All Riza Pasha s Government came into power on the 2 nd October, 1919
All Riza Pasha s Government came into power on the 2 nd October, 1919. It succeeded Ferid Pasha s Cabinet. Therefore, it was the latter that proposed on the 23 rd August that Ottoman troops should be interposed between the Greeks and the national troops. And again, it was Ferid Pasha s Government that proposed on the 20 ih and 27 tn August that the territory should be occupied solely by Allied troops.
Ali Riza Pasha s Government had not yet made any proposal. On the other hand, General Milne indicates the boundary of the occupied territory and orders Djemal Pasha, Minister of War, to extend the Greek troops up to this border-line . This was the command that Djemal Pasha found himself unable to obey. In any case, it is a remarkable fact that he and the Cabinet of which he was a member, after having been in power for a month, were at last able to declare to the foreign Commissioners that they were powerless in face of the national forces.
In theGovernment s relpy to the JointNote of the HighCommission- ers, one point is passed over in silence, while the answer to all the demands of this Joint Note shows perfect deference and courtesy. In my opinion this fact is the most important and most significant thing of all in these documents. This main point, I maintain, is that Sir George Milne ventures to give direct orders and instructions to the Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire and yet this does not seem to wound the pride of the Minister of War, who, in all his transactions with the national organisation, is ever referring to questions of self- respect and scarcely every mentions the dignity of the Government who accepted the responsibility of safeguarding the independence of the Ottoman Empire. They will not allow that their dignity is already assailed and the independence of the State jeopardised. They do not even protest against this attack; they do not even venture to assert that they decline to make themselves the instrument for this blow against our independence. They do not venture: why? because they are afraid ! They had to suffer for their fear, as we shall soon see. To ovoid being afraid, we must live in surroundings and in circum stances where human dignity and national pride are immune from any attack, . . f
As for those who do not appreciate this necessity, we would err it we assumed from the very start that they are insensitive and in different to the sacerd sentiments which it is the highest and most honourable duty of a nation and an individual to protect from assault. It is not by urgent petitions or by appealing to justice and pity that the affairs of a nation and a State are promoted or their dignity and independence guaranteed.
To sue for justice and commiseration should never be accepted as a principle. The Turkish nation, generations to come, must never lose sight of this for an instant. I told you of the answer we had sent to Djemal Pasha about the change of commands. Let me tell you what the views were that we expressed on different questions at the beginning of this reply. Our interpretation of the main sub j ects was this :
i All the Allied Powers intend to obtain for themselves as much as possible of the interests they covet in every part of Turkey. This
Kemal Pasha leads them to create for themselves individually a strategical point of support in Turkey upon which they can rely.
The neutral attitude of the Government discourages them. To this fact we must attribute the cause of the hostility and dissatisfaction shown by the foreigners , as well as the weakness of the Government that have not the country behind them.
2. The Government must not be in too great a hurry to publish their declaration. It must not be published before the position of the Cabinet has been established. The Cabinet can have no strength unless they pursue a course which carries the conviction that they rely entirely on the national forces, and unless they publicly declare their identity with these forces and proclaim the fact openly before the whole world.
When the Chamber has met and a strong party within it is com posed of adherents of the Defence of the Rights, it will be time enough to think of giving explanations.
In any case, it must be drawn up before the departure of the Peace Delegation, in co-operation and in accordance with such a party. For, without this co-operation it would be of no use at all. Besides, it would be altogether wrong to begin with a list of the reforms which it is proposed shall be carried through. On the contrary, the main consideration, namely, the independence of the nation and the integ rity of the country, must be put forward from the very first ; then the proposed administrative reforms will come up later automatically for discussion.
The manifesto issued by the General Congress at Sivas and its regulations contain very important guiding principles, and on them this statement can be based. Accurate indications of the future frontiers, the independence of the State and Nation, the rights of minorities, the interpretation that the nation puts on the expression “foreign help”, are all referred to in them.
A statement on these lines can be prepared at once, but it must not be published before the Chamber has been opened and until union with the majority in power has been effected. This is the procedure that must be adopted.
3. We can see no reason why the resignation of the Minister of the InteriorvShould lead to a crisis in the Government. You give the impression that you look upon the Minister of the Interior as being the Grand Vizier, because it is only the resignation of the Head of the Government that produces a crisis. The impression is given that the Cabinet falls with Sherif Pasha and that he is dependent on Ferid Pasha. We cannot understand what you mean when you say that a change in the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is certain to occur when Parliament is opened. Have these Ministers already threatened to retire then?
It is quite natural that our enemies are doing all they can to prevent the Chamber meeting. But ought the Sovereign to allow himself to be used for the dissolution of Parliament? If this is at all probable, we would have assembled Parliament in Constantinople merely for the purvose of dissolving it and leaving the nation without a Parliament. Consequently, it is very important that we should be accurately informed of the intentions of the Sovereign concerning this probability at once, in order that we can make arrangements for the deputies to meet in a safe place outside Constantinople. If the Chamber meets in Constantinople and this suggested fate should befall it, the responsibility will rest on those who insist that it shall meet in Constantinople.
4. It would be better if the deputies came to Angora to discuss matters with us.
I felt it my duty to get into closer touch with the honourable inhabitants of Angora, who had received me in such a wonderful manner and had shown me such really sincre and encouraging sen timents, and discuss the questions of the day with them.
Therefore, we held a public meeting. This took place at the time when we were expecting the deputies whom we had invited to come to Angora to meet us. (Document 220.)
I will tell you as quickly as possible what we talked about at this meeting.
Wilson s principles. Some of the fourteen points included in them apply to Turkey
First of all, Wilson s principles. Some of the fourteen points included in them apply to Turkey. The Ottoman Empire, vanquished and driven to ask for an armistice, had trusted in a miracle in view of the reassuring influence offered by these principles.
Next, the 30 th October, 1918. The articles of the armistice at Mudros, especially Art. 7, were like “corroisive poison eating intb the brain of every patriot.”
This article alone was enough to wreck the fate of what still remained to us of our country, as it provided for the possible occupation and invasion of the country by the enemy.
The miserable spectacle, without dignity or honour, presented by the Cabinets composed of weak and incapable men which succeeded one another in Constantinople, was regarded as a true picture of our guiltless and long-suffering nation. It was considered to have no
20* influence at all, and the civilised States went so far in their in difference to it that they ignored the claims of civilisation in their treatment of Turkey.
The most absurd rumours, which it had been their custom for a long time to spread abroad in the world against the Turkish people, were received with more credence that had ever been the case before.
The awakening of the nation and the activity shown during the last nine months has altered the picture. The situation has improved and will continue to do so. If the nation succeeds in preserving its independence and does not shrink back from any sacrifice that may be necessary to win independence, the end is sure.
The foundation laid by the Erzerum and Sivas Congresses is the . principle upon which Turkey must build her future.
The nation caused the overthrow of Ferid Pasha s Cabinet. But it is not the nation that must bear the responsibility of the Government having been entrusted to Ali Riza Pasha. Nevertheless, we accept it.
I shall now review the discussions we had with the deputies who had arrived at Angora. They could not all get there on the same day; they came singly or in small groups, and left in the same way. As a result of this, we had to repeat, day after day, almost the same points to each individual or to each group.
As you are aware, it was most important to establish confidence in all of them. Actuated by this, we sought first of all for the satis factory features in the home and foreign conditions and tried to make them understand these as thoroughly as was possible. We were never tired of repeating this truth to them, that conscious and sound unity is an indestructible power that will guide us to a definite result.
We explained that the existence and happiness of human society entirely depend on perfect cohesion being shown in critical times.
We told them that our national unity, which aimed at the salvation of the country and the victory of independence, required the creation of serious regular organisation, and we spoke of the amalgamation if I may use the term of the capable leaders and the forces required to mould them into one indivisible whole. In this way we expressed the necessity for the formation of a strong and uniform party in the Chamber which was soon to be opened in Constantinople.
The nation was passing through such a critical time as is only recorded in history in periods of disaster and which mark the fall and extinction of States. The future that nations prepare for them selves by neglecting to take their destiny into their own hands is problematical and fraught with misfortune.
The Turkish nation began to realise this truth. And thus it hap pened that they hastened to respond to every sincere call that could promise them salvation. It would, however, be an error to believe that the spiritless education and administration that had been going on for several centuries could allow any human society to obtain its freedom in a day or even in a year. Therefore, those who had pene trated into the inner depths of human affairs and had recognised the truth, must regard it as the highest duty on earth to enlighten and educate the people as far as possible and guide them on a path that leads them to their goal.
The heart-felt longing that wells from the innermost of the Turkish nation, the firmest faith of their consciousness, was already crystallised in the single word: Freedom.
The cry for liberation resounded from one end to the other of our Turkish native land. There was no longer any need to consult the people. It was easy for them henceforward to find words that ex pressed their yearning.