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Sheikh Said executed on 29 June 1925

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Sheikh Said executed on 29 June 1925

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:44 pm

Sheikh Said and 47 of his men
Executed by Turkish State 29 June 1925

It has been 95 years since the death of Sheikh Said and 47 fighters. They were executed in Diyarbakır Dağkapı Square on 29 June 1925


The Sheikh Said Rebellion (Kurdish: Serhildana Şêx Seîdê Pîranî‎, Turkish: Şeyh Said İsyanı) or Genç Incident (Turkish: Genç Hâdisesi) was a Kurdish rebellion aimed at reviving the Islamic caliphate and sultanate. It used elements of Kurdish nationalism to recruit. It was led by Sheikh Said and a group of former Ottoman soldiers also known as the Hamidiye regiments. The rebellion was carried out by two Kurdish sub-groups, the Zaza and the Kurmanji.

In Turkey there existed a strong anti-Kurdish policy in the first years of the Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, in his speech in Eskisehir on 14 January 1923 about the Mosul-Kirkuk area also addressed the Kurdish issue and said: ‘'the second issue is the problem of Kurdishness. The British want to establish a Kurdish state there (in Northern Iraq). If they do, this thought spreads to the Kurds within our borders. To prevent this, we need to cross the border South.'’ During and after Lausanne, the British spokesmen made remarks about this.

In the report he sent to London on 28 November 1919; "Even though we don't trust the Kurds, it is our interests to use them," he said. British Prime Minister Lloyd George, on 19 May 1920 at the San Remo Conference "the Kurds can not survive without a large state behind them," he says, for the British policy towards the region said: "A new protective admission to all Kurds accustomed to the Turkish administration It will be difficult to bring the British interests to Mosul, where the Kurds live in the mountainous regions and Southern Kurdistan in which they live. It is thought that the region of Mosul could be separated from other parts and connected to a new independent Kurdistan State. However, it would be very difficult to resolve this issue by agreement.

Mosul dispute between the UK and Turkey in Lausanne conference dealt with the bilateral talks, this does not happen it was decided to have recourse to the subject of the League of Nations. On 19 May 1924, the results of the negotiations in Istanbul could not be reached and Britain took the issue on 6 August 1924 to the League of Nations. The Sheikh Sait uprising emerged during the days when British occupation forces declared martial law in northern Iraq, removed their officer's permits, and carried their troops to Mosul. In those days, the Colon of Ministers was increasingly under scrutiny, and a powerful British fleet was moving to Basra.

The Azadî forces were dominated by the former members of the late Ottoman era Hamidiye regiments, a Kurdish tribal militia established during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II to deal with the Armenians, and sometimes even to keep the Qizilbash under control. According to various historians, the main reason the revolt took place was that various elements of the Turkish society were unhappy with the Turkish Parliament's abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate on 3 March 1924.

According to British intelligence reports, the Azadî officers had 11 grievances. Apart from Kurdish cultural demands and complaints of Turkish maltreatment, this list also detailed fears of imminent mass deportations of Kurds. They also registered annoyance that the name Kurdistan did not appear on maps, at restrictions on the Kurdish language and on Kurdish education and objections to alleged Turkish economic exploitation of Kurdish areas, at the expense of Kurds.

Sheikh Said appealed to all to join in the rebellion being planned. The tribes which actually participated were mostly Zazas. However the Xormak and Herkî, two Zaza-Qizilbash tribes were the most active and effective opponents of this rebellion. Mindful of the depredations of the Hamidiye against them (especially the Hamidiye commanded by Xalid Beg Cîbran), other Alevi tribes also refused to join the rebellion.

In one of the bigger engagements, in the night of 6–7 March, the forces of Sheikh Said laid siege to the city of Diyarbakır with 5,000–10,000 men. The Muslim Revivalists attacked the city at all four gates simultaneously. All of their attacks were repelled by the numerically inferior Turkish garrison, with the use of machine gun fire and mortar grenades. When the rebels retreated the next morning, the area around the city was full of dead bodies. When a second wave of attacks failed, the siege was finally lifted on 11 March.

By the end of March, most of the major battles of the Sheikh Said rebellion were over. The rebels were unable to penetrate beyond Hınıs, this was one of the two major areas where Sheikh Said was well known and he enjoyed considerable influence there (he had a tekke in Hınıs). This failure excluded the possibility of extending the rebellion.

The main part of the uprising was over by the end of March, as the Turkish authorities, according to Martin van Bruinessen, crushed the rebellion with continual aerial bombardments and a massive concentration of forces.

During this rebellion, the Turkish government used its airplanes for bombing raids in Palu-Bingöl area. In the course of this operation, the airfield near Elâzığ road was used.

However, according to the British Air Ministry there are few reports on the use of Turkish airplanes in suppressing the Sheikh Said rebellion. The reports originate from the British Air Command at Mosul, which was in charge of intelligence for all of Iraq.

At the beginning of the rebellion the Turks had one squadron consisting of seven airplanes. Of these only 2 were serviceable. Later four more arrived. The Turkish Air Force deployed a total of 11 airplanes against the rebellion, however, only 6 were serviceable.

Turkish soldiers encircling Palu, Çapakçur (present-day: Bingöl), Genc (present-day: Kaleköy, Solhan), Piran, Hani, Lice, Ergani, Egiland Silvan, Cumhuriyet Newspaper, 30 March 1925.

The people of Sheikh Said clashed with a gendarme platoon in the village of Dicle, Diyarbakir Province on 13 February 1925, which sparked a widespread uprising that would soon expand. Sheikh Said, who had taken the governor and the other officers captive by pressing Darahini (16 February), tried to gather the movement under a single center with a declaration urging the people to rise up in the name of Islam. In this statement, he used his seal which means 'the leader of the fighters for the sake of religion' and called everyone to fight for the sake of the Kurdish independence movement.

After receiving the support of the tribes of Mistan, Botan and Mhallami, he headed to Diyarbakır via Genç and Çapakçur (today known as Bingöl) and captured Maden, Siverek and Ergani. Another uprising, directed by Sheikh Abdullah, also moved towards Muş via Varto. The rebellion force which had taken over the Varto, even if they moved through Muş on later, they did beaten by militia force around Murat bridge and made them to retreat to Varto.

On 21 February, the government declared martial law in the eastern provinces. Army troops sent to the insurgents on 23 February were forced to retreat to Diyarbakir in the Winter Plain against the Sheikh Said forces. The next day, another uprising under the leadership of Sheikh Sharif, who entered Elazığ, kept the city under control for a short time. Elazığ was looted by rebels for several days.

At the beginning of March, a force of about 10,000 people under the command of Sheikh Saeed attacked and besieged Diyarbakir. The ones who siege were getting supplied continuously and the siege were led by Sheikh Said himself. The garrison under Mürsel Pasha succeeded in pushing back the attacks that had lasted for days.

One night, with the help of the Kurdish residents, a group was able to enter into Diyarbakır. Their assets were spotted by the garrison. After a heavy collision between 7–8 March, the group was defeated in the city and only a few were able to escape. Sheikh Said, who saw the siege failing, lifted the siege and pulled his men out of Diyarbakir.

Prior to Sheikh Said's rebellion, the prominent Pashas of the War of Independence worried about the anti-religious and totalitarian policy of Atatürk's government and therefore on 17 November 1924, the Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası (TCF), the first opposition party in the history of the Republic was established.[26][27] There was a general consensus that Atatürk's actions were against religion. In the TCF’s article which led by Kazım Karabekir it says that "The political party is respectful to the religious beliefs and thoughts". One of the TCF officials, Fethi Bey, said "The members of the TCF are religious. CHF is messing up with the religion, we will save the religion and protect it".

Two weeks before the Sheikh Said incident, in late January 1925, the TCF Erzurum deputy Ziyaeddin Efendi, with heavy criticism of the actions of the ruling CHF in the chair of the Grand National Assembly; that innovation is nothing more than isret (getting drunk), dance, beach mischief, prostitution increased, Muslim women are losing their decency, getting drunk is being encouraged but most important of all, the religious emotions are getting dishonored and this new regime that brings nothing more than filth and dragged the country into the mud".

On 13 February 1925, Sheikh Said addressed the people in his sermon in the Piran mosque:

The madrasahs were closed. The Ministry of Religion and Foundations was abolished and the schools of religion were connected to the National Education. In the newspapers, a number of irreligious writers dare to insult the Prophet and extend the language of our Prophet. If I can do it today, I will start fighting myself and try to raise religion.

Sheikh Said, by the way, issued various declarations against the people with the signature of "Emir’ül Mücahidin Muhammed Said El-Nakşibendi". In addition, the Alevi Zaza tribal chiefs sent letters to the Alevi Zaza tribal chiefs, to the Kurdish bey, the network and the tribal leaders and the Turkish gentlemen and aghas in Ergani with the same signatures and invited them to join in a common struggle against the Kemalist rule. In one of the published statements,

"Since the day it was founded, Head of the Republic of Turkey and his friends trying to destroy the foundations of Islam by acting oppose to the Quran, denying Allah and the Prophet and exiling the caliph of Islam now demolishing this illegitimate regime a must to do for all Muslims and is legit according to the Sharia of Muhammed".

Also, in a letter which Sheikh Said sent to the Alevi Zaza tribal leaders Halil, Veli and Haydar in Varto it is written that:

"In the name of Saving the Islam from the heretic Mustafa Kemal’s hands, started to marching to the Susar. For this jihad, i strongly believe that your tribe which has bravery and zeal will come into aid regardless to sects, it is a duty for every Muslim who says 'Lailahe illallah Muhammedün Resulüllah'. O' Eyyühel-Ensar, let us save our religion and honor from these heretics and we will give your tribe the lands that you want. This heretic government will make us heretic like themselves. Jihad must start."[32]

On the other hand, Hasan Hayri Efendi, who was Dersim Deputy and Alevi Zaza, entered into solidarity with Sheikh Sharif, appointed by Sheikh Said as Commander of the Elaziz Front. A joint letter with Sheikh Sharif in Elaziz was sent to all the tribal leaders of Dersim on 6 March 1925.

In the Fall of 1927, Sheikh Abdurrahman, the brother of Sheikh Said, began a series of revenge attacks on Turkish garrisons in Palu and Malatya. In August 1928 Sheikh Abdurrahman and another brother of Sheikh Said, Sheikh Mehdi, turned themselves in and made use of the amnesty law issued by the Turkish Government in May of the same year.
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Sheikh Said executed on 29 June 1925



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