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Harry Stuermer

TWO WAR YEARS IN CONSTANTINOPLE

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CHAPTER VIII

Religion and race—The Islam policy of Abdul-Hamid and of the Young Turks—Turanism and Pan-Islamism as political principles—Turanism and the Quadruple Alliance—Greed and race-fanaticism— Religious traditions and modern reforms—Reform in the law—A modern Sheikh-ul-Islam—Reform and nationalisation—The Armenian and Greek Patriarchates—The failure of Pan-Islamism—The alienation of the Arabs—Djemal Pasha's "hangman's policy" in Syria—Djemal as a "Pro-French"— Djemal and Enver—Djemal and Germany—His true character—The attempt against the Suez Canal—Djemal's murderous work nears completion— The great Arabian and Syrian Separatist movement —The defection of the Emir of Mecca and the great Arabian catastrophe.

In little-informed circles in Europe people are still under the false impression that the Young Turks of to-day, the intellectual and political leaders of Turkey in this war, are authentic, zealous, and even fanatical Mohammedans,

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and superficial observers explain all unpleasant occurrences and outbreaks of Young Turkish jingoism on Pan-Islamic grounds, especially as Turkey has not been slow in proclaiming her "Holy War." But this conception is entirely wrong. The artificial character of the "Djihad," which was only set in motion against a portion of the "unbelievers," while the others became more and more the ruling body in Turkey, is the best proof of the untenability of this theory. The truth is that the present political regime is the complete denial of the Pan-Islamic idea and the substitution of the Pan-Turkish idea of race.

Abdul-Hamid, that much-maligned and dethroned Sultan, who, however, towers head and shoulders above all the Young Turks put together in practical intelligence and statesmanly skill, and would never have committed the unpardonable error of throwing in his lot with Germany in the war and so bringing about the certain downfall of Turkey, was the last ruler of Turkey that knew how to make use of Pan-Islamism as a successful instrument of authority. Enver and Talaat and all that breed of

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jingoists on the Ittahad (Committee for Union and Progress) were upstarts without any schooling in political history, and so all the more inclined to the doctrinal revolutionism and short-sighted fanaticism of the successful adventurer, and were much too limited to recognise the tremendous political import of Pan-Islamism. Naturally once they had conceived the idea of the "Djihad," they tried to make theoretical use of Pan-Islamism; but practically, far from extending Turkey's influence to distant Arabian lands, to the Soudan and India, they simply let Turkey go to ruin through their Pan-Turkish illusions and their race-fanaticism.

Abdul-Hamid with his clever diplomacy managed to maintain, if not the real sympathies, at any rate the formal loyalty of the Arabs and their solidarity with the rest of the Ottoman Empire. It was he who conceived the idea of that undertaking of eminent political importance, the Hedjaz Railway, which facilitates pilgrimages to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and links up the Arabian territory with the Turkish, and he was always able to quell any disturbances in these outly-

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ing parts of the Empire with very few troops indeed. Nowadays the Young Turkish Government, even if they had the troops to spare, might send a whole army to the Hedjaz and they would be like an island of sand in the midst of that stormy Arab sea. The Arabs, intellectually far superior to the Turks, have at last made up their minds to defy their oppressors, and all the Arabic-speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire may be taken as already lost, no matter what the final result of the great war may be.

The Young Turks had scarcely come into power when they began with incredible lack of tact to treat the Arabs in a most supercilious manner, although as a matter of fact the Arabs far surpassed them in intellect and culture. They inaugurated a most un-modern campaign of shameless blood-sucking, cheated them of their rights, treated them in a bureaucratic manner, and generally acted in such an unskilful way that they finally alienated for ever the Arab element as they had already done in the case of the Armenians, the Greeks, and the Albanians.

The ever-recurring disturbances in Yemen,

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finally somewhat inadequately quelled by Izzet Pasha, are still in the memory of all. And later, directly after the reconquering of Adrianople during the Second Balkan war, there was another moment of real national rebirth when a reconciliation might have been effected. The visit of a great Syrian and Arabian deputation to the Sultan to congratulate him over this auspicious event should have provided an excellent opportunity. I was staying some months then in Constantinople on my way back from Africa, and I certainly thought that the half-broken threads might have been knotted together again then if the Young Turks had only approached the Arabs in the right way. Even the great Franco-British attack on Stamboul might have been calculated to rouse a feeling of solidarity among the Mohammedans living under the Ottoman flag, and in the autumn and winter of 1915-1916 Arab troops actually did defend the entrance to the Dardanelles with great courage and skill. But Arab loyalty could not withstand for ever the mighty flood of race-selfishness that possessed the Young Turks right from the moment of their entry into the war. The enthusiasm of

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the Arabs soon disappeared when Pan-Turkish ideas were proclaimed all too clearly even to the inhabitants of their own land, when an era of systematic enmity towards the non-Turkish parts of the population was introduced and the heavy fist of the Central Committee was laid on the southern parts of the Empire as well.

An attempt was made to bring the ethnic principle of "Turanism" within the region of practical politics, but it simply degenerated into complete race-partiality and was not calculated to further the ideas of Pan-Islamism and the Turko-Arabian alliance which were both of such importance in the present war. It is this idea of Turanism that lies at the back of the efforts being made towards a purely Turkish Turkey, and that of course makes it clear at once that it must to a very large extent oppose the idea of Pan-Islamism. It is true that both principles may be made use of side by side as sources of propaganda for the idea of expansion and the policy of a "Greater Turkey." Turanists peep over the crest of the Caucasus down into the Steppes of the Volga where the Russian Tartars live, and to the

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borders of Western Siberia and Inner China where in Russian Turkestan a race of people of very close kinship live and where very probably the Ottoman people had their cradle. The Pan-Islamists want the alliance of these Russian parts as well, but from another point of view, and, above all, they aim at the expansion of Ottoman rule to the farthest corners of Africa and South-West Asia, to the borders of negro territory, and through Persia, Afghanistan, and Baluchistan to the foot of the Himalayas, while on grounds of practical politics they strive to abolish the old, seemingly insurmountable antithesis between Sonnites and Shiites within the sanctuary of Islam.

The programme of the so-called "Djihad" works on this principle, but goes much farther. As well as stirring up against their present rulers those parts of Egypt and Tripoli which once owned allegiance to the Sultan and the Atlas lands, which are at any rate spiritually dependent on the Caliph in Stamboul, the "Djihad" aims at introducing the spirit of independence into all English, French, Italian, and Russian Colonial territory by rousing the Mohammedans and so doing infinite harm to

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the enemies of Turkey. It is most important, therefore, always to differentiate between this "Holy War" "stirring-up" propaganda from Senegal to Turkestan and British India, and the more territorial Pan-Islamism of the present war, which goes hand in hand with the efforts being made towards a "Greater Turkey." Instead of uniting all these principles skilfully for the realisation of a great end, making sure of the Arab element by wisely restraining their selfish and exaggeratedly pro-Turkish instincts and their despotic lust for power, and so giving their programme of expansion southwards some prospect of succeeding, the Turks gave way right from the beginning of the war to such a flood of brutal, narrow-minded race-fanaticism and desire to enrich the Turkish element at the cost of the other inhabitants of the country, that no one can really be surprised at the pitiable result of the efforts to secure a Greater Turkey.

I should just like to give one small example of the fanatical hatred that exists even in high official circles against the non-Turkish element in this country of mixed race. The following anecdote will give a clear enough idea of the

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ruling spirit of fanaticism and greed. I was house-hunting in Pera once and could not find anything suitable. I approached a member of the Committee and he said in solemn earnest: "Oh, just wait a few weeks. We are all hoping that Greece will declare war on us before long, and then all the Greeks will be treated as the Armenians have been. I can let you have the nicest villa on the Bosporus. But then," he added with gleaming eyes, "we won't be so stupid as merely to turn them out. These Greek dogs (köpek rum) will have the pleasure of seeing us take everything away from them—everything—and compelling them to give up their own property by formal contract."

I can guarantee that this is practically a word-for-word rendering of this extraordinary outburst of fanaticism and greed on the part of an otherwise harmless and decent man. I could not help shuddering at such opinions. Apparently it was not enough that Turkey was already at war with three Great Powers; she must needs seek armed conflict with Greece, so that, as was the outspoken, the open, and freely-admitted intention of official per-

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sons, she might then deal with four and a half millions of Ottoman Greeks, practically her own countrymen, as she had done with the unfortunate Armenians. In face of such opinions one cannot but realise how unsure the existence of the Young Turkish State has become by its entry into the war, and cannot but foresee that this race-fanaticism will lead the nation to political and social suicide. Can one imagine a purely Turkish Turkey, when even the notion of a Greater Turkey failed?

Pessimists have often said of the Turkish question that the Turks' principal aim in determining on a complete Turkification of Anatolia by any, even the most brutal, means, is that at the conclusion of war they can at least say with justification: "Anatolia is a purely Turkish country and must therefore be left to us." What they propose to bequeath to the victorious Russians is an Armenia without Armenians!

The idea of "Turanism" is a most interesting one, and as a widespread nationalistic principle has given much food for thought to Turkey's ally, Germany. Turanism is the realisation, reawakened by neo-Turkish efforts at

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political and territorial expansion, of the original race-kinship existing between the Turks and the many peoples inhabiting the regions north of the Caucasus, between the Volga and the borders of Inner China, and particularly in Russian Central Asia. Ethnographically this idea was perfectly justified, but politically it entails a tremendous dissipation of strength which must in the end lead to grave disappointment and failure. All the Turkish attempts to rouse up the population of the Caucasus either fell on unfruitful ground or went to pieces against the strong Russian power reigning there. Enver's marvellous conception of an offensive against Russian Transcaucasia led right at the beginning of the war to terrible bloodshed and defeat.

People in neutral countries have had plenty of opportunity of judging of the value of those arguments advanced by Tatar professors and journalists of Russian citizenship for the "Greater-Turkish" solution of the race questions of the Russian Tatars and Turkestan, for these refugees from Baku and the Caucasus, paid by the Stamboul Committee, journeyed half over Europe on their propaganda

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tour. The idea of Turanism has been taken up with such enthusiasm by the men of the Young Turkish Committee, and utilised with such effect for purposes of propaganda and to form a scientific basis for their neo-Turkish aims and aspirations, that a stream of feeling in favour of the Magyars has set in in Turkey, which has not failed to demolish to a still greater extent their already weakened enthusiasm for their German allies. And it is not confined to purely intellectual and cultural spheres, but takes practical form by the Turks declaring, as they have so often done in their papers in almost anti-German articles about Turanism, that what they really require in the way of European technique or European help they much prefer to accept from their kinsmen the Hungarians rather than from the Germans.

To the great annoyance of Germany, who would like to keep her heavy hand laid on the ally whom she has so far guided and for whom she pays, the practical results of the idea of Turanism are already noticeable in many branches of economic and commercial life. The Hungarians are closely allied to the Turks not

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only by blood but in general outlook, and form a marked contrast to Germany's cold and methodical calculation in worming her way into Turkish commercial life. After the war when Turkey is seeking for stimulation, it will be easy enough to make use of Hungarian influence to the detriment of Germany. Turanistic ideas have even been brought into play to establish still more firmly the union between Turkey and her former enemy Bulgaria, and the people of Turkey are reminded that the Bulgars are not really Slavs but Slavic Fino-Tartars.

In proportion as the Young Turks have brought racial politics to a fine art, so they have neglected the other, the religious side. More and more, Islam, the rock of Empire, has been sacrificed to the needs of race-politics. Those who look upon Enver and Talaat and their consorts to-day as a freemasonry of timeserving opportunists rather than as good Mohammedans come far nearer the truth than those who believe the idea spread by ignorant globe-trotters that every Turk is a zealous follower of Islam. It was not for nothing that Enver Pasha, the adventurer and revolution-

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ary, went so far even in externals as to arouse the stern disapproval of a wide circle of his people. With true time-serving adaptability to all modern progress—and who will blame him?—he even finally sacrificed the Turkish soldier's hallowed traditional headgear, the fez. While the kalpak, even in its laced variety, could still be called a kind of field-grey or variegated or fur edition of the fez, the ragged-looking kabalak called the "Enveriak" to distinguish it from other varieties, is certainly on the way towards being a real sun helmet. Still more recently (summer 1916) a black-and-white cap that looks absolutely European was introduced into the Ottoman Navy. The simple, devout Mohammedan folk were most unwilling to accept these changes which flew direct in the face of all tradition. They may be externals of but little importance, but in spite of their insignificance they show clearly the ruling spirit in official Young Turkish spheres.

This is in the harmless realm of fashion, or at any rate military fashion, exactly the same spirit as has caused the Turkish Government to undertake since 1916 radical changes in the

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very much more important field of private and public law. Special commissions consisting of eminent Turkish lawyers have been formed to carry through this reform of law and justice, and they have been hard at work ever since their formation. What is characteristic and modern about the reform is that the preponderating rôle hitherto played by the Sheriat Law, founded on the Koran and at any rate semi-religious, is to be drastically curtailed in favour of a system of purely Civil law, which has been strung together from the most varied sources, even European law being brought under contribution, and the "Code Napoléon," which has hitherto only been used in Commercial law. This of course leads to a great curtailment of the activity and influence of the kadis and muftis, the semi-religious judges, who have now to yield place to a more mundane system. The first inexorable consequence of the reform was that the Sheikh-ul-Islam, the highest authority of Islam in the whole Ottoman Empire, had to give up a large part of his powers, and incidentally of his income.

The changes made were so far-reaching, and the spirit of the reform so modern, that, in spite

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of the unshakable power of Talaat's truly dictatorial Cabinet which got it passed, a concession had to be made to the public opinion roused against the measure. The form was kept as it was, but the Sheikh-ul-Islam, Haïri Effendi, refused ostensibly to sign the decree and gave in his resignation. Not only, however, was an immediate successor found for him (Mussa Kiazim Effendi), who gave his signature and even began to work hard for the reform, but—and this is most significant for the relationship of the Young Turks towards Islam—Haïri Effendi, the same ex-Sheikh-ul-Islam who had proclaimed the Fetwa for the "Holy War," gave up his post without a murmur, and in the most peaceable way, and remained one of the principal pillars of the "Committee for Union and Progress." His resignation was nothing but a farce to throw dust in the eyes of the all-too-trusting lower classes. After he had succeeded by this manoeuvre in getting the reform of the law (which as a measure of Turkification was of more consequence to him now than his own sadly curtailed juristic functions) accepted at a pinch by the conservative population who

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still clung firmly to Islam, he went on to play his great role in the programme of jingoism. A "measure of Turkification" we called it, for that is what it amounts to practically, like everything else the men of the "Ittihad" take in hand.

I tried to give some hint of this within the limits of the censorship as long ago as the summer of 1916 in a series of articles I wrote for the Kölnische Zeitung. Here I should like just to confine myself to one point. Naturally the reform of the law aimed principally at substituting these newly formed pure Turkish conceptions for the Arabian legal ideas that had been the only thing available hitherto. (Everything that this victorious Turkey had absorbed and worked up in the way of civilised notions was either Arabian or Persian or of European origin.) It set to work now in the sphere of family law, which hitherto had been specially sacrosanct and only subordinate to the religious Sheria, and where tradition was strongest—not like commercial and maritime law which had been quite modern for a long time.

The reform went so far that it even tried

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to introduce a kind of civil marriage, whereas up till now all marriages, divorces, and everything to do with inheritance had taken place exclusively before religious officials. I may just add that these newest reforms give women no wider rights than they had before. Perhaps this may be taken as an indication that they have been conceived far less from a social than from a political point of view. What induced the Turkish Government to introduce anything so entirely modern as civil marriage in defiance of age-old custom was more than likely the desire to put an end to non-Turkish Ottomans contracting marriages and making arrangements about inheritance, etc., before their own privileged, ethnically independent organisations, and so to deal the final death-blow to the Armenian and Greek Patriarchates. If Family Law was modernised in this way, there would not be the faintest shadow of excuse left for the existence of these institutions which enjoyed a far-reaching and influential autonomy.

The Armenian Patriarchate got short shrift indeed. By dissolving the Patriarchate in the Capital, breaking off all relations with the Ar-

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menian headquarters in Etzmiadjin and allowing only a very small remainder of Patriarchate to be sent up in Jersusalem under special State supervision, the Turks, as a logical sequence to the Armenian atrocities, simply dealt the death-blow in the summer of 1916 to this important social institution.

The Greek organisation, however, conducted by a more numerous and, outwardly at any rate, better protected people, offered far more resistance, and could not be simply wiped out with a stroke of the pen. A direct attempt to suppress it was made as early as 1910, but broke down entirely in face of the firm attitude of the Greek Patriarch in Constantinople. Now the Young Turks seem to have come to the conclusion that less drastic methods, beginning on a juristic basis, may have a better effect.

We have taken this one example in order to get at the whole neo-Turkish method of procedure. It consists in pushing forward, if need be with greater delicacy than before and on the round-about road of real modern reforms, towards the one immovable goal: the complete Turkification of Turkey. The reform of the

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law, which we have treated more exhaustively as an example of the first rank, is typical of the Young Turkish national tendency. Naturally it has its use, too, as a means of further throwing off the foreign political yoke. Through the modernising of the whole Turkish legal system, Europe is to be shown that the Capitulations can be dispensed with.

The reform throws a vivid light, too, on the inner relationship of the jingoistic, pure Pan-Turkish leaders of present-day Turkey towards religion. And it is perhaps not generally known that at all the deliberations of the "Committee" where the will of Talaat, the uncrowned king of Turkey, is alone decisive, the opinion of the Grand Master of the Turkish Freemasons is always listened to, and that he is one of the most willing tools of the "Ittihad."

No, the members of the "Committee for Union and Progress" have for a very long time simply snapped their fingers at Islam if it hindered them making use of and profiting from their own subjects. They know very well how to retain at least the outward semblance of friendliness so long as Islam does not

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directly cross the path of Pan-Turkism. But the Armenian atrocities, instigated by Talaat, have as little to do with religion, they are as exclusively the result of pure race-fanaticism, professional jealousy, and greed, as the hostile, devil-may-care attitude towards Greece, and the millions of well-to-do Ottoman Greeks who are the next troublesome competitors and suitable victims of aggrandisement to be disposed of after the Armenians, or as the terrible persecutions against the highest class of Syrians and Arabs pictured in Djemal Pasha's famous paper. They are Turks, pure Turks with the most narrow-minded jingoistic point of view, and not broad-minded Mohammedans, that sit on the Committee in "Nur-el-Osmanieh" in Stamboul and make all these wonderful political plans, from internal reforms and measures of government which attempt to adapt themselves to European technique by sacrificing ancient traditions, to the hangman's tactics employed against their own subjects.

Take the case of the Syrians and the Arabs. The "Ittihad" clique, weltering in a fog of Pan-Turkish illusion, were yet not without anxiety with regard to the intellectual and so-

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cial superiority, to say nothing of the political sharpness, of these peoples compared with the Turks. They had yielded entirely to their brutal instincts of extermination and suppression towards foreign races, and the Germans had made no attempt to curb them. They were political parvenus suddenly freed from the control of the civilised Great Powers, and they did not know how to make use of that freedom. Perhaps they felt themselves already on the edge of an abyss and were constrained to snatch what they could while there was yet time.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Turks should throw over all trace of decency towards the Syrians and the Arabs once they were sure that these peoples, who regarded their oppressors with most justifiable hatred, would refuse to have anything to do with the "Holy War" of the Turanian Pseudo-Caliph?

The last remnants of the traditional Pan-Islamic esteem of their Arab neighbours, already sadly shattered by the Young Turks' ruthless policy towards them since 1909, were flung light-heartedly overboard by a Government that knew they were to blame for the

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Arab defection but thought they had found a substitute that appealed more to their true Asiatic character in these Turanistic dreams of expansion and measures of Turkification. And while fanatical adventurers and money-grubbing deputies paid by the easily duped German Embassy were preaching a perfectly useless "Holy War" on the confines of the Arabian territory of the Turkish Empire, towards the part occupied by the English, while Enver Pasha continued to visit the holy places of Islam, where he got a frosty enough reception, although the wonderfully worded communiques on the subject succeeded in blinding the population to the true state of affairs, "the hangman's policy" of Djemal Pasha, the Commander of the Fourth Osmanic Army, and Naval Minister, had been for a long time in full swing in the old civilised land of Syria against the best families among the Mohammedan as well as the Christian population. The whole civilised world is laying up a store of accusations of this kind against the Turks, and it is to be hoped that a public sentence will be passed on these gentlemen of the "Ittihad" on the conclusion of

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peace by a combined court of Europeans and Americans.

Here again the Young Turkish Government assumed the existence of a widespread conspiracy and a Syrian and Arabian Separatist movement towards autonomy, which was to free these lands from Turkish rule and to be established under Anglo-French protection. At the time of the Armenian persecutions the Committee had managed most cunningly to turn the whole Armenian question to their own account by publishing false official reports by the thousand, accompanied by any number of photographs of "bands of conspirators," the authenticity of which never has been proved and never will be; indeed one can only wonder where the Turkish Government got them from.

In this case again there was no lack of official printed commentaries on Djemal Pasha's "hanging list," and any reader of the Journal de Beyrouth in war-time would have had no difficulty in compiling it. It is certainly not my intention to question the existence of a Separatist movement towards autonomy in Syria, but it was a sporadic tendency only, and ought never to have been made the excuse for

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the wholesale execution of highly respected and well-born citizens who had nothing whatever to do with the matter.

In the Young Turkish memorandum on this act of spying and bloodshed, the passages most underlined and printed in the boldest characters, the passages which, according to official intention, were to justify these frightful reprisals, form the most terrible indictment ever brought against Turkish despotism, and provide the most complete proof of the truth of all the accusations made against the Turkish Government by the ill-treated and oppressed Syrians and Arabians. On anyone who does not read with Young Turkish eyes the memorandum makes directly the opposite impression to what was intended. And even if the Separatist movement had existed in any greater extent—which was quite out of the question owing to lack of weapons, conflicting interests, the contrasts in the people themselves, some of them Mohammedan, some Christian, some sectarian, and the impossibility of any kind of organisation under the stern discipline of Turkish rule—the Turks would have most richly deserved it and it would have been justified by

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the thousands of brutalities inflicted by the Old and Young Turkish regimes on the highly civilised Arabian people and their industrious and commercial neighbours the Syrians, who had always been much influenced by European culture. Anyone who has once watched how the Committee in Stamboul made a pretext of events on the borders of Caucasia to exterminate a whole people, including women and children, even in Western and Central Anatolia and the Capital, can no longer be in the least doubt as to the methods employed by Djemal Pasha, the "hangman" of Syrians and Arabs, how grossly he must have exaggerated and misstated the facts to find enough victims so that he could look on for a year and a half with a cigar in his mouth—as he himself boasted—while the flower of Syrian and Arabian youth, the élite of society, and the aged heads of the best families in the land were either hanged or shot.

I should like to take the opportunity here of giving a short description of Djemal Pasha, this man who, according to Turkish ideas, is destined still to play a great part in Turkish politics. I should also like to clear up a mis-

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understanding that seems to exist in civilised Europe with regard to him. There is still an idea abroad that Djemal Pasha is pro-French, this man who set out on his adventure against the Suez Canal as "Vice-king of Egypt," and, after he had been beaten there, settled in Syria as dictator with unlimited power—even openly defying the Central Government in Constantinople when he felt piqued—so that as commander of the Fourth Army he could support the attempt against Egypt, but principally to satisfy his murderous instincts. Anyone who has seen this man close at hand (whom a German journalist belonging to the Berliner Tageblatt with the most fulsome flattery once called one of the handsomest men in Turkey) knows enough. Small, thickset, a beard and a pair of cunning cruel eyes are the most prominent features of this face from which everyone must turn in disgust who remembers the "hangman's" part played by the man.

It is extraordinary that he should still pass as Pro-French in many quarters, and perhaps it is part of his slyness to preserve this rôle. Djemal is not Pro-French; he is only the most calculating of all the leading men of Turkey.

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He certainly had pro-French tendencies, in the current meaning of the word, before the war; that is, he thought the interests of his country would be best safeguarded against German machinations for winning over the Young Turks by taking advantage of Turkey's traditional friendship for France. He was also against Turkey's participation in the war on the side of the Central Powers, and he was furiously angry when the fleet which was supposed to be under his control appeared against his will under the direction of the German Admiral of the Goeben and Breslau in the Black Sea.

But when the war actually broke out, he very soon accommodated himself to the new state of affairs. Instead of handing in his resignation, he added to his naval duties the chief command of the army operating against Egypt, for Djemal's chief characteristics were characterless opportunism and inordinate ambition. Suiting his opinions to the facts of the case, he was not long in advertising his Pro-French feelings again so that he might be popular with the people of Syria. That of course did not prevent him later on from car-

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rying out his "hangman's policy" against the Syrians who were bound by so many social ties to France. From that it is not difficult to judge just how genuine his Pro-French feelings are!

The only genuine thing in his whole attitude is his admitted deep hatred of Germany and his personal animosity towards the pro-German Enver Pasha, arising partly from jealousy, partly from a feeling of being slighted, and only concealed for appearance' sake. During the war he has often enough made very plain utterances of his hatred of Germany, and it would certainly betoken ill for German politics in Turkey if Djemal Pasha succeeded in obtaining a more active rôle in the Central Government. So far the Minister for War has managed to hold him at arm's length, and Djemal has no doubt found it of advantage to wait for a later moment, and content himself for the present with his actual powerful position.

From his own repeated anti-German speeches it has, however, been only too easy to glean that his anti-German opinions and actions are not the result of his being Pro-French, but

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of his being a jingoistic Pan-Turk. He may simulate Pro-French feelings again and play them as the trump card in his surely approaching decisive struggle with Enver Pasha, when Enver's system has failed; Djemal will no doubt maintain then that he foresaw everything, and that he has always been for France and the Entente. Everyone who knows his character is at any rate sure of one thing, and that is that he will stop at nothing, even a rising against the Central Government, if his ambitious opportunism should so dictate it. It is to be hoped, however, that public opinion among the Entente will not be deceived as to his true character, and will recognise that he is nothing more than a jingoistic, greedy, raging Young Turkish fanatic and one of the most cunning at that. It would really be doing too much honour to a man with a murderer's face and a murderer's instinct to credit him with honest sympathies for France.

Djemal's work is nearing fruition. His cruel executions, his cynical breaking of promises in Syria, have at any rate contributed, along with other politically more important tendencies which have been cleverly utilised by

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England for the establishment of an Arabian Caliphate, towards the decisive result that the Emir of Mecca has revolted against the Turks. The Emir's son and his great Arabian suite had to pay a prolonged visit to Djemal at one time, and it is evident that the brutal execution of Arabian notables that he saw then directly influenced his father's attitude. The movement is bound to spread, and slowly and surely it will roll on till it ends in the full and perfect separation from Turkey of all Arabic-speaking districts as far as Northern Syria and the borders of Southern Kurdistan. The so-called Separatist movement, that Djemal tried to drown in a sea of blood before it was well begun, is now an actual fact.

In Egypt England has been seeing for quite a long time the practical and favourable results of her success in founding the Arabian Caliphate. She has now gained practically absolute security for her rule on the Nile, and she has even been able to remove troops and artillery from the Suez Canal to other fronts. The German dream of an offensive against Egypt vanished long ago; now even the last trace of a German-Turkish attempt against the Canal

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has ceased, and the English troops have moved the scene of their operations to Southern Palestine. While I write these lines, there comes from the other side, from Arabian Mesopotamia, the news of the recapture of Kut-el-Amara by British troops. I should not like to prophesy what moral or political results the fall of Baghdad, Medina, and Jerusalem will have for Turkish rule; possibly, nay probably, iron necessity, the impossibility of returning, the constraint imposed by their German Allies—for Turkey is fully under German military rule—may weaken the direct results of even such catastrophes as these. But the hearts which beat to-day with high hopes for the freedom of Great Arabia and autonomy for Syria under Franco-English protection will flame with new rapture, and in the Turkish capital all grades of society will realise that Osmanic power is on the decline.

Meantime Djemal Pasha is still occupied in Syria raking in the property of the murdered citizens and dividing it up among his minions, the least very often being given over to commissions consisting of individuals of extremely doubtful reputation. When he is not thus

[page 208] TWO WAR YEARS

busily engaged, he spends his time round the green table playing poker. It is to be ardently hoped that even this great organiser will soon be at the end of his tether in Syria and have to leave the country where he has kinged in royally for two years. Then, perhaps, the moment may come when things are going so badly for the whole of Turkey that Djemal will at last have the opportunity, in spite of the failure of his policy in Syria, of measuring his military strength against his hated enemy Enver in Stamboul. That would be the beginning of the last stage before the complete collapse of Turkey.

Acknowledgements:

Source: Stuermer, Harry. Two War Years in Constantinople. USA: George H. Doran Company, 1917.
Provided by: Aram Arkun, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Scanned by: Karen Vrtanesyan
OCR: Lina Kamalyan

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