« السابقةمتابعة »
for the fact that Turkey is habitually in a state of anarchy tempered by massacre. That state is not an abnormal but a normal one, and it is due to the mistake which the prophet made in endeavouring to blend military conquest with philanthropy, and to create a Mahometan world without providing for the creation of organised and homogeneous Mahometan States. Whilst Christianity has created Christian States and nations, Mahometanism has created merely a conquering race, or rather a race of conquering tribes, and as the Koran is the source of Mahometan private and public law, it seems to follow that Turkey can be reformed into a modern State only when the Turkish religion has been reformed, and when the authority of the Koran is no longer supreme. Will such a root and branch reform of Mahometanism be possible? If we remember that the compelling authority of the Koran is far greater than is that of the Bible; and that Turkish education, Turkish law, the Turkish family, Turkish society-in short, all Turkish civilisation, are based upon the Koran; if we remember that religion provides that bond of union and gives that sense of cohesion to the Turks which other peoples find in their sense of political unity, and if we bear in mind the fact that Turkey is a theocracy, that religion has nowhere so strong a hold on the people and so great an influence upon policy as it has in Mahometan countries, we must doubt whether Turkey will be able to deviate now from the path which the prophet has laid down, and which Mahometanism has followed through all ages. Reforming Turkey means to pull down the mighty edifice which the prophet has erected, and to rebuild it upon a new-one might almost say upon a non-Mahometanfoundation.
The Turkish revolution is certainly a patriotic revolution, and because of its patriotic aspect it has been compared to the Japanese revolution, to which it bears, indeed, a superficial resemblance. However, it would be rash to conclude that the reform of Turkey will be as easy and as successful as was the reform of Japan. The religion of the Japanese is, if one may say so, essentially a political faith. It teaches patriotism to the country and loyalty to the lord. Theologically the Japanese, like the Chinese, are freethinkers. Hence religion was not a hindrance but a help in the political reformation of Japan. Besides, the Japanese had the further great advantage that they were a homogeneous nation by community of race, and by a common language and glorious history. Last, but not least, Japan's reformation was facilitated by her geographical position. Japan in her secure island position was isolated from the other Powers by enormous distances, and no European Power felt called upon to interfere
in the great organic changes which took place in that country. The difficulties which Japan encountered in her reformation were in some respects small if compared with the difficulties which Turkey will have to overcome. History rarely repeats itself. Those who, in considering the Turkish revolution, glibly speak of the precedent and analogy of the Japanese revolution are little acquainted with Japanese and with Turkish history.
Let us now cast a glance at the actual political position of Turkey, and let us study especially her relations with her small neighbours and with the European Great Powers.
About two-thirds of the inhabitants of European Turkey are people of various nationalities : Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs, Rumanians, Albanians, &c. The small States adjoining Turkey are Greece, Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro. Roughly speaking, it may be said that the Bulgarian inhabitants of Turkey predominate in that part of Turkey which adjoins Bulgaria, that Greeks predominate in that part of Turkey which adjoins Greece, and that Serbs predominate in that part of Turkey which adjoins Servia. Hence it is only natural that Bulgaria and Greece, and, to a less extent, Servia and Montenegro, entertain the closest relations with their compatriots and co-religionists across the Turkish frontier.
Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia are small but ambitious States. Their narrow territory and unfavourable geographical position give little scope to their inhabitants. Bulgaria and Greece have a glorious history. The leading statesmen and patriots of these countries are aware that the future is to the great nations; they wish to see their country expand, and it is only natural that they desire to see their country strengthened by uniting with their compatriots and co-religionists who are their immediate neighbours across the Turkish frontier. The wish of Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia to join hands with the Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs dwelling on Turkish soil are perfectly justified on sentimental grounds alone. Besides political interest, the instinct of selfpreservation compels the Balkan States to expand. Servia is cut off from the sea, and her trade is deliberately hampered and stifled by her neighbours, and especially by Austria-Hungary. Furthermore, Belgrade, the capital of Servia, lies on the Danube, and is separated only by that river from Austrian territory, and may therefore at any moment be taken by a coup de main. In similar insecurity lie Sofia, the capital of united Bulgaria, which is situated at a distance of only a day's march, and Philippopolis, the capital of Eastern Rumelia, and the second largest town of the principality, which is situated at a distance of but a few hours' march from the Turkish frontier. Both Bulgaria and Servia
occupy economically and politically an exceedingly precarious position, and as Bulgarians and Serbs are animated by a fervent patriotism, they ardently desire to provide for the security of their country by an increase of territory, which to the inhabitants of these States appears to be a necessity.
The treaty of San Stefano, which was revised at the Congress of Berlin, had contemplated the creation of a greater Bulgaria, which would have included the districts peopled by Bulgarians which still belong to Turkey. The hopes of the Bulgarians were shattered by the Powers. The south-western provinces of this greater Bulgaria were cut away from the Bulgarian principality, and were handed back to Turkey. The ideal of all Bulgarians is the creation of a great Bulgaria—the Bulgaria of the treaty of San Stefano; and it is only natural that ever since the treaty of Berlin it has been the greatest ambition of the Bulgarians to regain those territories inhabited by their brothers which were arbitrarily taken from them, especially as the possession of these territories would increase the security of the Bulgarian capital, which then would be situated right in the centre of the enlarged State.
Whilst the Bulgarians wish to see their country expand, partly in order to effect a re-union with their compatriots and co-religionists, partly in order to increase the security of their country and of its capital, the Greeks claim the right of expansion at Turkey's expense chiefly on historic grounds. They lay a claim not only to those parts of Turkey which are inhabited chiefly by Greeks, but also to other parts, and some to Constantinople itself. They remember that Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great. They dream of re-establishing the Empire of Alexander the Great and the Byzantine Empire, and they argue that the Greeks have the strongest claim to the territories of Turkey because the whole civilisation of the Near East was created by Greeks.
The foreign policy of the Great Powers is a complicated one. They have many and varied interests. The foreign policy of Greece, Bulgaria, and Servia is a simple one. They have practically only a single problem to solve, and practically only a single aim and object to achieve—and this is a re-union with their compatriots which can be effected only by expansion at Turkey's cost. Upon that single aim and object all the political energy of Greece, Bulgaria, and Servia is concentrated. The leaders of society and of thought, the Church, the army, and the universities unitedly follow the same policy. Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia press upon European Turkey from three sides, and in the middle between these three States lies Macedonia.
In Macedonia Turks, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs, dwell together in inextricable confusion. There are in Macedonia belts inhabited chiefly by men of a single nationality, but in a large part of that country the various nationalities are so much mixed that one can speak neither of a Greek, nor of a Bulgarian, nor of a Serbian sphere. These parts of Macedonia became a bone of contention between Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia. Each nation laid claim to those parts in which the nationalities are mixed, and asserted that among the inhabitants of Macedonia the men of its own nationality formed the majority. In support of their claims Bulgarians, Greeks and Serbs drew up statistics regarding the population of Macedonia, a comparison of which is very amusing. Three of these statistical tables are as follows :
POPULATION OF MACEDONIA.
According to Gobchevitch According to Kantchef According to Nicolaides
la Greek). Turks..... 231,400
576,600 Bulgarians 57,600
454,700 Greeks 201,140 222,152
656,300 Albanians. 165,620
124,211 Vlachs 74,465 77,267
41,200 Various....... 101,875 147,244
It will be noticed that Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbian statisticians put the number of men of their own nationality as high as possible, and that of their more important national competitors as low as possible.
Unfortunately the competition of Greece, Bulgaria, and Servia in Macedonia is not limited to the comparatively harmless occupation of manufacturing statistics. In order to strengthen their claim the competing nations endeavoured to nationalise the inhabitants of Macedonia by means of their national school and their national church. The Bulgarian church organisation, the Exarchate, and the Greek church organisation, the Patriarchate, competed keenly for the souls and bodies of the inhabitants. Soon the persuasion of priests and schoolmasters was reinforced by armed bands, which strove to convert Greeks into Bulgarians or Bulgarians into Greeks by threats and violence, by murder and arson. A Greek appeal to the chiefs of the different dioceses in Macedonia proclaimed : “ The Hellenic people will be grateful to the valiant defenders of Hellenism for the struggle which they have undertaken with the purpose of proving to the whole world that Macedonia is an exclusively Greek land. Priests, school
VOL. LXXXIV. N.S.
teachers, notables are to be exterminated. Burn! Shoot! Slay!” Similar instructions were issued by the Bulgarian committees. A terrible campaign of murder and devastation ensued, which lately claimed on an average 2,000 victims every year.
The last British Blue Book on Turkish affairs contains the following interesting table which gives an excellent insight into the terrible state of Macedonia :
TABLE SHOWING TOTAL NUMBER OF POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS, &c., REPORTED
DURING THE YEAR 1907.
As not all the murders are reported, and as many of the wounded do not die immediately, the foregoing figures are,
of course, somewhat too small. At all events, the table clearly shows that in Macedonia the various nationalities are exterminating one another.
The Turks, the conquerors of Macedonia, are the ruling class among the quarrelling alien nations. They have no preference for any of the subject races, for in the eyes of the Turks all Christian peoples are equally untrustworthy. Desiring to maintain a “balance of power” among the subject races, they have hitherto supported on principle the weaker side, and they have rather encouraged than discouraged the mutual slaughter of their Christian subjects. Consul O'Connor reported on September 14th, 1907 : “ The Turkish policy of playing off one rebellious Christian element against another instead of reducing all to subjection by legitimate methods of repression is responsible for the maintenance of the present insecurity and the consequent impossibility of applying remedial measures.” A French Consul, Mons. Bapst, reported similarly : “ The Turkish Government contemplates with pleasure the internecine warfare of Christians, and takes no steps to bring it to an end." The fact that the Turks support on principle the weaker side against the stronger is con