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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 - 1938) was the founder and the first President of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881 in Salonika (Thessaloniki, today in Greece, then under the Ottoman rule). His father's name was Ali Riza Efendi. His father was customs official.
His mother's name was Zübeyde Hanim. For his primary education, he went to the school of Semsi Efendi in Salonika. But Mustafa lost his father at an early age, he had to leave school. Mustafa and his mother went to live with his uncle in the countryside. His mother brought him up. Life continued like this for a time. Mustafa worked on the farm but his mother began to worry about his lack of schooling. It was finally decided that he should live with his mother's sister in Salonika.
He entered the Military Middle School in Salonika. In 1895, after finishing the Military Middle School, Mustafa Kemal entered the Military High School (Askeri Idadisi) in Manastir.
After successfully completing his studies at the Manastir Military School, Mustafa Kemal went to Istanbul and on the 13th of March 1899 he entered the infantry class of the Military Academy (Harbiye Harp Okulu). After finishing the Military Academy, Mustafa Kemal went on to the General Staff College in 1902. He was graduated from the Academy with the rank of captain on the 11th of January, 1905.
In 1906, he was sent to Damascus (Sam). Mustafa Kemal and his friends founded a society which they called "Vatan ve Hürriyet" (Fatherland and Freedom) in Damascus. On his own initiative, he went to Tripoli during the war with Italy in 1911 and took part in the defense of Derne and Tobruk. While he was still in Libya, the Balkan War broke out. He served in the Balkan War as a successful Commander (1912-1914). At the end of the Balkan War, Mustafa Kemal was appointed military attaché in Sofia.
When Mustafa Kemal was in Sofia, the First World War broke out. He was made Commander of the Anafartalar Group on 8th of August, 1915. In the First World War he was in command of the Turkish forces at Anafartalar at a critical moment. This was when the Allied landings in the Dardanelles (Canakkale Strait) took place and he personally saved the situation in Gallipoli. During the battle, Mustafa Kemal was hit by shrapnel above the heart, but a watch in his breast pocket saved his life. Mustafa Kemal explained his state of mind as he accepted this great responsibility: "Indeed, it was not easy to shoulder such responsibility, but as I had decided not to live to see my country's destruction, I accepted it proudly". He then served in the Caucasus and in Syria and just before the armistice in 1918 he was placed in command of the Lightning Army group in Syria. After the armistice (peace agreement), he returned to Istanbul.
After the Armistice of Montreux, the countries that had signed the agreement did not consider it necessary to abide by its terms. Under various pretexts the navies and the armies of the Entente (France, Britain and Italy) were in Istanbul, while the province of Adana had been occupied by the French, and Urfa and Maras by the British. There were Italian soldiers in Antalya and Konya, and British soldiers in Merzifon and Samsun. There were foreign officers, officials and agents almost everywhere in the country.
On the 15th of May 1919 the Greek Army landed in Izmir with the agreement of the Entente. Under difficult conditions, Mustafa Kemal decided to go to Anatolia. On 16th of May 1919, he left Istanbul in a small boat called the "Bandirma". Mustafa Kemal was warned that his enemies had planned to sink his ship on the way out, but he was not afraid and on Monday19th May 1919, he arrived in Samsun and set foot on Anatolian soil. That date marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence. It is also the date that Mustafa Kemal later chose as his own birthday. A wave of national resistance arose in Anatolia. A movement had already begun in Erzurum in the east and Mustafa Kemal quickly placed himself at the head of the whole organization. The congresses in Erzurum and Sivas in the Summer of 1919 declared the national aims by a national pact.
When the foreign armies occupied Istanbul, on 23rd of April 1920 Mustafa Kemal opened the Turkish Grand National Assembly and hence established a provisional new government, the centre of which was to be Ankara. On the same day Mustafa Kemal was elected President of the Grand National Assembly. The Greeks, profiting by the rebellion of Cerkez Ethem and acting in collaboration with him, started to advance towards Bursa and Eskisehir. On the 10th of January 1921, the enemy forces were heavily defeated by the Commander of the Western Front, colonel Ismet and his troops. On the 10th of July 1921, the Greeks launched a frontal attack with five divisions on Sakarya. After the great battle of Sakarya, which continued without interruption from the 23rd of August to the 13th of September, the Greek Army was defeated and had to retreat. After the battle, the Grand National Assembly gave Mustafa Kemal the titles of Ghazi and Marshal. Mustafa Kemal decided to drive the enemies out of his country and he gave the order that the attack should be launched on the morning of the 26th of August 1922. The bulk of the enemy forces were surrounded and killed or captured on the 30th of August at Dumlupinar.
The enemy Commander-in-Chief, General Trikupis, was captured. Or the 9th of September 1922 the fleeing enemy forces were driven into the sea near Izmir. The Turkish forces, under the extraordinary military skills of Kemal Atatürk, fought a War of Independence against the occupying Allied powers and won victories on every front all over the country.
On the 24th of July 1923, with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, the independence of the new Turkish State was recognized by all countries. Mustafa Kemal built up a new, sturdy, vigorous state. On the 29th of October 1923, he declared the new Turkish Republic. Following the declaration of the Republic he started to his radical reforms to modernize the country. Mustafa Kemal was elected the first President of the Republic of Turkey.
Atatürk made frequent tours of the country. While visiting Gemlik and Bursa, Atatürk caught a chill. He returned to Istanbul to be treated and to rest, but, unfortunately Atatürk was seriously ill. He spent his last days of life on the presidential yacht of Savarona. At 9.05 AM on the 10th of November 1938, Atatürk died, but he attained immortality in the eyes of his people. Since the moment of his death, his beloved name and memory have been engraved on the hearts of his people. As a commander he had been the victorious of many battles, as a leader he had influenced the masses, as a statesman he had led a successful administration, and as a revolutionary he had striven to alter the social, cultural, economic, political and legal structure of society at its roots. He was one of the most eminent personalities in the history of the world, history will count him among the most glorious sons of the Turkish nation and one of the greatest leaders of mankind.
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Atatürk was a military genius, a charismatic leader, also a comprehensive reformer in his life. It was important at the time for the Republic of Turkey to be modernized in order to progress towards the level of contemporary civilizations and to be an active member of the culturally developed communities. Mustafa Kemal modernized the life of his country.
Atatürk introduced reforms which he considered of vital importance for the salvation and survival of his people between 1924-1938. These reforms were enthusiastically welcomed by the Turkish people.
Chronology of Reforms
1922 Sultanate abolished (November 1).
1923 Treaty of Lausanne secured (July 24). Republic of Turkey with capital at Ankara proclaimed (October 29).
1924 Caliphate abolished (March 3). Traditional religious schools closed, Sheriat (Islamic Law) abolished. Constitution adopted (April 20).
1925 Dervish brotherhoods abolished. Fez outlawed by the Hat Law (November 25). Veiling of women discouraged; Western clothing for men and women encouraged. Western (Gregorian) calendar adopted instead of Islamic calendar.
1926 New civil, commercial, and penal codes based on European models adopted. New civil code ended Islamic polygamy and divorce by renunciation and introduced civil marriage. Millet system ended.
1927 First systematic census.
1928 New Turkish alphabet (modified Latin form) adopted. State declared secular (April 10); constitutional provision establishing Islam as official religion deleted.
1933 Islamic call to worship and public readings of the Kuran (Quran) required to be in Turkish rather than Arabic.
1934 Women given the vote and the right to hold office. Law of Surnames adopted - Mustafa Kemal given the name Kemal Atatürk (Father of the Turks) by the Grand National Assembly; Ismet Pasha took surname of Inönü.
1935 Sunday adopted as legal weekly holiday. State role in managing economy written into the constitution.
On assuming office, Atatürk initiated a series of radical reforms in the country's political, social, and economic life that aimed at rapidly transforming Turkey into a modern state. For him, modernization meant Westernization. On one level, a secular legal code, modeled along European lines, was introduced that completely altered laws affecting women, marriage, and family relations. On another level, Atatürk urged his countrymen to look and act like Europeans. Turks were encouraged to wear European-style clothing. Atatürk personally promoted ballroom dancing at official functions. Surnames were adopted: Mustafa Kemal, for example, became Kemal Atatürk, and Ismet Pasha took Inönü as his surname to commemorate his victories there during the War of Independence. Likewise, Atatürk insisted on cutting links with the past that he considered anachronistic. Titles of honor were abolished. The wearing of the fez, which had been introduced a century earlier as a modernizing reform to replace the turban, was outlawed because it had become for the nationalists a symbol of the reactionary Ottoman regime.
The ideological foundation for Atatürk's reform program became known as Kemalism. Its main points were enumerated in the Six Arrows of Kemalism as republicanism, nationalism, populism, reformism, statism, and secularism (see the Principles of Atatürk). These were regarded as "fundamental and unchanging principles" guiding the republic, and, as such, they were written into its constitution. The principle of republicanism was contained in the constitutional declaration that "sovereignty is vested in the nation" and not in a single ruler. The nation-state supplanted the Ottoman dynasty as the focus of loyalty, and the particulars of Turkish nationalism replaced Ottoman universalism.
Displaying considerable ingenuity, Atatürk set about reinventing the Turkish language and recasting Turkish history in a nationalist mold. The President himself went out into the park in Ankara on Sunday, the newly established day of rest, to teach the Latin alphabet adapted to Turkish as part of the language reform. Populism encompassed not only the notion that all Turkish citizens were equal but also that all of them were Turks. What remained of the millet system that had guaranteed communal autonomy to other ethnic groups was abolished. Reformism legitimized the radical means by which changes in Turkish political and social life were implemented.
Etatism, or statism, emphasized the central role reserved for the state in directing the nation's economic activities. This concept was cited particularly to justify state planning of Turkey's mixed economy and large- scale investment in state-owned enterprises. An important aim of Atatürk's economic policies was to prevent foreign interests from exercising influence on the Turkish economy.
Although all of the Kemalist reforms were unsettling to traditionalists, it was the exclusion of Islam from an official role in the life of the nation that shocked Atatürk's contemporaries most profoundly, and discontent continued to focus on the regime's secularist policies long after the other reforms had been generally accepted. The abolition of the caliphate ended any connection between the state and religion. The religious orders were suppressed, religious schools closed and public education secularized, and the Sheriat (Islamic rule) revoked, requiring readjustment of the entire social framework of the Turkish people. Despite the protest that these measures provoked, however, Atatürk conceded nothing to the traditionalists.
In 1924 the Grand National Assembly adopted a new constitution to replace the 1876 constitution that had continued to serve as the legal framework for the republican government. The 1924 constitution vested sovereign power in the Grand National Assembly as representative of the people, to whom it also guaranteed basic civil rights. A unicameral body elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage, the assembly exercised legislative authority, including responsibility for approving the budget, ratifying treaties, and declaring war. The new constitution did not provide for an impartial judiciary to rule on the constitutionality of laws enacted by the assembly, but rather empowered the elected legislature to alter or defer judicial decisions.
The President of the republic was elected for a four-year term by the assembly, and he in turn appointed the prime minister, who was expected to enjoy the confidence of the assembly. Throughout his presidency, repeatedly extended by the assembly, Atatürk governed Turkey essentially by personal rule in a one-party state. The Republican People's Party (RPP) was founded in 1923 by Atatürk to represent the nationalist movement in elections and to serve as a vanguard party in supporting the Kemalist reform program. Atatürk's Six Arrows were an integral part of the RPP's political platform. By controlling the RPP, Atatürk also controlled the Assembly and assured support there for the government he had appointed. Atatürk regarded a stage of personal authoritarian rule as necessary for securing his reforms before entrusting the government of the country to the democratic process.
Nevertheless, opposition existed. Specific misgivings about Atatürk's personal dominance took early form in a grouping of his old associates called the Progressive Republican Party. Some also felt that Atatürk was carrying the reform program too far, too fast. Atatürk was willing to experiment with a multiparty system, and in November 1924 he replaced Inönü as prime minister with Fethi Okyar, who represented the new party.
Scarcely had this experiment begun, however, when an uprising broke out that quickly spread throughout the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey. Although sometimes characterized as an expression of Kurdish nationalism, the revolt was led by a hereditary chief of the Naksibendi dervishes, who had been disbanded as part of Atatürk's secularist reforms. He and other dervish leaders urged their Kurdish followers to overthrow the "godless" government in Ankara and restore the caliph. Atatürk recalled Inönü to the prime minister's office in March 1925 and rushed legislation through the Grand National Assembly that provided emergency powers to the government for the next four years. Special courts with summary powers were established, and the Progressive Republican Party was outlawed. Meanwhile, the Turkish army swiftly extinguished the revolt.
A plot to assassinate Atatürk was uncovered in 1926 and found to have originated with a former deputy who had opposed abolition of the caliphate and had a personal grudge against the President. A sweeping investigation brought before the tribunal a large number of Atatürk's political opponents, fifteen of whom were hanged. As a result of the inquiry, some of his former close associates were sent into exile. This action was the only broad political purge during Atatürk's presidency. Whether there were specific connections between the Progressive Republican Party, the Kurdish revolt, and the assassination plot remained a subject of conjecture among historians. The pattern of organized opposition, however, was broken, and Atatürk's rule and the single- party state were never again seriously challenged. Another experiment with multiparty politics was made in 1930 in the form of an authorized loyal opposition party, but this effort degenerated into factionalism and was quickly ended.
The Clothing Reform
With the clothing reform, women stopped wearing veils; they started to wear modern women's clothing. Men started to wear hats rather than the fez.
Civil Rights for Women
With the reforms of Atatürk, Turkish women, who for centuries had been neglected, were given new rights. Thus with the civil code passed, Turkish women would now have the same rights as men, could be appointed to official posts, would have the right to vote and to be elected to Parliament. The monogamy principle and equal rights for women changed the spirit of Turkish society.
Atatürk's Works on Turkish History
Following the reform of the script, which was meant to be a kind of nationalism in the cultural field, Atatürk concentrated his attention on history. He established the Turkish Historical Society in 1931. Here, Turkey's history was thoroughly examined and evaluated.
The New Calendar, Weights and Measures, Holidays and Surname Laws and many other reforms were achieved as well. An example of this is the Weekend Act of 1924, the International Time and Calendar System of 1925, the Obligation Law and Commercial Law of 1926, the System of Measures 1933 and the Surname Act, 1934. According to the law passed by the Grand National Assembly in 1932 Turks took surnames and the Nation's leader was given the surname of Atatürk, "Father of the Turks".
Language Reform: From Ottoman to Turkish
History records few instances of a government's altering the language of its people as drastically and imposing that language as forcefully (and, on balance, as successfully) as in the Turkish case. Atatürk considered language reform to be an essential ingredient in the creation of a new Turkey and of new, modernized Turks, and he viewed the revised Turkish language as one of the ways to create a new national identity.
Within the Ottoman Empire, the Turks were merely one of many linguistic and ethnic groups, and the word Turk in fact connoted crudeness and boorishness. Members of the civil, military, and religious elite conversed and conducted their business in Ottoman Turkish, which was a mixture of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Arabic remained the primary language of religion and religious law. Persian was the language of art, refined literature, and diplomacy. What little Turkish there was usually had to do with the administration of the Ottoman Empire Turkish not only borrowed vocabulary items from Arabic and Persian but also lifted entire expressions and syntactic structures out of these languages and incorporated them into the Ottoman idiom. Thus, pure Turkish survived primarily as the language of the illiterate and generally was not used in writing. Ottoman Turkish, on the other hand, was the language of writing, as well as the language spoken by the educated elite.
Its multiple origins caused difficulties in spelling and writing Ottoman Turkish. The constituent parts - Turkish, Persian, and Arabic - belong to three different language families - Ural-Altaic, Indo-European, and Semitic, respectively - and the writing system fits only the last of these. Phonological, grammatical, and etymological principles are quite different among them.
During the nineteenth century, modernist intellectuals began to call for a reform of the language. They wanted to fashion a language that would be ea***r to use and more purely Turkish. Thus, the principle of Turkish language reform was intimately tied to the reforms of the 1839-78 period. Later in the nineteenth century, the demand for language reform became political. Turkish nationalists sought a language that would unite rather than divide the people. In the writings of Ziya Gökalp (1924), Turkish nationalism was presented as the force uniting all those who were by language and ethnic background Turks.
With the establishment of the republic, Atatürk made language reform an important part of the nationalist program. The goal was to produce a language more Turkish, modern, practical, and precise, and less difficult to learn than the old language. The republican language reform consisted of two basic elements - adoption of a new alphabet and purification of the vocabulary.
The language revolution (Dil Devrimi in Turkish) officially began in 1928. In May 1928, numbers written in Arabic were replaced with their Western equivalents. In November the Grand National Assembly approved the new Latin alphabet that had been devised by a committee of scholars. Many members of the assembly favored gradually introducing the new letters over a period up to five years. Atatürk, however, insisted that the transition last only a few months, and his opinion prevailed. With chalk and a portable blackboard, he traveled throughout the country, giving writing lessons in schools, village squares, and other public places to a people whose illiteracy was suddenly 100 percent. On January 1, 1929, it became unlawful to use the Arabic alphabet.
The new alphabet represents the Turkish vowels and consonants more clearly than does the old alphabet. Composed of Latin letters and a few additional variants, it contains one symbol for each sound of standard Turkish, which was identified as the educated speech of Istanbul. By adopting the Latin alphabet, Turkey turned consciously toward the West, severed a major link with the Islamic world, and rejected a part of its Islamic heritage. By providing the new generation no need and scant opportunity to learn the Arabic letters, the alphabet reform cut them off from the Ottoman past and its culture and value system. Specifically, this new generation could no longer be educated by the traditional establishment of religious scholars.
Non-Turkish words were seen as symbols of the past, and there was great nationalist enthusiasm, supported by government policies, to get rid of them. Purification of the language became a national cause. Dictionaries began to drop Arabic and Persian words and sought to resurrect archaic terms or words from Turkish dialects or to coin new words from old stems and roots to be used in their place. The Turkish Language Society (Türk Dil Kurumu), founded in 1932, supervised the collection and dissemination of Turkish folk vocabulary and folk phrases to be used in place of foreign words. The citizens at large were invited to suggest alternatives to words and expressions of non-Turkish origin, and many responded. In 1934 lists of new Turkish words began to be published, and in 1935 they began to appear in newspapers.
The mid-1930s saw the height of the enthusiasm for language reform, and some of the suggested reforms were so extreme as to endanger the understandability of the language. Although purist and zealot opinion favored the banishment of all words of non-Turkish origin, it became obvious to many that some of the suggested reforms verged on the ridiculous. Atatürk resolved the problem with an ingenious political invention that, though embarrassing to language experts, appealed to the nationalists. He suggested the historically preposterous but politically efficacious Sun- Language Theory, which asserted that Turkish was the "mother of all languages," and therefore all foreign words were originally Turkish. Thus, if a suitable Turkish equivalent for a foreign word could not be found, the loanword could be retained without violating the purity of the Turkish language.
By the late 1940s, considerable opposition to the purification movement had begun to surface. Teachers, writers, poets, journalists, editors, and others began to complain in public about the instability and arbitrariness of the officially sanctioned vocabulary. In 1950 the Turkish Language Society lost its semiofficial status, and eventually some Arabic loanwords began to reappear in government publications.
The long-term effects of the language reform have been positive, but at a price. Reading, spelling, and printing are now infinitely simpler than before, and literacy has spread because of this. Modern Turkish is more concise and direct than Ottoman Turkish, and hence better meets the demands of modern life, including science and technology. The language reform has to some degree closed the language gap that used to exist between the classes of Turkish society, and a certain democratization of language and literature has occurred. The cost, however, has been the drastic and permanent estrangement from the literary and linguistic heritage of the Ottomans. Although some pre-republican writing has been transcribed in the new alphabet, its vocabulary and syntax are now barely understandable to a modern speaker of Turkish. The loss of old words and their rich connotations has resulted in some aesthetic impoverishment of the language.
Language and language reform continued to be political issues in Turkey in the late 1980s. Each decade since Atatürk's death has been characterized by its own particular stance or stances vis-à-vis language reform or support for either a more traditional lexicon or a modern, "Turkified" one abounding in Western loans or indigenous coinages. Not surprisingly, language reform and modern usage were pushed forward during periods of liberal governments and de-emphasized under conservative governments (such as those of the 1980s). As for religious publications, they were not touched much by these reforms and continued to use an idiom that was heavily Arabic or Persian in vocabulary and Persian in syntax. In spite of the fact that coinages lack some of the rich connotations of the older lexicon, modern Turkish prose and poetry came into their own in Kemalist (1923-38) and, especially, post-Kemalist (since 1938) Turkey, as writers and poets created powerful works in this new idiom.
In 1922 the new nationalist regime abolished the Ottoman sultanate, and in 1924 it abolished the caliphate, which the Ottoman sultanate had held for centuries. Thus, for the first time in Islamic history, no ruler claimed the spiritual leadership of Islam; this was still the case in the late 1980s. The withdrawal of Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire, as the presumptive leader of the world Muslim community was symbolic of the change in Turkey's relation to Islam.
Secularism or laicism (Laiklik in Turkish) was one of the "Six Arrows" of Atatürk's blueprint for modern Turkey; these founding principles of the republic, usually referred to as Atatürkism or Kemalism, were the basis for many of the early republican reforms. As Islam had formed the identity of the Ottoman Empire and its subjects, so secularism molded the new Turkish nation and its citizens.
Establishment of secularism in Turkey was a process of distinguishing church from state or the religious from the nonreligious spheres of life. In the Ottoman Empire, all spheres of life were theoretically ruled by religious law, and religious organizations did not exist apart from the state.
The reforms bearing directly on religion were numerous. They included the abolition of the caliphate; abolition of the office of seyhülislam (Islamic ruler); abolition of the religious hierarchy; closing and confiscation of the dervish lodges, meeting places, and monasteries and outlawing of their rituals and meetings; establishment of government control over the Evkaf, which had been inalienable under Sheriat (Islamic rules); replacement of Sheriat with adapted European legal codes; closing of the religious schools (Medresses); changing from the Islamic to the Western calendar; outlawing the fez for men and frowning on the veil for women, both garments associated with religious tradition; and outlawing the traditional garb of local religious leaders.
The nationalist regime made attempts to give religion a more modern and more national form. The state also supported use of Turkish rather than Arabic at devotions and the substitution of the Turkish word Tanri for the Arabic word Allah. The opposition, however, was strong enough to ensure that Arabic remained the language of prayer. In 1932, for example, the government's determination that Turkish be used in the call to prayer from the minarets was not well accepted and in 1934 it returned to the Arabic version of the call to prayer. Most notably, the Hagia Sophia (church of the Holy Wisdom, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's sixth century basilica, which was converted into a mosque by Mehmed II) was made into a museum.
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Turkish War of Independence
During the summer and fall of 1919, with authorization from the Supreme Allied War Council, the Greeks occupied Adrianople (Edirne), Bursa, and Smyrna (Izmir), where a landing was effected under cover of an Allied flotilla that included United States warships. No Turkish opposition was offered, and the Greeks had soon moved as far as Usak, 175 kilometers inland from Izmir.
Military action between Turks and Greeks in Anatolia in 1920 was inconclusive, but the nationalist cause was strengthened the next year by a series of brilliant victories. Twice (in January and again in April) Ismet Pasha defeated the Greek army at Inönü, blocking its advance into the interior of Anatolia. In July, in the face of a third offensive, the Turkish forces fell back in good order to the Sakarya Nehri, eighty kilometers from Ankara, where Atatürk took personal command and decisively defeated the Greeks in a twenty day battle.
An improvement in Turkey's diplomatic situation accompanied military success. Impressed by the viability of the nationalist forces, both France and Italy had withdrawn from Anatolia by October 1921. Treaties were signed that year with the Soviet Union, the first European power to recognize the nationalists, establishing the boundary between the two countries. In 1919 a war broke out between the Turkish nationalists and the newly proclaimed Armenian republic. Armenian resistance was broken by the summer of 1921, and the Kars region was occupied by the Turks. In 1922 the nationalists recognized the Soviet absorption of what remained of the Armenian state, and Armenian minority in Turkey went back to Armenia.
The final drive against the Greeks began in August 1922 with a battle called as the Battle of the Commander in Chief. In September the Turks moved into Izmir, where thousands were killed during the fighting and capture of the city. Greek soldiers who had crowded in Izmir, were taken away by Allied ships, but unfortunately they burned the city before they pulled out in order to leave nothing to the Turks; this was the most tragic event of the war.
The nationalist army then concentrated on driving remaining Greek forces out of eastern Thrace, but the new campaign threatened to put the Turks in direct confrontation with Allied contingents defending access to the straits (Bosphorus and Dardanelles) and in Constantinople (modern Istanbul), where they protected the Ottoman government. French forces pulled out from their positions on the straits, but the British seemed prepared to hold their ground against the advancing Turkish nationalists. A crisis was averted when Atatürk accepted a British - proposed truce that brought an end to fighting in the region between the Turks and the Greeks and also signaled that the Allies were unwilling to intervene on the side of Greece. In compliance with the Armistice of Mudanya (near Bursa), concluded in October, Greek troops withdrew beyond the Maritsa River, allowing the Turkish nationalists to occupy territory up to that line. The armistice accepted a continued Allied presence on the straits and in Istanbul until a comprehensive settlement could be reached.
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited both the Ankara and the Istanbul governments to a conference at Lausanne, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be the only spokesman for Turkey. The action of the Allies prompted a resolution by the Grand National Assembly in November 1922 that separated the offices of sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Istanbul government had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital. In essence, the assembly had abolished the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed VI went into exile on Malta, and his cousin, Abdülmecid, was named caliph.
Turkey was the only power defeated in World War I to negotiate with the Allies as an equal and to influence the provisions of the peace treaty. Ismet Pasha was the chief Turkish negotiator at the Lausanne Conference that opened in November 1922. The National Pact of 1919 was the basis of the Turkish negotiating position, and its provisions were recognized in the treaty concluded by Turkey in July 1923 with the Allied powers. The United States participated in the conference but, because it had never been at war with Turkey, did not sign the treaty.
The Treaty of Lausanne recognized the present-day territory of Turkey with two exceptions: the Mossul area and Hatay Province, which included the port of Alexandretta (present-day Iskenderun). The boundary with Ir** was settled by a League of Nations initiative in 1926, and Iskenderun was ceded to Turkey in 1939 by France in its capacity as League of Nations mandatory power for Syria. Detailed provisions of the treaty regulated use of the straits. General supervisory powers were given to the Straits Commission under the League of Nations, and the straits area was to be demilitarized after completion of the Allied withdrawal. Turkey was to hold the presidency of the commission, which included the Soviet Union among its members.
The capitulations and foreign administration of the Ottoman public debt, which infringed on the sovereignty of Turkey, were abolished. Turkey, however, assumed 40 percent of the Ottoman debt, the remainder being apportioned among other former Ottoman territories. Turkey was also required to maintain low tariffs on imports from signatory powers until 1929. The Treaty of Lausanne reaffirmed the equality of Muslim and non-Muslim Turkish nationals. Turkey and Greece agreed to a mandatory exchange of their respective Greek and Turkish minorities with the exception of some Greeks in Istanbul and Turks in western Thrace.
On October 29, 1923, the Grand National Assembly proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk was named as its President, Ankara as its capital, and the modern state of Turkey was born.
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