Kuvâ-yi Milliye is the name given to a national resistance organization that was born during the days when Anatolia was occupied by Greek, British, French, Italian and Armenian troops and heavy conditions were imposed by the Armistice of Mudros, when the weapons of the Ottoman army were taken and distributed in various regions. Kuvâ-yi Milliye is the first defense establishment of the War of Independence.
The number of Kuvâ-yi Milliye ranged between 1919-6.500 in Western Anatolia until the end of 7.500. By the middle of 1920, it is estimated that this number reached approximately 15.000 people. The first spark of the National Forces (the first armed resistance) started on the Southern Front in Dörtyol on December 19, 1918, against the French. The most important reason for this is that the French shared the Armenians in their occupation on the Southern Front.
Second effective armed resistance movement (the first organized National Forces movement) after the occupation of Izmir; Some nationalist and patriotic officers organized the National Forces movement and officially started it in the Aegean Region. The National Forces troops in Western Anatolia fought against the Greek troops with the hit and run tactics until the regular army was established. In the Southern Front (Adana, Maraş, Antep and Urfa), regular and disciplined Kuvâ-yi Milliye units fought the War of Independence. Kuvâ-yi Milliye, operating in Ulukışla, was one of the first to be established and they were sprayed from this innermost point, which the French reached behind the Taurus Mountains, in a short time. A decision book documenting his work has reached today with the efforts of M. Ali Eren.
Kuva-yi Milliye, which emerged as local civil organizations and gangs, carried out a guerrilla war, as it is called today, against the invading forces consisting of regular armies. Although the first resistance events were seen against the French in the Southeastern Anatolia Region, the organized resistance started in the Aegean Region as Kuvâ-yi Milliye after the hostile capture of İzmir and spread as independent local organizations. Regional organizations were later combined with the establishment of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and turned into a regular army during the First Battle of İnönü.
One of the primary aims of the National Forces was to establish the Turkish Nation's right to live under its own flag and its independence by not accepting the sovereignty of any state or nation.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha explains the founding of the National Forces as follows: “The seat of government was in a violent circle of enemies. There was a political and military circle. In such a circle, they were ordering forces to defend the homeland and protect the independence of the nation and the state. With the orders made in this way, the state and the tools of the nation could not perform their basic duties. Nor could they. The army, which was the first to defend these means, also, while retaining the name 'army', was of course incapable of fulfilling its basic mission. That is why it is up to the nation itself to fulfill the main task of defending and protecting the homeland. We call it National Forces… ”
Reasons for the formation of the National Forces
- The defeat of the Ottoman Empire from the First World War.
- Discharge of the Turkish Army in accordance with the Mondros Armistice Agreement.
- The government of Damat Ferid Pasha does not take any initiative or activity other than advocating moderation and remaining a spectator to the invasions.
- The occupation of Izmir by the Greeks and Greek atrocities.
- The Allied Powers' invasion of Anatolia, which remained defenseless, by unilaterally applying the provisions of the Mondros Armistice Agreement.
- The persecution of the occupiers to the people.
- The failure of the Ottoman government to protect the life and property of the Turkish people.
- Nationalist and patriotic consciousness of the people.
- The desire of the people to attain their independence, their flag, sovereignty and freedom by protecting their nation.
- People's desire to live freely.
Benefits and features
- They became the first armed resistance force of the National Struggle.
- They are regional movements that started upon the occupation of Anatolia after the Mondros Armistice Agreement.
- Relationship between the Kuvâ-yi Milliye troops was low and they tried to save their regions. They are not connected to a single center.
- The soldiers demobilized by the Mondros Armistice also participated in this movement.
- It caused damage to the occupying forces.
- It has saved time for the regular army.
- It was the last hope of the people under occupation.
The reasons for its breakup
- Not knowing military technique well enough, struggling in a scattered and irregular way.
- Lack of strength to stop regular enemy armies.
- Their inability to stop the occupations for sure.
- To punish those they deem guilty by acting against the rule of law.
- To want Anatolia to be freed from the invasions.
During the transition to the regular army, some National Forces rebelled. The Demirci Mehmet Efe Uprising was suppressed before the First İnönü Battle, and the Çerkez Ethem Uprising after the First İnönü War.