The Losses in the Third Week of April in the History of the North Caucasus

  • 14/04/2024
Türkçe Tercüme

In the history of the North Caucasus, we lost three prominent figures of the Caucasian Military and Political circles in the third week of April.

Our first loss was Met Yusuf Izzet Pasha, who died on April 15, 1922.  The Met family, who were exiled to the Ottoman lands from the Shapsug region of Adygea during the Great Circassian exile in1864 and settled in the Burgas region of Bulgaria were exiled the second time after the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78 to Yozgat with their child Chunatuko Yusuf Izzet, who was born in 1876.  Yusuf Izzet lost his father at a very young age, completed his primary and secondary education in the orphans' school "Darüshafaka" and graduated from the Military Academy in 1896 as a Cavalry Officer.

Yusuf Izzet Pasha with the inscription he made for his wife Hayriye Melek Hunch Khanum (Click on the image for a larger view)
a Yusuf Izzet Pasha during the years of World War I (Click on the image for a larger view)
Met Yusuf Izzet was also among the founders of the Circassian Union and Progress Association, which was founded in 1908. He served his people as an intellectual with his works on the history of the Caucasus, as well as his heroism in many wars as a soldier.

He played the most influential role in the history of the Caucasus during the struggle for independence of the Republic of the Union of the Mountaineers of the North Caucasus in 1918.  Beyond the strategic roles played by the Caucasian Islamic Army in the liberation of Dagestan and Chechnya, together with other Caucasian-origin officers and soldiers of the Islamic Army, he also worked very effectively on the political events of the period together with personalities such as Aziz Meker and Yusuf Suad Neghuch.

Yusuf Izzet Pasha returned to Turkey in 1919, and he was among the first deputies of the Ankara Government.  Yusuf Izzet Pasha was obliged to return to the military profession and went to the front due to the rapid approach of the Greek forces to Ankara in the Turkish-Greek War. He took part in the most critical stages of the Battle of Sakarya and played one of the most important roles in winning the war.

Yusuf Izzet Pasha was also among the ones who were eliminated during the purge operation undertaken by the Ankara Government against politicians of Northern Caucasian origin.  The Ankara Government crossed out all his heroism and successes at the front. The Turkish Republicans were so merciless against him to let him be remembered in the history books with cowardice and shortsightedness. Yusuf Izzet Pasha, who died in Ankara on April 15, 1922, at the age of 46 as a result of a sudden heart attack, was buried in the cemetery of Hacı Bayram Mosque in Ankara. The injustice against him was compensated in 1989 and he was transferred to the State Cemetery of Honor.

In memory of Yusuf Izzet Pasha, today I share with you the letter of his appointment by Nuri Pasha as the commander of the Ottoman troops in the North Caucasus.

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Constantinople, 4.8.1918

The War Ministry

Foreign Correspondence Office

His Excellency Brigadier General Youssouf Izzet Pasha, Holder of the Order of Medjidie II., with the sabers, the war medal in gold of the Liyakat, and the war medal, who occupied in the Ottoman Imperial army the charge of the army corps commander, and who has been assigned to the North Caucasian Government with these full powers, was appointed as the military representative of the Imperial Ottoman government with the mission of ensuring the implementation of the stipulations of the peace treaty concluded with the North Caucasian government in Batoum, relating to military questions, direct with complete sincerity and friendship and the good neighborly relations between the Ottoman Empire and the North Caucasian Government and to serve as an intermediary for all Correspondence which will be exchanged between the two Governments on the subject of the above-mentioned matters.

The North Caucasian Government is requested to grant all the facilities and assistance desired if His Excellency Youssouf Izzet Pasha during the duration of this mission in the efforts he will deploy to reciprocally ensure the good conduct of the sincere relations which exist so happily between the two states.

Another distinguished Caucasian patriot we lost in the same week was Thygho Mushir Deli Fuad Pasha. Thygho Fuad Pasha, who witnessed the periods of Sultan Abdulaziz, Sultan Abdulhamid, Constitutional Monarchy, and Republic throughout his long life, was born in Istanbul in 1835.  After completing his education at the Abbasiye Military School, he settled in Egypt with his family when he was still a young child, took various positions in the Egyptian Army, and lectured at the same school.  Returning to Istanbul in 1869, Thygho Fuad was assigned to the (Dar-i Shura-i Askeri) Military Council by the Palace. Between 1872 and 1876, Thığo Fuad Pasha, who served on many fronts for the Ottoman Empire, was named as "Deli" (Mad) due to his courage in the Montenegrin Wars. He received the title of "Elena Conqueror" for his heroism in the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78.  Fuad Pasha, who carried out very critical works on the independence of the North Caucasus and the fate of the Circassians during the occupation of Istanbul by the Constitutional Monarchy and World War I and the Entente Powers, intervened in critical diplomatic initiatives to liberate the Caucasus from Russian yoke before the Governments of the German, Austrian, British Empires and the French Republic and to ensure the repatriation of the Northern Caucasians living in the Ottoman lands back in their homeland.  The Mad Fuad Pasha, who was a personality that the political rulers were afraid of and did not sympathize with due to his freedom-loving personality, died on April 17, 1931, in Istanbul at the age of 96.

Fuad Pasha in Cairo (Left) and in his house in Moda - Istanbul (Click on the image for a larger view)
Marshall Thygho (Mad) Fuad Pasha (Click on the image for a larger view)
In memory of Marshall Fuad Pasha, I share with you today his letter on the Decisions of the Caucasian Committee, addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the German Empire, Gottlieb von Jagow, in 1915.

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His Excellency Monsieur de Jagow,

Minister of State Secretary of State at the Imperial

Department of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Berlin.

Berlin, 17 December 1915.


I take the liberty of submitting to your benevolent and high attention the attached resolution of the Caucasian Committee which is under my chairmanship, relying absolutely on the humanitarian sentiments which animate Your Eminent Person and the great political ideas which distinguish it.

I have the firm hope that Your Excellency will take note of this resolution and give it a favorable reception.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.

M. Fouad.

 Constantinople, October 15, 1915.

His Excellency Monsieur de Jagow, Minister of State, Secretary of State at the Imperial Department of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

The Caucasian Mission, composed of the Circassian, Dagestan, Georgian, Azerbaijani, Lesghian, and Tatar Representatives has the honor to submit to the benevolent attention of the Imperial German Government the following motives and resolutions which fully respond to the views, feelings, and desires of all indigenous inhabitants of the Caucasus.

Considering the policy followed by the Russian Government in the Caucasus since the incorporation of this region into the Empire, a policy which - despite multiple marks of loyalty on the part of the Caucasian peoples - represents only a series of attacks on any national aspiration, any particular tradition, any religious cult, outside of Russian orthodoxy, a policy which uses all means, such as Ruin of influential classes, Russification of school programs, inaccessibility of careers for non - Russians, disproportionate increase in taxes, arbitrary deportation to Siberia of mass populations, sending to the country of Russian settlers to impose Russian language, culture, religion, manners, and customs most brutally, the most vexatious and the most suffocating, considering the state of mind that such an administration has inevitably created in the country where one observes only hatred against the Russians and a burning desire to free oneself;

Considering the very real helplessness to which Russia is reduced by the present war;

Considering the community of traditions, customs, interests, and misfortune which closely unites between them the different elements constituting the population without distinction of races, languages, and religions;

The members of the Mission-absolutely sure of the approval and unreserved support of the different peoples they represent unanimously adopted the following resolutions:

  1. a) To consider the period we are going through as an unprecedented epoch in history and seize this unique opportunity to provoke an armed uprising to shake off the yoke of Russian imperialism and thus put an end to the groans of part of humanity which has been suffocating for more than a century in the clutches of an intolerably tyrannical power;
  2. b) To form a sort of confederation of States, each of which - while obtaining and maintaining complete administrative autonomy - will be required to provide, to the extent of its means, the contingents and funds necessary for the defense of common interests and the security of the whole country;
  3. c) To keep the new State against any attempt at conquest, give it a military organization adopted under the conditions of the populations and the requirements of the defense of the country and to conclude between Turkey and the Caucasian State a military convention ensuring the reciprocal assistance of two States for the protection of their territorial integrity and their common interests,
  4. d) To present before the Imperial German Government and its allies the reasons which will demonstrate that the loss of the Caucasus will deal a mortal blow to the political prestige and the threatening situation of their most formidable enemy, that the repercussions that a movement in the Caucasus will necessarily have in Turkestan in Persia, in Afghanistan, in India and even within Russia proper could lead to incalculable consequences;
  5. e) To ask the Imperial German Government for its powerful support for the realization of the Caucasian national ideal which tends to create a new State which will be linked to its benefactors by the bonds of eternal recognition and will have at heart to offer them all the advantages economic and cultural compatible with its dignity and the principle of the country's independence.
For the Circasiennes group:

(sg.) Aziz Meker, Professor at the Agricultural Academy of Constantinople.

For the Georgian group: (cage) Prince Georges Matchabelli, Tchuruksoulu Kiamil Tavdgiridze, Lieutenant of the cavalry.

For the Dagestan group:

(sg.) Dr. Issa Rouhi Pasha, Sanitary Inspector of the Ottoman army, Brigadier General.

For the Tatar and Lesghien group:

(sg.) Sélim Bey de Bébutow.

To His Excellency

Mr. Marshal Fuad Pasha, Ottoman Ambassador.

Berlin, December 19, 1915.


Mr. Marshal,

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt to Your Excellency of His kind letter of the 17th of this month and of the resolution annexed thereto. From the beginning of the war, the Imperial Government got in touch with the organizations that aimed to deliver the Caucasus from the Russian yoke and to form a confederation of independent states. As proof of Germany's sincere interest in the Caucasian cause, I hasten to inform Your Excellency that the Imperial Government is ready to offer Caucasians its support for the realization of their national ideal and the creation of an independent Caucasian state.

Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest consideration.


Another outstanding Caucasian politician who passed away in the third week of April was Alikhan Kantemir.  He was born in Ossetia in 1886. He had a high school education at the Vladikavkaz Gymnasium and an academic degree at St. Petersburg Law Faculty. During his school years, he took part in the editorial boards of the newspapers “Mousoulmanine” published in Paris, and “V Mir Musulmanstva” published in St. Petersburg, and wrote articles criticizing the Tsarist regime.  Alikhan Kantemir played an important role in the establishment of the Republic of the Union of the North Caucasian Mountaineers and undertook diplomatic missions in the Transcaucasian and Azerbaijan Democratic Republics. In 1918, he took part in the delegation of the North Caucasus in Istanbul and at the Batumi Conference.  Kantemir, who later took active roles in diplomatic activities in both Istanbul and Bern together with Haydar Bammat, İsmail Abay, and Aziz Meker, returned to the Caucasus at the beginning of 1919 due to the negative conditions in the North Caucasus. Kantemir also took an active role in the Union Assembly (The Allied Madjlis) formed in exile in Tbilisi due to the occupation of Denikin's Volunteer Army in the period of 1919-1920 and finally took refuge in Turkey as a result of the occupation of the Caucasus by the Bolshevik Red Armies in early 1921. 

Alikhan Kantemir's most active years in the political circles of the North Caucasus were during the immigration period.  Since the mid-1920s, Kantemir played decisive roles in the Caucasian Independence Committee and many similar formations like the Federalist Republican Party of the North Caucasus in Istanbul.  His Political rivals were merciless against him and accused of being a Bolshevik Agent during the formation of the Political frictions among the Caucasian Political emigration.  Despite all his poor economic conditions, Kantemir did not give up the struggle for the liberation of the Caucasus from the Soviet occupation in Turkey, was stripped of his Turkish citizenship, and deported in 1938 on the charge of "carrying out political activities against friendly countries".  Since then, Kantemir continued his political struggle in Germany, and on the eve of World War II and throughout the war, he led an anti-Soviet battle in alliance with the Government of the Third Reich.  During World War II, he took part in the management of the Caucasian National Committee, which was created in Berlin.  During the war, he published the newspaper “Severny Kavkaz” in the Russian language in Berlin to narrate the freedom cause of the North Caucasus to the world.  He tried to solve the problems of the North Caucasians, who joined the volunteering formations in the ranks of the German Army.  After the German Reich lost the war, he stayed in Prisoner of War camps in Switzerland for a couple of years.  After his release, Kantemir settled in Munich and continued to work in US-sponsored anti-Soviet groups until the end of his life and continued his publishing activities without interruption. 

When he died in Munich on April 16, 1963, his entire personal archive was confiscated and destroyed by U.S. intelligence.  Striking documents about Alihan Kantemir's 53-year active political struggle, which started in 1910 and continued uninterruptedly until the day he died, came to light with the personal archive of Haydar Bammat, where I completed the classification and cataloging works last year.  In addition to the thousands of pages of findings in Haydar Bammat's archive, you will find lots of striking information about Alihan Kantemir's unknown activities starting from the first volume of my work with his letters to the other members of the Caucasian émigré groups. I hope I will be able to publish the first volume of the monograph, which will include documents I have compiled from German, French, Polish, Swiss, US, and Turkish archives by the end of this summer.

Alikhan Kantemir shortly before his death (Left), The Cover Page of Journal Severny Kavkaz (Click on the image for a larger view)
On this day when we commemorate the anniversary of the death of this indomitable patriot of the North Caucasus, I share with you the letter of authorization issued by the Government of the Union of Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and signed by the head of the Parliament Wassan Girey Dzabagi for his participation in the Batumi Conference in 1918.

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Provisional Government Of The Union Of The Caucasus Mountain People

Legal Department.

To the representative of the government in Transcaucasia, Alikhan Kantemirov.


City of Vladikavkaz.

The government invites you, together with members of the government Bammatov, Chermoev, and Temir-Khanov, to take part in negotiations between the powers of the Quadruple Union and the Transcaucasian government in Batum, as a representative of the government of the Union of Highlanders of the Northern Caucasus and Dagestan.

For the Prime Minister

Member of the Government

Wassan Girey Dzabagi

We commemorate these distinguished patriots with mercy and gratitude.

Cem Kumuk
Istanbul, 16 April 2024