No one who has studied the history of the Near East for the last five centuries will be surprised that the Allied Powers have declared their purpose to put an end to the rule of the Turk in Europe, and still less will he dissent from their determination to deliver the Christian population of what is called the Turkish Empire, whether in Asia or in Europe, from a Government which during those five centuries has done nothing but oppress them. These changes are indeed long overdue. They ought to have come more than a century ago, because it had then already become manifest that the Turk was hopelessly unfit to govern, with any approach to justice, subject races of a different religion. The Turk has never been of any use for any purpose except fighting. He cannot administer, though in his earlier days he had the sense to employ intelligent Christian administrators. He cannot secure justice. As a governing power, he has always shown himself incapable, corrupt and cruel. He has always destroyed; he has never created.

Those whom we call the Turks are not a nation at all in the proper sense of the word. The Ottoman Turks were a small conquering tribe from Central Asia, ruled during the first two centuries of their conquests by a succession of singularly able and unscrupulous Sultans, who subjugated the Christian populations of Asia Minor and South-Eastern Europe, compelling part of these populations to embrace Mohammedanism, and supporting their own power by seizing the children of the rest, forcibly converting them to Islam, and making out of them an efficient standing army, the Janizaries, by whose valour and discipline the Turkish wars of conquest were carried on from early in the fifteenth down into the nineteenth century. As a famous English historian wrote, the Turks are nothing but a robber band, encamped in the countries they have desolated. As Edmund Burke wrote, the Turks are savages, with whom no civilised Christian nation ought to form any alliance.

Turkish rule ought to be ended in Europe, because, even in that small part of it which the Sultan still holds, it is an alien power, which has in that region been, and is now, oppressing or massacring, slaughtering or driving from their homes, the Christian population of Greek or Bulgarian stock. It ought to be turned out of the western coast regions of Asia Minor for a like reason. The people there are largely, perhaps mostly, Greek-speaking Christians. So ought it to be turned out of Constantinople, a city of incomparable commercial and political importance, with the guardianship of which it is unfit to be trusted. So ought it to be turned out of Armenia and Cilicia, and Syria, where within the last two years it has been destroying its Christian subjects, the most peaceful and industrious and intelligent part of the population.

If a Turkish Sultanate is to be left in being at all, it may, with least injury to the world, be suffered to exist in Central and Northern Asia Minor, where the population is mainly Mussulman, and there are comparatively few Christians—and those only in the cities—to suffer from its misgovernment. Even there one would be sorry for its subjects, Mussulman as well as Christian, but a weak Turkish State, such as it would then be, could not venture on the crimes of which it has been guilty when it was comparatively strong.

That the faults of Turkish government are incurable, has been most clearly shown by the fact that the Young Turkish gang who gained power when they had deposed Abd-ul-Hamid, have surpassed even that monster of cruelty in their slaughter of the unoffending Armenians. The “Committee of Union and Progress” began by promising equal rights to all races and faiths. This was “Union.” It proceeded forthwith not only to expel the Greek-speaking inhabitants of Western Asia Minor, and to exterminate the Armenians, but to attempt to Turkify the Albanians (Muslims as well as Christians) and to proscribe their language. This is what “Union” has in fact meant. What “Progress” has meant in the hands of ruffians like Enver and Talaat, Prussianised Muslims worse than the old Turkish pashas, we have all seen within the last three years. The Muslim peasant of Asia Minor is an honest, kindly fellow when not roused by fanaticism, but the Turk, as a Governing Power, is irreclaimable, and the Allied Powers would have been false to all the principles of Right and Humanity for which they are fighting if they had not proclaimed that no Turkish Government shall hereafter be permitted to tyrannize over subjects of another faith.


“The Murderous Tyranny Of The Turks.”

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