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CAN HE HURT?, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
CAN HE HURT?
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TURK. LONG PREPARED. IN DAMASCUS AND SYRIA. HOME FOOD SUPPLY. MINES CAN STOP THE WHEAT MILITARY SIDE. HOW DEFEND SUEZ CANAL? [By A. Spexce.] “ Est, re quo nous ;tvons lo coeur briso This is what the Frenchman shouts in battle. He copied it from the British soldiers’ slogan: “Are wo down-hearted?” It isan inspiring word, but it does not imply a pair of eyes shut to the facts. The news about Turkey must be looked at. It is serious. Turkey can hurt. She can hurt in more ways than one. She can hurt in unsuspected ways. 'lVue, she may be hurt herself in the end ; she probably will. In the meantime she appears to think that it is she who can do all the damage, or Germany thinks it is. Well, lime will tell. We hold a stack of very good cards, au.d among these is the colonial card. The Ottoman soldier may yet, may soon, be required to gaze into the rifle barrels of Australians and New Zealanders. But this is telling the •story from the wrong end. It is better to begin at (ho beginning. The cables strive to give the impression that Turkey's mobilisation is only beginning. It began 79 days ago, and (of all places in the world) in Syria. The first stop taken was to suppress in the Levantine and Syrian newspapers all word of English and French successes. Then came the commandeering of camels in the sanjak of Jerusalem, the kaza of Nazareth, and the vilayet of Beirut. These are the celebrated Hedjaz camels, about 20,000 of which are sent annually to Syria. While the camels were being commandeered every mule in the Lebanon district was called up too. In return for this requisition bonds on Constantinople were given in payment. Camels were not, necessary lo cany Turks to the war in Europe, eo the real intent is plain. The Suez Canal and Egypt were to be (bo goals. This is one way in which Turkey can hurt, or thinks she can.
(In the day that the camels began to assemble at the, depots (August lo), the 14th Corps in Arabia and the troops in Damascus commenced to mobilise. An Asiatic corps of the Turkish army is a guess as far as numbers go. The cable gives the number of Turkish soldiers in Palestine as 40,000. I would he inclined to figure out the mobilisation at Damascus alone as twice that number. The troops stationed at Mecca and other points in Arabia-, and also in the Sinai Peninsula, will likely work out at 25.000. .So here are 10-5.000 soldiers, regular and irregular, to move on the Suez (’anal. To meet this there are about 17.000 troops in Egypt. There seems, therefore, to be room in the firing line at tbi> important point ior any amount of Australians and Now Zealanders. The objective has been well chosen by the Turkish military control. It is a point at which they will have to he hurled back into the iie-eil, or they will hurt, and hurt hard.
ONE LOCK : TWO KEYS. The canal is therefore one point of injury. Food is another. This is autumn at' Home, ami every autumn stores of wheat float from the Danube and South Russia to Britain. There is also an output from the Baltic, 'live Baltic export so far has been about- nil. The Black Snr export ought to he in full swing now, but with Turkey at war it. ceases. A minefield in the Dardanelles will at rest it. just as if, will arrest any naval movement from the Mediterranean on Constantinople. At (be top end of (he Sea of Maunora the Bosphorus might also be mined if peed arose. One merchantman has already Ivon funk off Buyukdere by running on mines. In regard to waterway, Constantinople holds one key I tho mino). which will lock two doors- This 's where 1 nvkey oar, hurt again ROUSE MOSLEM. The third stab is the. undoubted appeal to the world's Mohammedans by any act undort-r.ken by the Commander of tho Faith, fill. Prior to 1594 Mohammedans, who embrace as many soots and freethinkers as other religions, had become a little used to the idea that Turkey was the Sack Man of Europe. The victorious campaigiii against Greece changed the uo'.ion. The northwest frontier of India—.suitably informed by word of mouth which Hashes east and west from the great gossip ground. Mecca —began to collect idea-. Islam was coming into its own. Two costly i'■liellions followed in the north-west of India. The original British idea was to put these dov n by employing a strav battalion or two. Ultimately two complete divisions of troops were necessary.
The same thing is contemplated again—no doubt at Germany's instigation. Long ago wc had an assurance from the. Ameer of Afghanistan that he intended to remain strictly neutral. Why the assurance, unless there were something back of it a 1 l v On October 28 advices from Berlin staled that the Ameer gave audience to a member of the Turkish Committee of Union. On October 30 the ‘Frankfurter Zeitung’ stated that the intrigue between Turkey, Germany, and Afghanistan was well forward. and that a treaty had been concluded. Nov we see Turkey going to war. At best the present Ameer only has a rattletrap sort of brain, with a pronounced theological bias. So there :e probably a great deal behind these messages. HOW TO FIGHT TURKEY.
Our diplomatic lopresentative at Constantinople receives £B.OOO per annum for keeping an eye on Turkey. Whether Britain is in a state of ear with Turkey we do not know “ officially ’ ; hut. we can take it for granted that she is at, war to all intents and purposes. Meantime, tho Russian Ambassador has applied for his passports, and there is no need to stale what that means. It docs not,-require £B.OOO per annum to sec what should he done with Turkey. British troops cannot he despatched in anv great fone to the iSuez Canal, That would he a divergent operation—a violation of the second in strategy. But a goodly number of New Zealanders and Australians might bo sent. If Islam is not ton greatly stirred in Hindustan, some Indians might go also.' Such movements would l» convergent, and would tell. It is not unlikely that the man in khaki whom we see about the street every day in Dunedin may find his first enemy in the unspeakable Turk. The chances of support from India will depend ctr how far tho notion of conquest has got behind the' fast-moving gossip of the bazaars. The Ameer of Afghanistan may he made to show' his hand soon, too. hut this would he an extreme step. YOUTH WILL BE SERVED.
There were no less than 15 messages in the cables this morning relating to Turkev. The best is usually Reuter’s. Reuter states that tho Allies are conferring “ on the crisis, and aawiting Turkey’s explanation.” , , There is. indeed, a crisis, and Turkeys explanation is likely to be three words: •* \v'e want war.” She has already committed acts of war.
Her 500 battalions of infantry are now as ' ready as eve* they will be. With the houng Ur.k in charge u is not probable that any explanation by Turkey will be given. Youth is the period of headlong j
imitation. Youth cannot think; it only imitates. What hotter copy of headlong imitation of prowess coulcf youth have than Germany? The Black Sea position is vague in detail, though the cables are plentiful. Two Russian destroyers, interfering at the throat of the Bosphorus, were sunk. There are cables which go as far as the bombardment of Sebastopol—a curious story* The tenor of it all comes to this: The Allies do not wish the Turks to start; tho Germans do. The latter tely on tho Young Turk; the former on something older. It is, of course, not surprising to learn from Chicago that bidding cn the wheat market is excited, owing to Turkey’s attitude. The ihrewd, grasping American operator sees the chance. He sees tho day, now arrived, when mines will close the wheat output from the Black Sea. For him it is “ Deu Tag.” WHY TURKS WANT WAR. Turkey, as most know, is not united. The crowd who have been intriguing with Germany will probably be the Committee of Union and Progress, who represent the Young Turk party, who brought on the revolution in 1909. They engineered matters till 1912, when the “Party of Union and Liberty,” and a military party called the “Soldier Saviours" came into action. There was a counter coup, however, and the Committee’ of Union £nd Progress found their legs again. They are the party now. They are the war party. They are tho party who have listened *to Germany. They are the party who sent someone to Afghanistan. If there is any united Turkish expression of opinion in respect to war, wo may be sure that tho dominant party want war. They are the party of assassination. The cables indicate that the attitude of Turkey is due to some irregular German predominance at Constantinople. Never believe it. The hostilities in the Black Sea speak for • themselves. LOSS OF THE HERMES. Some German submarine has sunk the Hermes, cost about £500,000. It is true that she is 16 years old, and only a cruiser of the same class as the Highflyer and Hyacinth, but the locality of her loss is significant. It happened in tho Strait of Dover. This is the alarming statement. We have seen during the past week a concent ration of heavier guns off the coast of Belgium than one might have expected in an operation in which urgency did not call. So high a calibre as 12in hast been called up. Tho modest, artillery’ on the Hermes rises no higher than 6in. As stated in Saturday's notes, capital ships bombarding tho coast of Belgium are taking risks. Presumably they know how great or how small the urgency is. Baron Von Daronno has said that “when the Gormans are in possession of Calais” they will bring up 1 Tin howitzers to guard a “prospective submarine base.” This is looking well ahead. A message, dated October 28, stated that German submarines are being sent to Ostcnd by rail, packed in sections. Maybe true; maybe some war correspondent’s picturesque guess; hut most likely the latter. THE MALIN HEAD MINES. Wider (rerman activities at sea are foreshadowed. There were three astonishing cables last week. About Sunday, October 25. four German submarines were seen as far at sea. as the Orkney Islands. No more has been heard of thorn in the meantime. More astonishing still was a cablegram last Tuesday indicating that, the steamer Manchester Commerce bar! run on a mine off the north coast, of Ireland. ! This was followed by an Admiralty intimation that the sea was not safe within 50 miles of Tory Island. About Thursday another steamer came to grief off Malin (fetid. No less than 30 miles of the Donegal coast is therefore mine-sown. Losses of merchantmen in the. North Hea have been heavier than we have been told of. Thus, dm-ini? the first month of the war n Norwegian steamer struck mines on August 8, three Danes on August 23. and three Danes and a Norwegian on August 27. Heavy as tin's is. if was along the line of reasonable exp.-nation. But who ever dreamed of i minefields on the north const of Ireland? TRUE? FALSE?
They say, do the cables, that the Germans will how “pull out of Poland, pending the result of the fight for Calais. All that is sure is that the Russian centre on the Vistula, has been bent back in front- of Jvangorod. Radom. and other places which possibly mean little to the general reader. Three million Russians are said to be out afier the Austro-Germans in hot enterprise, This will possibly be about the figure, and if the mass were moving on plane front it might be good. As it happens, there is still the same tiresome salient i-o he attacked. The Higli Commissioner recently gave the Russian figure at 3.000,000.
So it all shows what news we get.. It is .30 days, for instance, since wo heard that the"Prussian fortress df Konigsherg had been invested, but, ns wo know. Konigsherg has not been touched. The purpose of the Russian offensive in the battle of the Vistula may he stated shortly. The idea of the Russian General Staff is to secure the flanks of the two Russian armies which have been endeavoring to march on Cracow, and thence on in Breslau. After Breslau is Berlin. THE ALABAMA GAME.
By rapturing the Exford. with 7,000 tons of steaming roal, the raiding Emden has perhaps raised the list of" damage clone to £2,000,000. Between September 10 and September 14 six captures, valued at £750,000, were effected. Then came a second lot valued at £1,000,000. On Saturday we heard of the. Ex ford. In the Atlantic the deeds of the cruiser Karlsruhe -were last reported by London cable, dated October 24. She had then sunk 12 steamers, aggregating 50,000 tons, and valued at £1.000.000. Of the Eber's doings we. have heard nothing. That is £3.000,000 damage by two insignificant vessels worth about one-fifth of that sum. The captain who ranges up on the Emden will certainly lose no time in sending in his first broadside. As anticipated in Saturday’s notes, the Emden’s attack on the, Russian cruiser Zemtchug proved a real enough thing.
DANGEROUS .MEN. The story of a spy and his flashlight was told on Saturday. This individual got a shot in the leg for his pains. The object of the fla-shbgnt may be obvious to some, but news to others. When the last mail left Home the English authorities estimated that there, were between 8.000 or 9.0C0 dangerous Germans at large. In most cases the evidence against them was so slight that the authorities d'Vl not feel warranted in effecting arrests. But the game which these men are endeavoring to n!av is a deep me. They are trying nothing less than the transmission of information on the whereabouts of the British fleets. The flashlights rro to their own submarines or dost* >yers approaching the British coast at nights, as thev doubtless occasionally do. More often they will bo signals to some trawler or tramu masquerading as a Norwegian or Dutch neutral. The use. of carrier pigeons has long been auspeyted. Above all. spies can readily cross from England to the Honk of Holland and use the telegraph there, returning to England after they have, scut on news of highly Important character. England has been ’inprisoning some of them in York Castle. In Germany or France they won '.c he shot.
I am afraid that all the foregoing is not very optimistic. Living among ’'optimists ” is the surest road to pessimism. The ‘ Review of Reviews ’ to hand this day has the following: W© have been accused of taking a far too pessimistic view of the war. This, alas! is due to a rather more intimate knowledge of the Geiraan people and their thorough methods than many critics of the operations appear to possess. Such knowledge compels this attitude, nor has the war thus far justi-
fied any optimistic feelings. It goes on in that way, and what could be nearer truth? If it had not been forth# blighting optimist England would now have had 1.000,000 trained soldiers on the Continent at a time when every man is needed. As it is. we only have the optimist still shooting his small optimism against the solid, unyielding wall of reality.
CAN HE HURT?, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
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