The plenary sitting of the Lausanne Conference took place on the 28th November, 1922
The plenary sitting of the Lausanne Conference took place on the 28th November, 1922. His Excellency Ismet Pasha represented Turkey. Hassan Bey, deputy for Trebizond, and Riza Nur Bey, deputy for Sinope, constituted the delegation under the leadership of Ismet Pasha. The latter left Angora for Lausanne in the first days of November. The results of the Lausanne Conference, which lasted for eight months in two sessions, are known to the world at large.
For some time I followed the negotiations of the Lausanne Con-, ference from Angora.
The debates were heated and animated. No positive results re garding the recognition of Turkish rights were noticeable. I found this quite natural, because the questions brought forward on the agenda did not exclusively concern the new regime, which was only three or four years old.
Centuries-old accounts were regulated. It was surely neither a simple nor convenient task to find our way through such a mass of old, confused and rubbishy accounts.
We know that the Ottoman Empire, whose succession the new Turkish State had accepted, was fettered by the Capitulations which existed in the name of ancient Treaties. The Christian elements en joyed numerous privileges and favours. The Ottoman Government could not exercise the administration of justice in regard to foreigners dwelling in the Ottoman Empire. It was forbidden to impose taxes on foreigners as were raised from our own citizens. The Government was also prevented from taking steps against those elements in the interior that undermined the foundations of the State.
The Ottoman Government was also prohibited from securing the means of carrying on their existence in a manner worthy of human beings by the Turkish people, the original element from which they emanated. They could not restore the country, could not build rail ways and were not even free to establish schools. If we tried to do so the foreigners immediately interfered. In order to secure a luxurious existence for themselves, the Ottoman sovereigns and their Courts had not only placed all the revenues of the country and the nation at their disposal, but they had in addition floated numerous loans, thereby sacrificing not only all the resources of the nation, but even the honour and dignity of the State. And this was done to such an extent that the Empire had become incapable of paying the interest on these loans and was regarded in the eyes of the world as being in a state of bankruptcy.
The Ottoman Empire, whose heirs we were, had no value, no merit, no authority in the eyes of the world. It was regarded as being beyond the pale of international right and was, as it were, under the tutelage and protection of somebody else.
We were not guilty of the neglect and errors of the past and, in reality, it was not ourselves from whom they ought to have de- manded the settlement of accounts that had accumulated during past centuries. It was, however, our duty to bear the responsibility for them before the world. In order to procure true independence and sovereignty for the nation we had still to submit to these difficulties and sacrifices. As for myself, I was certain that we would achieve a positive result in any event. I had no doubt that the whole world would finally recognise the principles which the Turkish nation had to adopt and realise at all cost for their existence, their independence and their sovereignty; because the foundations had actually and in reality already been laid by strength and merit. What we demanded from the Conference was nothing more than the confirmation in a proper manner of what we had already gained. We only claimed our well-known and natural rights. In addition, we had the power to preserve and protect these rights. Our strength was sufficient for this purpose. Our greatest strength and our surest point of support was the fact that we had realised our national sovereignty ,had actually placed it in the hands of the nation and had proved by facts that we were capable of maintaining it. These were the considerations that allowed me calmly to follow the course of the negotiations at the Conference without attaching undue importance to the vexatious agitations through which they passed.
The monarchy having been abolished and the Caliphate denuded of its powers, it had become very important to get into close touch with the people and once more to study their psychology and spiritual tendencies.
On the other hand, the Assembly had entered upon the last year of their legislative period. I had resolved when the elections took place to transform the Union for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia into a political party. If peace should be restored I con sidered it necessary that the organisations of our union should be converted into a political party and in this regard it also seemed advisable to me to study our army very carefully, for since the victory it had begun to devote itself to its training.
I left Angora on the 14 th January, 1923, to travel through Western Anatolia
Such were the aims I had in view when I left Angora on the 14 th January, 1923, to travel through Western Anatolia.
I began at Eski-Shehr, Ismidt, Brusa, Smyrna and Balikesri, collected the people in suitable buildings and had long conversations with those present. I requested that the population should freely ask questions on subjects that were near to their hearts. In order to answer them I delivered long speeches which often lasted for six or seven hours. The main points on which the population everywhere wanted in formation were these:
The Lausanne Conference and its results; the national sovereignty and the Caliphate; their position and mutual relations; and, further, the political party which they knew I intended to create.
Everywhere I gave a comprehensive idea of the negotiations at the Lausanne Conference, as they took place, and I tried to calm the nation by expressing my conviction that we should arrive at a happy result.