Today’s Eskişehir province was known in the Ancient and Middle Ages with the Greek name Dorylaion and Latin Dorylaeum. Dorylaion was a Phrygian city, rich in trade, famous for its hot springs at the junction of major roads in ancient sources. Dorylaion – Sharhoyuk played a major role in the protection of Byzantium against the Seljuks, but in 1176 the Seljuk Sultan II. After defeating the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos of Kılıçaslan, the city came under the rule of the Seljuks. After that, a new settlement was established in the south of the ruin near Dorylaion-Sharhoyuk, which had been destroyed and abandoned for a long time. According to W. M. Ramsay, the ruins of Dorylaion were probably called Eskişehir since then.
Eskişehir has been at an important commercial, economic and strategic point in every period of history. It has wide and fertile plains and natural roads cutting Anatolia in the west, east and north south directions. Because of the military and commercial importance of these roads, people always migrated to the region and many wars took place there.
The Ottoman Empire was defeated with its allies in the First World War and this defeat was registered on the international platform with the Armistice Agreement signed on 30 October 1918. This was the end of a great state. It was the beginning of the Republic of Turkey too. At the beginning of the 20th century, Eskişehir was an independent region with a large population. Agriculture was an important part of Eskişehir’s life in those days just like now. In the 1890s, the railroad to Eskişehir was developed and Eskişehir became an intersection point of the railways coming from the west, east and south. Founded in 1892, Cer Atolyesi was an important organization for the maintenance and repair of railway and railway vehicles. The railway revived Eskişehir’s trade and made it an important strategic point in terms of military as well as trade. One of the provisos of the Mondros Armistice is also; They could occupy important points of the Entente States within the borders of the Ottoman Empire for security reasons. Based on this article, the British forces went to Istanbul on 13 November 1918 without any resistance and started to occupy the places that they deem important along the Istanbul Baghdad railway line. And in late January 1919, they occupied Eskişehir. A British troop with 520 people established their headquarters around Eskişehir Station.
The occupation was met with hatred by the people of Eskişehir and demonstrations began to be held. A rally was held in Eskişehir on May 17, 1919, condemning the Greek occupation of İzmir. After this rally, the resistance against the invaders became more organized and strengthened. Eskişehir intellectuals started the resistance. At that time, Ali Fuat Pasha and Çerkez Ethem, the Commander of the 20th Corps, supported the organization of the Kuvayı Milliye and the resistance of intellectuals from Eskişehir. Ali Fuat Pasha also appointed cavalry lieutenant Atıf Bey to the Eskişehir District Command. Atıf Bey was also known for his views against the administration. Atıf Bey was aware that Eskişehir is at an important strategic point because of the railway. The Sivas Congress, held on 4 September 1919, was also an indication that an uprising and a resistance began in an organized way. Three delegates from Eskişehir attended this congress. These were; Bayraktarzade Hüseyin Bey, (Akbaşlı) Hüsrev Sami, (Kızıldoğan) Siyahizade Halil İbrahim Bey. There was no financial resources to print the minutes of the Congress, and for printing, the Eskişehir delegate Bayraktarzade Hüseyin Bey donated 200 Ottoman Gold and this was the honor of Eskişehir and Eskişehir people.
In the meantime, the British forces to attack the forces of the Kuvayı Milliye began to stack up in Eskisehir. Ali Fuat Pasha came to Sivrihisar from Ankara on 13 September 1919. On September 20, he issued a statement in the capacity of the National Commander of the Western Anatolian Forces, asking local authorities in Eskişehir not to listen to the orders of the Istanbul Government. At that time there was a British occupation force in Kütahya. A platoon under the command of İsmail Hakkı Bey went to Kütahya and allowed the British forces to retreat to Eskişehir. After the British forces in Kütahya retreated to Eskişehir, Turkish troops destroyed the Alayunt bridge on the Eskişehir-Kütahya Railway and prevented the British from coming back to Kütahya. The Hürriyet and Entente Government in Eskişehir disturbed the supporters, and the Eskişehir administration asked the British for help, but the British did not support it, saying that these conflicts were the internal problem of the Ottoman Empire.
On October 1, 1919, the government of Damat Ferit resigned. A new government was formed. The head of the government was Ali Rıza Bey. Kuvay-ı Milliye made a lot of requests from the new government and imposed these requests. On 16 March 1920, the Chamber of Deputies was dissolved, on 11 April it was officially closed and the Ottoman Empire was left without a government. On 17 March 1920, with the 143rd Regiment, he regained the railroad between Ankara and Eskişehir and provided control. Resisting British soldiers and officers were also arrested. On 20 March 1920, Mahmut Bey, deputy commander of the 20th Corps, commanding the National Regiment, issued a warning to the occupation forces in Eskisehir and asked them to leave Eskisehir within the hour. On the same day, the British forces left Eskişehir, leaving a large number of tools, equipment and ammunition.
Greek forces attacked Kütahya and Eskişehir via Uşak and Bursa and occupied Eskişehir on 20 July 1921. Turkish Western Front forces retreated to Çifteler. The situation turned completely against the Turkish forces. To come up with the occupation forces near Ankara has caused discomfort in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. National Defense Minister Fevzi Pasha wanted to leave Ankara and move to Kayseri. However, the Turkish Parliament decided not to leave Ankara and on 5 August 1921 Mustafa Kemal became the Commander-in-Chief with parliamentary powers. The Greek Army attacked the Turkish positions on August 13th after great preparations. The next chapter is chronologically day by day:
August 1, 1921: Sivrihisar was occupied.
August 21, 1921: Greek Army crosses south of Sakarya River. Papulas, the commander of the occupation army, wanted the Western Front positions to be attacked and the front to be split in two places. Turkish troops retreated, leaving some soldiers on Mount Mangal.
August 24, 1921: Greeks seize Mount Mangal
August 25, 1921: Greek attack was prevented. However, Greek forces had spread over a large area.
August 30, 1921: Greek troops launch a new attack. They suffered great losses in the clashes that lasted for five days and they could hardly capture Mount Çal.
September 4, 1921: Greek commander Papulas, in a report to the war minister, stated that it was impossible to move as far as Ankara.
September 6, 1921: Mustafa Kemal, Fevzi Pasha (Çakmak) and İsmet Pasha agreed that the Greek forces had lost power.
September 7, 1921: Reconnaissance attacks were conducted and good results were achieved.
September 10, 1921: Turkish forces decided to attack Dua Tepe and captured Dua Tepe. The Greeks fell back to Beylikköprü.
September 12, 1921: Kartaltepe and Beştepe were captured
September 13, 1921: Greek troops moved completely to the west of Sakarya.
September 14, 1921: The Mürettep Cavalry Division, following the Greeks, entered Sivrihisar.
September 17, 1921: Turkish Corps began to embrace the Greeks from the south. Papulas planned to retreat to Eskisehir.
September 20, 1921: Turkish troops moved to the west of Sakarya because of insufficient ammunition.
September 23, 1921: Greek troops retreated to Eskisehir. It was supported by new forces and ammunition. The Greek occupation, which could end in late September 1921, was extended by a year due to lack of supplies and ammunition. Meanwhile, the Greeks continued their search for political support in Europe. But powerful states such as England and France had seen the end of the war. The then French Prime Minister Briand proposed that the Greeks make peace with the Turks as soon as possible. British Prime Minister Lloyd George had begun to say that the spirit of Sevres should be abandoned as soon as possible. During the spring of 1922, both Turkish and Greek troops made preparations for mutual attacks. Haji Anesti was the head of the Greek Army.
August 22, 1922: Mustafa Kemal ordered the completion of all preparations within 15 days.
July 24, 1922: Greeks embark on an operation to occupy Istanbul.
August 26, 1922: The Great Offensive began.
August 30, 1922: The Great Offensive ends.
September 1, 1922: Seyitgazi recovered from enemy occupation.
With the offensive of the Turkish Army on 26 August 1922, on 2 September 1922, Eskişehir recovered from the enemy occupation. However, as the invaders retreated, they burned and destroyed the ruined city.
In summary, three of the five important battles of the Independence War took place in Eskişehir. TBMM that directed by Atatürk won the first victory in the territory of Eskişehir with the Battle of İnönü. This victory set an example for the oppressed peoples. Eskişehir was one of the key points of the National War of Independence. And in the war, it was materially and morally worn out. After the liberation, a burned and destroyed city remained, but the determination of the rulers and the people to revive the city was not destroyed. As Mustafa Kemal Atatürk emphasized in his speech at the Government House on January 15, 1923, Eskişehir made a great contribution to the victory. For this reason, Mustafa Kemal Pasha was closely involved in the development of the city. With the investments made during the Republican period, a modern city was tried to be created in a short time.