Gwynne Dyer on Turkish "Nationalist" Officers, 1908-18
I'm a big fan of Dr. Gwynne Dyer. My first exposure to his work was his now classic "Turkish 'Falsifiers' and Armenian 'Deceivers'," which I deeply appreciated; it was the rare look at both sides of the "genocide" equation by a qualified and objective scholar, and a look that would not be significantly repeated until Dr. Guenter Lewy wrote his sure-to-be-classic "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide."
Such an examination puts a real scholar between a rock and a hard place in this horrifyingly polarized debate, because it is the Turkish perspective that is the truthful one, but prejudice and political correctness, along with other reasons, have allowed Armenian claims to overpower genuine history. Thus, in order to come across as objective, real scholars are compelled to find fault with the Turkish presentation. Not that there may not be faults with the way some Turks approach the matter, but we can see Dr. Dyer did not truly make the case for "Turkish 'Falsifiers'" in his 1976 essay (featured on TAT), much as he was obligated to make it appear so in his title. (Similarly, Dr. Lewy was also compelled to be overly tough on Turks, in his book. Ironically, such preventative measures are for naught, since no matter how far real scholars bend over backwards for Armenians, if they show the slightest iota of fairness, they will automatically come under attack for being "deniers," or as "agents of the Turkish government" — and not just by unscrupulous Armenian extremists and their hypocritical genocide scholar allies, but even lazy-thinking "neutrals," such as Scott Jaschik, a supposed representative of "Higher Education.")
Little did I know at the time that Dr. Dyer heavily got into Ottoman history during the 1970s. He actually consulted Turkish sources, as a true scholar would be obligated to do, if the idea is to write Turkish history. (Unlike false scholars such as Richard Hovannisian, consigned only to showcase sources hostile to Turks, in the pursuit of a propagandistic agenda; note how Hovannisian embarrassed himself on this shortcoming, when he went up against a real scholar in 1978.)
The article below is from 1973, and while not genocide-related (except in an indirect way: we can see the situation was desperate. Could the key people involved logically afford to conduct a "genocide," when there were so many pressing issues to attend to?), is deserving of a wider audience, and to remind readers of the caliber of Gwynne Dyer's ace scholarship. Too bad that as soon as Dyer brushed against genocide happenings, he evidently lost his interest in Ottoman history. He probably figured the Armenians are a dangerous people to get mixed up with, and who could blame him. (At least he made one mini-comeback in late 2005.)
(What a coincidence. This page went up today, and I just learned that Dr. Dyer has touched on the genocide once again, mere days ago. For the record, as he wrote in The Record, Dr. Dyer is a genocide believer: "It was certainly a genocide, but it was not premeditated, nor was it systematic." He explains that as a young student, he had translated the handwritten diary of a Turkish soldier whose unit was ordered in 1915 "to march east to deal with a Russian invasion and an Armenian rebellion," and in the diary the soldier had written "we really massacred them." If the soldier was referring to innocent villagers, then that is the most solid evidence for genocidal activity I have ever come across; very similar to what this American soldier had written in a letter, regarding 17,000 Filipino villagers. Then again, perhaps the Turkish soldier was referring to their victory against those bearing arms against the Ottoman army, as when a soldier could say after a victory, "we really slaughtered them." Perhaps the rest of the diary provides further clues. Regardless, perhaps Dr. Dyer relied on this diary entry as what he has termed here, "this explains much," and has concluded that slaughter was a matter of course by the Ottoman army for the non-"deported," and as for the "deported," Dr. Dyer tells us, "huge numbers were murdered along the way." I wish Dr. Dyer could have written a book with the evidence for these statements; the bulk of the Armenians who lost their lives died of non-murderous reasons, as famine and disease. The French newspaper Le Figaro, not known for its Turk-friendliness, estimated the numbers who had died from the marching process, and came up with 15,000 for deaths from all causes — not just murder. 15,000 is not a small number, but it is only 1% of the 1.5 million Armenian propaganda tells us, a number that Dr. Dyer disturbingly tells us is a possibility, as well.)
(Thanks to Hector.)
The origins of the 'Nationalist' group of officers in Turkey 1908-18
From the Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 8, No. 4. (Oct., 1973), pp. 121-164.
The origins of the 'Nationalist' group of officers in Turkey 1908-18
The nationalist movement in Anatolia in the years 1919-23 was created, sustained, and led by young staff officers of the Ottoman Army belonging to the same generation and group as that which had carried out the original 1908 Revolution from Salonika against the despotic and traditionalist regime of Abdülhamid. Under the brilliant leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha it succeeded in assuming the mantle and some of the genuine characteristics of a popular movement, but it owed its success to the disciplined organization of the Army. No doubt there would in any case have been popular disturbances and even isolated instances of mutiny within the Army in the face of Entente occupation of Turkish territory and the Greek invasion of western Anatolia in 1919, and again against the Entente-imposed Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 which for practical purposes put an end to Turkish independence; some incidents of this sort occurred spontaneously, but such outbreaks had no hope of success. The coordinated and unanimous withdrawal of obedience from the collaborationist Istanbul government by all Turkish Army units in eastern and central Anatolia in the summer of 1919, and the smooth transfer of that obedience to Mustafa Kemal Pasha with an unbroken chain of command; the assumption of control over the civil administration in Anatolia by the Army wherever it did not get cooperation from the Istanbul appointees; the cautious husbanding of material and diplomatic resources and the gradual remobilization of an army capable of expelling the invaders; the suppression of internal revolts and the bringing under regular Army discipline and command of the erratic and ineffective guerrilla forces which had sprung up to oppose the Greeks in western Anatolia—these were the foundations of Turkish victory in the War of Independence.
These accomplishments were the work—with the willing cooperation of the bulk of the Army, to be sure—of a handful of senior Turkish officers. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was the driving force and the overall head of the enterprise, with Rauf Bey (a naval officer) as his chief political assistant. Kazim Karabekir Pasha commanded the Eastern Front against the Armenians until its liquidation at the end of 1920, and by his influence in the area guaranteed the loyalty of eastern Anatolia to the Nationalists throughout the war. Ali Fuad Pasha was commander of the crucial Western Front against the Greeks and then the first Nationalist ambassador to Moscow. Ismet Bey was the Chief of the General Staff at Ankara and then Ali Fuad's successor on the Western Front. Refet Bey commanded the Southern Front against the French in Cilicia, and was Kemal's chief agent in suppressing internal revolts and in reducing the anarchic guerrilla bands to submission.
The emergence of these names at the head of the Anatolian movement was no coincidence. There had existed in the Ottoman Army since 1909 a loose alliance among certain officers who, though nationalist in conviction and all connected with the revolutionary Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) in the early days, had fallen out of sympathy with some of the more unsavoury ways of dealing with opposition which the Society had the habit of using, with the erratic and authoritarian behaviour of the Society when in power, and with the continual involvement of the Army in political affairs to the detriment equally of Army discipline and training and of political stability. Most prominent among these dissident officers were Brigadier Mustafa Kemal Pasha [Atatürk], 37, Brigadier Ali Fuad Pasha [Cebesoy], 36, (naval) Senior Captain Rauf Bey [Orbay], 39, Brigadier Kazim Karabekir Pasha, 36, Colonel Ismet Bey [Inonü], 34, and Colonel Refet Bey [Bele], 37. Another early ally of Kemal's who should be mentioned, though no longer in the Army after 1913, was Ali Fethi Bey [Okyar], 38. (Ranks and ages as of end of 1918. The brackets denote surnames assumed in accordance with the law of 2 July 1934.)
Their quarrel with the CUP was over means not ends, and though most of these officers ceased to be active in the affairs of the CUP by about 1910-11, and with two exceptions stayed out of politics from then until the end of the first world war, several of them retained close if sometimes stormy personal relations with the factions of interventionist officers whose leading figures throughout this period were Enver and Cemal Pashas. The non-interventionist group generally opposed Ottoman entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers, but presented with a fait accompli they all fought loyally, and indeed were among the most successful Ottoman commanders during the war. None of the members of this military 'loyal opposition', except Kemal himself at the end of the war, ever contemplated any attempt to overthrow Enver. Like the group opposed to Enver in the CUP and the Cabinet itself, led by Talat Pasha (Prime Minister 1917-18), they dared not risk the danger of taking on Enver's large following in the Society and the Army while the Empire was under external attack. Then suddenly, in October 1918, the war lost, the CUP withdrew from power totally discredited, and only a few weeks later its leading members fled the country. The field was clear, and instinctively this group of 'Nationalist' officers (the title is conferred retrospectively) foregathered in Istanbul to seek some way of rescuing the Empire from the desperate situation in which Enver had left it.
THE COHERENCE AND EFFECTIVENESS of this small group of determined officers in the midst of the political chaos and indecision of post-armistice Istanbul was the result of a decade of association and common effort. Kemal and Ali Fethi first met and became close friends at the Military Training School in Monastir in 1895-98; it was from him that Kemal first learned of 'something called politics'. At the Military Academy and the Staff College in Istanbul in 1899-1905 Icema1 associated closely with Ali Fuad and Kazim, who were distant relatives and had been close friends since childhood. Ali Fethi, who was in a more senior class, also met these classmates of Kemal's through him. In Istanbul Ali Fuad was Kemal's closest friend, and his father, Ismail Fazil, a senior army officer of some note, virtually adopted the young Kemal. In 1905 Ali Fuad and Mustafa Icema1 were arrested together for plotting against the regime and, after some months imprisonment, exiled to the 5th Army at Damascus. About a year later Ali Fuad was appointed back to Salonika, where the CUP was taking root among the young army officers and the revolution was in preparation, but Kemal was able to visit there only briefly and in secret before 1908. As a result of his absence from Salonika at a crucial stage in the growth of the CUP, Kemal took a lesser role in the 1908 Revolution than Ali Fethi, Ali Fuad, or Kazim; his subsequent open criticism of the Army's continuing involvement in politics and in particular of Enver, whose posturing as the hero of the Revolution he abhorred, led to his being sent on a special mission to Libya to get him out of the way. But he was back in Salonika in time to take part in the suppression of the counter-revolution of 13 April 1909—the 31 March Event (old style)—and it was then that a 'Nationalist' group first took shape.
Kemal was Chief of Staff of the 11th Reserve Division commanded by Huseyin Husnu Pasha in Salonika when the counter-revolution broke out in Istanbul. The senior commanders in Salonika hesitated to commit the Army officially to the suppression of the revolt in the first few days, when the news arriving from Istanbul was confused and contradictory, and so Kemal's proposal to send to the capital an ad hoc force made up of volunteers from both the regular Army and the reserve was instantly accepted. It had the right popular flavour, and kept the skirts of more senior officers clear. The force was named the Hareket Ordusu (Action Army) as he suggested, and he and Hüseyin Hüsnü Pasha were made its chief of staff and commander respectively. The Hareket Ordusu set out for Istanbul on 16 April, and Kemal remained effectively its moving spirit until it arrived outside the walls of Istanbul, to be joined there as he had proposed by another contingent of volunteers from Edirne.
By that time, however, it had become clear that the revolt was an outbreak confined to the capital. The CUP had regathered its forces and its leading Army members like Enver, Ali Fethi and Hafiz Hakki came racing back from the capitals of Europe, where they had been sent as attach& after the 1908 Revolution, to take up the key positions in the Hareket Ordusu. The Army's senior officers had recovered their nerve also, and on 22 April the Third Army (Salonika) commander Mahmud Shevket Pasha assumed command of the force outside Istanbul. Kemal was relegated to the background in the final suppression of the revolt amidst scattered street fighting in the next few days.
After the Army had entered the city and put down the revolt, Icema1 for the first time met Hüssein Rauf Bey, a young naval officer prominent in the CUP who was attached to the Army for liaison duties. The two officers agreed that the counter-revolution was the direct consequence of the evil effects of soldiers participating in politics, a conclusion confirmed by the special court of inquiry into the causes of the uprising, of which Rauf was a member. Kemal and Rauf found other young officers in Istanbul at this time in whom the events of the past year had created strong opinions about the necessity of separating politics from the Army. There was Kazim Karabekir, Kemal's classmate at the Staff College and a friend of Rauf's since before the Revolution. He had participated in the founding of the CUP centres in Monastir and Edirne and was now Chief of St& of the Hareket Ordusu's Edirne contingent. There was Refet Bey, a young gendarmerie officer at Kemal's headquarters who had worked with Fethi and Keinal before the Revolution; and Ismet Bey, a youthful staff officer whom Fethi and Refet recruited to the CUP and who had later cooperated with Kizim in founding the Society's organization in Edirne; there was Rauf's friend since childhood, Selgnattin Adil Bey.
Together with Dr Nazim, a former exile and a major power behind the scenes in the CUP, Tevfik Rüshtü [Aras], and some others, Kemal, Kazim, Ali Fuad,  Ismet, Refet and Selahattin Adil now briefly became virtually an opposition faction within the CUP. They argued that it must give up its old ways of intrigue and assassination now that it had the responsibility of power, and that, though the Army's support continued to be vital to the Revolution, a clear line must be drawn between those active in politics and those on active service in the Army. Together the young staff officers signed a note condemning the intrusion of politics into the Army, and Ismet Bey presented it to the army commander Mahhud Shevket Pasha. He accepted it, and even instructed Ismet to write an order to the forces under his command laying down this principle. Furthermore he communicated the contents of the note to the other Ottoman Army commanders for their consideration, but it had no discernible effect in either his own army or the others.
Some four months later, at the annual congress of the CUP in Salonika in September 1909, Kemal forcefully presented his view that the Army and the Society must be separated for the good of both. He submitted a resolution proposing that army officers must decide whether to remain in the CUP and resign from the Army, or stay in the Army and resign from the Society. Kemal was fortunate in being one of the men selected to chair the sittings, and he had the wholehearted support of Tevfik Rüshtü, who was elected general secretary of the congress. He succeeded in gaining the conditional support of a majority of those present for his view, and it was decided to send a commission to the Second Army at Edirne (less well represented at the congress than the Third (Salonika) Army) to sound out opinion among the officers there. Refet Bey was chosen to head this commission; Ismet and Kazim marshalled the support of their fellow officers in Edirne behind Kemal, and the commission returned in a few days to report that the Second Army supported Kemal's thesis. His motion was passed by a large majority.
Although many officers did then make the choice between Army and Society, the most influential young officers like Enver and Cemal did not. Moreover the majority of the Society's leaders, now aware that the Revolution did not necessarily have the support of the masses, were unwilling to break their connexion with the Army. The resolution was never put into effect, and the CUP lost its one real chance to transform itself from a revolutionary cabal into a genuine political party. Indeed, Kemal was lucky to escape the attempts of the assassins who were now turned loose on him because of his dangerous views. Neither his ambitions and convictions, nor his contempt for the strutting figure of Enver, diminished, but he and his friends now saw their safest course of action as immersion in their military duties.
Rauf Bey later noted: 'Having seen [the consequences of soldiers becoming involved in politics], we firmly resolved that from that day forward .. . our most important and sacred duty to the fatherland and people would be to use our influence and authority to prevent soldiers from mixing in politics. This course of action of ours—just as had been the case with Mustafa Kemal Bey previously—was ill-received. Right up to... the end of the CUP'S reign [in 1918] we remained under suspicion, and so encountered difficulties in carrying out our duties and were sometimes condemned to idleness.'
Referring decades later, when his own power was secure, to this same parting of the ways between the 'Nationalists' and the officers who then stayed in the CUP, Kemal Atatürk explained why it happened and why it had brought disaster in its wake. 'Those at the head of the CUP revolution who later entered the government were our close friends. In the first phase we were all together. After the Revolution we came out against them, arguing that the Army should not mix with politics-more precisely that we should not mix in politics as army officers. We quarrelled with them over this idea Ad parted company, unable to agree. We withdrew from politics and carried out our duties in the Army. Thenceforward be had no direct connexion with the government of the country. We passed through many stages and &any experiences, we made careers for ourselves and [gradually acquired our present abilities]. Whereas our friends who had made the Revolution with us and were on the same level as ourselves passed to the head of the country at that time. . .We are not the raw men we were then; we are different now. But they tried to govern the country and ward off all the dangers which threatened it . . . with no more experience than we ourselves had then. How could they have been expected to succeed?’ 
LIKE ENVER, BOTH KEMAL AND FETHI SERVED in Libya in 1911-12 in the guerrilla war which the Ottomans launched there after the Italian seizure (Rauf was in charge of running guns and supplies into Libya). Relations between Kemal and Enver became severely strained, but an open break was narrowly avoided. While they were absent overseas, the CUP engineered an election to pack the Chamber of Deputies with its own supporters and so quell the rising opposition in the country to its policies. Following this 'Big Stick' election, the CUP was forced out of power in the summer of 1912 by the revolt of a group of 'Saviour Officers' in Istanbul and Macedonia. Besides the resignation of the Government, these officers successfully demanded what Kemal had failed to achieve in 1909, the imposition of an oath upon army officers not to meddle in politics. But later in the year the Balkan states, for once united, attacked Turkey and in scarcely a month seized the entire remaining territory of the Empire in the Balkans. When the officers hastily recalled from Libya reached Istanbul in November and December 1912, they found the Bulgarian Army only thirty miles west of the city facing the Chatalja lines, and the new Government seemingly about to agree to a peace which would cede not only Macedonia but all of Thrace to the enemy, including the old Ottoman capital of Edirne which was still withstanding a Bulgarian siege.
A CUP coup organized by Talat, the most influential figure in the inner circle of the Society, overthrew the Government on 23 January 1913 and installed a new cabinet strongly influenced by the CUP. In organizing the coup Talat had to rely primarily upon the ambitious young army officer members of the CUP whom both their own superiors and the civilian leadership of the CUP had hitherto striven to keep in the background and away from the levers of power. Enver led the assault on the Cabinet Room in which the War Minister Nazim Pasha was killed, and became the hero of the coup just as he had earlier been the hero of the Revolution. Committed to continuing the war, the new Government felt the need for an immediate military success to consolidate its shaky political position. The Bulgarians anticipated the Turks by announcing that the armistice in effect since 3 December would expire on 3 February. The Government under CUP pressure overrode the commander-in-chief Ahmed Izzet Pasha [Furgach] and insisted on an offensive being launched at once. There ensued a clash between Enver on the one hand and Kemal and Fethi on the other which was to be the foundation of a close and long-lasting political cooperation between the latter two.
Mustafa Kemal (third from left, center) and Ahmed Izzet Pasha
along with other officers pose in Aleppo, Feb. 2, 1917
Rauf Orbay (1936 oil painting, J.C. Mertan)
commanded the Hamidiye ("Ghost Ship")
during the Balkan War, breaking through a
Greek blockade of the Dardanelles, and by
hitting the Bulgarians and Montenegrins
At this time Fethi and Kemal were respectively Chief of Staff and Operations Officer of the force under General Fahri Pasha which was holding the neck of the Gallipoli peninsula at Bolayir against the Bulgars. (They were in close contact with Rauf Bey at the naval base opposite at Nara harbour, until Rauf took his cruiser Hamidiye on its famous raiding cruise.) Fethi was a much more important figure in the inner councils of the CUP than any of the Nationalist officers and had never given strong support to the idea that soldiers must stay out of politics—almost certainly he had no part in the note submitted by the Nationalists in 1909, and he had been elected the deputy from Monastir in the 1912 elections despite the fact that he was on active service in the Army. Remal too, due to his great ambition and conviction of his own worth, and the powerful sense of rivalry with Enver which had been one of his main motives for action in 1908-09, was able to abstain from politics only for short periods despite his theoretical beliefs—his patience was easily exhausted. Fethi had not fully accepted Kemal's criticisms and warnings about Enver in 1908, but by 1912 Enver's rapid march towards power had awakened the same fears in him as well. Both Fethi and Kemal had advised against the coup at least until an attempt had been made to force the Government out by constitutional means; indeed Fethi had managed to get this view accepted at the first of the Istanbul meetings in which the CUP considered the coup, only to have the decision reversed in a second meeting after he had returned to Gallipoli and Enver had reached Istanbul. On the morrow of the coup their worst fears seemed about to be realized: Enver now looked unstoppable.
They had scant resources with which to counter him. Though they knew quite well that the Army was in no shape to undertake an offensive, they knew also that political considerations demanded one. So, quite contrary to military practice, on 4 February 1913, they submitted a joint report to the War Minister and the Deputy C-in-C, bypassing their corps commander. In the report they condemned the coup, but stated that an offensive had to be launched immediately from both the Chatalja lines and the Gallipoli peninsula, to relieve Edirne before it fell and the Bulgarian army encircling it was freed to join the main Bulgarian army before Istanbul. If the offensive succeeded, they would at least share the credit with Enver for recommending it. If it failed, the responsibility would rest with those in the High Command who had done the planning.
As it turned out they were not to escape some of the blame for failure, for Enver chose to make his offensive wholly at Gallipoli. He secured the consent of the reluctant C-in-C for an entire army corps to be landed from the sea at Sharkoy above the base of the Gallipoli peninsula at the same time that Fahri's force at Bolayir launched an all-out attack, the object being to catch the Bulgars between two fires. Enver himself was Chief of Staff of the 10th Army Corps which was to carry out the landing, with responsibility for coordinating the actions of the two forces. Orders for the landing were given on 4 February, to be carried out four days later. Though there were no Bulgars at Sharkoy on 8 February, the landing attempt was an appalling shambles, and after thirty-six hours was abandoned. Meanwhile the force at Bolayir, which was not informed of this, made its frontal attack unsupported and was smashed with the loss of nearly half its men.
A bitter dispute broke out between Fethi and Kemal on the one hand, and Enver on the other, over the responsibility for this debacle, conducted both openly and by means of unsigned pamphlets. Fethi and Kemal's campaign against Enver rapidly made progress and came near to splitting the officer corps into pro- and anti-Enver factions; the new Prime Minister Mahrnud Shevket Pasha went to Gallipoli on 20 February in an unsuccessful effort to settle the dispute. Shevket saw more justice in the Fethi-Kemal side of the argument, but his attempt to defuse the dispute by bringing the 10th Army Corps, of which Enver was Chief of Staff and de facto commander, back to Istanbul quickly backfired. When the threat of an opposition counter-coup led by Prince Sabahattin frightened Shevket in early March, the forces he had to depend on for the preparation of possible military countermeasures in the capital were commanded by Enver and by Cemal Pasha, the military governor of the city and another army officer with a personal following and an urge for political power. Though the Fethi-Kemal campaign against Enver continued even past the end of hostilities, the latter's position, already greatly strengthened by his command of the force safeguarding the Government in Istanbul, was made virtually unshakable by his ostensibly heroic role in the recovery of Edirne at the end of the Second Balkan War on 23 July 1913. Furthermore, the assassination of Mahmud Shevket on 11 June had given the CUP the excuse to abolish in effect all political opposition. More than ever before, reckless young army officers controlled the CUP and the Empire, with Enver, the most powerful, the most reckless of all.
Shortly after the Sharkoy affair Talat brought Fethi to Istanbul on 16 March 1913, and had him appointed to the Central Committee and the General Secretariat of the CUP. His motive almost certainly was to seek a counter-balance to the monster he had created by allowing Enver to lead the assault on the Sublime Porte, and to recover a measure of control over affairs for the civilian wing of the CUP, by supporting another young officer with a following of sorts. Fethi now resigned from the Army, while Kemal remained with General Fahri's force, now as Chief of St&, until October 1913. But at the end of the war in August 1913 he took leave and went to stay with Fethi in Istanbul, where they sought ways of exploiting Fethi's new position. It was a powerful one, but Fethi tried to do too much.
At the 1913 Congress of the CUP Ali Fethi in cooperation with Talat announced, not for the first time, that the CUP was to be converted from a semi-secret society into a political party. The amendments made to the CUP constitution at the congress had the aim of shifting the centre of decision-making out of the secret Central Committee and in the direction of the general membership of the hitherto subordinate Parliamentary Party of Union and Progress; the change was necessitated by the growing ascendancy of Enver and the army side of the CUP generally in the Central Committee and the inner circles of the Society. Though Talat secured a superficial success, it was of no use against the fact that the balance of power within the CUP had swung strongly in favour of the young staff officers after the 1913 coup, and within a year both Enver and Cemal Pashas (as they became) had forced their way into the leading positions in both the CUP and the Cabinet.
Had Fethi confined himself to cooperating with Talat in this enterprise, his position would probably have remained secure. But in addition he continued his campaign of accusations against Enver and, despite Kemal's warning but probably with Talat's private encouragement, he tried to cut the ground from beneath Enver's feet by depriving him of the support of bis 'silahshorlar'. These 'warriors' were Enver's personal retinue of young bravoes, mostly junior army officers who had distinguished themselves by assassination and terrorism in the service of the CUP in the early days and who had subsequently hitched themselves to Enver's star : they were shortly to bring him to the War Ministry despite Talh's opposition. Fethi's plan was the simple one of seeking to stop their salaries and dismiss them from the CUP'S service, but here he overreached himself. The addition of this violent element to their opponents made Fethi and Kemal's situation hopeless, and to save Fethi's life from the assassins Talat in October 1913 warned him to resign his posts and go to Sofia as ambassador. When Fethi and Kemal sought counsel on this warning from Cemal Bey, the Minister of Marine and Enver's leading rival, whom they both trusted, he endorsed Talat's advice and warned Kemal that he had better go with Fethi to Sofia as military attachi. They took his advice and went.
NONE OF THE NATIONALIST OFFICERS except Fethi and Kemal had been involved in this political operation, and this was a pattern to be repeated in the future.  Even before he left the Army Fethi was more politician than soldier, and Kemal, burning with ambition and resentment at the meteoric rise of his old rival Enver, was prepared to engage in political intrigue to rescue the country from incompetence and to bring himself to the prominent position he was convinced his talents deserved. The remainder of the group which had gathered around Icema1 in 1909 were more sincere in their detestation of political intrigue in the Army, and in any case (with the exception of Rauf, an Anglophile with an unshakable conviction of the necessity of the separation of the military from politics) were too junior and too distant from Istanbul during most of the next five years to be tempted to meddle in politics. The instinctive cohesion of the group survived, and rose quickly to the surface in 1918 ,but despite the appalling mismanagement of the war by Enver Pasha there was little joint action or planning by these officers in the war years 1914-18.
The Nationalist officers were not of course a formal group at all, nor at any time before 1919 were they sufficiently distinct, prominent and permanent as a faction to warrant their being given, or giving themselves, a name such as that imposed on them here for convenience. They were a group bound first by such ties as would ordinarily bind officers of the same age who had for the most part gone through the Military Academy and Staff College together, and later fought in the same campaigns side by side, but cemented more firmly by their shared experience of conspiracy, revolution, and the suppression of counter-revolution in the dramatic years 1907-09. What made this particular group of officers from that much larger number who also shared this background a special and self-conscious group with a political potential, was their awareness of the officer corps' responsibility as Turkey's leading elite, and their conviction, first formed in 1909 and greatly strengthened by the catastrophic mismanagement of the first world war, that this elite was betraying its responsibility. An additional and crucial factor was the enormously powerful personality of Mustafa Kemal, who provided a nucleus about which the group could form. The final necessary element which ensured the survival of the group's identity, however dormant, over the long years between the first flush of enthusiasm in 1909 and the first opportunity for common action in late 1918,was the dominance of Enver Pasha and his extremist allies over the affairs of the Army and the Empire as a focus for their dissatisfaction.
Except for Kemal these officers were not gifted with any extraordinary insight into international affairs or even civil-military relations. Indeed, the ideal to which they nominally gave their loyalty—the strict separation of the Army from politics—would have to be abandoned if they were ever to take any action to right what they saw as being wrong with the existing situation, and it was dropped without a qualm in 1919. Asked recently if the Nationalists' use of the Army to create a rival government in Anatolia in 1919, and their defiance of the legitimate Istanbul government which was collaborating with the Entente, was not a betrayal of this ideal, Ismet Inonu replied frankly: 'The [War of Independence] was basically a revolution by the Army. That is as plain as day. The way things were, what else should we have done? The enemy had invaded the country; we had to liberate ourselves. We had the Army, and the Army had to fight.'
In any case, the destructive influence of politics on the Army was no longer a live issue after 1914, for once he came to the War Ministry Enver pulled the ladder up behind him. In a single industrious year he not only reorganized the structure of the Army on the contemporary European pattern and cleared out all the deadwood by a mass retirement of virtually all officers who had reached field rank before the Revolution; he eradicated politics from the Army root and branch. Even his own 'warriors' were not spared; they were found jobs in the new Special Organization or in various CUP posts, but they had to leave the Army. But although Enver removed politics from the Army he did not remove the Army, under his direction, from politics; he was merely ensuring that no rival voice could speak for it. The Army constituted the power base which let him play the dominating role in the Empire's entry into and policies during the first world war.
One grievance against Enver and generally against the CUP was thus quickly replaced by another. It required no special insight to see that Enver's impulsiveness in the direction of Ottoman strategy, his subservience to German strategic needs in the direction of Ottoman forces, the arbitrary violence which the CUP Government sporadically employed against political opponents and minority groups, and the flagrant and large-scale corruption of many of the lesser members of the government, were leading the Empire to ruin. Even though the Nationalist officers had no such thing as an alternative programme, the blindingly obvious contrast between Enver's military policies and the real requirements of the Empire's situation, and the bitter resentment almost all of them felt at the dominating positions given to German officers in the Ottoman Army, provided them throughout the war with a permanent motive to disapprove of Enver's regime and to discuss their views with others of like mind.
THE GROUP WHO HAD ASSOCIATED THEMSELVES with Kemal in 1909 were in close contact with each other during the war owing to the circumstance of postings. Just as important, from the middle of the war on most of them came by chance into contact with the man who was to be Turkey's Prime Minister at the time of the armistice and won his confidence. This man was General Ahmed Izzet Pasha, a successful soldier of the old school who had reluctantly let himself be made the Minister of War after the assassination of Nazim Pasha in January 1913, only to be pushed out of office again the next year by Enver. Some of Kemal's associates he already knew well—Ismet and Rauf had accompanied him to the Yemen in 1910 to suppress the revolt there, the former at Izzet's specific request—and most of the others including Kemal himself he served with during 1916-18. A man without a party, when he was called upon to form a successor government to the CUP and make peace in October 1918, it was to the members of this group of officers that he turned for support, thus giving them a priceless opportunity.
From his semi-exile in Sofia Kemal had become partially reconciled to Enver upon seeing the excellent work in Army reform which he set in progress as Minister of War in 1914, and even made known to the CUP leadership through a well-connected friend his willingness to serve under Enver as Chief of the General Staff—an idea which Enver rejected out of hand. However, on the outbreak of war Kemal realized that the Government intended to join Germany, and urgently sought through both official and private channels to persuade the Government to remain neutral and await the development of events, fearing all too accurately that it would be a long war and that the Germans were by no means certain of victory. When war came anyway, he sought to return to Turkey and take his part in it, but for some months Enver insisted that he remain in Sofia. Finally on 20 January 1915 Enver appointed Kenal to command a reserve division forming near Gallipoli. In the next ten months his brilliant work in the Peninsula, where he twice saved the Turks from irremediable defeat, was the making of his reputation within the Army. Enver used the military censorship to ensure that Kemal's reputation did not grow correspondingly in civilian circles (though in the Anafarta battles Kemal commanded a force of eleven divisions, the largest under a single Turkish commander in the entire war), and contrived to delay his promotion to General and Pasha for more than a year. After Gallipoli however there was no longer any possibility of Kemal's being left to languish in exile or in some harmless administrative post, whatever doubts Enver might have about his trustworthiness.
In the first years of the war Kemal eschewed political intrigue entirely. His attitude at the beginning is summed up in his response to a questioner who asked him why Turkey had entered the war: 'Never mind that now; it's done. Now we must do our duty.' As time went on and Turkey's military situation became more grave, he could not refrain from uttering protests and warnings, but now he had the position and authority—Colonel and Corps Commander in 1915, General, Pasha, and Army Commander by 1916—which enabled him to do so openly and receive a hearing. From the end of 1915 to the end of the war he issued a steady stream of messages and memoranda to the High Command, always inveighing against the erratic and irrational conduct of Ottoman strategy and the undue influence of German officers in the Army. Sheer frustration at his inability to get his views accepted was responsible for the fact that three times before mid-1918 he offered his resignation from important commands (twice having it accepted) and three times refused similar appointments. But not until late 1917 did he again engage in any political activity.
During this last war year the Nationalist officers were mostly either on the Palestine front or in Istanbul, with Kemal as usual serving as the vital link among them. A few weeks after his departure from Syria Ismet's 3rd Army Corps was transferred to the Palestine front and took its place in the line next to Ali Fuad's 20th Corps, and the two men served side by side through the next year in Palestine as the military situation moved steadily towards collapse, until at the very end of the war they came again under Kemal's command when he was reappointed commander of the 7th Army. Besides Ali Fuad and Ismet, Refet was on the Palestine front as a corps commander; he had been there since the outbreak of the war and had already played a distinguished role in the Suez Canal attacks and in the battles around Gaza in early 1917. Kazim Karabekir remained on the Caucasus front until the end of the war, out of contact with the rest for the most part. The remainder of the Nationalist officers were in Istanbul and in increasingly frequent contact with Ahrnet Izzet Pasha during this year.
After his resignation in October 1917 Kemal was not offered a command again until the last few months of the war, which suited him very well, for he now launched himself into political intrigue aimed at displacing Enver, if possible taking his place himself. Benefiting from the loose rein which Enver as always allowed him, he obtained three months leave and set about politicking. He saw a great deal of his close friend Rauf, now Chief of the Naval Staff, and they discussed the country's difficulties at great length: but Rauf was serious about the military not mixing in politics and refused to have anything to do with Kemal's intrigues while he remained in office—indeed he made a practice of delivering Kemal homilies on the subject. Kemal's main collaborator was Ali Fethi, now back from Sofia and at the head of an opposition movement in favour of a separate peace which was emerging among the parliamentary members of the CUP. For the next sixteen months all Kemal's efforts were focused on obtaining the War Ministry for himself, at first in order to conclude a separate peace, later in the hope of being able to deal more effectively with the victorious Allies.
During their earlier period of close collaboration in 1913 Kemal had unquestionably been subordinate to Fethi, who had then occupied a position of power in the CUP, whereas Kemal had been a relatively junior officer with neither political nor military success to his credit. To many in the CUP and the Army, and to the austere Enver in particular, his constant open criticism of the actions of those in responsible positions had been merely the reprehensible consequence of his great ambition, his arrogance, and his fondness for drink. But now there could be no question, at least among his contemporaries in the Society and the Army, of his genuine abilities, and his status and influence in this circle were at least as great as Fethi's. He was still not very well known outside this circle, as his leading role in the Gallipoli campaign had been deliberately played down by Enver; but shortly after his return to Istanbul he took steps to remedy this. In a series of interviews with Rushen Eshref [Unaydin], a writer for Zia Gokalp's Yeni Mecmua, he described his own part in that campaign; the account Unaydin wrote, appearing fast in a special issue of Yeni Mecmua to commemorate the third anniversary of the naval assaults on the Dardanelles in March 1915, and subsequently as a separate pamphlet, helped to make him known to the wider audience of educated Turks outside the Army.
Meanwhile Fethi and Kemal sought a way to bring Enver down, and in November or early December 1917an opportunity of sorts presented itself. Shortly after Talat Pasha had become Prime Minister in a reconstructed Government in early 1917, a serious division had begun to appear in the Cabinet between the supporters of Enver and Talat on the issues of Army control over civil affairs (the whole country was under martial law) and the desirability of trying for a separate peace. It was in essence a recrudescence of the old split between the civilian and military wings of the CUP, with the addition of a personality clash; by the spring of 1918 this division had become so deep that Talat was to engage in at least one abortive scheme to remove Enver and his followers from the Cabinet, but at this time he was still trying to preserve a common front. Enver's supporters, on the other hand, were already taking precautions against such an eventuality. According to Kemal, Ismail Hakki Pasha, one of Enver's closest associates at the War Ministry, approached him shortly after his arrival in Istanbul and revealed to him in confidence that the Government's will to continue the war was weakening; if it appeared likely that it was going to seek a separate peace it would be necessary to overthrow it and install a military cabinet. Would Kemal accept a position in that cabinet? Ismail Hakki added that he had under his personal control a force of 10,000 men distributed around the capital and various places on the Anatolian coast of the Marmara, its purpose known only to Enver and himself, which was being held in readiness to carry out this coup if necessary.
While such a force did indeed exist, it is difficult to believe that Enver and Ismail Hakki would have tried to enlist Kemal's aid in this way—they knew his attitude to the war and to themselves. The real source of Kemal and Fethi's knowledge may well have been Ali [Chetinkaya], the commander of these secret 'assault battalions', who had known them both in Salonika in 1908 and had served with them in Libya. In either case they seized on the existence of this force as a weapon to use against Enver. Fethi went at once to see Talat and warned him of its existence, first getting his word not to reveal the source of his knowledge. Talat was greatly alarmed at first and consulted immediately with his close friends and members of the Central Committee Mithat Shükrü [Bleda] and Kara Kemal Beys. But on further discussion they found it difficult to believe that Enver would consider such an action, and Talat despite his promise to Fethi decided to demand an explanation from the War Minister. Enver freely admitted the existence of the force, but denied that it was directed against the Cabinet; it was he said merely a precaution against another attempt at a coup such as that Yakub Cemil had tried the previous year. Talat had to give the appearance of accepting this assurance,  and did indeed conclude that Fethi's revelation had had the purpose of creating suspicion and distrust of Enver in the Cabinet, which would lead to his exit from it.
Talat's conclusion about Fethi and Kemal's motive was certainly correct. This was entirely clear to Enver, but once again he did not take strong action; he contented himself with giving a strong warning to Rauf to relay to Kemal that this was the last time he would overlook his 'political intrigues'. 'There is no question,' he said, 'that Mustafa Kemal Pasha is a person who can be of the greatest service to the country. And I will continue to employ him in the positions he is entitled to. But I am certainly excused from consenting to a continuation of these political enterprises.'
When Kemal and the Crown Prince met again on the train taking them to Germany, he thought he had his answer. He found Vahideddin a different man—still withdrawn and nervous, given to long silences, but able at least to carry on a conversation now that he was in a less formal situation. He knew little of the world beyond Palace circles, and almost everything he knew gave him cause to be fearful for his future, but Kemal's hope grew. He explained the change to himself: 'The Heir Apparent, who the first time we had met in Istanbul had behaved so strangely under the influence uf conditions easily understood by those who know that period, saw no harm in showing his personality as it really was after leaving Istanbul and seeing himself really free, especially after he realized that his hearers were trustworthy men.' Every day for the next three weeks he worked on him carefully, enlisting the aid of Naci and some other trusted members of the entourage, attempting gradually to instruct Vahideddin in their view of the Empire's situation and needs.
It was one of the few times that the man who would soon be Sultan had completely escaped the stifling influence of the Palace; the first time probably in all his 57 years that he had extended conversations on matters of gravity with men important in the world outside the Palace, and been taken seriously by them as a man with a responsibility for making decisions. He expanded visibly under the effect of this. He revealed to Kemal his disgust with Talat and Enver and his conviction that they were doing the country harm, encouraging the General to talk even more freely. Kemal did all in his power to enlighten the Prince on the state of the Empire, the exhaustion of its people, and above all on the impossibility of the war's ending in victory for the Central Powers, a fact he became unshakably convinced of after his interviews with Hindenburg and Ludendorff, and especially after their visit to the Western Front. Vahideddin, though still not very forthcoming, gave every sign that he agreed with Kemal's views, and raised his hopes even higher by asking Naci to become his aide. Naci was not at all pleased with the idea of serving at the Palace, but Kemal persuaded him to accept with the argument that 'There must be someone at his side who will explain the realities to him'.
Finally, on the last day before they were to return to Turkey, when the two of them were left alone in the Crown Prince's Berlin hotel room after a press conference, Vahideddin committed himself. He turned to Kemal and asked: 'What must I do ?'
'We know Ottoman history,' Kemal replied. 'There are some [precedents] that make you afraid and suspicious. You are right to be so. I am going to propose something to you, and if you accept I will link my life to yours. May I ?'
'You are not yet Sultan, but you have seen how in Germany the Emperor, the Crown Prince and the other Princes all have jobs to do. Why do you stand aside from public affairs ?'
'What am I to do ?'
'As soon as you get back to Istanbul ask for command of an army, and I will be your chief of staff.'
'The command of what army ?'
'The Fifth.' It was the army which defended the Straits and hence commanded Istanbul.
'They will not give me this command.'
'Ask for it anyway.'
Vahideddin replied: 'I will think about it when we get back to Istanbul.'
It was not the reply Kemal had hoped for. Once back in Istanbul and exposed again to the old influences and fears, the hesitant Vahideddin would be much more difficult to move to action, but he had, he reckoned, accomplished at least something. He was now the confidant of the man who would soon be Sultan.
Kemal had no early opportunity to test the strength of his influence over the Crown Prince, as he fell seriously ill in the train on the way back to Turkey. For the next six months, as the Empire moved steadily towards military collapse, he was much of the time unable to rise from his bed, undergoing treatment first in Istanbul and then in Vienna. While he was there in June Enver offered him the command of the 9th Army, then forming in eastern Anatolia in accordance with Enver's ambition to occupy the Caucasus and north-west Iran and to retake Iraq, but Kemal refused it. He was in Karlsbad, still not fully recovered, when he heard on 5 July 1918 of the death of the Sultan and of Vahideddin's accession to the throne. Greatly annoyed at being absent from Istanbul at such a time, but still too ill to travel, he contented himself with sending a telegram of congratulations to the new Sultan Mehmed Vahideddin VI which was duly acknowledged. Shortly afterwards he heard that General Ahmed Izzet Pasha had been confirmed as the Sultan's chief military aide.
Probably not much had resulted from Kemal and Izzet's joint service on the Caucasus front in 1916-17 beyond a mutual appreciation of the other's potential value as an ally against the dominance of Enver; the characters of the two men were diametrically opposed, and Izzet did not share many of the ideas of the younger generation of state officers to which Kemal belonged. Nevertheless the latter was pleased at the news; he was certain that Izzet would convert his largely honorary post into one of active military adviser, chief of staff almost, to the Sultan, and he had great hopes that the latter could be persuaded to move against Enver. In a letter of 19 July to the new Chief Chamberlain Lutfi Simavi Bey he remarked: 'The Sultan's ascent to the throne has given birth to extraordinary hopes in me from the point of view of the prosperity and safety of our fatherland. . .I am completely convinced that the fatherland, the nation and the Army will be rescued from being a plaything of Enver's.'  A few days later Kemal received a telegram from his own aide in Istanbul, Cevat Abbas, advising him to return there. Kemal replied that he was not yet recovered, but Cevat Abbas immediately sent him a second telegram begging him to come quickly, and on 27 July he left Karlsbad, arriving in Istanbul on 2 August.
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