Turkey Has Shot Her Bolt

By Henry Morgenthau
(Former Ambassador of the United States to Turkey)

[The Independent, November 9, 1918]

We here in the United States must realize that Turkey has at last shot her bolt. She is finished. She has demonstrated her absolute inability to govern herself or the Christians and Jews and Arabs that live in her domains. During this Great War she was given an opportunity really to conduct her government untrammeled by capitulatory restrictions and free from the interference of the big nations. What use did she make of this opportunity? She wilfully, shamelessly murdered about two million Armenians, Greeks, Syrians, etc. She exploited her own people to such an extent that they are now hopelessly ruined and starving. She foolishly allied herself with Germany and sacrificed over a million of her own youths. She has reduced her country to an almost hopeless condition.

There is no one at present in Turkey, whether he holds the rank of Sultan or Grand Vizier, who can establish a strong enough government to prevent anarchy, and the revolution which will follow in the wake of a military defeat. The nation is absolutely without resources, is economically and economically and morally bankrupt, and cannot be reorganized from within. At last, after 450 years of Turkey's parasitic possession of these beautiful countries, it is within the power of the Christian nations to recover the Bible lands and forever exterminate the rule of the wild barbaric tribe that now misgoverns them. In these countries which the Turks overran and which they have simply used during all these centuries as conquered territory, they have not succeeded in any way in developing their resources, or in assimilating their people, or in keeping in line with the progress of modern times.

Turkey and the Balkan States were the cause of this war. The Near East has been the festering sore of the world. Unfortunately this war has uncovered other perhaps more serious conditions, particularly Russia. Still we must not forget that the root of all this difficulty was in that district and now with Mesopotamia, Palestine and Syria in the possession of the English, and Turkey completely isolated from her allies, and unable to secure either ammunition or food, it is unquestionably the proper time to perform a major operation on the patient.

This is no time to hesitate and every one who at all studies the conditions of Turkey must come to the conclusion that it will require military occupation for some years to establish security of life and property, to introduce a system of education, reform the judicial system and repair as far as may tie possible the fearful damage done to the Armenians, Greeks, Syrians, etc., by reinstating the survivors in their towns and villages.

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013

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