An interview given to a representative of the "Christian Science Monitor''
and published in the paper's issue of Wednesday, June 21st, 1922.
NATIONS OF WORLD URGED TO DECLARE TURKEY AN OUTLAW
Dr. Mark H. Ward says initiative in seeking solution should come from United States.
(Special from Monitor Bureau)
Washington, June 21st.
There can be no permanent solution of the problem in Asia Minor, where Turkish forces under command of Mustapha Kemal Pasha are slaying thousands of Christian Greeks, just as they did many thousands of Christian Armenians, unless the United States steps in and establishes a moral standard which must be complied with by the Turks. As a first step toward stopping the ruthless Kemalists, the nations of the world should declare Turkey an outlaw nation and refuse to deal with her.
This was asserted to a representative of the Christian Science Monitor today by Dr. Mark H. Ward of Suffern, N.Y., after he had reported to officials in the Department of State of the United States Government on the deplorable situation in Asia Minor. Dr. Ward has just returned from Anatolia, where, for the past three years, he has been doing relief work. He first went to Turkey in 1915 and remained for two years in American Red Cross work in Constantinople. After America's entry into the war he joined the United States Army, and after the Armistice he returned to relief work in Turkey. He was expelled from Anatolia by the Turks when they learned he was recording their brutalities to Christians.
Turks Censor Dispatches
Dr. Ward recalled conferring at length in Constantinople with Herbert Adams Gibbons, special correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor in Asia Minor, and Dr. Ward highly commended this newspaper, and Mr. Gibbons, for exposing the "real facts about the Turkish problem."
"If the people of America only knew how their Christian brethren are being slain in Asia Minor to satisfy the fanatical Kemalists' political aspirations," declared Dr. Ward, "they would quickly answer the call of humanity, just as they did in the World War. The horrible facts are only now reaching the outside world; the Turks have censored all out-bound despatches. They have forced American relief workers to sign statements that there are no crimes being committed, under threat of dire punishment.
"I fear the next move of the Kemalists will be to expel all American relief workers, as they did me and several others. I see dispatches to-day from Constantinople are to the effect that the Turkish Nationalist Government will not permit a commission of inquiry of Americans and representatives of the allied powers to go into Asia Minor. This is a positive admission of guilt. However, a commission of inquiry would not find all the horrible facts, because the Kemalists would cover them up.
Enough to Convict Turks
"Enough is known now from authentic sources to convict the Turks. The United States and the rest of the civilised world should go further than inquiry; they should outlaw Turkey among nations. This, I believe, would soon stop her ruthless efforts. The initiative should come from the United States. This country alone can go in with clean hands. Great Britain, France and Italy seem to have political or business reasons for not taking a firm stand, but I believe that, if the United States takes the lead, Great Britain will rise to her place, and together they should stamp out this blot on civilisation.
"I suppose this is asking too much of America. Her historic policy of isolation would interfere. But I have faith in a change in public opinion for humanity's sake. When the facts become generally known surely something will be done. I found the State Department officials very much interested in the situation. They are investigating the reports of slayers. Something tangible must follow the investigation.
Majority Against Atrocities
"I do not believe that a majority of the Turkish people favour these atrocities. Many have told me as much. While Mustapha Kemal Pasha is the leader of the murderers, I am firmly convinced that he is acting according to a tacit agreement with the Government at Constantinople.
"These Nationalists do not like the English; they are now beginning to dislike Americans. I had great difficulty explaining that I was an American and not an Englishman. They tried to thwart every move I made. They accused me of taking pictures of atrocities, although I did not have a camera with me. "I was deported by the Turks," Dr. Ward said, "for no other reason except that I was administering relief to the Christian peoples under Turkish rule.
"The Turkish Nationalists resumed their war of extermination against the Christian minorities, the Armenians and Greeks, nearly ten months ago, but they did not begin to make manifest open hostility toward their guardians, the American relief workers, until last fall, when the Kemalists came into power.
"Our protests did not reach the outside world because of the Turkish barrier, and the news of the renewal of the Turkish campaign against the Christians only leaked out through my expulsion and safe arrival in Constantinople.
Deportation of Greeks
"The Kemalists pursued with vigour their considered and systematic campaign for the extermination of the Greek minority in Asia Minor, which was attended with the same incredible brutality as marked the Turkish massacre of 1,000,000 Armenians in the early part of the Great War.
"This war of extermination became more thorough as the Turkish Nationalists grew in power. It involved the deportation of the Greeks from their homes on the southern shores of the Black Sea, along the roads through Sivas and Harpoot to the mountainous regions east of Bitlis.
"At first the male inhabitants were sent to the interior near Sivas and Harpoot, where I was stationed, and set to work on the roads. There was no shelter and little food, and during last winter men succumbed in large numbers.
Deportees Driven along Road
"The next step was to clear out the women and children from these same villages and the men from the coast cities of Samsun and Trebizond. Of 30,000 deportees who were driven from their homes in Sivas, only 20,000 arrived in Harpoot. All were destined for Bitlis, a heap of ruins left from the war, and in the centre of a barren, mountainous country unfitted to provide food for even one-tenth of the refugees.
"The deportees were driven along the roads like so many herds of cattle. The herds of wretched beings stretched along the roads for miles. Some were permitted to have their ox-carts and donkeys, but mostly they were forced to trudge along afoot and were usually allowed to take with them what necessaries they could carry on their backs.
"Every child able to do so was obliged to walk, for their mothers carried the food and scanty bedding on their backs. Herded thus on the road the deportees underwent a process of spoliation and murder.
"At Harpoot, and again at Diarbekir, our most easterly relief station, we tried to lengthen the lives of these miserable creatures by doling out bread and clothing, but this could not be accomplished without much hindrance from the Turks, who were evidently reluctant to allow our hospitals and orphanages to succour the needy.
“I will never forget the sight of those long lines of poor mortals stretching into their exile in the mountains of Bitlis. They were passing into an absolutely barren country. The Turks knew also that Americans were eye-witnesses of these terrible things and our very presence was making them restive. They thought to discourage our efforts by placing all sorts of obstacles in the way of our relief efforts.
Prompt Action Needed
"These Christian peoples are our wards and we cannot abandon them. Nearly 1,000,000 human beings, who otherwise would have perished, form a living memorial to American aid in Asia Minor. The very presence of Americans is a life-saver for many of these poor creatures.
"Naturally I am glad that the United States has joined the Commission to investigate the Turkish atrocities, but I must point out the need for prompt action if the whole truth is to be uncovered and this campaign of extermination of Christian people is to be checked.
"I hope the Commission will push its work with all possible speed. Every moment's delay enables the Turk to remove or destroy the evidence.
"The Commission should be large enough to permit of its being broken up into separate units, which could examine more territory with greater speed and facility. It should have horses in addition to motor transport to negotiate the difficult paths leading to isolated mountain villages off the main arteries of travel.
"The mission should be free of Turk guidance, should have neutral interpreters and guides, and should guarantee protection to witnesses."
Transcribed from: The Martyrdom of Smyrna and Eastern Christendom: A file of overwhelming evidence denouncing the misdeeds of the Turks in Asia Minor and showing their responsibility for the Horrors of Smyrna.
Compiled and prefaced by Dr Lysimachos Oeconomos.George Allen and Unwin, 1922, pp36-40.