24 November 2007

2207) American Military Observer Of Turkish Independence War: Charles Wellington Furlong

Photo: Charles Wellington Furlong

[in (ed.) Sinan Kuneralp, A Bridge between Cultures: Studies on Ottoman and Republican Turkey in Memory of Ali Ihsan Bagis, (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2006)]

Mesut Uyar, PH.D. **
Modern Turkish-American relations were founded during the Turkish Independence War. Several American diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, journalists and educators contributed greatly to establish sound relations between the two nations. We know the activities of Admiral Mark L. Bristol, Caleb F. Gates and Mary M. Patrick but the contributions of hundreds of minor figures are already forgotten. Hundreds of American officials and civilians visited every corner of Turkey during the war and wrote their findings in official reports or unofficial letters and articles to the American administration or to the American public. Some of them published their experiences afterwards but unfortunately most of these invaluable observations which have largely been provide insiders’ views about different aspects of Turkey were forgotten and except occasional academic studies are hardly ever used anymore.

This article is about one of those forgotten minor figures, namely, Major Charles Wellington Furlong and his letters to US President Woodrow Wilson. Before describing the activities of Major Furlong we need to clarify the reasons of the arrival of hundreds of Americans to Turkey.

Turkey was an enigma for the American public and it had a very bad reputation in America before the World War I due to the propaganda of American missionaries and various Christian groups which had migrated from Turkey to the US, especially the Armenians. Any negative news about Turkey and Turks was easily exaggerated by American and European newspapers. 1
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