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everything in her power to gain a mastery over the Turkish forces, holding as she does the control of the same through Enver Pasha, the minister of war, and as the entire country is under military control, all Turkey being within the war zone, she has been able to hold unbroken sway to the present hour.
The disaffection of Arabia and its affiliation with the Allies, taken together with the success of the Allied forces on both the Palestine and Mesopotamian fronts, leading to the loss of Bagdad and Jerusalem, have introduced a decidedly new element into the plans of Germany for threatening India and Egypt from southeastern Turkey. Unless there is a marked change in the war situation in that region there is no hope in this direction. In order to offset the blocking of the contemplated pathway to the Persian Gulf and to India, the Germans have now made their treaty with Russia, throwing the entire Trans-Caucasus area ostensibly into the hands of Turkey but actually into the control of Germany. This will give Germany, through its vassal, Turkey, the control of the railway running from Batoum across the Trans-Caucasus to Baku on the Caspian Sea. This is an area rich in resources, and especially in oil; the oil wells being reckoned among the most productive in the world. The possession of this territory will give Germany a decided hold upon Persia, and through Persia will enable her to threaten the safety of northwestern India. If this accession can be maintained by Germany it will probably in the long run be fully as advantageous to her as the original plan by way of the Bagdad Railway and the Persian Gulf.
CONSTANTINOPLE AS A POLITICAL CENTER
The location of Constantinople at the point where Asia and Europe almost touch each other is of fundamental political importance. One can readily see by glancing at the map the commanding position that Constantinople holds not only in relation to the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles, but with reference to the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. The harbor of Constantinople is unsurpassed; the fleets of the world could lie there at anchor in perfect safety. The Dardanelles, as has been demonstrated by the present war, is capable of defence against the united attack of the navies of the world. The firstclass naval and military power that holds Constantinople as its capital could dominate the Mediterranean and so the short passage from Europe to India and the Far East. It is no wonder therefore that Constantinople has always been a problem before the European nations. This fact, has more to do than almost any other with the maintenance upon the Bosphorus of Turkey as a government. It seemed to be essential for the protection of the Mediterranean and for the balance of power in Europe to have a second or third rate power hold Constantinople and dominate the Dardanelles.
It is also an interesting fact that the Greek nation went to pieces with Constantinople as its capital; and now there is evidence to lead to the conclusion that the Ottoman Empire is crumbling to its fall, with its capital at the same place, although it has held sway there for 400 years. It is well known, however, that it did not always dominate the situation because of its own power and military or naval strength, but by virtue of its weakness. The nations of Europe agreed to protect the integrity of the Ottoman Empire at Constantinople for their own protection and because they could not agree upon the occupancy of that important center by any other nation, European or Asiatic.
Early in the present world conflict Russia was assured by the Allies that if she faithfully did her part in the present conflict she should be given Constantinople and the Dardanelles as her reward. There were many leaders in Great Britain who reluctantly consented to this agreement, and there were many leaders in Russia who were very much puzzled to know whether Constantinople would be to Russia an asset or a grave liability. Sir Edwin Peers reports that in a conversation he had with the President of the Russian Duma a little over a year ago this questin was discussed. Sir Edwin made the remark to the Russian, “You are unquestionably fighting for the mastery of Constantinople."
To which the Russian immediately replied, throwing up his hands, “What could we do with Constantinople! It is more than 300 miles from the nearest border of Russia. Unless we could control a large section of Roumania and Bulgaria and Thrace, so as to have a direct connection between Odessa and Constantinople, it would be a constant source of peril to Russia and always the vulnerable point at which the attack of any political enemy could be directed." He went on however to say, “What is Russia in this war for unless it be to gain Constantinople?” That is where the question stood until Russia's withdrawal from the Alliance when of course she sacrificed everything that had been promised her and is entirely out of the running at the present time.
This raises the serious question as to what will be done with Constantinople under the reconstruction. There is reason to believe that the European nations in considering the matter have practically decided that none of the firstclass European powers shall hold Constantinople. The question therefore is as to what second-class or third-class power shall have that privilege-or, we may say-responsibility. If Bulgaria had remained true to the Allies she would have had a fair chance of being chosen for that responsibility, but she is now out of the question.
Lloyd George in a recent speech in Parliament practically promised Constantinople to the Turks. While this was not promised in the form of a written declaration it probably was made after some discussion at least with France, although probably not with the United States. The conclusion which Lloyd George's utterances naturally led to was that if Turkey should break her relations with Germany she would be permitted to hold Constantinople, her ancient capital, but would lose other areas of her territory occupied largely by non-Moslems, as Armenia, Syria and Palestine. It can probably be safely assumed that there has been no definite agreement as yet among the Allies as to what ultimate disposal will be made of Constantinople. It is well known in some circles that the suggestion has been broached that the United States assume that responsibility in the interests of European peace. Such a step on the part of the United States would be contrary to tradition, but as we are doing so many things these days contrary to every tradition and to Washington's much-quoted farewell address in which America was warned not to form entangling alliances with European nations, another breach of this timehonored tradition would not necessarily shock the country or the world. It certainly goes without saying that the United States, for its own sake, does not want Constantinople, and if arguments can be brought forward to lead it to break over its well-known policy and assume the government of that important center of the Near East, it will be wholly on the benevolent argument and in the interests of maintaining the peace. No European nation would think that the United States was entering upon that responsibility with any political ambition to control the politics of the Near East or of the Mediterranean, and we can hardly imagine America's taking that responsibility, except temporarily, and until some better disposition can be made of that important area. In all of this discussion it is necessary to think of the area covered not simply as the city of Constantinople but all of the environments of the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles, including the whole valley of the Bosphorus. This would virtually be a small state, with a population of several million, which under proper management would assume large commercial importance. After the war is over and the arteries of communication in Asia Minor have been developed, Constantinople will be the natural outlet for the rich areas lying at the back side, across Asia Minor and Armenia as well as the Transcaucasus and Persia, to say nothing of the environs of the Black Sea on the north and east. The Peace Commission upon which will be laid the responsibility of settling this important question will not have an easy task.
The problems of the eastern section of the Turkish Empire, including what has been known heretofore as Armenia, but whose boundary is not clearly defined, is still another question of prime importance to the Armenian, and in which a great number of people in Europe and America are also keenly interested. For generations the Armenians have dreamed of an autonomous country of their own, under some stable and safe form of government. No race has suffered from the maladministration of the Ottoman Empire more severely than the Armenians. The persecution which they have endured at the hands of the Turkish government has extended over several generations, and culminated since the beginning of the war by the most vicious attack ever made upon them as a race and which was extended from them to the Greeks and Syrians. It would seem that the world has decreed that to put the Armenians and Armenia back under Turkish Moslem rule would be not only unwise but the rankest cruelty and injustice to a stricken people. The endeavor on the part of the Turkish government to eliminate the Armenians and the Armenian question from the Ottoman Empire has resulted in the destruction of probably not far from 800,000, possibly more, of the Armenian people. The lives of many were deliberately taken, under official orders, while still vastly greater numbers have suffered death through their deporation into the deserts of Northern Arabia and Syria. This has reduced the natural population of Armenia, although at its best the Armenians themselves did not constitute the majority of the population of the six vilayets commonly referred to as the Armenian vilayets of northeastern Turkey. At the same time it must be noted that the Turks did not constitute a majority. The population of that country is made up primarily of Armenians, Kurds and Turks, with some Circassians and representatives of other races. The Kurds are out of sympathy with the ruling Turk. If we eliminate the Turk as the possible future ruler of that area, as we are bound to do by every sentiment of righteous justice and in the interests of good government, the question at once rises as to whether the government of the country could be put into the hands of the Kurds. To ask the question is sufficient for its immediate reply—that the Kurds have no faculty or training for any kind of administrative government.