This is an extremely rare 1919 book I had inadvertently
come upon (in a search) and one of TAT's regular contributors managed to find
it, scan it, and made it available for the worldwide audience C. F.
Dixon-Johnson's "The Greeks in Asia Minor" richly deserves.
The British author documents the "systematic" atrocities and attempt
at "extermination" that the run-amok invading Greeks were
perpetrating, and right under the noses of Western observers. This is why few
can deny the horrible crimes of the Greeks, as too many who would normally
have defended them witnessed what the Greeks were capable of. (Note in the
Appendix the testimony of an officer in the French Navy, who informs us how
such firsthand views reporting the crimes of the Greeks were censored
by his country. Yes, the same country, France, responsible for what happened
to the Armenians as much as the British and the Russians, and today has the
audacity to declare a "genocide," equally censoring anyone who says
otherwise, through actual criminal penalties.) The mad bloodlust and
inhumanity expressed by the Greeks followed the actions of the Armenians to a
tee, but the Armenians get a better pass (for that matter, so do the Greeks,
thanks to Western prejudice; the evidence is, sadly, irrelevant), because
practically the only Westerners to document the crimes of the Armenians in the
east were the allies of the Armenians, the missionaries and the consuls, to
whom non-Armenian lives primarily did not matter. (Along with Entente
officers, some of whom were honorable enough to prepare honest reports, which
today irrefutably help condemn the Armenians.)
Hip-hip-hooray for C. F. Dixon-Johnson, a man of great integrity, to have gone
out of his way to document the real happenings. He went against the policy of
his government, a government that wished to make the Turkish nation extinct,
and against what was an overwhelming majority opinion accepting the
overwhelming propaganda without question, and damning the Turks, proving once
again that majority opinion means nothing if we wish to get to the honest
bottom of matters. The one and only reason why Dixon-Johnson went through such
trouble was because of his desire to let the truth be known.
C. F. DIXON-JOHNSON
COLE & CO. (WESTMINSTER) LTD., Printers, London, S.W. 1
The Greeks in Asia Minor.
THE atrocious massacre committed at Smyrna in full view of the Allied warships (actually
under their protection, because it was the presence of the Allied fleet which facilitated
the landing, and indirectly encouraged the commission of the outrages) is sufficient
excuse for calling attention to the unfitness of the Greeks to govern any part of the
Ottoman Provinces in Western Asia.
The Ottoman Government, acting on the advice of General Townshend (so
he has stated), and trusting in the good faith and generosity of the Entente Powers,
unconditionally surrendered, and by so doing prevented the prolongation of the War and the
loss of many thousands of valuable lives. It is, therefore, inconceivable that, in order
to gratify the conflicting aspirations of certain small States, ambitious out of all
proportion to their size, and capacity to govern alien races, an industrious and virile
peasantry, forming by far the largest part of the population of this part of Asia, should
be handed over to the "tender" mercies of their bitterest enemies. Even the
severest critics of Turkish rule acknowledge the sterling qualities of these
simple-minded, frugal, and hard-working Ottoman peasants, whose hospitality and kindness
to strangers are proverbial. These poor people had no share in the responsibility for the
War. Their share was to suffer the loss of their fathers, brothers, and sons, of their
cattle and corn, their only worldly possessions. It is easy, therefore, to understand how
thankful they must have been when told that their Government had signed an armistice with
the great Western Powers, which meant there would be no more fighting, and that those who
had been spared could once again go about their business in peace.
C. F. Dixon-Johnson
Refugees from Macedonia had told them of the horrors of invasion which they had suffered
during the Balkan war. Grateful, indeed, they must have been to think that this terrible
danger terrible danger was once and for all removed: contentedly they saw the
fortifications dismantled and the troops who had so valiantly protected them during these
long years of long war withdrawn ; for surely what better confirmation could there be of
the explanation of this blessed word "Armistice."
We can easily imagine then their dismay when a few months later suddenly, without warning,
the stately vessels so peacefully anchored in their gulf vomited thousands and thousands
of their hereditary foes ; any who knew the legend might well in the bitterness of their
hearts have compared "The Armistice" to the "Wooden Horse" which
enabled the Greeks of old treacherously to capture the City of Troy; duped like the
Trojans, they had yet to learn the devious ways of a discredited diplomacy.
If the Politicians, the great three in Paris, who ordered this sudden landing of the
Greeks in Smyrna, had had the landing most superficial knowledge of the Greek character
and the conditions prevailing in Smyrna, they must have known that to land Greek troops
without first landing a very much larger force of trustworthy French and British troops,
and allowing these troops sufficient time to take the necessary precautions, was to invite
the horrors which actually occurred.
Sir Arthur Crossfield's Apologia.
An ardent apologist of Greek misdemeanours, Sir Arthur Crossfield has, as Col. Aubrey
Herbert emphasises in reply, admitted in The Times that the occurrence of "the
unhappy event" was due to "grave errors of judgment and culpable
negligence" on the part of the Greek authorities. When Sir Arthur Crossfield
proceeded to minimise what happened Col. Aubrey Herbert frankly admits that he prefers to
accept the account of British officers who were present. This Greek apologist
euphemistically speaks of the massacre o the Moslem civilians, men, women, and children of
Smyrna; as an '' unhappy event," just as the Armenian apologists speak of a similar
massacre of the Moslems in Van as "a so-called rising " of the Armenians. Had he
been here to try the case the remarks of the late Lord Brampton, the popular Mr. Justice
Hawkins, would certainly have shocked this self-constituted advocate who, on a plea of
guilty, urges as extenuating circumstances "grave errors of and g culpable
Greek G.H.Q.'s Apologia.
A further reason why his defence, from the Greek point of view, is singularly unfortunate
is that it is in entire contradiction to the communiqué published by the Greek
Headquarters on May 25th, which, as reported by the Press Association, emphasises the
remarkable orderliness that has characterised the occupation of Smyrna, as well as the
warm welcome given to the Greek Army not only by unredeemed Greeks but also by the
Mussulmans. The communiqué describes as excessively exaggerated the rumours relating to
fighting and pillage organised during the first days of the occupation by Turkish soldiers
and bad characters of all races. "Two Greek soldiers were killed and eight
wounded," says the communiqué, "while 150 civilians were killed or
wounded." A further Greek communiqué of May 27th, reported also by the Press
Association, "announces the occupation of the town of Bainder, 31 miles eastward of
Smyrna, amid indescribable enthusiasm. Perfect order prevails throughout the occupied
regions up to now."
A third contradictory statement is that of the Greek Minister in London, as shown in the
following paragraph, which appeared in The Globe of June 7th.
M. Caclamanos' Apologia.
"The Smyrna battle.—M. Caclamanos, the Greek Minister in London, has favoured us
with a communication which commences with an assurance that certain `erroneous and biassed
information' has been spread concerning the incidents which occurred in Smyrna on the
first day of the landing of Greek troops at that port. Enclosed with the communication is
in official statement regarding the battle which ensued as soon as the Greeks landed, and
in which the casualties comprised 62 Greeks, 78 Turks, and 23 others. ' Unfortunately,'
continues the statement, ' this resistance had been premeditated. On the eve of the
landing proclamations had been abundantly distributed, calling on the Mussulman crowd to
resist.' The document concludes by stating that owing to the tact and solicitude shown to
all the elements of the population by the Greek troops, the latter have been able to
extend their occupation to the interior without incident, and to the satisfaction of all.
This, the writer of the account hopes, will prove to the Great Powers that the Hellenic
Government has responded to the trust with which they have been honoured."
The two subsequent paragraphs explain a situation which the Allied Diplomats in
Paris had hitherto failed to comprehend.
''A Red Rag a Bull.—We would not suggest for one moment that the account forwarded
to us is anything but perfectly true, and we trust that it is as free from bias and
error as the versions which M. Caclamanos criticises were full of those qualities.
However, the salient fact which the document serves to confirm is that there was a
battle and that the latter resulted from the deep-rooted hostility of the Turks to
the Greeks. That the latter did and are doing their best to discharge a difficult
task we have no doubt, but that the Greeks are the last people who should be asked
to occupy Turkey or interfere in any way with Turkish affairs we are even more
certain. The Greek to the Turk is as a red rag to a bull, and to send Greek troops
to Turkey is only to provoke trouble of a most serious nature.
“Insulting the Turks. —Further, the presence of Greek troops in Turkey is an
insult to the Turks. The latter would have little or no objection to having their
country occupied by the troops of the Power which beat them in fair fight, but the
action of the Allies in off-loading upon unconquered Turkish territory, a horde of
Greeks, is looked upon by every Turk with bitter and indignant resentment. The
Greeks did riot conquer the Turks, and they did very little to assist Great Britain
in so doing. Further, every Turk knows full well that, unaided and in fair tight,
the Greek never could conquer him, for he is the Greek's superior in every respect.
We do no wonder at the Turks' resentment, and we trust that it will be taken due
notice of by the Allies in drawing up the Peace terms. Employing Greek troops for
occupation purpose: has had disastrous results. To place the mandate for Turkey in
Greek hands would be to invite and ensure catastrophe."
Commission of Enquiry.
Four months after "the warm welcome given to the Greek army not only by
unredeemed Greeks, but also by the Mussulmans," a commission of enquiry
appointed by the Peace Conference in Paris, who were primarily responsible for
" the unhappy event," has recently proceeded in all haste to Smyrna.
Although an accommodating guide may still point to the blood stains of the
aristocratic Rizzio on the floors of the Holyrood Palace it is doubtful whether the
commission will discover those of the humble Moslems butchered in Smyrna. M.
Venizelos has protested against the exclusion of a Greek representative on the
commission, and his protest has been allowed. What Moslem then dare give evidence
when he knows that he might be imperilling his own life and that of his family ? The
only reliable evidence obtainable will be that of the French and British naval and
military officers who were present. Will they be asked to give evidence?
Peace Confence dominated by M. Venizelos.
The Politicians of the Peace Conference have clearly shown by this one act of
supreme unwisdom that they are totally unfitted, unless they take proper advice, to
deal with questions in the Near East.
Having had no first hand experience of the Near East they have been easily humbugged
by the honeyed words of M. Venizelos, being too proud to consult men who
understand the complex conditions of Near Eastern politics and character.
It is a disgrace on the fair fame of Britain that through the want of foresight of
the British politicians these hapless Turks, by far the cleanest fighters of any of
our opponents, have been cruelly butchered under the protection of the British flag.
Amongst the innumerable noble acts recounted in our Press of the Turkish soldier it
is interesting to recall that of the sniper in Gallipoli who, having shot and
severely wounded a British soldier, could not bear to see his sufferings, so
descended from his hiding place and carried his man safely into the British lines
amidst the cheers of our men, who then allowed this "John Turk" to depart
in peace. "John" to a Britisher stands for honesty and other good
qualities; was that the reason our soldiers called the Turks "John Turks"
? It is unimaginable that they should ever have spoken of "John Boche" or
Ottoman rule better than Greek.
Turcophobes and Grecophiles persistently asseverate that Turks are unfitted to rule
peoples of other races and creeds, and, of course, especially Greeks. On the
contrary, Turks can and do rule Greeks better than the Greeks do themselves, whereas
under no circumstances are Greeks fitted to rule Turks and Moslem races in general.
Unless Turkish rule was preferable to Greek rule, why previous to the Balkan wars
did thousands of emigrants annually quit Greece to settle in Turkey, whilst very few
Greeks indeed left Turkey to settle in Greece ? This exodus from Greece was not the
result of the emigration of a superfluous population, for the population of Greece
was stationary or even decreasing, and Greek statesmen became seriously alarmed in
The Greeks in Turkey have always enjoyed far greater religious freedom than did the
Greeks in Greece under their own orthodox Church where it was actually a criminal
offence for any Greek to have in his possession a bible written it modern Greek; all
bibles had to be in ancient Greek, unintelligible to all but a very small part of
A section of the High Church party in England anxious to join up with this
intolerant Greek Church are using every effort to influence the settlement, hoping
by sacrificing 600 years of history to see Constantinople with St. Sophia the head
of a second Byzantine Empire. Do they realise that this would mean the sacrifice of
the lives and well-being of many thousands of Moslems and the re-establishment of
the most vicious and corrupt ecclesiastical domination known in history ?
Greeks prosperous in Turkey.
It is worthy of note that the Greek merchants of Salonica acknowledged that they
were infinitely better off and happier under Turkish rule than under the
restrictions imposed upon them by their emancipators; and the general Greek
population in Turkey have always formed a large and prosperous community continually
increased by emigration from Greece.
The evidence of Greek prosperity in Turkey gives the lie to the charges of
persecution and intolerance which for propagandist purposes are frequently brought
against the Ottoman Government.
Turks exterminated in Greece.
But what of the Moslem population that lived in Greece previous to 1833? It is
non-existant. Where are the mosques, the Moslem schools, the religious foundations,
the Turkish homesteads ? The mosques, the schools, the religious foundations, the
homesteads are no more. The rich plains of Thessaly, acquired at a much later date,
which were once the granary of Turkey, have, under the rule of Greece, become almost
a wilderness—unable to support the meagre population that live there.
In Crete, too, after a very few years' of Greek rule, the Moslem peasants had disappeared.
A report of an agent of the Bible Society complained bitterly that the rich valleys, once
carefully tilled by the exiled or murdered Turkish peasants, were lying barren and waste,
the Cretan Christian, with his rifle and bandolier, being too great a
"gentleman" to pay attention to such details, which were left to his already
overworked wife. Any visitor to-day to the rural districts of Greece may see the sleek and
lazy husband riding a donkey alongside a toiling load of hay or firewood, under which
struggles a woman—his wife.
In Macedonia and Salonica the present position of Moslems is unenviable, and in a few
years it is probable that they will have ceased to exist. Specific cumulative and
convincing evidence existed that up to June, 1914, the migration of 240,000 Macedonian
Moslems to Asia Minor and Ottoman Thrace had been brought about by a wholesale system of
oppression and cruelty ; on the other hand, it must not be forgotten that during the
progress of the Tripolitan and Balkan wars not a single Italian or Greek was molested in
Turkey. Whilst the Greeks have thrived and prospered under Turkish rule, under Greek
rule the Moslem population has been or is in process of being exterminated. The Greeks
have amply proved their capacity for obliterating and their incapacity for ruling a
Turkish and Moslem race.
Should Constantinople and the Smyrna district be given, despite the pledged word of Mr.
Lloyd George, to be ruled by the Greek minority, then in a few years Moslem mosques,
schools, and religious foundations will be as non-existant as they are in Greece at this
day, and one of the fairest and most prosperous provinces of Asia will be turned into a
Greek cruelly systematic
Greeks are, on account of their cruelty, totally unfitted to govern other races, whether
Moslem or Christian. Those who have forgotten the crimes committed by the Greeks in the
Balkan war should by these cold-blooded murders at Smyrna be sharply reminded of the
Carnegie Commissioners' report that, "whereas all the Balkan nations had violated the
laws of civilisation and humanity, the most deliberate and systematic cruelties were those
perpetrated by the Greeks."
Some years ago the writer was told by a French naval officer, whose ship had been one of
an international fleet sent to Crete, how a Turkish naval officer had been captured by the
Greeks, or, rather, Cretan insurgents, and burnt alive. He remembers that French naval
officer's horror and indignation at this dastardly deed. What then must have been the
feelings of the French and English officers and sailors who, under somewhat similar
conditions, were the horrified spectators of a far greater massacre? The answer is
contained in a personal letter sent by a French naval officer, who was present at the
disembarkation of the Greek troops, to M. Pierre Loti, who adds that " All the other
French officers recount what happened, with similar expressions of indignation." M .
Pierre Lob's correspondent wrote as follows. (See Appendix)
If the Greeks were unable to restrain their lust for slaughter even in the presence of the
most highly civilised Powers, Europe may well ask what crimes they will not perpetrate
when they are on their own, and have the unfortunate Moslem population at their mercy.
Massacre at Mnemen
The Times correspondent has reported that at Mnemen the Greek troops killed the
Turkish governor and, at least, 100 Turkish civilians besides looting extensively. Major
K. Thompson, who has recently returned from Aidin and is, at present, in England, reports
that the Moslem part of the town was entirely destroyed, and that every shop in the bazaar
was pillaged and sacked by the Greek troops ostensibly sent there to keep order.
No justification for Smyrna landing.
That there was not the slightest justification, during a time of Armistice, for arbitrary
and ill-advised interference with the internal administration of a peaceful and prosperous
community occupied in gathering the abundant harvest, the hard-earned fruits of their
patient and industrious toil, the surplus of which was destined to relieve the scarcity of
a famine-stricken Europe, is amply proved by the impartial and politically unbiassed
report of the Ottoman Smyrna to Aidin Railway Company, the pioneer of British railway
enterprise and commercial interests in Asiatic Turkey. The following extract is taken from
the half-yearly report as published in The Times on September 20th. "The
working of the railway has been carried on by the Company's staff, under the control of
the Inter-Allied Military Commission, since April last. The whole district was then quiet,
and the receipts from traffic were very good, as there were considerable stocks of
exportable goods remaining in the interior. Unfortunately, following upon the landing of
the Greek Army in May, and their occupation of Smyrna and the country as far as Aidin,
disturbances arose, and it was not possible for transport to be continued in any volume. A
British Mission has arrived at Smyrna, and there is every hope that order will be restored
so far as its influence extends (but not where Greek influence is paramount). The stocks
of produce in the country are still stated to be large, and a ready market is available as
soon as they can be moved. The coming crops are also reported to be good. Owing to the
disorganisation arising out of the disturbances it has riot been possible to complete
the accounts for the past half-year." The words in brackets did not appear in the
report, which was evidently drafted some time ago. It may, therefore, well be that the
greater part of the valuable foodstuffs which would have been carried on a British
railway, forwarded by British merchants in British ships to British ports to feed British
people has now been destroyed, and instead of the cash earnings of the Railway Company
being sent in the form of dividends to this country British capital may have to be
exported to cover the loss on working the railway, and yet the British Government
professes itself anxious to reduce the price of food and the depreciation in the rate of
Turks may be driven to retaliate.
Their harvest ruined, their towns and villages destroyed, winter and starvation before
them, unable to appreciate the high-minded ideals of the statesmen lodged in the most
luxurious and palatial Parisian caravanserais, the Moslem peasants, (*) goaded to
fury, being only human, may retaliate, with the result that the most terrible atrocities
will then be committed by both parties, as, indeed, happened in the Greek War of
Independence in 1821, and more recently in Kurdistan, where the massacre of Moslem
inhabitants of Van and Bitlis and neighbouring villages, under circumstances of the
greatest cruelty, led to retaliation on the part of the Moslem population against the
Greek Warfare in the Morea.
The Encyclopædia Britannica describes how the Greek peasantry in the Peloponnesus,
instigated by Russian agents, rose and massacred the Mussulman population of Patras,
enacting similar scenes of butchery in every captured town. The horrors culminated in the
capture of Tripolitsa, the capital of the Vilayet. " In the month of September this
was taken by storm. Kalistrones rode in triumph to the citadel, over streets carpeted with
the dead, and the crowning triumph of the Cross was celebrated by a cold-blooded massacre
of 2,000 prisoners of all ages and sexes! At sea, as on land, the Greeks opened the
campaign with hideous atrocities, almost the first exploit being the capture of a vessel
carrying to Mecca the Sheik-ul-Islam and his family, whom they murdered, with every
aggravation of outrage (sic). These inauspicious beginnings, indeed, set the whole
tune of the war, which was frankly one of mutual extermination." Having succeeded in
provoking the Turks to retaliate as they intended Greek agents and Greek sympathisers at
once organised throughout Europe a successful Grecophile campaign, part of the
stock-in-trade being the parade of a notorious brigand, whom they christened Odysseus, and
dressed as an ancient Greek. This same brigand patriot, whose real business was loot,
later on joined the Turks, and was subsequently taken prisoner and executed by the Greeks.
Public opinion was camouflaged, and the Greeks were victorious not by force of arms but by
force of words. Whenever Turkey has been attacked by her Balkan neighbours, her position
has been systematically prejudiced in the eyes of Europe by the wildest and grossest
(*) “The peasantry is one of the most steady, thrifty and honest in the
world. In fact, the Turkish peasant is a thorough gentleman, so to speak."—Lieut.Col.
Fife-Cookson, late additional Military Attaché to the British Embassy in Constantinople.
Serbian Minister speaks out.
His Excellency Chedo Mystovitch, former Serbian Minister to the Court of St. James
and to the Sublime Porte, writing in The Asiatic Quarterly (October, 1913),
now that Serbia had achieved her aspirations so far as Turkey was concerned,
candidly admitted that "Political interest made us (the Balkan nations) paint
the Turks as cruel Asiatic tyrants, incapable of European civilisation. An impartial
history would prove that the Turks are rather Europeans than Asiatics, and that they
are not cruel tyrants, but a nation loving justice and fairness, and possessing
qualities and virtues which deserve to be acknowledged and respected."
If the British Government acquiesces in handing over any part of the Ottoman
Empire to Greece, they will incur a very grave responsibility, for the Greek is
instinctively inclined to kill, not only when his blood is up, but as the Carnegie
Commission has reported, his cruelties are deliberate and systematic.
Greek apologists have urged in excuse the demoralising effect of Turkish domination.
The Greeks of Corfu have never been tinder Turkish rule, and yet they have displayed
utmost ferocity against their enemies whether Turks or Albanians.(*)
Putting aside the question of humanity, which is impossible, for it is the
predominant argument that should influence British policy, it is worth considering
whether there are any obligations or reasons of self-interest why we should enlarge
Greece at the expense of Turkey or any other country. France and Britain have always
been the protectors of Greece and have consistently supported her policy ; on more
than one occasion they have saved her from the disastrous results of her own folly;
in the first Greco-Turkish War when the Greek army, under Constantine, was in full
flight, were not the victorious Turkish troops advancing on Athens ordered to retire
and Turkey forbidden to take possession of any Greek territory ? Again, in the
second Balkan war, was it not openly proclaimed to the world that there should be no
territorial annexations by any victorious State? The ministers then feared that the
Turks would be victorious, but as the tide turned in favour of Greece and her
Allies, the Western Powers allowed them to divide the Turkish possessions in Europe,
and Sir Edward Grey even went so far as to threaten Turkey if she did not abandon
Adrianople, which she had reacquired whilst the robbers were quarrelling over the
booty. In spite of all that had been done for Greece, it was the guns of the British
and French Fleets which alone prevented her siding with Germany and treacherously
attacking our troops in rear, and there is no doubt that a large proportion of the
Greek population are still in their hearts bitterly opposed to us. During the
Crimean War also, a part of the British Fleet had to remain in the Piraeus to guard
against treachery. M. Venizelos is said to be the ablest diplomat at the Peace
Conference, but that is no reason why the whole fabric of our policy in the Near
East should be moulded in conformity with his wishes in flagrant breach of England's
pledged word to our vast Mussulman population. In connection with the importance
that is attached to M. Venizelos's personality, it should be remembered that at this
moment he fills the same role in Greece as Diaz did in Mexico.
(*). One instance which came under the observation of the writer
himself will suffice. For some years previous to the Balkan wars cargoes of arms and
ammunition were being smuggled into Southern Albania from the Island of Corfu with a
view to organising an insurrection. One night a boat engaged in landing arms was
discovered by the Coastguard patrol, and, being challenged, attempted to escape. The
men of the patrol fired, as they had every right to do, and one man in the boat was
killed, but the remainder escaped. About a month afterwards, some thirty miles
further along the coast, a Turkish Customs' officer espied a boat apparently engaged
in collecting firewood. Thinking no harm, out of curiosity he walked along with a
friend and an unarmed policeman. They were seized by a number of Greeks who were
supposed to have been collecting wood, and taken on board the boat, which
immediately hoisted sail, and the poor prisoners never returned. The whole affair
was a plant ; the three unfortunate men were bound and pushed on board the boat, and
during the night, still bound and helpless, they were dumped into the sea. The
writer, who was shooting in Albania at the time, will never forget the anxiety and
grief of the brother of one of the murdered men whom he tried to comfort by
suggesting that his brother and companions had been taken as prisoners and would
presently return. It was only some months later that the writer was told the full
story of this terrible tragedy. It cannot be suggested this ferocity was developed
under British rule.
Venizelos compared to Diaz.
The fall of Diaz was disastrous to British Capital invested in Mexico; in the unstable
atmosphere of Greek politics it is by no means certain that M. Venizelos will remain a
permanent actor. Should he fall British commitments in the Near East could not fail to
Commercially a Greek occupation of Constantinople and Smyrna would cause serious loss to
British trade decline under Greek rule.
In 1911, under Turkish rule, the value of British exports to Salonica totalled nearly
L1,000,000. Under Greek rule, in 1913, the value had decreased to nearly one-third.
Tariffs and other disabilities resulting from Greek rule would similarly depreciate our
very considerable trade with Smyrna and Constantinople. During the four years preceding
the Balkan Wars, which caused a slight set back, our trade with Turkey in Asia had been on
a steady upward grade. The exports from the United Kingdom consisting almost entirely of
articles and goods made in our factories amounted in 1911 against foreign L5,844,759 as
against L89,466 from all other foreign and Colonial countries. Asiatic Turkey was a good
customer of ours, and for the same year our imports, consisting for the most part of
foodstuffs or raw material for the use of our factories totalled L4,363,540. Manufactured
articles exported; raw materials imported. It is not pleasant to think that this highly
important trade is threatened with an eclipse as dark as that of our trade with Salonica.
The Greek (of course there are honourable exceptions) is not a pleasant man to do business
Lord Byron speaks out.
That great Phil-Hellene, Lord Byron, who fought and died for Greece, admitted this,
"In all money transactions with the Moslems, I ever found the strictest honour, the
highest disinterestedness. In transacting business with them, there are none of those
sordid peculations under the name of interest, difference of exchange, commission, etc.,
etc., uniformly found in applying to a Greek Consul to cash bills even on the first houses
Britain's past and future relations with Turkey.
Our whole future policy with regard to Turkey requires the most careful consideration, and
as we are no longer ostensibly allied with Czardom, there is, therefore, no hindrance or
reason why we should not establish the most cordial relations.
What Great Britain can do to build up a real hegemony in Western Asia and the Mussulman
world in general by helping Turkey to recovery and reconstruction, by the establishment of
a well organised and independent Turkish homeland will be made clear by the following
remarks, which are based on a true knowledge of the facts.
Our subservience to Imperial Russia has in great measure been responsible for the
sufferings of the Turkish Moslems and their fellow Christian subjects. Acting under
pressure of the Russian Government we have time and again refused the urgent requests of
Turkey to assist her in putting her house in order : a house that was being continually
turned inside out by Russian intrigue both in the Balkans arid Asia Minor. Never once
until now, since the days when the Russian armies attacked the Byzantine Christian Empire,
has Russia abandoned her fixed purpose of holding Constantinople: even when posing as a
friend her one aim has been to weaken and disintegrate the Turkish Empire by stirring up
strife and rebellion : the ministers of any Balkan state unwilling to play the Russian
tune were assassinated—such was the fate of Stambuloff, Petroff, and others. So
successful and consistent was the Russian policy that never for a period of more than ten
or fifteen years was Turkey left at peace, and these decades were never peaceful because
either in Macedonia, Kurdistan, or some other part of the Empire, Russian
agents-provocateurs were for ever fomenting trouble. Small wonder then, that the material
and moral progress of Turkey has often disappointed even her friends.
It has often been asked how it was that the Ottomans have never succeeded in amalgamating
their subject races. In return it may well be asked what countries have succeeded unless
they destroyed the male population, the language, religion and customs ? Has Great Britain
amalgamated with the Indians, the Egyptians, the Maltese, or the Greeks of Cyprus ? Has
the Ulster colony planted by the conquering English amalgamated with the Irish race?
Our great opportunity for benefitting the Moslem and Christian races of the Ottoman Empire
came with the Turkish revolution which broke out in 1908, and eventually led to the
deposition of the Sultan Abdul Humid. No country stood so high in the esteem of the Turks
as England did then. Germany was absolutely at a discount in fact, she had lost all credit
in Constantinople, and our influence was paramount. When the English Ambassador, Sir
Gerard Lowther, arrived in Constantinople, he received an unprecedented ovation. Did we
try to consolidate this influence ? Our Foreign Office threw away the golden chance of
binding Turkey to us by the closest political and economic ties. The Ottoman Government
applied to England for the services of a very distinguished Anglo-Indian administrator to
put their civil and revenue administration in order, with the fullest discretion to choose
his own staff. This was refused under pressure of the Imperial Russian Government.
They applied for the services of military officers, on generous terms of pay and length of
service, to organise their army. This also was refused under pressure of the Imperial
Russian Government. They applied for administrators for their European and Asiatic
provinces, to whom they promised to accord practically plenary power. This also was
refused under pressure of the Imperial Russian Government.
Turkey stood, in 1909 and 1910, in dire need of money for the purposes of international
reorganisation. She applied in the first instance for a loan from France. Her request met
with prompt refusal. England hesitated, but eventually refused under pressure of the
Imperial Russian Government. Forced by the necessity of the situation she applied to
Germany, and the application was immediately complied with. The terms were stringent, but
they were better than the rebuffs she had met with in England and France. Can we wonder,
then, at the loss of our influence in Constantinople and the re-establishment of German
predominance ? Turkey had placed an order for two Dreadnoughts in English hands, which,
unless I am greatly mistaken, were paid for in advance with money raised by popular
subscriptions, to which women had subscribed their trinkets and the poorest porters had
given their mites. When this cruel war broke out we took over the ships that were being
built for Turkey. The disappointment among the Turks was naturally bitter, for they had
built in these ships their hopes of safety from further aggression. Did we endeavour to
salve their feelings in any way ? Instead of paying bat the money we treated them with
rebuffs. Again, when the crisis arose, and the guns of the " Goeben" and
"Breslau," which had escaped from our admiral in the Mediterranean were trained
on the Sultan's palace, did we consult a single Englishman in Turkey who possessed the
confidence the Turks? There were then numbers of Englishmen in Constantinople who
possessed the esteem and confident of the Turks : their counsel and help would have been,
as can be easily imagined, of the utmost value. Receiving rebuff after rebuff, insult
after insult, fully aware of our intention to parcel out the Turkish Empire, is it little
wonder that Turkey, against her will and inclination, was pushed by us into the enemy's
camp? Our diplomacy towards Turkey has been a tragedy of blunders—a tragedy for us and a
greater tragedy for Turkey.
It is now our duty to repair the fabric of the Ottoma Empire, which, by the faults and
omissions of the past, we have done so much to destroy, and, if we cannot entire rebuild
the structure, at least, we should see to it that Mr. Lloyd George has the backing of the
British democrat behind him when he insists that Turkey shall not be deprived of her
capital or of the rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor and Thrace, which are
predominantly Turkish in race.* Turkey should be granted the fullest and most complete
control over her provinces, freed from the strangle hold of the Capitulations. To force
upon her the acceptant of foreign administration would be to defeat the very object we
have in view : even a beaten Turkey would resent such interference, which would in
consequence never work smoothly. Left to herself, we may be quite sure that she will again
ask us to supply her with our ablest administrators ; and this time we shall not refuse.
Sir Adam Block has said that " he found the Turks employed in the service of the
Ottoman Debt very capable of doing the work allotted to them." There should be,
therefore, no difficulty in training a capable body of civil servants, given a fair chance
to reorganise, with Britain's help and Britain's goodwill, we may look with confidence
to a brighter and happier future for the Turkish Empire.
(*). The late Colonel Sir Mark Sykes. M.P., in a short but recent pamphlet,
entitled " The Future of the Near East," which is violently anti-Turk (therefore
all the more convincing) and in sharp contrast to his previous writings on the Near East,
acknowledges that “as Turkey in Asia stands to-day, the Anatolian Peninsula may be
regarded a practically Turkish."
It would be absolute stupidity to suppose that Greek ambition would be satisfied with any
territorial allotment made by the Paris Conference. Intrigue and provocations would
continue until the whole of Asia Minor became a festering and running sore—something
pitiable to look upon. Are the vineyards of Naboth to be a curse for all time ?
If by our apathy we were to allow an ambitious state to seize the richest provinces of
Turkey, and upon her remaining provinces impose " Mandates "—a polite word for
the annexation which is bound to follow—we shall do violence to our own national
interests as well as to those lofty ideals for which our soldiers died.
C. F. DIXON-JOHNSON.
September 30th, 1919.
(End Page 21.)
LETTER TO M. PIERRE LOTI.
THE following is a translation of a letter sent by a brother officer in the
French Navy, who was at Smyrna when the Greeks landed, to M. Pierre Loti, who
informs us that all the other French Naval Officers wrote equally indignant accounts
which the Censor did not permit to be published in France.
“On the 15th May, 1919, at 7.30 in the morning, the Greek battleships Averoff
and Limnos, followed by several transports, anchored in front of Smyrna and
without any notification of the intended 'coup de force’ having been given
to the Ottoman authorities, Greek troops commenced to disembark under command of
Colonel Zaphiriotes. These troops consisted of a regiment of Evzones and regiments
of the 40th and 50th infantry.
“An immense crowd assembled on the quay. The Metropolitan (the Greek high-priest)
had thought it his duty to be present to stir up the enthusiasm of the orthodox
crowd by holding a religious service, the expediency of which is open to
“The Turks meanwhile made no resistance to the landing, as their troops had been
confined to barracks. But the Greeks had long since arranged for the ' small
incident ' which would enable ' the proud conquerors' to commit with impunity the
cruelties they had so long premeditated against the Moslem population. How could
this desired incident fail to take place? The Agents-provocateurs were well posted
everywhere, and to make doubly sure the Greek Red Cross had fitted out two
comitaadji bands, the most blackguardly in Macedonia, and these had been brought
over in Greek torpedo boats to Asia Minor.'
“By dint of provocations and bragging these people succeeded in exhausting the
patience of the Turks : some shots fired or pretended to have been fired by them
gave the expected signal for the massacre. The Greeks rushed into the barracks, the
occupants of which were slaughtered or wounded.
"On the quay, they tore off the veils and insulted the Turkish women. They
shouted to the Moslems: ' I . . . . * your prophet and your religion.' They obliged
them to take off their Fez and to trample them under foot. If they refused they were
thrown into the sea or were stuck with bayonets.
*The word is too filthy to print.
"In their stupid fury the Greeks massacred 15 of their fellow countrymen who, as
officials, were wearing the Ottoman head-dress; they assassinated the stationmaster of the
French railway, two Italians, and one British subject, etc.
“The Greek Commander having declared a state of siege, murder and pillage were now no
carried on under military protection. The 40th regiment joined up with the thieves and
assassins ; the other regiments were not slow to follow suit. They imprisoned the Turks
wholesale and plundered their houses. But the Greeks did not seize only what belonged to
the Moslems, for they also plundered the depot of the Ottoman Bank. also the store room of
the French Consulate, etc.. etc.
“They committed the infamous crime of arming the Palikares, that is to say the brigands
who belong to the scum of the Greek population of Smyrna. They even armed the women of
these people who made use of their weapons to dishonour the dead bodies of the Turks
heaped in the Ottoman hospital.
" Crimes and acts of cowardice of every description continued to be committed openly
in the streets. An old Turkish colonel, sick and almost helpless, was met by the Palikares
(' Men of Courage'). He was riddled with bayonets. At the gates of the town three unarmed
gendarmes, returning peacefully to their homes in a carriage, not knowing what was
happening in Smyrna, were butchered with all the ‘refinements’ of cruelty.
“ At another place, one of our naval officers, seeing a Greek patrol dragging along an
old man, whose head the caporal was belabouring with the butt of his rifle, asked the
“ ‘ Why do you beat this old and unarmed man?’
“ ‘ Because he is a dangerous man. We have found arms in his house.'
" ' What arms ? ’
" As a result of the enquiry it was ascertained that these arms consisted of 200
grams of small shot, 100 grams of sporting powder, and two empty cartridge cases !
“ Now and then, Mars—the god of war—must needs yield place to Mercury—god of
commerce. Greeks, honest to the backbone, offered to guide the street patrols to the house
of such and such a man whom they described as ' dangerous.' And as by some lucky chance
this dangerous man always happened to be the creditor of the man who denounced him, his
account was quickly settled.
" All this time the Turks who had been made prisoners were given nothing to eat and
nothing to drink. Some British officers paid them a visit, and protested against this
odious act of inhumanity. Frightened, the Greek military authorities gave permission for
the Turkish women folk to take food to the captives, but when they came with the
provisions the young Greeks scoffed at them, tore off their veils, and did not let them
pass unless they carried in their hands a paper flag showing the glorious colours of
“ This is the true story of the Smyrna ambuscade, and let us hope that the truth will
see the daylight despite those who are making a good thing out of this business. The entry
of the Greeks into Smyrna showed a balance of 500 Turks killed and 600 wounded.''
“ This is how the French Press reported the events of this never to be forgotten day :
'The Greek troops have landed in Smyrna amidst Universal enthusiasm.'
" However, the enthusiasm of the first moment beginning to cool, the Commander of the
Greek troops asked himself whether, despite the kindly phil-hellenism of the Entente, the
Smyrna affair might not disgust the public should they once learn what had happened. He,
therefore, thought it best to forestall the critics, and published an order reprimanding
the conduct of ' certain irresponsible persons,' whom a court-martial would severely
“ It is perfectly certain that these ‘ irresponsible persons ’ need fear neither the
rope nor the gallows, although well merited, and that, on o the contrary, they will live
from now onwards honoured and well provided for.
" What has happened at Smyrna has, as the Turkish newspaper Hadissat said, ' shown
that not only is Greece unfitted to undertake a mandate over another country, but herself
has need of a control.'
“ If anyone wishes to hear the opinion of an Armenian, whom no-one would suspect of a
great partiality in favour of the Turks, this is what he thinks of the exploits of the
descendants of Pericles:
" ' We have often been assassinated,' said he, naively, ' but never have the Turks
done to us what the Greeks have done to them, and never have they so insulted our
" Let the last word be that of the commander of a fleet division, whose report ended
with the words: The conduct of the Greeks has been disgraceful.' "
Account of the
Smyrna and the
(Appendix, Page 3)
May 21st, 1919.
The Turkish authorities issued a General Order the day before the landing,
instructing all officials to see no resistance was offered and troops and officers
were ordered to be at certain barracks at a certain time—a time was also named for
handing over G.H.Q.
The order seems to have been obeyed, but the Greek troops broke into some of the
places where Turkish officers were gathered and shot down all who refused to cry
" Zeto Venezelos." I am told that between 200 and 300 officials were
killed, but am not able to substantiate the statement as to numbers.
Officers were stripped of their uniform by Greek soldiers and left in their shirts
and pants. Their boots the soldiers put on themselves. The Vali was dragged along
the quay dragged along with his hands up and carried a prisoner on board a Greek
ship. His fez was taken off and trampled under foot. His wife (a purdah lady) was
hurt and his house looted. The Chief of the Turkish Staff was bayonetted in the face
and thrown into the hold of a Greek cattle-ship among the cattle. The senior doctor
of the Turkish Army Corps was murdered, and on Monday last the body had not been
found. The Chief of the Artillery was also murdered—his brother, a young doctor,
was robbed of everything even to his wedding ring, he showed me the mark made in
getting it off, and said in some cases fingers had been cut to remove rings. His
wife, though a Russian, was robbed of everything too.
A Turkish Lieut.-Colonel whom I met at the Hospital told me he had not the price of
a meal in his house—every stick of furniture had been taken—his wife looted of
every scrap of jewellery she had on.
These are only a few cases I saw myself—everywhere it has been the same. In the
villages not only have houses been looted, but burnt or pulled down. In the better
class houses, which were too solid to pull down, doors and windows have been removed
and in some cases the roofs.
What the Allied fleet was doing to allow this sort of thing to go on I don't
understand, for the Greeks, both Military and Civil, took a hand in it—and it was
not until they were attacked that the Turks showed any fight. The Greeks claim that
Smyrna is Greek—as a matter of fact Christians are in a majority here—but not Greek
Christians. Of Ottoman Greeks and Ottoman Turks there are more Ottoman Turks.
In other places, such as Mainsa, which I understand the Greeks are to occupy
four-fifths of the population is Moslem.
There are a few purely Greek villages near Smyrna, but the population as a whole is
Moslem. Can nothing be done to get a Commission of Inter-Allied Commissioners who
know the country—sent to report on the population….?
Also, there are British and other Foreign rights to be considered in Smyrna. Under
the system of capitulations and extra territorial rights enjoyed by foreigners in
this country they have built up a very flourishing commercial community of which
some of the leading houses are British. Are we, who spent much blood and treasure in
the conquest of Turkey to allow our own nationals to be ruined by Greek misrule. It
is a known fact that in Greece itself British houses have been unable to succeed. In
Turkey, taxation is light—in Greece, taxation simply kills everything. Is it right
that the commercial community should be exploited for the benefit of Greece ? Also,
what about the Indian army ? What will the Moslem section of it say, when they learn
that they and their friends have fought and died, to hand over a large number of
their brother Moslems to their bitterest foes and the most fanatical people who call
themselves Christians ?
(Appendix, Page 5)
September 15th, 1919.
This time I have been to Dianan and Dinizle, both places full of refugees from the Aidin
District, which as you probably know, has been destroyed by the Greek Army. It seems that
after occupying Aidin the Greeks began to arrest all Turkish notables in spite of the
expostulations of the Turkish Government. They next began a house-to-house visitation for
arms—violating harems and insulting and robbing the ladies. This induced a number of
Moslem families to leave the town and seek refuge in the mountains. The Greeks promptly
burnt their houses and, of course, the men returned bent on revenge and the trouble
started. The Greeks used machine guns and mowed down everybody including a number of
Christians, and they killed every Moslem they could lay their hands on, women and children
were shut up in houses nominally for safety and then the houses were burnt, and all the
usual horrors attendant on massacres went on. I think the worst individual act of cruelty
was the fate meted out to four women who defended themselves and their homes with their
husbands' guns. They were caught and killed by being impaled on wooden spikes.
When the town had been destroyed the Greeks attacked the farms and villages, 69 of the
latter have been wiped out and all farms belonging to Moslems have been destroyed. There
must be about 100,000 refugees, at least, about the country, most of them escaped with
only the clothes they were wearing and are in the depths of misery. 9,716 are said to have
keen killed, while there is a long list of missing. What is going to happen to these
people during the winter I can't think. Already the death-rate from privation and fever,
particularly among the children, is very heavy, and nothing will induce them to return to
their lands even if temporary shelters could be arranged while the Greeks still hold the
country. The further advance of the Greeks has been stopped by the " National Turkish
Army," which also turned them out of Nazili. Even many of the Ottoman Greeks
themselves are beginning to regret the advent of the Hellenic Army, they say, that if they
remain, Anatolia will become a second Macedonia." Besides, they got rather a sickener
of their Hellenic friends at Hivali. There a band of about 1,500 Turks attacked the Greek
Army some 3,000 strong with guns, and the Greeks ran away. The local Christians wanted to
run too, but the Hellenes found them in the way, and turned on them with their bayonets.
The result was that, between the advancing Turks and retiring Greeks, they got pretty well
wiped out. When they had finished retiring the Greek army wiped out all the Moslem
villages in that region in revenge.
You know the first Greek Division to land in Smyrna was the very Division which murdered
our Marines and the French at Athens before Greece was starved into war. We have short
memories, have we not ? And, of course, the man in the street knows nothing of what has
been going on.
EXTRACT FROM AN ARTICLE (SEPT. 19TH, 1919)
AN ENGLISHMAN TO THE " NEAR EAST."
I was in Turkey from December, 1914, to May, 1917, and we had the pleasure of the
personal acquaintance of Rhami Bey, and, as is known to all foreigners living in
Turkey during this official's term of office, he was at all times the friend of the
belligerents. It was within his power, and was urgently suggested by certain
military generals other than Turks, that the British, French, and other belligerents
be deported to the interior towns, but Rhami Bey absolutely refused to consider
this. Records will prove that more than one foreign general and also consul general,
was removed from office at Smyrna at the request of Rhami Bey—or, I might
truthfully say, " orders "—simply because they insisted that such
deportations be made. British and French homes in Smyrna, Bournabat, Boudjah, and
Gordellio, were practically held inviolable, and such belligerent residents were
permitted to continue in their homes with the same ease and safety as in pre-war
times. Only those homes which were vacant were sequestered for military purposes,
and then only in cases where such housing was absolutely necessary.
Everyone who was in Smyrna in 1916, during the air raid made from Mitelyne, and who
witnessed the air duel between two British planes and one enemy plane, in which both
the British planes were shot down, one having both of the two brave aviators killed
in the fall of their plane, will recall the beautiful military funeral given those
two brave Britons. The funeral procession was headed by two British ministers, the
ceremony was held in the British Church, and from there the caskets, draped with the
British Union Jack, were carried through the streets of Smyrna to the British
cemetery for their last resting. Rhami Bey personally had inserted in the newspapers
a notice requesting the British residents of Smyrna to attend the funeral, and
permitted them to send floral offerings. My information is not hearsay, but my own
personal observations, and I could mention many acts of fair treatment by him to
belligerents, when it would have been much easier, and also to his advantage, to
have acted other than he did. I have no personal interest in writing on behalf of
this now exiled Turkish official, other then to see justice done.
COLE & CO. (WESTMINSTER) LTD., Printers, S.W. 1.
"The Armenians," C.F.
C. F. Dixon-Johnson: Letters