66-There is a Government in Constantinople under All Riza Pasha

There is a Government in Constantinople under All Riza Pasha which is in favour of the national movement

There is a Government in Constantinople under All Riza Pasha which is in favour of the national movement ; the Chamber of Deputies having assumed the chief control of affairs regarding the fate of the nation and the country after they had met in this town, what need would there be for the Representative Committee to interest themselves in the western fronts or in the Chamber? and why should they be in communication with one another? Under these conditions, would it not have been sufficient, and would it not have been more efficacious if the Representative Committee had devoted themselves exclusively to the organisation of the eastern vilayets? If these had been the considerations governing the opinions in question, they would have deserved a certain amount of attention, though of minor importance; but in that case, it had to be admitted that there was a wide gulf lying between the views of the Representative Committee and those entertained by Kiasim Kara BeMr Pasha about the situation in gen eral, and that their suggestions concerning the actual situation differed entirely from one another.

If we consider for a moment what the phrase that referred to the removal of the Representative Committee to Angora being con sidered unfavourably by our enemies means, we may perhaps discover the source of this opinion and will be better able to understand it; but we have no leisure at the present moment to occupy our minds with it.

As -I have told you already, after having explained to them the fundamental question, we had said in the original telegram in which we had requested the Chamber of Deputies to hold a preliminary meeting that would last for several days a telegram the copies of which I had sent also by post that the date of the meeting would be settled at the place where the Representative Committee would be at the time, after an agreement in writing had been come to with the Deputies as soon as their names and addresses were known. We added that the Representative Committee would then immediately move to a place nearer to Constantinople. (Document 213.)

The railway line running from Angora to Eski-Shehr having been opened again, when we arrived at Angora we informed the persons concerned, in continuation of our previous communication, that An gora had been chosen as the place where the deputies would meet. This we did in a circular note on the 29 th December. We pointed out in the note that this would be extremely desirable, because we wanted as many as possible to join in the discussions. (Document 214.)

I think that you will not be very much astonished to hear that certain persons in Constantinople tried to interfere with this benevo lent and patriotic proposal on which we had put so much hope.

Let me explain what I mean. While we were inviting the deputies to come to Angora, there were others who were doing all they could to make our invitation ineffective and wreck our preparations for the proposed meeting. Some of the deputies informed us about this by telegram. One of the telegrams, for instance, signed by Hussein Baki, Deputy for Burdur, dated the 29^ December, was to this effect:

r J 19* “In a telegram to the president of the election committee signed by Hussein Kiasim, Deputy for Aidin, on behalf of all the deputies assembled in Constantinople, he informs us that I am to go immediately and by the shortest route to the seat of the Caliphate. A telegram that has come to-day from the Ministry of the Interior confirms this request.

“After the receipt of the order from his Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha, who signed it in the name of the honourable Represen tative Committee, I informed you of my opinion. As I have not yet received any reply, I urgently beg Your Excellency to let me know what I am to do.”

A telegram of the same date, signed by “Bachri, Deputy for Ak Dagh Madeni”, contained the following: “Although we had been instructed in a telegram from Hussein Kiasim, Deputy for Aidin, that the deputies should go immediately and by the shortest route to Constantinople, I am not clear as to whether this invitation is meant exclusively for those deputies who have been elected members of the Representative Committee or whether it applies to all the deputies. I beg Your Excellency to tell me what I shall do.”

Other similar telegrams arrived. I gathered from them that the most important point was that our colleagues the deputies regarded the Representative Committee, as well as the Government and the persons who claimed the right to invite all the deputies to go to Constantinople, as being unanimously devoted to the common ideal and in full accord with one another. They had no idea about the unfriendly intentions of the Government and of the persons concerned. At most, they might have come to the conclusion that possibly a new position had been created through an understanding between ourselves and those in Constantinople, or that an error might have occurred concerning the organisation of the meeting; this was clearly evident in the candour and sincerity of their communications.

I replied to their question in these terms:

We know nothing at all about Hussein Kiasim Bey s communi cation. Apparently he is ill-informed about the situation. It seems more in conformity with the interests of our country and nation to obey the instructions contained in our telegrams of the 19 th and 29 th December last. Be good enough immediately to take the neces sary steps about this and send a suitable reply to Kiasim Bey, and let us know the result. With our best greetings,

Mustapha Kemal, In the name of the Representative Committee.

The following circular note was sent to all the deputies :

Angora, 30*^ December, 1919.

“We have heard that Hussein Kiasim Bey, Deputy for Aidin, has sent telegrams to a number of honourable deputies to the effect that they should hasten their departure for Constantinople. As this shows that Hussein Kiasim Bey has not been fully informed about the posi tion, we have had it properly explained to him, and at the same time the contents of our communication . . . No. . .*). Consequently we repeat the invitation sent out by the Representative Committee and request the deputies who have been elected members of the Represen tative Committee and the others who desire to be present at our discussions to come after the 5 th January to Angora.”

Mustapha Kemal, In the name of the Representative Committee,

In a telegram in cipher that we sent on the 30 th December, we informed our organisation in Constantinople what Hussein Kiasim Bey had done. We asked them to let him know the contents of our circular telegram and at the same time beg him to expedite his depart ure for Angora if he wished to take part personally in the discussions. (Document 215.)

Who was the man who stood in our way when we expected effective help from our organisation in Constantinople? I see you have already guessed who he was. Yes; he was our delegate in Constantinople, who at the same time was a Minister Djemal Pasha himself. Now listen to the telegram he sent us, signed by himself, on the I st January :

To the Command of the XX ttx Army Corps, To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha.

I have the honour to bring to your notice the fact that a group of deputies who are at present in Constantinople have appealed to me and have handed me the following list of their claims:

1. It is necessary that the Chamber of Deputies shall be called together as soon as possible. The fact that some deputies have recently been invited to go to Angora may delay the opening of Parlia ment.

2. The delay of the opening of Parliament and the fact that the deputies are invited to go to Angora is regarded among other things which are especially exploited by the enemy that the legislative

*) The date and number are not mentioned in the Turkish original. power is apparently tinder the influence of other secret designs. It is evident that this fact is capable of producing a great deal of mistrust throughout the country, as well as abroad.

3. The Chamber cannot perform its functions under such con ditions.

4. Sending a delegate to Constantinople with wide powers, as has been done previously, to maintain contact between the deputies will be sufficient for the purpose.

5. It is expected that those concerned will give urgent instructions to postpone the departure of those deputies who desire to go to Angora and ask those who are already there to come immediately to Con stantinople. Djemal

Minister of War.

I ask you, is there a shadow of sincerity and dignity to be found in such conduct and in such a communication? First of all, our de cision to meet the deputies and our instructions for this meeting had already been made six weeks before. If this was dangerous and really incompatible with the interests of our country, ought not these gentle men and the Government, who pretend to have as their aim the same national ideal as ourselves, have tried to come to an understanding with us, or at least have told us what their opinions were and what they intended to do, before they telegraphed to the deputies invited by us, urging them to come to Constantinople? Was it right to neglect doing anything of the sort? Was it right to try to wreck our arrange ments by putting forward their own ideas to confuse the deputies from the provinces and send them urgent telegrams addressed to the election committee, signed by Sheikh Muchsini Fani and the Minister of the Interior, asking them to come to the seat of the Caliphate as quickly as possible and by the shortest route?

Secondly, why should these persons, who had shown no sign whatever of impatience when the legal limit had long been exceeded and the new elections could not take place, show so much energy now after the elections had taken place? The latter had only been secured by our unceasing activity and through our numerous urgings since we had held the Congresses at Erzerum and Sivas above all, when they owed their own election to our efforts? I repeat, ought they to have been so violently impatient that they could not wait even a few days longer, especially when it was the question of our attaining one of our chief aims that necessitated this postponement, so that we could discuss precautionary details and confer with those who had shown so little wisdom in allowing the meeting of the Chamber to take place in Constantinople? Where they all in such a hurry to cause another scandal and expose themselves to insult without taking any protective steps against such possibilities?

Thirdly, did not these very gentlemen, who deceived their loyal and honest comrades and wanted to draw them even one day earlier into the “vortex of dangers and mortification” in which they them selves were floundering in Constantinople, also belong to the Union for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia?

Were they not members of this national union? Are not the members of a union obliged, even if they happened to be deputies, to come to an understanding with the leaders of the union and adapt their conduct to the programme that has been drawn up in agreement with them? Is this not the rule in all civilised countries?

Why were they afraid of the members of a group or a party coming into contact with their leaders? How could this fact have led the foreigners to believe that the legislative power was carried on under the influence of other secret designs? Did these gentlemen believe it beneath their dignity to appear to be under the influence of a force that was embodied in our organisation and which had succeeded to bring about the new elections and the appointment of the deputies?

Were these gentlemen unable to appreciate that, from the very fact that these deputies belonged to a strong national organisation ex tending throughout the country and that so long as they kept to the clear path laid down by this great organisation, if they declared that they were acting in the full knowledge of all that lay before them under the leadership of this organisation I repeat, from this very fact the greatest confidence would be established in our country as well as abroad and that this alone would compel the respect of the whole world?

Moreover, would we not have been prophets to foresee that the Chamber could not render the services expected from them unless the deputies were in a position to take up a determined attitude and brave every danger, inspired by firm confidence in the reality of a clear national aim? Or were they, as later events showed, possessed of such mentality that they could unblushingly swallow every insult like cowards?

These gentlemen did not want me personally to be in communi cation with the deputies. The Government, also, and certain other persons believed it to be still less desirable that I should go to Con stantinople. They merely advised that a delegate with wide powers should be sent. Wonderful and praiseworthy sagacity! Were not the delegates whom we did send responsible for the fact that the deputies of our nation fell into the hands of the enemy? Again, were they not our delegates who in the end were proved to be incapable of even looking after the safety of their own persons?

And what have we to say about the tact shown by these gentlemen who, after having been unsuccessful with their own invitation to the deputies and after having been unable to deceive them or create a fait accompli, had asked us to influence the deputies on the lines of their manoeuvres?

Is not this a very remarkable kind of tactfulness?

In reply to the telegram which I shall speak about directly, I sent this short message in cipher:

5 th January, 1920.

To His Excellency Djemal Pasha, Minister of War. Reply.

“Will you be good enough to let us know the names of the de puties who signed the appeal and to whom it was addressed.”

Mustapha Kemal, In the name of the Representative Committee.

Harbie, 6 th January, 1920. To the Command of the XX th Army Corps, Angora.

Reply to telegram of 5 th January.

To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha.

“These are the names of the deputies: Hussein Kiasim, Tahsin, Djelaleddin Arif, Hamid . . ., etc. The two former brought the appeal to me/

As we learned from later information, it was not at all a group of deputies who had sent the telegram in question. It is reported that the Grand Vizier, after having heard that a certain Hakki Bey, whom he knew, had been elected Deputy for Siverek, asked him and Hussein Kiasim to come to him and dictated to them a telegram they were to send to me. It was further said that this telegram had been passed from hand to hand by some of the deputies, who also signed it. Then it was reported that Hakki Bey and Hussein Kiasim Bey had taken the telegram to Djemal Pasha to get it ciphered.

The telegram, which contained five articles and was meant to represent an appeal, had therefore been drawn up later in a fraudulent manner. To call attention to this deception, it was enough that an appeal was mentioned and that it bore no address. The Chamber had not actually met yet, nor had the presidency of it begun to exercise its functions.

Nevertheless, I replied to the questionable message from Djemal Pasha in this telegram in cipher:

Telegram in cipher. Angora, gth January.

To His Excellency Djemal Pasha, Minister of War. To be handed to Hussein Kiasim Bey, Tahsin Bey ; Djelal- eddin Arif Bey and Hamid Bey.

We have seen from the telegram you sent to us through his Ex cellency Djemal Pasha, that you consider that the departure for Angora would produce malicious comments. This question is of vital interest to the country and the nation.

If a strong party, supported by the national organisation, is not formed in the National Assembly; if the resolutions which the nation has brought to the knowledge of the whole world through the General Congress of Sivas are not adopted by a crushing majority as a guiding principle and article of faith, the results which our national unity is aiming at will be destroyed and the country will be exposed to disaster. The propaganda made by a group of people “without country and without religion” cannot be accepted by us as a practicable principle. Our aim is to secure the salvation of the nation and to save the country. We attach the greatest importance to the fact that you are coming to Angora for several days so that we can exchange opinions and that the adoption of uniform principles will be possible.

Taking the above into consideration, we hope you will do what you consider right and will receive the assurance of our feelings of esteem. Mustapha Kemal,

In the name of the Representative Committee.

Whilst we were engaged in dealing with the difficulties that re sulted from the disgraceful behaviour in Constantinople which I have spoken about, a sanguinary and rather serious incident, brought about by a false prophet, took place on our eastern frontier.

We received numerous reports about it from the XV th – Army Corps.

Four leagues from Baiburt there is a village called Hart. A certain Sheikh Eshrif living in this village had been spreading the doctrine of Shiism there. Roused by this propaganda, the Mufti and Ulema of Baiburt sent a deputation to Hart to consult the Sheikh. In the name of the local authority, he was requested to answer certain questions, but failed to do so. Thereupon the local government sent a detachment of fifty men against him. The Sheikh, incensed at this, ordered his pupils to disarm the detachment sent against him and cast the officers and men into prison, while some of them he executed.

Then some troops were collected at Baiburt, but in the end it was thought advisable to settle the affair without any further bloodshed.

Several deputations consisting of Ulema and notables went to the Sheikh to give him advice and bring him to obedience.

Sixteen days elapsed. The requests of the last deputation, under the leadership of the Cadi of Erzerum, had scarcely any effect at all on the Sheikh. He addressed them in these words :

e You are all unbelievers. I do not recognise one of you. I refuse to surrender. I shall fight you to the end. God has told me that He has chosen me to preach His religion.” Meanwhile, to attract the people to support him and incite them to revolt, he caused statements to be circulated in the neighbouring villages and signed them as “The Founder of a Religion” or “The Expected Messiah.”

Lt-Colonel Halid Bey had gone to Baiburt to take over the com mand ot the 9 th Division, which was quartered there, and he marched to Hart at the head of sufficient troops on the 25 th December.

The Sheikh refused to surrender, and declared that he would defend himself with the aid of the rebels he had succeeded in gathering round him. A skirmish was unavoidable. Both the artillery and the infantry came into action, and some more of the Sheikh s disciples from the neighbouring villages reinforced him. As Halid Bey told me in a telegram in cipher, which he sent directly from Baiburt on the I st January, “the affair at Hart terminated after the false prophet, his sons and some of his adherents were killed. Then Hart capitulated.”

In the same telegram Halid Bey also gave me some information about the deputies. I replied on the 21 st January: “I congratulate you heartily on your success at Hart, and thank you for all you have done to hasten the departure of the deputies for Angora.”

Mustapha Kemal. There was a chronic difference of opinion between the Minister of War and the Representative Committee. The Minister intended to put the generals and senior officers, from the rank of colonel down- wards, who were in Constantinople at the head of the various Army Corps and Divisions.

He also stated that he wanted to transfer the senior and junior officers who were in that town to regiments in Anatolia. To inaugurate this intention of his, he proposed to appoint Ahmed Fewsi Pasha, formerly Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of War, to the command of the XX th Army Corps at Angora vice Ali Fuad Pasha, and Nureddin Pasha to the command of XII ttL Army Corps at Konia vice Colonel Fahreddin Bey. This was his intention.

If this principle had been carried out, nearly all the younger officers of high rank who had distinguished themselves in the War and who had been appointed to command Army Corps and Divisions would have lost their commands.

In that case, the generals and higher officers in Constantinople on the retired list would, on account of their long service and rank, be preferred to the younger officers who were in command of the larger units of the Army.

We could never have consented to such a principle, especially under the conditions then prevailing.

Consequently, whenever the opportunity offered we wrote to Djemal over and over again explaining our point of view and asking him not to allow these officers to take up their appointments.

Fahreddin 1 Pasha at the head of his Army Corps was busily engaged in making his dispositions on the Aidin front. Ali Fuad Pasha had been dismissed in Ferid Pasha s time. Djemal Pasha had no inclination to put an end to this injustice.

The late Mahmud Bey, commanding the 24 th Division, who was at Angora, had taken over the command of the XX th Army Corps for the time being. As he was at the same time in command of the national troops, Ali Fuad Pasha kept his Army Corps well in hand.

We resolved categorically to oppose any change being made in the command of the great units of the Army and not to sacrifice those officers whose personality and friendly attitude towards the national movement were well know to us, in favour of a principle which had been put forward with some sinister intention. We considered it necessary and desirable that only the young and loyal officers and medical men who were in Constantinople should be sent to Anatolia, without loss of time, to serve in the different branches of the Army there.

As soon as we arrived at Angora, Djemal Pasha began to show greater obstinacy and impatience on this question. He made it a personal matter and theatened to resign. He urgently called me to the telegraph instrument so that I could reply to him immediately. On the 29^ December I sent him the following telegram in cipher:

We have never recognised the removal of All Fuad Pasha from his command as being final. For this reason, we cannot allow Fewsi Pasha to be appointed to succeed him.

To carry out the principle you are adopting before Peace is con cluded will lead to very serious consequences. It is impossible for us to consent to men who have acquired rank and position during the war being reduced in rank now. Such a step would compel those who are working at the present moment for the national organisation to send in their resignations, and this would lead to national unity suffering a severe setback. The position of capable men on the retired list would be improved by giving them appointments in the offices of the Army Corps and in the recruiting offices or giving them commands in districts and places which are under the various Army Corps.

As for the junior officers and officers on the Medical Staff, they ought to be sent without delay to Anatolia.

With regard to the XII th Army Corps, it has declared its adherence to the national movement and is now on active service against the enemy. The mutual confidence that has emerged from this actual co-operation inspires both parties at the present moment. Any change in the command would not be tolerated. The state of affairs in these districts would not allow such an alteration to be thought of.”

I entered into communication with all the officers commanding in Anatolia and Rumelia and called their attention to this matter.

At the beginning of January, I gave the following order to Fah- reddin Pasha at Konia: “If Nureddin Pasha is appointed to your command you are not to surrender it to him, and you will continue to perform your duty towards the nation and country as you have hitherto been doing. Report to us at once any communication that reaches you on the subject/ A similar order was sent simultaneously to Fuad Pasha at Angora.

During the first days of January, Djemal Pasha sent Salih Bay, his A.D.C. now Salih Pasha commanding the VIII th Army Corps with two letters to us, the Joint Note from the Allied High Commis sioner, dated 24 th December, and a copy of the Government s reply to this Note.

In these letters Djemal Pasha also spoke of his principle of replacing the commanding officers and of the necessity of sending Ahmed Fewsi Pasha and Nureddin Pasha to take up their commands. He also

insisted that if men who had openly joined the national movement were allowed officially to retain their important commands, the opinion would be gathered especially in foreign countries that the Army was taking an interest in politics; an unpleasant im pression would undoubtedly be produced thereby and the Ministry would receive many expressions of similar opinions about it. Speaking again of his resignation, he added that the meeting of the Chamber in such an event would be nothing more than an empty hope. (Docu ment 216.)

The replies I sent to this communication may be summarised in the following:

“We repeat that we are convinced that our views are the correct ones. The present situation and the future of the front and the districts of Aidin which has been handed down to us through the criminal acts of Ferid Pasha as well as the national forces in these districts, are questions of continual and most serious anxiety. We are doing everything we can to avoid being troubled in the future.

“It is very important for us that the Government should not regard All Fuad Pasha as guilty as the world seems to think he is. The resignation and removal of persons who were the early pioneers of the national movement would be attributed to the fact that their loyalty is regarded as a crime. In our opinion, this is a suggestion that we consider intolerable.

” Every thing has been done to eradicate the political objections that have been raised by the Government.

“Ahmed Fewsi Pasha is quite unfitted to work with us. We have told you of the perfectly unreasonable speeches he made during the journey of inspection which he took by order of the Government. You told us that you did not believe that he had expressed himself in such terms. In a private telegram in cipher which he addressed to our comrades he says that “the catastrophy looming before our country will be inevitable unless an. end is put to the anarchy prevail ing in the Army to-day/ This man appears to see anarchy in the support which the national movement renders to the Army. He ought to know, however, that the Army is not independent of the national organisations, but is, indeed, the very heart and soul of them.

“The first thing that Ahmed Fewsi Pasha did at Gonan was to demand the release of the criminals who were implicated in the affair at Ansawur and whose capture was only effected after endless trouble.

“Do not try to make a personal question out of this matter, because you are well aware what reasons influenced us to refuse to consent to your appointment of these two persons, which you made without previously consulting us. This would be incompatible with a feeling of fidelity and attachment to the country and the nation.

“Your remark that in case of your resignation the meeting of the Chamber would be nothing more than an empty hope/ means that the Cabinet, including the Grand Vizier, is opposed to the Parlia mentary regime. We would be very glad if you will explain this im portant point/ (Document 217.) I would like to say a few words about the Joint Note presented by the Allied High Commissioners to Ali Riza Pasha s Government and which we received, as I have said already, from Salih Bey, A.D.C.

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