Erzurum Congress is the congress that was held in Erzurum between 23 July and 7 August 1919. Erzurum Congress, gathered by the Vilâyât-ı Şarkye Müdâfaa-i Hukuk Cemlığı Erzurum branch on 17 June, is also known as the Erzurum Umrami Congress or the Umûmî Erzurum Congress.
5 delegates from Trabzon, Erzurum, Sivas, Bitlis and Van, mostly from the 62 eastern provinces, participated in the congress; The decisions taken at the congress, which lasted 2 weeks, were significantly determining in the line followed in the struggle for liberation.
Hoca Raif Efendi, one of the delegates of Erzurum, opened the congress as the temporary chairman, and after the poll, Mustafa Kemal Pasha was appointed as the congress chairman.
In fact, the Congress negotiations were foreseen to start on July 10, and the negotiations were started on July 23 because some of the delegates could not come to Erzurum at the said date.
As the representative of Maçka to the local congress organized by the Erzurum branch of the Vilâyât-ı Şarkiyye Müdâfaa-i Hukûk-ı Milliye Society in Trabzon between the dates of 23 July-7 August 1919 in Erzurum. Izzet Eyuboglu attended. In this congress, Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected as the chairman by majority of votes and İzzet Bey, who was the representative of Maçka, and Hoca Raif Efendi, Erzurum.
The importance and features of Erzurum Congress
- Mandate and patronage was rejected and it was decided for the first time to achieve unconditional national independence.
- National borders were mentioned for the first time and it was explained that the territory of Turkish homeland could not be destroyed when the Mondros Armistice Agreement was signed.
- Although it is regional in terms of its meeting, it is a national congress in terms of its decisions.
- It is mentioned for the first time that a temporary government will be established.
- Erzurum Congress is a preliminary study for Sivas Congress.
- For the first time, a nine-member Representative Committee was chaired by Mustafa Kemal. This Board of Representatives will function like a government. (The task of the Representative Committee will continue until the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.)
- Another important aspect of the Erzurum Congress is that it had a great morale effect on the Kuvayi Milliye, which fought against the Greek forces in Western Anatolia.
- Erzurum Congress is the first place where Mustafa Kemal served as a civilian. It is a regional congress.
Decisions taken at the Congress
• Decision:Within the national borders, the homeland cannot be broken apart.
• Decision:The nation will resist any foreign invasion and intervention.
• Decision:If the Government of Istanbul cannot ensure the independence of the country, an interim government will be established for this purpose. Members of this government will be elected by the National Congress.
• Decision:It is essential to make national forces effective and dominate national will.
• Decision:Christians cannot be granted privileges that will disrupt our political domination and social balance.
• Decision:mandate and patronage management is unacceptable.
• Decision:Deputies The Assembly should convene immediately and the government should be supervised.
• Decision:The national forces gathered and the national will will save the Sultanate and Caliphate authority.
Erzurum Congress Place in the National Struggle
• Despite being a regional congress, the decisions made have characteristics that concern the whole country.
• As a result of the Erzurum Congress, the idea of “realizing national sovereignty unconditionally” emerged.
• In order to ensure the follow-up and implementation of the decisions taken at the Congress, a Representative Committee of 9 people was formed and Mustafa Kemal Pasha was appointed as its chairman.
• At Erzurum Congress, not only domestic policy issues but also foreign policy agendas were discussed. Therefore, the congress acted as a national assembly.
• Before the Erzurum congress started, Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who was free from all kinds of authority, was elected as the President of the Erzurum Congress and brought him to the Presidency committee and the public showed that he trusted Mustafa Kemal Pasha.
• The decisions taken are binding not only for the Istanbul Government but also for the Entente States.
• It was clearly shown that the Mondros Armistice agreement was not accepted.
• It was revealed that there were large differences of opinion between the administrative staff of the Ottoman Empire and the public.
• Acted as a parliament in terms of the formation and working order of the Erzurum congress.
• Erzurum congress has also positively affected the resistance in Western Anatolia.
• The decisions taken at the Erzurum Congress were accepted in the same way at the Sivas Congress.
• Resistance movements in Eastern Anatolia were unified so that the first step towards uniting the resistances throughout the country was taken in Erzurum.
• The Istanbul Government requested that the Congress be prevented and Mustafa Kemal Pasha arrested, but these requests of the Istanbul Government were not fulfilled, which once again demonstrated that the Istanbul Government had lost its credibility and authority.
• Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who was excluded by the Istanbul Government before the Congress, was elected as the leader of the National struggle against the Istanbul Government after the Congress.
• These decisions were also sent to all public authorities and representatives of the Entente states throughout the country.