In one of his letters, C. F. Dixon-Johnson had written:
'A statement made by M. Politis, late Minister for Foreign Affairs under M.
Venizelos, and delegate of the Hellenic Government to the Peace Conference, in
an article in the Revue Politique Internationale in 1914, discussing
the condition of the Greeks under Turkish rule, refutes M. Rangabé’s
explanation and makes it difficult to believe that the object of the Greek
advance into the Turkish homelands was “the liberation of subject races from
the intolerable Turkish domination." M. Politis’s statement was "that under no other foreign rule could their
(the Greek) interests find a protection equal to that offered them by the
Turks." There is no doubt [of] a certain affinity between the two
races which may explain why the Cypriote Greeks are said to prefer to revert
to Turkey rather than remain under British administration.'
Now that is a rare sort of thing for a Greek to admit, when... as with the
Armenians... the "patriotic" thing to do is to always speak ill of
the Turks, as Rafael Ishkhanian honestly admitted:
"[T]o curse at Muslims and especially at Turks, to talk much about the
Armenian Genocide, and to remind others constantly of the brutality of the
Turks are all regarded as expressions of patriotism. Among the leaders of the
past we consider those who curse Turks and killed Turks to be the most
patriotic. Our most recent heroes are those who assassinated Turkish diplomats
in European cities... [this] is the dominant mentality."
The Greeks perhaps don't fall victim to this racist malady as do the
Armenians (at least concerning public statements, in the case of the latter),
but they come awfully close. As Antonis Angastiniyotis honestly put it:
"Since our childhood we were taught that the Turks were barbaric
dogs." Angastiniyotis further elaborated that with such
indoctrination, "this enables us to hate." There is nothing
like the breeding of a demonized, common foe to keep a people together. This
is why many Greek and Armenian intellectuals think twice before they allow
themselves to publicly speak fairly of Turks, as doing so will (among other
reasons) bring harm to their cause of appearing as the poor, innocent victims
before the bigoted Christian world. Wellington House "Propaganda
Minister" Arnold Toynbee explained
this danger in a 1919 memorandum:
"To lessen the credit of Armenians is to weaken
the anti-Turkish action. It was difficult to eradicate the conviction that the
Turk is a noble being always in trouble. This situation will revive this
conviction and will harm the prestige not only of Armenians, but of Zionists
and Arabs as well."
This is why the rare Greek/Armenian statement of integrity as reflected by
Nikolaos Sokratis Politis must be valued highly; imagine a Greek actually
admitting that the "Turkish yoke" was not such a bad thing!
The rest of the article is presented here as a record. The translation is
slightly modified (with Holdwater's pauvre knowledge of French, and
even there, cursorily) by the Internet service you'll see on the left
navigation column of this page (with the flags), and is only meant to give the
gist, for those of us who don't know French. So PLEASE BEWARE; the English is
not by any means meant to be an adequate translation.
The Dixon-Johnson extract has been highlighted below.
With thanks to M. Mersinoglu.
Readers who understand French will do well to read the original "LA GRECE ET L’EMPIRE
OTTOMAN," available on this page if you [Click
The International Political Review
GREECE AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
The peace treaty signed in Athens on November 14 marks in the history of the East, a
higher date of importance. It is the first time that a political Greco-Turkish
agreement has been concluded in Athens. It is the first time too that a
similar agreement has taken place without the intervention of the great powers. It
is the first time finally that the Ottoman Empire fortunately lets itself be
influenced by councils of moderation emanating from a State which is not among the
members in the European concert. It is [a sign of one of the] many manifestations of
great change which has occurred in the East.
Of the States, as lately as yesterday, feels henceforth to be able to only act in
the life of the nations. They have reached their majority after the last crisis of
growth which, by forcing them in large observation of the law of balances,
allowed to distinguish the similarity of their interests and the favors that they
would have to combine their efforts and to multiply between them the bonds of union
and solidarity. Thanks to the deep wisdom of its eminent sovereign, sagacity and the
moderation of its ministers, the skill and the patience of its diplomatic, Romania
had priceless deserve to ensure the success of this philosopher's stone of
emancipation. By its bringing together of Greco-Serbo-Montenegrin alliance, it was
formed, under her auspices, a new grouping which despoiled any spirit of exclusion
and hostility towards the thirds, aims only to the maintenance of the treaty of
Bucharest, precisely the "fundamental charter " of the East, and with the
development of the bonds of friendship between all the States of the Peninsula.
It was natural that the role of regulating referee so fortunately assumed by them in
Bucharest, Romania still had with to play to hasten the much awaited outcome of the
Greco-Turkish negotiations. The occasion was offered to it by travels of its
Minister of Interior Department in Greece. It made profitable with a bright which
had success, not only with its new position in the East, but also, to a very large
extent, with active sympathy, the persuasive councils and the personal charm of the
eminent statesman, Mr. Take Jonesco.
The character of the peace of Athens and the new state of affairs which results from
it provide the conviction that between Greece and Turkey the friendship stipulated
in the treaty will not be a vain diplomatic formula, but a fertile and beneficial
Although it was tested hard, Turkey will not preserve for a long time the memory of its
defeats: the wounds of the war will not go long in being healed, because no poisonous
sting was left there; on the contrary, seldom has peace been concluded on more honorable
bases for two parts to tell the truth, it is only one painful condition: territorial
transfer. But, agreed to the treaty of London (May 30, 1913), the memory is already
blurred by it, as much better than it constitutes less one loss that a restitution, and
that, far from weakening the Ottoman Empire, it strengthens it, one will see, by
disencumbering itself of a dead load.
Nikolas Politis; born in Corfu in
1872, he studied law in Paris. Venizelos
appointed him as director of foreign
affairs (1914-1916), a position he
returned to until 1920. Greece's first
representative in the League of Nations
until 1924, Politis later served as his
nation's ambassador to France.
As for the treaty of Athens, it devotes neither injustice, neither
humiliation, nor wound of one's own love. It does not stipulate any war indemnity. It
revises not with the profit of the winner the old treaties which, simply suspended during
hostilities, take again their force and strength. The refunding does not impose —
commonly allowed — expenses of maintenance of the captive Ottoman soldiers, nor repair
— undeniable in its principle — losses and damage resulting from the seizure of the
Greek ships by the Ottoman authorities before the declaration of war: it prefers to put
off the solution of this double difficulty with arbitration, so that, if Turkey must
finally pay, she does so only with the name of justice.
On the contrary, Greece has agreed to restrict the effects of the annexation in the very
important matter for it of the [natives]. Only the Ottoman subjects currently domiciled in
the new Greek provinces become by full right Hellenic subjects, except for the contrary
option which, following the tradition gold created at the time of the transfer of Thessaly,
could be exerted within three years, during which any military obligation remains
suspended for the interested [parties]. As for the individuals who are originating in the
new territories without being domiciled there, a distinction is made: those which are
fixed, out of the Ottoman Empire can in the next six months choose Hellenic nationality;
but those which are established in Turkey preserve Ottoman nationality definitively. This
last category represents the surroundings 50,000 Greeks of Macedonia and especially of the
Empire domiciles mainly in the vilayet of Constantinople: it was for them a unique
opportunity to acquire Greek nationality, but in the future as in the past for them [to
gain] individual naturalization in Greece will meet an insurmountable obstacle in the
approval of the Sultan to which it demor subordennée under the terms of Turkish law. To
impose similar sacrifice, the Hellenic government had to make a real effort of goodwill.
Its merit is all the more large as the payment adopted about the originating ones is
doubly exceptional: it goes has the opposition to the use according to which when
annexation is presented in the form of an act of release of congeneric of annexing, the
denationalization which resulted reaches all those have with the territory ceded an
unspecified bond, either the residence, or only origin; it deviates moreover from the
solution dictated by the powers at the time of the constitution of the kingdom of Greece,
and, one half-century later, at the time of the transfer of Thessaly.
Moreover, Greece accorded the many ones and important guarantees with the profit of the
Moslem interests: respect of acquired rights, especially of the goods of the private
individuals, the Sultan and the imperial family, the pious foundations, of assistance or
bienfaisauce (vacoufs, except for the dimes), of the moral people, while making by
name to appear among them the famous political Committee of "Union and
Progress"; respect of religious freedom and the practice external of the worship;
recognition of the competence of the muftis, not only in purely religious matters and of
administration of goods vacoufs, but also out of contentious matter between Moslems for
the businesses of their personal statute; recognition of the prerogatives of the Sultan as
religious chief (Khalife) and of the right of the Sheik-uI-IsIam to give the nomination
with the mufti as a chief, named by the king of Hellenes.
In this way, Greece pushed condescension also as far as it is allowed to make in a
Sovereign state. It would not have to concede more if, instead of an annexation due to its
victories, it were acted of a friendly transfer agreed in full peace. Without also going
far as Bulgaria, in the treaty of Constantinople (September 29, 1913), it slightly
exceeded the measures observed on the council of the powers at the time of the peaceful
annexation of Thessaly, to take as a starting point the the same broad spirit and
generosity of Austria, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Italy, in Tripoli.
To appreciate any of the valor of these concessions, it is necessary to thus hold account
of the considerable sum of the interests guaranteed in the new Greek provinces, or the
Moslems exceed 500,000 hearts and their properties collective one deprived, representative
of several tens of million franks, occupy enormous surfaces and cover in certain cities of
the whole districts. It is necessary to note moreover that these guarantees being given
without Greece obtaining in return the solution that it had the right to hope for a number
of questions since for a long time hanging in Turkey about the condition of its nationals
and school and ecclesiastical freedoms of Ottomans of Greek race.
That these concessions are due to the spirit of moderation of Greece, the conciliating
influence of Romania, or with the force even of the events, that imports little. What is
certain, it is that, joined to frequent stipulation of the arbitration, so much for the
unsolved difficulties, than for possible litigations, they give to the agreement occurred
it very happy character of a free agreement, concluded, on both sides, with sincere desire
nothing to impose nor anything to accept which, running up against equity violently, could
be legerme [cause for?] future conflicts.
The peace of Athens thus seems a strong and healthy work, intended to last, able, thanks
to the new ground of Greco-Turkish ratios, developed entirely to effect.
A measure that the events which have occurred will unroll their consequences, old
bases of the reports/ratios Greco-Turkish will be deeply altered.
Greece and Turkey cease being close by ground; they do not have any more a common
border on the continent.
The enlarging of one and the reduction in the other will have reduced the
disproportion of the respective forces on ground; they will have almost completely
been removed on sea.
Their economic, already considerable solidarity by the frequent exchanges between
Pirée, on the one hand, Constantinople and perhaps Asia Minor, in addition, will be
appreciably increased, sailed round, because of the reports/ratios of Salonica and
of new Greek ports of the Aegean with the principal places of the Ottoman Empire.
Greece becomes, to a certain extent, a Moslem power, since the Moslems will form
from now on a notable fraction, approximately one-eighth of its population totals.
Finally and especially in its relationship with Turkey, Greece cannot have
territorial aims any more. Undoubtedly it field of Hellenism is still vast in the
Ottoman Empire, it includes in particular in Asia a population of nearly two million
and half, which extends long from the coasts almost unresolved of continuity from
Trebizond until Adalia, with a weak penetration in between. But Greece realizes that
well, by its geographical configuration, this field is politically
unrealizable and very wisely, it takes care not to conceive useless covetousness.
What admittedly remains is the question of the Ottoman islands of the Aegean Sea,
other than Crete. Under the treaty of London, to which that of Athens returns
formally, it relieves of the decision of great powers. It is necessary to wish, in
interest of the general tranquility and the harmony of the Greco-Turkish ratios,
that the European concert will be able to rise above the diplomatic contingencies,
to prescribe only the solution which, of natural agreement of the things and the
wish of the populations, can be definitive, namely the annexation [by] Greece. Any
other solution would necessarily be provisional and full with dangers. Touched, for
the third time since the Turkish conquest, by the blows of freedom, the islanders
would not cease [their activities which will] not ensure their union with Greece;
one would see, in twenty islands, to start again the difficulties whose Crete was
the object for a long time; the Greco-Turkish ratios would be envenimés by it and
in constant danger of rupture; arming one against the other, the two countries would
become exhausted in naval expenditure; and afterwards to have delayed or have
compromised development to them, the quarrel would have the same end as with the
Cretan affair. Those which, like us, wish the consolidation of the Ottoman Empire
sincerely, would like to be able to persuade the Young Turks that the best interest
of their country lies with their ordering not to seek to be opposed to the
realization by Greece of this last batch of its national heritage: they have failed
in Crete the sad experiment of an obstinacy without exit, that they do not forget
the lesson of it and that they do not go, about the Archipelago, ahead of of new and
more terrible misfortunes. They appear to fear that the abandonment of the islands
does not endanger the security and the prosperity of Asia, Minor that, become
Greek, these islands are not against the close coast of a Hellenic center of
propaganda, a hearth of customs smuggling, and, in times of war, a base of
operations. This danger is purely imaginary : the most active propaganda could not
triumph over the obstacles nature put at the realization of the Hellenic field in
Asia; smuggling, far from increasing, would tend to disappear under the effect of
the Greek taxation, which, higher than that of the Ottoman Empire, would discourage
the defrauders; finally the safety of the coast would be certainly less threatened
than that of any terrestrial border which establishes between the two contiguous
countries a more immediate contact and, therefore, more dangerous. But, for
lémoigner of the sincerity of its feelings, Greece would not refuse without do not
doubt to seek, of agreement with Turkey, the guarantees suitable to effectively put
the close territory at the shelter of any danger of an economic or military nature.
It is allowed to hope that the Ottoman government will want to be inspired by
This hope appears founded as much than the changes which have occurred in the
respective situation of the two countries will not fail to affect their
reports/ratios in a direction favorable to the maintenance of a friendship honest
Greece will continue to have in the Ottoman Empire nearly 100,000 subjects, of which
one half would be in Europe and the other half in Asia. A considerable part of its
foreign trade will always be done with Turkey. It will not finally [seek] to be
satisfied of the fate of the Ottoman subjects of Greek race, whose numbers
considerable residence: approximately three million, more than 500,000 in Europe and
the remainder in Asia.
For the protection of these nationals, guarantee of its trade, the maintenance of
the school privileges and ecclesiastics of its congeneric, Greece will have from now
on a larger freedom, means more effective action than in the past. Not only will it
not have to fear any more the Turkish invasion, but the possibility of exerting, in
case of falling due, at it, of the reprisals on the interests musulmans, will be a
condom against the violations right that one could be tentê to make or tolerate in
Turkey with the detriment of the Greek interests. In addition, the increase in the
economic solidarity of the two countries would increase in a measure equalizes the
consequences disastrous already large than any economic war counters Greece produced
on the trade and finances of the Ottoman Empire
There will be done less to fear in the future the antihellenic repetition of the
movement which had been unchained in Turkey with such an amount of impetuosity in
the last phase of the business of Crete.
But the new situation does not remove only any serious cause of conflict. It
establishes between the two States a community of interests favorable to an
increasingly intimate bringing together.
ParadoxicaI as it can appear at first sight, it is however certain that Turkey
leaves the recent crisis stronger and a greater mistress of her destinies: she
underwent an operation, painful undoubtedly, but salutary.
That the loss of the majority of its vilayets of Europe is for Turkey a financially
good bargain, one of her men the most distinguished States undertook to show it (1).
The yielded vilayets were passive, they cost the Treasury more than they did not pay
to him; by losing them, Turkey diminishes its deficit of approximately 34 million
franks per annum. An indirect benefit one must add to annual profit of approximately
21 million franks which it will carry out because of increase customs surtax (from 3
to 7 %) that its misfortunes were worth at the solicitation of the great
But it is especially under report/ratio of its interior peace and its exterior
safety that Turkey does not take place of to regret the territorial dismemberment
that it has just undergone. The vilayets of Europe were for it the object of
ceaseless alarms of the increasingly frequent disorders and repression which were
followed from there complicating an administration already difficult, caused the
intervention of the powers, caused conflicts with the close States; absorbed in
Europe, obliged to maintain the considerable armed forces there, to make there
disproportionate expenditure with its resources, the government neglected the
provinces of Asia, exhausted the Treasury and even endangered the existence Empire.
Disencumbered of its territories, Turkey can from now on devote all its efforts on
the administration and with the development of richer and less disturbed areas; it
thus sees increasing its chances to remain an independent State.
However so that this possibility becomes a certainty, one needs that its leaders
preserve, for the interior like outside, of new imprudences.
In the interior, the experiment their hard taught the dangers of the method of the
"turquisine" and centralization with excess. The councils that their best
friends had vainly lavished to them before the war, they must now to hasten to
follow them. The task is easier than in Macedonia, because, as opposed to the
vilayets of Europe, the Asian provinces do not undergo the irresistible attraction
of congeneric close States. But it is not less urgent: the failure of the
administrative system involves with short [time expiration] in Asia of greater
dangers than it produced in Europe; it would lead to the annihilation of the Empire
and with the division of its possessions between heirs who with are already
designated and supervise attentively the heritage.
(1) DJAVID BEY: Die Zukunft der turkischen Finanzen, in La Deutsche Revue, March
1913, p. 380. (Holdwater: Minister of Finance Djavid
Bey would be sentenced to fifteen years hard labor by Damad Ferid Pasha's
Entente-directed postwar kangaroo courts, July 5, 1919. Ironically, as related by a
September 7, 1914 report by the Belgian ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Baron
Guillaume, Djavid Bey was fighting against entry into the war. He was executed in
1926 by Ataturk, for supposedly being part of an assassination attempt.)
At outside, Turkey will have above all to avoid the adventures. A policy of
adventure would be for it an act of madness: in any case, she would prepare or
consume her loss. Such would be in particular the case for the agreement to outline
according to certain noises, with Bulgaria for an action combined against Greece and
Serbia. One volt this Turkey would have to lose there, one does not see what it
could there gain: without counting the terrible risk of a failure, it [? ] would
know, in the assumption of a success, to put out of balance the profit of Western
Thrace with the danger of constitution with its side of large Bulgaria. Extremely
happily since one realized of the solidarity of bonds which link Romania in Greece
and has Serbia, this plan [? ] appears to have hardly a chance of realization.
Turkey must moreover take care of its borders. Most important like most exposed that
will always be which open shorter way towards the capital. It will not be p[? ] less
threatened than by the past. Turkey must make there good keeps, because with old
covetousnesses, which remains intact [? ] are added today in its neighbors it
resentment and spite, in consequence of an unimaginable accumulation of the military
and diplomatic faults, to have left to escape the conqui[? ] dearly paid, of the
Obliged to pursue a policy of conservation, Turkey will find its best safeguard in
Balkan equilibrium [? ] and in a collaboration with the States interested in its
ma[?]tien. While solidarizing itself with them for better ensuring it re[? ] of the
peace of Bucharest, it could, in return, to be made rantir the integrity of its
Greece, Romania, Montenegro and Serbia would undoubtedly be laid out to pursue this
policy of bringing together and of collaboration which would serve to them inte[
While returning all in more solid and wider time balance than they contributed has to
found. If it me is not indifferent for them that them work finds in a new adhesion a
supplement of force, it matters to them that Turkey remains in Europe, because it is for
their own conservation a guarantee moreover.
What is true of their common interest is more particularly Greek interest. Mr. Take
Jonesco very justly made to notice with the correspondent of the Times of Athens that
Greece's "whole interest lies with the masters of Constantinople remaining Turkish
and that the Turks are strong." For it, any change of domination on the edges of the
Bosphorus would be extremely prejudicial.
At Constantinople and in the surroundings, the material interests and moral of Hellenisrn
occupy a place out of par: 300,000 Ottoman Greeks, 50,000 Hellenic subjects, the seat of
Patriarchate [ecumenical]. various very rich institutions, a quantity of churches,
schools, charity organizations, benevolence and of assistance, a preponderant share in
finances, trade, navigation. Under any foreign domination, these interests would not
find a protection equal with that offered by the Turkish regime. For more than four
centuries, in spite of periodic persecutions, they could not only maintain, but constantly
progress; it is from that first day, Turks found in them indispensable collaborators: they
provided for them the social cement which made them [able] to found a State. If Turkey
could remain in Europe, she must with the preserving forces of the Greek element who
constantly held in failure the solvent forces of the Islamic element. The political,
military organization and administrative of the Turks could not have constituted a viable
State without the social, economic and intellectual armature provided by the Greek
element. The Turks understood it so well that, as of the beginning of the conquest, they
granted the Greeks a certain number of freedoms and of privileges, grace at which they
have to preserve, with through so much of centuries of Moslem domination, their religion,
their language, their costumes. Tomorrow like yesterday, Turks will be able to be
maintained in Constantinople that by the agreement the Moslem element with the Greek
element, and this agreement would not be possible without the Ottoman government's respect
of the traditional school and religious freedoms of the Greek communities.
With the preoccupation of the conservation of race, is added that of the progress of its
maritime trade, to make wish in Greece consolidation of the current state of things. Among
the fields where it is best expressed by the beautiful expansion of its commercial navy in
the last twenty years, it is necessary to put in good row the transport of corns of the
places of the Danube and the Black Sea, where the monopoly in fact of the British pavilion
is today strongly threatened by the Greek pavilion (1). If one thinks of the considerable
place that the trade occupies in its national economy, one will understand that Greece
does not attach not with the freedom of the straits an importance less than Russia and
other residents of the Black Sea. Closing, even [temporarily], of the straits causes
losses which, all things considered, are for it at least also great for Russia. The
English Chamber of Commerce of Constantinople calculated that, during the two months of
the closing of the straits by the end of 1912, cereals intended for export, which had to
be accumulated in the Russian and Rumanian ports of the Black Sea and in the straits,
represented a total value of approximately 500 million franks and that losses tested by
428 ships retained as well with the entry as in the left of the Dardanelles are raised
with nearly 7.500.000 franks. In these losses, an important sum returns in the Hellenic
marine since, among the ships selected, 140 belonged with its pavilion and that in normal
times it would have had to transport a notable part of cereals remained in suffering.
However, if precarious as is today, the freedom of the straits appears less threatened
than if Constantinople changed masters. To give to international trade full safety, it
would be necessary to adapt the straits to the mode of the Suez Canal. This regulation
would answer the wishes of Greece as to that of Russia and of the others residents of the
Black Sea. It would be also in conformity with the interest of Turkey since it would tend
to consolidate its capacity in Europe.
(1) V Diplomatie and Consular Carryforwards, no. 5188, Greece, 1913, p. 14
By continuing agreement with its allies and his/her friends, a policy of bringing
together and collaboration with Turkey, Greece would not obey only its current
interest. It would translate into acts feelings, at it are of old date. More than
one once in last the occasion is offered to the two countries to draw the
conclusions which comprises similarity of their interests. Unfortunately, the
improvidence, the [impertinence] or controlling ulterior motives of theirs them did
not allow to benefit from it. At least, no nation in report/ratio with Turkey was
not constantly any more nor more sincerely attached to the principle of its
integrity that was not to it Greece since especially that the annexation of Thessaly
enabled him to leave of her congenital debilitation. None the thirty last years
crises is due to its fact. One had avoided them by reciprocal concessions if in the
reports/ratios of the two countries confidence had been able to find the place which
was due for him. Thus, before concluding the Balkan alliance, Mr. Venizelos tried to
arrive with Turkey with a friendly agreement: like price of its approval to the
entry of the Creatan deputies at the Greek Parliament, it had gone until him to
offer recognition of its rights suzerains on Crete in the form of an annual tribute.
It was in vain. Either that she did not believe in the sincerity of the offer, or
which it did not see the consequences of its refusal, the Porte did not want to be
separated of its intransigence. With the day before of the war admittedly Kiamil
Pasha changed opinion, but it was too late.
Today, after all the cruel experiments, it arises a new opportunity of bringing
together and agreement. Will one be able to make profitable?
The intentions of Greece and those of her friends are not doubtful. Mr. Take Jonesco
recently expressed with insistence in Athens as in Constantinople the hope of one
serious and durable agreement of Turkey with Greece and their friends. Mr. Venizelos,
who goes, says one, soon to Constantinople, would be in favor not only of one
cordial agreement, but of a defensive Turco-Balkan alliance which would
guarantee to Turkey the integrity of its European possessions (1). According to
certain information, these ideas would have already taken body and given place to a
first exchange of views.
(1) Interview given by Mr. Vénizélos to the Turkish newspaper Tasviri Efkiar
and analyzed in the Greek newspaper Nea Himera, October 14-27 1913.
Are these feelings shared by Turkey?
One would like to be able to affirm, but it is not without a certain apprehension
that one notes, in various centers of the Empire, of the grecophobic tendencies
which find echo in the councils of the government. However the favors that Turkey
would obtain of an agreement with the Balkan grouping is so obvious that one
hesitates to believe that the Porte will remain deaf in advance which is made to
him: it is very rare that passion carries on the spirit of conservation.
If, as one must hope for it, the Turco-BaIkanic agreement came has to be established
in the form of alliance or autroment, it would have them same general features with
the current grouping from which it would result. She would aim only to the
maintenance of the equilibrium, such as resulting from the treaties of Bucharest,
Constantinople and of Athens, and would tend to the development of the solidarity
and bonds of friendship between all the States of the peninsula, without exception.
Thus, not having any tendency of exclusion nor of hostility towards the thirds, it
could include Bulgaria, the day perfectly when, resigned to the lapse of memory of
its resentments, it would have provided evidence of its sincere attachment to the
new order of things.
Professor at the University of Paris.
Naturally, while Prof. Politis did a fair job of being fair, the
above amounts to little more than an apologetic puff piece for Greece. Note, for example,
while the Ottoman Empire gave up so much, Greece suffered "similar sacrifice"...
in the form of exercising "goodwill"! (Given that Greece has rarely
exercised such in dealings with Turkey, perhaps there is truth to the degree of sacrifice
What Politis called the "valor of concessions" included Greece's guarantee of
freedoms for the half-million Moslems in the territories being annexed. Yes, Greece surely
has maintained a fine security for their non-Greeks historically, respecting their
cultural rights. On the other side of the coin, to pump up how wonderful Greece has been
by agreeing on paper to respect the rights of their new racially/religiously inadequate
citizens, we're hit with "It is necessary to note moreover that these guarantees" were "given
without Greece obtaining in return the solution" for "the condition of
its nationals and school and ecclesiastical freedoms of Ottomans of Greek race."
Yet, the Turkish nation has always provided for these freedoms for centuries, as
Politis himself admirably admitted in the very same article.
I also liked his assertion that with the loss of so much territory, now the Ottoman nation
would be so much better off, and could concentrate in the improvement of the nation's
eastern regions, better ensuring the sovereignty of the nation, which the conspiratorial
European powers were itching to take away at the drop of a hat. Yet in 1914, the Ottomans
were forced to agree, with the inspectorate plan, to allow Russia to muscle in on the
east, effectively giving up all control and guaranteeing the loss of these territories in
quick order. (A reason that must have helped compel some Ottoman leaders to go with their
"sink or swim" decision, of going to war.)
And what about Politis' admonishment that the Turks had better look to give up control of
the islands only a stone's throw away from their coastline: "they have failed in
Crete the sad experiment of an obstinacy without exit, that they do not forget the lesson
of it." He doesn't spell out this lesson: the extermination of a good portion of
the Turks/Muslims of Crete. Naturally, Politis similarly makes no mention of the massacre
strategy Greece shamefully employed during the Balkan wars, along with
"partners-in-ethnic-cleansing-crime" Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro. (Toll: 632,000 Muslims dead, not including
soldiers; 813,000 exiled. 870,000, or 38% of the population, remained.)
With such a massive toll on human life, numerically a greater toll than the Armenians'
suffering (Toll: up to 600,000 dead, hundreds of
thousands freely having left for lands outside Ottoman jurisdiction, and 644,900 remaining in 1921, according to the Armenian
Patriarch. From an original population of some 1.5 million, the remainder would amount to
43%, or over 40% if the original population was 1.6 million) and one no one talks about,
how could the Turks not have been embittered? But the Turks are the silent type, and that
means suffering silently. Politis explains it all away in the following fashion: "Although
it was tested hard, Turkey will not preserve for a long time the memory of its defeats:
the wounds of the war will not go long in being healed, because no poisonous sting was
left there." The sting could not have been any more poisonous, as these
Orthodox peoples carried out a plan of systematic murder. But Politis was correct in
that the wounds of war healed (most Turks today are unaware of these events)... but only
because Turks look to the future, and don't become obsessed with the past.
Interesting too was Politis' assertion that Greece conducted herself in "the same
broad spirit and generosity of Austria, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Italy, in
Tripoli." It sounds like Politis felt Austria and Italy did a favor to the Turks
by illegally annexing territory in the first example, and by conducting a war of
aggression in the second.
But the most wonderful statement is when Politis wrote:
"Greece cannot have territorial aims any more."
Greece certainly proved it a mere five years later by invading western Anatolia and
driving deep inland, conducting the murderous massacres against Turks that the Greeks have
become known for.