Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Ill-treatment of British and Anzac POWs Turkey


Davidwhitman
 Share

Recommended Posts

The fact remains that there is not a single account that I know of from an Anzac or British POW of the Turks that does not mention atrocities. Dismissing these accounts without having read them (but claiming to have done so) is nothing but intellectual dishonesty. Personally I'll just ignore posts by Dogan, as all they seem designed to do is disrupt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gentlemen , Gentlemen

We can go on forever thrust and parry,attack and counter-attack but to what ends?

We must remember that there were two nations at war and of course there will be

at times , ill treatment as laid down by convention , at times out of necessity due

to lack of rations , medical supplies etc.

I my readings , none of these come close to the atrocities carried out by a certain

Asian nation against Allied troops some twenty odd years later.

Let us all remain on track regarding POW's from the Canakkale Campaign and later the

Middle East.

At Gallipoli , we were the invaders , we had been filled with propoganda regarding the

"Barbaric Turk".

We were lead by 19th. century Generals bought out of retirement who had no idea (in most case)

of the effects of 20th. Century weapons on the human body and rumours were even spread that

the Turks were mutilating Anzac bodies.

It was not until (in Anzac) the truce of May 24th.that both sides met and both sides could

see the effect of these weapons.

A mutual respect was formed out of this Truce , so much so that the Commander of the First Turkish

Brigade ,Brig, Gen.Tahsin Yazici, himself a Gallipoli Veteran ,approached the Australian Command in

Korea in 1951 where we were both serving under U.N. Charter, to arrange a joint Anzac Service.

A Chinese counter -attack did not allow this in 1951 but on Anzac Day 1953 a joint service was held

and in his speech Gen. Yazici said of the assembled Troops that.

"It has been said that if the seeds of this joint respect we have for each other were planted at

Gallipoli then they ripened in the dust and snow of Korea".

The point that I am trying to make after my long winded tirade is,

Nothing can change or re-write history , good or bad.

Add hearsay and others interpretations into that and we start to descend into personal attacks

that this thread has been heading toward.

Have had my rant Gentlemen,please stay with the facts as known or written by reputable sources.

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I'd like to reply your query with two excerpts from my presentation:

"Once again before getting into identity issue I’d like to warn listeners that I used mainly hometowns to identify who were Arabs and who were not. So instead of more correct form of “officers from predominantly Arab provinces” I usually used “Arab officers” phrase throughout the presentation. As you all know in a traditional multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious empire it is difficult to identify how each given person identify himself. Consequently hometown seemed to me more reliable and easy to find at the documents. As a last remark the real ethnic origins of several prominent Arab nationalists (Aziz al Masri was a Circassian from Egypt and Jafar al Askari was a Kurd from Baghdad) are also proving the relative validity of my preference."

"Abdülhamid unlike his predecessor did not see the military education in military terms only but a strategic instrument of his political vision and ideology. The total defeat at the hands of the Russians in 1878 and increased political opposition and subversive activities convinced him to reconsider the state ideology and formulate a new one; the official Ottomanism. He actually barrowed the essentials from the opposition and redesigned it to be subservient to state. The official Ottomanism was built around the personality cult of the sultan, a kind of patriotism and loyalty to sultan in multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural empire. Unlike intellectuals Abdülhamid was pragmatic and realist. He mainly targeted the Muslim population and tried to unite them under his political and spiritual leadership, a kind of Ottoman Muslim nation. So understandably he saw the military schools as an important part of the effort to integrate distinct Muslim ethnic groups into the political, economic, and cultural fabric of the empire. He gave special emphasis to the predominantly Albanian and much neglected Arab populated provinces which had not been well represented in Ottoman military previously. The administration deliberately provided social mobility channels for the poor and shaped the identity of the future officer corps -an elite corps of men with decent backgrounds, who underwent highly technical training and dedicated their lives to the military. After commissioning, Arab and Albanian officers often served in their hometowns and became examples of success for the younger generations. "

I guess these excerpts are enough to answer your query. If not we need to start a new topic. This topic is already very hot!

Regards

Regards

Mate,

Just to set my mind at ease can you confirm what is meant by Arab officer?

I take it you refer to a man drawn from the upper or middle classes (educatated) from the occupied areas of the Ottoman Empire, like Mesoptamiann, Palestine, Yeman and Libya (pre 1913).

So would thse be of Ottoman or natives extract and or both?

Cheers

S.B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Peter

Yes, maybe one day Australians and the Japanese will be involved in an ideological war thousands of kilometres away against a common enemy and they can romanticise how the Australians were "honoured guests" in Japan during WW2!.

This thread is not about romanticism or politics, but about the objective assessment of the treatment of Allied POWs in Turkey during WW1.

Do you regard the testimonies of our Anzac POWs as hearsay?

Regards

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with David on this. The fact that a single contributor to this thread does not like what's being said does not mean we all have to roll over and play the PC game. Jack Halpin in particular (POW of the Turks) went to great lengths to stress that the image of the Turks as some kind of best buddy of the Anzacs was a romanticised myth, particularly if you happened to be a prisoner. That was in the thirties, and it seems we're still struggling with it now, because for some - and this is not only Turks - it's not possible to admit that Turkish troops did wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I'm with David on this. The fact that a single contributor to this thread does not like what's being said does not mean we all have to roll over and play the PC game. Jack Halpin in particular (POW of the Turks) went to great lengths to stress that the image of the Turks as some kind of best buddy of the Anzacs was a romanticised myth, particularly if you happened to be a prisoner. That was in the thirties, and it seems we're still struggling with it now, because for some - and this is not only Turks - it's not possible to admit that Turkish troops did wrong.

Gentlemen,

It is not a matter of what I like said or not said but a matter of who believes in porkies and who dont and who cry baby about some claim they have no proof of.

The "quotes" I have submitted are all from " foreign" sources and the victors British and French, who have had all time and translator they needed to prove guilt. They have not been able to do so until now and it is their records that say so.. So if you feel to get pissed off at someone, I would point to who wrote the reports I have " copy-pasted".

regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not a matter of what I like said or not said but a matter of who believes in porkies and who dont and who cry baby about some claim they have no proof of.

Hi Dogan,

You are getting it from all sides!

Any chance you could respond to, or provide some feedback on my earlier post - number 47?

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<BR>Hi,<BR><BR>I'd like to reply your query with two excerpts from my presentation:<BR><BR>"Once again before getting into identity issue I'd like to warn listeners that I used mainly hometowns to identify who were Arabs and who were not. So instead of more correct form of "officers from predominantly Arab provinces" I usually used "Arab officers" phrase throughout the presentation. As you all know in a traditional multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious empire it is difficult to identify how each given person identify himself. Consequently hometown seemed to me more reliable and easy to find at the documents. As a last remark the real ethnic origins of several prominent Arab nationalists (Aziz al Masri was a Circassian from Egypt and Jafar al Askari was a Kurd from Baghdad) are also proving the relative validity of my preference."<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Infantry, <BR>To your knowledge, could the (Jafar Al Askari), a Kurd from Bagdad in Ottoman army, have any relations to /or be "Cafer Askari " of Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa? and otherwise, to your knowledge, does he have any relations to the Commander of 2nd Division , "Hasan Askeri", who arrived at Canakkale front on 19 May 1915 as reinforcements for the great assault?<BR><BR>Thanks for your attention.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those who would be interested in A REPORT BY TURKISH PRIMEMINISTRY STATE ARCHIVES Ottoman Archive Divison, Canakkale Wars in Ottoman Documents"

is freely available online. ( T.C. BASBAKANLIK DEVLET ARSIVLERI GENEL MUDURLUGU Osmanlı Arsivi Daire Baskanlığı Yayın Nu: 71 Osmanlı Belgelerinde CANAKKALE MUHAREBELERI, I A N K A R A 2 0 0 5)

A treasury of correspondence records between various State departments on day to day developments of war covering a wide range of issues including POW, wounded, dead ..and more( just let me know if you cannot find it online)

regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Jafar al Askari known Cafer Askeri in Turkish documents and sources. Yes he did take part operations i Libya during WWI and was captured by the Brits during a failed attack. He changed sides while serving as a POW in Cairo. Hasan Askeri (famous CO of the 2nd ID) is nor his relative. Hasan is the brother of Süleyman Askeri.

Even though the Libya operation was handled by Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (better known in English Special Organization) it is not proper to call each and every military personnel that served in Libya as Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa member or operative. Many conventional military personnel served within Teşkilat operations for a period of time but only a ew of them called as Teşkilat operatives in Ottoman documents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Jafar al Askari known Cafer Askeri in Turkish documents and sources. Yes he did take part operations i Libya during WWI and was captured by the Brits during a failed attack. He changed sides while serving as a POW in Cairo. Hasan Askeri (famous CO of the 2nd ID) is nor his relative. Hasan is the brother of Süleyman Askeri.

Even though the Libya operation was handled by Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (better known in English Special Organization) it is not proper to call each and every military personnel that served in Libya as Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa member or operative. Many conventional military personnel served within Teşkilat operations for a period of time but only a ew of them called as Teşkilat operatives in Ottoman documents.

Infantry,

Thank you for the kind reply and details.

From what I can gather in above mentioned Ottoman records, Cafer Askari did provide a valuable service. I would like to find out about the circumstances surrounding his defection and what happened to him afterwards, would you be able to recommend any sources to find out as to what happened then ? and what was offered by the British captor in return? I believe we will find out more as to how Turkish POW were treated if we can get more infoprmation about the fate of such man.

regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi again,

Luckily Cafer wrote a memoir and it was translated into English several years ago.

Jafar al-Askari, A Soldier’s Story: From Ottoman Rule to Independent Iraq, (trans.) Tariq al-Askari, (London: Arabian Publishing, 2003)

He was captured wounded during the Battle of Aqaqir of Feb 26, 1916. He was sent to Maadin Camp near Cairo and received special treatment including gifts, visits to and from British ad Egyptian high rankings. His old friend Nuri al-Said (also an Ottoman officer but deserted the army well before the war) who was in British pay also began to visit him. Nuri provided news and newspapers about the Arab revolt and heavy handed administration of Cemal Pasha in Syria (inc. hanging Arab nationalists). Cafer decided to defect and enrolled to the cause of Sharif of Mecca. He spent several pages in his memoir in order to explain his motives of defection. Even after the war he tried his best to convince his friends that he was not a traitor( which must be diffucult after forgotten promises of McMahon telegrams).

Any way I would suggest two unpublished Ph.D. dissertations about the treatment of Ottoman POWs at the hand of Brits and how Brits tried their best to convince non-Turkish POWs to fight for Sharifian cause.

Ann Scoville, British Logistical Support to Hashemites of Hejaz: Taif to Maan 1916-1918, (Los Angeles: University of California Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, 1982)

Yücel Yanıkdağ, Ill-fated Sons of the Nation: Ottoman Prisoners of War in Russia and Egypt, 1914-1922, (Ohio State University Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, 2002)

Regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is an interesting, and well informed, discussion you two have been having, Dogan and Infantry. However, I can't see how non Turks serving in the Ottoman army is in anyway relevant to the ill treatment of Allied POWs. You could, perhaps start a new thread about this or transfer your comments over to Dogan's new thread of Ottoman POWs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is an interesting, and well informed, discussion you two have been having, Dogan and Infantry. However, I can't see how non Turks serving in the Ottoman army is in anyway relevant to the ill treatment of Allied POWs. You could, perhaps start a new thread about this or transfer your comments over to Dogan's new thread of Ottoman POWs

I agree fully. Whilst critisizing others for veeering into other matters, I seem to have done it myself :) Apologies! Will the moderators please move my comments to the new thread of Ottoman POWs, else how do I do it myself?

regards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, For those who are seeking archival information on (Ottoman records) activites of Turkish Red Crescent ( Hilal-i Ahmer Cemiyeti); Please find below links ; lots of goodies :), including POW treatment, wounded, correspondence etc...etc.. http://www.kizilaykutuphane.org/index.php?sf=cntnt&id=14 One needs to fill out the form here and post the required info snail mail: http://www.kizilaykutuphane.org/index.php?sf=cntnt&id=7 For immediate access into the archives...easy.... The Catalogue can be searched here, after you register, access granted and copies can be obtained ( Ottoman script original as well as Latin Turkish) by visiting the archives. Catalogue lists basic heading and subject, regardlesss: http://www.kizilaykutuphane.org/arsiv.php <BR><BR>Sample catalogue listing here:<BR><A href="http://www.kizilaykutuphane.org/arsiv.php">http://www.kizilaykutuphane.org/arsiv.php</A><BR><BR>Regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Dogan

Thank you for providing us the links on the Ottoman Red Crescent records and thank you for your contributions to this thread.

Regards

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Gentlemen,

It is not a matter of what I like said or not said but a matter of who believes in porkies and who dont and who cry baby about some claim they have no proof of.

The "quotes" I have submitted are all from " foreign" sources and the victors British and French, who have had all time and translator they needed to prove guilt. They have not been able to do so until now and it is their records that say so.. So if you feel to get pissed off at someone, I would point to who wrote the reports I have " copy-pasted".

regards

What? Now we're 'cry babies' if we believe every account of treatment by Allied soldiers about their Turkish captors? Very mature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Below is a list of Anatolian Cities and Ottoman territories where Allied POW were kept. The list categorised as to the nationality of POW but that of course does not mean that there were no POWs of various nationalities in all, some may have been mixed. The list is from Ottoman Archival entries. Some locations may have been used as initial collection point and some are permanent locations.

British POW

Kastamonu

Bozkır, Isparta

Kırşehir- Mucur (Internees)

Bursa

Gediz

Kayseri- Talas and Develi

Arapsun

Kütahya

Eskişehir

Manisa(Internees)

Koçhisar(Internees)

Samatya

Heybeliada (Generals and Officers surrendered at Kuttülamare)

Afyonkarahisar Usera Garnizonu (Various naval POW)

Kastamonu ve Devrekâni

Aksaray ve Beyşehir(French also)

Çankırı ve Bolu

Niğde

Ayaş(Russian also)

İzmit(Russian also)

Muğla(Menteşe)

Nevşehir

Nusaybin

French POW

Zor

Yozgat

Kayseri ,Develi and Talas

Çorum ve Çankırı(Russian also)

Bursa

Mecitözü

Kırşehir

Taşköprü and Devrekâni

Koçhisar

Konya

Burdur

Niğde

Russian POW

Ayaş

Afyonkarahisar

Beypazarı

Beyşehir

Bilemedik (Haçkırı-Toros)

Gönen

Burdur

Sivas

Isparta

Lüleburgaz

Merzifon

Tavşanlı

Gelibolu

Mixed POW

Balıkesir

Ankara

Elaziz

Babaeski and Uzunköprü

Nevşehir

Bolu

Zonguldak

Düzce

Erzurum(Russian and Armenian)

Biga

Mardin

Osmancık and İskilip

Bor ve Cumra

Akhisar

Trabzon, Cebel-i Lebanon and Jerusalem

Urfa

Seydişehir

Mihaliç

Uluborlu-Abdülcebbar Farm

Sivrihisar-Kıranhamamı

Aydın

Konya

Rize

Söğüt(Muslim POW)

Bilecik(Muslim POW)

Bartın(Muslim POW)

Mudanya(uslim POW

<BR clear=all>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

This, of course, is a very large and controversial theme, especially the closer we get to the centenary. Many of the accounts of maltreatment refer to the happenstance of German or Austrian advisers/personnel intervening to help victims, but I have come across the name of a man called Thomas Brown, who was born of UK parents in Bremen on 15.6.1880 and opted for naturalization at Hamburg in 1914 following return from work as a trader for a Hamburg firm in the Persian Gulf. His employer recommended him for a role in the proposed German plan for an attack on the oil installations at Abadan. This did not happen, but Brown was reported in 1936 to be 'a Scottish Jew' who worked for the Turks in WWI and was allegedly responsible for the repatriation of civil & military PoWs from Iraq to Australia. As only half of these returned home, Brown was allegedly accused of crimes and a bounty of £50,000 placed on his head. This was an absolutely huge amount of money at the time, but I have been unable to obtain any information about these claims and he was reported to have returned to the Middle East to work for a consortium of German firms supplying steel and pipes to the oil industry. The consortium bought a share of Mosul Oil Co. in 1932 and sold this to Shell in January 1936 for £600,000 according to official German reports. The claims appear in an Abwehr report of 17.4.1936. We know that the Abwehr employed a number of German Jews, but was this report merely hearsay or concocted out of relatively thin air ? Any information would be greatly appreciated, if it exists.Balmacledllan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...