The movements of the enemy and the enemy s front
We shall have to concern ourselves now with the movements of the enemy and the enemy s front.
A day later, on the 6 th January, the whole of the Greek Army delivered an attack on the whole of our line.
I shall now explain to you very simply the military position on this day.
Imagine a line running from Isnik via Godos to Ushak. The por tion of this line north of Godos is two hundred kilometres long; that part of it between Godos and Ushak is about thirty kilometres. The enemy advanced with three divisions from the northern point in this line in the direction of Eski-Shehr.
The main body of our troops at Godos had to go by Eski-Shehr to meet the enemy.
They met him and defeated him. Our revolution had won the first victory in its history at In Onu.
The troops on the south front were sent back to their old positions at Dumlu Punar. The 6i st Division, about two regiments strong under the command of Izzedin Bey (Izzedin Pasha, Army-Inspector), were the only troops left at Kutayah.
I explained the position to the Assembly in a public sitting on Saturday, the 8 th January, 1921. On this occasion everybody re cognised the truth. Even those who had held the opinion that we ought to show a conciliatory spirit towards Edhem and his brothers were now in a state of indignation against them. Protests were heard when, in the course of my statements, I referred to them as “Edhem Bey, Tewfik Bey, Reshid Bey.” I heard somebody remark: “Your Excellency, do not call them beys but traitors . ” To this I replied: “I would very much have preferred to have called them traitor Edhem 5 and traitor Tewfik, but then I would have had to apply this expression also to Reshid Bey, who is still a member of the Grand National Assembly. My respect for you will not allow me to venture to apply it to him. I must first beg you to deprive Reshid Bey of his position as deputy.”
The President then said: “Will those who wish to deprive Reshid Bey, Deputy for Saruchan, who is working with the enemy and who has turned his arms against the country and the nation, of his position as a deputy, hold up their hands?”
The hands of everybody present were held up and the motion was therefore carried.
In this offensive undertaken by the Greek Army, Edhem Bey and his brothers did not fail to do what was expected of them. They marched again towards Kutayah and opened an attack on the weak force we had left there. The skilful leadership and decision on the part of Izzedin Pasha and the splendid heroic courage of the Turkish soldiers under his command, overcame the treacherous force that was advancing to attack them under Edhem Bey and his brothers and compelled them to retire.
If they were successful hi escaping complete annihilation of their force, I have to admit that they owe this to Refet Pasha, whom they disliked. Let me explain how this happened.
Refet Pasha had two cavalry detachments at Kutshuk Keui, about ten kilometres east of Dumlu Punar. The 6i st Division at Kutayah was ordered to advance and quickly destroy Edhem s troops which were attacking from the west.
Refet Pasha was to engage the flank and rear of Edhem s forces with his cavalry. If you look in the direction of Kutayah from the point where he was to the north, you will easily see that this plan could easily have been carried out by an ordinary march. But Refet Pasha did not advance towards the places where he was intended to go, but in the opposite direction instead of going to the west of Kutayah, he went in an easterly direction to Alajund. The cavalry reached Alajund at about noon on the 12 th January. Refet Pasha went to Kutayah to discuss the position with Izzedin Pasha. The latter had proposed to send the cavalry, passing south of Kutayah
Kemal Pasha 3 and west of the Jellidje Mountains, against the rear of Edhem s forces which consisted only of cavalry.
Refet Pasha maintained that he was well informed about the po sition of both fighting parties and seemed disinclined to cany out this manoeuvre. If Izzedin Pasha s troops were withdrawn to the east across the river Pursak, he proposed to attack the rebels in then- flank and rear through the valley of Kutayah.
The rebels had dismounted. Facing a commander who hesitated to advance against them when they, as cavalry, would have had to fight on foot, which would have been specially disadvantageous for them, they remounted. Meanwhile our troops retired, which gave the rebels courage. Our commander was still hesitating as to how and where he should attack the enemy.
These were erroneous tactics. Ought not this body of enemy cavalry to haveljrft the infantry alone which they had forced to retire, and thrown themselves on Refet Pasha s cavalry?
If troops following the sound of rifle and gun fire arrive on the field even if they only had a single rifle themselves wait for the defeat of that part of the army to which they belong and which is still fighting, and think that they will be only then useful, such an idea, it seems to me, must appear to be illogical not only to military experts but even to the most simple-minded person. Duty and courage of sacrifice demand that the attempt should be made to obtain success before part of the fighting force is beaten and retires.
Commanders who look on while their comrades are fighting and need help and who only watch their comrades being defeated, lay themselves open to remorseless criticism and blame in history.
In the course of the violent and critical fighting that took place from noon on the II th January till midnight on the 13 th January, Izzedin Pasha had informed the General Staff that the hour had come for the cavalry also to join in the attack. Refet Pasha told his troops that he intended to begin his attack on the 14 th January if the 8 th Division, which he had ordered to come up from the south, arrived in good time. After Izzedin Pasha had been fighting alone on the n ttl , 12 th and 13 th January, he defeated the rebels in a counter attack which he delivered as night was falling and compelled them to retire. By looking on as a spectator throughout this battle, Refet Pasha missed a great opportunity and enabled Edhem and his brothers to carry out their retreat. On the 14 th he put all his cavalry under the command of Dervish Bey (now Dervish Pasha, commanding an Army Corps), who commanded a cavalry division, and ordered him to pursue Edhem. As a result of the heavy blows which Dervish Pasha inflicted upon the enemy at Akshar and particularly at Godos by keeping on the heels of Edhem s troops even during the night, the brothers Edhem, Tewfik and Reshid lost their heads. Dervish Pasha did not give their force time to re-form. From the 14^ to the 22 nd Ja nuary he pursued Edhem and his brothers without giving them a moment s rest.
All of Edhem s men were eventually taken prisoners and the brothers Edhem, Reshid und Tewfik alone were able to escape to the enemy s headquarters and were appointed to take xtp new duties there.
I am sure that every opportunity was given to us to show many an interesting thing to our guests who came from Stambul and who were now at Angora during their sojourn with us, which lasted five or six weeks. The forces of Edhem and his brothers were annihilated.
In three days we defeated the Greeks at In Onu. A new phase, which could satisfy and at the same time disturb the Grand National Assembly, had been entered upon. Izzet Pasha and Salih Pasha, however, did not seem to be at all satisfied with it and wanted at any price to leave for the capital, as though they were homesick. We also observed that their colleagues in Stambul were equally upset.
Ten days after their arrival at Angora a telegram was received at Songuldak through the French wireless service. It read as follows:
To His Highness Izzet Pasha.
Through the Vice-governor of Songuldak.
i6 th December, 1920.
Not having heard anything yet from Your Highness, I beg to in form you that we are awaiting news of the arrival of the deputation.
Mustapha Arif. Two days later the following was received via Ada Basar:
To His Excellency Izzet Pasha, Minister of the Interior. As I have not yet received any reply from Your Excellency, I earnestly beg you to reply to the telegram sent via Songuldak in which you were asked to announce your arrival.
Mustapha Arif, Acting Minister of the Interior.
30* A special agent who was sent to Ineboli by Zia Pasha in the name of Tewfik Pasha s Cabinet brought this intelligence on the 10 th Ja nuary:
“The news according to which Izzet Pasha s deputation had joined Anatolia had been confirmed in Stambul . . . The Cabinet ask for explanations from Izzet Pasha … Zia Pasha, Sefa Bey, Mustapha Arif Bey and Rashid Bey are reported to have said: “If the interests of the country require that the deputation should remain at Angora, we have nothing to say against it. … In that case the Cabinet will certainly be overthrown. . . We are also sons of our country . . . They ought at least to have given us information about the situation and have sent us news so that we would know how to act …”
Zia Pasha referred to the contents of a letter which he had received from Ahmed Riza Bey in Paris and to information he had received from a reliable source in Stambul.
It seems that Ahmed Riza Bey had told him that, if the military position of the national forces were satisfactory, the Smyrna question could be settled by creating an accomplished fact by carrying out a well-prepared attack. The information that he had received con firmed this. They began to support King Constantine,
With regard to the special information from Zia Pasha, it related to a great offensive which the Greeks intended to undertake with increased forces before the final Conference.
Damad Ferid Pasha displayed feverish activity . . . The ^ drawing up of numerous lists of Ministers had been begun at Balta Liman . . . In the reply which I sent by the special agent who had come to Ineboli to Zia Pasha and his colleagues, after I had thanked him for the information he had sent me, I said :
“Izzet Pasha and Salih Pasha stayed at Angora because it was most urgently necessary for them to do so in order to carry out our common aim. If it should seem advisable that they retain a pro minent position in Stambul, it is in the high interests of our country that before they are overthrown they should come to Angora by a route that shall be arranged for them. The service they will render to the country and the devotion they will show thereby, will be ac cepted with gratitude by the nation.”
In his telegram in cipher which the agent sent to Ineboli after he had returned to Stambul and which was forwarded from there on the 10** January, he informed me that Zia Pasha and his colleagues had decided to act in the manner I had suggested. A week later I received the following telegram from the command at Kodja Eli:
To the President of the Grand National Assembly.
Geiveh Station, 26 th January, 1921*
“A telegram from the General Director of Telegraphs in Stambul, dated 4.30 p.m., 26 th January, 1921, informs us that the Grand Vizier desires to discuss with you personally at the instrument an important question which relates to the higher interests of the country. I am awaiting Your Excellency s orders about this.”
In the reply which I sent on the same day to the command at Kodja Eli, I asked: “How can Stambul come into direct communica tion with Geiveh? Before I can enter communication with Tewfik Pasha or anybody else in Stambul for the purpose of a discussion, it is necessary to obtain the consent of the Council of Ministers and, perhaps, even the Assembly. For that reason, I cannot say anything at the present moment. It is not proper that the telegraph official is in open communication with Tewfik Pasha, because this might give rise to confusion in the minds of foreigners regarding our attitude towards Stambul. If, however, Tewfik Pasha desires to enter into negotiations, not with me personally but with the Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, this would naturally be agreed to. There is no objection to this being communicated non-officially through the same channel.”
There was a telegraph line connecting Stambul and Ada Basar, and another under military control between Ada Basar and Geiveh.
As Tewfik Pasha was desirous of entering into secret telegraphic communication with me, the Stambul line was connected with Angora.
I received the following open telegram from Tewfik Pasha:
Stambul, 27 th January, 1921. To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha, President of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.