The Greeks began their offensive on the 3 rd March 1920
The Greeks began their offensive on the 3 rd March. They seized the plateau of Goldshek and Bos Dagh. Meanwhile, Ali Riza Pasha resigned ; the only thing he could do to extricate himself from his responsible position was to hand in his resignation and go. For, could it not be seen beforehand that Ali Riza Pasha, who had done everything he possibly could to put an end to the activities of the national forces and had completely failed, would be held responsible by the Allied Powers if he had brought forward new proposals and had again failed?
Had not Djemal Pasha been turned out of the Cabinet because he had not obeyed the orders of Sir George Milne, the Commander- in-Chief ? If they were preparing the same fate for Ali Riza Pasha, was he not sure that the Sovereign would lack the power to keep him in office? In that case could he have relied on the National Assem bly which, as he said, was “the only place where the national aims found their expression”? Would be have condescended to lean for support on the Representative Committee, whom he had threatened to punish, by declaring that it was impossible any longer that they should speak or put forward claims in the name of the national will? To withdraw, therefore, was mere by to follow the line of least resistance, and this he did. (Document 241.) Ali Riza Pasha had not consented to resign when we had asked him to do so during the first attack on the Cabinet. He had declared that he would be of greater service to the country if he did not resign. And the Chamber had supported him by accepting his opinion, which only showed their ignorance. Did it happen that the duty which he referred to consisted in letting the Greeks have as much freedom as they desired to complete their preparations for the offensive which was intended to tread another part of the sacred soil of our country underfoot and cause more of our beloved countrymen to groan under their yoke?
Rauf Bey and Kara Vassif Bey who had told us about this resig nation in a ciphered telegram, dated 3 rd March, 1920, also told us that the chairman of the “Felahi Watan” party and the Vice-president of the Chamber had been sent as a deputation to the Palace. They were not received by the Sultan; but he sent them an Irade in which they were instructed to consult the First Secretary and the First Chamberlain. The chairman of the party had declared the loyalty of the national organisation to the Sultan and led the conversation to the question of the resignation. The Sovereign, through the First Secretary handed them the following Irade: “I send my greetings to all the deputies. With you, I appreciate the seriousness of the situation. As the exigencies of the present moment demand, I will select someone to take over the office of Grand Vizier. I cannot interfere with him in his position nor in his choice of the Ministers. But I^shall advise him to come to an agreement with the majority party/ The depu tation from the Chamber left the Palace after having expressed their loyal thanks to the Sovereign. Among other information we received was the following: “The deputies are anxious; but they have confi dence that the new Government will be satisfactory. Nevertheless, it is possible that the foreigners will urge the partisans of the “Liberal Understanding” and the union “Nigehban” to ask Ferid Pasha or one of his friends to form the new Government, so as to ensure the success of the reactionary scheme they are planning. In this case, the Chamber will be dissolved as a matter of course. If you take effective steps at Angora . . . with the Sovereign.”
Is it not a strange thing that those who appealed to me that day with such a request were the same persons who had written to me a few weeks previously in this strain: “Considering that the Chamber has been officially opened, we ask you in future to give us your orders and to be assured that your ideas will be thoroughly supported by all concerned.” These persons who, in agreement with the Govern ment, had tried to prevend me from interfering in their affairs and actions now expected that steps would be undertaken by the Represen tative Committee at Angora, thus admitting that they were incapable themselves of doing anything at all in Constantinople.
We yielded to this wish also, not because they asked us but because we felt compelled to do so for the sake of the country.
We spent the 3 rd March and the whole of that night in telegraphic communication with Constantinople to keep them fully informed of all that was going on. Acting on the information we received, partly from Ismet Pasha and partly from others, I sent a circular note to all the troops, the headquarters of the organisations and to the nation on the 4 tjl March. (Document 245.)
To the President of the Chamber I wrote :
Angora, 4 tb March, 1920.
To His Excellency the acting President of the Chamber of Deputies.
We are sorry to hear that All Riza Pasha s Cabinet has resigned and has informed the Chamber that the reason for their having done so is that they have been repeatedly interferred with by the Entente Powers.
The national forces are fighting on the Aidin front against the enemy who is trying to invade our dear country, in every inch of whose soil the bodies of her faithful and devoted sons are interred. No power, no authority can prevent our nation from fulfilling the duty that history imposes upon us. The righteous indignation felt by our nation, that is ready to make every sacrifice, can only be allayed if a Government comes into power that show they can be trusted. In these historic days the nation is awaiting with impatience the definite resolutions of the deputies, who are the elected representatives of the free national will. We are sure that, conscious of the responsi bility you have accepted before our country and before history, regardless of the fact that the eyes of the entire world are upon you, you will arrive at decisions in accordance with the steadfastness and devotion of the nation, and we inform you that the whole nation is following and supporting you in your patriotic endeavours,
Mustapha Kemal, In the name of the Representative Committee,
To the Sovereign we sent the following telegram :
Angora 4 ih March, 1920.
We lay this petition at the foot of Your Imperial Majesty s Throne.
The fact that there is a new Ministerial crisis following the resigna tion of the Cabinet, because they could no longer resist the attacks of the Entente Powers on our independence and dignity and their in trigues and interventions which are not in accord with the stipulations of the Armistice, has produced a feeling of intense excitement in the public opinion of the nation. All Your Imperial Majesty s subjects have united their thoughts and desires around your Throne as Emperor and Caliph, resolved to agree to make every sacrifice to secure the independence and inviolability of Your Majesty and the integrity of your Empire. Anxious and distressed as they are in face of the forces commanded by the enemy who is striving to sow discord and provoke trouble, your people await with grave anxiety a speedy end to be put to the Ministerial crisis, and pray that a Cabinet will be formed that consists of honourable Ministers and that it will agree in every parti cular with the aspirations of the nation. Our Committee, in unity with all Your Majesty s subjects, is certain that the aims and claims of the nation, which had been expressed by the majority, will enjoy Your Majesty s support and protection. We consider it to be our patriotic duty to lay at the foot of the Throne the expression of our view that our country, in which the unfettering of a thousand passions is threatening peace in foreign countries as well as in our own, could not suffer for a moment that a Prime Minister who would be unable to restore peace in the national conscience should be entrusted to form a Government. And we consider that if may God forbid it ! such a possibility should arise, regrettable events, unexampled in the history of the Ottoman Empire, would follow.
We are Your Imperial Majesty s, etc. . .
In the name of the Representative Committee of
the “Union for the Defence of the Rights of
Anatolia and Rumelia.”
We sent copies of this telegram to the President of the Chamber and to the commanders of the Army Corps for their information. We ordered the Telegraph Office in Constantinople to transmit a copy of it to the newspapers and the Press Society. In addition, we sent the following circular note to the commanding officers, Valis, Mutessarifs and the Central Committees of the Defence of the Rights:
4 t51 March, 1920.
On account of the interference and pressure exercised by the En tente Powers, which have become absolutely insupportable, the Government resigned yesterday, the 3 rd March.
From reliable information, we learn that the overthrow of the Ministry is the result of the activity of a secret union which is led by our foreign enemies and is formed with the co-operation of the parties of the opposition, with the ostensible purpose of bringing Ferid Pasha, or a man of similar character to his, into power and of establishing in Constantinople a Supreme Council of the Caliphate, destined to serve the plans of the enemy. That is to say, in order to prepare the ground for the work of the secret unions, the Entente Powers have first exerted pressure to compel the Cabinet to resign. Considering the seriousness of this position, the Chamber of Deputies naturally con tinues to do all that is necessary. With the object, however, of con firming and actually supporting these steps, we must urgently and very seriously inform the Imperial Chancellor, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the Press, that the nation can no longer tolerate any head of the Government who would not act in agreement with their demands. We beg you urgently on receipt of this telegram not to lose a minute in sending telegrams to this effect and to make sure that they will be sent off without fail this very night. Please send us the result to-morrow morning.
In the name of the Representative Committee of
the “Union for the Defence of the Rights of
Anatolia and Rumelia.” The flood of telegrams which, in obedience to our instructions, inundated the entire country during the night of the 4 th March, produced the desired effect in the Palace of the Sovereign and in the Chamber of Deputies on the following day.
From a person, whose identity or rank I could not recognise, we received the following news on the 6 th March : Constantinople 6 tjl March, 1920. To the Representative Committee The office of Grand Vizier has been offered to Salih Pasha, Minister
of Marine. TT ,. .,
Acting General Secretary of the Union for the Defence of the Rights.
This message was followed by another:
Chamber of Deputies. 6* 11 March, 1920.
To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha. I beg to inform you that His Imperial Majesty the Caliph, has just granted an audience to the President of the Chamber of Deputies, in the course of which His Majesty has deigned to inform him that he has offered the office of Grand Vizier to Senator Salih Pasha, formerly Minister of Marine. The latter is engaged in forming his Ministry and the crisis may therefore be considered to have terminated, at latest, by to-morrow evening. Djelaleddin Arif
President of the Chamber of Deputies.
On the same day, before we heard of the Grand Vizier being ap pointed, we received a message from Rauf Bey. I will read it to you literally, because it deserves your notice.
Harbie 6 tJl March, 1920.
To the command of the XX tl1 Army Corps, Angora. Personal. Very urgent
To be delivered without delay.
To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha. i. Last night I spoke to Izzet Pasha and Salih Pasha. The office of Grand Vizier has not been offered to either of them. The provisional Cabinet has no idea who will be Grand Vizier. From a reliable source, we have learned that Reshid Bey, the former Minister of the Interior, is driving to and fro between the Palace and the French and English Ambassadors. According to a rumour that is current, it is suggested that he will take over the Government. The evening before last His Majesty received Tewfik Pasha. Then he received Ferid Pasha, with whom he had a long conversation from five o clock in the after noon until ten at night. Yesterday, Friday, long consultations took place at Balta Liman*) at which Kemal and Mehmed All, the former Minister of the Interior, were present. The discussions were continued at Ali Kemal s house, and Mr. Frew, the English clergyman, took part in them. Djelaleddin Arif Bey was received in audience yesterday at 4.0 p.m. He told His Majesty that the present crisis should not be allowed to last much longer, and he repeatedly pointed out the necessity of a Cabinet being formed that possesses the confidence both of the country and the deputies. At first His Majesty declared that he himself understood as well as he did how delicate the situation is. He spoke of the necessity of the national forces and delivered himself to this effect: “The selection of a person as Grand Vizier who has the confidence of the country and foreign countries as well, cannot be made in too great haste; it will take at least until next Sunday.” My personal impression, which has been derived from the facts and information I have quoted, is that the Sovereign is in communication and negotiating with the English, and is waiting for a reply from London. In any case, the position is very critical indeed. If he should decide to trust in England, it is not improbable that he will even ask Ferid Pasha to form a Government. In short, the only people whom he has personally received are Tewfik Pasha and Ferid Pasha, and his meeting with them was of a secret character. A person who is in connection with the Palace and whom I know to possess your confidence, came to me last Thursday on behalf of some persons in close touch with his Majesty and asked me for my opinion. I told him plainly in reply that the only person who could clear up the situation in favour of the Crown, the State and the Nation, would be Your Excellency, but, as in present circumstances in face of the occupation you cannot return to Constantinople, it would be better to hand the Government over to Izzet Pasha. Salih Pasha hints that the dissolution of the Chamber is quite possible. We have been informed that Hussein Kiasim Bey, the Vice-president, is intriguing in the name of the Chamber with the Palace and the English. I send this to you for your information.
Djelaleddin Arif Bey will go to the Palace to-day and will explain the situation very clearly to His Majesty. He will declare to him that if the Government were to be handed over to members of the opposition, the organisations in Anatolia would be shaken, and that thereby the principles announced in Eastern Europe which would in the end prove fatal to him would gain ground in our country
*) A town and palace on the Bosphorus. and the Caliphate would come into a miserable position in the eyes of Islam. He will show him all the telegrams concerning this question which have arrived from the different headquarters of the national organisations in Anatolia and, in addition, will hand him a written account which we have jointly composed. We will send you a copy of it later. Rauf
2. This telegram was handed in at the Telegraph Office at Harbie on the 6 th March, 1920, at 5.15 p.m. g^
A. D. C. to the Minister of War.
Surely it was unnecessary for Rauf Bey to mention me with regard to the post of Grand Vizier. Nothing of the sort had ever been men tioned between us. Incidentally, I had no belief that the Government in Constantinople could live. With regard to the Ottoman Empire, I had been convinced for a long time that it had run its course. An idea so utterly foolish as that I should accept the post of Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire would, of course, never have entered my head. While I was calmly and deliberately watching the natural course of the revolution, I had thought of nothing but the plans that would be necessary to adopt in the future.
Rauf Bey sent me a copy of Djelaleddin Arif Bey s account which he had referred to. (Document 245.) After the Cabinet had been formed, he sent us this message :
Harbie, 8 th March, 1920.
To the Provisional Command of the XX th Army Corps. To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha.
1. This is the composition of the Cabinet: Salih Pasha, Grand Vizier; Sheikh ul Islam, unchanged; Minister of the Interior, un changed; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sefa Bey, unchanged; Minister of War, unchanged; Minister of Marine (temporary), SaJih Pasha; Minister of Public Works, Tewfik Bey; Minister of Finance (temporary) Tewfik Bey; President of the Council of State (temporary) Abdurrah man Sheref Bey; Minister of Education, Abdurrahman Sheref Bey; Minister of the Ewkaf, the late Sheikh ul Islam, Omer Hulussi Effendi; Minister of Justice, Djelal Bey; Minister of Commerce, Zia Bey, Director General of Taxes.
2. The leading political opinions of Djelal Bey are unknown to us. The present composition of the Cabinet is the work of the Palace, with the object of gaining time for Ferid Pasha. Salih Pasha hopes that he is rendering a service to the country by putting an end to the crisis. We are not inclined to put any faith in this Cabinet, and we are doing all we can to induce the party to adopt our view. The danger of Ferid Pasha coming into power is still threatening, and we beg you to do what you think necessary to meet it.
3. We must also call your attention to one matter, which we think is very important. Salih Pasha intended to consult the party about their opinion. He wanted to know the names of Ministers whom he would have to select from outside the Chamber in case he found it impossible to find suitable ones inside it. But later on he changed his mind and formed the Cabinet composed as I have told you without any assistance. Rauf
Salih. A. D. C. to the Minister of War.
The account I have given you of the crisis in Constantinople is rather a lengthy one. As the situation develops, we shall see many other things that happened in Constantinople. We shall now glance at what was going on in Adrianople, and then return to Constantinople.
I think I have always mentioned in the course of my general remarks that we have never lost sight of Thrace in our organisations and plans. Our connection and correspondence with Adrianople were maintained and continued in just the same way as with every other district in the country.
I consider that this is a fitting opportunity to bring some interesting points in this correspondence to the knowledge of this honourable Assembly.
Djafer Tayar Bey, commanding the 1st Army Corps, described in an excellent way in a very detailed account, dated 31 st August, 1919, the activity of the Greeks in Thrace especially in Western Thrace and the enterprises they were engaged in there.
He complained that he could not act efficiently in face of their extraordinary activity there.
He informed us that, “from certain correspondence it was evident that General Milne had not allowed him to make dispositions in his Army Corps that would enable him to do his duty in view of the situation and the consequences that might possibly ensue.” (Doc ument 246.) Of course, there could not be the slightest doubt that he would not consent to do anything of the sort. I cannot imagine what could have put the idea into their heads to enter into correspondence on this subject, which was already as clear as daylight.
In the instructions I had given to Djafer Tayar Bey on the 3 rd Ja nuary, 1920, I repeatedly reminded him of the necessity of organising armed national troops, on the basis of the “Secret Instructions” with which we had furnished him.
“It is necessary/ I said, “to gain the advantage in this way, which cannot be attained by distributing the troops in any other.” (Document 247.)
On the same day, I also wrote to Djemal Pasha, Minister of War, telling him about the position of affairs and begging him to resist the preparations made by the Greeks, at least in Eastern Thrace. (Doc ument 248.)
From the reports coming from the union of “Thrace and Pasha Eli,” it was clear that the formation of organisations had not been as successful as had been anticipated, and certain high officials were reproached for this. (Document 249.)
From the very beginning, I sent certain observations to these officials. (Document 250.)
But before long the most serious complaints were directed against Djafer Tayar Bey. The letter I will now read to you will, I think, give you some idea about this.
My esteemed Pasha, 26^ January, 1920.
I approve of what Arif Bey says about the population of Thrace. The union of Thrace is not composed in proportion to their material strength. Unfortunately, Djafer Tayar has misled aH of us; he has not carried through any organisation at all, and has done nothing about arms and munitions, even to the extent of a single rifle. I accuse Djafer of pursuing personal aims. Also, knowing nothing whatever about Bulgarian affairs, he is absolutely ignorant concerning prevailing conditions.
An order from Djafer to his troops has come by chance to our knowledge within the last few days. He mentions in it what the Greeks are doing and intend to do, and although the present situation necessitates that at last organisations should be formed in obedience to the instructions issued by the “Defence of the Rights,” he asks the commanding officers whether they think that help ought to be given to the population by the officers, or not. Think of it! May the curse of God fall on those who ask such absurd questions and deceive the people when the fate of the nation is at stake !
Lastly, Thrace, which we expected would stand up for our country by carrying on war and the revolution, could not do anything at all although the Bulgarian troops had evacuated Western Thrace and had left only about five or ten officials and no more than about 150 to 200 gendarmes there.
I do not know whether Djafer was troubled about this condition of things. Consequently, we shall send Tordji Ihsan and Rassim, the veterinary surgeon (an intelligent, smart, steady and thoroughly reliable comrade), to the organisations in Thrace. We shall also send arms from here.
We can only hope that this confounded Djafer will not hinder them from doing their duty. All we ask him to do is to get out of our way and never inflict us with his presence again.
The English are receiving reinforcements on the Adrianople line of detachments composed solely of Englishmen. The Greeks are taking up positions at Hademkeui, at Tshorlu and Lule Burgas. There is a state of unrest in Bulgaria. The criminal actions of the Greeks are too abominable to describe; the Governor is powerless in face of the pitiable complaints of the population. Djafer shows his weakness. It cannot be foreseen that the concentration of foreign troops now taking place against Bolshevism in Thrace will become the object of any action on the part of the Bulgarians, against whom they are directed.
A firm hand and an energetic brain are needed there. Neither Djafer nor the Governor axe the men who are wanted there ; they are not energetic enough. These are the actual facts and the exact state of affairs. I am doing all I can against both of them. The other day I received a telegram in cipher from you which troubled me very much indeed and I asked in cipher for certain explanations, but I have received no^reply. Do you believe, Pasha, that I am following a personal policy? Or, do you take me for one of those imbeciles who cannot appreciate the importance of a plan or estimate the difficulty of a situation? I protest against both of these insinuations. My faith and my conviction are unchangeable. I go straightforward without deviating to the right or to the left. I only ask you to tell me frankly what is in your mind. These severe and reproachful expressions wound me very deeply, but they would neither prevent me from work ing faithfully nor drive me over to the side of the opposition. But this is a personal matter, and I want to draw your attention to it and beg you to let me tell you now that in your delicate position, requiring tact and forethought which must never be lost sight of, it is necessary that you should do nothing until you are quite clear about what troubles me and until you ascertain the exact truth about it.
I send you the expression of my esteem, Pasha, and sincere wishes for your success. v ..
From the reports and messages that came from Adrianople I realised that they presented a false account of what was going on there. In the letter which I have just read, certain sentences indicate that this false view prevailed there. To counteract this, I repeated once more on the 3 rd February to Djafer Tayar Pasha and Rauf Bey in Stambul the opinion which we had consistently held from the beginning.
The consideration I reiterated was the following: To speak of united Western and Eastern Thrace is bad policy. Eastern Thrace is incontestably an integral part of our country. As for Western Thrace, this territory had once been ceded by Treaty.
Eastern Thrace can, at best, serve as a base of operations for those who are struggling for the liberation of Western Thrace.
If we insist on claiming a united Eastern and Western Thrace, this may give rise to certain other claims on Eastern Thrace.
On the other hand, it must be remembered that the Bulgarians, too, are demanding an economic exit to the Aegean Sea. Bulgaria is very eager about this. (Document 251.)
Djafer Tayar Pasha on his part complained about the officials, notables and the population. He said, in a telegram in cipher on the 7 t]1 March : “The people here expect everything from the Government. On account of the neutral attitude shown by the higher officials, the national organisations cannot be formed according to Your Excellency s desire. I am specially trying to get into contact with the villagers by making frequent tours of inspection into the interior of the province . . . but it is impossible for me to visit all the villages.” He added: “We all wish that the national organisations will spread and rest on a firm foundation, but this will only be possible if we work hard to surmount the obstacles I have just indicated.” (Document 252.)
General Milne did not allow Djafer Tayar to dispose his troops as he wished to do. The Vali and Mutessarif remained neutral and ab stained from leading and guiding the people who expect everything from the Government relating to the national organisations. And we cannot see how these organisations could possibly spread and be put on a solid foundation until these hindrances had been surmounted.
I have occasionally mentioned a certain society called “Karakol” and the steps that were taken to restrict its influence. We learned that this union was trying to extend its influence in Stambul. Consequently, it was necessary to send a fresh warning.
12 th March, 1920.
To Colonel Shefket Bey, Commanding the fortress of Tshanak Kale.
It is noticeable that our organisations in Stambul are not sufficient for us to reach our aims. According to the reports of some well-in formed people who have come from time to time, and particularly recently, to Angora, the cause of our failure is to be traced to the fact that endeavours are being made to put in force the decisions of the “Karakol” society in the name of the organisation for the “Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia/
The regulations of this “Karakol” Society had alarmed many people who wanted to get into communication with the organisations. With this object, it is quite enough for Stambul to form organisations on the lines of the regulations governing the organisation for the Defence of the Rights. For it is to the unification of the different ideas that we have to look for the main strength of Stambul.
For the armed organisations, the particular enterprises and the actual activities which might become necessary in Stambul, it is sufficient to put into force a clause of the regulations for the De fence of the Rights. If objections were raised to the publication of the names of the persons who form the council of the head committee in Stambul and its branches, the members of these organisations could hide their identity.
I particularly urge you to inform me clearly about the organisations, the foundation on which they are already formed or are going to be formed, and the names of the persons who constitute the head com mittee and the leading councils.
Mustapha Kemal, In the name of the Representative Committee.
If you will allow me, we will now return to Stambul. In a second telegram, dated II th March, I said to Rauf : “On the afternoon of the 10** March the representatives of the Entente, as the result of an order which had come from London, had met to discuss the question of arresting the leaders of the national forces in Stambul and had decided to execute this order. This information had been given to us secretly by a confidential person, and those concerned had been advised to leave Stambul immediately. Having looked into the matter and weighed all the different possibilities, however, they had come to the conclusion that they would stay in Stambul to the last and do their duty there as their honour prompted them to do. It is reported that it was Salih Pasha, the Grand Vizier, who was deliberately responsible for this resolve.
They were apparently endeavouring to overthrow the Ministry, because they felt certain they would succeed in doing so. (Document On the same day, in a short telegram which was in continuation of the preceding one, Rauf Bey said: “As we have not received any reply from you as to your opinion of our last message and the position of the Ministry, we are afraid that it has not reached you, and I am naturally anxious about your health. We are awaiting your reply/
I had given the following information to Rauf Bey on the n 131 March, and it was also communicated to the XV th and III rd Army Corps. % n 111 March.
Yesterday evening, the io th March, Captain Boizeau, the drago man of the French representative at Angora, who has given us con fidential information from time to time, has told us to-day that Withall the English representative at Angora has just left Angora and that, accompanied by his staff, he is going to Stambul with all his furniture and baggage and that the English would suspend railway traffic after his train had left. According to our information, Withall has actually left. It is very likely, therefore, that railway traffic will be interrupted. There is no doubt that this is connected with the steps taken by the Entente Powers in Stambul. Musta pha Kemal
Mahmud Provisional Commander of the XX th Army Corps.
This is what I said in reply to Rauf Bey s last message: “Even if you intend to attack the Cabinet by introducing a motion of want of confidence in them, you will not have adequate reasons to support you. Until I have a clear and definite idea about the * cohesion and courage of the party and whether it will show a precise indication of unity, I cannot offer any opinion as to whether it is
Kemal Pasha 2 3 advisable to make this a constitutional question or not until Salih Pasha has come to an understanding with the leaders of the party.^
“It would be a very good thing if the Chamber, confronted with the decision of the English to proceed to make arrests, will act courage ously now and wfll continue to do their duty. Only, it is absolutely necessary that you and those comrades whose presence is needed for our enterprises will definitely decide to throw in your lot with us.
“If you do not, it is very important that those persons who can organise the unified procedure of the party and their wffl should already at the present moment be instructed to do this and that you wiE come here immediately. Those people who do come should possess the necessary qualifications to represent the country and should be able, if called upon to do so, to form a Government and carry on the administration. There is no doubt that the Entente Powers will institute radical coercive measures . . .” (Document 254.)
Before three or four days had elapsed, events proved that we had appealed to Rauf Bey and the others in the nick of time. Unfortunate ly, our request was not accepted in its full importance and significance.
Men like Rauf Bey and Vassif showed themselves pliable enough to be taken to Malta. You know all about that.
I have been told that some of our friends had arranged and pre pared the way to reach Anatolia and come on to Angora. If that is so, the reason why they did not come to Angora and preferred to give themselves up to the English and be taken to Malta deserves to be inquired into. Indeed, starting with the idea that the position and the final destiny of Turkey is hanging in the balance, surrounded by gloom and danger, it is not improbable that, influenced by the fear of plunging into this dark peril and exposing themselves to such a horrible and terrifying fate, they preferred to surrender to the enemy and spend a certain time in prison.
Nevertheless, I shall refrain from pronouncing stern judgment upon them. Acting on these possibilities, I lost no opportunity to do everything I could to obtain the release of these persons from Malta,
On the 16 th March, the command of the XX th Army Corps at Angora received a letter in cipher from the officer commanding the io th Division in Stambul. (No. 465, dated 14 th March.) It read as follows : 9 th March, 1920.
To His Excellency Mustapha Kemal Pasha. As the English have commandeered the offices of the “Turkish Hearth/ a national organisation, the latter has been transferred to the building of the National Institute for Education and Instruction, which was also commandeered by the English yesterday. TT j-
At 10 a.m. on the 16^ March, while we were at the telegraph instrument, we received the following message :
“The English have made a surprise attack this morning on a Government building at Shahsade Bashi and have had a skirmish with the soldiers. At the present moment they are beginning to occupy Stambul. I send you this for your information.”
I made a pencil note on this telegram: “To be transmitted imme diately to the Army Corps with my signature. Mustapha Kemal/ Then I began to question the sender of the telegram. Monastirli Hamdi Effendi continued without stopping to report as follows: “Not only a trustworthy man, but all who come here confirm what I have reported. We have just this moment heard that the Military School has been occupied. English soldiers are on guard outside the Telegraph Office at Pera, but it is not yet known whether they intend 18 to occupy it or not.”
Meanwhile an official of the Telegraph Office belonging to the Ministry of War told us that: “In the forenoon the English have fought their way in ; five have been killed and about fifteen wounded. At this moment the English are patrolling the town. They are now entering the Ministry. They have occupied it. They have reached the Nisamie Gate. Interrupt the connection. The English are here.”
Monastirli Hamdi Effendi was still able to get into communi cation with us:
i6 th March.
“Your Excellency, English sailors have occupied the Telegraph Office at the Ministry of War and have cut the wires. They have occupied Tophane, and troops are being landed from their men-of- war. The situation is getting worse. Your Excellency, during the fight this morning six of our men were killed and fifteen wounded. Your Excellency, I am awaiting your orders. Hamdi.”
23* Hamdi Ef f endi continued :
“Early this morning, while our soldiers were still sleeping, British sailors occupied the Post Office. Our men, being suddenly aroused, were still half asleep when the fighting began and which resulted in six of our men being killed and fifteen wounded.
“Meanwhile, the English who had prepared this dastardly attack moored their warships at the quay, occupied Tophane and the Pera Quarter, and later on the Ministry of War. At the present moment it is impossible to get into connection with the Telegraph Offices at Pera and the Ministry of War.
“From news just received, the occupation is reported to include Derindshe.
“The Telegraph Office at Pera does not reply any more. Prob ably it is also occupied. God grant that they will not occupy this office. The director and officials of the Telegraph Office at Pera are just arriving here; they have been turned out of their office.
“Your Excellency, I have just this moment heard that this office will be occupied within an hour.”
The late Hajati Bey, following the order I had given him at the end of my first message, made a summary of the news that had come through and transmitted it to all the commanding officers in Rumelia and Anatolia. I had instructed that these communications should be sent to Adrianople without delay, via Stambul. (Document 255.) Hamdi Effendi reported in these words: “I am carrying out Your Excellency s orders. I am writing to Adrianople and all the Telegraph Offices are ready.” I asked Hamdi Effendi: “Have you heard any thing about the Chamber of Deputies? Is the Telegraph Office there in working order?”
“Yes/* replied Hamdi Effendi, “it is. The Commander of the XV th Army Corps is there. The Pasha asks to be put into communi cation. Shall I do this?”
From this moment we were unable to get into connection with Hamdi Effendi. We concluded from this that the chief Telegraph Office in Stambul had also been occupied.
If we had not had such a courageous patriot as Monastirli Hamdi Effendi there, who knows how long we would have had to wait before we heard of the misfortune that had befallen Stambul? As I have already remarked, not one of the Ministers, Deputies, Commanders and members of our organisation in Stambul had thought of sending us any information in good time. It must be assumed that all of them were affected by deep emotion and were very much excited. I cannot say whether this was any reason why they should lose their heads to such an extent that they could not get onto the telegraph line between Stambul and Angora. Hamdi Effendi, the telegraph official, came to Angora later and took charge of the Telegraph Office at our headquarters. I believe it my duty to the nation as a patriot to express publicly here how grateful I am to him.
In face of these events I issued the following command in order to guard against every possible untoward incident :
Circular to all Valis and Mutessarifs.
To the officers commanding the III rd Army Corps at Sivas, XIV ^ Army Corps at Panderma, XX th Army Corps at Angora, XV** Army Corps at Erzerum, XII<* Army Corps at Konia, XIII** Army Corps at Diarbekr.
To Refet Bey at the Smyrna front, the Command of 6i st Division at Balikesri, the head Committees and leading Coun cils of the Union for the Defence of the Rights.
Telegram. Urgent. Angora, i6 th March, 1920.
Although still convinced of the solidarity of the entire Mohamedan and civilised world, which is inspired by feelings of humanity, our nation will not be able for the time being to maintain connection with the friendly or hostile outside world.
The humane attitude which we shall adopt towards the Christian population dwelling in our country will be all the more appreciated at the present time, and the possibility that the Christian population will not enjoy any real or apparent protection from any of the foreign Governments will be conclusive evidence of the civilising factors existing in the character of our race. I request you to proceed in strict accordance with the law and enforce it with vigour if any persons should act contrary to the interests of our country and disturb order and quiet in the country. Administer the law impartially, without distinction of race or creed. And I beg you to treat all those who do their duty as citizens in a conciliatory spirit and show due solicitude for them ; pay honour and obedience to the local authorities. Finally, I request you to communicate the above urgently to all persons concerned and bring it before the people in such manner as appears most expedient to you. Mustapha Kemalj
In the name of the Representative Committee of the Union for the Defence of the Rights. When the Entente Powers had occupied the Telegraph Offices in Stambul their intention was to circulate an official communique throughout the country by telegraph. However, on account of the warning we had received, this communique was not accepted at any, except a very few, of the Telegraph Offices. The most important of those who received it and replied to it were Suad Bey, Mutessarif of Ismidt (Document 256) and Subhi Bey, Vali of Konia. (Doc ument 257.)
Five-and-a-half years ago the leaders of the “Committee of Union and Progress,” who had taken the destiny of the Ottoman Empire into their hands, aided by unknown circumstances but at the instigation of Germany, led the Ottoman Empire and people to enter the General War.
The result of this iniquitous and fatal policy is known. After having passed through sufferings of every description, the Empire and the people had to submit to such a defeat that the leaders of the “Committee of Union and Progress” found that their only means of salvation was to ask for an armistice and flee.
After the armistice was concluded the Entente Powers had one duty to fulfil. This consisted in preparing the ground for a Peace that will secure the happiness, the future development, the social and economic life of the entire population of the former Ottoman Empire, without distinction of race or religion.
While the members of the Peace Conference were engaged on this question, certain individuals, partisans of the fugitive leaders of the “Committee of Union and Progress/ 7 formed an organisation, calling it a “National Organisation/ and, disregarding the orders of the Sultan and the Central Government, dared to commit certain acts, such as calling the population, which was completely reduced through the fatal consequences of the War, under arms and producing discord between the individual elements, besides robbing the population on the pretence of levying national contributions. In this way they have not secured peace but have commenced a new period of war. In spite of these intrigues and provocations, the Peace Conference has contin ued to do its duty and has just decided that Stambul shall remain under Turkish administration. This decision will have a soothing effect on Ottoman minds. While communicating this decision to the Sublime Porte, they have been informed of certain conditions which will affect the decision referred to.
These conditions consist in safeguarding the lives of the Chris tians living in Ottoman provinces and in putting an end to the con- tinual attacks that are specially directed against the troops of the Entente Powers and their Allies. Although the Government has shown a certain amount of good-will in respect to this warning, the men who are working under the adopted name of “National Organi sations” have unhappily not agreed to abandon their policy of provo cation and intrigue.
On the contrary, they have tried to win the Government over to their side to co-operate in their enterprises. In view of this situation, which constitutes a grave danger to the Peace for which everybody is anxiously longing, the Entente Powers have seen themselves forced to consider certain steps that will secure the conduct of the Peace negotiations which will soon begin.
For this purpose, they have discovered one way only to do this, namely, to proceed to a temporary occupation of Stambul.
The decision having been put into execution to-day, the following points are brought to public knowledge :
1. The occupation is temporary.
2. The aim of the Entente Powers is not to weaken, but rather to strengthen the authority of the Sultanate in the territories that will remain under Ottoman administration.
3. The aim of the Entente Powers, also, is not to separate Con stantinople from the Turks. But if which God forbid extensive unrest or sanguinary persecution should occur, it is very likely that this decision will be altered.
The duty imposed on all Mohamedans and non-Mohamedans in this time of difficulty is to carry on their business, to assist in the maintenance of order, to close their ears to the lies of those who want by their acts of madness to destroy the last hope of building up a new Turkey on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, and to obey the orders issued from Stambul, which at the present moment is the seat of the Sultanate. Some of the persons who have been taking part in the intrigues referred to have been arrested in Stambul. They will natur ally be held responsible for their acts and for the events that have been produced thereby. The Army of Occupation.
As a sequel to this Communique, I issued a circular note to this effect :
x6 ih March, 1920.
To all Valis and Commanding Officers, To all the Committees of the Defence of the Rights. The military occupation of Stambul by the Allies has taken place after resistance. It is quite probable that the people who are pursuing malignant plans will make use of this conspiracy to deceive the people. Tims, we have learned that an attempt is being made to spread certain unsigned proclamations in the form of official communiques. No importance whatever is to be attached to rumours of this de scription, so that errors and excitement which might be justified by them will be avoided.
The “Union for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia, ” who are following the course of events with the closest attention, will keep the people fully informed of them.
By various means on the same day I issued this protest :
i6 th March, 1920.
To the Italian Representative at Adalia. To be forwarded to:
The Diplomatic Representatives of England, France and Italy;
The Diplomatic Representative of the United States in Stambul ;
The Foreign Ministers in Neutral Countries;
The Legislative Chambers in France, England and Italy. All the official buildings in Stambul, including the Chamber of Deputies, which represents the symbol of our national independence, have been formally and forcibly occupied by the troops of the Entente Powers, and they have proceeded to arrest a great number of patriots who have been acting in accord with the aims of the national move ment. This last blow, which has just been directed against the sover eignty and political freedom of the Ottoman nation, strikes still more than at the Ottomans who are resolved to defend their lives and their independence at all costs at the principles that have been re garded by humanity and civilisation of the 2O th century as sacred, such as the sense of freedom, of nationality and of country; at the prin ciples also of modern society and human conscience which has cre ated them.
As for ourselves, we are imbued with the sacred character of the struggle we have entered upon for the defence of our rights and inde pendence, and we are convinced that there is no power on earth that can deprive a nation of its right of existence.