92-We appointed Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, commanding the XV th Army Corps, to command the troops on the Eastern front

We appointed Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, commanding the XV th Army Corps, to command the troops on the Eastern front.

We appointed Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha, commanding the XV th Army Corps, to command the troops on the Eastern front.

In June, 1920, the Armenians invaded the district of Olti and behaved aggressively against the Turkish administration there. On the 7 th July our Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an ultimatum to the Armenians. The Armenians did not alter their behaviour. At last, four months after the mobilisation, military operations began by the Armenians attacking our combined troops in the districts of Kotek and Bardis.

The Armenians were successful hi a general surprise attack which they made before Bardis on the morning of the 24 th September.

While I was reading the report from the Eastern front which brought this scarcely enjoyable news, I received Djelaleddin Arif Bey s ultimatum which he had drawn up on the 24 th September, the day of the Armenian attack. (Document 259.)

The Armenians were driven back, and on the morning of the 28 th September our troops began to advance. On the same day the fifty signatories to the Erzerum telegram opened their offensive against Angora.

What an unfortunate coincidence! It gave the impression that these gentlemen had come to an understanding with the Armenians to attack us.

The Army entered Sari Kamish on the 29 th September. Merdenek was occupied on the 3O tlL September. Now for certain reasons our Army remained stationary for a month until the 23 rd October on the line Sari Kamish Laloglu.

You will divine that one of the reasons was the situation created by Djelaleddin Arif Bey and his accomplices at Erzerum. Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha actually said in a telegram which was handed in at Sari Kamish on the 29 th September: After having visited the front and given the necessary instructions, I shall start for Erzerum and make a final settlement of the affair which has taken place there.”

In a telegram in cipher which Kiasim Kara Bekir Pasha addressed on the 29 th September to Djelaleddin Arif Bey from Sari Kamish, he said:

“The open telegram with forty or fifty signatures which has been sent in the name of the inhabitants of Erzerum is a document which the external enemies could not have procured even if they had spent millions in trying to get it.

Kemal Pasha 2/ 4i8

“As I consider that this open telegram the wording of which is more important and dangerous than the actual fact of the tele gram itself is much more threatening than the outside danger and the possible consequences are greater than the situation at the front I hereby inform you that I shall arrive at Erzerum to-morrow.”

In his telegram of the 5* October, Djelaleddin Arif Bey particu larly pointed out that “as in the Army, which is inspired by patriotic feelings, there is a great number of valuable leaders and officers who enjoy the confidence of the people, the complaints against the abuses have not extended so far that they could influence the discipline and power of resistance of the Army.”

I was naturally glad to hear the truth once more which, by the way, was fully established about the leaders and officer^ in our armies whose commander I had been for many a year in different theatres of war in our country.

Our Eastern Army, which was waiting on the battlefield, began its advance on Ears on the 28 th October. The enemy abandoned this town without offering any resistance; it was occupied on the 30 th Oc tober. On the 7 th November our troops occupied the country as far as Arpa Tshai and Gumru.

On the 6 th November the Armenians begged for a cessation of hostilities and sued for peace.

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