59-The secret unions in Constantinople

The secret unions in Constantinople and some of their leaders were all relying on foreigners

The secret unions in Constantinople and some of their leaders were all relying on foreigners. This is likewise shown in the letter from Djemal Pasha, Minister of War.

Thanks to the extensive support from, and the supineness and absolute indifference of Ali Riza s Cabinet, they worked energetically and unceasingly to plunge the country, from one end to the other, into blood and flames.

However, we had not left the Cabinet in the dark regarding the news and documents that were in our possession. A number of doc uments which our organisations had succeeded in obtaining in Con stantinople were handed over in their original condition to Djemal Pasha and the Grand Vizier.

As these documents had already been brought to the notice of the foreign representatives and, consequently, were known to most of the Entente Powers, and as extracts were also sent to all of the military commanders and all others concerned, I do not see why I should 25*

hesitate to bring them to your knowledge and to that of the nation, now that this incident is a matter of history.

I think that I ought to read these documents to you verbatim, so that they will give you a clear idea of the difficulties, visible and invisible, to which we were exposed during the course of the national struggle. They will also serve as an education and an example to coming generations.

These documents are copies of the letters that Said Molla, known as the chairman of the “League of the Friends of England,” wrote to Mr. Frew, the reverend gentleman who was an English clergyman.

The authenticity of these documents is unquestioned, although Said Molla, when he heard that copies had been made of this correspondence, tried to contest their genuineness in a long and violent dementi, which was published in the Turkish edition of the “StambuT on the gtfc November, 1919. The copies of these letters were made inside Molla s own house, and were taken down word for word in a note book.

But apart from this, the contents of these letters agree in their minutest details with the events as they happened at that time, as well as with the doings of the persons they refer to as has been borne out in another quarter.

With your permission, I shall now proceed to read these letters, which are arranged according to their dates.

Dear Friend,

I have sent the 2,000 that I have received to Hikmet Bey at Ada Basar. Our affairs there are going on very well. You will see the good results in a few days.

I hasten to send you the following information which I have received. I shall give you further details to-morrow morning when I see you. Our agent 285/3 tells us in a letter he sent by a special courier from Angora that the national troops show an inclination towards France and that the officers sent by General Franchet d Esperey to Sivas, after having had a conversation with Mustapha Kemal Pasha, are taking certain steps against the English Govern ment.

Although D. B. Q. 91/3 is a member of our league, I am convinced that he is spying for France, and he tells everyone that you are the president of our society. In spite of your favourable opinion of him and the confidence you put in him, what I tell you in this particular case will show how mistaken you have been in believing all this time in this man.

Yesterday I called on his Highness Damad Fend Pasha and Aadil Bey. I told them on your behalf that we mnst have a little more patience yet. His Highness thanks you and declares that the national forces have taken root throughout Anatolia; that he, being unable to come into the Government until the confounded leaders of this movement are knocked down by a counter-stroke, does not see any possibility of upholding the terms of the agreement concerning the Peace Conference which had been approved of by His Imperial Majesty. He urgently recommends that something else should be done by His Britannic Majesty s Government to disperse the national troops and that a Joint Note should be presented to the Sublime Porte before the elections for the Chamber take place. He also urges that greater energy should be employed in carrying out our aim^ by stirring up bands to commit acts of violence and extortion against the Greeks at Ada Basar, Karadsha Bey and Shile, which will all be attributed to the national troops, who will then be accused of dis turbing public order; also to provoke a campaign in the English Press against these troops, and give instructions by wireless concerning the questions which we discussed yesterday with E. B. K. 19/2, who had been sent expressly in a torpedo-boat.

To-night, at eleven o clock, Aadil Bey will see you personally at K. and will tell you certain personal requests made by Fend Pasha. Afterwards His Majesty will be able to talk to Mr. T. R. Do not trust Refik Bey any longer. Saadik Bey will also be able to work in company with us. With the expression of my esteem, ii t& October, 1919. Said.

P.S. We have not received any news yet from Karadsha Bey and Boskir.

Second letter.

From a letter that T. B.D. 285/3 sent on the 12** from Angora, it can be seen that Vassif Bey, a retired colonel on the General Staff and a member of the Representative Committee at Sivas, will be sent to get into touch with d Esperey and that he will leave in a few days.

Hikmet Bey has received the money. He is asking for some more.

When I saw you the other day I forgot to tell you that I am being followed. When I came back after seeing you, I noticed two men who were waiting for me at the corner of the street; one had a fair moustache and the other was of dark complexion and had no mous tache. As it was night, I felt rather anxious. I heard them say in a whisper: “This is Said Molla. We can go away now.” I feel that these frequent meetings will be dangerous for me. We shall be able to see more of one another when you are living in Fuad Pasha s house in the neighbourhood of the Turba (tomb) we have spoken about. Nassim Pasha has heard about our organisation; he was apparently very angry that he had not been told about it before. Assuming that you will agree, I have registered him under section N.B.S. 495/1. Until the question of a house has been arranged he will keep in touch with me.

The 1,200 that was sent to N.B.D. 298/3 at Karadsha Bey has been received. He will go. Fend Pasha is waiting impatiently for the Note to be given to the Sublime Porte.

His Imperial Majesty is very unhappy about the present state of affairs. It will be to our advantage if you can send him consolation and encouragement in an indirect way.

Do not forget that our Sovereign is showing weakness about everything.

Said Abdul Kaadir Effendi has given very strange accounts about the affair in question. His colleagues seem to say that this is not compatible with his patriotism.

It rests with you to do what is necessary. The rumour has been circulated that Nureddin Bey, Director of Police, has been dismissed. Will you draw the attention of the authorities to this man, who is a protector of all of us. I send you my esteem.

18 th October, 1919. Said.

P.S. Ali Kemal Bey has been talking to this person. Being clumsy in saying what he wants to, I am told that the man he was talking to easily saw through him and answered disdainfully: “We can see that you are working for the English.”

Third Letter.

The party belonging toEssad Pasha, the occulist, and in particular Tshuruk Sulu Mahmud Pasha, have your propaganda continually denied by referring to official documents and try to allay the excitement of the people. I beg you to let the person we were talking about yesterday be ordered by His Majesty not to take any notice of the people who appeal to him.

19 th October, 1919. Said. Other Letters. Dear Sir,

The Freemasons encounter opposition and find mixed opinions among their friends. They do not want to follow the example of the Unionists. We shall carry our programme through by allowing young men who are convinced of our ideas to join this organisation.

As my dress prevents me from personally intervening, your old friend K.B.V. 4/35 will act on our suggestions. There is no news yet from Angora and Kaisaria.

I send you, dear Sir, my esteem.

19 th October, 1919. S.

Dear Master,

Kassideshi Sade Riza Molla yesterday told Adam Block, an old friend of his, that he thinks he ought to warn him that he considers it incompatible with English dignity and English policy to afford protection to the members of the “League of the Friends of England,” who are under my presidency, that this would have an unpleasent effect on public opinion and, further, that this union should be re presented by men of honour. He is said to have talked about hanging me, and even of doing worse than that to me.

I would like to remind you that Riza Molla is personally very irritated with me. His son-in-law s sister was formerly my wife I incurred the animosity of the family when I sent her back to them. Please bring this to the knowledge of His Excellency Adam Block ; and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that this Molla is not a friend of England at the present time, for he is acting as an agent of the national movement and is still in touch with Kemal Pasha. His calumnies about me show his true character.

21 st October, 1919. S.

P.S. If you have no objection, I would ask you to let His Ex cellency Adam Block know all about what I am doing for you.

Honourable Sir,

It is reported in the letter of the 20 ih October, which was sent by courier from N.B.K. 295/3, that he has left for Kaisaria in accord ance with our instructions and that he has left K.D.S. 93/1 at Angora; he has sent a literal copy of the instructions to Galib Bey. As the funds supplied to him have come to an end, he asks for more. He learns that the secret organisations are extending the field of their activity and that our friends who have escaped from the clutches of the rebel leaders are beginning to work in secret by remaining in the villages for the present. He adds that the steps taken recently at your instigation will soon bear fruit. M.K.B., who speaks very pure Turkish, would like to take a more important part ; he would be an efficient substitute for Hodsha.

The preparation of the instructions X. W. is completed. If no newcomers have sneaked into our ranks, our plan will be carried out before it is discovered.

I have kept the courier 4. r. here, beause I am waiting for the funds to arrive.

23 rd October, 1919. S.

P.S. At the end of the little work, I have appended what Ahmed Riza Bey has said about the Italian mandate. It would be a dangerous thing for us if he went to France. Perhaps you can prevent it.

Sir,

Ali Kemal Bey spoke to this person yesterday. He is said to consider that we ought to proceed slowly with the Press. It is not an easy thing for us to lead intellectual people and journalists into another path which goes in an opposite direction to the one they had previously chosen. In his opinion, all the officials are supposed at the present moment to be in sympathy with the national movement.

Ali Kemal Bey will implicitly follow your instructions. He is also trying to secure for himself the co-operation of the Seinel Abidin Party. In fact, things will get complicated.

It seems that a great deal has been said about me in French and American quarters for several days past. I have not been able yet to find out what it is all about.

On account of the influence which the followers of the national movement have on the politicians of the present Government, my life is in your hands. This gives me confidence.

I have had a private conversation with Hikmet. This time I found him rather undecided. Nevertheless, he gave me strong assurances. “I am a loyal man/ he told me; “I always keep my word/ What do you think about the incident at Sivas? Our preparations are rather backward, but they will gradually improve.

The “man of Kadi Keui” is busy about this. But the confounded unionist Press sometimes harasses us. Their publications must be watched. Our Pasha is still nervous: “When is it going to happen? * he asks. Communication between us is very difficult now, because you have not settled the question of the house. N.B.S. 495/1 advises you to watch what is going on at Konia. He asks me to call your attention to the matter he explained verbally to you. I told him that you were sorry about Ali Kemal Bey s last mishap. We must get hold of this person. Do not miss this opportunity. It is the very time to make him a present.

I am sorry that you did not receive my letter of the ig* 11 October. Please caution the agent. It is most important to avoid all danger. Send me a new password. I shall give their numbers of membership to Hikmet and the man of Kadi Keui.

I am yours, with the greatest esteem,

24 th October, 1919. S.

P.S. I always forget to tell you something I have wanted to tell you for a long time. So that we can get Mustapha Kemal Pasha and his followers to come here in perfect confidence, we must pretend that we have some sympathy with them. I would like you to think seriously about this. We cannot champion his cause in our own Press.

Dear Sir,

According to your instructions, I had a long conversation with Mustapha Sabri Effendi, Hamdi Effendi and Vasfi Effendi about postponing the elections and watching them. They have agreed to do this. Propaganda has begun in various quarters. Try to win over all those who can be of use to us. Spend money in splitting up the votes. His Majesty will be informed about this. I feel quite sure that through your clear-sighted efforts we shall succeed.

26 th – October, 1919. S.

More Letters.

The courier 9. R. has arrived. The Keskin organisation has been completed. I have given the necessary instructions about propaganda to our comrades. I am convinced that very soon indeed we shall reap our first successes.

27 tb – October, 1919. S.

Dear Sir,

There are rumours at Court that in all probability a new Cabinet will be formed. This must be hastened on. Certain operations of our organisation have been discovered by the national troops. A move ment against us has been set on foot, chiefly at Angora and Kaissaria. In spite of their assurances, the Kurdish Society has not succeeded in doing anything at all. Some of our bands have dispersed.

At any cost and without fail we must bring the Cabinet we propose to form into power.

I expect All Riza Pasha to take steps to hinder our plans. Those whom we have chosen to go to Boskir seem rather afraid to go, because they are very well known there.

I must point out to you how important it is for you to use your in fluence to get K.B. 81/1 at Konia to make the most of the incident, and to urge our propaganda section to redouble their efforts in this direction.

29 th October. S.

P.S. Somebody has been talking to Hikmet about one of my letters. How have the contents of it been discovered? I have spoken personally to Hikmet about it, and to my great astonishment he has told me that this indiscretion has actually taken place. Is the spy in your camp or mine?

Dear Sir,

I have been speaking to our confidential friends in the League about the revolt of the Kurds. They told me that, having arrived only quite recently, they would obey the instructions that had been given to them soon after their arrival and that they were in need of rather considerable sums of money to send to their various colleagues in Kurdistan. They showed me the letter from D.B.R. 3/141. He speaks of exaggerated agitation that is said to have taken place at Urfah, Aintab and Marash against the French and of their efforts to influence the people to oppose the policy of reconciliation that is being followed by the officer commanding the Army Corps.

I do not think that it was justifiable to prevent Seki Pasha from being appointed President of the Ministerial Council. He exercises authority and influence with the Kurds. The Armenian massacres of by-gone days have not been forgotten. In any case, your obser vations are premature. If need be, the matter can be skilfully adjusted. We expect you to help us at any moment. We are trying to draw the others into this affair.

With my best respects,

4 th November, 1919. S.

Dear Sir,

The statements made by Ahmed Riza Bey to the correspondent of “Le Temps” must naturally have aroused your attention. The

Kemal Pasha J 7 political finesse shown in the advice lie gave to Emir Feisal, namely, to come to an understanding with the French, cannot have escaped your keen observation. The leaders of the national troops have for a considerable time shown a remarkable bias towards France and, simultaneously provoking unrest in the Irak, they intend in the same way to assail your sovereignty in Syria. Any indifference or negligence respecting such action would lead to an extraordinary outburst of popular feeling against England throughout the Mohamedan world. Special attention should be given to noting the most im portant point and drawing the attention of your statesmen to^it. I beg you not to imagine for a moment that I am underestimating your ability in what I say, but we hold that it would do a great deal of harm and would be contrary to our political ideals, tf any other Power or political influence than your own should prevail in Turkey.

The various kinds of sympathy which certain statesmen and the Press of France, Italy and, specially, the United States, evince towards the national forces, is palpable proof of the jealousy they have of your political and military power.

Be assured that men, like Ahmed Riza, who from former times are still enjoying the most intimate friendship of men like Clemenceau, Pichon and other politicians, will play a very important role in France and will succeed in winning public opinion there to a very great extent.

Respecting the news of Ahmed Riza s coming journey to Switzer land, you may be sure that he is determined to go from there to France.

Our bands that were scattered and routed in the district of Bali- kesri have taken refuge at A.R. We shall form new ones. We shall still require at least 5,000.

It can be seen from a letter from D.B.S. 40/5 of Karaman that they must content themselves for the present with assuming a waiting attitude. According to another letter from Kaisaria from K.B.R. 87/4, we learn that they will begin operations immediately.

Zia Effendi says that now that everything is ready at his post H.R. and Dsch.H., nothing is left for him to do but take relief funds there. If you wish, he will tell you personally all particulars about the situation.

I must point out to you that we are being watched in an extra ordinary way and that Sivas is regularly kept well informed about all we are doing.

Do not put any confidence in Mehmed Ali; he is not careful enough. He is always making mistakes. It would be advisable if you did not make use of anyone but myself for anything of an outside nature. Ali Kemal Bey must, at any cost, be put down on our list. If we estrange this man, who knows so many of our secrets, our enemies will immediately know everything that we are doing. Treat this man gently and smoothe him from time to time.

With the expression of my esteem,

5 th November, 1919. S.

P.S. It is rumoured that Kemal has been arrested. As he belongs to our organisation, all about our relations with K.B.R, 15/1 might be discovered. This man must be protected.

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