Copyright
Arnold Joseph Toynbee.

The Western question in Greece and Turkey online

. (page 1 of 39)
Online LibraryArnold Joseph ToynbeeThe Western question in Greece and Turkey → online text (page 1 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


swa



- :;: -.



m&



in ■■'}' ■'•'*



HH



>HKBB

llBl

';■■■•■■•.



■I/ 1 ,



»$



9£ ' BSE ,; r



WWM




^H8^







flufiSfi



Hi



eh



,,:■>; ^.",






THE WESTERN QUESTION



TO

THE PRESIDENT AND FACULTY OF THE
AMERICAN COLLEGE FOR GIRLS AT CONSTANTINOPLE

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED BY

THE AUTHOR AND HIS WIFE

IN GRATITUDE FOR THEIR HOSPITALITY

AND IN ADMIRATION OF THEIR NEUTRAL-MINDEDNESS

IN CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH NEUTRALITY IS

'hard AND rare'



498303
\



PREFACE

This book is an attempt to place certain recent events in the
Near and Middle East in their historical setting, and to
illustrate from them several new features of more enduring
importance than the events themselves. It is not a dis-
cussion of what the peace-settlement in the East ought to
be, for the possibility of imposing a cut-and-dried scheme,
if it ever really existed, was destroyed by the landing of the
Greek troops at Smyrna in May 1919. At any rate, from
that moment the situation resolved itself into a conflict of
forces beyond control ; the Treaty of Sevres was still-born ;
and subsequent conferences and agreements, however im-
posing, have had and are likely to have no more than a
partial and temporary effect. On the other hand, there
have been real changes in the attitude of the Western public
towards their Governments' Eastern policies, which have
produced corresponding changes in those policies themselves ;
and the Greeks and Turks have appeared in unfamiliar roles.
The Greeks have shown the same unfitness as the Turks for
governing a mixed population. The Turks, in their turn, have
become exponents of the political nationalism of the West.
The break-up of the Ottoman Empire has been arrested at
the borders of Anatolia, where Turkey has asserted her inde-
pendence as successfully as her former Near Eastern subjects
have asserted theirs in the Balkan Peninsula ; and in this
last stage in the redistribution of Near and Middle Eastern
territories, the atrocities which have accompanied it from
the beginning have been revealed in their true light, as



viii THE WESTERN QUESTION

crimes incidental to an abnormal process, which all parties
have committed in turn, and not as the peculiar practice of
one denomination or nationality. Finally, the masterful
influence of our Western form of society upon people of other
civilisations can be discerned beneath the new phenomena
and the old, omnipresent and indefatigable in creation and
destruction, like some gigantic force of nature.

Personally, I am convinced that these subjects are worth
studying, apart from the momentary sensations and
quandaries of diplomacy and war which are given more
prominence in the Press, and this for students of human
affairs who have no personal or even national concern in the
Eastern Question. The contact of civilisations has always
been, and will always continue to be, a ruling factor in
human progress and failure. I am, of course, aware that
the illustrations which I have chosen involve burning
questions, and that my presentation of them will not
pass unchallenged. Indeed, the comparatively few people
interested in disproving or confirming my statements may
be my chief or only readers. I had therefore better men-
tion such qualifications as I possess for writing this book.

I have had certain opportunities for first-hand study of
Greek and Turkish affairs. Just before the Balkan Wars, I
spent nine months (November 1911 to August 1912) travelling
on foot through the old territories of Greece, as well as in
Krete and the Athos Peninsula, and though my main interest
was the historical geography of the country, I learnt a good
deal about the social and economic life of the modern
population. During the European War, I edited, under the
direction of Lord Bryce, 1 the Blue Book published by the
British Government on the ' Treatment of Armenians in the

1 Whose death has removed one of the most experienced and distinguished
Western students of Near and Middle Eastern questions, though this was
only one among his manifold interests and activities.



/



PREFACE ix

Ottoman Empire : 1915 ' (Miscellaneous No. 31, 1916), and
incidentally learnt, I believe, nearly all that there is to be
learnt to the discredit of the Turkish nation and of their rule
over other peoples. Afterwards I worked, always on Turkish
affairs, in the Intelligence Bureau of the Department of
Information (May 1917 to May 1918) ; in the Political
Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office (May to
December 1918) ; and in the Foreign Office section of the
British Delegation to the Peace Conference at Paris (Decem-
ber 1918 to April 1919). Since the beginning of the 1919-20
Session, I have had the honour to hold the Korais Chair of
Byzantine and Modern Greek Language, Literature, and
History, in the University of London ; and on the 20th
October 1920 * the Senate of the University kindly granted
me leave of absence abroad for two terms, in order to enable
me to pursue the studies connected with my Chair by travel
in Greek lands . I arrived at Athens from England on the 1 5th
January 1921, and left Constantinople for England on the
15th September. During the intervening time, I saw all that
I could of the situation from both the Greek and the Turkish
point of view, in various parts of the two countries. The
most important of my journeys and other experiences were
shared by my wife, and I have profited more than I can say
by constant discussion with her of all that we saw and did
together, though I alone am responsible for the verification
and presentation of the results of our observations.
My itinerary was as follows : 2

(a) Jan. 15-26 : Athens ;

(b) Jan. 21 -March 15 : Smyrna, and the following journeys
into the hinterland :

1. Feb. 1-8 : Alashehir, Ushaq, Kula, Salyhly, Sardis ;



1 Just a month before the change of government and consequent crisis in
Greece, which I (like most other observers at a distance) had not foreseen.

2 The route is plotted out on the map at the end of the volume.



x THE WESTERN QUESTION

2. Feb. 11-18: Ephesus, Kirkinje, Aidin, Tire, Torbaly ;

3. Feb. 26-March 10 : Manysa, Soma, Kinik, Bergama,

Yukbara Bey Keui, Aivali, Dikeli ;

(c) March 11-Aug. 2 : Constantinople, and the following

journeys into the hinterland :

1. March 27- April 5 : Brusa, Pazarjyk, Kovalyja,

Nazyf Pasha, Yenishehir, Koprii Hissar ;

2. April 7-13 : Brusa, Gemlik, Ermeni Solos ;

3. May 24-25 : Yalova ;

4. June 2-6 : Gemlik, Omer Bey, Yalova ;

5. June 13-18 : Gemlik, Omer Bey, Armudlu ;

6. June 22-27 : Armudlu, Gemlik ;

7. June 27-July 3 : Ismid, Baghchejik, Karamursal,

Eregli, Deirmendere ;

(d) Aug. 3-8 : Smyrna ;

(e) Aug. 9-Sept. 1 : Athens, and the following journey into

the hinterland :
Aug. 16-26 : Tripolitsa, Sparta, Mistra, Trypi, Kala-
mata, Vurkano, Mavrommati, Meligala, Isari,
Astala, Kokoletri, Bassae, Pavlitsa, Kyparissia,
Samiko, Olympia, and back via the Pyrgos-Patras-
Korinth railway ;
(/) Sept. 1-9 : Athens to Constantinople via Larisa and
Salonika, with an excursion to Fiorina, Kozliani, and
Shatishta ;
(g) Sept. 9-16 : Constantinople.

My wife arrived at Constantinople, a few days before me,
in March and started home by sea from the Peiraeus on
the 15th August. Between those dates we were travelling
together.

This summary will indicate what facts I am in a position
to know, and it is for readers to judge whether I have
presented them impartially and drawn fair conclusions.
When a writer passes from statements of fact to judgments
of right and wrong, his propositions become doubly con-
troversial. But the observer of any conflict is bound to form
moral judgments in the process of informing himself about



PREFACE xi

events, and to abstract the one from the other, though it
may give the appearance of scientific objectivity, is really
less scientific than to put all his cards on the table. I have
therefore expressed freely, though carefully, my judgments
of right as well as of fact, and I submit that I am not con-
victed of partiality by the fact that, in discussing particular
chapters of a long story, I sum up against one party in favour
of the other. If that disqualifies me, then every verdict
must be accounted a miscarriage of justice. The fact that
I am neither a Greek nor a Turk perhaps creates little pre-
sumption of my being fair-minded, for Western partisans of
non- Western peoples are often more fanatical than their
favourites. I hope that it will appear from my method of
treatment that my own interest in Greece and Turkey
arises from curiosity (the most respectable of human
motives), and that I am as much interested in their past,
about which it is futile to break lances, as in their present
and future.

It may, I fear, be painful to Greeks and ' Philhellenes '
that information and reflections unfavourable to Greece
should have been published by the first occupant of the
Korais Chair. I naturally regret this, but from the academic
point of view it is less unfortunate than if my conclusions on
the Anatolian Question had been favourable to Greece and
unfavourable to Turkey. The actual circumstances, what-
ever personal unpleasantness they may entail for me and
my Greek friends and acquaintances, at least preclude the
suspicion that an endowment of learning in a British
University has been used for propaganda on behalf of the
country with which it is concerned. Such a contention,
if it could be urged, would be serious ; for academic study
should have no political purpose, although, when its sub-
ject is history, its judgments upon the nature and causal



xii THE WESTERN QUESTION

connection of past events do occasionally and incidentally
have some effect upon the present and the future.

In this connection I ought to add that I made my journeys
in 1921 as special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, 1
and to mention the reasons. I did so first in order to pay
my expenses ; secondly, because the Guardian is a paper
which it is an honour to serve ; and thirdly, because without
this status it would hardly have been possible for me to learn
what I wanted. My travels coincided with a historical crisis ;
and, during such crises, travellers like myself who are not
persons of eminence have little chance of meeting the
important people and witnessing the important events, if
they travel as students or tourists ; while journalists,
however unimportant personally, have greater opportunities
in such circumstances than under normal conditions.

ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE.

London, 22nd March 1922.

1 The sketches appended to Chapters IV. -VII. were originally published
in the Manchester Guardian, and are reprinted here by the kind permission
of the Editor.



c



NOTE ON SPELLING

I cannot pretend that my spelling of Greek and Turkish
proper names, of which this book is full, has been consistent,
though I have been careful always to spell the same name in
the same way — except in quotations, where I have purposely
left the names as they stand. I have used the following
symbols :

(i) In Turkish words —

'='ain (impossible to transliterate into the

Roman alphabet).

'=hemze (a hiatus in the middle of a word). 1

gh=ghain (like the German guttural g).

q=qaf (hard k).

y (when a vowel) =hard ye or hard essere (something like the

u in English ' until ' when rapidly

pronounced).

other unmodified^ x ..

, f= Italian vowels,

vowels J

modified vowels = German modified vowels.

(ii) In Greek words —

gh=hard gamma (like ghain).
consonantal y=soft gamma.

dh=dhelta (like the th in English ' the ')
th=thita (like the thin English ' ^in ').
s=sigma (like s in English 'this,' but never
like s in English ■ his ') .
kh=khi (like chin Scotch ' loch ').

1 Except in the proelision of the Arabic definite article {e.g. in ' Abdu'l-
Hamid'), which I have indicated by using this sign in the ordinary English
way.



xiv THE WESTERN QUESTION

(ii) In Greek words — continued.

x=ksi (like x in English ' axe,' but never like

x in English ' examine ').

ph=phi (English/).

vowels (as written! .

, • , i ^ r = Italian vowels,
in this book) J

I have often indicated the Greek stress accent, which is
as puzzling as the Russian.

However, I have not gone to extremes. In fact, I have
hardly used \ ', or q at all (the latter only, I think, in ' Saljuq '
and ' Ushaq,' which have somehow impressed themselves on
my mind in those forms). On the other hand, I have always
used vowel y for Turkish hard i, except in words familiarly
spelt otherwise — e.g. ' Aidin ' and ' Osmanli.' To write
' 'Uthmanly ' would be misleading as well as affected.



TABLE OF CONTENTS



CHAP.

PREFACE .....

NOTE ON SPELLING
I. THE SHADOW OF THE WEST .
II. WESTERN DIPLOMACY

III. GREECE AND TURKEY IN THE VICIOUS CIRCLE

IV. THE BACKGROUND IN ANATOLIA

Two Ruined Cities

V. GREEK AND TURKISH GOVERNMENT .

A Journey through the Mountains
An Agricultural Experiment .
Greek Prisons at Smyrna
The Turkish National Pact

VI. THE MILITARY STALEMATE

The Battle of In Onu .
The Origin of a Legend

VII. THE WAR OF EXTERMINATION

Yalova .....
The Area of the Organised Atrocities

VIII. NEW FACTS AND OLD VIEWS .

TABLE OF DATES ....
LIST OF BOOKS ....

ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CHAPTER V .
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CHAPTER VII .
INDEX ......



PAOE

vii

xiii

1

37

63

107
148

153

196

201 ^
204
207

211
246
254

259
299
311

320

365
371

387
390
406



MAPS

THE THEATRE OF WAR IN WESTERN ANATOLIA, folding

out at the end of Chapter VI. ..... 258

THE DANGER LINE OF OMER BEY . . . .314

THE AUTHOR'S JOURNEYS IN 1921, folding out at the end of

the volume ....... 420



THE SHADOW OF THE WEST

Savages are distressed at the waning of the moon and
attempt to counteract it by magical remedies. They do
not realise that the shadow which creeps forward till it
blots out all but a fragment of the shining disc, is cast by
their world. In much the same way we civilised people of
the West glance with pity or contempt at our non-Western
contemporaries lying under the shadow of some stronger
power, which seems to paralyse their energies by depriving
them of light. Generally we are too deeply engrossed in
our own business to look closer, and we pass by on the other
side — conjecturing (if our curiosity is sufficiently aroused
to demand an explanation) that the shadow which oppresses
these sickly forms is the ghost of their own past. Yet if
we paused to examine that dim gigantic overshadowing
figure standing, apparently unconscious, with its back to its
victims , we should be startled to find that its features are ours .
The shadow upon the rest of humanity is cast by Western
civilisation, but it is difficult for either party to comprehend
the whole situation. The other human societies, or at any
rate the civilised and educated people among them, are
thoroughly aware of the penetrating and overpowering effect
of the West upon their public and private fife, but from
this knowledge they draw a mistaken inference. In the
Near and Middle East, for example, most observers are
probably struck by the fact that their Greek and Turkish
acquaintances, who differ about almost everything else,
agree in the conviction that Western politics turn upon the
Eastern Question, and that the Englishman or Frenchman

A



2 THE WESTERN QUESTION

looks abroad on the world with eyes inflamed by a passionate
love or hatred, as the case may be, for the Greek or the
Turkish nation. At first one is inclined to attribute this
misconception purely to megalomania, and to shrug one's
shoulders at it as being the kind of infirmity to which non-
Western peoples are heir. Later, one realises that, erroneous
though it is, it arises from the correct understanding of an
important fact regarding us which we ourselves are apt to
overlook. Just because we are aware of what passes in
our own minds, and know that interest in Eastern affairs
is almost entirely absent from them, it is difficult for us to
realise the profound influence on the East which we actually,
though unconsciously, exercise. This conjunction of great
effect on other people's lives with little interest in or intention
with regard to them, though it is common enough in human
life, is also one of the principal causes of human misfortunes ;
and the relationship described in my allegory cannot per-
manently continue. Either the overshadowing figure must
turn its head, perceive the harm that unintentionally it
has been doing, and move out of the fight ; or its victims,
after vain attempts to arouse its attention and request it
to change its posture, must stagger to their feet and stab
it in the back.

It is worth examining these two features in our relation-
ship to other civilisations which are so dangerous in com-
bination. Our indifference — to start with that — is partly
temporary, at any rate in its present degree of profundity.
Interest in Eastern (as in other) foreign affairs was suddenly
and artificially stimulated in all Western countries during
the European War. The destinies of England, France,
Germany, and even the United States were obviously
affected then by the policy of the Greek, Ottoman, and other
Eastern Governments, and hundreds of thousands of English
soldiers, and many thousand French, German, and Austrian
soldiers, serving in the East, were constantly in the thoughts
of their families at home. But the moment Turkey asked



THE SHADOW OF THE WEST 3

for an armistice and the bulk of the European expeditionary
forces were drafted back and demobilised, this unusual
interest died away and was followed by an access of apathy,
also abnormal, which was partly due to war-weariness and
partly to the pressure of more urgent post-war problems
nearer home. Greece and Turkey have been pushed into
the background by Silesia, the Coal Strike, Reparations,
Ireland, the Pacific, Unemployment, and the rift in the
Entente. During the eight months of 1921 x which I spent
in Greece and Turkey, Greek and Turkish affairs only
occupied the attention of Western statesmen or were given
prominence in Western newspapers during the three weeks 2
when a conference of Allied ministers, expressly convened
to reconsider the Treaty of Sevres, was sitting in London.
But even on this special occasion the faint interest aroused
was immediately eclipsed by a crisis in the relations between
the three Entente Powers and Germany.

I generally found the Greeks and Turks incredulous when
this was pointed out to them. They insisted (of course
erroneously) that the immense effects which were being
produced all the time in the East by Western action, must
be the result of policy ; it was inconceivable that they
could be unintentional and unconscious ; or at any rate
the interest of the Western public was bound in the near
future to be aroused by the striking consequences of its
unconscious activity. The most effective way to combat
this delusion was to remind them that the British public was
almost apathetic about the violent disturbances which were
then taking place in Ireland, a country next door to Great
Britain, vitally affecting our security and actually under
our government. Was it likely, then, that Great Britain
was or would be interested in Near and Middle Eastern
countries for which we had no direct responsibility and
whose fate was of secondary concern to the British Empire ?

1 15th January to 16th September.

2 21st February to 12th March.



4 THE WESTERN QUESTION

This extreme degree of indifference towards non-Western
affairs is no doubt unlikely to be permanent ; but in the
lesser degree in which it has always existed, it will probably
continue, because it is a natural state of mind. Western
society is a unity — a closer and more permanent unity than
either the independent states that form and dissolve within
its boundaries or the Empires compounded of Western and
non-Western populations — and its own internal affairs are
bound to draw its attention away from the borderlands
or the regions beyond them. Our English politics and
economics are more closely concerned with the East than
are those of any other Western nation, and yet English
children at school are still taught French and German and
not Hindustani and Arabic — just because many more
individual English people have relations with neighbouring
Western nations than with our non-Western fellow-subjects
overseas .

This historic Western indifference is strikingly illustrated
by the policy of the Hapsburg Monarchy, a Western Power
which had vital interests in the Eastern borderlands of our
world and might have made its fortune, between a. d. i699and
1768, as heir to all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire on
this side of Constantinople. Yet though, during this favour-
able period, the Austrian Government had at its disposal
some of the best political talent in Europe, the Drang nach
Osten was perpetually arrested and reversed by the attraction
of the West. Even to the most sharp-sighted statesmen at
Vienna, a province in Germany or Italy looked as large and
as desirable as a kingdom in the Balkans. They expended
their strength in the three great Western wars of the eigh-
teenth century ; Russia got ahead of them on the road to
Constantinople ; and then the spread of Western political
ideas among the local nationalities closed the thoroughfare
altogether. When Bismarck at last cut off the Austrian
Eagle's Western head, and advised the bird to use the other,
4 it was too late . The optical illusion which minimised Eastern



THE SHADOW OF THE WEST 5

and magnified Western objectives in the eyes of eighteenth-
century Austrian statesmen, is possibly the principal cause
of the break-up of that ancient Western Monarchy in our
own generation, and it is certainly characteristic of the
permanent attitude of the Western public.

In dramatic contrast to this indifference is the actual
influence on Eastern life which the West has long exerted.
On the Near and Middle East, at any rate, where the superior
vitality and effectiveness of Western civilisation are rein-
forced by proximity, our influence has been increasing during
the last two and a half centuries till it is actually paramount
there, while we have remained hardly conscious of a process
which now impresses itself upon the local populations at
every turn. This combination of maximum actual effect
with minimum consciousness and interest has made the
Western factor in the Near and Middle East on the whole
an anarchic and destructive force, and at the same time
it appears to be almost the only positive force in the
field. Whenever one analyses a contemporary movement
— political, economic, religious, or intellectual — in these
societies, it nearly always turns out to be either a response
to or a reaction against some Western stimulus. In some
form, a Western stimulus is almost invariably there, and a
purely internal initiative is rarely discoverable, perhaps
even non-existent, the reason being that, before Western
penetration began, the indigenous civilisations of these
regions had partly or wholly broken down. A brief review
of these break-downs is necessary for an understanding of
the present situation, and in attempting it I can at the
same time define my terms.

The term ' Near Eastern ' is used in this book to denote
the civilisation which grew up from among the ruins of
Ancient Hellenic or Graeco -Roman civilisation in Anatolia
and at Constantinople, simultaneously with the growth of
our civilisation in the West . The two societies had a common
parent, were of the same age, and showed the same initial



6 THE WESTERN QUESTION

power of expansion, but here the parallel ends. Western
civilisation (whatever its ultimate limitations) has so far
continued to progress and expand, while Near Eastern
civilisation, after a more brilliant opening, broke down un-
expectedly in the eleventh century after Christ, and fell into
an incurable decline, until, about the seventeenth century, its
influence over men's minds became extinct, except in Russia.
The cause of this break-down — to state it briefly and
roughly — was the premature development of the Near
Eastern state, which reached an efficiency at the very
beginning, in the eighth century, which the Western state
did not attain until the close of the fifteenth. 1 This over-
growth of a particular social organ had two fatal effects.
First, it stunted or arrested the growth of other social
institutions and activities. The Church became a depart-



Online LibraryArnold Joseph ToynbeeThe Western question in Greece and Turkey → online text (page 1 of 39)