Our first object was to lay these facts directly and exclusively before the Padishah
Our first object was to lay these facts directly and exclusively before the Padishah, trusting that he would assuredly find a remedy for the existing evils by depriving the Government, whose treason was patent, of his confidence.
With this intention, we composed a telegram on the II th September and addressed it to the Sultan.
After the usual rigmarole of expressions of our devotion, as was customary at that time, our telegram ran as follows:
“Since we, the undersigned officers commanding Army Corps in this district, have duly considered the matter, we deem it to be our duty to lay before you the following facts: The Government has conspired to shed the blood of Mohamedans in a fratricidal war, by planning a sudden attack upon the Congress. It is also proved by certain documents in our possession that they have spent public funds in the attempt to dismember our territory by raising Kurdistan into revolt. In trying to accomplish this and having failed, the agents of the Cabinet have run away in a disgraceful manner. When they have been arrested they will be handed over to the avenging arm of justice. The nation has no confidence whatever in a Government that is capable of organising such crimes and issuing commands like those issued by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of
The nation demands that immediate steps shall be taken for the pursuit of this gang of traitors
We continued: “The nation demands that immediate steps shall be taken for the pursuit of this gang of traitors; that they shall be severely punished, and that a new Government shall be formed that will be composed of men of honour. The nation also declares that henceforth all communication and relations with the Government shall be broken off. Under these circumstances, the Army cannot do otherwise than declare itself in accord with the will of the people.” (Document 82.)
We thought it advisable that each of the Army Corps should send similar telegrams to Constantinople. Being at the telegraph instru ment myself, I sent this circular to the different Army Corps on the II th September:
“We shall send you the wording of a telegram immediately. It must be signed jointly by the commanders of the III rd , XV th , XX th , XIII tfcl and XII* 11 Army Corps. You will pay attention to this and hold yourselves in readiness to send it off at exactly the same time as the other commanders send theirs.
To the Grand Vizier.
“We feel ourselves urgently and directly obliged to lay before our Highest Chief and Glorious Caliph a matter of the most serious importance. We beg you not to put any obstacles in our way if you do not want personally to accept the heavy responsibility for^the serious consequences which will inevitably ensue a responsibility which would lie solely on the shoulders of Your Highness/
The Army Corps, etc., etc.
The serious consequences referred to were none other than those mentioned in the telegram to the Padishah, which I have already mentioned.
During the day of the ii a , and particularly during that night, all the Telegraph Offices were occupied by the Commanders of the Corps, who tried to come into connection with Constantinople for the purpose of sending off the telegrams as agreed. But the Grand Vizier seemed to have disappeared. He did not reply. But we remained at the instrument and did all we could to send off the telegrams to the Grand Vizier, and awaited his answer to them.
After lengthy negotiations with the officials of the Chief Telegraph Office in Constantinople, one of them sent us the following:
“The message addressed to the Grand Vizier has been forwarded on to him by telephone.”
The answer sent by the Director of the Telegraph Office read:
“The wording of the telegram has been forwarded to His Highness the Grand Vizier. His Highness has replied that telegraphic com munication can only be conducted in the regular manner and that messages cannot be brought before high authorities unless they are sent in the proper way.” (Document 83.)
Then the following telegram was handed in at the Telegraph Office at Sivas.
II th September, 1919. To Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier.
“It is evident that by your regardless actions and enterprises, that have been conducted in the most inconsiderate manner, you have trodden underfoot the rights of the nation and all that it holds sacred, while at the same time you have outraged the dignity and honour of His Imperial Majesty. The nation has completely lost confidence in your Cabinet and in yourself. It retains confidence in its Sovereign alone. To him alone, therefore, will it disclose the real state of affairs and present its demands. Your Cabinet, fearing the fatal consequences of their unlawful actions, try to erect a wall between the nation and its Padishah. If you persevere in your stubbornness one hour longer, the nation will consider itself free to proceed in any manner that it considers right, and will forthwith break off relations throughout the country with the lawless Cabinet of which you are the head.
“This is the last warning we shall give you. The attitude that the nation will take up in future will be explained to the representatives of the Entente through the mediation of the foreign officers who are now among us.” ( Signed ) The General Assembly of the Congress.
Simultaneously, we sent the following order to the Director of the Telegraph Office at Sivas by telephone:
“We understand that Constantinople refuses to receive a telegram that a delegation of the Congress will bring you to transmit.
“Inform your superior that if, within an hour from now, you are not granted authority to send this telegram, we shall see ourselves obliged to cut all the telegraph lines between Anatolia and Stambul.” ^h & General Assembly of the Congress at Sivas. We also sent the following circular telegram to each of the officers commanding the Army Corps:
Sivas, II th September, 1919.
To the Commanders of the XX*, XV* XIII^ lit* Army Corps.
“The Director of the Chief Telegraph Office in Stambul refuses to transmit certain messages from the Congress to be laid at the foot of the Imperial Throne. We have informed him in reply that, unless within an hour connection with the Imperial Palace is open, we shall cut all the telegraph lines between Anatolia and the metropolis. As this lawful demand by the Congress has not been acceded to, we beg you to suspend all telegraphic communication with the head offices at Angora, Kastamuni, Diarbekr and Sinope, except telegrams that are sent by the Congress. At the same time prohibit the reception of all telegrams that are sent from Constanti nople, and disconnect the line running through the gorge of Geiveh, or suspend it temporarily if it will not prevent us from communicating with western Anatolia. Report to us the steps you have taken for this purpose.
“All telegraph officials who refuse to obey these orders are to be put immediately before a summary court martial, and they are to be dealt with most severely. The officers of the XX th , XV^, XIII* 11 and III rd Aimy Corps are commanded to carry out these orders. Please report receipt of this.”
The General Assembly of the Congress.
The orders contained in this message were supplemented by further telegrams. (Documents 84, 85.)
Following the circular sent during the night of the II th September , we issued the following order:
“Military commanders, heads of the Civil Administration and others concerned are requested not to leave the Telegraph Offices during the night until they have succeeded in getting satisfactory
results >” The General Assembly of the Congress, This was sent to the Telegraph Offices:
“Continued from last message: As we want to carry on telegraphic communication between ourselves, when the office of the Congress has received the information that this message has actually been transmitted we request you to leave an official permanently in the Telegraph Office.
It was evident that the head office in Constantinople would not open communication with the Palace within the prescribed limit. Therefore, on the 12 th September we circulated the following infor mation among the commanders and the Vilayets: “Within an hour, the following message will be telegraphed to the Grand Vizier in the name of the General Assembly of the Congress. Will you, therefore, immediately send a telegram to the same effect and report that you have done so.” The General Assembly of the Congress.
This circular was transmitted to all concerned at five o clock, and a copy of it was sent to the Grand Vizier, marked: “For your information/
1. As the Cabinet continues to prevent any communication between the people and their beloved Sovereign and stands in the way of their expressing their desires, and as they also persevere in their malicious schemes, the nation has decided to break off all official relations with the Government, as well as all telegraphic and postal communication with Constantinople, until it is succeeded by a lawful Government. In agreement with the military commanders, the civil officials of the provinces will see that the necessary steps are taken to give effect to this and inform the General Assembly of the Congress at Sivas of the result.
2. This has been communicated to all commanders and the heads of the Civil Administration.
12 th September. The General Assembly of the Congress.
The result of this was that all communications and relations with the Government were broken off on that date. Later on I shall explain which localities in particular wanted to offer resistance and what discussions we had with them on the subject.