I landed at Samsun on the l9 May, l9l9. This was the position at that time:
The group of Powers which included the Ottoman Government had been defeated in the Great War. The Ottoman Army had been crushed on every front. An armistice had been signed under severe conditions. The prolongation of the Great War had left the people exhausted and impoverished.
Those who had driven the people and the country into the World War had fled and now cared for nothing but their own safety. Vahdettin, the degenerate occupant of the throne and the Caliphate, was seeking for some despicable way to save his person and his throne, the only objects of his anxiety. The Cabinet, of which Damat Ferit Paşa was the head, was weak and lacked dignity and courage. lt was subservient to the will of the Sultan alone and agreed to every proposal that could protect its members and their sovereign.
The Army had been deprived of their arms and ammunition, and this state of affairs continued.
The Entente Powers did not consider it necessary to respect the terms of the armistice. On various pretexts, their men-of-war and troops remained at lstanbul. The Vilayet of Adana was occupied by the French; Urfa, Maraş,
Antep, by the English. ln Antalya and Konya were the Italians, whilst at Merzifon and Samsun were English troops. Foreign officers and officials and their special agents were very active everywhere. At last, on the l5th
May, that is to say, four days before the following account of events begins, the Greek Army, with the consent of the Entente Powers, had landed at lzmir.
Christian elements were also at work all over the country, either openly or in secret, trying to realize their own particular ambitions and thereby hasten the breakdown of the State.
Certain information and authentic documents that fell into our hands later on prove that the Greek organisation "Mawrimira’’ (Document I), established by the patriarchate in lstanbul, was forming bands, organising
[Book page: 2 - A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk]
meetings and making propaganda in the vilayets. The Greek Red Cross and the offical Emigrants Commission supported the work of the "Mawrimira."
The formation of Boy Scouts in the Creek schools directed by the "Mawrimira" were reinforced by the admission even of young men over twenty years of age.
The Armenian Patriarch, Zaven Efendi, also worked in connection with the "Mawrimira.’’ The preparations made by the Armenians progressed side by side with those made by the Greeks.
A society called the "Pontus’’ at Trabzon, Samsun and other places along the whole of the Black Sea coast, having their headquarters in lstanbul, worked openly and successfully. (Document 2.)
On account of the appalling seriousness of the situation which was apparent everywhere, particularly in all the vilayets, certain prominent personalities had begun to develop countermeasures to improve the situation. This resulted in new organisations being started. Thus. for instance, there were unions or societies at Edirne and surrounding districts called "Trakya - Pasaeli". ln the east (Document 3), at Erzurum and Elazig (Document 4), the "Union of Defence of the National Rights of the Eastern Provinces" had been formed, also with their headquarters in lstanbul. Again, in Trabzon there was a society called the "Defence of Rights" and in istanbul a "League for the
Separation of Trabzon and its District." Through the exertions of the members of this league (Document 5 - 6), sub-committees had been established at Of and in the district of Lazistan.
Some of the young patriots at lzmir, who since the 13th May had noticed distinct indications of the approaching occupation of the town, had held meetings about the distressing condition of affairs during the night of the I4"‘, and in principle had agreed to oppose the occupation by the Greeks, which at that time was considered to be practically an accomplished fact, designed to end in annexation, and resisted it on the principle of "no
annexation. During the same night, those of the inhabitants who were able to meet at the Jewish cemetery at lzmir drew up a protest and spread it broadcast. But as the Greek troops actually landed on the following morning
this attempt failed to achieve the desired result.
I would like to give you a short account of the object and political aims of these organisations. I had already had a conversation in istanbul with some of the leaders of the "Trakya- Pasaeli" Society. They considered that the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire was extremely probable. In face of the threatened
[Book page 3: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
danger of the dismemberment of their country, their first thought was to save Eastern Trakya and later on if possible, to form a Turco-Mohamedan community that would include Western Trakya. The only way by which they
thought they could realize this aim was to put their trust in England or, if this was not possible, in France. With this object they tried to get into touch with certain political personalities belonging to foreign countries. lt was
believed that their intention was to establish a Trakya Republic.
The object of the "Defence of the National Rights of the Eastern Provinces Union," on the other hand (Art. 2 of their regulations), was to use all lawful means to ensure the free exercise and development of their religious and political rights for all elements inhabiting these provinces; to defend, if it should become necessary, the historical and national rights of the Mohemedan population of these provinces; to institute an impartial inquiry for the purpose of discovering the motives, the instigators and agitators implicated in the extortions and cruelties committed in the Eastem Provinces, so that the guilty ones might be punished without delay; to do their utmost
to remove the misunderstandings that existed between the different elements in the country, and to restore the good relations that had formerly existed between them; and, finally, to appeal to the Government to alleviate as far
as it lay in their power the misery resulting from the war.
Acting on these principles that emanated from the Central Committee In Istanbul, the Erzurum Branch decided to undertake, in defence of the rights of the Turks, to inform the civilised world by means of convincing documents that since the deportation the people had been taking no part whatever in the excesses. Further, that the property of Armenians had been protected up to the time when the country was invaded by the Russians. On the other hand, that the Mohamedans had been compelled to suffer from tha cruelest acts of violence and that some Armenians who had been saved from deporation had, in disobedience of orders, attacked their own protectors.
The Branch were doing their very best to resist any attempt to annex the Eastern Provinces. (Proclamation by the Erzurum Branch.)
The members of the Erzurum Branch of the "Defence of the National Nights of the Eastern Provinces" resolved, as stated in their printed report, alter having studied the propaganda circulated in these provinces as well the Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian questions, from the scientific and historical point of view, to concentrate their further efforts on the following points:
l. On no account to emigrate;
2. Forthwith to form scientific, economic and religious organisations;
[Book page 4: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
3. To unite in the defence of even the smallest part of the Eastern Provinces that might be attacked.
It can be seen that the headquarters of the "Defence of the National Rights of the Eastern Provinces" were far too optimistic in their expectation to succed through civil and scientific means. They continued to exert themselves indefatigably in this direction. For the purpose of defending the rights if Mohamedans dwelling in the Eastem Provinces they published a French journal, which they called "Le Pays." They acquired the right to publish
a magazine called "Hadisat." They also presented memorials to the representatives of the Entente Powers in lstanbul and tried to send a delegation to Europe. (Document 7.)
From the foregoing statements, it appears to me to be clearly evident that the possible cession of the Eastem Provinces to Armenia was the most important reason for this Society having been formed. They anticipated that
this possibility might become a reality if those who tried to prove that the Armenians were in the majority in these provinces, claiming the oldest historical rights, were to succeed in misleading the public opinion of the world by alleged scientific and historic documents and by perpetuating the calumny that the Mohamedan population was composed of savages whose chief occupation was to massacre the Armenians. Consequently, the Society aimed
at the defence of the national and historic rights by corresponding methods and arguments.
The fear also existed that a Greek Pontic State might be founded on the shores of the Black Sea. At Trabzon several persons had formed another society with the object of protecting the rights of the Mohamedan population, to safeguard their existence and prevent them from falling under the yoke of the Greeks.
Their political aim and programme is already sufficiently obvious from its name: "The Society for the Cession of the Territory of Trabzon," whose head office was in Istanbul. ln any case, they set out with the idea of separating this district from the Central Government.
Besides these organisations, which were being formed in the manner l have described, other societies and enterprises began to make their appearance. ln the provinces of Diyarbakir (Documents 8 and 9), Bitlis and
Elazığ, among others, there was a "League for the Resuscitation of the Kurds’’ with its head offices also in lstanbul. Their aim was to erect a Kurdish State under foreign protection. Work was going on at Konya and the surrounding district for the for-
[Book page 5: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
mation of a league having for its object the revival of Islam — also with its offices in Istanbul. There were organizations named "Unity and Freedom" and "Peace and Salvation" throughout almost the whole of the country.
In Istanbul there were numerous public and secret organizations calling themselves parties or societies and pursuing various aims.
One of the most important of these, the "Society of the Friends of England’’ is worthy of special mention. It does not follow from its name that its members were necessarily friends of England. In my opinion, the founders of this society were people who thought, before anything else, of their own safety and their own particular interests, and who tried to secure both by inducing Lloyd George’s Government to afford them English protection. I wonder whether these misguided persons really imagined for a moment that the English Government had any idea at all of maintaining and preserving the Ottoman State in its integrity?
At the head of this Society were Vahdettin, who bore the title of Ottoman Sultan and Caliph, Damat Ferit Pasa, Ali Kemal, Minister of the Interior, Adil Bey, Mehmet Ali Bey and Sait Molla. Certain English adventurers, for instance a clergyman named Frew, also belonged to this Society. Their correspondence and operation make it clear that clergyman Frew was their chairman.
The Society had a double face and a twofold character. On the one hand, it openly sought the protection of England by methods inspired by civilization. On the other, it worked in secret and showed that its real aim was to
invite the people to revolt by forming organisations in the interior, to paralyse the irrational concience and encourage foreign countries to interfere. These were the treacherous designs underlying the work of the secret section of the Society. We shall see later how Sait Molla played just as active a part, or even a still more important one, in this secret work as in the public enterprises of the Society. What I have just said about this Society will
become much clearer to you when I enter into further particulars later on and lay before you certain documents which will astonish you.
Certain prominent personalities —amongst them some women— in Istanbul were convinced that the real salvation of the country lay in securing no American protectorate over it. They stubbornly persisted in this idea and
tried to prove that acceptance of their point of view was the only thing possible. About this I shall also have a great deal more to say at the proper time.
[Book page 6: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
So that you may clearly appreciate the general situation, I would like to point out exactly where and in what condition the military units were at the time of which I am speaking. Two Army Inspections had been established
on principle in Anatolia. Immediately after the conclusion of the armistice the regular soldiers at the front were disbanded. Deprived of their arms and ammunition, the Army consisted only of units having no fighting value.
The distribution of the troops under the second Army Inspection, with its headquarters at Konya, was as follows: The XIIth Army Corps, with its Staff at Konya, consisted of one division —the 4Ist— at Konya and another —- the 23rd — at Afyonkarahisar. To this Army Corps was attached the 57th Division, stationed at Denizli, belonging to the XVIIth Army Corps, which had been captured at lzmir.
The XXth Corps and its Staff was stationed at Ankara — one of its divisions, the 24th, in Ankara itself and the other, the 11th, at Nigde.
The XXth Division stationed at Izmit, was attached to the XXVth Army Corps, which also included the 10th Caucasian Division. The 61st and 56th Divisions were quartered in the district of Balikesir and Bursa and formed the XIVth Army Corps, with headquarters at Bandirma and directly under the command of istanbul. The late Yusuf Izzer Pasacommanded this Army Corps until the National Assembly was opened.
I was myself at the head of the third Inspection when I landed with my Staff at Samsun. I was to have had two‘Army Corps under my personal command. One of them, the IIIrd, had its base at Sivas and was commanded
by Colonel Refet Bey, who came with me to Samsun.
One division of this Corps, the 5th Caucasian, was at Amasya; the other, the 15th, was at Samsun. The second Army Corps under my command was the XVth, stationed at Erzurum and commanded by Kézim Karabekir
Pasa. One of his dniwision, the 9th, commanded by Ruhi Bey, was in garrison at Erzurum; the other, under the command of Lt. Colonel Halid Bey, was at Trabzon. After Halil Bey had been called to Istanbul, he abandoned his command and hid himself at Bayburt. Another man took command temporarily of the division. One of the two remaining divisions of the Army Corps, the 12th, was near Hasankale, on the eastern frontier, and the 11th
was at Bayazit.
The XIIth Army Corps consisted of two divisions stationed in the district of Diyarbakir and was independent, as it was directly under Istanbul. One of its divisions, the 2nd, was at Siirt, while the other. the 5th, was at Mardin.
[Book page 7: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
These two Army Corps were directly under my command and I was also authorized to give orders to other troops lying within the district of my Inspection, in all the vilayets comprised within it and in the neighbouring
In virtue of the authority vested in me, I had the right to enter into communication and correspondence with the XXth Army Corps at Ankara, with its superior Army Inspection, as well as with the Army Corps at Diyarbakır and the heads of the Civil Administration in nearly the whole of Anadolu.
You might, perhaps, be inclined to ask why those who sent me to Anadolu with the idea of banishing me from Istanbul entrusted me with such wide powers. The answer is, that they did not know themselves what they were doing. They invented the pretext that it was necessary for me to go to Samsun to report on the spot on the unsettled condition of the district and to take the necessary measures to deal with it. I had pointed out that
in order to do this I should be given special authority and special powers.
There did not seem to be any objection to this. I discussed the question with men who were on the General Staff at that time and who to a certain extent guessed my intentions. These were the persons who conceived the
idea of my taking up the position, and I dictated the order giving me full powers. Apparently Şakir Paşa, the Minister of War, after reading them, hesitated to sign them and his seal that was attached to the document was
Let us return to a closer examination of the facts, so that we may rapidly review them as a whole.
Morally and materially, the enemy Powers were openly attacking the Ottoman Empire and the country itself. They were determined to disintegrate and annihilate both. The Padişah-Caliph had one sole anxiety — namely,
to save his own life and comfort. The members of the government had the same feeling. Without being aware of it, the nation had no longer any one to lead it, but lived in darkness and uncertainty, waiting to see what would
happen. Those who began to understand clearly the terrors and extent of the catastrophe were seeking some means whereby to save the country, each guided by the circumstances that surrounded him and the sentiments that inspired him. The Army existed merely in name. The commanders and other officers were still suffering from the exhaustion resulting from the war. Their hearts were bleeding on account of the threatened dismemberment of
[Book page 8: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
their country. Standing on the brink of the dark abyss which yawned before their eyes, they racked their brains to discover a way out of the danger.
Here I must add and explain a very important point. The Nation and the Army had no suspicion at all of the Padisah-Caliph’s treachery. On the contrary, on account of religious and traditional ties handed down for centuries, they remained loyal to the throne and its occupant. Seeking for means of salvation under the influence of this tradition, the security of the Caliphate and the Sultanate concerned them far more than their own safety.
That the country could possibly be saved without a Caliph and without a Padişah was an idea too impossible for them to comprehend. And woe to those who ventured to think otherwise! They would immediately have been
looked down upon as men without faith and without patriotism and as such would have been scorned.
I must mention another point here. ln seeking ways to save the situation it was considered to be specially important to avoid irritating the Great Powers — England, France and Italy. The idea that it was impossible to
fight even one of these Powers had taken root in the mind of nearly everybody.
Consequently, to think of doing so and thus bring on another war after the Ottoman Empire, all-powerful Germany and Austria-Hungary together had been defeated and crushed would have been looked upon as sheer madness.
Not only the mass of the people thought in this strain, but those also who must be regarded as their chosen leaders shared the same opinion.
Therefore, in seeking a way out of the difficulty, two questions had to be eliminated from discussion. First of all, no hostility was to be shown towards the Entente Powers; secondly, the most important thing of all was to remain, heart and soul, loyal to the Padişah-Caliph.
Now, Gentlemen, I will ask you what decision could have been arrived at under such circumstances for salvation.
As I have already explained, there were three propositions that had been put forward:
l. To demand protection from England;
2. To accept the United States of America as a mandatory Power.
The originators of these two proposals had as their aim the preservation of the Ottoman Empire in its complete integrity and preferred to place it as a whole under the protection of a single Power, rather than allow it to be
divided among several States.
3. The third proposal was to deliver the country by allowing each
[Book page 9: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
district to act in its own way and according to its own capability. Thus, for instance, certain districts, in opposition to the theory of separation, endeavoured to remain an integral part of the Empire. Others holding a different opinion already appeared to regard the dismemberment of the Empire as an accomplished fact and sought only their own safety.
My above explanations are inclusive of the leading motives of these three kinds of propositions.
I did not think any of these three proposals could be accepted as sagacious, because the arguments and considerations on which they were based were groundless. ln reality, the foundations of the Ottoman Empire
were themselves shattered at that time. lts existence was threatened with extermination. All the Ottoman districts were practically dismembered. Only the father land, affording protection to a mere handful of Turks, still remained,
and it was now suggested also to divide this. Such expressions as: the Ottoman Empire, Independence. Padişah-Caliph, Government —- all of them were mere meaningless words.
Whose existence was it essential to save? And with whose help? And how?
Therefore. what could be a serious and correct resolution?
ln these circumstances, one resolution alone was possible, namely, to create a New Turkish State, the sovereignty and independence of which would be unrenervedly recognised.
This was the resolution we adopted before we left Istanbul and which we began to put into execution immediately after we set foot on Anadolu soil at Samsun.
These were the most logical and most powerful arguments in support of this resolution:
The main point was that the Turkish nation should live in honour and dignity. Such a condition could only be attained by complete independence.
No matter how wealthy and prosperous a nation is, if it is deprived of its independence it no longer deserves to be regarded otherwise than as a slave in the eyes of civilised world.
To accept the protectotare of a foreign Power is to admit lack of all human qualities, weakness and incapacity. Indeed, it is impossible to envisage people who have not been humiliated willingly accept a foreign master.
[Book page 10: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
But the Turk is both dignified and proud; he is also capable and talented. Such a nation would prefer to perish rather than subject itself to the life of a slave.
Therefore, Independence or Death!
This was the rallying cry of all those who honestly desired to save their country.
Let us suppose for a moment that in trying to accomplish this we had failed. What would have been the result? — Why slavery!
In that case, would not the consequence have been the same if we had submitted to the other proposals? Undoubtedly, it would; but with this difference that a nation that defies death in its struggle for independence drives comfort from the thought that it had resolved to make every sacrifice compatible with human dignity. There is no doubt whatever that in the eyes of both friend and foe throughout the world its position is more respected than would be that of a craven and degraded nation capable of surrendering itself to the yoke of slavery.
Moreover, to labour for the maintenance of the Ottoman dynasty and its sovereign would have been to inflict the greatest harm upon the Turkish nation; for, if its independence could have been secured at the price of every
possible sacrifice, it could not have been regarded as secure so long as the Sultanate existed. How could it be deemed permissable that a crowd of madmen, united by neither a moral nor a spiritual bond to the country or
the nation as a whole, could still be trusted to protect the independence and the dignity of the nation and the State?
As for the Caliphate, it could only have been a laughing-stock in the eyes of the civilised world, enjoying the blessings of science.
As you see, in order to carry out our resolution, questions had to be dealt with about which the nation had hitherto known practically nothing. lt was imperative that questions which were considered dangerous to discuss
publicly be discussed openly.
We were compelled to rebel against the Ottoman Government, against the Padişah. against the Caliph of all the Mohamedans, and we had to bring the whole nation and the army into a state of rebellion.
It was essential that the entire nation take up arms against whoever would venture to attack the father-land of Turks and Turkish independence.
It would undoubtedly have been of little advantage if we had made clear to the public at the very beginning all the implications of a resolution of such
[Book page 11: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
far-reaching importance. On the contrary, it was necessary to proceed by stages, utilizing all opportunities to prepare the feeling and the spirit of the nation and to try to reach our aim by degrees. This is actually what happened.
If our attitude and our actions during nine years are examined in their logical sequence, however, it becomes evident that our general behaviour has never deviated from the lines laid down in our original resolution, nor from the purpose we had set out to achieve.
ln order to dispel any doubts which might be entertained, one fact is urged upon us for mutual examination. As the national struggle, carried on for the sole purpose of delivering the country from foreign invasion, developed and was crowned with success, it was natural and inevitable that it would gradually, step by step to the present day, have established all the principles and forms essential in government founded on national sovereignty.
The sovereign of the dynasty who, thanks to his traditional instincts, foresaw this fatal course of historical events, declared himself from the very beginning the most embittered enemy of the national struggle. I, also from the first
anticipated this historical progress. But I did not disclose all of my views although l have maintained them all the time. lf l had spoken too much nlmut future prospects our realistic endeavours would have been looked upon as dreams; and consequently from the outset it would have caused the alienation of those who — discouraged by the closeness of dangers that treatened from without— were fearful of possible changes which would be contrary to their tradition, their way of thinking and their psychology. The only practical and safe road to success lay in dealing with each problem at the right time. This was the way to ensure the development and restoration of the nation.
This was how I acted. This practical and safe way to success, however, caused certain differences of opinion between me and some individuals reputed to be my most intimate co-workers sometimes in regard to principles, at other times as to the method and the execution of our programme and it even caused friction between us that led to discouragement, and dissention. Some of my companions who had entered into the national fight with me went over to the opposition, according as the limitation of their own mental appreciation led them and their moral courage succumbed in the effort to develop national life, to proclaim the Republic and enact its laws. So that you may be informed, so that the public opinion be enlightened. I shall refer to these cases individually as I proceed with my statement.
To summarize what l have been saying, I may add that it was incumbent upon me to develop our entire social organisation, step by step, until it corresponded to the great capability of progress which I perceived in the soul
[Book page 12: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
and future of the nation and which I kept to myself in my own consciousness as a national secret.
My first object now, Gentlemen, was to get into touch with the whole of the Army.
In a telegram in cipher, on the 21st May, 1919. I told the commander of XVth Army Corps at Erzurum that I was greatly distressed at the seriousness of our general situation; that I had accepted my present position in the
certainty that it would be possible to fulfil our highest duty towards the nation and the country if we worked together with all our strength; that although I had wanted to go to Erzurum before this, I was obliged to remain
for a few days longer at Samsun, because serious events were threatening the position there, which was very uncertain. I further asked him, if he thought it necessary, to keep me well informed about anything I ought to
know. (Document 10.)
In fact, the position had been made considerably worse by attacks that had been made by Greek bands against the Mohamedans at Samsun and its surroundings, as well as many difficulties that had been placed in the way of the local government by foreign interference, the former being incapable of rendering any resistance.
Whilst I was undertaking steps to secure the appointment of a person well known to us and from whom we expected a great deal as Mutasarrıf of Samsun. I provisionally appointed the commander of the XIIIth Army Corps
Governor of Canik. Besides this, we took all steps that were possible on the spot itself: that is to say, we enlightened the population as to the real state of affairs and told them that they need not be alarmed about foreign bodies of troops or their officers being among them, and to do nothing to resist them. The formation of national organizations was immediately undertaken in this district.
On the 23rd May, 1919, I informed the commander of the XXth Army Corps at Ankara that I had arrived at Samsun and would keep in close touch with him. I requested him to inform me about everything he could ascertain
concerning the district of Izmir.
Before I had left Istanbul I had turned my attention to the position of this Army Corps. It had been suggested that it should be transported by Rail from the south to the district of Ankara, but being well aware of the
resistance attending this, I asked Cevat Paşa, the Chief of the General Staff,
[Book page 13: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk]
during the days preceeding my departure from Istanbul to lead the Army Corps to Ankara on foot, in case the transport by rail would involve any delay. For this purpose, I inquired in the telegram in cipher l have already
mentioned, whether all the units belonging to the XXth Army Corps would succeeded in reaching Ankara. After having added certain information aboutthe district of Canik, I announced that in a few days I would be going with.
my S taff from Samsun to Havza for some time and that I hoped, in any case, to receive the required information before my departure.
In his reply, which arrived three days later, on the 26th May, the commander of the XXth Army Corps reported that he had not received any regular communication from Izmir; that the occupation of Manisa had been reported by telegraph office employees, that the detachments belonging to the Army Corps stationed at Ereğli had already left on foot as it was impossible to transport them by rail, but that, because of the great distance they had to march, it was uncertain when they would arrive. In the same telegram the commander of the Corps remarked that the actual strength of the 23rd Division at Afyonkarahisar was low and that for this reason all the men that could be mustered had been ordered to join this division. He added that news had recently been received about local unrest in the districts of Kastamonu and Kayseri, and that he would keep me well informed. (Document 11.)
ln a despatch dated the 27th May, 1919, from Havza, l ordered the commander of the XXth Army Corps and the Army Inspection at Konya, under whose command this Corps was, to inform me from what sources the reinforcements destined for the division at Afyonkarahisar were being drawn; whether there was any practical possibility of reinforcing them and what in the present circumstances their duty would be. (Documents 12 — 13.)
On the 28th May the commander of the Corps gave me the information I had been awaiting: "ln case of any attempt at occupation by the enemy, the 23rd Division will not surrender its position, but if it is attacked it will defend
It, recruiting reinforcements from among the inhabitants." (Document 14.)
On the 30th May the Inspector of the Army replied: "While main taining order and security at Karahisar at the same time, the 23rd Division will resist any attempt at occupation with all the means at their disposition.’’
He reported that he was making all preparations and that he was trying to collect reinforcements at Konya, but that it had no name or title.
In my telegram to the Army Inspector, I had said: "Rumours are in circulation about the raising of an army at Konya which is called the ‘’Patriotic
[Book page 14: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk]
Army. What is its composition and how is it organised?’’ I asked this question, because I wanted to encourage it and hasten it on. I received the reply I have already mentioned in response to this question. (Document 15.)
The commander of the Corps had replied to the same question, saying that he knew nothing about the formation of a "Patriotic Army" at Konya.
On the 1st June I informed the commanders of the XVth Army Corps at Erzurum, of the IIIrd at Samsun and of the Xlllth at Diyarbakir of the intelligence that had reached me through my communication with the XXth Army Corps and the Inspection at Konya, as far as it concerned them. (Document 16.)
I had received no information about the troops in Trakya or their commander and had, therefore, I applied to Cevat Paşa, Chief of the General Staff in Istanbul, in a telegram in cipher on the 16th June, 1919, (I had arranged a private cipher personally with Cevat Paşa before I left), asking him to tell me who was in command of the Army Corps at Edirne and where Cafer Tayyar Bey was. (Document 17.) On the I7th june, Cevat Paşa replied: "I have been informed that Cafer Tayyar is at Edirne in command of the 1st Army Corps.’’ (Document 18.)
The report I sent in cipher on the l8th june, 1919, to Cafer Tayyar Bey, commanding the 1st Army Corps at Edirne, mainly contained the following:
"You are aware of the actions the Entente Powers, which strangle our national independence and the way for the disintegration of our country; you have also heard of the servile and apathetic attitude of the Government.
"To confide the fate of the nation to the hands of a Govemment of this type means to abandon it to ruin.
"It has been decided to set up an energetic assembly at Sivas — which in a safe place —for the purpose of bringing together the national organisation of Trakya and Anadolu, so that they can boldly proclaim the voice of the
nation before the whole world.
"The League of Trakya-Paşaeli may have a representative corporation in Istanbul, but they are not provided with full powers.
"When I was in Istanbul I spoke to several members of the Trakya League. Now is the time for us to begin. After you have spoken in confidence to these people you will immediately begin to form the necessary organisations. Send one or two competent men to me as delegates. Before they arrive send me a telegram in cipher, signed by yourself, giving me muthority to uphold the rights of the Vilayet of Edirne.
[Book page 15: A Speech by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1927]
"I have sworn by everything I hold sacred that I shall work loyally and devotedly with the nation until we have gained our complete independence.
l have firmly resolved not to leave Anadolu." In order to raise the sprits of the inhabitants of Trakya, I added the following:
"From one end to the other of Anadolu the population is united. All decisions are taken jointly by all the commanders and our comrades. Nearly all the Valis and Mutasarrifs are on our side. The national organisation in
Anadolu comprises every district and community. The propaganda aiming at the erection of an independent Kurdistan under English protectorate has been successfully countered and the followers of this movement have been dispersed. The Kurds have joined the Turks.’’ (Document 19.)
I had been informed meanwhile that the districts of Manisa and Aydin had been occupied by the Greek army; but I could not obtain any further particulars about the troops that I understood were at Izmir and Aydin.
I had sent orders directly to their commanders. At last, on the 29th June, I received a telegram in cipher, dated the 27th, from Bekir Sami Bey, commanding the 56th Division.
According to this telegram a certain Hürrem Bey had previously commanded the 56th Division at lzmir. He and nearly all the surviving officers of the two regiments at Izmir had been taken prisoners. The Greeks had
sent them to Mudanya by sea. Bekir Sami Bey had been sent to take over the command of what remained of these troops. In his telegram of the 27th June, 1919, Bekir Sami Bey reported that he had received both of my orders of the 22nd on his arrival at Bursa. Among other things, he said:
"As I am unable to obtain the necessary means for the realization of the National aims and as I consider that I could render better service by reorganising my division, I thought it better to leave Kuls for Bursa on the morning of the 21st June. In spite of many obstacles, however, I have still been able to spread the idea everywhere that our national movement is absolutely necessary if we are to save the country." He added that he had full confidence in my intentions and mode of procedure and that he had energetically set to work at once. He asked me, to send further orders to the 57th Division at Çine, as well as to himself. (Document 20.)
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