In the period of rapid change that followed the abolition of the Sultanate, opposition to Mustafa Kemal grew rapidly, as Unionist elements, ambitious to recover control, liberal constitutionalists, committed to the creation of a less centralised and authoritarian system of government, and reactionary elements, opposed to secular reform, sought to exploit the widespread discontent provoked by the authoritarian attitudes of the Kemalist regime. Firstly in April 1923, former leaders of the CUP, including Dr Nazim, ex-Minister of Public Instruction, Djavid Bey, ex-Minister of Finance, Kara Kemal, the Istanbul party boss, and some fifteen or so others (including a number of notorious fedazs) gathered at Djavid Bey's house in Istanbul to consider their position. At this meeting it was agreed that though they would not contest the coming elections as a political party, they might yet draw up a party programme, including measures to promote greater decentralisation, a double chamber system of government, universal suffrage, equal rights to all Turkish nationals and the preservation of Istanbul as the capital of the Turkish state. l Secondly in October 1924 a number of Mustafa Kemal's closest collaborators in the national struggle, including Rauf, Refet, Ali Fuat and Kiazim Karabekir, fearful that Mustafa Kemal intended to appoint himself Sultan or impose SOIne other kind of dictatorship, agreed, with the support of a number of the army commanders, to mount a challenge to the government in the assembly. In November 1924 they formed a new party, the Progressive Republican Party, committed to the protection of individual liberty within a secure constitutional

framework, the promotion of a free enterprise system, and the encouragement of respect for religious opinion and belief. The president of the republic, they declared, should remain above party politics, resigning from his seat in the assembly following his election. 2 Thirdly, in February 1925, Kurdish tribes, committed to the preservation of the Caliphate and the Serial, led by Sheikh Said of Palu, the leader of the Nakshibandi dervishes, rose in revolt. 3 Fourthly, in June 1926 a small group of conspirators led by Ziya Hiir~it, a naval officer and prominent member of the Second Group of opposition deputies formed in the first Grand National Assembly, and Abdiilkadir a former governor of Ankara, initiated a plot to assassinate Mustafa Kemal during a visit to Izmir. 4


The history of the meeting of Unionist leaders, held in Istanbul in April 1923, remains obscure, but it would seem that it was inspired, in part at least, by Mustafa Kemal himself. According to later reports, Mustafa Kemal met Kara Kemal, the Unionist Party boss, at a secret meeting held in Izmit in January. At that meeting he is said to have asked Kara Kemal what the Unionists were planning to do now that the war against the Greeks had been won; and when Kara Kemal replied that he did not know, as the membership of the organisation was dispersed throughout the country and in Europe, he is said to have suggested that they meet to decide their future role. As a result, invitations to a meeting, or congress, were issued, and in April leading members of the organisation assembled in the capital. In the ensuing discussions it is said that it was agreed that the party would take no part in the coming elections as an opposition party, and that it would accept Mustafa Kemal's leadership. Moreover, it was agreed that Mustafa Kemal might be offered the leadership of a revived CUP, an offer which, it is said, he later declined. 5

No such mystery surrounds the origins of the opposition movement, organised by the former leaders of the national movement. From the beginning they had harboured deep

suspicions regarding Mustafa Kemal's ultimate intentions; and in the period of the civil war and the war of independence they had frequently endeavoured, for the most part unsuccessfully, to impose some restraint on his acquisition and exercise of power. In the period following their victory in the war of independence, a series of incidents served to confirm them in their worst suspicions. On the eve of the conference of Lausanne, Mustafa Kemal insisted, against the advice of Rauf, the prime minister, and a number of his colleagues, on appointing Ismet Pasha head of the Turkish delegation, and throughout the conference he almost invariably backed Ismet in the numerous disputes over policy which then arose. So bitter, indeed, did these disputes become that, following the conclusion of the conference, Rauf chose to resign from his post rather than suffer the indignity of having to greet Ismet following his return and congratulate him on his achievement.