Erzurum Congress (1919)
ERZURUM CONGRESS (1919)
Congress called to assert the integrity of the Ottoman state, 1919.
Named for the city in which it was held, the congress was called immediately after the Ottoman Empire had been on the losing side of World War I; the empire was to be dismembered. It was feared that the local area around Erzurum would become part of an Armenian state. The congress declared the nationalists' intention of defending the sultanate/caliphate against foreign occupiers and appealed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's principles of national self-determination. Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) was elected chairman of the congress, and although the Istanbul government declared the congress illegal, ordering his arrest, he escaped. It was here that he made his first declaration of principles that would guide his war to unite Turkey as an independent nation.
See also AtatÜrk, Mustafa Kemal; Wilson, Woodrow.