In his telegram of the 8 th October, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha advanced these ideas:
In his telegram of the 8 th October, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha advanced these ideas:
“I believe that Your Excellency, Rauf Bey and other persons of equal importance in the Representative Committee, being deputies, should remain conspicuously at the head of the parliamentary party without being involved in any way in the affairs of the Government, and that it would answer the purpose quite as well if you were to continue to assert your authority and your influence, no matter what the form or composition of the Government, or the importance or character of its Ministers, might happen to be. I consider this to be an essential condition for success and for coming to a decision which it is indispensable should be put into effect. Whenever persons who have represented a party or an ideal in a prominent way have exceeded the limits of their own particular sphere of work and have meddled in the affairs of the Government, the National Assembly has thereby lost strength, has been tossed hither and thither by the varying currents, swirled into a wrong course and has ultimately been shattered on the rocks. At this time, when the chief question concerns the complete liberation of our country and nation, I respectfully urge Your ExceEency to proceed so that we shall be able to recognise your definite decision on the matter we had the honour of laying before you.”
Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha had already expressed the same opinion to me before I left Erzerum. I thought it all over in this wise:
First of all it is necessary clearly to emphasise the fact that the will of the nation is paramount and that its representation in the National Assembly must be firmly insisted upon. This can only be done by giving the whole country a stable organisation with a national ideal before it and by forming a party in the Chamber which is supported by it. This must be the chief aim of the most influential members. As far as our experience had led us hitherto, all those who had discovered that they possessed some merit themselves were seized with ambition and tried as quickly as possible to get into power, without paying the slightest attention to this vital point. As governments that had been formed by such men could not find any support from a strong party connected with the national movement in the Assembly, nothing was left to them but to lean on the author ity of the Sultanate and Caliphate. Consequently, the Legislative Assemblies could not represent the national power and dignity in the proper manner, nor could they express the desire of the nation and its claim that it was resolved to realise. Our essential and fun damental principle, therefore, was in the first place to establish a national organisation in the country, and after that to work in Parlia ment at the head of a party which was supported by that organisation. It is of no avail to do everything that is possible to form a government or to try to join any ministerial combination or coalition, for such a government is doomed either immediately to fall without having done anything at all for the nation or State, or else to take up a position against the Assembly and, consequently, the nation and lean on the sovereign for support. In the first case a very serious state of uncertainty would arise, whilst in the latter case it would lead gradually to the disappearance of the sovereignty of the nation. As you are aware and as events have proved, we formed igi our national organisation first and then called in the Assembly; we first formed an “Assembly-Government” and then a Government in the real meaning of the word.
Meanwhile, we never allowed an opportunity to pass without declaring to the nation in our manifestos that we had no intention of joining any Cabinet; that our sole aim was the realisation of the great national ideals, and that our efforts hitherto were consistently directed to concentrating the forces of the nation and bringing them into agreement with one another/
After having mentioned and agreed with my ideas and the state ments based on them, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha added in his message that “he sincerely hoped that this good resolution would be carried through as far as possible in the face of the experience and the results gained in our country.” (Document 140.)
As Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha had said at the end of his telegram, as I have explained already, there was surely no justification for demanding the formation of any government or taking part in it at the moment when our first thought was the liberation of the country a country in which there was neither proper organisation nor a Parliament ; nor had any party appeared in the Assembly with any ideal or programme which was supported by the organisation and full strength of the nation. Such procedure, which would have been inspired rather by personal interests than any desire to serve those of the country, was, as far as I could see without wishing to be unjust, nothing but ambition or at least ignorance.
The fact, however, that the most influential members of a political party organised in Parliament shall indefinitely dominate, control and supervise the Chamber, whatever might be the power of the Cabinet or the character and personal merit of the individual members who formed it, cannot be regarded as the most important factor for success or for coming to a decision which it is “indispensable” to carry out, as Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha constantly persisted in declaring.
The principle recognised and customarily observed in civilised States governed on the principle of the sovereignty of the nation, is that the administration of the State is confided to the hands of that political party most powerfully representing the general tendency of the nation and which is able to serve its demands and interests with the greatest authority and power; thus the responsibility is entrusted to the most prominent -leaders of the nation.
A government which does not combine all these conditions could
never fulfil Its task. It could not reasonably be conceived that a weak government composed of second-rate elements chosen from a powerful party could carry on such a government by relying on the advice and instructions given to it by first-rate leaders belonging to the same party. The tragic results of such a system became evident in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Can we enumerate the untold miseries this nation had to suffer, whether under the Grand Viziers who were merely puppets in the hands of the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress” or through the actions of the governments led by these Grand Viziers? It could never happen that a party with the upper hand in the Assembly could delegate the power to^an opposition that was in a minority. In theory as well^as in practice, it is the party representing the majority of the nation and whose particular programme is generally known that assumes the respon sibility of forming a government and carrying out the aims and policy of the country.
When I refer here to a generally known truth and dwell on it one with which our own actions are entirely in accord I do so for the purpose of calling the attention of the nation to it and awakening it and the generations to come to its importance. I want to protect them from the specious fallacies imposed upon them in the^ guise of patriotism, of morals, of human perfection and similar virtues.
I have no doubt that Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, who has given me the opportunity to make these observations, was, on the whole, of the same opinion as myself. For surely Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha s intention could never have been to prevent me and some of my colleagues on the Representative Committee from forming a govern ment or taking any part in it. As Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha when referring to this question mentioned in his message the names of Rauf Bey and myself and spoke of “high influential personalities of importance” and as, naturally, he had included himself among them, it was evident that he personally could not decline to put these principles into force.
However, if I remember rightly, the question of forming the new Cabinet arose at the time when Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha was a deputy in the Assembly and there was a change in the state of affairs. So that we could exchange our opinions about this, I called together Tshan Kaya Fethi Bey, Fewsi Pasha, Fuad Pasha, Kiasim Pasha, Ali Bey, Djelal Bey, Ishan Bey, the members of the Cabinet, as well as ten or fifteen other colleagues; amongst them also was Kiasin Kara Bekir Pasha. Before the latter came, he went into the Chamber to see Redsheb Bey, who was at that time general secretary of the party, and told him that I had invited him and would probably offer him the presidency. He asked Redsheb Bey whether he had any information that would help him to understand the situation and, if so, whether he would give it to him. (Redsheb Bey is present here now. If I am wrong in this statement I beg him to correct me.)
Those who were present found that during the meeting and the discussion that followed the attitude of Kiasim Pasha was very characteristic. During the debate, quite correctly and at the right time, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha declared “that he would not refuse to serve the nation, even in this way.” At a certain moment the debate had wandered into a cul-de-sac. The question was, to decide whether Fethi Bey or Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha was to be the leader of the future Government. When the discussion on this began, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha no longer declared, as he had written on the 8 th October, “that he regarded it as an infaillible decision to remain permanently an element of control and supervision within Parliament, whatever the Cabinet and the importance and character of the members that formed it might be/ On the contrary, his present attitude showed us that he preferred that he should be entrusted with the formation of the Government. Nevertheless, we were still groping in the darkest and most tragic days of a period when the salvation of the country and the nation was trembling in the balance.
I adjourned the debate, and during the interval I took His Ex cellency Marshal Fewsi Pasha into the garden. I begged him to come to an agreement about the election that was pending between Fethi Bey and Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha for the presidency of the future Cabinet. I asked him to get them both together and, after having explained to them that it was not a personal matter but that the responsibility they had to take upon themselves was an onerous one and of patriotic import, beg each of them honestly to consult his own conscience and decide which was the better fitted to fill this office worthily and say quite frankly what opinion he had arrived at.
We reassembled. “It seems to me from the discussions,” I said, “that the Government is to be formed either by Fethi Bey or Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha. I move that we appoint His Excellency Fewsi Pasha as arbitrator.” This propsal was accepted. The Pasha asked Fethi Bey and Kara Bekir Pasha to come into the garden with him. It turned out exactly as I have been telling you. Fethi Bey is said to have declared that he considered that he was the better fitted of the two for the position. Fewsi Pasha agreed with him, and so Fethi Bey was elected and the question of Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha being called upon to form the Government was abandoned.
Let us now return to the question of the relations which we had induced Ali Riza Pasha s Cabinet to adopt towards us.
We considered it right to publish our proclamation without previously consulting them
I have told you that, as the result of the Government in Stambul not having communicated the contents of their manifesto to us before its publication, we considered it right to publish our proclamation without previously consulting them.
Following this, the Government informed us through Djemal Pasha, on the 9th October, that they considered it necessary to bring the following four points to the knowledge of the country by every possible means:
1. That there was no connection between the national movement and the “Committee of Union and Progress.”
2. That the intervention of the Ottoman Empire in the Great War was wrong; that it is essential to draw up accusations against those responsible for this mistake, mentioning their names so that they could be brought to justice and punished by law.
3. That those guilty of committing crimes of any description during the war should not escape the punishment laid down by the law.
4. That the elections would take place with perfect freedom. After mentioning these four points, Djemal Pasha declared that
these statements would obviate certain misunderstandings in the country itself, as well as in foreign countries, and specially asked us, for the sake of the best interests of the country, to receive these proposals with favour. (Document 141.)
These requests can serve as a criterion to enable us to understand the indecisive manner in which Ali Riza Pasha s Cabinet faced facts, and how weak was the foundation on which they based their decisions. These unfortunate persons were incapable of gauging the depths of the terrible abyss into which the State was plunging, and they deliber ately shut their eyes so that they could not see what was the true way to salvation, because if they had seen it they would have been still more appalled. The narrowness of their understanding and the limits of their hoiizon were sufficient to account for the weakness and indecision of their character.
Was it not quite natural, after the Sultan-Caliph had degraded himself practically to the position of a servant, that the power derived from his servility was merely a sign of his impotence? What else could All Riza Pasha, as Fend Pasha s successor, and those of his colleagues who were transferred from the previous Cabinet do but continue to work from the point at which Ferid Pasha had left off and carry on their hostile schemes? We were perfectly well aware of this. But for reasons and considerations of various kinds, which you will quite appreciate, there was no other prospect of success lying before us except to appear perfectly passive towards certain things and be patient and forbearing.
So that we may get a clearer view of the initial stages of the dif ferences of opinion that prevailed at that time between the new Cabinet with whom we had thought it advisable to appear to be in perfect accord and ourselves, I must ask you to read once more the text of the reply which contains our observations regarding these four points in the proceedings of the Grand National Assembly. (Document 142.)