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they directed our diplomacy for many years. It may seem, and it ought to be, unnecessary, to preface this little work with an explanation of what manner of men these Turks are; but so grossly have they been misrepresented, and so widespread has been the misconception concerning them, that a few words on this subject may not be out of place. Five and a half centuries have passed since the Mussulman Turks—a Central-Asian people akin to the Mongols—having seized the Asiatic possessions of the decaying Byzantine Empire, crossed the Bosphorus and, extending their conquests, established themselves firmly in Europe. It is possible that in Asia Minor peasants of pure Turkish blood may still be found, but in European Turkey—that “lumber room of many races”—the strong and noble Turkish stock has been so largely intermingled with a number of other races that the racial characteristics of the Osmanli have practically disappeared. It is more rare to find features of the Mongolian stamp among the modern Turks than among the Christian peoples over whom they rule. The Bulgarians, for example, though speaking a Slav tongue and generally considered as a Slav people, often have the flat faces, the projecting cheek-bones, the small oblique eyes, that betray their descent from the nomads of the Asiatic steppes. There are no handsomer people in Europe than the Turks, for here the crossing of many virile breeds has resulted in the development of a very fine race of men. The modern Turk is a Caucasian of the highest type, and combines in himself some of the best qualities of the East and West. It is true that some of his Eastern qualities stand in the way of what the energetic Western world calls progress. The Turk is improvident and often a spendthrift; he is a fatalist, enduring patiently whatever ill fortune or suffering fate may bring him, but displaying an indolent indisposition to struggle against destiny. Dieu aide gui s'aide expresses a motive for action which is opposed to his Moslem fatalism. But difficult though he may be to rouse to effort, once roused he displays great energy and stubbornness of purpose, as has been recently proved to the world by the careful preparation and determined carrying through of the Turkish revolution. At any rate, the faults of the Turks are for the most part amiable ones, and most Englishmen who have travelled in the Near East will agree with an authority on the politics of that region, who replied as follows to a question put to him by an interviewer: “The men that I liked best among all that I met in the East were Turks. In some respects the Turk struck me as more like an Englishman and more like a gentleman than any of the other races except the Maygars. He is a quiet, manly fellow, with great repose and charm of manner, and does not wear his heart on his sleeve. Europeans who live in the country look on the Turk as an honest man and a man of his word.”
It must be remembered that the corrupt officialdom created by the Palace, which had a degrading influence on everything in touch with it, is not representative of the Turkish people. The typical Turk possesses the virtues and the failings of a conquering and dominant race. He is courageous, truthful and honest amid races not conspicuous for truthfulness or honesty, some of which are likewise lacking in courage. The Turk, moreover, is shrewd and gifted with common-sense, and he is not a visionary, as are the Arabs and some other peoples holding the Moslem faith. He has not the quick wits of some European peoples, and may perhaps be described as being somewhat stupid, in the same sense that the Englishman is stupid in the eyes of a neighbouring, brighter race; but this same stupidity, or whatever else we may call it, happily has preserved the Turk from the seeing of visions, and consequently no impossible ideals, no wild dreams for the reconstruction of society, have led his practical and common-sense revolution into those dreadful roads of bloodshed and anarchy which more imaginative nations, shrieking liberty, have blindly followed to tyrannies more oppressive than the worst of despotisms.
Those who know him best also claim that the Turk is hospitable, temperate, devoid of meanness, sincere in his friendships—once he is your friend he is always your friend—and, though his enemies have represented him as very much the reverse, gentle and humane. Of the steadfastness of his friendship I have had experience. When a Turk is your friend you can implicitly trust him, even though he be, what the conditions of his country have sometimes made him, a murderous outlaw. I have had friends among Turkish brigands myself, and Sir William Whittall, who knows the Turks as well as any Englishman can, writes in the following sympathetic way of his robber friend Redjeb : “Peace be to his ashes | He is dead now. Brigand or no brigand, I had a sincere admiration for the man as a man. His faithfulness was like unto that of a dog, and he saved my life at the risk of his own. I have had many incidents with brigands in Asia Minor during my fifty years of sport, and I must say that as long as they were Turks, and I had assisted some friends or villages of theirs, which I always made it a point to do when I frequented the wild regions, I never feared any accidents; and though I might often have been taken, I never was. I would not like to trust Christian brigands in the same fashion.”
Gentleness and humanity are among the most ferocity in war when his passions are roused I shall deal later, but of his kindliness and charity in his dealings with his fellow-men there can be no doubt. In no European country are animals treated so kindly as they are in Turkey. A Turk never ill-uses his horse or his ox or his domestic pets, and the wonderful tameness of these creatures in Turkey testifies to this good trait. In Constantinople the pariah dogs lie about the streets in their tens of thousands; they live partly on garbage and partly on the scraps of food which even very poor Turks put out for them. These dogs, though fighting among themselves, display nothing but friendship for, and confidence in, man. They never move for one as they sprawl across the narrow pavements, for they know that no Turk would have the heart to kick them out of the way. A few years ago an American offered a very large sum for the right to clear Constantinople of its pariah dogs, his object being to sell their skins to the glovemakers. The populace raised a howl of indignation when they heard of this, and had not the scheme been abandoned serious riots would have occurred. There is no need for a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals in a Turkish town. It has often been maintained by the enemies of the Turk that his Mohammedan fanaticism makes his continued occupation of any portion of Christian Europe undesirable. But in justice to
marked characteristics of the Turk. With his