The Campaign Against the Missionaries.

The attitude of the Young Turks towards the Missionaries shows that their “Nationalism” has made them not only criminal but insane. The American Missionaries have worked in Turkey for more than eighty years. Their aim has been to revive religion in the subject Christian peoples and to give them an enlightened modern education; they have pursued this aim disinterestedly with a striking measure of success, and they have extended their work to the Moslems as far as the latter have responded to their advances. They are the creators of practically all the secondary education that exists in Turkey to-day. The most intelligent and progressive elements in the population of the Empire have come most under their influence, and have received from them a moral and intellectual stimulus which they could never have found for themselves. The educational work of the Missionaries should have been mentioned among the attempts made during the 19th century to reform Turkey gradually by a reconstruction within; for the effect of this work was far more penetrating, and far more fraught with hope for the future, than most of the political expedients instituted with diplomatic pomp and ceremony by the Concert of the Powers. And the Missionaries were the best friends of the Turkish government as well as of their subject peoples. They took no part in their pupils’ politics; they had no ulterior political purpose of their own to serve. They were the most valuable voluntary assistants the Young Turks could have had in what should have been their foremost aims if they had acted up to their democratic professions, and they were the assistants whom they had least of all to fear.

Actually, however, the Young Turks, after they had destroyed the Missionaries’ work by exterminating the subject peoples among whom it was principally carried on, dragging away to exile, shame and death the boys and girls in their schools, torturing to death the native professors whom the Missionaries had trained up to be their colleagues, have finally confiscated the American schools, colleges and mission-stations in many parts of the Empire, and have put the harshest pressure on the Missionaries themselves to quit the country of which they are the benefactors.

On April 4th, 1916, the Turkish newspaper Hilal published an article in praise of a lecture by a member of the German Reichstag called Traub, in which the lecturer is reported to have declared himself “opposed to all missionary activities in the Turkish Empire.”

“The suppression,” writes Hilal, “of the schools founded and directed by ecclesiastical missions, a measure which follows the abolition of the capitulary régime, was no less important. Thanks to their schools, foreigners were able to exercise great influence over the young men of the country, and they were virtually in charge of the spiritual and intellectual guidance of our country. By closing them the Government has put an end to a situation as humiliating as it was dangerous....”

This is the policy of Ottomanisation. But it was put more bluntly by a Turkish gendarme in conversation with a Danish Red Cross Sister, who had been dismissed from her post in a hospital at Erzindjan for protesting against the Armenian Deportations. “‘First,’ he said, ‘we kill the Armenians, then the Greeks, then the Kurds,’ He would certainly,” the Danish lady comments, “have been delighted to add: ‘And then the foreigners.’”[2]

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