The World’s Greatest Issues: Military, Diplomatic, Religious- Contents
- CHAPTER I. - THE EASTERN QUESTION: ITS ORIGIN
- CHAPTER II. - HOW THE EASTERN QUESTION BECAME THE WORLD’S QUESTION
- CHAPTER III. - WHY DOES RUSSIA WANT CONSTANTINOPLE?
- CHAPTER IV. - THE LOSS OF CONSTANTINOPLE: THEN WHAT?
- CHAPTER V. - TURKISH CAPITAL IN JERUSALEM: THEN WHAT?
- CHAPTER VI. - THE GREAT WAR: AND THEN WHAT?
- CHAPTER VII. - THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
- CHAPTER VIII. - PREPARATION TO ESCAPE
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CHAPTER IV. - THE LOSS OF CONSTANTINOPLE: THEN WHAT?
Near the close of the preceding chapter it was stated that now since the British alliance with Japan, public opinion is expressed to the effect that so far as Britain is concerned, Russia should be allowed to take Constantinople whenever she chooses to do so.WGI 56.1
“If we are wise, we shall strike while the iron is hot, and endeavor to come to an understanding with Russia under which she will frankly abandon her policy of menacing India, while we, on the other hand, shall make it clear to her that we now realize, as Lord Salisbury said, That in supporting Turkey against Russia, we ‘put our money on the wrong horse.’WGI 56.3
“In our opinion we should tell the Russians plainly that we have ceased to consider the main- tenance of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire, an essential British interest, and that, though we could not view with indifference the destruction of the independent kingdoms in the Balkan Peninsula, we should not regard the presence of Russia on the Bosphorus as injurious to us, nor resent the absorption of those portions of Asia Minor which naturally go with the possession of Constantinople. Russia would, of course, have to make her own terms with France, Austria, Italy, and Germany in regard to Asia Minor and Syria; but we, at any rate, should make it clear to her that we have ceased to look upon Constantinople as a portion of the earth’s surface which could not be occupied by Russia without involving war with Britain....WGI 56.4
“Though what we have written may seem to read something like a scheme for partitioning the Turkish Empire, we by no means suggest that we should invite Russia to enter immediately upon any sensational or adventurous line of action. All that it would be right or wise for us to do would be to point out to her that she need no longer regard us as the power which holds her in check on the South and stands in the way of Russian aspirations in respect to Constantinople. We must give her assurances that the Sultan is no longer our ally, and that, provided France, Austria, and Italy receive proper consideration, and integrity of the existing Balkan States is respected, we shall make no objections to the secular aspirations of Russia in regard to Turkey being fulfilled.”—Quoted in “The Literary Digest” of October 7, 1905, page 496.WGI 57.1
“Since England’s occupation of Egypt, Constantinople and the Bosphorus have lost their importance to the former country. In Asia Minor we shall encounter the Germans before the English. In any case an agreement with England is inevitable for the future settlement of the unavoidable difficulties which will accompany the break-up of the Ottoman Empire.”—Quoted in “The Literary Digest,” May 19, 1906.WGI 58.3
And that the “understanding” with Russia which has been advised by the Spectator, and counted as “inevitable” by the Novoye Vremya, is near, if indeed it has not already come, is indicated by the fact that it was arranged for a British fleet to visit Russia in the waters of the Baltic Sea, in the summer of 1906; but on account of Russia’s home troubles the visit had to be postponed.WGI 58.4
With such an understanding, as the accepted view in Europe and by the concerted powers, it is certain that the course indicated will be followed. And upon that it is equally certain that the taking of Constantinople by Russia will be actually, as it is logically, the next move to be made; and that it will not be long before Russia’s cherished desire for the possession of Constantinople will be satisfied. And for this the way in European Turkey is as fully prepared as it is between Britain and Russia on the map of Europe and Asia.WGI 59.1
From the whole history of the original Eastern Question it is evident that the question has been a greater one than has been the question as to who shall possess Constantinople. It was this question of the division of the territory, that forced the concert of the powers in 1839-40. And we have seen how that between that time and now, under cover of maintaining the integrity of the Turkish empire by the European concert, each power that is a party to the concert has constantly been doing all that it could by “spheres of influence” to gain control of as much as possible of that very empire. But it will be noticed that this has been carried on outside of Europe. Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt have all been preserved intact as of the Turkish empire; yet all are almost entirely covered by the “spheres of influence” of Russia, Germany, and Britain. But in Europe it will be readily observed that instead of the Turkish territory being apportioned under “spheres of influence,” nearly all of it has actually been divided up by the establishment of the petty States of Roumania, Servia, Bulgaria, Easter Roumelia, Montenegro, and Greece. These have all gained independence from Turkey, but are dependent for their existence upon the concerted powers.WGI 59.2
While the greater part of the Turkish territory in Europe has thus been lost by the organization of these semi-independent States without any specific spheres of influence of the great powers, it still remains that the setting up of all these petty States is distinctly favorable to Russia; because all of them are of the Greek religion, which is the religion of Russia. And because of this Russia claims, when she does not positively assert, the protectorate over them all. In addition to this the Greek religion is first of all political. And with the grand center of that religion in Russia, and with its priests forever the chief political agents of Russia everywhere, it is certain that every move that is made in these States, or that shall be made for freedom in the remaining Turkish territories in Europe, will be under Russian auspices and will be distinctly in the furtherance of the designs of Russia.WGI 60.1
There now remains undivided comparatively a small section of Turkish territory in Europe. Of this that remains Macedonia and Albania comprise the largest part, and these are persistently demanding, conspiring and fighting for, the freedom that has been obtained by their neighbors. In their struggles for this freedom they have more than once succeeded in bringing between the powers and the Turkish government such a crisis, as left to Turkey only the single choice of granting reforms or risking expulsion from Europe. The latest of these crises is now holding the world’s attention—A. D. 1912. Other like crises will be forced; for Macedonia and Albania will never rest until they shall enjoy equality of privileges and freedom with their neighbors.WGI 61.1
It was by the direct efforts of Russia that all these peoples of the Danubian and Balkan Provinces were freed from the Turkish power. The opportunity that was offered for Russia’s interference in behalf of the religion of these peoples was the sole ground for Russia’s war with Turkey in 1876 to 1878. For “the astute and watchful policy of Russia promptly took advantage of the indignation of Christendom against the Crescent;” and “inflicted on the Ottoman Empire the severest wounds it has ever suffered; for that war rendered Turkish dominion in Europe an impossibility, and made it a matter of far greater difficulty than before even on Asiatic soil.”—“Historians’ History of the World,” Vol. XXIV, p. 433.WGI 61.2
And now the “internecine quarrels in Macedonia and among the Albanians bid fair to put an end to Ottoman rule in European Turkey.”—Id., p. 434. And thus it is that while “danger looms large from all quarters” to Ottoman rule in Europe, all these dangers are just as distinctly favorable to Russia’s possession of Constantinople as they are dangerous to Turkish rule any longer there. And just as real and as imminent as is the danger to Turkish rule in Constantinople, just so real and so imminent is the prospect of Russia’s possessing Constantinople.WGI 62.1
And when Turkey shall lose, and Russia shall possess. Constantinople—then what? It must be borne in mind that the ending of Turkish rule in Europe does not mean necessarily the ending of Turkish rule everywhere. The loss of Constantinople by Turkey does not necessarily involve in that one stroke, the ending of the Ottoman Empire itself. It has been to avoid a general war that the European concert has for sixty-six years diligently worked to keep the Ottoman empire in existence. In November, 1895, Lord Salisbury, then prime minister of Britain, said:—WGI 62.2
“Turkey is in that remarkable condition that it has now stood for half a century, mainly because the great powers of the world have resolved that for the peace of Christendom it is necessary that the Ottoman empire should stand. They came to that conclusion nearly half a century ago. I do not think they have altered it now.”WGI 63.1
Those powers are not yet ready for the Ottoman empire to come to an end. Britain is practically ready for Russia to possess Constantinople and the coasts of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles; and everything indicates that such move will ere long be made. But that great event will be allowed by the concerted powers only because, as suggested by the London Spectator, they, with Britain, “Have ceased to look upon Constantinople as a portion of the earth’s surface which would not be occupied by Russia without involving war.”WGI 63.2
This question is clearly answered in the latest history, and by the best living authority, on the subject—Arminius Vambery, in “The Historians’ History of the World,” 1904. In expressing the one only remaining way of hope for “the regeneration of Turkey” he says:—WGI 64.2
“If Europe were seriously disposed to prevent the outbreak of the great war which would be likely to follow on the heels of a collapse of the Ottoman Empire,” then “all that Turkey would have to do would be to concentrate her forces, by casting off the foreign elements in Europe, and establishing a new center in Asia Minor, where she commands more than twelve millions of Turks.” Vol. XXIV, p. 436.WGI 64.3
With any one who has followed these studies; with any one who is acquainted with the perplexities and dangers of the Eastern Question; with any one who knows of the endless anxieties of the Powers to avoid as long as possible that “great war;” can there be any doubt at all that this one only remaining way of hope will be taken? Under all the circumstances, there can be no kind of doubt that the powers will hold for themselves such further breathing space of peace as shall be possible in allowing the Turkish government to find “a new center” in Asia Minor, or in Syria, or in Palestine, or in all three in succession, as might present the best prospects of longer peace and safety from the “great war.”WGI 64.4
It is worthy of note that this indubitable sequence of the Turkish loss of Constantinople, is precisely the expectation of the Turks themselves. In 1895 when, because of the Armenian troubles, there was in England and America such a loud demand for the abolition of the Turkish power, a Turkish magistrate in discussing the subject said in substance:—WGI 65.1
“Yes, we expect nothing else than that the Christian powers will take Constantinople from us, and force us to leave Europe. This may not be done just now; but there is no doubt that sooner or later they will do it. Then we shall establish a new capital somewhere in our possessions in Asia: and, if not immediately, it will be ultimately at Jerusalem.”WGI 65.2
And it is yet more worthy of note that this indubitable sequence of the Turkish loss of Constantinople, and this acknowledged expectation of the Turks themselves, is the very thing that from of old, by the word of the Angel of God, has been “noted in the scripture of truth,” concerning Turkey, in the words: “He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” ; .WGI 65.3
Constantinople itself is between seas; but it is not “in the glorious holy mountain.” The only place in the world that corresponds to the term “the glorious holy mountain,” is Jerusalem. Among the Mohammedan peoples—Turks and Arabs—of that whole region, Jerusalem is called by the name El-Kuds—The Holy. And Jerusalem is “between the seas”—the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. It is therefore plain that after the loss of Constantinople the Turkish capital will be established ultimately, if not immediately, at Jerusalem.WGI 66.1