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withdrawal of Montenegro from her hard-earned prize, the town of Scutari, which, although an inland town, is very favorably situated with reference to Antivari. The question of Montenegro's possession of Scutari almost precipitated a European war, and for his services in the cause of peace, Sir Edward Grey is to-day acclaimed as the saviour of the peace of Europe, a title he has justly earned. But there is a sinister side to this diplomatic victory. Peace has indeed been maintained between the robber powers of Europe, but only by trampling under foot the rights of the smaller nations. For who can deny that Montenegro had won the right to hold Scutari, by a display of heroism and sacrifice unsurpassed by the most brilliant exploits of the Japanese in Manchuria or of the British in South Africa ? But Montenegro had to bow to the will of the powers that be, because forsooth her whole population of less than twenty-five thousand people is but a mere handful in comparison with the standing armies of any one of the Great Powers, with whom the question of right or wrong figures less conspicuously than the question of securing the greatest gain for themselves while at the same time preserving the balance of power in Europe. The frank recognition of this fact would not diminish the greatness of Sir Edward Grey's diplomatic triumph, but it would remove a great deal of pretence from politics. It is true that the ambassadorial conference justified the creation of an independent Albania on the ground of recognizing national aspirations; although this principle is not applied to the Slavic element in Austro-Hungary, to the Tripolitan Arabs under Italy, to Alsace-Loraine, or to the vast Moslem population under British rule. But even if we grant the legitimacy of the Albanian claim, it is not clear that the possession of Scutari is so essential to Albania as to justify the attitude of the Powers towards Montenegro's natural and justifiable desire for expansion to the small extent of securing a neighbouring town that was once Montenegro's capital. The action of the Powers is essential only to Austria's jealous desire to check Slavic growth in the Balkans. Are the Powers, one may ask, willing to apply to themselves the principle of evacuation which they have forced upon Montenegro? We are driven to the conclusion that if Montenegro had been a large nation with the capacity of af
fecting seriously the balance of power, she would have been allowed to retain Scutari, notwithstanding the righteousness of Albania's claim.
It is, however, Turkey that has suffered the most from the clash of interests of European Powers. The removal of her European provinces from the political game of grab through the unexpected outcome of the Balkan war has rendered necessary a slight readjustment of the compensations expected by the various powers when the time arrives, if it ever does, for the ultimate partition of the Ottoman Empire. But it is the possession of Constantinople, with its control of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and also the construction of the Baghdad railway to the Persian Gulf that constitute the most contentious elements of the situation. It will be quite evident by a glance at the map that even if Russia should secure the opening of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to her fleet, the retention of Constantinople by any other power would make possible the closure of the straits at any time that it might be desired to bring pressure to bear upon her. The seizure of Constantinople by Russia or a Russophile power would, on the other hand, greatly lessen the strategic value to Germany of the Baghdad railway, which is intended to serve two purposesthe first being the “peaceful penetration” of Asia Minor by German capital, trade, and settlers, and it is a foregone conclusion in Turkey that if Europe is to seize Turkey's domains, Anatolia is Germany's share. But the Baghdad railway, of which only the Constantinople-Adana section has been completed, has a strategic value also as affording the armies of Germany and of her allies a direct land route to the far east. For the completion of the route it would only be necessary for Germany to secure the concession for the navigation of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, thus giving her access by water from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf; or else to push on the railway to its natural terminus at Koweit on the Gulf. But in either case the security of India would be menaced. To offset this contingency, the concession for the navigation of the great rivers of Mesopotamia has been secured by a British company, who would naturally not facilitate the movements of the troops of a rival power; and the granting of the concession for the construction of the Baghdad to Koweit section to capitalists
of any nation or of any group of nations in which Britain would not have the predominating share has been stubbornly opposed by the British government. With these and similar considerations have the nations of Europe continually interfered in Turkey's internal problems, often affecting very prejudicially Turkey's economic development.
In Turkey herself politics is intimately involved in religious considerations. When Mohammed gave to the victorious Arabs their war-cry of "Islam or the sword,” he charitably modified it by the injunction that all unbelievers who were willing to recognize the suzerainty of Islam might be allowed to live and to worship in their own way. According, therefore, to the strictest Mohammedan political theory, the unbeliever retains only the bare right to live (provided, of course, he does not forfeit even that right by criminal or treasonable action) and the right to perform his religious duties after his own fashion. On this principle he has no political, civil, or legal rights. His testimony has no value in a court of law if his complaint be against a Mohammedan; he cannot resent or appeal against injustice since it is by suffrance that he is allowed to live at all; he can occupy no position in the army or in the civil service, nor have any voice in the government of the country, for he is a political nonentity. Naturally in actual practice this state of affairs has been considierably modified. Even prior to the proclamation of the constitution in 1908, involving the right of non-Moslems to hold office in the government and to serve in the army, Christians and Jews had, by their superior practical sagacity and financial ability, both collectively and as individuals, made for themselves a standing in the country and often occupied positions of great trust, albeit the title and honour of such positions were generally borne by Moslems. But whenever the Turk felt that he was losing his grip on the situation, either financially or politically, the remedy was not far to seek. Against the individual Christian who was seemingly aiming too high, it was easy to invent some accusation; he would be deprived of his position, if not indeed imprisoned and executed, and his property would be confiscated to be divided between informant, judge and government. In the case of Christian communities whose accumulated wealth or social standing seemed to threaten the supremacy of the
Moslem element, a judicious massacre served both to break the proud spirit of the “Unbeliever" and to distribute his accumulated wealth among his Moslem neighbours. That such massacres included unheard of barbarities, pillage, rape, torture, and the carrying away of hundreds of Christian women and children to be immured as securely in Turkish harems as in a dungeon, is only a repetition of what occurs in any land, Chrstian or otherwise, where the bestial element is let loose. It is to be noted, however, that the real cause of massacres in Turkey has been in every case, one may safely say, political and economic, and not religious; the religious superstition and fanaticism of the mob being merely the tool in the hands of the unscrupulous leaders. Indeed it is the firm conviction of many an impartial student of Turkish politics, that all the great massacres of recent times at least have been engineered from Constantinople.
Apart from the continued sense of insecurity and terrorism consequent upon such a state of affairs, coupled with the abject torpor and hopelessness that seize upon the survivors of a massacre, with the fawning hatred that dare not show itself and yet is ill concealed, and with the ruin and depopulation of districts where the Christians were at one time most numerous, the Mohammedan political theory has worked into the religion of the non-Moslem peoples an element which is foreign to those who live in a free land. It will be recollected that until the Revolution of 1908 the non-Moslem races in Turkey enjoyed only such rights as could be included under the head of religious liberty, or rather of the privilege of non-Moslem worship; and indeed the proclamation of the constitution in 1908 affected only a nominal change. Now the result of such a state
a of affairs is clearly the merging of political and civil rights with religious considerations. Thus when at one time or another the subject races have been forbidden the use of their language, including the publication of books in the vernacular, the use of the language in the church service was allowed, and the churches and monasteries became the repositories of the national literature through their preservation of the vernacular Bible, the prayer book, and other ecclesiastical and patriotic writings. Whenever public gatherings of non-Moslems, and even at times of Moslems, have been prohibited, any meeting at all
held within the precincts of the church and presided over, and therefore vouched for, by a clerical was theoretically held to be inviolate, the presiding clerical being responsible in case it became known that the meeting had other than religious significance. And under the guise of religious education national systems of education of varying degrees of efficiency have sprung up among the various sects. The local heads of these religious communities, with the assistance of elected laymen, serve as the civil registrars of births, marriages and deaths occurring in their respective communities, and have the privilege of collecting church taxes which go to the support not only of the church, but also of all educational and charitable institutions controlled by the respective churches. We have thus a set of religious communities or nationalities within the empire, the religious head of each having in relation to the government much the same duties and privileges as the representative of a foreign nation, and enjoying likewise, both because of the prominence of his position and because of his religious character, a degree of personal immunity. It will be readily seen how, under these circumstances, the various branches of the Christian church in Turkey assumed national significance. These churches are not distinguished in the popular mind according to creed or ceremonial, but according to race. There are the Greek, the Bulgarian and the Russian Orthodox churches (each an independent church), as well as the Armenian, Coptic, Nestorian, Syrian, Wallachian and a host of other national churches, and also the Roman Catholic and Protestant bodies, which are, however, independent of racial lines, though organized like the national-religious communities. And it is the part of patriotism for every member of a community to be a loyal adherent of his mother church, even if in belief he be an infidel and in character a reprobate. Indeed if any Turkish subject should happen to have no connection with any of the recognized religious communities he would have no status in the country. To be registered as a Turkish subject he must be registered with one of the communities. In the case of the Moslems racial distinctions are naturally not so intimately bound up with religious distinctions. The Persians, it is true, are mostly Shiites, i.e. belong to the heterodox branch of Islam. But Arabs, Albanians, Circassians, Druzes, Georgians,