About a great plot.
Now, Gentlemen, with your permission, I will tell you something about a great plot.
Late in the evening of the 26 th October, 1924, I learned that the Inspector of the First Army had just resigned his office. The letter containing his resignation which the General Inspector of the Army sent to the Chief of the General Staff, was verbally as follows:
26 th October, 1924. To the Chief of the General Staff.
I am extremely afflicted and discouraged that my reports which I have presented after my inspections during the course of a year of my official activity and my memoranda which contain obser-
*) This refers to the so-called “150 undesirables” who were proven to be adversaries of National Turkey and who are forbidden as enemies of the country to remain in New Turkey. vations regarding the further development and strengthening of our Army, have not been taken into consideration. I inform you that having come to the conclusion that I could fulfil the duties imposed on me with greater tranquillity of conscience as a deputy, I tender my resignation as Inspector of the Army. This letter has also been communicated to the Ministry of National Defence.
(Signed) Kiasim Kara Bekir.
Under this letter of resignation was written in coloured pencil the following:
“I have told him that I do not agree to his resignation. He has however persisted in his idea and informed me that he will return to his legislative functions as deputy to-morrow.” These sentences had no signature. It is evident, however, that they had been written by the Chief of the General Staff.
Under these lines again the following note was written in red ink:
“I must see the reports and memoranda which have been presented. I should see now what was written in the documents referred to and which questions were dealt with in these papers in reference to which something has been done and which are those that have caused any steps to be taken.” The date marked under these sentences is the 28 th October.
Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha s reports and memoranda were examined by the departments of the General Staff which were concerned.
All that seemed worth accepting and carrying through was taken into consideration and put into practice. But naturally proposals which could not be applied by the means at the disposal of the General Staff or those which had no scientific value but were rather phantastic and arbitrary were rejected.
It had not been considered necessary to send a satisfecit to Kiasim Kara Bekir after the receipt of his reports and memoranda.
I was told, on the other hand, on the 30 th October that Ali Fuad Pasha, Inspector of the Second Army, had arrived from Konia. I invited him to dine with me at Tshan Kaya. I waited till late at night, but he did not arrive. When I sent for him, I learned that on his arrival at Angora he was received by Rauf Bey who had met him at the railway station, that he was afterwards at the War Ministry, and had had some short interviews with his comrades, had then gone to the Chief of the General Staff and had a conversation with Fewsi Pasha. Leaving the latter he left the following letter with Fewsi Pasha s aide-de-camp. 30 th October, 1924. To the Chief of the General Staff.
As I have to exercise my legislative functions as deputy, I have the honour of submitting my resignation as Inspector of the Second Army. (Signed) Ali Fuad,
Deputy for Angora.
In addition I learned that Rauf Bey had caused Refet Pasha to withdraw his resignation as deputy which he had already announced to the President of the Assembly.
After the ceremony at Dumlu Punar and a journey of a month and a half to Brusa and along the coast of the Black Sea and into the district of Erzerum, I returned to Angora on the i8 tb – October. A great number of deputies and other comrades came to greet me. Rauf Bey and Adnan Bey, who were at Angora, were not among them. I did not expect such conduct, which could very easily have been taken as a sign of resentment.
I did not hesitate for a moment to tell myself that I was face to face with a plot.
The situation and the spectacle it offered can beexplained as follows: A year before, that is to say since Rauf Bey had retired from the Presidency of the Cabinet, he had, together with Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, Ali Fuad Pasha, Refet Pasha and others, drafted a plan of campaign. They found that, in order to succeed, they must have the army on their side. For this purpose Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, after his appointment as Inspector of the First Army, was travelling about in the Eastern Provinces, the sphere of his former command, whilst Ali Fuad Pasha, pretending that he had no taste for a political life, and that he wanted to dedicate him self to military service, started for the inspection of the Second Army, to which office he had been promoted.
These gentlemen expected that Djevad Pasha, Inspector of the Third Army, and Djafer Tayar Bey, commander of the Army Corps which belonged to this inspection, would participate in their plans. For a year they worked on the army to attain their object and imagined that they had won it to their ideas.
Before handing in their resignations, they tried to get some of the commanders to make common cause with them. Certain acts which we had carried through in the course of the same year, such as the proclamation of the Republic and the abolition of the Caliphate, brought about a closer union between the originators of the concocted plan, and drove them to undertake united action. It was in a political way that they had to proceed in this enterprise. They were awaiting the moment and the occasion.
They regarded their preparations in the political sphere as well as in the army as being sufficient. Rauf Bey and his like, thanks to the situation which they had succeeded in maintaining inside the Party, actually found occasion during the months of the Parliamentary holidays to instruct the deputies in a sense hostile to us and to mislead the whole nation, by making use of the adherents of the second group, who had not been successful in the new elections. On the other hand they began with the formation of certain secret organisa tions and entered into league with various other enterprises of the same kind.
They connected themselves with the newspapers Watan,” “Tanin,” “Tewhid i Efkiar,” “Son Telegraf” in Constantinople and with the “Tok Sos,” published by Abdel Kadir KemaliBey atAdana, Together with these papers they undertook what would be called an “anonymous offensive.” They provoked thereby differences of opinion in the country. At that time and whilst our army was oc cupied with the punishment of the Nestorians*) England addressed an ultimatum to the Government.**) I convened an extraordinary sitting of the Assembly.
We replied to the English ultimatum in the manner known to you.
We had decided, if necessary, to enter into war. Well, now, just at this difficult moment, when we might be exposed to the attack of a foreign power, the persons in question believed it to be easier to reach their aim by attacking us. Although it was their duty to keep their Army Corps in readiness for war, they left them without leaders and threw themselves into the political arena, which they had pretended at one time they did not like.
One question which had been put on the Order of the Day of the convened Assembly was of a nature to hasten their plans. On the 20 th October Hodja Essad Effendi actually presented a motion in which he put a certain number of questions to the competent Ministers concerning the exchange of the population and their finding accom modation for the number of exhibitioners which entered the evening schools as well as of the localities in which elementary schools were to be opened. These questions were very well calculated to raise criticisms of the Ministers concerned. There were points, especially
*) Syrian Christian sect on the Turco-Iracian border. As partisans of England at the time of the Turco-English Mossul question, the Nestorians produced unrest.
**) The Mossul conflict was specially strained at that time.
The ultimatum of England extending over a certain time included the danger of the outbreak of warlike activities. on the question of the exchange of populations and their finding accommodation which naturally occupied everybody. I myself had complained after I had followed the progress of affairs of this kind during my journey, and had proposed to the Government after my return to Angora to suppress the Ministry concerned, and to adopt a method which secured the application of all the resources of the
Government for these purposes. An agreement had been arrived at on this subject. This question provided a subject for those who wanted to attack us by giving them a greater chance of winning a large number of adherents.
After this plot had been discovered, it was not difficult to find the necessary counter-measures. Let me tell you of the episode, phase by phase, starting from the point where we left off.
Hodja Essad Effendi s motion had been transformed on the 27 th , that is to say the day after the resignation of Kara Bekir Pasha, into an interpellation. The discussion on this interpellation began on the 3O t]1 October, the day of the resignation of Ali Fuad Pasha.
It was the evening of the day on which I had invited Ali Fuad Pasha to dine with me and he did not arrive. But Ismet Pasha, President of the Council, and Kiasim Pasha, Minister of National Defence, were present.
A very short exchange of opinion enabled us to fix a plan of action against the plotters. Telephoning immediately to His Excellency Fewsi Pasha, Chief of the General Staff, who was at the same time a deputy, I asked him to announce his resignation to the President of the Assembly. The Pasha, who I knew had this intention an idea which he had communicated to the Minister of National Defence immediately fulfilled my request.
On the other hand, I sent to those commanders who were at the same time deputies the following telegram in cipher:
In cipher: at the instrument. 30 th October, 1924.
To Their Excellencies:
Djevad Pasha, Inspector of the Third Army.
Izzedin Pasha, Commandant of the First Army Corps.
AliHikmet Pasha, Commandant of the Second Army Corps.
Shukri Naili Pasha, Commandant of the Third Army Corps.
Fachreddin Pasha, Commandant of the Fifth Army Corps.
DjaferTayar Pasha, Commandant of the Seventh Army Corps.
1. Supported by the confidence and the friendship which you accord to me, I propose, inspired by grave necessity, that you should immediately by telegraph inform the President of the Assembly of your resignation as deputy. The reason which demands that you should sacrifice yourself unconditionally and unreservedly with heart and soul to your important military functions deserves to be taken very seriously into consideration.
2. His Excellency Marshal Fewsi Pasha, after the proposal I have made to him and which was based on the necessity, handed in his resignation.
3. Their Excellencies Djevad Pasha, Inspector of the Third Army, Izzedin Pasha, Ali Hikmet Pasha, Shukri Naili Pasha, Fachreddin Pasha, Djafer Tayar Pasha, commanding the First, Second, Third, Fifth and Seventh Army Corps respectively have received the same communication.
4. I expect the communication of your resignation at the instru-
(Signed) Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of the Republic.
The replies which I received at the telegraph instrument on the morning of the 31 st October and which arrived from Izzedin Pasha, commanding the First Army Corps at Smyrna, Ali Hikmet Pasha, commanding the Second Army Corps at Karassi, Shukri Naili Pasha, commanding the Third Army Corps at Pancaldi, Fachreddin Pasha, commanding the Fifth Army Corps at Adana, informed me that my proposal had literally and immediately been executed.
I believe it to be my duty to express here my gratitude to these excellent commanders for the confidence which they showed me on this occason.
The replies which arrived from Diarbekr from the Inspector of the Third Army and the officer commanding the Seventh Army Corps, literally ran as follows:
Reply of the Inspector of the Third Army:
Diarbekr, 30^ October, 1924. To His Excellency Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of
Your Excellency can be sure of the affection I have for you and of the confidence I place in you. To avoid the responsibility and reproaches to which I might expose myself in the eyes of the nation and my electoral district, if I should renounce in haste something that is my patriotic duty, I beg Your Excellency respectfully to give the reason which necessitates my resignation.
(Signed) Djevad, Inspector of the Third Army.
Reply of the Commander of the Seventh Army Corps:
Diarbekr, 30 th October, 1924.
To His Excellency Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of the Republic.
1. I beg Your Excellency to be convinced of the feelings of friend ship and esteem which I feel for your person.
2. If I consented immediately to Your Excellency s proposal with out consulting my electoral district, I should be regarded as responsible in the eyes of the nation.
3. If the interest of the country demands that I should immediately resign as deputy, I beg Your Excellency to enlighten me about the situation so that I can make a definite decision.
(Signed) Djafer Tayar, Commanding the Seventh Army Corps.
Although the signatories of both telegrams give me the assur ance of their friendship and confidence, they speak of their position towards their electoral district and ask the reason for my proposal.
Let me quote you my answer verbatim:
To His Excellency Djevad Pasha, Inspector of the Third
Army. To His Excellency Djafer Tayar Pasha, Commanding
the Seventh Army Corps.
Telegram in cipher. 31 st October, 1924.
At the telegraph instrument.
I have come to the conclusion that, for the maintenance of disci pline in the required measure in the army and for the exercise of the command, it is incompatible that commanders should be at the same time deputies. I have been supported in this opinion by the fact that the Inspectors of the First and Second Army have resigned their military functions and have returned to the Assembly, whereby their corps have remained without a leader at a moment which can scarcely be called a favourable one. The population of your electoral district could only be satisfied with a resolution which you take in the interest of the discipline of the army. Referring to my preceding communication, I beg you to inform me of your decision.
(Signed) Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of the Republic.
Djevad Pasha s answer to this communication was as follows:
At the telegraph instrument. Diarbekr, 3i st October, 1924.
To His Excellency Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of the Republic.
I join with all my heart in the convictions of Your Excellency in what concerns the incompatibility existing between the exercise of the mandate as deputy through commanders and the maintenance of discipline to the necessary degree in the exercise of the power of command. I beg Your Excellency to believe that from this very conviction I had begged Your Excellency during the elections to free me from the mandate of deputy. Nevertheless I am convinced that when I resign to-day by order of Your Excellency, my resignation will not be well received either by the nation or by my electoral district. Under the pressure of this conviction which makes me aware of the fact that I can see myself forced to separate from the army at this important moment, I feel the deepest grief. I have the honour of informing Your Excellency of this.
(Signed) Djevad, Commanding the Third Army Corps.
After Djevad Pasha had arrived at Angora and had made him self acquainted with the situation, and after I had convinced him of the necessity to follow my proposal, he immediately resigned his mandate as deputy. To me it was evident that His Excellency had nothing to do with the intrigues which had been prepared. Although Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha had informed a great number of com manders, among them Djevad Pasha, and had given exact indications as to the day and hour, this communication had had no other effect on Djevad Pasha while he was at Diarbekr than to confuse him completely with regard to the true reason of my proposal.
Djafer Tayar Pasha on his part sent the following reply: At the telegraph instrument. Diarbekr, 3i st October, 1924.
To His Excellency Ghazi Mustapha Kemal, President of
the Republic, at Angora.
In case that Your Excellency should find it necessary that we should resign one or other of the two positions, the mandate as deputy or the command, I have the honour to respectfully inform you that I should give the preference to the mandate of deputy regarding it as the most honourable of all duties towards the nation.
(Signed) Djafer Tayar, Commanding the Seventh Army Corps.
After the Chief of the General Staff and the commanders who were also deputies had become aware of the difficulties which resulted from the presence of political elements in the army, and after they had accepted my proposal favourably and had proved their con fidence in me, it became inadmissible that Djevad Pasha and Djafer Tayar Pasha should continue to remain Inspector of the Army and Commander of the Corps. Consequently an end was put to their military functions. Men who seemed best suited for these posts were appointed in their stead and the army was informed of it in a circular note by the Ministry of National Defence. Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha and AU Fuad Pasha, who had entered the Assembly, were asked to leave. Fuad Pasha returned to Konia to wind up the affairs of his command. Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha was compelled to keep away from the Parliamentary building and to wait for the arrival of his successor, who was to come from Sari Kamish.
The connections of the two commanders with the army, who wished to preserve their mandates of deputy were broken. In this manner the bluff of those who had hatched the plot and had tried to create for themselves with the help of the army a position in the Assembly had been made publicly known.
The I st November marked the beginning of the second year of the legislative period of the Assembly. On this occasion I opened the sitting with my usual speech. After I had left the Presidential platform a list was read of the resignation of Fewsi Pasha, Fachreddin Pasha, Izzedin Pasha, Ali Hikmet Pasha, Shukri Naili Pasha as well as a note of the President of the Council dated the 31 st October, 1924, regarding the alterations in the army. The Assembly was adjourned till the 5 th November.
Addressing himself to the President of the Assembly Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, in a note dated the I st November, complained that he had been prevented from entering the Assembly by the Ministry of National Defence. In this note, which was read on the 5 th November, Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha said: “Five days after my resignation (on the night of Friday, the 30 th October, 1924) I received a communication from the Ministry of National Defence, by which they tried to prevent me from entering the Assembly till the arrival of my successor.” The note concluded with the words: “I expect, however, the decision of Your High Assembly which is competent on this question.”
On the same day Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha addressed a note to the Ministry of National Defence in which he said:
“I have been ordered by Your Excellency under the pretext of the surrender of my service that I must cease to exercise my mandate as deputy for an indefinite time. On the day of my resignation, how ever, the question that I had to await my successor had not yet been put forward. I do not know why Your Excellency believes that he should make use of this pretext five days later. If, even only tem porarily, I have joined the Assembly the question as to whether I should take up a new office depended partly on my own wish and partly on the decision of the Grand National Assembly. For this reason I have informed the President of the Assembly of the matter.”
The late Inspector of the Army, who said that he had presented his memoranda “for the progress and strengthening of the army” and who was, according to his statement, “exceedingly afflicted and discouraged” because his memoranda had not been taken into con sideration, did not seem to be aware how thoughtless and harmful to discipline his attitude was, although discipline forms the necessary base to all progress and strengthening of the army, when, following the mood of the moment, he scribbled five lines on a piece of paper leaving thereby a strong armed force, which comprised a third of our country, without a leader. The honourable Inspector who de clared that he had undertaken to accomplish in the Assembly which had met in an extraordinary sitting on account of the ultimatum addressed to the State the task which he was unable to fulfil through his reports and memoranda which had presumably been neglected this honourable Inspector, I say, could not understand what a sad example of anarchy he and his colleagues had set to the army through their procedure, and that at a moment which could not have been more badly chosen. This individual who had taken it amiss that his advice about the development of the army had not 6g6
been appreciated, pretended to ignore the fact that the surrender of military service is a legally prescribed duty and that he was obliged to proceed to this formality in the interests of the good administration and the discipline of the army. He did not take into consideration the point that the authority which had to inform the Assembly that his mission had come to an end had naturaly to be the same authority which had transferred to him these military functions.
After Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha s note to the President of the Assembly had been read, the communication of the President of the Council with two additions was likewise read.
The President of the Council explained to the Assembly Kiasim Kara Bekir s step towards the Ministry of National Defence, and the answer which had been given to him.
After the Minister for National Defence had declared that all the complaints of Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha as well as his opinions were wrong, he confirmed the order which he had given him to surrender to his successor his functions as Inspector and all the secret docu ments, after having informed the competent authorities. The question arises: Did the exinspector of the Army at last understand that the State had entrusted him with an important function and con fidential documents referring to the defence of our country? It was a great mistake on his part to hand over to anybody his authority before the appointment of a responsible successor. Such a mistake deserves severe punishment. Had he understood that?
Those who were eager to receive Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha in the Assembly again tried their utmost to frustrate our action. Feridun Fikri Bey, deputy for Dersim, hastened first into the arena. Vechby Bey, Deputy for Karassi, began his speech and his denunciations with the words: “Can a comrade who has been reintegrated by the Assembly be prevented by any power to participate in the debates? Is such a thing conceivable?” The honourable deputy, trying a moment previously to move his intellectual comrade into action, seemed to have forgotten that the power of the law is irresistible and how firm in their resolution the men were who had gained the con fidence of the High Assembly and the nation, and who were charged to make use of this power.
Ismet Pasha s declaration silenced the speakers. The discussion of this question was concluded. The Pashas were told to carry through the orders they had received to the letter. The Assembly passed to the general debate. The question which was treated was an inter- pellation addressed to the Ministry of Immigration*), of finding ac commodation and reconstruction. Ismet Pasha, the Prime Minister, ascended the platform and made the following proposal: “Numerous speakers have referred to the questions of accommodation and recon struction only under different pretexts with matters concerning the other Ministries. Some of the speakers have even manifested a desire that the Prime Minister should give extensive explanations with regard to the interior and exterior policy of the State. Making re strictions and with the greatest pleasure I shall fill these desires. The Minister for Immigration has been elected Vice-President by the Assembly. But I propose that the importance and bearing of the interpellation shall not be restricted for this reason in any way. I love loyal tactics.”
In this manner the Government lifted the curtain and expedited the representation of the play by those who had prepared it. The Government had accepted the fight and proceeded to an open and frontal attack.
About thirty speakers spoke for and against it. The Ministers of Justice and Instruction also made declarations. The debate lasted for five hours without result. The discussion of the interpellation was postponed to the next day.
That day the discussion re-opened at 2.30 p.m. The first to mount the platform was Redsheb Bey, Minister of the Interior and Chief of the Ministry for Immigration. He made long declarations and explanations. The members of the opposition made short attacks against him from their seats. At a certain point Redsheb Bey said: “Certain newspapers and people maintain that during the whole period of the Parliamentary holidays there is a Government at Angora administering the country by all unlawful and irregular means possible . . . According to rumours some comrades are said to be in possession of secret registers in which the unlawful actions committed by some Ministers are said to be regularly written down . . . A day will come when after the reunion of the Assembly the Government will be asked to render an account: then, the contents of these secret registers will serve for the purpose of putting the Government into the dock before the nation. Now, Gentlemen, this day has come. Might the contents of these registers be laid before the Nation?”
*) The immigration of hundreds of thousands of Turks, who in exchange for the Greeks driven out of Turkey arrived from Greece, imposed on the Turkish Government at that time extraordinary financial and organisational difficulties. Feridun Fikri Bey, speaking in the plural, replied in the name of his comrades: When the moment has arrived we shall undertake our attack,” he said. Redsheb Bey replied: “Do, Gentlemen; we are waiting for it. The Government, which is well aware of its responsibility and ready to take it upon itself in the face of the nation, is before you.” Then he added: The country is not capable of suffering uncertainty, obscurity, indecision and hesitation. It is treason to wards the country to withdraw from publicly performing the duty of criticism and to depict the horizon as being covered with dark clouds, and whispering in corners in order to create the appearance that the life of the Republic, this young and fresh organism, is invaded by pernicious complications. . . . Instead of trying to spread in corners and hiding-places, behind the side-scenes and in the corridors, a multitude of false ideas for the purpose of confusing public opinion, what everybody ought to do is to stand here, on the platform of the nation, which is accessible to everybody equally, and to declare the truth. If the truth is not told and if the dissemination of vain sug gestions continues, I shall see a sign in it of a lack of serious and sin cere interest for the destiny of the country. I personally think that this is so and that the nation will be of the same opinion. I invite these gentlemen to mount the platform … so that the nation may learn on which side is the truth and on which vain imaginations, insinuations and accusations.”
Following Redsheb Bey s remarks, many speeches were made against the Government.
Hassan Bey, Minister of Commerce, and Kiasim Pasha, Minister for National Defence, replied to these. Among those who had de manded to speak in order to attack the Government was Rauf Bey, whose turn then came. Although he found no reason for extending the interpellation concerning the Ministry of Immigration, Instal lation and Reconstruction to the whole of the Cabinet, he neverthe less was of the opinion that the conduct of the Prime Minister had something of the character of chivalry. He began his remarks with the following words:
“The Assembly has an aggressive role towards the Government which finds itself face to face with a plot.” Junus Nadi Bey inter rupted him and said: “We have not understood this.” Rauf Bey made further statements and added: “I see that those who have criticised the Government have assumed the attitude of people who act according to a premeditated resolution and who are attacking the Government.” Then Rauf Bey took up a benevolent attitude and advised the speakers to avoid strong expressions and statements that would be of a nature to humiliate the Government. Thereupon he referred to Feridun Fikri Bey s proposal and defended him. This proposal concerned the institution of a Parliamentary inquiry. It was demanded that an urgent resolution should be taken to institute a “Parliamentary Commission of Investigation.”
At this point the motion of Feridun Fikri Bey was placed before us with another signed by Feridun Fikri Bey and sixteen of his com rades to put the first motion to nominal vote.
Rauf Bey said: “A corporation has been talked about to which I have given the name of Commission of Investigation.” 5
The one who mentioned it was Feridun Fikri Bey. Rauf Bey then continued: “. . .The Ministers have attributed to the accept ance of such a Commission the meaning of a humiliation, of a stain from the point of view of the national and patriotic feelings which have hitherto been expressed in such a pure form.” Junus Nadi Bey interrupted Rauf Bey and said: It is something like it.” Rauf Bey continued: “I am speaking from the point of view that we are not all infallible, and believing the thing necessary, I am the first to demand its execution as one of the persons concerned.” Whilst speaking, Rauf Bey apparently tried to find a pretext at tributing importance to the question for showing himself exceed ingly respectful towards the Assembly. Making the opportunity for this, he said: “Certain qualifications have been given to the laws worked out by the Assembly; corridor laws have been spoken about.” He concluded with the demand that more regard should be shown towards the Assembly.
He had apparently forgotten the slightly respectful attitude which he had assumed towards the law of the Proclamation of the Republic.
Mashar Mufid Bey, Deputy for Denisli, then spoke and said: “Your honourable comrade Muchtar Bey Effendi has said this before.” This remark caused Rauf Bey to alter the direction of his thought. But Muchtar Bey took this amiss. Saib Bey, Deputy for Kozan, joined the discussion. Following an intervention and warnings from the Presidential tribune, Rauf Bey at last continued his speech.
After a thousand detours, Rauf Bey finally came to the funda mental question: “Our battle cry, our doctrine is the national so vereignty,” he said. Here Junus Nadi Bey s voice could be heard: “It is the Republic!” Rauf Bey did not answer. He completed the sentence which he had begun as follows: “The only place where the 7oo
national sovereignty manifests itself is the Grand National Assem bly.” Shouts of:”It is the Republic!” filled the Assembly. “It is the Republic/ 3 repeated Ali Saib Bey, Deputy for Kozan. Rauf Bey began to argue with him. Ichsan Bey intervened and said: “What you say is not quite clear, Rauf Bey Effendi.” Rauf Bey replied: “It is very clear, I tell you, Ichsan Bey Effendi . . .” Ichsan Bey: “It is by no means so clear. It is a long time since we under stood one another.” Speaking of the sentiments of high justice which inspired Ichsan Bey, and mentioning the fact that he had been work ing as a judge, Rauf Bey said to him: “It is assumed a priori that a person is innocent until the contrary has been proved. It is unjust to leave one of the parties under the stigma of suspicion and to speak in this sense.” Ichsan Bey replied: “The judge is completely justified in not trusting an accused man who does not tell the truth.” This colloquy between Rauf Bey and Ichsan Bey lasted for some time. The President interfered. Rauf Bey continued and said: “In the Constitutional Law it is the question of elaborating a law concerning the authority and competence of the Ministers. Has this work been done? This is what I am asking for.”
As it is quite natural that the laws should be elaborated by the Assembly, Rauf Bey addressed his question not to the Government but to the Assembly, to which he himself belonged. After Rauf Bey had touched the question of the organisation of the Council of State and had asked: “Have the laws for the suppression of brigandage and the law of the village communities been carried through?” he addressed a quick succession of questions to the Ministries of Public Works, of Commerce, of Agriculture, of National Defence, of Justice and of Public Instruction. It became evident that in formulating these questions he intended to attract the attention of the nation and the army. Having read in the newspapers that steps had been taken concerning the forests of Kara Dere, he asked, for instance, how this affair had gone on. Then he said: “With a well-justified pride we have learned that our heroic and faithful army has shown a prominent spirit of discipline and great calmness when after the War of Independence it passed from a state of war into that of peace. But can we in the same way be convinced that after the operation the situation of this glorious army will be the same from the point of view of lodging and alimentation? We request the Government to enlighten us on this subject.”
This question of Rauf Bey s was put in a collective sense, as will be seen from the way it was expressed. He said: “We request.” There was actually no reason not to expect that this question had been agreed upon with the two Inspectors of the Army, who, up till then, had been at the head of their corps.
Rauf Bey wanted to know whether the application of the modi fications introduced in the organisation of Justice had secured its dispensation in the most effective manner.
He demanded explanations from the Ministry of Public Instruction concerning the reduction of time in primary instruction in contra diction to the law.
After having spoken of the nightly manoeuvre arranged by the Vali of Constantinople*) and of the violation of the rights of the population of this town owing to its being administered by a pre fecture**), he began to speak of the incident which occurred between Vassif Bey, the Minister of Public Instruction, and the Press***), and, at this point, touched the question of the teachers by saying: “Is it right that the army of teachers, the army of the enlightened people, should send forth publications in which they give preference to this or that party, thereby reinforcing it?”
After stating his opinion that this was not right, Rauf Bey con cluded his speech with the following words: “May God preserve our country and all of us so long as we live under His holy protection.”
After the applause following this sentence, the Minister of the Interior ascended the tribune. Seki Bey, Deputy for Gumushhane, demanded that he should be allowed to speak first. Vechbi Bey, turning towards the Presidential tribune, said: “Sir, this question has taken the form of an interpellation addressed to the Ministers of the Assembly.” The President recalled the terms of the standing orders concerning the right of speech of the Ministers. After Redsheb Bey had declared that he would not contribute to the enlightenment of the truth in a case where the Ministers would be prevented from using their right of speech a right confirmed by the standing orders as they had to answer such an extensive interpellation, he replied to the questions concerning himself one after the other. Alluding to the attitude of mentor adopted previously by Rauf Bey, he said in the course of his speech: “This Assembly is by no means obliged to observe complete calm while acting. This is neither a school nor an academy of science.” In addition he drew the attention of the whole of the Assembly to the fact that on this occasion also Rauf Bey
*) A surprising night alarm of the place which has been much talked about. **) The Prefect of Constantinople was directly appointed by the Government. ***) A lawsuit for an offence.
had shown a lack of clearness when he spoke from the tribune, and that he had demanded the acceptance of Feridun Fikri Bey s proposal concerning the institution of a Parliamentary inquiry without mentioning name, an inquiry which was to be the work of three Ministries for the period of one year, and which had been demanded in a senseless, unjust, illogical and illegal form, whilst it was at the same time of a nature to disturb the equilibrium of the Governmental machinery.
From his seat Feridun Fikri Bey raised objections to the expression “illogical” used by Redsheb Bey and demanded its with drawal. Redsheb Bey replied: “I do not withdraw it. It is illogical, sir. The truth must be told as it is.” Replying to a further observation of Feridun Fikri Bey: “I do not accept the expression illogical, ” Redsheb Bey said: “Feridun Fikri Bey, you are accustomed to accept much graver things.”
Nedjati Bey, Minister of Justice, addressed still more serious ob servations to Feridun Fikri Bey, upon which the latter replied: “The Minister of Justice has withdrawn his words.” Nedjati Bey jumped up and said: “I have not withdrawn my words.” An uproar was raised. Finally the President said: “I request you to put an end to this tumult.” Redsheb Bey continued his explanations and said: “… I had said that many persons are in the possession of indexes. After what Rauf Bey has said, we shall now find it necessary to gett rid of the ten or fifteen questions which have been prepared in advance and which occur therein. Thus, Gentlemen, we shall throw a little light on the origin of the indexes.”
Alluding to the expression “tactics” which Rauf Bey had used in his remarks, Redsheb Bey said: “Whilst Rauf Bey on the one hand brings forward this large number of questions, he declares on the other that he has no aim in view but to create the question of responsibility and to provoke the overthrow of the Government. If, on interpellation day, a speaker ascends the tribune, he is for it or against it. If he is for it, he tries to keep the Government in office. If he is against it he tries to overthrow them, and he must say so openly and distinctly. Otherwise the words of Rauf Bey would have no meaning.”
This sentence of Redsheb Bey s produced a short dialogue between him and Rauf Bey. They exchanged observations such as these: “You outspoke the measure,” and “You, on your part, interfere in things which do not interest you.” Finally Redsheb Bey resumed his explanations and said: “Honourable Gentlemen, a lot of senseless questions are put forward . . . Has Ahmed arrived? Has the law been carried out? … During an interpellation, the speaker s tribune in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey is not the place for talking aimlessly and putting questions. These gentlemen come here, speak without interruption and say finally: I am speaking but only for the purpose of saying nothing. Under these circumstances there is no meaning to their words, and they can have no aim. This is the true definition of the situation.”
Redsheb Bey continued in these terms: “I have been very atten tive. When the occasion and the necessity were given to him, Rauf Bey mounted the tribune, but he has not used the word Republic, but has preferred another expression. Honourable comrades, he has said, we do not joke. We have just passed through a great revolu tion. We are marching towards a brilliant aim, an aim all the con ditions and rules of which are manifesting themselves with the greatest clearness. What is the meaning of Rauf Bey s sulkiness? Why does he insist on not saying this sacred word, when the moment to do so has arrived and when his comrades offer him the opportunity for so doing? But we must notice that this gentleman has roused a storm in Constantinople. He has used all his endeavours for this purpose. And then he presents himself to us, turns back on his way and affirms under oath that he is an adherent of the Republic. For this reason I distrust him to-day.
“If he attaches any importance to the fact of convincing us that this opinion is erroneous he should come forward and tell us from this speaker s tribune or from any other platform that there is no reason for such mistrust. If he does not do so, I shall continue to doubt whether Rauf Bey is attached to the Republic. This is the truth.”
In conclusion Redsheb Bey expressed himself as follows: “Honour able comrades, it is only after a blood bath that we have succeeded in bringing our cause to the heights on which it actually is. The prin ciple of our cause is to finally safeguard the restoration of our sacred country. The greatest mistake we could commit now would be to drag along in hesitation, uncertainty and indecision. Nobody knows where this will lead to.”
When Redsheb Bey left the tribune, the President called upon Rauf Bey, who had asked him to do so, for the purpose of defending himself.
Rauf Bey said: “Must I entrench myself behind oaths every time you doubt me?”
Shouts were raised: “Indeed, you must do that.” Then Rauf Bey replied with the sentence: “No, Gentlemen, no body has the right to doubt another.” Then Ali Bey, Deputy for Kara Hissar Sahib, replied: “Then you will not be able to remain on this soil. You will have to go back to the country from whence your father and your ancestors came*). This soil demands that from you.”
Thereupon Rauf Bey made declarations in which he tried to explain points which had provoked his opposition, and said: “We have been commissioned by the nation to establish an administration which is founded without restriction and reserve on the national sovereignty; to create the foundations of a popular administration that is called democracy. A number of comrades who have been thinking differently have followed a direction which must lead to depriving the Assembly of this national right, and of granting the right of dissolving the Assembly and to vetoing their resolutions to some other authority. It is this fact which I have opposed.” In reply to these words Redsheb Bey explained that Rauf Bey was al ready an opponent at a time when there was neither a question of the Constitution Act nor whether the right in question could or could not be accorded to a third authority. These questions were only raised many months afterwards. Redsheb Bey said: “Gentlemen, this is a false conclusion.”
To explain the reasons for his opposition Rauf Bey found it ne cessary to take refuge in certain explanations. “Gentlemen,” he said, “I am neither an adherent of the Sultanate nor of the Caliphate. My opposition is directed against any authority which would attempt to seize the rights of these dignities.”
He further declared ipso facto that he was hostile to the President of the Republic in his capacity of authority as well as his person. As I have had the opportunity to explain, Rauf Bey had at an earlier date insisted on the expression “Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.” He wanted to preserve the character of the Governmental organisation even after the name had been altered, that is to say, after he had tolerated the name of Republic for it.
Why? Because the Presidential authority was said to have revealed the inclination of seizing rights which belonged to the position of a Caliph or Sultan!
Are the words which have fallen presumably for a sentence to express a doctrine anything else but senseless, as Redsheb Bey had
*) Rauf Bey s father came from the Caucasus. said? Is the course of reasoning to which these explanations have served as basis anything but dogmatic? The activity and work to which Rauf Bey finds himself restricted to-day show very clearly the importance of this doctrine and this logic. Might these gentlemen not make us reponsible for it?
The interpellations in question did not lead to any result, not even on the second day. Thereupon it was adjourned till the follow ing day. In expectation of the discussion which was to take place on the 8 th November, let us consider some publications referring to this question.
In the leading article of the newspaper “Watan” of the 5 th No vember, credit was given to the adherents of the opposition and to those who criticised the Government, whilst the friends of the Govern ment were reproved. The chief editor said in this article: “Rumours are spread daily of a new attack on those who want to criticise but who have not yet even opened their mouths. It does not matter whom you meet belonging to the party of the Government, it is always the same utterance which you hear.” He makes this assertion, and then quotes examples, continuing: tf Every occasion has been used to silence from the very beginning all persons who do not blindly submit to given orders, persons who seek the truth and want to speak it. Arbitrary action assumes the character of a factor which is placed above the normal state and stability.”
What is the warning that the editor wants to give to the nation when he uses expressions such as “secret order of the day” and “ar bitrary action”? Who is it that gives secret orders of the day and is guilty of arbitrary action? The writer who makes these insinuations finally gives us the advice “to call the two parties to gether and to listen in the attitude of an impartial arbitrator.” “This,” he adds, “is the most important and most delicate task of the Pre sident of the Republic.” He demands that this duty should be undertaken immediately, “for,” he says, assuming a threatening tone, “to-morrow it might be too late.”
Referring to my speech at the beginning of the year, the same editor says on the following day: “The exclusive political system which works with the intention of pushing aside from time to time those of our compatriots who are spiritually the most independent, has assumed the character of a hellish power of destruction for our progress and our development.” This sentence constitutes an ex tremely unjust calumny of the governmental system practised by us. Then, in saying: “At a certain point an end must be put to this fatal procedure and a new road must be taken,” he reminds us for a second time of our duty.
In a leading article the following day with the heading The Man in the Street/ the chief editor or the “Watan” finishes with this sentence: “It appears that nothing else is left to do but to say: With God s help everything will be arranged.”
In a telegram from Angora which was published in the “Watan” on the 8 th November, expressions such as the following were printed in heavy type: “The Assembly will not be able to overthrow the Cabinet without the approval of highly influential people,” and further: “It is said that Rauf Bey in his speech of yesterday, in speaking of unimportant things which have no connection with the interpellation, has weakened the position of the supporters of the interpellation and of the cause to which it refers.”
The special correspondent of the “Watan” sent to Angora show ing, generally speaking, no special acuteness in his impressions, did not seem to be deceived with regard to the reason of the weakness of the endeavours on which the interpellation was based.
The chief editor of the “Tewhid i Efkiar” in a series of leading articles likewise encouraged and strengthened the opposition
He even did not want that the Government and the deputies favourable to it should defend themselves and speak. This chief editor said: “As long as the deputies who amuse themselves with silencing those who criticise, by suffocating the discussion of the important affairs by their noise, Ismet Pasha s Cabinet will surely receive a vote of confidence. But the true character of this vote will finally be expressed when a great number of white voting papers will be found in the ballot-box.”
It is unnecessary to dwell on such fallacies.
Let us also cast a glance at the “Tanin.” In a leading article in this paper under the heading of “Political Agitation” it is mentioned that it had come to their knowledge that “among the high personages worthy of esteem and confidence who have distinguished themselves in the national fight, a united action has been set to work; and that the Press which entertained sincere relations with the People s Party and the Government had received the news very badly and had explained matters in a very disagreeable manner,” and that “they had begun to develop opinions of a nature to discredit the future party already.”
Alluding to the question of the programme and having empha sised the point that the People s Party had no programme, the article continues: “We ourselves are by no means satisfied with the People s Party, but we are quite in favour of the things which they say and manifest in the name of the principles of the People s Party.” After having explained the meaning of the principles of the People s Party, the question is put: “But in reality is it so?”
The editor himself answers this question in the negative and says: “For the reason that we wish with all our heart to see a party of renovation and reform before us, we imagine a People s Party in the form which we recommend.” Then the editor continues as fol lows: “The programme of the People s Party is one thing, and the speeches they deliver and the way they pursue it is another. The democracy of the People s Party only consists of words.”
In the first sentence the author of these opinions wants to say that the People s Party had neither adopted in their programme nor announced anywhere the principle of the proclamation of the Republic and the abolition of the Caliphate, but that they had actually accom plished this alteration. In this he is right. But what he interpolated to the People s Party in his second sentence was not exact.
To the profusion of words which he used the writer added to the article the following, in order to prove the legitimacy of the en deavours of the opposition to form a government: “Has the virtue of acting and being inspired by the anxiety of our country only been accorded by Divine grace to those who are in power?”
In a leading article of the 4 th November, under the heading of “The Army and Politics,” the chief editor of the “Tanin” expresses the following opinions: “The form of the Government is the Republic. But there is no advantage in only changing the name. What must really be altered are the spirit and the principles. In America to-day, besides the United States, there are about twenty countries bearing the name of Republic. Even Haiti, which consists exclusively of negroes, is a Republic. But the difference between a Republic and absolutism is very small in these countries. We see there a little tyrant who has become President of the Republic by force and who takes the place of a hereditary monarch. That is aU. The autocrat bearing the name of President of the Republic governs according to his pleasure. As absolute sovereign he knows no other law than that of his caprice.”
After having made an exception to Chili, the editor of the “Tanin,” referring to the other American Republics, says: “None of these countries is to-day worthy of bearing the name of a true republic. For they are not founded on themselves … on democracy. The military leaders are the cause of the absolute system governing under the name of republic.”
I should like to dwell on this point for a moment. This article deals with the subject of the dismissal of the commanders who were deputies, and for this reason. But it was written at a moment when the commanders of our armies, having abandoned their corps, came into the Assembly in order to overthrow the Government.
The editor in question had, the previous day, filled column after column with the creations of his mind to prove the legitimacy of their desire to come into power. The editor who quotes examples in order to prove that a Republic need not necessarily differ from an absolute govern ment, and indicates as a reason for this fact that it is not founded on democracy, is the same person who, on the other hand, asserts that “the attachment of the Governmental party to democratic principles only exists in words.
” The individual who says that such things happen because there are military leaders existing is at the same time the editor who knows that the President of the Turkish Republic is one of the military leaders. And it is again this same person who is steadfastly working to oppose this or that military leader becom ing the President of the Turkish Republic, also the Turkish Prime Minister who belongs likewise to the group of military leaders. To prove to the nation that the party he does not like must be over thrown, he quotes in addition examples which are presumably worthy of meditation and capable of serving for instruction. He says: “The general who can gather round himself the greatest number of re- volters is the one who rises to the dignity of the President of the Republic,” and by entering into the fight with the chiefs of the bri gands, they usurp the position of President.
Gentlemen, it is impossible not to understand the reason why these and similar words have been written, and not to be enlightened about the regrettable effects which these articles were bound to exercise on the members of the Assembly and on public opinion.
Indeed, the effect produced had unfortunately further reper cussions in the practical sphere.
The same Republican journalist who seems to be affected by the fact that Refet Pasha, Kiasim Bekir Pasha and Ali Fuad Pasha had not been appointed to the Commission for National Defence disapproves this time of the fact that the commanders of the army had not been elected to a commission which will have an influence over the armies.
On this point, however, he cannot abstain from adapting himself to the democratic principles for which, as he wants us to believe, he felt so much sympathy. Let us go together through the sentences in which these ideas are expressed.
Among the news which has been published in the political columns, the following sentence appears: “The Commission for National De fence constitutes a sphere of activity which is surely the least political one of ^ the Assembly and which has even no relation to politics.” The editor intends to ask thereby why and for what reason the Army Inspectors have not been given the opportunity of working in a sphere which has no relation to politics. We would answer this as follows:
It has not been done because, as surely as the Commission for National Defence is a sphere of activity which was to have no relation to politics, it would lead to disagreements to bring people into it who have entered the Cabinet with the very intention of occupying them selves with politics.
Then the editor continues:
“It is there where the laws are elaborated which will contribute to direct, improve, reorganise and ameliorate the Army which is called upon to defend the honour and independence of the nation. For those whose only thought is of our country without letting them selves be governed by political passions, it is a duty of loyalty to confide this care to the most capable of our military commanders.”
I want to dwell on these sentences for a moment.
It is in fact one of the most important questions to direct, im prove, reorganise and ameliorate the condition of the army. The authority entrusted with this task is the General Staff, to which our most prominent military leaders belong, as the editor himself points out.
Each time this great General Staff, which occupies itself with the administration, organisation and perfecting of the army judges it necessary, it informs the Government of its proposals.
The questions reported on after mature deliberations by the great General Staff and the Ministry of National Defence, the head of which is a member of the Cabinet, are examined and reviewed by the Supreme War Council which meets annually. This Council consists of the Chief of the General Staff, the Ministers of National Defence and of Marine and also the Army Inspectors.
After the questions have been examined by the Supreme War Council, those whose application is judged necessary are laid before the Government. Those which require the passing of a law the Government submits to the Assembly. After having passed in the regular way through the Commission of National Defence, and if the subject requires it also through other commissions, the questions are discussed in a full sitting of the Assembly and put into legal form. It is necessary that the members of the Commission for National Defence should be well initiated in military art and science. But this is not sufficient. It is also necessary that the members of the Com mission for National Defence should be au fait with regard to the finances and policy of the State and many other questions.
If the knowledge of military science could have sufficed for the elaboration of legislative projects relating to the army, it would not have been necessary to have them re-examined by one or several commissions, after they had been formulated by the General Staff and approved of by the Supreme War Council; for the persons who occupy themselves with politics, even if they should come from the army, could neither be more competent nor more authorised than those who have spent their lives in following the continual progress of military art and science, and how to apply it.
The Army Inspectors who believe they have sound judgment with regard to the administration and reorganisation of the army, who believe they have great experience, and who, according to the law, are members of the Supreme War Council, should find the most suitable field for their activities at the head of the armies and in the Supreme Council.
If the attempt were to be made to introduce into the Commission of National Defence commanders who, without appreciating the im portance of their own functions, wanted to be taken seriously by finding fault with the Ministry of National Defence and the General Staff; who preferred to work in the political sphere and who regarded all those as incapable who did not appreciate their opinions and plans ; if the attempt should be made, I say, to introduce these persons into the Commission for National Defence, it would mean nothing less than to satisfy their injurious inclinations consisting in the prevention of the application of propositions of all kinds regarding the army submitted by the Government to the Chamber and to use pretexts in order to overthrow the Government and to replace the Chief of the General Staff by another.
It is useless to suppose that the aim of the chief editor of the “Tanin” had been anything else than this.
The editor who was annoyed that his aim has not been realised, writes:
“In the ancient Athenian Republic people were devoted so pas sionately to democratic principles that in no branch of administration could a sound principle be adopted even when experience and practical knowledge required it.
“In spite of this excess of democracy the military chiefs were kept away from the application of this principle.”
For one who tries to make the nation understand that the de mocracy of the People s Party consists only of words, and that there was no difference between republic and autocracy, it is, according to my opinion, surely neither loyal nor correct to pretend, in the same days when these fallacies are read, that it appears indicated to exempt the generals whom he wanted to bring into power from the application of the rules of democracy.
Gentlemen, would you like to have an example of the language used by men when hatred and passion obscure their spirit and con science? Listen to these words of the same editor:
“How disgusting is the sight which the People s Party and Ismet Pasha s Government present to the country!
The leading personages who are to such a degree slaves of their passions cannot pretend that they want to form a National Party and to represent the nation.
“Young men full of enthusiasm and hope in the future have sacri ficed their noble lives in the bloom of their existence to save the country, but not to surrender it as a toy for politicians who only think of their persons and of their interests.”
The author of these fallacies and arguments who finds pleasure in expressing the absolute contrary to truth, finds the sight of the party which we have formed disgusting and unsympathetic, and represents it as such; he says the same thing of Ismet Pasha and the Government which we had commissioned him to form.
Our face was always pure and will remain so. Those who have an ugly and repulsive physiognomy are rather those who, with an infamous soul and driven by low instincts, try to degrade and blacken our actions and attitude which are most patriotic, conscientious and honourable.
Gentlemen, on the 8 th November the discussion on the general interpellation was continued in Parliament.
Feridun Fikri Bey s long declarations for the acceptance of a Parliamentary inquiry, which were interrupted by different deputies, took a great deal of time. Finally Junus Nadi Bey mounted the tribune and made the following speech:
“Gentlemen, it is the political regime of the country which is at stake; it is the Republican administration which is involved,” It is this question above all which must be discussed. Alluding to certain declarations which Rauf Bey had made on the previous day, Junus Nadi Bey explained that there were no reason for bringing a system into discussion, whether the national sovereignty was the perfection of the Republic or the reverse.
Rauf Bey s words that he would oppose every authority which would be inclined to usurp the rights not only of the Caliphate but also of the Sultanate and the prerogatives of this office, Junus Nadi Bey interpreted as follows:
“According to Rauf Bey,” Junus Nadi Bey said, “this office would have prerogatives. The formula is clear; it would have privi leges and reserved prerogatives. Might nobody touch them! They will be needed one day. The Constitution Act is however accepted; all plenitudes of power is determined; all situations have obtained a legal existence. And he is still speaking of myths, of fallacies.”
And Junus Nadi Bey added:
There are people who do not like the Republic; who conceal in their heads thoughts which they do not want to confess ; such people are among us. The heads of these people will be smashed.”
Junus Nadi Bey spoke of the significant attitude and the mani festations of Rauf Bey and his colleagues, of the dismissal of the Army Inspectors, and said that in the Assembly there was no pos sibility to abandon oneself to these manoeuvres.
“It is lack of respect,” he declared, “to nourish the plan of wanting to realise certain aspirations through personal, secret intrigues and to perform this manoeuvre by sitting down in a corner of the Grand National Assembly. We cannot tolerate this.”
Then, turning to Refet Pasha, Junus Nadi Bey said:
“As you know, six or seven months ago His Excellency Refet Pasha announced his dismissal as deputy by posters and pompous but senseless statements. This was a comical incident. He quoted amongst the motives which had determined him to resign that some national pact had been concluded among comrades in secret; that the comrades who had assembled there should be put into power. Gentlemen, this affair has puzzled me a great deal.”
At this point Ali Bey, deputy for Kara Hissar Sahib, intervened in the debate: “That is to say the Government of the Generals!” Junus Nadi Bey continued:
“This affair has much puzzled me. The Constitution Act is in existence. The Republic is established. How is the Government formed? This is foreseen in the Constitution Act. There is a Grand National Assembly of Turkey to direct all this. No, this is not suf ficient. Might Refet Pasha hand in his dismissal, and might he form a Government, might he assemble his comrades around himself. What does this manner of contemplating things signify?
“Gentlemen, are we in the midst of a primeval forest? Did Refet Pasha intend to go to Demirdshi Efe to form a Government? Is there no Constitution Act? What illogical gesture is this?”
Refet Pasha ascended the tribune in order to reply to Junus Nadi Bey. Trying to defend himself he spoke of the convictions he had in common with Rauf Bey, and said that all statements made by the latter must be considered as being his own. Then he continued:
“I had demanded the return of two military deputies to Par liament. Must it for this reason be thought that I wish to found a Republic like that of China?”
Several deputies began to reply to the statements of Refet Bey without leaving their seats. The discussion assumed the character of a quarrel.
Finally another deputy occupied the tribune.
Mahmud Essad Bey (Smyrna) declared that “neither the revolu tion nor the people could stand these discussions which had lasted many days and found no conclusion,” and he explained, that the question did not consist in having the national work wrecked in the name of the revolution presumably for the purpose of advancing the revolution. Mahmud Essad Bey insisted on the necessity to show above all the progress made and maintained, that they could not go on with feelings of sincerity and assurance and make progress in this way. Then, referring to Rauf Bey s theory, he examined the question in the following words:
“The national sovereignty is a special question. The Republic, the Constitution, the absolute Monarchy, despotism, are likewise questions for themselves. Some of them refer to the Government, others concern the application and execution of the will of the people. Tn these four forms we find different modes of the application of the national will, which is to a very small extent even represented in the form of despotism, somewhat stronger in the Constitutional and still stronger in the Republican form. Consequently these two questions must not be confounded with one another.
National sovereignty therefore does not constitute the essence of the Republic because national sovereignty is not a form of government. This is a funda mental question and not one founded on principles.” After having expressed himself sufficiently on all Rauf Bey had explained as his theory, Mahmud Essad Bey exclaimed in conclusion: “The Turkish Revolution rises, it rises higher but to lead this revolution to the aim laid down by the nation the true situation must be re vealed.
The Turkish people expect this to be like a sword drawn in the name of democracy.
Then Nedjati Bey, Minister of Justice, and Vassif Bey, Minister of Public Instruction, replied in long speeches to the interpellations of the deputies of the opposition.
Before entering into explanations Abdul Haalik Bey, Minister of Finance, demanded that Riza Nur Bey should define certain of his arguments which were noted in the protocol. Amongst these argu ments were some which placed the Turkish character of the popula tion of Yanina in doubt.
Abdul Haalik Bey corrected Riza Nur Bey s error in the follow ing manner:
“The doctor accuses the descendants of our ancestors, who went six hundred years ago to Yanina, which then belonged to Albania, of another wrong.
“And do you know who it is who raises this accusation? Un fortunately it is our honourable comrade who has become an em bittered Nationalist. He was not one before. He knows this better than I do. With regard to me, whom he calls a native of Yanina, I fought with my arms in hand for Turkey, while he, on the contrary, incited revolt against it.”*)
It was indeed known that Riza Nur Bey had taken part in a great many fights during his political career. But this had not prevented him from being active and rendering service when the occasion was offered to him as a Nationalist under the regime of the Grand National Assembly. But we did not know that, embittered Nationalist as Riza Nur Bey was, he had made common cause with the Albanian rebels against the Turks, during the terrible removal of Turkey from Europe, which has left an ever open wound in the heart of every patriot.
A profound and horrible astonishment took hold of the Grand National Assembly when they learned of it. After this incident the Minister of Finance gave his explanations.
He was followed on the tribune by Shukri Kaya Bey, Minister of Agriculture. Shukri Kaya Bey particularly replied to a speaker who
*) This has reference to the revolt of the Albanians in 1929, had criticised his department, and declared that the questions relating to agriculture were not of a nature to be hidden under beautiful phrases, brilliant expressions and the effects of fascinating logic. This is a work,” he said, “which is written on the earth itself; its pages are lying open and can be read by everybody.” And he added: “Can we be permitted to occupy ourselves with fallacies, by declaring before the Assembly that this or that has been done? What is the use of this presumption?”
After Hassan Bey, Minister of Commerce, and the late Suleiman Sirri Bey, who was then Minister of Public Works, had made their statements, it was the turn of the Foreign Minister to ascend the tribune.
Gentlemen, after Ismet Pasha, the Prime Minister, had proposed to discuss the interpellations in a public sitting, he became so ill that he could not take part in the debate. Kiasim Pasha, Minister of National Defence, mounted the tribune in his stead and made the necessary declarations.
At last the time had come to conclude the discussion of the inter pellations.
After the deliberations had been judged to be sufficient, Feridun Fikri s motion regarding the Parliamentary inquiry was rejected.
Ismet Pasha s Government received a vote of confidence by 148 voices against 19 and one abstention.
The journalist friends of those who had been defeated in Par liament were naturally not very satisfied with this result. They resumed their campaign with greater bitterness and more obstinacy.
The leading article of the “Tanin” of the 9 th November is full of criticisms such as the following:
“The existing form of administration represents on paper the most advanced degree of national sovereignty; but making a somewhat more exhaustive study of the mentality of those who govern we can observe that in reality nothing has been changed.”
The reactionary word becomes fashionable again.
The leading article of the “Tanin” of the io th November reminds me of the anecdote of Timur Lenk s elephant and contains remarks such as the following, in which complaints are raised against the bad tactics of those who try to overthrow the Government:
“When the interpellation took place at Angora there existed a majority ready to criticise.” Those who criticised have not under stood how to maintain this position; they have given themselves up to criticise individually without having a common organisation ; even the individual criticisms were not carried through in a serious form.
“When the interpellations took a general turn nobody thought of consulting his notes of vacancies. Even the most embittered critics had not the courage to say what they thought.” Considering the situation from the point of view of a politician, the author of this article says: “It is evident that the supporters of the Govern ment have from beginning to end manoeuvred in mature considera tion of a plan and the tactics of its application.”
At this point I feel inclined to ask the writer the following question :
If, after many months of preparation and long and secret con ferences with their comrades of Constantinople, the persons to whom you suggested to confide the destiny of our country have lacked con fidence in themselves to such a degree that they, as you say, did not venture to express that which they repeated over and over again; if nineteen persons at the utmost show themselves incapable of agree ing about their action in the Chamber, how could it be expected that they possessed the capability and high qualities for taking the direc tion of the State into their hands?
Gentlemen, I will read you some sentences contained under the heading of “Observations” in the “Tanin.”
The editor, who fills this column with his prose, reflects in the eyes of the whole world the spectacle in Parliament and encourages its complaints when he says:
“Alas! he too has revealed himself similarly to the others.”
This editor, who also hides himself, listens to words others whisper in his ears such as the following:
“What can be expected from a building which has been con structed from old material?”
Did the one who wrote these lines really think so on that day? Or did he intentionally use these senseless words in order to raise the nation against us?
By whatever standard his conduct might be interpreted neither of these interpretations could be justified. Dirty fellows of this nature have done much harm to the Republic.
The “Tewhid i Efkiar” continued to publish a series of unnecessary and senseless articles under the heading of “The Useless arid Valueless Victory.”
In describing to you the question of the plot and depicting the scenes in Parliament, I have entered very much into details which may appear superfluous. I hope you will pardon me for this. An interpellation can take place under every government and at any time. Is it permissible to attribute such importance to an interpella tion which I must add immediately had no normal character? It formed a special phase of the plot.
It was after this episode of the interpellation that the opposition was forced to unmask itself. As you know, it was at the time that the members of the opposition had founded a party under the name of “Republican Progressive Party” and published its programme which was drafted by an unknown hand.
Could seriousness and sincerity be attributed to the deeds and attitude of people who avoided pronouncing even the word Republic and who tried to suppress the Republic from the very beginning, but who called the party Republican and even Republican Progressive?
If the party founded by Rauf Bey and his comrades had intro duced itself under the name of “Conservative” a reason might per haps have been discovered for it. But naturally they could not be justified when they pretended to be more republican and more pro gressive than we were.
Could any sincerity be expected from people who had adopted the following principle: “The Party respects religious thoughts and religious doctrines” ? Was not this principle the standard of all those who pursued personal aims whilst they allured and deceived the ignorant, fanatical and superstitious people? Has not the Turkish nation for centuries been dragged into endless suffering and into the pestilential swamps of obscurity under this banner, rescue only being possible through great sacrifices?
Did those who appeared under the same flag, but who wanted to be regarded as progressive Republicans, not follow the deep design of provoking the religious fanaticism of the nation, putting them thus completely against the Republic, progress and reform?
Under the mask of respect for religious ideas and dogmas the new Party addressed itself to the people in the following words:
“We want the re-establishment of the Caliphate; we do not want new laws; we are satisfied with the Medshelle (religious law); we shall protect the Medressas, the Tekkes, the pious institutions, the Softahs, the Sheikhs, and their disciples. Be on our side; the party of Mustapha Kemal, having abolished the Caliphate, is breaking Islam into ruins ; they will make you into unbelievers, into ghiavers; they will make you wear hats.”
Can anyone pretend that the style of propaganda used by the Party was not full of these reactionary appeals? Read these sentences, Gentlemen, from a letter written by one of the adherents of this programme on the io th March, 1923, to Djebranli Kurd Halid Bey, who was later on hanged:
“They are attacking the very principles which perpetuate the existence of the Mohamedan world … I have also read your com mentaries addressed to our comrades . . . They have contributed much to strengthen their zeal . . . The assimilation with the Occident means the destruction of our history, our civilisation.
“The idea of abolishing the Caliphate and founding a State of lay men can only lead to one result, namely to produce factors which endanger the future of Islam.”
Gentlemen, facts and events have proved that the programme of the Republican Progressive Party has been the work emanating from the brain of traitors. This Party became the refuge and the point of support for reactionary and rebellious elements.
They worked in order to facilitate in our country the application of plans which had been hatched out by our enemies for the an nihilation of the new Turkish State, the young Turkish Republic. Trying to find out and studying the reasons for the insurrection in the East*) due to a concerted movement of a general and reactionary character, you will discover among the most effective and important causes the religious promises of the Republican Progressive Party as well as the organisations and activities of the “delegated secretaries,” which the same Party sent into the Eastern provinces.
Did a “delegated secretary” who filled his notebook with pre scriptions of the Prophet treating the virtues of prayer, of devotion, not try to apply the programme of his party when he occupied him self with religious manoeuvres in the Eastern Vilayets?
When a politician, who perhaps never in his life has said a prayer, recommends the innocent population to recite night prayers in addition to the five habitual day prayers, should his aim remain enigmatical?
Gentlemen, had the fanatical and reactionary elements, who per ceived the institutions and suspicions of former days crumbling bit by bit under the power and extension of our revolution, held tight with both hands to a party that proclaimed its respect for religious thought and religious doctrines and, especially, to men whose names had obtained a certain celebrity within this party?
Were those who had created the new party not fully aware of this truth? Unfolding the standard of religion, where did they intend
*) The Kurdish insurrection in the spring of 1925, which was considerable. to lead the country and nation? In the answer which this question requires words such as goodwill, distractedness or indifference are not of a nature to excuse the leaders of a party that enters into publicity with the promise to lead the country towards progress.
The new party in its activity showed exactly the contrary to the meaning of the words “progress” and “republic.”
Gentlemen, the leaders of this party actually inspired the reaction aries with hope and strengthened them.
Let me quote an example:
In a letter written by Kadri (who was subsequently hanged), whom the rebels of Argana*) had recognised as Vali to Sheikh Said, he said: “Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha s party in the Assembly is pious and respects the religious rights. I do not doubt that they will give us their sup port. And even the delegated secretaries who are with Sheikh Ejub (one of the rebel leaders who was executed) have brought the regula tions of the party.”
At this time Sheikh Ejub declared: “The only party that could save religion is the one which Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha has formed; in the principles of this party it is mentioned that religious prescrip tions will be esteemed.”
Gentlemen, could anybody assume that people who, using the words “progress” and “republic,” believed it to be wise to conceal the flag of religion from our sight as well as from that of the cultured elements of the country were not aware of the fact that there were people who in our own country as well as abroad made preparations of all kinds and devised all sorts of plots with the purpose of raising in the country a reaction to produce a general rebellion?
It must be admitted that even if all not the members belong ing to this new party, in any case those who regarded the religious promises as a means of success and who had adopted the corresponding formulas as their guiding principles, would have been favourably disposed towards the country and ourselves, and not have known of the attacks which were being prepared.
Let us assume that they knew nothing of the secret meetings which had already been held months before the revolt in various parts of the country; of the organisations of the “Secret Islamic Society”, of the promises of support for the prospective revolt which had been made in the course of a meeting in Stambul to the Nakshi- bendi Sheikhs, and, finally, of the great hopes expressed by those
*) The rebellious Kurds (see remarks page 718). Their leader was Sheikh Said. who carried on a revolutionary agitation beyond the frontiers in their proclamations about the party of Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha*), when they were told directly through the mediation of Fethi Bey himself**) that the attitude of their party was injurious, and cal culated to lead to indignation and reaction, must they then not have been obliged to examine the position in its true light ?
Must they not at least, after the Government s warning and my own, which were prompted by the most sincere feelings, have seen the truth and acted accordingly?
On the contrary, even then they took the utmost trouble to interpret the formula of the “respect for religious thought and articles of belief” in quite a contrary sense, that is as though they intended therewith to give us to understand that they had shown the far-reaching liberalism in their respect for the ideas and articles of belief of any religion or its adherents.
Gentlemen, one cannot describe this attitude as correct and sin cere.
On the political field one experiences many manoeuvres; but if ignorance, fanaticism and irritation of all sorts oppose themselves to the Republican administration which is the incorporation of a holy ideal, and to the modern movement, then the place of the Progres sives and Republicans is at the side of the true Progressives and the true Republicans, and not in the ranks from which reaction draws hope and energy.
What happened, Gentlemen?
The Government and the Committee found themselves forced to take extraordinary measures. They caused the law regarding the restoration of order to be proclaimed, and the Independence Courts to take action. For a considerable time they kept eight or nine divisions of the army at war strength***) for the suppression of disorders, and put an end to the injurious organisation which bore the name “Republican Pro gressive Party.”
*) Proclamation of the Shahin Sade, printed at Aleppo and distributed in Kurdistan.
**) Fethi Bey had become Minister President in succession to Ismet Pasha, who had fallen ill in November 1924, and who again took up his position in March 1925. ***) 1925 on the occasion of the Kurds insurrection (see page 718).
The result was, of course, the success of the Republic. The in surgents were destroyed. But the enemies of the Republic did not consider this defeat the last phase of the controversy. In an un worthy manner they played their last card which took the form of the Smyrna attack *).
The avenging hand of Republican justice again mastered the army of conspirators and saved the Republic. Honourable Gentlemen, when, in consequence of serious necessity we became convinced for the first time that it would be useful for the Government to take extraordinary measures, there were people who disapproved of our action.
There were persons who disseminated and sought to gain credence to the thought that we were making use of the law for Restoration of Order and the Courts of Independence as tools of dictatorship or despotism.
There is no doubt that time and events will show to those who disseminated this opinion how mistaken they were, and put them to shame.
We never used the exceptional measures, which all the same were legal, to set ourselves in any way above the law.
On the contrary, we applied them to restore peace and quietness in the country. We made use of them to insure the existence and in dependence of the country. We made use of them with the object of contributing to the social development of the nation.
Gentlemen, as soon as the necessity for the application of the exceptional measures to which we had turned no longer existed, we did not hesitate to renounce them. Thus, for instance, the Courts of Independence ceased their activity at the given moment, just as the law regarding the Restoration of Order was re-submitted to the Assembly for examination as soon as its legislative term had elapsed. Ift he Assembly considered it necessary to prolong its application for some time this certainly happened because it saw therein the higher interest of the nation and of the Republic.
Can anyone be of the opinion that this decision of the High As sembly was intended to hand over to us the means for the carrying on of a dictatorship?
*) An attempt on the life of Mustapha Kemal Pasha, who was to be murdered on the occasion of his sojourn in Smyrna in the summer of 1926. The plot was discovered in time, and the guilty persons executed.
Gentlemen, it was necessary to abolish the fez, which sat on our heads as a sign of ignorance, of fanaticism, of hatred to progress and civilisation, and to adopt in its place the hat, the customary head dress of the whole civilised world, thus showing, among other things, that no difference existed in the manner of thought between the Turkish nation and the whole family of civilised mankind.
We did that while the law for the Restoration of Order was still in force.
If it had not been in force we should have done so all the same; but one can say with complete truth that the existence of this law made the thing much easier for us. As a matter of fact the application of the law for the Restoration of Order prevented the morale of the nation being poisoned to a great extent by reactionaries.
It is true that a deputy of Brusa, who, during his whole time of being deputy, had not once appeared on the speaker s rostrum, nor ever spoken a word in the Chamber in defence of the interests of the nation and the Republic, the deputy of Brusa, I say, Nureddin Pasha, introduced a lengthy motion against wearing hats and mounted the rostrum to defend it.
He asserted that hat-wearing was a contradiction of the funda mental rights of the national sovereignty, and of the principle of the integrity of personal freedom,” and attempted “on no account to let this measure be forced upon the population.” But the outbreak of fanaticism and reaction which Nureddin Pasha succeeded, from the tribune, in calling forth, merely led to the sentencing of a few re actionaries by the Courts of Independence.
Gentlemen, while the law regarding the Restoration of Order was in force there took place also the closing of the Tekkes, of the con vents, and of the mausoleums, as well as the abolition of all sects and all kinds of titles such as Sheikh, Dervish, “J un S er ” Tschelebi, Occultist, Magician, Mausoleum Guard, etc.
One will be able to imagine how necessary the carrying through of these measures was, in order to prove that our nation as a whole was no primitive nation, filled with superstitions and prejudices.
Could a civilised nation tolerate a mass of people who let them selves be led by the nose by a herd of Sheikhs, Dedes, Seids, Tschelebis, Babas and Emirs; who entrusted their destiny and their lives to chiromancers, magicians, dice-throwers and amulet sellers?
Ought one to conserve in the Turkish State, in the Turkish Republic, elements and institutions such as those which had for centuries given the nation the appearance of being other than it really was? Would one not therewith have committed the greatest, most irreparable error to the cause of progress and reawakening?
If we made use of the law for the Restoration of Order in this manner, it was in order to avoid such a historic error; to show the nation s brow pure and luminous, as it is; to prove that our people think neither in a fanatical nor a reactionary manner.
Gentlemen, at the same time the new laws were worked out and decreed which promise the most fruitful results for the nation on the social and economic plane, and in general in all the forms of the ex pression of human activity … the Citizens Law-book, which ensures the liberty of women and stabilises the existence of the family.
Accordingly we made use of all circumstances only from one point of view, which consisted therein: to raise the nation on to that step on which it is justified in standing in the civilised world, to stabilise the Turkish Republic more and more on steadfast foundations .and in addition to destroy the spirit of despotism for ever.
These detailed descriptions, which have occupied you for so many days, are, after all, merely a report of a period of time, which will henceforth belong to the past.
I shall consider myself very happy if I have succeeded in the course of this report in expressing some truths which are calculated to rivet the interest and attention of my nation and of future generations.
Gentlemen, I have taken trouble to show, in these accounts, how a great people, whose national course was considered as ended, reconquered its independence; how it created a national and modern State founded on the latest results of science.
The result we have attained to day is the fruit of teachings which arose from centuries of suffering, and the price of streams of blood which have drenched every foot of the ground of our beloved Father land.