Officer, statesman and politician. (B. 12 January 1876, Istanbul – D. 10 April 1950, Istanbul). His real name is Mustafa Fevzi and he is also known as Fevzi Pasha, Müşir Fevzi and Marshall Çakmak. His father is Tophane clerk Miralay Ali Sırrı Bey of Çakmakoğulları and his mother is the daughter of Varnalı Müftü Hacı Beki Efendi, Hasene Hanım. He started his primary education in Rumelikavağı Community College. After studying in Soğukçeşme Military Secondary School and Kuleli Military High School he entered Turkish Military Academy (1893). Meanwhile he learnt from his grandfather Hacı Bekir Efendi Arabic, Persian and fiqh (Islamic law). His nickname Fevzi was given to him by his grandfather who made him interested in Sufism. After graduation from the Academy, he was taken into staff officer class and joined the army as staff captain in 1898. After spending the practical period in the headquarters he was assigned to staff officer to XVIII. Regular Army Legion, which was located in Mitrovice in Kosovo (1899).
He stayed in Rumeli for fourteen years in the period when the Balkans had their most complicated state. He promoted before his friends upon his success. In 1901 he became a Kolağası (T.N. It is an Ottoman rank between Captain and Major), in 1902 a major and in 1907 a colonel at the age of thirty-seven. In 1909 his rank was reduced to major according to the law regulating ranks in the Ottoman army, but in 1910 he promoted to lieutenant colonel. By the Unionists who came to power after the second constitutional period (1908) he was elected to the secret council of boards of Mitrovice branch of the Party of Union and Progress. However he always stayed away from politics because he never liked politics and was loyal to his duty. Upon the start of the Balkan War (1912-13) he was assigned to the assistance of XXI. Division’s command in Yakova and later to the Directorate of Vardar Army Command Branch of Operations (29th September 1912). After the end of the Balkan War, he was assigned to the command of Ankara Aged Soldiers Battalion (2nd August 1913) and following to the command of II. Division (6th November 1913). On the 24th of November 1913 he again promoted to colonel rank and was assigned to the command of Ankara V. Corps (22nd December 1913). On the 2nd of March 1915 he promoted to brigadier general rank and joined the First World War with his army in Çanakkale front. When the Commander of Suvla Bay Mustafa Kemal became sick, he took this duty aside from his duty as the commander of corps (December 1915). He continued this duty until the retreat of enemy forces from this front.
After the closure of Çanakkale front he was assigned to the Command of II. Caucasian Corps (17th September 1916), then to the Command of II. Army in Diyarbakır (5th July 1917). Meanwhile he stopped the Russian attack coming from the Caucasian front and made the Russian plan fail to reach Iskenderun and Persian Gulfs. When Mustafa Kemal left it, he was assigned to the Command of VII. Army in order to stop the English forces which were attacking from the Channel front (October 1917).Upon his success in Palestine and Sharia against the English he was promoted to lieutenant general rank (1918).Then he became sick and returned to Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal was assigned to his place (7th August 1918).
After the Mondros Agreement was signed (30th October 1918) Fevzi Pasha was assigned to the Command of Armed Forces (24th December 1918). During this duty he seemed to obey the rules of the agreement, but he prevented the enemy to take control of numerous ammunition and weapons. He enabled through various ways that the military materials stayed in Anatolia or were sent there. The English who suspected Fevzi Pasha applied pressure to the Ottoman government and made him assign to the Inspection of I. Army. However he did not accept this duty.
Fevzi Pasha was assigned to Inspection of I. Army after being taken from the Command of Armed Forces. He was sent to Sivas with an advisory board when relations between the Representation Council founded under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal in Sivas and the Ottoman government in Istanbul were about to end (13th November 1919). After returning from Sivas he was assigned to Membership of Military Council (December 1919). Later he was assigned to the Ministry of Defense (3rd February 1920). He did not recognize the decisions of Paris Peace Conference on Turkey. Meanwhile he accelerated his works to move weapons, ammunition and people from Istanbul to Ankara. He gave his all to strengthen the national forces in Anatolia and informed Mustafa Kemal about all developments. Finally when the English started to invade Istanbul Fevzi Pasha was discharged of his duty by the enemy forces (16th March 1920).
Fevzi Pasha who realized that he could not do much in Istanbul any more secretly moved to Ankara from his house in Beykoz. They tried to catch him by taking measures on his way. But he could reach Ankara in spite of all these obstacles. Members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey who were in a meeting decided to welcome Fevzi Pasha together and they did it. Fevzi Pasha’s arrival to Ankara and his speech in the Assembly were submitted to the whole country and military troops in a circular note.
Fevzi Pasha was elected to the Ministerial Cabinet and Ministry of National Defense by the Assembly to whom he participated as Parliament Member of Kozan. The Cabinet Council chose him as president. He made great services during this duty especially in order to establish a regular army. Fevzi Pasha, after the victory of II. İnönü War, left this position as he was assigned to Command of Armed Forces instead of İsmet Bey (İnönü) (5th August 1921). He also made great services for the victory of Sakarya. Plans of High-Command Battle which made the Greek army defeat were prepared by Fevzi Pasha. He was granted the rank of Marshall by the Assembly upon the suggestion of Mustafa Kemal on the 31st of August 1922.
Fevzi Pasha who was a parliament member from Kozan and Istanbul twice, preferred the military when on the 30th of October 1924 parliament members with a military background were asked to choose between politics or military. Leaving his parliament membership of Istanbul he continued the duty of the command of armed forces until his retirement in 1944. Fevzi Pasha also played a great role in the election of İsmet İnönü as president after the death of Atatürk. However, Fevzi Çakmak, who severely opposed entering the II. World War, prepared the army for it.
He did not accept suggestions of the President İsmet İnönü about joining Cumhuriyet Halk Party (CHP) and being a parliament member. Because of his resentment towards CHP he supported Demokrat Party (DP) which was established against it. He was elected as a Parliament Member from Istanbul from the list of this party as an independent candidate on the 21st of July 1946. After a while he came into disagreement with the party leaders and left DP (12th July 1947). He was one of the founder members of Millet Party (20th July 1948) and was elected as the honorary president of this party.
When Fevzi Çakmak passed away in Teşvikiye Nursing Home the government did not declare national mourning which made the people show reaction against CHP. After the prayer in Beyazıt Mosque a crowd consisting mainly of students carried his corpse until Eyüp Sultan cemetery to where he was inhumed. This great interest shown by people to Fevzi Çakmak’s funeral was interpreted as the first resistance action against CHP and an important political defeat of İsmet İnönü.
Fevzi Çakmak was always loved and respected during his military career as a hard-working, humble, resolute, solid and religiously devoted commander. His biggest pleasure was reading books and he had a wide general knowledge. Especially history, literature and sociology were very important for him. He could speak French, English, Arabic, Persian and some Balkan languages. He did not enjoy daily politics. He defended that the army should be out of political disputes. Fevzi Pasha who claimed that the major reason of Balkan defeat was the involvement of the military to the politics always kept the military distanced from politics.
Fevzi Pasha published his conferences in War Academy as a book in 1927. This work which is completely based on his researches and statements analyzes the Balkan disasters in terms of politics, society and military. Besides he also published his observations and researches concerning the years in which he was in the Eastern front. His unsophisticated works which are not written to praise himself are successful samples of our war literature. Memories of Fevzi Pasha are quite voluminous and are in hands of his family, unpublished. He was awarded with numerous merits, royalties, war medals and naturally war of independence medal.
Garbî Rumeli’nin Suret-i Ziyâ ve Balkan Harbinde Garp Cephesi Hakkında Konferanslar (1927), Büyük Harb’de Şark Cephesi Harekatı (1936).