is too late. The influence of the Palace favorites is
too strong. He will appear in history not as the
Sultan who saved the Empire, but as the one who
mi"ht have saved it and did not."
PREVIOUS ACTS OF THE TURKISH TRAGEDY.
IN this chapter ' I shall take no account of events
that have taken place in legitimate warfare,
where the slain were foreign enemies or rebel-
lious subjects of the Sultan, resisting with arms in
their hands after being ordered to submit. The" in-
surgents " â€” as the Porte has called them â€” in all these
cases have consisted of men, women, children, and
infants, and in each case, by a curious coincidence,
have been non-Mohammedan.
In all of these massacres, Turkish military or civil
officers presided and directed the bloody work, as will
be seen by reference to the authorities mentioned.
There have been many other massacres of less than
ten thousand during the intervals, which, to use the
language of Bedcr Khan in Mosul (see Layard's
Nineveh), have confirmed the whole Turkish princi-
ple, that " the Armenians were becoming too numer-
ous, and needed diminishing."
' Parts of tliis chapter are taken from an article, " Notes on the
Armenian Massacre," in llic Iiiiicpcndcnt, New York, January 31,
1895, by a high authority, who is compelled to sign himself " A
Student of Modern History."
96 TJie Crisis in Turkey.
This item of Turkey's account, for the past
seventy-five years only, stands about as follows :
DEFENSELESS CHRISTIAN SUBJECTS MASSACRED IN
TURKEY 1820 TO 1894.
1822. Greeks, especially in Scio (Chios) . 50,000'
1850. Nestorians and Armenians, Kur-
distan ...... 10,000^
i860. Maronites and Syrians, Lebanon and
Damascus ..... 11,000'
1876. Bulgarians, Bulgaria . . . 10,000^
1894. Armenians, Armenia, Sassoun . 12,000^
Total ..... 93,000
The above figures indicate the extent of the
massacres mentioned. The following extracts reveal
the occasion and manner in which they were carried
The first extract is in regard to the Greeks, and is
a translation, by Mr. Robert Stein, from the French:
" The blow had been long premeditated. Sultan
Mahmoud was in the habit of replying to every suc-
cess of the Greek insurgents by ordering massacres,
' Latham, Russian and Turk, p. 417. London : W. H. Allen,
^ Layard's AHneveJi.
^Colonel Churchill, Druses and JMaroniles, p. 2ig. London:
* FAigene Schuyler and Correspondent MacGahan, quoted in The
Independent, January 10, 1895.
^ Chapter L of this book.
Previous Acts of ike Ttirkis/i Tragedy. 97
violations, and enslavement in regions without de-
fense, where there were none but women, children,
and inoffensive merchants. After the first exploit of
Kanaris, the quiet commercial town of Cydonia had
promptly been burnt. The Turkish admiral was
beaten at Samos ; for that reason thirty days were
spent in Cyprus in cutting off heads. The town of
Tripolitza, in the Morea, having been taken by the
Palikares, the inhabitants of Cassandra, in Thrace,
were given up to bands of Arnauts. The Sultan
wished to take new reprisals to terrify the ray as
[Christian subjects], and to cause the nations of
Europe to reflect. He took care not to fix his choice
on Crete, where his nizams would have been received
with gunshots. Chios was an easy prey, and sus-
pected nothing, having always lived on good terms
with the Porte, and having even refused to take part
in the insurrection of Hellas and the islands. The
Chiotes had always been the gentlest, the most
docile, the most timid of all the rayas. The secret
societies which endeavored to rouse the Greek people
had not even deigned to initiate these islanders in
their projects of national resurrection. On the 8th of
May, 1821, the intrepid Tombasis, with fifteen brigs
from Hydra and ten schooners from Psara, had ap-
peared before the island, and his patriotic advances
having been ill received, he had retired. The in-
habitants of Chios, in order to give new guaranties
of submission, had sent to the Turks large amounts
of money, numerous hostages, and all their arms:
even the little knives with which they cut their bread
had been taken from them.
98 The Crisis in Turkey.
"At this moment, on Easter Day, 1822, the Capi-
tan-Pasha anchored in the harbor, with seven ships
and eight frigates. Inasmuch as many of the people,
frightened by the sight of this fleet, had fled to the
mountains, they were made to come down by promises
of safety, and by sending to them some consuls, who
were simple enough to lend themselves in good faith
to this ignoble fraud. The Turkish admiral brought
his executioners with him ; bashi-bazouks from
Rumelia, Zeibeks and Yuruks from Asia Minor, the
most ferocious and cowardly to be found in the
empire. The adventurers had come in great num-
bers, eager for their prey, attracted by this country,
so rich in harvests, in gold coins, and in women. On
the day fixed for this surprise all this rabble was
crowded into boats, with pistols and knives, and the
carnage began. Whole regiments courageously be-
sieged villages containing three hundred souls. For
many of them, this slaughter was a great joke, a
gigantic bakshish. They slashed and burned all day ;
in the evening they reckoned up the price of the
slaves, the sheep, the goats, all huddled together
pell-mell in the profaned churches. The children and
the women escaped death ; their youth and beauty
saved them from the massacre, to deliver them over
at once to outrageous assaults or to reserve them for
the shameful fate of the harem. They were led off
in long troops ; they were put on the market and sold
in the bazaars of Smyrna, Constantinople, and Brussa.
Whatever resisted was killed wnthout mercy. At
Mesta, a young girl cried and struggled against an
Arnaut ; the madman seized her loosened hair,
Previous Acts of the Turkish Tragedy. 99
turned back the collar, and with a cut of his sabre
severed the pretty head. The person who described
this scene to me saw it with his own eyes." '
In regard to the massacre of Nestorians in 1850,
Layard states that after 9000 had been massacred,
" 1000 men, women, and children concealed them-
selves in a mountain fastness. Beder Khan Beg, an
ofificer of rank in the employment of the Sultan, un-
able to get at them, surrounded the place, and
waited until they should be compelled to yield by
thirst and hunger. Then he offered to spare their
lives on the surrender of their arms and property,
terms ratified by an oath on the Koran. The Kurds
were then admitted to the platform. After they
had disarmed their prisoners they commenced an in-
discriminate slaughter, until, weary of using their
weapons, they hurled the few survivors from the
rocks into the river Zab below. Out of nearly 1000
only one escaped." ^
In regard to the massacre of Maronites and Syri-
ans in i860, the anonymous authority in TJtc Inde-
pendent goes on to say :
"After the massacre of June and July, i860, in
Lebanon and Damascus, under the direction of
Tahir Pasha in Deir el Komr, Osman Begin Ilas-
beiya, Kurshid Pasha in Lebanon, and Ahmed Pasha
in Damascus, a conference was held in Paris, August
3d, by the representatives of Great Britain, Austria,
France, Prussia, Russia, and Turkey. As 11,000
' M. Gaston Deschanips : " Kn Turnuie â€” LI'lo ile Chio," Revue
des Deux Motides, p. 167, January i, 1S93.
** Layard's Nineveh, pp. 24-201.
TOO The Crisis in Turkey.
Christians had been massacred, the European rep-
resentatives called the attention of the Sultan to his
promise in the Treaty of Paris, March 30, 1856,
'that serious administrative measures should be
taken to ameliorate the condition of the Christian
population of every sect in the Ottoman Empire.'
. . . And then, in the presence and with the con-
sent of the five aforesaid Christian representatives,
assembled together for the express purpose of taking
measures to stop the efTusion of Christian blood in
Syria, caused by the wicked and wilful collusion of
the Sultan's authorities, the following insult to the
common sense, the feelings, and judgment of Chris-
tian Europe was deliberately penned : ' The Pleni-
potentiary of the Sublime Porte takes note of this
declaration of the representatives of the high con-
tracting Powers, and undertakes to transmit it to his
court, pointing out tJiat the SiLblime Porte has em-
ployed, and continues to employ, lier efforts in the sense
of the zvisJi expressed above ! ' " (Churchill, pp. 220,
Colonel Churchill further says (p. 222) :
" Nejib Pasha, who was installed Governor of the
Pashalick of Damascus on the restoration of Syria to
the Sultan in 1840, declared to a confidential agent
of the British Consul in that city, not knowing, how-
ever, the character of the person he was addressing,
' the Turkish Government can only maintain its
supremacy in Syria by cutting down the Christian
sects.' What Nejib Pasha enounced as a theory,
Kurshid Pasha, after an interval of twenty years,
succeeded in carrying into practice."
Previous Acts of the Turkish Tragedy. loi
The writer in The Independent adds :
" Thus we have Nejib Pasha in 1840, Beder Khan
in 1850, Kurshid Pasha in i860, Chefket Pasha in
1876, and Zekki Pasha in 1894, concurring in this
noble and philanthropic scheme for relieving the
Turkish Empire of its surplus Christian population ! "
The following facts relate to the terrible atrocities
perpetrated in Bulgaria by Turkish baslii-bazoiiks in
the spring of 1876. I quote verbatim from the pre-
liminary report ' of the Hon. Eugene Schuyler, Amer-
ican Consul-General, to the Hon. Horace Maynard,
the American Minister, at Constantinople :
" Philippopolis, August 10, 1876.
" Sir : â€” In reference to the atrocities and massacres
committed by the Turks in Bulgaria, I have the
honor to inform you that I have visited the towns
of Adrianoplc, Philippopolis, and Tatar-Bazardjik,
and villages in the surrounding districts. From
what I have personally seen, and from the inquiries
I have made, and the information I have received, I
have ascertained the following facts : . . .
" The insurgent villages made little or no resist-
ance. In many instances they surrendered their
arms upon the first demand. Nearly all the villages
which were attacked by the baslii-bazonks were
burned and pillaged, as were also all those which
had been abandoned by the terrified inhabitants.
The inhabitants of some villages were massacred
after exhibitions of the most ferocious cruelty, and
the violation not only of women and girls, but even
of persons of the other sex. These crimes were
' Article by Mr. Savage, The Independent, January lu, 1S94.
102 The Crisis in Turkey.
committed by the regular troops as well as by the
basJii-bazouks [irregulars]. The number of villages
which were burned in whole or in part in the districts
of Philippopolis, Roptchus, and Tatar-Bazardjik is at
" Particular attention was given by the troops to
the churches and schools, which in some cases were
destroyed with petroleum and gunpowder.
" It is difficult to estimate the number of Bul-
garians who were killed during the few days that
the disturbances lasted ; but I am inclined to put
15,000 as the lowest for the districts I have named.
This village surrendered, without firing a
shot, after a promise of safety, to the basJii-bazouks,
under command of Ahmed Aga, a chief of the rural
police. Despite his promise, the arms once sur-
rendered, Ahmed Aga ordered the destruction of
the village and the indiscriminate slaughter of the
inhabitants, about a hundred young girls being re-
served to satisfy the lust of the conqueror before
they too should be killed. Not a house is now
standing in this lovely valley. Of the 8000 inhabi-
tants not 2000 are known to survive.
" Ahmed Aga, who commanded the massacre, has
since been decorated and promoted to the rank of
yiiz basJii [centurian].
"These atrocities were clearly unnecessary for the
suppression of the insurrection, for it was an insig-
nificant rebellion at the best, and the villagers gen-
erally surrendered at the first summons.
" I am, sir, yours very truly,
" Eugene Schuyler.
"The Hon. Horace Maynard, etc."
Previous Acts of the Turkish Tragedy. 103
" The British Government had glossed over and
tried to cover up these horrible transactions, Premier
Disraeli turning them off with a sneer. The facts, as
unearthed by Consul Schuyler, shook the British
nation like an earthquake, and came near unseating
" A similar investigation was made in the same dis-
trict by Mr. J. A. MacGahan, the brilliant correspond-
ent of the London Daily Ncivs, who confirms all
that Mr. Schuyler discovered, in a special despatch
to the Daily News, dated Philippopolis, July 28,
The circumstances and character of the Armenian
massacre of 1894 are found in the first chapter of the
present volume. In regard to this event the writer
in The Independent of January 17th above quoted
"Will history repeat itself in 1895? Will the
remaining Armenians of Sassoun be so terrorized as
to refuse to tcstif}' before a Commission? Un-
" If the facts already known do not force Europe to
place Eastern Asia Minor under a Christian Viceroy
there is little hope that any new facts will infiuence
them. The dead tell no talcs. The li\ing fear to
speak, lest they fall victims to the humane theories
of Beder Khan and Nejib Pasha.
" Will England now insist upon the protection of
the Christian ? She is morally bound to. P^our
times has she saved the Ottoman Empire from de-
struction, and the cix'ilizcd world looks to her for a
fulfilment of her hiuh mission in tlie East.
I04 The Crisis in Turkey.
" May British public opinion compel British public
men to action ! "
To make this chapter a little more complete for
reference, I add a passing allusion to three other
outrages not included in the above list, which takes
account of no massacres of less than ten thousand
victims at once.
OUTRAGES IN CRETE IN 1866-7.
On July 21, 1867, the British, Russian, French, and
Italian Consuls at Canea, Crete, sent the following
identical telegram to their several governments :
" Massacres of women and children have broken out
in the interior of the island. The authorities can
neither put down the insurrection nor stay the
course of these atrocities. Humanity would impera-
tively demand the immediate suspension of hostili-
ties, or the transportation to Greece of the women
The number of relieving ships sent to Crete in
obedience to this accord was four French, three
Russian, two Italian, three Austrian, and one Prus-
OUTRAGES IN ARMENIA IN 1877.
The writer is C. B. Norman, special correspondent
of TJie London Times, who says in his preface :
" In my correspondence to the Times I made it
a rule to report nothing but what came under
my own personal observation, or facts confirmed by
' U. S. Consul Stillman's The Cretan Insurrection of 1866-7-S.
Henry Holt & Co., 1874.
Previous Acts of the T^ii'kish Tragedy. 105
" A complete list it is impossible for me to obtain,
but from all sides â€” from Turk and Armenian alike â€”
A HIGHWAY IN ARMENIA.
I hear piteous tales of the desolation that reigns
throughout Kurdistan â€” villages deserted, towns
abandoned, trade at a standstill, harvest ready for
the sickle, but none to gather it in, husbands mourn-
ing their dishonored wives, parents their murdered
children ; and this is not the work of a power whose
policy of selfish aggression no man can defend, but
the ghastly acts of Turkey's irregular soldiery on
Turkey's most peaceable inhabitants, â€” acts the per-
petrators of which are well known, and )'et are
allowed to go unpunished.
" A bare recital of the horrors committed b\' these
demons is sufficient to call for their condign punish-
io6 TJie Crisis in Turkey.
ment. The subject is too painful to need any color-
ing, were my feeble pen enabled to give it."
A few, out of many cases reported by Mr. Norman
are given :
"This gang also attacked the village of Kordjotz,
violating the women, and sending off all the virgins
to their hills; entering the church they burned the
Bible and sacred pictures ; placing the communion-
cup on the altar, they in turn defiled it, and divided
the church plate amongst themselves.
" Sheik Obaidulah's men rivalled their comrades
under the flag of Jelaludeen ; these latter operated
between Van and Faik Pasha's camp. They at-
tacked and robbed the villages of Shakbabgi and
Adnagantz, carrying off all boys and virgins. At
Kushartz they did the same, and killing 500 sheep,
left them to rot in the streets, and then fired the
place. Khosp, Jarashin, and Asdvadsadsan, Bog-
hatz, and Aregh suffered in like manner ; the
churches were despoiled and desecrated, graves dug
up, young of both sexes carried off, what grain they
could not transport was destroyed, and the inhabi-
tants driven naked into the fields, to gaze with horror
on their burning homesteads.'"
THE MASSACRE OF THE YEZIDIS NEAR MOSUL, 1892.
" The Yezidis are a remnant of a heathen sect, who
have never been converted to the Moslem faith.
" Their holy place is not far from the city of Mo-
' C. B. Norman, Armenia and the Campaign of iSj'/, pp. 293-
298. London: Cassell, Fetter, & Galpin, 1S79.
Previous Acts of the Turkish Tragedy. 107
sul, one day's journey, and their principal villages
are also close by. In the summer of 1892 the Sultan
sent a special officer, called Ferik Pasha, to Mosul to
correct certain abuses in the government, to collect
all back taxes, and to convert the Yezidis. His
authority was absolute, the Vali Pasha of the city
being subject to his orders.
" In reference to his work among the Yezidis, he, it
was generally reported, was to get a certain sum per
capita for every convert made.
" He first sent priests among them to convert them
to the " true faith." They not succeeding, he very
soon gave them the old alternative of the Koran or
the sword. Still not submitting, he sent his soldiers,
under command of his son, who put to the sword all
who, not able to escape, refused to accept Moham-
med. Their villages were burned, many were
killed in cold blood, some were tortured, women
and young girls were outraged or carried off to
harems, and other atrocities, too horrible to relate,
" Those who escaped made their way to the moun-
tains of Sinjar, where, together with their brethren
of the mountains, they intrenched themselves and
successfully defended themselves until the spring of
1893 against the government troops which had been
sent against them.
" This massacre was reported to the French Gov-
ernment by M. Siouffi, Consul at that time in Mosul,
and to the English Government by Mr. Parry, who
was in that region under the instructions of the
Archbishop of Canterbury.
io8 The Crisis in Turkey.
" The Yezidis who remained in their villages on
the plain had Moslem priests set over them to in-
struct them in the Moslem faith. They were com-
pelled to attend prayers and nominally become
Mohammedans ; but in secret they practised their
own rites and declared that they were still Yezidis." '
After the massacre of the Yezidi peasants in 1892
an English lady of rank, visiting Mosul, was refused
permission by the Pasha to travel through the
Yezidi district, lest she witness the dreadful results
of the massacre.''
The writer in TJic Independent of January 31st,
gives this explanation :
" The reason of the recurrence of massacres in
Turkey is the fanatical intolerance of the Moslem
populace and their hatred to Christianity, unre-
strained and often fomented by Turkish officials.
" Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, the ablest and best
friend Turkey ever had, who believed that ' England
should befriend Turkey in order to reform her,'
" ' Turkey is weak, fanatical, and misgoverned.
The Eastern question is a fact, a reality of indefinite
duration. Like a volcano it has intervals of rest ;
but its outbreaks are frequent, their occasions un-
certain, and their effects destructive ' (p. 6).
"'Did not the massacres in Syria in i860 come
upon us by surprise? . . . Have we any substantial
security against the recurrence of similar horrors, of
a similar necessity, and of a similar hazard?' (p. 79).
' The Independent^ January 17, 1895.
' Ibid., January 31, 1895. ^ The Eastern Question.
Pi^evwiis A els of the Ticrkish Trageeiy. 109
"'The position of the Ottoman Empire is one of
natural determination toward a state of exhaustive
weakness ' (p. 97).
" ' 111 fares the country where neither strong hand
nor willing heart is to be found ' (p. 104).
" A joint Commission is now en route to investigate
the Sassoun massacres. Will any good come from it ?
Doubtful. Lord Stratford says (p. 117) :
" * We know not how soon or where the kites may
be again collected by a massacre or insurrection.
Such occasional meetings [of Commis-
sions] have their portion of inconvenience and risk.
Their failure is discreditable ; the effect of their suc-
cess, at best, transient and partial. The evils they
are meant to correct are themselves the offspring of
one pervading evil, the source of which is in Con-
ISLAM AS A FACTOR OF THE PROBLEM.
IT is with reluctance that I approach this side of
the question. It is not desirable that the sub-
ject be comphcated or embittered by religious
animosities. But unfortunately these animosities do
exist and have always formed a primary and essential
feature in all the relations of the Turks with their
Christian subjects. A writer who styles himself
" Diplomatist," in a recent review article of consider-
able merit,' with a stroke of the pen, disposes of this
phase of the subject by characterizing it as " pure
moonshine." But real diplomatists do not find it so
easy to dispose of, nor do the great historians treat
it as moonshine. The fanatical gleam that I have
often caught in the eye of Turks and Kurds was
never suggestive to me of the mild rays of the lunar
orb, but seemed rather like a gleam from the political
Crescent, whose baleful influence dominates the East.
The question is not concerning the merits of
Mohammed or of Mohammedanism in the abstract.
I have a profound respect for the Prophet of Arabia,
who might have been another Apostle Paul, but for
the fact that the corrupt church of that day failed
' Ne'v Reviciv for January, 1895.
Islam as a Factor of tlic Problem. 1 1 1
to give that young and ardent seeker after God a true
and worthy conception of Christianity. I would fain
admit the high conception of the Mohammedan ideal,
portrayed so skilfully by Mr. R. Bosworth Smith in
his lectures before the Royal Institution of Great
But such considerations are irrelevant to the present
discussion, which is simply, What arc the practical
bearings of Islam upon the question of reform or of
reconstruction in Turkey?
As has been already shown in Chapter VI., the
Ottoman Government is a politico-religious system.
This is the necessary constitution of any Moham-
medan sovereign state, but the conception has
special force and vitality in Turkey, whose Sovereign
claims to be the successor of Mohammed, and thus
the Calif of the Mohammedan world. The whole
fabric of the Turkish Empire rests on a religious
foundation. This religious foundation is not the
general religious principle in man, but the particular
form of religion established by Mohammed.
To what extent, now, does Islam enter into the
political structure? Wc find on investigation that
it is part and parcel of the bone and sinew of the
organism in Turkey called the State,â€” called so by
courtesy on account of its faint analogy to what is
understood in other countries by that name. The
Turkish arm.y is exclusively a Mohammedan army,
the national festivals arc Mohammedan festivals, the
official calendar is a Mohammedan calendar, both as
to year and month, the laws arc based on the Koran
and Mohammedan tradition, the expounders of the
112 The Crisis in Turkey.
law are Mohammedan judges, and even testimony is
a religious act of which only true believers are, in the
nature of the case, capable. It is not denied that
the testimony of Christians is allowed to be given
in Turkish courts, but that does not signify that it is
valid evidence in the eyes of the Court, especially
when a Mohammedan is involved. Even the differ-
ent formulae used show this. In the case of a