The Turkish Revolution that shook the world

The Turkish Revolution that shook the world

By Dr. Cüneyt Akalın

Türkiye celebrates the 100. Anniversary of the Turkish Republic1, the most valuable piece of the Turkish Revolution. Firstly, we should point out that the effects of the Turkish Revolution were not limited to the Turkish people, but had worldwide consequences. She became the pioneer and symbol of the rise of the oppressed peoples of Asia-Africa and Latin America.

Another dimension of the worldwide importance of the Turkish Revolution is that it entered into unity of fate with the Soviet Revolution, which is the breaking point of the 20th century. The two revolutions supported each other.

When examining the worldwide effects of the Turkish Revolution, a distinction needs to be made. During the years of the Turkish War of Independence, most of the Asian, African and Latin American countries were living under the colonial yoke. The torch of independence lit by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, the principle of full independence he advocated, should shine like a sun, the arm and wing of imperialism should be broken, and freedom should prevail on earth. The message reached all directions, shaking the world.

More importantly, it is the model created by the Turkish Revolution for the peoples of the oppressed world.

The Soviet Revolution, which took place in Russia, although relatively backward in a capitalist-imperialist country, could not be a development-progression model for oppressed countries. On the other hand, The Turkish Revolution, was the way of salvation for hundreds of millions of people living in colonial-semi-colonial-semi-feudal countries under the yoke of imperialism. It should be emphasized especially that the interaction of the Turkish Revolution, with the Indian national movement, played an important role in the collapse of British colonialism and caused controversy in China (within the CPC).2

After the Sakarya victory of the Turkish army (September 1921), the name Mustafa Kemal created great excitement especially in the Islamic world; His paintings were hung in shops and everywhere from Algeria to Indonesia, sermons were read in mosques, his name was referred to as “fearless, the person who did not work with lead”3, and was hailed as the “New Selahattin Eyyubi”.4

It should be noted that the imperial attack targeting Türkiye, the successor of the Ottoman state, which was the guardian of the Islamic caliphate for 400 years, caused a particular reaction in the Islamic world. At that time, Islamic countries other than Iran were groaning under the colonial yoke. Western imperialists both exploited and humiliated these countries. The arguments of “Asian despotism”, “Back Asia”, “Anti-democratic character of Islam” tied the hands of the intellectuals of Islamic countries. The nationalist program of the revolution, not only affected the intellectuals, but also deeply affected the social structure of Asia by shaking up the large masses of peasants, laborers, women and even tribal people.

After the Turkish revolution, Asia will no longer be the old Asia.

The Republic of Türkiye, which was declared in October 1923 and gained a completely secular character with the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924, opened new horizons to the Islamic world.

The politically qualified Caliphate institution was a thing of the past from now on.

The Turkish Revolution cracked the old world with the Soviet Revolution. The idea of the Republic, which came from China with Sun Yat Sen, spread rapidly in the world with Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The Turkish Revolution is, in a way, the Asian leg of the French Revolution, which brought ‘Equality-Freedom-Solidarity’ to the West. The Turkish Revolution shaped the map of Western Asia and re-established the balance of power.

We can now consider the details of this process.

I. The interaction of the Turkish Revolution with the Soviet Revolution

In February 1917, the uprising that broke out in St. Petersburg and Moscow, which first resulted in the overthrow of the Tsardom and then turned into a great social revolution with the October Revolution, was watched carefully by the intellectuals and progressive people Türkiye. Turkish-Tatar revolutionaries living in Russia also took partial roles in the Soviet Revolution, but the opinion of Turkish revolutionaries in Anatolia towards the Soviet Revolution.

After World War I, the imperial powers tried to prevent the Turkish-Russian cooperation. Under these circumstances, Mustafa Kemal and his friends understood the importance of the Soviet Revolution well. The unilateral withdrawal of the Soviet forces from the Anatolian lands they occupied, and their declaration of the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Turkish-Ottoman state, greatly impressed the Turkish nationalists. Journalist Falih Rıfkı Atay, one of Atatürk’s close colleagues, expresses this fact clearly:

If Lenin had not overthrown Tsarism, if Russia had not reached its glory days. Istanbul would be Russian. One wonders if we should put a bust of Lenin in an Istanbul corner.”5

The fate of the revolutionaries of the two countries first converged in the Caucasus. The Entente forces tried to establish a Caucasian wall based on pro-Western Dashnak (nationalist Armenians) and Menshevik Georgians in order to keep Baku oil away from Russians, and to prevent the Anatolian movement from uniting with the Soviets.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha saw the collapse of the Caucasus Great Wall, necessary for the victory of the War of Independence. Mustafa Kemal’s plan was “to save Izmir (Western Anatolia) by creating a foothold in the East (Caucasus).”

The two revolutions supported each other and conducted joint military operations. General Kazım Karabekir, the commander of the Turkish forces in Eastern Anatolia, explains this situation as follows:

Today, we have no choice but to work hand in hand with the Bolshevik armies for the liberation of Anatolia.”6

M. Kemal Pasha, in the telegram he sent to Lenin on April 26, 1920, called for “joining their military forces with the Bolsheviks”7, demanded that “Azerbaijan and Georgia be forced to join the Soviet Republics”, and proposes a joint operation against Armenia. This telegram will be the first foreign policy action of the Turkish National Assembly. (Meclis)8 Dashnak Armenia is destroyed as a result of Turkish-Soviet cooperation. The operation of the Turkish armies towards Armenia is supported by the Soviet leaders, especially by Stalin. The Turkish-Soviet alliance in the Caucasus was strengthened with the signing of the Moscow Agreement on March 16, 1921, and especially the Treaty of Kars on October 13, 1921. The only way for Russian-Turkish cooperation through the Caucasus was the liquidation of Dashnak Armenia. The news that heralded the meeting of the Turkish and Soviet armies in Nakhchivan on August 14 was met with applause in the Parliament in Ankara.9 On the other hand, Turkish and Soviet forces also cooperated in Georgia and Dagestan.

The Turkish-Soviet Agreement of 16 March 1921 is the first document signed by the Turkish government with a great Western power.

In the meantime, it should be noted that the Soviets provided financial and military aid to Türkiye upon the request of M. Kemal Pasha. The gold is transported to Anatolia by land via Erzurum and by sea over the Black Sea. In his speech of thanks when M. Kemal received the incoming gold from the ambassador Aralov, he used the phrase “It is a great blessing for us, but the heart of the Russian people is more valuable”.10

An important step of the Turkish-Soviet military alliance was the visit of the Soviet delegation headed by general Frunze to Ankara in December 1921. Mustafa Kemal Pasha and Frunze dealt with military issues. The remarkable aspect of the meeting is that M. Kemal shared some secrets with Frunze that he did not reveal even to the deputies.11

Another remarkable event in terms of military cooperation is that M. Kemal Pasha invited the Soviet ambassador S. Aralov, the Azerbaijani ambassador İ. Abilov and the Russian military attaché Zvonaryev to the Western Front on March 27 1922, that is, before the Great Turkish offensive. According to British archival documents, the Parliamentary government made a secret agreement with the Soviet government on defense and attack issues before the Great Offensive.12 During the preparations for the Great Offensive, it is also detected in the photographs that the Soviet commanders were with M. Kemal Pasha.

Atatürk emphasized the common goals of the Turkish Revolution and the Soviet Revolution: “The armed national uprising movement that emerged in Anatolia was very similar to Soviet Russia in political positions and targets. “13

The Soviet government recognizes the Ankara government with the Moscow Agreement signed in March 1921. This act, which meant great support for the national government, both relieves Ankara and increases its self-confidence. Türkiye and the Soviet Union will maintain close relations in troubled years; until 1932, when the Soviet Union was recognized by the USA and accepted into the League of Nations, Ankara will represent the SU in international relations.14

Friendship with the Soviets became the basic principle of Turkish foreign policy until the years of World War II. After the 1929 world crisis, the Turkish economy, which turned to statism, both received economic aid and switched to a planned economy with the support of Soviet experts. The Soviet Delegation, participating in the ceremonies of the 10th anniversary of the Republic, is greeted with the cries of “Priezdim” (you brought blessings).

II. Interaction with India

Another great support for the Turkish National Struggle came from India. The prevailing opinion is that the aid comes from Indian Muslims. However, when the Indian national struggle is examined closely, it should be noted that it has received great support from the non-Muslim segments of Indian society, especially Hindus. Even more important is the contribution that the interaction with Ankara has contributed to the unity of India.

Interest in Türkiye in India increased at the end of the 19th century. The emergence of British aspirations in India increasingly shaped the Indian national movement. It is no coincidence that the founding of national parties in both countries coincided with the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.15

National unity in India

The foundations of the Hindu-Muslim union of the two major factions in India were laid in 1916, during the world war. At the Lucknow Congress of National Congress Party, an agreement was reached between the two sections on the essence of the constitution. According to Nehru, the Muslim handshake with the Congress Party was largely the result of the anger at the British attitude towards Türkiye.16

World War I ended with the victory of England, but uncertainties and chaos appeared in many areas.

Although British Prime Minister Lloyd George stated on January 5, 1918 that “they do not intend to deprive Türkiye of its Turkish-dominated capital and its lands in Asia Minor and Thrace”, the British presence behind Emir Hussein’s rebellion deepened the suspicions of Indian Muslims.17 The election of Muhammad Ali as the president of the “All India Islamic Union”, followed by Dr. Ansari’s submission of Muslim demands to the Governor-General in India at the end of 1918 initiated attempts against the British. The massacre by British forces in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in April 1919 intensified the national reaction. The Greek landing of troops in Izmir on May 15, 1919 angered the anti-British, especially the Muslims. The national poet of the Indians, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal glorified the national struggle, in which he has confidence in its victory, with the feelings that “the Turkish lion will awaken, roar again, will make the enemy tremble”. Beginning with the line “May God Help Him”. He continues his poem, “Address to Kemal Pasha”, “Jump wherever your horse goes, don’t think, we are often dulled in these squares because of precaution”.18

The meaning of the Indian Caliphate Movement

As the National Struggle intensified in Türkiye, after the occupation of Istanbul by the Allied Powers and the imposition of the Treaty of Sevres, a movement carried out in India with the slogan of “Justice for Türkiye” grew stronger,19

The Indian Caliphate Movement made great moral and material contributions to the National Struggle in Türkiye. Although it was started by the Muslims, the material-spiritual support was given by Hindu-Muslim-Sikh etc. It came from all the Indian people. The support given to the Khalifa Movement is the foundation of the national program and the beginning of the cooperation.20 The principles of the Indian Caliphate Movement were developed by the brothers Mohammed and Şevket Ali, who came to Anatolia during the National Struggle period and met with Mustafa Kemal on 7 December 1920.21

The aim of those who led the Caliphate Movement was to obtain results in favor of Türkiye/Muslims by putting pressure on the British authorities before the Peace Conference (January 1919). The “Caliphate”, which became active in the middle of 1919, demanded that the status of the Ottoman State be preserved as before the war and that Istanbul, the center of the Caliphate, should not be touched. The movement became stronger with the contributions of the Indian Ulema Society, a powerful religious-political organization, with a wide network of madrasahs and mosques.

At this point, Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Party, stepped in. He supported the initiative by joining the Central Committee of the Caliphate Movement. India’s resistance was no longer unique to Muslims. According to one Indian writer, “If the Hindus joined the Muslims, it was because their Asian character, Chinese and the Japanese were also upset. It wasn’t their religion that got hurt, it was their Asian pride.”22

The “Caliphate” began to exert pressure on England in two ways in order to get their demands accepted: by sending delegations, by making written applications, by organizing opposition. At the congress convened under the presidency of Gandhi in Bombay on August 2, 1919, the oppression of Greece in Türkiye was commemorated with hatred, and a mobilization was declared to help Turks. The Caliphate Committee convened in Delhi on 23 November 1919 and took an open stance against the British for the first time.

From the first conference held in Delhi to the Bombay Conference (February 1920), when the declaration of the Caliphate Movement was published, significant donations were collected from the public to support the Turkish War of Independence.

On January 19, 1920, the text jointly signed by Gandhi, Muhammad Ali, Şevket Ali and M. Ali Jinnah addressed the Indian Governor General as “Muslim – Indian we stand shoulder to shoulder, we blame the British”.23 Gandhi saw support for the Caliphate Movement as a movement to build national unity.

The signing of the Treaty of Sevres, which the British imposed on the Ottoman government on August 10, 1920, accelerated the unity in India’s political classes. The Muslims had no choice but to join Gandhi’s anti-British “Non-Cooperation” movement. In the conditions of the day, the case of Türkiye stood out. The Caliphate Congress convened for the second time in Nagpur on December 26, 1920, with a large crowd of approximately 15,000 people. “Congress recognizes that unless major mistakes committed are corrected, there is no way for India to be satisfied. The caliphate issue, the Punjab issue and the restoration of damaged national pride. After that, he agrees that the only way to prevent the repetition of similar mistakes is independence.” 24 Gandhi’s warm relations with the Indian masses caused M. Ali Jinnah to withdraw from politics. Jinnah, who became passive after the Nagpur Congress, immigrated to London.

Ankara (Mustafa Kemal Pasha) evaluates the process on February 14, 1921 as follows: “The incident that is taking place in India, is the most important issue of today. (…) The murderous and brutal action taken by the British against a national manifestation in Punjab, on the other hand, the partition of Türkiye, the proposed treaty opened the eyes of Indian politicians.”25

After the Nagpur Congress, general strikes (hartal), layoffs and riots gained momentum again. In Kolkata, the student strike grew day by day. Domestic stores and shops are closed in Delhi. Workers working in oil wells also participated in the strike after the workers of the now declaring a strike.26

The British promised autonomy to India in February 1921.

The latest situation in India is explained as follows in the newspaper Hakimiyet-i Milliye dated March 4, 1921: “Indians strongly criticize the cruel policy pursued by European states against Türkiye in the Indian Assembly.”27

At the end of 1921, the situation in India took a dire turn against the British. the expectation of rebellion increased in the British colonies. Gandhi said that the British policy of India can only be answered with an internal revolution, called the Indians to desert the Anglo-Indian army.28 The Indian National Congress convened in Ahmetabad on 27 December 1921 congratulated Mustafa Kemal Pasha for the Sakarya Victory and stated that “Indian people will continue to help in the preservation of Türkiye’s independence“.29

The victory of the Turkish Army on 30 August creates a great impact in India. The victory of the species is celebrated with ceremonies for days. Mustafa Kemal Pasha has become a symbol of independence for Indian Muslims and Hindus. More striking is what happened before 9 September. Friday, the eighth of September, is counted as a day of worship in India, mosques are illuminated in the country, after the Friday prayer, God is prayed for the victory of the Turkish army, and “Zindabat Mustafa Kemal”30 is written on the walls of the mosques. Çotani once again congratulates “Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his victorious armies” with emotional words in the telegram he sent just after 9 September. In the Çanakkale and Izmit regions, Indian soldiers, who were exiled to the front on behalf of the British, escaped from their armies and joined the Turkish army with the rank of officer.31

In the All India Islamic Union Congress convened on 27 January 1923, only the victory of M. Kemal Pasha is mentioned: “The sword of Mustafa Kemal Pasha succeeded what we could not achieve with calls and prayers for four years.”

The Indian Caliphate Movement, besides paying special attention to Türkiye, also supported the anti-imperialist struggles of other peoples. Condemning the British to send Indian troops to China, the Movement declared its support for the freedom struggle of the Chinese people at the Lucknow Congress.(1927)32

Financial aid of Indian Muslims

Indian aid is not limited to solidarity and pressure on the British. The aid campaign for the Turks, continued throughout the National Struggle. A researcher states that the Indian aid amounted to 675,494 Turkish liras. The first aid of Indian Muslims reached Ankara in February 1922. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, in his telegram to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mentioned the first aid from India: “144,440 Ottoman liras were received, which is the equivalent of 26. 000 British liras who was sent from India to help Türkiye. ”33

Afghan Reality

Afghan lands witnessed great conflicts between England and Tsarist Russia in 19th century. Emanullah Khan of Afghanistan, who gained its independence, albeit limited, from England after the world war was to preserve independence and to modernize the country. Afghanistan and Türkiye, were in search of support against the British. The Soviet Revolution relieved both countries.

The Turkish delegation, who went to Moscow to sign an agreement with the Soviets, signed also an agreement with Afghanistan. This agreement, which preceded the 1921 Moscow Agreement, is the first international agreement signed by the Ankara government. The relations established by the Ankara government with both Afghanistan and Indian Muslims, which disturb the UK, are an important achievement of Turkish foreign policy.34


Iran, which connects Asia to Europe on the East-West axis, is similar to Türkiye in historical and geographical terms. Strong state tradition, wealth in thought and language have always made Iran important in history. The difference of Iran from other Islamic countries is that she has preserved its independent existence.

Like Türkiye, Iran could not keep up with the imperialism of capitalism that developed in the West in the 19th century, and became semi-colonial. Iranian intellectuals found the solution in modernization. The 1906 Constitutional Revolution brought the basic principles of modernization to the country: parliamentary dominance, democratic rights, central government, modernization, etc. In the process leading to the constitutional government, Turkish and Iranian intellectuals cooperated.

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution did not succeed for various reasons. Then, the increasing imperial appetite upon the discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf caused the north of the country to be occupied by Russia and the south by the British during the First World War. World War I increased poverty in Iran, local riots exacerbated the difficulties. The view that these difficulties can only be overcome by establishing an independent state and by making Western institutions and understandings dominant became stronger among Iranian intellectuals. The victory of the Turkish Revolution left deep scars.

The strong modernization movement carried Reza Shah first to the ministry of war and then to power in order to prevent instability. In fact, the advocates of modernization were the ideas whose foundations were laid with the Constitutional Revolution. Reza Shah was pro-modernization, but timidity about Türkiye among the intellectuals also affected the Shah. The distant attitude of Turkish nationalism towards religion, Although it influenced Iranian intellectuals, the abolition of the Sunni Caliphate by the Turkish Republic created a relief among the Shiites, but the Shiite mullahs were ambivalent towards the secular Turkish nationalists’ attitude towards religion.

The Turkish administration overcame Iran’s shyness by following constructive policies in the 1920s. The “Friendship and Security Agreement” signed in 1926 eased the relations between the two countries and improved the mutual trust.35

The Shah, who abolished the capitulations in 1928, suppressed the opposition of the ulama inside. The visit of Iranian Shah Reza Pahlavi to Türkiye in 1934 brought relations to the next level. Having reached Trabzon via Tabriz in June, the Shah met with Atatürk and other Turkish leaders in Ankara. Atatürk was very respectful to the Shah, and the Shah, who was impressed by what he saw, extended his visit, which was planned as a week, to two months.

On his return, he tried to apply what he saw in Türkiye in his country, but he encountered the resistance of the mullahs. The “Kashf-i Hijab Law”, which forced the security forces to remove the veils by force, was enacted in 1936.

As World War II approached, Iran would be invaded from the north and south once again, upon the Shah’s rapprochement with Germany, and the Shah would be forced to leave his throne to his son. 36

III: Western Asia – Arab World

The shocks of the Turkish Revolution were felt most in the Islamic world. Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Hijaz shared the same fate with the Turks until the last moment. Iraq and Syria, which joined the Ottoman Empire after Yavuz Selim’s campaign to Iran and Egypt in the 1510s, continued their existence as Ottoman provinces until the 20th century. This union was broken by the ambitions of the Anglo-French imperialists to dominate the Middle East.

The discovery of oil resources in the Persian Gulf at the beginning of the 20th century whets the appetite of British imperialism. France has its eyes on the Eastern Mediterranean.

Britain and France agreed with Russia and shared the Ottoman lands in Western Asia based on the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916.

In September 1918, when the Ottoman forces were defeated and left the Syrian territory, France filled the void and invaded Syria. Upon the imperial intention of France, which emerged in a short time, the atmosphere changed radically. Paris Peace Conference and Versailles Treaty (1919)37, finalized the entry of Iraq and Palestine under the British mandate and Syria-Lebanon under the French mandate were finalized. This meant their separation from the Turks, Arab nationalism. According to the Arab origined British historian Albert Hourani, “Arab nationalism was greatly influenced by the Young Turks, especially the success of K. Atatürk.”38 II. After the World War II, when Anglo-French colonialism was defeated and liquidated worldwide, the Arabs, in the process, attained the national state they longed for.


The Post World War era was years of turmoil. Syrian nationalists, took an ambivalent attitude towards the Turks in face of the promises of the French. However, when they noticed that France would not leave their country, they asked the Turks for help in resisting the invaders. M Kemal Pasha was against the French Mandate in Syria from the very beginning, but since the Turks were in serious trouble, he would give priority to the Turkish national struggle.39

Proposals for Türkiye and Syria to form a confederation were put forward in those years. Although the leaders of the National Struggle were not against it, they adopted the attitude of “first Syria to form an independent Arab state then to consider unification in the Confederation”40,

During the arrival of M Kemal Pasha in Mersin (south of Turkiye) in 1923, Syrian Muslims, carrying black flags, shouted “Turkish-Arab Friendship; Don’t forget your Syrian compatriots, save us,” M. Kemal Pasha, who received the Syrian delegation, said that “it is unacceptable for a country that has been part of the Ottoman state for centuries to groan under the yoke of foreigners” and said: “I want Syria to determine its own destiny.”41

Syria, an old Arab country, is one of the countries that was most affected by the construction of the Turkish Republic. In particular, the principles of independence and secularism inspired Syrian progressives. The basic principles of the BAAS Party, which led the national struggle, were “Unity” (unity of the Arabs), “Liberty” (liberation from the colonial yoke) and “Socialism” (populism, statist national economy). According to Wallachia-Bitar, who advocated that the sovereignty should be taken from God and given to the people, the Arab nation showed continuity in history. What had to be done was to ensure the resurrection. The charter of the BAAS Party, prepared by Michel Eflak in 1951, opened new horizons for Arab societies. The reason why the party gave special importance to secularism was to increase the resistance of the nation against colonialism. The French sowed the seeds of new problems by forming separate religious constituencies, Muslims, Greek Catholics and Orthodox, and Jews were compelled to vote for their own religious group.42

National integration consisted in opposing sectarianism. The BAATH Party opposed the distribution of seats in the Parliament according to beliefs; On the other hand, he accepted Islam as one of the basic elements of Arab identity.

According to Michel Eflak (Christian Arab origin)“Socialism was the religion of life, its victory over death. He was struggling for life by giving jobs to everyone, revealing everyone’s talents.”43

According to Wallachia, the unified Arab society would gain a new identity, and would lead to the establishment of a morally ideal socialist society. Between 1948-51, the party carried its activities outside of Syria under the slogan of “a united Arab state”. It was effective in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq: Jordan (founded 1948), Lebanon (founded 1949-1950), Yemen, Iraq (founded 1952).


Iraq, which is on the way to India and has rich oil deposits, was targeted by the British during the First World War. “In World War I, the British made Iraq the base of their operation against Türkiye.” 44 The Turks were driven north, the British entered Baghdad, then reached Mosul. At the end of the war, the whole of Iraq was occupied by Britain.

Iraq, which was separated from Anatolia after the War, was given to the British mandate with the Paris Agreement (1919). In other words, the partition designed with the secret Sykes-Picot in 1916 was implemented after the war.

“The surrender of Iraq’s mandate to the British led to strong protests in the early 1920s, which gradually turned into an uprising. The uprising in Iraq was crushed largely with the help of Indian troops.”45 The Iraqi uprising was suppressed by Britain partly by force, partly by the promise of independence.

Britain forcibly suppressed the resistance, “British planes established the power of London with bombs.”46 Turkish commander Özdemir Bey, who was sent to Revandüz to organize the struggle, started to fight against British forces. He came into contact with Kurdish tribes. Upon gaining certain successes, the British government not only started an intense air bombardment in the Kurdish region of Iraq, but also brought the issue to the diplomatic field, prevented the demarcation of the border in the Lausanne Treaty ( 1923) and took Kirkuk and Mosul outside the Turkish borders. Türkiye’s proposal to hold a plebiscite for Mosul and Kirkuk was rejected by the British-influenced League of Nations.47

Continuing its well-intended efforts after the Treaty of Lausanne, Türkiye officially recognized Iraq; In 1926, he signed the “Turkish-Iraqi Border and Good Neighborhood Agreement” with Britain and Iraq. Britain concluded the operation to break Iraq out of Anatolia. Arab nationalism continued on its own path. Nehru noted that in the 1920s-30s Britain “used airplanes as a ‘police force’ in semi-colonial countries”,48 he underlined that it was “cheaper and more receptive, but terribly cruel and deadly”. The ideas of Confederation with Türkiye were discussed among Iraqi Arab nationalists as well as among Syrian Arab nationalists, but these ideas could not be put into practice.49

In fact, hard and bloody struggles took place in Iraq between those who advocated rapprochement with Türkiye and those subject to British control.

Republican Türkiye gradually developed its relations with Iraq, which gained its partial independence. King of Iraq Faisal visited Ankara in July 1931 upon the invitation of Türkiye. Atatürk congratulated Iraq, which was accepted as a member of the League of Nations in 1932.

Arab nationalists, whom the British managed to suppress for a long time, destroyed the kingdom with a coup in 1958 and declared the republic.


Egypt, which unites West Asia and Africa, has the feature of being one of the most important countries of the region with its geography and history and its central position among the Arabs. Egypt preserved these characteristics within the Turkish Ottoman state as well. Egypt was connecting the Turks both with Africa and the Indian world through Red Sea. In the 1878 Berlin Congress, the British imperialists allegedly seized Egypt and Cyprus temporarily as a price for their support to the Ottoman Empire. In World War I, they used Egypt as their main base for conflicts in the region. Arab sources confirm that the Turkish national awakening shook Arab intellectuals.

In fact, the awakening in Egypt developed parallel to that in Türkiye. Saad Zağlul Pasha, who rose from the peasantry, defying the British in 1881-82, made attempts for independence. With the approach of peace in 1918, the nationalists became active again. The WAFD Party was formed at this time. Saad Zaglul and other leaders were once again arrested. The arrest sparked a bloody riot. The city of Cairo and some centers fell into the hands of revolutionary committees.50 Then protesters changed tactics and switched to passive resistance. When the actions were successful, the “partial independence” granted by the British government in 1922 was proposed to Egypt. Egypt rejected because London was putting forward conditions against partial independence.

– Securing the British empire,

– Protection of foreign interests in Egypt

– The future of Sudan

After a while the power was transferred to King Faruk with the new Constitution imposed on Egypt, the British continued their activities and interventions.

Jamal Abdul Nasser and Arab nationalism

Jamal Abdul Nasser was born on January 15, 1918 in a poor neighborhood of Alexandria, where his father was a post office worker. He was named Cemal after the Ottoman governor of Syria, Cemal Pasha.

While serving in Sudan, he founded the secret Free Officers organization, which aimed to put an end to British rule and kingdom rule, together with three officers (Zekeriya Muhyettin, Abdulhakim Amir, and Enver Sadat) whom he befriended.

The Free Officers junta seized power in a bloodless coup on 23 June 1952 and overthrew King Faruk. Power passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Command Council under Nasser. In June 1953, the Republic was proclaimed, and a treaty was signed with Britain about the evacuation of the Suez Canal.

During his presidency, Jamal Abdul Nasser initiated a series of radical reforms in the country. He started with land reform. When the loan request for the dam designed to be built in Aswan was rejected by the US-UK, he nationalized the Suez Canal, which was under British control. The expropriation of Suez was followed by the expropriation of other British and French companies.

Thereupon, Britain, France and Israel launched a joint military operation against Egypt. Israel attacked Egypt. British and French air forces bombarded Egyptian airfields. The crisis ended with the United Nations’ decision to cede control of the Suez Canal to Egypt. Nasser consolidated his power. He became respected as the leader of the Arab world. The Non-Aligned Movement, which he led with Nehru and Tito, was very influential in the second half of the 20th century.

Cemal Abdul Nasır is Mustafa Kemal of Arab world.


Located in the middle of the North African coastline, Algeria is the most populated of the North African countries with a population approaching 45 million (estimated). Algeria’s past is intertwined with the Umayyads, the Mamluks, and the last 500 years of history with the Turks. The calendars were showing the year 1830 when the Algerian province, which was connected to the Ottoman Empire by Turkish sailors in the 1530s and ruled by the Turkish-origin “Dayı”51 sent from the center, namely Istanbul, was torn from the Ottoman lands by the French colonial administration.

Due to the revival of Arab Nationalism after the First World War, especially after the Turkish and Soviet Revolutions, Arab nationalism started to rise in Morocco, Syria and Egypt as well as in North Africa. French/Western sources have always sought the influence of the French left at the root of this rise. Even a superficial study reveals that the main source of inspiration for the struggle for nationhood in Algeria, although the French Left has a share, is the Turkish Revolution. Haji, one of the pioneers of local nationalism, himself states that the idol of the national awakening was Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

During the First World War, the colonial powers took action against the “Sick Man”, that is, the Ottoman state, which held the Arab Near East (Maşrik), which includes Palestine. Then the Turkish national struggle began. Stating that Türkiye was discussed in every corner at Telemsen at that time, Mesali El Hac describes the happiness he felt when he received the news of victory from Anatolia with these words: “Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s military achievements had great repercussions in the Islamic world, they encouraged the people. “We admired the photographs of Turkish soldiers and Mustafa Kemal that we saw in the newspapers, and we cut these pictures and wore them like a magic talisman.”52

In 1927, Messali El Hacı develops the following program with his friends.

– Independence of the three North African countries

– Distribution of land to the Fellahs (Arab poor peasants)

– Creation of a national assembly based on universal suffrage

– Priority to the Algerian state in the public services ( In banking, mining, railways, ports) it holds.53

The Algerian People’s Party was established in 1937 as a continuation of Mesali El Hacı’ movement. The period was the rule of the moderate Popular Front in France. The Popular Front takes a softer approach to anti-colonial movements. The Algerian flag is waved on the streets of Algeria for the first time.

II. During the World War II, when France was defeated in front of Germany and the country came under the rule of the Vichy Regime, the “homeland defense” discussions intensified in France.

F L N (National Liberation Front) After the World War II, the liquidation process of colonialism created a great dynamism in Algeria. The nationalist trend led by Ferhat Abbas, and the Islamist trend of Sheikh Abdulhamid Bin Badis united under the roof of the National Liberation Front. Front lead the Independence Movement to victory after bloody conflicts. French leader Charles de Gaulle, who formed the government with wide powers as a result of the crisis, turned to find a political solution to the problem, The Republic of Algeria was proclaimed and France was expelled from the country.

From the memories of Mesali Hajı, independence in his country, it is seen that the Turkish Revolution left deep traces, especially in Algeria and Tunisia.


Ottoman territory Libya was attacked by Italians, intending to expand in 1912. Some Turkish volunteer officers went to Libia to organise the resistance but Turkish government dealing with the Balkan War could not protect Libya. Libya fell under Italian occupation. However, the Libyan people did not accept this invasion. The Libyan ruler Sheikh Sunusi took refuge in the Ottoman state and voluntarily participated in the Turkish national struggle.

On the other hand, a patriot named Ömer Muhtar started a new resistance movement in Berka in 1923 against Italy in 1922. He carried out successful raids with the guerrilla forces he gathered from the tribes living in Cebelü’l-Ahdar and inflicted heavy losses on the Italian forces. Despite the cessation of aid from Egypt and Syria, he continued his resistance with the help of the villagers until 1931. On September 11, 1931, he was wounded in a battle and was taken prisoner by the Italians. Sentenced to death by a war tribunal headed by the Italian general Graziani, he was hanged in Saluk.

After the World War II Sheih Sunusi came back to Libia.

IV. Echoes of Turkish Victory in the World of the Oppressed

The Turkish Revolution is the first example in which a country defeated in World War I tore up the agreement imposed by the victors. In this respect, it created a shock in the international arena.

The reactions of the world of the oppressed rose after the Great Victory and the proclamation of the Republic.

The turning point in the War of Independence was the Great Offensive. Nehru describes his feelings after the Battle of Sakarya as follows:

I remember very well how delighted we were when we heard about Mustafa Kemal’s great expressed struggle against the Greeks. I mean the war he won in Afyonkarahisar in August 1922. Many of us were in the Lucknow District prison, and for the victory of the Turks, we decorated our prison barracks from right and left with whatever we could find, and moreover, we tried to light up that evening, albeit in a dim way54Muslims and nationalists from all over the world, Azerbaican55, Morocco,56 Tunusia57, Algeria58, Kenya59, Croatia-Bosnia60 celebrated Turkish revolutionaries by telegrams etc.

Declaration of the Republic

The victory of the National Struggle should be welcomed with great joy, especially by the oppressed, by the peoples who suffered greatly from the persecution of the Great Powers. What is equally important is that Türkiye has overthrown the sultanate and started to build a republic. Upon the proclamation of the Republic, the Indian Caliphate Central Committee stated the following in its message to Gazi Mustafa Kemal dated 13 November 1923:

We regard the establishment of the Republic as a great honor and respect for the progress of Islam… Indian Muslims recognize the Republic of Türkiye … as the hope of Progress-i Islam.”61

Turkish Republic was the 2.nd Republic in Asia after Chinese Republic

The proclamation of the Republic was welcomed not only in the world of the oppressed, but also by Western countries with the peace and tranquility it brought to the region.

M. Kemal Atatürk did not hesitate to heal the wounds. After the Lausanne Peace, he extended his hand to Greece. As a result, Greek Prime Minister Venizelos and Ataturk were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Sadabat Pact signed between Türkiye-Iran-Iraq-Afghanistan with the efforts of Atatürk in 1937 brought peace to a geography that was turned into a bloodbath by the British-French imperialists, and West Asia turned into a lake of peace on the eve of the upcoming world war.

Previously published in the BRIQ journal, vol. 4, issue 4 here.


1 Turkish Republic was declared on 29 October 1923.

2 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, (Glimpses of World History), Kaynak Yayınları; Mao Ze Dung, Yeni Demokrasi Üzerine, (On New Democracy) Eylem Yayınları; Demircan, N. (2021/2022). İki cumhuriyet arasında etkileşim: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ile Çin Cumhuriyeti ilişkileri, (1923-1949). Kuşak ve Yol Girişimi Dergisi, 3(1), 26-39.

3 Pakistan Times, “How the Turks Routed the British, cited by Orhan Koloğlu, Gazi’nin Çağında İslam Dünyası Boyut Kitapları, Istanbul 1994.

4 Selahattin Eyyubi is the commander of the victorious Muslim army during II.Crusaders

5 Falih Rıfkı Atay, Çankaya, Doğan Kardeş Matb. Istanbul, 1969, p. 166

6 Kazım Karabekir, İstiklal Harbimiz, vol. 1, Emre yayınları, p. 665

7 Atatürk’ün Bütün Eserleri (ATABE; Collected Works of Atatürk), Vol. 8, p.114

8 M. Perinçek, Türk-Rus diplomasisinin Gizli Sayfaları, Kaynak Yayınları, p. 51

9 ATABE, vol. 9, Ekim 2002, p. 174

10 S.Aralov, “Vspomiyana Vstreçi S. Atatürkom” Ogonyok, no. 14, 1960, cited by M. Perinçek, Türk-Rus Diplomasisinden Gizli Sayfalar, Kaynak Yayınları, p.67

11 M. Perinçek, op.cit., p. 74

12 Salahi Sonyel, Kurtuluş Savaşı Günlerinde İngiliz İstihbarat Servisinin Türkiye’deki Eylemlerinden cited by M.Perinçek, op.cit., p. 79

13 Kemalist Eğitimin Tarih Dersleri ( 1931-1941), 3. Basım Kaynak Yayınları, İstanbul 2001, p. 59

14 M.Perinçek, Türk-Rus Diplomasisinden Gizli Sayfalar, Kaynak yayınları

15 Indian National Congress Party (1885), Turkish Union and Progress Party (1889)

16 Nehru, Glimpses of World History, , p.. 673

17 Hadiye Yılmaz, Kurtuluş Savaşımız ve Asya Afrika’nın Uyanışı, Kaynak Yay, p. 129

18 İkbal, Şarktan Haber (çev. A.N.Tarlan) Ankara, 1956, p. 87-88

19 Bilal Şimşir, Doğu’nun Kahramanı Atatürk, Bilgi Yayınevi, p. 205

20 Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, Mac Millan, p. 144

21 Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, Mac Millan, p. 144

22 V.B.Metta, New York Times Current History, December 1921

23 Orhan Koloğlu, Kurutuluş Savaşı’nda Hint Desteği, ICANAS Kongresi 2007, p. 7

24 R.K.Singh cited by Hadiye Yılmaz, op.cit., p. 121

25 Hadiye Yılmaz, op.cit, p. 121

26 Hakimiyeti Milliye, 08 April 1921, cited by Hadiye Yılmaz,op.cit, p.123

27 Hakimiyeti Milliye, 15 April 1921, cited by Hadiye Yılmaz, op.cit, p.126

28 Hakimiyeti Milliye, 9 December 1921, cited by Hadiye Yılmaz, op.cit. p. 127

29 R K. Sinha, 159, cited by Hadiye Yılmaz, op.cit. p. 128

30 Zindabad: Long live

31 NA FO 371/5170.E-8567/262/44. Aktaran: Metin Hülagü, “Milli Mücadele Dönemi Türkiye-İslam Ülkeleri Münasebetleri, AAMD, sayı 45, Kasım 1999. Orhan Koloğlu, agm, p. 9

32 Bengalee, 27 February 1927.

33 ATABE (Atatürk Collected Works), Vol .12, p. 266

34 Baskın Oran (ed), Türk Dış Politikası (Turkish Foreign Policy) Vol. I, p. 209

35 Baskın Oran (ed) Türk Dış Politikası, I, İletişim Yayınları, p.363

36 E. Abrahamian, Modern İran Tarihi, İş B. Kültür yay., p. 127

37 Paris Barış Konferansı ve Barış Antlaşması, Paris Peace Conference,

38 A.Hourani, cited by Orhan Koloğlu, Gazi Çağında İslam Dünyası, Boyut Yay., p.371

39 Bkz; Doğu.Perinçek Teori Dergisi, 1 June 2010; D.Perinçek, Kemalist Devrim-8, Birinci Dünya Savaşı ve Türk Devrimi, Ekim 2015, genişletilmiş 3. Basım, p.123-159

40 Heyeti Temsiliye Kararı, 11 Aralık 1919, ATABE, Vol. 5, p. 354

41 22.3. 1923 tarihli Les Debats (Paris) gazetesi. Cited by Bilal Şimşir, Dış Basında Laik Türkiye’nin Doğuşu, Bilgi Yayınevi.

42 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, ( Glimpses of World History) Kaynak Yayınları, p. 805

43 Bessam Tibi, Arap milliyetçiliği, Ç ev. T.Temiz, Yöneliş yay. p.290

44 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, ( Glimpses of World History) Kaynak Yayınları, p. 818

45 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, p. 818

46 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, p. 819

47 Baskın Oran (ed), Türk Dış Politikası, I, p. 264

48 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, p. 821

49 Bkz; Atatürk’ün Kaleminden 8, Suriye ve Irak, Kaynak Yayınları

50 Nehru, Dünya Tarihi, p. 786

51 “Dayı” is the name given to Algeria’s Turkish governer.

52 Gökalp-Georgeon, age, p. 178

53 İskender Gökalp-F.Georgeon, Kemalizm ve İslam Dünyası (Kemalizm and İslamic World)

54 Nehru, Glimpses of World History, no. 158, s. 705, Türkiye- Batı Asya Tarihi, Kaynak yay., p. 51-52.

55 Şimşir, cit.op, p. 216

56 Ben Hammoun’dan Ferit Bey’e telgraf, Portsay, 9.9.1922, cited by B.Şimşir, cit.op, p. 219

57 Hammuda el Hamasi’den Ferit Bey’e telgraf, Teboursouk, 30.9.1922, cited by Şimşir, cit.op p.220

58 Emir Haled, den Ferit Bey’e mektup, Ainbeida, 11.09.1922, cited by Şimşir, cit.op, p. 220)

59 B.Şimşir, cit.op. p. 222

60 FO,371/7898- Sarajevo, 25.9.1922, cited by Şimşir, cit.op, p. 223

61 Hindistan Hilafet Merkez Komitesinden tel. Bombay, 13.11.1923, cited by B. Şimşir, cit.op, p. 228

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April 2024