their original characteristics.'
Comment on this script is needless. The hand is the hand of Halil Haled
Bey, but the voice is the voice of Potsdam. Occasionally, but rarely,
Austrian competition is seen. Professor Schmoller, in an Austrian
quarterly review, shows jealousy of German influence, and we find, in
October 1916, an Ottoman-Austrian college started at Vienna for 250
pupils of the Ottoman Empire. But Germany has 10,000 in Berlin. At Adana
(where are the German irrigation works) the German-Turkish Society has
opened a German school of 300, while, reciprocally, courses in Turkish
have been organised at Berlin for the sake of future German colonists.
In Constantinople the _Tanin_ announces a course of lectures to be held
by the Turco-German Friendship Society. Professor von Marx discoursed
last April on foreign influence and the development of nations, with
special reference to Turkey and the parallel case of Germany. A few
months later we find Hilmet Nazim Bey, official head of the Turkish
press, proceeding to Berlin to learn German press methods. A number of
editors of Turkish papers will follow him, and soon, no doubt, the
Turkish press will rival Cologne and Frankfort.

So much for German education, but her penetrative power extends into
every branch of industry and economics. In November 1916, a Munich
expert was put in charge of the College of Forestry, and an economic
society was started in Constantinople on German lines with German
instructors. Inoculation against small-pox, typhoid, and cholera was
made compulsory; and we find that the Turkish Ministers of Posts, of
Justice, and of Commerce, figureheads all of them, have Germans as their
acting Ministers. In the same year a German was appointed as expert for
silkworm breeding and for the cultivation of beet. Practically all the
railways in Asia Minor are pure German concerns by right of purchase.
Germany owns the Anatolian railway concession (originally British),
with right to build to Angora and Konia; the Bagdad railway concession,
with preferential rights over minerals; they have bought the
Mersina-Adana Railway, with right of linking up to the Bagdad Railway;
they have bought the Smyrna-Cassaba Railway, built with French capital.
They have secured also the Haidar Pasha Harbour concession, thereby
controlling and handling all merchandise arriving at railhead from the
interior of Asia Minor.[1] Already on the Bagdad Railway the big tunnels
of Taurus and Amanus are available for narrow-gauge petrol-driven
motors, and the broad-gauge line will soon be complete. Meanwhile
railway construction is pushed on in all directions under German
control, and the Turkish Minister of Finance (August 1916) allocated a
large sum of German paper money for the construction of ordinary roads,
military roads, local government roads, all of which are new to Turkey,
but which will be useful for the complete German occupation which is
being swiftly consolidated. To stop the mouths of the people, all
political clubs have been suppressed by the Minister of the Interior,
for Prussia does not care for criticism. To supply German ammunition
needs, lead and zinc have been taken from the roofs of mosques and
door-handles from mosque-gates, and the iron railings along the Champs
de Mars at Pera have been carted away for the manufacture of bombs. Not
long after eight truck-loads of copper were sent to Germany: these, I
imagine, represent the first produce of copper roofs and utensils. A
Turco-German convention signed in Berlin in January of this year,
permits subjects of one country to settle in the other while retaining
their nationality and enjoying trading and other privileges. In Lebanon
Dr. König has opened an agricultural school for Syrians of all
religions. In the Homs district the threatening plague of locusts in
February 1917 was combatted by Germans; and a German expert, Dr. Bucher,
had been already sent to superintend the whole question. For this
concerns supplies to Germany, as does also the ordinance passed in the
same month that two-thirds of all fish caught in the Lebanon district
should be given to the military authorities (these are German), and that
every fish weighing over six ounces in the Beirut district should be
Korban also. The copper mines at Arghana Maden, near Diarbekr, are busy
exporting their produce into Germany; the coal-mines at Rodosto will
very soon be making a large output.[2]

[Footnote 1: The balance-sheets for 1916 of certain of those railways in
which the Deutsche Bank has an interest have come to hand. They show a
very disagreeable degree of prosperity. The Anatolia Railway Company has
large profits with a gross revenue of 25,737,995 marks. The profit on
the Haidar-Pasha-Angora Line has risen from 42,566 francs per kilometre
to 45,552. The Mersina-Tarsus-Adana Railway has paid 6 per cent. on its
preference shares, and 3 per cent. on its ordinary shares. The Haidar
Pasha Harbour Company has paid 8 per cent.]

[Footnote 2: Later in this year we find three trains daily leaving
Constantinople for Germany, laden with coal and military supplies.]

There is no end to this penetration: German water-seekers, with divining
and boring apparatus, accompanied the Turkish expedition into Sinai;
Russian prisoners were sent by Germany for agricultural work in Asia
Minor, to take the place of slaughtered Armenians; a German-Turkish
treaty, signed January 11, 1917, gives the whole reorganisations of the
economic system to a special German mission. A Stuttgart journal chants
a characteristic _Lobgesang_ over this feat. 'That is how,' it proudly
exclaims, 'we work for the liberation of peoples and nationalities.'

In the same noble spirit, we must suppose, German legal reforms were
introduced in December 1916, to replace the Turkish Shuriat, and in the
same month all the Turks in telegraph offices in Constantinople were
replaced by Germans. Ernst Marré gives valuable advice to young Germans
settling in Turkey. He particularly recommends them, knowing how
religion is one of the strongest bonds in this murderous race, to 'trade
in articles of devotion, in rosaries, in bags to hold the Koran,' and
points out what good business might be built up in gramophones. Earlier
in this year we find a 'German Oriental Trading Company' founded for the
import of fibrous materials for needs of military authorities, and a
great carpet business established at Urfa with German machinery that
will supplant the looms of Smyrna. A saltpetre factory is established
at Konia by Herr Toepfer, whose enterprise is rewarded with an Iron
Cross and a Turkish decoration. The afforestation near Constantinople,
ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture, is put into German hands, and in
the vilayet of Aidin (April 1916) ninety concessions were granted to
German capitalists to undertake the exploitation of metallic ores.
Occasionally the German octopus finds it has gone too far for the
moment, and releases some struggling limb of its victim, as, for
instance, when we see that, in September 1916, the German Director's
stamp for the 'Imperial German Great Radio Station' at Damascus has been
discarded temporarily, as that station 'should be treated for the
present as a Turkish concern.'

A 'Trading and Weaving Company' was established at Angora in 1916, an
'Import and Export Company' at Smyrna, a 'Trading and Industrial
Society' at Beirut, a 'Tobacco Trading Company' at Latakieh, an
'Agricultural Company' at Tripoli, a 'Corn Exporting Company' in
Lebanon, a 'Rebuilding Commission' (perhaps for sacked Armenian houses)
at Konia. More curious yet will be a Tourist's Guide Book--a Baedeker,
in fact--for travellers in Anatolia, and the erection of a monument in
honour of Turkish _women_ who have replaced men called up for military
duty. Truly these last two items--a guide-book for Anatolia, and a
monument to women--are strange enterprises for Turks. A new Prussian day
is dawning, it seems, for Turkish women as well, for the _Tanin_ (April
1917) tells us that diplomas are to be conferred on ladies who have
completed their studies in the Technical School at Constantinople.

It is needless to multiply instances of German penetration: I have but
given the skeleton of this German monster that has fastened itself with
tentacles and suckers on every branch of Turkish industry. There is none
round which it has not cast its feelers--no Semitic moneylender ever
obtained a surer hold on his victim. In matters naval, military,
educational, legal, industrial, financial, Germany has a strangle-hold.
Turkey's life is already crushed out of her, and, as we have seen, it
has been crushed out of her by the benevolent Kultur-mongers, who, among
all the Great Powers of Europe, invested their time and their money in
the achievement of the Pan-Turkish ideal. Silently and skilfully they
worked, bamboozling their chief tool, Enver Pasha, even as Enver Pasha
bamboozled us. As long as he was of service to them they retained him;
for his peace of mind at one time they stopped up all letter-boxes in
Constantinople because so many threatening letters were sent him. But
now Enver Pasha seems to have had his day; he became a little
autocratic, and thought that he was the head of the Pan-Turkish ideal.
So he was, but the Pan-Turkish ideal had become Pan-Prussian, and he had
not noticed the transformation. Talaat Bey has taken his place; it was
he who, in May 1917, was received by the Emperor William, by King
Ludwig, and by the Austrian Emperor, and he who was the mouthpiece of
the German efforts to make a separate peace with Russia. Under Czardom,
he proclaimed, the existence of Turkey was threatened, but now the
revolution has made friendship possible, for Russia no longer desires
territorial annexation. And, oh, how Turkey would like to be Russia's
friend! Enver Pasha has of late been somewhat out of favour in Berlin,
and I cannot but think it curious that when, on April 2, 1917, he
visited the submarine base at Wilhelmshaven, he was very nearly killed
in a motor accident. But it may have been an accident. Since then I
cannot find that he has taken any more active part in Pan-Turkish ideals
than to open a soup-kitchen in some provincial town, and lecture the
Central Committee of the Young Turks on the subject of internal affairs
in Great Britain. I do not like lectures, but I should have liked to
hear that one.


I have left to the end of this chapter the question of Germany's
knowledge of, and complicity in the Armenian massacres. From the tribune
of the Reichstag, on January 15, 1916, there was made a definite denial
of the existence of such massacres at all; on another subsequent
occasion it was stated that Germany could not interfere in Turkish
internal affairs.

In view of the fact that there is no internal affair appertaining to
Turkey in which Germany has not interfered, the second of these
statements may be called insincere. But the denial of the massacres is a
deliberate lie. Germany--official Germany--knew all about them, and she
permitted them to go on. A few proofs of this are here shortly stated.

(1) In September 1915, four months before the denial of the massacres
was made in the Reichstag, Dr. Martin Niepage, higher grade teacher in
the German Technical School at Aleppo, prepared and sent, as we have
seen, in his name, and that of several of his colleagues, a report of
the massacres to the German Embassy at Constantinople. In that report he
gives a terrible account of what he has seen with his own eyes, and also
states that the country Turks' explanation with regard to the origin of
these measures is that it was 'the teaching of the Germans.' The German
Embassy at Constantinople therefore knew of the massacres, and knew
also that the Turks attributed them to orders from Germany. Dr. Niepage
also consulted, before sending his report, with the German Consul at
Aleppo, Herr Hoffman, who told him that the German Embassy had been
already advised in detail about the massacres from the consulates at
Alexandretta, Aleppo, and Mosul, but that he welcomed a further protest
on the subject.

(2) These reports, or others like them, had not gone astray, for in
August 1915, the German Ambassador in Constantinople, Baron Wangenheim,
made a formal protest to the Turkish Government about the massacres.

There is, then, no doubt that the German Government, when it officially
denied the massacres, was perfectly cognisant of them. It was also
perfectly capable of stopping them, for they were not local violences,
but wholesale murders organised at Constantinople. In support of this
view I find an independent witness stating that 'there is no Turk of
standing who will not readily declare that it would have been perfectly
possible for Germany to have vetoed the massacres had she chosen.'
Germany had indeed already given assurances that such massacres should
not occur. She had assured the Armenian Katholikos at Adana that so long
as Germany has any influence in Turkey he need not fear a repetition of
the horrors that had taken place under Abdul Hamid. Had she, then, no
influence in Constantinople, or how was it that she had obtained
complete control over all Turkish branches of government? The same
assurance was given by the German Ambassador in April 1915, to the
Armenian Patriarch and the President of the Armenian National Council.

So, in support of the Pan-Turkish ideal, and in the name of the Turkish
Allah, the God of Love, Germany stood by and let the infamous tale of
lust and rapine and murder be told to its end. The Turks had planned to
exterminate the whole Armenian race except some half-million, who would
be deported penniless to work on agricultural developments under German
rule, but this quality of Turkish mercy was too strained for Major
Pohl, who proclaimed that it was a mistake to spare so many. But he was
a soldier, and did not duly weigh the claims of agriculture.

The choice was open to Germany; Germany chose, and let the Armenian
massacres go on. But she was in a difficulty. What if the Turkish
Government retorted (perhaps it did so retort), 'You are not consistent.
Why do you mind about the slaughter of a few Armenians? What about
Belgium and your atrocities there?'

And all the ingenuity of the Wilhelmstrasse would not be able to find an
answer to that.

I do not say that Germany wanted the massacres, for she did not. She
wanted more agricultural labour, and I think that, if only for that
reason, she deprecated them. But she allowed them to go on when it was
in her power to stop them, and all the perfumes of Arabia will not wash
clean her hand from that stinking horror.

Here, then, are some of the problems which those who, at the end of the
war, will have to deal with the problem of Turkey must tackle. It is
just as well to recognise that at the present moment Turkey is virtually
and actually a German colony, and the most valuable colony that Germany
has ever had. It will not be enough to limit, or rather abolish, the
supremacy of Turkey over aliens and martyrised peoples; it will be
necessary first to abolish the supremacy of Germany over Turkey. To do
this the victory of our Allied Nations must be complete, and Germany's
octopus envelopment of Turkish industries severed. Otherwise we shall
immediately be confronted with a Germany that already reaches as far as
Mesopotamia. That is done now; and that, before there can come any
permanent peace for Europe, must be undone. Nothing less than the
complete release of that sucker and tentacle embrace will suffice.


NOTE

As throwing a sidelight on the German complicity in the Armenian
massacres, the following is of interest. It is known that when
Metternich succeeded Wangenheim as German Ambassador in Constantinople,
he brought with him a speech, written in Berlin, which, by the Kaiser's
orders, he was to read when presenting his credentials to the Sultan.
This contained a sentence which implied that Germany had been unable to
stop the Armenian massacres. Talaat refused to allow the speech to be
read, obviously because it threw the responsibility of the massacres on
to the Turks, whereas the accepted opinion in Turkey was that they took
place with the connivance and even at the instigation of the Germans.
Eventually a compromise was arrived at, and the speech _in toto_ was
read privately, the part referring to the Armenian massacre not being
published.... It is a pity that Germany is always found out....



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter VI_


'THY KINGDOM IS DIVIDED'

Let us commit the crime of _lèse-majesté_, and assume (though the
Emperor Wilhelm II. has repeatedly announced the contrary) that Germany
is not at the conclusion of the European War to find herself in
possession of the world. She has prepared her plans in anticipation of
the auspicious event; in fact she has had a most interesting map of
Europe produced which, except by its general shape, is scarcely
recognisable. The printing of it, it is true, was a little premature,
for it shows what Europe was to have been like in 1916, and the
apportionments are not borne out by facts. But assuming that there is
some radical error about it all from her point of view, and assuming
that there will not be either a conclusive peace favourable to Prussian
interests, or even an inconclusive peace, but one in which the Allies
will be able to dictate and enforce their own terms, the magnitude of
the problems that will await their decision may well appal the most
ingenious of their statesmen. And of all those problems none, it is safe
to prophesy, will be found more difficult of solution than that which
will deal with the future of the corrupt and barbarous Government which
has for centuries made hell of the Ottoman Empire. We know more or less
what will happen to Alsace and Lorraine, to Belgium, to the Trentino,
because in those cases the claims of one or other of our Allies to
demand a particular settlement are quite certain to be agreed to by
those not so immediately and vitally concerned. But in the Balkans these
problems will be more complicated because of conflicting interests, and
most complicated of all will they be in Turkey. One thing, however, is
certain, that there can be no going back to the conditions that existed
there before the war.

Ever since the Osmanlis came out of remoter Asia into the Nearer East
and into Europe, the government of their Empire has gone from bad to
worse. In the early days, as we have seen, their policy was to absorb
the strength of their subject peoples by incorporating the youth of them
into the Turkish army, by giving them Turkish wives, and by converting
them to Mohammedanism. Such was the foundation of the Empire and such
its growth. But having absorbed their strength, the Sultan's Government
neglected them until they milked them again. They were allowed to
prosper if they could: all that was demanded of them was a toll of their
strength. They were cattle, and for the right to graze on Turkish lands
they paid back a pail of their milk of manhood. But an empire founded on
such principles contains within it active and prolific seeds of decay,
and, as we have seen, more stringent measures had to be resorted to in
order to preserve the supremacy of the ruling people. Instead of
absorbing their strength, Abdul Hamid hit upon the new method of killing
them, so that the Turks should still maintain their domination. And the
policy set on foot by him was developed but a few years ago into a
scheme of slaughter, which in atrocity has far surpassed the killings of
Attila, of whom the Nationalist poet sings, or even the designs of the
deposed Sultan. The Armenian nation, with the exception of such part of
it as has escaped into Russian territory, has been exterminated, and
similar measures have been planned and indeed begun, against the Greeks,
the Arabs, and the Jews.

In consequence of this, in consequence also of the European War, the
policy of the Balance of Power as regards Turkey has been at length
abandoned. The Allies have definitely declared in their joint note to
President Wilson their aims in the war, and for those they have pledged
themselves to fight until final and complete victory wreathes their
arms. Among these aims are:--

(1) The liberation of the peoples who now lie beneath the murderous
tyranny of the Turks.

(2) The expulsion from Europe of the Ottoman Empire, which has proved
itself so radically alien to Western civilisation.

For a century that most inharmonious of orchestras called the Concert
of Europe has, owing to the exigencies of the Balance of Power, kept
Turkey together, and in particular has maintained the centre of its
government at Constantinople simply because the Balance of Power would
be upset if anybody else held the key of the straits that separate
Russia from the Mediterranean. England, above all others, was
instrumental in preserving that precarious Balance, and England now must
confess the utter failure of her policy there throughout a century. It
is humiliating to acknowledge the complete collapse of that which for so
many decades has been the keystone of our ruling with regard to our
Eastern Empire, but the arch has collapsed; Germany pulled the keystone
out, and all our efforts to exclude Russia from free access to the
Mediterranean have only resulted in letting Germany in. To-day she holds
Constantinople, and the bitter pill must be swallowed. The situation, as
it stands at this moment, is infinitely worse than it could have been
for a century back, if at any moment during those hundred years we had
done what we always ought to have done, and declared that the
anachronism of Turkey being in Europe was more intolerable than anything
that could happen in consequence of her expulsion. But we have
acknowledged that now. We have also acknowledged the even greater
anachronism of Turkey being allowed to dispose of the destinies of any
of those peoples who inhabit the territories of the Ottoman Empire, for
the Allies, in their joint Note, have declared that the remedy of these
two monstrous abuses forms an essential part of their aim in the war,
which in costliness of life and of treasure has already far exceeded any
cataclysm that could have come to Europe through its doing its clear and
Christian duty with regard to Turkey during the preceding hundred years.
And among the benefits which eventually mankind will reap in the fields
that have been sown by the blood of the slain will be the fact that the
Confusion of Europe will have accomplished a task which the Concert of
Europe was too craven of consequences to undertake; and Constantinople
and the subject peoples of the Turks will have passed from the yoke of
that murderous tyranny for ever.

We will take these two avowed aims of the Allies in order, and first try
to draw (though with diffident pencil) some sketch of what will be the
confines of the Ottoman Empire, when we pluck the fruits of the great
crusade against the barbarism of Turkey and of Germany. It is quite
useless to attempt to keep the map as it was, and peg out claims within
the Empire where we shall proclaim that Arabs and Greeks and Armenians
shall live in peace, for it is exactly that plan which has formed a
century's failure. At the International Congress of Berlin, for
instance, a solemn pact was entered into by Turkey for the reform of the
Armenian vilayets. She carried out her promise by slaughtering every
Armenian male, and outraging every Armenian woman who inhabited them.
The _soi-disant_ protectorate of Crete was not a whit more successful in
securing for the Cretans a tolerable existence, and the Allies had to
bring it to an end twenty years ago, and free them from the execrable
yoke; while finally the repudiation by Turkey of the Capitulations,
which provided some sort of guarantee for the safety of foreign peoples
in Turkey, has shown us, if further proof was needed, the value of
covenants with the Osmanli. It must be rendered impossible for Turkey to
repeat such outrages: the soil where her alien peoples dwell must be
hers no more, and any Turkish aggression on that soil must be, _ipso
facto_, an act of war against the European Power under the protection of
whom such a province is placed.

The difficulty of this part of the problem is not so great as might at
first appear. We do not, when we come to look at it in detail, find such
a conflict of interests as would seem to face us on a general view. Even
the precarious Balance of Power was not upset by a quantity of similar
adjustments made by the Concert of Europe during the last hundred years.
The Powers freed Serbia, giving Turkey first a suzerainty over her, and
finally abolishing that: they freed Bulgaria, they freed Greece, Eastern
Rumelia, Macedonia, Albania. But, as by some strange lapse of humanity,
they always regarded the subject peoples of Turkey in Asia as more
peculiarly Turkish, as if at the Bosporus a new moral geography began,
and massacre in Asia was comparatively venial as compared with massacre
in Europe. But now the Allies have said that there must be no more
massacres in Asia, nor any possibility of them. To secure this, it will
be necessary to sever from Turkey the lands where the alien peoples
dwell, and form autonymous provinces under the protectorate of one or
other of the allied nations. In most cases we shall find that there is a
protecting Power more or less clearly indicated, whose sphere of
interest is obviously concerned with one or other of these new and
independent provinces.

The alien race which for the last thirty years has suffered the most
atrociously from Turkish inhumanity is that of the Armenians, and it is
fitting to begin our belated campaign of liberation with it. If the
reader will turn to the map at the end of this book, he will see that
the district marked Armenia lies at the north-west corner of the old
Ottoman Empire, and extends across its frontiers into Russian
Trans-Caucasia. That indicates the district which once was peopled by
Armenians. To-day, owing to the various Armenian massacres, the latest
of which, described in another chapter, was by far the most appalling,
such part of Armenia as lies in the Ottoman Empire is practically, and
probably absolutely, depopulated of its Armenian inhabitants. Such as
survive, apart from the women whose lives were spared on their
professing Islamism and entering Turkish harems, have escaped beyond the
Russian frontier, and are believed to number about a quarter of a
million. In the meantime their homes have partly been destroyed and
partly occupied by mouhadjirs from Thrace, and by the Kurds who were
largely instrumental in butchering them. Their lands have been
appropriated haphazardly, by, any who laid hands on them.

Here the problem is of no great difficulty. The robber-tenants must be
evicted, and the remnant of the Armenians repatriated. Without
exception they escaped into Trans-Caucasia from villages and districts
near the frontier, else they could never have escaped from the pursuing
Turks and Kurds. Naturally, this remnant of a people will not nearly
suffice to fill their entire province, but in order to satisfy the
claims of justice at all adequately, the whole district of Armenia, as
Armenia was known before its people were exterminated, must be amputated
by a clean cut out of the Ottoman Empire and placed, in an autonomous
condition in a new protected province, which will include all the
vilayets of Armenia.

There is no doubt about a prosperous future for Armenia if this is done,
and to do less than this would be to fail signally as regards the solemn
promise made by the Allies when they stated to President Wilson their
aims in the war. The Armenians have ever been a thrifty and industrious
people, possessed of an inherent vitality which has withstood centuries
of fiendish oppression. With facilities given them for their
re-settlement, and with foreign protection to establish them, they will,
beyond question, more than hold their own against the Kurds. As a
nation they are, as we have seen, partly agricultural in their pursuits;
but a considerable proportion of them (and these the more intelligent)
are men of business, merchants, doctors, educationalists, and gravitate
to towns. Constantinople, as we shall see, will be open to them again,
where lately they numbered nearly as many as the entire remnant of their
nation numbers now; so, too, will be the cities of Syria, of Palestine,
and of Mesopotamia in the New Turkey which we are attempting to sketch.
They will probably not care to settle in the towns and districts that
will remain in the hands of their late oppressors and murderers.

In the work of their repatriation none will be more eager to help than
the American missionaries, who, at the time of the last massacre, as so
often before, showed themselves so nobly disregardant of all personal
danger and risk in doing their utmost for their murdered flock, and who
have explicitly declared their intention of resuming their work. With
regard to the eviction of Kurds that will be necessary, it must be
remembered that the Kurd is a trespasser on the plains and towns of
Armenia, and properly belongs to the mountains from which he was
encouraged to descend by the Turks for purposes of massacre. Out of
those towns and plains he must go, either into the mountains of Armenia
from whence he came, or over the frontier of Armenia into the New Turkey
presently to be defined. He must, in fact, be deported, though not in
the manner of the deportations at which he himself so often assisted.

The Armenians who will thus be reinstated within the boundaries of their
own territory, will be practically penniless and without any of the
means or paraphernalia of life, and the necessary outlay on supplies for
them, and the cost of their rehabilitation would naturally fall on the
protecting Power. They will, however, be free from the taxes they have
hitherto paid to the Turks, and it should not be difficult for them by
means of taxes far less oppressive, to pay an adequate interest on the
moneys expended on them. These would thus take the form of a very small
loan, the whole of which could easily be repaid by the Armenians in the
course of a generation or so. Once back on their own soil, and free from
Turkish tyranny and the possibility of it, they are bound to prosper,
even as they have prospered hitherto in spite of oppressions and
massacres up till the year 1915, when, as we have seen, the liberal and
progressive Nationalists organised and executed the extermination from
which so few escaped.

It is hardly necessary to point out who the protecting Power would be in
the case of the repatriated Armenians, for none but Russia is either
desirable or possible. With one side along the Russian frontier of
Trans-Caucasia, the New Armenia necessarily falls into the sphere of
Russian influence.

It has been suggested that not only Armenia proper, but part of Cilicia
should also become a district of the repatriated Armenians, with an
outlet to the sea. But while it is true that complete compensation would
demand this, since Zeitun and other districts in Cilicia were almost
pure Armenian settlements, I cannot think that such a restoration is
desirable. For, in the first place, the extermination of the Zeitunlis
(as carried out by Jemal the Great) was practically complete. All the
men were slaughtered, and it does not seem likely that any of the women
and girls who were deported reached the 'agricultural colony' of
Deir-el-Zor in the Arabian desert. It is therefore difficult to see of
whom the repatriation would consist. In the second place, the New
Armenia will be for several generations to come of an area more than
ample for all the Armenians who have survived the flight into Russia,
and it obviously will give them the best chance of corporate prosperity,
if the whole of them are repatriated in a compact body rather than that
a portion of them should be formed into a mere patch severed from their
countrymen by so large a distance. Another sphere of influence also will
be operating near the borders of Cilicia, and to place the Armenians
under two protecting Powers would have serious disadvantages. In
addition they never were a sea-going people, and I cannot see what
object would be served by giving them a coast-board. In any case, if a
coast-board was found necessary, the most convenient would be the
coast-board of the Black Sea, lying adjacent to their main territory.

If it seems clear that for New Armenia the proper protecting Power is
Russia, it is no less clear that for the freed inhabitants of New Syria,
Arabs and Greeks alike, the proper protecting Power is France.
Historically France's connection with Syria dates from the time of the
Crusades in 1099; it has never been severed, and of late years the ties
between the two countries have been both strengthened and multiplied.
The Treaties of Paris, of London, of San Stefano, and of Berlin have all
recognised the affiliation; so, too, from an ecclesiastical standpoint,
have the encyclicals of Leo XIII. in 1888 and 1898. Similarly, it was
France who intervened in the Syrian massacres of 1845, who landed troops
for the protection of the Maronites in 1860, and established a
protectorate of the Lebanon there a few years later, which lasted up
till the outbreak of the European War. France was the largest holder, as
she was also the constructor, of Syrian railways, and the harbour of
Beirut, without doubt destined to be one of the most flourishing ports
of the Eastern Mediterranean, was also a French enterprise. And perhaps
more important than all these, as a link between Syria and France, has
been the educational penetration which France has effected there. What
the American missionaries did for Armenia, France has done for Syria,
and according to a recent estimate, of the 65,000 children who attended
European schools throughout Syria, not less than 40,000 attended French
schools. When we consider that that proportion has been maintained for
many years in Syria, it can be estimated how strong the intellectual
bond between the Syrian and the French now is. The French language,
similarly, is talked everywhere: it is as current as is modern Greek in
ports of the Levant.

In virtue of such claims few, if any, would dispute the title of France
to be the protecting Power in the case of Syria. Here there will not
be, as was the case with the Armenians, any work of repatriation to be
done. Such devastation and depopulation as has been wrought by Jemal the
Great, with hunger and disease to help him, was wrought on the spot,
and, though it will take many years to heal the wounds inflicted by that
barbaric plagiarist of Potsdam, it is exactly the deft and practical
sympathy of the French with the race they have so long tended, which
will most speedily bring back health to the Syrians.

It will be with regard to the geographical limits of a French
protectorate that most difficulty is likely to be experienced; there
will also be points claiming careful solution, as will be seen later,
with regard to railway control. Northwards and eastwards the natural
delimitations seem clear enough: northwards French Syria would terminate
with, and include, the province of Aleppo, eastwards the Syrian desert
marks its practical limits, the technical limit being supplied by the
course of the Euphrates. But southwards there is no such natural line of
demarcation; the Arab occupation stretches right down till it reaches
the Hedjaz, which already has thrown off the Turkish yoke and, under the
Shereef of Mecca, declared its independence. Inset into this long strip
of territory lies Palestine.

Now to make one single French protectorate over this very considerable
territory seems at first sight a large order, but the objections to any
other course are many and insuperable. Should the line of French
influence be drawn farther north than the Hedjaz, under what protection
is the intervening territory to be left? At present it is Turkish, but
inhabited by Arabs, and, unless the Allies revoke the fulness of their
declaration not to leave alien peoples under the 'murderous tyranny' of
the Turks, Turkish it cannot remain. But both by geographical situation
and by racial interest, it belongs to French-protected Syria, and there
seems no answer to the question as to what sphere of influence it comes
under if not under the French. Just as properly, if we take this view of
the question, the Sinaitic Peninsula, largely desert, would fall to
Egypt, the French protectorate being defined westwards at Akabah. That
the Eastern side of the Gulf of Suez should not be under the same
control as the Western has always been an anomaly, admitted even by the
sternest opponents of the status of Egypt; and in the absence of any
canal corresponding to that of Suez, and debouching into the Red Sea
_via_ the Gulf of Akabah, the most advanced champion of French influence
in the Near East would see no objection to this rectified frontier.
There is no question of competition involved. The proposed change is but
a rational rectification of the present status.

This scheme of delimitation leaves Palestine inset into the French
protectorate of Syria, and it is difficult to see to whom the
protectorate of Palestine should be properly assigned except to France.
Italy has no expansive ambitions in that sector of the Mediterranean;
England's national sphere of influence in this partition of the
districts now occupied by alien peoples in the Ottoman Empire lies
obviously elsewhere; and since the Jews, who settled in ever-increasing
numbers in Palestine before the war, and will assuredly continue to
settle there again, come and will come as refugees from the Russian
Pale, it would be clearly inadvisable to assign to Russia the
protectorate of her own refugees. The only other alternative would be to
create an independent Palestine for the Jews, and the reasons against
that are overwhelming. It would be merely playing into the hands of
Germany to make such an arrangement. For the last thirty years Germany
has watched with personal and special interest this immigration of Jews
into Palestine, seeing in it not so much a Jewish but a German
expansion. Indeed, when, in the spring of this year, as we have noticed,
a massacre and deportation of Jews was planned and begun by Jemal,
Germany so far reversed her usual attitude towards massacres in general,
and her expressed determination never to interfere in Turkey's internal
affairs, as to lodge a peremptory protest, and of course got the
persecution instantly stopped. Her reason was that Pan-Turkish 'ideals'
(the equivalent for the massacre of alien people) had no sort of
meaning in Palestine. But the Pan-Germanic ideals had a great deal of
meaning in Palestine, as Dr. Davis Treitsch _(Die Jüden der Türkei)_
very clearly states. For 'as a result of the war,' he tells us, 'there
will be an emigration of East-European Jews on an unprecedented scale
 ... the disposal of the East European Jews will be a problem for Germany
(and) Germans will be only too glad to find a way out in the emigration
of those Jews to Turkey, a solution extraordinarily favourable to the
interests of all _three [sic]_ parties concerned. There are grounds for
talking of a German protectorate over the whole of Jewry.'

Now this is explicit enough; Germany clearly contemplated a protectorate
over Palestine, and if the Jews who are German-speaking Jews are left
independent, there is nothing more certain than that, after the war, her
penetration of Palestine will instantly begin. These colonists are, and
will be, in want of funds for the development and increase of their
cultivated territories, and when we consider the names of the prominent
financiers in the Central Empires, Mendelssohn, Hirsch, Goldsmid,
Bleichroeder, Speyer, to name only a few, we cannot be in much doubt as
to the quarter from which that financial assistance will be forthcoming,
on extremely favourable terms. It is safe to prophesy that, if Palestine
is given independence without protectorate, in three years from the end
of the war it will be under not only a protectorate, but a despotism as
complete as ever ruled either Turkey or Prussia. True it is that the
Zionist movement will offer, even as it has offered in the past, a
strenuous opposition to Germanisation, but it would be crediting it with
an inconceivable vitality to imagine that it will be able to resist the
blandishments that Germany is certainly prepared to shower on it. For
great as is the progress the Jewish settlers made in Palestine during
the twenty or twenty-five years before the war, and strong as is the
spirit of Zionism, the emigrants do not as yet number more than about
120,000, nor have they under crops more than ten per cent. of the
cultivated land of Palestine. They are as yet but settlers, and their
work is before them. If left without a protectorate they will not be
without a protectorate long, but not such an one as the Allies desire. A
protectorate there must be, and no reason is really of weight against
that protectorate being French. Let that, then, extend from the
Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from Alexandretta to where the
Hedjaz already prospers in its self-proclaimed independence. It will be
completely severed from Turkey by tracts under protection of one or
other of the Allied Powers, any expedition through which would be an act
of war.

The Euphrates, then, will form the eastern boundary of the French
protectorate: it will also, it is hoped, form the western boundary of
the English protectorate, which we know as Mesopotamia. Just as no other
Power has any real claim to Armenia, except Russia, just as Syria can
fall to no other than France, it seems equally clear that the proper
sphere of English influence is in this plain that stretches southwards
from the semicircle of hills where the two great rivers approach each
other near Diarbekr to the head of the Persian Gulf. As Germany very
well knows, it is intimately concerned with our safe tenure of India,
and the hold the Germans hoped to gain over it, and have for ever lost,
by their possession of the Bagdad Railway was vital to their dreams of
world-conquest. Equally vital to England was it that Germany should
never get it. But its importance to us as a land-route to India is by no
means the only reason why an English sphere of influence is indicated
here: it is the possibilities it harbours, which, as far as can be seen,
England is the only Power capable of developing, that cause us to put in
a claim for its protectorate which none of our Allies will dispute.

To restore Mesopotamia to the rank it has held, and to the rank it still
might hold among the productive districts of the East, there is needed a
huge capital for outlay, and a huge population of workers. Even Germany,
in her nightmare of world-dominion, from which she shall be soon dragged
screaming-awake, never formulated a scheme for the restoration of
Southern Mesopotamia to its productive pre-eminence, and never so much
as contemplated it, except as an object that would be possible of
realisation after the Empire of India had fallen over-ripe into her
pelican mouth. Therein she was perfectly right--she usually is right in
these dreams of empire in so far as they are empirical--for she seems
dimly to have conjectured in these methodical visions, that India was
the key to unlock Southern Mesopotamia. But nowhere can I find that she
guessed it: I only guess that she guessed it.

This problem of capital outlay and of the necessary man-power for work
and restoration applies exclusively to Southern Mesopotamia, which we
may roughly define as the district stretching from Samara on the Tigris
and Hit on the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf. Northern Mesopotamia, as
Dr. Rohrbach points out in his _Bagdadbahn_, needs only the guarantee of
security of life and property to induce the Kurds to descend from the
hills and the Bedouin Arabs to settle down there; and by degrees, under
a protectorate that insures them against massacre and confiscation of
property, there seems no doubt that the area of cultivation will spread
and something of the ancient prosperity return. The land is immensely
fertile: it is only Ottoman misrule, which here, as everywhere else, has
left desolation in the place of prosperity and death in place of life.
The rainfall is adequate, the climate suitable to those who will
naturally spread there: it needs only freedom from the murderous tyranny
that has bled it for centuries past, to guarantee its future prosperity.

But Southern Mesopotamia is a totally different proposition. The land
lies low between the rivers, and, though of unparalleled fertility,
yields under present conditions but a precarious livelihood to its
sparse population. For nine months of the year it is a desert, for three
months when its rivers are in flood, a swamp. Once, as we all know, it
was the very heart of civilisation, and from its arteries flowed out the
life-blood of the world. Rainfall was scarcely existent, any more than
it is existent in Southern or Upper Egypt; but in the days of Babylon
the Great there were true rulers and men of wisdom over these
desiccated regions, who saw that every drop of water in the river, that
now pours senselessly through swamp and desert into the sea, was a grain
of corn or a stalk of cotton. They dug canals, they made reservoirs, and
harnessed like some noble horse of the gods the torrents that now gallop
unbridled through dreary deserts. The black land, the Sawad, was then
the green land of waving corn, where three crops were annually harvested
and the average yield was two hundredfold of the seed sown. The wheat
and barley, so Herodotus tells us, were a palm-breadth long in the
blade, and millet and sesame grew like trees. And in these details the
revered Father of Lies seems to have spoken less than the truth, for the
statistics we get elsewhere more than bear out his accounts of its
amazing fertility. From its wealth before his day had arisen the might
of Babylon, and for centuries later, while the canals still regulated
the water supply, it remained the granary of the world. More than a
thousand years after Herodotus there were over 12,500,000 acres in
cultivation, and the husbandmen thereof with the dwellers in its cities
numbered 5,000,000 men. Then came the Arab invasion, which was bad
enough, but colossally worse was the invasion of the Osmanli. Truly 'a
fruitful land maketh He barren, for the wickedness of them that dwell
therein.'

But the potentiality for production of that great alluvial plain is not
diminished; the Turks could not dispose of that by massacre, as a means
of weakening the strength of their subject peoples. It is still there,
ready to respond to the spell of the waters of Tigris and Euphrates,
which once, when handled and controlled, caused it to be the Garden of
the Lord.

Not long before the present European War Sir William Willcocks, under
whose guidance the great modern irrigation works at Assouan were
constructed, was appointed adviser to the Ottoman Ministry of Public
Works, and his report on the Irrigation of Mesopotamia was issued in
1911. He tells us that the whole of this delta of the Sawad is capable
of easy levelling and reclamation. It would naturally be a gigantic
scheme, and he takes as a basis to start on the question of the
refertilisation of 4,000,000 acres. Into the details of it we need not
go, but his conclusions, calculated on a thoroughly conservative basis,
give the following results. He proposes to restore, of course with
modern technical improvements, the old system of canals, and, allowing
for interest on loans, estimates the total expense at £26,000,000 (or
the cost of the war for about three days). On this the annual value of
the crops would pay 31 per cent. The figures need no enlargement in
detail and no comment.

But now comes the difficulty: the construction of the irrigation works
is easy, the profits are safe so long as the Tigris and 'the ancient
river,' the river Euphrates, run their course. But all the irrigation
works in the world will not raise a penny for the investor or a grain
for the miller unless there are men to sow and gather the crops. A
million are necessary: where are they to come from? And the answer is
'Egypt and India.'

This is precisely why the protectorate of Mesopotamia and its future
must be in English hands, why no other country can undertake it with
hope of success. Even the ingenious Dr. Rohrbach, whose _Bagdadbahn_ I
have quoted before, is forced to acknowledge that there is no solution
to the man-power problem except by the 'introduction of Mohammedans from
other countries where the climatic conditions of Irak prevail.' It is
true that he starts upon the assumption that Mesopotamia will remain
Turkish (under a German protectorate, as we read between his lines),
with which we must be permitted to disagree, but his conclusion is quite
correct. Even under German protection he realises that citizens of
well-governed states will not flock by the million to put themselves
under Turkish control, and he dismisses as inadequate the numbers of
Syrians, Arabs, Armenians and Jews who can be transported to Mesopotamia
from inside the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. Their numbers are even
more inadequate since the Armenian massacres permitted by Dr. Rohrbach's
Fatherland, and even he cannot picture a million of his own countrymen
forsaking the beer-gardens for summers in the Sawad. He does not
positively state our answer, that it is from India and Egypt that the
man-power will be supplied, but, as mentioned before, I think he guesses
it. His prophetic gifts are not convincing enough to himself to let him
state the glorious future, when India and Egypt shall become German, but
that, I feel sure, is his vision: 'he sees it, but not now; he beholds
it, but not nigh.'

But we can give the answer which he does not quite like to state, since
for the English it is clearly more easily realisable. The native labour
we can supply from Egypt and India, especially India, will furnish a
million labourers, and, if we wished, two millions without difficulty.
But no Power except England can furnish it. And that, I submit, is the
solution of the problem of Mesopotamia; a solution well within the power
of English enterprise to attain in the hands of such men as have already
bridled the Nile, the water-horsemen of the world. And I cannot do
better, in trying to convey the spirit in which this work of
reclamation should be undertaken, than by quoting some very noble words
from Sir William Willcocks's report, in which he speaks of the
desolation that has come to this garden of fruitfulness through wicked
stewardship.

'The last voyage I made before coming to this country was up the Nile
from Khartoum to the Equatorial lakes. In this most desperate and
forbidding region I was filled with pride to think I belonged to a race
whose sons, even in this inhospitable waste of waters, were struggling
in the face of a thousand discouragements to introduce new forest trees
and new agricultural products and ameliorate in some degree the
conditions of life of the naked and miserable inhabitants. How should I
have felt, if in traversing the deserts and swamps which to-day
represent what was the richest and most famous tract in the world, I had
thought that I was the scion of a race in whose hands God has placed,
for hundreds of years, the destinies of this great country, and that my
countrymen could give no better account of their stewardship than the
exhibition of two mighty rivers flowing between deserts to waste
themselves in the sea for nine months of the year, and desolating
everything in their way for the remaining three? No effort that Turkey
can make can be too great to roll away the reproach of those parched and
weary lands, whose cry ascends to heaven.'

But the harvests of Mesopotamia, when gathered in, must needs be
transported, and for that railways are necessary. Water transport would,
of course, carry them easily down to the Persian Gulf, but the supply
will be mainly, if not wholly, wanted westwards, and it must be conveyed
to the shores of the Mediterranean. Already, in preparation for
world-conquest, Germany has proceeded far with her construction of the
Bagdad Railway, which was intended, after her absorption of Turkey, to
link up Berlin with her next Oriental objective, namely, India; the
Taurus has been tunnelled, the Euphrates bridged, and but for a hiatus
of a few miles the line is practically complete from Constantinople into
Northern Mesopotamia. But its route was chosen for German strategic
reasons, for the linking up of Berlin with Constantinople and Bagdad.
This, it may be permitted to say, does not form part of the schemes of
the Allies: it is to snap rather than weld such links that they have
taken the field. What we want in the matter of railway transport for the
harvests of Mesopotamia, and generally for our Eastern communications,
is not a line that passes through Turkish and German soil, and
terminates at Berlin, but one which, after the directest possible
land-route, reaches the Mediterranean and terminates in suitable ports.

The reader therefore is requested to _unthink_ the present Bagdad
Railway altogether, to 'scrap' it in his mind, as it will be probably
scrapped on the map, since it is utterly useless for our purposes. For
taking Aleppo as (roughly) the half-way house in the existent line, we
find that the western half of it lies in Asia Minor, in territory which,
as we shall see, will remain Turkish, while the eastern half of it makes
a long detour instead of striking directly for Bagdad. After our
experience with Turkey there is nothing less conceivable than that we
should allow a single mile of our new Mesopotamia Railway to run
through the territory of the Turks, for who knows that she might not
(say when harvests are ripe and ready for delivery), on any arbitrary
pretext, close or destroy the line, even as before now she has closed
the Dardanelles? Besides, for our purposes, a line that goes to
Constantinople (in whosoever hands Constantinople may be after the war)
is out of the way and altogether unsuitable. Eastwards, again, from
Aleppo the present Bagdad line is circuitous and indirect, admirably
adapted to the German purposes for which it was constructed, but utterly
unadapted to ours.

Let us then 'scrap' the existent Bagdad route altogether, and consider
not what the Germans want, but what we want, which, as has been already
stated, is a direct land communication with suitable Mediterranean
ports. Of those there are three obvious ones, Alexandretta, Tripoli, and
Beirut, of which Beirut is a long way the first in importance and
potentiality of increased importance. Two possible routes therefore
would seem to suggest themselves, one running from Alexandretta to
Aleppo, and thence following pretty closely the course of the Euphrates
till it reaches Hit, and from there striking directly to Bagdad. Aleppo
is already connected with Tripoli and El Mina (the actual port of
Tripoli), and also with Beirut by branch lines making a junction at
Homs, and thus all those ports will be brought together on one system.
But if the reader will glance at the map, he will see that by far the
most direct communication with Bagdad would be to run the railway direct
from there to Homs, thus making Homs rather than Aleppo the central
junction of the system. From Homs lines would run northward to Aleppo,
due west to Tripoli, and south-west to Beirut. Either of those routes,
in any case, would be infinitely preferable to the long loop which the
present Bagdad Railway traverses, as planned on German lines and for
German requirements. The new railway will thus lie exclusively in
territory under French and English protectorate, and will probably be
their joint enterprise and property.

Prospectively then, as regards the fulfilment of the solemn pledge of
the Allies to liberate subject peoples from the murderous tyranny of the
Turks, we have discussed the future of Armenia, of Syria, of Palestine,
and of Mesopotamia. All those are well defined districts, and the
demarcation of their respective protectorates should not present great
difficulties. But there remains, before we pass on to the problem of
Constantinople, a further district less easily defined, largely
inhabited by European peoples whose liberty in the future we are pledged
to secure. This is the Mediterranean coastline to the south and west of
Asia Minor, the towns of which have been so extensively peopled and made
prosperous by Greeks and Italians. Similarly among those of our European
Allies who are desirous and capable of Eastern expansion, there remains
one, Italy, whose rights to partake in this Turkish partition we have
not yet considered. In the shifting kaleidoscope of national
war-politics, it seems at the moment of writing by no means impossible
that Greece, having at length got rid of a treacherous and unstable
Reuben of a monarch, may redeem her pledge to Serbia, in which case, no
doubt, she too would state the terms of her desired and legitimate
expansion. But these would more reasonably be concerned with the
redistribution of the Balkan Peninsula, which does not come within the
scope of this book, and we may prophesy without fear of invoking the
Nemesis that so closely dogs the heels of seers, that Italy will
legitimately claim (or perhaps has already claimed) the protectorate of
this valuable littoral. Certain it is that, when peace returns, the
large population of Greeks and Italians once resident (and soon again to
be) on these coasts, must be given the liberty and security which they
will never enjoy so long as they remain in Turkish hands, and the hands
that have earned the right to be protecting Power are assuredly Italian.
Along the south coast a line including the Taurus range would seem to
suggest a natural frontier inland from Adana on the east to the
south-west corner of Asia Minor, and from there a similar strip would
pass up the coast as far as, and inclusive of, Smyrna. That at least
Italy has every right to expect, and there seems no great fear that
among the International Councils there will arise a dissentient voice.
The inland boundary on the west coast is the difficult section of this
delimitation, and into the details of that it would be both rash and
inexpedient to enter.


II

We pass, then, to the second avowed object of the Allies, namely, the
expulsion from Europe of the Ottoman rule, which has proved itself so
radically alien to Western civilisation. This must be taken to include
not only the expulsion of the Turkish control from Thrace and
Constantinople, but from the eastern side as well of the Bosporus, the
Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles. At no future time must Turkey be in
a position to command even partially a single yard of that momentous
channel through which alone our Allies, Russia and Rumania, have access
to the Mediterranean. Though this was not formally stated in the Allies'
reply to President Wilson, it is clearly part and parcel of the object
in view, for while the Ottoman Empire retains the smallest control on
either side of either of the Straits, she is so far able to interfere in
European concerns, in which she must never more have a hand. The east
shore, then, of the Straits and the Sea of Marmora, as well as the west,
must be under the control of a Power, or a group of Powers, not alien to
Western civilisation. Germany and her allies therefore, no less than
Turkey, must be excluded from the guardianship of the Straits.

As we have had previous occasion to note, this ejection of the Turkish
power from Constantinople is the absolute reversal of European and, in
especial, of English policy for the last hundred years. No crime that
the Ottoman Government could commit, no act of barbarism, would ever
persuade us to do away with the anachronism of Turkey's existence in
Europe; but at last the seismic convulsion of the war has knocked this
policy into a heap of disjected ruins, and it can never be rebuilt again
on the old lines. For among our other avowed objects in prosecuting the
war to its victorious end, we have pledged ourselves to uphold the
right which all peoples, whether small or great, have to the enjoyment
of full security and free economic development. But while Turkey can
close the Straits at her own arbitrary will, or at the bidding of a
superior and malevolent Power, and block the passage of ships from
Russian and Rumanian ports into the Mediterranean, the economic
development of both these countries is seriously menaced. Three times
within the last six years has she exercised that right, and while she
holds the shores of the Straits she can at any moment blockade all
southern Russian ports. That such power should be in the hands of any
nation is highly undesirable; that it should be in the hands of a
corrupt despotism like Turkey, especially now that Germany, as things
stand, can dictate to Turkey when and what she pleases, is a thing
unthinkable by the most improvident of statesmen. Already we have paid
dearly enough for the pusillanimity of a hundred years: it is impossible
that we should ever allow a similar bill to be again presented.
Whatever be the guardianship of the Straits, whoever the holder of
Constantinople, it will not be Turkey.

At the beginning of the war, and indeed till after the revolution in
Russia, it was announced and stated as an axiom that on the conclusion
of peace, Russia should be the door-keeper of what after all is her own
lodge-gate. Subsequently, in the unhappy splits and disintegration of
her Government, it was announced that she favoured peace without
annexation--in other words, that she neither claimed nor desired the
guardianship of Constantinople. But I think we should be utterly wrong
if we regarded that as an expression of the will of the Russian people:
it is far more probable that it was the expression of the will of
Germany, directly inspired by German influence with a view to concluding
a separate peace with Russia. As we have seen, it had its due effect in
Turkey, and Talaat Bey gave vent to pious ejaculations of thanksgiving,
that now all cause of quarrel with Russia was removed, and Turkey and
she could be friends. It is possible that when out of the confused
cries there again rises from Russia the clear call of the people's
voice, we shall find her wishing to set in order her own house before
she projects herself on new missions, but, as far as the manifesto of
'peace without territorial annexation' goes, we shall be wise to regard
it for the present with the profoundest suspicion. It sounds far more
like the tones of the Central European wolf than those of Little Red
Riding Hood's proper grandmother.

But be Russia's decision what it may, the Turk will hold sway no longer
in Thrace or Constantinople, or on the shores of the Straits of the Sea
of Marmora. There is, of course, no question of deporting the whole of
the Turkish population that lives in those regions, nor would it be
desirable, even if it were possible, to realise Gladstone's robust
vision of seeing every Turk, 'bag and baggage,' clear out from the
provinces they have desolated and profaned. But if not under Russia,
then under the joint control of certain of the Allied Powers there will
be a complete reconstruction of the administration of those districts.
The headquarters of the protectorate will doubtless be at
Constantinople, which will be reorganised somewhat on the lines of the
Treaty Port of Shanghai, and will be open to the ships of all nations.
The security of the town must be assured by a military garrison either
of mixed troops of the controlling nations, or possibly by a rotation of
troops drawn from the armies of each in turn. More important even than
this will be the adequate control of the Straits by sea. A naval base
must be formed, which by the gospel of the freedom of the seas (but not
according to St. Goeben and the submarine disciples) will constitute a
patrolling police force of the waters. Whether the system of
fortifications and defences that lately rendered the Dardanelles
impregnable shall be retained or not is a question demanding the most
careful consideration. Some will hold that they should be maintained in
order to insure that none but the guarantors of the freedom of the
Straits shall ever take possession of them: others that they shall be
utterly dismantled and destroyed, so that the closing of the Straits
shall be an impossibility. The matter really turns on the question as to
the extent to which the Allies will have the prudence to cut Germany's
claws when the war is over. It is eminently to be hoped that they will
be cut so short that never again will they be able to show those
chiselled talons beyond her velvet--that sense, in fact, will allow
sentiment no word to say. Unfortunately, there are a great many people
the basis of whose character consists of a washy confidence in the good
intentions of everybody. Most mistakenly they call it Christianity.

Here, then, has been outlined the effect of the Allies' declared aims.
Such territories as Turkey holds in Europe, such control as she
possesses over the free passage of the Straits must pass from her, and
the alien peoples, who for centuries have fainted and bled underneath
her infamous yoke, must be led out of the land of bondage. As we have
seen throughout preceding chapters, it was the fixed policy of the
Ottoman Government to rid itself of their presence, and already it has
gone far in its murderous mission. Indeed the avowed aims of the
Allies, when accomplished, will do that work for her, for the Allies are
determined to remove those peoples from Turkey. The difference of
execution, however, consists in this, that they will not remove Arabs
and Greeks and Italians and Jews, as Turkey has already done with the
Armenians by the simple process of massacres, but by a process no less
simple, namely, of taking out of the territories of the Ottoman Empire
the districts where such peoples dwell. The Allies will accomplish, in
fact, for the Turks that policy of Ottomanisation which was the aim of
Abdul Hamid, and has been the aim of his more murderous successors.
Turkey shall henceforth be for the Turks: she shall no more be in
'danger' from the defenceless nations, who at present exist within her
borders. The Sultan of Turkey, in some year of grace now not far
distant, will find that his Ottomanisation has been done for him, and,
though his realm is curtailed, he will have his rest broken no more by
the thought of Arab risings, nor will he have to devise measures that
will solve the Arab question. Except for a strip along the west and
south coast, all Asia Minor and Anatolia will be his from the Black Sea
to the Mediterranean, but Syria, Armenia, the coast of Asia Minor,
Palestine, and Mesopotamia shall have passed from him. It is no
dismemberment of an Empire that the Allies contemplate, for they cannot
dismember limbs that never belonged to the real trunk. It was a despotic
military control that the Osmanlis had established, they always regarded
their subject peoples as aliens, whom they did not scruple to destroy if
they exhibited symptoms of progress and civilisation. Henceforth the
Turkish Government shall govern Turks, and Turks alone. That for many
years has been its aim, and, by the disastrous dispensation of fate, it
has been largely able to realise its purpose. Now, though by different
methods, the Allies will see thorough accomplishment of it. There will
be no question, of course, of turning out or of deporting Turks who live
in Syria, in Armenia, in Constantinople, for the ways of the Allies are
not those of Talaat and Enver and Jemal the Great. Where to-day Turks
dwell, there shall they continue to dwell, but they must dwell there in
peace in equal liberties and rights with the once-subject peoples whom
the Allies shall have delivered. If they do not like that they can
migrate, not by forced marches and under the guardianship of murderous
Kurds, but in protection and security, to the lands where they can still
enjoy the beneficent sway of their own governors, and be Ottomanised to
the top of their bent. But Syrians and Armenians and Greeks and Jews
will be Ottomanised no longer.

The Turk was always a fighter, disciplined and courageous, and he has
never lost that virtue of valour. But he has been a fighter because he
has always lived under a military despotism which demanded his services,
and it is much to be doubted whether his qualities in this regard will
for the future be exercised as they have been in the past. For the
Turkish armies, in so far as they have consisted of Turks, have been
chiefly, if not wholly, recruited from the peasantry of Anatolia, who,
when not summoned to their country's colours, or ordered to maltreat and
massacre, are quiet, rather indolent folk, content to plough their lands
and reap an exiguous but sufficient harvest. And for their lords and
governors, who, until Prussia assumed command of the Turkish armies,
there will no longer be either the possibility of further conquests as
in the old Osmanli days, or, in less progressive times, the necessity
for securing Ottoman supremacy over the huge ill-knit lands which it
governed. But now, instead of having alien and defenceless tribes within
their borders, tribes forbidden to bear arms and chafing at the Turkish
yoke, they will see free peoples under the protectorates of Powers that
are capable of self-defence and, if necessary, of inflicting punishment.
Russia, France, England, Italy, all allied nations, will be established
in close proximity to the Turkish frontiers, and the New Turkey will be
as powerless for aggression as she will be for defence, should she
provoke attack. But within their borders there may the Osmanlis dwell
secure and undisturbed, so long as they conform to the habits of
civilised people with regard to their neighbours, and it is a question
whether, now that the military despotism which has always misguided the
fortunes of this people, has no possible fields for conquest, and no
need of securing security, the nation will not settle down into the
quiet existence of small neutral countries. Perhaps the last chapter of
its savage and blood-stained history is already almost finished, and in
years to come some little light of progress and of civilisation may be
kindled in the abode where the household gods for centuries have been
cruelty and hate.



_Crescent and Iron Cross, Chapter VII_


THE GRIP OP THE OCTOPUS

It will not be sufficient for the fulfilment of the Allies' aims as
regards Turkey to free from her barbarous control the subject peoples
dwelling within her borders, for Turkey herself has to be delivered from
a domination not less barbaric than her own, which, if allowed to
continue, would soon again be a menace to the peace of the world. We
have seen in a previous chapter how deeply set in her are Germany's
nippers, how closely the octopus-embrace envelops her, and we now have
to consider how those tentacles must be unloosed from their grip, and
what will be the condition of the victim, already bled white, when that
has been done. In the beginning, as we have seen, Germany obtained her
hold by professing a touchingly beautiful and philanthropic desire to
help Turkey to realise her national ideals, and her Pecksniffs, Tekin
Alp and Herr Ernst Marré, were bidden to write parallel histories, the
one describing the aims of the Nationalist party, the other the
benevolent interest which Germany took in them. Occasionally Herr Ernst
Marré could not but remember that he was a German, and permitted us to
see the claws of the cat, without quite letting it out of the bag, but
then he pulled the strings tight again, and only loud comfortable
purrings could be heard, the Prussian musings over the 'liberation' of
Turkey which she was helping to accomplish. But nowadays, so it seems to
me, the strings have been loosened, and the claws and teeth are clearly
visible. It is not so long since Dr. Schnee, Governor of German East
Africa, sent a very illuminating document to Berlin from which I extract
the following:--

'Do you consider it possible to make a regulation prohibiting Islam
altogether? The encouragement of pig-breeding among natives is
recommended by experts as an effective means of stopping the spread of
Islam....'

That seems clear enough, and I can imagine Talaat Bey, with his sword
of honour in his hand, exclaiming with the Oysters in _Alice in
Wonderland_:--

'After such kindness that would be
  A dismal thing to do.'

But I am afraid that Germany is contemplating (as indeed she has always
done) a quantity of dismal things to do, and is now, like the Walrus and
the Carpenter, beginning to let them appear. She has taken the Turkish
oysters out for a nice long walk, and when the war is over she proposes
to sit down and eat them. And did she not also interfere in the affair
of Jewish massacres and declare that 'Pan-Turkish ideals have no sort of
meaning in Palestine'? That must have been almost an unfriendly act from
Turkey's point of view, for it cannot be stated too clearly that part of
the price which Germany paid for Turkey's entry on her side into the
war, was the liberty, as far as Germany was concerned, of managing her
internal affairs, massacres and the rest, as best suited the damnable
doctrines of Ottomanisation. The other Powers could not interfere, for
they failed to force the Dardanelles, and Germany promised not to. That
promise, of course, was binding on Germany for just so long as it suited
her to keep it, and it suited her to keep it, on the whole, during the
Armenian massacres. And in that matter her refusal to interfere is,
among all her crimes, the very flower and felicity of her vileness.

Signs are not wanting that Turkey is beginning to realise the position
in which she has placed herself, namely, that of a bankrupt dependant at
the mercy of a nation to whom that quality is a mere derision. Lately a
quantity of small incidents have occurred, such as disputes over the
ownership of properties financed by Germany and the really melodramatic
depreciation in the German coinage, which unmistakably show the swift
ebb of Turkey's misplaced confidence. More significant perhaps than any
is a transaction that took place in May 1917, when Talaat Bey and Enver
Pasha took the whole of their private fortunes out of the Deutsche Bank
in Constantinople, and invested them in two Swiss banks, namely, the
Banque Nationale de Suisse, and the Banque Fédérale: they drew out also
the whole funds of the Committee of Union and Progress, and similarly
transferred them. This operation was not effected without loss, for in
return for the Turkish £1 they received only thirteen francs. But it is
significant that they preferred to lose over fifty per cent. of their
capital, and have the moiety secure in Switzerland to leaving it in
Constantinople.[1] It is certain therefore that at both ends of the
scale a distrust of German management has begun. A starving population
has wrecked trains loaded with food-stuffs going to Germany, and at the
other end the men with the swords of honour and dishonour deem it wise
to put their money out of reach of the great Prussian cat. That the
Germans themselves are not quite at their ease concerning the security
of their hold may also be conjectured, for they are, as far as possible,
removing Turkish troops from Constantinople, and replacing them with
their own regiments. An instance of this occurred in June 1917, when,
owing to the discontent in the capital, it was found necessary to guard
bridges, residences of Ministers, and Government offices. But instead of
recalling Turkish troops from Galicia to do this, they kept them there
in the manner of hostages, mixed up in German regiments, and sent picked
bodies of German troops to Constantinople. Fresh corps of secret police
have also been formed to suppress popular manifestations. They are
allowed to 'remove' suspects by any means they choose, quite in the old
style of bag and Bosporus, but the organisation of them is German. And
well may the German Government distrust those signs of popular
discontent in a starving population: already the people have awoke to
the fact that the German paper money does not represent its face-value,
and, despite assurances to the contrary, it is at a discount scarcely
credible. Three German £1 notes are held even in Constantinople to be
the equivalent of a gold £1, while in the provinces upwards of five are
asked for, and given, in exchange for one gold pound. It is in vain that
German manifestoes are put forth declaring that all Government offices
will take the notes as an equivalent for gold, for what the people want
is not a traffic with Government offices, but the cash to buy food. Even
more serious is the fact that Austrian and Hungarian directors of banks
will no longer accept these scraps of paper. In vain, too, is it that
the hungry folk see the walls of the 'House of Friendship' rise higher
and higher in Constantinople, for every day they see with starving eyes
the trains loaded with sugar from Konia, and the harvests raised in
Anatolia with German artificial manures guarded by German troops and
rolling westwards to Berlin. According to present estimates the harvest
this year is so vastly more abundant than that of previous years, that
no comparison, as the Minister of Agriculture tells his gratified
Government, is possible. But the poorer classes get no more than the
leavings of it when the armies, which include the German army, have had
their wants supplied. The governing classes, whom it is necessary to
feed, are not yet suffering, for the Germans grant them enough, issuing
rations to such families as are proved adherents of the German-Turkish
combination, and until the pinch of want attacks them we should be
foolishly optimistic if we thought that a starving peasantry would cause
the collapse or the defection of Germany's newest and most valuable
colony. There is enough discontent to make Germany uneasy, but that is
all.[2] Long ago she proved the efficiency of her control, and the
successful pulling of her puppet-strings, and no instance of that is
more complete than the brief story of Yakub Jemil and the extinction of
him and his party, which, though it happened a full year ago, has only
lately been completely transmitted. Yakub Jemil was an influential
commander of a frontier guard near the Black Sea coast. In July 1916 he
went to Constantinople, accompanied by his staff (which included the
informant from whom this account is derived), and, being cordially
received by Enver and Talaat, discussed the situation with them. He
pointed out the demoralising effect of the Armenian massacres, and the
danger of Jemal the Great's attitude towards the Arabs in Syria,
realising, and seeking to make them realise, the stupendous folly of
making enemies of the subject peoples, and urging the re-establishment
of cordial relations between the Turks and them. That, considering that
Enver and Talaat were responsible (under the Germans) for the Armenian
massacres, was a brave outspeaking. He went on to say that Turkey was at
war not on behalf of herself, but on behalf of Germany, and that it
would be wise of the Government to consider the possibility of a
separate peace with the Powers of the Entente. He was heard with
interest, and took his leave. He remained in Constantinople, and his
views obtained him many adherents, not only among Turkish officers whose
sympathies were already alienated from Germany, but among members of the
Committee of Union and Progress. But before long his adherents began to
disappear, and he asked for another interview with Talaat. He was
received, as the informant states, 'with open arms,' for Talaat seized
and held him, called for the guard, and he was searched, and on him were
found certain documents which proved him to hold the views he had
already expressed. That now, was enough. He was 'interrogated' for two
days (interrogation is otherwise called torture), and was then hanged.
Subsequently 111 officers and men in the army also disappeared. Some
were marched into the Khiat Khana Valley, opposite Pera, and were
stabbed: others were sent under escort to the provinces and murdered. No
courts-martial of any kind were held.

[Footnote 1: Similarly, in October of this year, a new Turkish law was
passed, prohibiting the acquisition of Turkish land by foreign settlers.
This is aimed point-blank at Germany, and has naturally annoyed Berlin
very much.]

[Footnote 2: The army rations have lately been reduced, each Turkish
soldier receiving daily an oke of bread and a dried mackerel.]

And should anybody doubt the efficiency of German control in Turkey, and
be disposed to be optimistic about the imminence of Turkey's detachment,
he might do well to ponder that story.

Meantime the efficacy of our naval blockade is largely discounted by
Germany's new source of supply. Possibly in the ensuing winter of
1917-18 conditions may get unbearable, but if the Turkish Government
only two years ago massacred more than a million of its subjects, it
would be absurd to expect that the starving of a million more would
produce much effect on the Ministers of the Turkish God of Love.[1] The
people are, of course, told, with suitable statistics, how famine is
decimating England and France, and how the total starvation of those
unfortunate countries is imminent. Indeed, of all the signs of want of
confidence in their German overlords, by far the most promising are the
facts that Talaat and Enver have sent their money out of the country,
and that Jemal the Great has a swelled head. On these facts there is a
certain justifiable optimism to be based. It will do no good to consider
them academically in London; but are there not practical channels to
reach the instincts of the Turkish triumvirate that might be navigated?

[Footnote 1: The following list of prices in Constantinople is of
interest:--

                  July 1914.    July 1917.
Rice, per lb.        2-1/4 d.      3s. 4d.
Milk, per quart       5d.          2s.
Flour, per lb.        3d.          2s. 6d.
Petroleum, per lb.    1d.          4s. 6d.
Pair of boots         £1           £8.    ]

We need not trouble ourselves with considering what the Allies will
have to do with the Turkish army when once the end of the war comes, for
the collapse of the military party in Turkey, which owes its whole
vitality to Germany, will be perfect and complete. But the economical
future of Turkey is not so plain: at the present moment its bankruptcy
is total. Early in the war Germany drained it of such bullion as it had,
and has since then advanced it about £150,000,000, which, as far as I
can trace, is entirely in German paper, and must be redeemed in gold at
some period (chiefly two years) after the end of the war. That is
wonderful finance, and one marvels that Turkey could have been so far
blinded as to accept it. But I expect that the swallowing of the first
loan was sweetened by a spoonful of jam of this kind. Germany pointed
out that, though England was quite certainly going to lose the war, she
had issued an immense paper coinage which had all the purchasing power
of gold. Germany, on the other hand, with her dear Ally to help her, was
just as certainly going to win the war. How, then, could there be the
slightest risk of the German paper money depreciating a single piastre
in value? That sounded very good sense to Turkey, who was equally
convinced that she would be on the victorious side (else she would not
have joined it), and down went the loan with a pleasant sensation of
sweetness. A second loan was easily induced by the failure of the
Dardanelles expedition, and about then the 'ignorant' Turkish peasant
began to wonder whether the paper was quite as valuable as gold, and to
prefer gold or even the ordinary silver piastre to its German
equivalent. To counteract that, as we have seen, a law was passed making
it criminal to hoard gold, and, to complete the ruin, the silver piastre
was called in, and a nickel token was substituted.... We can but bow our
heads in reverence of the thoroughness of German swindling.

Now Turkey is completely bankrupt, and we must ask ourselves why Germany
ever bargained for the repayment in gold, after the war, of the millions
she had lent the Turks in paper, if she knew that Turkey could never
repay her. True, the loans had only cost her the paper the notes were
printed on, so that in no case could she prove a loser, but how could
she be a gainer? The answer to that question shouts at us from every
acre of Turkish soil. The immense undeveloped riches of Turkey supply
the answer. Some indeed are already being developed, and the labour and
most of the materials have been paid for by the German paper notes.
There are the irrigation works at Adana, there is the beet-sugar
industry at Konia, the irrigation works in the Makischelin Valley, the
mineral concessions of the Bagdad Railway, the Haidar Pasha Harbour
concessions, the afforestation scheme near Constantinople, the cotton
industry in Anatolia--there is no end to them. Turkey may not be able to
pay in cash, but over all these concessions already working, and over a
hundred more, of which the concessions have been granted, Germany has a
complete hold, and her victim will pay in minerals and cotton and sugar
and corn. She will pay over and over and over again, as none who have
the smallest knowledge of Kultur-finance can possibly doubt. She is
bled white already, and for the rest of time bloodless and white will
she remain. Only one event can possibly avert her fate, and that is the
victory of the Allies.

We have been so bold as to assume that this is not an impossible
contingency, and on that assumption there is a brighter future for
Turkey than the Prussian domination could ever bring her. Bankrupt she
is, but, as Germany saw, she is rich in possibilities even with regard
to the restricted territory to which she will surely find herself
limited, and it is a pleasant chance for her that Germany has already
been so busy in developing the resources of Anatolia. For Germany may
safely bet her last piece of paper money that she will not lay a finger
on them.

The Turkey of the future is to be for the Turks; not for the persecuted
Armenians, nor for the Arabs, nor for the Greeks, and assuredly it is
not to be for the Prussians. While the war lasts, Germany may draw
supplies from the fields her artificial manures have enriched, and from
the acres that her paper money has planted, but after that no more. Her
Ottomanising work will be over. Such development (and it is far from
negligible) as she has done in Syria will be continued under French
protection for the Arabs, such as she has done in Mesopotamia under
English protection, and such as she has done in Anatolia will be
continued by the Turks to drag them out of the utter insolvency that she
has brought them to. Never before has a country so justly and so richly
deserved the repudiation of a debt incurred by the confidence trick. Not
a civilised Government in the world would dream of enforcing payment,
any more than a magistrate would enforce a payment to some
thimble-rigger returning from a race-meeting.


The roar of battle still renders inaudible all voices save its own, but
already the dusk begins to gather over the halls where sit the War-lord
and those who, for the realisation of their monstrous dreams, loosed
hell upon the world, and in the growing dusk there begin to steal upon
the wall the letters of pale flame that to them portend the doom, and to
us give promise of dawn. Faintly they can see the legend _Mene, Mene,
Tekel, Upharsin...._


THE END





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