Diaries

12/7/1909

Monday July 12. [12 July 1909] Sir G. [Gerard Lowther] said on Sat. they brought in a law for the degrading of all officers who had received official rank higher than their due from Abd ul Hamid. They filled the Chamber with young officers armed with revolvers and so carried the 1st reading, just as they did over the Kiamil business. It is the wild desire for an academic purity just like the proposal to do away with all titles and call every one simple effendi. Mahmud Shevket, who is a patriot, says it won't make any difference to him if he is degraded; he is willing to serve as a simple soldier. Mahmud Mukhtar is furious and says he will leave (He is violently pro German but we saved him in April. His men wanted to shoot him, he escaped to the Whittall's house and thence to a German boat, we having said he was not to be touched.) Von der Goltz arrives today and stays with him - a great mistake as he is very unpopular and V.d.G. is thus associating himself with one side in the army quarrel. The Turks don't mean to pay any indemnities for the massacre - it wd be a dangerous example. They shelter behind the Russian precedent and have returned verbatim the Russian answer. Mr F. [Fitzmaurice] says we can get our indemnities if we like by quoting a precedent of our own where we paid all indemnities - Uganda I think. Came in to C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)] at 11.15 and lunched at the P.P. Then across to Stambul and to K. Aya Sofia. The traceries are certainly later than those of the Tur Abdin. Note on the piers a single moulding, ........ motif. On the upper capital only the side turned inward is worked deep so as to show from below. That gives point to the colour quality aimed at in the under cuttings. The dome at the angles of the octagon set thus: [sketch], but very shallow. The lowest moulding round the piers a sort of adaptation of the fan shaped acanthus; it is more widely open and a flower springs out of it. So home to tea. At 6.30 came Sir A Block and talked till 8. He began by saying he was an optimist. The young men mean to win and they will sweep everything before them, if necessary clear all the present lot out, conquer C'ple again and turn them out. They will have honest men in the provinces and everywhere. They will turn every official out if necessary and they will hold the inert provinces with the army. Here everyone is really reactionary; on Ap 13 there was religious movement in the air: Din. The Liberals much to blame for Ap 13; they fomented the religious feeling probably, using every tool they cd find against the Committee. The Committee had given them cause. The stick for the man with the stick says the Arab proverb. The Sheikh ul Islam before April was asked if the Sultan wd be faithful to the Constitution. Yes said he, because he is old, he is ill and he is a coward. If the Sultan had dared he cd have put himself at the head of the army and swept the floor, but he hesitated as he always did. No Constitutional movement cd have taken place if he had not been broken in health. No proof against him, but probably his entourage intrigued. But he cd have stopped the thing if he had chosen. If Salonica [Thessaloniki (Saloniki)] had not come up he wd have come back into his old place. Everyone was terrified, Committee, Liberals everyone. The soldiers wd have massacred harems - Ahmed Riza's women were right to be afraid. Not only was native C'ple reactionary but all the foreigners against it but us, Germans French (Sir A in Paris saw a telegram of jubilation from the Ottoman bank saying the Constitution is dead) because they were doing the Turks and making money by their financial schemes, the Germans of course, the Italians, the Austrians who have always spoken in terms of contempt and hatred of the new men. All Pera too: the big Greek financiers. The Committee is now in the hands of the young officers, the older men don't really like it. The question is what will Von der Goltz do? he cannot possibly allow the sort of liberty these young men are enjoying - even insubordination. Can he bring them in to heel? Sir A. does not think they will stand it clearly. He knows that the Sheik ul Islam who is very enlightened, is sending orders to the provinces commanding Moslems to be at peace with Xians. He insists on the inertia of the provinces and they will not move unless they are organised and the Committee are sharply on the watch. He has no idea how the Committee is managed or who runs it. He does not know whether Jarid is in the inner body, he expects Na'il is. Probably {Ostrogoff(?)} Ostrorog knows; he is a French subject knows intimately all the leaders and has now been given office. The provincial governors need not only selecting but egging on. Mr Crawford says that if he is not always at his Custom House people they fall back in an instant into their old ways. Sir A thanks heaven that Abd ul Hamid is gone. The Times leader of Ap17 disgraceful. He thinks we need not fear Germany. The Turk will always turn to us and he knows we will give him fair play. We shall do the Euphrates rly he thinks. He says Nuradunghian will go; his report is too childish. That is only Sir W. Willcock's preliminary report not made after his winter's work. The doubt about his scheme is sufficient population to work the land. [Written at top of page:] My Konia [Konya (Iconium)] friend Tewfik Abuzia[?] is in England

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