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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1, ”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 2, fra Jan. 1917 – 1. Jan. 1919
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 01/29/1917
Arrival of telegram: 02/15/1917
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 22
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/27/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 22

Constantinople, 29 January 1917. 1 enclosure.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

The Young Turk government is constantly trying to make people believe that it has torn away the population of Turkey from its uncivilized condition and brought it culture and enlightenment, and in the newspapers here it keeps advocating the supposed rebirth of the Turkish people and its great love of art, science, and industry.

Every day in the local papers one can read about the establishing of new companies that are to tap the hitherto unknown riches hidden in the bosom of the earth, about the opening of new schools, libraries, and exhibitions, about improvements in all areas of administration, and the Ottoman Parliament is constantly approving appropriations of millions and millions of Turkish pounds that do not exist in order to finance undertakings that only see the light of day on paper.

In their childish simplicity the Committee believe that it in a matter of weeks or months can bring about greater development and social progress in Turkey than it has been possible to foster in other, better-to-do countries through decades of tenacious work, and there are no limits to the nonsense one has to read about in the semi-official press here.

For instance, the papers yesterday announced that the government has decided to establish a great collection of paintings in Constantinople, similar to the collections that are to be found in "other great European capitals."

The masterpieces that are to make out this collection will probably be produced by a speedpainter.

The paper "Sabahi" which is published in Stamboul, as well as several other papers, even announce today that the Ottoman University is now being recognized abroad. As a proof of this they furthermore announce that the prize-giving committees of the Nobel Foundation have for the first time invited the university to air its opinion about who should be given the Norwegian Peace Prize this year, and that the university's law faculty during its last meeting has unanimously voted to nominate His Majesty the German Kaiser [Wilhelm II] to receive this honour as the worlds foremost pacifist.

I enclose a couple of clippings regarding this last sensational announcement, whose truthfulness I have not yet been able to confirm.

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully



Enclosure to Leg. No. XXII [22] of 29/1/1917.

From "Hilal" of 1/2/1917:

Le prix Nobel.

Les statuts de l'Institution du prix Nobel portent que les Universités de tous les pays doivent être sollicitées à l'effet d'indiquer un candidat à ce prix parmi les professeurs da droit, de sciences politiques, d'histoire et de philosophie. Malgré cela, une pareille demande n'avait encore jamais été adressée à notre Université. C'est seulement cette année-ci que le Comité du prix Nobel a [one illegible word] recours à l'Université ottomane, ce qui démontre qu'elle a acquis à l'étranger l'estime qu'elle méritait.

La faculté de droit de l'Université a proposé S. M. l'Empereur d'Allemagne comme candidat au prix Nobel, parce que le premier pas vers lapaix a été fait par la Quadruple-Alliance et que cette offre de paix est personnifiée par S. M. le Kaiser.

La faculté de lettre s'est ralliée à l'opinion de la faculté de droit.

From "Lloyd Ottoman" of 1/2/1917:

Le prix Nobel de paix.

Notre confrère le "Sabah" parlant du prix Nobel de paix dit que l'Université Ottomane a commencé à être reconnue par les pays étrangers. Le comité du prix Nobel de paix a demandé, pour la première fois, cette année à l'Université Ottomane la désignation d'un candidat pour ce prix. La faculté de droit prenant en considération que le premier pas vers la paix a été fait par la Quadruple-Alliance, a décidé de désigner comme candidat S.M. l'Empereur d'Allemagne comme le premier promoteur de la conclusion de la paix.

Le conseil des professeurs de l'Université dans sa dernière séance a unanimement approuvé la désignation de S.M. l'Empereur d'Allemagne comme candidat pour le prix Nobel de paix.

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