Studies in English Commerce and Exploration in the Reign of Elizabeth

By Albert Lindsay Rowland; George Born Manhart | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

England and Turkey! No student of the last hundred years can fail to feel the strangeness of this ill assorted alliance and to speculate upon its raison d'etre. The so-called "Eastern Question" the solution to which is still the key to the peace of the world, has been the inspiration of much writing both of fact and fiction and was certainly the dominant note of British diplomacy for many years.

The strategic position of Constantinople has fired each of the great commercial powers with a desire to control this gateway to the east, or at least, has made each unwilling to surrender such control into the hands of another. Thus Turkey, the one time conqueror who proudly knocked at the gates of Vienna but who later became the pariah of Europe, was suffered to retain a temporary and supervised sovereignty over this much coveted port until one or the other of the great nations might find itself powerful enough openly to assert its own claim.

This eagerly anticipated opportunity seems not yet to have presented itself nor do the political prophets foretell it in the near future. Just before the great war Germany had apparently outwitted England in the diplomatic maneuvers for the privilege of advising and supporting the Sultan but the war and its consequences have again changed the weight of influence. Meanwhile Turkey herself, through the powerful national movement which found its first expression in the coup d'etat of the young Turk Party in 1908 and its more recent counterpart in the Lausanne victory of the Angora government, has recovered her political health in a remarkable manner and

-ix-

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