Ankara, center of the National Struggle, became the capital of the young Turkish Republic on October 13, 1923 after the liberation of Anatolia from enemy occupation.
When the country was occupied at the end of the First World War, Mustafa Kemal Pasha set foot in Samsun on May 19, 1919 and launched the National Struggle.
The Ottoman Parliament met for the last time in Istanbul on January 12, 1919, but on March 16, 1919, the British entered Istanbul and ended the work of the Parliament. There was no longer any possibility for the Ottoman Parliament to meet in Istanbul. A capital was needed where the deputies would meet and where the country would be governed.
On March 19, 1919, Mustafa Kemal Pasha sent a circular to some provinces and commands with the statement “The Turkish nation will protect its own life and independence”. After this circular, representatives and members of the Ottoman Mebusan Assembly began to gather in Ankara.
Ankara’s importance in the War of Independence stemmed from the fact that it was linked by rail to enemy-occupied places such as Geyve Gorge, Kütahya and Afyon, and had adequate combat capabilities.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha arrived in Ankara on December 27, 1919 with members of the Council of Representatives. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who was received with great love and enthusiasm by the people and Seğmen in Ankara, prepared the plans for the War of Independence in that city.
The decision to form regular armies for the success of the war was taken in Ankara. These armies defeated the enemy at İnönü, Sakarya and Dumlupınar. On August 30, 1922, the War of Independence ended with the Battle of the Commander-in-Chief.
“The seat of the Turkish state is the city of Ankara”
On October 9, 1923, İsmet Pasha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented a one-article bill to Parliament with the phrase “The administrative center of the Turkish state is the city of Ankara”.
On October 10, İkdam reported that “during the meeting which lasted from 2 to 6 p.m., in accordance with the circular given by İsmet Pasha and his colleagues, it was agreed to add the article “The city of Ankara is the seat of the state’ to the Principles Organization Act and that the matter would again be brought to the agenda of the General Meeting of the Assembly on the following day and that the legality of the article would be defended.
In the Tanin newspaper of the same date, a press article entitled “Central Government of Ankara” reported that the proposal to name Ankara the name of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha had not even been put on the agenda by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who chaired the meeting.
The bill was quickly passed by the Layiha Commission on October 10 and the Constitutional Commission on the same day, and on October 13, 1923, it reached the General Assembly of Parliament.
After discussions, the bill was adopted by a majority of votes. When some members of parliament objected to President Ali Fuat Pasha’s “unanimous vote” by shouting “unanimously”, Ali Fuat Pasha said: “Sir, there are hands that have not been raised . I can’t say unanimously, I saw it, it was accepted by a large majority” and ended the session.
This question, which was brought to the agenda in the form of a legislative proposal, turned into a decision as “The report dated 10.10.1923 prepared by the Constitutional Commission on the numbered legislative proposal 2/188 of Malatya MP İsmet Pasha regarding the city of Ankara as the capital of the Turkish state was read at the 2nd session of the 35th meeting of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey dated 13.10.1923 and accepted as it was and it was decided by a large majority that the city of Ankara would be the capital of the Turkish state”.
The resolution crowned Ankara’s status as a de facto center, which it had maintained since the arrival of Mustafa Kemal and the delegation of representatives, with the title of capital.
This text not being a law but a resolution of Parliament, it was then incorporated into the Constitution.
“All thoughts were centered on Ankara as the capital of the new Turkey”
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk explained the importance of Ankara becoming the capital of Nutuk: “Everyone thought that the capital of the new Turkey should be in Anatolia and in the city of Ankara. Geography and strategy were of utmost importance. It was absolutely necessary to put an end to internal and external indecision by determining the State’s capital as quickly as possible.
“An invisible magic hand changed everything”
After Ankara became the capital, rapid development activity was started. Foreign experts were brought in to plan the future years of the city. Educational and cultural institutions have been prioritized.
Foreign travelers who visited the city during those years said, “An invisible magic hand changed everything. “Very public buildings stood where the dead once lay, many hotels opened their doors with improvements that offered the comforts expected of a capital city. Great schools were built. Many neighborhoods have been created near Yenişehir, Cebeci, Çankaya, Çankırı Kapı and the train station.