ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON THE GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF TURKEY
It should address and find a reply to the world of hostility and great evil opposing us. Only the nation can be the most authorised representative of that nation. If the Assembly is opened, it is impossible but even if we must abandon Ankara because of absolute necessities, we can address to our nation with the greater authority and strength than before from any part of Turkey. We will defend our nation’s will and independence, even if we are on the last piece of rock of our country and certainly we will be successful. (March 1920, Y. N. )
The Government of The Grand National Assembly of Turkey is national; wholly material and realistic. This is a government which, among ideals thought to exist, not in order to reach those ideals, but to make them be reached will abstain from a murder which is striking the nation to rocks, sinking it into swamps and last by sacrificing it for daydreams. There are two basic principles of all the Grand National Assembly’s programmes and principles: complete independence, unhindered and unconditional national sovereignty! ( January 1921, S. D. II )
Certainly the nation should control the government. Because if the government’s measures are negative and the nation does not object to the measures and does not remove government from power, it means that also the nation joined those faults and offences. ( December 1920, S. D. II )
The nation chose us. But we are not gathered here to represent this nation’s administration and sovereignty here and during all our lives as if we have inherited a fortune. ( December 1921, S. D. I )
Sir, our government is not a democratic government, it is not a socialist government and indeed, as for the governments in the books, from the point of view of the Islamic characteristic, it does not resemble any of those. Still, this is the government that emphasises national sovereignty and national will. If it is necessary to characterise our government in view of the social sciences, we say: the government of the people. Sir, we have been gathered to protect and observe our rights and to guarantee our independence. We accept the war as entirely legal and being against imperialism that wants to destroy us and capitalism that wants to get rid of us. In other words we can understand that the base that our government founded on is social science. And we are not interested in whether it resembles the democratic one or the socialist one! Sir, we must be proud of with being unique. Because we resemble ourselves! ( December 1921, S. D. II )
Friends, is a government good or miserable? To determine whether a government is good or miserable, it is necessary to consider the purpose of the concept of government? The concept of the government has two objectives. One, to protect and preserve the nation and another, is to provide for the nation’s prosperity. If the government provides these two conditions it is good, but if not, it is miserable. ( March 1923, S. D. II )
To be able to pass from the sultanate era to the republic era we have lived a transition period, as you all know. In this period two ideas and visions struggled with each other. One of those ideas is the continuation of the sultanate era. The supporters of this idea were clear. The other idea is to bring sultanate administration to an end and to set up the republican administration. The second one was our idea. We saw objections to declaring our opinion clearly. We had to overcome the ideas of the supporters of sultanate administration before we declared our ideas, to find the right time to realise our aim. As the new laws were realised, especially when the constitution was realised the sultanate partisans insisted the indication of rights and authorities of the caliph. We agreed that it was not the appropriate time for this.
We intended to shape the government administration in the context of national sovereignty as a basis, without mentioning the republic.
We insisted that there is no higher authority than The Grand National Assembly. And we were trying to prove it is possible to administrate the country without the sultanate and caliph positions.
We did not say a word about the duties of president and the president of the Assembly carried out the duties de facto. Actually the president of the Assembly was the second president. There was a government. But it was born by “The Grand National Assembly” . we avoided to pass to the cabinet system. Because the sultanate partisans immediately would have suggested to use the sultan’s authority.
Well, in these stages of struggle during the transition period, we had to persuade them of the governing system of The Grand National Assembly. Our opponents objected to us because they found this system incomplete and tried providing the clear definition of constitutional monarchy. They were asking what is the definition of this government model that you try to implement? We had to silence them by giving replies that were required then. 1927 ( The Speech ( address) II, p. g. 838 – 839 )
Also could have written a book by attracting attentions to needless points of the ideas which were not able to be carried out. But we did not. We chose implementing policies on the path to national improvement instead of talking. On the other hand, the Assembly adopted principles such as “ Sovereignty belongs to The Nation.”, “Except for The Grand National Assembly no authority may dominate the national will. ”, “ In all legislation, in all organisation, in all implementations of administration, in general education, in economic affairs national the foundation of sovereignty basis be kept in mind. ”, “The resolution on the annulment of the sultanate is an absolute resolution and can not be changed.” 1927 ( The Speech II, p. g. 719 )
Sovereignty and sultanate could not be given by anyone to anyone with talk or with dispute because it was the implementation. Sovereignty and sultanate was taken with power, capacity and force. Osmanoğulları had kept with force the Turkish nation’s sovereignty and sultanate and they had continued this for six centuries. And now, the Turkish nation has declared clearly her sovereignty and sultanate by rebelling. This was immediately done. What is discussed, is it not whether we will leave the sultanate and sovereignty to the nation herself? The discussion is essentially real. But how can we declare this reality? It will certainly be. If those gathered here, The Assembly and everybody sees the issue as normal, I think that this is the time. Otherwise again the realities will be declared as necessary. But the probability is, some heads may be cut off. 1922 (The Speech II, p. g. 691 )
We are stronger than before. We have bigger capability and are fitter to live in comparison with the past. What brought about this superiority? The real reasons lie hidden in the foundation on two principles. One of these principles is Misakı Milli ( National Oath ), the second one is our constitution that our nation holds in her hands unhindered and unconditionally. The Grand National Assembly has gathered under difficult conditions. And The Assembly determined the state’s and the nation’s condition and characteristic, verified its absolute resolutions with constitution and laid the foundation of the Republic of Turkey by accepting the 1st November 1922 resolution.
The importance and value of the 1st November resolution is equal to our war of independence in importance and value. Although Misakı Milli is the rule that fixes the place and situation of our country against external enemies, the resolution of 1st November 1922 is the weapon against ignorance, confusion, poverty, bad luck and it brought the sultanate, that was a lasting enemy of our nation, to an end. They had the temerity to deliver our country to the foe, because they had that temerity in that administration’s shape and body. 1922 ( Atatürk’s S. D. I, p. g. 297 )