Diaries

12/5/1914

Tues 12. [12 May 1914] Reached Smyrna [Izmir] early. Mr Sayer and I went on shore, drove round about and called on Edward Whittall. He said that things were very bad here. They have an infamous Vali, strong Committee man. Policy of intolerable pinpricks against the Greeks, seemingly in the hope that they will be forced to leave and the Turks step into their place as merchants. The Whittalls have tried taking Turkish clerks but have been obliged to abandon the attempt, they are so hopelessly stupid. The Vali and authorities are inciting the Mohammadan population against the Xians and Mr Whittall fears a massacre. The Vali is also most insolent to foreigners. A few days ago he told a British firm of fig buyers that he had issued orders that figs were not to be sold to them. This has been reported to the Consulate at C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]. Terrible plague of locusts, things very black. Constant reports that the Greeks are going to make war with Turkey for the islands which the Turks won't give up. Mr W. says he does not see how they can give up Chios [Khios] and Mytelene [Mitilini] guarding the great port of Smyrna. They are strenghtening the garrisons - 200 officers passed through yesterday. The great talk about the Turkish navy and the buying of new Dreadnoughts make the Greeks feel they must hurry. My guide yesterday said they were bound to fight Turkey on the sea. They were not afraid of Bulgaria because Roumania stands behind her. The Captain of this ship took out Mark Kerr and his officers. He says he hears they are making little head way with the Greeks. The latter are so puffed up that it is impossible to teach them anything.

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