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File 3579/1916 'Turkey: the future of Constantinople' [‎51r] (110/530)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (259 folios). It was created in 5 Sep 1916-27 Mar 1919. It was written in English and French. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Further it io to fcorao in mind that if Turkey turned
out of Europe she Trould lose the temptation to spend the ®nomouo
suma she has had to squander on maintaining an army and a navy,
at any rate an army, to sustain the illusion that she is a great
Lastly (this brings ne rather into collision witht^e vieva that
are put forward by Sir Hamilton Grant of the Government of India)
if the Turk were turned cut of Europe it would settle to my mind for
all time the question of the Khalifate. How has the Ottoman Sultan
been able, through all these c&uturies, to hold the position of
Khalif? As is well kmown he is not of the Krrsish family, and from
the point of view of descent his claim to the spiritual supremacy
is as we know } widely disputed in the Moslem world. Ke has been
enabled to keep it, in the main, for two reasons. Firstly, because
he has been the custodian of the Holy Places, and, secohdly, because
he has had Constantinople. The first has given him great
spiritual distinction and authority over the Moslems all over the
world. The second has enabled him to pose as the groat Islamic
power. Ha has already lost the Holy Places. If he also loses
Constantinople, it seems to me, his chances of retaining the
Khalifate ar'* g$ne. What they may be if he remains there I do not
know. I should think that they are doubtful. If he loses
Constantinople I imagine that there can be very little doubt that
the Mahomedan world will not accept as a Khalif a sovereign who has
been dispossessed of Constantinople, Mecca and Medina, and who has
been driven back into the highlands of Asia.
I have stated what seem to be the reasons for getting rid of
the Turk from Europe altogether. Mow let ua consider the reasons
Firstly, we are told that it would outrage Mahomedan sentiment
throughout the world. I very much wonder if that would be the case
myself. This war had really applied a wonderful test-stone to
the solidarity cl Islam, and as the various Powers who have been
fighting the Turk, and so many of whom have large Turkish possessions
of their own, whEsther they be in Africa or in Asia, successively

About this item


The volume contains papers regarding the future of Constantinople [Instanbul]. It includes: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. minute papers; copies of correspondence between the Foreign Office and Sir George Buchanan, HM Ambassador at Petrograd [St Petersburg], and other British diplomats; draft telegrams from the Secretary of State for India addressed to the Viceroy of India; correspondence between the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. and the Foreign Office; and other papers. Some of the correspondence is in French.

Issues discussed in the papers include: whether the Constantinople Agreement, concluded between the British, French and Russian governments in March 1915 (under the terms of which Constantinople and the Straits of the Dardanelles would be annexed to the Russian Empire), should be made public; the possible effect upon Muslims in India of the announcement of the agreement; and the question of the re-conversion of the St Sophia [Hagia Sophia] mosque in Constantinople into a Christian church.

The volume includes a divider which gives the subject number, the year the subject file was opened, the subject heading, and a list of correspondence references by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.

Extent and format
1 volume (259 folios)

The subject 3579 (Turkey: the future of Constantinople) consists of one volume, IOR/L/PS/10/623.

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 259; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. The front and back covers, along with the two leading and two ending flyleaves have not been foliated.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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File 3579/1916 'Turkey: the future of Constantinople' [‎51r] (110/530), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/623, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 March 2020]

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