Mahmut Esat Ozan has been the rare, tireless voice in the United
States, putting up his dukes in the sea of Turcophobes for many years. Here is
a commentary that appeared in The Turkish Times.
Son of Midnight Express
Only This Time the Parents Have Royal Blood
Mahmut Esat Ozan
Recently, the European news services have reported from England about an unusual film
being made by a British filmmaker. If this news item is on the level, the production in
question, titled GENOCIDE IN THE DARDANELLES could be an even more powerful tool in the
hands of the detractors of Turks than the 1978 film (directed) by Alan Parker and (written
by) Oliver Stone. Almost completed, the project is said to be based on a British theory
that during the Battle of the Dardanelles in 1915, the Turks summarily executed hundreds
of British prisoners of war, defying all accepted civil and military conventions and/or
rules. The story emanating from London further said that Her Majesty the Queen of England
was one of the backers of the production and that the preliminary preparations being
almost completed, the shooting was expected to begin shortly.
Since When is the Defense of One's Own Land Called A Genocide?
It seems very likely that besides being labeled as
the perpetrators of the so-called Armenian Genocide of the same year, Turks in the
future will also be known as the murderers of enemy soldiers during a war, and
oddly, a war not initiated by them, namely the WAR OF THE DARDANELLES. This newest
negative label affixed on the Turks could be the source of great anxiety. It's a
sure bet that it will wound the nationalistic pride of every Turk, since the history
books tell us that most Turkish families had a martyr during that unfortunate bloody
war. The statistics in the old Ottoman archives show the number of casualties
surpassing the figure of 800 thousand killed, injured, or missing in action. The
fact is that those uninvited invasion forces from England, France, Italy, Australia,
and New Zealand were there for the sole purpose of attacking and occupying the
sovereign territories of the Ottoman Empire. They were there to inflict upon the
Turkish populace the ravages of a war which they themselves had declared on the
Turks. They were there with the unadulterated intention of killing Turkish soldiers
who were forestalling their advance toward Istanbul, the imperial capital of the
Ottomans. The rag-tag Turkish forces were defending their country against the
unexpected aggression of the enemy, ten times their size, while creating legends
under the command of their military genius, Mustafa Kemal.
The British never seem to have forgotten their colossal trouncing by the Turks in
Gallipoli, a humiliating defeat. Those who know the British well, and had social
contact with them, may confide to a non-Turkish listener that the British behavior
becomes rather rancorous when someone reminds them that the Turks had toppled the
government of their popular Prime Minister Lloyd George. Turks had also given the
'Shining Star' of the British world of diplomacy, the First Lord of the Admiralty,
Winston Churchill, the first and only defeat of his lifetime.
Nevertheless, there seems to exist no rhyme or reason for producing a film such as
this one: GENOCIDE IN THE DARDANELLES, nor is there any logic in the Queen's
financial and moral support of this mythological adventure. There is a saying:
"Talk is cheap."
Adhering to this adage, the producers of this film proclaim that August 10,1915 was
the date of the capture of 266 members of the British Armed Forces, 16 of whom were
commissioned officers. According to their account, the event took place on the
Gallipoli peninsula. Among these prisoners, 147 came from the Royal Palaces in
England, mostly in the SADRIGHAM area. The British ruler of the time, King George V
and his Queen Alexandra, had their residences there. Because the Gallipoli campaign
was not going too well, and the army was in need of more recruits, the 'patriotic'
old monarch arbitrarily decreed that every able-bodied young man among the palace
help "should enroll, at once, in the Army and go to Gallipoli to fight the
Consequently, scores of cooks, carpenters, valets, footmen and the like were imposed
upon to join the Royal fighting forces stationed around the Gallipoli peninsula.
Since they came from the same areas in England, the script says, they were kept
together as a unit. One day they were thrown into the battle. There they found
themselves surrounded by Turkish defensive fire. Some squadron men among them got
killed or lost, others were hungry and exhausted, so they took refuge in a nearby
forest. However, they were captured by the Turks eventually.
Plot Begins to Thicken
The fictitious story goes on to explain, contrary to the
consensus of opinion of historians, that the Turks, true to 'their nature of cruelty'
began to show their disregard for human decency, and resorted to their 'traditional ways'
of allegedly executing each and every captured British soldier and officer. "The
prisoners of war, supposedly secure under the care of the Turks, received instead a bullet
through the back of their heads," continues the script.
Soon after this "Turkish massacre," General Sir Ian Hamilton of the British High
Command in the Dardanelles campaign becomes somewhat baffled by the news of the
disappearance of the special Royal Unit. When asked by Queen Alexandra about the outcome
of the whereabouts of the Royal recruits, he can find no answers to give her Majesty. She
in turn places repeated inquiries through the British Embassy in Istanbul. Still there is
no satisfactory solution, and the matter is put aside.
But, according to the invented scenario, in 1919, when the war is over, the Turks and
their former adversaries meet in Gallipoli and begin to exchange information about their
dead, and those missing in action. The producers of the project claim that a priest
working in conjunction with the Dardanelles Battlefields Commission allegedly finds an
unmarked burial plot on the temporary cemetery grounds. During the excavation, this area
conveniently yields "122 skeletons with a single bullet hole in the cranium."
Eight Decades Later
Lately some enterprising impresarios in England,
whose motivations, perhaps encouraged by the lengthy campaign of the French
Parliament About the so-called Armenian Genocide, and eager to make a few quick
millions, decide to put on the market at this Opportune time, a film about an
additional, albeit smaller 'genocide.'
This one, however, will occupy a special place in the hearts of the British. It will
vindicate the sacrifices made by the. brave Royal Palace Help fighting for the
preservation of the British realm, an empire on which, in nostalgic times, 'the sun
was never allowed to set.' The 'honest-to-goodness pocket genocide' of the loyal,
Royal palace help, and their altruistic, flag-waving exploits during the Dardanelles
campaign will thus be commemorated over and over again, at the movie theater
box-offices throughout the world.
This jingoistic and fictitious scenario written by some revisionists of history is
no joke. We hear that the film is a full-fledged project now, and as mentioned
earlier, it is backed by someone reputed to be the richest woman in the world, the
head of the British Royal Family, namely Her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth II.
As if this were not sufficient to make the blood of every educated history buff boil
with anger and disgust, additional information confirms that her Majesty the Queen
of England has also authorized the palace grounds to be used as a 'suitable movie
This film, if it is ever completed and offered to the world's countless movie
houses, will be considered the crowning glory for the 'Turcophobes anonymous' of the
world. Thus, sadly, the 250,000 Turkish dead buried on those barren slopes of
CANAKKALE resting side by side with the 40,000 Anzak martyrs will have died in vain
and most upsetting of all is that this film with its bogus scenario will insinuate
that Turks and all others will have also died in 'shame.'
A Scenario Full of
In the opinion of most, no
decent movie critic worthy of his or her salt could condone this production.
Furthermore, someone will remember that the British who fought side by side with the
courageous Turks as their allies on the steppes of Sevastopol during the 1850
Crimean War, must have had a different opinion of them. Were they alive today, they
would readily testify to the fact that Turks do not kill the prisoners they take.
Never are they known to execute even an ardent criminal from behind his back.
Another point to ponder is this: There are no forests on the Gallipoli peninsula.
Therefore, the generous offer made by the British monarch to open the lush green
Palace grounds for the filming of this project, can only be viewed at best as a
joke. To compare the flat, arid, desert-like terrain of the Gallipoli peninsula with
England's luxurious Palace grounds borders on the oxymoronic.
Furthermore, no records exist anywhere mentioning any unmarked burial plot in
Turks, with their centuries-long accumulated testimonials of tolerance and
magnanimity often mentioned in the annals of the European and Ottoman archives
should not have to worry about their being falsely judged by world history.
It was the Turks, who
welcomed the Jews of Spain and Portugal into their realm, and not England, or
France, or Germany or any other European power during the inquisition' of the 15th
century. They all refused to accept the Jews into their countries. Turks also were
the ones who gave refuge to kings and commoners alike of all political and ethnic
persuasion throughout past centuries.
If nothing helps to convince the makers and the supporters of this film, GENOCIDE IN
THE DARDANELLES, that their story is none other than the figment of someone's
fertile imagination, then the following pronouncement definitely will.
In that pronouncement are enshrined the poetic words of Mustafa Kernal Ataturk
immortalized in an inscription carved on the marble wails of the magnificent
GALLIPOLI MARTYRS MONUMENT:
"Those English, French, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian heroes who shed
their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly
country, therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and
the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives
on this land they have become our sons as well."
Founder of the Republic of Turkey
1998, The Turkish
C.F. Dixon-Johnson, in his 1916 book, "The Armenians":
the present war we have the overwhelming and convincing testimony of all rank, from
Lord Kitchener downwards, that the Turks have fought gallantly and cleanly, and have
treated our wounded and prisoners with kindness and humanity."
I guess this
film was never made.