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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

10 Year Speech

 

Gentlemen:

After the execution of the protocol for the evacuation, which forms and addition to the Lausanne Treaty, Turkey was completely freed from foreign occupation and had thus realised the integrity of her territory. It was a question of the future legally to fix the seat of the Government of New Turkey.

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Considerations of all kinds categorically demanded that this seat could only be in Anadolu and at Ankara.

Geographical and strategical position was of the very first importance. The interior and exterior  uncertainties had to be terminated by a possible speedy settlement of the seat of the  State Government.

It is known that certain uncertainties had actually become apparent, before or afterwards, on the question as to whether the seat of government should remain in İstanbul or whether it should be transferred to Ankara. The Press published articles and comments about this.

Some of the new Deputies for İstanbul, with Refet Paşa at their head, used all their strength to prove the necessity that İstanbul must remain the capital, and they quoted some reasons in support of their assertions. They pretended thatthe town of Ankara was in no way suitable on account of its climate, its means of traffic, and the existing possibilities of installations and organisations. They said that İstanbul must remain the capital and was destined to remain it. When we study the language they use with care, we must notice the difference which exists between the sense that we attribute to the expression “seat of the Government” and the point of view of those who used the expression “capital.” We had therefore to prove that this latter meaning had no longer any sense or right of existence in the new Turkish State by quoting the legal and official confirmation of our point of view which had already been settled.

İsmet Paşa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, introduced a bill in the Assembly, dated the 9th October, 1923. This bill, which had fourteen other signatures, was passed on the 13th October, after long discussion, by a great majority. The bil, read as follows: “The Seat of the Turkish State is the town of Ankara.”

 

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A Speech Delivered by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk 1927, Ankara, Başbakanlık Basımevi, 1981, s. 659.