Of lost monkeys and broken vehicles

Part 1
  • Paris Gare de Lyon train station July 30th 1920 (old calendar)/August 12th (new calendar)

    Eleutherios Venizelos, prime minister of Greece was on his way to Marseilles. In Marseilles a Royal Hellenic Navy warship was waiting to bring back the prime minister in Greece. Venizelos was, not without justification, proud of himself. Just two days before at Sevres he had signed on behalf of Greece the peace treaty between the allies and the Ottoman empire assigning Eastern Thrace to Greece and giving it control of Smyrna and its hinterland with a referendum for its annexation to Greece to follow in 5 years time. He had no doubt what would be the results of the referendum when it took place. When he had first become prime minister back in October 1910 Greece was 63,211 square km, regularly threatened by Turkey and ignored by everyone else. Now it was 150,176 square km and as soon as Smyrna would be formally annexed would reach 168,038 square km. But far more importantly than the territory itself, now Greece was a fast modernizing country, one of the victors of the Great war and had brought most Greeks within the borders of the kingdom.

    Lieutenants Apostolos Tserepis and George Kyriakis, waiting for the prime minister in the station were of a rather different opinion. Both staunch royalists that had been cashiered from the navy and the army respectively, when the tyrant returned on the bayonets of the Senegalese to evict the king, they where determined to save Greece from Venizelos once and for all. The treaty signed at Sevres mattered not. What mattered was for Venizelos to be gone. As soon as Venizelos showed up they opened up with revolvers firing over 10 shots against the prime minister. Thankfully only a single bullet lightly wounded Venizelos in the shoulder. In February 1921 French courts would condemn the two former officers to 5 years in prison each, with prince Christopher of Greece covering their legal expenses. Two years later, at the behest of Venizelos they would receive a pardon and released from prison. Tserepis would become manager of prince Christopher's estates and die aged 92 in 1980. Kyriakis would end life broadcasting German propaganda in WW2, starting his broadcasts every time with "Dear Greek listeners, Greece freed in 1821 was struggling since 1915 against Anglo-French tyranny. Remember the crimes of Sarrail's hordes in Macedonia. Remember...". He would be executed for treason after the war. [1]

    Athens, July 31st, 1920 (old calendar)/August 13th (new calendar)

    News of the assassination attempt against Venizelos would reach Athens one day late with rumours that Venizelos had been actually killed. In short order mobs of Venizelist partisans gathered, first attacking the offices of monarchist newspapers, as well as these of the communist Risospastis and then the shops and homes of prominent monarchists, before police could put the situation under control. The theater of Marika Kotopouli suffered some damage with her and Ion Dragoumis, in a relationship since 1912 fleeing to their home to the suburb of Kifisia. From there Dragoumis would try to return to Athens to publish an article in his magazine "Political Review" to condemn the assassination attempt against Venizelos. Unfortunately his car would break down outside Marousi on the way to Athens and Dragoumis would manage to get back to Athens only the next day. His article would get published in August 2nd. By then thanks to news that Venizelos had been only lightly wounded things had relatively calmed down, but Dragoumis article would help to further defuse the situation...

    [1] In OTL he would get away with collaboration more or less scot free.
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    Part 2 Of lost monkeys and unlost elections
  • Tatoi Royal Estates, Greece, September 17th, 1920 (old calendar)/ September 30th, 1920 (new calendar)

    Alexander, king of the Greeks, was trying to kill time by running around the estates in his motorcycle till the time came to visit hid friend Christos Zalokostas for lunch. For a moment he thought about making a stop for the house of the Sturm family, Sturm the German born agronomist of the estate always was well supplied in European magazines, but he changed opinion. Yesterday evening he had to read the latest issue of Dragoumis "Political review", Christos was liable to try discussing about it and he did not want to appear as a complete ignoramus, that was enough reading for now. Better to run some more along the trees with the motorcycle and Fritz his dog. Fritz was the luckier of the two, he did not need to be bothered with politics or anything else unlike his master. Why couldn't they leave him alone with his two true loves, Aspasia and cars?

    At lunch as he predicted Zalokostas start discussing about Dragoumis article and the coming election next month. Then he had a quiet evening with Aspasia. Another boring day in the life of the king had passed...

    Athens, Greece, October 25th, 1920 (old calendar)/ November 7th, 1920 (new calendar)

    Finally election day. Eleutherios Venizelos was pretty confident the Liberals would win in a landslide. After all he was the man who had single-handedly created the "Greece of two continents and five seas" while former king Constantine and his clique were driving the country to ruin. He had had to take some extreme measures after his return in 1917 and his lieutenants had often proven less than stellar but he had been the first to admit it during the elections and promise to remedy any issues. The fanaticism of several of his Royalist opponents as seen in the assassination attempt against him back in July had further turned moderate opinion in his direction. Some of the Royalists had even tried to campaign for a return of Constantine but this hadn't gone too far. After all the country had a king in Alexander, so openly campaigning for his removal was impractical. Young Alexander was a very convenient king. At the same time popular and knowing his place, unlike his father he had no illusions that the king was supposed to actually rule instead of merely reigning.

    When in the evening result start coming in though, they were something of a shock as the "United opposition" the coalition of the Royalist parties did far better than it had any right doing. Particularly in "old Greece" the pre-war kingdom the Royalists had handily won. Venizelos himself had been elected in Attica but thanks to the first past the post electoral system most of the Liberal candidates had lost, after all Zavitsanos, the speaker of the parliament was right when he had proposed to break the heavily Venizelist Athens and Piraeus to a separate electoral district from the rest of Attica and Boeotia that had voted just as heavily for the Royalists. The Liberals had courted disaster. Thankfully it had been avoided even if by a relatively thin margin. The Liberals had won 195 seats. The United Opposition 176. It wouldn't do with the Turkish nationalists still fighting against the Allies to have a repeat of Charilaos Trikoupis electoral defeat in 1895.

    Gyumri, Republic of Armenia, November 7th, 1920

    The Turkish nationalist army under Kazim Karabekir captured the city and continued its advance towards Yerevan. The embattled Armenians would be forced to sign a cease fire with the Turks in November 18th, only for the Soviet 11th army to invade Armenia in November 29th. The future of the fledging republic looked bleak. And neither the Greeks in the west nor the French in Cilicia were likely to save it from destruction...
  • Athens, old parliament building, November 8, 1920 (old calendar), November 21, 1920 (new calendar)

    The new parliament came to session for the first time. Rather if someone was to get technical the 3rd National Assembly came to session for the first time, since the new parliament had been elected with a mandate to amend the 1911 constitution, which had proven lacking after the shenanigans of the former king who had dismissed the elected parliament twice during the war, the second time right after an election, claiming he was within the spirit of the law. If it was an awkward moment for the leaders of the opposition, they did not show it. They were almost all there. Demetrios Rallis, the senior among them and several times prime minister before the 1909 revolution. Nikolaos Stratos, a former Liberal who had broken up with Venizelos ove reordering battleship Salamis to a larger design, still a moderate with connections with the Liberals who now led the third largest party in parliament. In retrospect it was probably wrong to break with him over Salamis. And of course Ion Dragoumis, the intellectual among them and perhaps the least predictable. With variations they all said the same thing. Yes Venizelos had won the election. But this did not make the arbitrary actions of his government and the persecution of the opposition after 1917 right. All the excesses should be redressed. The one notable absence was Demetrios Gounaris. Arguably the the true leader of the opposition, a good man that never knew what was the right decision at the right time, Gounaris once more had failed to raise to the occasion. Following electoral defeat he had refused to take his seat in parliament and from his Italian exile had accused Venizelos once more of being a dictator who had won the election solely by widespread of electoral fraud with the vote in Thrace and the army.

    Then it was the turn of Venizelos. His message was simple. The people of Greece had decided with their vote for the national schism. And had decided his policy had been the right one, as proven of course by the results of the war. Now it was the time to mend the differences and restore national unity. As for the excesses his opponents accused him of, some unfortunate incidents had taken place of course. Others had been necessary, Greece could not afford in the middle of war in 1917-18 the army mutinies and mass desertions Constantine's faction had tried to incite only for them to get mercilessly crushed by the government. But he repeated his electoral promise that any injustices and excesses would be redressed. After all he had won the election, he could be magnanimous. Rather given the electoral scare it was obvious political necessity to be magnanimous. Particularly in the middle of a war, that public celebrations about Sevres aside now was entering its most decisive phase.

    Athens, November 15, 1920 (old calendar), November 28, 1920 (new calendar)

    Greece was negotiating with Britain over what had to be done about the Turkish nationalists already before the elections. The Greeks, Venizelos rather, had actually been blunt. Either Britain would support Greek operations to destroy the Kemalist army or Greece was not in position to sustain the current situation indefinitely and would pull back around Smyrna, thus exposing the British hold of the straits. Greece did not want troops, although RAF and Royal Navy support would be more than welcome. It wanted war material and financial support and the Greek army would finish the job. After all if the Greek army was to do the fighting on behalf of the allies, the least the allies could do was to provide it with the tools to fight for them.

    Lloyd George had been as usual sympathetic to the Cretan's argument. Churchill felt that Britain was morally obliged to support its ally[1], besides as a practical matter it did not cost much to do so. Thanks to the war Britain was standing upon literal mountains of war material that where well beyond her post-war requirements, only in Palestine and the Balkans the British had ended the war with more and better equipped divisions than the whole Greek army possessed. It would cost little to sell some of it to the Greeks at low prices while the Greeks did the actual fighting and dying. Lord Curzon was more resistant to the wiles of Venizelos but still could not dismiss the logic of the argument. So Britain conditionally agreed. One last effort at negotiation would be made early next year with a new conference held in London, after all large scale operations in Anatolia in the middle of winter were not entirely practical. If the Turks again proved reticent Venizelos would get his free hands. In the meantime the Greeks would start receiving additional war material to be ready for operations if the negotiations broke down. At a price of course albeit one far lower than the one if it was newly built equipment. As for financing, there London was less forthcoming. Greece still had about 25 million pounds in unused war credits. They should more than suffice for the immediate future. The Greeks only got a promise that Britain would agree to back a 15 million pound loan in the London market if the existing war credits were exhausted. [2] As for naval support Greece should accept the offer the Admiralty had already made it back in August at the behest of the British training mission to sell Greece 2 Chester class cruisers, 6 S class destroyers, 2 H class submarines and 2 Admiralty trawlers for 1.5 million pounds. The ships should go quite a way towards reinforcing the blockade of the Turkish coast and behind the scenes some pressure had actually been exerted upon the Greek government to take up the offer.

    It should suffice for now. Greece might not had gotten all that it wanted but had gotten enough, even if Venizelos had effectively had his hand forced to accept a naval deal he was not entirely keen on [3] . Only the warships sale would be officially announced for now. Venizelos was off to Paris two days after. It would not do for Greece to be seen as a mere puppet of Greece. The balances and good relations with the other great Western democracy had to be maintained...

    Gyumri, December 3, 1920

    The city was better known by its Russian name of Alexandropol. The name didn't much matter as Alexander Khatisian, the foreign minister of the republic of Armenia put his signature in the peace treaty, that surrendered more than half the territory of the republic to Turkey. Armenia had lost. Two days latter it would also cease to exist as an independent country as the Soviet backed Armenian revolutionary committee entered Yerevan and what remained of the republic was rolled into the Soviet Union.

    Appendix 1. The ships sold to Greece in December 1920 and their names in Greek service

    A. Chester Class cruisers
    1. Katsonis
    2. Kountouriotis

    B. S class destroyers
    1. Kriti
    2. Chios
    3. Samos
    4. Lesvos
    5. Doxa
    6. Keraunos

    C. H class submarines
    1. Delfin
    2. Xifias

    [1] To quote him from chapter XVIII in World crisis after several strongly pro-Venizelos pages "If Greece was free, everyone was free. Greece had in fact become a liberator. Just at the moment when her needs were greatest and her commitments were becoming most embarrassing to herself and to others, she had of her own free will sponged the slate. It is not every day that moral creditors are so accommodating."

    [2] In 1918 Greece was provided 750 million gold franks (30 million pounds) in war credits by the three western allies (250 million franks for France, $50 million from USA and 10 million pounds from Britain). An additional 4 million pounds were given by Britain and France in 1919 (half from each). Of these at the time of the November election about 25 million pounds were still unused. France and Britain froze their part of the credits when Constantine returned to the throne. The US did not freeze theirs... but the new government refused to confirm to the US that the Greek king had been changed, the official Royalist line was that Alexander was only the surrogate of his father, so the US credits could not be used either. In the meantime the war credits agreement Greece had signed did not let it raise new loans without allied consent... which the allies refused despite having frozen the war credits, till summer 1922 when Britain agreed to allow Greece to try raising a 15 million loan in the London market. Nothing of that here...

    [3] Just like OTL Venizelos was a firm believer in the benefits of naval power but somewhat loath to overspend on the navy, although he reserved his opposition particularly to battleships, as he was a strong proponent of a flotilla navy and air power.
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    Part 4
  • Greece and Ionia December 1920 (old calendar)

    The Greek army had not yet begun mobilizing, this was scheduled for January, but already every possible effort was being extended to reinforce the Army of Asia Minor. The IV, IX and Kydoniae infantry divisions stationed in mainland Greece were being shipped to Asia Minor. In January the Xanthi division from Thrace would follow increasing the Greek forces in Asia Minor to a total of 12 infantry divisions. Meanwhile the sole cavalry brigade of the army was being expanded to a division, with one more cavalry regiment, for a total of three, and an artillery battalion added to it. Hopefully a fourth regiment would be stood up establishing two brigades of two regiments each by the time of the offensive. [1] By the end of December Greek forces in Asia Minor already stood at nearly 130,000 men.

    Material was being shipped along the men. Every available Mannlicher Shoenauer rifle in the mainland and some 60,000 Mauser rifles, ironically enough captured from the Ottomans during the 1st Balkan war, was being shipped to Smyrna and Panormos [2]. Large quantities of arms, munitions, boots and uniforms from the French and British surplus stocks were bought at discount prices along with 1500 cars. 69 Skoda guns captured from the Turkish army [3] , where being repaired, missing breech blocks and spare parts had been bought from Czechoslovakia and Venizelos had arranged the delivery of Ottoman war material captured by France. [4] The Greek army would remain a logistical nightmare with no less than 4 different main rifle calibres but at least would be sufficiently equipped. Aircraft had already been offered through the Kelly naval mission at effectively scrap prices since 1919 and now the offer was taken up with more than 48 aircraft bought.

    And along the troops and material were coming officers, mostly reservists mobilized ahead of soldiers. Venizelos had also tried to bring back some of the royalist officers that in 1917 had been dismissed from the army. Ostensibly this was to cover the needs in officers the mobilization was causing. In reality Venizelos and Dimitrios Rallis had agreed to bring some of them back in an effort to mend the schism. It had gone less well than hoped. Officers explicitly convicted by military tribunals like Metaxas, recently sentenced to death, Dousmanis and Papoulas, the latter responsible for army mutinies in 1917-18 had been outright excluded, although Dousmanis had been pardoned. For the rest the scheme had been opposed from both sides. Venizelists particularly veterans of the national defence movement were adamantly opposed to seeing most royalists back with the colours and while Venizelos was not someone to be easily moved when he decided upon something, could not quite dismiss their opinions either. On the royalist side many, generals Gouvelis and Gennadis most notably, refused to return either from loyalty to Constantine or because they were refused promotion to the ranks they'd have had they remained in the army. In the end out of 1,500 officers only a handful, mostly ones who had personal relations with Venizelists despite the political divide would be back, a tangible reminder of the strength of the national schism.

    Inonu, Western Anatolia, December 24th 1920 (old calendar)/January 6th 1921 new calendar

    Cerkes Ethem, a Circassian officer in the old Ottoman army had initially fought against the Greeks advancing out of Smyrna into Anatolia. But now that the government in Ankara had attempted to incorporate his forces directly into the Turkish Western front, he had resisted. None had ever accused Mustafa Kemal for lack of ruthlessness though and very soon things had come to blows with Ethem and irregulars declared bandits and attacked by the regular army. Ethem managed to tie up multiple Turkish divisions around Gediz and Kutahya but still got the worst of it. In an act of desperation Ethem turned on the Greeks to support contacting general Nider the commander of the Greek A corps. The Greeks did not trust him but would not let the opportunity be lost either. Thus the Archipelago division under general Tseroulis, reinforced by the 2/39 Euzone regiment launched a limited offensive from the north against Inonu, while Nider's corps launched its own attack from Usak. In five days of fighting Tseroulis men captured the Akpınar-Kovalca line and dug in there by December 29th/January 11th, while the Greek A corps captured the Derbend-Civril line. The Greeks might have won but Turkish resistance had proven far more serious than in previous battles, and they did not affect Ethem's fate who had to escape to Greek lines. [5] On the Turkish side the push to incorporate all irregulars into the regular army became stronger...

    January 12th 1921 (new calendar)

    A new conference was agreed to take place in London in February to stop the fighting and finalize peace terms on the basis of the treaty of Sevres. Greece was quick to agree to participate, after all it was in line with their November agreement with Britain. So did the two Turkish governments with both the nationalists and the Ottomans sending delegates.

    Appendix 2 Arms deliveries to Greece and utilized captured equipment

    From France
    3,500 Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles [3]
    20,000 Berthier rifles [3]
    48,000 Mauser rifles [4]
    20 Skoda 75mm guns [4]
    12 Nieuport 27 fighters [6]
    10 Breguet 14 bombers [6]

    From Britain
    100,000 P14 rifles [7]
    48 4.5in howitzers [8]
    36 6in 26 cwt howitzers [8]
    152 3in Stokes mortars [8]
    24 Sopwith Camel [9]
    24 Airco DH.9 [10]

    From captured Ottoman stocks
    11 Skoda 150mm guns
    26 Skoda 105mm guns
    32 Skoda 75mm guns

    [1] In OTL the Greek army in Asia Minor was chronically deficient in cavalry. Actions to remedy this were taken only after the summer 1921 operations with the cavalry brigade expanded to a division by activating the 2nd Cavalry regiment and the 4th cavalry regiment activated a few months later. Here the the Greek high command not altered wholesale and the forces in Asia Minor massively reinforced before any offensive operations begin instead of after 2nd Inonu, the expansion of the cavalry takes place earlier with the cavalry units of the Greek army of Thrace merged into a single regiment and moved to Asia Minor.
    [2] Bandirma
    [3] OTL
    [4] In OTL delivered back to the Ottomans after the French-Turkish treaty
    [5] This is the 1st battle of Inonu effectively unchanged. Only at its end the Greeks do not pull back but stay put in place, thus the Turks cannot claim victory.
    [6] Purchases are historical but TTL are done directly from France. Source "The introduction of Military Aircraft Technology to Greece 1912-40" by Dimitris Vogiatzis
    [7] It was proposed to equip 3 new divisions with British equipment in summer 1920 and as late as 1924 Britain offered 100,000 P14 built during the war and not used for free if Greece bought the 100,000,000 rounds produced for them.
    [8] Army of Macedonia stocks as seen here https://www.bulgarianartillery.it/Bulgarian Artillery 1/T_OOB/Eastern army_July 1918.htm
    [9] The Camels originally delivered to Greece had to be replaced by early 1921, it was done only in 1922 after the embargo in the sales of aircraft to Greece was lifted when the Greeks bought 24 Gloster Mars. No embargo TTL but it makes no sense for the Greeks to buy Mars when Camels can be had much cheaper and are immediately needed.
    [10] The Greeks formed a fourth army air service squadron in April 1921 but not certain what equipped it. Possibly the French aircraft from [5]. But given that the most common aircraft were Breguet 14 (at least 52) and DH.9 (42)...
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    Part 5: Caucasus and the conference of London
  • Antep, February 8th, 1921

    After nearly 6 months of constant fighting the siege of Aintab was over. The 2,000 men of the Kuva-yi Milliye , that still survived from the original force of over 2,900 men at the start of the siege had surrendered to the French army and were on their way to French prisoner of war camps as the French army and Armenian volunteers took control of the town.

    Armenia, February 13th, 1921

    Since its surrender to the Soviets back in the previous December, Armenia had to endure Soviet oppression. Food had been requisitioned from villagers without compensation, over 1,000 Armenian officers had been sent to prisons in Baku and Russia, with several of them shot outright and others tortured. Enough was enough. Armenians rose up in revolt.

    Georgia, February 16th, 1921

    The Soviet 11th Army invaded Georgia, the last of the Caucasus republics still outside Soviet rule. This wouldn't do. Officially the Soviets claimed they were doing nothing of the short, they were merely supporting the Georgian revolutionary committee. That the latter was nothing more than a Soviet tool was a different matter...

    Yerevan, Armenia, February 18th, 1921

    Armenia rebel forces forced the Soviets out liberating the city. A temporary government under Simon Vratsian was established.

    Georgia, February 23rd, 1921

    Turkish nationalist forces under Kazim Karabekir invaded Georgia, on the wake of the Soviet invasion the previous week, advancing toward Batum.

    Tbilisi, Georgia, February 25th, 1921

    The Georgian capital, fell to the Soviets but the Georgian army fought on.

    London, February 21st, 1921 - March 12th, 1921

    Any hopes that the conference would bring peace in the Near East were very quickly dashed. Britain and France had been willing to ease some of the terms of the treaty of Sevres, mostly relating to raising the size of the Turkish army and easing financial controls of the Turkish government, but were not willing to budge on its territorial clauses. On the Turkish side the sultan's delegates in the conference had given their position to the diplomatic mission of the Ankara government, under foreign minister Bekir Sami and these had proven to say the least intransigent. The Turkish side had insisted on the borders of the Misak-i Milli, the National Pact, demanding removal of the Greeks from Smyrna and Thrace, accepting the destruction of Armenia, annexation of the Mosul vilayet by Turkey and referendums in North Syria and formerly Bulgarian, Western Thrace. Last Bekir Sami had refused the right of any international court to to try Turks captured for war crimes, mostly relating to the genocide of the Armenian poulations during the war. Any crimes, if they existed in the first place, should be tried by Turkish courts.

    For the Greek mission under Eleutherios Venizelos, the Turkish stance was all too convenient of course. Venizelos, was of course willing to accept military or economic terms to be eased if the British and French wanted to do so. The economic clauses were not affecting Greece in the first place as for the military clauses the previous two years had shown how difficult it would be to enforce them. But he asked for article 36 of the treaty of Sevres, the one calling for Constantinople removed from Turkish possession to be activated if Turkey continued to refuse to accept the terms of the treaty and for allied support in enforcing the terms of the treaty. After all, as he was all too keen to remind his British and French counterparts, Greece had not gone to Asia Minor on her own, it was the allied governments that had asked her to do so and it was on their behalf that the Greek army was fighting. To say the least it was an inconvenient argument. By March 9th Britain had given the go ahead for further Greek operations in Asia Minor and had confirmed once more she would support Greece economically and with war material.

    Thus the conference had ended in failure although, not everything had proven bleak for the Turkish side. in March 10th Italy had come to a deal with the Turkish side to remove her troops from Anatolia in exchange for concessions to Italian companies to the Zonguldak coal mines in the Black sea coast, in essence openly confirming Italy's support for the Turkish nationalists, which was already taking place with Italian arms given the the nationalists and Turkish partisans finding refuge in the Italian occupation zone. Less expected was the treaty with France the next say. From the French point of view their military position in Cilicia was untenable and France had no reason to continue the figght with the nationalists there when France under the terms of the treaty of Sevres was not supposed to retain it in the first place. France and Turkey agreed to cease hostilities, exchange POWs and for the French army to pull back to its Syrian mandate. Both civilians and Turkish partisans in Cilicia were to be disarmed, a mixed administration and gendarmerie would be setup in the areas with a Turkish majority, a customs union between Turkey and Syria would be established and France would also get concessions in the Ergani coal mines. France would also agree to a special administration for the Alexandreta region.

    Venizelos had not taken well to the treaty immediately contacting Aristide Briand the French prime minister in an attempt to derail it. His efforts had been met only with limited success. France was not going to continue a very costly fight in Cilicia, maintaining 80,000 troops in Syria and Cilicia was costing the French treasury half a billion franks a year, when nothing was to be gained from it. But by the same token France could not completely abandon their Greek allies either. Greece under Venizelos had offered to join the war on the French side in August 1914, before the battle of Marne, at the very time the German armies were marching to Paris. Then Greek liberals had launched what amounted to a revolt to join the war. And just the previous year a Greek expeditionary force of two divisions had been sent in the Ukraine to support French efforts there when Greece had nothing to gain for this, it actually put in danger the numerous Greeks of Ukraine. As Venizelos was all to blunt to point abandoning Greece now would raise quite a stink to put it mildly, within France and hurt her international reputation, he'd be making sure of it and that was something Briand could easily believe given Venizelos international standing and popularity within France, both far greater than Greece itself actually enjoyed. Briand was quick to agree that the 300 million francs in outstanding French war credits to Greece would remain available to Greece to use in any way Greece saw fit, the understanding being of course that they'd be primarily used to buy French supplies and war material, French war stocks from the Armee d'Orient would continue to be available at low prices and France committed not to sell any type of war material to Turkey till the war with Greece was over, rather the Turkish war material captured by France would be passed to Greece [1] and deliveries of some 45 million francs of outstanding Greek orders, mostly for half a million artillery shells and 40 million rounds for machine guns and rifles would be expedited.

    It was the best Venizelos could hope for now. France might not actively support Greece, at least to the extend Britain did. But it would not oppose it either. When in March 17th, much to Paris shock the Turkish Grand National Assembly rejected the treaty with France out of hand it only strengthened the Greeks position in France with Briand confirming to Venizelos French support for a Greek offensive even if the armistice in Cilicia remained in place. Let the Greek army fire its bolt. If they won France could take advantage to dictate her terms. If not, France would still be secure in Syria...

    [1] covered in part 3
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    Part 6 First thunders before a storm March 1921
  • Dersim, March 6th, 1921

    A romantic would say that the Kurds rose up in revolt. Someone more cynic would say that a handful of Kurds rose up in revolt. The cynic would be the one closer to reality. The Koçkiri tribe, with about 3,000 fighters, had risen up at the instigation of the Cemîyeta Tealîya Kurdistanê, the society for the advancement of Kurdistan, and maybe a helping hand from the British. But the majority of Kurds had stayed loyal to the Ankara government and its promises of increased freedoms, with many more Kurds serving with the nationalist army than with the rebels. A bit over 3,000 cavalry and irregulars were sent out by Nureddin Pasha to suppress the rebellion. It would take some time...

    Georgia, March 14th, 1921

    The Turkish nationalist army under Kazim Karabekir captured Batum.

    Moscow, March 16th, 1921

    The Turkish nationalist delegation signed a treaty with the Soviet government that would leave the 1914 Kars oblast to Turkey and Batum to the Soviets. The Turkish government in Ankara proclaimed the same day the annexation of Batum despite the treaty.

    Georgia, March 17th, 1921

    The Georgians signed an armistice with the advancing Soviets. The next day they further agreed to allow the Soviet army to advance to Batum before exiling themselves. Georgia had been forced into the Soviet fold. The Georgian national army though had one last battle to fight. As soon as the armistice was signed general Mazniashvili brought his army south to bear on the invading Turkish army. After two days of fighting Batum was liberated in March 19th. The same day Mazniashvili surrendered it to the Soviet backed Georgian revolutionary committee. The Soviets were not altogether displeased to have pushed their ostensible allies in Ankara out of Batum by proxy. Still the events in Batum helped freeze the ratification of the treaty of Moscow by both sides for the time being even though the Soviets continued to provide arms and economic aid to the Turkish nationalists.

    Black sea coast March 14th, 1921 (old calendar)/March 27th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The two ports of Inebolu and Samsun, were the lifeline of the Nationalists war effort and their main outlet to the outside world. Soviet military aid, supplies smuggled out of Constantinople and whatever Italian material was not being sent through Antalya, were mostly brought to Inebolu. From Inebolu convoys of ox driven carts, camels and even a few trucks used the paved road to bring the supplies to Ankara. Ankara was thankthfully connected to the railroad. In a similar fashion supplies brought to Samsun found their way first to Amasya and from there to Sivas. From Sivas they would be brought west to Ankara or east to Erzerum. Given the distances involved, slightly below seven hundred km from Samsun to Ankara, less than half that from Inebolu, the latter had turned to the main supply hub of the Nationalists.

    The Royal Hellenic Navy was out in force to deal with this. Two task forces had passed the Bosporus a few nights before, the attempt to hide their moves was probably in vain but this didn't mean is should not be made. The first and slower one with the battleships Lemnos and Kilkis, the recently delivered destroyers Kriti, Lesvos, Chios and Samos and the ocean liner Patris had headed to Inebolu. The second consisting of armoured cruiser Georgios Averof, the light cruisers Katsonis and Kountouriotis, destroyers Leon, Panthir, Aetos and Ierax and ocean liner Megali Hellas had headed to the port of Samsun. The two task forces had shown up before the two ports more or less simultaneously and at dawn had opened up on them with every available gun from the huge 12 inch pieces of the two battleships and the 9.2 inch guns of Averof to the 4 inch guns rapid firing guns of the destroyers. To say the least it was an uneven fight, Samsun was defended, if that was the correct word, by a single field gun. Following the bombardment, marine landing parties swarm ashore. Patris and Megali Hellas had hardly carried more than a brigade between them, not enough to hold the towns for any protracted period even with support from the guns of the fleet. But the Greeks did not plan to hold onto them in the first place. The marines were followed ashore by combat engineers who systematically demolished all port facilities that had survived from the bombardments then the Greek landing parties pulled out, without much trouble in Inebolu, after beating back a counterattack by Turkish irregulars under Topal Osman that cost him his life, afterwards it was determined that a shell from Averof had obliterated his command post, in the case of Samsun. Repairs would begin as soon as the Greek fleet was out, but for the time being the capacity of both ports had been significantly compromised.

    Athens, March 25th, 1921 (old calendar)/ April 7th, 1991 (new calendar)

    The first child a king Alexander and Aspasia Manos, a daughter, was born. She would be named Sophia, after Alexander's mother the former queen of Greece and sister of kaiser Wilhelm II. If there were any eyebrows raised at the choice of name given the political situation it was not done openly. After all who could accuse the young king for followed Greek traditions, that expected the first son and daughter of the family to be given the names of the parents of the father? The royal family still refused to recognise Alexander's marriage to Aspasia. A royal prince couldn't marry mere commoners. That said commoners were a phanariote family going back centuries mattered of course not.
    Part 7 The Greek spring offensive of 1921 beginning
  • Yerevan April 2nd, 1921

    The Soviet army was back in control of the city having pushed the Armenian rebels out of it. But the revolt was not over as the rebels retreated to the mountains proclaiming the republic of Mountainous Armenia in April 26th.

    Western Anatolia, April 7th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 20th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Greece had spent the winter months preparing for what it hoped would be the decisive battle of the war. Six classes of reservists, the 1903, 1904, 1912, 1913, 1914 and 1915 ones had been mobilized in January and February 1921, adding nearly 137,000 men from old Greece [1], and 19,500 men from Ionia to the army bringing its total strength to 359,337 men. More than two thirds of them, almost 253,000 men had been deployed in Asia Minor and another 23,000 would be sent there over the next couple of months. [2] Even if one subtracted the 63,000 men and 61 artillery pieces that covered Greek rear areas and communication lines the Greek Asia Minor army still had 12 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions with almost 190,000 men and 452 artillery pieces available for the offensive.

    The Turkish nationalists had not been idle either. Everything humanly possible had been done during the winter to reinforce the army facing the Greeks while having to deal with problems that often looked insurmountable as the Ankara government was also having to fight the French army in Cilicia and deal with a hostile Britain, with only the Soviets and Italy supporting it. Still thanks to concerted efforts the Turkish Western Front opposing the Greek army was fielding 12 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions in its northern an southern commands with about 70,000 men and 140 artillery pieces. [3]

    Now the time of battle had come, as the Greek Smyrna army corps under Dimitrios Ioannou charged out of the Akpınar-Kovalca line it had captured back in December towards Eski Sehir which was being defended by the Turkish Western front under Ismet pasha. Further to the south the main body of the Greek army with A and B corps under the direct command of Leonidas Paraskeuopoulos, attacked out of Usak towards Banaz and Dumlupinar against the Turkish southern command of the Western front under Refet Bey with a supporting divisional sized drive towards Gediz. While after taking Dumlupinar a covering force was to continue towards Afyon Karahisar, the bulk of the attacking force was to wheel north towards Kutahya and Eski Sehir to meet the northern prong of the offensive under Ioannou, trapping the Turkish army between them. Now it was to be seen how well the plan would survive contact with the enemy...

    Addentum: Maps

    The linked map below is from the excellent http://mikrasiatikhekstrateia.gr specifically the article here: http://mikrasiatikhekstrateia.gr/epixeiriseis/augoustos21/apofasi_epixeiriseon_pros_Agkura and shows the OTL battles of Kutahya-Eskisehir in July 1921. While it does not exactly match the TTL spring offensive it is substantially similar. Roughly:
    • The Smyrna Army corps is attacking along the lines showing here for III and XI divisions (in blue). But TTL it is already in contact and slightly to the east of Bozuyuk, "Κοβαλίτσα" in the map is Kovalca. And this is the main corps effort with all divisions and corps assets.
    • The Archipelago division is the VII shown in the map (it was renamed after the November election). TTL it's a single division push in support of the main effort at Inonu Edit: Upon further thought this route is not used at all. Makes no sense to do so with the Greeks already in the Avgin-Kovalca line since January. Well it did not make much sense in OTL come down to this to put two divisions through effectively no roads.
    • The southern prong of the attack is more or less the same.


    Appendix 3 Greek Asia Minor Army Order of Battle April 1921

    General HQ (Leonidas Paraskeuopoulos)
    A Army Corps (Konstantinos Nider)​
    I infantry division​
    II infantry division​
    XIII infantry division​
    Kydonies infantry division​
    Cavalry division​
    B Army Corps (Pierrakos Mauromichalis)​
    III infantry division​
    IV infantry division​
    IX infantry division​
    Crete infantry division​
    Smyrna Army Corps (Dimitrios Ioannou)​
    Archipelago infantry division​
    Magnesia infantry division​
    Smyrna infantry division​
    Xanthi infantry division​
    Appendix 4 Turkish army order of battle, April 1921 [4]
    General HQ (Mustafa Kemal)​
    Eastern front (Kazim Karabekir)​
    3rd Caucasus infantry division [5]​
    9th Caucasus infantry division​
    11th Caucasus infantry division​
    12th Caucasus infantry division​
    Kars provisional infantry brigade​
    Southern front (2nd corps, opposite the French in Syria)​
    2nd infantry division​
    5th infantry division​
    9th infantry division​
    Western front (Ismet pasha)​
    North command (icluding Kocaeli group, Ismet in direct command)​
    Provisional Infantry division (at Adapazari)​
    7th infantry division [6]​
    1st infantry division [6]​
    11th infantry division [7]​
    24th infantry division [7]​
    61st infantry division​
    3rd cavalry division​
    South command (Refet bey)​
    12th group of divisions​
    23th infantry division​
    41st infantry division​
    57th infantry division​
    4th cavalry brigade​
    3rd infantry division [8]​
    4th infantry division [8]​
    5th Caucasus infantry division [8]​
    1st cavalry division [8]​
    2nd cavalry division [8]​
    Central front (Nureddin pasha)​
    15th Caucasus infantry division (Samsun-Amasya)​
    Kastamonu provisional infantry division (could be directly controlled from Ankara)​
    14th cavalry division​
    13th cavalry brigade​
    27th cavalry brigade​
    Ankara provisional infantry division​
    Appendix 5 Artillery of the Greek Asia Minor Army [9]

    Scneider-Ducrest 65mm: 136
    Scneider-Danglis 75mm: 64
    Schneider M1906 75mm: 88
    Skoda 75mm guns: 42
    Skoda 105mm: 26
    4.5in howitzers: 48
    6in 26 cwt howitzers: 36
    Skoda 150mm: 12
    [1] In OTL the Royalist government mobilized the same classes in March and April 1921 recruiting about 111,000 more men, but allowed widespread draft evasion in central Greece and the Peloponnesus that were primarily royalist. TTL no excuses are taken, the mobilization may not go to the extremes of 1917-18 at the height of the national schism when the Royalist actively tried to sabotage it and the Venizelist government answered by public executions of deserters, but still is enforced the same all over the country recruiting some 26,000 men more.
    [2] In OTL out of 328,000 men in June 1921 128,000 were retained in Europe on various excuses although a number of them would be later sent to Anatolia, the Asia Minor army was up to 224,000 by April 1st, 1922. Here the number of troops back in Europe is kept at the OTL April 1921 levels (slightly below 107,000 men) and is then further reduced to 84,000 the OTL March 1921 levels.
    [3] Rifle strength is of course significantly lower for both the Greek and Turkish armies as the numbers here is total strength but still the Greeks have roughly a 2,5- 3:1 numerical superiority in infantry (~119,000 to ~46,000) and artillery (452 to 140 guns) while being somewhat inferior in cavalry (~3,500 against ~4,500)
    [4] Source is the map 69, in book 3 of the Turkish army's Western front's official history for April 15th, 1921
    [5] This one is in Trebizont in the map I assume here it was still under Eastern front command
    [6] Kocaeli group most probably
    [7] By April 15th 11th and 24th infantry are showing as probably reserve in the southern group. Since they were in the thick of the fighting during 2nd Inonu just before this in OTL, I suspect they had been pulled from the line to reorganize so left them still in the north TTL.
    [8] These may be directly under Western front command and by July were for certain in the 1st, 3rd and 4th "groups of divisions" themselves, but the map is not showing something beyond an army level command.
    [9] Rear area units excluded. I also make the assumption that the older De Bange 120mm guns and BL 6-inch 30 cwt have been placed in reserve to provide trained manpower for the heavy artillery provided by Britain. Rear area units artillery would be as follows:

    Krupp M1904 Mountain gun 75mm: 10
    Krupp M1904 field gun 75mm: 15
    Schneider M1906 75mm: 6
    Schneider M1904 75mm: 22
    Schneider M1907 75mm: 8
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    Part 8 The Greek Spring offensive of 1921, battles of Kutahya-Eskisehir
  • Western Anatolia, April 7th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 20th, 1921 (new calendar)

    If the Greeks were expecting something as easy as their advances during the previous summer they were in for a bitter disappointment. Turkish troops were far more numerous, better armed and had spent the winter months to thoroughly fortify their positions. They fought back with extreme determination and Greek casualties start quickly mounting. But so did Turkish casualties. The Greek commanders, didn't have to deal with trenches for the first time, they were veterans of the Macedonian front themselves and so were the majority of their troops. Further they were superior in both numbers and artillery. If trenches had to be cleared by grenade and bayonet, then they were cleared by grenade and bayonet. The Greeks advanced behind rolling artillery barrages, capturing Banaz and threatening Inonu by the end of the day.

    South of Kutahya, April 11th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 24th, 1921 (new calendar)

    It had taken the Greek southern group four days of intermittent fighting to reach the main Turkish defensive line, covering Kutahya from the south at Akche Dagh - Cavus ciflik - Hill 1799. The III, IV and Crete infantry divisions of Greek B corps attacked the line frontally, as its IX infantry division tried to turn the Turkish left with mixed results as the Turkish 41st infantry division had dug in at Pular before the Turkish left flank was flank. The real danger was further to the east where the Greek A corps with four infantry and one cavalry division was advancing towards Afyon and Seyitgazi with only the much weaker Turkish 12th group of divisions opposing it. If Seyitgazi fell the Turkish forces defending Kutahya, reorganized as the 3rd group of divisions would be trapped.

    North of Kutahya and Eskisehir, April 11th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 24th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The Greek Smyrna Corps had captured Inonu in April 8th and kept pushing south slowly, having gained some 20 km of ground in the previous four days of fighting. The Turkish northern group under Ismet's direct command fought back tenaciously. while further north the Turkish 7th and Provisional infantry divisions had attacked towards Nicaea and Nicomedeia, Iznik and Izmit for them, threatening the Smyrna Corps rear areas. Any hopes that the Greeks would pull back forces from the frontline were dashed as general Ioannou, the Smyrna Corps commander, kept all his forces concentrated in the fighting against Ismet, leaving the forces of the Bursa military command to deal with the threat in his rear. All the northern group forces, now organized into the 1st group of divisions. were tied down in the fighting making it impossible to reinforce the units that were defending Kutahya in the south.

    Kutahya, Night of April 12/13th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 25/26th, 1921 (new calendar)

    After two days of heavy fighting the lines to the south of the city were crumbling. Further to the east Greek cavalry was threatening Seyitgazi and Greek artillery was bombarding Afyon Karahisar. Ismet and Refet pasha had every intention of fighting on, in six days of fighting they had inflicted thousands of casualties on the Greeks and their forces might had lost ground and suffered heavy casualties of their own but were still fighting back. Mustafa Kemal, somewhat more distanced from the fighting though otherwise. The Turkish army was flirting with disaster and had to retreat before the Greeks captured Seyitgazi and Eskisehir trapping the Turkish army. The 1st group of divisions was ordered to hold Eskisehir at all costs while the 12th group of divisions retreated north-east to defend Seyitgazi to keep the line of retreat of the 3rd group of divisions at Kutahya and the 1st group's units to the west of Eskisehir open. Then the Turkish army would retreat back to Sakarya. Now the question was whether it was too already too late. The 3rd group of divisions at Kutahya had to break contact with the Greeks and march hard for at least three days to get out of the ringer with Greek troops closely behind and Greek aircraft attacking Turkish columns.

    Eskisehir, April 15th, 1921 (old calendar)/April 28th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Eskisehir fell. Kutahya and Afyon Karahisar had been taken by the Greeks in April 13th, following the Turkish retreat. The next day the Greek 3rd cavalry regiment had entered Seyitgazi, only to be pushed back by elements of the Turkish 57th infantry division. The town had changed hands two more times till finally a night attack by the I/5 battalion of the Greek 5th infantry regiment under major Charalambos Katsimitros had secured it and beaten back a hasty Turkish counterattack at first dawn. But Eskisehir had been tenaciously been held, its fall would cut off the primary railroad and paved road east, as the Greeks had slowly but inexorably edged their way towards it. Finally in the morning of April 15th the 4th Archipelago infantry regiment had entered the town.

    Eskisehir, April 18th, 1921 (old calendar)/May 1st, 1921 (new calendar)

    The fall of Eskisehir had been followed by a general counterattack by the Turkish 1st and 12th groups of divisions as the men of the 3rd group of divisions tried to break out
    of the Kutahya pocket. In two days of heavy fighting the Greeks had mostly held out, several thousand men of the 3rd group of divisions had escaped the pocket but without their heavy equipment and not as organized units. Greek newspapers were ecstatic. Venizelos and his generals, at the general headquarters, which had just established itself at Eskisehir, Dorylaion for the Greeks, were a tougher audience though. The Greeks had won a major victory but had not destroyed the Kemalist army altogether, most large formations were retreating towards Ankara. It would be folly to let the Kemalists recover. Just as the Kutahya pocket was being moped up, Theodore Pangalos, the chief of staff of army General HQ, issued on behalf of Paraskeuopoulos the orders "to pursue the enemy without pause" towards Ankara...
    Part 9 May interlude
  • Sakarya river April 27th, 1921 (old calendar)/May 10th, 1921 (new calendar)

    A temporary lull had come to the fighting as the last Turkish units pulled behind the Sakarya and beat back any Greek units that tried to follow them over the river. The Greeks, themselves exhausted, having taken nearly 11,000 casualties in three weeks of fighting and with their supply columns trying to cope with the distances they had advanced and Turkish partisans had not pressed the attacks seriously. The Greek army had first to regroup, already its engineers were repairing the railway line as the divisions that had reduced the Kutahya pocket were marching east. When the attack came the Greeks would have available ten infantry and one cavalry division with over 150,000 men available.

    Ankara, May 10th, 1921

    Mustafa Kemal was not a happy man and for good reason. His timely order to retreat had saved the Turkish Western Front from complete disaster but between the fighting, the reduction of the Kutahya pocket and the Greeks picking up stragglers by the thousands his armyhad suffered massively. Three infantry and two cavalry divisions had been effectively destroyed as fighting units with overall casualties in excess of 35,000 men. Voices against him had risen within the grand national assembly both from supporters of some short of compromise with the Greeks and from followers of Enver pasha. Kemal had for the time quelled dissidents, by some accounts surrounding the building that housed the grand national assembly with troops, and given extraordinary powers to deal with the situation. A general mobilization had been proclaimed, supplies from food to leather had been requisitioned and drastic measures to return deserters to the colours and restore discipline taken had been taken, the “courts of independence” had proven anything but shy in passing sentences including death ones as necessary to do so. Fevzi pasha had replaced Ismet as chief of the general staff with Refet pasha made minister of war and Kemal himself taking personal command of the army. Forces had been redeployed from the eastern, central and Cilicia fronts in order to rebuild the army of the west front, some units like the 9th Caucasus infantry division from Kars were still on the match as they had to cross nearly 1200 km on foot to reach the frontlines. Arms and ammunition were brought from the Soviet Union and Italy despite losses from the Greek blockade. By the end of May the Turkish western front would be nearly as strong as it had been back in April with 14 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions and over 69,000 men. [1]

    But this had come at a cost, as all other fronts had been stripped of units to feed the western front. A single division was left facing the French in Cilicia where in April there had been three and just a pair of divisions were still in the eastern border. But it could not be helped. If Ankara fell the Greeks would have effective control of Anatolia’s rail network and the supply route to Inebolu. It might not mean an end of the war, it would be impossible for the Greeks to advance east of Anatolia towards Sivas, but by the same token it would be making the nationalists task immensely more difficult. If the Greeks took Ankara, they had a railroad to keep them in supply there. The Turks would have to rely for supply on the port of Samsun, itself blockaded by the Greek navy or worse yet on supply columns coming all the way from Kars. Now it remained to be seen if Athena or Kyzaghan would be the one to prevail in the coming struggle.

    Smyrna area, May 1921

    Three thousand laborers continued at their work under the direction of army engineers no matter the fighting in the east. They were already at work for nearly a year already, fortifying the area around Smyrna on a line from the Hermus river estuary, the the Magnesia and Nymphaion passes to the east of the Erythrea peninsula and from there to the sea. The fortifications had been the brainchild of general Theodore Pangalos to secure a fallback position to the Greek army even in defeat. Fifty million gold drachmas, about 2 million pounds, had been allocated effort. The 274mm and 150mm guns of the retired Hydra class battleships of the Royal Hellenic navy would be installed in the Nymphaion and Magnesia pass forts when they were ready. [2] With the Greek army advancing to Ankara it was looking perhaps superficial, but Venizelos a fan of Thukydides which he hoped to translate to modern Greek one day [3] was in firm agreement with his army’s chief of staff. After all the concept was no different from the Athenian strategy of 25 centuries before with the fortified Ionian cities backed up by the Athenian navy. And the forts might not be needed today but could very well be needed a decade from now...

    Riga, Latvia, May 1921

    Greece and the Soviet Union did not have direct diplomatic relations. But the Greeks did have an ambassador in Riga and the Soviets did have diplomats in Estonia and Latvia as well. Already back in February Maxim Litvinov the deputy foreign commisar had requested from Greece twice through the Greek ambassador in Riga to take in Greek refugees gathered in the Caucasus. The same demand was made again in late March, from the Soviet representative in Estonia. The Greeks hadn't been in a hurry to answer, back in February Britain and France had no relations with the Soviet Union and Greece couldn't quite alienate her two allies. But in March 16th Britain had signed a trade agreement with the Soviets and Greece had no reason to maintain a harsher diplomatic stance than her ally and much to gain from accommodating the Soviets. Nikolaos Politis the Greek foreign minister and Nikos Kazantzakis [4] the general secretary of the Greek ministry of care, who was responsible for Pontic refugees, had been quietly sent to Riga to negotiate with the Soviets. Agreeing for Greece to send ships to take the Greek from south Russia and the Caucasus was the easy part, the Soviets wanted to get rid of them and the Greeks wanted to take them. But it was not the only item for negotiation. Greece wanted to stop the Soviet military aid to the Turkish nationalists. The Soviets might be willing to do so if Greece officially recognized them [5], which the Greeks were not willing to do, counter-proposing a trade agreement like the one just signed with the British, which in turn was not enough from the Soviet point of view. But if Turkey was losing, and it looked so at the moment, Moscow had no reason to give up Russian imperial territory in Kars and Ardahan to the Turks. Negotiations continued. So did Russian military aid to the Nationalists and Greek navy efforts to stop it. In the meantime, Greek merchant ships start transporting Caucasus Greeks back to Greece and the Soviets waited, just like the western great powers for the outcome of the coming battle for Ankara…

    [1] Kemal for every practical purpose redeploys more units than in OTL to defend Ankara. But on the other hand he starts from a weaker overall position, couple with much heavier permanent casualties, his casualties at Kutahya may have been comparable to OTL but unlike OTL they remained lost instead of being able to pick up several thousand stragglers thanks to the Greeks not pursuing…
    [2] This is historical, the description comes from the Pangalos archive. The fortification effort was cancelled by the royalist government after the November election as it was considered superficial and unneeded…
    [3] In OTL he did so in the mid 1920s.
    [4] Yes that Kazantzakis
    [5] Or so Giannis Kordatos second general secretary of the Communist party of Greece to be, still Socialist Labour Party of Greece at this point, claimed to have brought that proposal from the Soviets to the Greek government in OTL, but his account is questionable.
    Part 10 The battle of Sakarya
  • Biga area, May 15th, 1921

    No-one could accuse Ahmet Anzavur of not being a stubborn man. The old Circassian had led three revolts in the name of the sultan against the nationalists, ironically the second one had been suppressed by Cerkez Ethem who had himself defected to the Greeks afterwards. Now he was at it for the fourth attempt. It was not to be as Nationalist guerillas captured and executed him. The killing would hardly help with the local Circassians attitude who had been already alienated by the nationalists.

    Italy, May 15th, 1921

    Eighteen months had passed from the previous election. With Italy in wake of its "biennio rosso", two years of industrial actions, strikes, occupations of factories by their workers and the rise of both the left and the right new elections had to be called ahead of time. They had been bloody and violent to say the least with over 200 deaths most from attacks by fascist squadristi. But unknown to every they were also the last free elections in Italy for a generation. The socialist party would come first, with 24,7% of the vote and 123 seats in the parliament 33 less than the last election. Prime minister Giovanni Giolitti's Blocchi Nazionali an unholy coalition between his Liberal party, the Social Democratic party, the Italian Nationalist Association and Mussolini's fascists had come third with 19.1% and 105 seats. A third of them belonged to the fascists. Giolitti would remain in power till early July before his government being replaced by one under Ivanoe Bonomi. With Bonomi coming to power, count Carlo Sforza, would be also gone from the Italian foreign ministry.

    Sakarya river, May 11th, 1921 (old calendar)/ May 24th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Greek combat engineers put pontoon bridges over the river under the fire of Turkish infantry and artillery, while their own artillery thundered over their heads trying to suppress the Turkish defenders. Despite the heavy casualties by nightfall the Greek army had established bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the river. At dawn of the 12th Greek infantry would attack out of them. The B and Smyrna Army corps with seven infantry divisions and the Greeks single cavalry division wερε attacking frontally towards Polatli, supplied by the railroad and the roads that run parallel to it. A corps, with three infantry divisions were attacking to the north of the main effort from Mihaliccic toward the Ankara tributary in hopes of turning the Turkish right flank as the Greek main effort pinned them down at Polatli. Paraskeuopoulos and Pangalos couldn't be accused of trying any elaborate plan of operations but with more than twice Kemal's numbers they didn't need one either. Thoughts of trying to flank the Turkish positions from the south and the mostly barren territory there had been dismissed out of hand as it would had added well over 100 km to the Greeks lines of communications over extremely inhospitable terrain and away from the railroad while the Turks were just as likely to be able to reposition themselves in time.

    Polatli, May 14th, 1921 (old calendar)/ May 27th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The Greeks took the town a little before nightfall after four days of fighting. The Turkish army was hardly broken but it was bleeding badly, in had suffered already nearly twelve thousand casualties and their own casualties did not seem to stop the Greeks. Kemal had to decide between saving the army and holding Ankara. It was not an easy decision but in the end it could be only one. The order to evacuate Ankara from the Grand National Assembly and all supplies that could be taken away was given. The army would fight on to give time for the evacuation then start pulling back itself.

    Ankara, May 21st, 1921 (old calendar)/ June 3rd, 1921 (new calendar)

    Ankara fell. By now the Grant National Assembly was well on its way to Sivas and the Turkish army in full retreat with the Greeks closely behind it. The Greek advance would halt itself four days later as it reached the Halys river, the Turkish Kizilirmak, a bit over 50 km to the east of the city. The Turkish army had retained its cohesion, but it had lost over a third of his strength, nearly 25,000 men. And with Ankara it had also lost control of the railroad and the supply route to Inebolu, supplies now had to come from Samsun and Sivas over a single paved road on carts, mules and camels. Morale was starting to plummet. Some of the soldiers had been in action since 1911. During a decade of war they had suffered terrible casualties and they were still fighting with no end in sight. It could not continue indefinitely. At some point peace had to return. But the Greeks had also lost 11,000 men and any thought of pursuing the Turkisj army beyond the Halys was out of the question, their supply situation was precarious enough even reaching the Halys. Now it remained to be seen whether their victories so far were enough....

    Naples, Italy, June 13th, 1921

    The troopships sailed out of Naples with the 75th and 76th Infantry regiments of the Napoli brigade aboard. In a few days they would be joining the 14,600 men Italy already had deployed in south-western Anatolia. Ostensibly this was due to a number of negligible incidents between the Turks and Italians. There had been some incidents around Soke, a dispute earlier in May over a Greek navy DH.9 bomber that had crashed in the Italian zone and some shots fired at an Italian boat in Gulluk. In practice if the nationalists were being defeated, Italy had no reason not to take advantage, its colonial ambitions were very much alive after all. Arms shipments would continue for the time being but Italy wanted to keep all its options open...
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    Part 11 Anatolian aftershocks
  • Dersim, June 17th, 1921

    The last Kurdish rebels were dispersed by Turkish cavalry. The Kocgiri rebellion was over.

    Afyon, June 6th, 1921 (old calendar)/ June 19th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The Greek A Corps had been pulled back from Ankara as soon as the city fell to the Greeks. Now after a brief respite to recuperate it was gain on the move, this time along the other branch of the railway that led to Konya. It was a decision taken against Venizelos better judgement as he justly feared the Greek army overextending itself. But the capture of Konya would also offer some serious advantages at relatively limited cost. With the Greek army having to hold Ankara anyway it would have to deal with a nominal front of about 1000 km. Taking Konya would increase it to something in the order of 1100 km but at the same time have it run over more defensible or inhospitable ground, some of it could anchored on Lake Tuz for example and remove the threat to the flank of the Greek army at Ankara from Konya's direction. Loss of Konya would further cut off the Baghdad railway, the last under the nationalists control and cut the supply routes to Antalya from where most Italian military aid was coming. The political considerations were not any less important. Konya had been a hotbed of pro-Sultan activity which had rebelled against the nationalists as late as October 1920. Following the rebellion its leader Delibas Mehmet had escaped to the Greek zone. With Greek and British support a Konya revolt could start again. If one also considered that taking Konya could be done on the cheap after the defeats of the Turkish army and the retreat of the bulk of Turkish Western front forces towards Sivas...

    Moscow, June 24th, 1921

    Ali Fuat had been sent to Moscow both to handle the crucial mission of securing Soviet support and to remove him from Ankara. So far his mission had been a support with the Soviets conceding formerly Russian Kars oblast to the nationalists in the treaty of Moscow signed by him in March and aiding Ankara with both gold and arms. Hence the message foreign commissar Georgy Chicherin had delivered today had been a cold shower. Chicherin on the pretext of the Turkish capture of Batum and the bloody fighting with the Georgian army that had resulted from it had informed the Turk that the Soviet Union could not accept the treaty of Moscow any more, nor overlook popular sentiment in the area to remain with the Soviets, if the Russian found ironic to declare the remnants of the Georgian national army, pro-Soviet local peasantry he had not shown it. The gist of the message was simple. The Soviet Union demanded the restoration of the 1914 border between the two countries. Otherwise its military and economic aid would stop and the Soviet army restore the border if need be by force. At least the Soviet army in the Caucasus was tied down at the moment fighting Armenian rebels. Ali Fuat could not avoid reflecting at the irony that said Armenian rebels were now inadvertently shielding the Turkish position in the east, as he asked for time to consult with the Grand National assembly at Sivas over the Soviet demands.

    Konya June 17th, 1921 (old calendar)/ June 30th (new calendar)

    Advance elements of the Greek army entered the city, the only opposition their advance had faced was scattered bands of irregulars. On their wake came a concerted effort backed by British money to regain support for the Constantinople government over that of Sivas. Results were mixed. It was difficult to believe the Greek infidels were really protecting the caliph no matter gold and proclamations. Still the effort was made as Delibas Mehmet returned to Konya on the coattails of the Greeks. In Constantinople the option of Damat Ferid pasha becoming again grand vizier was increasingly gaining ground as it was hoped this would gain British support.

    Eastern Anatolia, July 1st, 1921

    It was true that the Soviet 11th Army was tied down by the Armenians at the moment. But the Soviet Union had also other means to put pressure on Mustafa Kemal. Such as the person that was now allowed to cross the border back to Turkey with his followers. As soon as the telegrams announcing his return reached Sivas, 40 members of the grand national assembly declared for him. Enver pasha was back...
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    Part 12 Of Enver and other demons
  • Sivas, July 9th, 1921

    For a man that had no compunctions about the lives of his own men, never-mind the hundreds of thousands of Armenians massacred at his orders, it was not odd that he would not spare the lives of a few horses to get to Sivas as early as he could. Enver had reached Sivas two days before. Now he was in front of a full session of the grand national assembly. If Lenin had hoped that Enver would support the Soviet proposals to return Kars to their control in exchange of continued Soviet military aid he was going to be sadly disappointed. Enver was as gripped as ever by pan-Turanist notions. Now that he was out of Soviet control he proposed to the assembly's general applause to reject the proposals out of hand as contrary to national pact. Kemal had to grit his teeth and join in the applause. It was not that he disagreed with the sentiment of Enver's words, he would not had started a war against the whole Entente no matter the odds if he was. But the timing... didn't the idiot at the podium understand that with the Greeks in Konya the Soviets were the last source of supply to the national movement? But what was done was done. Hopefully Ali Fuat would manage to delay the rift with the Soviets as much as possible.

    Armenia, July 13th, 1921

    The republic of mountainous Armenia was already on the verge of surrendering to the Soviets. But now the Soviets could offer the Armenians not just the knut but a carrot as well in the form of at least regaining Kars and retaining Nagorno Karabakh. The republic surrendered. Many of the rebel troops quietly joined their former opponents in the 11th Red army without many questions asked in anticipation of the coming operations west. By the 14th already the first elements of the Soviet army were on the move towards the Soviet border. Garegin Nzhdeh the leader of the republic would exile himself to Bulgaria.

    Sivas, July 16th, 1921

    Enver had hoped that as soon as he was back the Grand National Assembly would be replacing Kemal with him. These hopes were dashed in short order. Forty members of the assembly immediately declared for himself. Many more were opposed to Kemal but were not willing, at least for now, to see Enver in his place despite the defeats in the west. But for now Kemal's supporters held the majority and Kemal had outmanoeuvred Enver by proposing he took command of the Central front. Enver had been forced to accept, despite the Central front having been stripped off of most regular troops to deal with the Greek threat. Now he had to leave Sivas to go chase Pontian rebels, guerrilla activity had risen sharply between Turkish regular troops leaving the area and the Greek navy landing arms to the guerrillas. He'd be chasing rebels while Kemal remained in direct command of Turkey's largest army. But perhaps it was for the best. Kemal had his work cut out for him against the Greek army while he was bound to be reaping some easy victories in short order.

    Kirikkale, July 19th, 1921

    The whole regiment was marched past the dozen men hanging from the nooses. The cardboards hanging from their necks had a single word written on the. Deserter. Discipline would be restored by any and all means necessary. The last thing the war effort needed was losing yet more men to desertion as if the casualties suffered in the battles against the Greeks were not enough.

    Sivas, July 22nd, 1921

    The "Tan" newspaper had re-established itself in Sivas after the fall of Ankara. Today it had a manifesto undesigned by 63 members of the assembly. The "Third Group" had come to being in opposition to Kemal [1]. Ali Şükrü Bey, Tan's owner and moderate member of the assembly for Trebizond was one of the unofficial leaders of the group. Pressure on Kemal was now mounting, within the Assembly to do something against the Greeks. Kemal for the time being resisted it but something had to be done. And with Italian aid gone thanks to the Greek advance on Konya and further Soviet aid doubtful whatever was done would probably need to happen sooner, rather than later.

    Panormos/Bandirma, July 12th, 1921 (old calendar)/July 25th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Another troopship entered the harbour. A little fewer than 23,000 men were being shipped from Europe to reinforce the Asia Minor army. As soon as the transfers were complete total strength would be back up to 253,466 men slightly more than the were back at the start of the offensive in April. Of course now over 108,000 men including 2 infantry divisions were tied down on rear area security and covering the flanks of the area under Greek control. The B Army Corps had dug in on the Halys and the A Army Corps was covering Konya. The Smyrna Army Corps had been pulled back and stationed along the rail lines as a strategic reserve ready to reinforce either of the two forward positioned corps. Fighting was at a lull. The only serious operations were these in the Simav mountains, where Greek infantry with air support was trying to destroy the Kuva-i Miliye partisans in the area.

    Gyumry, Armenia, August 4th, 1921

    Forty thousand Soviet troops crossed the border with Turkey, that their leaders had recognized just a few months ago. But now it was a new different world and Soviet columns advanced towards Kars and Ardahan. Not a shot was fired. It remained to be seen whether Kazim Karabekir's troops would stand to fight or not...

    [1] In OTL it was the Second Group and would come to being a year later. TTL Enver's supporters have already established themselves as a separate group and given the reverses suffered by the nationalists so far opposition officially establishes itself a year early.
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    Part 13 A front in the east
  • Kars territory, August 5th, 1921

    The Turkish Caucasus army had been reduced to fewer than 10,000 men with 4 out of the 6 infantry divisions it had available in 1919 redeployed west. Against the 40,000 men of the 11th Red Army it did not have much chance to hold them back. Perhaps it was impossible to hold the Soviets back but it could certainly delay their advance and Kazim Karabekir was not going the let the Russians take back Kars without a fight. Delaying action, after delaying action would follow as the Soviets inched their way west.

    Kars, August 17th, 1921

    The Soviets entered Kars. Most of the Muslim population had already fled is fear of Armenian reprisals for the massacre of about 8,000 Armenians when the town had fallen to Karabekir's troops the previous October. [1] The Soviet advance continued. Ardahan would follow on the 21st.

    Sarikamis, August 23rd, 1921

    The Soviets reached the 1914 border between Russia and the Ottoman empire... and stopped. Lenins's orders had been absolutely clear. A truce was offered to the Turks which Karabekir was quick to accept as soon as it was offered, his small army had inflicted over 1,300 casualties on the Soviets but being outnumbered four to one had suffered twice as many itself and it was nearing its breaking point. Negotiations for a final treaty, between Ali Fuat and Chicherin, never stopped even during the fighting continued based on the new situation on the ground. But Soviet military aid to the Nationalists was gone.

    Moscow, September 6th, 1921

    With Kars already lost Ali Fuat had not delayed the peace negotiations much more. Turkey had accepted peace with the Soviet Union, technically with the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Republic but anyone could recognize a fiction for what it was, on the 1914 border with Russia. The previous treaty's terms on Nagorno Karabakh going to Azerbaijan were also dropped, the Soviet Union would not accept the Turks dictating to it what it was doing on its own territory. Ali Fuat hadn't even bothered to press on that question the only concession he had tried to get was resumption of Soviet military aid. But the Soviets after having to fight for Kars did not relent on that either. The only concession they had offered was selling weapons to the Nationalists as long as the latter could pay for them in gold and carried them on their own to Turkey. With a British backed Greek naval blockade of the Black sea ports and the Nationalist dependence on Soviet gold [2] it was a hollow one.

    Mount Topçam, Pontic mountains, September 14th, 1921

    Enver pasha settled in the house of the local jandama [3] commander for the night. Over the past few weeks he had personally led his two regiments of regular cavalry and the irregulars that formed the bulk of his force into a "vigorous" anti-guerrilla campaign. Villages had been burned, the deportations started earlier in the year pressed on with increased intensity, over 20,000 Greeks had been deported by now, with not a few killed outright. At Amasya several hundred prominent Pontic Greeks had been put on trial and summarily executed on grounds of treason in an attempt to deprive Pontic Greeks of their leadership. Had he hoped for a quiet night he would be bitterly disappointed as he was woken up in the middle of night by massed rifle fire, screams, grenade explosions and the rattle of machine guns. He grabbed his gun and jumped out of the door to find himself in front of a tall black clad man with a Mauser in his hands. Enver's body would be found the next day with multiple rifle shots. How the guerrillas of Koca Anastas, Anastasios Papadopoulos had learned of his whereabouts would be never known as Papadopoulos never reached Greece. In the Turkish Grand National Assembly, some of Enver's supporters would accuse the Kemalists that they had tipped the Greeks of his position. This was of course denied and would never be proven...

    Halys/Kizilirmak river, September 12th, 1921 (old calendar)/ September 25th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Mustafa Kemal was running out of time. Within the assembly opposition to him was mounting. After the last Greek advances support for the sultan was again on the rise and with it the danger of more uprisings against the Sivas government. With the last Greek advances cutting off the lines of communication with the Italians and the rift with the Soviets, new arms and munitions supplies were dwindling down to nothing. He had taken draconian measures to restore discipline in his army for the time being but chances were that come next spring it was going to be weaker than it currently was. The Turkish army had one last battle in it and now it was the time to give it. The assault columns start crossing the river under cover on night...

    [1] Source the encyclopedia of the Armenian genocide here: http://www.armin.am/armeniansgenocide/en/Encyclopedia_Of_armenian_genocide_Kars
    [2] The Nationalists of course still have a significant tax base, to go by Karpat's data the territory they control had a tax income ~7,500,000 Ottoman pounds in 1895 out of a total around ~13,000,000 for the area of modern Turkey. In 1923 that had a GDP of $577 million and revenues of $94 million. Hence at a rough estimate the territory controlled at the moment should have revenues around $54 million. But maintaining of a single soldier would average at a minimum $420 a year (based on the costs of $1.15 per day per soldier that both the Bulgarians and Greeks averaged during the Balkan wars, which may be low by 1921, in 1917 maintaining 15 Greek divisions was supposed to cost 900 million franks a year which is closer to $480-600 per soldier) This also forgets the lack of foreign exchange and gold which in OTL was covered from the Soviets and the Ottoman Red Crescent, in the latter's case in obvious violation of the spirit of the organization.
    [3] The Turkish gendarmerie
    Part 14 Goodnight Kemal this world shall never change...
  • Greek controlled Western Anatolia, September 10th, 1921 (old calendar)/ September 23rd, 1921 (new calendar)

    Painstaking effort had been taken to coordinate the disparate Kuva-yi Milliye partisans all over the Greek controlled zone. The order was simple, launch a general attack against the Greek occupation army no matter the possible cost. Massed attacks were launched against Greek troop and the local Greek and Armenian populations. After the initial surprise the Greeks start methodically taking back control of the situation, over the last 2 years of fighting the partisans had taken significant casualties while many had joined the Turkish regular forces. Still despite often crippling losses the partisans achieved at least partly their goal, as the over 108,000 Greek troops covering Greek rear areas were tied down by the attacks and the supply lines east cut in several occasions. But any hopes the Greeks would move troops from the Smyrna Army Corps, which was being in general reserve to deal with the attacks would proved fruitless as Paraskeuopoulos quickly issued orders for them to stay put.

    Halys/Kizilirmak river, September 12th, 1921 (old calendar)/ September 25th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Nearly 71,000 troops under Mustafa Kemal's personal command struck over the Halys. For once the Turks had numerical superiority, Kemal had striped the east and Cilicia of troops to rebuild the Western front one last time. Opposite him he had the four divisions of the Greek B Corps under general Pierrakos Mauromichalis had a bit fewer than 57,000 men with three divisions dug along the Halys and the Crete division held in reserve. Kemal concentrated his main effort against lt general Nikolaos Trikoupis III infantry division, careful reconnaissance before the battle had noticed that unlike the sectors of the other two divisions for reasons that would become the subject of heated debate postwar, Trikoupis had failed to properly fortify his sector. [1] Under the pressure the III division start giving ground.

    Ankara, September 18th, 1921 (old calendar)/ October 1st, 1921 (new calendar)

    Things had been touch and go for the past six days. Quick intervention by the Crete division had saved the III division from collapse which could have had drastically bad consequences for the Greeks. Mauromichalis had still been forced to pull back from his position on the Halys and in the fighting that followed he had been pushed back several kilometres and losing nearly 5,500 men in exchange for slightly over 3,500. The price had been steep but his corps was still fighting and unlike Kemal the Greeks had reserves. Reserves that now have had time to redeploy. The Greek Smyrna Corps, three infantry and a cavalry division, 46.000 men in total entered the fray. One more division, the II infantry was marching towards the fight from Konya.

    Halys/Kizilirmak river, September 26th, 1921 (old calendar)/ October 9th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Kemal's troops had been pushed back to the east of the river by the Greek counterattack in eight days of fighting. Their casualties by now were in excess of 9,000 men, the Greeks had also suffered over 8,000 but by now had over 108,000 men on the Halys, while on the Turkish side desertions were becoming endemic again. Behind the Greek lines Kuva-yi Milliye had suffered grievously from coming out on the open to attack the Greeks. It looked as if Kemal had launched his last bolt. It had come close, but not close enough

    Constantinople, September 30th, 1921 (old calendar)/ October 13th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The Greek Serres division, the first formed by the government on National Defence during the world war, marched into Constantinople while the allies announced that Georgios Kafantaris would become allied high commissioner, presiding over the high commissioners, Britain, France, Italy anf Greece already had in Constantinople ad they considered article 36 of the treaty of Sevres to be in effect due to the continued Turkish resistance.

    It was the end result of a diplomatic fight waged by Venizelos at the same time Greek and Turkish troops were bleeding on the battlefields of Anatolia. His argument was simple, it was well past time to activate article 36 of the treaty of Sevres and eject the sultan's government from the queen of cities given continued Turkish resistance. The British had been quick to agree, there were people within the administration, Lloyd George and Harold Nicholson in particular, who were suggesting outright annexation of the European side of Constantinople to Greece, Venizelos was actually more moderate than this. The French had been more reluctant but had no reason to alienate a loyal ally when said ally was winning and they stood to gain. The Italians had obviously been a more problematic prospect, at the same time they were reinforcing their army in Anatolia they were sheltering Turkish partisans during the recent offensive. But Giovanni Giolitti and his foreign minister count Carlo Sforza had not been replaced by a new ministry under Ivanoe Bonomi and the new minister was more open towards rapprochement with Britain. Venizelos had struck a deal agreeing to support the Italian hold in Caria in the new peace conference all expected in exchange for Italian support. Turkish nationalists had inadvertently helped when Damat Ferid pasha had been assassinated by a pair of CUP associated junior officers a week earlier after persistent rumours had circulated that he was about to become grand vizier.

    Sivas, October 15th, 1921

    Tan, Ali Şükrü Bey's paper and de facto voice of the opposition "Third Group", was up in arms openly questioning Kemal's leadership and where the war was leading following the entry of Greek troops to Constantinople the installation of a Greek high commissioner and the activation of article 36. The number of representatives opposing Kemal's leadership rose sharply, as the Monarchists and the Islamists within the Assembly now found common ground against him. Kemal and his supporters had not taken kindly to it. The same day Ali Şükrü Bey disappeared.

    Sivas, October 20th, 1921

    Henry Franklin-Bouillon reached Sivas to find the Grand National Assembly in chaos. Two days earlier the dead body of Ali Şükrü Bey had been found with the opposition blaming Kemal's Laz bodyguards for the assassination [2] and of Kemal trying to eliminate all opposition given the questionable circumstances of Enver pasha's death. By nw the situation was verging close to open fighting between rival factions. Franklin-Bouillon helped only exacerbate things as he brought the message of the French government. The carrot was that France was offering her good services over signing an armistice ans on her part was willing to adhere to the March treaty which the assembly had rejected. The stick was that otherwise the French army would resume operations against Turkey, Gouraud was much more entusiastic over French military prospects now that Syria was mostly pacified and most of the Turkish army in Cilicia was gone.

    Sivas, October 25th, 1921

    Even Mustafa Kemal had been forced to accept that continuing the war, with the Grand National Assembly almost on the verge of civil war and the army melting away from desertions was not practical. Whether it had been the entry of Greek troops in Constantinople of Franklin-Bouillon's not quite ultimatum would remain an open question for discussion but the result was the same, as the Grand National Assembly signed an armistice bringing the fight to an end, with Franklin-Bouillon hastily authorized to sign on behalf of Britain and Greece as well.

    The question of Kemal himself remained. He could not quite remain speaker of the assembly and de facto head of the government. He could not just be removed from power either, given the support he still commanded and legitimate fears about his life, after all Turkish politics were turning into a blood sport the past few months. Finally his own lieutenants Rauf Orbay, recently released from Malta by the British is exchange for a number of British prisoners of war, and Kazim Karabekir had devised a compromise to ease him out of power. Kemal would head the Turkish delegation at the peace conference in Paris. Back in Anatolia the negotiations to unite the government of the Grand National Assably with the Ottoman one begun. It was understood by all involved that in effect the Ottoman government would be absorbed by that of the assembly. After all two thirds of the Ottoman parliament has actually joined the assembly...

    [1] Yes I'm shamelessly stealing from Trikoupis failures in OTL August 1922. Only here he's still a division commander the only one common both before and after the November elections.
    [2] In OTL Topal Osman was used as a scapegoat for Ali Şükrü Bey's assassination in 1922 but there is probably little doubt at who had ordered the assassination. TTL Topal had a much deserved appointment with an 9.2 inch shell at Samsun but Sivas in late 1921 is not exactly short of people who'd follow orders to take out a "traitor" no questions asked.
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    Part 15 A peace to end all peace
  • Sivas, November 8th, 1921

    The two weeks after the armistice had passed in frantic negotiations between the Grand National Assembly and the sultan's government, time was of the essence with the Paris peace conference about to begin. Negotiations were very much eased from the fact that Ahmet Tevfik pasha the Ottoman grand visier had already declared at the time of the London conference back in April that the government then in Ankara was the legitimate one. Ahmet Tevfik pasha would become the new grand visier. Nearly every other position would be covered by members of the Grand National assembly with Kazim Karabekir becoming minister of war and Rauf Orbay minister of marine. As had already been agreed Mustafa Kemal would head the delegation to the Paris peace conference.

    League of Nations, Geneva, November 1st, 1921 (old calendar)/ November 14th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The ambassador's conference of the League of Nations came to session to decide on the border between Greece and Albania that had been left open during the previous Paris peace conference. The point of contention was the area of North Epirus for the Greeks, south Albania for the Albanians that was claimed by both sides. Venizelos, on his way to Paris, had made certain to be present in person for the conference. It very quickly showed that there wasn't going to be an unanimous decision on the matter. But one was not needed. Out of the four great power ambassadors, those of Britain, France, Italy and Japan a majority would suffice for a decision. Just like in 1919 and 1920 Britain and France supported the Greek position and Italy the Albanian position. Japan was indifferent, though relatively sympathetic to Greece, and between backing the British position or backing the Italian position it was not difficult to choose the former, after all Venizelos was as usual very persuasive. North Epirus was assigned to Greece by a three to one vote of the ambassador's conference. What was not decided was the actual borders of the territory. The Italians having lost their case proposed that the actual border on the ground should be decided in the Paris peace conference that was about to begin. France not wanting to totally alienate them acceded to proposal and the British ambassador had to agree in order to keep the pretension of a united front between the Great War allies.

    The Albanians with some Italian prompting rose up immediately at the news with over 20,000 fighters gathering in the Korytza/Korce area to defend it from the Greeks, the Greek E Corps had only 15,000 men as the bulk of the Greek army remained in Anatolia. But the Albanians were not the only ones rising up as Himara raised the Greek flag as soon as the news of the conference reached the town. Within no more than a week all the territory below the Aoos/Vjose river was in open war demanding union with Greece. A number of Greek officers most prominently general Konstantinos Gouvelis, a Royalist who had refused to return to the army, hence deniable by the Greek government, joined the rebels. After all the Venizelist army was one thing, fighting for North Epirus another...

    Paris, November 8th, 1921 (old calendar)/November 21th, 1921 (new calendar)

    The peace conference begun. Aristide Briand was there in person, after all the conference was taking place in his own capital. Lord Curzon was leading the British delegation and of course Venizelos was leading once more the Greeks. Mustafa Kemal had reached the city a fortnight ago. He had taken a ship from Samsun, still blockaded by the Greeks, to Varna. From Varna a train had brought him through Romania, technically still at war with his country, Hungary, Austria and Germany to the French capital. German nationalists at both Vienna and Munich had given him a hero's welcome, at Munich station he had had to endure a little moustachioed fellow giving a fiery speech in his honour, full of accusing "judeobolsheviks" of stabbing Germany and her true Aryan allies the Turks in the back. Well the man was apparently mad as hell and didn't even understand the Bolsheviks were allies of shorts these days, he'd been no more than a corporal in the war he thought dismissively, but was no doubt charismatic and he didn't mind the adulation. For the German nationalist press, even if he had lost in the end he was a hero who had fought a noble fight for his country, better that than meekly acceding to the Western allies diktats as their own governments had done. Besides any treaty was going to be better than Sevres preserving Turkish independence and her eastern borders. It was more problematic than the German newspapers made it of course, particularly given the territory likely to be lost west... [1]

    Paris, December 13th, 1921 (old calendar)/December 26th, 1921 (new calendar)

    Greece and Turkey signed a protocol agreeing to an exchange between their Muslim and Christian population respectively. Kemal had demanded a compulsory exchange claiming that any remaining Christian populations in Turkey would solely serve as a trojan horse for further territorial demands on Turkey in the future which was entirely unacceptable. Venizelos after complaining over the compulsory nature of the exchange, all proposals to this point called for voluntary exchanges had complied. It had looked too easy and it had been as the Greek then announced that Greece was willing to take in not only their nationals but also all Armenians remaining in Anatolia or evacuating Cilicia that wanted to settle into Greece. Then he had claimed that there had to be an equivalence between the properties of the Greeks and Armenians leaving Turkey and the Muslims living Greece, in effect one more argument in favour of the Greek territorial claims. Venizelos had then gone further asking for the Vallahades, the Greek speaking Muslims of Crete and Epirus and the Pomaks in Europe as well as the Circassians and Pomaks in Western Anatolia to be given the option to choose between remaining in Greece or leaving for Turkey. Many of the Circassians and Pomaks in Western Anatolia had formed irregular units that had fought for the Greeks in the war, or changed sides during its course. It wouldn't do for Greece to hand them over to Turkey now. League mandates on Turkish territory were excepted.

    Fontainebleau palace January 22nd, 1922 ,old calendar/ February 4th, new calendar

    The final peace treaty between the allied powers and Turkey was signed. Even though Kemal had negotiated most of it, he had resigned from his position in the delegation two days ago after he had backed for some of the items already agreed earlier. Whether it had been a ploy to throw the blame of the treaty on the Sivas government, which had instructed her delegation to sign, or a genuine attempt to get better terms would remain a subject of debate. [2]

    Selected terms of the treaty of Fontainebleau

    1. The Soviet-Turkish border as defined in the treaty of Moscow is confirmed. The Sevres provisions for Kurdist autonomy and Armenian independence are discarded.
    2. Constantinople, including the Biga Sanjak becomes a League of Nations mandate for a 30 years period at which point a referendum will determine its future. Within the city the Turkish government to retain control of the Ottoman palaces.
    3. Turkey recognises the independence of Syria, Iraq, Arabia and Palestine and the annexations of Cyprus and the Dodecanese by Britain and Italy
    4. The Turkish-Syrian border is set to that of the Turkish-French agreement in March 1921. The economic concessions described in the treaty apply .
    5. Greece annexes East Thrace, the Smyrna sandjak, the Aydin sandjak north of the Meander, the Magnesian/Manisa sandjak except from the kaza of Esme and the Balikesir sandjak west of the Mekestos/Susurluk river.
    6. Italy gains a mandate consisting of the Mougla sandjak and the Cine and Bozdogan kazas of the Aydin sandjak. No later than 30 years a referendum will determine its future. The fate of the Soke kaza to be determined between Greece and Italy.
    7. The straits zone is demilitarized, with the exception of League of Nations garrisons and open to all ships
    8. The limit of the Turkish army in increased to 100,000 men exclusive of the gendarmerie which is limited to her 1914 size. Turkey cannot possess biological and chemical weapons tanks and aircraft. Her navy is limited to ships no larger than 10,000t. Yavuz to be dismantled but remains in possession of the Turkish government.
    9. The Ottoman public debt to be split between Turkey and the states created from her Arab territories. The 1914 law abolishing the capitulations remains in power.

    [1] Inspired for Ihring's "Ataturk in the Nazi imagination"
    [2] Ismet tried the same at Lausanne, but here the Turkish position is rather worse.
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    Part 16 The land of eagles against the double headed eagle
  • Paris, January 25th, 1922 (old calendar)/ February 7th (new calendar)

    After the ambassador's conference back in November had decided on North Epirus union with Greece, its exact border had remained in limbo. Greek backed rebels had already taken control of the western part. Albanian irregulars with tacit Italian support had taken control of the eastern part. Now the Italians proposed that Greece should be given only a coastal strip from Himara to the current Greek border, with the town of Argyrokastro/Gjirokaster and everything to the east of it left to Albania. Venizelos merely pointed to the proposed border by France and Britain back in 1920 and with his trademark smile said he was willing to accept that. Behind the scenes he sounded the Italian government over accepting as a minimum the Aoos/Vjose river border proposed by the United States in 1919 in exchange of the Soke district in Ionia.

    It was not a negotiation going particularly well from the Italian point of view. Italy was headed either for a diplomatic defeat as it appeared that the French and British governments would stand by their earlier position on the status of the border or would have to give up territory under its control to gain Albania a sliver of territory. Worse yet with the treaty with Turkey finalized, Lord Curzon, the British foreign minister, was making increasing noises over when Italy would finally conform to the Sevres agreement about the Dodecanese and pass control of the islands to the Greek government. Something had to be done, claiming as the Italians were doing that North Epirus was in its grand majority Albanian, with half of it under the control of Greek irregulars wouldn't do. During the winter the Italians had quietly shipped arms and equipment to the Albanian irregulars. The signal went out that the Albanians that they had to act now or accept the loss of South Albania without a shot.

    North Epirus/Southern Albania, January 27th, 1922 (old calendar)/ February 9th (new calendar)

    Ten thousand Albanians attacked in weather that could be best described as atrocious, while a similar number covered the Greek border. The Greek irregulars opposite them were roughly half as many It didn't matter. Three days later Venizelos had British and French approval for the Greek army to intervene, neither government was particularly keen to accept an Italian fait accopli and Venizelos had made sure to take advantage of the sentiment just like he had back in 1919 with Smyrna when it had looked like the Italians where about to land there. Twenty five thousand Greek regulars crossed the border into North Epirus.

    Rome, February 28th, 1922

    The Italian government, had to accept its failure in North Epirus as soon as the French and British governments had greenlighted Greek intervention there. At least the human cost had fallen solely on the Greeks and Albanians, it had taken the Greeks twelve days to take Korytza/Korce in the face of Albanian resistance. What it did not have to accept was giving the Greeks any more easy gains. The Greek ambassador was served a note that the Italian government unilaterally cancelled the Sevres agreement about the Dodecanese and saw no reason to accomodate Greek views relating to Soke "in view of the recent Greek actions in Albania". The Greeks of both areas would have to wait another day for union with the motherland. For good measure by the same notice the Italian government, denied the extradition of Ioannis Metaxas, sentenced to death in 1920, for his pro-German activities during the National Schism, to Greece. Metaxas would remain in his Roman exile for a while yet...

    Constantinople, March 1922

    Meletius Metaxakis had been elevated from metropolitan of Athens (and thus head of the autocephalous church of Greece) to the throne of the ecumenical patriarchate as Meletius IV in the previous December and brought to Constantinople aboard the armoured cruiser Georgios Averof. Till then he had gone ahead with a flurry of activity from recognizing the ordainments of Anglican priests as valid, to creating a new exarchy of Western and central Europe, to organizing the orthodox churches in the Americas and Australia under the patriarchate. Now he went a step further declaring that with the ecumenical patriarchate "free of its centuries long Turkish captivity" the reasons that had made necessary the autocephaly of the church of Greece no longer existed and the bishopics of old Greece returned to the direct patriarchate control. With a bit or more than a bit of prompting from the government in Athens and in the midst of nationalist fervour, there wasn't any opposition within Greece to the move, after all from the very start the church of Greece was autocephalous but still under the jurisdiction of the patriarchate. Meletius at the instigation of Athens now set his sights on the church finally accepting the Gregorian calendar. A "pan-orthodox council" was called to decide on the matter. This piece of common sense would prove rather more controversial than the patriarch's other actions...

    The Near East after the end of World War 1, March 1922



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    Part 17 Of peace and arms
  • Constantinople, March 1922

    The peace treaty had not specifically mentioned the Ottoman munitions factories in Constantinople, technically they were still the property of the Turkish government. The Turks had no intention of giving the Entente any time to rectify this omission. All machinery in the Tophane arsenal and the Zeytinburnu munitions plant that could be of use was being dismantled and shipped off to Samsun. From there it would be loaded to everything from carts to camels and moved to Sivas were it would be reassembled. It was not the only thing being removed. All Ottoman war stocks under Turkish control in Constantinople was being moved away, well most of it, some arms and ammunition found its parh instead into secret caches in the Turkish quarters of the city and the Ottoman palaces, to be utilized in the future.

    Sivas, March 1922

    The grand national assembly proclaimed Istanbul would perpetually remain the capital of Turkey even if it was "temporarily occupied" by the Entente powers. For the duration of the "occupation" Sivas was declared the provisional capital of Turkey. It was a political defeat of the supporters of the sultan, who would had preferred Bursa or Konya as he capital but it was also a matter of military consideration. Bursa was only 60 kilometers from the new border. Ankara and Konya had fallen to the Greeks during the war. But Sivas would be practically invulnerable in case of a new war.

    Izmit, March 1922

    Under the peace treaty Sultan Selim Yavuz, the former battlecruiser Goeben, had to be broken up and broken up it was. The Turkish government had been quick to contract German engineers from Blohm und Voss, the very people that had built the ship to do the dismantling. It was a very... careful dismantling. The main gun turrets were being lifted out intact and being stored ashore. All secondary armament and everything else that could be of military value was also being stored ashore. They might not be of immediate use but they would be valuable once Turkey managed to start standing on her feet again. Royal Navy officers watched with interest but did not stop any of this. After all what did they have to complain about? Turkey was certainly abiding by the letter of the treaty...

    Mount Sipylus, east of Smyrna, April 1922

    The massive 270mm gun of the former battleship Hydra, test fired for the first time in her new role as part of the Smyrna fortified zone. The work start back in late 1920 had made considerable strides. In total 17 forts were being built covering a front of 130 km. Coupled with the mountains around Smyrna they made taking Smyrna a costly proposition. As long as the city could be supplied and reinforced by sea of course, otherwise even if the forts held the over 400,000 people within the fortified zone, soldiers not counting could always be starved. But the Royal Hellenic Navy dominated the Aegean, so this was surely impossible...

    Athens, May 3rd, 1922 (old calendar)/May 16th, 1922 (new calendar)

    Sir Basil Zaharoff, man of mystery, merchant of death, arms trader extraordinaire, had remembered he was a Greek patriot only when he had met Eleutherios Venizelos and the Cretan had managed to woe even an old cynic like Zaharoff. Even then Vickers had made deals with the Ottoman empire but Zaharoff had helped his motherland wherever he could behind the scenes. After the Greeks had landed in Asia Minor for a change he had even helped without an ulterior motive. It wasn't true that the Greek army had gone to battle mostly kitted in Vickers provided gear, but Zaharoff certainly had used his shady and not so shady connections for the Greek cause beyond an unknown amount of financial contributions to the Greek state, unsubstantiated rumours varied from 4 million pounds sterling to 20 million. [1] But patriotism did not mean he would forego a profit if it could be made and Venizelos had now given a way to both make money an be patriotic simultaneously. Venizelos wanted to see Greece industrialized and having her own arms industries instead of importing everything from abroad. Already from 1919 there were plans for an aircraft factory and also at the prompting of the British naval mission under admiral Kelly of naval construction facilities. Who better than Zaharoff to bring such plans to fruition? The Greek government signed an agreement with Vickers, for the creation of shipyards at Skaramanga to the west of Piraeus, with floating docks suitable for 10,000t ships. Vickers would be providing the technical expertise and training for Greek workers and engineers. The aircraft factory would be built on the other side of Piraeus at Phaleron, with Vickers gaining a contract to provide technical expertise and training.

    Zaharoff would have hardly minded to monopolize Greek army sales as well. Venizelos on the other hand would most certainly have minded, the Greek politician was too wily to accept a shadowy figure like Zaharoff completely dominating the Greek arms industry being born. There was an up and coming young Greek businessman from Cappadocia, Prodromos "Bodossakis" Anthanasiadis, starting with a rented watermill at age 17 now at 32 his fortune was worth already millions of pounds including the prestigious Pera Palace in Constantinople as well as Sporting club in the Smyrna quay, who has interested in getting involved in Greek industrial endeavours. [2] Venizelos trusted the young Cappadocian far more than the merchant of death and for good reason. Bodosakis had thought about utilizing German and Austrian war reparations to build up factories in Greece. In particular he sensed an opportunity if he could get his hands on Steyr tooling to build rifles for a start, the Greek army had four main rifle calibres at the moment, it was certain it was going to standardise sooner or later. Zaharoff was quite taken by the young enterprauner and was willing to cooperate. Bodosakis would take over the sole existing arms company EEPK from the National Bank of Greece and form a consortium with Vickers, as "Hephaestus arms company", some classically minded British aide had gotten the best of both Greeks when naming the new company. With Vickers financial backing and the Greek government's gurrantee he could use funds from the war reparations due to it, Bodosakis and his agents were soon off to Austria and Germany. Within the next two years Hephaestus would secure sufficient tooling to be able to produce the Mannlicher-Schoeneuer rifle in Greece [3], while thanks to German reparations Greece's first steel factory would be built in Eleusis...

    Chania, Crete, May 15th, 1922

    The shots could be heard throughout the town. Many shots, from old Gras and Martini-Henry rifles, to modern Mannlichers and Mausers to pistols. Someone uninitiated might think there was a battle going on. There wasn't of course. Eleutherios Venizelos was back into his hometown. He wasn't just back he was also married with Elena Skylitzi the daughter of extremely rich Anglo-Chiot merchants. The relationship with the "queen of pound sterling" as Elena had been nicknamed was already ongoing for some years. Now with the war over it was time to finalize it and where else could the marriage take place but in Venizelos native Crete. And his fellow Cretans were determined to celebrate the marriage in the traditional manner. How could a marriage be celebrated without shots fired in the air?

    Damascus, June 28th, 1922

    Henri Gouraud proclaimed the federation of the autonomous states of Syria. Syrian nationalists had every reason to be unhappy with it. Gouraud, a protege of Hubert Lyautey, had taken a page from his old mentor and broken up France's Syrian mandate to no less than six states. There was Greater Lebanon, kept outside Syria outright. There were the states of Damascus and Aleppo, the nationalists were already pressing for their merger. There were the Alawite and Jabal Druze states. And lastly there was the Kurdish state. Kurdish support when the French army had entered Damascus during the French-Syrian war had not gone unnoticed by the French authorities, and the end of the war with Turkey had left over 50,000 more Kurds under French control including heavily Kurdish areas in Mardin and Sirnak. It wasn't difficult to see how the Kurds could be useful both against Arab nationalists to their south and a potentially hostile Turkey to their north...

    [1] I frankly doubt the second number if the Greeks had gotten 20 million from Zaharoff they wouldn't be in financial trouble in 1921-22 and the first may be too high as well. But Zaharoff did help and didn't even bother to publish he was helping...
    [2] TTL Bodosakis suffered a massive economic hit from the Asia Minor disaster. He still recovered and ended up in control of 35% of the whole Greek industry later in life. TTL he starts his industrial involvement from a far stronger economic position. Of course he is not the only one. There is a certain young Smyrniot who's in far less dire economic circumstances for example...
    [3] In OTL Bodosakis did manage to buy some of the Steyr tooling but Greece ordered rifles from Italy in 1925. According to some accounts at least, the Italians apparently had gotten the rest of the tooling or the only Italian part of the rifles was stamping Breda instead of Steyr on them...
    A note on agriculture
  • Minor note on Greek grain production, now that I have the right book handy:

    Available wheat peaked up at about 204 kg per capita in 1938 OTL effectively returning to the 1911 consumption levels per capita (207kg) after it had fallen as low as 99kg per capita in 1923. This was being supplemented by a substantial addition of other grains, corn being the most important, that had peaked to 114 kg per capita in 1933 and had dropped slightly to 95 kg per capita in 1938 (and was down to 63kg in 1923). Effectively total grain consumption was averaging 300kg per capita by 1938 with the emphasis on wheat.

    To stick thus to wheat as it was the one actually imported in large quantities. Tje table below covers OTL production

    YearArea (km2)Production (t)Total agricultural area under cultivation

    Now in the modern era East Thrace has 6,200 square km under cultivation that produced 3 million tons of wheat, out of a total area of 78,150 km2 producing 17.25 million tons in 2017. In 1930 Turkey had 28,093 km2 under cultivation producing 2,586,000 tons. By 1940 it was up to 43,814 km2 and 4,068,000 tons. If we take the modern numbers as an indication, East Thrace would be producing something in the order of 390,000 to 610,000 tons out of that. On the other hand if using data from Karpat yield in 1930 would be about 115,000t with another 297,000t from Asia Minor. This may be closer to reality for 1922.

    To continue by Karpat at a minimum East Thrace as of 1922 should be adding about 3,900 km of cultivated land (probably quite a bit more more as the numbers are from 1896 and for the whole Edirne vilayet, where given geography quite a bit more of the arable land would be in east Thrace with 35,000 km out of 40,000 being arable and 21% of that actually used) and Asia Minor another 10,600 km2. That's sightly more than the cultivated area in pre 1921 Greece and land reclamation could drastically increase this, in Macedonia swamp draining alone had claimed 2750 km2 in the 1920s and at least similar results are feasible in Thrace...

    To go by the above TTL its reasonable to assume wheat yields as seen in the table below TTL:

    YearProduction (t)

    By this Greece should be about breaking even in wheat production not needing imports by about 1933. By 1938 is should actually have a slight surplus. But the grand majority of this production is north of the Olympus and East of the Aegean...

    On the other hand Turkey is missing roughly 21% of its wheat production it would be producing about 2,042,000t in 1930 and at a minimum 3-3,2 million t by 1940.
    Part 18 Of churches and mosques
  • London, July 17th 1922

    Lloyd George had hoped that in the wake of his foreign policy successes both in the peace treaty with Ireland and the peace treaty with Turkey, the position of his coalition government would be practically unassailable. But the government had find itself in trouble from a direction it was not quite expecting. Since coming to power in 1916 the government had turned the sale of honours, an already established practice, into an industry having awarded 1,500 new knighthoods, large numbers of baronetcies and peerages and having even created the order of the British empire for people that could not afford a knighthood but were willing to pay for a title, with some 10,000 of these awarded. Things had come to a head with the July 1922 honour list including convicted criminals. The question had come to parliament and while Lloyd George had managed to deflect it through the creation of a Royal Commission on the matter his government was coming under increasing attack even from the inside. Lloyd George had had hopes of creating centre party with his Liberals and the more amenable of the Conservatives. But many of his own Liberals were against this as was the majority of the Conservatives. The coalition went on but under increasing strain.

    Belgrade, July 28th 1922

    Belgrade, now the capital of the kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, was quickly recovering from three years of Austro-Hungarian occupation. For the past week Belgrade was hosting negotiations between the prime ministers of Yugoslavia, Greece and Romania, Nikola Pasic, Eleutherios Venizelos and Ion Bratianu. The three prime ministers had led their countries through the Great War and closely worked together during it. Now it was time to formalize the cooperation between the three countries for the future. Yugoslavia and Romania had already created the "Little Entente" with Czechoslovakia. At the same time the idea of a similar Balkan Entente had been aired but had not been pursued as the war with Turkey had yet to be concluded. With that over, the time for the Balkan Entente had come. The most obvious benefit of the treaty was formalizing the commitment from all three countries to contain Bulgaria. At the same time Yugoslavia and Romania were securing their supply lines through Greece in case of a future war in central Europe, Greece secured her European border in case of renewed war with Turkey, in the most optimistic scenario even Yugoslav and Romania troop commitments even though that was unlikely. And while it was not being openly said Italian hostility was certainly in the back of the minds of both Greeks and Yugoslavs...

    Constantinople, August 4th 1922

    The treaty of Chantilly had included a provision that "important religious and cultural sites" should be restored to the Christian community while "important Muslim sites" would be protected and remain under Muslim control. How both provisions would be honoured simultaneously when many important mosques in the city were former churches was a can of worms that the negotiators had avoided to open, instead they had kicked it down the road to the council of allied commissioners that in effect ruled the city even though the fact that the presiding high commissioner was Greek did not exactly fill the Turks with trust. But Kemal, himself borderline or outright atheist had been more interested in not losing the Ottoman arsenals and war stocks in the city than he was on the fate of a couple mosques, while Venizelos was not going to waste concessions elsewhere for concerns where time was apparently working in the Greek favour anyway.

    The new Greek patriarch Meletius IV with the support from his Catholic and Armenian counterpart in Constantinople had almost immediately demanded from the commissioners enacting the treaty and returning to the Christian churches, the religious sites taken over by the Ottomans since 1453. The commissioners, placed in a bind, set up a committee of their own with one member from each of the three great powers plus one Greek and one Turk. It had taken several months to reach a decision. The committee had start its work with the most easy issues. Hagia Eirene, near the Topkapi palace, was easy, it was being used as an army museum, the same was true for the Stoudiou monastery as it was in ruins constantly raided by nearby residents for building materials. Both would be returned to the Greek patriarchate with the Turkish government.

    Things were rather more complicated for the over two dozen Orthodox and Catholic churches that had been converted to mosques and still existed throughout the city. Understandably both the Greek and Turkish members wanted all of them for their side. In the end the Catholic church did get back Arap Camii the former St Dominic at Galata, while the Greeks would get the churches of Pammakaristos, Sergius and Bacchus and the monasteries of Pantokrator and Chora would be returned to the Greek church due to their historical and architectural significance. Everything else would be left under Turkish control.

    Last had been left the elephant in the room, Hagia Sophia. The Greeks wanted it, the Turks wanted it, even the pope renewed the claim made in 1915 that it should become a Catholic church on grounds of the Orthodox church being in union with Rome in 1437-1453 thus the church being actually Catholic when the city had fallen to the Ottomans. In the end the committee decided to turn Hagia Sophia into a museum allowing the Muslims to hold the Kurban bayrami (Eid al-Adha) and Ramazan bayrami (Eid al-Fitr) each year there and the Orthodox church to hold mass each year at Christmas, Theophany and Easter each year, both religions thus having Hagia Sophia for five days every year. It was a decision that left both sides unhappy. The open question was whether it was going to actually work out or lead to an even worse mess.
    Part 19 Ex Oriente Lux - Ex occidente tenebrae
  • Smyrna October 10th, 1922

    The Institute of Hygiene, including the Medical and the pharmaceutical schools, and the library of the Ionian university of Smyrna were officially inaugurated marking the official opening of the Ionian university of Smyrna. More schools would follow over the next weeks. By the time all schools were open, the university would also possess schools of Architecture, Civil, Mechanical and Electrical engineering as well as chemistry, agriculture and geology. The only ones missing for the time being were Law and Philosophy, Athens was producing more than enough of them already. Eleutherios Venizelos was in Smyrna for the occasion, so were Ion Dragoumis, Nikolaos Stratos from the opposition. Dimitrios Gounaris was notably absent as he was down with a severe case of typhoid but despite his condition had made certain to telegraph his congratulations. For once Dragoumis was enthusiastic, as after nearly 5 centuries a Greek university was again teaching students in the near east. His sole concern was when the Ionian university would be followed by a university in Constantinople. Venizelos, always hopping to accommodate Dragoumis despite his political opposition, had no reason to disagree with the sentiment.

    The new university was the result of two years of hard work by Constantine Caratheodory, a prominent Greek mathematician and correspondent of Albert Einstein who had been chosen as dean of the new university. In many ways Caratheodory was himself the living example of the changing circumstances of the Greek communities in the former Ottoman empire. Caratheodory's father had been an Ottoman diplomat who had been ambassador to Belgium, Germany and Russia. The son had been a Greek nationalist playing a central role in the Greek Ionian project. Following the end of the war some minor changes had been made to the organization of the university, but Venizelos had given explicit instructions which his high commissioner in Smyrna Aristeides Stergiadis had made certain to see applied, that the school of Eastern Studies teaching Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew would be established no matter the exchange of populations as would be the Muslim seminary to teach future Muftis, after all the country even after the exchange would have a significant Muslim poplulation and there wasn't any need to teach a Greek nationalist the value of schools and priests in national consciousness. The School of Eastern Studies would end up evolving in ways its founders probably wad not anticipated...

    The first building of the Ionian University (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

    Rome, October 28th, 1922

    Benito Mussolini had been constantly on the rise for the past couple of years. Fascist militias had played a prominent role in breaking strikes by force, beating up leftinsts and generally making sure Italian politics became mired by violence. Mussolini himself had proven pretty successful in the 1921 elections. Someone would think that securing a mandate in south-west Anatolia would had allowed the government to shore up her position and at least ease up accusations the the Western allies had stolen from Italy her just rewards from victory. Mussolini had skilfully turned the tables on that claiming that the western powers had openly backed the Greeks against the Italians on everything from Smyrna, annexed by Greece despite the Italian claim to it, to overriding Italian opinions about Thrace and Albania. This was not acceptable. Both the Greeks and the Turks the argument continued, had shown how action was preferable to inaction, the Greeks gaining more territory than Italy had done and the Turks securing their independence and better non-territorial terms. It was "obvious" that Italy "needed" a man of action like Mussolini, you just had to ask him on the matter. Now the time had come for the fascists to seize power as about 30,000 of them marched on Rome. The elected government could had tried to fight and had it done so would had likely won. Instead, pressed by the king it had succumbed to the fascists without even firing a shot. Democracy in Italy had just died. [1]

    [1] Very much OTL of course with an obvious addition in Mussolini's rhetoric against Greece and how Greece has been used as a tool by Britain and France against Italy's just ambitions...