The Principle of Nationalities.

In the settlement of Turkey, conspicuously, the Allies will be crowning a historic task, at which they themselves have laboured in former times. The liberation of the subject peoples of Turkey, and the reorganisation upon the principle of nationalities of countries under the Sultan’s murderous tyranny, began a century ago with the national struggles for independence of the Serbs and Greeks—struggles which were part of the general struggle for freedom in Europe, and which gave inspiration to the people of other subject lands. England, France and Russia stepped in in 1827 to secure Greece the reward of her heroism when she was almost succumbing to her oppressor; Russia compelled Turkey to recognise Serbian autonomy in her treaty of peace with Turkey in 1831; Russia again, by taking up arms in 1877, freed Rumania and Serbia from Turkish suzerainty, liberated more of their oppressed brethren for Serbia and Greece, and restored Bulgaria to national existence. In the Balkan War of 1912-13, the Balkan nations carried on the work by their unaided strength, and expelled the Ottoman Empire from all the provinces over which it still tyrannised in Europe, with the exception of Constantinople and Thrace. In 1916, the Sherif of Mecca, at the opposite extremity of the Ottoman conqueror’s domain, liberated an Arab province and the Holy Arab City of which he is the legitimate head. It is for the Entente to liberate the Arabs of Syria and the Armenians, who cannot save themselves.

The Syrians and Armenians have not, as the Turks and Germans allege, been disloyal to Turkey in her hour of danger. The Arab and Armenian conscripts have fought dutifully for a cause not their own in the Balkan War and in the present more terrible conflict. Their leaders are too prudent and the people too peaceable, their stake is too great, their forces are too scattered, to allow them for a moment to contemplate rising in arms. But their loyal and straightforward conduct has not preserved them from the ferocity of their Turkish rulers; it has only exposed them to a cold-blooded scheme of extermination which the Young Turks are prosecuting at this moment with all their might. The redemption of these innocent peoples from the hell into which they have been cast, and where they will remain in agony so long as Ottoman and Prussian militarism holds out, is incumbent upon the Allies if they are to redeem their plighted word.

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