1918 Jan 1
, Moudros

In the summer months of 1918, the leaders of the Central Powers realized that World War I was lost, including the Ottomans'. Almost simultaneously the Palestinian Front and then the Macedonian Front collapsed. First on the Palestine Front, Ottoman armies were soundly defeated by the British. Taking command of the Seventh Army, Mustafa Kemal Pasha accomplished an orderly retreat across hundreds of kilometers of hostile territory to escape from superior British manpower, firepower, and airpower. Edmund Allenby's weeks long conquest of the Levant was devastating, but the sudden decision by Bulgaria to sign an armistice cut communications from Constantinople (İstanbul) to Vienna and Berlin, and opened the undefended Ottoman capital to Entente attack.

With the major fronts crumbling, Grand Vizier Talât Pasha intended to sign an armistice, and resigned on 8 October 1918 so that a new government would receive less harsh armistice terms. The Armistice of Mudros was signed on 30 October 1918, ending World War I for the Ottoman Empire. Three days later, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)—which governed the Ottoman Empire as a one-party state since 1913—held its last congress, where it was decided the party would be dissolved. Talât, Enver Pasha, Cemal Pasha, and five other high-ranking members of the CUP escaped the Ottoman Empire on a German torpedo boat later that night, plunging the country into a power vacuum.

The armistice was signed because the Ottoman Empire had been defeated in important fronts, but the military was intact and retreated in good order. Unlike other Central Powers, the Ottoman Army was not mandated to dissolve its general staff in the armistice. Though the army suffered from mass desertion through out the war which lead to banditry, no mutinies or revolutions were threatening the country's collapse like in Germany, Austria-Hungary, or Russia. Due to the Turkish nationalist policies pursued by the CUP against Ottoman Christians and the dismemberment of the Arab provinces, by 1918 the Ottoman Empire held control over a mostly homogeneous land of Muslim Turks (and Kurds) from Eastern Thrace to the Persian border, though with sizable Greek and Armenian minorities still within its borders.


Partition of the Ottoman Empire

1918 Oct 30 - 1922 Nov 1
, Turkey

The partition of the Ottoman Empire (30 October 1918 – 1 November 1922) was a geopolitical event that occurred after World War I and the occupation of Istanbul by British, French and Italian troops in November 1918. The partitioning was planned in several agreements made by the Allied Powers early in the course of World War I, notably the Sykes–Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire had joined Germany to form the Ottoman–German Alliance. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamic state in geopolitical, cultural and ideological terms. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the war led to the domination of the Middle East by Western powers such as Britain and France, and saw the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish National Movement but did not become widespread in the other post-Ottoman states until the period of rapid decolonization after World War II.

British occupation forces at the port of Karaköy, in front of the coastal tram line. The art nouveau style building in the background is the Turkish Maritime Lines headquarters.

Occupation of Istanbul

1918 Nov 12 - 1923 Oct 4
, İstanbul

The occupation of Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, by British, French, Italian, and Greek forces, took place in accordance with the Armistice of Mudros, which ended Ottoman participation in the First World War. The first French troops entered the city on 12 November 1918, followed by British troops the next day. 1918 saw the first time the city had changed hands since the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Along with the Occupation of Smyrna, it spurred the establishment of the Turkish National Movement, leading to the Turkish War of Independence.

Allied troops occupied zones based on the existing divisions of Istanbul and set up an Allied military administration early in December 1918. The occupation had two stages: the initial phase in accordance with the Armistice gave way in 1920 to a more formal arrangement under the Treaty of Sèvres. Ultimately, the Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923, led to the end of the occupation. The last troops of the Allies departed from the city on 4 October 1923, and the first troops of the Ankara government, commanded by Şükrü Naili Pasha (3rd Corps), entered the city with a ceremony on 6 October 1923, which has been marked as the Liberation Day of Istanbul and is commemorated every year on its anniversary.

Turkish nationalist militias in Cilicia

Cilicia Campaign

1918 Nov 17
, Mersin

The first landing took place on 17 November 1918 at Mersin with roughly 15,000 men, mainly volunteers from the French Armenian Legion, accompanied by 150 French officers. The first goals of that expeditionary force were to occupy ports and dismantle the Ottoman administration. On 19 November, Tarsus was occupied in order to secure the surroundings and prepare for the establishment of headquarters in Adana. After the occupation of Cilicia proper at the end of 1918, French troops occupied the Ottoman provinces of Antep, Marash and Urfa in southern Anatolia at the end of 1919, taking them over from British troops as agreed. In the regions they occupied, the French encountered immediate resistance from the Turkish, especially because they had associated themselves with Armenian objectives. The French soldiers were foreign to the region and were using Armenian militia to acquire their intelligence. Turkish nationals had been in cooperation with Arab tribes in this area. Compared to the Greek threat, the French seemed less dangerous to Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who suggested that, if the Greek threat could be overcome, the French would not hold its territories in Turkey, especially as they mainly wanted to settle in Syria.

Franco-Turkish War

Franco-Turkish War

1918 Dec 7 - 1921 Oct 20
, Mersin

The Franco–Turkish War, known as the Cilicia Campaign in France and as the Southern Front of the Turkish War of Independence in Turkey, was a series of conflicts fought between France (the French Colonial Forces and the French Armenian Legion) and the Turkish National Forces (led by the Turkish provisional government after 4 September 1920) from December 1918 to October 1921 in the aftermath of World War I. French interest in the region stemmed from the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and was further fueled by the refugee crisis following the Armenian genocide.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha in 1918, then an Ottoman army general.

Mustafa Kemal

1919 Apr 30
, İstanbul

With Anatolia in practical anarchy and the Ottoman army being questionably loyal in reaction to Allied land seizures Mehmed VI established the military inspectorate system to reestablish authority over the remaining empire. Encouraged by Karabekir and Edmund Allenby, he assigned Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) as the inspector of the Ninth Army Troops Inspectorate –based in Erzurum– to restore order to Ottoman military units and to improve internal security on 30 April 1919. Mustafa Kemal was a well known, well respected, and well connected army commander, with much prestige coming from his status as the "Hero of Anafartalar"—for his role in the Gallipoli Campaign—and his title of "Honorary Aide-de-camp to His Majesty Sultan" gained in the last months of World War I. He was a nationalist and a fierce critic of the government's accommodating policy to the Entente powers. Even though he was a member of the CUP, he frequently clashed with the Central Committee during war and was therefore sidelined to the periphery of power, meaning he was the most legitimate nationalist for Mehmed VI to placate. In this new political climate, he sought to capitalize on his war exploits to attain a better job, indeed several times he unsuccessfully lobbied for his inclusion in cabinet as War Minister. His new assignment gave him effective plenipotentiary powers over all of Anatolia which was meant to accommodate him and other nationalists to keep them loyal to the government.

Mustafa Kemal had earlier declined to become the leader of the Sixth Army headquartered in Nusaybin. But according to Patrick Balfour, through manipulation and the help of friends and sympathizers, he became the inspector of virtually all of the Ottoman forces in Anatolia, tasked with overseeing the disbanding process of remaining Ottoman forces. Kemal had an abundance of connections and personal friends concentrated in the post-armistice Ottoman War Ministry, a powerful tool that would help him accomplish his secret goal: to lead a nationalist movement against the Allied powers and a collaborative Ottoman government.

The day before his departure to Samsun on the remote Black Sea coast, Kemal had one last audience with Mehmed VI. He pledged his loyalty to the sultan-caliph and they were also informed of the occupation of Smyrna (İzmir) by the Greeks. He and his carefully selected staff left Constantinople aboard the old steamer SS Bandırma on the evening of 16 May 1919.

Arrival of Crown Prince George in Smyrna, 1919

Greco-Turkish War

1919 May 15 - 1922 Oct 11
, Smyrna

The Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922 was fought between Greece and the Turkish National Movement during the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, between May 1919 and October 1922.

The Greek campaign was launched primarily because the western Allies, particularly British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, had promised Greece territorial gains at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, recently defeated in World War I. Greek claims stemmed from the fact that Anatolia had been part of Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire before the Turks conquered the area in the 12th-15th centuries. The armed conflict started when the Greek forces landed in Smyrna (now İzmir), on 15 May 1919. They advanced inland and took control of the western and northwestern part of Anatolia, including the cities of Manisa, Balıkesir, Aydın, Kütahya, Bursa, and Eskişehir. Their advance was checked by Turkish forces at the Battle of the Sakarya in 1921. The Greek front collapsed with the Turkish counter-attack in August 1922, and the war effectively ended with the recapture of Smyrna by Turkish forces and the great fire of Smyrna.

As a result, the Greek government accepted the demands of the Turkish National Movement and returned to its pre-war borders, thus leaving Eastern Thrace and Western Anatolia to Turkey. The Allies abandoned the Treaty of Sèvres to negotiate a new treaty at Lausanne with the Turkish National Movement. The Treaty of Lausanne recognized the independence of the Republic of Turkey and its sovereignty over Anatolia, Istanbul, and Eastern Thrace. The Greek and Turkish governments agreed to engage in a population exchange.

Greek 'evzone' soldiers stationed in Smyrna (Izmir) as the Greek population welcomes them into the city on 15 May 1919.

Greek landing at Smyrna

1919 May 15
, Smyrna

Most historians mark the Greek landing at Smyrna on 15 May 1919 as the start date of the Turkish War of Independence as well as the start of the Kuva-yi Milliye Phase. The occupation ceremony from the outset was tense from nationalist fervor, with Ottoman Greeks greeting the soldiers with an ecstatic welcome, and Ottoman Muslims protesting the landing. A miscommunication in Greek high command lead to an Evzone column marching by the municipal Turkish barracks. The nationalist journalist Hasan Tahsin fired the "first bullet" at the Greek standard bearer at the head of the troops, turning the city into a warzone. Süleyman Fethi Bey was murdered by bayonet for refusing to shout "Zito Venizelos" (meaning "long live Venizelos"), and 300–400 unarmed Turkish soldiers and civilians and 100 Greek soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded.

Greek troops moved from Smyrna outwards to towns on the Karaburun peninsula; to Selçuk, situated a hundred kilometres south of Smyrna at a key location that commands the fertile Küçük Menderes River valley; and to Menemen towards the north. Guerilla warfare commenced in the countryside, as Turks began to organize themselves into irregular guerilla groups known as Kuva-yi Milliye (national forces), which were soon joined by deserting Ottoman soldiers. Most Kuva-yi Milliye bands were between 50 and 200 people strong and were led by known military commanders as well as members of the Special Organization. The Greek troops based in cosmopolitan Smyrna soon found themselves conducting counterinsurgency operations in a hostile, dominantly Muslim hinterland. Groups of Ottoman Greeks also formed Greek nationalist militias and cooperated with the Greek Army to combat Kuva-yi Milliye within the zone of control. What was intended as an uneventful occupation of the Vilayet of Aydin soon became a counterinsurgency.

The reaction of Greek landing at Smyrna and continued Allied seizures of land served to destabilize Turkish civil society. The Turkish bourgeoisie trusted the Allies to bring peace, and thought the terms offered at Mudros were considerably more lenient than they actually were. Pushback was potent in the capital, with 23 May 1919 being largest of the Sultanahmet Square demonstrations by Turks in Constantinople against the Greek occupation of Smyrna, the largest act of civil disobedience in Turkish history at that point.

Organizing resistance

Organizing resistance

1919 May 19
, Samsun

Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his colleagues stepped ashore in Samsun on 19 May and set up their first quarters in the Mıntıka Palace Hotel. British troops were present in Samsun, and he initially maintained cordial contact. He had assured Damat Ferid about the army's loyalty towards the new government in Constantinople. However behind the government's back, Kemal made the people of Samsun aware of the Greek and Italian landings, staged discreet mass meetings, made fast connections via telegraph with the army units in Anatolia, and began to form links with various nationalist groups. He sent telegrams of protest to foreign embassies and the War Ministry about British reinforcements in the area and about British aid to Greek brigand gangs. After a week in Samsun, Kemal and his staff moved to Havza. It was there that he first showed the flag of the resistance.

Mustafa Kemal wrote in his memoir that he needed nationwide support to justify armed resistance against the Allied occupation. His credentials and the importance of his position were not enough to inspire everyone. While officially occupied with the disarming of the army, he met with various contacts in order to build his movement's momentum. He met with Rauf Pasha, Karabekir Pasha, Ali Fuat Pasha, and Refet Pasha and issued the Amasya Circular (22 June 1919). Ottoman provincial authorities were notified via telegraph that the unity and independence of the nation was at risk, and that the government in Constantinople was compromised. To remedy this, a congress was to take place in Erzurum between delegates of the Six Vilayets to decide on a response, and another congress would take place in Sivas where every Vilayet should send delegates. Sympathy and an lack of coordination from the capital gave Mustafa Kemal freedom of movement and telegraph use despite his implied anti-government tone.

On 23 June, High Commissioner Admiral Calthorpe, realising the significance of Mustafa Kemal's discreet activities in Anatolia, sent a report about the Pasha to the Foreign Office. His remarks were downplayed by George Kidson of the Eastern Department. Captain Hurst of the British occupation force in Samsun warned Admiral Calthorpe one more time, but Hurst's units were replaced with the Brigade of Gurkhas. When the British landed in Alexandretta, Admiral Calthorpe resigned on the basis that this was against the armistice that he had signed and was assigned to another position on 5 August 1919. The movement of British units alarmed the population of the region and convinced them that Mustafa Kemal was right.

Ataturk and the Turkish National Movement.

Turkish National Movement

1919 Jun 22 - 1923 Oct 29
, Anatolia

The Movement for the Defence of National Rights, also known as the Turkish National Movement encompasses the political and military activities of the Turkish revolutionaries that resulted in the creation and shaping of the modern Republic of Turkey, as a consequence of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and the subsequent occupation of Constantinople and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the Allies under the terms of the Armistice of Mudros. The Turkish revolutionaries rebelled against this partitioning and against the Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920 by the Ottoman government, which partitioned portions of Anatolia itself.

This establishment of an alliance of Turkish revolutionaries during the partitioning resulted in the Turkish War of Independence, the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate on 1 November 1922 and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. The movement organized itself into the Association for the Defence of National Rights of Anatolia and Rumeli, which eventually declared that the only source of governance for the Turkish people would be the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The movement was created in 1919 through a series of agreements and conferences throughout Anatolia and Thrace. The process was aimed to unite independent movements around the country to build a common voice and is attributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as he was the primary spokesperson, public figure, and military leader of the movement.

Saraydüzü Casern in Amasya (currently undergoing reconstruction) where Amasya Circular was prepared and telegraphed across Turkey

Amasya Circular

1919 Jun 22
, Amasya

Amasya Circular was a joint circular issued on 22 June 1919 in Amasya, Sivas Vilayet by Fahri Yaver-i Hazret-i Şehriyari ("Honorary Aide-de-camp to His Majesty Sultan"), Mirliva Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Inspector of the Ninth Army Inspectorate), Rauf Orbay (former Naval Minister), Miralay Refet Bele (Commander of the III Corps stationed at Sivas) and Mirliva Ali Fuat Cebesoy (Commander of the XX Corps stationed at Ankara). And during the whole meeting, Ferik Cemal Mersinli (Inspector of the Second Army Inspectorate) and Mirliva Kâzım Karabekir (Commander of the XV Corps stationed at Erzurum) were consulted with telegraphs.

This circular is considered as the first written document putting the Turkish War of Independence in motion. The circular, distributed across Anatolia, declared Turkey's independence and integrity to be in danger and called for a national conference to be held in Sivas (Sivas Congress) and before that, for a preparatory congress comprising representatives from the eastern provinces of Anatolia to be held in Erzurum in July (Erzurum Congress).

Greek occupation of Asia Minor.

Battle of Aydın

1919 Jun 27 - Jul 4
, Aydın

The Battle of Aydın was a series of wide-scale armed conflicts during the initial stage of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) in and around the city of Aydın in western Turkey. The battle resulted in the burning of several quarters of the city (primarily Turkish, but also Greek) and massacres which resulted in the deaths of several thousand Turkish and Greek soldiers and civilians. The city of Aydın remained in ruins until it was re-captured by the Turkish army on 7 September 1922, at the end of the Greco-Turkish War.

In the Ninth Army Inspector before the Erzurum Congress in Erzurum.

Erzurum Congress

1919 Jul 23 - 1922 Aug 4
, Erzurum

By early July, Mustafa Kemal Pasha received telegrams from the sultan and Calthorpe, asking him and Refet to cease his activities in Anatolia and return to the capital. Kemal was in Erzincan and did not want to return to Constantinople, concerned that the foreign authorities might have designs for him beyond the sultan's plans. Before resigning from his position, he dispatched a circular to all nationalist organizations and military commanders to not disband or surrender unless for the latter if they could be replaced by cooperative nationalist commanders. Now only a civilian stripped of his command, Mustafa Kemal was at the mercy of the new inspector of Third Army (renamed from Ninth Army) Karabekir Pasha, indeed the War Ministry ordered him to arrest Kemal, an order which Karabekir refused. The Erzurum Congress was held on the anniversary of the Young Turk Revolution as a meeting of delegates and governors from the six Eastern Vilayets. They drafted the National Pact (Misak-ı Millî), which set out key decisions of Turkish national self-determination per Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the security of Constantinople, and the abolition of the Ottoman capitulations. The Erzurum Congress concluded with a circular that was effectively a declaration of independence: All regions within Ottoman borders upon the signing of the Mudros Armistice were indivisible from the Ottoman state and assistance from any country not coveting Ottoman territory was welcome. If the government in Constantinople was not able to attain this after electing a new parliament, they insisted a provisional government should be promulgated to defend Turkish sovereignty. The Committee of Representation was established as a provisional executive body based in Anatolia, with Mustafa Kemal Pasha as its chairman.

Prominent nationalists at the Sivas Congress. Left to right: Muzaffer Kılıç, Rauf (Orbay), Bekir Sami (Kunduh), Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), Ruşen Eşref Ünaydın, Cemil Cahit (Toydemir), Cevat Abbas (Gürer)

Sivas Congress

1919 Sep 4 - Sep 11
, Sivas

Following the Erzurum congress, the Committee of Representation relocated to Sivas. As announced in the Amasya Circular, a new congress was held there in September with delegates from all Ottoman provinces. The Sivas Congress repeated the points of the National Pact agreed to in Erzurum, and united the various regional Defence of National Rights Associations organizations, into a united political organisation: Association of the Defence of National Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia (ADNRAR), with Mustafa Kemal as its chairman. In an effort show his movement was a in fact a new and unifying movement, the delegates had to swear an oath to discontinue their relations with the CUP and to never revive the party (despite most in Sivas being previous members).

The Sivas Congress was the first time the fourteen leaders of the movement united under a single roof. These people formed a plan between 16 and 29 October. They agreed that the parliament should meet in Constantinople, even if it were obvious that this parliament could not function under the occupation. It was a great chance to build the base and legitimacy. They decided on formalizing a "Representative Committee" that would handle the distribution and implementation, which could easily be turned into a new government if allies decided to disband the whole Ottoman Governing structure. Mustafa Kemal established two concepts into this program: independence and integrity. Mustafa Kemal was setting the stage for conditions which would legitimize this organization and illegitimate the Ottoman parliament. These conditions were also mentioned in the Wilsonian rules.

Mustafa Kemal opened the National Congress at Sivas, with delegates from the entire nation taking part. The Erzurum resolutions were transformed into a national appeal, and the name of the organization changed to the Society to Defend the Rights and Interests of the Provinces of Anatolia and Rumeli. The Erzurum resolutions were reaffirmed with minor additions, these included new clauses such as article 3 which states that the formation of an independent Greece on the Aydın, Manisa, and Balıkesir fronts was unacceptable. The Sivas Congress essentially reinforced the stance taken at the Erzurum Congress. All these were performed while the Harbord Commission arrived in Constantinople.

Istanbul's Galata Tower under British Occupation following the First World War.

Anatolian Crisis

1919 Dec 1
, Anatolia

In December 1919, a general election was held for the Ottoman parliament that was boycotted by Ottoman Greeks, Ottoman Armenians and the Freedom and Accord Party. Mustafa Kemal was elected an MP from Erzurum, but he expected the Allies neither to accept the Harbord report nor to respect his parliamentary immunity if he went to the Ottoman capital, hence he remained in Anatolia. Mustafa Kemal and the Committee of Representation moved from Sivas to Ankara so that he could keep in touch with as many deputies as possible as they traveled to Constantinople to attend the parliament. The Ottoman parliament was under the de facto control of the British battalion stationed at Constantinople and any decisions by the parliament had to have the signatures of both Ali Rıza Pasha and the battalion's commanding officer. The only laws that passed were those acceptable to, or specifically ordered by the British.

On 12 January 1920, the last session of the Chamber of Deputies met in the capital. First the sultan's speech was presented, and then a telegram from Mustafa Kemal, manifesting the claim that the rightful government of Turkey was in Ankara in the name of the Committee of Representation.

From February to April, leaders of Britain, France, and Italy met in London to discuss the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the crisis in Anatolia. The British began to sense that the elected Ottoman government was becoming less cooperative with the Allies and independently minded. The Ottoman government was not doing all that it could to suppress the nationalists. Mustafa Kemal manufactured a crisis to pressure on the Istanbul government to pick a side by deploying Kuva-yi Milliye towards İzmit. The British, concerned about the security of the Bosporus Strait, demanded Ali Rıza Pasha to reassert control over the area, to which he responded with his resignation to the sultan. His successor Salih Hulusi declared Mustafa Kemal's struggle legitimate, and also resigned, less than a month in office.

Semyon Budyonny

Bolshevik support

1920 Jan 1 - 1922
, Russia

The Soviet supply of gold and armaments to the Kemalists in 1920 to 1922 was a key factor in the latter's successful takeover of the Ottoman Empire, which had been defeated by the Triple Entente but won the Armenian campaign (1920) and the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922).

Before the Amasya Circular, Mustafa Kemal met with a Bolshevik delegation headed by Colonel Semyon Budyonny. The Bolsheviks wanted to annex parts of the Caucasus, including the Democratic Republic of Armenia, which were formerly part of Tsarist Russia. They also saw a Turkish Republic as a buffer state or possibly a communist ally. Mustafa Kemal's declined to consider adopting communism until after an independent national was established. Having Bolshevik support was important for the national movement.

The first objective was the securing of arms from abroad. They obtained these primarily from Soviet Russia, Italy and France. These arms—especially the Soviet weapons—allowed the Turks to organise an effective army. The Treaties of Moscow and Kars (1921) arranged the border between Turkey and the Soviet-controlled Transcaucasian republics, while Russia itself was in a state of civil war in the period just before the establishment of the Soviet Union. In particular, Nakhchivan and Batumi were ceded to the future USSR. In return, the nationalists received support and gold. For the promised resources, the nationalists had to wait until the Battle of Sakarya (August–September 1921).

By providing financial and war materiel aid, the Bolsheviks, under Vladimir Lenin aimed to heat up the conflict between the Allies and the Turkish nationalists in order to prevent the participation of more Allied troops in the Russian Civil War. At the same time, the Bolsheviks attempted to export communist ideologies to Anatolia and supported individuals (for example: Mustafa Suphi and Ethem Nejat) who were pro-communism.

According to Soviet documents, Soviet financial and war material support between 1920 and 1922 amounted to: 39,000 rifles, 327 machine guns, 54 cannon, 63 million rifle bullets, 147,000 shells, 2 patrol boats, 200.6 kg of gold ingots and 10.7 million Turkish lira (which accounted for a twentieth of the Turkish budget during the war). Additionally the Soviets gave the Turkish nationalists 100,000 gold rubles to help build an orphanage and 20,000 lira to obtain printing house equipment and cinema equipment.

The bulk of the French garrison at Marash was made up of Armenians (such as those from the French Armenian Legion seen above), Algerians and Senegalese.

Battle of Marash

1920 Jan 21 - Feb 12
, Kahramanmaraş

The Battle of Marash was a battle that took place in the early winter of 1920 between the French forces occupying the city of Maraş in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish National Forces linked to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It was the first major battle of the Turkish War of Independence, and the three-week-long engagement in the city ultimately forced the French to abandon and retreat from Marash and resulted in a Turkish massacre of Armenian refugees who had just been repatriated to the city following the Armenian Genocide.

Battle of Urfa

Battle of Urfa

1920 Feb 9 - Apr 11
, Urfa

The Battle of Urfa was an uprising in the spring of 1920 against the French army occupying the city of Urfa (modern Şanlıurfa) by the Turkish National Forces. The French garrison of Urfa held out for two months until it sued for negotiations with the Turks for safe conduct out of the city. The Turks reneged on their promises, however, and the French unit was massacred in an ambush staged by the Turkish Nationalists during its retreat from Urfa.

Opening of the Grand National Assembly

Grand National Assembly of Turkey

1920 Mar 1
, Ankara

The strong measures taken against the nationalists by the Allies in March 1920 began a distinct new phase of the conflict. Mustafa Kemal sent a note to the governors and force commanders, asking them to conduct elections to provide delegates for a new parliament to represent the Ottoman (Turkish) people, which would convene in Ankara. Mustafa Kemal appealed to the Islamic world, asking for help to make sure that everyone knew he was still fighting in the name of the sultan who was also the caliph. He stated he wanted to free the caliph from the Allies. Plans were made to organise a new government and parliament in Ankara, and then ask the sultan to accept its authority.

A flood of supporters moved to Ankara just ahead of the Allied dragnets. Included among them were Halide Edip and Abdülhak Adnan (Adıvar), Mustafa İsmet Pasha (İnönü), Mustafa Fevzi Pasha (Çakmak), many of Kemal's allies in the Ministry of War, and Celalettin Arif, the president of the now shuttered Chamber of Deputies. Celaleddin Arif's desertion of the capital was of great significance, as he declared that the Ottoman Parliament had been dissolved illegally.

Some 100 members of the Ottoman Parliament were able to escape the Allied roundup and joined 190 deputies elected around the country by the national resistance group. In March 1920, Turkish revolutionaries announced the establishment of a new parliament in Ankara known as the Grand National Assembly (GNA). The GNA assumed full governmental powers. On 23 April, the new Assembly gathered for the first time, making Mustafa Kemal its first Speaker and Prime Minister and İsmet Pasha, Chief of the General Staff.

Hoping to undermine the national movement, Mehmed VI passed a fatwa to qualify the Turkish revolutionaries as infidels, calling for the death of its leaders. The fatwa stated that true believers should not go along with the nationalist (rebels) movement. The mufti of Ankara Rifat Börekçi issued a simultaneous fatwa, declaring that the Constantinople was under the control of the Entente and the Ferid Pasha government. In this text, the nationalist movement's goal was stated as freeing the sultanate and the caliphate from its enemies. In reaction to the desertion of several prominent figures to the Nationalist Movement, Ferid Pasha ordered Halide Edip, Ali Fuat and Mustafa Kemal to be sentenced to death in absentia for treason.

After the siege of Aïntab and the Turkish surrender of February 8, 1921, the Turkish authorities of the city presented themselves to General de Lamothe, commanding the 2nd division.

Siege of Aintab

1920 Apr 1 - 1921 Feb 8
, Gaziantep

The siege of Aintab began in April 1920, when French forces opened fire on the city. It ended with the Kemalist defeat and the city's surrender to the French military forces on 9 February 1921. However, despite a victory, the French ultimately decided to retreat from the city leaving it to Kemalist forces on 20 October 1921 in accordance with the Treaty of Ankara.

A British officer inspecting Greek troops and trenches in Anatolia.

Kuva-yi Inzibatiye

1920 Apr 18
, İstanbul

On 28 April the sultan raised 4,000 soldiers known as the Kuva-yi İnzibatiye (Caliphate Army) to combat the nationalists. Then using money from the Allies, another force about 2,000 strong from non-Muslim inhabitants were initially deployed in İznik. The sultan's government sent the forces under the name of the caliphate army to the revolutionaries to arouse counterrevolutionary sympathy. The British, being skeptical of how formidable these insurgents were, decided to use irregular power to counteract the revolutionaries. The nationalist forces were distributed all around Turkey, so many smaller units were dispatched to face them. In İzmit there were two battalions of the British army. These units were to be used to rout the partisans under the command of Ali Fuat and Refet Pasha.

Anatolia had many competing forces on its soil: British battalions, nationalist militia (Kuva-yi Milliye), the sultan's army (Kuva-yi İnzibatiye), and Ahmet Anzavur's forces. On 13 April 1920, an uprising supported by Anzavur against the GNA occurred at Düzce as a direct consequence of the fatwa. Within days the rebellion spread to Bolu and Gerede. The movement engulfed northwestern Anatolia for about a month. On 14 June, Kuva-yi Milliye faced fought a pitched battle near İzmit against the Kuva-yi İnzibatiye, Anzavur's bands, and British units. Yet under heavy attack some of the Kuva-yi İnzibatiye deserted and joined the nationalist militia. This revealed the sultan did not have the unwavering support of his own men. Meanwhile, the rest of these forces withdrew behind the British lines which held their position.

The clash outside İzmit brought serious consequences. British forces conducted combat operations on the nationalists and the Royal Air Force carried out aerial bombardments against the positions, which forced nationalist forces to temporarily retreat to more secure missions. The British commander in Turkey asked for reinforcements. This led to a study to determine what would be required to defeat the Turkish nationalists. The report, signed by French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, concluded that 27 divisions were necessary, but the British army did not have 27 divisions to spare. Also, a deployment of this size could have disastrous political consequences back home. World War I had just ended, and the British public would not support another lengthy and costly expedition. The British accepted the fact that a nationalist movement could not be defeated without deployment of consistent and well-trained forces. On 25 June, the forces originating from Kuva-i İnzibatiye were dismantled under British supervision. The British realised that the best option to overcome these Turkish nationalists was to use a force that was battle-tested and fierce enough to fight the Turks on their own soil. The British had to look no further than Turkey's neighbor: Greece.

Greek infantry charge in river Ermos during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

Greek Summer Offensive

1920 Jun 1 - Sep
, Uşak

The Greek Summer Offensive of 1920 was an offensive by the Greek army, assisted by British forces, to capture the southern region of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Region from the Kuva-yi Milliye (National Forces) of the provisional Turkish national movement government in Ankara. Additionally, the Greek and British forces were supported by the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye (Forces of Order) of the Ottoman government in Constantinople, which sought to crush the Turkish nationalist forces. The offensive was part of the Greco-Turkish War and was one of several engagements where British troops assisted the advancing Greek army. British troops actively took part in invading coastal towns of the Sea of Marmara. With the approval of the Allies, the Greeks started their offensive on 22 June 1920 and crossed the 'Milne Line'. The 'Milne Line' was the demarcation line between Greece and Turkey, laid down in Paris. Resistance by the Turkish nationalists was limited, as they had few and ill-equipped troops in western Anatolia. They were also busy on the eastern and southern fronts. After offering some opposition, they retreated to Eskişehir on Mustafa Kemal Pasha's order.

The Ottoman delegation at Sèvres comprising the three signatories of the treaty. Left to right: Rıza Tevfik Bölükbaşı, Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha, the Ottoman education minister Mehmed Hâdî Pasha and ambassador Reşad Halis.

Treaty of Sèvres

1920 Aug 10
, Sèvres

The Treaty of Sèvres was a 1920 treaty signed between the Allies of World War I and the Ottoman Empire. The treaty ceded large parts of Ottoman territory to France, the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy, as well as creating large occupation zones within the Ottoman Empire. It was one of a series of treaties that the Central Powers signed with the Allied Powers after their defeat in World War I. Hostilities had already ended with the Armistice of Mudros. The Treaty of Sèvres marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty's stipulations included the renunciation of most territory not inhabited by Turkish people and their cession to the Allied administration.

The terms stirred hostility and Turkish nationalism. The treaty's signatories were stripped of their citizenship by the Grand National Assembly, led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, which ignited the Turkish War of Independence. Hostilities with Britain over the neutral zone of the Straits were narrowly avoided in the Chanak Crisis of September 1922, when the Armistice of Mudanya was concluded on 11 October, leading the former Allies of World War I to return to the negotiating table with the Turks in November 1922. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which superseded the Treaty of Sèvres, ended the conflict and saw the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

Armenian civilians flee Kars after its capture by Turkish forces

Turkish–Armenian War

1920 Sep 24 - Dec 2
, Kars

The Turkish–Armenian war was a conflict between the First Republic of Armenia and the Turkish National Movement following the collapse of the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. After the provisional government of Ahmet Tevfik Pasha failed to win support for ratification of the treaty, remnants of the Ottoman Army’s XV Corps under the command of Kâzım Karabekir attacked Armenian forces controlling the area surrounding Kars, eventually recapturing most of the territory in the South Caucasus that had been part of the Ottoman Empire prior to the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and was subsequently ceded by Soviet Russia as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Karabekir had orders from the Ankara Government to "eliminate Armenia physically and politically". One estimate places the number of Armenians massacred by the Turkish army during the war at 100,000—this is evident in the marked decline (−25.1%) of the population of modern-day Armenia from 961,677 in 1919 to 720,000 in 1920. According to historian Raymond Kévorkian, only the Soviet occupation of Armenia prevented another Armenian genocide.

The Turkish military victory was followed by the Soviet Union's occupation and annexation of Armenia. The Treaty of Moscow (March 1921) between Soviet Russia and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the related Treaty of Kars (October 1921) confirmed most of the territorial gains made by Karabekir and established the modern Turkish–Armenian border.

Mustafa Kemal at the end of the First Battle of İnönü

First Battle of İnönü

1921 Jan 6 - Jan 11
, İnönü/Eskişehir

The First Battle of İnönü took place between 6 and 11 January 1921 near İnönü in Hüdavendigâr Vilayet during the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22), also known as the western front of the larger Turkish War of Independence. This was the first battle for the Army of the Grand National Assembly that was newly built standing army (Düzenli ordu) in place of irregular troops.

Politically, the battle was significant as the arguments within the Turkish National Movement were concluded in the favor of the institution of a centralized control of the Army of the Grand National Assembly. As a result of his performance at İnönü, Colonel İsmet was made a general. Also, the prestige gained in the aftermath of the battle helped the revolutionaries to announce the Turkish Constitution of 1921 on January 20, 1921. Internationally, the Turkish revolutionaries proved themselves as a military force. The prestige gained in the aftermath of the battle helped revolutionaries to initiate a new round of negotiations with Soviet Russia which ended with the Treaty of Moscow on March 16, 1921.

Second Battle of İnönü

Second Battle of İnönü

1921 Mar 23 - Apr 1
, İnönü/Eskişehir

After the First Battle of İnönü, where Miralay (Colonel) İsmet Bey fought against a Greek detachment out of occupied Bursa, the Greeks prepared for another attack aiming the towns of Eskisehir and Afyonkarahisar with their inter-connecting rail-lines. Ptolemaios Sarigiannis, staff officer in the Army of Asia Minor, made the offensive plan.

The Greeks were determined to make up for the setback they suffered in January and prepared a much larger force, outnumbering Mirliva İsmet's (a Pasha now) troops. The Greeks had grouped their forces in Bursa, Uşak, İzmit and Gebze. Against them, the Turks had grouped their forces at northwest of Eskişehir, east of Dumlupınar and Kocaeli.

The battle began with a Greek assault on the positions of İsmet's troops on March 23, 1921. It took them four days to reach İnönü due to delaying action of the Turkish front. The better-equipped Greeks pushed back the Turks and took the dominant hill called Metristepe on the 27th. A night counter-attack by the Turks failed to recapture it. Meanwhile, on March 24, Greek I Army Corps took Kara Hisâr-ı Sâhib (present-day Afyonkarahisar) after running over Dumlupınar positions. On 31 March İsmet attacked again after receiving reinforcements, and recaptured Metristepe. In a continuation battle in April, Refet Pasha retook the town of Kara Hisâr. The Greek III Army Corps retreated.

This battle marked a turning point in the war. This was the first time the newly formed Turkish standing army faced their enemy and proved themselves to be a serious and well led force, not just a collection of rebels. This was a very much needed success for Mustafa Kemal Pasha, as his opponents in Ankara were questioning his delay and failure in countering the rapid Greek advances in Anatolia. This battle forced the Allied capitals to take note of the Ankara Government and eventually within the same month they ended up sending their representatives there for talks. France and Italy changed their positions and became supportive of Ankara government in short order.

Battle of the Sakarya

Battle of the Sakarya

1921 Aug 23 - Sep 13
, Sakarya River

The Battle of the Sakarya was an important engagement in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). It lasted for 21 days from August 23 to September 13, 1921, close to the banks of the Sakarya River in the immediate vicinity of Polatlı, which is today a district of the Ankara Province. The battle line stretched over 62 miles (100 km). It marked the end of the Greeks' hopes to impose a settlement on Turkey by the force of arms. In May 1922, Papoulas and his complete staff resigned and was replaced by General Georgios Hatzianestis, who proved much more inept than his predecessor. For the Turkish troops, the battle was the turning point of the war, which would develop in a series of important military clashes against the Greeks and drive the invaders out of Asia Minor during the Turkish War of Independence. The Greeks could do nothing but fight to secure their retreat.

The Ankara Agreement ended the Franco-Turkish War

Treaty of Ankara

1921 Oct 20
, Ankara

The Ankara Agreement (1921) was signed on 20 October 1921 at Ankara between France and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, ending the Franco-Turkish War. Based on the terms of the agreement, the French acknowledged the end of the Franco-Turkish War and ceded large areas to Turkey. In return, the Turkish government acknowledged French imperial sovereignty over the French Mandate of Syria. The treaty was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 30 August 1926.

This treaty changed the Syria–Turkey border set by the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres to the benefit of Turkey, ceding it large areas of the Aleppo and Adana vilayets. From west to east, the cities and districts of Adana, Osmaniye, Marash, Aintab, Kilis, Urfa, Mardin, Nusaybin, and Jazirat ibn Umar (Cizre) were consequently ceded to Turkey. The border was to run from the Mediterranean Sea immediately south of Payas to Meidan Ekbis (which would remain in Syria), then bend towards the south-east, running between Marsova (Mersawa) in the Sharran district of Syria and Karnaba and Kilis in Turkey, to join the Baghdad Railway at Al-Rai From there it would follow the railway track to Nusaybin, with the border being on the Syrian side of the track, leaving the track in Turkish territory. From Nusaybin it would follow the old road to Jazirat ibn Umar, with the road being in Turkish territory, although both countries could use it.

Chanak Crisis

Chanak Crisis

1922 Sep 1 - Oct
, Çanakkale

The Chanak Crisis was a war scare in September 1922 between the United Kingdom and the Government of the Grand National Assembly in Turkey. Chanak refers to Çanakkale, a city on the Anatolian side of the Dardanelles Strait. The crisis was caused by Turkish efforts to push the Greek armies out of Turkey and restore Turkish rule in the Allied-occupied territories, primarily in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Eastern Thrace. Turkish troops marched against British and French positions in the Dardanelles neutral zone. For a time, war between Britain and Turkey seemed possible, but Canada refused to agree as did France and Italy. British public opinion did not want a war. The British military did not either, and the top general on the scene, Sir Charles Harington, refused to relay an ultimatum to the Turks because he counted on a negotiated settlement. The Conservatives in Britain's coalition government refused to follow Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who with Winston Churchill was calling for war.

British troops.

Armistice of Mudanya

1922 Oct 11
, Mudanya

The British still expected the Grand National Assembly to make concessions. From the first speech, the British were startled as Ankara demanded fulfillment of the National Pact. During the conference, the British troops in Constantinople were preparing for a Kemalist attack. There was never any fighting in Thrace, as Greek units withdrew before the Turks crossed the straits from Asia Minor. The only concession that İsmet made to the British was an agreement that his troops would not advance any farther toward the Dardanelles, which gave a safe haven for the British troops as long as the conference continued. The conference dragged on far beyond the original expectations. In the end, it was the British who yielded to Ankara's advances.

The Armistice of Mudanya was signed on 11 October. By its terms, the Greek army would move west of the Maritsa, clearing Eastern Thrace to the Allies. The agreement came into force starting 15 October. Allied forces would stay in Eastern Thrace for a month to assure law and order. In return, Ankara would recognise continued British occupation of Constantinople and the Straits zones until the final treaty was signed.

Mehmed VI departing from the back door of the Dolmabahçe Palace.

Abolition of the Ottoman sultanate

1922 Nov 1
, İstanbul

Kemal had long ago made up his mind to abolish the sultanate when the moment was ripe. After facing opposition from some members of the assembly, using his influence as a war hero, he managed to prepare a draft law for the abolition of the sultanate, which was then submitted to the National Assembly for voting. In that article, it was stated that the form of the government in Constantinople, resting on the sovereignty of an individual, had already ceased to exist when the British forces occupied the city after World War I. Furthermore, it was argued that although the caliphate had belonged to the Ottoman Empire, it rested on the Turkish state by its dissolution and Turkish National Assembly would have right to choose a member of the Ottoman family in the office of caliph. On 1 November, The Turkish Grand National Assembly voted for the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate. The last sultan left Turkey on 17 November 1922, in a British battleship on his way to Malta. Such was the last act in the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire; so ended the empire after having been founded over 600 years earlier c. 1299. Ahmed Tevfik Pasha also resigned as Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) a couple days later, without a replacement.

Greek and Armenian refugee children in Athens

Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

1923 Jan 30
, Greece

The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey stemmed from the "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on 30 January 1923, by the governments of Greece and Turkey. It involved at least 1.6 million people (1,221,489 Greek Orthodox from Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace, the Pontic Alps and the Caucasus, and 355,000–400,000 Muslims from Greece), most of whom were forcibly made refugees and de jure denaturalized from their homelands.

The initial request for an exchange of population came from Eleftherios Venizelos in a letter he submitted to the League of Nations on 16 October 1922, as a way to normalize relations de jure, since the majority of surviving Greek inhabitants of Turkey had fled from recent massacres to Greece by that time. Venizelos proposed a "compulsory exchange of Greek and Turkish populations," and asked Fridtjof Nansen to make the necessary arrangements. Though prior to that, on 16 March 1922, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Kemal Tengrişenk, had stated that "he Ankara Government was strongly in favour of a solution that would satisfy world opinion and ensure tranquillity in its own country", and that "t was ready to accept the idea of an exchange of populations between the Greeks in Asia Minor and the Muslims in Greece". The new state of Turkey also envisioned the population exchange as a way to formalize and make permanent the flight of its native Greek Orthodox peoples while initiating a new exodus of a smaller number (400,000) of Muslims from Greece as a way to provide settlers for the newly-depopulated Orthodox villages of Turkey; Greece meanwhile saw it as a way to provide propertyless Greek Orthodox refugees from Turkey with lands of expelled Muslims.

This major compulsory population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion, was based not on language or ethnicity, but upon religious identity, and involved nearly all the indigenous Orthodox Christian peoples of Turkey (the Rûm "Roman/Byzantine" millet), including even Armenian- and Turkish-speaking Orthodox groups, and on the other side most of the native Muslims of Greece, including even Greek-speaking Muslim citizens, such as Vallahades and Cretan Turks, but also Muslim Roma groups, such as Sepečides. Each group were native peoples, citizens, and in cases even veterans, of the state which expelled them, and neither had representation in the state purporting to speak for them in the exchange treaty.

Turkish delegation after having signed the Treaty of Lausanne. The delegation was led by İsmet İnönü (in the middle).

Treaty of Lausanne

1923 Jul 24
, Lausanne

The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty negotiated during the Lausanne Conference of 1922–23 and signed in the Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, Switzerland, on 24 July 1923. The treaty officially settled the conflict that had originally existed between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied French Republic, British Empire, Kingdom of Italy, Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Serbia, and the Kingdom of Romania since the onset of World War I. It was the result of a second attempt at peace after the failed and unratified Treaty of Sèvres, which aimed to divide Ottoman territories. The earlier treaty had been signed in 1920, but later rejected by the Turkish National Movement who fought against its terms. As a result of the Greco-Turkish War, Izmir was retrieved and the Armistice of Mudanya was signed in October 1922. It provided for the Greek-Turkish population exchange and allowed unrestricted civilian, non-military, passage through the Turkish Straits. The treaty was ratified by Turkey on 23 August 1923, and all of the other signatories by 16 July 1924. It came into force on 6 August 1924, when the instruments of ratification were officially deposited in Paris. The Treaty of Lausanne led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the new Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire.

Republic of Turkey

Republic of Turkey

1923 Oct 29
, Türkiye

Turkey was proclaimed a Republic on 29 October 1923, with Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected as the first President. In forming his government, he placed Mustafa Fevzi (Çakmak), Köprülü Kâzım (Özalp), and İsmet (İnönü) in important positions. They helped him to establish his subsequent political and social reforms in Turkey, transforming the country into a modern and secular nation state.


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