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The Last Ottoman Parliament meet

The Last Ottoman Parliament meet

On this day, 12th of January, 1920 CE, the last Ottoman Parliament met in Istanbul. This parliament issued the National Pact or Misak-ı Milli expressing the will of the Turkish people to regain the full national integrity and independence. But the occupation of Istanbul by the Allies led to the dissolution of this parliament on March 18.

President Atatürk and his colleagues leaving the building of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (today the Republic Museum) after a meeting for the seventh anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (1930).

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Sultan Mehmed VI (r. 1918– 22) dissolved the parliament, which he considered being loyal to the Young Turks on November 23, 1918. However, national resistance in Anatolia led by Mustafa Kemal exerted pressure on the sultan’s government and forced him to permit the general elections.

Therefore, the last Ottoman Chamber of Deputies met in Istanbul starting on January 12,1920. After the sultan’s speech was presented, a welcoming telegram from the nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal Pasha was read in the name of the Representative Committee, thus manifesting its claim to be the rightful government of Turkey.

On January 28, 1920, the deputies met secretly. The National Pact (Misak-ı Milli), a six-article manifesto of Turkey’s War of National Liberation, was proposed in the parliament. The members of the parliament recognised and affirmed that the independence of the State and future of the Nation can be assured only by complete respect for this manifesto.

The British authorities were, of course, enraged. The reply was quick in coming. On March 15, 1920, 150 leading civil servants and army officers in Istanbul were arrested and turned over to the Allies for internment in Malta.

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The next day Istanbul was put under martial law, and Allied troops replaced the Ottoman police in control of the city. Police entered the Parliament and arrested some of its leading members, after which it was dissolved on March 18.

On March 19, 1920, Mustafa Kemal announced that the Turkish nation was establishing its own Parliament in Ankara under the name Grand National Assembly (Büyük Millet Meclisi). On April 23, 1920, the new Assembly gathered for the first time, making Mustafa Kemal its first president and Ismet Inonii, now deputy from Edirne, chief of the General Staff.

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