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Tues 12. [12 May 1914] Reached Smyrna [Izmir] early. Mr Sayer and
I went on shore, drove round about and called on Edward Whittall. He
said that things were very bad here. They have an infamous Vali,
strong Committee man. Policy of intolerable pinpricks against the
Greeks, seemingly in the hope that they will be forced to leave and
the Turks step into their place as merchants. The Whittalls have tried
taking Turkish clerks but have been obliged to abandon the attempt,
they are so hopelessly stupid. The Vali and authorities are inciting
the Mohammadan population against the Xians and Mr Whittall fears
a massacre. The Vali is also most insolent to foreigners. A few days
ago he told a British firm of fig buyers that he had issued orders that
figs were not to be sold to them. This has been reported to the
Consulate at C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]. Terrible plague of
locusts, things very black. Constant reports that the Greeks are going
to make war with Turkey for the islands which the Turks won't give up.
Mr W. says he does not see how they can give up Chios [Khios] and
Mytelene [Mitilini] guarding the great port of Smyrna. They are
strenghtening the garrisons - 200 officers passed through yesterday.
The great talk about the Turkish navy and the buying of new
Dreadnoughts make the Greeks feel they must hurry. My guide
yesterday said they were bound to fight Turkey on the sea. They
were not afraid of Bulgaria because Roumania stands behind her.
The Captain of this ship took out Mark Kerr and his officers. He says
he hears they are making little head way with the Greeks. The latter
are so puffed up that it is impossible to teach them anything.