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Outline of Turks and Turkish States: The National War of Independence (1919-1923): Turkish Republic - Turkey


The National War of Independence (1919-1923): Turkish Republic - Turkey


After the Armistice, the victors’ aim was to cut-up the Ottoman lands and share them between themselves. Consequently, several defense fronts and resistance organizations were founded in Anatolia and Thrace. The Turkish people needed to unite their efforts to attain their freedom and this could only be achieved under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal. The National War of Independence, which would last for four years, began when Mustafa Kemal landed in Samsun on May 19, 1919 as the Inspector of the 9th Army. The circular issued in Amasya on June 22, 1919 was a national call and a declaration for salvation. It was followed by the Erzurum and Sivas Congresses. The Turkish people ardently relayed to the world their determination to attain national independence.

The Entente Powers officially occupied İstanbul and disbanded Parliament on March 16th. Some members were arrested. Those that were not arrested fled to Ankara and joined the struggle for National Independence. With the circular issued on the 19th of March Mustafa Kemal announced that the disbanding of Parliament marked the end of the 600 year-old reign of the Ottoman State and that the Turkish Grand National Assembly would convene on the 23rd of April 1920 in Ankara. He added that only that Assembly possessed the right to represent the people after the said date.

The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) began its activities on April 23, 1920 in Ankara. Mustafa Kemal was elected the President of the Assembly. The fight for national independence would be conducted by this Assembly. After the Assembly designated Mustafa Kemal Commander in Chief, the imperialist forces were attacked on all fronts. The last connections between Ankara and İstanbul ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sevres on 12 August 1920. The agreement included very harsh stipulations for the Turks. According to the agreement, the Turks could be sovereign on only a small part of Anatolia and their state would be under the financial and military control of the foreign states.

Mustafa Kemal and the government in Ankara did not accept the Treaty of Sevres. First the struggle, led by Kazım Karabekir in Eastern Anatolia against the Armenians, who wished to establish an independent state there, was won and the Gümrü Agreement was signed on December 2, 1920. This was the first international agreement which was signed by the TGNA. On the Western front, the Greek Army which occupied İzmir on May 15, 1919 and started to advance in the Aegean region, was stopped by the First and Second İnönü Battles which took place between January- April 1921. The Greek Army suffered a crushing defeat during the Sakarya Battle between August-September 1921. France withdrew from Adana and its environs in accordance with the Ankara Agreement signed in October 1921. After that, all the forces and resources of the country were combined for a great attack to be launched on the Western front. The Greek forces were defeated during the Great Attack and the Commander-Chief-Battle which took place between August-September 1922 and İzmir was liberated on September 9, 1922. This military success would accelerate the establishment of the new Republic of Turkey. The Mudanya Armistice was signed between the Ankara Government and the Entente States on October 11th 1922, and it was decided that a conference would be held in Lausanne some time later to discuss the conditions for a permanent peace treaty. However, when the Entente States also invited the İstanbul Government to send its delegation to this conference along with the Ankara Government, the TGNA declared that the Caliphate was separate from the Sultanate and that the sultanate was abolished on the 1st of November 1922. Mehmed IV (Vahideddin), the last Ottoman Sultan, secretly fled the country aboard a British ship on November 17, 1922.

Lausanne Peace Treaty (July 24, 1923). The war was won at the fronts and now it was time to win the diplomatic war. The Lausanne negotiations, at which the Ankara Government participated as the sole representative, commenced on November 21, 1922. The negotiations, at which İsmet İnönü presided over the Turkish delegation as the Minister of Foreign affairs, were suspended in February 1923 due to disagreements concerning the future of capitulations. The negotiations, resumed in April 1923 upon İsmet Pasha’s note. The Peace Treaty composed of 143 articles, 17 annexes, protocols and explanations ended the War of Independence. The TGNA Government was officially recognized, Turkey’s national borders were set, capitulations were lifted, the Ottoman debt was to be paid in instalments, and the social, economic independence and sovereignty of Turkey were accepted. The Treaty which was signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 24 1923 was approved by the TGNA on the 23rd of August 1923 to give birth to The Republic of Turkey.Up


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