18 August 2003, 20:47

Southwest Caucasus Democratic Republic

Southwest Caucasus Democratic Republic

Proclaimed in the city of Kars by the pro-Turkish National Council of the Southwest Caucasus, on December 01, 1918, after the Turkish troops had left the area they had occupied in Transcaucasia during the German-Turkish intervention. The republic was to include the mostly Muslim-inhabited regions of Kars and Batumi; part of the Erivan (Yerevan) district of the Erivan province; and the Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki districts of the Tiflis province; however, the republic was actually confined to the Kars province. It existed alongside with the English general governorship created during the Entente's intervention in Transcaucasia.

In January 1919, the republic sees democratic elections leading to the formation of the republican parliament on January 14, elected at a ratio of one deputy per 10,000 voters. Mahmud-bey Efendiev, consul of the Azerbaijan Republic in Batumi, reported to Baku that the Kars parliament worked in contact with the English general governorship in Kars. The republican parliament consisted of 64 people, including 60 Muslims, three Greeks, and one Molokan. Asad-bey Gajiev, a physician, was elected chairman of the parliament. On March 27, the parliament approved the new government:

1. Ibrahim-bey Jangirov, a former army officer, was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers;

2. Hasan-bey Jangirov, the prime minister's brother and a former army officer as well, Military Minister;

3. Riza-bey, a native of the Kagyzman sanjak (province), Minister of Interior;

4. Fahraddin-bey, a lawyer, Minister of Foreign Affairs;

5. Mamed-bey Sultanov, Minister of Finance;

6. Ahmed-bey Gajiev, Minister of Communications;

7. Molla Velam, a merchant, Minister of Agriculture;

8. Abbas Ali-bey Alibekov, Minister of Justice;

9. Muganlinsky, a physician, Minister of Care;

10. Andrianov, Minister of Education;

11. Yusuf Yusufov, Minister of Food.

From the first days, republican armed troops had to combat heavily with forces of the Armenian Republic and the Georgian Democratic Republic, unwilling to cede some territories that entered the republic.

The English interventionists were not able to stop ethnic conflicts in Transcaucasia; instead, afraid of the reinforcement of pan-Turkism in this region, on April 12, 1919, they broke up the meeting of the Kars parliament, arresting 30 parliamentarians and government members. Those arrested were first deported to Batum, but it soon became known that the English military government exiled eleven of them to Malta as hostages. As for the Kars province, the English soon placed it under Armenia's rule.

On March 16, 1921, the Treaty on Friendship and Brotherhood between Soviet Russia and Turkey was signed. According to this treaty, the city of Kars and the districts adjacent to it passed to Turkey.

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