Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, established a brand new regime with the assistance of his entourage. Many of his classmates from the army college in Monastir, immediately’s Bitola metropolis in the southwestern a part of North Macedonia, performed a big function throughout the War of Independence and the preliminary interval of the republic. Though Kazım Karabekir, who helped Atatürk to develop into the chief of the War of Independence, turned an opponent after the inspiration of the republic, many others together with Kazım Özalp, Ali Fuat Cebesoy and Ali Fethi Okyar remained faithful to their buddy; thus, they acquired distinguished positions inside the new institution after 1923, too.
Okyar’s scenario is very fascinating since he was the founding chief of the Liberal Republican Party, which solely survived a number of months in 1930. Okyar closed the occasion he based upon Atatürk’s request, declaring that: “Our occasion has been reworked to a place that it fights towards the Gazi Atatürk. In truth, our occasion was based by the encouragement, insistence and affirmation of the Great Gazi and acquired such a assure that his majesty would give equal bits of assist to each events. Indeed, now we have by no means considered taking the duty of making one other sort of political formation. Since it will be pointless to proceed this incentive, which has develop into unimaginable within the gentle of the most recent imposition, it has been determined to abolish our occasion and to announce the scenario to the entire group and the Ministry of Interior.”
The scenario of the Liberal Republican Party, which the good novelist Kemal Tahir named “a swindle” in his “Yol Ayrımı” (“Parting of Ways”) novel, was, in truth, an imposition of Atatürk, who instructed his shut buddy Okyar to ascertain a liberal occasion with Ahmet Ağaoğlu, who was additionally commissioned by the supreme chief for the trigger. The no-nonsense liberalism of the commissioned occasion turned a place of opposition stronger than the ruling Republican People’s Party (CHP). Therefore, the Liberal Republican Party labored as a check for the weak point of the Republican institution.
Okyar was born on April 29, 1880, within the city of Prilep in Monastir to a household of Circassian descent. His father, Ismail Hakkı, was a public servant on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was first schooled in Monastir earlier than he enrolled in a army highschool. After graduating from the army highschool, Okyar was admitted to the Mekteb-i Harbiye (Military College) in Istanbul in 1898. He was one in all Atatürk’s greatest buddies within the army college in Monastir. They maintained their friendship and likewise stayed collectively in Istanbul. Okyar, like his shut buddies, was an enthusiastic reader of romantic nationalist authors equivalent to Namık Kemal. He additionally shared the adversary emotions of his friends towards the sultan of their time, Abdülhamid II.
During his years on the army school, Okyar turned one of many common readers of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) publications, which had been delivered from Europe to Istanbul through overseas put up workplaces. He additionally learn the works of French Enlightenment thinkers equivalent to Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Maximilien Robespierre. He was additionally keen on studying Tevfik Fikret’s poems, a few of which functioned as opposition propaganda towards the Abdülhamid regime.
After the 1908 revolution
Okyar turned a member of the CUP in 1907 and compelled his buddy, Mustafa Kemal, to do the identical. Meanwhile, he graduated from the army school and labored as an officer within the Third Army. He fought towards the Balkan rebels, the place he met and fashioned shut connections with CUP leaders equivalent to Enver Pasha and Kazım Karabekir. He quickly turned a big determine within the army wing of the CUP.
Okyar was the author of the declaration of the 1908 revolution. He was among the many workers of the Hareket Ordusu (Army of Action), which suppressed the March 31 incident and dethroned Abdülhamid II. When the CUP leaders started to struggle towards one another’s positions, it was determined to compel army workers to both keep out of politics or resign from the army. Okyar was subsequently assigned because the army attache to Paris in 1910. The following yr, he helped the Turkish military’s trigger within the Libyan metropolis of Tripoli towards the Italian invasion.
Okyar left the military and was elected as a member of Parliament in 1912 for a really brief interval, rejoining the military after Parliament was closed because of the begin of the Balkan War in the identical yr. He was assigned to move Abdülhamid II, the sultan that they had dethroned, from Greek-occupied Thessalonica to Istanbul.
Okyar was assigned because the Ottoman ambassador to Sofia, the place he discovered his outdated buddy Mustafa Kemal, who was the army attache there. In 1917, he left Sofia for Istanbul, the place he was elected as a member of Parliament for a second time period, which was additionally short-lived as a result of the CUP authorities was abolished by occupying forces on the finish of World War I.
War of Independence and past
Okyar and 30 different former members of Parliament established a brand new political occasion, the Liberal Populist Party, in 1918, to which Mustafa Kemal was additionally linked through “Minber” (“Pulpit”), the occasion’s periodical. However, this political motion, which will be thought of the predecessor of the populist motion or early Kemalism within the Ankara Parliament after 1920, didn’t final lengthy as a result of Okyar was accused, arrested and exiled as an ex-CUP chief by the Damat Ferit authorities of the occupation years.
Okyar spent two years in jail in Istanbul and in exile in Malta earlier than returning to Turkey in 1921. Okyar discovered a prepared place within the War of Independence in Anatolia and a place on the Parliament-run Cabinet since he had saved his shut connections with the brand new chief, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Okyar served as soon as as the inside minister in 1921 and twice because the prime minister in 1923 and 1925. After that, he was assigned the put up of the Turkish ambassador to Paris, which continued till he based the liberal occasion, specifically the Liberal Republican Party, upon the request and order of Atatürk in 1930.
Liberal Republican Party and ‘a swindle’
Okyar was ordered by Atatürk himself to ascertain a brand new political occasion to stability out the ruling CHP. Atatürk ordered that the brand new occasion needs to be a liberal one to face towards the statism of the CHP. However, folks confirmed nice curiosity within the new occasion, as an indication of the decrease acceptance fee of the CHP and others in energy, together with Atatürk. In truth, neither Atatürk nor Okyar had been liberalists. They solely discovered it handy to play a sport of liberalism within the age of totalitarianism through a brand new political occasion. Some commentators, particularly the Kemalist ones, imagine that Atatürk examined the Turkish folks’s attitudes with Okyar’s occasion, which has no historic proof and exhibits the intention of these commentators to attribute superpowers to Atatürk, equivalent to foreseeing the way forward for his folks.
Though seemingly a liberal, Okyar was a religious secularist and nationalist, whose loyalty to his supreme chief was absolute. Thus, such an act of abolishing his personal political occasion as a result of it attracted folks’s consideration, a nonsensical transfer inside the conceptual framework of true democracy, shouldn’t be understood as a matter of cowardice; slightly it may be defined as a casualty of his loyalty to his fellow secularist rulers, primarily Atatürk.
After his failure towards the CHP with the Liberal Republican Party, Okyar was as soon as once more commissioned as ambassador to Paris. Eventually, he was appointed because the Turkish ambassador to London, from the place he returned after the dying of Atatürk. For three years, he labored as a member of Parliament and minister in Refik Saydam’s Cabinet beneath the presidency of Ismet Inönü, his lifelong rival for the friendship of the supreme chief.
Okyar retired in 1942 and tried to jot down his memoirs. However, he died on May 7, 1943, in Istanbul earlier than ending the duty. His grave is in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery.