The Allied Powers objected to the railway line that ran from Angora to Eski-Shehr being used
Let me now return to the point where we were describing other events.
The Allied Powers objected to the railway line that ran from Angora to Eski-Shehr being used. On the 21 st October we called upon the General Committee at Angora to protest energetically to the representatives of the Allied Powers, so that we could make use of this line.
We requested the persons who had taken the initiative in forming organisations at Adana to go to Nigdeh or Kaisaria in order to get into communication with us. By doing so we would be able to carry on our work with them.
The situation at the Aidin front grew more serious from day to day. We wrote to the Ministry of War asking them to decide that the =400,000 allocated to the fleet should be applied, as we had already agreed with Salih Pasha at Amasia, to the needs of this front. We urged the officer commanding the XII th Army Corps at Konia to provide the men fighting at this front with arms and ammunition and self-loading guns, and with new batteries of Artillery.
The French, under the pretence of controlling the railway line running from Panderma to Soma, had landed a Division at Panderma. It was clear that they had no right whatever to send troops into this town where complete safety was prevailing. We drew the attention of the officers commanding the XIV th Army Corps and the 6 th Division to this matter on the 24 th November.
Foreign officers visited the Aidin front, made propaganda there and tried to find out what was really going on there. We gave orders at the front that they were on no account to allow these officers to come into contact with the fighting troops, and to tell them that they must apply officially to the Government. They were to tell them also that if they had anything to say about the national forces, they were to address our General Committee on the subject. We added, that those officers who were making propaganda were to be removed from the district under escort and, if it should become absolutely necessary, they were even to shoot any Allied soldiers who were found at the front.
We wanted to make sure that the people of Smyrna would vote at the elections, and we conveyed our intention to them regarding this in different ways. But, of course, the Greeks objected to our doing this. We protested to the representatives of the Allied Powers and the Neutral Mission on the 29 th November. We also wanted to inform the population of our protest, and communicated with Edhem Bey, Director of the Posts and Telegraphs in this town.
Probably many of you will remember that during the enemy s occupation a foreign newspaper called “Ferda,” which was hostile to the national forces, was published at Adana. This newspaper printed many columns of abuse about us, simply to mislead and distract national public opinion in Anatolia. We decided to stop the circu lation of it in the country.
Nevertheless, Damad Sherif Pasha, Minister of the Interior in All Riza Pasha s Cabinet, about whom Djemal Pasha had repeatedly spoken in terms of praise, regarded the publication of this paper as undoubtedly very useful in the country and gave orders to the effect that free circulation of this poisonous rag was not to be interfered with. Therefore, we considered it necessary to draw the attention of Djemal Pasha, Sherif Pasha s friend, to this fact on the 3 rd December, 1919. As we could not prevent Parliament from meeting in Constanti nople itself, we thought of forming a united and determined party in the Chamber, because we thought that this would be the only way left to us to “uphold and defend our aim, which was to safeguard the integrity of our country and the independence of our nation.”
Among the instructions we issued by circular letters on the i8 tlx No vember, we had pointed out that this plan was one of the main questions the deputies would have to discuss when they met in groups in certain localities.
On the same day, in order to form this party, we had the idea of requesting the deputies to send a representative from each sanjak to Eski-Shehr, so that they would be able to get into touch with the other deputies who were going by train to Constantinople from Eski- Shehr. By going personally to this town we wanted to organise a general meeting at which we could discuss matters. Amongst other questions, the safety of the deputies while they were in Constantinople was a matter we wanted particularly to talk over. I shall show you later on when I go into details why we wished to remain in Angora instead of being present at this meeting.
At last, after still waiting at Sivas for another month, we left for Angora.
In order to make our arrival known in this town, we circulated this open telegram on the 27 th December.
“The Representative Committee, which has left Sivas for Angora, via Kaisaria, has arrived to-day and has been the object of sincerely patriotic and enthusiastically cordial demonstrations on the part of our great nation, not in Angora alone but along the whole of their journey. The spirit of unity and determination shown by our nation is enough to encourage our optimistic and firm convictions concerning the future of our country. “For the time being Angora will be the seat of the Representative Committee. We send you the renewed expression of our high esteem.”
Mustapha Kemal In the name of the Representative Committee.
On the 2 nd January we sent a further message to the General Committees of the Union, to Tjelebi Djemaleddin Effendi at Hadji Bektaj and Hadji Mussa Bey at Mutki.
Here are some extracts from it :
ct . . . The statements made to us and the inquiries we have made during our journey have happily shown us that the national organi sations on which our national unity, with the help of Providence, is based, are flourishing, and that they have become a power and a source of energy upon which we can justly rely in our endeavours to secure the welfare of the nation and the country/ 7
“Owing to this determination the foreign outlook as regards the interests of our country and our nation has become favourable, on the lines laid down by the Erzerum and Sivas Congresses.”
“In this circular note we beg you all to work with the greatest energy until the day arrives when our legitimate claims will be secured through our unity, our resolution and our sacred faith, and we beg you to bring the foregoing statements to the knowledge of the country people, so that the whole nation may be fully informed about them/ 7
In the name of the Representative Committee
of the “Union for the Defence of the Rights of
Anatolia and Rumelia/
We had had the idea for a considerable time of transferring the seat of the Representative Committee to Angora. I shall read you a telegram from Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha that was sent to us when this question was first mooted.
In Cipher. Erzerum, 3 rd October, 1919.
To the Command of the III rd Army Corps.
To the Representative Committee.
I do not think that the honourable committee, which represents the national forces, ought to be removed to Angora. In fact, I do not think that it ought to be transferred to any place at all that is lying west of Sivas. Because, if the committee, which is organising the national forces of the vilayets in the East, were to leave suddenly these vilayets would immediately become disorganised. To avoid giving our enemies, who always detect something bad in every one of our moves and comment on them in an adverse spirit, a fresh opportunity and new pretext for slandering the national movement which has hitherto been led so legitimately and logically it is advisable that the seat of the Representative Committee should re main in one place, or in no case be transferred to any place west of
Slvas * Kiasim Kara Bekir
Commanding the XIII th Army Corps.
I would not like to admit the authenticity of this telegram. But what was I to do? This ciphered telegram had been transmitted to the III rd Army Corps at Erzerum; after it had been deciphered, the III rd Army Corps forwarded it to us with the remark “deciphered on the 4 th – October/ and it was signed “Fethi”.
There is no doubt that Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha had come to Sivas in answer to our invitation and had talked with us, and con sequently he must have known perfectly well how wrong he was in expressing such an opinion.
It is evident, however, that it would not have been necessary to discuss the matter verbally in order to discover the futility of his opinion. It is easy to see at a glance how he got this erroneous notion into his head.
First of all, he ought to have been convinced from the very begin ning of the fact that the Representative Committee did not organise and represent the national forces in the eastern vilayets alone, but in those of the whole of the country, the whole of Anatolia and Rume- lia. This is all the more the case, as the telegraphic communications on this subject that had been going on for many days show. The transference of the Representative Committee from Sivas to Angora could not have been the reason for the eastern vilayets still being disorganised. The orders and instructions that the Representative Committee had given by telegraph to the eastern vilayets from Sivas could be transmitted equally as well from Angora.
Moreover, the logical reason that the Representative Committee would be nearer to Constantinople and the Western Provinces than to the Eastern was much stronger. Firstly, there were some among our western and south-western vilayets that were actually occupied by the enemy. Under the very eyes of the enemy occupying these vilayets strong defences had to be erected and unremitting care taken in their fortification. Our eastern vilayets, on the other hand, were
Kemal Pasha J 9 not in such a perilous position; neither was there any apparent certainty that immediate danger was actually threatening them.
Even if the possibility of an Armenian attack from the east was feared a possibility that was rather an improbability the XV th Army Corps, the reinforcement of which by national troops had been provided for and which was commanded personally by Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, was ready to repel it. Then again, at the Smyrna front there were commands and troops of different kinds, as well as vital influences arising from various sources encouraged by the opposition. Moreover, no defensive measures were yet taken against the oc cupation troops at Adana.
It is a general rule that persons whose duty it is to direct and as sume supreme command in time of war must be as near as possible to the most important field of operations, where the danger is greatest. Lines of communication must not be so far away that he would be unable to control the general situation. Angora was the most suitable place in such conditions. In any case, we did not insist on going to Balikesri, Nasilli or Kara Hissar because we wanted to be busy at the fronts, but we wanted to go to Angora because it was connected with the fronts and with Constantinople by a railway line and because it was absolutely on a par with Sivas regarding the general control of the situation and the supreme guidance of the operations.
I will refrain from giving you further reasons to show that our presence at Angora was considered advantageous and necessary, especially as the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies in Constanti nople itself was now inevitable.
Of all the reasons that were advanced against the removal of the seat of the Representative Committee to Angora, that in which our enemies were mentioned as “detecting something bad in every one of our moves and commenting on them in an adverse spirit was particularly incomprehensible to me. In fact, as Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha himself asks, what attitude or what initiative of ours has ever been liked or could be liked by our enemies, unless they had been adapted to their own wishes!