War of Independence
During the summer and fall
of 1919, with authorization from the Supreme Allied War Council,
the Greeks occupied Edirne, Bursa, and Izmir. A landing was effected
at the latter port under the protection of an Allied flotilla that
included United States warships. The Greeks soon moved as far as
Usak, 175 kilometers inland from Izmir. Military action between
Turks and Greeks in Anatolia in 1920 was inconclusive, but the nationalist
cause was strengthened the next year by a series of important victories.
In January and again in April, Ismet Pasha defeated the Greek army
at Inönü, blocking its advance into the interior of Anatolia.
In July, in the face of a third offensive, the Turkish forces fell
back in good order to the Sakarya River, eighty kilometers from
Ankara, where Atatürk took personal command and decisively
defeated the Greeks in a twenty-day battle.
An improvement in Turkey's diplomatic situation
accompanied its military success. Impressed by the viability of
the nationalist forces, both France and Italy withdrew from Anatolia
by October 1921. Treaties were signed that year with Soviet Russia,
the first European power to recognize the nationalists, establishing
the boundary between the two countries. As early as 1919, the Turkish
nationalists had cooperated with the Bolshevik government in attacking
the newly proclaimed Armenian republic. Armenian resistance was
broken by the summer of 1921, and the Kars region was occupied by
the Turks. In 1922 the nationalists recognized the Soviet absorption
of what remained of the Armenian state.
The final drive against the Greeks began in
August 1922. In September the Turks moved into Izmir, where thousands
were killed during the ensuing fighting and in the disorder that
followed the city's capture. Greek soldiers and refugees, who had
crowded into Izmir, were rescued by Allied ships.
The nationalist army then concentrated on driving remaining Greek
forces out of eastern Thrace, but the new campaign threatened to
put the Turks in direct confrontation with Allied contingents defending
access to the straits and holding Istanbul, where they were protecting
the Ottoman government. A crisis was averted when Atatürk accepted
a British-proposed truce that brought an end to the fighting and
also signaled that the Allies were unwilling to intervene on behalf
of the Greeks. In compliance with the Armistice of Mundanya, concluded
in October, Greek troops withdrew beyond the Maritsa River, allowing
the Turkish nationalists to occupy territory up to that boundary.
The agreement entailed acceptance of a continued Allied presence
in the straits and in Istanbul until a comprehensive settlement
could be reached.
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited
the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne,
Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist
government should be Turkey's sole representative. In November 1922,
the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of sultan and
caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that
the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when
the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the
Ottoman Empire. Mehmet VI went into exile on Malta, and his cousin,
Abdülmecid, was named caliph