EMERGENCE OF MODERN TURKEY MUSTAFA KHEMAL PASHA

1. Turkey touched the nadir of her humiliation when she was made to sign the treaty of Sevres in 1920.

2. The treaty had stripped her of almost all her possessions so that her empire was reduced to the mountainous region of Anatolia and a small corner of Europe.

3. The unusually harsh terms of the treaty shocked the Turks into immediate action. Their leader was Mustapha khemal who smashed the elaborate structure built by the victorious allied powers at Sevres.

4. Born at Salonika in 1880 to Albanian parents Mustapha at an early age took up a soldier’s life at the staff school at Constantinople.

5. Here he obtained the name of khemal.

6. This means perfection for his proficiency in mathematics. He developed into a first-rate soldier and at the same time evinced keen interest on the study of
revolutionary literature.

7. He came to detest the sultan’s autocratic government and for a time joined the party of the young Turks. But he disliked their muddled politics and intrigues and so in 1919 he went to France to study army maneuvers.

8. On coming back he proved his military abilities by taking a prominent part in his country’s wars against Italy and the Balkan powers (1912-13).

9. But what definitely established his reputation as an able military commander was his successful repulse of the British attack on Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War.

10. When the war was over and the allies imposed upon turkey the humiliating terms of the treaty of Sevres, khemal felt extremely chagrined.

11. He sought to persuade sultans Muhammad VI to resist the allies and he offered to lead the army against the Greeks.

12. But the Turkish authorities were too timid to take any risk.

13. So khemal in anger resigned his command in Palestine and hastened to Constantinople.

14. But the sultan’s government sought to get him out of the way by transferring him to Anatolia as Inspector general in charge of thedemobilization operation.

15. Khemal was not the man to be baffled in this way.

16. He went to Anatolia but instead of disbanding the army he organized it.

17. Then he set up a nationalist party called the people‘s party with the motto “Turkey for the Turks” this party met in two congresses and drew up a national pact containing provisions which practically amounted to refusal to accept the Sevres treaty.

18. This pact was endorsed by a Constantinople parliament which had a nationalist majority but the allies completely ignored the pact and a British army marched into Constantinople, proclaimed material law, and summoned a Grand National assembly at Ankara and proclaimed it to be the sole representative of the Turkish Nation.

19. The assembly elected khemal to be its president and made him the commander in chief of the national army.

20. Thus was set up parallel Turkish government with Ankara as its headquarters. Khemal was to give a lead to the nation, which the sultan had failed to do.

21. Khemal’s first act was to clear the country of foreign troops. He compelled the Italian troops to quit southern Anatolia and expelled the French troops from Cilicia.

22. By a friendly arrangement with soviet Russian khemal secured the surrender of kars and Carnahan. He then overthrew the recently established Armenian republic

 

Khemal and the Greeks

1. The Greeks had secured valuable gains by the Treaty of Sevres and so were keenly interested in enforcing its terms.

2. They had expelled the Turks from Thrace and occupied Smyrna.

3. They looked with concern at the possibility of the revival of Turkish power under khemal’s leadership and so were eager to smash the nationalist Turks in their stronghold in Anatolia.

4. In this project they were encouraged by the British government which offered them moral and financial support. In 1921 they began their great offensive and pushed on towards Ankara.

5. But they were checked by the stony and waterless plateau around Ankara and were repulsed with great loss by Mustapha khemal. It was a complete and colossal disaster.

6. Khemal then captures Smyrna and gave it up to the flames. He expelled not only the Greek soldiers but every Greek inhabitant from Asia Minor.

7. Flushed with success khemal wanted to cross the straits in order to expel the Greeks from thrace. But British warships guarded the straits and Lloyd George threatened war if the khemalists would attempt to cross into Europe. An AngloTurkish conflict seemed imminent.

8. But it was averted and khemal was persuaded to conclude an armistice (1922).

9. The Grand National Assembly then decreed the abolition of the sultanate and Muhammad VI fled to Malta on board a British ship.

10. Next year turkey was declared a republic and the assembly unanimously elected khemal as its first president.

 

Treaty of Lausanne

1. Khemal’s resounding victory over the Greeks compelled the allied power to revise the treaty of Sevres and they met at Lausanne in 1923 to make a new treaty to meet altered conditions.

2. By the treaty of Lausanne, turkey regained eastern thrace including the city of Adrianople. Constantinople was also restored to her.

3. Capitulations were abolished, foreign control of customs was lifted and so restrictions were placed on turkey’s military, naval and air forces.

4. Turkey consented to the demilitarization of the straits and gave up all claims to her Asiatic and African possessions.

5. This treaty was a great triumph for Mustapha khemal and great humiliation for the great powers of Europe. In everything except demilitarizing the straits, khemal was strong enough to secure what he wanted.

6. His firmness enabled turkey to escape onerous foreign control that had been imposed on all other ex-enemy powers.

 

Reforms of Mustapha Khemal

1. Khemal was a man of courage and determination and he used his authority in introducing wide sweeping reforms that touched every aspect of the life of the people.

2. He tore off his country from its ancient mooring and placed it in a new setting modeled on European systems.

3. He had to face strong local opposition from the conservative section of the people but he brushed it aside and went on with his plan of modernizing turkey.

4. The two most revolutionary changes which he effected were the abandonment of Constantinople as capital and the establishment of a secular state.

5. As the old capital was vulnerable he removed it to the impregnable hill fastness of  Ankara.

6. The caliphate had traditional associations with monarchy and so khemal looked upon it as an incongruity in the new set-up and abolished it in 1924.

7. The state was secularized by the disestablishment of Islam as a state religion.
Henceforth Islam became a private and not a public concern.

8. The secular character of the state was emphasized by the abolition of the old legal system based on the sheriat or holy law and by the introduction of new legal codes based on western systems.

9. Equally sweeping were the changes which khemal introduced in the social life of the people.

10. These included the abolition of polygamy, civil marriage, emancipation of women and the introduction of European dress. Khemal encouraged education both primary and secondary and set up a public school in every sizable town.

11. Adult education was promoted and all Turks under forty years of age were made to take lessons in reading and writing.

12. An important change in the educational system was the introduction of the Latin
alphabet.

13. Khemal did much to develop the economic resources of turkey. His government-subsidized agriculture by the free grant of cattle and ploughs to deserving families. Agricultural colleges were set up and agricultural banks started to lend money to farmers.

14. Model farms were set where the latest agricultural machinery was exhibited. Khemal had his own model farm on which he himself worked, driving his own tractor.

15. Steps were also taken to industrialize the country. In 1929 the government launched a twelve year public works plan providing for projects and reclamation of lands.

16. In 1934 a five year plan was adopted for promoting large scale industrialization. It provided for the establishment of factories both private and state owned, development of hydro-electric power, and the working of mines.

17. Foreign capital and industrial undertakings were national concerns care was taken to safeguard turkey’s political and economic independence.

 

Foreign Relations

1. At first khemal was suspicious of the western powers because of the harsh treatment meted out to turkey after the First World War.

2. Hence he was drawn into friendly relation with the Soviet Union. In 1925 he concluded a treaty of mutual guarantee and neutrality with Russia.

3. But he disliked the propaganda of the Russian communists and their subversive activities and so gradually veered round to the west and joined the League of Nations in 1932.

4. Next he cemented diplomatic friendships with most of the neighbours of turkey.

5. In 1934 he made turkey a party to the Balkan pact with Greece, Rumania and Yugoslavia.

6. This was followed by an eastern pact by which turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan promised to abstain from interference in one another’s internal affairs and to consult on matters of international concern.

7. Turkey’s pacific attitude won the sympathy of the western powers and they acceded to her request to refortify the straits demilitarized by the treaty of Lausanne.

8. Thus was removed the last vestige of foreign influence.

9. Khemal assumed the surname of Ataturk or father of the Turks which was suggested to him by the assembly. He fully deserved the title. His achievements form a brilliant record.

10. Alone and unaided he had defied the great powers of Europe, tore up the hated treaty of Sevres, and imposed upon them the treaty of Lausanne.

11. By getting rid of the so- called capitulations he freed turkey from foreign tutelage his social and economic reforms revitalized turkey and made her a modern, progressive nation.

12. Turkey is no longer the “Sick man of Europe” but a proud self-reliant state courted by all the great powers.

13. Khemal died in 1938 and all turkey went in mourning for the Ataturk.

 

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