Democracy and The End of the Ottoman Empire

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 11/26/2014

The Ottoman constitution of 1876 was the first constitution of the Ottoman Empire. Written by members of the Young Ottomans, particularly Midhat Pasha, during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II(1876–1909), the constitution was only in effect for two years, from 1876 to 1878.The Constitution proposed a parliament divided into two parts: The senators were elected by the Sultan, and the Chamber of Deputies was elected by the people, although not directly (they chose delegates who would then choose the Deputies). There were also elections held every four years to keep the parliament changing and to continually express the voice of the people.

The newly elected Parliament first convened on 13 December 1877, but was prorogued by the Sultan on 14 February 1878 under the pretext of the war with Russia.

The First Congress of Ottoman Opposition was held on 4 February 1902, at 20:00, at the house of Germain Antoin Lefevre-Pontalis, a member of the Institut de France. The opposition was performed in compliance with the French government. Closed to the public, there were 47 delegates present.

The Second Congress of Ottoman Opposition took place in Paris, France in 1907. Opposition leaders including Ahmed Riza, Sabahaddin Bey, and Khachatur Malumian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were in attendance. The goal was to unite all the parties, including the Young Turks' Committee of Union and Progress, in order to bring about the revolution.

A military coup in June 1908, led by the so-called Young Turks Officially known as the Committee of Union and Progress, had stripped Sultan Abdul Hamid II of his power, reconstituting the parliament and constitution the Sultan had suspended three decades earlier. The Sultan, however, had maintained his symbolic position.

In May 13, 1908, the leadership of the Committee of Union and Progress, with the newly-gained power of its organization, was able to communicate to Sultan Abdulhamid II the unveiled threat that "the [Ottoman] dynasty would be in danger" if he were not to bring back the Ottoman constitution that he had previously suspended since 1878. On June 12, 1908, the Third Army, which was in Macedonia, began its march towards the Palace inIstanbul. Although initially resistant to the idea of giving up absolute power, Abdulhamid was forced on July 24, 1908, to restore the constitution, beginning the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire.

The Countercoup of 1909 was an attempt to dismantle the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire and replace it with an autocracy under Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The Sultan's bid for a return to power gained traction when he promised to restore the Caliphate, eliminate secular policies, and restore the sharia-based legal system.

Soon after the countercoup, however, the Committee of Union and Progress organized the Army of Action and regained power from the reactionaries.

On 13 April 1909, Abdul Hamid II was finally deposed. His brother Mehmed V would ultimately take his place as Sultan, the position once more reduced to mere symbolic significance.

In 1913, the Committee of Union and Progress seized power in the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état. The government was headed by Minister of the Interior and Grand Vizier,Talaat Pasha (1874–1921). Working with him were Minister of War, Enver Pasha (1881–1922), and Minister of the Navy, Djemal Pasha (1872–1922). As to the fate of the Three Pashas, two of them, Talaat Pasha and Djemal Pasha, were assassinated by Armenian nationals shortly after the end of World War I while in exile in Europe during Operation Nemesis, a revenge operation against perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.

Following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I, On October 30, 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I, bringing hostilities in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I to a close. The treaty granted the Allies the right to occupy forts controlling the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus; and the right to occupy "in case of disorder" any territory in case of a threat to security.

16 May 1919, along the established lines of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies (British, Italian, French and Greek forces) occupied Anatolia. The occupation of Constantinople, which was followed by the occupation of Smyrna (the two largest Ottoman cities in that period) sparked the establishment of the Turkish national movement and the Turkish War of Independence.

19 May 1919, Atatürk went to Anatolia and formed The Turkish National Movement.

In June 1919, Atatürk issued the Amasya Circular, declaring the independence of the country was in danger. He resigned from the Ottoman Army on 8 July and the Ottoman government issued a warrant for his arrest. Later, he was condemned to death.

In 10 January 1920, Mustafa Kemal declared that the only legal government of Turkey was the Representative Committee in Ankara and that all civilian and military officials were to obey it rather than the government in Constantinople. This argument gained very strong support, as by that time the Ottoman Parliament was fully under Allied control. Mustafa Kemal advanced his troops into Marash where the Battle of Marash ensued against the French Armenian Legion. The battle resulted in a Turkish victory alongside the massacres of 5,000 – 12,000 Armenians spelling the end of the remaining Armenian population in the region.

In March 1920, Turkish revolutionaries announced that the Turkish nation was establishing its own Parliament in Ankara under the name Grand National Assembly (GNA). The GNA assumed full governmental powers. On April 23, the new Assembly gathered for the first time, making Mustafa Kemal its first president and Ismet Inönü chief of the General Staff. The new regime’s determination to revolt against the government in the capital and not the Sultan was quickly made evident.

By May 3, 1920, a Turkish Provisional Government was also formed in Ankara.

On 10 August 1920, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha signed the Treaty of Sèvres, finalizing plans for the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, including the regions that Turkish nationals viewed as their heartland. The harsh terms it stipulated included the renunciation of all non-Turkish land that was part of the Ottoman Empire, as well as parts of Turkish land, to the Allied powers

Mustafa Kemal insisted on the country's complete independence and the safeguarding of interests of the Turkish majority on "Turkish soil". He persuaded the GNA to gather a National Army.

The Sultan gave 4,000 soldiers from his Kuva-i Inzibatiye (Caliphate Army) to resist against the nationalists. Then using money from the Allies, he raised another army, a force about 2,000 strong from non-Muslim inhabitants which were initially deployed in Iznik. The sultan's government sent forces under the name of the caliphate army to the revolutionaries and aroused counterrevolutionary outbreaks. The GNA Army faced the Caliphate army propped up by the Allied occupation forces and had the immediate task of fighting the Armenians forces in the Eastern Front and the Greek forces advancing eastward from Smyrna, on the Western Front.

On 13 April, the first conflict occurred at Düzce as a direct consequence of the sheik ul-Islam's fatwa. On 18 April, the Düzce conflict was extended to Bolu; on 20 April, it extended to Gerede. The movement engulfed an important part of northwestern Anatolia for about a month. The Ottoman government had accorded semi-official status to the "Kuva-i Inzibatiye" and Ahmet Anzavur held an important role in the uprising. Both sides faced each other in a pitched battle near Izmit on June 14. Ahmet Aznavur's forces and British units outnumbered the militias. Yet under heavy attack some of the Kuva-i Inzibatiye deserted and joined the opposing ranks. This revealed the Sultan did not have the unwavering support of his men. Meanwhile, the rest of these forces withdrew behind the British lines which held their position.

On 1 November 1922, the GNA 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. This was the last act of the Ottoman Empire.

After the end of the Turkish-Armenian, Franco-Turkish, Greco-Turkish wars (often referred to as the Eastern Front, the Southern Front, and the Western Front of the war, respectively), the Treaty of Sèvres was abandoned and the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in July 1923. The Allies left Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey decided the establishment of a Republic in Turkey, which was declared on October 29, 1923.

Comments (0)

Post a Comment