TURKISH ISLAND ROMANCE.
ENGLISHMAN'S FIGHT FOR HIS RIGHTS. Sailing clown the Gulf of Smyrna one passes a smalt island cff the coast of Karaburun. Its name is Uzun Ad'assi, the Turkish equivalent for Long Island, and its recent history would provide .for a romance. Close on a hundred years ago Charles Edwards, a retired officer in the British Army, settled in Smyrna, and his descendants have lived' there ever since. Charles's son, Anthony, was a journalist of some repute, who spent much of his time cruising in the Aegean Sea. In the course of his j wanderings in the year 1845 he took a fancy to Uzun Adassi, and bought it from its Turkish owners. The exact purchase price is not known, but Edwards was a. friend of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, the British Ambassador in Constantinople, and' it is believed' that on account of the strategic position that Uzun held —it is almost in the middle of the Gulf—the Ambassador encouraged Edwards to buy it. Anthony died in 1892, and during his lifetime he . was content to pay occasional visits to Uzun, where there was plenty of good fishing and shooting. His son only survived him by a few years, but his grandson, who was also called Anthony, had other ideas, and aimed at cultivating and developing his inheritance. Uzun Adassi' is only 18 miles from Smyrna, and the climate is cool and salubrious s all'.- the year round. The soil-Ms fertile, and vines, tobacco, almonds, olives; and aniseed can be profitably grown,- There are several natural springs, and the t inch
i , ; beaches are ideally adapted for bathing and l boating. The island is well woodsd, and' is oblong in shape, being about miles long by two miles broad. For a long time Uzun t was uninhabited, but towards the ; end of last century Ottoman Greek > peasants began to migrate there ; from the mainland. They built them- • selves houses, cultivated the land, i and in 1914 more than 2,000 were . living on the island. Anthony Ed- , wards spent part of each year on ( Uzun, but he was involved in con- j tinual deputes with the peasantry,: , who were averse from paying any rent, while all appeals to the Turkish; > authorities were in vain. In fact, J ! he found that the island cost him more than it was worth, as he was obliged to pay taxes to the Smyrna Vilayet. But when Kiamil Pasha, who was afterwards Grand Vizier, became Governor-General of the Vilayet, Edwards found his task easier. '• AN OFFER FROM TURKEY. (• Kiamil Pasha told him that on account of its strategic position the Turkish Government wantsd to purchase Uzun Adassi, and negotiations were entered-into with this object in view. But they came to nothing, as i the Turks offered far less than Edwards was willing to accept. Kiamil Pasha was, however, a just man, who recognized Edwards's rights over his tenants, and he lent him some Albanian soldiers, who visited the island and made the peasants under- . stand that they must either pay their rent or leave forthwith. The peasants preferred to pay, and for a | time all went well. • But Kiamil Pasha- left Smyrna, and his success- ' | ors \yere bsnt on forcing Edwards to
sell the island; So they encouraged the peasants not to pay any rent, and there were endless quarrels between the owner, the tenants, and the authorities. With the outbreak of the Great War Edwards, with his wife and family, was interned at Smyrna. At first the Greek peasants lived on the island unmolested and rent free, but the arrival of German officers com- i pellsd them to set sail for Mitylene and other islands in the Aegean, j Archipelago. Turkish troops were 'sent to the island, which, was made into a joint naval and military sta-j ! tion, while four 6in. Krupp guns i j were mounted on concrete emplacements on the northern coast. When the war cftme to an end Edwards was told that Uzun Adassi could never be his again, but it was hinted that some sort cf compensation would be granted to him. He again ' protested to the British consular and diplomatic representatives, but without avail. j • GREEK OCCUPATION. ' Help was, however, forthcoming from an unexpected quarter. The Greek Army landed at Smyrna, and Uzun Adassi was immediately handed over to its owner. Meanwhile the peasants had heard the news, and they hastened back to their beloved island. It is said that Edwards stood on the shore and tried to prevent them from landing until they had given a written premise to pay their rent. In any case, Uzun soon regained its former prosperity, for the Greek authorities enforced the prompt payment of rent, and Edwards felt that he would at last be able to derive some benefit from his : possession. - ... i ♦ But the Kemalist advance in Asia . Minor forced the ■ Greek Army to ivl^eW.^dw-t , h^,.jKas^the.,disastr-qus;-]ffdsi't;fe!ri' thanf; 1 efo p After spending a'few mourns at Malta,' he returned to Smyrna 'to find that Uzun Adassi was in a military zone and that he was forbidden even to visit it. Thus for.the last four years he has been unable to set foot on his own property. After having reported the circumstances to thlc Foreign , | Office, he consulted a firm of British j lawyers and took steps to sue the Turkish Government for wrongful seizure and resultant v damage caused by the occupying troops. His claim amounts to £51,000, of which £40,000 represents the estimated value of the island. The case has not yet ! come up for hearing before the Mixed ' Anglo-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal.—' "London Times." |
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TURKISH ISLAND ROMANCE., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LI, Issue 5241, 10 December 1926
TURKISH ISLAND ROMANCE. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LI, Issue 5241, 10 December 1926
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