Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Turkey: a Past and a Future   By: (1889-1975)

Book cover

First Page:









What is Turkey? It is a name which explains nothing, for no formula can embrace the variety of the countries marked "Ottoman" on the map: the High Yemen, with its monsoons and tropical cultivation; the tilted rim of the Hedjaz, one desert in a desert zone that stretches from the Sahara to Mongolia; the Mesopotamian rivers, breaking the desert with a strip of green; the pine covered mountain terraces of Kurdistan, which gird in Mesopotamia as the hills of the North West Frontier of India gird the Plains; the Armenian highlands, bleak as the Pamirs, which feed Mesopotamia with their snows and send it the soil they cannot keep themselves; the Anatolian peninsula an offshoot of Central Europe with its rocks and fine timber and mountain streams, but nursing a steppe in its heart more intractable than the Puszta of Hungary; the coast lands Trebizond and Ismid and Smyrna clinging to the Anatolian mainland and Syria interposing itself between the desert and the sea, but all, with their vines and olives and sharp contours, keeping true to the Mediterranean; and then the waterway of narrows and land locked sea and narrows again which links the Mediterranean with the Black Sea and the Russian hinterland, and which has not its like in the world.

The cities of Turkey are as various as the climes, with the added impress of many generations of men: Adrianople, set at a junction of rivers within the circle of the Thracian downs, a fortress since its foundation, well chosen for the tombs of the Ottoman conquerors; Constantinople, capital of empires where races meet but never mix, mistress of trade routes vital to the existence of vast regions beyond her horizon Central Europe trafficking south eastward overland and Russia south westward by sea; Smyrna, the port by which men go up and down between Anatolia and the Aegean, the foothold on the Asiatic mainland which the Greeks have never lost; Konia, between the mountain girdle and the central steppe, where native Anatolia has always stood at bay, guarding her race and religion against the influences of the coasts; Aleppo, where, if Turkey were a unity, the centre of Turkey would be found, the city where, if anywhere, the races of the Near East have mingled building their courses into her fortress walls from the polygonal work of the Hittite founders to the battlements that kept out the Crusaders and now the half way point of a railway surveyed along an immemorially ancient route, but unfinished like the history of Aleppo herself; Van by its upland lake, overhanging the Mesopotamian lowlands and with the writing of their culture graven on its cliffs, yet living a life apart like some Swiss canton and half belonging to the infinite north; Bagdad, the incarnation for the last millennium of an eternal city that shifts its site as its rivers shift their beds from Seleucia to Bagdad, from Babylon to Seleucia, from Kish to Babylon but which always springs up again, like Delhi, within a few parasangs of its last ruins, in an area that is an irresistible focus of population; Basra amid its palm groves, so far down stream that it belongs to the Indian Ocean the port from which Sinbad set sail for fairyland, and from which less mythical Arab seamen spread their religion and civilisation far over African coasts and Malayan Indies; these, and besides them almost all the holy cities of mankind: Kerbela, between the Euphrates and the desert, where, under Sunni rule, the Shias of Persia and India have still visited the tombs of their saints and buried their dead; Jerusalem, where Jew and Christian, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, Armenian and Abyssinian, have their common shrines and separate quarters; Mekka and Medina in the heart of the desert, beyond which their fame would never have passed but for a well and a mart and a precinct of idols and the Prophet who overthrew them; and there are the cities on the Pilgrim Road (linked now by railway with Medina, the nearer of the Haramein ): Beirût the port, with its electric trams and newspapers, the Smyrna of the Arab lands; and Damascus the oasis, looking out over the desert instead of the sea, and harbour not of ships but of camel caravans... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books