ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Rachel Sımon

Keywords: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1908 Visit, 1911-12 Turkish-Italian War, Derna, Enver Bey


Mustafa Kemal's role during the Turkish - Italian war (1911-12) is well known; He was the commander of the front near Derna, in 'Ain al - Mansur. Enver Bey, who was the commander of the whole of Cyrenaica, stayed at the same camp. In the Presidential Archives in Ankara there are documents written by Mustafa Kemal during the war. In addition, there appeared contemporary journalistic descriptions and photographs of the Derna front. Later on, quite a few people described Mustafa Kemal's role there and his confrontations with Enver Bey. The area and its problems were not new to him. Mustafa Kemal's first visit to Libya was a short one and had more than a military aspect. He was sent there by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) at the end of September 1908, to investigate the reasons for political and military insubordination in Libya and was ordered to strengthen the Young Turks' status there. The descriptions of this visit are based to a great extent on Mustafa Kemal's memoires as published posthumously. Contemporary documents shed new light on his mission. Their authors were impressed by the character of this, to them yet unknown, young officer: they were aware of some of his virtues and realized the great future in store of him.