54-Government in Constantinople has no freedom of action

We must recognise that, unfortunately, our Government in Constantinople has no freedom of action

We must recognise that, unfortunately, our Government in Con stantinople has no freedom of action. On this account, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the place of the meeting of the National Assembly. In the event of this meeting taking place in Constantinople, the dangers to which the deputies would be exposed would naturally give rise to a great deal of anxiety, particularly when the patriotic duty that lies before them is taken into consideration.

It is by no means improbable that the Allied Powers will cause the members of the Assembly to be arrested and banished if, in energetically defending the integrity of our territory and our political independence, they felt themselves called upon to criticise and object to the attitude of the representatives of those States that, in defiance of the law, disregarding the stipulations of the Armistice, and without thinking it necessary to wait until Peace has been signed, have occupied the most important territories in our country and have given the Christian elements an opportunity to infringe our own vital rights.

Following the example set by the English when the Moslem National Council met at Kars, it may be expected that the Christian elements, who have taken no part in the elections, the Societies of the “Friends of England” and the “Nikehban,” which they have taken under their wing, will resort to all possible intrigues and horrors in adopting the cause of our enemies. Consequently, the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies in Constantinople would not be ad vantageous to the historic undertaking which is expected from them, and, being a symbol of the independence of the State and the Nation, any attack directed against the Assembly would simultaneously be a blow aimed at our independence.

For this reason, Salih Pasha, Minister of Marine, who had been commissioned by the Cabinet to proceed to Amasia and enter into negotiations with the Representative Committee, having also re cognised this truth, was morally convinced of the necessity of Par liament meeting in a safe place outside Constantinople, and he con firmed this view in writing and attached his signature to the do- cument. If the Assembly were to be held at a place that is secure from foreign influence and afforded the necessary freedom from danger, all objection to Constantinople would be dispelled and the result would prove to the whole of the world especially to the entire Mohamedan world that the Caliphate and Sultanate are in a perilous position in Constantinople. If the Assembly should find that they were called upon to come to a firm decision on the question cf our existence and our independence, they would be in a far better postion to perform their patriotic duties, and the fact that the fate of the nation is resting solely in the hands of the As sembly would be clearly recognised by the Allied Powers.

Any objections that might exist to the meeting of the Chamber outside Constantinople could possibly be these:

The meeting under such conditions might be accepted as a sign that Constantinople would be abandoned, and malicious people would use this idea as a pretext for spreading poisonous propaganda.

Connection with the Chamber would not be so easy for the Govern ment as it would be if it were sitting in Constantinople. But, to save His Majesty the inconvenience of changing his place of residence, the ceremony of opening Parliament would have to be performed by a commission appointed by him. On account of these objections, the present Government has not consented to the proposal that the Assembly should meet at some place outside Constantinople.

In default of the consent of the Government, the following ob jections must be added to those already existing:

As the convention of the National Assembly stipulates in legal terms that the opening of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate should take place simultaneously at the same place, the refusal of the Government to consent to the meeting of the Assembly at a place selected by them outside Constantinople, would result in neither the Senate nor the Government being present at the opening and in His Imperial Majesty not allowing the Assembly to be opened in the proper manner provided by law.

In face of all these considerations there is legally no longer any possibility of convening Parliament outside Constantinople and, in spite of the objections that have been put forward, the meeting in that town is inevitable.

If the deputies were to decline to go to Constantinople and were to meet on their own account in some other town, their meeting held under such conditions would, naturally, not have the legislative character which must be possessed by the National Assembly. It would, perhaps, be a meeting representing the conscience, the aims and the independence of the nation. In these circumstances, it would be in the position to criticise and object to any decision that affected the fate of the nation, by relying, if necessary, on the support of the people themselves. In that case, the National Assembly would obviously be prevented from meeting in Constantinople.

This would mean that the Government would naturally offer resistance and resort to coercion, which would entail a rupture between the nation and the Government. If some only of the deputies were to go to Constantinople, the inconveniences we have indicated would be still greater.

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