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An Outline of Turkish History from its Inception to 1923

Throughout history the Turks have established numerous states in different geographical areas on the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. Therefore, they encountered different cultures, they influenced these cultures and were influenced by them.

The Chinese records reported that the first appearance of the Turks in history was in the Kö¤men Mountains, where the most ancient remains were found. The culture referred to as Tagar, featuring remains found on the Tagar Island at the Yenisei River on the northern foot of the Köðmen Mountains and dating back to the seventh century B.C., is attributed to the ancient Turks. The Tagar Culture, however, originated from another ancient culture called the Karasuk which flourished on the same shores, which dates back to two thousand B.C.

Portrait head of Kul Tegin,
Göktürk Khan, Museum at Ulaanbaatur,
capital of Mongolia.

It is accepted that Turkish political history in Asia starts with the Huns. The Hun State , which first appeared in the third century B.C., became a significant and powerful state during the reign of its founder, Mete Khan, and passed through fundamental changes, economically and socially, due to her relations with China. Having a defined and certain strategy, Mete first of all defeated the Mongolians and then the Yuechis, and thereafter, having taken the western gates and trade routes of China under his control, he gained significant economic power. This systematic expansion policy resulted in the seizure of Eastern Turkestan, the wheat and provisions granary, by the Huns.
After the collapse of the Asian Hun State, a new state called the Göktürk was founded by the Turkish tribes who adopted the traditions and administrative experiences of the Huns. The Göktürk State (552-740) is the second great state established by the Turks. Unlike the Huns, the Göktürks attached particular importance to urbanization, realized agricultural reforms and seed improvement and “sagacity” was the foremost concept.

Bilge Khan and Kultegin took their place in history as the wisest and most heroic figures among Turkish statesmen. They asserted that the state could not be ruled only by fighting and bravery and the Khanate should also require wisdom. It was because of this that both the Khans and Tonyukuk, another Göktürk Khan, immortalized their accomplishments with inscriptions. These inscriptions are the first written texts of the Turkish language.

The Göktürk State collapsed after struggles with the Chinese, on the one hand, and with the Turkish tribes within the state, such as the Dokuz O¤uzlar, Karluks and Basm›ls, on the other hand. The Uigur Turks, who were the native tribes of the Orhun and Selenge valleys, founded the third great Turkish state. The Uigur State (741-840) attached importance to trade and continued the traditions and customs of the Göktürks. The trade developed and the Manichean temples were turned into bazaar temples in time due to the influence of Manicheism, the official religion.

The warlike aspects of the Uigurs gradually grew weaker in time as they developed culturally and commercially. The Kyrgyz Turks living to the northwest, took advantage of this situation and planned a surprise attack on the Uigur capital city, which resulted in a war and at the end the Uigur state collapsed.

The Western Turks. A group of Huns who migrated towards the West first settled in a region to the north of the Black Sea extending to the Danube River. First the Huns made raids on Iran and Anatolia via the Caucasia, and then they attacked the territories of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. They fought with the Franks in 428, and two years later, reached the areas which are presently the Netherlands and Denmark. The Western Huns, who were known as the first Turkish state founded in Europe, became a great state with territories extending from the banks of the Rhine to the Volga River, under the leadership of Attila the Hun. This state played an important role in transmitting Eastern civilization to the West, and organized campaigns to Italy, the Balkans and Gaul in the reign of Attila. The Western Hun State collapsed a short time after Attila passed away (470).

During the collapse of the Hun Empire in Europe, a new wave of tribal migrations started in Central Asia. The north of the Black Sea was confronted with a new wave of Turkish migration. The first tribes to arrive were the Sabirs, Sarogurs and Onogurs. These Ogur tribes, who settled to the north of the Caucasus, raided the Byzantine territories from Macedonia to Thessaly. It is known that the Bulgarian Turks also came to this region along side the Ogur Turks. Byzantine sources refer to the name “Bulgarian” for the first time in 482. In fact, the Avars, with the Bulgarian Turks under their sovereignty, sieged the Byzantine capital at the beginning of the seventh century. The Avars , who left their homeland in Central Asia and who escaped towards the West when the Göktürk State was founded in 552, had an important place in the history of Europe. They first came to Caucasia and the north of the Black Sea, made an agreement with the Byzantines and fought against, and defeated, Turkish tribes such as the Sabirs and Onogurs on behalf of the Byzantines. They expanded to the banks of the Danube River, over the lands of the Ants, a Slavic tribe. From time to time, they made raids throughout the Balkans and even as far as the Peloponnese in Greece. They sieged Istanbul in 626 together with the Bulgarian Turks. The borders of the Avar Empire extended from the Dnieper to the Elbe River and from the North Sea to the Adriatic Sea during the reign of their famous ruler Bayan Khan. The Avar Empire collapsed between 776-803 due to the concurrent attacks of Kurum Khan, the leader of the Bulgarian Turks and Charlemagne (Charles the Great). Present excavations and research in Hungary and Central Europe reveal that the Avars had an exemplary organization within the state and the army and attained a high level of civilization.

During the period of disintegration of the Sabir State in the east of Europe, a new Turkish state called the Khazars came into existence. The Khazars, who were considered to be the continuation of the Western Göktürks, took over their military and civilian organizations. This state, which ruled for over 300 years bears the name of “Turk” in Arabian, Syrian and Byzantine sources. The Khazars acted as an allied force of the Byzantines in the war between Byzantium and Iran. It is observed that the Arabs who occupied Azerbaijan around the beginning of the eighth century, also raided Khazar territories and occupied their capital city Belencer (in Dagestan).

The war between the Khazars and the Caliphate continued for almost 25 years. The Khazar armies once again went to the south of the Caucasus from 762 AD and occupied all of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Ras Tarhan, the Khazar commander advanced up to Georgia. The Khazars were threatened afterwards by other Turkish tribes, and especially by the Russians. Their state collapsed towards the end of the tenth century due to their long lasting wars against the Pechenegs.

Another Turkish tribe living in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and the Balkans was the Pechenegs. The Pechenegs, an Oghuz tribe, whose initial settlement around Balkhash Lake moved on to the nearby Aral Sea during the fight between the Göktürks and Uigurs. Then they moved further towards the West and fought against the Khazars. They occupied the Cuman plains and expelled the Hungarians ruling the lands between the Don and Dnieper Rivers towards the West. Giving assistance to the Russians in their fights with the Khazars, they played a role in the founding of this state. The Pechenegs, who ruled a territory extending from the Don River to the Danube River in the tenth century, made raids on Byzantine territories from the middle of the eleventh century. However, they were decisively defeated by the joint forces of the Cumans and Byzantines beside the Lower Maritsa River in 1091. Some of the separate Pecheneg groups who could not represent a political existence after this defeat were settled in the territories of the Byzantine Empire. Those who stayed in the Balkans and Hungary settled there and were assimilated. Turkish History in the Islamic Period. After the decline of the Uigur State, the Karahanid State was founded in 840 by the Turkish tribes such as the Karluks, Çigils and Arguls. The reign of the Karahanids is considered to be a turning point in Turkish history, because Islam was accepted as the official religion during the reign of Satuk Buðra Khan, the Karahanid leader. Being the first Muslim Turkish state established in Central Asia, they laid the foundations of an historical development called Turkish-Islamic culture and civilization.

The Karahanids, whose first city of governance was Kashgar and second was Balasagun to the north, was divided between two brothers in 1042: the Eastern Karahanids and the Western Karahanids. The Eastern Karahanid State survived until 1211 and then accepted the sovereignty of the Great Seljuk State. Islamic-Turkish literature was developed during the rule of the Karahanid State which was customarily governed by just, religious, and culture loving Khans and Kashgar and Balasagun became important cultural centers.

At the time of the rule of the Karahanids, there was another Turkish state of which the capital city was Ghazna in Afghanistan. The most powerful period of the Ghaznavid State (936-1187) was the reign of Mahmud of Ghazna who used the title of “Sultan” for the first time. Sultan Mahmud, who organized many campaigns to India, took these places under Turkish rule, Islamized them and laid the foundation for today’s State of Pakistan. The rulers succeeding Sultan Mahmud could not maintain this brilliant period. The Ghaznavids had to retreat to India after the Dandanakan War with the Seljuks in 1040 and finally came under the sovereignty of the Seljuks.

Another great Turkish state was the Seljuk State (1040-1157) founded by the Seljuk Bey who was a member of the Kinik tribe of the Oghuz Turks. The borders of the state covered an area from the Marmara Sea to the Balkhash Lake in Central Asia and from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea to the borders of India and Yemen. Therefore, it was named the Great Seljuk State. At the time of Seljuk rule, there were also two other great and strong Turkish states, namely the Karahanids and Ghaznavids. The Seljuks entered into a struggle of hegemony with these two Turkish states and were successful in establishing Turkish unity. Togrul Bey, the Sultan of the Seljuks, entered Baghdad, the Abbasid Caliphate capital and ended the domination of the Buwayhids, a Persian Shiite dynasty, in 1055. Therefore, the Caliph bestowed on Togrul Bey the title of “Ruler of the World”. During the reign of Sultan Alp Arslan, the successor of Togrul Bey, the territories of the country expanded significantly.

The most significant events of this period were the clashes with the Byzantine Empire. Sultan Alp Arslan inflicted a crushing defeat on the Byzantine army under the leadership of Romanus Diogenes at Manzikert (Malazgirt) in 1071. This victory firmly established Turkish rule in Anatolia.

During the reign of Sultan Malik Shah, one of the most powerful rulers of the Seljuks, the Seljuk State experienced her most successful period in the fields of military, science, politics and literature. Madrasahs (theological schools) were opened all over the country. The most important of these was the Nizamiye Madrasah constructed by the Vizier Nizam al-Mülk which was the foundation for the architecture of the Western universities.

Madrasah with Slim Minarets,
one of the unique examples of the Seljuk Period, Konya

After Sultan Malik Shah died, the country was divided into small states. The Syrian Seljuks (1092-1117), Iraq and Khorasan Seljuks (1092-1194), Kirman Seljuks (1092-1187) and the Anatolian Seljuks (1092-1194) were among the small states. During the disintegration period of the Great Seljuk State many small beylics and atabeylics were also established on the Anatolian territories of the state. These beylics played an important role in making Anatolia Turkish through the Turkish population they brought and also the architectural works they made. These beylics had a significant affect in the strengthening of the Anatolian Seljuk State which was established later in Anatolia.

Moreover, the Khorezm Shah State (1097-1231) was established by Mohammed Khorezm Shah, the son of Anushtegin, the palace servant of Sultan Malik Shah, on the territories of the Great Seljuk State. The Khorezm Shah State made significant progress in science and politics.

The most important state established in the place of the Great Seljuk State is definitely the Anatolian Seljuk State. Suleiman ibn Qutulmish who established himself at Nicaea (Iznik) in 1078 tried to expand Turkish rule in Anatolia and he managed to spread his rule all over Anatolia in a short period of time. During the reign of his son, Kiliç Arslan I, the First Crusade began, Iznik was seized by the Crusaders and given to the Byzantines. Kiliç Arslan I then established himself in the city of Konya and started a war of attrition against the invaders. However, he could not stop the Crusaders who were heading towards Syria. The efforts to unify Anatolia under Turkish rule were also continued during the reign of his successor, Sultan Mesud I. He repelled the Byzantine army headed for Konya and defeated the Crusaders near the Ceyhan River. Sultan Kiliç Arslan II, the successor of Mesud I, made the Byzantine intrigues against the Turks ineffective and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Byzantine army under the leadership of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus I, at Myriokephalon near Denizli (1176). Following this victory, the influence of the Byzantine Empire over Anatolia was completely lost. Thereafter, trade flourished and construction activities accelerated. Caravanserais were built on the roads and shipyards were constructed in Sinop and the Mediterranean, the madrasahs were opened and important developments were made in science. The most brilliant period of Turkish history was experienced during the reign of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I. However, the death of the Sultan by poisoning created chaos in the country. The religio-political rebellion of the Babais was followed by the Mongolian invasion and Anatolia was occupied by the Mongolians after the Kösedag War between the Seljuks and Mongolians in 1243. Along with the weakening of the Mongolian rule towards the end of the thirteenth century, the Turkoman groups who were settled at the frontiers during the Seljuk period, founded many beylics (principalities) of varying sizes in Anatolia. The Karaman, Germiyan, Esref, Hamid, Mentese, Candar, Pervane, Sahib Ata, Karesi, Saruhan, Aydin, Inanç and Osmanogullari were among the Turkoman beylics founded in Anatolia in this period. In this period, which is called the Beylics Period, all of Anatolia came under Turkish rule and a new period of welfare began in the country which had been previously exposed to a great extent to Mongolian destruction. As a matter of fact, the Ottoman state was founded on these solid foundations.

In Egypt, the army commander Izzeddin Aybeg was declared the Sultan, after the death of es-Salih Necmeddin, the last Ayyubid ruler and thus the Turkish Kölemen (Mameluke) State (1250-1382) was founded. The Mameluke State has an important place in Turkish history, because during the reign of Sultan Aybeg, the Mansure Victory was won which made the Seventh Crusade ineffective. During the reign of Seyfeddin Kotuz, the Mongolian-Armenian-Crusaders alliance which tried to invade Egypt suffered a heavy defeat and the Mongolians were not able to enter Syria. During the period of the later Sultans, the Christian hegemony in Syria would end and the territories extending to Kayseri in Anatolia would be taken under the rule of the Mameluke Sultanate. In addition, trade between the east and the west developed during this period. The Mameluke Sultans were bestowed the title of “Hadimü’l-Harameyn” (the Servant of Mecca and Medina), due to their services to Islam, and acquired a justified fame in the Islamic World. The Mameluke State was wiped out by the Ottoman State.

One of the most important states of the fourteenth century was the Tamerlane State (1370-1507). It was founded by Tamerlane, who was a provincial governor in one of the Çagatay khanates. The borders of the state extended from the Volga River to the Ganges River in India, and from the Tanri Mountains to Izmir and Damascus. Tamerlane, who had a violent character, caused great damage during his military expeditions. The state became an empire in a period of 35 years. It disintegrated just as rapidly as it was established after the death of Tamerlane. Muhammed, his grandson, founded a state in Samarkand. Pir Muhammed and Iskender, his other grandsons, founded a state in Iran. Miranshah, his son, founded states in Baghdad and Azerbaijan. Shahruh, his younger son, founded a state in Khorasan. During the period of Shahruh, who tried to establish unity by enlarging the borders of his state, a brilliant cultural life was started. His son Ulug Bey ascended the throne as a well-known astronomer. Only Hüseyin Baykara from the Tamerlane dynasty could manage to hold out in Khorasan. Herat, the capital city, became one of the most significant cultural centers of Turkish history. Ali ½ir Nevai, the Turkish poet and statesman, was educated here. Herat was seized by the Uzbeks after the reign of Baykara and the Tamerlane dynasty disappeared.

When the Tamerlane State was established, the Turkoman group of the Karakoyunlu, which settled between Irbil and Nakhichevan, founded a state, the center of which was Tabriz. This state formed by the Yiva, Yazir, Döger and Avsar tribes of the Oghuz Turks was called the Karakoyunlu State (1380-1469). The Karakoyunlu State fought with Tamerlane. Kara Yusuf, the ruler of the Karakoyunlu State, had to take refuge in the Ottoman state during the reign of Yildirim Beyazid as a result of pressure by Tamerlane. This strained relations between the Ottomans and the Tamerlanes and was considered to be a reason for the Ankara War of 1402. Kara Yusuf, who managed to recover after this war, reestablished his state after 1406 and captured Mardin, Erzincan, Baghdad, Azerbaijan, Tabriz, Kazvin, and Sultaniye. After his death, the country was dragged into chaos. Although Cihan-shah managed to reunify the state, he was defeated by Akkoyunlu Uzun Hasan at Mardin and the country entered under the hegemony of the Akkoyunlu State.

The Akkoyunlu State (1350-1502) was founded by Turkoman tribes who settled around Diyarbakir. It emerged as a union under the leadership of Tur Ali Bey. The Akkoyunlu State fought against the Trabzon Greek Empire to the north in this period. The real founder of the state is known to be Kara Yülük Osman Bey. The most powerful period of the Akkoyunlu State was the reign of Uzun Hasan. During his reign the borders of the state extended from the Caspian Sea to Syria, and from Azerbaijan to Baghdad. For this reason, Uzun Hasan saw himself as the person who could establish the union of the Turks and identified himself with Tamerlane and made plans to abolish the Ottoman State and the Egyptian Sultanate. He established political relations with the European states, namely the Christian world, to obtain firearms to realize his goal. However, his defeat in the Otlukbeli Battle in 1473 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet I was a heavy blow for Uzun Hasan. This defeat helped the collapse of the Akkoyunlu State and paved the way for the founding of the Safavid State (1501-1736) by Shah Ismail who managed to get the Turkoman groups of Ustaçli, Rumlu, Musullu, Tekeli, Bayburtlu, Karadagli, Dulkadirli, Karamanli, Varsak and Avsar on his side. At the time when Shah Ismail established the Turkish political union in Iran, a great part of the Indian subcontinent was also united under Turkish rule. Meanwhile, the Ottoman State took almost all of Anatolia under its rule and also started to expand its Eastern and Western borders.

Shah Ismail, who founded a political union in Iran, expanded his territories. In his conquests the religious fervor of the Shiite sect played a role. However, his activities in Anatolia, and also his attempts to annex Anatolia, provoked the reaction of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I (Selim the Grim). Shah Ismail’s army was seriously defeated at the Battle of Çaldiran in 1514. Still, all his successors, especially Shah Tahmasp continued fighting against the Ottomans. However, they were defeated in almost all the battles they fought. When Nadir Shah of the Avsar tribe established his own dynasty following the reign of Abbas III, the Safavid period came to an end.

The reign of the Safavids had an important place in history. Shah Ismail and the other members of the dynasty were known for their love of art. In this period, literature, architecture and handicrafts such as tilemaking, pottery and textiles developed and great advances were made in bookbinding, decoration and calligraphy.

Zahiruddin Babür, a member of the Tamerlane dynasty, entered India and founded the Turkish-Indian (Babür) Empire (1526-1858). He became famous for his work written in Turkish called Vekayi Babürname. After his death, in the reigns of his sons, Humayun and Ekber, this state developed even more and a large portion of the Indian subcontinent was united under a single rule. The period of Hürrem, who had assumed the name of Shah-cihan (Shah of the World) upon ascending the throne, was the most brilliant period of the empire in politics and art. The Taj Mahal at Agra, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural monuments in the world, was constructed during his reign. Architects were also sent from the Ottoman State for the construction of the monument. These good relations with the Ottoman State also continued during the reign of his son, Alemgir I. Hegave asylum to the Ottoman governors of Basra who were fighting against the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. The internal turmoil which began after the death of Alemgir I continued until the reign of Shah Bahadir II. The British who suppressed a revolt in the country in 1857 annexed India to Britain and Queen Victoria was officially declared the Empress of India.

The Ottoman State (1299-1923)

Following the weakening of the Anatolian Seljuk State, several beylics from various Turkish tribes emerged in Anatolia. One of these beylics was the Ottoman Beylic, a member of the Kayi tribe of Oghuz Turks from the Sögüt-Yenisehir-Bilecik region. The Ottoman Beylic succeeded in establishing the union of the beylics in Anatolia in a short period of time. The Ottomans who fought against the neighboring Byzantine State, first crossed into Rumelia and then captured Constantinople in 1453 during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481), putting an end to the Byzantine Empire and thus, to the Middle Ages. In the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, who assumed the title of “the Conqueror”, the Ottoman State entered into an era of rapid development which would last until the end of the sixteenth century.

The Ottomans fought with the Serbs, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Venetians, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Britain, the Vatican, Spain and also France and Russia from time to time in the West; and in the East and the South, the Akkoyunlus, Tamerlanes, Mamelukes, Safavids and the Karamanids, which were all Turkish states. During the reign of Sultan Selim I (1512-1520), Egypt was conquered and the “Caliphate” passed from the Abbasids to the Ottoman dynasty. During the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566), the Ottoman State had a developed state organization, a powerful army and finances. The borders of the Empire extended from the Crimea in the North to Yemen and Sudan in the South, and from Iran and the Caspian Sea in the East to Vienna in the Northwest and Spain in the Southwest.
However, the Ottoman Empire lost its economic and military superiority vis-a-vis Europe, which had developed rapidly with the Renaissance and the geographical discoveries starting with the sixteenth century and failed to adapt to the new developments.

Sultan Mehmet the Conqoueror

Sultan Selim I (Selim the Grim)

Thus, the balance of power developed in favor of the European States starting in the same century. The nationalist movements that started in the nineteenth century and the rebellions of the Balkan nations organized and supported by the European States and Russia brought about the emergence of independent states within the Ottoman territories in the Balkans. The military defeats which exacerbated the process of dissolution of the Empire forced the Ottoman administration to take steps to modernize the country. Thus, reform efforts were made constantly in the Empire throughout the nineteenth century. The most significant characteristic of the First Constitutional Period in 1876, which coincided with the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909), was that it provided a constitution in the Western model for the first time. The constitution, which had been prepared by a group of intellectuals called the “Young Turks” forced Sultan Abdülhamid to accept this constitution and the Ottoman state was transformed into a constitutional state. However, Sultan Abdülhamid disbanded the Parliament in 1877 and terminated constitutional rule, using the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-1879 as a pretext. The Committee of Union and Progress which started activities as an opposition organization founded by the Young Turks, first forced the Sultan to repromulgate the Constitution in 1908 and later seized power. However, the liberalization which started after Abdülhamid with the Second Constitution did not last long. The Tripoli War (1911-1912) against the Italians and the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) which erupted in the wake of these political developments weakened the new administration and the environment of freedom that started with the Second Constitution transformed the democratic environment into a single-party autocracy. The territories of the Ottoman State, which had allied with Germany in the First World War (1914-1918), were occupied by Britain, France, Russia and Greece following the Moudhros Armistice signed in 1918, after the Central Powers were defeated. The occupation of the homeland and the helplessness of the Istanbul government left no other choice but resistance for the Turkish people in Anatolia and Thrace. The Greek occupation accelerated the establishment of small defense fronts and the formation of regional resistance organizations.

Topkapi Palace, Throne of the Sultan (16th century)

The Ottoman Empire had a state identity which provided the most tolerant administration of its age throughout the Middle Ages and the New Age. In fact, throughout the six hundred years of its administration it was able to hold together people of different religions, languages and races and undertook an important role in the protection of cultures and languages of these nations by providing freedom of religion and conscience. Furthermore, it contributed significantly to the history of civilization with both scientific and cultural masterpieces due to its cultural, scientific, artistic and state administrative experience and acquisitions of the previous Turkish states.

The Ottoman Empire created rare masterpieces with its unique architecture, stone and wood carving, the art of tile-making, ornamentation, the art of miniature painting, calligraphy and bookbinding. Above all, it was influencial for hundreds of years in world politics.

The National War of Independence (1919-1923)

he National War of Independence was an effort to create a new state from the ruins of an Empire which had completed its life. These efforts lasted for four years because the imperialist states wanted to bring to life a new order suitable for their own political aims and interests from the ruins of this empire.

The Turkish resistance movements were transformed into a complete war of independence when Mustafa Kemal landed at Samsun as the Inspector of the 9th Army on 19 May 1919. It achieved success against the armies supported by the large countries of the world and under very difficult conditions.

Mustafa Kemal, who joined the Ottoman Army as a captain on 11 January 1905, proved his military talents on almost every front during the First World War. When the Ottoman Empire was considered to be defeated following the First World War, he was appointed Commander of the Lightning Armies. However, when this army was abolished, he returned to Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal, who understood that a political result could not be reached against the occupying powers which were oppressing the Istanbul Government, decided to go to Anatolia and carry on his struggle from there. He immediately started to organize national resistance and got in touch with all the army units and resistance organizations in Anatolia. He made the first call for a national movement with the circular he issued in Amasya on 22 June 1919. He organized this national struggle with the Erzurum and Sivas Congresses, giving it an official status. According to the National Pact program which took its final shape at the Sivas Congress, the territories where the Turks lived could not be partitioned in any form and limitations such as capitulations which would prevent the political, legal and financial development of the country would definitely not be accepted.

When the Entente Powers officially occupied Istanbul and disbanded the Parliament on 16 March, Mustafa Kemal declared that the overeignty and life of the Ottoman Empire, which had lasted for six centuries, was ended.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk together with the congress members during
the Sivas Congress

He announced that the Grand National Assembly would gather in Ankara, the headquarters of the national movement, on 23 April 1920 and the authority to represent the nation would only belong to this parliament as of this date. In fact, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), which undertook the duties of saving and administrating the country and obtaining complete independence for the country, started activities on 23 April 1920 with extraordinary authority. Mustafa Kemal was elected as the President.

The last connections between Ankara and Istanbul ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sevrès on 12 August 1920. The agreement included very oppressive conditions for the Turks. According to the agreement, the Turks could be sovereign on only a small part of Anatolia and their state would be under the financial and military control of the foreign states.

The efforts to set up an Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia, by using the Treaty of Sevrès were made ineffective by the forces of the Army Commander Kazim Karabekir in this region. After the armistice was signed on 18 November 1920, peace was obtained on the Eastern front by the Gümrü Agreement which was signed on 2 December 1920. This was the first international agreement which was signed by the TGNA.

On the Western front, the Greek Army which occupied Izmir on 15 May 1919 and started to spread throughout the Aegean region, was stopped by the First and Second İnönü Battles between January-April 1921. The Greek Army suffered a heavy defeat during the Sakarya Battles between August-September 1921. The Sakarya Battle victory provided significant diplomatic successes and France withdrew from Adana and the surroundings with the Ankara Agreement signed by Turkey and France in October 1921. Thus, another front was eliminated. After that, all the forces and resources of the country were gathered for a great attack to be made on the Western front. In fact, the Greek forces were defeated heavily during the Great Attack and Commander in Chief Battle between August-September 1922. Izmir was liberated on 9 September 1922. This military success would accelerate the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The Mudanya Armistice was signed between the Ankara Government and the Entente States on 11 October 1922 and it was decided to hold a conference in Lausanne one month later to discuss the conditions for a permanent peace treaty. However, when the Entente States also invited the Istanbul Government to send its delegation to this conference along with the Ankara Government, the TGNA declared that the Caliphate was separated from the Sultanate and that the sultanate was abolished. Mehmed IV (Vahideddin), the last Ottoman Sultan, secretly fled aboard a British ship on 17 November 1922.

The Lausanne peace treaty negotiations, at which the Ankara Government participated as the sole representative, started on 21 November 1922. The negotiations, at which Ismet İnönü presided over the Turkish delegation, were suspended in February 1923 due to disagreements especially on the future of capitulations. The negotiations, which restarted in April 1923, resulted in the signing of the Lausanne Treaty on 24 July 1923. The treaty recognized the creation of a Turkish State with virtually the same borders as those of the National Pact of 1920 and guaranteed her complete independence. Thus, it marked the successful culmination of the National War of Independence.