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TIII2 GAKDEN ISLAND. TUESDAY, NOV. 26, 1918
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Prices Rise 3045 Per Cent in Turkey
The posaton of the Ottoman Em
pire at the present moment gives in
terest to a study of the conditions as
to food supply hnd distribution which
have been suffered during four years
by Its populations. . . '
Frobably no country has displayed
so little capacity to organize Its food
supply as Turkey. The outward show
of control is there, but all Is In a state
of flux due to frequent radical changes
In organization. From first to last
Turkish food organization has con
sisted of Incredible negligence alter
nating with fruitless Interference.
Rationing was begun In March 1917.
A commission consisting of State offi
cials and large wholesale dealers, was
set up under the presidency of the
Minister of the Interior. This con
trolled local commissions, which had
to buy grain and other crops and to
provide for their distribution. It was
officially stated that enough provisions
had been secured for the year, and
that rations were to be larger than
In other belligerent countries. A few
months later It became apparent that
the food card system was a failure,
and that the barest necessities of life
were scarcely to be had in Constanti
nople. The Turkish Government had
attempted to ration food not only
wlthoat knowing what stocks of grain
were at its disposal, but actually with
out having taken a census of the popu
lation. In April, 1918, the census had still
not been taken, and nothing has been
heard of It since. Moreover, the offi
cials were hoplessly corrupt, and food
was In the hands of speculators, who
sold It to Germany at high prices.
There was at first a strong feeling
against maximum prices; In May of
1917, however, it was found necessary
to fix them. A committee for the pre
vention of profiteering was also
formed. But it did not occur to the
Government to Issue an order against
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profiteering until 200 profiteers had
been arrested, and released because
here was no law under which they
Could be convicted.
One rather Interesting method of
dealing with profiteers Is used In
Turkey. If the price of an article has
been raised by successive middlemen,
each of the latter Is compelled to take
back at the price for which he sold It
until It returns to the original seller.
This procedure is said to have met
with some success.
As early as August, 1917, it was
necessary to begin again with a new
food orgainzation. This time the
army and civilian services were to be
united. Regional Supply Committees
were attached to each army. They
were presided over by the army com
mander, and included the chief civil
authorities of the district. There
were sAbordinate local commissions
In each region. At the head of the
whole organization was the General
Directorate of Supplies, which ap
pears to have been .a department of
the Ministry of War. This elaborate
organization has apparently succeeded
in organizing the bread supply and
feeding the army; to these functions,
and, in addition, the provisioning of
Constantinople and of the State Offi
cials, It was herefore restricted in
April, 1918. A food council was then
formed, but there was some indecision
as to the extent of its executive pow
ers. It set to work In the approved
Turkish manner by appointing five
more subordinate commissions, of
which the most important was that
tor the suppression of monopolies.
The result of this change, according
to the press, was that it was nobody's
business to regulate food supplies and
At last, in July, 1918, it was decided
to institute a Ministry of Food. It
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was stated, however, that the princi
pal task of the new Ministry would be
to provide for the army and the offi
cials, and onl in the second place for
ordinary civilians: so the latter can
hardly hope for any substantial Im
provement of their wretched condi
tion. How wretched this 'is may be
Judged from the statement, made by
a Turkish official some months ago,
that the coBt of living in Constanti
nople had risen 1970 per cent, and the
cost of average food stuffs had risen
3045 per cent.
How Control Breaks
The problem of prices and profiteer
ing, then has remained unsolved; but
In the encouragement of production
the Turks have shown more energy.
The area under cultivation had de
clined in 1915 and 1916; In 1917 great
efforts were made to Increase it
with much success, according to offi
cial statements: A compulsory Agri
cultural Service Law has been passed,
agricultural machinery and seed corn
have been supplied to farmers at low
rates, experiments in the cultivation
of cotton and sugar beet have been
made. As usual, this sounds excellent
from the official side; but the results
produced in one direction are negativ
ed by mismanagement fti another. Bri
gandage is allowed to flourish un
checked, and the peasant dare not
cultivate his field. Again, the system
of taxation and that of requisitioning
are in no way favorable to production.
Taxes In Turkey are to a large extent
paid in kind. Nominally they repre
sent a tithe of the farmer's crops, but
actually the tax collector often exacts
very much more than this. Until
recently the tithe collection was farnv
ed, and, as usual, the results were dis
asterous. Owing to war conditions,
however, the State has now to arrange
the collection itself; for which pur
pose it is employing 39,000 persons,
OUR SUGAR OUTPUT
The sugar output for the Islands
for the last scaBon is about 560.030
tons; which is about 100,000 tons
short of what is should have been
This shortage Is due to the drouth a
year or so ago.
No definite figures are at hand as
to next year's output, but a crop of
600,000 tons Is hoped for. A good deal
will depend on the labor supply. If
there is a fairly sufficient supply, this
aggregate will probably be reached.
The nitrate supply is now assured and
the weather conditions are auspicious.
and hopes to employ 60,000 next year.
As among these officials are several
thousand who can neither read nor
write, one cannot be surprised to
read that the "new system is meeting
The Turkish farmer has to satisfy
not only the army of tax collectors,
but the requisitioning authorities. At
first nn amount of cerlals of all kinds
equal to the tithe, i.e.. a second tenth,
was requisitioned. Later it was an
nounced that the Food Office might
requisition a third tenth if necessary,
and in the case of olives, a fourth
tenth. The price for the second tenth
was to be six times the pre-war aver
age price and for the third tenth,
twelve times. It mlsht be th mgl't
that, though this system would r.i!s
the price of bread to the consumer. It
would at any rate satisfy the fa-.'.ijr.
But the requisition is paid for in pior
money, which has depreciated enorn
ously that is, If It is paid for a, ail.
The Treasury is one always in pos
session of sufficient funds to discharrco
its obligations. Consequently the
farmer became unwilling to til! his
land, and it Is.no wonder the law for
compulsory agricultural service has to
be set In motion. - -
The people In Turkey, In fact (so
far as they are not Government offi
clals), must be in doubt whether the
consequences are more disasterous
when the administration is negligent
or when it makes up its mind to act
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COMMERCIAL BUTTER FROM
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We have known for some time, as
the result of our own local experi
ments, that most delirious butter can
be made very easily from coconuts.
Now other people are finding this out,
In a recent copy of the Ladles'
Home Journal Is a full page adver
tisement of Troco, which purports to
be a delicious table butter made from
coconuts. The ad emphasizes mani
fold superior qualities of the article,
which should go far to win for it a
large sale, especially in these days
of butter scarcity and extravagant
Troco is made in Milwaukee, which
is suspiciously far away from the
home of the coconut. But perhaps it
is alright; the best orange marmalade
comes from Dundee, also far away
from the home of the orange.
GONE TO POT
By J. M. Lydgate
With apologies to Guitermad.
Mittel Europa's gone to pot;
And with its, gone the German Gott.
The choicest place, right in the sun.
Is marked "Reserved, Keep out the
The Kaiser's beat it like a pup,
Because he knew the game was up.
The brave Crown Prince atones, in
For brutal deeds to Belgian ladles.
Von Hlndenburg, and Falkenhayn,
Von Tlrpltz, Trotzky and Lenlne,
And all the rest of that foul breed
Of murder, rapine, lust and greed.
In spite of all their snap and fire,
Are booked for Davy Jones, Esquire.
And now for countless ages long
The Hun will sing a different song,
Of paying up. But don't be sad;
Think what a lovely time he's had.
FEED THE ALLIES
With the end of the war, new obli
gations fall upon us. We shalf be
called upon to send not less food, but
The Allies will by no means produce
anew harvest overnight. Eighty mil
lions of men can not be taken out of
production for four yenrs without
lasting losses of yield. It will be
years before their fields recuperate,
farms are restored, and herds are re
stocked. But another demand even more in
sistent has come to us the cry of the
hungering victims of Germany and the
War. Every country in Europe has
suffered shortage of food, lessened
yield, weakened productions, and
most of all the great tracts over run
and pillaged by Germany, tortured by
German's partners, wrecked by Rus
Their woes are increasing; they are
facing now a terrible winter, many
will starve. We have been unable to
help them except where the Belgian
Relief Commission extends its suecor.
We can not prevent starvation behind
the barrier or beyond the limits of
shipping, whose every cubic foot and
every second's time has been needed
In the effort for victory.
The needs of 180,000.000 hungering
people press on America. We can not
choose, but must help them. As we
believe in the kindred of all humanity,
America will save food to rescue and
1 Henry Waterhouse Trust Co., Ltd.
Honoiuiu, 1. n.
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