Continuity Between Committee of Union and Progress and Kemalist Regime: Role of Karakol

By Evren Altinkas
Submitted to Session S6258 (Global Academy Event and Fellows Panel, 2020 Annual Meeting
19th-21st Centuries;
Karakol was established in October 1918. It emerged as a secret security and resistance group among the members of the dissolved Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and eventually turned into a secret organization that supported the War of Independence that started in Anatolia after a while. Karakol carried out its activities in secrecy and meticulousness. Its branches performed independently and were organized according to the seven-person cell system. The cadres of the troops in Anatolia and around Istanbul have been replenished, neighborhood organizations have been built in the occupied areas, civilian gangs have been set up to protect the Turkish element and to communicate with Anatolia, a smuggling division was established for the passage of weapons in Istanbul and an intelligence division was established to learn the decisions of occupying powers and share this information with the center of resistance in Anatolia. Karakol played an important role in the appointment of Mustafa Kemal as the Inspector of the Ninth Army Troops Inspectorate to reorganize the remaining Ottoman military units and to improve security in Anatolia. There were ongoing concerns about former CUP members in Istanbul, however, Karakol and their connections helped Mustafa Kemal to have a secure assignment without the interference of occupying powers. The bureaucratic-military connections and network of CUP were used by Karakol to organize the national resistance, smuggle arms, and gather information against the occupying forces and collaborators (e.g. Istanbul government, Anglophile Society, etc.). This has been a crucial point for the success of Mustafa Kemal and the national resistance movement and the establishment of the modern Turkish Republic afterward.