25 January 2007

1378) Dr. Nicolas Politis, 1914: "Greece and the Ottoman Empire"

In one of his letters, C. F. Dixon-Johnson had written:

'A statement made by M. Politis, late Minister for Foreign Affairs under M. Venizelos, and delegate of the Hellenic Government to the Peace Conference, in an article in the Revue Politique Internationale in 1914, discussing the condition of the Greeks under Turkish rule, refutes M. Rangabé’s explanation and makes it difficult to believe that the object of the Greek advance into the Turkish homelands was “the liberation of subject races from the intolerable Turkish domination." M. Politis’s statement was "that under no other foreign rule could their (the Greek) interests find a protection equal to that offered them by the Turks." There is no doubt [of] a certain affinity between the two races which may explain why the Cypriote Greeks are said to prefer to revert to Turkey rather than remain under British administration.'

Now that is a rare sort of thing for a Greek to admit, when... as with the Armenians... the "patriotic" thing to do is to always speak ill of the Turks, as Rafael Ishkhanian honestly admitted:

"[T]o curse at Muslims and especially at Turks, to talk much about the Armenian Genocide, and to remind others constantly of the brutality of the Turks are all regarded as expressions of patriotism. Among the leaders of the past we consider those who curse Turks and killed Turks to be the most patriotic. Our most recent heroes are those who assassinated Turkish diplomats in European cities... [this] is the dominant mentality."

The Greeks perhaps don't fall victim to this racist malady as do the Armenians (at least concerning public statements, in the case of the latter), but they come awfully close. As Antonis Angastiniyotis honestly put it:

"Since our childhood we were taught that the Turks were barbaric dogs." Angastiniyotis further elaborated that with such indoctrination, "this enables us to hate." There is nothing like the breeding of a demonized, common foe to keep a people together. This is why many Greek and Armenian intellectuals think twice before they allow themselves to publicly speak fairly of Turks, as doing so will (among other reasons) bring harm to their cause of appearing as the poor, innocent victims before the bigoted Christian world. Wellington House "Propaganda Minister" Arnold Toynbee explained this danger in a 1919 memorandum:

"To lessen the credit of Armenians is to weaken the anti-Turkish action. It was difficult to eradicate the conviction that the Turk is a noble being always in trouble. This situation will revive this conviction and will harm the prestige not only of Armenians, but of Zionists and Arabs as well."

This is why the rare Greek/Armenian statement of integrity as reflected by Nikolaos Sokratis Politis must be valued highly; imagine a Greek actually admitting that the "Turkish yoke" was not such a bad thing!

The rest of the article is presented here as a record. The translation is slightly modified (with Holdwater's pauvre knowledge of French, and even there, cursorily) by the Internet service you'll see on the left navigation column of this page (with the flags), and is only meant to give the gist, for those of us who don't know French. So PLEASE BEWARE; the English is not by any means meant to be an adequate translation.

The Dixon-Johnson extract has been highlighted below.

With thanks to M. Mersinoglu.

The Bastardized English Translation:

The International Political Review

The peace treaty signed in Athens on November 14 marks in the history of the East, a higher date of importance. It is the first time that a political Greco-Turkish agreement has been concluded in Athens. It is the first time too that a similar agreement has taken place without the intervention of the great powers. It is the first time finally that the Ottoman Empire fortunately lets itself be influenced by councils of moderation emanating from a State which is not among the members in the European concert. It is [a sign of one of the] many manifestations of great change which has occurred in the East.

Of the States, as lately as yesterday, feels henceforth to be able to only act in the life of the nations. They have reached their majority after the last crisis of growth which, by forcing them in large observation of the law of balances, allowed to distinguish the similarity of their interests and the favors that they would have to combine their efforts and to multiply between them the bonds of union and solidarity. Thanks to the deep wisdom of its eminent sovereign, sagacity and the moderation of its ministers, the skill and the patience of its diplomatic, Romania had priceless deserve to ensure the success of this philosopher's stone of emancipation. By its bringing together of Greco-Serbo-Montenegrin alliance, it was formed, under her auspices, a new grouping which despoiled any spirit of exclusion and hostility towards the thirds, aims only to the maintenance of the treaty of Bucharest, precisely the "fundamental charter " of the East, and with the development of the bonds of friendship between all the States of the Peninsula.

It was natural that the role of regulating referee so fortunately assumed by them in Bucharest, Romania still had with to play to hasten the much awaited outcome of the Greco-Turkish negotiations. The occasion was offered to it by travels of its Minister of Interior Department in Greece. It made profitable with a bright which had success, not only with its new position in the East, but also, to a very large extent, with active sympathy, the persuasive councils and the personal charm of the eminent statesman, Mr. Take Jonesco.

The character of the peace of Athens and the new state of affairs which results from it provide the conviction that between Greece and Turkey the friendship stipulated in the treaty will not be a vain diplomatic formula, but a fertile and beneficial reality.

Although it was tested hard, Turkey will not preserve for a long time the memory of its defeats: the wounds of the war will not go long in being healed, because no poisonous sting was left there; on the contrary, seldom has peace been concluded on more honorable bases for two parts to tell the truth, it is only one painful condition: territorial transfer. But, agreed to the treaty of London (May 30, 1913), the memory is already blurred by it, as much better than it constitutes less one loss that a restitution, and that, far from weakening the Ottoman Empire, it strengthens it, one will see, by disencumbering itself of a dead load.

Prof. Nikolas Politis; born in Corfu in 1872, he studied law in Paris. Venizelos appointed him as director of foreign affairs (1914-1916), a position he returned to until 1920. Greece's first representative in the League of Nations until 1924, Politis later served as his nation's ambassador to France.

As for the treaty of Athens, it devotes neither injustice, neither humiliation, nor wound of one's own love. It does not stipulate any war indemnity. It revises not with the profit of the winner the old treaties which, simply suspended during hostilities, take again their force and strength. The refunding does not impose — commonly allowed — expenses of maintenance of the captive Ottoman soldiers, nor repair — undeniable in its principle — losses and damage resulting from the seizure of the Greek ships by the Ottoman authorities before the declaration of war: it prefers to put off the solution of this double difficulty with arbitration, so that, if Turkey must finally pay, she does so only with the name of justice.

On the contrary, Greece has agreed to restrict the effects of the annexation in the very important matter for it of the [natives]. Only the Ottoman subjects currently domiciled in the new Greek provinces become by full right Hellenic subjects, except for the contrary option which, following the tradition gold created at the time of the transfer of Thessaly, could be exerted within three years, during which any military obligation remains suspended for the interested [parties]. As for the individuals who are originating in the new territories without being domiciled there, a distinction is made: those which are fixed, out of the Ottoman Empire can in the next six months choose Hellenic nationality; but those which are established in Turkey preserve Ottoman nationality definitively. This last category represents the surroundings 50,000 Greeks of Macedonia and especially of the Empire domiciles mainly in the vilayet of Constantinople: it was for them a unique opportunity to acquire Greek nationality, but in the future as in the past for them [to gain] individual naturalization in Greece will meet an insurmountable obstacle in the approval of the Sultan to which it demor subordennée under the terms of Turkish law. To impose similar sacrifice, the Hellenic government had to make a real effort of goodwill. Its merit is all the more large as the payment adopted about the originating ones is doubly exceptional: it goes has the opposition to the use according to which when annexation is presented in the form of an act of release of congeneric of annexing, the denationalization which resulted reaches all those have with the territory ceded an unspecified bond, either the residence, or only origin; it deviates moreover from the solution dictated by the powers at the time of the constitution of the kingdom of Greece, and, one half-century later, at the time of the transfer of Thessaly.

Moreover, Greece accorded the many ones and important guarantees with the profit of the Moslem interests: respect of acquired rights, especially of the goods of the private individuals, the Sultan and the imperial family, the pious foundations, of assistance or bienfaisauce (vacoufs, except for the dimes), of the moral people, while making by name to appear among them the famous political Committee of "Union and Progress"; respect of religious freedom and the practice external of the worship; recognition of the competence of the muftis, not only in purely religious matters and of administration of goods vacoufs, but also out of contentious matter between Moslems for the businesses of their personal statute; recognition of the prerogatives of the Sultan as religious chief (Khalife) and of the right of the Sheik-uI-IsIam to give the nomination with the mufti as a chief, named by the king of Hellenes.

In this way, Greece pushed condescension also as far as it is allowed to make in a Sovereign state. It would not have to concede more if, instead of an annexation due to its victories, it were acted of a friendly transfer agreed in full peace. Without also going far as Bulgaria, in the treaty of Constantinople (September 29, 1913), it slightly exceeded the measures observed on the council of the powers at the time of the peaceful annexation of Thessaly, to take as a starting point the the same broad spirit and generosity of Austria, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Italy, in Tripoli.

To appreciate any of the valor of these concessions, it is necessary to thus hold account of the considerable sum of the interests guaranteed in the new Greek provinces, or the Moslems exceed 500,000 hearts and their properties collective one deprived, representative of several tens of million franks, occupy enormous surfaces and cover in certain cities of the whole districts. It is necessary to note moreover that these guarantees being given without Greece obtaining in return the solution that it had the right to hope for a number of questions since for a long time hanging in Turkey about the condition of its nationals and school and ecclesiastical freedoms of Ottomans of Greek race.

That these concessions are due to the spirit of moderation of Greece, the conciliating influence of Romania, or with the force even of the events, that imports little. What is certain, it is that, joined to frequent stipulation of the arbitration, so much for the unsolved difficulties, than for possible litigations, they give to the agreement occurred it very happy character of a free agreement, concluded, on both sides, with sincere desire nothing to impose nor anything to accept which, running up against equity violently, could be legerme [cause for?] future conflicts.

The peace of Athens thus seems a strong and healthy work, intended to last, able, thanks to the new ground of Greco-Turkish ratios, developed entirely to effect.

A measure that the events which have occurred will unroll their consequences, old bases of the reports/ratios Greco-Turkish will be deeply altered.

Greece and Turkey cease being close by ground; they do not have any more a common border on the continent.

The enlarging of one and the reduction in the other will have reduced the disproportion of the respective forces on ground; they will have almost completely been removed on sea.

Their economic, already considerable solidarity by the frequent exchanges between Pirée, on the one hand, Constantinople and perhaps Asia Minor, in addition, will be appreciably increased, sailed round, because of the reports/ratios of Salonica and of new Greek ports of the Aegean with the principal places of the Ottoman Empire.

Greece becomes, to a certain extent, a Moslem power, since the Moslems will form from now on a notable fraction, approximately one-eighth of its population totals.

Finally and especially in its relationship with Turkey, Greece cannot have territorial aims any more. Undoubtedly it field of Hellenism is still vast in the Ottoman Empire, it includes in particular in Asia a population of nearly two million and half, which extends long from the coasts almost unresolved of continuity from Trebizond until Adalia, with a weak penetration in between. But Greece realizes that well, by its geographical configuration, this field is politically unrealizable and very wisely, it takes care not to conceive useless covetousness.

What admittedly remains is the question of the Ottoman islands of the Aegean Sea, other than Crete. Under the treaty of London, to which that of Athens returns formally, it relieves of the decision of great powers. It is necessary to wish, in interest of the general tranquility and the harmony of the Greco-Turkish ratios, that the European concert will be able to rise above the diplomatic contingencies, to prescribe only the solution which, of natural agreement of the things and the wish of the populations, can be definitive, namely the annexation [by] Greece. Any other solution would necessarily be provisional and full with dangers. Touched, for the third time since the Turkish conquest, by the blows of freedom, the islanders would not cease [their activities which will] not ensure their union with Greece; one would see, in twenty islands, to start again the difficulties whose Crete was the object for a long time; the Greco-Turkish ratios would be envenimés by it and in constant danger of rupture; arming one against the other, the two countries would become exhausted in naval expenditure; and afterwards to have delayed or have compromised development to them, the quarrel would have the same end as with the Cretan affair. Those which, like us, wish the consolidation of the Ottoman Empire sincerely, would like to be able to persuade the Young Turks that the best interest of their country lies with their ordering not to seek to be opposed to the realization by Greece of this last batch of its national heritage: they have failed in Crete the sad experiment of an obstinacy without exit, that they do not forget the lesson of it and that they do not go, about the Archipelago, ahead of of new and more terrible misfortunes. They appear to fear that the abandonment of the islands does not endanger the security and the prosperity of Asia, Minor that, become Greek, these islands are not against the close coast of a Hellenic center of propaganda, a hearth of customs smuggling, and, in times of war, a base of operations. This danger is purely imaginary : the most active propaganda could not triumph over the obstacles nature put at the realization of the Hellenic field in Asia; smuggling, far from increasing, would tend to disappear under the effect of the Greek taxation, which, higher than that of the Ottoman Empire, would discourage the defrauders; finally the safety of the coast would be certainly less threatened than that of any terrestrial border which establishes between the two contiguous countries a more immediate contact and, therefore, more dangerous. But, for lémoigner of the sincerity of its feelings, Greece would not refuse without do not doubt to seek, of agreement with Turkey, the guarantees suitable to effectively put the close territory at the shelter of any danger of an economic or military nature.

It is allowed to hope that the Ottoman government will want to be inspired by similar sentiments.

This hope appears founded as much than the changes which have occurred in the respective situation of the two countries will not fail to affect their reports/ratios in a direction favorable to the maintenance of a friendship honest and sure.

Greece will continue to have in the Ottoman Empire nearly 100,000 subjects, of which one half would be in Europe and the other half in Asia. A considerable part of its foreign trade will always be done with Turkey. It will not finally [seek] to be satisfied of the fate of the Ottoman subjects of Greek race, whose numbers considerable residence: approximately three million, more than 500,000 in Europe and the remainder in Asia.

For the protection of these nationals, guarantee of its trade, the maintenance of the school privileges and ecclesiastics of its congeneric, Greece will have from now on a larger freedom, means more effective action than in the past. Not only will it not have to fear any more the Turkish invasion, but the possibility of exerting, in case of falling due, at it, of the reprisals on the interests musulmans, will be a condom against the violations right that one could be tentê to make or tolerate in Turkey with the detriment of the Greek interests. In addition, the increase in the economic solidarity of the two countries would increase in a measure equalizes the consequences disastrous already large than any economic war counters Greece produced on the trade and finances of the Ottoman Empire

There will be done less to fear in the future the antihellenic repetition of the movement which had been unchained in Turkey with such an amount of impetuosity in the last phase of the business of Crete.

But the new situation does not remove only any serious cause of conflict. It establishes between the two States a community of interests favorable to an increasingly intimate bringing together.

ParadoxicaI as it can appear at first sight, it is however certain that Turkey leaves the recent crisis stronger and a greater mistress of her destinies: she underwent an operation, painful undoubtedly, but salutary.

That the loss of the majority of its vilayets of Europe is for Turkey a financially good bargain, one of her men the most distinguished States undertook to show it (1). The yielded vilayets were passive, they cost the Treasury more than they did not pay to him; by losing them, Turkey diminishes its deficit of approximately 34 million franks per annum. An indirect benefit one must add to annual profit of approximately 21 million franks which it will carry out because of increase customs surtax (from 3 to 7 %) that its misfortunes were worth at the solicitation of the great powers.

But it is especially under report/ratio of its interior peace and its exterior safety that Turkey does not take place of to regret the territorial dismemberment that it has just undergone. The vilayets of Europe were for it the object of ceaseless alarms of the increasingly frequent disorders and repression which were followed from there complicating an administration already difficult, caused the intervention of the powers, caused conflicts with the close States; absorbed in Europe, obliged to maintain the considerable armed forces there, to make there disproportionate expenditure with its resources, the government neglected the provinces of Asia, exhausted the Treasury and even endangered the existence Empire. Disencumbered of its territories, Turkey can from now on devote all its efforts on the administration and with the development of richer and less disturbed areas; it thus sees increasing its chances to remain an independent State.

However so that this possibility becomes a certainty, one needs that its leaders preserve, for the interior like outside, of new imprudences.

In the interior, the experiment their hard taught the dangers of the method of the "turquisine" and centralization with excess. The councils that their best friends had vainly lavished to them before the war, they must now to hasten to follow them. The task is easier than in Macedonia, because, as opposed to the vilayets of Europe, the Asian provinces do not undergo the irresistible attraction of congeneric close States. But it is not less urgent: the failure of the administrative system involves with short [time expiration] in Asia of greater dangers than it produced in Europe; it would lead to the annihilation of the Empire and with the division of its possessions between heirs who with are already designated and supervise attentively the heritage.

(1) DJAVID BEY: Die Zukunft der turkischen Finanzen, in La Deutsche Revue, March 1913, p. 380. (Holdwater: Minister of Finance Djavid Bey would be sentenced to fifteen years hard labor by Damad Ferid Pasha's Entente-directed postwar kangaroo courts, July 5, 1919. Ironically, as related by a September 7, 1914 report by the Belgian ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Baron Guillaume, Djavid Bey was fighting against entry into the war. He was executed in 1926 by Ataturk, for supposedly being part of an assassination attempt.)

At outside, Turkey will have above all to avoid the adventures. A policy of adventure would be for it an act of madness: in any case, she would prepare or consume her loss. Such would be in particular the case for the agreement to outline according to certain noises, with Bulgaria for an action combined against Greece and Serbia. One volt this Turkey would have to lose there, one does not see what it could there gain: without counting the terrible risk of a failure, it [? ] would know, in the assumption of a success, to put out of balance the profit of Western Thrace with the danger of constitution with its side of large Bulgaria. Extremely happily since one realized of the solidarity of bonds which link Romania in Greece and has Serbia, this plan [? ] appears to have hardly a chance of realization. Turkey must moreover take care of its borders. Most important like most exposed that will always be which open shorter way towards the capital. It will not be p[? ] less threatened than by the past. Turkey must make there good keeps, because with old covetousnesses, which remains intact [? ] are added today in its neighbors it resentment and spite, in consequence of an unimaginable accumulation of the military and diplomatic faults, to have left to escape the conqui[? ] dearly paid, of the Andrianople.

Obliged to pursue a policy of conservation, Turkey will find its best safeguard in Balkan equilibrium [? ] and in a collaboration with the States interested in its ma[?]tien. While solidarizing itself with them for better ensuring it re[? ] of the peace of Bucharest, it could, in return, to be made rantir the integrity of its European possessions

Greece, Romania, Montenegro and Serbia would undoubtedly be laid out to pursue this policy of bringing together and of collaboration which would serve to them inte[ doubly? ]

While returning all in more solid and wider time balance than they contributed has to found. If it me is not indifferent for them that them work finds in a new adhesion a supplement of force, it matters to them that Turkey remains in Europe, because it is for their own conservation a guarantee moreover.

What is true of their common interest is more particularly Greek interest. Mr. Take Jonesco very justly made to notice with the correspondent of the Times of Athens that Greece's "whole interest lies with the masters of Constantinople remaining Turkish and that the Turks are strong." For it, any change of domination on the edges of the Bosphorus would be extremely prejudicial.

At Constantinople and in the surroundings, the material interests and moral of Hellenisrn occupy a place out of par: 300,000 Ottoman Greeks, 50,000 Hellenic subjects, the seat of Patriarchate [ecumenical]. various very rich institutions, a quantity of churches, schools, charity organizations, benevolence and of assistance, a preponderant share in finances, trade, navigation. Under any foreign domination, these interests would not find a protection equal with that offered by the Turkish regime. For more than four centuries, in spite of periodic persecutions, they could not only maintain, but constantly progress; it is from that first day, Turks found in them indispensable collaborators: they provided for them the social cement which made them [able] to found a State. If Turkey could remain in Europe, she must with the preserving forces of the Greek element who constantly held in failure the solvent forces of the Islamic element. The political, military organization and administrative of the Turks could not have constituted a viable State without the social, economic and intellectual armature provided by the Greek element. The Turks understood it so well that, as of the beginning of the conquest, they granted the Greeks a certain number of freedoms and of privileges, grace at which they have to preserve, with through so much of centuries of Moslem domination, their religion, their language, their costumes. Tomorrow like yesterday, Turks will be able to be maintained in Constantinople that by the agreement the Moslem element with the Greek element, and this agreement would not be possible without the Ottoman government's respect of the traditional school and religious freedoms of the Greek communities.

With the preoccupation of the conservation of race, is added that of the progress of its maritime trade, to make wish in Greece consolidation of the current state of things. Among the fields where it is best expressed by the beautiful expansion of its commercial navy in the last twenty years, it is necessary to put in good row the transport of corns of the places of the Danube and the Black Sea, where the monopoly in fact of the British pavilion is today strongly threatened by the Greek pavilion (1). If one thinks of the considerable place that the trade occupies in its national economy, one will understand that Greece does not attach not with the freedom of the straits an importance less than Russia and other residents of the Black Sea. Closing, even [temporarily], of the straits causes losses which, all things considered, are for it at least also great for Russia. The English Chamber of Commerce of Constantinople calculated that, during the two months of the closing of the straits by the end of 1912, cereals intended for export, which had to be accumulated in the Russian and Rumanian ports of the Black Sea and in the straits, represented a total value of approximately 500 million franks and that losses tested by 428 ships retained as well with the entry as in the left of the Dardanelles are raised with nearly 7.500.000 franks. In these losses, an important sum returns in the Hellenic marine since, among the ships selected, 140 belonged with its pavilion and that in normal times it would have had to transport a notable part of cereals remained in suffering. However, if precarious as is today, the freedom of the straits appears less threatened than if Constantinople changed masters. To give to international trade full safety, it would be necessary to adapt the straits to the mode of the Suez Canal. This regulation would answer the wishes of Greece as to that of Russia and of the others residents of the Black Sea. It would be also in conformity with the interest of Turkey since it would tend to consolidate its capacity in Europe.

(1) V Diplomatie and Consular Carryforwards, no. 5188, Greece, 1913, p. 14

By continuing agreement with its allies and his/her friends, a policy of bringing together and collaboration with Turkey, Greece would not obey only its current interest. It would translate into acts feelings, at it are of old date. More than one once in last the occasion is offered to the two countries to draw the conclusions which comprises similarity of their interests. Unfortunately, the improvidence, the [impertinence] or controlling ulterior motives of theirs them did not allow to benefit from it. At least, no nation in report/ratio with Turkey was not constantly any more nor more sincerely attached to the principle of its integrity that was not to it Greece since especially that the annexation of Thessaly enabled him to leave of her congenital debilitation. None the thirty last years crises is due to its fact. One had avoided them by reciprocal concessions if in the reports/ratios of the two countries confidence had been able to find the place which was due for him. Thus, before concluding the Balkan alliance, Mr. Venizelos tried to arrive with Turkey with a friendly agreement: like price of its approval to the entry of the Creatan deputies at the Greek Parliament, it had gone until him to offer recognition of its rights suzerains on Crete in the form of an annual tribute. It was in vain. Either that she did not believe in the sincerity of the offer, or which it did not see the consequences of its refusal, the Porte did not want to be separated of its intransigence. With the day before of the war admittedly Kiamil Pasha changed opinion, but it was too late.

Today, after all the cruel experiments, it arises a new opportunity of bringing together and agreement. Will one be able to make profitable?

The intentions of Greece and those of her friends are not doubtful. Mr. Take Jonesco recently expressed with insistence in Athens as in Constantinople the hope of one serious and durable agreement of Turkey with Greece and their friends. Mr. Venizelos, who goes, says one, soon to Constantinople, would be in favor not only of one cordial agreement, but of a defensive Turco-Balkan alliance which would guarantee to Turkey the integrity of its European possessions (1). According to certain information, these ideas would have already taken body and given place to a first exchange of views.

(1) Interview given by Mr. Vénizélos to the Turkish newspaper Tasviri Efkiar and analyzed in the Greek newspaper Nea Himera, October 14-27 1913.

Are these feelings shared by Turkey?

One would like to be able to affirm, but it is not without a certain apprehension that one notes, in various centers of the Empire, of the grecophobic tendencies which find echo in the councils of the government. However the favors that Turkey would obtain of an agreement with the Balkan grouping is so obvious that one hesitates to believe that the Porte will remain deaf in advance which is made to him: it is very rare that passion carries on the spirit of conservation.

If, as one must hope for it, the Turco-BaIkanic agreement came has to be established in the form of alliance or autroment, it would have them same general features with the current grouping from which it would result. She would aim only to the maintenance of the equilibrium, such as resulting from the treaties of Bucharest, Constantinople and of Athens, and would tend to the development of the solidarity and bonds of friendship between all the States of the peninsula, without exception. Thus, not having any tendency of exclusion nor of hostility towards the thirds, it could include Bulgaria, the day perfectly when, resigned to the lapse of memory of its resentments, it would have provided evidence of its sincere attachment to the new order of things.

Nicolas POLITIS,

Professor at the University of Paris.

Naturally, while Prof. Politis did a fair job of being fair, the above amounts to little more than an apologetic puff piece for Greece. Note, for example, while the Ottoman Empire gave up so much, Greece suffered "similar sacrifice"... in the form of exercising "goodwill"! (Given that Greece has rarely exercised such in dealings with Turkey, perhaps there is truth to the degree of sacrifice therein.)

What Politis called the "valor of concessions" included Greece's guarantee of freedoms for the half-million Moslems in the territories being annexed. Yes, Greece surely has maintained a fine security for their non-Greeks historically, respecting their cultural rights. On the other side of the coin, to pump up how wonderful Greece has been by agreeing on paper to respect the rights of their new racially/religiously inadequate citizens, we're hit with "It is necessary to note moreover that these guarantees" were "given without Greece obtaining in return the solution" for "the condition of its nationals and school and ecclesiastical freedoms of Ottomans of Greek race." Yet, the Turkish nation has always provided for these freedoms for centuries, as Politis himself admirably admitted in the very same article.

I also liked his assertion that with the loss of so much territory, now the Ottoman nation would be so much better off, and could concentrate in the improvement of the nation's eastern regions, better ensuring the sovereignty of the nation, which the conspiratorial European powers were itching to take away at the drop of a hat. Yet in 1914, the Ottomans were forced to agree, with the inspectorate plan, to allow Russia to muscle in on the east, effectively giving up all control and guaranteeing the loss of these territories in quick order. (A reason that must have helped compel some Ottoman leaders to go with their "sink or swim" decision, of going to war.)

And what about Politis' admonishment that the Turks had better look to give up control of the islands only a stone's throw away from their coastline: "they have failed in Crete the sad experiment of an obstinacy without exit, that they do not forget the lesson of it." He doesn't spell out this lesson: the extermination of a good portion of the Turks/Muslims of Crete. Naturally, Politis similarly makes no mention of the massacre strategy Greece shamefully employed during the Balkan wars, along with "partners-in-ethnic-cleansing-crime" Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro. (Toll: 632,000 Muslims dead, not including soldiers; 813,000 exiled. 870,000, or 38% of the population, remained.)

With such a massive toll on human life, numerically a greater toll than the Armenians' suffering (Toll: up to 600,000 dead, hundreds of thousands freely having left for lands outside Ottoman jurisdiction, and 644,900 remaining in 1921, according to the Armenian Patriarch. From an original population of some 1.5 million, the remainder would amount to 43%, or over 40% if the original population was 1.6 million) and one no one talks about, how could the Turks not have been embittered? But the Turks are the silent type, and that means suffering silently. Politis explains it all away in the following fashion: "Although it was tested hard, Turkey will not preserve for a long time the memory of its defeats: the wounds of the war will not go long in being healed, because no poisonous sting was left there." The sting could not have been any more poisonous, as these Orthodox peoples carried out a plan of systematic murder. But Politis was correct in that the wounds of war healed (most Turks today are unaware of these events)... but only because Turks look to the future, and don't become obsessed with the past.

Interesting too was Politis' assertion that Greece conducted herself in "the same broad spirit and generosity of Austria, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Italy, in Tripoli." It sounds like Politis felt Austria and Italy did a favor to the Turks by illegally annexing territory in the first example, and by conducting a war of aggression in the second.

But the most wonderful statement is when Politis wrote:

"Greece cannot have territorial aims any more."

Greece certainly proved it a mere five years later by invading western Anatolia and driving deep inland, conducting the murderous massacres against Turks that the Greeks have become known for.

© Holdwater
 © www.tallarmeniantale.com
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows:



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