While Europe has been progressing in civilization the Ottoman Empire has remained in its slumber of medieval times. The world has undergone a revolution, yet the Turk is in his primitive barbarity, with all his Tartar instincts. The Ottoman Empire has been an anachronism in the nineteenth century, and it could have no place among the nations of Europe. Its destiny was to be swept away—some say to be driven to Asia, but no—its destiny was to be swept away from the face of the earth. It has been a proverb to say that “Where the Turk goes no grass grows.” The Turks have always acted as though they did not mean to stay among the nations of Europe. They behaved in their dominion like savages who had swooped upon a civilized country and must necessarily make their retreat. They robbed, murdered, burned and destroyed. They did not consider themselves the owners of their possessions, as they were not, therefore they had no reason to spare anything. Such was the Ottoman Empire— organized brigandage. Such a monstrous power was unfit to have a place among the civilized nations.
The Turk was destined to go, but who was to drive him away ?
The Russian Empire presumed that it had the divine vocation of rendering this service to Christian civilization and to humanity—the service of removing the rotting Sick Man. It has been the policy of Russia to stand up in defense of the oppressed Christian nations under Turkish domination, and to free them one by one as the opportunity presented itself. Englishmen will say that Russia did not do this simply out of humanitarian sentiments ; that Russia was a hypocrite, and while she oppressed her own Christian subjects she posed as the defender of the Christians in Turkey merely to further her designs for the conquest of Asia. It is but right to answer the Englishman in the words of our Saviour: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye ?” It is true that Russia has been following the above policy for the advancement of her own interests, but is it not commendable that she finds the furtherance of her interests in doing good to others ? Why should we have a grudge against the Russian conquest of Asia, since Russia is doing it by noble means ? Where do governments acquire the right of ruling over nations except in seeking the welfare of humanity ?
Russia has nobly shed the blood of tens of thousands of her children tor the liberation of Christian nations suffering under Turkish tyranny, and for transforming the Ottoman empire into a civilized country, and today Greece, Serbia, Roumania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovinia, Montenegro and Eastern Roumelia are freed from the claws of the blood-thirsty Turk through the efforts of Russia, which countries are being lifted up in the arms of civilization. What has England done in the liberation of those countries except to thwart Russia’s noble efforts and to obstruct the advance of civilization in Turkey ? England’s hatred for Russia has impelled her to stand by the barbarous Turk, and to draw her sword against the liberator of oppressed Christian nations.
As the selfishness of the Byzantine Empire, and its hatred for Christians outside of the Greek Church has facilitated the Turkish invasions and the occupation of Armenia and Asia Minor by them, and has greatly helped the rise of the Ottomans, so, also, in the present century British selfishness and greed has been maintaining this curse of Turkish domination, which was doomed to perish forty-three years ago.
When Russia went to war with Turkey in 1853, for the purpose of fulfilling an old prophecy—that of putting an end to Ottoman domination on the four-hundredth anniversary of the capture of Constantinople by the Turks— England drew her sword from its sheath, with the alliance of Napoleon III., in defense of the Turk. After a tremendous war Russia was defeated in her noble intention. (It was noble, for had it been accomplished the world would not have witnessed the horrible butchery of myriads of Christians in 1860, 1876-77, 1894-96.) Peace was concluded and a treaty signed in Paris March 30, 1856. England’s vile ambition was accomplished. The barbarian Turk was vindicated, and “the Powers were bound to respect and guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.” What cared England for the Turk’s millions of Christian subjects ? The Turkish Empire was a bulwark between Russia and the British interests (sordid interests !), and those interests required that it should remain and its existence be guaranteed. In short, the Turk was the Englishman’s favored dog, and he had the privilege of biting and bleeding innocent children.
Armenia’s ordeal by Armayis P. Vartooguian, New York, 1896