The English had successively left Mersifun and Samsoon
You will remember that the English had successively left Mersifun and Samsoon. To celebrate this event, which happened simultane ously with the overthrow of Ferid Pasha s Cabinet, the citizens of Sivas had arranged a torchlight procession and manifestations to express their joy. Appropriate speeches were delivered and, while the people were rejoicing, some shouts were heard in the crowd of “Down with the Occupation ” The newspaper “The National Will,” published at Sivas, gave a detailed account of this event. In a communication to the Vilayet of Sivas, Damad Sherif Pasha, Minister of the Interior, referring to this publication, observed that articles like this and such ex clamations were not in accord with the present policy of the Government.
What did that mean?
Were the Government carrying on a policy that regarded the occupation as a circumstance not worth objecting to? Or, did they believe that an outcry against it might lead the enemy to extend the occupation still further? Did the Government believe that it was reasonable and politically correct that the people should remain passive and docile in face of the occupation and should not express their unhappiness about it?
Could such erroneous and foolish notions underlie a policy which we looked up to for the liberation of the Empire, which was already goaded to the verge of the abyss and found itself threatened with collapse and extermination?
On this occasion, in a telegram dated 13* October addressed to Diemal Pasha, Minister of War, I said that, “we considered it to be absolutely right and understandable that the people, after having seen the evacuation of part of their territory, should express their feelings in this way – indeed, it was surprising that they had not done so stffl more emphatically” and that “we had thought that the Government, actuated by the true sentiments of the nation, would in their official diplomatic language have condemned the unjust occu pation and would have protested against the wrongful interventions which even at this moment are still persisted in, in defiance of the stipulations of the Armistice.” Moreover, I told him that they should have claimed indemnities.
I added: “I wish to take this opportunity of asking you whether there are any points in the policy of the Cabinet which have not yet been made known to the Representative Committee and, if so, what they are.” (Document 153.)
The reply from our delegate Djemal Pasha, Minister of War, is very interesting. (Document 154.)
Special attention must be given to this reply, which bears the date of 18 th October. Here is what he said:
“The Government, having assumed the responsibility for the management of affairs within the limits of the nation s demands, finds itself obliged to act according to political exigencies and to adopt a more moderate and hospitable attitude.”
Riza Pasha s Cabinet and the Minister holding the portfolio of the War Ministry are receiving foreigners as their guests foreigners who are occupying our beloved country and trying to pierce the heart of the nation with their bayonets. They consider that they are com pelled to treat them amicably and hospitably!
What a remarkable idea! What strange mentality! Did this be haviour represent the sentiments comprised in the national movement ?
Besides, the Minister of War expressed the following conviction :
“You win recognise that the guarded attitude about which I am speaking is by no means out of place when the attempt to represent the meaning of the national movement has not yet died out/
This implied that the national activities had been somewhat in jurious to the country s cause, and that the steps taken by the Govern ment to compensate for this alleged evil are not inappropriate.