Turkey, Romance, and a Diary


TIME was and a young man, rather sentimental, rather imaginative, and very romantic, took up his pen and wrote. His mood was to write of color and light and shade, of great trappings adorning a stage of pomp and circumstance, of despots and intrigue, of the loves and revenges of princes; and his mind instinctively traveled to the Orient of Hajji Baba, the Barber of Ispahan, and of Harun-al-Rashid, the Caliph of Bagdad. So he wrote of a Constantinople he had never seen, of aigretted Sultans wallowing in luxury, of mysterious Grand Vizirs haunting Royal Corridors, of multicolored Janissaries bristling with daggers, and of an Imperial Harem where he staged incidents of an improbability which to-day calls a blush to his no longer unshaven cheek. The story was refused by fourteen publishers.

Time passed and the young romantic became a soldier and went East to fight the Turks. The night before he landed in Gallipoli, his now khaki-clad romanticism had another fling, this time in verse, an effusion of eight quatrains, of which time has happily effaced the recollection of all save the last couplet: —

Where the dome of Saint Sophia
Catches the rising sun.

The masterpiece was rejected by seven periodicals. Then its author met Turks for the first time. The few he saw were dirty, undecorative, and unpleasantly fierce. Romance faded in a haze of dust and flies.

The war ended, and at last he did see Constantinople — not the Constantinople of his youthful dreams, but a Westernized garrison town, Levantine and brazen with exotic cafés managed by ladies of the Russian court. True, he saw the last Sultan making his weekly Friday progress to prayer: a pathetic, preoccupied, black-coated figure crouching in a rather dingy landau and escorted by soldiers, — could they be the Janissaries? — slovenly, ill-uniformed, and as depressed as their Imperial Master. ’Ichabod’ was written on the face of Stambul. He left it with Oriental romance dead in him.

Eight years later he steamed comfortably into the Dardanelles. During those eight years his calling had changed. New employers, with a passion for accuracy and facts and a coldness for romance and flights of fancy, had instructed him to revisit Turkey as a cosmopolitan stranger; and as such, in the darkness of a wonderful Eastern night, he landed at Chanak on the Asiatic shores of the Narrows. The landing was easy, for his passport was in order and he had been forewarned to have enough photographs of himself wherewith to satisfy the inordinate desire of New Turkey’s officialdom to register the likenesses of its visitors in triplicate on every possible occasion. Next morning he awoke to a Chanak eloquent of all that he had expected from the modernity of New Turkey.

In the East it is so easy to make casual acquaintances who in half an hour are one’s friends that on the same night he was in no whit surprised to find himself one among the many guests of the leading Moslem lawyer of the little town, who was celebrating the second anniversary of his marriage. Previous experience of Moslem hospitality to the stranger within the gates removed from him all tinge of conceit that he was invited exceptionally. He entered the house idly anticipating, from the analogy of other chance Moslem invitations elsewhere, a Gargantuan meal in a company which might or might not be enlivened by the presence of a few Greek and Armenian ladies. He was quickly aware that he was years behind New Turkish times. The reception room was full. Officialdom from the Vali downward was punctiliously represented. There were the few Greek and Armenian matrons, but, far outnumbering them, bevies of Turkish ladies, mostly young, all unveiled, smartly dressed and shod, full of inquiries about the world at large, of whose doings — mainly social — they appeared to be intense students.

A gramophone was playing loud tunes, dance tunes, but, luckily for the traveler, a sense of bewilderment overcame his instinctive inclination as a cavalier to invite his next-door neighbor to take the floor. To have done so would have violated every convention laid down by New Turkey for the conduct of mixed parties. He sat tight in his chair and, in a heightening mood of amazement, watched the Vali invite the host to open the ball. The host, with almost eighteenth-century grace, begged his wife for the pleasure, and amid the applause of their guests they danced straight through a facetious record of ‘The Bachelor Blues.’ The next dance was also ‘solo,’ the host with the old nurse of his bride, who could not dance a step, but took the floor with the air of one enjoying a prerogative that was hers and hers alone.

Convention being thus satisfied, it was open house — now a fox trot, now a waltz, now a round dance in which all took part to the rhythm of a sharply marked refrain such as one finds only on the shores of the Levant. ‘Stamp with the left foot, kick with the right, two shuffles to the side, and then all in the centre.’ The traveler, despite the impediment of rubber-soled shoes, footed it valiantly and finally mastered the steps. And as the party progressed he mastered other things as well. His first adventure on the floor had been with his host’s cousin. He brought her back to her chair along the wall for the orthodox tête-à-tête conversation à l’occidentale. But New Turkey has not advanced thus far. He was immediately joined by the lady’s brother, and conversation was with him. The emancipated woman of New Turkey is not yet wholly trusted by her menfolk, especially with a stranger.

The traveler was due to catch a boat for Constantinople at midnight, and tore himself from his sympathetic surroundings to make his way to the quay, where he was to meet the shipping company’s agent. The quay was empty of all life. Eventually he found the house of the missing official, who was extremely angry to be awakened. In justification of his nonappearance, he resorted to arithmetical calculation. The ticket cost fifteen dollars. His commission worked out at one dollar and a half. ‘It is ludicrous to expect a father of a family to rise from his bed at such an hour for so little. Good night.’ The traveler slept uneasily on a sofa in the only café still open, and realized that in twenty-four hours he had seen two separate exhibitions of New Turkey — the emancipation which revolution brings in its train, and the ‘old Adam’ of the Imperial régime.

Next morning, seven hours late, he sailed for Constantinople in a clipperbowed vessel which had started life as an American millionaire’s yacht, had later been a pleasure steamer in the Baltic, and now, an ornament of the new Turkish mercantile marine, was to carry him and seven hundred sheep to the Golden Horn.


So lengthy a preamble is only justified by an exposition of its intention. Our traveler might be anyone. He arrived in Turkey with some vague ideas of what he was going to find. Others like him in their turn will experience his reactions, the baffling type of feeling which cannot make up its mind what to deduce from this infiltration of the West into the East. In the end the traveler set himself solely to register facts, to appreciate the new, and to explore for surviving traces of the old. It was a fascinating but inconclusive study. Mustafa Kemal has been making history for the last nine years with Napoleonic zest. History will pass its judgment on his work. But the moment for the onlooker to prophesy or appraise is not yet.

Constantinople is a geographical name covering the existence of two towns: Pera on the northern and Stambul on the southern slope of the Golden Horn. Stambul is the old capital of the Byzantine empire; Pera the predominatingly non-Moslem product of the old régime and of the Capitulations. Though Stambul is still, as it has always been, entirely Turkish, the better-class Ottoman has of recent years tended increasingly to migrate across Galata Bridge to the greater amenities of Pera. Both towns are still somewhat ‘in amazement lost’ over the changes which the new régime has brought into their lives. Both resent the degradation of the old capital of the Empire. ‘Angora? Yes. Perhaps it was necessary. The Ghazi could not set up the Revolution in Constantinople. The Allies were here. The Sultan was here. Before the Treaty of Lausanne there was no room for him. But to-day? Why this bolstering up of Angora? It is miles away, a parvenu town, and a poor one at that. How would Paris like to be supplanted by Marseilles? Or London by Liverpool? Or New York by Chicago?’ So speak, on the one hand, the Turkish merchants settled in Stambul, who have been and still are, in principle, ardent Kemalists; and, on the other, the non-Moslem business men of Pera, who have lost their European protection with the abolition of the Capitulations. They do not love each other, these two classes, but on this issue they are at one. Both are suffering financially; for Angora is being created out of money drained from Constantinople and Smyrna, and these two once predominant towns have become mere ports of Anatolian Turkey and its infant capital.

Of the two, Pera, always the richer, has suffered less. Its life goes on outwardly as it did — in some respects better than it did. Many of the main streets have been repaved; religion is tolerated; the police — now regularly paid and properly equipped — are more efficient; there are fewer beggars; the trains are clean and punctual; the Bosphorus ferry services are remarkably regular and comfortable; while in the somewhat hectic atmosphere of the new régime, which not only preaches but practises the equality of all men in the eyes of Turkish law, it is to-day far more pleasant for the non-Moslem inhabitant to be one among many Trilby hats than a solitary panama bobbing about in a sea of red fezzes. But these outward amenities do not compensate for what Pera has lost. The day of the non-Turkish superiority complex is over. The Capitulations are gone; Turkish discipline applies equally to all; and the non-Turk has been forced to descend from his pedestal in deference to an authority he used to despise as inferior and impotent.

Stambul’s preoccupations are more subtle. They are the outcome of a sudden invitation from a master, who brooks no refusal, to dance to a tune which the Turks themselves had called without in the slightest realizing the difficulty of the measure which they would have to tread. The tune was a danse occidentale.

Mustafa Kemal’s nationalist programme is a combination of two policies. His first object was to destroy local non-Mosiem interference of the days of the old régime, which had, according to his diagnosis, undermined all Turkish initiative and progress politically, socially, and economically. His success has been only partial. Economically, the Turk has yet to evolve a degree of commercial aptitude which will enable him successfully to conduct for himself the trade of the country which, before 1919, he was willing to leave entirely in the hands of the now-expelled non-Moslem minorities. But socially and politically Mustafa Kemal has succeeded; and in the new Turk of his creation has been revived a pride in himself and his country which had long been dormant.

This newly regenerated Turk was by nature idle, uneducated, and conservative. His instinct was not for change or violent effort, and the Ghazi well knew that if his countrymen were left to themselves they would relapse into decline. The risk of their proving unmalleable under his proposed treatment was offset by the fact that he was their idol; that his accomplishments, in their interests, were patent; and that he had stifled all centres of possible opposition to the measures which he had in mind. The Caliph-Sultan had disappeared during the first phase of his programme. So also the Sheikh ul Islam, the highest Moslem dignitary in old Turkey, whose position carried with it the rank of cabinet minister and executive powerover the administration of the vast religious funds which pious Moslems throughout the centuries had bequeathed to Islam for the education and assistance of coreligionists.

But at the beginning of this year the Ghazi, now in unfettered control of the State, was ready to take in hand the education of his countrymen so as to ensure them against relapse à la turque. In January he embarked on a policy toward the modernization of their Oriental outlook. The great stumblingblock was Islam, emblematic of a dynastic régime he had destroyed; of a religious hierarchy which, for reactionary purposes of its own, had barred the way to national efficiency and education; of a ritual whose superstitions and practices were fatally prejudicial to his dreams of Turkish equality among the nations of the world. So he proceeded to degrade Islam by a summary alteration of the New Constitution which disestablished it as the religion of the State, and he assumed the right to dictate changes in its ritual. The liturgy of worship is unchanged, but henceforth it will be accompanied by music; pews are to be introduced for the comfort of congregations; and the worshiper need henceforth no longer take off his shoes when he enters a mosque to pray. These innovations may sound paltry, but they imply an acute break with a long past.


The first lesson in the training of the child of a wise parent has to do with himself—the folding of his clothes, the brushing of his teeth and hair, and the use of buttons. Reading and writing follow long after. Mustafa Kemal began sartorially. The fez was both uncomfortable and useless, and, apart from the odd and now forgotten fact that it originated not in Turkestan but in Greece, it had come, during the period of non-Moslem ascendancy in Turkey, to be the mark of the Turk, and had, as such, fostered an inferiority complex. Nor was the veil Turkish. It was but a modern compromise with a convention of the desert, where the charms of woman are safer hid. Both fez and veil were, according to the Ghazi, anachronistic and out of keeping with his aspirations toward a new and modern Turkey. The discarding of the veil, although optional, has been in Constantinople, Angora, and the other town centres practically general; but farther east public opinion has hitherto rejected the innovation. The fez, on the other hand, has gone for all time. Rumor has it, however, that many, especially among the older men, still wear the old headdress of their fathers concealed somehow under the stiffness of a Homburg; while others, who have resorted to Western caps as the lesser of two evils, turn the brim over the nape of the neck lest it might interfere with their proper prostrations when they turn to pray toward the birthplace of the Prophet.

The Ghazi saw his sartorial reform through in 1925, but waited another three years before he put the child to his books. The Sheikh ul Islam being no more, the control and the finances of the religious schools had passed into state administration; the personnel of the Government was solidly behind him; his hand was over commercial Turkey so that it would do his bidding. And his bidding was that Turkish script and numerals should be Westernized. ‘How would Paris like to wake one day and be told that henceforth it would read its newspapers in Arabic type? Or New York that its business correspondence was to be conducted in Coptic writing? Or the boys of Eton and Harrow that they should submit their next essay in Japanese characters?’ An old hodja of Kavak on the Bosphorus spoke thus to the traveler on a ferryboat, and spoke low because he knew that what he was saying almost amounted to treason. But publicly he, like everyone else, subscribes to the change, for the word of him who must be obeyed is final. So the Ghazi has started an A B C class in Constantinople, and attends it himself; his suite has already passed an examination in the new alphabet. The Prime Minister, Ismet Pasha, who won the Treaty of Lausanne, has officially informed the Government that he has mastered the new characters and is ready to sit for the Ghazi’s certificate.

Doubtless the change is for the good. Turkish was doubly puzzling to the average Westerner because of its script; for the same reason European languages were doubly difficult for the Turkish schoolboy to assimilate. Mustafa Kemal intends that the Turk of the future shall be found more approachable at home, and shall find easier avenues to understanding of the West abroad. Meanwhile the Turkish language will survive. The yolk of an egg is always yellow, even though, at Easter time, the shell is painted all the colors of the rainbow.

The youth of New Turkey in Stambul, as elsewhere, is with the Ghazi in his innovations; for modern youth the world over is to-day inclined toward indifference to religion, be it Christian, Moslem, or Jewish. With regard to education, the Turkish schoolboy, the bank clerk, the junior official, may find the learning of the new alphabet an irksome amusement; but it is an amusement, for it is a novelty, and youth loves novelty, and everybody in Turkey is doing it, and youth likes to be in the swim. But the reaction of the older generations is less enthusiastic.

There are many grandfathers in Stambul. Talk to them in the silences of the night in the privacy of their own homes. They will tell of accessions, of the state processions of Abdul-Hamid, of Rashid, of Vaheduddin, and of poor Abdul-Mejid — the pomp and circumstance of the brilliant cavalcade from Dolma Batche Palace on the Bosphorus, the passage of Galata Bridge and the steep climb through old Stambul, past the Sublime Porte, and finally to Saint Sophia itself. There, the public exhibition of the sacred relics of the Prophet — the hairs of his beard, his sword, which the new Caliph girded on, his robe, which he donned. Those days are gone and the relics are—who knows where? Are they in Angora? Are they destroyed? The Government took them into its charge in 1924. Memories alone remain of the great days of the social and religious pomp and glory of Imperial Turkey and of the old aristocracy, not only of Imperial days, but also of the period of Enver Pasha’s supremacy. To-day a trip up the Bosphorus shows how the glory has departed. Palaces that were once show places — and, maybe, nests of intrigue — are rotting emptily into decay. The Yildiz Kiosk was licensed as a casino until reckless gambling produced such a crop of Turkish bankruptcies and suicides that it had to be closed. The Dolma Batche Palace is where the Ghazi holds his A B C classes. Bebek is a desolation. Top Kapou, standing high behind its ramparts overlooking Seraglio Point, is a museum where the trappings of past Imperial glory are exposed for view of all and sundry. And, saddest and most ominous feature of all, this year the new Government actively discouraged the ‘ true believers ’ from making the Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Such are the reflections of the old men, but it must not be inferred therefrom that there exists in Turkey any sincere desire for the return of the political power of the House of Othman. In no quarter was there any demur when it was decreed that the word ‘Sultan’ must no longer be heard in Turkish speech. But these Sultans were also Caliphs. The expulsion of the two last scions of the House — Vaheduddin to die in poverty and, after many wanderings, to find a stealthy tomb in Damascus; and Abdul-Mejid (Caliph only, not SultanCaliph) to eke out an ignominious existence on the Riviera, supported by Indian charity—provoked a sympathy among older Turks which has become almost reverence since Islam was attacked. Once Caliph of Islam, always Caliph, even though Angora may publish a decree banning the use in general Turkish parlance of what is the commonest phrase of all Mohammedan conversation: Insha’allah (‘Please God’).


Constantinople is depressing because it is depressed. The traveler became subconsciously oppressed by the atmosphere of resentment and disillusion; and this resentment was all the more unpleasant to witness because his previous experience of the barrenness of the laus temporis acti of the Faubourg St.-Germain left him with uneasy doubts as to whether its Turkish counterpart was altogether justified. But his task was to investigate facts, not to draw conclusions; and, having seen one side of the picture in Constantinople, his next duty was to see the other, New Turkey in New Angora.

Angora lies some three hundred and fifty miles eastward from the Bosphorus. A sleeping-car train makes the journey in fourteen comfortable hours, and the new Angora Hotel is luxurious almost to the point of dissipation. Angora is a curious place. It has a long history written on the ruined walls of a Roman temple dating from Augustus, and on the castellated battlements of the Byzantine fort which crowns the rocky hill on the slopes of which clusters the old town. This old town — a squalid, rambling Oriental hamlet — was all that there was to Angora in 1919 when Mustafa Kemal chose it as his capital. It is true that it had two assets — its railway connection with the West and its strategic inaccessibility — to offset its total unsuitability as a centre of government; but lying, as it did, in the middle of a malarial plain, the old town otherwise possessed absolutely no potential advantages. It had neither housing nor sanitation, and certainly offered no prospect of adaptation to any scheme of more modern town planning. But it was safe, and to a revolutionary government safety compensates for much. So, with the full force of the Ghazi’s dynamic energy behind the effort, New Turkey set itself by Turkish endeavor to build out from the old mediaeval village a capital worthy of the New State.

That was nine years ago. During the Greek war there was little money other than for military needs; but victory not only brought military reductions in its train, but also opened the coffers of Constantinople and Smyrna; and in 1923 the active work of construction began. The old town has been left intact on its hill with its dirty narrow lanes, its smelly hovels, and its peasant population; and it is only where it ends that the new town has been projected across the plain, which had, as a first necessity, to be drained clear of malaria. Once across these now mosquitoless flats, it spreads out on the slopes of a low ridge of hills where the Ghazi has planned the residential quarter of his new capital. But progress was slow, for the task was immense; and Angora since 1919 has not always been the bed of roses it appeared in May 1928.

‘It is all very well for you to be enthusiastic. You have only been here a day. I have been here three years. In the early days we Europeans had to lead a Klondyke sort of existence. I remember, when I came here first in the winter of 1924, the railway carriage had no windows and was infested with legacies of the war of all shapes and colors. The journey took fifty hours. The only hotel had six beds in every room and a single washbasin. When we went to the restaurant, we took a newspaper with us as a tablecloth; and a candle (which we supplied) stuck in a bottle (which we supplied) was all the light we had for steering tough goatsteak from our tin plates to our mouths. There was a mail — sometimes — and a train — sometimes. Things are better to-day. This is a decent hotel, but it’s awful to be stuck here. These New Turks are so suspicious that one can’t get anything done. They talk and talk and tie up everything in such a tangle that it takes years to get a decision; and when you get it, as likely as not it is not what you want.’

‘But they are doing all right, are n’t they — I mean for themselves?’

‘Rather. Trust them. I was n’t thinking so much of them. I was thinking of myself. I wish I could get a transfer to Paris or New York. This place is on my nerves. It’s so deadly dull.’

There is no need to prolong the conversation. Angora, even to-day, is socially devastating, and from the business and diplomatic point of view it must be often exasperating. For the New Turk is at bottom still the Old Turk, with all the gentle evasiveness of the old régime. To-day he excuses his dilatory methods. They are not due to incompetence or slackness; they are intentional. For the predominant instinct in Mustafa Kemal’s official attitude is a determination not to be exploited as Old Turkey, in the days of such wily concession hunters as the Baron Hirsch, was systematically exploited.

The traveler, however, found an Angora far from dull, and exciting almost beyond his dreams. The climb to the Byzantine citadel is steep. Aimless donkeys, twin-slung with petrol tins carrying water from the valley, block the narrow twisting thoroughfares; the hide and grain markets, thronged with noisy buyers and sellers, splay all over the roadway; ubiquitous bootblacks, vendors of sweetmeats and lemonade, importune vainly. But there are no guides and no touts; for the West and tourism have not yet come to Angora. From the ramparts of the citadel, the old and the new lie exposed in panorama. A string of camels laden with stone for new construction is holding up a violently hooting contractor’s lorry in the valley four hundred feet below. Halfway up the hill a peasant, who has ridden in on his donkey from a neighboring village, is talking to a friend who leans out of a yellow motor-bus window. On a wall, across which the minaret of the town mosque throws a tapering shadow, is a brilliantly colored notice of the imminent arrival of a new film, ‘Abdul, the Damned.’ And away south, across the waste of what was the Christian quarter of Old Angora before it was burned out during the war, stretch the broad black ribbons of the Ghazi’s new arterial roads, which are the backbone of New Angora’s town planning.

The cleavage between the old and the new is sudden and arresting. Old Angora had a main street. It has been widened, is flanked with modern — all Turkish — shops, has a taxi rank, and is the terminus of all motor-bus services. Where it ends, the new town planning begins, and at the point of junction is a huge equestrian statue of the Ghazi. It doubly epitomizes New Turkey’s break with the past. In the first place, statues were taboo in Turkey; elsewhere in Islam they still are. But the Ghazi regarded the restriction as an anachronistic superstition, and to-day he is celebrated in no less than four statues — one in Stambul on Seraglio Point, the other three in Angora. The second demonstration of the emancipation of Turkey is revealed by a study of the monument itself. The Ghazi, astride his horse, is facing west to Europe, not southeast to Mecca. On the plinth are two reliefs, the first depicting him as generalissimo in the Greek war, the second as President of the new Republic, signing the National Pact. Round the pedestal are three figures. Two modernly equipped soldiers, rifle in hand, scan the western horizon. At the rear is a peasant woman, carrying a shell on her shoulder and ‘doing her bit’ by helping to feed the guns. It is the recognition of woman in the new State.

Below and facing the statue is the old Parliament House where the Pact was signed, which is now preserved as a national monument and as the headquarters of the Popular (the only) Party in Turkey. It proved to be too small for the new Government’s needs, and just below it the present Parliament was completed this year. It is an unpretentious building, — more like a country villa than a Chamber of Deputies,— standing in artificial grounds which were created richly on a slope which was once Old Angora’s rubbish heap. Within, the traveler found proceedings — as is ever the case when there is no opposition — so decorous and dull that it might have been a welldrilled shareholders’ meeting rather than a state assembly. The Strangers’ Gallery commands an oblong and very commonplace hall, set with rows of desks, rather like a school, all facing the Speaker’s rostrum. He, conspicuous in evening dress, presides from the uppermost tier of a three-decker type of pulpit; below him a row of parliamentary secretaries; on the lowest tier, the forum whence members address the House. And over his head, blazoned in gilt and still in Arabic characters, the legend of the State: ‘The Sovereignty belongs to the People.’ It was all terribly orderly. Speeches were short, but intently followed. There was a division. Two silver ballot boxes were carried into the House and placed before the Speaker; and, one by one, the members were summoned from their seats by a secretary and rather sheepishly recorded their vote. The Ghazi, as President, opens each parliamentary session; but otherwise he appears only when some exceptional legislation is under debate. Then, from the recesses of an almost royal box, he supervises with a paternal eye to ensure that nothing goes wrong with his plans.

The Parliament, the Club, and the Hotel are the heart of Angora; with the government offices and the banks, which are all new buildings and in the neighborhood, they constitute the Whitehall of Turkey. But they are only the beginning of New Angora, which the traveler had yet to see.

‘I said good-bye to the Secretary of the Chamber, and told him I wanted to visit the new town in a motor bus. He handed me over to a uniformed usher, and, thus gallantly escorted, I was dumped in a fine bus where my introduction from such distinguished sources made me at once the cynosure of all eyes. Everyone was very nice and there was a sort of “general post,” which I did not understand until I found myself seated by a pleasant young man who addressed me in French. Apparently the usher had told all and sundry that I knew no Turkish, and the “general post” was to ensure me intelligible company at my side. The young man explained how much I had to pay, and then started telling me what we were passing. They are very proud of the Ghazi’s new road — and well they may be. It is about twenty-five yards wide, paved like a French chaussée, only far less bumpy, and most of the way divided into “up and down” traffic channels by a row of trees in the middle. First we passed the New Museum, which is fronted by another equestrian statue of Kemal; then a dip under the railway and a long run across the flats. My Cicero pointed me out the drains which had been dug to do away with the marshes and the mosquitoes.

‘The new town had the appearance of a young garden city. Wide byroads branched off our main boulevard. At least a thousand houses have been already built, and more are under construction, all of the villa type, with stucco walls, red roofs, and loggias facing north for coolth during the summer. My friend grinned rather maliciously when I asked who lived in one very conspicuous mansion, designed rather on the lines of a German cubist film creation and positively bristling with wireless masts. It was the Bolshevist Embassy.

‘Soon we were climbing wide welldesigned sweeps up the hillside, which was green with fruit trees planted in the last five years. It will be lovely. As the road got steeper, the zigzags were shorter, and at every turn I was pointed out the house of one or another notable — Ismet’s house, Fewzi’s house, and the British Legation. What I wanted to see was the Ghazi’s house. We reached our terminus, and still I had n’t seen it. I inquired somewhat diffidently — et pour cause. No one, my informant told me, sees it. He pointed to the summit and to two policemen. “He lives up there, but you’re not allowed to pass.”

‘My friend, Orientalwise and somewhat embarrassingly, placed himself entirely at my disposal. We stood on the roadside waiting for the bus to start off again and looked back across New Angora to the old town, which showed up gray-pink in the afternoon sun. He lived in Old Angora. The rents of the new houses are high and his salary was low. But he was getting along fine in the New Government, and his French gave him a grand start, as he already knew the scheme of our A B C. On the way home we talked of Palestine. It was very jolly. He had been a Turkish soldier in Jerusalem when we got in in 1917. I rushed back to the hotel, got out my diary, and wrote like fury.’


Angora leaves an impression of brave beginnings. There are also concrete accomplishments; but there is still much to be accomplished. The traveler is aware of two emotions as his train carries him back to the Bosphorus — first, the hope that Angora will succeed, for it is a great effort and its daring evokes sympathy; secondly, an overmastering curiosity regarding the personality who, on the one hand, is author of its creation and, on the other, is turning all Turkey topsy-turvy.

A description of the Ghazi reveals him as a physically sturdy figure of patent military type. He is neither tali nor short; he is polished rather than good-looking, and powerful rather than rugged. His jaw is firm and his temples wide; his forehead high, his nose long and straight, and his complexion sallow. His character lies in his eyes, which are hard and piercing, save when they relapse into a twinkle, and in his lips, which are ominously thin. His appearance proclaims him to be what he has proved himself to be — a good friend or a very redoubtable enemy. To-day, to explain rather than to condone the many questionable stories which are current about his private life, it is well to remember that from 1910 to 1922, through the Italian and the two Balkan wars, through the Great War, and finally during his campaign against the Greeks, he was practically continuously on active service, living the hard life of a soldier and not the easy existence of the palace courtier.

As a soldier, he made his reputation both by his bravery in the field of battle and by his competence and outspokenness in the councils of war; and a soldier he still is in outlook and in habit. Be his habits what they may, since he entered civil life he has increased and not marred the reputation that he made for himself as a soldier, which is a tribute that can rarely be paid to the soldier turned civilian. The secret of his success lies in his long study of men. He watched and learned from the rise and fall of others in Turkey; he studied the reasons of their successive eclipses, and learned his lesson from their inconsistencies, their disloyalties, their intrigues, their selfseekings, and, above all, their indifference to the fate of the Turkish ‘man in the street.’ His post-war policy had two distinct phases — the destructive and the constructive. In the first he had periodically to enlist the support of the normal agencies of revolution. He had to legislate ruthlessly, to punish ruthlessly, and to obtain revenge ruthlessly; and he used these agencies indiscriminately as his creatures according to the needs of the moment, but always within strict limits prescribed by him, and only for as long as their utility for the particular purpose in view remained. He rewarded those who served him well; those whom a momentary importance tempted to aspire higher, even to the point of risking a challenge of the supreme control, he dealt with inexorably.

There was a row a year ago. Two of the Ghazi’s temporary lieutenants challenged his authority. They bearded him at his house in Angora after a session of Parliament. One of them called him a blackguard. Kemal kept very cool and replied: ‘Right. Now my turn. I’ll prove what you are.’ A week later the man was arraigned before the courts for corruption, which Kemal did prove; to-day he is doing two years’ imprisonment in Constantinople.

But throughout the Ghazi was aware that after destruction must come the positive programme of construction, and he chose his men early and well for this second phase. It is to his and their credit that through all the vicissitudes of the post-war nationalist movement in Turkey he held to them and they to him. To-day the country is governed by a triumvirate—the Ghazi; Ismet Pasha, the Prime Minister and President of the Popular Party; and Fewzi Pasha, the Minister of War. Their rule is a dictatorship. And it is a fine combination of qualities: the Ghazi’s popular appeal; Ismet’s disarming adroitness, a mixture of genuine deafness and (as the Allies found at Lausanne) of apparent innocence; Fewzi’s sphinxlike devotion to discipline and efficiency. Turkey is luckier than Italy, who has only Mussolini; and the fact that there is a triumvirate and that it is harmonious assures continuity in any event. Events are not uncommon in Turkey. There have been three, if not more, attempts on the Ghazi’s life.

‘When they shot at him and attempted to blow up his train, he laughed. “Why do they want to kill me? I’ll die of my own accord one of these days.” He is a wonderful fellow, and must be the hell of a tiger.’

The traveler opened his diary as his boat for Athens was slipping past Seraglio Point out into the Marmora. Past Prinkipo he was still reading. The sun was setting as he closed the book. He looked over the stern to the north, where Stambul had faded into purple haze. The last sentence he had read contained the only conclusion he had reached during his meanderings: —

‘Before coming I wrote of disillusion and the fading of romance; that Modern Islam and Modern Turkey were bound to be vulgar and sordid; that I wished I was going to see old Imperial Turkey and all its glory. I was miles wide of the mark. I’ve seen the new romance of energy, and it has not been unsympathetic. I’m cured, and I’m coming back again.’