In the beginning of this chapter, it was explained how the British deep state chose the Ottoman Empire and the Turks as its primary targets beginning in the mid 19th century. During those years, the British deep state started a systematic propaganda war against the Ottoman Empire. Vilifying the Ottoman army with imaginary tales of violence, and insulting Sultan Abdul Hamid II with disrespectful names like the ‘Red Sultan‘ were among the methods employed.
However, the longest and fiercest propaganda targeted the Turkish people, the main body of constituents and the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. The leading British figures of the time sought to prepare the background for their goal of colonializing the Turkish people and therefore called the Turkish nation ‘backward, barbarous and primitive’ as a part of their plan.
According to Cyrus Hamlin, the founder and first president of the American Robert College in Istanbul, the anti-Turkish propaganda of the British began prior to WWI. A ‘propaganda bureau’ was set up in 1870 in London, with the duty of spreading news against Turkey in other countries and managing the relevant propaganda.(Salahi Sonyel, The Great War and The Tragedy of Anatolia, TTK, 2000, pp.170-182)
This propaganda was the first step toward the British deep state’s dream of ‘a divided Ottoman Empire’.
William Ewart Gladstone, who served as the British Prime Minister from 1880 to 1885, was among the inventors of this policy. Gladstone uttered numerous insults against the Turkish nation and sought to use those insults to support his imperialist projects that involved aspirations such as to drive the Turks back to the steppes of Central Asia for the continuation of their civilization. Once he said that the so-called evil actions of Turks can be eliminated only when they are eliminated. (Süleyman Kocabaş, Hindistan Yolu ve Petrol Uğruna Yapılanlar: Türkiye ve İngiltere [All that was done for the Route to India and Oil], Istanbul: Vatan Publication, 1985, p. 231) (The Noble Turkish nation is above such words)
Ahmet İhsan, a member of the Committee of Union and Progress, also mentioned Gladstone’s approach in his memoir:
Notorious Gladstone held up a Qur’an in British parliament and said that as long as Turks walk with this Book, they are harmful to civilization.(Ahmet İhsan, Matbuat Hatıralarım [My Press Memoirs], Istanbul: A. İhsan Publishing, 1931, p. 57) (The Qur’an is above such remarks)
In addition to such outrageous remarks, Gladstone didn’t refrain from producing propaganda material against the Turks. In his book Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East that was widely disseminated in London, he actively sought to provoke the British people against the Turkish nation. For instance, he said, “Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely by carrying off themselves.”
The anti-Turkish propaganda was so intense, even the Conservative government that had previously been amicable to Turkey, changed its stance. André Maurois writes in his book A History of England:
“Gladstone kindled British opinion against them [the Turks] by pamphleteering and speech-making…“(Andre Maurois, A History of England, Translated from the French by Hamish Miles, Thirty Bedford Square, London, p. 457)
Gladstone remained in power between 1880-1885 as Prime Minister and, during his term of office, the anti-Turkish sentiment spread immensely. The media, in particular, carried out an intense indoctrination with regards to the Turkish and Ottoman identities. Fake news of ‘Turkish barbarity‘ and ‘Turkish violence‘ spread like wildfire. Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, the British MP who observed the Turkish-Greek war of 1897 at the battlefield, mentions the hostile policy that the British suddenly unleashed against the Turks in his memoirs:
The most violent denunciations and the most vituperative epithets were indulged in during the ten months after December, 1894, and were based upon journalistic fictions… These stories either had no existence whatever in reality, or rested on the most slender basis of fact.
By atrocity-mongering and sham sentiment, I mean two things: first, the charge against a nation or power of atrocities which do not exist… For nine months the Sultan, the Turkish Government, the Turkish army, and the Turkish people were vilified and attacked in England for alleged atrocities… which never had any existence at all. … These horrible atrocities never existed; the stories were absolute fiction…
While the British tried to show Ottomans as a barbarous, backward, primitive and violent society using absurd lies, they were also giving the subliminal message that the Ottoman Empire had to be brought down. Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith said in a speech that the Ottoman Empire was on its deathbed and maintained that the sick man would not revive again.(Ragıp Üner, “Tarihte Türk-İngiliz İlişkileri” [Turkish-British Relations in History], Hayat Tarih Mecmuası, vol. 2, p. 9, 1975, p. 26)
This entire propaganda operation was carried out in tandem with the British deep state’s operation to dismember the Ottoman Empire. In 1898, the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury sent a telegram to the British ambassador at St. Petersburg suggesting a ‘partition of preponderance’ between Russia and Britain in the Ottoman Empire confirming the existence of this strategy.
Underneath this relentless anti-Ottoman propaganda of the British deep state lay the glaring truth that they promoted enmity towards the Turks. The leaders of the British deep state, as a reflection of their imperialist way of thinking, sought to justify their actions by labeling the nations they targeted as “backward, primitive and barbarous”. A letter written by British Sir Edward Grey on August 11, 1908, following the declaration of the Second Constitutional Period, reflects this sentiment clearly:
What has happened already in Turkey is so marvellous that I suppose it is not impossible that she will establish a Constitution, but it may well be that the habit of vicious and corrupt government will be too strong for reform and that animosities of race … will again produce violence and disorder.(SOURCE)
Lord Salisbury wrote the following about the Turks in a confidential document of 1911:
Even Mr. Buxton seems to recognize the absurdity of a nation in this state of barbarism claiming to be treated as a European State and to abolish capitulations and so on.(The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 111, 1911, p. 292 )
The British deep state wanted faster results, and stepped up the psychological pressure on the Ottoman Empire and the Turks and extended the scale of its black propaganda against them. For that they turned to the US administration and the US media for support, and rubbed their anti-Turkish sentiment on to the American people. The following words of US senator Henry Cabot Lodge clearly display this hatred and fanaticism:
In the days of their success [the Ottoman Turks] were a scourge to Europe and Christendom. In the long centuries of their decay they have been the pest and the curse of Europe, the source of innumerable wars, the executioners in countless massacres…Such a… government as this is a curse to modern civilization. … My earnest hope is that among the results of the war… one of the great results I pray for will be the final extinction of the Turkish Empire in Europe.(John M. Vander Lippe, “The Other Treaty of Lausanne: The American Public and Official Debate on Turkish-American Relations”, The Turkish Yearbook of International Relations, vol. 23, 1993)
When Colonel House suggested Henry Morgenthau as ambassador to Turkey in 1912, the US President Woodrow Wilson said, “There ain’t going to be no Turkey,” to which House replied, “Then let him go look for it“.
Wilson revealed the prevalent anti-Turkish stance in the USA during those days when he said that what the American public will approve would be the defense of Armenians or any other nations against Turks.(Doğan Avcıoğlu, Milli Kurtuluş Tarihi [National Independence History], 4th ed., Istanbul: Tekin Publications, 1996, p. 285)
French historian Albert Sorel, on the other hand, said the following:
This is the policy some civilizations pursue in the East. They snatch parts of Turkish, Indian, Chinese lands, seize their wealth, kill them and then tell them ‘don’t get angry, we’re not fighting with you. We are your best friends.’ (SOURCE)
Ahmed Rıza in his book La Crise de L’Islâm (The Crisis of Islam) explained the black propaganda of the British deep state against the Turks in the words of a Westerner:
Enduring the presence of Turks in Europe, who maintain their classic barbarous and tyrannical character, is a stain for the European civilization; Turks must be kicked out of Europe. (tatürk High Institution of Language and History, Turkish Institution of History Publications, pp. 122-126) (The Noble Turkish nation is above such words)
Let’s remember at this point that prior to WWI, the British deep state had heavily focused on the United States and easily manipulated it into alignment with its goals. The Turkophobia that developed in the United States during this time was due to the efforts of the British deep state and the relevant media propaganda in the country.
However, there were many sensible people at the time who refused to give into this racist trend in Britain and Europe, and could appreciate the Turkish people. For instance, the British officer Frederick Gustavus Burnaby who travelled to Turkey at the end of 19th century is one of those rare personalities. His descriptions in his book On Horseback Through Asia Minor give an unbiased and accurate account of the Ottoman Empire at the time. At a time when Turkophobia was at its peak in Britain, this British officer was in Anatolia and explained what he saw:
People in this country who abuse the Turkish nation, and accuse them of every vice under the sun, would do well to leave off writing pamphlets and travel a little in Anatolia… many writers who call themselves Christians might well take a lesson from the Turks in Asia Minor. (Frederick Burnaby, On Horseback Through Asia Minor, Cosimo, Inc., 2007, p. 81)
Likewise, many unbiased foreign war correspondents who had been in Turkey during the Balkan wars, wrote the truth about the Turks:
Since there are in Europe armchair philosophers who write that the Turkish soldiers are looters and murderers, it is our duty to protest with energy. We have always found the Turks showing great endurance and restraint; we have never witnessed any act of cruelty. (Pierre Loti, Turkey in agony, Translated from the French of Pierre Loti, Published for the Ottoman Committee, London p. 66)