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"Wounds which a mentally sterile Asiatic horde inflicted on Christian civilization still bleed after 500 years "

Reader comment on item: Kastelorizo - Mediterranean Flashpoint?
in response to reader comment: Florida of Europe

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Feb 29, 2012 at 16:47

Mozere wrote :

> Before the Ottoman arrived on scene the Balkans were riven with internal wars Bogomil Heresy and Albanian grudges against Greeks and Slavs being the chief bones of contention.So they brought much needed peace.Up to 18th century the region enjoyed prosperity due to trade without the frontiers.The Greeks did especially well as the empires merchants and sailors and sultans foreign relations officers.The standard of living was on par with western Europe.Most of the officials of the empire was of Balkan stock,and the greatest of the grand viziers Sokollu never forgot his Serbian roots helped his christian kin,as did others.The Ottomans cannot be viewed through today's prisms of nationalism,liberalism and jihadism. Neither can you rule an empire for 500 years on blood and pillaging.After the 18th century gradual decay set in due to empire falling behind in technology .<

Is this parody of history taken from Turkey's Foreign Minister Davutoglu's notorious speech in Sarajevo in 2009 or is it an excerpt from a history textbook for Turkish elementary schools ?

Your propaganda teachers have rightly taught you that exposing a lie requires much more effort than stating a lie. You don't need to burden yourself with relevant sources, footnotes, comparisons and then subject all of that to rigorous logical analysis. You leave all of that to an unprepared reader and know that even if this lie is exposed, then you'll nimbly jump to another subject and another lie and then another. I know your Turkish ways ad nauseam.

Now what follows is an excerpt from an excellent analysis of the Ottoman system as it existed by an outstanding 19th century German historian Heinrich von Treitschke. In 1876 he published "Turkey and the Great Nations". This analysis was included later in his political essays "Germany, France, Russia and Islam" translated into English in 1915. He describes with rare realism and depth of knowledge of the subject (p.12-23) the essence of the Turkish system without Mozere's or Davutoglu's distortions, lies and caricatures. I have underlined the passages I find the most remarkable :

" Their government, like almost all governments in the Orient, was a theocracy, the Koran the unchangeable statute-book both in political and religious life. High above the whole Empire was enthroned the Sultan, girt with Osman's sword, the Shadow of God on earth, bound to nothing but the word of the Prophet. Under him were his tools, the great officials, who mostly came out of the ranks of the Christian renegades during the brilliant period of the Osman State, and the hordes of the Janissaries, all children of Christians, who had been robbed from their parents at a tender age and then inspired by a Spartan education with the whole ferocity of the Islamic faith. Under them were the ruling people of True Believers. Lastly under those were the polyglot herd of Christians, "pigs with similar bristles, dogs with similar tails," condemned to drudge and pay taxes, to purchase their exhausted lives anew every year by means of the poll-tax, the haraj, to strengthen ever anew the army of the ruling race by the toll of their boys if sometimes it was not preferred to put them themselves among the troops of the Arabs, in which they were then used as cannon-fodder or were even thrown in heaps into the trenches of besieged Christian fortresses, as a living bridge for Allah's storming fighters. Thus were the Rayahs forced to forge ever closer the fetters of their slavery with their own hands. Skill in enslavement had here produced an incomparable masterpiece … the capacity for ruling by dividing developed here to a degree of virtuosity almost incomprehensible to a Westerner. Whilst Christendom burnt its heretics, everybody under the Crescent might live according to his Faith ; and only a short time ago Lord Shaftesbury quite seriously asserted amid the applause of the enlightened House of Lords that Turkey had done more for Christendom in a decade than Russia in nine centuries! This much-vaunted tolerance of the Turks also proves as a fact merely how skilfully the system of enslavement was devised; they did not desire the conversion of the subject races, because the Mussulman could put his foot on their necks only if the Rayahs remained unbelieving dogs. Whilst everywhere in Europe a strict class-distinction kept the lower orders under, the meanest slave at the Bosphorus might hope to rise to the highest offices in the Empire by luck and energy …However, that complete social equality, which constitutes everywhere the foot-stool of Oriental despotism, existed actually only for the ruling race of the Believers. Between them and the Rayahs stretched a boundless gulf; the extremest insolence of the old French aristocratic arrogance is not within even measurable distance of those feelings of cold contempt and bodily disgust which the believing Turk experiences even to-day against the pork-eating Giaour. The conqueror found himself in the presence of a population utterly divided by raving race-hatred and gloomy religious passions…Such a disposition among the Rayahs afforded firm ground for that shrewd system of keeping the races and creeds apart to which the ruling minority owed its security. As the government of the ruling race was itself theocratic, the elders of every Christian Church were provided with jurisdiction and powers of police over those of their faith, and were at the same time obliged to take responsibility for the taxes of the Rayahs. The Orthodox formed a Greek subordinate State within the Turkish Empire under their Patriarch. Their bishops dealt as they pleased with the popes and congregations, but seldom disturbed by a wildly energetic pasha ; they boasted that, compared with their social equals in other lands, "You are only parsons, we are pashas!" That is what English worshippers of the Turk praise as the incomparable self-government of the Osmans! The Rayahs' venal servility next became itself responsible for the fact that whilst the high clergy fleeced their flocks thoroughly well, they never became dangerous to the Turkish lords. What a horrible page of Christian history is covered by the fates of the Patriarchs of Constantinople ! The dignity lasted for life, and could be forfeited only for high treason or on appeal of the Orthodox themselves. And yet this well-assured office, which might have been a prop of national independence for the Greeks, became a useful tool of enslavement for the Turks. Since time immemorial no Patriarch has kept his seat longer than three years. The spirit of simony penetrated the whole Church; scarcely had a prince of the Church won the votes of his fellow-believers by bribery, than others started working against him with the same method, till he was at last accused before the Porte and deposed. And the same unworthy game kept going on for centuries!...Thus the shameful name of Rayah became a literal, fearful truth. So long as they did not "gnaw at the collar of subjection," they might settle their disputes among themselves, just as stupid cattle are left to themselves ; but as soon as they became engaged in quarrel with a Mussulman they were made to feel that the word of the Prophet formally gives the True Believer the right to tread the Giaour underfoot. The complete absence of rights on the part of the Rayahs was only made endurable to some extent by the fact that each community and each urban quarter was usually inhabited solely by fellow-believers, and so disputes between Christians and Moslems were not too frequent. The same unparalleled ignorance which ensured the mastery of the Rayahs by the Moslems, also inspired their foreign policy. Never, not even when they watered their horses in the Leitha and beheld the rich abodes of German culture at their feet, did any idea of the superiority of Western civilization enter the Osmans' heads. The Frank was and is regarded by them as the paragon of frivolous stupidity ; to make the Frankish bear dance a fool's dance at a rope's end was and is the finest spice of existence for the worthy Effendis of the Seraglio. Yet with what clarity and assurance did the one-sided narrow-mindedness of Oriental fanaticism meet the disharmony of the divided European world! The Mussulman knew but two kingdoms on earth, the House of Islam and the House of War; "the whole of heathendom is only a nation," to conquer which was the immutable duty of the Moslems. The Western countries meanwhile became defenceless against the barbarians through the rich manifoldness of their culture ; the want of unity among the European Powers, the superabundance of contradictions which is included in our portion of the world, were the best allies of the Osmans, beginning from the day when the Genoese calmly looked on at the conquest of Byzantium from the ramparts of Galata, up to the contemporary Christian heroisms of Benjamin Disraeli. And again, from the Council of Mantua, when 'res orientales' were first put among the orders of the day for European diplomats, down to the war of dispatches in our own days, the unity of Europe has ever been nullified by the particular impediment that whilst, if needful, some understanding could have been reached about everything else, it was impossible in the case of the mighty capital, which signifies more than the whole of the Balkan Peninsula… It is astounding with what cleverness the Osmans in their great period knew how to utilize this favourable position and those dissensions in Europe. Although they had only the vaguest conception of the geographical positions and the history of the heathen countries, they yet divined, with the fine sense for power peculiar to Orientals, where in each case they had to look for their allies. Correct insight and diplomatic tact, those ancient privileges of masterful aristocracies, were also a heritage among the ruling race in the Balkan Peninsula. As the believer in the Koran may regard every treaty of peace with the heathen merely as a revocable armistice, the Porte dealt with the Western countries with imperturbable calm. She understood how to expect everything from time, and waited patiently, with the fatalistic quietness of the Moslem, until the hour came to tear up all treaties and to let loose against the Giaours the still unbroken, fierce natural forces of the Janissaries and Spahis. Since France first drew the great Suleiman into the quarrels of Christendom, the Turks began to perceive that they were at least welcome to one of the Christian Powers; and thenceforth the State of the Osmans has so often and so unctuously been praised by the wiseacre statesmen of the Western countries as an indispensable weight in the scales of European balance, that we ought not to be surprised if to-day all the supports of the Turkish Empire, the valis, mullahs, and ulemas, the black and the white eunuchs, the odalisques, and the seraglio boys, are all penetrated by the glad belief that Allah's wonderful mercifulness has struck the stupid Franks' eyes with an incurable blindness. With good reason in truth has Machiavelli eulogized the proud beginnings of the Osman State; because that which represented policy to the Florentine, namely, skill in governing, in maintaining and enhancing the power of the State, was practised here with a rare cleverness. But with this skill the Turks' political capacity has always ended; their Empire, even at its great period, lacked all moral substance, just like Machiavelli's ideal State. Might was self-interest ; the question as to what moral purposes it should aim at was never put. It was thought a matter of course that the State should exist for the benefit of the rulers; and if we inquire what the ruling skill of that long series of strong statesmen and generals has brought forth for the well-being and civilization of mankind, only one answer is ' possible : Nothing, simply nothing…. Like a huge avalanche, Turkish despotism fell upon those blessed lands which once witnessed the classic age of Christian Church history. The interior of the Peninsula is to-day as little known as the deserts of Australia ; it was not till Diebitsch's expedition to Adrianople that science gained some sort of notion of the formation of Balkan mountain ranges… But where are the traces of the civilizing work of the Turks themselves? What remained in Hungary after the long one hundred and fifty years during which the Pashas dwelt on the Koenigsburg at Buda? A few crude mutilations of beautiful Christian churches and the warm baths of Ofen. What now reminds one of the domination of the Crescent in Greece? Hardly any- thing but the ruins of destroyed Christian habitations. The ruination of the system of government did not consist in the brutal outrages of individual magnates because the impaling and drowning in sacks, the violating and pillaging, and similar amusements customary to the country, did not, according to Oriental standard, happen too frequently but in that indescribable intellectual laziness, in that profound slumber of the soul, which was always peculiar to the Osmans even in the days of their warlike greatness, and caused them to appear as barbarians even in the eyes of the Arabs. Just as the Turk truly loves only three vocations, the career of a soldier, an official, or a priest, his State has never shown any understanding of art or science or commerce. His political economy, if the expression be allowed, simply pursued the purpose of assuring comfortable provision for the ruling race ; he therefore lightened the taxes on imports and increased those on exports just as in the Spain of Philip II, which exhibits altogether several striking similarities to the State of the Crescent. And that idiotic system, which destroyed Spain's Empire in a few decades, has been burdening the Balkan lands for nearly five hundred years ! The Osmans, even in the glory of their victories and in the superabundance of pillaged wealth, were an Asiatic cavalry horde which never became at home on the soil of Western civilization, and never got beyond the standpoint of nomadic warriors. A national migration which fell asleep encamped over the Christian peoples of the south-east. The Turkish Empire always remained a mighty foreign despotism to the Rayahs. The venal Fanariots might fawn for the favours of the Osmanli, and the petty chieftains of the Bosniaks, abjuring their fathers' faith, might join the ruling nation's plundering campaign; but the masses of the Southern Slavs have for five hundred years been bewailing, in innumerable songs and tales, the battle on the field of the Amsel (Kosovo) as the fatal day for the ancient freedom; the masses of the Greeks have never ceased imploring God's vengeance for that day of shame when the conqueror rode into the Hagia Sophia and his horse's hoofs violated the most beautiful God's house in Eastern Christendom. Likewise, the conscience of the European world has never recognized the existence of the Turkish realm as a morally justified necessity. The conscience of nations knows of no superannuation of what is wrong. War and conquest are only means towards the right ; they can only prove that the victor possesses the moral superiority whereon the right to rule is based, but they alone cannot base a right to rule on physical domination. As long as the victor has not proved that his power is countenanced by the moral forces of history, his success remains an injustice which may be expiated, an actuality which may be abolished by other actualities. Dense weeds have long been growing over the countless deeds of violence which were needful for the foundation of the governmental unity of all Europe's great nations. The wrong done during the agitations for unity among the Germans and Italians is nowadays, after but a few years, hardly felt, because the nations' sense of right says to itself that those revolutions only buried the dead and exalted the living. But those wounds which a mentally sterile Asiatic horde inflicted on Christian civilization still bleed after five hundred years as if the blows had fallen yesterday. And they will never scar over so long as Europe still possesses free and courageous men who, unmoved by Russophobia and English cant, dare to call the historic unrighteousness by its true name; and however much self-complacent narrow-heartedness may mock, it has finally ever been idealism which has divined the tendency of history."

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