The Balkans eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about The Balkans.

But, if Russia had brought herself to make a self-denying ordinance, she would have to police her new Armenia very strongly for some years; for an acute Kurdish problem would confront it, and no concentration of nationals could be looked for from the Armenia Irredenta of Diarbekr, Urfa, Aleppo, Aintab, Marash, Adana, Kaisariyeh, Sivas, Angora, and Trebizond (not to mention farther and more foreign towns), until public security was assured in what for generations has been a cockpit.  The Kurd is, of course, an Indo-European as much as the Armenian, and rarely a true Moslem; but it would be a very long time indeed before these facts reconciled him to the domination of the race which he has plundered for three centuries.  Most of the Osmanlis of eastern Asia Minor are descendants of converted Armenians; but their assimilation would be slow and doubtful.  Islam, more rapidly and completely than any other creed, extinguishes racial sympathies and groups its adherents anew.

The Anatolian Greeks are less numerous but not less difficult to provide for.  The scattered groups of them on the plateau—­in Cappadocia, Pontus, the Konia district—­and on the eastward coast-lands would offer no serious difficulty to a lord of the interior.  But those in the western river-basins from Isbarta to the Marmora, and those on the western and north-western littorals, are of a more advanced and cohesive political character, imbued with nationalism, intimate with their independent nationals, and actively interested in Hellenic national politics.  What happens at Athens has long concerned them more than what happens at Constantinople; and with Greece occupying the islands in the daily view of many of them, they are coming to regard themselves more and more every day as citizens of Graecia Irredenta.  What is to be done with these?  What, in particular, with Smyrna, the second city of the Ottoman Empire and the first of ‘Magna Graecia’?  Its three and a half hundred thousand souls include the largest Greek urban population resident in any one city.  Shall it be united to Greece?  Greece herself might well hesitate.  It would prove a very irksome possession, involving her in all sorts of continental difficulties and risks.  There is no good frontier inland for such an enclave.  It could hardly be held without the rest of westernmost Asia, from Caria to the Dardanelles, and in this region the great majority of the population is Moslem of old stocks, devotedly attached both to their faith and to the Osmanli tradition.

The present writer, however, is not among the prophets.  He has but tried to set forth what may delay and what may precipitate the collapse of an empire, whose doom has been long foreseen, often planned, invariably postponed; and, further, to indicate some difficulties which, being bound to confront heirs of the Osmanlis, will be better met the better they are understood before the final agony—­If this is, indeed, to be!

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The Balkans from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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