The Balkans eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about The Balkans.
insensibly and completely with the tradition and hope of the Osmanlis.  The subsequent occupation of the Byzantine capital by the heirs of the Byzantine system, and their still later assumption of caliphial responsibility, were not needed to cement the union.  Even a military occupation by Russia or by another strong power would not detach Anatolia from the Osmanli unity; for a thing cannot be detached from itself.  But, of course, that occupation might after long years cause the unity itself to cease to be.

Such an occupation, however, would probably not be seriously resisted or subsequently rebelled against by the Moslem majority in Asia Minor, supposing Osmanli armaments to have been crushed.  The Anatolian population is a sober, labouring peasantry, essentially agricultural and wedded to the soil.  The levies for Yemen and Europe, which have gone far to deplete and exhaust it of recent years, were composed of men who fought to order and without imagination, steadily and faithfully, as their fathers had fought.  They have no lust for war, no Arabian tradition of fighting for its own sake, and little, if any, fanaticism.  Attempts to inspire Anatolian troops with religious rage in the Balkan War were failures.  They were asked to fight in too modern a way under too many Teutonic officers.  The result illustrated a prophecy ascribed to Ghasri Mukhtar Pasha.  When German instructors were first introduced into Turkey, he foretold that they would be the end of the Ottoman army.  No, these Anatolians desire nothing better than to follow their plough-oxen, and live their common village life, under any master who will let them be.

Elements of the Christian minority, however, Armenian and Greek, would give trouble with their developed ideas of nationality and irrepressible tendency to ‘Europize’.  They would present, indeed, problems of which at present one cannot foresee the solution.  It seems inevitable that an autonomous Armenia, like an autonomous Poland, must be constituted ere long; but where?  There is no geographical unit of the Ottoman area in which Armenians are the majority.  If they cluster more thickly in the vilayets of Angora, Sivas, Erzerum, Kharput, and Van, i.e. in easternmost Asia Minor, than elsewhere, and form a village people of the soil, they are consistently a minority in any large administrative district.  Numerous, too, in the trans-Tauric vilayets of Adana and Aleppo, the seat of their most recent independence, they are townsmen in the main, and not an essential element of the agricultural population.  Even if a considerable proportion of the Armenians, now dispersed through towns of western Asia Minor and in Constantinople, could be induced to concentrate in a reconstituted Armenia (which is doubtful, seeing how addicted they are to general commerce and what may be called parasitic life), they could not fill out both the Greater and the Lesser Armenias of history, in sufficient strength to overbear the Osmanli and Kurdish elements.  The widest area which might he constituted an autonomous Armenia with good prospect of self-sufficiency would be the present Russian province, where the head-quarters of the national religion lie, with the addition of the provinces of Erzerum, Van, and Kharput.

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The Balkans from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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