1 NOVEMBER 1913, Page 32



SInjI venture to make a reply to M. Vamvaeas' letter on the above subject which appeared in the Spectator of October 11th. At the end of his letter occurs the following remark, "Is it not time to remind the Young Turks that the preservation of their Empire does not depend on the question of the Islands, 8w.?" In answer to which I would say that that rather, depends on one's point of view.

If we are to assume that Europe has already partitioned the Asiatic Provinces of Turkey, giving a portion to each Power and that the realisation of this is but a question of time, then indeed the question of the Islands is not of importance. If, however, we do not take this as an assumption, I maintain that the question of the Islands is of vital importance to Turkey. Mitylene is to Turkey what Belgium is to Great Britain. To both may be applied the pistol argument. And further, M. Vamvacas charges Turkey with having an aggressive policy in Europe. It is surely as easy to charge Greece with having an aggressive policy against Turkey. It is a well-known fact that the eyes of every Pan-Hellenist are fixed on Constantinople. The Islands are so many stepping- stones in the lgean on the road to Constantinople. Why not solve the Island question in the following manner? That the administration should be Greek with a nominal Turkish suzerainty. This would satisfy local feeling in the Islands, by far the larger part of whose population is Greek. Equally would it satisfy Turkish amour propre.

Then to overcome the strategical side of the question. Let it be guaranteed by the Powers that all fortifications at present on the Islands be razed and no fresh ones erected; that no soldiers of either Power be maintained in the Islands ; that the Islands be forbidden to all ships of war of any nationality whatever. Let the Islands become Switzerlands. It will be objected that European guarantee is worth nothing. That may be or may not be. In point of fact the guarantee, if broken and when broken, will be broken by Turkey or Greece, just whenever the Navy of either is ready and able to do so. At least, then, the question will have had the merit of being settled on the "Might is right" basis.—I am, Sir,

Captain Imperial Ottoman Gendarmerie. Club de Constantinople, Pera,

October 18th, 1913.