The Central Committee of the “Thrace and Pasha Eli” Society
The Central Committee of the “Thrace and Pasha Eli” Society for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia held a congress in Eastern Thrace, which entrusted the administration of Thrace to the General Committee of “Thrace and Pasha Eli.” Djafer Tayar Bey (Djafer Tajar Pasha), a member of this committee, commanded the Army Corps in Thrace and had been elected Deputy for Adrianople in our Assembly.
The instructions which we had given to the Central Committee of Thrace and the officer commanding the Army Corps were based on the principle that the fate of Thrace would be settled at the same time as the destiny of the whole country.
These were the instructions we had given concerning military operations :
“In case of an attack by superior forces, resistance should be maintained to the end; even if the whole of Thrace were to be occupied, every separate negotiation whatever solution might be proposed was to be declined.”
We declared that such was also the resolution of the commander in Thrace. But after a time, Djafer Tayar Bey, relying on the pro mises made to him by foreigners, had accepted an invitation and had gone to Stambul, and had only informed us of this after he had re turned.
27* Apparently certain rumours had been spread, for instance, that Eastern Thrace could not exist by itself but could only do so under a foreign administration in combination with Western Thrace. In any case, a certain amount of propaganda was spread which was calculated to injure the morale of the country.
It appears that Muhiddin Bey had been appointed Commander of the Army Corps by Stambul while Djafer Tayar Bey was still there, Djafer Tayar Bey was allowed to return to Thrace. He had come into touch with different circles in Stambul, but he did not take over the command of the Army Corps, in spite of Muhiddin s proposal that he should do so.
The destiny of Thrace was consequently left to those decisions which were made under the influence of political circles in Stambul.
The strategical position of the I st Army Corps in Thrace at the time of the opening of the Grand National Assembly was as follows :
Headquarters of the Army Corps, Adrianople.
60 t31 Division, districts of Keshan, Adrianople, Usum Kopru.
55 t& Division, district of Tekir Dagh.
49 th – Division, district of Kirk Kilisse.
After their success in the general offensive which was under taken on the Western front of Anatolia, the Greek Army landed a Division at Tekir Dagh on the 20 t]1 July, 1920.
Before the 49 th – Division, which was very much scattered about in the district of Tekir Dagh, had time to rally, the Greek Division began to advance in the direction of Adrianople.
The Greek troops, which intended to begin their attack from Western Thrace by crossing the Maritza, were stopped and prevented from advancing any further, thanks to the watchfulness of Djemil Bey (at present Minister of the Interior), who was in command of the 6o th Division, and of Shukri Naili Bey (Shukri Naili Pasha), who had arrived at Adrianople with his troops on the 20 th June, 1920, and who had already been seriously engaged at Adrianople and the railway station of Kara Agatsh.
I do not know what the commanding officer was doing. Muhiddin Bey, commanding the Army Corps, should have collected all the troops of the I st Army Corps and have taken steps against the hostile force which continued to advance in the direction of Adrianople without being interfered with !
According to the news that reached me, Djafer Tayar Bey was taken prisoner by the enemy whilst he was wandering about on horseback in the district of Kawsa, without having been able to get into touch with any of our troops. This is the reason that our first Corps was completely scattered and deprived of its commanding officer and leadership. Some of the troops were taken prisoners and the remainder fled into Bulgaria. Eventually the whole of Thrace fell into the hands of the Greeks.
Unhappily, we were not allowed to witness the spirit of sacrifice, the watchfulness and foresight which the nation demanded and expected from the officer commanding the I st Army Corps!
There ist no doubt that Thrace was in a peculiar position and under difficulties of a very special description. But neither the peculiar character of the position nor the difficulties could have prevented the Army Corps in Thrace from performing what military exigencies and patriotism demanded. If this was not so, the responsibility hi the eyes of history and before bis own nation must fall solely on the head of Djafer Tayar Pasha. Annies have been known in history to have heroically and honourably defended a whole country against superior hostile forces, inch by inch to the last inch of their territory and which, in spite of all, have been able to preserve their existence. Such is the character of the Turkish Army. It suffices that all those in command should possess the qualifications which are necessary for those at the head of the Army.