Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Turkey in Travail  
First Page


Major Players
Links & Misc.


Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems


The Birth of a New Nation




(Lately Assistant and Acting Military Attache to the High Commissioner, Constantinople ; Special Service Officer in War Office and on Head-quarter Staff of Allied Army of Occupation, and Supervisor of Turkish Gendarmerie)



This is a remarkable book. As the author admits, it's not meant to be history... but as an honest accounting of personal observations from having gotten up close and personal with the Turks, there is great historical value to be derived.

Harold Armstrong appears to suffer from an identity crisis. As an official representative for His Majesty's Government, he loyally spouts the propaganda that perhaps he convinced himself was the reality, thanks to its endless propagation. He talks about how the Armenians were marked for extermination, for example, in full support of the Bryce and Toynbee directed Wellington House concoctions. Yet everything he puts on the table from his personal observations contradicts the possibility.

To demonstrate how off he is when he tries to explain the "official" history, he relies on "Pan-Turanism" as the motive for extermination. "The Armenians ... were a bar to the realization of the Pan-Turanian policy, and so with ruthless cruelty they were wiped away," he writes. It's a convenient theory, but unsupported by any evidence. There were many other ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire that were just as much a bar to "Turkification," yet they were left alone... and, as David Fromkin explained, the fact that individuals in government have dreams do not necessarily translate into actual government policy.

Another poor historical example is his claim that "Mustapha Kemal and the Bolsheviks formed an alliance and portioned out Armenia between them." We know from the testimony of Armenia's first prime minister that Russia and Turkey were not at all in such cahoots. (And, of course, in the war between Turkey and Armenia in 1920, Turkey took back only what had been Turkish land for centuries, and left the real "Armenia" alone.) In fact, when Russia threatened, Armenia turned to Turkey for help. So Armstrong can't help but be partial to Armenia, loyal to the official line of his government. He writes, as another example, "In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin decided to protect the Armenians, and was the direct cause of their massacre in 1896." No mention of the Armenian terror groups that came into being largely after 1878, and the massacres they committed that forced the Turks' hand. As Kamuran Gurun astutely wrote, "At the very least it would be fair ... to remember how many people lost their lives in rebellions or disorders in their own or other countries, and think how much right they have to use the term massacre."

While Armstrong's recanting of propagandistic "history" is not to be taken seriously, what he has eyewitnessed is another matter. As a POW, the worst of the evidence he provides for the "genocide" boils down to (1) wells filled with bodies, without knowledge of who the killers were or, for that matter, whose bodies were in the wells, (2) bodies by the roadside of Armenians unable to keep up in the marches... certainly a fact, but a jump to conclude the purpose was intentional murder, and (3) Armenian women being sold by gendarmes in bazaars. [He wasn't close to a bazaar as a POW to actually witness the last one.]

In the whole book, however, he refers to the Armenians and Greeks with disdain, not unlike practically all Western travellers who weren't out of their minds with anti-Turkish bigotry, and there isn't one Turk who treats him unfairly.

There is one fellow for whom he displays much wrath, Mazlum Bey (the commander of his POW camp), for having treated British POWs badly and sometimes criminally (yet, when Armstrong decides to put Mazlum in his place, Mazlum hardly goes for Armstrong's throat. Armstrong even remains unpunished after his abortive escape attempts.) Armstrong makes sure to tell the reader Mazlum has Arabic stock.  The author isn't very keen on the Arabs, after having witnessed their bad behavior too many times.

If he eyewitnesses massacres, the massacres are not perpetrated by the Turks. In example after example, he describes how fairly, courteously and honestly the "lovable" Turks have treated him. Armstrong describes the Turks as kind and slow to be roused into anger. As a rule, the characteristic he found in the Turks was honor; one that was sorely missing in the Ottoman Christians.

He distinguishes the cruelty factor at one point as follows: "As always, the actions of the Turkish brigands were mild in comparison with the brutalities, murders and crimes of the Greeks." He gets an idea of the Orthodox mentality by recounting a conversation between the High Commissioner and M. Canelopoulos, when the latter hoped that his fellow Greeks would be murdered because he needed "a raison d’etre for advancing.” Substitute "Armenian" for "Greek," and one gets the exact same M.O.; before the war, the Armenian revolutionists would massacre Turks in hopes of getting their fellow Armenians massacred, providing the "raison d’etre" for the Europeans to step in.

This is why it seemed to me Harold Armstrong was in "denial." He dutifully preserved his nation's propagandistic line without any evidence... but the evidence he does supply directly contradicts how a people so fair and good could evilly and systematically commit the worst crime against humanity.



 INTRO p v

Poets and philosophers have thought and sung of the mutability of human affairs. In all the coloured Romance of History there is hardly a story so illustrative of this mutability, so fantastic, so dramatic, as that of Turkey during the last (8) years. The Fates allowed me to follow that story closely step by step and often in intimate relations with its chief actors and its chief events.

I have written herein no chronological and exhaustive history. It is an account of personal adventure jotted down in odd times and often about odd events. But through them all runs the thread of History on which they form a strange and quaintly assorted chaplet.

(In Dec. 3 1915, Armstrong was a "defence officer" at  Kut-al-Amarah, where he relates his capture.)


pp. 14-15

I stepped out of the palm-groves to look and there over the open, where for many months no one had dared to walk, came small bodies of men. They were the Turks.

I was disappointed. They were dirty, unshaved, ill-dressed, ragged rapscallions of men. I was piqued that we should have surrendered to so tatterdemalion a crew. I had not yet realized that it is only the British soldier who loses his military efficiency when he is dirty.

They came in methodically, taking up posts from where they commanded all entrances and exits. The Arabs were shouting with delight, leaping and salaaming and offering them food. They had not starved, these Arabs, by the look of them, and they were offering fresh mutton and white bread free as gifts of peace. The Turks were but little impressed. When they got in the way they drove them on one side. They had had many proofs of their loyalty before. I could have thanked a mounted officer who kicked full in the mouth an Arab who tried to kiss his boot. It was ever so with these Arabs; they sung songs to and cringed before the victors and mutilated the wounded of the defeated.

I fell in my men and moved off to our rendezvous. Then I realized that we were prisoners, for we were roughly halted by dirty fellows and searched and disarmed. At every few yards we had to stop and beg leave to advance from apathetic and supercilious young officers. My whole spirit revolted, for I had never learnt to cringe.

We concentrated in the palm-groves by the riverbank. There we spent a night of terror. For the first time for many years I was defenceless and unarmed. We had eaten no food at all that day, and the heart sinks when the belly is empty. A low thick fog lay over everything, and out of it now and again loomed groups of men on horses, uncanny and terrible, because they were unknown and spoke in a strange tongue. We set sentries with sticks, who would have been useless in real danger, but it seemed better to be wakened than to be murdered in our sleep.

At last that long night came to an end, and in the dawn I dropped asleep, to be wakened by the sound of a scuffle. A short sturdy Turk was endeavouring to tear his water-bottle away from a huge Sikh. The sepoy looked to me for protection. Suddenly I realized that I was helpless; and I was ashamed. A little way off sat a Turkish officer on the side of a water-wheel. I ran to him and called his attention in French, which by the grace of God he more or less understood. He called to his Turk to leave the water-bottle alone. He strode up to the man and beat him on the face. But the fellow obstinately carried on. The officer’s hand flew to his belt, but his revolver was not there. Seeing a pickaxe lying near he caught it up and drove the point through the man.

Towards late afternoon we filed out of Kut. The Turks had told us that if we got to Shamran, some eight miles away, we should find food. The Turkish commander Khalil Pasha and his Staff, with the German officers on it, watched us march out in fours.


The Turks tried, almost pathetically, to treat us well. They allowed us to transport great bundles of out kit as far as here. But their standards of life and their ways and ours were different, and they soon gave up the attempt.


Our energy and courage were coming and with them the spirit of lawlessness, which is a prisoner’s privilege — the fierce resentment against all and every order. The Turks had given up the make-believe of treating us well. We had to conform to the conditions of the country. When ordered to set out on the march, we obstinately refused. We demanded to be allowed to transport all our kit, and I would have taken a regiment of horses to do this. We argued and resisted and refused to move until... the Turkish commandant, in despair, brought us more pack animals and then we agreed to move off.   

"Underfed, misused, paid but little and that rarely, ragged and dirty, these Turkish troops were as wretched in their liberty as we were in our captivity."

p. 23

Sometimes we passed battalions of Turkish troops marching down to Bagdad... some 300 miles away... There the Arabs watched, and when occasion served, they killed and looted them, so that we passed many Turkish soldiers on the route. They lay by the roadside with their throats cut, left to rot like carrion for all their officers or Government cared; while far away in Anatolia the women waited eagerly, but in vain, for news of their men. Underfed, misused, paid but little and that rarely, ragged and dirty, these Turkish troops were as wretched in their liberty as we were in our captivity.


The Turks had massacred the Armenians

ruined villages where the wells were full of bodies

Turkish gendarmes ... selling Armenian women for a few shillings in the bazaars of Aleppo and Mosul 


"marched slowly to death"

I heard the sound of women and children and in the next field were a crowd of Armenians and with them white-bearded priests. I saw them marched away...under the escort of armed gendarmes. They were being marched to death, and the bodies I had seen by the roadside in the Amanus mountains were those of them who could not keep up.



They were simple, sturdy folk, these Turkish peasants. They made no pretence of wishing to fight in this war. I saw none of the wild enthusiasms of other countries {except for young and excited recruits}... the country and the people were tired of the everlasting wars, and ever and again they cursed Enver Pasha and his German crew.


They were a kindly, hospitable people, slowly roused and then capable of terrible anger and tremendous energy. They were the last of the aristocrats, with their vices and their virtues. They ruled as by Divine Right, as part of a caste, and without political theories. They were not vicious or cruel, but they did not understand pain in others. They had a profound contempt for the rest of mankind, and inherent laziness covered by great courtesy. Inefficient to distraction, they were eminently lovable. Their sense of humour was simple. Sleeping round the hot embers of the fire I was night after night awaked by the hideous snores of a carter, who had a face like a frog and slept with his mouth wide open. At last in desperation I begged some one to wake up Balik Pasha, or the “Fish” Pasha, and shut his fly-trap of a mouth. The name stuck. For a week the word “ Balik” roused a roar of laughter. Some one on the march would call for “ Balik Pasha with the fly-trap mouth,” and from end to end of the caravan, drivers and guards and passengers in the carts would shout with laughter and call one to another. People used to wake the little fellow at all times to tell him his nickname and then roar with applause, in which he would join. They would, as is their custom, get up at one or two in the morning, kick the fire into life and light cigarettes, and then one would call “ Balik Pasha
and the whole room would rock with laughter till they lay down to sleep again. Long afterwards a general came to inspect the troops in the area. He heard men talk of “ Balik Pasha,” and incautiously asked who he was. So they brought the little carter before the general...



Against us, their enemies, I found no animosities. Even the German nurses, though full of fierce patriotism, did all they could for us. The Turkish officers were courteous and polite. They showed no enthusiasm for the war. They avoided all controversial subjects. When we happened to talk of the war, they told me glowing accounts of the success of the British troops. It was a curious trait of the Turks to over-represent the success of the enemy.



(Relates his escape attempts; he gets caught, but faces no punishment.)




(changes prisons, shown a site where a British submarine dived under mines of the Dardanelles, went to centre of country and opened fire on a train.)

The Turks congratulated me on the courage of the commander. They looked on it as a fine feat and one to be made much of. I could not help thinking that a German or Englishman would have taken a few different  view if it had been in his country.



The Germans treated the Turks with high contempt, and more than one told me how glad he was to meet another white man in this “native” country.

Everything that went wrong was put down to the Germans... if food was short, it had been shipped to Berlin to feed Germans.


It appeared that hopeless inefficiency and callousness of human life was the main causes, while deliberate calculated cruelty was rare. The Turks had treated our worn and starved and diseased soldiers as they treated their own men, and both had died like flies.


p. 56


 The Fall of the Ottoman Empire : Release, 1918

As is ever the way with the Turks, they now swung to the other extreme, and our treatment became as liberal as it had before been stringent. I was made staff-officer of the camp. Mazlum Bey was put under arrest with all his officers. To complete the picture, the sergeant of the guard, having no officer to whom to apply, as they were all in prison, and being quite bewildered, came to me for his day’s orders. These I gave to him written out laboriously in my crude Turkish. Mazlum was tried for his foulness, and on the court I was the prosecutor and interpreter. Such was the humour of the situation.

We were given more liberty. At times we got opportunities to talk to some of our men imprisoned in another part of the town. We learnt the details of their march up and how all across the Mesopotamian plains and in the unorganized camps both British and Indians had died by the thousand. It appeared that hopeless inefficiency and callousness of human life was the main causes, while deliberate calculated cruelty was rare. The Turks had treated our worn and starved and diseased soldiers as they treated their own men, and both had died like flies. Now in a sort of death-bed repentance at this eleventh hour the Ottoman Government was treating them with great kindness and giving them much liberty. But of the thousands that set out from Kut only a few hundred remained. These were probably better treated than any prisoners have been treated before, except the Russians in Japan. They ran their own affairs, attempted escapes without punishment, and worked as they willed.

As to the officers, as a whole they were pretty well treated, but the life of a prisoner-of-war must always be a dreary hardship.
The iron chain round us began to relax and, as we gained more liberty, our spirits rose. There were many attempts at escape. We worked night and day in secret preparing and studying any maps we could get, and copying and enlarging passes and plans sent to us from England in split post-cards or cunningly hidden in books. But though it was easy to get out of camp, the country beyond was wild and barren and made a perfect prison wall. It was full of fierce men. It was as if one tried to escape from Kabul through the wild Afghan tribes over the mountains into India.
Everywhere there were signs of the Ottoman Empire breaking up. In the town, into which we were now allowed to go under guard, the people talked with open discontent. The hills were full of deserters and brigands. Food was short and the prices crept up till only the rich could buy sugar and tea and the necessaries of life. Our guards had grown slack. I could feel the break...


... As time passed, in every direction and in unexpected places, vast blind forces released by the war became apparent and menacing. To meet them there was little to offer. The armies were contracting with demobilization. The energy and idealism was dying away and left only a tired people.

Nowhere had the victory been so crushing as in Turkey. She lay battered down, ruined and broken. Any terms of peace could have been imposed without resistance. Far away in Anatolia the ninth Caucasus army alone remained undefeated, but it was submissive and overawed. There were Allied garrisons all across Turkey. She lay inert, patiently waiting her fate. I found the English people against the Turks. Here and there a few experts and a few cranks spoke on their behalf, but the mass of the people was hostile. The churches remembered the massacres of Christians. The Free Churches were clamouring for the return of Constantinople and St. Sophia and the ejection of the Turk from Europe. The war hatred was strong in those untouched by religion. It was agreed that an end was to be made of Turkey, and Mr. Lloyd George was the spokesman of that idea.

But in all matters the decision rested with the Conference in Paris, and there so vast and complex and innumerable were the problems to be settled that Turkey was neglected for the time being. It was felt that she was but the rubbish and bits of the Ottoman Empire that had finally collapsed, and that a sweeping up of those could wait until more urgent problems nearer home were settled. In that delay lay danger, and one by one many of the troubles settled themselves. The first blow came when the Italians on the 29th of March 1919 landed in south-eastern Anatolia, and, despite the protests of the other Allies, began rapidly to take over the country. They had a definite clear-cut policy. They intended to replace Austria in the Near East. They took over the Austrian banks and the Austrian ships. They had been promised the port of Smyrna at the Conference of St. Jean de Maurienne in 1915 and they set out to get it. They were for annexation. Each year, some hundreds of thousands of emigrants leave Italy for other countries. The soil and climate of Anatolia are excellent, and the Italian Government hoped to raise there a stout peasant population and make Italy a world power and an empire.

Already there was friction between France and England, for the former thought that she was being kept out of Cilicia, despite all promises and the terms of the Sykes-Picot agreement, and that steps were being taken to oust her from Constantinople.

It was still possible by immediate action to settle the Near East, but the situation, if delayed, was potentially dangerous.




The main work at the Embassy was to avoid being definitely involved with any of the innumerable suitors who sought our help.

Thus in inaction time passed, while the problems at hand remained unsolved, while new complications appeared and definite dangers began to raise their heads. The golden opportunity to make a sound adjustment had passed.

I found the city of Constantinople little changed since 1916, except that the Allies had replaced the Germans and that the population had without effort transferred its allegiance from the one to the other. I looked in at the old prison. Jemal Bey was gone, but the officials and sentries were as courteous as before. Mazlum Bey was shut away somewhere, but I dared not see him, for I must have struck him. Even here in the centre, there was decay. The War Office door hung on a broken hinge, and the great courtyard was rank with weeds, as if no troops had ever drilled on it.

As I wandered about the city I searched for the stout old Turk I had learned to know in Anatolia. He was not there. Gradually I realized that in Constantinople there were no Turks, for they were all Levantines, and that herein lay the basic and fundamental problem of Turkey. Away in Anatolia were 7,000,000 ignorant Turkish peasants. They were hardy, honest and steady, but should anyone of them be taken and educated, he instinctively absorbed that which was superficial and he became a Levantine.
Though of stout material, the Turkish peasant cannot be built on, and thus his ruling class is always Levantine.

The one hope of the Turk lies in developing his own type of civilization, of educating his people on those lines, and ruling his people in this manner, and not by copying or mimicking the civilization of Europe as he has done hitherto. The Turks are Eastern. Anatolia and Constantinople are Eastern, and there is a great danger of treating them as if they were Western, because their people have white skins and some are Christians. The gulf between us and the Chinese and the Brahmin is no greater than that between us and the populations of Turkey.

Constantinople is the capital of Levantinia, and its citizens the Levantines are the evil results of the mating of the East and the West. East and West mate badly. They do not absorb each other satisfactorily. The West has superimposed itself on the East, and there remain but two roads to be taken. Either the East must accept the civilization of the West and the whole East become Levantine, or it must refuse it absolutely and revolt against it. But the moment the East refuses the guidance of the West, I found that the East respected not the spirit but the material results of Western civilization — its motor-cars, its luxuries, and, above all, the power and comfort that it gives.

The great city of Constantinople is itself a festering sore. There are in it no great ideals, no inspiration. It is a city of mean men living in mean streets. It is a city of intrigue, of backbiting, of scandal, of cunning, cowardly, treacherous men and dishonest women living in squalid houses. There is vast intrigue in little matters. There is no big idea, no character, no drive, no...

From Smyrna the Greeks pushed out, massacring, burning, pillaging and raping as they went, in the ordinary manner of the Balkan peoples at war. Before them the Turks fled, till the country-side was full, of refugees.


pp. 82-95


In the hard years of the war secret treaties had been made to win allies. Italy had been promised great sections of Anatolia. Greece had been promised Western Thrace. Russia had been promised Constantinople. Much of the Middle East had been portioned out between England and France by the Sykes-Picot agreement. Promises had been made to the Arabs and the Christian minorities. By the time that peace arrived the objects of the war had changed. America, the new ally, had no part or lot in all these secret agreements that held her allies. But they were always in the background. They were confused by local and national hatreds and ambitions. They were complicated by the fact that many of them were contradictory, and by the declaration that “ self-determination “ was to decide the future.

The Italians had failed to get any support for their policy of annexation of South-Western Anatolia. The French and British would not stand by the promises they had made to the Italians at St. Jean de Maurienne in 1917, but they could not deny that they had made them. Feeling that facts were better than arguments, the Italians landed and set to work. Very rapidly, with troops and schools and traders, they had established themselves in the south of Anatolia and were rapidly nearing Smyrna. The Greek delegation in Paris strove for its claims in Anatolia, and especially for Smyrna. The French and British heard them with considerable sympathy. The American advisers refused to agree. They saw that Anatolia as a whole needed Smyrna as its window and door on to the world. Special committees could come to no agreement, and the Italians and the Greeks were at every point at variance.

Suddenly events took a dramatic turn. Signor Orlando and President Wilson quarrelled in Paris over Fiume. The former, with all the Italians, left the Conference. There was always in Paris a strong pro-Hellenic party, which now played its cards skilfully.
M. Venizelos presented a sheaf of telegrams to show that the Turks were massacring in the Smyrna area, which was untrue. His subordinates produced excellent, but incorrect, maps to show the preponderance of the Greek population in and round Smyrna. The Great Three did not wish to see the Italians in possession, and they thought it an excellent method of calling Signor Orlando back to heel. He came, but too late, for already the order had been deliberately given by Mr. Wilson without reference to his advisers, and by Mr. Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau; and the Greeks were sent to Smyrna, not as a punishment to the Turks, but as a counterpoise to the Italians.

From this small spark arose a fierce conflagration. The Greeks came under the escort of Allied ships, and their occupation was announced to the Governor of Smyrna as that of the Allies. They began to massacre as soon as they landed. The officers and men of the British battleship moored close to the quay were ordered to remain inactive, while, within a few yards of their stern, Greek troops committed murder and foul brutalities. It is said that so difficult was it to prevent the British sailors from interfering that they were all ordered below decks.

From Smyrna the Greeks pushed out, massacring, burning, pillaging and raping as they went, in the ordinary manner of the Balkan peoples at war. Before them the Turks fled, till the country-side was full, of refugees. Having extended beyond the line allowed to them, but having given themselves sufficient room to protect Smyrna, the Greeks sat down to consolidate.
Throughout Turkey awoke a new spirit, the spirit of a Turkish Nation. Once before the Turks had tried to turn their vast heterogeneous empire into a nation. In 1908 the Young Turks had overthrown the tyranny of Abdul Hamid and proclaimed a constitution with equal rights for all. They had set to work to turkify the Empire. The result had been misfortune. The Great Powers had at once reached out greedy hands for spoils. Austria had seized Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aided by Russia, Bulgaria had declared itself independent. The Italians had seized Tripoli and Bengazi. England and France had riveted tighter their economic chains.

The Ottoman Christians refused to become Turks, and in a fury at their disloyalty the Young Turks resorted to the policy of their predecessor, and by fierce massacre endeavoured to cut out of their body politic the cancer that ate their flesh. Their enemies saw their weakness, and then came the Balkan wars, and then finally the Great World War that had brought destruction and ruin. But the idea of a Nation had remained with them, of one loyalty, of one religion, of one blood, and of one tongue. They had been stripped of the vast territories that they held by force alone. They had ceased to be ambitious to become a power in Europe, and their hopes were centred in Asia. Pared and pruned till little superfluous growth remained, the trunk of the Ottoman Empire appeared dead. The sap moved but little.

Now at the threat of final destruction the Turks woke from the dull apathy of defeat. They were to be wiped out. It was proposed to make a great Armenia behind them and perhaps a Greek Pontus State on one flank. There was the red danger of Smyrna in front of them, and the Great Powers were planning to control what was left. As had happened before in their history, in the hour of real disaster, the call went out and slowly the Turks roused themselves. A fierce vitality returned and they set about to save themselves from complete annihilation.

There were dull muttered threats at first. The 9th Caucasian Army stopped disarming. At Erzerum, at Konia and before Smyrna organized bodies came into existence. The refugees were armed. The hills became full of irregular bands that attacked the Greek troops. The peasants were enrolled. The Christians had already surrendered their arms at the orders of the Allies, but the Turks found arms in quantities and at once. The disarmament of the Turkish forces had been neglected by the Allied commanders. The ideas on the subject were grotesque. One staff officer of high rank was heard to say that it was unfair to disarm the Turks without disarming the Greeks as well, and one officer who commanded a detachment, when ordered to retire from Anatolia, brought with him a receipt signed by a Turkish general for the stores and ammunition that he had handed over in considerable quantities.

In Constantinople the renowned sailor, Raouf Bey, both
officially and unofficially organized protest and resistance. Meetings were addressed by priests and fanatics; and that at the Municipal buildings in Stambul on the 20th of May was opened by a fierce appeal from a Turkish woman, one Halide Edeb Hanum, and was concluded with a few words of encouragement from French officers who were on the platform.

Far away in the wilds of Anatolia some form of organization began to show itself almost at once, and one man, Mustapha Kemal, stood out and dominated the situation. He was a capable staff officer of great energy, and a hard, calculating man. He had shown his capacity on many fronts. He had organized the guerrilla warfare against the Italians in Tripoli. He had commanded the gendarmery divisions in Gallipoli and held up the Australian advance and had saved the Turks from defeat. In Syria he had been given a poor handful of men, and with these he had gamely tried to withstand Allenby and to organize a new front at Aleppo. After Enver and his colleagues had fled, Mustapha Kemal had remained, and his influence among the troops and the people was great. He had been appointed as Inspector-General of the northern section of Anatolia, and there he went in March 1919. He left Constantinople determined to organize some show of resistance. He found little response among the tired people, who prayed only for peace and for time to plough their fields. But the landing of the Greeks, the threat of final destruction, and the wave of hatred that ran through the country gave him his chance. He seized it. Help and encouragement came from Constantinople and from every side. On the old framework of the Ottoman army he grafted the hastily raised irregulars, and as it grew the force was directed towards the Greeks.

As yet the Turks had worked with caution. They showed their defiance in sullen disobedience to the Allied Control officers. The efforts at resistance were local and scattered and mainly effective in the danger zones close to the Greeks, where the refugees organized gladly. The leaders of the disaffection had crept away back into the eastern and inaccessible parts of Anatolia, to organize at Siwas and Erzerum. They expected that at any minute the Allies would send troops and crush them down.

If the movement was to be dealt with some immediate action was needed. The British High Commissioner wired repeatedly for permission to act. The Grand Vizier, who believed that the strict carrying out of the Armistice was the one hope of Turkey, became apprehensive and asked leave to deal with the danger. But the Allied Governments were feeling the anti-war reaction. They were being bombarded with demands for demobilization and retrenchment. They dared not involve themselves in further commitments. They gave orders that no steps were to be taken in the matter, which to them appeared to be one between the Sultan and his subjects. They refused to allow the Sultan enough troops or a free hand to deal with the position. They made light of the danger of the situation, and then turned to other problems.

Hassan the bash chavoush and his orderly

Hassan the bash chavoush and his orderly

Very soon the Turks began to realize that the Allies would not, or could not, take steps against them, and at the end of June they came out more boldly into the open. Irregular troops with a backing of regulars continually harried the Greeks, and sometimes there were fierce engagements. By July a clear-cut organization, grouped round Mustapha Kemal at Erzerum, had come into existence and the hitherto scattered and separate centres of revolt were co-ordinated within it. It was directed by capable brains. It was assisted by great enthusiasm and great hatred. The army grew, and it met with no opposition. The organization and the military forces now began to move westwards, leaving only sufficient troops to guard against aggression from Armenia. They came to the railway at Angora in December 1919, and, making the new head-quarters there, they moved down the railway and took over the junction of Eski-Shehir and the line to Konia. The British had orders to avoid any complications and they retired as the Turks advanced, so that by April 1920 the whole of Anatolia, except the area round Smyrna held by the Greeks, was in the hands of the “Nationalists,” as the Turks under Mustapha Kemal were now called. Behind a screen of irregulars they organized, collected money and formed an administration.

As Mustapha Kemal became a power the government in Constantinople lost in importance. All Turks were united in protest at the landing of the Greeks. But whereas the Sultan and Damad Ferid, the Grand Vizier, believed that the salvation of Turkey lay in obedience to the terms of the Armistice and so winning the confidence and good-will of the Allies, Mustapha Kemal believed not at all in the Allies. He saw that they had decided to destroy Turkey. He believed that the Turks could only save themselves by their own strong right arms. He had already succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The Allies had done nothing against him. The Greeks were tied to their area. Their atrocities had filled him and his supporters with wild rage, for they despised these Greeks as their late subjects. They hated the Allies but little less for sending them. When ordered to return to Constantinople Mustapha Kemal had refused. Damad Ferid was a fierce old man and he dismissed Mustapha Kemal from the army. Personal hatred and pique became an element in the quarrel. A breach opened between the government in Constantinople and the administration in Angora. Then Damad Ferid fell from power and the Nationalists gained control of the Constantinople cabinet. In turn they were ejected, and the Sultan and Damad Ferid Pasha and their supporters, appealing in vain to the Allies for help, set out to crush the “ rebels “ in Anatolia. They employed Circassians to fight them, under a certain Ahmed Anzavour. The breach was complete, and henceforth Angora went its own way from step to step until it proclaimed itself an independent government, while the Constantinople government, tied hand and foot by the Allies, sank to the position of the borough council of Stambul, and the Allied control became valueless.

Finally, feeling their strength and showing the fortitude and courage that more than once in their history saved them from destruction, the Turkish Nationalists had on the 28th of January 1920 published their National Pact. They proclaimed the objects for which they fought and swore that even to annihilation they would strive till they possessed Anatolia, Constantinople and Eastern Thrace, free of foreign interference. It was the declaration of the death of the Ottoman Empire, and of the existence of the Turkish Nation. The birth and rapid growth of this had been ignored by the Allies. Now it stood out aggressively, asserting its claims and its power to enforce them.

The success of the Turkish Nationalists, due as it was to the sudden and unexpected vitality that they had shown, was aided by a complicated mass of other circumstances.

The Greeks had hardly landed before they encountered Italian opposition. As the Greeks pushed out, the Italians continued to advance, until they met as rivals. At one point, on the 2nd of June 1919, their troops opened fire on each other at the village of Cherkes Keuy, and only with great tact was an open breach between Rome and Athens avoided. The Italians, piqued and disappointed, encouraged the spirit of Turkish revolt. Too late they realized that they fanned a fire that would singe their own beards. Before the rising conflagration, which they had helped to light, they retired. There were serious domestic troubles in Italy. The people demanded demobilization and threatened revolution. Rather than be involved in fighting the Italian Government withdrew, and gave up the territory on which they had set their hearts. But as they went they sold their arms and equipment to the Turk, and for many months they were his main source of supply for war material.

Aided thus in the south, the Turks found other helpers in the north. As the Bolsheviks slowly advanced, steadily pushing the armies of counter-revolution under Denikin before them, the British troops retired out of the Caspian and across the Caucasus. Their retreat encouraged the Turks, who received from Moscow welcome messages and more welcome money. The Allies were their common enemies.

The Turkish Nationalists directed their energies primarily against the Greeks, but the Greeks were the agents of the Peace Conference, and rapidly the hostility of the Turks was directed against the Allies. Until it had forced itself upon their attention, the Nationalist movement was viewed with little interest and no hostility by the Supreme Council, despite the constant telegrams of warning from the High Commissioner and the admonitions of the General Officer Commanding-in Chief.

When late in 1919 the position was recognized, the jealousies between the Allies prevented any effective action. The Italians were already at loggerheads with the Greeks and helping the Turks. Compromise between the many conflicting ambitions was the only hope of common action. The British were often stubborn and their subordinates were sometimes unwise, but as a whole they were prepared to sacrifice much to maintain the Entente. From the first days of the Armistice, however, the French were suspicious. They believed that they were to be cheated of the good things of victory. There was no common enemy in the Near East, and there remained only the debris of dead systems, out of which much of value might be extracted. They found the British already in possession. They were determined not to be jockeyed out. For two centuries or more the British and the French had been rivals. In the face of a common foe, for a brief period, they had combined to crush the upstart Germany, and then in 1918 they took up again their ancient quarrel where they had laid it down in 1913. In the Near East the Great War, which was to have been an ending, became no more than a brief interlude in the long struggle between the rivals for the hegemony of Turkey.

Within a week of the signing of the Armistice the French were issuing nationalization papers to enemy subjects who possessed business or property interests in Turkey, and so endeavoured to annex the trade. Monsieur de France, the High Commissioner, and Franchet d’Esperey, the Allied General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, were openly anti-British. They assisted the enemy. Thus the Allied High Commissioners refused passports to the family of Enver Pasha. The French supplied them. The High Commissioners ordered the arrest of Djavid the Salonika Jew, the Minister of Finance to the Committee of Union and Progress. The French smuggled him into France. In May 1919, French officers spoke at public meetings against the Greek landing in Smyrna and encouraged Turkish resistance. As early as June 1919, M. Pichon was in private correspondence with the Prince Heritier, and had promised him assistance to gain Turkish aspirations. The Moniteur, the Stambul and other papers were subsidized with French money to publish anti-British articles. Major Labonne, the French representative at Afion-Kara-Hissar, Colonel Mongin at Angora, and General Bathélémy, the French Military Attaché in Constantinople, were openly with the Turks.

For a short while the French used the Greeks. Even as late as June 1920 they advised them to advance, so as to get the Turks off the railway. Then they threw them over. As it became evident that the English had taken the Greeks under their protection, so, to neutralize this, the French became Turkophile, and in October 1921 M. Franklin Bouillon on behalf of the French Government made a secret treaty at Angora. That treaty was dishonourable not so much in its terms as in the secrecy with which it was made. The French supplied the Turks with information as to the Greek forces and our own. The culmination was the great betrayal at Chanak, when on the 22nd of September 1922 they withdrew and left the British alone to face the oncoming Turks.

These are only a few of the countless similar incidents, but they showed the blind folly that made the Entente in the Near East a delusion. In France suspicion died slowly. England, despite the Entente, still appeared as the cunning monster which had stolen its colonial empire from the French. Sound public opinion throughout England was only too eager to forget the ancient rivalry and to allow France to attain her just aspirations. It realized that Allied solidarity was the one hope of salvation for ruined Europe, but it met with little response; and from the end of 1919 onwards the Entente split until the French gradually whole-heartedly backed the Turks, and the British half-heartedly backed the Greeks.

The Greeks were from the beginning in a bad position. They strained for greatness. Their resources were meagre and their ambitions great. They set out on a crusade backed by the Allies. But as soon as they left the seashore they found themselves in a barren wild country, and were deserted by the Allies and eventually warned that they must evacuate. They endeavoured to annex lands to which they had no rights except those of force, while on the other hand they were opposed by a people fighting desperately for their homes.

They played, moreover, at being the champions of their oppressed fellow-countrymen in Anatolia, but this was but a fancied role. I remember well an incident that aptly illustrated this. One day, M. Canelopoulos came to the Embassy.

I hope,” said the High Commissioner, “that your Excellency’s troops will advance no further into Anatolia, for, if they do, I fear that all the Christians may be murdered.”

“I hope,” replied M. Canelopoulos, “that the massacres begin soon, for we have need of a raison d’etre for advancing.” And I could only think of the incident a few weeks before when, in fear of the Turkish irregulars, the Greek population had flocked out of the village of Aidin behind Smyrna to follow the retreating Greek troops to safety, and how the Commanding Officer had driven them back knowing that they would be massacred because “he needed a raison d’être for advancing into and beyond Aidin.”

At home the Greeks were unstable. They grew tired of war and the suppression of their liberty. In November, 1919, M. Venizelos warned the Supreme Council that Greece could not continue to keep up a huge army to police Smyrna. The Greeks were in the unfortunate position of the man who put one finger into a sausage-machine and then when he wished to withdraw he could not and had to go through and become a sausage altogether.

Aided by the dissensions of the Allies, by their preoccupation and by their inability to take military action, the Turks succeeded. They found many Allies. Central Asia with Bokhara, Samarkand and Afghanistan was prepared to be troublesome. The British retreat out of the Caspian, their withdrawal in Anatolia, their inability to act in Persia and their weakness in India encouraged many to break out. The Kurds were angry at the idea of an Armenian State, and in June 1919 they became a menace to Irak. The Tartars of Nachivan and the Emir Feisal and the Arabs were disgruntled. In all directions were potential allies and Mustapha Kemal with uncommon skill roused dissatisfaction, raised the hopes of resistance or of advantages to be gained, and turned all the eyes of the dissatisfied towards Angora. The Turkish nation was facing a Christian crusade. It became itself the forefront of a crusade and behind it muttered and growled all Asia ready for revolt.

  Even at their pleasantest they were irritating. (The Greeks and Armenians) had an ulterior motive of gain in every action.

p. 101

I found the Greeks and Armenians liberal in their favours. Their soirees and tea-parties were gay. They chattered in the ugly French of Pera or in pidgin English and broke off at times into their own hoarse languages...

Even at their pleasantest they were irritating. They had an ulterior motive of gain in every action. They irritated because they aped the European. They played at being of the West and civilized, but between them and the European was a gulf as wide as that between the Turk and the British, and it had no subtlety or charm or mystery to hide it.



pp. 110-123


The Treaty of Sèvres. The Storm Bursts,

IRRITATED by this show of resistance on the part of a defeated enemy, the Allies decided to teach the Turks a lesson. The British Commander, General Sir George Milne, had some idea of the strength of the Nationalists. The French from their Cilician experiences had more. The Embassies had very little and the Allied Premiers in Paris had no conception at all of the situation that now faced them. They did not realize that they were dealing with a live force and not with the decrepit relics of the old Ottoman Empire. Anatolia was not affected by an economic blockade, nor did it care whether or not it was recognized as one of the family of nations. It was only through Constantinople that punishment could be inflicted, and it was decided to occupy Constantinople officially on the 16th of March.

The occupation was to be carried out by Lieut.-General Sir Henry Wilson as the Officer Commanding the Allied troops of the area. The French and Italian Governments signed the instructions. Their departments in Paris and Rome held up the executive orders.

The occupation was carried out, but by British sailors and soldiers alone; and only when the French and Italians saw that it had been successful and that the whole control of the city and area would be in British hands, did they combine and claim a share in this control. Martial law was proclaimed. The life of the city was to continue as before. The Ottoman Government was allowed to work, but every branch was to be carefully supervised. The Ministry of War, the Admiralty, the customs, passports, ports, telegraphs and newspapers were watched and controlled by Allied officers. The Allied Police Commission already in existence was strengthened, and the French had some organization for the gendarmerie.

On the night prior to the occupation a number of
prominent Turks were arrested as active supporters of the Nationalists. In the prisons there were already many officials and officers, accused of participation in massacres or ill-treatment of prisoners-of-war. They were all shipped off at once and imprisoned in a camp at Malta.

The story of these deportees is a sorry one. Among them were evil criminals, who had murdered prisoners-of-war. Many were ordinary normal Turks who had been leading men in Turkey during the war. Some were arrested on the poor evidence of a couple of Armenian women or on that of an enemy. More than one was arrested in error. They were imprisoned in conditions quite out of keeping with their rank or position. They were kept two years in confinement without being charged with any crime. They were herded all together, those arrested for political offences old and new, and those for massacre, murder and evil crimes. Thus the foul beast Mazlum Bey from Afion-Kara-Hissar, who had murdered British prisoners-of-war and committed loathsome crimes and offences, was confined with Said Halim Pasha, the old Grand Vizier, who had opposed the declaration of war and had been persuaded by Enver Pasha against his better judgment to sign. It was as if the victorious Germans had shut Lord Balfour in with a gang of criminals like Crippen and Mahon. As pressed continually on the Home Government the matter could have been disposed of easily and well. A court could have tried each case, hung the murderer, sent the evil-doer to hard labour, released the innocent and, if considered necessary, interned those politically dangerous. But the affair dragged on, and late in 1921 all these prisoners without distinction were released, and those who wished it were shipped back to Turkey. The results of these deportations were considerable.

All Turks of military age began to leave for Anatolia, and all men of any importance made for Angora. The Sultan’s advisers were believed to have supplied many of the names, and hatred against the Sultan increased. The belief in British justice suffered a rude shock. Many of the deportees were men of great importance. When released they became ministers and deputies in the Angora Government, and their hatred of the British was not diminished by their imprisonment, degradation and general treatment in Malta.

The deportations and the occupation of Constantinople encouraged the Sultan and his supporters. Both he and his brother-in-law Damad Ferid Pasha were early convinced that Mustapha Kemal and the Nationalists were intent on forming a separate Government. It is hard to say how far this attitude on their part drove the Nationalists to separation, or how far the Sultan and his supporters knew their own countrymen well enough to realize that, if given a free hand, they would take this line. The Sultan endeavoured to involve us on his side. We struggled to keep clear, for in February 1919 the High Commissioner had received instructions to protect the Sultan, but to take no action against any Turks who might come into power, even if they were members of the old hostile Committee of Union and Progress, and on no account to become involved in local Turkish affairs.

Very soon the Sultan’s enemies became our enemies, and, in acting in our defence, it was difficult to avoid acting on his behalf. To those on the spot to stand by the Sultan was clearly the sound policy. He represented the de juTe Government. He was friendly, prepared to carry out the Allies’ orders, and he was within their control. British interests were few. We required the Straits open, and fair play for our traders. We needed the moral support of the Khalif for our Moslem subjects. There was on us a moral obligation to protect the Christian minorities. In the early months of 1919 and in 1920, given moral support, a loan and a free hand, the Sultan could have asserted himself and dealt with the first efforts of Mustapha Kemal. The peasantry were still loyal. They believed that they were enlisting to save him. He sent his Grand Vizier hot-foot to the Embassies with warnings and requests to be allowed to act. He was refused permission. He was tied hand and foot and then called upon to carry out the Allies’ demands. As the power passed to the Nationalists, he became valueless. He was an old man, living in constant fear of assassination, and he was dominated by his Grand Vizier.

Damad Ferid was of a far different type. He was a stubborn, brave, unwise old man. He was an Albanian with a touch of Kurdish blood in him, and he had all the fierce hatred of the blood feud in his soul. He was a clansman without compromise. Throughout he had warned the British of the dangers and he had taken what steps he could to destroy the Nationalists, until the breach between Angora and Constantinople was broad and unbridgeable. His personality counted for much. His lack of compromise and his pursuit of his vendetta against his enemies made reconciliation impossible.

Faced by the same enemies, despite intentions to the contrary, we found ourselves working with the Sultan’s party. Undoubtedly a number of the deportees were arrested at Damad Ferid’s request. Now threatened by the Nationalists, we went a step farther. Sir George Milne sent one of his staff, Colonel Shuttleworth, to discuss with Zeki and Hamdi Pashas at the Ministry of War the formation of two divisions of royalist troops to be organized with British officers. As soon as these were ready, they were to be taken by sea to the north coast of Anatolia and marched in on the Nationalist flank and rear.

The Sultan bestirred himself. He issued an Imperial Iradé proclaiming Mustapha Kemal and his associates outlaws and a Fetwa which excommunicated them. He dissolved the Ottoman Government, and recalled back to power Damad Ferid, who had been forced to resign some months before. He tried to raise the Kurds to his aid. The Allies agreed and he arranged for arms and stores to be sent from the depots under Allied control to the Circassians fighting for him under Ahmed Anzayour. He sent troops to Yalova and Ismidt. Still the Allies did not back him fully. Few of the arms and stores reached the Circassians. The local officials held them up and these officials were under Allied control. Up to the end why we should not act together against a common enemy to our mutual advantage was not understood by the Sultan nor by Damad Ferid, nor yet by any reasonable person in possession of the facts.

The result of the Sultan’s actions was negligible, but it drove the Nationalists to fury. They denounced the Central Government. They swore vengeance on Damad Ferid. They formed at Angora the Grand National Assembly to carry on the government of the country, as long as Constantinople was in bondage. They prepared to fight to the end.

Then the full storm burst on us with blow on crashing blow. Hardly had the occupation been completed before the Turks surrounded the British garrison at Eski-Shehir. All other garrisons and Control Officers had been withdrawn to avoid capture or arrest except this one, and it had been left on the railway junction to assist the retirement of Italian troops from Konia. The garrison cut its way out, but lost a number of men and animals. The Italians with their line of retreat gone were forced to turn off at Afion-Kara-Hissar, and escape by the Greek zone and Smyrna. In Europe Germany showed signs of revolt, and a revolution in favour of the Kaiser blazed up for a while. Ireland was twisted in pain, and all the force of England was concentrated in holding her down. The Kurds were rising on the Mesopotamian frontier. Behind us in Eastern Thrace a certain Jaffar Tahir had raised the Turks, and they were arming and drilling and organizing from Adrianople.

Grey Wolf by Harold Armstrong; cover for the book

Harold Armstrong would go on to author a mostly
unflattering portrait of Kemal Ataturk in a 1932 book

Infuriated at the attitude of the Sultan, Mustapha Kemal and the new Government at Angora proceeded forthwith to make a military convention with the Bolshevik Government of Moscow. Denikin and his counter-revolutionary troops had been smashed. They had shown neither efficiency nor honesty. The Turks and the Bolsheviks had a common aim in the destruction of the British Empire, their common enemy. They struck at her feet in the East. The Bolsheviks seized Azerbaijan. By a concentrated action with the Turks from the south they forced Armenia to her knees, and captured Kars and Nakhitchevan. Now Nakhitchevan and Kars form the back door of Anatolia and a side door to Persia, and are on the way to Mesopotamia. The Allied general staffs became alarmed. They prepared plans to stop the Russian advance southwards. They feared Bolshevik propaganda on the heels of victorious troops. The British discussed the safety of Bagdad and Jerusalem and even produced schemes to cover the Suez Canal.

The Sultan’s troops, sent to Yalova and Adabazar, refused to fight in the civil war. Those under Ahmed Anzavour were driven back, and wiped out, and he was himself killed.

In May the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres were published. President Wilson and the Americans had left the Conference in December 1919, and with them they took all their idealism. The Peace Conference reverted to old European methods and diplomacy. The secret treaties of the war, that had hovered behind the Conference like pale ghosts, afraid of the light from America, now came forward. The march of events had at last warned the Allies and they set to work to be finished with Turkey. The result was the Treaty of Sèvres.

It was based and bound on the secret treaties. Italy and Greece, before they entered the war with the Allies, had bargained for their prices and had been promised sections of Anatolia as payment. France had her aspirations, and England her policies. They were all fitted into the treaty. Annexation of territory was concealed behind the American idea of " mandates." Syria and Cilicia went to France. Smyrna and Western Thrace and most of Eastern Thrace to Greece. Italy got the islands. Russia had been promised Constantinople and the area of the Straits and the Bosphorus. But she was out of the running and they were put under an international régime with the Greeks down the western shore of the Marmora and on the Gallipoli peninsula.

The Turks, with Smyrna cut out, were to have Anatolia as far as the Georgian, Armenian, Kurdish, and Mesopotamian frontiers, but every detail of their lives was to be supervised. There were Commissions and Sub-Commissions. There was the Sub-Commission of Organization to disband the Turkish army and to form the new forces of a limited volunteer army and gendarmerie. There was a Sub-Commission to look after custom officials, forest guards and urban and rural police. Nominal sovereign rights were left to the Turks, but they were bound hand and foot with rigid irons. Their finances were strictly controlled.

Attached to the treaty, and not made public until Damad Ferid had signed, was a tripartite agreement between England, France and Italy. It divided Anatolia into three pieces. In the Southern portion the "special interests of Italy were recognized." In the Eastern section "the special interests of France were recognized." The remaining portion was not allotted, but it was presumed that England would have "special interests" there. Beyond this all the sections of the old Ottoman Empire were portioned off to Arabs and Kurds and Jews.
It was incredible that under the conditions in existence at that moment such a treaty could have been proposed. The Ottoman Empire was dead, and so far as the treaty marked that fact it was of value; but it took no stock of the new forces, of the weakness of the Allies and the strength of the enemy. Compromises undoubtedly made it unreal. Those who framed it must have been completely ignorant of the position of affairs, and their advisers woefully ignorant of geography and ethnology. I was amazed at the attitude of some of the advisers.

On his way to Paris, one sat in my office and blandly discussed whether Proportional Representation rather than the Majority Electoral System had better be included in the constitution of the Kurdish state, about to be framed; and for some time it was seriously considered giving the mandate of the Jewish home in Palestine to the Arab King of the Hedjaz. The treaty was grossly immoral. This portioning out of the homelands of a people into sections like slabs of bread to be devoured by various powers has, throughout modern history, been considered immoral. Moreover, by its “spheres of interest” it perpetrated the ancient rivalry between the nations in Turkey.

The publication of the terms had an instantaneous effect. All Turks realized that it meant their destruction. The sea-shore was to be taken from them, and they were to be confined to central Anatolia. A hostile Armenia was to be formed in their rear, and they were to be chained hand and foot by controls. Their attitude stiffened. They were now to fight not the Greeks alone, but all the Allies, to save themselves from annihilation. They at once attacked and captured the French garrison Bozanti, and the French Government was glad to to terms and sign an armistice with them.

Turks set their teeth and reorganized. They smashed what was left of the Sultan’s troops and finished the civil war. All dissensions and quarrels among them disappeared. The Eastern troops were put under Kiazim Kara Bekir and the Western under Ali Fuad Pasha with the central supreme command of Mustapha Kemal at Angora. Now all parties, except the immediate entourage of the Sultan, combined in the struggle to save their country, and every Turk worth his salt became a Nationalist.

It was a fight to the finish. They closed in on the Allies in Constantinople. They attacked the French battalion that protected the coal mines at Zangulduk and this was at once withdrawn. The last few troops of the Italians scampered out of Anatolia to avoid destruction.

The Bolsheviks had pushed in across the Caucasus and, to avoid contact, as ordered by the War Office the British retired and so evacuated Batum and all the Caucasus. This left the flank of Wrangel’s anti-revolutionary army exposed. The Bolsheviks had swung into northern Persia and with their coming the treaty signed between England and Persia on the 9th of August, 1919, and all the structure that was built on it, collapsed.

That treaty is worthy of a passing notice, for it aptly illustrates, from Persia, much that led to the failure in Turkey. It was a treaty made in haste and secrecy and only published when signed. It was done under the supervision of Lord Curzon, who as a distinguished amateur diplomatist had had an exceptional record of failure. It was made against the advice of many great experts, such as Lord Grey. It was the old diplomatic method of trying to get ahead of other Powers, but it only annoyed our Allies and helped to break the Entente. As in the Treaty of Sèvres, it ignored the size of the military forces of the British Empire. It took on vast commitments without the means to carry them out. The British army was being reduced to a few divisions.

These were needed for India and Ireland. It is not too much to say that if all the schemes of Mr. Lloyd George and Lord Curzon had been carried out, troops would have been required to police a frontier from Burma to Teheran, from Teheran to the Caspian with a post at Constantinople. The Bolshevik advance finally disposed of that treaty.

The East was up. A sheet of flame ran across it. India was seething. A great Moslem pilgrimage to Kabul was in progress as a protest against British Christian rule. The Amir thinking that India was in disorder followed the tradition of his ancestors, declared war and advanced on India for his loot. The Hindus were unsettled and the Amritzar riots were a symptom. In Egypt there was revolt. The East was indeed aflame, and it was not merely the Moslem East for Hindus and Moslems in India, Syria Christians and Mohammedans in Syria against the French, and Copts and Moslems in Egypt, had combined for resistance on common grounds.

June found the British Empire in the East buffeted with great blows and rocking to its foundations. Of force there was none to employ. Ireland had absorbed the small army that the British were prepared to support. We had enmeshed ourselves in the wastes of Mesopotamia, and the Arabs rose against our benign rule on the 3rd of June. In Turkey the Nationalists had cleared all Anatolia of Allied troops, except the Greeks in the Smyrna area, and the British had fallen back on a line behind Ismidt to cover Constantinople. In front of them entrenched was the last remnant of the Sultan’s troops. The Turks waited no more. Ali Fuad Pasha attacked. He drove in the half-hearted Sultanic troops without effort, and they retired through the British lines. Without hesitation the Nationalists attacked the British. On the night of the 15th-16th of June three assaults were repulsed with difficulty. The French were hard pressed at Heraclea. Irregulars raided the villages on the Asiatic shores of the Bosphorus and from Beicos opened fire on the fleet as it lay at anchor there. A shot or two struck the Austrian Embassy where the British High Commissioner and his staff were lodged.

I was asleep on a terrace in the Embassy when I was awaked before dawn by the rifle fire. There was confusion and panic and noise. Across the Bosphorus came firing and shouting. Below in the village on our side the Christians were running round in terror. A battleship opened fire with its light guns and a regiment of Indian infantry was hurried up. But it was a lesson. The raiders were the skirmishers of the Turkish Army. Constantinople, the High Commission, the handful of Allied troops lay naked and exposed to them except for the navy; and in an affair of this nature ships are of little value except for evacuation.

The few troops in the Asiatic shore were in detachments down the railway to Ismidt that runs along the shore of the Marmora. As soon as the Turks realized the position they proceeded to pass down the flank towards Constantinople. At Derindje the depot of stores was burnt and blown up in preparation for retreat. The long bridge on the railway beyond Guebze was mined for destruction. The Turks were seen to be massing for an attack on the Ismidt detachment. It was a critical hour. The fleet opened fire and the great shells blew up the Cloth Factory of Ismidt behind which the enemy troops were concentrating, and did great damage. For the minute the Turks hesitated. On the Dardanelles they were pressing in and the defences and guns there were destroyed. All preparation for a hurried evacuation of the Allies’ forces was made. The townspeople of Constantinople were in terror, for they could not but see what was happening. There were but two alternatives—to fight or run, and the Allies did not appear able or willing to fight.


pp. 124-129

The Greeks save the Allies and thrust back the Turks

THE Allied Premiers looked round in despair. At last they half realized the situation. The East was up. The Bolsheviks were becoming dominant. The Turks were about to throw the Allied troops “ bag and baggage “ and in rout, out of Constantinople. Great Britain had her hands full. The few troops at her disposal were in Ireland. The Indian Army was doubtful in loyalty, and even its British officers were disgruntled with constant changes and the insistent threats of reduction. The French were busy in Syria. and Africa and still afraid of Germany. The Italians were striving with the agonies of attempted red revolution. The Premiers looked round in despair.

Quiet, plausible, unmoved stood M. Venizelos. His eye-glasses and charm of manner give him an air of childlike simplicity, but, as ever, with careful shrewd calculation he was ready in Paris. At a reasonable price he was prepared to place the Greek troops at the disposal of the Allies. The price of more land round Smyrna and the immediate occupation of Eastern Thrace were at once agreed upon. The Greeks would do the dirty work of the Allies. Moreover, as Mr. Lloyd George fully realized, Greece was always open to coercion by a Power with a fleet.

The Allies urged the Greeks to go forward at once. The French were as insistent as the British. They saw that a Greek advance meant a relaxation of pressure in Cilicia and the Turks off the Baghdad line. They urged General Paraskevopoulos, the Greek Commander-in-Chief, not to delay.

The Greeks advanced on the 22nd of June, 1920. On all fronts they met with easy success. Their regular,  well-conditioned troops advanced with hardly a check. Eastern Thrace was at once occupied. The Turks fled. Jaffar Tahir, the Turkish Commander, was ignominiously captured. The Greeks marched into Adrianople, and close up to the city of Constantinople within long gun range, on the line laid down in the Treaty of Sèvres.
From Smyrna three columns advanced. The one in conjunction with the British fleet went due north and cleared the south coast of the Marmora and took Brusa. The second advanced straight into the Turks at Alashehir, and then left the plains to mount the plateau and halted at Ushaq. The third from Aidin advanced
out, keeping parallel with the column on Ushaq; and a division was sent to Ismidt to take over the peninsula and to cover the Allies in Constantinople. Everywhere the Turks had broken and retreated with little resistance.

The position was saved. The Allied Premiers were once more under the delusion that they were dealing with the scrappy remnants of the tumbled-down Ottoman Empire. They pointed to the Greek success as proof that their advisers on the spot had been over-anxious and their information incorrect. But they had misread the real situation. The Turks were vigorously organizing away in Anatolia. The troops driven in by the Greeks were but screens of irregulars and outposts. The Turkish nation with its teeth set was straining to get ready. It was fighting for its very life.

M. Venizelos had contracted to be allowed to advance as far as the main railway and to hold Eski-Shehir and Afion-Kara-Hissar. This was sound strategy with a good line along his front and a good railway to Smyrna and his base. But he stopped at Ismidt, Brusa, Ushaq and beyond Aidin in deference to the wishes of the Allies. In this decision lay disaster. The four columns were disconnected. Their communications with the base were good only in one case. Strategically their new line had nothing in its favour, and, if attacked by good troops, they must have been broken in detail. With the coming winter the Greeks were to suffer much and to gain nothing by their advance.

Meanwhile the Allies were content. Damad Ferid for the Sublime Porte signed the treaty in August, and preparations were made to put its provisions into force, even before ratification. The Turkish nation beyond the Greek outposts had been forgotten.
At this moment, had the Allies been prepared to make a milder peace, there is little doubt that this could have been done. The Turks were much shaken by the Greek attack. The Nationalist regular troops were not ready. If the Greeks continued to advance, they could not be stopped. The Turkish generals could give ground to save time; but it meant giving to their hated and despised enemy good pieces of Anatolia, and it meant that these had to be recovered. The Greeks were prepared to compromise, for they felt the strain. But the Allies upheld the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres, and, within the Allied zone in Constantinople, Damad Ferid and the Sultan thundered out their hatred and were for no compromise.

By the autumn of 1920 the position had crystallized. The Allies with a handful of troops sat in Constantinople and held a small neutral zone round it, that contained the Straits and the Bosphorus. Beyond them and protecting them and their only protection was the Greek screen making a complete barrier on every side. And beyond that in Anatolia were the Turks working and organizing, growing formidable, and on their side were Time and Space and the unknown forces of Central Asia and Bolshevik Russia. Within the Allied zone the Powers quarrelled. The old intrigues were in full play. The nominal Turkish Government with the Sultan still remained, but it had become no more than the Borough Council of Constantinople, with limited powers. Except as an irritant, it had ceased to affect the situation.

Constantinople had become a backwater. The Home Government paid scanty attention to its representatives on the spot. I had always been surprised at the manner the advice and information offered by those on the spot was ignored by the Home Government. Hardly a recommendation on important subjects made by the High Commissioner was accepted. His warnings were laughed at and his advice was passed over. He had not been consulted before the occupation of Smyrna by the Greeks. In its early stages he had wished to deal with the Nationalist movement, and he had been forbidden to do so. He had had no say in the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. In every case his advice had been sound, and it had been ignored or listened to too late. Now the High Commission had become no more than a glorified post-office, with a department for forwarding and re-addressing letters and requests. There was an incident that aptly illustrated the position. Eighteen days after the issue of the Treaty of Sèvres no copy had reached the High Commission. Mr. Ryan, the Dragoman, when visiting the Grand Vizier, saw that he had several copies on a table, and Damad Ferid Pasha kindly gave him a copy. From this we discovered the exact details of the Treaty of Sèvres. It is said that Admiral Sir John de Robeck, the High Commissioner, telegraphed the same evening to the Foreign Office to the effect:

“Beg to inform you Turks have to-day presented terms of Peace Treaty to Allies,”

and that the laconic reply came back:

“High Commissioner’s number so and so not understood.”

That reply was symbolical of the relation between the Home Government and the High Commissioner. Had his advice been followed, or even listened to, in the early months of the Armistice, the impasse now arrived at would not have occurred. Wireless and telephone and telegraph and swift ships and trains had withdrawn his power to act. A hundred years ago he would have acted quickly and decisively on his own initiative. The Empire was built by local action carried through by men of spirit. Now he was tied to the end of a telegraph wire and his orders were always to wait and remain inactive, while he watched chances slip away and disaster chase out victory.

In October 1920 I left Turkey on leave. Constantinople was short-circuited. The military decisions rested with the Greeks and the Turks. The peace decisions lay between Paris, Athens and Angora. As the last pawn in the hands of the Allies the city and area of Constantinople was retained.

I travelled on the Orient Express and there I found Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, Mr. Tom Shaw, Mrs. Philip Snowden and a party of the leading Socialists from France, Holland and Belgium.

They had just returned from Southern Russia after a careful investigation into the results of the Russian Revolution. They were openly depressed. The so-called “Workers’ Revolution,” that had been acclaimed as one of the successes of the Labour movement, had proved a failure. It had been a vast experiment along lines preached by the Socialists, and it had brought
nothing but black ruin. Without hesitation Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and his friends pronounced Bolshevism to be a failure. They were convinced that fire and sword and the use of naked force were not the way to produce a new and perfect social order. They were opposed to “ Force “ in all its forms.


pp. 136-140

...,(F)rom various quarters the Turks found sympathizers. There were a number of experts and persons genuinely of the belief that, as a great Mohammedan power, it was our duty to be friendly to Turkey. With them were a mass of Indian officials and officers brought up in the traditions of the Punjaub and the Moslem element of the Indian Army and administrative services in India. With these stood Mr. Montagu, the Secretary of State for India.

It was a curious anomaly that any Western Power should have had such a man in office. From the minute, in 1919, when he shepherded the Indian delegation before the Peace Conference, it was obvious that this was an Asiatic fighting for Asia against the European. In a stray minute I wandered down the main corridor of the India Office. Its walls are covered with the pictures of the Secretaries of State for India. There were there great men with great names. Their cast of face showed their breeding and their essential European character. Alone among them sneered down the photograph of Mr. Montagu, with a face Asiatic and Eastern. He became the champion of the Khalifate and of the Turks as the protectors of the Khalif. He became the mouthpiece of the combine of Moslems and Hindus of India that used the bogey of Pan-Islam and the Khalifate for their own political ends. He spent much of his time pathetically complaining that no one would listen to him or pay attention to his warnings.

Over all Mr. Lloyd George rode rough-shod till Lord Curzon and the Foreign Office came to a state of suspended animation, and Mr. Montagu and the India Office to that of suspended irritation.

Mr. Lloyd George had grown almost abnormal in his belief in and his respect for the Greeks. He was not au courant with the problems of the Near East. He had little knowledge of the value of its various peoples. As a politician much of his strength lay in the Nonconformist vote, and this was solidly against the Turks. He had behind him the tradition of Gladstone. He realized the vital importance of the Mediterranean as a high-road of the Empire and that both Italy and France desired to make it their own specially preserved lake. He saw that a Greater Greece was an aid to British policy. He had stumbled on the undoubted fact that for many a long day Greek and British interests in the Mediterranean must go hand in hand. It is said that he had also stumbled on to the knowledge that there had been an Ancient Greece with its great poets and philosophers and that this had inspired his Welsh soul. This may or may not be so, for, as M. Clemenceau once said, “I know that Mr. Lloyd George can read, but I do not know if he ever does.”

Under the influence of the charm of M. Venizelos he saw in a brilliant picture a Greek Empire reviving in Europe and Anatolia the splendours of its ancestors, keeping open the Straits for Europe, holding back the Asiatic and infidel Turk, and maintaining the Mediterranean high-road for the British Empire. He recognized that if Greece should grow obstreperous, she was open to rapid punishment by a sea-power.

Without hesitation he had thrown in all his weight on the Greek side. He ignored the experts who warned him of failure and even M. Venizelos, who in late 1919 told him that Greece could not stand too great a strain. When the facts became obvious, he still refused to see them. The vision that he had seen was magnificent, but it was false in the most vital essentials. The Greeks did not possess the art of ruling. They had neither the ability nor the resources to carry out the great role assigned to them. Mr. Lloyd George chose a weapon that broke in his hand.
As a warning came three severe blows. As the result of a fantastic combination of incidents King Alexander died on the 25th of October, 1920, from the effects of the bite of a monkey. The Greeks recalled King Constantine and his German wife, and ejected M. Venizelos. The French had long since ceased to aid the Greeks and were actively helping the Turks. They seized this opportunity to repudiate officially their support of Greece.
The Bolsheviks defeated the armies of General Wrangel, and so chased out of Southern Russia the last of the anti-revolutionary forces. Mustapha Kemal and the Bolsheviks formed an alliance and portioned out Armenia between them.

The ejection of M. Venizelos from Greece and the defeat of General Wrangel were due to a common cause. In both cases the Allies had interfered in the private quarrels of other states, and by their interference ensured the success of their enemies and the failure of their protégés. They had not so much backed the wrong horse as backed one horse, and automatically it had become the wrong one.

The ejection of M. Venizelos amazed many people, but it was supremely natural. The Greeks as a whole were fond of their king, and they had shown little desire to enter the Great War on the side of the Allies. Venizelos throughout 1916 fought for the Allies. He worked against his king and the general sentiment of the Greeks. He never understood the Greeks. They hated him, for he was a Cretan. On the 25th of June, 1917, he marched into Athens with a French force at his back and carried the country into the war. The allied victory gave him great prestige, but no popularity.
Throughout the next few years he was a dictator. The prisons were full of his political opponents. He was autocratic. He refused the Greeks the liberty to argue and talk politics, which, in Athens, meant that he was sitting on the safety-valve. In his republican ideas he was in opposition to the general sentiment, and his power rested on foreign bayonets, on foreign money and on the foreign influence which he had introduced into an internal quarrel. He was ejected, and, when he was called back in the hour of defeat, it was because the Greeks were convinced that without foreign help they were lost.

These events in Greece and the Turkish-Bolshevik alliance should have been somewhat of a warning, but they were ignored. It is a curious commentary on the role of a politician. The backing of M. Venizelos and Greece was a fatal error of judgment that involved great losses. Had a soldier or sailor made such an error, he would have been relieved of his command, but Mr. Lloyd George continued to thrive.

Without grasping the realities or considering the potentialities of the position, steps were taken to put the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres into action, and I found myself detailed to assist in forming the necessary organization and plans. Commissions of all sorts, as in the treaty, were plotted out. Pay and equipment and their knotty details were argued over and laid down. From every direction came a rush of officers of all ranks looking for good jobs. The idea was abroad that Turkey was to be, as Egypt under Kitchener, a breeding-place for future field-marshals, under the rising young General, Sir Charles Harington. Generals and colonels and subalterns were fitted into the personnel of the Commissions. The Treasury advanced some money to be recovered in due course from the Turks. Handbooks and maps and diagrams were printed; and yet it was all empty paper-work and stupid vapouring. Without force the Treaty of Sèvres could not be carried out. The Allies were unable to employ force. The Greeks were incompetent and now unwilling to do their dirty work. England had ceased to think in World terms. She thought now in terms of England.

Having been transferred to General Head-Quarters Allied Forces of Occupation in Turkey, I proceeded with a party of officers early in January 1921, and we took with us all the carefully prepared instructions for the carrying out of the Treaty of Sèvres.



The Greco-Turkish War. The First Greek
Advance, 1921

I FOUND Constantinople changed but little. Inside it had been flooded by a new wave of refugees. The Bolsheviks had broken the lines dug across the Perekop Isthmus, chased Wrangel and his army out of the Crimea and taken Sevastopol. Wrangel’s army with its wives and families and a host of refugees had crowded into ships and arrived off Constantinople on the i6th of November. For a while they had been forbidden to land, and, packed tight together, with no food, a prey to swift diseases, there they had lain at anchor a floating city of the dying. Then they had come ashore in tens of thousands and swamped and overcrowded the city, replete already with refugees of every nationality. To be a refugee had become a trade and a permanent profession.

Constantinople and the Allies were protected from harm and cut off from the rest of the world by a wall of Greek troops. On every side there were Greeks. They held all the Asiatic shore from the Black Sea to the Marmora and down past Chanak to the Mediterranean. In Europe they were down the Gallipoli Peninsula and...

[T]he British ... never knew the people nor their ideas nor their ways. They adopted a superior air of patronage and sneered and, if possible, kicked all those who wore fezes.

 pp. 153-155

I lived with the Turks, not now as a subordinate or prisoner nor on the lofty eminence of an Embassy but as an equal. I saw with their eyes and heard with their ears and lived their lives. I looked back at my own people from a new position, and I experienced some disappointment. It was as when one has lived long in trenches and they have come to be something large and spacious, and suddenly one sees from a sap-head, that they are to the enemy no more than cheap mounds such as rabbits scratch.

I had watched British life in India. Within it was a dusty edition of suburbia and externally it was like isolated islands in seas of teeming native life. So here in Turkey the British were isolated. They never knew the people nor their ideas nor their ways. They adopted a superior air of patronage and sneered and, if possible, kicked all those who wore fezes. They were ignorant of the most rudimentary facts, and whoever tried to learn these was looked on as a lost man and "gone native." Their superiority did not seem so obvious from outside. In official life they suffered from the acute modern disease of "paper." They waded into paper caring little for live personalities or live facts, but trusted in written words and reports. They submerged themselves in paper till lost beneath it. If they then saw a fact, it was as distorted as the moon through water to a diver in the sea.

There were eight British gendarmerie supervising officers with separate areas, and I was given half the Ismidt Peninsula with some 600 square miles in all. We were given a chance to see Turkish official life from within, as no Englishman had seen it before. I quickly found that the Turkish and the British officials viewed their positions from different angles. In the East an official position is an acquisition to be used. It means money and comfort and the sitting under green trees and the people to be used as servants. Even if only temporary, it is a thing to be enjoyed and to be turned to profit. To the British it means a responsibility. Inspired by this and the sense of power and the instinct to organize and control the affairs of others, they will put away the good things of life and its comfort. They will sit long hours on office-stools in some dingy hole. White with fever, they will work through torrid heat in deserts beyond civilization. The two conceptions are poles apart, and as widely different as the characters of Turk and British.

I found my area in a sad state. Politics and war had torn it into pieces. At the Armistice the British had come and brought with them the ideas of the liberation of Christian minorities. The local Christians believing in these had rallied to them and been freely
used. As the British had withdrawn, the Nationalist Turks had overrun the area and taken revenge on the Christians, and then the Hellenic Greeks had come and the Ottoman Greeks had taken even more brutal revenge. Now the hills were full of brigands and criminals and the villages lay depopulated and many burnt, and, even from within the towns, the brigands carried off the merchants and held them to ransom. Between the Christians and the Moslems was a great gulf of murder and incendiarism and rape and bloodshed.

We set to work under considerable difficulties. ...


An Ottoman-Greek band brutalizes a Jewish Village


p. 160

...kicking and bubbling from the hill-side, and its laughter was full of life clean, fresh and pure.

Left to right: Two Gendarmes, an Armenian village guard and two headmen of Lazz villages, in Alemdar Forest

Left to right: Two Gendarmes, an Armenian village guard
and two headmen of Lazz villages, in Alemdar Forest

Beyond that we rode into great rolling plains as the sun began to glow hot and fiery over the Anatolian mountains and the snows on Olympus turned rose at the touch of day. The moving breeze kicked up light clouds of purple dust behind the first wood carts. The carters called to their animals and urged them forward and salaamed to us with a hang-dog manner that seemed to me to be that of guilty men until I learnt that it was fear that was in their eyes. We followed the dusty road, where my mare stumbled in the holes and ruts, and across the barren hill; and so at last towards evening we came to the Village of Jews.

That there had been a raid and that they had been robbed and beaten, there was no doubt. There was a young woman with her arms and breasts like red steps, where she had been beaten with the sharp edge of knives. But no word of evidence could we get. The people were craven and afraid. At last they pushed forward one evil, dirty brute, who had been a camp follower in South Africa. His English was a running stream of filthy oaths and indecencies, but he dared talk because no one understood him ; and from him I learnt that among the brigands was one Yanni, the son-in-law of Christo, a householder in the Greek village of Bakal Keuy.

We halted for the night and bit by bit from hints and whispers we learned that it was the renowned band of Greeks under the brigands Zaffiri, Pavli and Karoglan who had made the raid. That was a night of torment. No slum in the East have I ever found so foul as this...

And then I remembered the woman of the Village of Jews ...

pp. 166-167

The moon was up, round and clear, as we came to the pass that runs between the twin breasts of the mountains of Chakal Dagh. The mountain path ran steep and narrow in the shadow where the hills towered up on the right and to the left dropped sheer two hundred feet or more into a gorge. As the leading gendarmes crossed the crest out into the white light a volley of rifle shots ran out and the bullets came with a murderous thud into the cliff-side. I saw the men fall. Their horses turned and galloped back on us. There was confusion and noise and the sound of men running and vague figures and quick panic and contagious fear.

I crept forward in the black shadow, while Hadji held my mare. Beyond me in the light one gendarme stirred a little and groaned. Across the narrow gorge, with its unclimbable precipitous sides, came voices talking and a woman’s laugh, shrill and vulgar. Then in the coarse accent of the Ottoman Greek, that rasps all the soft music out of Turkish, she called filth and abuse on the Turks and bade the gendarmes go home, for now the English ruled in Turkey and the Greeks were free. And I in my broken Turkish called back and cried that I was the English captain, and her men bade her be quiet. As I dared out into the white light in my “topee” I heard the rolling of stones and whisperings as they crept away, and far down below me a stream laughed and played with itself in the loneliness of the rocks.

We collected the men, and Yanni, hidden in his disguise, shivered with fear lest his Greek friends should find him, and so we came to the great forest of Alemdar. I lodged in the empty summer palace of one of the Whittalls, who were Englishmen and the merchant princes of Turkey and had grown so great and so numerous that, as it was said, “They were a family that had narrowly avoided becoming a nation.”

I could not sleep. I got up and walked out in the light of the great moon. The forest lay quiet. Now and again a hidden wind would sigh through the trees and carry up an unknown scent that was a lure. Far away a jackal called. Without warning a nightingale close at hand caught its breath and burst into liquid song, and a dozen more in the forest answered, and from pools a thousand frogs woke the night and the tree crickets called on twenty different notes. Then they died to sleep and left the forest quiet except for the but half-heard ground noises, and the wonder of the night was supreme.

I walked a little way. From a house where the gendarmes slept came the sound of steady blows, not fierce or cruel but steady and methodical and brutal. They were beating Yanni, as they beat all prisoners for information, and his tormented gasps came sighing and droning across the still night like the winter’s wind round an old house. My hair stiffened in sudden anger. And then I remembered the woman of the Village of Jews with her arms a red staircase of wounds and the gendarme as he stirred on the head of the pass and groaned in agony; and I went home to sleep.


He was the official agent of the British military authorities. He was an Armenian, and an evil-looking, small, vicious brute...


pp. 168-170


Brigand Hunting: The Raid on Bakal Keuy

FROM the information obtained from Yanni it seemed probable that the band would sleep the next night at Bakal Keuy, for it was their habit to follow for safety close on the heels of their pursuers. So we rested that day in the cool of the forest, and sent word for one hundred and fifty infantry to march from Skutari and meet us on the road at an old post house. Alemdar was a mixed village, in which Armenians predominated. The villagers had long since taken all their valuables and furniture to the towns and were ready to fly for safety at any minute. Some of them had been given rifles to protect themselves, and these were led by one Dipovan, a drunken, useless, swashbuckling liar of a fellow, who was afraid of his own shadow, if he wore a fez. He was the official agent of the British military authorities. He was an Armenian, and an evil-looking, small, vicious brute with red bloodshot eyes, who interfered with the wives of his neighbours. He gave evidence against Moslem brigands, of whom he was in terror, and worked hand in glove with the Christian criminals. As they relied on dishonest interpreters, so the British military authorities trusted in, gave power to and subsidized such evil beasts as Dipovan; and so they besmirched our good name.

The villagers desired to feast us, and we walked through the deep forest of fine beeches and oaks, straight and slim and seventy foot high, until we came to a spring that had cut its way through black rocks down in a shady valley. Some sultan had built it up with marble, making a basin and calling it Tash Delen or the
Rock Cutter.” The water-carriers came to it to draw the exquisite water and sold it in the thirsty streets of Stambul.

There we lay in the shade on beds of leaves, with the peasants ranged round us. Many of the types of the Ottoman peasantry were there. There was the Headman, a great heavy dark Armenian, with a hoarse laugh and a mouth full of black teeth, brutal faced and boisterous. He had been chief huntsman to Sultan Abdul Hamid. His lean, rat-faced brother, who made bread and sold groceries at a good profit in the village, was there. They were both great drinkers of alcohol. There were Greek and Armenian women, with their husbands, chattering like starlings and wearing yards of pleated bloomer trousers, little waistcoats over their blouses and coloured handkerchiefs tied round their masses of glorious hair. Many of them were good-looking women, but they grow old and ugly quickly. Spring here is short, and then comes summer with its burning suns that patches the land and air; and in such a climate women and flowers alike grow quickly, come to their prime early, and then shrivel and pass.

Greek villagers suspected of brigandage outside a typical village house

Greek villagers suspected of brigandage outside
a typical village house

There were Turks with great belts round their middles full of pockets and layers in which they carried all their trifles. On one side sat the Lazzes, blue-eyed, light-haired men from the south coast of the Black Sea, where it comes full in the force of the gales from the Crimea. They talked in a sing-song, melodious and droning, each sentence drawn out into an “ Oh ! “ and then carried forward to the next. They were good sturdy stuff, these peasants. The land, the air and the water were good ; and yet a gang of half-caste Levantine rulers away in Stambul had ruined all. They had murdered the industrious Greek and Armenian and poured out to waste the results of his labour. They had decimated the lazy, lovable Turks.

Already the sun threw long shadows through the trees. Below the spring, a nightingale, unable to wait for night, burst into song. Far away a jackal cried, and red-legged partridges called to each other on the hills. The people were excited and full of good cheer and singing. For a few hours the dread fear was off them, and they were safe and might walk and sleep in safety because my escort and I were there.

We crept away silently that night and across the hills, till we came to the rendezvous. Yanni, still dressed as a woman, was to be our guide and we followed his plans. With heather to our waists, we staggered across the open country, where my mare stumbled and slipped and snorted and blew with fear at the steep hills. The pale moon threw a faint purple mist across the world. It died to a circle of soft white in the early grey of dawn, as we came to the village. Yanni showed a genius for this work, and, as dawn crept up the sky, I saw that...

The Turks... were incommunicative people with no power of self-expression nor of propaganda in their own interests

p. 178

...and made the villages and roads safe. The small and irregular bands were rapidly eliminated, but those that were large and permanent were difficult to lay by the heels. The eggs, from which they had hatched, had been laid in the unpleasant manure heap of local politics and Greek helped Greek and Turk helped Turk. To the north was a Moslem band under one Tahir the Lazz who had taken to the hills to fight the Greek troops and so had gained the halo of a patriot. To the south, where the Greek villages abounded, Zaffiri and Pavli and Karaoglan still roamed the country-side and made spasmodic raids, and then went to ground among their Greek friends.

I lived close with the people and I began to realize how they looked on us. The Christians had been roused by the promises of the Allied leaders at the Armistice, and still failed to understand that these were not to be fulfilled.

The Turks without exception hated us. They are a proud people, and were prouder than ever in defeat. The British air of superiority drove them to fury, but, forced to keep it pent up, they raged inwardly, and their hatred became as full of bitter poison as an unlanced boil. They were incommunicative people with no power of self-expression nor of propaganda in their own interests, and British officials failed to realize that they were a ruling people and not Hindus or negroes to be treated as subjects. It was only a few years since they had possessed a great empire.

“It may be,” said one during an argument, “that the British make one prosperous, but they do not respect one’s dignity,” and he spat expressively.

The stupidity of many senior officers would have been amusing, if it had not been tragic. One Colonel came inspecting and grew very savage and caustic, because the gendarmes had not spotless buttons on their tattered uniforms. In the course of one day he tried to tell some excellent troops that he would not be ashamed to command them, and explained nicely to the Governor that he fully realized that his pay was in arrears and therefore he recognized that he and his staff, like all Turkish officials, had to be dishonest. He treated the headmen of the villages as if they were his grooms, and he treated his grooms like dogs. And this Colonel was no exception among senior officers. It is a vast pity that each regiment, like kings in the olden days, has no professional fool who might by his frank irony force senior officers to keep a sense of the value of their own importance and their own unimportance.

As I lived on friendly terms with them, the Turks allowed me the doubtful privilege of seeing behind their minds. I heard the scurrilous things they said and believed of our women. They disliked our methods. They did not believe in either our intentions or our promises. As they go through life with closed eyes, so here the British officials imagined that if they brought riches and peace and justice to the people they would be beloved. They never realized the outstanding fact that the people of Turkey, as those of Irak and Persia, prefer the most scandalous Moslem government to the very best that is foreign and Christian.

As always, the actions of the Turkish brigands were mild in comparison with the brutalities, murders and crimes of the Greeks.


pp. 192-195

...Tahir as a youth and I begged him to advise the brigand to surrender. I gave him a letter containing a pardon for Tahir, if within two days he would come in with his band and bring Izzet with him. He was not charged with murder, but with attacking Greek troops, collecting money and living free at the expense of the villages, and with the ransoming of a few people. As always, the actions of the Turkish brigands were mild in comparison with the brutalities, murders and crimes of the Greeks.

My letter was passed from hand to hand, and I waited at Bozhane for the result. We sat mostly by the coffeehouse and smoked and sipped black coffee. Below us the green ran down to a tributary of the Riwa river. On the bank men were building a rough primitive sea-boat, such as Noah might have put together.

They were deadly dull, these Turks. I looked at the circle of men facing me, as they sat in silence on low cane-bottomed stools without backs. They were devilish dull people. Fundamental differences of ideas, no doubt, made a gap between us. Pictures and art are forbidden by the Koran and the only sense of the artistic that the Turks, as a whole, possess is that of looking at beautiful scenery. Fatalism produces placidity, but not amusement. Beyond talking in the coffeehouse, they have no pastimes nor sports. But above all the complete cutting out of women from public and social life produces the flatness as of living for ever in a men’s club.

There was no spring and joy in the life. The houses were silent and blind, doors shut and windows with lattices. There was no calling of woman to woman nor laughter nor even talk, except where the children played on the green and the old men were courteous to me. Occasionally a door opened and a figure in black with a pitcher in its hand would come out, close the door quickly behind it, draw the black cloth even closer across its face leaving one eye to see, and pass us in the sunlight like a black ghost. Not a man looked, nor dared I, for nearly every crime committed by a Turk has a woman mixed in it. These were their women. They could neither read nor write, nor could they have any interests. They were the dull mothers of dull Sons.

I was interested to know what sort of school they had, for a fine imposing mosque stood half hidden behind some trees. They told me that there was a mixed school to which the girls went till they were seven.

“And after that,” I asked the Muktar, “ where are they taught?

“They are not taught any more,” he replied.

“Then they cannot read or write?” I queried.

“ I see no reason why they should,” he replied. “Why should the women write except to send love-letters ? “ And all the elders and the rat-like priest with a green turban round his fez nodded their agreement. The priest began an exposition on the subject when the Muktar cut in and bade him go about his business.

The Turks have neglected their women as an educational force, and herein lies the main cause of their failure. Their national characteristics have not helped them to stave off the failure. They are lazy and passive and make no provision for to-morrow, but leave it for God to provide. They have carried their nomad habits into a stationary life and hence have the same lack of stability that is a marked characteristic of the nomad life of the British ruling class in India. As all the people of the Near East, they lack the power of sustained action. The ordinary humdrum routine of life has no interest for them ; but, as they have again and again shown in their history, in the moment of utter defeat and despair they will gird up their loins and do great things.

And in this Islam has aided the national character. For Islam can raise barbarians at a bound to great heights and rouse the sluggard to brilliant enthusiasm, but it cannot sustain them. It has always meant war and force. It has brutalized and degraded again those it has raised. It has shut out from life the softening influence of cultured women and it has failed to create among its women ideals and aspirations and the ability to pass them to their children.

But Islam is a great force in the lives of the Turks. It is intensely human and it enters into the personal detail of each man’s life. It decides his hygiene and his eating and his habits. It is full of common sense and rules for his health. The actions of the daily prayers are gymnastic exercises, that will cure an overfilled stomach. Because Islam is a real part of their lives the Moslems profess it openly and pray in public without embarrassment. It has been blamed for keeping women shut up and veiled and so debasing them to the level of animals. The Koran contains no authority for the Moslem attitude to their women. It does not even enjoin that they shall veil their faces. Centuries ago in Central Asia, and its origin even then hidden in the mists of antiquity, there was a fear that the Devil could whisper in the ears of women and produce abortion, and so women went with their ears covered which meant their hair too. The fear became a superstition and died, but the instinct to cover their hair remained. It was ordered by St. Paul on Christians, that the angels might not be carnally minded. While many Moslems, with their animal jealousy, increased it to the veiling of the whole face.

I looked round at the men in front of me, as I had looked all across Anatolia, for the " Terrible Turk " who had terrified our ancestors and set Europe by the ears ; for the men who had stormed at the gates of Vienna, had laid waste Buda-Pest, and massacred Bulgarians and Armenians; for the people whose sovereign had treated the kings of France and England as dirt, and at last deigned to call them the " Brothers of my Grand Vizier." I found quiet, placid people, mild and gentle and excellent hosts, dignified yet courteous in deference. I found them dignified and courtly, but with the dignity of the race of rulers mixed thick with contempt for the ruled.

I saw now that these were still the " Terrible Turks." They were very dull and ignorant. They had no initiative. They desire to be ruled and directed. Left alone to go their own way, they were lost. I have seen sheep in a flock bravely face a clanging tram in a crowded street, but a sheep alone, away from all danger, is a...

The Greco-Turkish War

pp. 208-209

...off the railway from Eski-Shehir and Kutahia and Afion-Kara-Hissar, but their strategy failed to enable them to catch and destroy the Turkish main armies which, being very mobile, slipped away. The Turks made a counter-attack and failed and began to retreat.

On the 14th of August in the torrid heat that eats up the land of Anatolia, the Greeks moved all their troops in a great concentrated advance on Angora. They pushed the Turks in front of them until they reached the Sakkaria river. This was the last obstacle between them and the Nationalist capital. There across the river they fought a tremendous battle where the issue was constantly in doubt. Both sides fought with a fierce courage. The percentage of casualties was very high. Neither side had a moral superiority over the other, for the Greeks despised the Turks, and the Turks sneered at the Greeks as their old subjects. Both were full of the venom of an hereditary hatred. As a whole it appeared that, in contradiction to previous experience, the Greek soldier surpassed the Turk. In the matter of staffs and commanders the Turks were far the superior.

The Turks held their ground. The Greeks came marching back over the Sakkaria river and formed up in order. Unharassed to any extent by the enemy, they retired back across Anatolia. By the end of September they had taken up the position they had prepared in July, in front of Eski-Shehir and Afion-Kara-Hissar and the railway.

In these military operations the Greeks fell into an error that has been repeated throughout history. The whole and only object of military maneuvres is to pin down and destroy the enemy’s fighting forces. All other movements and destruction are subsidiary to this end. Napoleon points out that the concentration on the capture of an important town has ruined many a commander. In advancing from their poor winter position to the line covering the railway in front of them the Greeks had full justification. Their subsequent plan in August was to rush at Angora 200 miles to the east, destroy it, frighten the Turks and then, having won a moral position, to fall back on the old line and come to terms with the enemy. But Angora was no more than a village, and behind it were unlimited mountains and desert spaces, and men fighting for their homes.

Having failed to obtain their objective, the Greeks endeavoured to attain their end on their retreat by systematic destruction. They destroyed the whole area. They tore up every mile of the permanent way of the railway. They cut down the trees, killed every Turk who was foolish enough to be still there, and for zoo miles behind them left desolation and the villages flat with the ground.

Their new line covered the railway. Its communications with the base were a good road that was well protected and a railway that was open to sudden raids. In due course the Turks reorganized their badly mauled forces, and followed up the enemy. They took up a position facing the Greeks and there for a year, except for outpost encounters, the hostile forces sat immobile. Victory lay with the side that had the greater morale, and the greater amount of grit and staying power.

The odds began to swing over to the Turks.

Malta Progress; "...the Greek troops were raping, pillaging and burning in the Moslem villages and many Ottoman Greeks were helping them. "


pp. 213-217

In October I was detailed to proceed with the commission that was to exchange the fifty odd Turks confined in Malta with the British prisoners in the hands of the Nationalists. We lay off Ineboli in the Black Sea in a storm that blew out of the Crimea and roused the sea until the destroyers dipped their sterns under each mountainous wave. I went ashore to start negotiations and found the Nationalists intensely hostile, offensive and ungracious. All the pleasant good feeling which existed towards us during the war was gone. I watched the prisoners go ashore with mixed feelings. To see Rahmi Bey and Reouf Bey free was to be glad that justice was being done. To see Mazlum Bey, the late commander of Afion-Kara-Hissar, and other foul criminals go scot-free was to feel to the full the humiliating weakness of the British Empire ; for Mazlum was a murderer in cold blood of British soldiers. As we sailed away with only half the British prisoners which we had expected to recover, I was glad to be finished with an episode in which I had been so deeply involved and which had befouled our good name for so long.

My gendarmerie area was now quiet except in the south where the Greek troops held one shore of the Gulf of Ismidt and we the other. Along our shore were many Greek villages. Encouraged by the proximity of the Hellenic troops, the villagers refused to pay taxes and often brawled with the Ottoman officials.

The village of Pendik was especially bad. The priest was a trouble-monger and the people sullen and obstinate. I wished to see for myself, and so with Husein Husni and Sami the Governor I took the train from Haidar Pasha station.

Haidar Pasha begins the eastern section of the great railway planned from Berlin to Bagdad. From here along the Marmora shore to Eski-Shehir and then by Konia to the Cilician Gates and down to Aleppo and Mosul, the railway follows the route along which for centuries trade has travelled and along which many of the great conquerors have marched to the dominion of the world. Cyrus of Persia, Alexander of Macedon, the Seljuk Turks and the Crusaders used it. The Romans and Napoleon realized its value.

The Germans had seen that whoever holds this route may threaten and dominate the whole Near East. They had dreamt a great dream of the railway from Flaidar Pasha to the Taurus, tapping the wealth of Syria and threatening Egypt, and then across to Bagdad and Basra, and perhaps some day to India. The surplus population of Germany was to have been planted as colonists in the potentially rich valleys of Anatolia, and German efficiency and hard work were to have revived a dead world. It was the dream of a great Eastern Empire. It was born at Haidar Pasha and there it died. Over the station was a great clock. Above it a twisted girder and a broken chimney stood gaunt up against the sky. The clock had stopped at 12.31. It was the time of the great explosion of 1917. The yards and the trains had been packed with ammunition and guns to be sent to the Turkish forces facing Generals Allenby and Maude. A train, full of German experts, was about to move off when a terrific explosion occurred. Tons of ammunition, supplies, steel girders, bits of train and lines were thrown into the air. At the other end in Mesopotamia and Syria the Turks went short of food and ammunition, while General Allenby advanced. The clock was the symbol of a great idea caught by the throat and its neck broken.

We travelled through the rich villages that throng the Marmora shore. They are mainly Christian. At last we came to Pendik. There had been a further fight with the tax-collectors that morning, and we called the headman and elders, together with the Moslem hodja and the Greek priest, to meet us on the pier by the coffee-shop.

We sat with our backs to the sea and they faced us in a half-circle. The Governor had his say, and then I appealed to them, both Moslem and Christian, to forget the wrongs they had done each other, to put politics aside and live as Ottomans in peace and harmony.

They sat in silence looking on the floor, except the Greek priest whose eyes kept staring intently past me. Instinctively I looked round. Behind us the Marmora ran into the narrow gulf of Ismidt. The opposite shore, two miles away, stood out clear across the calm blue water. Towering up into the windless sky were five straight columns of smoke. As an allied commission saw them at their foul work, the Greek troops were raping, pillaging and burning in the Moslem villages and many Ottoman Greeks were helping them. The rest of my carefully prepared speech died in my throat.

In the gendarme post outside the village lay an old Greek watchman. He had refused bread to Zaffiri and the brigands had beaten him with the sharp edges of knives, as they had beaten the woman of the village of Jews. As he lay in his blood-soaked clothes and died slowly, he told us all he knew and that the band was out in the open country.

Messages were sent to put in motion every gendarme to intercept the brigands. We took horses from Pendik and set out northwards. The street was bright and warm in the pleasant winter’s sun. At the last corner sat a beggar. His legs were stumps horribly mauled and exposed to win pity. He had one withered arm drawn across his breast. The palm of his hand was turned up for alms and the fingers were all twisted together. His head was shaved close. He had but one eye. The other was a glaring white socket. He sat in the bright sun while the wind brought up the taste of good salt from the sea. He mewed at me, for his tongue had been torn out. He looked as if he had been half pinched in some colossal and horrible vice. He had once been comely and strong, but the Turks had massacred his village and he had been left mutilated and for dead. He had revived and in his twisted awful deformity, in the open sunny street, he sat a fitting relic of Ottoman rule.

We came to the Moslem village of Samandra, and decided to rest the night. When the Governor sat to hear complaints, an old Armenian hobbled up to accuse the villagers of persecuting him. Our inquiries showed that he was the rich man of the village, but he would not pay the watchman’s tax which came to a few coppers each week and was paid without question by all the other householders. Thirty years before he had come as a penniless labourer to the village. Now he owned half of it and held mortgages on the rest. He took us to his house which he had built in an underground Genoese bazaar. This he had excavated and made into an oil-press. He was a bent old man, and he walked with two sticks. His shoes were of heavy wood and he wore the pleated trousers of the Armenians which have a seat that hangs down to the heels. As he peered up at us out of his grimy room with his wicked old face and crafty eyes, he looked like some great toad. I expressed my opinion that he ought to pay. Whereupon he pushed some money into my hand and bade me pay the headman. This man had refused to pay for twenty years. He had lived alone, the only Christian among Turks. They had murdered his relatives in other villages. He had been beaten and imprisoned and yet he refused to pay, and finally he paid because a stranger said he ought to pay. His mental process was impossible to follow, and his obstinacy was characteristic of his race.

The Christian Minorities


pp. 218-224

THE most difficult problem which confronted the Gendarmerie Supervising Officers was caused by the relations between the Christians and Moslems in Turkey. The more I saw of them, the more complicated they appeared, and the more difficult it became to arrive at just decisions.

The question of the Christian Minorities had its roots in far-distant history. Its influence had spread beyond Turkey and become part of the variegated texture of international diplomacy. The waves of Turkish hordes of invaders, that resulted in the conquest of Anatolia and the supremacy of the Osmanlis, had swept over old civilizations that were stale and long since diseased. They did not destroy them nor yet absorb them, but often they borrowed their worst characteristics. Thus, from the Byzantines, the Osmanlis took the practices of farming taxes and of ill-treating ambassadors.
The Turks made no attempts to absorb the Christian communities that they conquered. As long as they paid taxes and were obedient the Christians were allowed full liberty to rule themselves. Thus it happened that, while the Government of the Ottoman Empire was Turkish, it contained representatives of the Christian communities and these, which produced all the wealth, were semi-self-governing.
For a while the Greeks obtained such influence that at one time they virtually controlled the administration of the Ottoman Empire. This period of what is known as that of the “ Phanariot Rule “ came to an end with the revolt of Greece proper in 1821. From this date onwards each success of the Greeks of Greece spelt disaster for the Greeks of Turkey. It is instructive to remember that the original revolt of the Hellenes was made possible by the rapacity and extortion of their Phanariot Greek rulers.

As long as the Empire was all-powerful the Turks were content ; but times changed. From the defeat in front of Vienna and the death of Suleiman the Magnificent the Turkish power declined rapidly, until by the eighteenth century each and every observer prophesied its immediate dissolution.

In Europe there came an age of expansion and every great nation looked on Turkey with greedy eyes. One by one they pressed in on her, eager for their share of the spoils at her imminent dissolution. The diplomats found a congenial sphere and played one against the other till the tottering Ottoman Empire was buttressed up on every side by the rivals. Jealous of each other they maintained the moribund state, but all were afraid to rush in and complete the destruction. Russia made one bold attempt in the early nineteenth century, and it resulted in her defeat in the Crimean War. Pieces of territory were torn away, when occasion served.

The French seized Algeria. The British took Egypt. The Austro-Hungarians took Herzegovina and Bosnia. But the main body of the Empire, though diseased and paralysed, remained intact.

Direct assault being impossible, the Powers sought other methods. They proclaimed themselves the champions of the down-trodden Christian communities. Russia obtained the right to protect the Orthodox, and France to protect the Roman Catholic subjects of the Porte. Using these rights they fomented rebellion within ; and, adding to them the stringent control of the Capitulations, they reduced the Ottoman Empire to a state of servitude. Turkey had ceased to be a sovereign power, when the sudden and meteoric arrival of Germany threw all the other calculations into confusion.
Nationalism, the child of the French Revolution, had by the twentieth century become the outstanding characteristic of Europe. Its influence came to Turkey. The Christian communities became political organizations, and nationalities engaged in a fierce struggle for existence. The Patriarchs became as it were their Consul-Generals. That struggle was intensified by the interference of the foreign Powers.

But the Turks were impregnated by the same idea. It was the foundation of the Committee of Union and Progress. It was the war-cry of the revolution of 1908. The Turks were determined to “turkify“ Turkey. Instigated by the foreign Powers, the Christians refused to become Turks, and so the breach that had been between Moslem and Christian was now widened.

These and a complication of other facts were the causes of the mutual slaughter of the massacres. Foreign interference was the venom that drove the Christians to obstinate resistance and the Turks to kill. In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin decided to protect the Armenians, and was the direct cause of their massacre in 1896. To the Turks their Christian subjects now threatened their state and their religion and had become traitors. They developed the hatred that, in very similar circumstances, drove the English of the Middle Ages to persecute the Jews. They feared the secret political organizations with their foreign links. The Christians threatened their existence at every point. The Turk for one reason and another had become sterile. Their women, though broad-hipped, produced few children and those born died young. On the other hand the Christians multiplied like flies in a valley of offal.

Economically the Turks were being crushed out. The Christians were the workers and the hoarders, while the Turks were soldiers and spenders. In England we deal with economic problems of wealth distribution by super-tax and such like legal methods. The Turks endeavoured to deal with theirs by murdering the co]lectors of wealth and so taking back by force what had been won from them by work and brains. As an expert once said: “A good Government must always be on the side of the craftiest and cunningest, even the worst section of the population. If the Turk is given ‘good government’ he must come to an end; for if he cannot murder the Greek and the Armenian, they will outbreed him and buy him up.”

Military reasons, especially during the Great War, added their quota. The Greek massacres of 1916 were due to the occupation of Mytilene and the islands off the mainland by the Allies. The Armenians lay between the Turks and their relatives of Central Asia. They were a bar to the realization of the Pan-Turanian policy, and so with ruthless cruelty they were wiped away.

The Armistice found the Turks beaten to their knees. Scattered over Anatolia lay the torn remnants of the Christian Minorities. Their ancient instigators to resistance were now the world victors. In the struggle for nationalism the Turks appeared to have gone under. All the separate sects shouted that they were free and demanded recognition. The Peace Conference lent a ready ear to their demands. They were treated as allies and fully utilized. They believed that the Turks were at an end. They insulted them gratuitously. An Armenian-Greek section was formed in the British Embassy to right all their ancient wrongs. The Greeks of Greece were sent into Anatolia as the Allied police. The Ottoman Greeks claimed their revenge at the British Embassy, and took it in massacring with the Hellenic troops.

They put forward fantastic claims. The bishop and people of Trebizond demanded a Pontus State. The Armenians plotted out their new country to run from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and to cover some 4oo,ooo square miles. They demanded that the Allies should eject all Moslems from this area. They issued delightful booklets over the signatures of M. Aharonian and Boghos Nubar giving tables of their virtues and ending with the delightful qualification for ruling by the Armenian race “which in addition is remarkably prolific.”

The Allies contracted with demobilization and withdrew, leaving their wretched protégés to the mercy of their rulers. In a fury, that can be well understood, the Turks came back with murder in their hearts. To them all the Christians were now traitors. The worst brutalities of the Greek troops had been instigated and assisted, by the Ottoman Christians. The Turks set to work to wipe them out finally, much as a surgeon cuts away some growth which the body cannot absorb and which threatens life.

In all these changes and these fierce struggles of nationalities the Moslem and the Christian showed themselves equally villainous in their bestialities. Whichever side got on top massacred the other. In the Revolt for Independence the Greeks murdered the Turks in the Morea. In 1917 the Turks massacred the Greeks. In 1919 the Greeks retaliated round Smyrna, and again in 1920 and 1921. In 1922 the Turks took their revenge and wiped out the Ottoman Greeks. In 1915 the Turks had massacred the Armenians. In 1916 the Armenian Christian Army of Revenge came down with the Russians and killed all the Moslems of Van, while our noble allies, the Russians wiped out every Turk round Rowanduz. This list could be continued in red entry on red entry. The result of outside interference has been to intensify the brutalities. It can only be said that Greek and Turk and Armenian understand each other far better than we understand any of them, and all would have been better off, if Europe had left them alone. The misery of the peasantry, the ruin of the countryside and the fact that the hills were full of brigands were the direct results of the terrible history of this mutual massacre of neighbours.

We in. the gendarmerie areas were late corners and we saw only the end of the struggle. The Treaty of Sèvres, which we were enforcing, made a last effort to save the Christians. Beyond us now across all Anatolia the limited massacres were replaced by deliberate and careful extermination.

The supervising officers were instructed to see that the peasantry, and especially the Christians, were not ill-treated by the Ottoman officials. It was not an easy task, for though often justice seemed with the Christians, their personal and national characteristics made it hard to stand by them and hold out continually the hand of friendship. Christianity did not come into the question for “our common Christianity was not a living reality, but a historical curiosity.” The Christians often appealed to it, but they found but little response among the British.



pp. 224-225

Whereas the Turks, despite their record of vice and brutality, are pre-eminently lovable and have great charm, the Ottoman Greeks are crude, noisy and unlovable. They are hard-working and vociferous. Though rarely physically brave, they have much mental and verbal truculence.

The Armenians are a black-haired, black-eyed people with runaway foreheads and hooked noses like the Hittites. About them there is nothing kindly. They are crafty, grasping, hard-working and dishonest. They are a highly nervous, over capable and over intelligent race. They are afflicted with an obstinacy that would enrage the mildest tyrant. They cannot and will not submit to any rule.

The Christians imitate and so burlesque European manners and ways. They irritate in details — in the way they eat and walk and talk. Even when giving me hospitality they drove me to distraction. They have the craft, the dishonesty, the cheap trickery and the oily, cringing subservience mixed with truculence that are the result of centuries of oppression. Ill-treated children develop such characteristics. Often it required all my sense of discipline to keep down my irritation and see justice done to a Christian by a courteous and charming and quite unjust Turkish official.
As the old toad-like Armenian peered up at me out of his grimy room in Samandra village, I could not help admiring the tenacity of his race nor help realizing the tragic complications of these problems, to which I was but an observer from the outside.

p. 263

The President of the delegation, Lord Curzon, was known to the Turks as the henchman of Mr. Lloyd George (the man) who agreed to their dismemberment during the war, who had tried to destroy Turkey by the Treaty of Sevres and who had endeavored by the scandalous Tripartite Agreement to divide Anatolia up among the Allies.

Col. the Hon. Aubrey Herbert (said in the House of Commons): “Lord Curzon treated the Turks as he often treats us — like naughty schoolboys — and we neither of us like it.”




"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


This Site

...Is to expose the mythological “Armenian genocide,” from the years 1915-16. A wartime tragedy involving the losses of so many has been turned into a politicized story of “exclusive victimhood,” and because of the prevailing prejudice against Turks, along with Turkish indifference, those in the world, particularly in the West, have been quick to accept these terribly defamatory claims involving the worst crime against humanity. Few stop to investigate below the surface that those regarded as the innocent victims, the Armenians, while seeking to establish an independent state, have been the ones to commit systematic ethnic cleansing against those who did not fit into their racial/religious ideal: Muslims, Jews, and even fellow Armenians who had converted to Islam. Criminals as Dro, Antranik, Keri, Armen Garo and Soghoman Tehlirian (the assassin of Talat Pasha, one of the three Young Turk leaders, along with Enver and Jemal) contributed toward the deaths (via massacres, atrocities, and forced deportation) of countless innocents, numbering over half a million. What determines genocide is not the number of casualties or the cruelty of the persecutions, but the intent to destroy a group, the members of which are guilty of nothing beyond being members of that group. The Armenians suffered their fate of resettlement not for their ethnicity, having co-existed and prospered in the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but because they rebelled against their dying Ottoman nation during WWI (World War I); a rebellion that even their leaders of the period, such as Boghos Nubar and Hovhannes Katchaznouni, have admitted. Yet the hypocritical world rarely bothers to look beneath the surface, not only because of anti-Turkish prejudice, but because of Armenian wealth and intimidation tactics. As a result, these libelous lies, sometimes belonging in the category of “genocide studies,” have become part of the school curricula of many regions. Armenian scholars such as Vahakn Dadrian, Peter Balakian, Richard Hovannisian, Dennis Papazian and Levon Marashlian have been known to dishonestly present only one side of their story, as long as their genocide becomes affirmed. They have enlisted the help of "genocide scholars," such as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Samantha Power, and Israel Charny… and particularly  those of Turkish extraction, such as Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek, who justify their alliance with those who actively work to harm the interests of their native country, with the claim that such efforts will help make Turkey more" democratic." On the other side of this coin are genuine scholars who consider all the relevant data, as true scholars have a duty to do, such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Erich Feigl and Guenter Lewy. The unscrupulous genocide industry, not having the facts on its side, makes a practice of attacking the messenger instead of the message, vilifying these professors as “deniers” and "agents of the Turkish government." The truth means so little to the pro-genocide believers, some even resort to the forgeries of the Naim-Andonian telegrams or sources  based on false evidence, as Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Naturally, there is no end to the hearsay "evidence" of the prejudiced pro-Christian people from the period, including missionaries and Near East Relief representatives, Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others. When the rare Westerner opted to look at the issues objectively, such as Admirals Mark Bristol and Colby Chester, they were quick to be branded as “Turcophiles” by the propagandists. The sad thing is, even those who don’t consider themselves as bigots are quick to accept the deceptive claims of Armenian propaganda, because deep down people feel the Turks are natural killers and during times when Turks were victims, they do not rate as equal and deserving human beings. This is the main reason why the myth of this genocide has become the common wisdom.