The Life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk #13

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By the end of 1920 many local rebels, national departments and volunteers had called themselves into the national army. However, Çerkez Ethem and his brothers, who had a large armed force, did not want to be bound to the forces of the Western Front, but pursued their own policy. After the success of the brothers in their region against the occupiers, they had made themselves independent. They dismissed and replaced officials as they pleased. Since the Western Front and the rebel forces as well as the armed forces were organized under one command, Circassian Ethem and his brothers did not like this. The brothers refused to join the other forces on the Western front. They refused any orders from the government in Ankara. They did not want to recognise the Grand National Assembly and as a provocation even made fun of it. Their attitude was now an uprising against the national government.

The situation was very tense. This problem had to be solved in the strictest sense to ensure the unity of the army, which was built through laborious work and devotion. It was clear that the Armed Forces of Ethem could no longer achieve victory in the army. They would prevent the success of the army. For this reason, the government decided to eliminate the forces of Circassian Ethem.

On December 29, 1920, Colonel Ismet Pasha Bey, commander of the Western Front, and Colonel Refet Bey, commander of the Southern Front, stepped forward to eliminate the forces of Çerkez Ethem. The Circassian Ethem forces in the Kütahya region withdrew from Kütahya to Gediz after the West Front invasion. When the National troops marched into Gediz after the insurgents on January 5, 1921, the Circassian Ethem troops had to retreat to Simav.

Now the most dramatic moments of the National Struggle are being experienced. The Western Front forces have disappeared from the old war positions to suppress the rebellion of Circassian Ethem and have come to Gediz. After the follow-up of Circassian Ethem, the Greeks announced that the forces of the Western Front were moving away from their positions. Their goal was to outwit the Turkish troops in their weakening positions and defeat them, Eskisehir and Afyon, to open a way to Ankara. If this plan had been implemented, it would have been possible for the occupiers, the eight-month government of Ankara to smother and eliminate it at the place of its birth.

In Eskişehir, which was chosen by the Greeks as the attack target, Afyon was a military strategic focal point. The transfer of these cities meant that the important railways were in the hands of the enemy. Especially the fronts Bursa and Uşak were of great importance, into which enemy arms penetrated. Because if the enemy had united his forces in Kütahya, he would have had the possibility to attack the Turkish troops from behind with a big power, because Cirkassian Ethem and his army occupied the Turks. This could have resulted from the mess of Cirkassian Ethem and his army, which in the end would have meant a defeat for the Turks and their fight.

In this critical situation, which developed through the Greek attack, the commanders of the Western and Southern Front decided to stop the persecution of Circassian Ethem and his army and to send the majority of our troops from Kütahya and Gediz to the Inönü Front.

However, there was a 3-day road between the districts of Gediz and Kütahya and the İnönü positions where the Western Front troops were now located. If the Greeks had reached the Inönü positions sooner than the Turks, they would have got through to Eskisehir without resistance. For this purpose some forces were left behind in the Kütahya region because of Cirkassian Ethem and his brothers, and the remaining forces were transferred to the Inönü front.

The 4th Division, recently established in Ankara, was called to the Western Front to further strengthen its position against the almost three times larger enemy forces. The Turkish forces that had left Kütahya and Gediz had arrived at the Inönü Front on the morning of January 9, 1921.

On the other hand, on 8 January 1921 the Greeks marched rapidly to Çivril and Pazarcık, and on the morning of 9 January they invaded Bilecik and Bozüyük.

Nevertheless, faith in the leader of the National Struggle Mustafa Kemal Pasha was never abandoned. Despite the fact that all these occupations, the conditions of power and the need to fight several enemies simultaneously, the result would lead to victory.

The first Inönü war began on the afternoon of 9 January 1921 with the violent attack of the Greeks on Bozüyük. The Inönü Front, named after a small village, was now the scene of a war that was to become a turning point in the Turkish War of Independence.


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