A True Story
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secretly. Since 1965, it has found expression in the Turkish parliament in Alpaslan Turkes' Nationalist Action Party. Its emblem is the Bozkurt, or steppe wolf; this is also the name of a magazine which first appeared in 1939 and contained strong Pan-Turkish propaganda. The issue published in August, 1941 contained a map of unredeemed territories stretching from Greece to China.

   Turkey has made so many attempts, both before and after the Kemal Ataturk era, to promote the idea of Pan-Turkism and to fulfill its so-called "Great Idea" (Büyük emel or Büyüük mefküre) that a separate volume would be needed to record them all.

   The Young Turks entered the First World War on the side of Germany in order to serve the ideal of Pan-Turkism. The Germans gave the Turks every encouragement in this direction and the German ambassador in Constantinople, von Wagenheim, told the Grand Vizier in a confidential letter dated 6th August, 1914, that "Germany would fight for Turkey's eastern borders to be restored, which would allow it to have direct access to the Muslims in Russia."

   In 1915 and 1916, just as in 1910, several thousand propaganda sheets and leaflets supporting the ideal of Pan-Turkism and using the common religion of Islam as bait were distributed over vast expanses of Central Asia. The language used was that which Ismail Gasprinsky (1851- 1914) had endeavoured to establish. He was a Turkish agent who began in 1833 to publish a newspaper that served the interests of the Turks. Gasprinsky's language had Turkish as its basis and was embellished with words used by the Muslim populations in Central Asia, so that they would all feel "Turkish." The fact that only 10% of the population in the former Soviet Union was Muslim was merely a trivial "detail"!

   The Young Turks, with Emver Pasha as their true spokesman - a man with a real passion for Pan-Turkism as a political and military ideal - were obsessed with the idea of extending the Ottoman Empire to the Northern Causasus and Russian Azerbaijan. They dreamt of a Turkey that stretched from Alexandroupolis to China.

   The dream came to an abrupt end, though only temporarily, with the defeat of Turkey as an ally of Germany and with the death of Emver Pasha on the battlefields of Asia Minor on 4th August, 1922.

   Even during the Second World War, Turkey - demonstrating unbelievable cynicism - would sometimes side with the Axis powers and at others with the Allied forces, granting "facilities" to both sides and joining the war on the side of first one and then the other, depending on the pay-offs that would come its way and serve the "Great Idea" of Pan-Turkism. In the situation created by the outcome of the Second World War, the policy of Pan-Turkism was applied selectively against Greece, which was probably thought to be the region where it could most easily be implemented. Nevertheless, fanatic zeal for the Ataturk philosophy that says "Anyone who considers himself Turkish is a Turk" is being whipped up amongst the Muslim masses everywhere. Of course, they live outside the confines of the country that is Turkey today, but still within the lands that belonged to the former Ottoman Empire. The fanaticism that Turkey is covertly channelling to these peoples represents an essential prerequisite for proceeding to the next stages of Turkey's expansionist strategy.

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Leonidas Koumakis
A True Story

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