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.