A memorable document from the history of the Caucasus: Haydar Bammat’s proposal for the formation of the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus.

  • 08/12/2023
As early as April 1918 North Caucasian delegation who attended the peace negotiations in Trebizond, had submitted a proposal to Transcaucasian representatives for the formation of a Greater Caucasian Confederation.  However, the Georgian and Armenian groups behaved reluctantly as they had focused on the territorial claims with the Ottoman Empire. 
As the balance of powers started to shift and the Allies started to dominate WW1, Haydar Bammat invited Georgian Mensheviks, Dashnak Armenians, and Azerbaijani Musavatists to come to their senses once again by repeating a similar proposal six months later.
Again, there was no single response from the Transcaucasian Caucasian States.  Georgian Mensheviks continued relying upon the Germans without thinking for any second that Germany would lose the war.  Dashnak Armenians could not overwhelm their paranoias against the Muslims of the Caucasus and the Turcs. Azerbaijani Musavatists were in dilemma whether to consider themselves in a greater Turkic structure or the Caucasus.
Here is the proposal of the Diplomatic Delegation of the Republic of the Union of the North Caucasian Mountaineers represented by Haydar Bammat on 4 October 1918 in Istanbul;

“On April 1 of this year, in Trebizond, I had the honor of addressing to the peace delegations of the Ottoman Empire and the Transcaucasian Republic a declaration concerning the political organization of the Caucasus, a declaration in which I expressed the firm conviction of My Government that Transcaucasia cannot exist as an independent state body without its accession to the territory of the Union of the Unified Peoples of the North Caucasus and that the creation of a single Caucasus is imperatively dictated by strategic considerations, economic and political.
Without anticipating the multiple forms of political unification, My Government presumed that through recognition and acceptance alone of such a situation in the Transcaucasian Republic, conditions could be created in the Caucasus that correspond most closely to the vital interests of all Caucasian peoples and guarantee the internal and external development and prosperity of the country.
The experience provided during 6 months of the various attempts made by parts of the Transcaucasian Republic which broke away: Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, to form completely independent States in the territory of the Caucasus, and the political difficulties, the national frictions and the painful economic disorganization of the country which followed, further confirmed to my Government the opinion expressed above, that is to say the necessity of a close political union of young Caucasian states.
Based on the above-mentioned considerations, My Government has instructed me to address Your Excellency and ask if Your Government would like to disagree with the point of view presented, to take real measures now for the formation of a Confederative Union of Caucasian States.
If Your Excellency, recognizes the present proposal and appoints corresponding to the vital interests of Your Government, the Delegation of the North Caucasian Government of which I hold the Presidency, is authorized to conclude now, in Constantinople, an agreement in principle relating thereto.

As for the details, they would be decided at a future Conference, the date and place of which could be fixed in agreement with all interested parties.

Please accept, Excellency, with my distinguished greetings, the assurance of my highest consideration."

The Proposal of Haydar Bammat for a Greater Caucasian Confederation
(Click on the image to access the original document)
The same parties who remained deaf and blind to Bammat’s proposals for a confederation turned out to be champions of a confederation in 1934 except for Armenians, and drafted a ridiculous Confederation pact where the North Caucasus was represented with some names who had no single authority over the public conscience and competence to represent the North Caucasians in such a serious initiative. However, the political plagiarism that they had committed with no solid basis did not work at all, and another historical opportunity was wasted.

Cem Kumuk
Istanbul, 8 December 2023