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Despotism. Their ideals seemed indeed to be irreconcilable. The Young Turks above all things desired the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and a union of her peoples that would make the Empire strong. On the other hand, the non-Mussulman revolutionaries cared nothing for the integrity of the Empire. For the most part they desired not to reform Turkey, but to break her up. Neither did they seek union among themselves; for the different Christian races hated each other, and cherished mutually incompatible ambitions. Thus, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs in Macedonia dreamt of the formation of autonomous States, or of annexations to Bulgaria, Greece, and Servia, respectively. There was to be found, too, in some of the non-Mussulman committees, a considerable leavening of anarchical and socialistic ideas with which the conservative Turkish reformers could have no sympathy. Out of elements so incongruous, and in many respects antagonistic, it would seem impossible to effect any sort of co-operation. But the Young Turks were terribly in earnest, and were patient and persuasive; they compelled the leaders of the non-Mussulman committees to listen to their arguments, and they sent delegates to their meetings; but it was, of course, not for a long time that they could come to an understand
ing with men who found it difficult to believe that any form of Turkish rule could deal fairly with Christians and Jews. At last, wonderful to say, the Young Turks in Paris, being honest patriots, succeeded in convincing the other groups of their sincerity when they put forward the full equality in the eyes of the law of all races and creeds in Turkey as an essential portion of their programme. The Armenian committees were the first to fall in line with the Young Turkey movement, and the union between them that was arranged in Paris, in 1903, has been faithfully observed by both parties. It will be remembered how the two races fraternised after the declaration of the Constitution, how the world was amazed by the spectacle of Armenian and Moslem clergymen walking arm in arm in processions, and how loyally the Turks and Armenians worked together during the Parliamentary elections. It was, indeed, a natural alliance; there has never been real enmity between the two races until the present Sultan's reign. The Armenian massacres were not the work of Turks but of savage Kurds, instigated by the Palace Camarilla. “Few incidents in history are more touching,” writes a Turkish subject in the Wineteenth Century, “than the visit paid by a large assembly of Turks (in August last) to the Armenian cemetery in Constantinople, in order to deposit floral tributes on
the graves of the victims of the massacre of 1894, and to have prayers recited, by a priest of their own persuasion, over the butchered dead.”
Moreover, there were few political difficulties in the way of an understanding between the Young Turks and the Armenian revolutionaries. The problem was not like that of the Greeks and Slavs in Macedonia, who had on the frontier independent nations of people of their own kin on whom to lean and to whom to look for protection and perchance annexation. For Armenia is now but a geographical expression, and ancient Armenia has been partitioned between Turkey, Russia, and Persia. The Armenians in Turkish Armenia are vastly outnumbered by the Moslem population; and the creation of an independent Armenian principality, desired by a section of the revolutionists, was obviously an impracticable scheme. The more sensible Armenians realised that the only alternative for the rule of Turkey was that of Russia, and the experience of their brethren across the border had proved to them that, of the two, the rule of Turkey was to be preferred; for under it they enjoyed a measure of racial autonomy and various privileges—much restricted, it is true, under Abdul Hamid's despotism—which the Russian Government, ever bent on the Russianisation of the nationalities subject to it, would certainly have denied to them.
It was, therefore, the aim of the moderates
among the Armenian malcontents, while remaining under Ottoman rule, to secure the civil liberties and institutions calculated to guarantee their personal safety, the security of their property, and the honour of their wives and daughters. Now the Young Turk programme promised them these things and more; so, realising that this great Mussulman movement was likely to meet with success, they decided to throw in their lot with Ahmed Riza and his brother revolutionaries. But this union could not be accomplished until the Armenians had consented to abandon the methods of their propaganda. They had for years been appealing to the European Powers, through their Committees, to compel the Sultan to grant good government to his Christian subjects in Armenia in accordance with the solemn pledges which he had given to the signatories of the Treaty of Berlin. But the Young Turks insisted that there must be no appealing to foreign Powers for assistance, that the Armenians henceforth would have to rely upon the support of their Mussulman fellow-subjects alone, that they must now cease from such agitation as might invite further massacres, and await the outbreak of the revolution that was to deliver all the races that were oppressed by the Despotism. It may have been noticed that from the date of this understanding, in 1903, one heard very little about trouble in Armenia; the violence of the Armenian propaganda was restrained by the leaders so that the Young Turk movement might not be embarrassed, and the attention of Europe was now turned to the state of anarchy in Macedonia. The Young Turks always worked in secret, but when policy demanded it they sometimes came out into the open. Thus it was that Ahmed Riza went to London in 1904, shortly after the union between his party and the Armenian Committees, and, in the speech from which I have quoted, protested at a public meeting against the interference of English humanitarians in the affairs of Armenia. He also seems to have influenced those who governed the policy of the AngloArmenian Association and to have won their confidence in his judgment, for it was at about this time that the active propaganda of this organisation suddenly came to a stop. But Ahmed Riza and his associates, though they were working diligently to prepare the ground for the coming revolution by sending emissaries to inoculate the young army officers in Turkey with their views, and the Moslem clergy with interpretations of the Koran that breathed the spirit of reform and tolerance, kept their doings secret even from their friends. The revolution, so carefully planned, came as a complete surprise even to those Englishmen who had come in touch with the Turkish reformers in Paris and sympa