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The New York Times, September 8, 1889, p.13:




    INEKHBOLI, Western Anatolia, Oct 15.--The splendid weather which has accompanied us from Armenia is deserting us at last, and the persistent rain threatens to make our projected trip to Mount Olympus a duty rather than a pleasure. Worse still, the cholera in Spain appears to have frightened away the steamers which formerly touched at Gibraltar, and it seems only too probable that our visit to the coast of Morocco will have to be postponed after all.

    But even now that the "Land of the Rising Sun" (Anatolia) has become the land of the falling rain, the change has luckily come too late to spoil one of the finest panoramas in Western Asia. The ancient Greeks knew what they were about when they planted so many snug little colonies in the hollows of the great mountain wall which overhangs the Black Sea from Batoum [now Bat'umi, Georgia] almost to the mouth of the Bosphorus, and the pious moralist who called attention to the wisdom of Providence in making a river run past almost every large town, might with equal justice have admired the benevolent dispensation that planted a commodious harbor in front of almost every Greek settlement.

    Batoum, which, though wrestled from Turkey only six years ago, has already supplanted Poti [also in Georgia] as the chief port of the Western Caucasus, is now the recognized starting point for travelers who wish to go by sea along the Anatolian coast to Constantinople [Istanbul]. But as the creeping train from Tiflis [Tbilisi, Georgia], which spends 15 hours over a distance that might be easily covered in six, does not reach Batoum till 11:21 P. M., (one's first impresson of the great Armenian seaport is naturally of the same kind as Paddy's idea of moonlight: "Good luck to the moon, she's a fine, noble craytur, and gives us the daylight all night in the dark,") the only thing visible through the great wall of blackness that hems you in is the faint glimmer of the sea on the one hand and of the treacherous marsh pools on the other.

    But when you look out of your window at sunrise the next morning, the panorama that lies before you might well repay a much longer journey. To your left, blue and bright and smooth as when they were first created, lie the clear shining waters of the Black Sea. On a strip of flat sandy beach between the open sea and the harbor cluster the queer particolored houses and low round domes and tall white minarets, and straggling, uneven, dirty streets of the town, all mixed up together in the "happy-go-lucky" fashion characteristic of the East, as if they had just been shot down here from the mouth of a sack. Beyond the harbor, in endless curves of dark green, purple, or cold stony gray, rise the hills of Lazistan, rearing their vast crescent-shaped bulwark around the cherished city; and through the gaps in the great rampart other hills are seen looming dimly far in the distance, ridge above ridge, till all melts at last into the ghostly white mist that still hovers along the eastern sky.

    Very still and peaceful they look, those grand old hills, lying there in the deep hush of early morning, with the smooth water of the harbor sleeping in purple shadow at their feet. But they were terribly alive seven years ago, when these silent ridges echoed with the ceaseless thunder of the cannon that bristled along every hilltop, while all around them, like poppies amid the long rank grass, rose the scarlet caps of the Turkish soldiers, whose watchful eyes were ever strained toward the opposing heights, where, dimly seen through clouds of rolling smoke, loomed the shadowy masses of the gray-coated Russians. Bitter, indeed, must it have been for the gallant "children of the Czar" to be so long withstood by their hereditary foes--bitterer still for their leader, Gen. Oklobjio, whose hot Montenegrin blood must have chafed fiercely at being thus held at bay by the hated Turk with whom his countrymen had waged successful war for more than 400 years.

    Meanwhile, the outer world yawned over the few brief telegrams which compressed all this whirlwind of bloodshed and passion and misery into the simple heading, "Siege of Batoum," languidly wondering "why on earth the fellows can't go ahead a bit instead of sitting still and doing nothing." But it was not by doing nothing that on a certain memorable Summer evening in 1877 the whole slope of yonder bold rocky height, which stands up against the sky on the further side of the harbor, was strewn as thickly with Russian corpses as it now is with fallen leaves. It was the key of the Turkish position, and Skobeleff himself might have been proud of the three desperate assaults wherewith the Russians strove to storm it in the teeth of a fire as murderous as either Plevna [Pleven, Bulgaria, battle in Russo-Turkish War] or Inkerman [battle in Crimean War, Nov. 5, 1854 at Sevastopol, Ukraine].
    But within those intrenchments were hands and hearts as strong as their own, and not without reason did one of the bravest of Batoum's defenders observer with stern satisfaction when the siege was over: "It was the will of Allah that the city should fall, but not that the unbelievers should take it by force."

    As our steamer heads westward along the coast toward Trebizond, we see far away upon the sandy beach the two rows of stumpy little hearthbroom trees which the Russians are trying to persuade to grow into a boulevard, but these and the straggling streets behind them, and even the frowning ridges overhead, speedily vanish into the gathering darkness of night, and when the morrow's sunrise streams through the purple clefts of the Armenian mountains it lights up a widely different scene. Right in front of us a vast rocky height rises sheer up out of the sea, falling away in steep, grassy slopes to right and left, the more distant of which juts out into the clear, bright water in a long, narrow, precipitous headland very much like a gigantic pier. All along the side of this natural jetty houses of every color--blue, pink, white, green, yellow, uniformly surmounted by the red roofs which are a prominent feature of all Anatolian cities--peep through masses of dark-green foliage, above which the tall, white, slender minarets glisten like silver spears in the cloudless sunshine. Other houses cluster along the water's edge in the hollow of the curving bay, while along the hillside above a row of sombre cypresses, the sentinels of death, keep their silent watch over the tall, narrow headstones of a Turkish burial ground.

    High over all, the dark ruins of an ancient fortress, massive even in decay, frowns sullenly upon the approaching steamer, like barbarism scowling at the advance of civilization. But in this spot it is really civilization which has given place to barbarism. Twenty-two centuries ago this very town was a celebrated harbor and seat of commerce, and yonder green ridge may perhaps be the same from the crest of which Xenophon and his far-famed "ten thousand," weary of their long struggle over the burning plains of Persia, hailed their first glimpse of the smooth, sunlit waters below with a joyous shout of "Thalassa, thalassa!" (The sea, the sea!") But the obscure Tartar herdsmen who were then gnawing half-raw horseflesh far away on the Central Asian steppes are now lords of the fair uplands of Anatolia, and the Greek colony of Trapezus has become the Turkish port of Trebizond [Trabzon, Turkey].

    Early as it is, the town is already astir, for in the scorching East men soon learn to appreciate the value of the cool morning hours when the sun has not yet come forth in his might to make the whole earth and sky what Mrs. Malaprop might have styled "a burning fiery fern case." Ankle-deep in water upon a low black reef of half-sunken rock, which juts out from the base of the headland like the snout of a sword-fish, stands a bare-limbed fisherman, drawing his net with a radiant force, which shows that he has begun the day by making a pretty good haul.
    Half a dozen red-capped Turkish soldiers are moving about on the brow of the precipice which terminates the promontory, from which four or five cannon, pointed over a low grassy earthwork, look wickedly down at us through their small, black, narrow eyes. Just below them a swarm of ragged fellows are laboring upon the stone breakwater, which is creeping out from the headland foot by foot.

    Upon the other beach on the other side of the bay a gang of half-clad boys are clambering about the rocks, and shouting with laughter as a larger wave than usual bursts right over them in showers of glittering spray. Higher up the slope crop up ever and anon amid the fresh green of the clustering vines and feathery maize fields the white turbans of the peasants who are already at work there. A sturdy countryman, whose scanty dress discloses a show of muscles worthy of a prize-fighter, comes tramping down the steep, narrow path that winds along the face of the hill, driving before him a donkey which carries two huge baskets covered with vine leaves, and probably containing some of those magnificent white grapes which figured on our dinner table last night. The very sea around us is all alive with gaudily painted boats and swarthy faces and bare brown arms and quaint, particolored brigand-like dresses, while shouts of "Caique, Effendi?" ("Boat, Sir?") make the air ring.

    Our first officer rashly assures me that we shall stay here only "poltora tchasoff," (an hour and a half,) forgetting that within the memory of man nothing was ever yet known to be ready at the appointed time in a Turkish port. The "hour and a half" is prolonged to rather more than 12 hours, and not until nightfall do we get fairly started for our next port, Kerasund [Giresun, Turkey], which we reach just after daybreak on the following morning.
    On the way thither I notice for the first time a big, powerful stolid-looking man dressed as an officer of the Russian merchant navy, who is smoking a cigar just abaft the cabin skylight. At first I take him for a native, but his Russian, though fluent, is manifestly that of a foreigner. I am still puzzling over his nationality, when the sudden lighting up of his heavy features at my casual mention of our travels in Montenegro and our meeting with Prince Nikita Petrovitch gives me the clue to the riddle. He is a Montenegrin, and altough shorter and fatter than would be considered becoming by the stately giants among whom we felt so insignificant four years ago, he has evidently retained all the fire and energy of these hot-blooded mountaineers in spite of his long residence among the more phlegmatic Slavs of Russia.

    Even more interesting in her own peculiar way is our Russian stewardess, whose reminiscences would be priceless to any historian of the present generation. Over and above her countless voyages in the Eastern seas, she has been attached to Gen Skobeleff's hospital staff before Plevna, and has witnessed all the vicissitudes of that memorable siege which was to the great struggle of 1877 what that of Sebastopol was to the Crimean war. Stout, elderly, and short of breath though she is this energetic old lady has a "masterful' way about her worthy of Dickens's Mrs. Bagnet, who "made her way home from the other end of the world with nothing but a cotton umbrella."

    "After the second battle at Plevna," says she, "you could hardly put your foot down where there wasn't a dead man buried, and of course they hadn't time to bury them very deep down, so they were lying just on the surface all over the hills round the camp, like plums on an Easter cake. So what with the heat of the July sun, and what with all these thousands of dead under our very noses you may think what a time we had of it. The soldiers kept sickening and sickening till I thought we should have had the whole army in the hospital.
    "All the houses and huts for miles around Plevna had been gutted and half destroyed, so there was no shelter to be got from them, and any one who could sleep on some damp straw in the bottom of a cart thought himself mighty lucky. Most of us lay on the bare ground, and when the heavy Autumn rains came beating upon us at night, it was just like some one switching us with a rod.
    "That Skobeleff was a wonder, he was indeed. He never got tired, and he was never at a loss. He seemed to be everywhere at once on that white horse of his, and wherever he showed himself every one woke up and felt strong and brave, as if God had come down to them out of heaven. He lost plenty of officers, though, and even some of the doctors fell sick at last; but I never had anything the matter with me, thank God, from beginning to end.
    "But when it began to draw toward Winter, and still the place held out, we all felt pretty tired of it; and I can tell you we were right glad to see Todleben come into the camp, for we knew that he was the man to make short work of the basurmani (unbelievers.)
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Turkey map, from the CIA World Factbook

    The Republic of Turkey is located primarily in the Asian part of the Middle East, with a small portion in the southeast corner of Europe. The capital is Ankara. The area of Turkey is 300,948 square miles (779,452 square km). The estimated population of Turkey for July, 2008 is 71,892,807. The official language is Turkish.

    Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms.

    After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government.

    Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only Turkey recognizes.

    A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased.

    Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy enabling it to begin accession membership talks with the European Union.
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    The town of Kerasund hangs upon the side of a steep, rocky headland, very much like an enormous fist with the knuckles turned upward, the wrist being represented by the low neck of land uniting it to the main shore. The whole conformation of this peninsula and the big, gloomy old-fashioned fortress that crowns the highest point of its bold, rocky ridge suggests a parody of Gibraltar.

    Ordou [Ordu, Turkey], the next port, is an enlarged copy of the Dalmation town of Cattaro. On a narrow strip of beach at the foot of a steep ridge a crew of forlorn houses, presumably washed ashore after a shipwreck, are clinging for life and death. Two or three comfortably lucky buildings have contrived to climb on to a broad stone terrace rising sheer up from the wave-worn rocks below, while half a dozen others are stuggling in vain to scramble up after them.
    Less pleasing are the low, bare hills around Samsoun [Samsun, Turkey], one of those provoking towns which, just as they seem to have fairly come to an end, break out again in fresh bursts of houses right in the middle of the open country, like a prosy speaker who does not know when to leave off. Its antique citadel, and the battery on the rocky point in front of it, make a formidable show, but the guns are probably like the famous "trade musket" which killed three men at a shot, the man who fired it and the two who stood to right and left of him.

    Another night overtakes us before we reach the bold headlands of Cape Irjeh and the picturesque semi-Eastern town of Sinope [Sinop, Turkey], near which, 31 years ago, was fought the dreadful battle that destroyed a whole Turkish fleet at one blow, and goaded Western Europe to that tremendous retribution which brought death not only to the victorious Russian Admiral, but to his imperial master likewise.
    And so at last we come to Inekhboli, which, jammed into the mouth of a deep, shadowy gorge between two overhanging ridges, reminds one at the first glance of Jamestown, the miniature capital of St. Helena.

    In the course of this voyage I have been often puzzled to tell how our officers and crew, who know hardly a word of Turkish, manage to communicate so freely with the inhabitants of the various Anatolian ports, who know nothing else. But I have lately got some new light on this subject from a German traveler's account of his experiences during a journey through the Syrian deserts to Palmyra. Finding that one of his two Koordish guards was pretty fluent in Arabic he appealed to him for a few necessary phrases.
    "When I want an Arab to receive me into his house what do I say?"
    "Say nothing, Effendi (master,) but just walk right in."
    "And how do I say, 'Give me coffee and food?'"
    "You don't need to say it at all, Effendi, for he will give you coffee without being asked, and, as for food, you must wait till his mealtime, and then you will get plenty."
    "And supposing I find the door locked, how am I to say, 'Let me in.'"
    "You need not say a word, for the door will never be locked except at night or in time of war, and it's no use going there then, for he won't open to any one."
    "And what do I say if I want to sleep there after I have eaten?"
    "Just lie down without saying a word; but I don't think you'll care to do it more than once."     "And when I go away, how do I thank him for his hospitality?"
    "Just give a loud cough."
    "And if I want to buy something from an Arab, what do I say?" asked the traveler, amazed to find the whole Arabic language such a close imitation of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words.
    "You say nothing, Effendi," answered the Koord, "but just point to the thing you want, and put down as much money as you mean to give. Then he will put down as much as he wishes to have, and you keep adding to your heap, and he keeps taking away from his till you are both agreed."
    "But if a robber comes up to us, how should I say 'Keep off, or I'll fire!'"
    "There is no need to say that, Effendi, for if one robber were to come I and Ismail here would shoot him dead, while if they came 20 or 30 strong, as they generally do, it wouldn't matter much whether you spoke good Arabic to them or not."
    "If I want to make friends with the Arabs of a strange village, what shall I say?"
    "Say nothing, but just give them some sugar."
    "And if there is a pretty girl among them, how shall I express 'Beautiful child?'"
    "You had better not express it, Effendi, or her father and her friends would come out and throw stones at you."
    "How do you know? Have you tried?"

    "At this," concluded the traveler, "my Koord looked conscious and made no answer, but he had said quite enough to convince me that a knowledge of Arabic is not difficult to acquire, provided you set about it in the right way."

TIME Magazine, October 12, 1953, p. 67:

    ...By conventional standards, Kemal Ataturk was hardly an admirable character. He was a bitter, sullen and ruthless man, a two-fisted drinker and a rake given to shameless debauch. Politically, though he proclaimed a Bill of Rights, he flouted it constantly; though he talked of loyalty, he hanged his closest friends. He was devoid of sentiment and incapable of love, unfaithful to everyone and every cause he adopted save one-- Turkey. But before he died, his driven, grateful people thrust on him the last and greatest of his five names: Ataturk, Father of All the Turks.
    The Father of All the Turks (who left no legitimate heirs) was born in 1881 in Salonika, then part of the Ottoman Empire, of a mild Albanian father and a forceful Macedonian mother. Mustafa was a rebel from the start. His pious Mohammedan mother urged him to become a holy man, but he became a soldier; at 22, a captain, he rebelled against the Sultan and was nearly executed; at 27, he joined the Young Turks rebellion, then rebelled against the Young Turks. The army, fearful of him, shunted him from post to post, but could neither shake him nor subdue him. At Gallipoli, in 1915, he defeated the British; in the Caucasus, he checked the Russians; in Berlin, 1918, he drunkenly needled the high panjandrum of his allies, Field Marshal von Hindedburg; in Arabia, 1918, he held off T. E. Lawrence's Bedouin hordes. At 38, he came out of the crash of the Ottoman Empire the only Turkish commander untouched by defeat.

    Six Day Marathon. Eight years later, smartly turned out in his favorite civilian attire-- the morning coat and striped pants of the Western diplomat-- he stood before the Turkish National Assembly (which he created), in the capital at Ankara (which he created), and for six full days told in the Turkish language (which he purified and revised) the full story of what he had done. He began:
    "Gentlemen, I landed at Samsun on the 19th of May, 1919. This was the position at the time..."
    To his hearers, it was well-remembered history. Turkey in 1919 was crushed, defeated from without, disintegrating within. Gone was the fury and might which, beginning in 1299, had sent Ottoman legions smashing at Vienna's gates and made Budapest a suburb of Constantinople. Gone was the conquering fervor that created a tri-continental empire the size of the U.S. encompassing what are now 20 modern nations stretching from the Dniester to the Nile, from the Adriatic to the Persian Gulf. In 1919, British warships still rode in the Bosporus and British troops held Constantinople; Italy, France and Greece were secretly dividing up the best of the remainder. The greatest empire between Augustus and Victoria had shrunk to a small, lifeless inland state in the barren interiors of Asia Minor; its Sultan was reduced to the status of a borough president of Constantinople. There was talk of asking Woodrow Wilson to take over the mess as a U.S. mandate.
    Mustafa Kemal Pasha returned from his skillful but useless defense of Syria and asked for a job. "Get this man away-- anywhere-- quickly," the Sultan cried. The government hoped to save itself by submission to the conqueror; Kemal's unyielding patriotism endangered these schemes. So Mustafa got magnificent and meaningless titles-- Inspector General of the Northern Area and Governor General of the Eastern Provinces-- and was put aboard a leaky Black Sea steamer bound for Samsun, in remote Anatolia.
    This suited Kemal fine. Arriving in Anatolia, he convoked a congress and proclaimed: "The aim of the movement is to free the Sultan-Caliph from the clutches of the foreign enemy." Desperately, the Sultan, who did not want to be freed, wired: "Cease all activity!" Replied Kemal: "I shall stay in Anatolia until the nation wins its independence." Turkey, or what was left of it, had two governments: Kemal's and the Sultan's.
    The victorious allies, of course, favored the complaisant Sultan, but in their greed they served to further Kemal. The Sultan and the Grand Vizier went to Versailles to plead not to be denuded of all land and power. Clemenceau, the Tiger, said coldly: "Be silent, Your Highness! Relieve Paris of your presence." The Allies handed the Sultan the Treaty of Sèvres, which split Turkey six ways. The Greeks marched in to enforce the Diktat, and Kemal roared: "Turks! Will you crawl to these Greeks who were your slaves only yesterday?" He raised an army of peasants, veterans, criminals, patriots. Two years later, a few miles outside of Ankara, he gave the orders: "Soldiers, the Mediterranean is your goal," and drove the Greeks back into the sea.
    The Treaty of Lausanne which followed reversed the humiliation of Sèvres. The last British admiral boarded the last British battleship in the Bosporus, snapped a respectful salute to the crescent flag and steamed off. The most defeated of enemies became the first to defy the victorious Allies, to scrap one of their treaties. The Ataturk miracle had begun: Mustafa Kemal, soldier, was master of Turkey.

    Only Turks. The nation he put back together was slightly larger than Texas-- 296,000 sq. mi.-- its vast bulk nestled in Asia Minor, with 9,000 sq. mi. wedging into Europe's southeastern corner. Kemal was satisfied. "We are now Turks-- only Turks," he exalted. He wanted none of the old overextended Ottoman empire. "Away with dreams and shadows; they have cost us dearly," he said.

    ...Oy Birligile. Ataturk liberated law, education and marriage from the mullahs; turned mosques into graneries; switched the day of rest from Friday to Sunday; tossed out the Islamic calendar nad ordered in the Gregorian calendar of the Western world. He made suffrage universal, adopted the metric system, ordered all Turks to take on last names, took the first census in Turkish history. Harems were forbidden and monogamy became the law.
    The most familiar phrase in the Turkish National Assembly during these electric days was Oy Birligile, meaning by unanimous vote. Opposed, Ataturk was ruthless. One evening in 1926, he gave a champagne party for foreign diplomats; it turned into an all-night carousal. Returning home at dawn, the diplomats saw the corpses of the entire opposition leadership, among them Kemal's old friends, hanging in the town square...
    ...In 1938, exhausted by periodic debauches and drinking bouts, undermined by diseases, he died...

    The day after Ataturk's death, he was succeeded as President, legally and peacefully, by his handpicked successor, forceful soldier-administrator Ismet Inonu. For the next dozen years, the Inonu regime tried to maintain the Ataturk pattern...
    In 1950, 88% of the voters went to the polls and swept out the Republican People's Party which had held power uninterruptedly for 27 years. Inonu yielded gracefully...
    [The new] President was unspectacular Celal Bayar, an able banker and one of Ataturk's ministers for five years, his Premier for one...

    Turkey today is still far from Ataturk's goals: 80% of itss 21 million people live in mud huts in isolated villages, in half of which there are no primary schools. The currency is soft; inflation has doubled food prices. Much of the land is unfertilized and carelessly utilized. The Turk is poor: he gets a third of the meat that a meat-starved Briton received under austerity; only one in 2,000 owns an automobile...
    A month hence, Ataturk's body, which has lain in a "temporary" resting place these past 15 years, will be borne with ceremonial pomp to a new mausoleum on Ankara's highest hill. The mausoleum, reached by 33 marble steps 132 feet wide, will probably be the largest of its kind until Evita Perón's or the proposed Soviet pantheon tops it...

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