"Sooner or later the complete Ottomanisation of all Turkish subjects must be effected; it is clear, however, that this can never be attained by persuasion, but that we must resort to armed force. The character of the Empire must be Mohammedan, and respect must be secured for Mohammedan institutions and traditions. Other nationalities must be denied the right of organisation, for decentralisation and autonomy are treason to the Turkish Empire. The nationalities are a quantite negligeable. They can keep their religion but not their language. The propagation of the Turkish language is one of the sovereign means of confirming the Mohammedan supremacy and assimilating the other elements."
The confusion of aims in these two paragraphs reveals the direction in which Young Turkish policy has been travelling. Religion is now secondary to language, and the precedence still given to the Islamic formula is only in apparent contradiction to this, for Mohammedan supremacy is equated with the Turkish National Idea. Such a version of Panislamism leaves no room for an Arab race under Ottoman rule, and the "Panturanian" address given by the Turkish Professor at the Military College in Constantinople had a sequel which showed the Arabs what they, too, had to expect from Turkey's entrance into the War.
There were Arabs among the officers whom the Professor was addressing, and one of them ventured to protest.
"All Ottomans are not Turks," he said, "and if the Empire were to be considered purely Turkish, then all the non-Turkish elements would be foreign to it, instead of being living members of the political body known as the Ottoman Empire, fighting the common fight for it and for Islam."
To this the Professor is reported to have replied:
"Although you are an Arab, yet you and your race are subject to Turkey. Have not the Turks colonised your country, and have they not conquered it by the sword? The Ottoman State, which you plead, is nothing but a social trick, to which you resort in order to attain your ends. As to religion, it has no connexion with politics. We shall soon march forward in the name of Turkey and the Turkish flag, casting aside religion, as it is only a personal and secondary question. You and your nation must realise that you are Turks, and that there is no such thing as Arab nationality and an Arab fatherland."
It is said that the Arab officers present handed in a joint protest to the Minister of War, asking for the Professor's dismissal, and that Enver Bey's answer was to have them all sent to the front-line trenches.
Certainly the Turkish Nationalists have not concealed their attitude towards the Arabs since the War began.
"The Arab lands," writes Djelal Noury Bey in a recently-published work, "and above all Irak and Yemen, must become Turkish colonies in which we shall spread our own language, so that at the right moment we may make it the language of religion. It is a peculiarly imperious necessity of our existence for us to Turkise the Arab lands, for the particularistic idea of nationality is awaking among the younger generation of Arabs, and already threatens us with a great catastrophe. Against this we must be forearmed."
And Ahmed Sherif Bey, again, has written as follows in the Tanin :
"The Arabs speak their own language and are as ignorant of Turkish as if their country were not a dependency of Turkey. It is the business of the Porte to make them forget their own language and to impose upon them instead that of the nation which rules them. If the Porte loses sight of this duty it will be digging its grave with its own hands, for if the Arabs do not forget their language, their history, and their customs, they will seek to restore their ancient empire on the ruins of Ottomanism and of Turkish rule in Asia."
A Turkish pamphleteer wrote that "the Arabs have been a misfortune to Turkey," and that "a Turkish conqueror's war-horse is better than the Prophet of any other nation." This pamphlet was distributed in the Caucasus at the Ottoman Government's expense as Turkish propaganda.