With these suggestions, Anatolia and Turkish Nationalism may be dismissed from our survey. Shorn of their pretensions in Armenia and the countries south of Taurus, the Turks may experiment in the art of government without the tragedies which their present domination has brought upon mankind. The other lands and peoples of Western Asia, when they have ceased to be "Turkey," will be restored once more to the civilised world. What forces will shape their growth? Not, even indirectly, the discrowned Turk, for if he were not banned by his crimes he would still be doomed by his incapacity.
The relative qualities of the different Near Eastern races are not in doubt. A German teacher in the German Technical School at Aleppo, who resigned his appointment as a protest against the Armenian atrocities in 1915, thus records his personal judgment in an open letter to the Reichstag:
"The Young Turk is afraid of the Christian nationalities - Armenians, Syrians and Greeks - on account of their cultural and economic superiority, and he sees in their religion a hindrance to Turkifying them by peaceful means. They must therefore be exterminated or converted to Islam by force. The Turks do not suspect that in so doing they are sawing off the branch on which they are sitting themselves. Yet who is to help Turkey forward if not the Greeks, Armenians, and Syrians, who constitute more than a quarter of the population of the Empire? The Turks, the least gifted of the races living in Turkey, are themselves only a minority of the population, and are still far behind the Arabs in culture. Where is there any Turkish trade, Turkish handicraft, Turkish industry, Turkish art, Turkish science? They have even borrowed their law and religion from the conquered Arabs, and their language, so far as it has been given literary form.
"We teachers, who have been teaching Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, Turks, and Jews in German schools in Turkey for years, can only pass judgment that of all our pupils the pure Turks are the most unwilling and the least talented. When for once in a way a Turk does achieve something, one can be sure in nine cases out of ten that one is dealing with a Circassian, an Albanian, or a Turk with Bulgarian blood in his veins. From my personal experience I can only prophesy that the Turks proper will never achieve anything in trade, industry, or science.
"We are told now in the German Press about the Turks' hunger for education, and of how they are thronging eagerly to learn German. There is even a report of language courses for adults which have been started in Turkey. They have certainly been started, but with what result? One reads of the language course at a technical school which began with twelve Turkish teachers as pupils. Our informant forgets to add, however, that after four lessons only six pupils presented themselves; after five, five; after six, four; and after seven only three, so that after eight lessons the course broke down, through the indolence of the pupils, before it had properly commenced. If the pupils had been Armenians they would have persevered till the end of the school year, learnt industriously, and finished with a respectable mastery of the German language."
From a German teacher who has worked in Turkey for three years this verdict is crushing, and Tekin Alp himself virtually admits the charge. "It is true," he writes, "that the Turkish character is usually lacking in the qualities most essential to trade or economic undertakings, but these may be acquired by a reasonable and methodical training and organisation." The only "organisation" that seems to occur to him is the Boycott, which has been popular with the Turks since the Revolution of 1908.
"The unaccommodating attitude of the Greek Government was sufficient excuse," he remarks, in reference to the Boycott of 1912. "The real motive, however, was the longing of the Turkish nation for independence in their own country. The Boycott, which was at first directed solely against the Greeks, was then extended to the Armenians and other non-Mohammedan circles, and was carried out with undiminished energy. This movement, which lasted in all its rigour for several months, caused the ruin of hundreds of small Greek and Armenian tradesmen.... The systematic and rigorous Boycott is now at an end, but the spirit it created in the people still persists.... It can now be asserted that the movement for restoring the economic life of Turkey is on the right road."
The real effects of the Boycott of 1912 are described by the German authority whose memorial has several times been cited in this article. He tells us how, under the patronage of the Young Turkish Government, associations were formed which intimidated the Moslem peasants into buying from them, when they came to market, instead of from the Christians with whom they had formerly dealt.
"The peasants came to their old dealers," the memorial continues, "lamented their fate, and asked their advice as to how they could save themselves from the hands of their fellow-countrymen. They were delighted when at last the Boycott came to an end and they could once more buy from Greeks and Armenians, where they were well served and got good value for their money."
If the Turkish Nationalists had confined themselves to economic weapons, the Turks' economic ineptitude would have prevented them from doing serious harm; but by abusing the political and military powers of the Ottoman State to perpetrate the recent atrocities they have struck a mortal blow at the prosperity of Western Asia.