Atatürk’s creation

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Mr Holmes
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Post by Mr Holmes » 03 May 2007 14:18

Hello Sir,

I did not realise that Turkey had so many fronts in such a short space of time in that particular period. Unfortunately, I am not at all very well read on this era of Balkan history, so you have shed some light on this issue of manpower.

What number was the Turkish population in 1922? 10 or 12 mllion?


Mr Peter H,

Unfortunately, I have no literature on hand (and whatever I have found on the internet says very little), but did the Mahdi in the Sudan employ such a tactic with William Hicks, by drawing Hicks further and further into the desert? Would it be feasible to say then, that Mustafa Kemal may have had knowledge of the tactical retreats of the Mahdi and have employed them in his own defence against the advancing Greek army? I ask for two reasons:

a) Kemal Ataturk was a charismatic leader, as was the Mahdi (before anyone jumps on me, I know and appreciate the difference between the two leader, the one spiritualist, the other secularist). Would it be safe to assume then, that Ataturk, were he in touch with the Mahdi's history, could have employed the withdrawals after having read of the Mahdi's exploits?

b) Both men led "ragtag armies"*. Can one presume to see any parallel there with the Mahdi's exploits in the Sudan?




*I could think of no better word. The Mahdi's men were probably not trained soldiers at all (they had to acquire their arms off the dead enemy). The fledgling Turkish Republic's Army had been through almost continuous warfare for many years, and so was a tired nation. The term I chose to employ was in no sense meant to be denigrating.

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Post by Tosun Saral » 03 May 2007 15:40

Sudan was a Turkish territory before the British annexed Egypt. Sudan was part of Egypt. Egypt was Turkish territory governed by Turkish Pashas send from Istanbul. Mehmet Ali or as the foreigners say Mohammed Ali was a Turk from Kavala an old Turkish city at todays Greece. Mehmet Ali revolted the Sultan. The Sultan announced him as Hidiv (Khidiv) vice Sultan of Egypt. Until annexion of Egypt by British Egypt was governed by Turkish Hidivs. The mehdi revolted againts the British involment at Sudan.

The war tactic of Turks is called "crescent" The Crescent tactic was used in every battle since 2000 years againts all enemies. The tactic was always succesful. The Turks defeated Byzantiner, Iraner, Egypter, Arabes, Bulgars, Serbs Hungarians in such a tactic. according to the tactic middle of the Turkish line on the battlefield reteats back slowly.forming the front like a crescent. The unaware enemy rushes into the trap will all forces. The Turks at the wings close the circle. and...

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Post by Tosun Saral » 03 May 2007 19:43

Late Prof Dr. Stanford J. Shaw from Bilkent University in Ankara gives the moslem population of the empire
in 1890 12.585.950,
in 1897, 14.111.945,
1906'da 15.518.ooo
in 1914 15.044.846

On the other hand the official census of the empire which beginned at 1905 and ended in 1914 gives the number
Provinces :
Edirne 360.411
Adana 341.903
Antalya 235.762
Ankara 877.285
Halep 576.320
Aydın 1.249.067
Bitlis 309.999
Bolu 399.281
Bursa 474.114
Kayseri 184.292
İstanbul 560.434
Çanakkale 149.903
Diyarbakır 492.101
Canik 265.950
Erzurum 633.297
Eskişehir 140.678
İzmit 226.859
İçel 102.034
Karahisar 277.359
Karasi 359.804
Kastamonu 737.302
Harput 446.379
Kütahya 303.348
Maraş 152.645
Menteşe 188.916
Niğde 227.100
Urfa 149.384
Sivas 939.735
Trabzon 921.128
Çatalca 20.048
Van 179.380
Zor 65.770
Total: 13.339.000

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 03 May 2007 20:11

"The fledgling Turkish Republic's Army had been through almost continuous warfare for many years, and so was a tired nation."

1- The army was not Turkish Republic's army. It was the army of Turkish Grand National Parliament ( Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Orduları). The republic was founded in Oct 29 1923.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 04 May 2007 07:33

I think Kemal was trading space for time.His own service in Libya in 1911/12 may have influenced him as well.Here he experienced irregular warfare and the Senussi strategy of luring the Italians into the desert interior.A student of the Napoleonic War he would also have had knowledge on how the Russians defeated Napoleon in 1912...lure them in,weaken their lines of communication,as you yourself fall back on yours.

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Post by Peter H » 04 May 2007 07:39

Has anyone got details of Kemal's trip to Germany in late 1917?

He was part of Mehmed Vahideddin's entourage?

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Post by Mr Holmes » 04 May 2007 15:38

Thanks, Sir. It's just that the phrase employed by the author of that quoted article (the site must be down, won't allow me to re-access tonight) makes it sound as though it was an original idea of Ataturk's when, instead, there have been many precedents. Even further back than 1812, during the First Crusade (from memory, it was the First Crusade), the Crusaders found themselves struggling through desert-type terrain in the heart of modern Turkey and nearly all died of thirst. I certainly think that Ataturk's strategy was most bold and courageous (and full of faith in his men and resources), and was implemented most probably to the chagrin of his general staff who probably knew of the Greek superiority in numbers of men and weapons. Battles may have indeed gone either way.




Mr Saral,

Peter Mansfield in The Arabs (Penguin Books) states:
After bloodily suppressing the resistance of the Sudanese tribes, he [Muhammad Ali] established the seat of government of an Egyptian dependency under the nominal suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan at the village of Khartoum[...]
p. 108 (emphasis mine)

It was not only against the British that the Mahdists rebelled against:
...just at the time the British forces landed in Egypt, the Egyptians were in the process of losing their vast quasi-empire on the Upper Nile to the national-religious forces of Sudanese tribesmen led by the Mahdi
ibid. p. 128.

However, I am aware that both he (Mohammed Ali) and his officer corps spoke Turkish, as well as his and his son's subsequent rebellion against the Sultan.

Anyway, back to our topic, here. In relation to the Crescent tactic, in my mind this would prove that Ataturk did not employ something new at all, as Peter H's quote reads to me; but was a well tried and tested tactic which, probably brought him into conflict with his generals. Probably the fact that he was able to impose upon his generals the withdrawals shows, as I wrote earlier, great courage and obviously, a keen military mind with even greater political tact. It obviously worked to Turkey's success.

Thank you for the data on Turkey's population, it helps to put things into better perspective.

As for the last point, about the date of the formation of the Republic, don't worry about that. I don't know what came over me! :-)

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Post by Mr Holmes » 09 May 2007 06:45

Just to clarify things a little further (in case I have been misunderstood), I'll post my question as a question: Is Kemal Ataturk known as an able war strategist as one could identify Napoleon Bonaparte, for example? That is, as a general-ruler type person?

Thanks

Nick

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 09 May 2007 08:41

Nick.

I see that Kemal translated many of the German infantry manuals for the Ottoman Army pre 1914.He also attended the French Army maneuvers in Picardy in 1910.This would indicate that he was a rising staff officer in the Turkish Army,a capable officer being groomed for greater things.

Kemal would have studied both strategy and tactics.Like Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam,Kemal was a master in fighting on his home ground.Whether in a different arena,as a commander waging offensive war into an enemy's nation,he would have shined if another matter,but this was untested.I think a better comparasion with Kemal is George Washington.

Regards
Peter

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Post by Tosun Saral » 09 May 2007 09:03

There has been always someone who identified Ataturk with Alexander the Great, Napoleon or Bismarck.
Charles De Chambrun who was French Ambassador in Ankara between 1928-33 told Ataturk that both Alex. the Great and Mustafa Kemal were from Macedonia. Ataturk responded" Just stop for a moment. Alexander established a great empire but forgot his home. I didnt established an empire. I never forget my fatherland."

During a meeting someone lobbed Ataturk comparing with Napoleon and Bismarck that made him very angry. He told to that person:
" Who is Napoleon? A person running after crown and adventure.
Who is Bismarck? A servant of a king. I am not that type of person.

In June 1922 at a meeting with Mustafa Kemal Gen. Tawnsand who was mediating between British and Kemalists told Mustafa Kemal that he resembles Napoleon.
" Napoleon went on to search adventure but I am not searching adventure. I am fighting with the support of my brothers from the same mother and father to save my fatherland. I will success."

Ataturk was not a soldier of fortune. He was not a man of adventure. He was a man of princebles.



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Mr Holmes
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Post by Mr Holmes » 09 May 2007 13:58

Thank you both for the added insights. The reference to Napoleon was merely as an example of the general-ruler type rather than one of whether Ataturk followed Napoleon's footsteps in launching empirical aspirations. But I see well the reference to Washington. As a Young Turk, I knew well that he obviously had military training as an officer, however, I knew nothing of his capabilities as one. Thanks for shedding light on this!

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Post by Peter H » 09 May 2007 14:11

Nick,

Erickson relates in Defeat in Detail,page 58:
In Salonika in 1908,Staff Captain Mustaf Kemal..translated and distributed Karl Litzmann's Instructions for the Conduct of Platoon Combat.In 1909 he translated and distributed a book on military ceremonies,and in 1911 he translated another,on expeditionary force training.Later in 1912..he translated and distributed Litzmann's Instructions for the Conduct of Company Combat...
His command of German must have been excellent.


Litzmann was considered an infantry expert par excellence:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=8778


Regards
Peter

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Post by Mr Holmes » 09 May 2007 14:34

Sir,

The more one becomes exposed to this man, the more one wishes to learn about him. The other day I went to 'Borders' and saw the following book (not sure if it is any good, it was the only book on the subject, though):

http://www.amazon.com/Ataturk-Biography ... 929&sr=8-1

But I decided to opt for a DVD movie instead... (cheaper :-D)

In any case, at Universty (before I went on to study in Sydney) we were hardly exposed to Ataturk when I took on European History and Political History, save for the fact that he was born in Salonika -> Young Turks -> leader of Turkish Republic. I don't know why. Our units looked (mainly) at WW1 -> Weimar Republic -> WW2. So much other history which was never touched. All that I had read on the man came only from Mansfield which looked at him in some more detail, but that was about it. It's quite saddening that there are other figures (and events) in European history which never see the light of mainstream attention.

But I digress.

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Post by Peter H » 09 May 2007 14:42

Nick,

Mango's book is the basis for the article that I posted that started off this topic.
For years, those who take an interest in these matters have been waiting for Andrew Mango to complete and publish his biography, which now has appeared and immediately has taken its place as the definitive study. Born in Istanbul, Mango has been writing about Turkish affairs for more than forty years. He has a mastery of the sources, and so at last we have an account that, episode by episode, is accurate and balanced. It reveals the long suppressed darker aspects of its subject, showing us a far more complex personality than we had seen before. Curiously, however, the main lines of Kemal’s policy and accomplishments emerge as having been much the same as we had believed them to be in the past.
Regards
Peter

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Post by Peter H » 09 May 2007 14:50

Kemal's later adopted daughter--said to have been the world's first female combat pilot: :o

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=118312

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