Enver Pasha

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Ismail Enver

Enver Pasha 1911.jpg
Minister of War
In office
4 January 1914 13 October 1918
Prime Minister Said Halim Pasha
Preceded by Ahmet Izzet Pasha
Succeeded by Ahmet Izzet Pasha
Personal details
Ismail Enver

(1881-11-22)22 November 1881
Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), Constantinople Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died4 August 1922(1922-08-04) (aged 40)
Bukharan People's Soviet Republic, (present-day Tajikistan)
Nationality Ottoman
Political party Committee of Union and Progress
Spouse(s) Naciye Sultan
ChildrenMahpeyker Hanımsultan
Türkan Hanımsultan
Sultanzade Ali Bey
Alma mater Army War College (1903) [1]
Signature Enver Pasa imzasi.png
Military service
Branch/service Ottoman Army
Years of service1903–1918
Rank Mirliva and the de facto Commander-in-Chief

Ismail Enver Pasha (Ottoman Turkish : اسماعیل انور پاشا; Turkish : İsmail Enver Paşa; 22 November 1881 – 4 August 1922) was an Ottoman military officer and a leader of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. He became the main leader of the Ottoman Empire in both the Balkan Wars (1912–13) and in World War I (1914–18). In the course of his career he was known by increasingly elevated titles as he rose through military ranks, including Enver Efendi (انور افندي), Enver Bey (انور بك), and finally Enver Pasha, "pasha" being the honorary title Ottoman military officers gained on promotion to the rank of Mirliva (major general).


After the Ottoman coup d’état of January 1913, Enver Pasha became (4 January 1914) the Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire, forming one-third of the triumvirate known as the "Three Pashas" (along with Talaat Pasha and Djemal Pasha) who held de facto rule over the Empire from 1913 until the end of World War I in 1918. As war minister and de facto Commander-in-Chief (despite his role as the de jure Deputy Commander-in-Chief, as the Sultan formally held the title), Enver Pasha was one of the most powerful figures of the government of the Ottoman Empire. [2] [3] [4] Along with Talaat and Djemal, he was one of the principal perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, [5] [6] [7] of the Assyrian Genocide and of the Greek Genocide and thus is held responsible for the death of between 800,000 and 1,800,000 [8] [9] [10] [11] Armenians, 300,000 Assyrians and 350,000 Greeks.

Prior to World War I, he was hailed at home as "the hero of the revolution", and Europeans often spoke of Ottoman Turkey as "Enverland". [12]

Early life and career

Enver (left) with his father, Ahmed Bey (center), and half-brother Nuri Pasha (later Nuri Killigil; right). Enver Pasha Babasi Ahmet Bey Kardeshi Nuri Killigil.jpg
Enver (left) with his father, Ahmed Bey (center), and half-brother Nuri Pasha (later Nuri Killigil; right).

Enver was born in Constantinople (Istanbul) on 22 November 1881. Enver's father, Ahmed (c. 1860–1947), was either a Gagauz Turkish bridge-keeper in Monastir [13] or an Albanian small town public prosecutor in the Balkans. [14] His mother Ayşe Dilara was an Albanian. [15] His uncle was Halil Pasha (later Kut). Enver had two younger brothers, Nuri and Mehmed Kamil, and two younger sisters, Hasene and Mediha. He was the brother in law of Lieutenant Colonel Ömer Nâzım. [16] He studied for different degrees in military schools in the empire and ultimately graduated from the Harp Akademisi with distinction in 1903. He became a major general in 1906. He was sent to the Third Army, which was stationed in Salonica. During his service in the city, he might have become a member of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) but this is not assured at all.[ citation needed ]

Rise to power

Young Turk Revolution

Enver Pasha depicted on a Young Turks flyer with the slogan "Long live the fatherland, long live the nation, long live liberty" written in Ottoman Turkish and French. 1908-mesrutiyet.jpg
Enver Pasha depicted on a Young Turks flyer with the slogan "Long live the fatherland, long live the nation, long live liberty" written in Ottoman Turkish and French.

Enver, through the assistance of his uncle Halil Kut became the twelfth member of the Ottoman Freedom Society (OFS) while the organisation was still at an early phase of development. [17] The OFS merged later with the Paris-based group of Ahmed Rıza to create the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). [17] The CUP gained access to the Ottoman Third Army through Enver. [17] In 1906 upon returning to Monastir (modern Bitola) Enver formed a CUP cell within the town and worked closely with an Ottoman officer Kâzım Karabekir. [17] Enver became the main figure in the CUP Monastir branch and he initiated Ottoman officers like Ahmet Niyazi bey and Eyüp Sabri into the CUP organisation. [18] [17]

In the early twentieth century some prominent Young Turk members such as Enver developed a strong interest in the ideas of Gustave Le Bon. [19] For example, Enver saw deputies as mediocre and in reference to Le Bon he thought that as a collective mind they had the potential to become dangerous and be the same as a despotic leader. [20] As the CUP shifted away from the ideas of members who belonged to the old core of the organisation to those of the newer membership, this change assisted individuals like Enver in gaining a larger profile in the Young Turk movement. [21]

In Ohri (modern Ohrid) an armed band called the Special Muslim Organisation (SMO) composed mostly of notables was created in 1907 to protect local Muslims and fight Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) bands. [22] Enver along with Sabri recruited the SMO and turned it into the Ohri branch of the CUP with its band becoming the local CUP band. [23] CUP Internal headquarters proposed that Enver go form a CUP band in the countryside. [16] Approving the decision by the committee to assassinate his brother in law Lieutenant Colonel Ömer Nâzım, Enver under instructions from CUP headquarters travelled from Selanik (modern Thessaloniki) to Tikveş on 26 June 1908 to establish a band. [16] CUP headquarters conferred upon Enver the title of "CUP Inspector General of Internal Organisation and Executive Forces". [16]

Postcard of Mehmed V flanked by Niyazi Bey (left) and Enver Bey (right) Mehemed Rechad Empereur des Ottomans 14.27. Avril 1909.jpg
Postcard of Mehmed V flanked by Niyazi Bey (left) and Enver Bey (right)

On July 3, 1908 Niyazi protesting the rule of Abdul Hamid II fled with his band from Resne (modern Resen) into the mountains where he initiated the Young Turk Revolution and issued a proclamation that called for the restoration of the constitution of 1876. [25] Following that example Enver in Tikveş and other officers such as Sabri in Ohri also went into the mountains and formed guerilla bands (çetes). [26] [25] It is unclear whether the CUP had a fixed date for the revolution; in comments made in an interview following the event Enver stated that they planned for action on August 1908, yet events had forced them to begin the revolution at an earlier time. [27] For the revolt to get local support Enver and Niyazi played on fears of possible foreign intervention. [28] Enver led a band composed of volunteers and deserters. [29] For example, he allowed a deserter who had engaged in brigandage in areas west of the river Vardar to join his band at Tikveș. [23] Throughout the revolution, guerilla bands of both Enver and Niyazi consisted of Muslim (mostly Albanian) paramilitaries. [30]

Enver sent an ultimatum to the Inspector General on 11 July 1908 and demanded that within 48 hours Abdul Hamid II issue a decree for CUP members that had been arrested and sent to Constantinople to be freed. [29] He warned that if the ultimatum was not complied with by the Inspector General, he would refuse to accept any responsibility for future actions. [29] In Tikveș a handwritten appeal was distributed to locals calling for them to either stay neutral or join with him. [29] Enver possessed strong authority among fellow Muslims in the area where he resided and could communicate with them as he spoke both Albanian and Turkish. [31] During the revolution, Enver stayed in the homes of notables, and as a sign of respect they would kiss his hands since he had earlier saved them from an attack by an IMRO band. [32] He stated that the CUP had no support in the countryside apart from a few large landowners with CUP membership that lived in towns, yet they retained influence in their villages and were able to mobilise the population for the cause. [33] Whole settlements were enrolled into the CUP through councils of village elders convened by Enver in Turkish villages of the Tikveş region. [33] As the revolution spread by the third week and more officers deserted the army to join the cause, Enver and Niyazi got like minded officials and civilian notables to send multiple petitions to the Ottoman palace. [34] Enver wrote in his memoirs that while he still was involved in band activity in the days toward the end of the revolution he composed more detailed rules of engagement for use by paramilitary units and bands. [22]

Greek lithograph celebrating the 1908 revolution. Enver is depicted in the lower right hand corner with a large hammer freeing Liberty, personified as a woman, from her chains. Greek lithograph celebrating the Ottoman Constitution.png
Greek lithograph celebrating the 1908 revolution. Enver is depicted in the lower right hand corner with a large hammer freeing Liberty, personified as a woman, from her chains.

Facing a deteriorating situation in the Balkans on July 24 sultan Abdul Hamid II restored the constitution of 1876. [36] In the aftermath of the revolution Niyazi and Enver remained in the political background due to their youth and junior military ranks with both agreeing that photographs of them would not be distributed to the general public; however, this decision was rarely honoured. [37] Instead Niyazi and Enver as leaders of the revolution elevated their positions into near legendary status, with their images placed on postcards and distributed throughout the Ottoman state. [38] [39] Toward the latter part of 1908, photographs of Niyazi and Enver had reached Constantinople and school children of the time played with masks on their faces that depicted the revolutionaries. [40] In other images produced of the time the sultan is presented in the centre flanked by Niyazi and Enver to either side. [24] As the actions of both men carried the appearance of initiating the revolution, Niyazi, an Albanian, and Enver, a Turk, later received popular acclaim as "heroes of freedom" (hürriyet kahramanları) and symbolised Albanian-Turkish cooperation. [41] [42]

As a tribute to his role in the Young Turk Revolution that began the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire, Niyazi is mentioned along with Enver in the March of the Deputies (Turkish : Mebusan Marşı or Meclis-i Mebusan Marşı), the anthem of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Ottoman parliament. [43] [44] It was performed in 1909 upon the opening of the new parliament. [43] [44] The fourth line of the anthem reads "Long live Niyazi, long live Enver" (Turkish: "Yaşasın Niyazi, yaşasın Enver"). [44] [45] The Ottoman newspaper Volkan, a strong supporter of the constitution published adulatory pieces about Enver and Niyazi in 1909. [46]

Following the revolution Enver rose within the ranks of the Ottoman military and had an important role within army committee relations. [47] By 1909 he was the military attaché at Berlin and formed personal ties with high ranking German state officials and the Kaiser. [47] It was during this time that Enver came to admire the culture of Germany and power of the German military. [47] He invited German officers to reform the Ottoman Army. In 1909 a reactionary conspiracy to organise a countercoup culminated in the "31 March Incident"; the countercoup was put down. [47] Enver for a short time in April 1909 returned to Constantinople and joined the Hareket Ordusu (Army of Action). [47] As such he took an active role in the suppression of the countercoup, which resulted in the overthrow of Abdul Hamid II, who was replaced by his brother Mehmed V, while the power of the CUP was consolidated. [47] Throughout the Young Turk era, Enver was a member of the CUP central committee from 1908 to 1918. [48]

Italo-Turkish War

Enver Bey in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War, 1911-12, wearing the style of hat named "Enveriye" after him. Ismail Enver Bey in Cyrenaica.jpg
Enver Bey in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War, 1911–12, wearing the style of hat named "Enveriye" after him.

In 1911, Italy launched an invasion of the Ottoman vilayet of Tripolitania (Trablus-i Garb, modern Libya), starting the Italo-Turkish War. Enver decided to join the defense of the province and left Berlin for Libya. There, he assumed the overall command after successfully mobilizing 20,000 troops. [49] Because of the outbreak of the Balkan Wars, however, Enver and other Ottoman generals in Libya were called back to Constantinople. This allowed Italy to take control of Libya. In 1912, thanks to his active role in the war, he was made lieutenant colonel. [50]

However, the loss of Libya cost the CUP in popularity, and it fell from government after rigging the 1912 elections (known as the Sopalı Seçimler, "Election of Clubs"), to be replaced by the Liberal Union party (which was helped by its military arm, the Savior Officers, that denounced the CUP's actions during the 1912 elections). The defeated CUP assumed an ideology favoring more centralization under Enver.[ page needed ]

Balkan Wars and seizure of political leadership

Enver Bey (center) talking to the British attache and press in Constantinople immediately after seizing power in the 1913 Raid on the Sublime Porte, also known as the 1913 Ottoman coup d'etat. Lieut.-Colonel Tyrrell and Enver Bey after 1913 Ottoman coup d'etat.png
Enver Bey (center) talking to the British attaché and press in Constantinople immediately after seizing power in the 1913 Raid on the Sublime Porte, also known as the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état.

In October 1912, the First Balkan War broke out, and the Ottoman armies suffered severe defeats at the hands of the Balkan League. These military reversals weakened the government, and gave Enver his chance to seize power from the Liberal Union. In a coup in January 1913, he regained power for the CUP and introduced a triumvirate that came to be called the "Three Pashas" (Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha, and Djemal Pasha). He took the office as Minister of War. Turkey then withdrew from the peace negotiations then under way in London and didn't sign the Treaty of London (1913).

In June 1913, however, the Second Balkan War broke out between the Balkan Allies. Enver Bey took advantage of the situation and led an army into Eastern Thrace, recovering Adrianople from the Bulgarians, who had concentrated their forces against the Serbs and Greeks, with the Treaty of Constantinople (1913). After this success, Enver Bey became a Pasha, and recognised by some Turks as the "conqueror of Edirne".

In 1914, he was again Minister of War in the cabinet of Said Halim Pasha, and married HIH Princess Emine Naciye Sultan (1898–1957), the daughter of Prince Süleyman, thus entering the royal family as a damat ("bridesgroom" to the ruling House of Osman). His power grew steadily while Europe marched towards total war.

World War I

Enver Pasha was an architect of the Ottoman-German Alliance, and expected a quick victory in the war that would benefit the Ottoman Empire. Without informing the other members of the Cabinet, he allowed the two German warships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, under the command of German admiral Wilhelm Souchon, to enter the Dardanelles to escape British pursuit; the subsequent "donation" of the ships to the neutral Ottomans worked powerfully in Germany's favor, despite French and Russian diplomacy to keep the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Finally on 29 October, the point of no return was reached when Admiral Souchon, now Commander-in-Chief of the Ottoman navy, took Goeben, Breslau, and a squadron of Ottoman warships into the Black Sea and raided the Russian ports of Odessa, Sevastopol, and Theodosia. Russia declared war on Ottoman Empire on 2 November, and Britain followed suit on 5 November. Most of the Turkish cabinet members and CUP leaders were against such a rushed entry to the war, but Enver Pasha held that it was the right course of action.

As soon as the war started, 31 October 1914, Enver ordered that all men of military age report to army recruiting offices. The offices were unable to handle the vast flood of men, and long delays occurred. This had the effect of ruining the crop harvest for that year. [51]

Minister of War

After taking office in 1913, Enver proved ineffective as War Minister,[ citation needed ] and frequently over the next four years, the Germans had to support the Ottoman government with generals such as Otto Liman von Sanders, Erich von Falkenhayn, Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz, and Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein. The Germans also gave the Ottoman government military supplies and fuel.[ citation needed ]

Enver Pasha's message to the army and the people was "war until final victory". During the war, living conditions deteriorated rapidly, and discontent grew. Enver would remain War Minister until he fled the country in 1918.[ citation needed ]

Battle of Sarikamish, 1914

Enver Pasha in 1914 Enver wwI.jpg
Enver Pasha in 1914

Enver Pasha assumed command of the Ottoman forces arrayed against the Russians in the Caucasus theatre. He wanted to encircle the Russians, force them out of Ottoman territory, and take back Kars and Batumi, which had been ceded after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. Enver thought of himself as a great military leader, while the German military adviser, Liman von Sanders, thought of him as incompetent. [51] Enver ordered a complex attack on the Russians, placed himself in personal control of the Third Army, and was utterly defeated at the Battle of Sarikamish in December 1914 – January 1915. His strategy seemed feasible on paper, but he had ignored external conditions, such as the terrain and the weather. Enver's army (25,000 men) was defeated by the Russian force (100,000 men), and in the subsequent retreat, tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers died. This was the single worst Ottoman defeat of World War I. On his return to Constantinople, Enver Pasha blamed his failure on his Armenian soldiers, although in January 1915, an Armenian named Hovannes had saved his life during a battle by carrying Enver through battle lines on his back. [52] Nonetheless, Ismail Pasha later initiated the deportations and sporadic massacres of Western Armenians, culminating in the Armenian Genocide. [53] [54] [55] [56]

Commanding the forces of the capital, 1915–1918

Wilhelm II and Enver Pasha in Gallipoli Kaiser W in Gallipoli.jpg
Wilhelm II and Enver Pasha in Gallipoli

After his defeat at Sarıkamısh, Enver returned to Istanbul (Constantinople) and took command of the Turkish forces around the capital. He was confident that the capital was safe from any Allied attacks. [57] The British and French were planning on forcing the approaches to Constantinople in the hope of knocking the Ottomans out of the war. A large Allied fleet assembled and staged an attack on the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915. The attack (the forerunner to the failed Gallipoli campaign) was a disaster, resulting in the loss of several ships. As a result, Enver turned over command to Liman von Sanders, who led the successful defence of Gallipoli, along with Mustafa Kemal. Enver then left to attend to pressing concerns on the Caucasus Front. Later, after many towns on the peninsula had been destroyed and women and children killed by the Allied bombardment, Enver proposed setting up a concentration camp for the remaining French and British citizens in the empire. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, convinced Enver not to go through with this plan. [58]


Enver's plan for Falkenhayn’s Yildirim Army Group was to retake Baghdad, recently taken by Maude.[ citation needed ] This was nearly impossible for logistical reasons. Turkish troops were deserting freely, and when Enver visited Beirut in June 1917, soldiers were forbidden to be stationed along his route for fear that he would be assassinated. Lack of rolling stock meant that troops were often detrained at Damascus and marched south. [59]

Army of Islam

Wilhelm II and Enver Pasha in 1917 Wilhelm enver.jpg
Wilhelm II and Enver Pasha in 1917

During 1917, due to the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War, the Russian army in the Caucasus fell apart and dissolved. At the same time, the Committee of Union and Progress managed to win the friendship of the Bolsheviks with the signing of the Ottoman-Russian friendship treaty (1 January 1918). Enver looked for victory when Russia withdrew from the Caucasus region. When Enver discussed his plans for taking over southern Russia, he ordered the creation of a new military force called the Army of Islam which would have no German officers. Enver's Army of Islam avoided Georgia and marched through Azerbaijan. The Third Army under Vehib Pasha was also moving forward to pre-war borders and towards the First Republic of Armenia, which formed the frontline in the Caucasus. General Tovmas Nazarbekian was the commander on the Caucasus front, and Andranik Ozanian took the command of Armenia within the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman advance was halted at the Battle of Sardarabad.[ citation needed ]

The Army of Islam, under the control of Nuri Pasha, moved forward and attacked Australian, New Zealand, British, and Canadian troops led by General Lionel Charles Dunsterville at Baku. General Dunsterville ordered the evacuation of the city on 14 September, after six weeks of occupation, and withdrew to Iran; [60] most of the Armenian population escaped with British forces. The Ottomans and their Azerbaijani allies, after the Battle of Baku, entered the city on 15 September.[ citation needed ]

However, after the Armistice of Mudros between Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire on 30 October, Ottoman troops were obliged to withdraw and replaced by the Triple Entente. These conquests in the Caucasus counted for very little in the war as a whole but they did however ensure that Baku remained within the boundaries of Azerbaijan while a part of Soviets and later as an independent nation.

Armistice and exile

Enver Pasha in Batumi in 1918. Enver Pasa in Batumi in 1918.jpg
Enver Pasha in Batumi in 1918.

Faced with defeat, the Sultan dismissed Enver from his post as War Minister on 4 October 1918, while the rest of Talaat Pasha's government resigned on 14 October 1918. On 30 October 1918, the Ottoman Empire capitulated by signing the Armistice of Mudros. Two days later, the "Three Pashas" all fled into exile. On 1 January 1919, the new government expelled Enver Pasha from the army. He was tried in absentia in the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919–20 for crimes of "plunging the country into war without a legitimate reason, forced deportation of Armenians and leaving the country without permission" and condemned to death. [61]

Enver first went to Germany, where he communicated and worked with German Communist figures like Karl Radek. In April 1919, Enver left for Moscow in order to serve as a secret envoy for his friend General Hans von Seeckt who wished for a German-Soviet alliance. [62] In August 1920, Enver sent Seeckt a letter in which he offered on behalf of the Soviet Union the partition of Poland in return for German arms deliveries to Soviet Russia. [62] Besides working for General von Seeckt, Enver envisioned cooperation between the new Soviet Russian government against the British, and went to Moscow. There he was well-received, and established contacts with representatives from Central Asia and other exiled CUP members as the director of the Soviet Government's Asiatic Department. [63] He also met with Bolshevik leaders, including Lenin. He tried to support the Turkish national movement and corresponded with Mustafa Kemal, giving him the guarantee that he did not intend to intervene in the movement in Anatolia. Between 1 and 8 September 1920, he was in Baku for the Congress of the Peoples of the East, representing Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. His appearance was a personal triumph, but the congress failed in its aim to create a mass pro-Bolshevik movement among Moslems. Victor Serge, a witness, recorded that:

At Baku, Enver Pasha put in a sensational appearance. A whole hall full of Orientals broke into shouts, with scimitars and yataghans brandished aloft: 'Death to imperialism" All the same, genuine understanding with the Islamic world...was still difficult. [64]

Relations with Mustafa Kemal

Enver and Mustafa Kemal at European manoeuvres, 1910. Picardie manoeuvres 1910.jpg
Enver and Mustafa Kemal at European manoeuvres, 1910.

Much has been written about the poor relations between Enver and Mustafa Kemal, two men who played pivotal roles in the Turkish history of the 20th century. Both hailed from the Balkans, and the two served together in North Africa during the wars preceding World War I, Enver being Mustafa Kemal's senior. Enver disliked Mustafa Kemal for his circumspect attitude toward the political agenda pursued by his Committee of Union and Progress, and regarded him as a serious rival. [65] Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk) considered Enver to be a dangerous figure who might lead the country to ruin; [66] he criticized Enver and his colleagues for their policies and their involvement of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. [67] [68] In the years of upheaval that followed the Armistice of October 1918, when Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish resistance to occupying and invading forces, Enver sought to return from exile, but his attempts to do so and join the military effort were blocked by the Ankara government under Mustafa Kemal.

Pan-Turkism and death, 1921–22

A portrait of Enver Pasha. Enverpasa1.jpg
A portrait of Enver Pasha.

On 30 July 1921, with the Turkish War of Independence in full swing, Enver decided to return to Anatolia. He went to Batum to be close to the new border. However, Mustafa Kemal did not want him among the Turkish revolutionaries. Mustafa Kemal had stopped all friendly ties with Enver Pasha and the CUP as early as 1912, [66] and he explicitly rejected the pan-Turkic ideas and what Mustafa Kemal perceived as Enver Pasha's utopian goals. [65] Enver Pasha changed his plans and traveled to Moscow where he managed to win the trust of the Soviet authorities. In November 1921 he was sent by Lenin to Bukhara–City in the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic to help suppress the Basmachi Revolt against the local pro-Moscow Bolshevik regime. Instead, however, he made secret contacts with some of the rebellion's leaders and, along with a small number of followers, defected to the Basmachi side. His aim was to unite the numerous Basmachi groups under his own command and mount a co-ordinated offensive against the Bolsheviks in order to realise his pan-Turkic dreams. After a number of successful military operations he managed to establish himself as the rebels’ supreme commander, and turned their disorganized forces into a small but well-drilled army. His command structure was built along German lines and his staff included a number of experienced Turkish officers. [69] [ page needed ]

From Fromkin 1989 , p. 487:

However Enver’s personal weaknesses reasserted themselves. He was a vain, strutting man who loved uniforms, medals and titles. For use in stamping official documents, he ordered a golden seal that described him as ‘Commander-in-Chief of all the Armies of Islam, Son-in-Law of the Caliph and Representative of the Prophet.’ Soon he was calling himself Emir of Turkestan, a practice not conducive to good relations with the Emir whose cause he served. At some point in the first half of 1922, the Emir of Bukhara broke off relations with him, depriving him of troops and much-needed financial support. The Emir of Afghanistan also failed to march to his aid.

On 4 August 1922, as he allowed his troops to celebrate the Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha) holiday while retaining a guard of 30 men at his headquarters near the village of Ab-i-Derya near Dushanbe, the Red Army Bashkir cavalry brigade under the command of ethnic Armenian, Yakov Melkumov (Hakob Melkumian), launched a surprise attack. According to some sources, Enver and some 25 of his men mounted their horses and charged the approaching troops, when Enver was killed by machine-gun fire. [70] In his memoirs, Enver Pasha's aide Yaver Suphi Bey stated that Enver Pasha died of a bullet wound right above his heart during a cavalry charge. [71] Alternatively, according to Melkumov's memoirs, Enver managed to escape on horseback and hid for four days in the village of Chaghan. His hideout was located after a Red Army officer infiltrated the village in disguise. Melkumov's troops then stormed Chaghan, and in the ensuing combat Enver was killed by Melkumov himself. [72] [73] [ page needed ] [74]

Enver Pasha's grave at the Abide-i Hurriyet (Monument of Liberty) cemetery in Istanbul, where his remains were interred in 1996. EnverpashaGrave.JPG
Enver Pasha's grave at the Abide-i Hürriyet (Monument of Liberty) cemetery in Istanbul, where his remains were interred in 1996.

From Fromkin 1989 , p. 488:

There are several accounts of how Enver died. According to the most persuasive of them, when the Russians attacked he gripped his pocket Koran and, as always, charged straight ahead. Later his decapitated body was found on the field of battle. His Koran was taken from his lifeless fingers and was filed in the archives of the Soviet secret police.

Enver's body was buried near Ab-i-Derya. In 1996, his remains were brought to Turkey and reburied at Abide-i Hürriyet (Monument of Liberty) cemetery in Şişli, Istanbul. Enver's image remains controversial in Turkey, since there are those who blame him for the Ottoman entrance into World War I and the subsequent collapse of the Empire.[ citation needed ]

Family legacy


After Enver's death, three of his four siblings, Nuri (1889–1949), Mehmed Kamil (1900–62), and Hasene Hanım, adopted the surname "Killigil" after the 1934 Surname Law required all Turkish citizens to adopt a surname.

Enver's sister Hasene Hanım married Nazım Bey. Nazım Bey, an aid-de-camp of Abdul Hamid II, survived an assassination attempt during the 1908 Young Turk Revolution of which his brother-in-law Enver was a leader. [75] With Nazım, Hasene gave birth to Faruk Kenç  [ tr ] (1910–2000), who would become a famous Turkish film director and producer.

Enver's other sister, Mediha Hanım (later Mediha Orbay; 1895–1983), married Kâzım Orbay, a prominent Turkish general and politician. On 16 October 1945, their son Haşmet Orbay, Enver's nephew, shot and killed a physician named Neşet Naci Arzan, an event known as the "Ankara murder  [ tr ]". At the urging of the Governor of Ankara, Nevzat Tandoğan, Haşmet Orbay's friend Reşit Mercan initially took the blame. After a second trial revealed Haşmet Orbay as the perpetrator, however, he was convicted. The murder became a political scandal in Turkey after the suicide of Tandoğan, the suspicious death of the case's public prosecutor Fahrettin Karaoğlan  [ tr ], and the resignation of Kâzım Orbay from his position as Chief of the General Staff of Turkey after his son's conviction.

Marriage and issue

By his marriage to Naciye Sultan, daughter of Şehzade Selim Suleiman and Ayşe Terziter Hanım, and granddaughter of sultan Abdulmejid I, Enver had:

His widow remarried his brother Mehmed Kamil Killigil (1900–1962) in 1923, and had one daughter:

In arts and culture

Enver Pasha plays an important role in "The Golden House of Samarkand", comic by Hugo Pratt (1967).

See also

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Ahmed Djemal Pasha, commonly known as Jamal Basha as-Saffah or Jamal Pasha the Bloodthirsty in the Arab world, was an Ottoman military leader and one-third of the military triumvirate known as the Three Pashas that ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I and carried out the Armenian Genocide. Djemal was the Minister of the Navy.

Second Constitutional Era Period of constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire (1908–1920)

The Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire established shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution which forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore the constitutional monarchy by the revival of the Ottoman Parliament, the General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire and the restoration of the constitution of 1876. The parliament and the constitution of the First Constitutional Era (1876–1878) had been suspended by Abdul Hamid in 1878 after only two years of functioning. Whereas the First Constitutional Era had not allowed for political parties, the Young Turks amended the constitution to strengthen the popularly elected Chamber of Deputies at the expense of the unelected Senate and the Sultan's personal powers, and formed and joined many political parties and groups for the first time in the Empire's history.

Islamic Army of the Caucasus

The Islamic Army of the Caucasus was a military unit of the Ottoman Empire formed on July 10, 1918. The Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha, ordered its establishment, and it played a major role during the Caucasus Campaign of World War I.

The "Three Pashas" refers to the triumvirate of senior officials who effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I: Mehmed Talat Pasha (1874–1921), the Grand Vizier and Minister of the Interior; Ismail Enver Pasha (1881–1922), the Minister of War; and Ahmed Cemal Pasha (1872–1922), the Minister of the Navy.

1913 Ottoman coup détat

The 1913 Ottoman coup d'état, also known as the Raid on the Sublime Porte, was a coup d'état carried out in the Ottoman Empire by a number of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) members led by Ismail Enver Bey and Muhammad Talaat Bey, in which the group made a surprise raid on the central Ottoman government buildings, the Sublime Porte. During the coup, the army chief of staff, Nazım Pasha was assassinated and the Grand Vizier, Kâmil Pasha, was forced to resign. After the coup, the government fell into the hands of the CUP, now under the leadership of the triumvirate known as the "Three Pashas", made up of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal Pasha.

31 March Incident

The 31 March Incident was the defeat of the Ottoman countercoup of 1909 by the Hareket Ordusu, which was the 11th Salonika Reserve Infantry Division of the Third Army stationed in the Balkans and commanded by Mahmud Shevket Pasha on 24 April 1909. The counter coup began on 31 March on the Rumi calendar, which was the official calendar of the Ottoman Empire, corresponding to 13 April 1909 on the Gregorian calendar now used in Turkey. The rebellion had begun on 13 April 1909 and was put down by 24 April 1909. Ottoman historiography link the two events under the name 31 March Incident but refers to the actions by the Hareket Ordusu, the subsequent restoration of the constitution for a third time and the deposition of Abdul Hamid II who was then replaced by his younger brother Mehmed V.

Turkish courts-martial of 1919–1920

Turkish courts-martial of 1919–20 were courts-martial of the Ottoman Empire that occurred soon after the Armistice of Mudros, in the aftermath of World War I. The leadership of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and selected former officials were charged with several charges including subversion of the constitution, wartime profiteering, and the massacres of both Armenians and Greeks. The court reached a verdict which sentenced the organizers of the massacres – Talat, Enver, and Cemal – and others to death.

Mustafa Yamulki Ottoman mirliva

Mustafa Yamolky, also known as "Nemrud" Mustafa Pasha, was a Kurdish military officer, chairman of the Ottoman military court, minister for education in the Kingdom of Kurdistan and a journalist. Mustafa was born in the city of Sulaimaniyah which was then in the Mosul Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

Mehmed Reshid

Mehmed Reshid was an Ottoman physician, official of the Committee of Union and Progress, and governor of the Diyarbekir Vilayet (province) of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. He is infamous for organizing the wartime destruction of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek communities of Diyarbekir. He was known as the "butcher of Diyarbakir".

Military career of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a field marshal, revolutionary statesman, and founder of the Republic of Turkey as well as its first President. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's military career explains his life between graduation from Ottoman War College in Istanbul as a lieutenant in 1905 to his resignation from the Ottoman Army on 8 July 1919, as well as his military leadership throughout the subsequent Turkish War of Independence.

Ali Kemal

Ali Kemal Bey was an Ottoman-born Turkish journalist, newspaper editor, poet and a liberal-leaning politician, who was for some three months Minister of the Interior in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. He was murdered by a mob during the Turkish War of Independence.

Süleyman Askerî

Süleyman Askerî Bey, also known as Suleyman Askeri, Sulayman Askari, Sulaiman al-Askari and unofficially known as Suleyman Askeri Pasha was a military officer who served in the Ottoman Army. Askerî was of Circassian descent and co founder of the Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa, a group involved in guerilla warfare.

Ahmed Niyazi Bey

Ahmed Niyazi Bey, , was an Ottoman revolutionary, who was the bey of the Resne area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An ethnic Albanian, Niyazi was one of the heroes of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution and of suppressing the 1909 Ottoman countercoup as he played leading roles in both events. Niyazi is also known for the Saraj, a French-style estate he built in Resne.

Committee of Union and Progress Political party in the Ottoman Empire

The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), later the Party of Union and Progress, began as a secret society established as the Committee of the Ottoman Union in Constantinople on 6 February 1889 by medical students Ibrahim Temo, Mehmed Reshid, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti, Ali Hüseyinzade, Kerim Sebatî, Mekkeli Sabri Bey, Nazım Bey, Şerafettin Mağmumi, Cevdet Osman and Giritli Şefik. It was transformed into a political organisation by Behaeddin Shakir, aligning itself with the Young Turks in 1906 during the period of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. In the West, members of the CUP were usually called Young Turks while in the Ottoman Empire its members were known as Unionists.

Ottoman entry into World War I

The Ottoman Empire's entry into World War I began when two recently purchased ships of its navy, still manned by their German crews and commanded by their German admiral, carried out the Black Sea Raid, a surprise attack against Russian ports, on 29 October 1914. Russia replied by declaring war on 1 November 1914 and Russia's allies, Britain and France, then declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November 1914. The reasons for the Ottoman action were not immediately clear. The Ottoman government had declared neutrality in the recently started war, and negotiations with both sides were underway.

Ottoman Empire during World War I

The Ottoman Empire came into World War I as one of the Central Powers. The Ottoman Empire entered the war by carrying out a surprise attack on Russia's Black Sea coast on 29 October 1914, with Russia responding by declaring war on 5 November 1914. Ottoman forces fought the Entente in the Balkans and the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. The Ottoman Empire's defeat in the war in 1918 was crucial in the eventual dissolution of the empire in 1921.

Eyüp Sabri Akgöl

Eyüp Sabri, Ohrili Eyüp Sabri (1876-1950) known as Eyüp Sabri Akgöl after the 1934 Surname Law, was an Ottoman-Albanian revolutionary and one of the leaders of the Young Turk Revolution (1908).

Shemsi Pasha (general)

Shemsi Pasha (1846-1908) was an Ottoman-Albanian General.


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