Chapter Five: Nazire and Ali Galip Pasha

 Chapter Five

Nazire and Ali Galip Pasha

Dr. Rifat and Nazire get married 

Dr. Rifat and Nazire get married
Nazire and Rifat get married. Source: Family Archives.

Nazire, my grandmother, was twenty-three when she married Dr. Rifat in 1908. Her marriage prospects had dwindled as she was considered almost too old to find a suitable husband. The family had been in exile for three years. Her father’s reputation had been tarnished and he was on the Sultan’s unwanted list. Prospective suitors were afraid to approach the family. At the end of the second year of exile, in 1907, Dr. Rifat asked Ali Galip Pasha if he could marry his daughter, Nazire. How did he get to know Ali Galip and his family?

I imagine that at this point, Cenap Shahabettin, a famous poet and writer, Rifat’s friend and mentor, stepped in. Cenap and Rifat were both working for the International Quarantine Service. Cenap was married to Ali Galip’s oldest daughter, Atiye, and probably introduced his friend to Ali Galip and his family. The family must have been happy and relieved to see that a young, well educated doctor was interested in their daughter, even though he was not the son of a Pasha. According to my grandmother, working for an international organization carried a certain cachet and granted Rifat some immunity so that he was not afraid to marry her – an exiled man’s daughter.

Nazire and Rifat got married on July 8, 1908, just a couple of weeks before Constitutional Rule was announced, and Sultan Abdulhamid’s thirty year long absolutist rule came to an end. Constitutional Rule was greeted with great relief and delight from many quarters. The Committee on Union and Progress (CUP) rule started and general amnesty was  proclaimed. Everyone, Christian, Jew, and Muslim alike, was dancing on the streets celebrating. But this euphoria would not last long.

The young couple settled down in Bahariye, on the Asian side of Istanbul. Nazire was frequently alone. For the first few years of their marriage, Dr. Rifat spent several months of the year in the Hejaz region as a Quarantine doctor. Galip, their oldest son was born in 1910, and my father, Faruk, in 1911. The family moved to a comfortable house in the fashionable Şişli (Shisli) neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul. My father reflects on his happy childhood days in this neighborhood in his memoir:

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Nazire and Rifat with their two sons, Galip and Faruk circa 1917. Source: Family Archives

The house (I grew up in) was a four-story structure, quite modern and as an exceptional feature of those times, fitted out with electricity and a telephone. My father’s income from the Quarantine Service was quite hefty and my mother really had little to complain about. Together with my brother, we were leading a happy life and playing with other kids, some of whom included boys from Greek families. As a consequence, I picked up quite a few Greek words, which came in handy later on, and remain embedded in my memory.” (Faruk Kardam, unpublished memoir, 1986)

The family liked to visit the largest of the Princes Islands, Büyükada, on weekends. They lounged under the pine trees, watched the Marmara Sea and the other islands as they picnicked. One of these times, after a nap, little Faruk wanted to go in the water, but he didn’t know how to swim yet. He ran out to the edge of the water as the family was napping, walked in and started to disappear in the water. Nazire hanim, with a mother’s instinct, opened her eyes and saw her son struggling in the water. She immediately took off her clothes, remained in her slip and in a second she was in the water. She quickly made her way to her son, grabbed him and returned him to safety. After Faruk was back on shore and dozing off peacefully in his mother’s arms, father’s thoughts meandered back to his past trips to Büyükada. When he was a single medical student, he used to bring his mother, brother and sister here to spend a couple of days on this beautiful island.  He was proud that he kept his promise of bringing them to Istanbul from Kilis and was able to share his good fortune with them. He had helped his brother, Mehmet Emin, to become a medical doctor like him.

This is the island is where Mehmet Emin met his future wife, Lemonya, at the pension they frequently stayed at. Lemonya lived with her aunt, and her aunt’s daughter. They had a large house and rented out rooms. Rifat knew why Mehmet Emin was so attracted to Lemonya. She was pretty. She sang and danced. She was far more interesting than Muslim girls who were covered from head to toe, and much more innocent that than the ‘loose’ women Mehmet Emin knew. (See Bilgen Reinart, Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates: A Woman’s Trek through Turkey) By the end of the summer, Mehmet Emin and Lemonya were in love. But Lemonya was “Rum”, as Anatolian Greeks were called. How was this going to work? My brother is so impulsive, so romantic, Rifat thought. He remembered how his brother had  learned the Greek script so that he could write love letters to Lemonya. When Mehmet Emin became a surgeon, he proposed marriage to Lemonya. But a Christian girl could not marry a Muslim man unless she converted to Islam. Lemonya agreed to convert for love, and became “Seniye Hanim”. Rifat’s own marriage had taken place under much more traditional circumstances. He had barely seen his wife before they were married. But now he was looking at Nazire lovingly as they lay on a blanket with their sons playing around them. It had all worked out. She was the right woman for him.

It was time to leave. They gathered their belongings and started walking down the hill towards the ferry dock. They passed a beautiful old house, whitewashed and surrounded by a large garden with acacia trees. One of Dr. Rifat’s mentors, Dr. Ali Pasha used to live there. Rifat remembered how he visited him some weekends. One weekend when he visited, he found out that Dr. Ali Pasha was ill. Rifat had just graduated from the medical academy. He was eager to practice his profession. So he listened to Ali Pasha’s heart and told him that he heard a murmur. As soon as he finished his sentence, he saw the look of desperation, of pain in Ali Pasha’s eyes and repented what he said. Was telling the truth always the right thing to do?  A few days later, a letter arrived in the mail. It was a poem that Ali Pasha had composed after their meeting. (Zülfikar Aydin, 1986)

Don’t give a broken heart sad news

Let it keep beating, let it look for a remedy

Don’t break up the relationship between

The illness and the ill

Maybe Allah will create the cure for the hopeless

Doctor, don’t leave the sick without hope for remedy

Don’t hold back your empathy

One never gives up hope

Thanks to the benefaction of the Creator

This poem later was later adapted to a song, and it became very popular. Rifat started singing this song softly to himself as the family strolled down the hill to take the ferry back to Istanbul.

The Rum and Kurdish Heritage

Nazire came from an elite family. She was the daughter of a Pasha, a Pasha who was considered a rising star up until the Committe of Union and Progress (CUP) took over. As Nazire was growing up, the family lived in many different locations. Ali Galip served in different corners of the Ottoman Empire, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, as well as the southern and central regions of Anatolia. He moved up the ranks of the Ottoman bureaucracy to be named Mutasarrif (Governor of a vilayet, an administrative unit; Mutasarrif is one level below Vali – governor of a region of the Ottoman Empire) and Pasha (General) in 1897.

Ali Galip was born in Tire in the Aegean region, what is now Western Turkey. Tire was known to be a center of higher education. Ali Galip’s father, Mustafa Lutfullah Efendi, belonged to one of the well-known families in this area and had established a medrese in Tire. Mustafa Lutfullah Efendi was regarded highly by his peers. Famous writers and journalists of his time, such as Ziya Pasha and Namik Kemal sought his company. These intellectuals, coming before the Young Turks, were the ones who had introduced the ideals of the French Revolution to Ottoman society. The Ottoman government opened Western style schools where high level bureaucrats and policy makers could be educated in order to compete better with the West. Galatasaray School in Istanbul was one of those new secular schools. Mustafa Lutfullah decided to send his son, Ali Galip, to this school.

Ali Galip studied public administration and foreign languages at the Galatasaray School. After he graduated, he was appointed to the Ottoman Embassy in Washington, D.C as second secretary. Returning home in 1877, his next post turned out to be at the Aydin Bureau for Foreigners where he worked simultaneously as a writer and reporter for two local newspapers. Many elite, educated men during this period had multiple occupations and it was not unusual for them to practice these simultaneously. They might be bureaucrats, doctors, journalists, writers, or poets all at the same time. Neither was it unusual for them to have a strong patron-apprentice relationship with their bosses in the bureaucracy. The younger man would learn how to become an accomplished bureaucrat and would hold great respect for his boss, while the older man would be expected to mentor the younger civil servant. The relationship would be one of affection and respect. Weber’s idea of anonymous bureaucracy was not part of the Ottoman psyche. Ali Galip probably developed such a relationship with his boss, Necip Pasha. He married Necip Pasha’s daughter, Sariye, and became his son-in-law.

Ali Galip and Sariye had three daughters, Atiye, Nazire and Naciye. During the many evenings my grandmother babysat me, I remember listening to her stories, how she grew up as a Pasha’s daughter in a household full of servants, in pomp and circumstance, wearing beautiful clothes and riding in luxurious horse carriages. This all ended in 1906 when Ali Galip was removed from his post and exiled by Sultan Abdulhamid.

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His Excellency Ali Galip Pasha, Governor of Metelin (Lesbos). Source: Family Archives.

As she was growing up, my grandmother was sent to the American School for Girls in Istanbul for several years. The Sultan forbade Muslim girls to attend Christian schools. But she, with her younger sister Naciye, attended this school secretly using non-Muslim names, at the risk of being caught and punished.  My father explains in his memoir:

During Sultan Abdulhamid’s reign, Turkish women were not allowed to attend foreign schools. The way out was to give the name of Victoria to my mother and to enroll her as a Jewish girl in the American College for Girls in Üsküdar. This education had a direct bearing on her enrolling her two sons at Robert College.” (Faruk Kardam, unpublished memoir, 1986)

Nazire’s stories about Sultan Abdulhamid, the life of Pashas and their families, the horse carriages and all, sounded like fairy tales. The history textbooks at school had done an excellent job of annoying me with descriptions and dates of one war after another. These wars were first won by the Ottoman sultans and then lost, finally leading to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. The new country established in its place, Turkey, had nothing to do with the Ottoman Empire according to my teachers. It seemed as if it was created from scratch. At any rate, who wants to occupy oneself with a defeated, bygone empire? Turkey was going to be modern, Western oriented, and secular. A march towards modernity and Westernization must be made, textbooks told us. We must thank Ataturk for his reforms, including a new alphabet, new calendar, new ways of dress and a new history. By the time I was ready to explore my grandmother’s past, she had passed away. But she did not go without leaving some clues behind.

When Ekin abla, my cousin, and her husband Özdemir visited Nazire in the 1970s, she handed them a folder and said to them: This folder contains the biographies of our family elders. Please keep it safe. It seems odd that she didn’t trust her own sons for the safekeeping of this folder. Ekin abla saved it. Years later, she stumbled across it and became curious about its contents. Inside the folder was a notebook that looked like an old accounting notebook. Its pages had turned yellow. It had columns for dates, explanations and expenditures. Its pages were filled in Arabic script. She couldn’t read them, as Turkey had switched to the Latin Alphabet in 1927. But her mother could.

This notebook contained two biographies. Nazire’s father, Ali Galip, had written his autobiography, as well as the biography of his father, Mustafa Lutfullah Efendi. The latter was signed Ali, Shishli, Istanbul and dated 1933, but his own  autobiography did not have a date. Ali Galip explained in his autobiography that the family’s ancestry went back to Gazi Mihalzades:

My father belongs to a well-respected family from Tire, Aydin, and comes from the long line of Gazi Mihalzades. Gazi Mihal or Köse Mihal or Mikhael Kosses was a Byzantine Tekfur of Hadrianoi (Harmankaya). He collaborated with Osman Bey (the founder of the Ottoman Empire) at the beginning of 1300s. (Ali Galip, unpublished biography, 1933)

I had read about Köse Mihal in history textbooks. As the Ottomans advanced in the fourteenth century, many Byzantine governors paid taxes to the Ottomans for their protection and independence. There were also intermarriages. Köse Mihal was one of the most famous of the Byzantine governors who chose to ally with the Ottomans. He fought alongside them and converted to Islam. Thus, he was given the title ‘Gazi’, a Muslim title given to exceptionally brave warriors. A branch of the Köse Mihal family moved from Pleven (in today’s Bulgaria) at the end of the seventeenth or beginning of the eighteenth century and settled in Tire, Aydin in the Aegean region of today’s Turkey where Ali Galip was born.

So there is a Byzantine governor who converted to Islam in my ancestry and I am partly ‘Rum’. More surprises were in store. Further research revealed that Nazire’s mother is the granddaughter of Mir Bedirhan. a revered  Kurdish leader, who once ruled the southeast and eastern regions of today’s Turkey as a semi- autonomous Kurdish  ‘beylik’ (province). In the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman government centralized in response to losing power. Bedirhan fought to keep his independence and lost. He was defeated in 1856 and he and his entire family members were sent first to Istanbul and later to exile in Crete. (See Ahmet Kardam Cizre Botan Beyi Bedirhan Direniş ve Isyan Yılları and Cizre Botan Beyi Bedirhan Sürgün Yılları)  The Ottomans preferred to make a deal with the elite Kurds who compromised and accepted Ottoman rule. It turns out that Necip Pasha, Bedirhan’s oldest son and Sariye’s father, was one of those elite Kurds. Thus, at the time Ali Galip met Necip, the latter was the governor of Aydin and Ali Galip worked under him.

It is curious that my grandmother never talked about this. Our Kurdish identity was buried. On the other hand, Nazire didn’t mind mentioning our family’s Rum heritage, probably because the Mihalzades had fought on behalf of the Ottomans so honorably. They accepted Islam and were long assimilated. But the Kurdish heritage was obviously different. I set out to find out more.  It turns out that Necip Pasha’s son, Abdurrezak, was not inclined to accept Ottoman rule and dedicated his life to the fight for Kurdish independence. Abdurrezak started his career in the Ottoman bureaucracy in 1885 working at the embassy in St. Petersburg, gaining recognition as a promising young diplomat. But his dreams of an independent Kurdistan never died and soon led him to escape to Russia in 1894, causing the Sultan’s ire and suspicion that he may be fomenting unrest among the Kurds along the Iranian border. The Sultan asked the Russian government to return him. Abdurrezak instead went to England and established contact with separatist Armenian groups. Sultan Abdulhamid pressured Necip Pasha to influence his son and convince him to return to Istanbul. Finally, Abdurrezak agreed, returned to Istanbul and rejoined the Foreign Affairs bureaucracy.

On March 23 1906, the entire Bedirhani family’s fate took a disastrous turn. The mayor of Istanbul, Ridvan Pasha, was murdered by a group of Kurds. The investigations pointed to Abdurrezak as a leading accomplice to this murder. According to some, the reason for this murder was really a personal conflict between Abdurrezak and Ridvan Pasha stemming from Ridvan Pasha’s refusal to construct a road past Abdurrezak’s family residence in Shisli (Istanbul. But Sultan Abdulhamid suspected that the real motivation to the murder was to promote chaos and to eventually dethrone him. He ordered the rounding up of the entire Bedirhani clan, some say up to three thousand people, all over the Empire, including in-laws, relatives and even those who appeared to have any relationship with Abdurrezak. Some of these people who were rounded up were put under house arrest, others were sent to exile, still others were immediately put in jail.

Necip Bey's Sons
Necip Bey’s sons and son-in-laws from left to right, Mehmet Said, Ali Galip (son-in-law), Abdurrezzak, Bedirhan, Cemil Conk (son-in-law). Courtesy of Ahmet Kardam

After the Ridvan Pasha murder, all three sons of Necip Bey, Mehmet Said, Abdurrezzak and Bedirhan, and Cemil Conk (son in law) were arrested and were sent to a high security prison in Trablusgarp (Libya). This prison was known to have exceptionally harsh conditions. The cells were pitch dark, with no air, no windows. The prisoners were given nothing to eat except some water and stale bread. Necip Bey’s three sons were given lifelong imprisonment in this prison. The fate that befell Ali Galip and his family was relatively less cruel, but devastating nonetheless.

A year before the Ridvan Pasha murder, Ali Galip Pasha, who was Governor of Lesbos (Mitillini) Island and vicinity, was basking in the recognition he had received from the Sultan for his efforts to resolve a serious conflict on the island. In 1905, Western powers had invaded Lesbos and occupied the Customs and Telegraph offices. The formal justification for this occupation was to force the Ottoman Government to implement the promised reforms in the Balkans. Some sources, however, point out a different reason. The Ottoman Government had borrowed some money from two French bankers called Lorandao and Tubini during Sultan Abdulaziz’s reign and had never paid it back for years. The French ambassador sued the government and won. Sultan Abdulhamid, who replaced Abdulaziz, promised to pay back this loan. When it was still not paid, the French government sent seven warships to Lesbos Island and announced that it would reclaim the loan by occupying the Customs Office. The French also demanded new capitulations for all the French run institutions such as schools, hospitals or churches in Ottoman territory. Abdulhamid didn’t have a choice but accept these demands.

Ali Galip describes these events in his autobiography:

“The navy of Western powers had occupied Lesbos for about a month. I made sure that no riots or discord occurred on the island during this period and was commended by the government and was promised the Regional Governorship (vali) of a province (next step up from his current position as Governor (Mutasarrif) of Lesbos) due to my success in resolving this conflict peacefully.”  (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

While he was waiting for a promotion, Ali Galip was instead removed from his position as Governor of Lesbos and exiled to Izmir. His salary was reduced from 6,840 kurush to 1,000 kurush. He writes:

“As I was waiting for this (promotion) promise to be fulfilled, instead I was exiled to Izmir because of the Ridvan Pasha incident and that my wife was a Bedirhani. During this exile of about three years, I can’t even begin to speak about my pain and suffering, both financially and otherwise. Therefore, I will keep silent.” (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

Ali Galip Pasha’s Fall

In 1908, Abdulhamid’s rule of thirty years came to an end, and Constitutional Rule was established. This meant that the Committee on Union and Progress (CUP) now had a strong upper hand in ruling the Ottoman Empire. But it did not bring  freedom, peace or prosperity as was hoped. The Italian war in Tripoli, followed by the First Balkan War shrunk the Empire even further, and led to much death and suffering. The Balkan War of 1912 pitted Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success. As a result of the war, almost all remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire were captured and partitioned among the allies. Thousands of refugees were now steadily streaming into Istanbul and from there to Anatolia.

At first, the CUP under Enver Bey appealed to the principle of Ottomanism, “the free integration of all races and religions in a multinational state”. (Kinross, p. 576 in Toussulis) Echoing the earlier Young Ottomans, Enver proclaimed: .“Henceforth we are all brothers. There are no longer Bulgars, Greeks, Roumanians, Jews, Moslems; under the same blue sky we are all equal, we glory in being Ottomans”. (Kinross, p. 574 in Toussulis, 2010) Soon Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzogovina, Bulgaria declared itself an independent state, and Crete proclaimed its decision to unite with Greece. From this point on, the CUP began embrace the principles of Turkish nationalism rather than Ottomanism, and its policies towards minorities, especially Greeks and Armenians, would soon become increasingly harsher.

After the Constitutional Rule, Ali Galip Pasha was reinstituted as the governor of Lesbos Island. He wrote in his autobiography:

“In the ensuing days of the announcement of Constitutional Rule (1908), there was some rowdiness and excessive exuberance. There was an allegation, reported to the Ottoman Court, that some Christians attacked the houses of their Muslim neighbors (on Lesbos Island)  and threatened to kill them. The people who made these allegations requested that soldiers be sent to the island along with a warship for their protection”. (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

Ali Galip and the ‘vali‘ (regional governor) above him did not agree on how to tackle this situation. Ali Galip wrote that: “For this reason, and some other reasons, we (Regional Governor and I) both needed to resign from our positions”. He continued: “A few days later someone else was appointed in my place, and I was appointed to the Saruhan governorship (in the Aegean). Manisa is a big and important region and therefore, I took up my new position with enthusiasm.”

Once Ali Galip got to Manisa, however, he found out that there was a boycott going on against the Rums who lived there. The local CUP group had started a boycott against the Rums because the Rums allegedly employed Greeks (from Greece) in their schools and churches. People were ordered not to buy anything from stores owned by the Rums. Ali Galip informed the Interior Minister in Istanbul that an illegal boycott was started and an order to stop it was issued by the Ministry. Why were the Rums being boycotted? After all, the Rums and Muslims had lived together in relative peace in the Ottoman Empire for a long time. But now the Rums of the Ottoman Empire were in a dilemma and so was the CUP regime. Some Rums were siding with Greece, a new nation-state they hoped would expand into the Ottoman territories as the Empire declined. Others were still loyal to the Ottoman Empire but rejected the call for equal citizenship for Muslims, Jews, and Christians by the Young Turks, preferring to keep their privileges and special protections. Furthermore, many Rums were doing very well economically as trades people and mediators between Western powers and the Empire. This was arousing envy among some Muslims. The CUP became more and more and more pro-Turk and began to view Rums as ‘the other’, as the enemy.

Ali Galip Pasha found himself stuck in the middle and powerless as the boycott continued. The order by the Ministry of Interior had made no difference. Moreover, the boycotters started to boycott him! He laments in his autobiography:

“A boycott was started not just against all Rum owned goods and assets but also against individuals. As this was illegal, I banned any such activity. The result was some people decided to boycott me. Even though the Ministry of Interior had ordered the boycott to end, the Manisa CUP Association continued it, claiming that they received their orders from the Central CUP Organization in Istanbul. Under these strange circumstances, my hands were tied.” (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

It wasn’t long before Ali Galip was removed from his position, and someone else was appointed in his place. He wrote that he had to sell his rugs and other possessions in order to return to Istanbul in the middle of winter under dire circumstances. He was fifty-five years old at the time. When he reached Istanbul, he immediately wrote a letter to the Ministry of Interior, explaining the unfair treatment he received and requesting for his appointment as Regional Governor to a province:

“As my resume shows, I have received my education at the Galatasaray School, then worked as a translator in Bab-i-Ali, worked as a second secretary at the Washington Embassy. After that, I have served and been promoted for my excellent service over thirty-eight years in areas where special administrative talents were necessary, such as Bingazi, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. During this whole time, I have not received any warnings. On the contrary, I have always received congratulations and medals of recognition for excellence from the government. While I worked as a bureaucrat, I have also not neglected continuing to educate myself in Administrative Sciences, Economics and French. To the extent of my capabilities, and given the political and social realities, I have tried my utmost to contribute to the development of my country. 

At times I have not been able to put to use my capabilities and was forced to keep my ideas close to my chest. Under the happy circumstances of Constitutional Monarchy, I am now convinced that governors will be able to do more than sign papers and implement policies, but they will be expected to be innovative and contribute to the development of their region, keeping in mind the region’s specific characteristics and drawing on scientific evidence. I am certain that when new appointments are made, extensive experience and trustworthiness will be important considerations. Therefore, I request that I be appointed as Governor to a region commensurate with my experience and abilities. I can promise that I will do my best and that your trust in my abilities will not go unanswered.” (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

After he sent this letter, he went to see Talat Bey, one of the two top leaders of the CUP regime to ask him why he was removed from the Saruhan governorship. According to Ali Galip, Talat Bey said that he was informed that Ali Galip was eighty years old, could barely walk and was no longer able to hold this position. In fact, Ali Galip was only fifty-eight years old at this time and was in good health. He wrote in his autobiography that he  was shocked at Talat Bey’s response that someone in such a high position would not investigate his circumstances carefully. Talat Bey promised to look into this and the next time they met, he apologized for this mistake. He told him: Even those people who don’t like you agree that you are exceptional in your honesty and abilities as an administrator.  I will see if I can appoint you to a provincial governorship.

Ali Galip did not hear anything for a long time. One day, Dr. Rifat, his son in law, received a phone call from the Ministry of Finance. They were interested in including Ali Galip in the Council of Directors for a new organization and had submitted his name as a candidate. Again, this did not materialize. Ali Galip’s disappointment grew deeper and deeper as it became clear to him that his career had come to an early end. The Pasha who had served the Sultan successfully, with honesty and loyalty now asked for his early retirement in a state of humiliation and defeat. He wrote in his autobiography:

“I asked for my retirement at the relatively young age of fifty-eight in order to devote the rest of my life to praying for this nation’s survival and happiness. As is clear from my record, I have always worked hard, with a strong sense of responsibility and service. And yet, during the period of absolutism, I was exiled due to kinship ties, and humiliated and removed from my position during Constitutional Rule because I insisted on truthfulness. It was impossible to live on the 54 liras monthly retirement pension I was given. My father’s lands and assets were no longer available to me after the chaos created by the Greek invasion of Western Anatolia.” (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown) 

It must have been around 1910 and Ali Galip’s career had come to an abrupt end. Why? His kinship to Bedirhani Abdurrezak Bey who continued his activities for an independent Kurdistan must have had something to do with it. The CUP regime was on Abdurrezak’s trail and finally assassinated him in 1918. Ali Galip’s Rum ancestry may have also had something to do with his final removal from governorship of Manisa. The CUP members may have found out about Ali Galip’s ancestry as a Rum, as a ‘Mihalzade’ and could have easily accused him of siding with the Rums and boycotted him too. Besides these specific circumstances, the bureaucracy that Sultan Abdulhamid created under which he served, was progressively gutted and dismantled by the new regime. Thus, Ali Galip may have been one of its many victims. The Abdulhamid period had produced a bloated bureaucracy. Instead of finding the right people for the right positions, positions were found (and created) for the ‘right people’, the ones that supported the Sultan. When the CUP came to power, they tried to streamline the bureaucracy but they unfortunately could not create a new order, nor the human resources needed for such a new order. Instead many people were just haphazardly removed from their positions in the name of streamlining the bureaucracy. In fact some say that the number of civil servants that were let go exceeded the ones that stayed.  According to Suleyman Tevfik:

“During this streamlining process, many people were let go for personal reasons. In order to avoid being fired, some people became members of the Ittihat and Terakki (CUP) associations for their protection. These associations ordered the government to do what they wanted. The military had now become politicized such that inexperienced officers interfered with government business regularly, confusing serving the Ittihat and Terakki Association with serving the country. For instance, a colonel could approach the Sadrazam or the Ministry of Interior and order him to fire a governor, reappoint one to another region, or order him to implement a particular policy under threat. This situation was particularly rampant in the provinces. The governors were thus manipulated at the hands of these associations who were made up of the regional elites. The governors and other high level bureaucrats did not know what to do. There was no government policy, no rule of law; instead whatever the individuals leading the Ittihat and Terakki (CUP) associations dictated was implemented.” (2011, p. 265)

The CUP regime turned against the Ottoman bureaucracy and the non-Muslim communities as they became more and more authoritarian. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy suffered tremendously. Many governors were pulled out of their positions arbitrarily, similar to Ali Galip Pasha. The local CUP associations interfered with them as they pleased and fired the governors who did not agree with them. It was hard for the governors to resist this interference, as many of the CUP members were colonels and ultimately based their authority on the military institutions.

Ali Galip now belonged to the ancien regime. He remained steadfastly a ‘Sultanist’. At the end of his autobiography his last sentence was: “I now live patiently, believing in the compassion and benevolence of the Sultan with all my heart.” (Ali Galip, unpublished autobiography, date unknown)

(c) Nükhet Kardam 2015

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References and Credits

Ali Galip, Unpublished Autobiography, date unknown.

Ali Galip, Unpublished Biography of Mustafa Lütfullah Efendi, 1933.

Bilgen Reinart, Üstün, Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates: A Woman’s Trek through Turkey.

Tevfik, Süleyman, II. Meşrutiyetten Cumhuriyete – Elli Yıllık Hatıralarım, (From the Second Constitutional Rule to the Republic – A Memoir spanning 50 years)  Istanbul: Dün Bugün Yarın Yayınları, 2011.

Zülfikar Aydın, Mükerrem Bedizel, “Kilisli Dr. Mehmed Rıfat Kardam (1877-1936)”, 50 Yıl Önce Ölen 8 Büyük Türk Hekimi İçin Anma Töreni Kitabı (In Honor of 8 Great Turkish Doctors) İstanbul, 1986, pp, 68-71.

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