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The Great Speech to Turks in Turkey - Delivered By Mustafa Kemal in 1927

The Great Speech to Turks in Turkey - Delivered By Mustafa Kemal in 1927

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GHAZI MUSTAPHA KEMAL PASHASPEECHdelivered byGHAZI MUSTAPHA KEMALPresident of the Turkish RepublicOCTOBER 1927K.F. KOEHLER, PUBLISHER, LEIPZIG 1929Copyright 1929 by K. F. Koehler, G, m. b. H., LeipzigPrinted in GermanyINTRODUCTIONThis volume comprises a speech which lasted from the 15 th to the20 th October, 1927, delivered by Ghazi Mustapha Kemal Pasha,President of the Turkish Republic, at Angora before the deputies andrepresentatives of the "Republican Party/ 7 of which he was the founder and head.Unconventional as the length and character of this speech is, thesubject of it, which is a comprehensive account of one of the mostremarkable events in the many centuries of Turkish history, is equallyunique. It reveals the activity of the speaker from the time when hefirst felt himself called upon to take the leadership of his nation intohis own hands and guide it from shame and threatened ruin to freedom and power.Now that danger from abroad has been averted and since thefoundations have been prepared in the country on which a revivifiedState is arising, Mustapha Kemal Pasha is moved to show r his peoplehow this new Turkey has been built up, on what foundations she isstanding and what are the paths she must tread in future.The speech was delivered before Turks by a Turk, by a manwho from the commencement of his military career w r as intimatelyassociated with the political events occurring in his country; beforemen who, like himself, have lived to witness or to share in the twoeventful decades of the modern history of his native land. This factalone will explain that the speaker presumed many a circumstanceto be perfectly well known to his hearers with which the reader isnot familiar.
The present Turkish State under its new Constitution is an extremely democratic republic, which emphatically declines to be influenced by religious considerations. As an easily to be understood,and we may even say inevitable counter-blast to the close connectionexisting for many centuries between the most absolute monarchyand a religion permeating every sphere of private and public life,the freedom of the citizen and the complete separation of State fromKemal Pasha JReligion have become the battle-cry of the present day. The mostliberally conceived Western ideas are accepted with the most jubilantenthusiasm. Western development, civilisation, progress are theaiTT>5 and substance of the efforts that were made. But the mainobject of all the anxiety and all the bitter struggle is the nationitself, the people of Turkey. In the West the national idea has a longand variable history; in the East it is new, and with ail the ardourand the exalted flight of imagination of which an unexhausted peopleare capable of concentrating on a new ideal, it is seized upon andcontended for in the leading circles. It is evident that between thesetwo ideals, the civilising and the national, conflicts and dissentionsmust arise. Extensive adoption of the western or, at all events,foreign advantages of culture on the one hand, and the maintenanceof their own native culture on the other, is the main choice that newTurkey has to make.Historical development never advances by leaps and bounds, butis the consequence of mutually recognised stages. It is the same inregard to Turkey, but here also, through the prolonged resistance ofstubborn elements and the moral pressure exerted from without, theeffects of which were felt even in the most remote districts, and,finally, through the appearance of a great leader, the last phase ofthe development occurred with remarkable rapidity.During the first half of the ig th century efforts to reform theobsolete political system of Turkey could already be observed. Atthat time it was the Sultan himself, Mahmud II the c Reformer"(1808 1839), who, succeeding Sultan Selim III, was amicably inclinedtowards reform and who made these attempts. Besides the annihilation of the over-powerful and irregular corps of the Janissaries, theproclamation of reform of the year 1839, known as the Hatti Sherifof Gulhine and published after the death of the Sultan, is of historicalimportance. But unfortunately this attempt at reform remaineddormant from its inception. The .successors of Mahmud had neitherthe understanding nor the strength for leadership. At first they hada retarding influence and afterwards were the declared enemies ofevery kind of development. While the Turkish Empire, which atone time had made Europe tremble, came politically and economicallyby degrees more dependent upon the Great Powers, these rulersunswervingly upheld the ancient ideas and antiquated institutionsand squandered the revenues of the State and allowed its mostimportant means of power to lie idle. A class of educated men whodreamed of restoring the Turkish Empire to its former glory and whowere increasingly influenced by liberal Western ideas in the ig th
century, became impressed with the new ideas. Under the leadershipof Reshid (1802 1858) and later of Midhat Pasha (18251884) theysucceeded, after overthrowing the versatile but politically inept SultanAbdul Aziz, in obtaining the grant of a new Constitution to Turkeyin 1876. But already in the following year all the hopes attached tothis event were suddenly destroyed. Abdul Hamid II, the secondsuccessor of Abdul Aziz, had overthrown his brother Murad V andunder the pressure of the prevailing conditions had granted a newConstitution. Several months later this was again withdrawn. MidhatPasha was exiled, and for a whole generation the dark cloud of reaction,of which one could scarcely form an idea in the West, lowered uponTurkey. The figure of Abdul Hamid and his activity belongs in ameasure to our own time, and the secrecy surrounding this undoubtedly important ruler has added to the interest taken in him. In thecountry his interest was chiefly directed towards the suppression ofany modern or independent movement, and every means was welcomefor the attainment of this aim. Drastic control of religion, whichwas connected outwardly with Panislamic endeavours, a system ofespionage to an extent never previously experienced ramificationsof which were intended to serve the purpose of spiritual guardianshipand supervision hitherto unknown were among them and, indeed,they fulfilled their purpose for several decades. Banishments andexecutions the latter mainly in secret which the Sultan inflictedupon his adversaries or those whom, in his fanatical and ever-increasing distrust, he considered to be such, were innumerable. Butspiritual development could not be arrested, the counter-pressureagainst that exercised from Constantinople was slowly growing andexpanding. In the nineties there arose in Macedonia, especially atSalonika, the "Committee of Union and Progress" in which undoubtedly important moral forces were at work*).Kemal Pasha, at that time a young officer on the General Staff,also belonged to this movement. The hour of deliverance arrived in1908. In July open rebellion broke out against Tyranny. The Sultan,notwithstanding his system of spies, was unprepared for this blow*) From the name of the "Committee of Union and Progress", its membersand adherents are often referred to in this volume as "Unionists", while theyare often described also as the "Young Turks". It must be observed, however,that these two expressions do not mean exactly the same thing, because notall of the "Young Turks" were intimately associated with the "Committee ofUnion and Progress".and did not immediately grasp the situation. He gave the impressionthat he surrendered to the inevitable and granted the desired Constitution, and it is significant of the attitude of the Unionists thatin the essential points they were satisfied and still allowed the manwho was their bitterest enemy to occupy the throne. But scarcelyhad Abdul Hamid imagined that he could throw off the fetters imposedupon him, than he delivered a counter blow (13^ April, 1909), repealedthe Constitution and proceeded against the followers of the "Committeeof Union and Progress." This time, however, the prudent man hadmiscalculated the situation. With surprising rapidity the Macedoniantroops reappeared before Constantinople, even before the Sultan sauxiliary troops from Anatolia could reach the spot. After a fitterfight, the garrison of Constantinople was defeated. Abdul Hamid losthis throne and his liberty, and Mehmed V was proclaimed Sultan in

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