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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.

Story of Turkish dictator Mustapha Kemal “Ataturk”: As in Kenize Mourad book (Part 1)

The young general, Mustapha Kemal, was the hero of Turkey during WWI. He was the only military leader who successfully confronted two foreign armies:

1. Against the counsel of his superiors, Kemal defied the British troops and prevented them from occupying the Capital Istanbul. The British were getting ready to push forward from the Dardanelles and Kemal’s under equipped and outnumbered army stopped the British in Gallipoli.

2. Kemal recaptured the two cities of Bitlis and Mouch from the Czarist Russian armies (where genocides against Armenians were taking place by the Turkish troops).

Mustapha Kemal was nicknamed by the members of the royal women “Golden Rose” because of his blond hair.

Kemal was Albanian by origin and born in Salonika. His father was a low level custom employee in the Ottoman Empire.

Mustapha was considered handsome and arrogant. He enjoyed light skin, high cheek bones, blue eyes, and blond hair…

Sultan Vahiddedine liked to ask his judgement on the spirit of the army and listen to his non conformist opinions: the then young colonel was his aid de camp while visiting the Kaiser of Germany in 1917.

He had asked the hand of the Sultan’s favorite daughter Sabiha Sultan, and was eventually turned down while resuming the fight in Anatolia.

On March 16, 1920, the allied forces occupied Istanbul under the command of the British general Sir Charles Harington, nicknamed Gen. Tim.

The Turkish soldiers and officers left the capital and joined the resistance army in Anatolia under the command of Mustapha Kemal.

The occupying forces placed warning signs of “Death to anyone who hides a rebel” and the military police was after the woman author  and orator Halide Edib.

Former ministers and high officials were exiled to Malta.

While Kemal was organizing the resistance in Anatolia, Sabiha Sultana was wed to the Ottoman prince Omer Farouk.  Omer was from the branch in the royal family that was deposed by a military coup by the Young Turks officers.  He served as an imperial guard to the Prussian emperor and fought on the western front.

As Omer returned to Istanbul, he was attached as “aide de camp” to the Sultan and met with Sabiha and they fell crazily in love. The wedding put an end to the rivalry between the Abdul Mejid and Abu Aziz royal families.

The British pressured the Sultan to declare Kemal a traitor and to dispatch a Caliphate army to squelch the resisting Turkish army in Anatolia.  The caliphate army has initial successes but was defeated by Kemal’s army.

Mustapha was getting ready to try an attempt to reoccupy Istanbul, but the Greek army launched 8 divisions and Kemal’s army had to retreat.

In January 1920, Ismet Pasha blocked the advances of the Greek armies.

The Turkish peasants were very suspicious of Atatuk: They could not believe that Kemal was resisting to preserve the Caliphate and refused to cooperate.

Ataturk tried to lure the hereditary prince Abdul Medjid to ally with him. The prince wavered long enough for the British to get wind of the project and confined the prince to house arrest.

Prince Omer Farouk, the nationalist “Thunder”, managed to land in Anatolia, but Ataturk thanked him in a letter dispatched from Ankara and sent him packing to Istanbul.

The peace treaty signed in Versailles allocated the eastern part of Turkey to the new State of Armenia, part of the western region to Greece, particularly the city of Izmir, the southern regions of mostly Kurds were placed under French mandated power, and Istanbul was placed under international mandate.

Eventually, Mustapha Kemal counter attacked and regained all the Turkish territories that the peace treaty signed in Versailles dismembered Turkey of.

As  “Ataturk” (father of the Turks) snatched power by driving the Greek troops out of Turkey and all the foreign occupying armies vacated Turkey, the new dictator set about to enforce a secular State on the Turkish people:

1. He abolished the Caliphate and forced secular institutions

2.  Forbade women to veil their faces in public institutions

3. Forced the Latin characters to substitute the Arabic alphabet

4. Pressured France to cede the Syrian province of Iskandaroun to Turkey, which was renamed Hatai. France failed to keep its responsibility as a mandated power over Syria to retain the territory intact from foreign powers.

5. Ataturk burned the Christian houses and enterprises in Iskandarone and forced the Christian Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian to transfer to Syria and Lebanon.

6. This dictator moved the capital of Turkey to Ankara. In this quaint village, Ataturk built the government ministries and institutions and transferred the public employees to Ankara.

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 French and Italian troops in Istanbul tacitly aided the resistance forces to steal weapons from the warehouses and cooperated in smuggling arms and ammunition to Ataturk army. Why?

France was upset that England got effective mandated power over Turkey, rich oil Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine. France was allocated just mandated power over Syria, completely surrounded by British power.

Italy was expecting to get the city of Izmir and its province, but England turned this city over to the Greek troops.

How the British Empire managed to occupy the “Jewel Crown” India? Simple…

The British Empire, under its trading consortium of “Company of the Orient in India“, managed to militarily displace the French company in south-east India.

The British dominion started after the victory of Plassey in June 23, 1757.

Before the arrival of the British, the powerful and splendid Mogul Empire that dominated India, and current Pakistan and Afghanistan for over 250 years (the descendant of Timor Lank).

By the 18th century, Mogul Empire was nominally in power:The various States were ruled by local Maharajah, kings, rana, and Shahs….

In 1737, the Persian Nader Shah entered Delhi and transferred the famous Peacock (Paon) throne to Persia. and the famous diamond crown Koh-i-noor. This throne is currently in the palace of Golestan at Tehran.

Ten years later, the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durani entered also Delhi and annexed the northern Indian regions. For the next 30 years, warlords (Muslim and Hindu) carved out “independent States”.

In 1788, another Afghan invader Ghulam Kadir blinded the eyes of the reigning emperor Shah Alam for refusing to deliver the location of the treasure.

Many Mahrattes filled the void and occupied Delhi and it was pandemonium for 15 years.

In 1803, England was trying hard to topple the French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and was facing a long protracted war against this “people State” that damaged the old aristocratic and royal structure. And England wanted plenty of money to resume this war.

The British Empire stepped in India, entered Delhi and “restored order” and got the treasures. How the British managed to rule most of India within a century, except the northern State of Awadh, current Uttra Pradesh province?

The strategy is to sign treaties with Mogul local emperors, administering the State, controlling the budget, and allowing the emperors to be splendid masters in their restrictive palaces and citadels.And why the local leaders would agree to such binding treaties? Simple

Basically, all these kingdoms were fragile and unstable, and frequently deposed or displaced by local warlords. The best strategy for these Maharajah was to sign an alliance with the British and secure their hold on power.

Consequently, the pretenders to any throne had to negotiate with the British General Resident in Calcutta, through the State Resident, if any change is to be successful. And the local rajahs paid their dues to maintain their power over the other contending taluqdars and nawabs in their State

It was through the direct engagement with local emperors and promises to safeguard their power in their own States that the British managed to occupy all of India within a century from 1756 to 1856. The British annexed two-third of India and three-fourth of the population.

Now it was the turn to directly annex the last richest northern State of Awadh, with capital Lucknow.

In 1856, England was having hard time dislodging the Russians from the port city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The French, British, and Turkish alliance suffered large casualties for three years, and mainly from diseases.

Her Majesty Victoria needed money badly, and the State of Awadh was next in line to be directly occupied. Wajid Ali Shah was the reigning king.

This intervention generated two years of popular uprising in all the norther and central States, and Hazrat Mahal was the soul of the revolution. The real name of this queen was Muhammadi and she was the fourth wife of the kind and got him a son Bisjis Qadar. That’s the follow up story.

Every time London needed money badly, the British governor, residing in Calcutta, would claim a clause in the treaty was not fulfilled, and the State was occupied. Lands “belonging” to rajahs and taluqdar were “distributed” to the people, taxes raised, and then real estate and traders stepped in to repurchase the lands for cheap and pay the required easy money to the British Governor and his Resident in a State. Palaces and their treasuries were confiscated… More on the atrocities committed by the British invaders in the next book review.

The dominion of the British was not mainly due to its organized army or its better weapons.

1. The British army, 12,000 strong, was annihilated after three years of confrontation in Afghanistan in 1842. The British tried again a few decades later and was crushed again.

2. The British army was unable to control the Waziristan provinces (in current western Pakistan) and had to draw a fictional border line, the Durant Line along the mountain chain tops, to separate the new Pakistan State and Afghanistan. This is the same province that prevented the Macedonian Alexander the “Great” from crossing through.

3. The British army was mainly constituted of Sikhs (hateful of everything called Islam), Gurkhas from Nepal, and the Indian cipays soldiers who were never promoted to any officer ranks, even after decades of services and engaging in many battles.

4. When the British confiscated the lands of the rajjahs… these feudal lords instigated the peasants to revolt against the infidel occupying forces until the General Governor returned most of the lands.

Fact is, the maharajahs feared their people far more than the British forces and they were allied with the colonial power against their wretched people…

Note: Post inspired from the French book “In the City of Gold and Silver” by Kenize Mourad




March 2023

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