To Demolish The Turks (Part 1)


Ignatiev, who worked as the Russian Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire for a long time, divulges in a letter written to the Russian Czar Alexander by the chief plotter of the Byzantine rebellion of 1237 [1821] Patriarch Gregorius, who was hanged in front of the Phanar Patriarchate in the time of Sultân Mahmûd the second. The letter is a warning lesson:

“It is impossible to crush or demolish the Turks materially. Being Muslims, the Turks are very patient and enduring people. They are utterly proud and majestically faithful. These qualities originate from their devotion to their faith, their contentment with destiny, their traditionalism, and their loyalty to their Pâdishâs [State authorities, commanders, superiors].

“The Turks are intelligent, and studious as long as they have chiefs to lead and conduct them in a positive direction. They are utterly content. All their merits, even their feelings of heroism and bravery, come from their traditionalism and strong character.

“First it is necessary to blunt their feelings of obedience, to exterminate their spiritual bonds, and to weaken their religious firmness. And the shortest way of doing this is to accustom them to foreign thoughts and actions incompatible with their national customs and faith.

“The day their faith is undermined, their real power, which has brought the Turks to victory against forces which in outward appearance were by far superior to them in power and in number, will be undermined, too; and it will then be possible to topple them by the ascendancy of material means. For this reason, victories merely won in battlefields will not suffice for the elimination of the Ottoman State. In fact, walking in this way alone will stir the Turks’ dignity and honour, and so it may cause them to penetrate into their own essence.

“What is to be done is, without letting the Turks notice anything, to machinate decadence in their construction.”


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