Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Commander of the Moslem

Story of an Absolute Dictator: Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Part 2.

You may read Part 1:

On June 13, 1921, The Greek King Constantine arrived to Izmir with an army of fresh 85,000 strong, and on August 13, the Greek army launched an offensive toward Ankara where Mustafa Kemal had his headquarter.

There was panic in Ankara and Kemal got himself the rank of “Generalissimo” or Field-marshal, a rank reserved for the Sultan. Kemal decided that the last natural defensive line, 100 km from Ankara, would be River Sakarya.

During 22 days and nights the battle raged, and on Sept. 11, the Greek army retreated.

For an entire year, the military lines were stable and quiet. Finally, on August 26, 1922, Kemal launched his counter-offensive and recaptured the cities of Aydin, Manisa, Usak…

By September 9, the troops of Kemal entered Izmir. On Oct. 11, the Greek navy repatriated its troops.

The French ambassador Franklin Bouillon announced the retreat of the French mandated power from the region of Cilicia.

Shortly after, Kemal abolished the Sultan political system and replaced it with a Republic. He forced the hands of opposition in the Parliament in majority to vote against the Sultanat.

The Ottoman monarch, his extended family members and his retinue found their civil list of stipends drastically reduced.

The institution of Caliph of the Commander of the Moslem believers was not cancelled, not yet.

Caliph Abdul Majid, around 55 of age, was gaining popularity from all the strata of society.

In the meantime, Kemal was losing support.

1. He had divorced his wife Latifa Hanoun

2. His cousin Fikryeh was licked out when she payed him visit, and she was found dead from a pistol shot in a ditch the next day

3. He erected a large statue of himself in Ankara, a decision that no Sultan ever contemplated for fear of contradicting the religious connotation of idolatry

4. Kemal toured the night bars daily and was a drunk addict…

Caliph Abdel Majid asked to increase the stipend commensurate to the Caliph position. Kemal replied”

“A Caliph must lead a modest life, and this religious position is but a historic relics that its existence is no longer justified…”

Many dailies maintained that the Caliphat was a treasure to Turkey toward the millions of Moslem around the world. By diminishing the stature of the Caliph, the 10 million Turks would be viewed by the European countries as a small State.

It happened that the Agha Khan of the Ismaeli community around the world, and residing in London,  published a letter in 3 Istambul dailies reading:

“The position of the Commander of Believers must be insured the esteem and the confidence of the Islamic nations…”  That was like pouring oil on the fire.

Kemal cried treason instigated by foreign powers. He voted on “Treason Law” that stipulated that whoever manifests against the Republic will be hanged.

Two months later, Kemal paid a visit to Izmir to supervise a big military maneuver, and discussed for days with his military chiefs. The military agreed to rally Kemal against the position of Caliph.

On Feb. 27, the Kemalist movement demanded the abolition of the Caliphat.

On March 3, after a week of mass protests, the Great Assembly in Ankara voted by “raised hands” to send into exile the Caliph and all the family princes and princesses, never to return. He allocated 1,000 gold coin to every family member, a sum that barely covered a few months in exile. The Ottoman monarchy was given 3 days to leave Turkey, for no return.

The Caliph opted to be transferred to Switzerland. Other members settled in Beirut (Lebanon) on the ground that cosmopolitan Beirut is very close to Turkey, and they will be returning very shortly…

Note 1: Part of Ataturk biography was taken from Kenize Mourad book “From the Departed Princess“. Mourad published several books on her origin and was a specialist grand reporter in Middle-East affairs and India subcontinent for over 12 years.

Note 2: The Moslems in India were the most vocal and marched against the British mandated power for backing the elimination of the institution of Caliph. Gandhi backed and rallied the Moslem demands to have a Caliph.




June 2023

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