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Kingdom. Its population is quite insignificant. Compared with Asiatic Turkey even Russia is a densely populated country. Asiatic Turkey is at present almost a desert, although it may be made to support a very large population, for it possesses vast possibilities, as will be shown further on. The country has certainly room for at least
. a hundred million inhabitants.
Austria-Hungary has become an appendage of Germany, and Turkey a German vassal State. During many decades patriotic Germans dreamed of creating a Greater Germany, reaching not merely from Hamburg to Trieste, but from Antwerp to Aden, to Koweyt and perhaps to Muscat and
far into Southern Persia. German thinkers were attracted towards Asiatic Turkey not only because of its great past and its vast economic possibilities, but also because of its matchless position at a spot where three continents meet, whence three continents may be dominated, whence Russia and the British Empire may most effectively be attacked, whence the rule of the world may be won. The present War undoubtedly was largely a war for the control of Asia Minor.
In the middle of the last century leading German economists and thinkers who exerted a most powerful influence upon German statesmanship and upon German public opinion, such as Wilhelm Roscher, Friedrich List, Paul de Lagarde, Ferdinand Lassalle, J. K. Rodbertus, Karl Ritter, the great Moltke, and others, writing long before the unification of Germany, advocated the creation
of a Greater Germany embracing all the German and AustroHungarian States and the acquisition of Asia Minor in some form or other, and dreamt of the creation of an organic connection between Berlin and Baghdad by including the Balkan States in an Austro-German Federation. The creation of a Greater Germany, stretching from the North Sea to the Bosphorus, and across the Straits to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, was lately advocated unceasingly by many Pan-Germans. The acquisition of Asia Minor was urged by many eminent writers and men of action, such as Hasse, Dehn, Rohrbach, Sprenger, Sachau, Von der Goltz, Kärger, Naumann, Schlagintweit, and many others. I would give a characteristic example out of many. Professor Dr. A. Sprenger, the former director of the Mohammedan College of Calcutta, wrote in his book
Babylonia the Richest Land of Antiquity, and the most Valuable Field of Colonisation at the Present Time, published in 1886 :
The Orient is the only territory of the earth which has not yet been seized by the expanding nations. It is the most valuable field of colonisation. If Germany does not miss its opportunity and seizes it before the Cossacks have put their hands upon it, the whole German nation will gain by the colonisation of the East. As soon as several hundred thousand German soldier-colonists are at work in that glorious country the German Emperor can control the fate of Western Asia and the peace of all Asia.
Similar views were expressed by many eminent Germans. The Baghdad Railway was evidently not merely a financial enterprise of the Deutsche Bank, undertaken for the development of Asia Minor. Konia, the natural capital of Asiatic Turkey, lying on the Baghdad Railway, is situated almost exactly midway between Berlin and Karachi.
Let us imagine the Turkish Government in Asia replaced by that of a strong and ambitious military Power. Such a Power would develop the country in every way, and would
double and treble its population. It would open the country in every direction by means of railways. It would construct lines capable of carrying a vast amount of traffic towards the Russian, Egyptian, and Persian frontiers, and it would continue the latter, 'on economic grounds,' through Persia towards Baluchistan, towards India. It would create a powerful navy and construct strong naval bases on the shores of the Black Sea and near the southern openings of the Red Sea and of the Persian Gulf. Having done all this, it would be able to throw at the shortest notice an immense army either across the Bosphorus into Constantinople, or across the Suez Canal into Egypt, or across Persia into India. A strong European military Power, firmly settled in Asiatic Turkey, disposing of 2,000,000 Turkish-Asiatic soldiers and of a sufficiency of railways and of a fleet, could make Constantinople and Egypt almost untenable. It could gravely threaten Southern Russia and India and the most important sea-route of the world. At the same time, such a Power, if it should become a danger, could not easily be dislodged or defeated, because the enormous defensive strength of the country would make its resistance most formidable.
If we wish clearly to understand the strategic importance of Asiatic Turkey and the dangers with which the world might be threatened from that most commanding point, we need not draw upon the imagination, but may usefully turn towards the history of the past. In the Middle Ages a small but exceedingly warlike Power arose within the borders of Asiatic Turkey. Using as their base of operations that most wonderful position where three continents meet, Mohammedan warrior tribes swept north, south, east, and west. They rapidly overran and conquered Egypt, Tripoli, Tunis, Algeria, Spain, Sicily, and even invaded France and Italy. They conquered all the lands around the Black Sea, and subjected to themselves Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Northern India as far as the Indus and the Syr-Daria, the ancient Jaxartes. They crossed the Straits, seized
Constantinople, the whole Balkan Peninsula, and Hungary, and advanced up to the walls of Vienna. They seized the rule of the sea. The word admiral,' from 'amir,' the Arabic word for chief, commander,' the same word as 'ameer' or 'emir,' reminds us of their former naval pre-eminence.
The strategical value of Asiatic Turkey is very greatly increased by the vast religio-political importance of the country. Asiatic Turkey contains the holy places of Christianity and of Islam. Mecca and Medina exercise an infinitely greater influence over Mohammedanism than Jerusalem and Bethlehem do over Christianity. Mecca and Medina give an enormous power to the nation which possesses or controls these towns. Asiatic Turkey is not only the religious, but also the physical centre of Mohammedanism. From Asiatic Turkey Mohammedanism spread in every direction. Starting thence it conquered all North Africa down to the tenth degree of northern latitude, and expanded eastward as far as Orenburg and Omsk in Russia, and penetrated through Afghanistan as far as Delhi and Kashmir in India. The followers of Mohammed form a solid block which stretches from the west coast of Morocco and from Sierra Leone across Asia Minor deeply into Russia and Siberia and into India.
Lying in the centre of the Mohammedan world, Asiatic Turkey would be an ideal spot whence to organise and to govern a great Mohammedan Federation or Empire. Mohammedanism may conceivably have a new lease of life. Pan-Islamism need not necessarily remain an idle dream. A strong leader and able organiser, possessed of the necessary prestige, might make it a reality. Turkey as the guardian of Mecca and Medina, and therefore of Islam, has naturally exercised little influence over the Islamic world. The Mohammedans throughout the world have rejected with scorn the Turks as their leaders, because they have incurred the contempt of their brother Mohammedans by their moral and material degeneration. However, it seems not impossible that a strong military Power controlling the Holy Places might succeed once more in controlling all Islam, and might thus be able to utilise the serried ranks of 300,000,000 Mohammedans against its enemies. That idea was probably in the German Emperor's mind when, on November 8, 1898, speaking in the ancient town of Damascus and addressing his Mohammedan guests, he emphatically proclaimed : May the Sultan of Turkey, and may the three hundred million Mohammedans throughout the world who worship him as their Caliph, be assured that the German Emperor will be their friend for all time.' Since then the German Emperor has assumed the role of Protector of Islam.
Mahomet was a warrior. Islam is a conqueror's creed. A strong military Power, controlling Mecca and Medina, might bring about a revival of conquering Mohammedanism, and might make Pan-Islamism a dangerous reality. The greatest Mohammedan Powers are the British Empire, Russia, and France. British India alone has 70,000,000 Mohammedans, all French North Africa is Mohammedan, and Russia has no less than 20,000,000 Mohammedan citizens. The religio-political importance of Asia Minor is so very great that its control by a strong military Power might endanger not only France, Russia, and the British Empire, but the whole world. France, Russia, and the British Empire desire the maintenance of peace, and are therefore most strongly interested in preventing a revival of a fanatically aggressive Mohammedanism, especially if it be directed by a non-Mohammedan Power for nonMohammedan ends.
The economic importance of Asiatic Turkey is exceedingly great. Asiatic Turkey is the oldest and by far the most important nucleus of Western civilisation. All the most glorious seats of ancient power and culture had the misfortune of being conquered by Turkish barbarians. The wonderful empires of Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Phænicia, Lydia, Media, Carthage, Persia, Greece, Palestine, and the Arab Empire were seized by the followers of Sultan