In reality, it was a question of acknowledging the collapse of the Ottoman State and the abolition of the Caliphate
In reality, it was a question of acknowleging the collapse of the Ottoman State and the abolition of the Caliphate. It meant the creation of a new State standing of new foundations. But to speak openly of the position as it revealed itself might eventually jeopardise the goal we were aiming at. For, the general opinion inclined to the idea that the attitude of the Sultan-Caliph was excusable. Even in the Assembly during the first months there was a tendency to seek communion with the seat of the Caliphate, a union with the Central Government.
I took pains to explain that the conditions under which Stambul found itself equally prevented an open or private and secret com munion with the Caliph and Sultan, I asked what we considered we could attain by such communion and declared that it was quite un necessary if it was a question of making known that the nation was struggling to preserve its independence and the integrity of its terri tory. For, was it possible that the person who held the office of Sultan and Caliph could have any other idea or desire? I stated that even were I to hear the contrary from his own lips I could not believe it but would incline to the assumption that every statement of that kind was only produced under pressure. While further insisting that the Fetwa issued against us was an invention, that the orders and instruc tions of the Government must be made clear, I declared that there was no necessity for us to be cautious, as had been advocated by cer tain persons of weak character and superficial judgment.
So far as the formation of the Government was concerned, what I mean to say is that it was necessary to take account of opinions and sentiments before hazarding a proposition. In bowing to this necessity, I brought forward my suggestion in the form of a motion, but a motion of which the intention remained concealed. After a short discussion it was carried, in spite of a few objections.
If we read this resolution to-day we shall see that fundamental principles were defined and formulated in it. Let me enumerate them and point out the details :
1. It is absolutely necessary to form a Government.
2. We cannot allow the chief of the Government to be defined as provisional, or a regency to be established.
3. It is a vital principle to recognise that the national will ex pressed by the Assembly is actually governing the destiny of the coun try. There is no power standing above the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
4. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey combines in itself the Legislative and the Executive Power.
A Council elected and authorised by the Assembly conducts the affairs of the Government. The President of the Assembly is at the same time President of this Council.
(Note: As soon as the Sultan-Caliph is delivered from all pressure and coercion he will take his place within the frame of the legislative principles which will be determined by the Assembly.)
It is not difficult to appreciate the character of a Government standing upon such foundations. Such a Government is a People s Government, based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people. Such is the Republic.
The fundamental principle in the organisation of such a Govern ment is the theory of the unity of those in authority. As time ad vanced, we understood the force of these principles. Then followed discussions and incidents.
After the statements and analyses I made in the open and private sittings which lasted for several days and after the introduction of the motion on the principles which I have just enumerated, the Grand Assembly showed its unanimous confidence in me by electing me Pre sident.