Halide Edib (Adıvar)'s appeal to the American public for justice for the Turks
Stanford J. Shaw
University of California Los Angeles. Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.
Keywords: Halide Edib Adıvar, United States, Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Lausanne Conference
This article presents an appeal written in 1919-1920 by Turkey's first major woman writer, novelist and newspaper reporter Halide Edib (Adıvar), to the people of the United States, entrusted to Lewis Edgar Browne, who was covering the Turkish War for Independence and the Russian Revolution and Civil War for the Chicago Daily News while the Paris Peace Conference was going on. Halide Edib believed that the people of the United States were without bias in considering the problems of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I, and, that, as had been stated in President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, they wanted all the peoples of the Empire, including the Turks, to achieve independence in their own lands following the war. In her statement, she condemned the efforts then being made in Paris to blame on the Turks alone all the excesses and abuses that had gone in the war, pointing out that all the peoples of the Empire had sinned and been sinned against, all had suffered terribly from massacre and starvation, not only the Sultan's Christian subjects, and that the Turks, like the others, therefore deserved to achive independence in the areas of Anatolia and Thrace where they constituted large majorities of the population. In the end, this appeal fell on deaf ears. Halide Edib did not understand that the minds of the people of the Christian West had been so poisoned against Muslims by wartime propaganda that the accusations were being used as pretexts to deny to them rights that were being granted to their Christian neighbors. In the end, it was not such appeals for justice and understanding, then, but the force applied by the Turkish national resistance movement led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk that achived an independent existance for the Empire's Turkish subjects as a result of the Lausanne Conference and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.