This was an interesting series which told me a few things I did not already know about a neglected subject. Overall, however, it is misleading. Omaar is clearly not an ignorant man. So the deception can only be intentional and consists largely of what he leaves out.

He shows us a historical reenactment in Sogut in Bithynia which was the centre of the Ottoman tribe by about 1300 and the “cradle” of the Ottoman Empire. He does not mention the indigenous population round about however, the Greek speaking, Christian majority and the misery which these Turkic speaking Muslim intruders inflicted on them. The Koran makes it clear that all good Muslims are obliged to make war on infidels wherever they are found (Sura 9) and that any plunder taken is the holy warrior’s just reward for chastising the enemies of Allah. This duty the Ottomans and other species of Turk, those of Danishmend etc. pursued with enthusiasm. Every year from the later 13th century, Turkish horsemen swept down the valleys of Western Asia Minor to destroy the harvest, slaughter the infidel Greek peasants, desecrate their churches and help themselves to any plunder that took their fancy. This last category would include the infidel women who, in Muslim eyes, were fair game. Robert Liddell, in his book “Byzantium and Istanbul” states: “Rape was so much a law of war that the canons forbade a husband to put away a wife who had been defiled by an enemy.” Muslim men in Britain who prey on “Kaffir” girls, i.e. non Muslim girls must be seen as a 21st century continuation of this Islamic tradition; infidel parents of infidel daughters please note. Some mealy mouthed individuals have frantically attempted to represent this activity as just part of the general decline in morals in this country and not associated with any religion or culture in particular. These are just Anglo-Saxon platitudes and betray these babblers’ lack of moral courage. We have seen that the British have not had the moral courage to help the Canadians celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the defeat of the American invasion of their country during the War of 1812.

Rageh Omaar remarked in an earlier documentary that the Crusades are still remembered and resented in the Muslim world, the “Dar al Islam.” Plainly he wants us to believe that Islam’s unprovoked assault on the non Muslim world was and is all right, but any attack by non Muslims on Muslims, however greatly provoked, is not all right. To make matters worse and almost as if to encourage Omaar’s fantasies, at the Millennium, the Christians apologised for the Crusades! Omaar mentions a Turkish television series, a dramatisation of the history of the Ottoman Empire which is very popular in the “Dar al Islam” at present. The series glorifies the Ottoman Empire and its war of aggression against the kaffirs. Imagine what a furore there would be amongst Muslims and their bleating non Muslim apologists if westerners were to make a series glorifying the Crusades.

Omaar says that the Ottoman invasion of Eastern Europe was inspired, not so much by “Islamic fervour” as by a desire to acquire a controlling interest in the wealth and commerce of that area. Nevertheless the official justification for the invasion would still have been the spreading of Islam; indeed the faith pervades all human activity. Anything a Muslim does has its religious aspect and as stated above, the virtuous jihadi is entitled to earthly “rewards” as well as a place in Paradise. This is the rule whether the reward/plunder takes the form of moveable goods (including infidel women), real estate, or a whole infidel country. Nothing without the Faith!

Omaar would have us believe that wherever the Ottomans invaded they brought civilisation with them and refers particularly to baths. He would like us to believe that after the fall of the Roman Empire, baths only survived in the Arab dominions, an idea which was then inherited by the Turks and passed on by them to those parts of Eastern Europe which they overran. In fact bathing had continued in the Byzantine Balkans and Asia Minor. Its reduced scale was an inevitable consequence of the poverty and disruption caused by invasions, frequently Muslim invasions. In the 12th century Michael Acominatos, a classicist, was delighted to be made Bishop of Athens. His cathedral, dedicated to the Mother of God, was in fact the Parthenon slightly modified. He mentioned bathing facilities in Athens, though comparing them unfavourably with those in Constantinople.

Omaar says, truthfully enough, that during the 19th century, growing nationalism threatened the Ottoman Empire, as it was threatening other multi-national empires at that time. He adds that Sultan Abdul Hamid II, 1876-1909 saw increased Islamisation, or Pan-Islamism, as the best way to halt the empire’s disintegration. What Omaar does not go on to say is that this took the form of large scale persecution of the Sultan’s Christian subjects particularly the Armenians, many thousands of whom were massacred in the mid 1890s. In 1891 Kurdish Muslim horsemen were organised as a unit known as the Hamidie Cavalry; their sole purpose was to kill Armenians.

Omaar is anxious to impress on contrite westerners that the Ottoman Empire and its demise affect the politics of that area to this day. He pursues this theme in some detail but leaves out a great deal. I will now fill in some of the enormous gaps in his story.

He says that the Turks went to war in 1914 because they were allied with Germany. At best this is superfluous. A major benefit to the Ottoman Empire of the German Alliance was that the Ottoman armed forces were modernised by German military advisers in the later 19th century. This enabled the Turks to defeat the Greeks in 1897. Germany’s interest in the Ottoman Empire centred largely on the Berlin Baghdad railway, one of many results of Wilhelm II’s desire for “a place in the sun.” However, all this is peripheral to the Ottoman Empire’s own reasons for entering the First World War.

In 1908 a group of people, anxious to save the empire from further disintegration formed themselves into the Committee for Union and Progress, commonly known as the Young Turks. It was due to them that Abdul Hamid II was exiled along with his beloved cat, and replaced by Mohammed V, a benign nonentity. The Young Turks’ way of saving the empire was to modernise and liberalise; there was to be equality for all its religions and nationalities. This approach, Pan-Ottomanism, though well-intentioned, had much the same effect as Gorbachev’s reforms in the 1980s; it simply hastened disintegration. Before long the Young Turks were taken over by reformers of a different sort. By about 1880 Turkish nationalism had taken its place alongside the other nationalisms, Greek, Bulgarian, Serb, Armenian etc. and, by 1914, had become the new driving force behind the Young Turks. This Turkish nationalism is known as Pan-Turanianism and, like other patriotic/racist “philosophies,” is based more on fantasy and romanticism than on verifiable fact. The Turks, despite their denials, are of largely Indo-European descent. Their ancestors were mostly Greek speaking Christians and most of the remainder were Armenian Christians.* These people were subjected to various  pressures under Turkish rule; for instance they had to pay the “Jizwa,” the tax on infidels, part of the price of the much vaunted Muslim “tolerance.” Bishops were barred from their sees and church property was confiscated. Also Sufis, followers of Celalledin Rumi converted Byzantine and Armenian Christians to a relatively liberal type of Islam. These converts learned Turkish if they had not already done so and they and their descendants thought of themselves as Turks. There is evidence that the original Turks who first invaded Asia Minor in the 11th century were of Mongoloid appearance, whereas most modern Turks look European. Interbreeding between the ruling minority and the conquered majority almost completely transformed the ethnicity of the Turks. By the 20th century about the only truly Turkish or Turanian thing about them was their language. Sultan Bayazit I, 1389 - 1402 was five eighths Byzantine. Sultan Mehmet II, who took Constantinople in 1453 was half Albanian. There has even been a persistent rumour that Abdul Hamid II, great enemy of the Armenians, was himself half Armenian. This principle applies all the way down to the bottom end of society by way of, for instance, the 16th century architect Sinan. Sinan is still revered in Turkey, though Turks generally suppress the fact that he was most probably a Greek from Caesarea in Asia Minor. He appears to have been one of the boys taken from Christian families, converted to Islam and enrolled in the Janissaries, the elite of the Ottoman army. Omaar, whilst conceding that Sinan was of Christian parentage, still shrank from suggesting that he was one of those hated Greeks.

Those wanting to salvage a Turkish state from the dying Ottoman Empire found a new Turkish identity in Pan-Turanianism. They persuaded themselves that they were entirely the descendants of the nomadic Turks who had begun the invasion of Asia Minor in the 11th century and that they were akin to speakers of other Turanian languages further east in the lands from which the original Turks had come. The adherents of Pan-Turanianism accepted the loss of the European provinces as final; by 1913 European Turkey had been reduced to its present borders. They also accepted the probability that the Arabic speaking provinces would, in time, fall away. The intention was, firstly to consolidate the Turkishness of Asia Minor and what was left of European Turkey and secondly to expand eastwards into Azerbaijan, Turkistan and one supposes, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Chechnya, Dagestan and so on; all areas in which Turkic/Turanian/Altaic languages are spoken. The intention was to replace the Ottoman Empire with a Pan-Turanian Empire. The reason why the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War was to take these Turanian lands from the Russians who held them at that time; to “include and unite all branches of our race.” (My italics).

There was a major complication in Asia Minor and European Turkey, however. Over the centuries many Armenians and Greeks had not become Turks, i.e. they had not learned Turkish and had not become Muslims. Clinging to their religion and their respective languages, accepting second class citizenship and paying the Jizwa, they manfully retained their national identity in a hostile sea of Islam and “Turkishness.”

Whereas the Armenian population was scattered all over the empire with a large number of them in Constantinople, the majority still lived in the original Armenian homeland, most of which has since become eastern Turkey. This concentration of Armenians would have been particularly irritating to the Turks as it stood in the way of their intended advance into the ancient “Turanian homeland.” There was certainly an Armenian independence movement by the beginning of the First World War. Organisations such as the Hunchaks and the Dashnaks were causing the government much anxiety. Their sometimes violent activities, and their tendency to sympathise with Christian Russia, are usually given as the reason for the Armenian massacres. The fact remains, however, that, even if they had not been inclined to rebel they could have no place in the new Turanian empire. As they were not Turks they would still have been marked for death or expulsion. I would place particular emphasis on this point.

The situation in Asia Minor immediately after the First World War was aggravated by the colonialist attitude of some of the victorious powers. Greeks and Armenians had a legitimate claim on Asia Minor, but French, British and Italians set about dividing much of it between them; only a small area was to be left for the Turks. Needless to say this angered the Turks, but it was not a cause of the next phase of the Armenian and Greek massacres, the “Kemalist” phase. The double genocide was going to continue with or without either Italian/British/French meddling or the impending “change of management” in the Pan-Turanian establishment.

Whereas the end of the war saw the eclipse of the Young Turks, Pan-Turanianism had already been embraced by one Mustafa Kemal and his followers. Kemal, formerly an officer in the Ottoman army and a secularist was the founder of modern secular Turkey; thus his title “Ataturk” - Father Turk. Under Kemal’s leadership most remaining Armenians were expelled or slaughtered. For instance in 1920 the Kemalists drove the French out of Marash,in that part of south east Asia Minor where they had attempted to establish a colonial presence. Needless to say, the Armenians who lived in Marash and who were unable to accompany the French to the coast were then massacred. Estimates vary, but it is thought that between five thousand and twelve thousand Armenians were murdered in this incident. We are frequently told that massacres of Armenians and Greeks were carried out by “irregulars,” implying that they were people over whom Mustafa Kemal had little or no control. Two closely related points here: firstly the destruction of the Greeks and Armenians in Asia Minor was a necessary stage in the establishment of Kemal’s new “Turanian” state. Secondly, Kemal was known to deal decisively, even ferociously with local Turkish warlords who had ideas of their own. Therefore these post First World War massacres could not have taken place without Kemal’s approval.

From then on Armenia was limited to that small part of the   country which Russia had taken from the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century. Whereas Pan-Turanian dreams of expansion eastwards were not realised at that time, it is still suggested that Turkey might absorb Azerbaijan, on its eastern border. Azeris think of themselves as Turanian though, like the Turks, they are of mostly Indo-European stock. Indeed their old Indo-European language only died out in the 17th century, to be replaced by their present Turkic language.

Omaar tells us that the Greeks invaded Turkey in 1919 intending to absorb part of western Asia Minor into the Greek kingdom as there were many Greeks in Asia Minor. In fact the Greeks did not invade Turkey as such, they occupied part of the dying Ottoman Empire. This was to create a safe haven in North West Asia Minor for all the Greeks of Asia Minor. The land they vacated could then be occupied by Turks leaving the North West.

The Greek Turkish War was not about whether population exchange should take place; both sides agreed that it should. However, in order to exchange population it is necessary to have a frontier across which to make the exchange and it was over the position of that frontier that Greeks and Turks fought. Greek communities large and small were scattered across Asia Minor. The Greek population of Smyrna on the Aegean coast was particularly large; in fact there were more Greeks there than in Athens. The Turks called Smyrna “Giaour Izmir,” that is “Infidel Smyrna.” The Greeks of the province of Trapezus on the Black Sea were so numerous that they felt justified in setting up a separate state of their own, though Athens was not interested. Perhaps Athens would have preferred these Pontic Greeks as they are called to move west and strengthen the Greek presence there. If the 1918 ratio of Greeks to Turks in European Turkey and Asia Minor has been correctly understood it would have been appropriate to place the Greek Turkish border far to the east of its present position. Eastern Thrace/European Turkey including Constantinople would have been Greek along with a sizeable portion of North West Asia Minor. However, as Omaar says, the Greeks allowed their lines of communication to be overstretched. This contributed to their disastrous and bloody defeat at the hands of Ataturk and his army who came at them, well organised and heavily armed, out of the depths of Anatolia. As with the Armenian massacres we are encouraged to believe that the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor was their own fault for siding with the invaders from the Greek kingdom against their indulgent Turkish masters. The truth is that, like the Armenians, the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire had been scheduled for “ethnic cleansing” for some time. Like the Armenians, they would have been out of place in the new “Turanian” Empire. It seems that, as far back as April, 1914, the expulsion of the Greeks had begun. The “ethnic cleansing” of the Asiatic Greeks reached its climax in 1922 when the Kemalist army fought its way into Smyrna. Certainly the Greeks had their “Megali Idea,” “The Great Idea;” that is to unite all Greeks under one flag. And this would mean extracting some land, including Constantinople, from the crumbling Ottoman Empire. One suspects that most Turks were out of their depth with Pan-Turanianism, seeing the destruction of the Armenians and Greeks as yet another Islamic jihad; certainly Muslims all over the world were delighted with the slaughter of these infidels.

The fate of the Greeks in Smyrna is one of the nastiest events in history and one of the least publicised. An American government employee in Smyrna at that time is said to have ordered American journalists to send their respective papers reports favourable to the Turks. The Greeks, unable to hold the Turks, made desperate efforts to leave. More and more of them tried to board ships in the harbour; many of them drowned. One large vessel sank. Thousands of Greeks from far inland fled towards Smyrna. Those who were not cut down on the way made the situation in the city even more intractable. The demoralised mass of fleeing humanity made excellent targets for the Kemalist machine gunners. The Turks also made good use of the opportunity to butcher the city’s Armenian community.

Whilst this was going on at least twenty warships, British, French and American remained inactive in the harbour. Having seen that the Turks were winning, their respective governments had forbidden them to intervene. Plainly Britain, France and the United States had seen that it was now in their interests - trade, oil etc. - to divert their support from Athens to Ankara. Any fugitives who swam out to the ships hoping to be rescued were refused any help and, according to one source, those who swam up to British vessels had boiling water poured on them.

Armenians and Greeks had each wanted a part of Asia Minor, but would have left enough for the Turks to establish a sizeable and “racially pure” Turanian homeland for themselves. Unfortunately the Turks wanted all Asia Minor plus Eastern Thrace which also had a substantial Greek population. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne gave the Turkish republic more or less the boundaries the Kemalists had wanted and the population exchanges were continued and, for the most part, completed. Also British, Italians and French abandoned their colonial ambitions there. The Turks have always claimed that the war in Asia Minor was their “War of Independence”. It is unfortunate that attempts by the British, Italians and French to establish a colonial foothold in Asia Minor have “muddied the waters” somewhat thus giving some credibility to this sanitised view of what would be better described as the “Turkish War of Genocide”.

The population exchanges were grossly unequal. The new Turkish republic now occupied a huge country much of which was empty of people due to the recent massacres and expulsions, a deficiency which could hardly be made good by the relatively small numbers of Turks arriving from Greece. Attempts were even made to persuade Turks living in British Cyprus to go and live in Turkey. Greece, on the other hand, a much smaller and less affluent country, had to cope with a huge influx of refugees from Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace. Even the Anatolian Karamanlis, Turkish speaking Orthodox Christians, were compelled to leave Asia Minor for Greece. This last point is interesting if considered alongside the fact that some Muslim Greeks in Asia Minor and Constantinople were allowed to stay. Had there been some horse trading between Pan-Turanian secularists and Pan-Islamists? **

In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and partitioned it to create a safe haven for their Turkish Cypriot “race brothers”. World opinion has taken little interest in this, whereas the Greeks are still reviled for having tried to do exactly the same in Asia Minor. Any one with any integrity will not fail to see the irony!

One final point. Rageh Omaar with his Somalian background must be aware that his prophet says highly unpleasant things about black people and that, in the Muslim mind, “black” equals “slave”. It must be a complete mystery to all informed people why sub-Saharan Africans and those of sub-Saharan African descent should want to be Muslims. Can we imagine a British subject of Afro-Caribbean ancestry wanting to join the B.N.P, a Jew wanting to join the Nazi Party or an Armenian or a Greek wanting to join the Grey Wolves?

It is alleged that, in Bradford, Muslims call black people “niggers.” If this is true perhaps they do so on the authority of the Holy Koran!

* Efforts made by Turks to represent themselves as being of largely Turanian descent have been only too successful. In Germany Turks have been attacked and in some cases killed by Neo-Nazis because they are (supposedly) non Aryans. Ironic!

** Despite their obvious differences, these two groups have the same ancestry. Both were descended from the pre-Turkish Christian Greek population of Asia Minor. The Karamanlis had become Turks in most things though remaining Christian and writing their Turkish speech in the Greek alphabet. The Greek speaking Muslims were descendants of Christian Greeks who, for one reason or another, had converted to Islam.

Comments powered by CComment

Joomla templates by a4joomla