The ” public opinion of the Mohamedan world would be alarmed and perturbed.”
The people were justified in showing their curiosity and anxiety about the question of the position of the national sovereignty and the Caliphate as well as the character of their mutual relations; be cause, while the National Assembly, by their resolution of the I st No vember, 1922, had proclaimed the form of Government based on the personal sovereignty, had become part of history from the i6 th March, 1920, the Hodj as as for instance, Shukri had begun agitations pretending that the ” public opinion of the Mohamedan world would be alarmed and perturbed.”
They said: The Caliphate and the Government are the same thing
They said: The Caliphate and the Government are the same thing, and no human being and no Assembly has the right to annul the rights and authority of the Caliphate.” They dreamed of maintaining the personal monarchy abolished by the Assembly under the form of the Caliphate and to place the Caliph in the position of the Sultan.
A pamphlet under the title of The Islamic Caliphate and the Grand National Assembly
In fact, a reactionary party published a pamphlet under the title of The Islamic Caliphate and the Grand National Assembly,” which was signed by Hodj a Shukri, deputy for Kara Hissar Sahib.
It was at Ismidt that my attention was attracted to this pamphlet having been published at Angora on the 15th January, 1923, and to its having been distributed among all the members of the Assembly. On its outside cover was simply “1923.”
It was discovered, however, that the pamphlet, which had been prepared and printed while I was still at Angora, had been distributed on the very day of my departure, namely, the 15 th January. Hodja Shukri Effendi and his colleagues wanted to represent the national Assembly simply as an advisory council to the Caliph and the Caliph himself as President of this Assembly and thereby as the Head of the State.
Their favourite stupidity was the statement that: The Caliph is dependent on the Assembly which for their part are dependent on the Caliph.”
On the other hand, the Caliph was the object of some signs of loyalty which could inspire him with a certain amount of hope.
Our attention had been aroused. These manifestations, which had only been exhibited secretly, were in reality of far greater importance than we had judged them to be at first from their outward appearance.
In order to give you some idea of this I will read you a telegram in cipher which Refet Pasha, who was at that time our delegate in Constanti nople and Thrace, had sent to the Caliph through his brother Rifat Bey, who was his A.D.C., about a stallion named “Konia” which he wanted to present to him, as well the answer the Caliph sent through his A.D.C.
Telegram in cipher. 5th January, 1923.
To Rifat Bey.
I have sent for “Konia” with the intention of offering him to His Majesty the Caliph. I have not had time as yet to see in what con dition he is. I do not venture to present him. Having found out that it is impossible to find a good horse in Constantinople, I have asked the first A.D.C. of His Majesty the Caliph not to be in a hurry to get one. I shall look upon it as a divine favour if His Majesty will deign to accept this riding horse. I know that it is very bold on my part to offer it. Nevertheless, I beg the good services of Shekib Bey, the first A.D.C., to ask His Majesty the Caliph to be pleased to accept “Konia” which an old soldier offers to him in memory of the victory, “Konia” being a historic souvenir of the War of Independence and to add that I kiss the hands of His Majesty with feelings of humble and sincere loyalty. Let “Konia” and this telegram in cipher be brought immediately to Shekib Bey, the first Aide-de-Camp.
7 th January, 1923, To His Excellency Refet Pasha, Delegate Extraordinary
I have presented to His Majesty the Caliph the telegram given to me by Rifat Bey, your Excellency s brother. His Majesty was spe cially touched by the sentiments of sincere loyalty which you express and is very pleased with the horse “Konia.” He feels honoured to possess such a beautiful and charming animal, named after one of the battle fields on which your Excellency has distinguished himself by your bravery and self-sacrifice among the prominent men who have been working for the realisation of such a sublime and sacred aim as the independence of our beloved country. Like the angel Gabriel who had announced to our venerated Prophet the mission which, was conferred on him, your Excellency has announced to His Majesty his designation as Caliph. Thus your presence will al ways serve continually to remind him of the most joyful event in the whole of his life. Your Excellency, being associated with this memory dear to His Majesty, he has of ten been cordially thinking about you; and when His Majesty will now, according to his usual custom, every day mount this fleet steed, the valuable memory of your Ex cellency will become all the more strengthened and revivified. I do not know to what point I have been successful in conveying His Majesty s feelings of sincere appreciation; if I have not been success ful in doing this I can comfort myself that the proof of paternal af fection and benevolence which His Majesty has showered upon you in such profusion must have supplemented from the beginning all that is lacking in my message.
In conclusion, I have the honour to convey to your Excellency the very special greetings of His Majesty, the Shadow of God, as well as His blessings and I take advantage of this opportunity to beg you to
accept the expression of my high esteem.
F F Shekib Hakki,
(It was only by accident that we heard of this exchange of letters and amenities, after the abolition of the Caliphate and the expulsion of the members of the dynasty.)
I must call attention to the fact that Hodja Shukri Effendi, as well as the politicians who pushed forward his person and signature
I must call attention to the fact that Hodja Shukri Effendi, as well as the politicians who pushed forward his person and signature, had intended to substitute the sovereign bearing the title of Sultan or Padishah by a monarch with the title of Caliph.
The only difference was that, instead of speaking of a monarch of this or that country or nation, they now spoke of a monarch whose authority extended over a population of three hundred million souls belonging to mani fold nations and dwelling in different continents of the world. Into the hands of this great monarch, whose authority was to extend over the whole of Islam, they placed as the only power that of the Turkish people, that is to say, only from 10 to 15 millions of these three hundred million subjects.
The monarch designated under the title of Caliph was to guide the affairs of these Mohamedan peoples and to secure the execution of the religious prescriptions which would best correspond to their worldly interests.
He was to defend the rights of all Mohamedans and concentrate all the affairs of the Mohamedan world in his hands with effective authority.
The sovereign entitled Caliph was to maintain justice among the three hundred million Mohamedans on the terrestrial globe, to safe guard the rights of these peoples, to prevent any event that could encroach upon order and security, and confront every attack which the Mohamedans would be called upon to encounter from the side of other nations.
It was to be part of his attributes to preserve by all means the welfare and spiritual development of Islam.
The absurd ideas which ignorant people like Shukri Hodja and his companions were disseminating about the actual condition pre vailing in the world under the power of “religious prescriptions” with the intention of abusing our nation, are not worthy of being repeated here.
In the course of centuries there have been people and there are still people to-day in the interior as well as in foreign countries who profited by the ignorance and fanaticism of the nations and try to make use of religion as a tool to help them in their political plans and personal interests. The fact that there are such individuals unfortunately compels us again to go into this question.
So long as the sentiments and knowledge of mankind with regard to religious questions are not yet freed from myths and purified in the light of true science, we shall find historians everywhere who play a religious comedy.
We must actually belong to those “beings who live wholly in God,” like Shukri Hodja, not to be enlightened about the absurdities of the illogical ideas and impracticable prescriptions which they sow broadcast in all directions.
If the Caliph and Caliphate, as they maintained, were to be in vested with a dignity embracing the whole of Islam, ought they not to have realised in all justice that a crushing burden would be im posed on Turkey, on her existence; her entire resources and all her forces would be placed at the disposal of the Caliph?
According to their declarations, the Caliph-Monarch would have the right of jurisdiction over all Mohamedans and all Mohamedan countries, that is to say, over China, India, Afganisthan, Persia, Irak, Syria, Palestine, Hedjas, Yemen, Assyr, Egypt, Tripolis, Tunis, Al geria, Morocco, the Sudan.
It is well known that this Utopia has never been realised.
The pamphlet itself signed by Hodja Shukri emphasises that the Mohamedan communities have always separated from one another under the influence of aims that were diametrically opposite to one another; that the Omayades of Andalusia, the Alides of Morocco, the Fatimides of Egypt and the Abbassides of Bagdad have each created a Caliphate, that is to say, a monarchy of their own.
In Andalusia there were even communities embracing a thousand souls, each of which was “a Commander of the Faithful and a Torch of Faith.”
Would it have been logical or reasonable to pretend to be ignorant of this historic truth and to designate under the title of Caliph a ruler destined to govern all the Mohamedan States and nations, some of which were independent, while most of them were under a foreign protectorate?
Particularly the fact that a mere handful of men consisting of the population of Turkey, burdened with the anxiety of supporting such a sovereign, would it not have been the surest means for strangling this people?
Those who say: The attributes of the Caliph are not of a spiritual kind,” and the basis of the Caliphate is material strength, the temporal power of the Govern ment,” proved thereby that for them the Caliphate was the State. And thereby it could easily be perceived that they pursued the aim of putting at the head of the Turkish Government some personality bearing the title of Caliph.
The attempts of Hodja Shukri Effendi and his political colleagues to conceal their political designs and to represent them under the form of a religious question which concerned the entire Mohamedan world had the only result that this puppet representing the Caliphate was still more speedily swept off the stage.
I made statements everywhere, that were necessary to dispel the uncertainty and anxiety of the people concerning this question of the Caliphate.
I formerly declared: “We cannot allow any person, what ever his title may be, to interfere in questions relating to the destiny, activity and independence of the new State which our nation has now erected. The nation itself watches over the preservation and in dependence of the State which they have created, and will continue to do so for all time.”
I gave the people to understand that neither Turkey nor the handful of men she possesses could be placed at the disposal of the Caliph so that he might fulfill the mission attributed to him, namely, to found a State comprising the whole of Islam.
The Turkish nation is incapable of undertaking such an irrational mission.
For centuries our nation was guided under the influence of these erroneous ideas.
But what has been the result of it?
Everywhere they have lost millions of men. “Do you know,” I asked, “how many sons of Anatolia have perished in the scorching deserts of the Yemen?
Do you know the losses we have suffered in holding Syria and the Irak and Egypt and in maintaining our position in Africa? And do you see what has come out of it?
Do you know?
“Those who favour the idea of placing the means at the disposal of the Caliph to brave the whole world and the power to administer the affairs of the whole of Islam must not appeal to the population of Anatolia alone but to the great Mohamedan agglomerations which are eight or ten times as rich in men.
“New Turkey, the people of New Turkey, have no reason to think of anything else but their own existence and their own welfare. She has nothing more to give away to others.”
To enlighten the people on still another point, I employed these expressions: “Let us accept for a moment that Turkey would take this mission upon herself and would devote herself to the aim of uniting and leading the whole Islamic world and that she would succeed in achieving this aim.
Very good, but suppose these nations whom we want to subject and administer would say to us: You have rendered great services and assistance to us for which we are thankful to you, but we want to remain independent. We do not suffer any body else to interfere in our independence and sovereignty. We are capable of leading and administering ourselves.
“In such a case will the efforts and sacrifices made by the people of Turkey result in anything more than earning thanks and a bene diction?
“It is evident they intended that the people of Turkey should be sacrificed to a mere caprice, to a fancy, to a phantom. To this effect the idea of attributing functions and authority to a Caliph and a Caliphate can be comprehended.”
I asked the people: “Will Persia or Afganistan, which are Mohamedan States, recognise the authority of the Caliph in a single matter?
Can they do so?
No, and this is quite justifiable, because it would be in contradiction to the independence of the State, to the sovereignty of the people.”
I also warned the people by saying that “the error of looking upon ourselves as masters of the world must cease.”
Let us put an end to the catastrophes into which the people had been dragged by following those who deceive themselves and mis judge our real rank and position in the world. We cannot conscien tiously permit this tragedy to continue.
The English author Wells has written an historical work which was published two years ago.
The last pages of this work contain some contemplations under the heading of “History of Mankind in the Future”.
These contemplations relate to the question of the establishment by the Governments of a World League.
In this chapter Wells develops his ideas as to the form the Govern ment of a World League would take, and speaks about the essential fundamental lines of such a State.
He depicts what might become of our earth under the Government of justice and a uniform law.
Wells says: “Unless all the sovereignties amalgamate into one single sovereignty, unless a higher power than nationalities appears, the world will perish,” and he continues as follows: The real State could not be anything but the Government of the United States of the World, which are necessarily brought together by the conditions of modern life,” and “it is certain that sooner or later, men will be com pelled to unite if they do not want to succumb under the weight of their own inventions.”
He also says that, “We do not know yet exactly what must be done and what must be prevented finally to attain the realisation of the great thought of human solidarity,” and that a world federation of States will only succeed with difficulty in letting those powers join whose external policy has traditionally an aggressive character.
Let me also quote the following observations made by Wells:
“The joint sufferings and needs of Europe and Asia will, perhaps, to a certain degree, contribute to bring the peoples of these two continents nearer to one another,” and “it is possible that a number of individual federations will precede the World Federation.”
I will by no means deny the beauty of the idea of the “United States of the World” the establishment of which would produce the result that the experience, knowledge and conceptions of mankind at large would be developed and uplifted, that mankind would abandon Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and that a pure, spotless, simplified religion, understood by all and of a universal character, will be established, and that men will understand that they have lived hither to in a place of misery amidst disputes and ignominy, their desires and gross appetites, and that they will decide to eradicate all infectious germs which have hitherto empoisoned both body and soul.
Any individual Mohamedan State will confer on any man the authority of guiding and administering the affairs of the whole of the Mohamedan world
In our midst also a conception partly equalling this plan has been formed for the purpose of satisfying the adherents of the Caliphate and a Panislam, on the condition, however, that it would not become a source of difficulties for Turkey.
The theory put forward was this :
“Mohamedan communities dwelling in Europe, Asia, Africa and in other regions, sooner or later in future will attain the liberty and faculty of acting according to their will and carry out their wishes. And then, if they think it expedient and advantageous, they will find certain points of union and concord in accordance with the exigen cies of the century. Every State, every community undoubtedly has needs that could be satisfied and protected by other States and communities; the States have reciprocal interests.
If the delegates of these hypothetical independent Mohamedan States would unite in a congress and declare that this or that relation ship has been established between certain States, that a committee had been formed for the purpose of maintaining such mutual relations and securing joint action under the conditions established by these relations that the Mohamedan States united in this manner would be represented by the president of this committee, then they will, if so desired, give to these United States of Islam the title of Caliphate and to the person elected to be president of this united assembly the title of Caliph.
But neither common sense nor reason will ever admit that any individual Mohamedan State will confer on any man the authority of guiding and administering the affairs of the whole of the Mo hamedan world.
During the time we had been engaged on the question of the Cali phate and of religion we had become clear with regard to the fact that one point of the Constitution Act offered a problem to public opinion and especially to that of the intellectuals.
Those who after the proclamation of the Republic became aware that this contentious point of the law was not only maintained but that a second point of a similar nature had been added, did not conceal their surprise either then or later.