What a beautiful, heartfelt article by one of the few
Westerners who really understood the heart of Turkey. Also, one of the very
rare voices that didn't tear Turkey apart in the American press during the
post World War I (or, really, any other) period.
(The New York Times Current History)
By Rear Admiral Colby M. Chester
United States Navy, Retired
Rear Admiral Chester, who has been interested in Turkish affairs for over twenty years,
returned in July from Constantinople, where he went to ascertain whether conditions would
be suitable in the near future for renewing work on the Chester Project (described
in Current History, March, 1922). Rear Admiral Chester is one of America’s most
experienced naval veterans. He was graduated from Annapolis in 1863, and served in the
Civil War. He was one of Theodore Roosevelt’s closest friends, and for years has been an
observer of world affairs.—Editor.
The Turks depicted by an American observer as a moral, religious, tolerant, scrupulously
honest race—The Armenian massacres discounted, and the deportations represented as an
act of beneficence
What is the truth about Turkey? This question is asked daily. I went to Turkey to
ascertain the actual conditions there, and I have been bombarded with such questions since
Following are some of my answers:
There are no prejudices against Christians in Turkey, let alone killings of Christians.
Massacres of the past were enormously exaggerated by prejudiced writers and speakers.
The harem has vanished out of Turkey, and there are fewer men with plural wives than there
are married men with mistresses in the United States.
There is more honesty to the square inch in Turkey than there is to the square yard in
most other countries of the world.
Turkey joined the Germans with reluctance. After the United States became belligerent she
would have joined the Allies if she could.
In the first place, the wrong impression of the Turks was spread because their religious
belief is different from ours. That and that alone lay at the bottom of the prejudice of
America (and much
of Europe) against the Turk. The main questions to be asked about a religion are: Are its
avowed followers faithful to it? Does it restrain those who are faithful to it from doing
evil to their fellow men? I am no theologian, but this I can say about the Turk: He is
loyal to his faith to a degree generally unknown among devotees of other religions. His
standards of honesty are higher than those of men in many other portions of the world.
The Turk is an absolutely faithful husband. This is an interesting point. In the so-called
advanced countries we frequently learn of cases where men who are allowed one wife each by
law and by
religion have in fact several upon the side. If the divorce news in the daily press is to
be relied upon a large proportion of the men in the United States and England who can
afford it have additional companions. In Turkey the reverse is true; all men by religion
and by law are allowed four wives, almost none in fact have more than one. One situation
is the immorality of morality; the other is the morality of immorality. Men of good
position in Turkey would hide their heads in shame and retire from fellowship with
their kind if in their hearts they knew such things were true of them as continually are
printed with regard to domestic scandals in the American and British
press, in the French press and Italian press, about men of standing and position in those
Today in Turkey any man who actually has more than one wife is scorned. To the Turk family
life and the family relationship are very sacred. It is noteworthy that Turks invariably
spend their evening hours at home. There is not a hint of what in Europe and America is
called “night life” among Turkish men, young or old, of the better classes.
There is much night life and much vice in Constantinople. Constantinople is in the hands
of the Allies. The vice is that of Northern Europe transplanted, and its patrons are the
sailors and the soldiers, the travelers and business men who have gone to Turkey to
maintain control or to do business. I am glad to have the opportunity of saying this: in
Turkey every man, by law and by
religion, must adequately support and treat with kindness and faithful respect whomsoever
he may marry, and, moreover, this he does.
Collecting the Indemnity
My observations of Turkey and the Turks have been made with every opportunity to achieve
accuracy and with a background of experience. In 1896 John Hay, then our distinguished
American Secretary of State, cabled Lloyd Griscom, Charge d’Affairs in Constantinople,
that the Turks must pay £20,000, then about $100,000, indemnity for alleged attacks on
missionaries and American church property. Griscom wanted a battleship to come, believing
that if one appeared he might collect. I was then in command of the first American
battleship ever sent into these waters. When the great American battleship appeared at the
Golden Horn, a Kemal Pasha (not the present head of the Government of Angora, although the
names are identical), was in charge, and he was very much upset. It had not been generally
understood that such vast monsters grew in the United States. Its teeth looked bad to him.
Kemal Pasha wired to the Sublime Porte that an American battleship, the biggest in the
world, with bare teeth, was calling.
Thereupon the Russians (who had ships there and were covetous of Turkey’s riches)
offered to go in and “stop” the Americans, The Germans, intensely jealous of the
Russians, thus advised the Sublime Porte: “Keep the Russians out at all costs. Pay the
Americans the nasty little indemnity they want, and get rid of them.”
“How much do I owe you?” asked the Sublime Porte of Mr. Griscom.
“Twenty thousand pounds, or about a hundred thousand dollars,” Griscom answered.
“Oh, not as much as that!”
“Yes; just that.”
Finally we settled for £19,000, and since then I have been interested in and a constant
student of the Turks. The more I have known of them the better I have liked them.
The Real Turk
Incidentally, as showing the real character of the Turk, it should be said of the
so-called Christian massacres, which have been so exploited in this country, that no
atrocities worthy of note were committed in Constantinople in 1896. In the western
provinces of the empire, largely controlled by Albanian troops, noted for their
bloodthirsty instincts, of which the ruling dynasty took full advantage in carrying out
its diabolical policy, there were atrocious acts committed. Also in the east, the then
wild nomadic tribes of the mountains, known as Kurds, did not show special kindness toward
their inveterate foes, the Armenians, when ordered by Abdul Hamid to attack them. The
Armenians were hated alike by Kurds, Christian Georgians and Moslem Azerbaijanians,
because of their grasping propensities—their tendency to live by the sweat of their
neighbors’ brows. The charge that they were maltreated was well founded. But the “Constantinople
Guard,” made up mostly of the Osmanli, refused to carry out the Sultan’s atrocious
edicts, and their General openly defied his Majesty to unleash his sleuth hounds in the
capital of the nation. One of the most pitiful sights ever witnessed was, I think, that of
this noble soldier, white haired and emaciated, when he was released from captivity by the
Young Turks in 1908 and brought back to Constantinople, which he had successfully defended
twelve years before against the barbarous intentions of his chief. Entering the beautiful
Bosporus in a special ship assigned for his accommodation, this gallant soldier was
received by hundreds of thousands of Musulmans, many of them in tears.
To be sure, the 1896 program for the extermination of the Armenians was not the last
attempt of Abdul Hamid, who, by the way, according to the Duke of Argyle and other British
subjects, was too long sustained in power by Great Britain to carry out his nefarious
policies; for when he was on his political deathbed the Sultan resorted to another
campaign of murder in order to show the European powers that only by releasing him and
restoring him to power could the natural tendency of his subjects for brutality be
overcome. In spite of the watchful guard that surrounded him, he managed to instigate
riots in the eastern provinces, and the so-called Adana massacre of 1909 was one of the
results. That affair, however, was in no sense a massacre as the term is known to
international law, for the Armenians (always in the majority in cities of Asia Minor,
according to present-day accounts), fully armed, arose in their might and drove the
Moslems from Adana, killing more of them than they lost by their own casualties. This fact
was certified to before the Director of the Board of Foreign Missions in Boston, in my
presence, by a woman missionary whose son had been accidentally killed in the fight. In
spite of this admission, however, the Hymn of Hate, tuned to the key of the Adana
massacres, is still being sung to Sunday school children in America.
That was the last fitful act of an unconstitutional monarch in Turkey in the way of
maltreating the Armenians. Abdul Hamid was immediately deposed for this intended cruelty
by edict of the Shiek-ul-lslam, supported by an overwhelming majority of the Turks.
Wondrous to relate, however, on the very day that he was shorn of his power for evil,
there were received in Constantinople copies of The London Times containing a protest,
signed by the British Ambassador at the Porte, against the Sultan’s deposition.
Since 1909 Turkey has been practically at war, due to machinations of the powers that be
in Europe, and heinous offenses committed against any body in Turkey have been “war
atrocities,” such as are common to all belligerents.
The Chester Concessions
Chester, center, in 1901
Since that episode I have visited Turkey a number of
times. In the course of these visits, including the journey just completed, I studied the
land from end to end. My recent stay at Constantinople was in connection with the
enterprise now internationally known as the “Chester Project.” This includes the
construction of 1,200 miles of railroad in Turkey, to extend from Alexandretta Bay to the
Persian border, and the development and operation of oil fields estimated to be capable of
producing more than a billion barrels of crude petroleum. The Chester claims are the
oldest in the Mesopotamian field, by a number of years antedating those of the British and
the Germans, which have been so generally acclaimed as marvelously rich. These claims
accrued to the Chesters as a result of our pioneer activities in seeking to induce
American industries to extend their activities to the rich Turkish field. As a result of
my belief in Turkey growing, from a knowledge built during many years’ experience, the
group with which I am associated was offered large concessions.
In 1911 the Turkish National Assembly voted for the construction of the railway I have
mentioned the concession including mineral and oil privileges extending twenty kilometers
on both sides of the right of way. These include the great oil fields both of Mesopotamia
and of Mosul. This road we shall build when conditions warrant. They have not warranted as
yet, and the oil fields occupy our principal attention.
The outbreak of the Italian Turkish war at first prevented the beginning of our
railroad-building operations. After this war ended, a succession of other conflicts,
including the World War, made it necessary to postpone repeatedly the starting of our
work. Finally, through my son, Commander Arthur Chester, who has been for some years in
Constantinople as the representative of the United States Shipping Board, Mustapha Kemal
Pasha, chief of the Government of Anatolia, which is nominally independent of Turkey
proper and has its capital at Angora, renewed to me his invitation to start the great
I took my family with me when I went over to review the situation, for we who know the
facts have no worries about the safety of the traveler in Turkey. There are many sections
of the world much closer to New York where a tourist runs a greater risk. The children of
my son go to school at the American College in Constantinople, where, although allied
control is responsible for some disorder, owing to the large changing population of
foreign seamen and adventurers (not to forget adventuresses), life among the Turks is calm
and practically free from law-breaking. Even with the sometimes drunken sailors of the
allied ships, often on shore and carousing in the dives promoted mostly by shrewd Russian
refugees, there is no more disorder than in New York.
Returning, I feel that I have come from the most wonderful country in the world, the
country which offers the greatest opportunities to the American business man. The Turks
need almost everything which America can wish to sell to them, and they are the best of
people to deal with. The Turkish business man never violates his word. If he is buying
from you and declares that he will pay upon a certain date, you will get your money on
that day; if he is selling to you and declares his goods to be of a certain quality, then
they are of that quality.
The Turk, contrary to the general impression, is a tolerant man, not only willing but
extremely anxious that others should do as they please in religion, as in other things.
Naturally, however, he
does not wish to have his own habits of religion or of daily life interfered with by
outsiders. My religion differs from the Turk’s, but I respect his great fidelity to his,
and, no matter what may be declared to the contrary, he respects my own fidelity to mine
and that of others to the faith they may espouse.
The Turk Maligned
The Turk has been and is the most misrepresented person in the world. I know some of the
falsehoods which have been and are being circulated in America They amaze me.
I was in Constantinople in 1911 when the first election was held. The Turks made a
festival of it, and wagons, in every one of which were a certain number of pretty little
girls in white, were driven
around to take the ballots. On these wagons rode also the Christian missionaries who were
there. In the meantime the people of America and European countries were being fed with
tales of anti-Christian riots in Constantinople. These were supposed to be even then in
progress. Learning of this, I was disgusted with the anti-Turkish propagandists.
I know that what I say will be astonishing to most Americans. I myself should be
astonished by such reports if I knew nothing about Turkey except such things as I have
read in newspapers published in America and Europe, and inspired — although the
newspapers have not understood this — by the enemies of Turkey. One reason why these
misrepresentations persist is that Turkey never has felt it worth while to organize any
agency to state her case abroad.
There have been riots, now and then, when local Turks have felt that
their rights have been outraged by outsiders. It seems to me that once or twice I have
read something about riots in America in circumstances of like sort, although of differing
detail. Speaking generally, the Turks are far more patient than Americans would be.
Armenian massacres by the Turks have been almost entirely unknown since constitutional
government was proclaimed in 1908; or, at least since the head of the Young Turk Party
caused twenty Ottoman officers to be put to death for permitting acts of cruelty against
the Armenians in 1915. (Holdwater: additional
insight on punished Turks.)
The worst “outrage” perpetrated by the Turks on the Armenians
occurred in 1915. The wholesale deportations of that period were brought about by Turkish
fear that the procedure of this alien population, if left to continue without
interruption, would get the agitators into real trouble; the Turks wished no such episode,
though, naturally, they disliked Armenian interference with Turkey’s operation of her
own affairs, political, religious and domestic. So the Armenians were moved from the
inhospitable regions where they were not welcome and could not actually prosper, to the
most delightful and fertile part of Syria.
Those from the mountains were taken into Mesopotamia, where the climate is as benign as in
Florida and California, whither New York millionaires journey every year for health and
recreation. All this was done at great expense of money and effort, and the general
outside report was that all, or at least many, had been murdered.
It seems almost a pity to upset the good old myth of Turkish
viciousness and terribleness, but in the interest of accuracy I find myself constrained to
do so, although it makes me feel a bit like one who is compelled to tell a child that Jack
the Giant Killer really found no monstrous men to slay.
In due course of time the deportees, entirely unmassacred and fat and prosperous, returned
(if they wished so to do), and an English prisoner of war who was in one of the vacated
towns after it had been repopulated told me that he found it filled with these astonishing
Another thing which I would wish to say is that the Turks have been a great restraining
influence upon the spread of Bolshevism. The Bolsheviki tried to win Kemal Pasha, and for
a time declared that they had done so, but eventually he was read out of the Third
International because he had declared in favor of the old forms of government. He has done
everything he could to keep the Bolsheviki and all their works out of Anatolia.
The relations between Kemal in Anatolia and the Sublime Porte in Turkey, although the two
are administratively separated, are friendly and co-operative. The two groups of Turks are
playing a strategic game, and doing it with skill. They let the Greeks dash their heads
against stone walls.
Today, although there are many ways in which falsehood can be circulated about Turkey,
there is no way that I know of, save through the “word of mouth” of a few men who,
like myself, have gone to Turkey and therefore know the facts, of getting the truth out of
Turkey. The Turks ever have been curiously indifferent with regard to what the outside
world has thought of them, or else have been unable to discover how to tell their story.
Turkey’s enemies are unwilling that the actual truth should become generally known. They
don’t want any outsider to go into Anatolia, and few get there. I didn’t get up there,
but I hope to on some future trip. My son has been there.
It is an interesting experiment which Kemal Pasha is working out there. He is a Turkish
George Washington, and it is no irreverence to the Father of Our Country to make this
comparison. Kemal Pasha is a great man.
The situation as it stands in Turkey, especially in regard to Kemal and his relationships
with Turkey proper, is merely the result of the determination on the part of Turks that
they want no more of government by European political and commercial intrigue.
I wish I could express the eagerness with which Turkey and Kemal are both looking toward
America, hoping that some friendly move of business men (for their own profit) may be made
from here. All that is asked is a square deal, business done in such a way that the Turk
in its transaction need not risk his birthright. I have heard it said a hundred times in
Turkey, and by men who count:
“The Americans are the only powerful people in the world who are not seeking a political
advantage to the detriment of Turkey. We have had many bitter years of exploitation by the
Europeans. We want Americans to come here. We want to do business with them.”
The Turk has but one real qualification as a business man—his invariable honesty. In
general, a Turk would rather starve in one of the Government services than make money in
business. It is this which explains why the Turks not only have allowed but have invited
outside business men of the more industrious races to come and run their commercial
enterprises and their banks. Thus the large Greek and Armenian populations in Turkey are
accounted for. They control nearly every branch of Turkish public works and nearly every
The Turks have some strange notions—strange to us, I mean. Before the war they would not
accept interest from European banks in which they kept accounts. “No,” they declared;
our money on deposit and preserve it safely for us, returning it to us upon our order. It
is a great service to us. We ought to pay you for this service. We cannot accept the
interest you offer!” This is but one sample of the Turk’s entirely non-commercial
attitude of mind. Although I have been much in Turkey I never have met a crooked Turk. But
I have met many Turkish subjects of various alien bloods who would take anything not
looked upon or nailed down, irrespective of its rightful ownership.
Out of Turkey, if it would, the United States could make a splendid customer. I have said
that she needs everything. I am a sailor and could not compile a list of things which she
would wish to buy from us, but almost any comprehensive list of articles fitted to such a
climate as she has would do. I know that she needs farm implements and American canned
goods. But, more than these, she needs railways, telegraphs and telephones and electric
installations generally. For these, if we supply them, we shall need to furnish not only
the material but the skill in building. If Americans ever go there they will have no need
to worry with regard to the rigid honesty of their Turkish customers.
The Turks are not only honest, but they are pathetically independent. I know one man—Hallil
Bey—who wished to get his daughter into the American school, but, although he was of
prominence in the Government he had no money. This appealed to me, and I went to the
school and got a scholarship for the young girl. So far, so good. But when I came to think
out just how I could offer it to Hallil Bey without an injury to his pride or without
incurring suspicion of my motives, I found myself quite helpless. I was arranging for
concessions. It was impossible to offer him the scholarship without some one saying that
it was a bribe. I never found the way. The scholarship never has been offered, and the
girl has grown up without the coveted education. In such things the Turk is infinitely
George Horton wrote in his "Blight of Asia":
The days and months leading up to the
fearful events at Smyrna were noisy with the Chester concession and pro-Turk
propaganda. The enthusiastic pro-Turk articles in the press of the two Chesters —
father and son — are still fresh in the public memory. Other pro-Turk and
anti-Christian writers were busy, some among them doubtless earning their daily
(So in other words, the only way George Horton
could explain even-handed articles being written about Turkey was because writers of
such articles were being paid off by Turkey. This is the same justification used by
Greeks, Armenians and other Turk-haters today. It's kind of heartwarming that
tradition is still being respected.
Like the Turks didn't have better things to
spend their limited money on during this chaotic time of transition.)
At any rate, I was fascinated that George
Horton would even refer to the articles by Admiral Chester and his son, as they only
amounted to a mere trickle compared to the tidal wave of anti-Turkish reportage.
However, regardless of the negligible effect these two little articles must have had
to undo the years of relentless messages of hatred and libel, just the audacity
of views that went against the almost exclusively-held view made Turcophobes froth
at the mouth. (Exactly the way Greeks and Armenians get up in arms today whenever
the slightest positive piece regarding
Turkey slips through the media.)
So I was not surprised when I couldn't find the
above article anywhere on the Internet... but rather two other articles that
attacked the Admiral's "Turkey Reinterpreted." (There could have been even
more... this Chester article at least succeeded in making some folks very, very
|EQUAL TIME (Sort
In the interest of fairness, I'd like to present excerpts from these
articles... found in Armenian web sites... along with my own thoughts.
Mackenzie, "Recently connected with relief work in Turkey," begins his Sept. 6,
1922 piece with:
"The author's contention that 'Turkey joined the
Germans with reluctance' is, if true, the most singular truth in captivity. Turkey's
armies were trained, officered and equipped by Germany before the war started. The Goeben
and the Breslau, German cruisers, were bought by Turkey."
WHAT! Everyone knows the only reason why
The Ottoman Empire cast its lot with the Central Powers was because there were a series of
British moves that drove the Turks away... most specifically, a ship that was paid with
the pennies of the peasant folk that Great Britain reneged on delivering once the war
broke out. Germany sensed its opportunity and gave (not sold — the Turks didn't have
money) the Goeben and the Breslau as an inducement for the Turks to join their side. It
was all a sham, since the German navy operated these ships, anyway.
Even professional Turcophobe Ambassador
Morgenthau reports (in his ghostwritten "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story") that
the Ottoman Empire was VERY hesitant to become Germany's partner in war. Hoo-boy, Albert
Mackenzie..! Albert Mackenzie, of (probably) the Near East Relief ("Recently connected with relief work in Turkey"), which already gives away his bias.! The Near East
Relief, the most successful charitable organization in American history, having raised
from 110 to 130 million 1910s and 1920s dollars, had a vested interest in making the Turks
look like monsters... so that they could succeed in raising money from their sympathetic
The Turks are parasites; they have never built a city,
their language is a hybrid of other tongues, the paucity of their literature is beyond
discussion. Turks never make mechanical or scientific inventions. The Great Mosque of St.
Sofia in Constantinople is a rebuilt Byzantine Church, and the greatest monument of her
construction, aside from mosques, anywhere in the empire is Roumeli Hissar on the Bosporus.
The Turks fight with foreign guns and ammunition; an Austrian firm used to make their
fezzes, an Austrian today runs the establishment which supplies uniforms to the army. They
make no automobiles, battleships, and airplanes - not even telephone and telegraph sets
where there are such. Before 1915 the Christians were, generally speaking, the economic
and intellectual developers of Turkey. It is that very thing which let loose the
massacres. The Turk was in despair; brains he had not, but might he had.
Do you get the funny feeling Mr. Mackenzie
just doesn't like Turks very much? Well, as long as he's not BIASED...
Interestingly, Ambassador Morgenthau says
in his phony book that one effect of the foreign capitulations on the decaying empire was
to FORCE the Turks to buy their goods from outside... in other words, the capitulations
were a way for the Europeans to lay a little economic extortion. So the Turks are damned
if they do, or don't. A cursorily-collected trickle of what the "parasites" have
introduced to civilization may be found
In regard to the Turk as a husband, I will simply relate an
incident in the American Hospital in Harput, where I was stationed seven months as a
relief worker in 1921-22. A Turk brought his shrouded wife one day to the American
Hospital and asked if there was any way of curing her of sterility. He was informed that,
if he consented to let her undergo an operation, the woman would in all likelihood be able
to bear him children. Fine! When could it be done? He was then told that the operation
would cost him four golds, or about $16. Up went his arms in despair and indignation.
"What, pay four golds to operate on her, when I can get another wife for a medjidie!"
(40 cents). And off he stalked, out of the hospital. But Admiral Chester writes: "In
Turkey every man by law and by religion must adequately support and treat with kindness
and faithful respect whomsoever he may marry, and, moreover, this he does."
This is very low. If one decrees a race is
made entirely of devils or angels, that's called being "a racist." Admiral
Chester was writing about the general character of Turkish men, that he obviously based on
the numerous examples he had come across. Naturally, there will be plenty of individual
examples that will prove him wrong. It's called being HUMAN. From how this author sounds,
he is among those many who regard Turks as less-than-human ... so citing individual
examples of Turkish wrongdoing should prove his case well enough.
The author then cites the plight of Greek
refugees and the heartlessness of Turkish officials.... and examples of how Turks had
cheated him, to counter Admiral Chester's assertion of Turkish honesty.
I find another glaring point in the Admiral's description
of the Armenian deportations. "So the Armenians," he says, "were moved from
the inhospitable regions where they were not welcome, and could not actually prosper, to
the most delightful and fertile part of Syria. Those from the mountains were taken into
Mesopotamia, where the climate is as benign as in Florida and California, whither New York
millionaires journey every year for health and recreation, All this was done at great
expense of money and effort." How beautiful to contemplate! Does Colby M. Chester
know that the world knows - and knows that he knows - that some 800.000 Armenians perished
in those deportations? Even the Turkish newspapers themselves estimated that they had
cleared the land of 800,000 "giaours."
Wow. What's the point of
talking about how many Armenians died, anymore? We have Andrew Mackenzie to tell us the
actual number. Thank you, Mr. Mackenzie, for finally solving this hotly-disputed issue!
It took courage for Admiral Chester
to counter this
wholly-established, firmly entrenched view.
did not interpret the Admiral to have said there weren't deaths and massacres during the
"deportations." (Deportation means banishment, outside one's own country; the
Armenians were transported to elsewhere in the country, which means they were being
resettled.) What the Admiral was trying to counter was the idea that the entire Armenian
population was RAVISHED! Obviously, there were some that didn't have it so badly...
otherwise there could have been no survivors, if the extreme horror stories being fed to
the press were all true.
In regard to the
"benign" climate of the country in the Summer of 1915, I shall quote from
Viscount Bryce's "The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire."
Well, at least Mr.
Mackenzie chose a source that was totally objective in the matter of the Armenians... The
famed Turcophobe, Lord Bryce
himself! He goes on to relate a horrifying tale of inhumanity under the scorching summer
sun. "This extract is a memorandum by a foreign resident in Turkey...
Obviously the source of this testimony coming as it does from a neutral resident, is above
reproach." Oh, yeah! All foreign residents were most certainly
clear of any kind of prejudice, against the Turks. Kind of like a foreign resident by the
name of... Albert Mackenzie.
"To satisfy myself of its correctness I
elicited the story from an Armenian lad in Turkey, who had been in this deportation."
That must have been like finding a needle in a haystack. The horror
story concludes with only 185 survivors making it to Aleppo out of the original 18,000!
Given what the story had them suffer through, not many of the 185 could have lasted very
long. And even if that Armenian lad were truly found, what was he doing along the way of
his horrifying ordeal... counting heads, to come up with these figures?
The author then moves
on to give us his "positive" conclusion that "225,000 Greeks -- men,
women and children -- have met death in Eastern Asia Minor since May, 1921," based on
"the facts presented By Mr. Venizelos (Oh, THAT's objective)
before the Council of Ten of Dec. 30,1918," and the author's own research.
Albert Mackenzie ends his
No one gets rich laying the Turkish crimes
before the world. Rather, one gets into a certain type of disrepute with those whose
commercial aims would be best served by smothering such news. The greatest obstacle to
imprinting the story of the Turkish massacres on our minds is its inconceivableness. It is
almost beyond contemplation. After each outrage on the Armenians and Greeks, the American
public is electrified with horror, and being a homage public it will -- if dollars and
cents do not stuff its ears and blindfold it -- ultimately mete out justice where the
vanishing peoples cry in supplication.
Albert Mackenzie was
actually worried about his reputation getting tarnished by "those whose commercial
aims would be best served by smothering such news"? It would take a LOT of
"dollars and cents" to undo the years of anti-Turkish propaganda. If anything,
the lone American who lent his voice against the firmly established hatred, based on
hearsay and prejudice, ran the risk of being ostracized. I'll have more to say on the
character assassination of Admiral Chester at the end of the next anti-Chester article...
clearly, what Mackenzie is accusing the admiral of being is a man who lies, motivated by
the protection of his pocketbook.
From an Armenian-American
(WRONG; see below)
George R. Montgomery, Director of the
Armenia-America Society, wrote in the Monthly Magazine of The New York
"These great facts must be
perfectly clear, and the ill-informed or careless words of a retired American Rear
Admiral, falsifying the facts, should not be allowed to stand without complete
refutation." He quotes extracts from a 1919 letter sent to President Wilson
from "Ramin T. Wegner" (Evidently, Armin Theophil Wegner's Feb. 23, 1919 open
letter published in Berlin's Tageblatt, where the German wrote that the Armenians
were a "highly civilized nation"), ending with, "If you, Mr.
president, have, indeed, made the sublime idea of championing oppressed nations the
guiding principle of your policy, you will not fail to perceive that even in these
words a mighty voice speaks, the only (one?) that has the right to be heard at all
times - the voice of humanity." Unfortunately, "humanity" was not
a club prejudiced people of the world allowed the Turks to join.
Ali Kemal Bey, then Minister of the Interior at
Constantinople is quoted as saying: "It is already a proved fact this crime
was mapped out and decreed by the General Centre of the Ittihad." I've
never heard of this Ali Kemal Bey. The source is not provided, and these words sound
a bit too eager to tidily prove a systematic extermination... until further notice,
I can only conclude these words have been invented. (Invented just like the
forged Andonian documents Mr. Montgomery will go on to cite, a few paragraphs below,
to his posthumous shame.) Perhaps these words were uttered during the 1919 kangaroo courts, where
anything and everything was said while the Allies controlled Istanbul and the puppet
An eyewitness account is quoted from Lord
Bryce's "notable" book, "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire"; the Turk-hating Lord Bryce's subjective work was also used by the
other anti-Chester writer, above.
Deschanel, a later President of France, in the
introduction to "Au Pays de l'Epouvante," is quoted: "The
Armenians furnished no
provocation; they were mere victims. Their killing was consummated through a
carefully prearranged plan. The infamous work was carried out systematically, so
that not a city, not a village, not a family was spared." Yet another
opinion on systematic extermination by someone who was far from the action, an
opinion not based on real evidence.
Herr Stuermer, Constantinople correspondent of
Zeitung, in his book, "Zwei Kriegsjahre in Constantinople," published in
1917: "That stream of unhappy beings trickled on ever more slowly to its
distant goal, leaving the dead
bodies of women and children, old men and boys, as milestones to mark the way. The
few that did reach the "settlement" alive — that is, the fever-ridden,
hunger-stricken concentration camps — continually molested by raiding
Bedouins and Kurds, gradually sickened and died a slower and even more horrible
death." The article adds: "Herr Stuermer's courageous setting forth
of the facts in his correspondence to the Kölnische Zeitung and in letters to the
German Foreign Office during the war resulted in his losing his position and
necessitated his becoming an exile."
This was the part of the article that was most
convincing... not that it's news to know conditions could be horrible and that
people definitely suffered, sometimes terribly. No question there were those who had
it pretty rough... on both sides. Unfortunately for the Armenians, reports of
murdered or suffering people does not constitute proof of a government-sponsored
extermination policy. Otherwise, why not arrive at the conclusion that the Ottoman
government was equally guilty of committing a genocide on the Turks who were
slaughtered by the Armenians, because the government could not adequately protect
them? Furthermore, if this evidence was available in 1917 and constituted proof of a
government policy of systematic extermination (instead of abuses that occurred
during that chaotic period, for which one thousand Turks/Muslims were tried and
wartime, some by execution), it's strange that it was not
used by the Armenian researchers employed by the British, while they were
desperately searching for over two years for any reliable evidence... during the Malta War Crimes Tribunal, the
"Nuremberg" of the Falsified Genocide.
However, Mr. Montgomery lost me when he cited: "...official
Turkish documents bearing on the horrors of the deportations. The incriminating
character of these documents was sufficient to win the acquittal of Talaat Pasha's
assassin before a German jury. The official Turkish documents proved to be the
express intent of the Turkish authorities and proved that they were not due to the
savagery of unrestrained soldiers. A report dated Feb.26, 1916, from Committee for
Settling the Deportees, was found among the official papers, and along with many
similar documents has been included by Aram Andonian in 'The memoirs of Naim Bey,'
published by Hodder & Stoughtin."
forger Aram Andonian strikes again! (Yesss, the
same Andonian whose doctored works were the main source the gullible Franz Werfel referred to in writing his still
damaging fiction, "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.") While the Armenian
produced film about Talat
Pasha's assassin (ASSIGNMENT BERLIN) would agree with
the Director of the Armenia-America Society, regarding the reason why the assassin
walked a free man (because the film presented the telegrams as the decisive evidence
that convinced the German jurors to acquit the assassin... a film made in 1981, long
after the telegrams were proven as forgeries!), it would appear these telegrams were
rejected by the German court. The real reason,
Holdwater believes, is that the Germans were fearful of their image, as they were
already looked upon as the instigators behind the "Genocide," since they
were the masters of the Turks; an Armenian-bought expert Johnny Cochran-type defense
attorney actually expresses this fear in the trial transcripts... imagine the effect
on the patriotic German juror.
(ADDENDUM: After writing the
above, I encountered New York Times articles that claimed these
telegrams were introduced at the trial... so the jury is still out.)
(ADDENDUM, 4-07: It has been confirmed the Andonian
telegrams were indeed rejected in the Berlin trial; furthermore, Montgomery
was not an Armenian-American as the heading above stated, but a missionary.)
Mr. Montgomery wraps it up with words from Dr.
Johannes Lepsius' 1919 book, "Deutschland und Armenien," where Lepsius
estimates "a round million of the Armenians met their death." Dr. Lepsius was known for his sympathies to the Armenian cause, and was president
of the German-Armenian society... the clergyman is not an objective witness, for the
purposes of this debate. See how Lepsius' estimate of the Armenian dead
compares with the other Western, non-Armenian sources.
So what are these fellows saying? It's not like
Admiral Chester was claiming there were no massacres. ("Armenian massacres by
the Turks have been almost entirely unknown since constitutional government was
proclaimed in 1908; or, at least since the head of the Young Turk Party caused
twenty Ottoman officers to be put to death for permitting acts of cruelty against
the Armenians in 1915.") What he was saying was that reports of the massacres
were immensely exaggerated... which was entirely true. The wild claims of
missionaries and Armenians were accepted verbatim by the Western media. Add to this
the deeply-ingrained prejudices against the Moslem "terrible" Turk... and
then the wholesale wartime propaganda by the Allies who wished to dismember the
Ottoman Empire completely. (Of course it served the purposes of the Allies to show
the Turks off as monsters, so that they could justify their land-grabbing schemes.)
Admiral Chester also mentions the almost
never-heard-of view that many of the resettled Armenians survived... and they could
not have survived in such high numbers if they were all left to fend for themselves
in the barren wastelands of the desert (as we're constantly reminded); this is very
important. To hear all the horror reports (and no doubt some of these horrors took
place), it becomes impossible to believe the entire Armenian population didn't get
wiped out. Today there are seven million Armenians around the world, and it's said
just about all of them can trace their roots to the Anatolia area/Ottoman Empire.
There had to be an extremely healthy chunk of people left alive in order to reach
such a high figure.
Mr. Montgomery stops short of calling the
Admiral a liar, but that's exactly what he's insinuating. Does Admiral Chester come
across as a devious liar in his article? It seems to be written with genuine warmth
and compassion, based on the understanding he had acquired of Turkish people from
years of having been stationed in the region. He was patriotically attempting to
bring Turkey closer to America, for America's good... not only did America make big
money by selling lots of goods to Turkey in subsequent years, but the ties that were
established between the two countries have worked phenomenally to America's benefit
(Turkey's too) by having such a stalwart, loyal ally.
Admiral Chester naturally opened himself up to
attacks by lending his voice to the vehemently less-accepted view... telling the
world that Turkey is far from the evil land that the West constantly made it out to
be... and still makes it out to be. Going against the tide in this manner took
a lot of courage.
As George Horton said in his "Blight
of Asia," there were "Two Chesters." Early in the
following year, Admiral Chester's son, Arthur Tremaine Chester, would write a
follow-up. Certainly he must have been aware of the angry voices responding to his
father's article. He knew he would be laying himself open for attacks, as well...and
it's a testament to his character that he was not scared off. (Is Antonio Banderas listening?)
and the Turks