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In Kemalist Turkey (november, 1919, To November, 1921)

( Originally Published 1923 )



COLONEL RAWLINSON has asked me to write an introduction to his Part III, which is called 'In Kemalist Turkey'.

He has chosen a title that perhaps caused me more anxiety than anything else during the interesting period which I have spent in Constantinople. I came here knowing that we had many prisoners like Colonel Rawlinson 'in Kemalist Turkey', and it was almost impossible to get any news of them. Such news as we got was unreliable. They were completely cut off from us, and yet they had belonged at any rate the majority to the Army of the Black Sea. Weeks and months passed by. All efforts of the Foreign Office to secure their release failed. The Kemalists took no notice of representation made through the Constantinople Government. Some of their leaders were in our custody at Malta during this period, and they intended to keep ours. It was a heartrending time. The anxiety of the prisoners' relations unable to get any news was very great. At last I got some news. It was to the effect that Colonel Rawlinson and his men were suffering much in prison, and, unless released, there would be little chance of Colonel Rawlinson or many of them getting through another winter. The Foreign Office then gave me permission to use any means I liked to secure their release. I therefore got into direct touch with Mustapha Kemal, and, in fact, very nearly had a meeting with him. My object was solely to secure the release of the prisoners. Other motives were, however, ascribed to the proposed meeting, which was never held. Negotiations continued, and I think we owe a debt of gratitude to General Rafet Pasha, with whom I have had many dealings since. He was, I believe, the Kemalist authority who prevailed on the Grand National Assembly to negotiate for the exchange of prisoners, which happily ended their troubles. Alas! I am sorry to say, the numbers we hoped for were not forth-coming, but I am convinced that all who had survived were released and that there are none now in Kemalist hands with the exception of two airmen recently captured, whose release it is hoped soon to effect.

Colonel Rawlinson and his brave men arrived at Constantinople shortly after their release, accompanied by their faithful companion 'George' the most human animal that I have ever seen. It was just a glimpse of life which one can never forget: the devotion of Colonel Rawlinson for his men, the devotion of the men for Colonel Rawlinson, and the devotion of 'George' for them all. They had all suffered together. They had been through more than we could ever know.

When he left us, Colonel Rawlinson had one fixed resolve which impressed me very much, and that was that he was going to personally deliver each of his men back to his home and family. I have often pictured the scene. I know no better example of an officer's care for his men.

I have a souvenir of this gallant contingent which I shall ever value namely, a signed photograph of them all and 'George', with a tribute of their appreciation of our humble efforts to secure their release from 'Kemalist Turkey'.

As I write, we are anxiously awaiting the result of meetings being held at Angora. Is it to be peace or war? One prays sincerely for the former. We hoped, after Moudania, that we were within sight of peace. ,We hoped the same throughout the Lausanne Conference. I went to bed on February 4th thinking I should wake up next day to find peace had been signed and our troubles over. What a disappointment! We are passing through critical days. Will Mustapha Kemal and Ismet Pasha, both of whom desire peace, carry the Assembly? Let us hope so! England wants peace. Turkey wants peace. The world wants peace. Let us hope that we shall get it and that we shall see Turkey settle down to peace and prosperity. We shall then be able to take away with us happy memories of our time here and of the kindness which we have received on every side. The relations between the Allies, the help and friendship which I have received from my French and Italian colleagues Generals Charpy and Mombelli the firm friendship and close work of the British Naval, Military and Air Forces, are matters never to be forgotten.

(Signed) C. H. HARINGTON

March, x923.

Adventures In The Near East:
The Russo-turkish Frontier-trouble Brewing

The Russo-turkish Frontier - Kurds And Armenians

Turkish Armistice A Fiasco Foundation Of The Nationalist Party

In Kemalist Turkey (november, 1919, To November, 1921)

London And Constantinople

Anatolia In Winter

Erzeroum In 1920

The Prison

Prison Again

Exchange And Home

Read More Articles About: Adventures In The Near East

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