Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turkish Republic Proclaimed

Sultan Mahmud IIFive decades and three dozen years ago today, Turkey was proclaimed a republic.

Lew Rockwell on the Young Turks:

Who were the Young Turks? A bunch of pro-British militarist-nationalists in WWI Turkey, engaged in helping overthrow the Ottoman Empire, and setting up a military dictatorship, which exists (slightly disguised) to this day. The Young Turks also committed genocide against the Armenians, and ethnically cleansed the Greeks. The Brits (and the French), for their part, wanted to open up former Ottoman provinces like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, etc. to colonialization. The whole area, as David Fromkin shows in his magisterial A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, has been in turmoil since the Treaty of Versailles. The Ottoman Empire was sort of an Islamic Austro-Hungarian Empire, multinational and therefore anti-nationalism, pretty tolerant of ethnic and religious minorities, decentralzed and against religious extemism, since the Sultan, himself a religious figure, wanted no competition. But war criminals like Winston Churchill wanted chaos in the Middle East, the better to expand British imperialism and enrich the special interests that profited from oppressing and ripping off foreign peoples. This is just more evidence, of course, for thinking that WWI was the worst political and humanitarian disaster in the history of the West. After all, WWI also led to Leninism and Hitlerism.

No comments: