THE CULT OF MUSTAFA KEMAL
In 1918, Turkey surrendered to the allies at Lemnos. The Treaty of Sevres gave the Turkish coast back to Greece and created an independent Armenia and Kurdistan. In March 1920, Britain placed Istanbul under military’ occupation, breaking up Parliament and exiling its members. The sultan accepted his “empire” of just Istanbul and hinterlands in exchange for keeping his throne. Such a capitulation was anathema to the nationalists, setting the stage for the Turkish War of Independence.
The rebels regrouped in Ankara under Mustafa Kemal, whose successes at Gallipolli (You can join our Gallipoli Tours)and Syria were already legendary. lie established a Grand National Assembly and the National Pact, which outlined what is modern day Turkey, promised to protect minority populations, and demanded the end of European spheres of influence. At the same time, Turkish nationalists were hard at work, fighting the French in the southeast, the Italians in the southwest, the Armenians in the northeast, and the Greeks (by far the greatest threat) in western Anatolia. First, the nationalists reclaimed the newly independent Armenia. Next, Mustafa Kemal faced the advancing Greek army, who were marching toward Istanbul with dreams of recapturing Constantinople for Greece. Greece’s enthusiasm outstripped its international support, however, and an army under Mustafa Kemal routed the Greeks in Thrace. An international flotilla was needed to transfer 60,000 trapped refugees from Izmir to safety in Greece. After an armistice was signed on October 11, 1922, Mustafa Kemal and his Grand National Assembly abolished the sultanate, leaving their assembly as the ruling power.
For more information, please visit BBC page: Kemal Atatürk
THE TREATY OF LAUSANNE
Acknowledging their defeat, the Allies bowed to the Turkish demands in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. This document recognized newly established Turkish frontiers, demilitarized the Dardanelles, and paved the way for an independent Republic of Turkey. The Population Exchange of 1923 sought to eliminate anti-minority violence and unrest by removing Greeks from Turkey, and vice-versa. Approximately 500,000 Turkish Muslims left Greece and were replaced by 1.3 million Greeks from Turkey, at the price of property loss, upheaval, and alienation.