2771) Buffers, Not Brethren: Young Turk Military Policy In WWI And The Myth Of Panturanism* by Michael A. Reynolds

Buffers, not Brethren: Young Turk Military Policy in the First World War and the Myth of Panturanism*

Michael A. Reynolds, Princeton University

* Michael Reynold's article crushing the myth of CUP's Pan-Turanist policies

The rise of mass national identities and nationalism is surely one of the most common narrative themes in the historiography of modern Europe and of many other regions. Scholars have created a tremendous theoretical and empirical literature on the origins of nationalist movements, the contents of nationalist ideologies and the formation of national identities. Although nationalism emerged as a western European phenomenon, the collapse of formal empire and the proliferation of the nation state around the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries seemingly revealed it to be a global phenomenon. Moreover, the nationalist narrative's inherent claim to universality lent it an apparently exceptional explanatory power and its familiarity made it an attractive theme around which to organize the historiographies of regions beyond Europe.

At times, however,
. . the theme of nationalism and its development has been allowed to overshadow other processes, and its uncritical application has proven deleterious to our understanding of history. To illustrate the point, this article examines one of the most entrenched theses in Ottoman historiography, the contention that the ideologies of Panturkism and Panislam, often lumped together under the rubric of Panturanism, profoundly influenced Ottoman policies and decision-making towards Russia in the empires’ final years.1 According to this thesis, the rise of mass identities among Muslims and Turkic peoples in the Ottoman and Russian empires at the turn of the century generated among Ottoman leaders a powerful irredentism directed towards the Muslim lands of the Russian Empire. The increasing influence of Panturanic sentiment, we are told, culminated in 1917–18, when it inspired the Ottomans to send their armies into the Caucasus for the purposes of uniting with their ethnic brethren and co-religionists and rekindling imperial grandeur by carrying out a campaign of conquest across the Caspian into Russian Turkestan.

The Panturanic thesis is one of Ottoman historiography's most commonly reproduced theses but not one of its better-researched ones. Scholars employing it have been content to draw on circumstantial evidence and rhetoric, much from sources far removed from decision-makers, to explain Ottoman decisions and behaviour, often without stopping to confirm whether the putative actions they seek to explain in fact even took place. The failure to subject the thesis to a more rigorous examination can be explained in part by an inability to use or access primary Ottoman sources. The discrepancies between the thesis and the open historical record are too great, however, for this explanation to suffice. The stronger explanation lies in the broader literature's pervasive emphasis upon the centrality of national identities. Against this conceptual backdrop the idea that Ottoman Muslims at the end of empire fought desperately to unite with their brethren in Russia appears so intuitive and persuasive that it does not require investigation.

This article contends that the Panturanic thesis is untenable. It argues that a sober vision grounded in concrete geopolitical reasoning, and not any nationalist or proto-nationalist ideology of identity, guided those conducting policy towards the Russian Empire in its final years. To demonstrate this, the article examines the thoughts and actions of the leaders who decided the policy, the diplomats who shaped it, the soldiers who fought to realize it, and the politicians who debated its course. It traces the evolution of Ottoman ambitions and plans for the Caucasus and Russia in the period that began with the February Revolution in Russia and ended with the signing of the Mudros Armistice and the final withdrawal of Ottoman forces from the Caucasus in November 1918. This period is critical to the Panturanic thesis because it presented the best conditions for Panturanism to exert influence over Ottoman policy. There are two reasons for this. First, this period came following three years (or six, if we count the wars with Italy and the Balkan states) of warfare that are said to have spurred and accelerated the growth of nationalist and Panturanic sentiment among Ottoman Muslims. Second, it presented the most propitious moment the Ottomans had for pursuing Panturanic goals. Russia throughout this time was in chaos and its governments preoccupied with revolution, and the Caucasus effectively left defenceless. Whereas we could argue that in prior years Russia's military superiority deterred the Ottomans from pursuing their Panturanic ambitions, no such constraint on Ottoman behaviour existed in 1917–18. In short, if ever we should find evidence of Panturanism's influence, it should be in this period.

A careful reconstruction of events in 1917–18 and close analysis of Ottoman internal discussions, public debates and diplomacy reveals that the Ottomans’ goal was not unification with their ethnic or religious brethren. Rather, their overriding objective was more straightforward and far less romantic: to weaken Russian power by splitting apart the Russian Empire and to put a buffer between their borders and Russia's. The Romanov empire had constituted the greatest existential threat the Ottomans had known, but its collapse did not inspire the Ottoman leadership to dream of recapturing imperial glory on the steppes of Eurasia. On the contrary, the Ottomans were convinced that Russia's weakness was temporary and that they had but a brief window of opportunity to exploit. Their primary objectives included recovering territory lost after 1878, assisting the formation of an independent Ukrainian state, and establishing in the Caucasus one or more buffer states to put geographic space between their empire and the Russian. Other goals, such as shoring up the legitimacy of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and securing the region against future penetration by Britain and Germany, played secondary roles. To argue that the ideologies of Panislam or Panturkism did not drive Ottoman policies is not to claim that these ideas were non-existent. As will be discussed, Ottoman officials did attempt to mobilize Muslim solidarity, and Russia's Muslims at times couched appeals for aid to the Ottomans in terms that emphasized shared religious or ethnic identities. Rather, the argument is that these ideologies were the instruments of the policies rather than their cause. While Ottoman decision-makers and the representatives of Russia's Muslims did feel varying degrees of mutual sympathy, the extent to which that sympathy translated into altruism was limited and vastly less than what the existing literature suggests. Similarly, a close investigation of the Ottoman offensive reveals that hostility towards Armenians among the highest levels of the Ottoman leadership could be intense, but could and did vary. It shows that such enmity was a function not of desire for greater empire but of a fear for the future control of Anatolia. The story of the Ottoman advance into the Caucasus is understood best as a variant not of the narrative of emerging national identities but rather of another global historical theme, the proliferation of the modern territorial state.



Before proceeding, I shall briefly address the origins and contents of the three ideologies of Panislam, Panturkism and Panturanism, and then offer some explanations for the historiography's persistent emphasis upon them. The ideologies of Panislam, Panturkism and Panturanism emerged in the nineteenth century, a time when a beleaguered Ottoman Empire was undergoing a series of extended crises. It was reeling before the Great Powers of Europe and steadily haemorrhaging territory. At the same time that its leaders were desperately searching for solutions, it was growing more homogeneously Muslim as it lost its heavily Christian territories and accepted a steady influx of Muslim immigrants and refugees from its borderlands. To some Ottoman Muslims, these ideologies offered a promise of renewed power and suggested a way out of the empire's burgeoning crises. The ideologies identified different but overlapping political constituencies beyond the Ottoman Empire with whom Ottoman Muslims could unite and derive strength. Only slightly less significant was the fact that the ideologies shared the assumption that a population's identity should determine its political community, an assumption that conformed to emerging contemporary norms of sovereignty. The ideologies, in other words, proposed modern alternatives to the obsolescing Ottoman dynasty as a focus of political loyalty.

Panislam called for all Muslims to put aside sectarian, ethnic and other divisions and pursue co-operation and union. Of the three, it was the least novel. Islam had arisen as a union of believers and unity was implicit in the faith. What was innovative about Panislam was the urgency that its advocates felt. The imperative to strengthen the Muslim community, they argued, demanded that all Muslims put aside their differences, including sectarian ones of doctrine and practice that went to the heart of the religion. Sultan Abdülhamid II (reigned 1878–1909) famously sought to employ Panislam to consolidate the loyalties of the Muslims within his empire as well as to add some geopolitical heft vis-à-vis the European colonial powers haunted by nightmares of rebellious ‘Muslim fanaticism’ among their subjects.2

Panturkism and Panturanism, by contrast, were conceptually novel. A Jewish Hungarian Orientalist named Arminius Vambery is credited with coining both of them. In 1873 he pointed to the existence of Turkic peoples in the geography that stretches from the Adriatic to the Great Wall of China. He suggested that if the Ottoman state, which he defined as Turkic, would unite with its ethnic brethren in that territory it could better balance the might of Russia. Panturanism extended the idea of union on the basis of Turkic ethnicity to encompass the Hungarians, Finns and Estonians, among others, together with the Turks. All these peoples, Vambery surmised, had common origins in a mythical land called ‘Turan’ in Central Asia. By joining together on this basis of a common heritage they could counter the Slavs. Although this interpretation of Panturanism enjoyed a modicum of popularity in some Hungarian intellectual circles for much of the twentieth century, Ottoman authors employed the concept of Turan most often as a synonym for Panturkism.3

The other area where the concepts of Muslim and Turkic unity enjoyed currency was within the Russian Empire. Before the end of the nineteenth century, Russian expansion had overturned the political life and institutions of the Muslims of the Volga, Crimea, Caucasus and Central Asia and brought them all together under a single sovereign. The expansion of communication and modern education across the empire put Russia's Muslims in contact with each other and introduced to them new concepts of cultural life and political organization. Towards the goal of unity in language and culture, Muslims such as the Crimean Tatar Ismail Gaspirali advocated the use of a simplified Turkic language. Just as some Ottomans were looking outside their borders for allies as a solution to their crisis, some of Russia's Muslims looked to the Ottoman Empire for inspiration in addressing their own problems. Because the majority of Russia's Muslims were of Turkic origin, the ideas of Panislam and Panturkism blended and reinforced each other in practice.

Panturkism made its entrance into political debates in the Ottoman Empire in 1904 when a Tatar émigré from the Russian Empire named Yusuf Akçura published in the Cairo journal Türk an article entitled ‘Three Policies’. Taking for granted the idea that shared identity should bind a state and its inhabitants together, Akçura argued that the Ottomans could choose from three options: an Ottomanism that assimilated all the empire's inhabitants into one nation; the embrace of Panislam and the unity of all Muslims; or the pursuit of the unity of the Turkic peoples, who extend ‘from Central Asia to Montenegro’. Akçura urged the adoption of the Panturkist option as it was the most likely to succeed.4 Scholars extrapolated from the presence of émigré intellectuals like Akçura among Young Turk circles in Istanbul and the occasional appearance of Panturanic symbols and rhetoric in the works of other intellectuals such as Ziya Gökalp, Tekin Alp and Halide Edib following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, to posit the existence of a powerful attraction between Ottoman Muslims and their Russian brethren.

In 1912 the Balkan powers fell on the Ottomans and dealt them several crushing defeats, stripping the empire of nearly all its remaining territory in Europe and sending hundreds of thousands of desperate Muslim refugees streaming from the Balkans into Anatolia. The cumulative effect, scholars tell us, was to whip Ottoman Muslims into a nationalist frenzy that led them to seek compensation for their losses in the west with new conquests in the east by entering the First World War against Russia.5 Panturanic ambitions inspired the Ottoman minister of war Enver Pasha to order an ill-fated offensive into Russia's Caucasus, while Panislamic fervour goaded the minister of the navy Cemal Pasha to undertake a similarly failed assault against the British-controlled Suez. The advance of the Russian army into Anatolia contained Ottoman irredentism through the next two years, but when the Russian army disintegrated in the wake of the February 1917 Russian revolution, the Ottomans seized the moment to undertake an offensive into the Caucasus in pursuit of Panturanic empire.



The Panturanic thesis has persisted because it performs three ostensibly valuable functions. The first is that it supplies the link from the dynastic and multi-ethnic ethos of the Ottoman Empire to the modern nationalism of the Turkish Republic. Panturanism, Ottoman historians suggest, was the manifestation of a new mass politics of identity that began to emerge around the time of the so-called Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and culminated in the creation of the self-consciously nationalist Turkish Republic in 1923. It represented a transitional state of consciousness embodying the raw energy of a new, collective political identity that was born out of modernity and evolved into a more mature nationalist consciousness and identity. The Panturanic thesis is essentially a corollary of a more general assertion about the central and universal influence of nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It therefore fits well with a broader narrative about the rise of nationalism, the fall of multinational empires and the spread of the nation state.

The second is that it helps to explain the wholesale destruction of the Christians of eastern Anatolia, and the Armenians in particular. In its most straightforward variant, this argument holds that the Turks of Anatolia annihilated Anatolia's Armenians who, by virtue of geography, constituted an obstacle to Turkish ambitions to unite with their brethren in Russia. Another version of this argument emphasizes the ideational and emotional essence of Panturanism more than the strictly geographical imperatives. It contends that Panturanist irredentism reflected the existence of an extraordinarily ambitious and aggressive world view among the Ottoman leadership, and that the determination to carry out a campaign of expansion based on religious and ethnic identity is consistent with an intention to exterminate minority populations. Somewhat paradoxically, whereas the Panturanist thesis is invoked to explain the perpetration of genocide, it fulfils a third function in Turkish historiography, where it bolsters the legitimacy of Mustafa Kemal and of the republic he founded. By attributing a plan of reckless irredentism to Kemal's Young Turk predecessors and former rival Enver Pasha in particular, the Panturanist thesis discredits them and underscores the wisdom of Kemal and his famous principle of non-intervention abroad, neatly summarized in the slogan ‘Peace at home, peace abroad’. The ability to fulfil these varied functions has lent the Panturanic thesis a long life.

If the conventional emphasis on the determinative influence of Panturanism is correct, we should, at a minimum, be able to find evidence of the following: a certifiable effort to incorporate into the Ottoman Empire all possible territories inhabited primarily by Muslims or Turks without reference to their past history; the deployment of forces for the task of liberating Russia's Turks and Muslims in proportions so large as to jeopardize other strategic commitments; a commitment of significant resources of money and personnel to Muslim or Turkic groups for the purpose of their liberation and the corresponding absence of such support for non-Muslim and non-Turkic groups. Existing accounts of Ottoman behaviour fail to examine Panturanism's alleged influence in a rigorous fashion. They do not produce substantive evidence for the Panturanic thesis, overlook or ignore outcomes that contradict it, and fail to consider alternative hypotheses for outcomes that it seemingly explains.



The Ottoman army in Anatolia in the spring of 1917 was at breaking point. The extraordinarily gruelling combat of the last two years had left it battered, exhausted and depleted. It continued to haemorrhage deserters even as the Russian army advanced deeper into Anatolia. Only the onset in the preceding winter of unusually severe weather that forced all combatants to quarters had preserved it from destruction.6 The condition of what remained of the empire was not much better. Its manpower reserves were spent, exorbitant inflation was strangling the economy, and starvation stalked even the capital, Istanbul.7

Thus the arrival in March 1917 of news of revolution in Petrograd and the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II naturally brought hope to the Ottomans. Although the exact meaning of the events unfolding in Petrograd and throughout the Russian Empire was not clear, the existence of turmoil at the very highest levels of the Russian state held out the possibility of an end to the war and the survival of the Ottoman Empire. The Grand Vizier Talât Pasha in a public address grasped the revolution's potential significance and raised the possibility of a new era of good relations with a ‘free and modern’ Russia.8 Throughout the summer of 1917 the Istanbul press ran articles calling for peace, declaring that ‘the continuation of war will be a crime against humanity’.9

Word of the Bolshevik overthrow of Russia's Provisional Government that November further buoyed Ottoman hopes. At the least, the Bolshevik coup portended greater turmoil inside Russia.10 But the Bolsheviks’ immediate publication of their decree ‘On Peace’ suggested something better still: an imminent end to the war. When the Ottoman foreign minister Ahmed Nesimî Bey addressed the Chamber of Deputies regarding the Bolsheviks' rise to power, stormy applause greeted his declaration that no obstacle to peace with Russia existed since both empires were in difficult straits and Russia, ‘like us, needs to work in peace on reforms for many years’. Indeed, amidst the euphoria sparked by the prospect of imminent peace, some deputies felt obliged to remind their colleagues that Baghdad and the Hijaz were still under British occupation and needed to be reclaimed.11 Soldiers at the front and the press in Istanbul alike hailed the signing of an armistice between the Ottoman and Russian armies on 18 December in the town of Erzincan as the first step towards a comprehensive peace settlement.12

The decree's condemnation of the imperialism of the Great Powers and its formula of a peace without annexations and indemnities gave reason for further optimism. Such a formula seemed to promise the restoration of the old 1914 Ottoman–Russian border. It might even lead to the return of Elviye-i Selâse, the ‘three provinces’ of Kars, Ardahan and Batum that Istanbul had ceded to Russia in lieu of reparations for damages incurred in the Ottoman–Russian war of 1877–8. The decree, however, also asserted the right of nations to self-determination, and this would prove a source of diplomatic discord soon enough.

The fall of the tsar precipitated the disintegration of the Russian army as Russia's peasant conscripts on every front hurried home to their villages in expectation of a massive redistribution of land.13 By the autumn, barely a skeleton of an army remained facing the Ottomans. Nonetheless, throughout 1917 the Ottoman war minister Enver Pasha assigned a low strategic priority to the front with Russia. Indeed, he had been eager to redeploy units away from the Caucasus, not to it,14 and the commander of the Caucasus Army Group, Vehib Pasha, felt obliged to warn against withdrawing any forces from the Caucasian front prematurely.15 Neither the Russian Caucasus army nor the Transcaucasian Commissariat, a provisional government that emerged in the South Caucasus in the wake of the Russian Empire's implosion, had recognized the Bolshevik government in Petrograd, and the contours of authority in the region remained opaque and in flux. Others were similarly circumspect in their hopes for the dawning of a new era of peace in Ottoman–Russian relations. As Istanbul's ambassador to Berlin, İbrahim Hakkı Pasha, cautioned, Russia is ‘always an awesome enemy and it is probable that in a short time it will regain its former might and power’.16



The Central Powers and the Bolsheviks commenced negotiations for a comprehensive peace settlement in Brest-Litovsk on 22 December 1917. The Ottoman delegation arrived in the east European town with a minimum goal of obtaining the return of the 1914 border and a maximum one of restoring the 1877 border. They were aware that they were in a weak bargaining position. Their state was a junior alliance partner, and their wish to assert the principle of a peace without annexations to compel Russia's withdrawal from Anatolia clashed with the Germans’ desire to retain control over those parts of eastern Europe it occupied. Indeed, whereas Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria all endorsed Istanbul's demand that Russia withdraw from Iran, they were pointedly ambivalent about a Russian withdrawal from Anatolia.17 The Ottoman diplomats accordingly refrained from voicing loud demands to territory beyond the 1914 border. It would prove to be a fortunate decision.

The Bolsheviks soon disillusioned the Ottomans. In contrast to their grandly suggestive rhetoric, the revolutionaries at Brest-Litovsk studiously evaded even acknowledging any legitimacy to the return of the occupied Anatolian territories, let alone the lands taken in 1878. Then on 13 January in Petrograd they published a decree ‘On Armenia’. Signed by Lenin and Stalin, it proclaimed the right to self-determination of the Armenians of ‘Turkish Armenia’ and authorized the establishment of an Armenian militia.18 The Bolsheviks’ decree and their supply of arms to Armenians and Georgians appeared to be part of a poorly disguised gambit to retain imperial Russia's conquests and convinced the Ottoman delegates, including Talât, that in fact they had no intention to surrender any land.19 Russia, it seemed, was again trying to play the ‘Armenian card’.20

Talât's response was to try to play a ‘Muslim card’ against the Bolsheviks. He asked the ambassador to Petrograd, Galip Kemalî Bey, to have Yusuf Akçura, who had been sent to Petrograd to serve on a commission on cultural and economic relations, mobilize Russia's Muslims to pressure the Russian government to cut its support for the Armenians. Galip Kemalî agreed, but warned Talât that such a tactic stood little chance of attaining any substantial results since Russia's Muslims were poorly organized politically and communication in Russia was too primitive to facilitate co-ordination among them.21 This pessimistic assessment of the political potential of Russia's Muslims was consistent with other Ottoman intelligence analyses, and nothing came of Talât's enquiry.

The Bolsheviks themselves learned at Brest-Litovsk that the principle of self-determination could cut in many ways. Led by Trotsky, they had arrived with the calculus that if they dragged out the talks long enough, a war-weary Germany would succumb to revolution. At the talks Trotsky indulged in the opportunity to flaunt his rhetorical skills and acerbic wit in temporizing debates. But when the frustrated Central Powers retaliated by signing a peace treaty with the Ukrainian Central Rada, thereby formally recognizing Ukraine as a sovereign state independent of Russia, they infuriated the revolutionary so much that he broke off the talks and returned to Petrograd.22

Although the Bolsheviks’ departure disappointed the Ottomans, they hailed the treaty with Kiev as a considerable achievement in itself. Talât joyfully informed Enver from Brest-Litovsk that the recognition of Ukraine would land the necessary blow against the Bolsheviks’ effort to recreate a Great Russia.23 As he explained to a German reporter, the failure of the talks was not as important as the results: ‘Although it is not official, we did make a peace of sorts with Soviet Russia. Really this peace is an unaccustomed thing, but at least this way we were able to achieve peace and security’.24 Tanin echoed Talât with its observation that the existence of an independent Ukraine meant that Russia had lost much of its malign relevance. Commenting on the arrival of a new Ukrainian ambassador to Istanbul, the newspaper noted the delicious irony that whereas four years before, the Russian ambassador had departed with the prediction he would return to a Russian city, now Istanbul was receiving his counterpart from an independent Ukraine.25

The Ottomans’ appreciation of the strategic importance of an independent Ukrainian state was nothing new. Before the outbreak of the war, Istanbul had been working with the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine, an organization of Ukrainians dedicated to establishing an independent Ukraine. During the war it assisted the union in mounting several operations (which failed) and in recruiting Ukrainians from among Imperial Russian Army prisoners of war held on Ottoman territory.26 As Russia's political crisis deepened throughout 1917, the Ottoman embassy in Stockholm — the Ottomans’ centre for the collection and analysis of intelligence relating to the Russian Empire — emphasized the singular importance of the emergence of an independent Ukraine. While intelligence analysts concluded that the odds for a total break between Ukraine and Russia were less than even, should such a break occur it would greatly diminish Russia's ability to threaten the Ottoman Empire. The Ukrainians, the analysts noted, were culturally more sophisticated and better organized than Russia's Muslims and possessed the capability to fundamentally redraw the geopolitical map of the Black Sea and surrounding regions to the benefit of the Ottoman Empire.27 The Ottoman attaché in Stockholm accordingly undertook to support the Ukrainian independence movement.28



While the Bolsheviks quarrelled in Petrograd over whether or not to return to Brest-Litovsk to make peace, Berlin declared the ceasefire suspended, issued an ultimatum and authorized the Central Powers to resume their offensives. With German forces advancing on Petrograd, Lenin concluded that peace had to be made at any cost. Because Trotsky had no desire to sully himself with the ignominious act of signing a peace, Grigory Sokolnikov led the delegation back to Brest-Litovsk. Shortly after arrival Sokolnikov discovered more unpleasantness. Whereas Berlin's ultimatum had required that the Russians withdraw from the ambiguously titled ‘East Anatolian provinces’, the draft peace treaty obliged the Russians specifically to evacuate Kars, Ardahan and Batum.29 To change the terms of a treaty after delivering an ultimatum flew in the face of established protocol, and the amending of the draft text in this way represented a triumph of Ottoman diplomacy.

The Ottoman effort to reclaim Elviye-i Selâse had begun in December when Enver, sensing an opportunity to boost the internal legitimacy of the CUP government with a prize for the war30 and wise to the rules of the game of self-determination,31 instructed that a ‘Caucasus Committee’ composed of natives from the three provinces be put together and sent to Vienna and Berlin to lobby for the return of their homelands to the Ottoman Empire. When the ten-member committee in mid January wrote in despair from Berlin that none of the Central Powers had the slightest interest in its claims,32 Talât wired Galip Kemalî in Petrograd to ask if the committee might have any success in Russia. The chances were slight, the acting ambassador explained, as the Bolsheviks appeared to be living up to their rhetoric of self-determination. It was doubtful that this committee could credibly represent the aspirations of a population that had been under Russian rule for forty-five years, since some of them had not only been raised as Ottomans but had reached the highest circles of Ottoman society. Moreover, he cautioned Talât, ‘The really important question for us is whether or not we will have to listen to assertions along these lines [of self-determination] from some nations inside our own country’.33 Indeed, the Georgian prince Machabelli was already in Berlin threatening to retaliate with claims on behalf of the Laz and the Kurds if the Ottomans continued to push for Kars, Ardahan and Batum.34

Germany represented the centre of gravity of the Central Powers’ war effort, and so the Germans held the final word at Brest-Litovsk. The ultimatum's neglect of Kars, Ardahan and Batum was not coincidental. The Germans from the start had dismissed Ottoman claims on Elviye-i Selâse. As occupiers themselves of formerly Russian lands they were hesitant to embrace the principle of no annexations. The Foreign Ministry, moreover, had its own plans for the future exploitation of the Caucasus, and the foreign minister Richard von Kühlmann opposed strengthening the Ottoman position there.35 Hakkı Pasha, a former grand vizier and expert in international law,36 advised the Ottoman Foreign Ministry that convention forbade the augmentation of an ultimatum's demands subsequent to its presentation. Hakkı nonetheless quietly took up the matter with the chief German negotiator at Brest-Litovsk, Baron von Rosenberg, and managed to convince him that the three provinces rightfully belonged to the Ottomans and that the phrase ‘East Anatolian provinces’ referred properly to them. Although Kühlmann had warned against allowing the Ottomans to take Batum, General Erich Ludendorff, who together with General Paul von Hindenburg co-ordinated German grand strategy, was by this time eager to punish the Bolsheviks for their earlier intransigence and so approved amending the clause:37

Russia will do all within her power to ensure the immediate evacuation of the provinces of Eastern Anatolia and their lawful return to Turkey. The districts of Ardahan, Kars and Batum will likewise and without delay be cleared of Russian troops. Russia will not interfere in the reorganization of the national and international relations of these districts, but leave it to the population of these districts to carry out this reorganization in agreement with the neighbouring states, especially with Turkey.38

Hakkı and Rosenberg then persuaded the Austrians and Bulgarians also to accept it. The matter, however, was not guaranteed. The Austro-Hungarians made their support for the amendment dependent on the condition that it would not cause any delay whatsoever in the signing of the treaty.39

That delay threatened on 3 March, the morning scheduled for the signing, when Sokolnikov opened his remarks with a sustained and blistering attack on the injustice of including the three provinces in article 4.40 Anxiety gripped Hakkı Pasha. If the Bolsheviks hesitated to sign, the Ottomans’ allies would almost certainly scrap the amendment for the sake of just getting the treaty concluded once and for all. He rose to the occasion. He took the floor and rebutted Sokolnikov with an impassioned defence of Ottoman claims, delivering a masterful lecture on the history of the region, its relationship to the Ottoman Empire and its loss to Russia in 1878.41 It was a near-run affair. The Bolshevik delegation had singled out the clause as especially onerous in a cable to Petrograd, but under Lenin's instructions to sign no matter what, they put their signatures on the treaty. Only after they had signed did Hakkı Pasha allow himself to relax.42



The next day the minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs Halil Bey announced to the Chamber of Deputies the achievement of peace with Russia and the return of ‘our three provinces’ (üç sancağımız). He cheered the deputies further with his prediction of the imminent signing of a third peace treaty, with Romania (the first having been signed with Ukraine), and his hope that the Brest-Litovsk peace would compel the Entente to make peace and bring a rapid end to the war.43 The deputies praised God for the empire's good fortune. They rejoiced at the destruction of the throne of Ivan the Terrible and ‘Crazy Petros’, as the Ottomans called Peter the Great, and expressed their wishes for subsequent victory on the Palestinian and Syrian fronts. They greeted the defeat of Russia with joy because it seemingly heralded the end of the war as well as the disappearance of the Russian threat. Not one suggested that the treaty provided an opportunity for expansion of Ottoman territory into Turkestan or the Caucasus beyond Elviye-i Selâse.44

The criticism of one delegate is telling in this regard. After congratulating the government on its success in negotiating a peace treaty, the deputy from Karahisar-ı Sahip, the Azeri émigré from the Russian Empire Ağaoğlu Ahmed Bey, explained that he could not refrain from bringing to the government's attention certain facts that had been overlooked. Whereas other allied governments had not forgotten nations related to their ethnicity or type and had secured certain guarantees from the Bolshevik government on those nations’ behalf, such as the Germans did for Estonia, Kurland and Lithuania, the Ottoman government had done nothing for the Muslim governments established in Ufa, Crimea and similar places. He concluded by remarking that Halil Bey had not said anything about these matters and accused the government of failing to perform its duty.45

Enver Pasha took up Ağaoğlu's charge. Responding to him by name, Enver averred that the government had not seen any need to resolve this problem twice. Governments in ‘Ufa, Kazan and Orenburg’ now existed and the Bolsheviks had ‘already accepted the right of all nations to determine their own fate’. In the Caucasus a government composed of various nations was emerging, Enver explained, and ‘we shall not refrain from assisting in every way and recognizing other governments that will emerge and wish to maintain good neighbourly relations with us owing to their proximity in addition to [those governments of] nations that share our ethnicity and religion’. ‘Hence, in my opinion’, Enver concluded, ‘the things that Ahmed Bey Efendi has described have been dismissed’.46 The next day Halil Bey added ‘two words’ to Enver's reply to Ağaoğlu:

The government did not neglect its duty in this matter, it remembered [its duty] very well. Tomorrow, while examining the Foreign Ministry's files, he [Ağaoğlu] will see and understand very well that the government did not neglect its duty; but only those things that are possible can be done. What could be done was done.47

Given the evolution that took place in the Ottoman leadership's opinion about the nature and intentions of Bolshevik Russia, these responses, and Enver's in particular, were less than wholly forthcoming, and amounted to dissembling. By mid January 1918 Talât and Enver had become convinced of the Bolsheviks’ commitment to centralized rule at the expense of the independence of the non-Russian borderlands. If assisting Russia's Muslims to attain independence, let alone seeking to unite with them, had been one of the Ottoman government's goals at Brest-Litovsk, then the Ottoman performance would have to be judged a spectacular failure. The conclusion of Brest-Litovsk had enabled the Bolsheviks to redeploy their forces and crush their ‘internal’ enemies, including the Trans-Bulak Republic and the All-Russian Muslim movement. This had been Lenin's rationale for signing the treaty.48

The first part of Halil Bey's defence — that ‘only those things that are possible can be done’ — would be a more compelling rebuttal of Ağaoğlu's charge were it not for the second part, ‘What could be done was done’. Clearly, unlike the Germans the Ottomans did not possess the military wherewithal to threaten the Bolsheviks in such a way as to decisively influence the course of events in Kazan or elsewhere in Russia's interior. The second part of Halil's defence, however, is less than forthcoming, since it suggests that the Ottomans at Brest-Litovsk held the assistance of Muslim independence movements in Russia as one of their goals and that the Ottomans accomplished or at least attempted to accomplish something to benefit those movements. But evidence that the Ottoman government at Brest-Litovsk sought to assist the Muslim independence movements is weak. At Enver's direction Hakkı Pasha did ask the Germans on 27 February 1918 to demand recognition of rights for the Muslims of Kazan, Orenburg, Turkestan and Buhara.49 The request went nowhere and was dropped. Neither the Ottomans nor anyone else put the fate of Russia's Muslims on the agenda at Brest-Litovsk.

More importantly, when the Ottomans did consider assisting the various Muslim movements, such as when Enver oversaw the establishment of the Caucasus Committee or when Talât enquired about whether Yusuf Akçura could be used to stir up Russia's Muslims, the criterion for Ottoman interest was whether or not such movements could further the Ottomans’ goal of recovering their lost territory, and not whether the Ottoman government could assist these Muslims in gaining independence. Although they may have liked to see the establishment of a Muslim state in the Crimea, they prioritized relations with Ukraine because of its geopolitical importance and therefore did little or nothing to assist the Crimean Tatars.50

Indeed, Ottoman military intelligence judged Brest-Litovsk a success precisely because it meant that the Bolsheviks would be preoccupied with internal rebellions and would not pose a threat across the Caucasus. Writing in the middle of June 1918 to the Directorate of Eastern Affairs, the Ottoman military attaché in Moscow made it clear that Ottoman state interests, and not those of Russia's Muslims, were his primary concern. After noting that peace had been made between the Germans and Ukrainians on the one side and the Bolsheviks on the other, he advised:
the Russians will be able to use their forces against the rebels. The continued existence of Bolshevik rule in Russia is to the advantage of the Ottoman government because [Russia] will not be able to unite itself on account of internal conflicts and will not be capable of creating problems for Turkey from the Caucasus.51
While ministers and military officers exchanged notes of congratulation, those outside government hailed the news as well. In an article entitled ‘Brest-Litovsk in History’ in the newspaper Tasvir-i Efkâr, Yunus Nadi Bey hailed Brest-Litovsk as signifying the elimination from the world map of the threat of ‘nightmarish Muscovite tsarism’ and rejoiced at the return of ‘one of our most important defensive points’.52 Ahmed Emin Bey, writing in the pages of the newspaper Vakit under the headline ‘Ardahan, Kars and Batum’, approvingly quoted the foreign minister Halil Bey's words, ‘we have been saved from the Muscovite danger and oppression for at least a century’. Describing the Ottoman achievement at Brest-Litovsk not as a ‘conquest’ but as ‘the repair of an old injustice’, he noted, ‘We have such burdensome duties in the matter of reforming and adapting our country to a way of life appropriate for this century that we cannot leave things unfinished as they are and we cannot waste time even thinking of conquests’.53 News of the liberation of Kars, Ardahan and Batum sparked celebrations in Damascus.54



The fortuitous combination of Bolshevik intransigence, Rosenberg's sympathy and Hakkı Pasha's hard work had secured Russia's surrender of Elviye-i Selâse and the Ottomans’ ‘right’ to organize plebiscites to determine the provinces’ future. It had been a closely run and uncertain affair right up until the end. Ironically, the Ottomans nearly forfended the recovery of the provinces by their own efforts in January 1918 when they invited the Transcaucasian Commissariat to participate in the Brest-Litovsk negotiations.

The Transcaucasian Commissariat had emerged in the wake of the February Revolution and Tsar Nicholas II's abdication. It had Tiflis as its capital and comprised the territories of what would become the republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Betraying their fundamental wariness, Ottoman field commanders speculated initially that the Bolsheviks might try to trick them into recognizing an independent Transcaucasus.55 Ukraine's example, however, inspired Enver. Despite being unsure of the Commissariat's structure or whether it even existed, Enver advised Vehib that the formation of a Caucasian state was ‘highly desirable’ and that the Ottomans would assist it ‘in every way’ if the Caucasians wished. He urged that, like the Ukrainians, they should send a delegation to Brest-Litovsk to obtain recognition.56 Although the Transcaucasians refused to recognize Russia's Bolshevik government, they insisted stubbornly that they remained part of Russia and so spurned Istanbul's offer. The rejection of independence would prove an inauspicious decision.

The advance of the Ottoman army begun in conjunction with the German offensive in eastern Europe in February spurred the Transcaucasian Seim, or parliament, to declare itself competent to conduct peace talks, albeit not independent. Before its delegation had departed for talks to be held in Trabzon, news of the Brest-Litovsk treaty arrived. Article 4 stunned the Transcaucasians. They hurriedly responded by telegraphing denunciations of the treaty to capitals around the world, and then set out for Trabzon, somehow believing that they could retain Kars, Ardahan and Batum.57

The bloated delegation's appearance made a poor initial impression. Upon seeing its sixty-one hapless members disembark, one Ottoman observer cracked, ‘If this is the entire population of Transcaucasia it is indeed very small; if, however, it is only a delegation, it is much too large’.58 Their diplomacy was no better. With hopelessly convoluted logic the Transcaucasians argued that because they did not recognize Russia's Bolshevik government the terms of Brest-Litovsk could not bind them, yet simultaneously they insisted they remained part of Russia.59 As the parties wrangled in Trabzon, the Ottoman army advanced, reaching the 1914 border on 24 March and receiving the order from Enver to proceed to the 1877 border two days later.

When after some three weeks of discussion the Transcaucasians offered begrudgingly to cede only parts of Kars and Ardahan, the Ottoman foreign minister Hüseyin Rauf Bey (Orbay) issued an ultimatum demanding that Tiflis declare independence and accept the terms of Brest-Litovsk as the basis for negotiations. Despite the frantic urgings of its own foreign minister to comply, the Seim proudly declared war on 14 April.60 The capacities of Transcaucasia's defenders failed, however, to match the fiery rhetoric of its parliamentaries and in a matter of hours the Ottomans captured Batum.61 Ardahan and Kars fell thereafter, and before the end of April the Ottomans were in control of Elviye-i Selâse.

Relenting now to Istanbul's first condition, the Seim proclaimed the Transcaucasian Federation a sovereign and independent state. Peace talks resumed in Batum on 11 May. The Ottomans’ chief negotiator, Halil Bey, explained that since Tiflis had resisted the Ottoman advance with arms, he now had the right to demand the Kars–Alexandropol–Julfa railway, the Akhaltsikh and Akhalkalaki districts of the Tiflis province, the city of Alexandropol and most of the district of that name, and part of the Echmiadzin district. These territories lay along the railway and would give the Ottomans secure control of it, which would allow them to deploy forces quickly to northern Iran, where they feared the British were becoming more active.62 When the Transcaucasians once again attempted a ‘game of diplomatic evasion and double talk’,63 Halil issued another ultimatum as the Ottoman army crossed the Arpaçayı. After a perfunctory protest the Georgians complied, leaving the Armenians to resist alone. Again the Armenian defences crumbled, and the Ottomans took Alexandropol, Julfa and other strategic points along the railway.64

The Ottoman advance alarmed the Germans, who began secretly collaborating against their nominal ally with the Bolsheviks. The Germans also began wooing the Georgians, seeing Georgia as a toehold from where they could extend their hegemony over the Caucasus as a whole following the victorious conclusion of the war.65 Istanbul was aware of the Germans’ opposition and double-dealing, but was determined to exploit the opportunity opened by the collapse of Russian power, even at the cost of engaging the Germans in combat, as would occur in June.66 In other words, the Ottomans must wring as much as they could from the opportunity provided by Russia's momentary weakness.

As Enver had noted in his speech to the Chamber of Deputies in March, the form of the emerging Transcaucasian government was inchoate. Its constituents were three distinct peoples, the Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijani Turks, or ‘Tatars’ as they were known at the time. A common commitment to democratic socialism, a desire to remain part of a greater, albeit democratic, Russia, and an aversion to Bolshevism bound the Transcaucasian elites together. But there were frictions, especially between the Armenians on the one side and the Georgians and Azeris on the other. Resentment of the Armenian bourgeoisie was a defining aspect of Georgian socialism.67 Tensions between Armenians and Azeris had erupted into open fighting between militias in 1905, and in March 1918 the Armenian-dominated Baku Commune turned that city into a ‘redoubt of terror and pogrom’ against Muslims.68 The Armenians thus knew they could not rely on their neighbours for support and were alone, even as the Ottoman advance threatened them with catastrophe. Meanwhile, on just the other side of the Caucasian peaks, a pan-mountaineer movement known as the Union of Allied Mountaineers (UAM) of the North Caucasus had formed an autonomous government. The indigenous mountaineers were composed of a dizzying array of ethnicities, but held Sunni Islam in common. Under invasion by Bolshevik forces, the UAM decided to turn to their fellow Caucasians in the south for help. A delegation arrived in Trabzon via Tiflis to make the case for establishing a united Caucasian state.69



If the primary goal of the Ottomans was to block the re-emergence of Russian power in the region, a secondary objective was to minimize Armenian influence now and for the future. The spectre of an Armenian stalking horse haunted Enver and Talât in particular. The Bolsheviks’ Decree on Armenia demonstrated Russia's perennial interest in the ‘Armenian question’; they knew where French and British sympathies lay. The establishment of a single Caucasian state uniting Christians and Muslims of the whole Caucasus offered the advantage of satisfying both goals. Such a state would constitute a stronger buffer by virtue not simply of its population's greater quantity but of its higher quality as well: Ottoman analysts evaluated the Georgians’ comparatively higher educational levels as a positive asset for a confederated state.70 It would contain Armenian influence by submerging the Armenians in a larger formation where the more numerous Georgians and Muslims could keep them in check.

Thus in January 1918 Enver endorsed the idea of the Georgians and Muslims forming a state in which, if they desired, they could include the Armenians so long as no claims were made on Ottoman territory and in which they would preferably divide Armenian territory among themselves.71 For the same reasons of bolstering the viability of the Caucasian state and diluting Armenian influnce Enver during the Trabzon negotiations ordered that the UAM's bid to join with the South Caucasus be supported.72 Halil Bey and other Ottoman officials at the Trabzon and Batum peace talks urged the Transcaucasians to respond positively to the UAM delegates’ request to form a single state. Because they had not sorted out their own status vis-à-vis Russia or the wider world, the Transcaucasians demurred, neither rejecting nor accepting the request.73

By April, Enver had relaxed regarding the place of the Armenians in a Transcaucasian state, writing that it would be acceptable for them to have autonomy inside such a state. What was important was to co-operate with the Georgians on the ‘Armenian question’.74 Indeed, this was a constant theme of Caucasian Muslims, who, fearing Armenian domination, emphasized the importance of blocking any possible alliance between the Georgians and Armenians.75 The Georgians presented themselves as eager to accommodate the Ottomans against the Armenians. Speaking privately with Rauf at Trabzon, the Georgian socialist and Transcaucasian foreign minister Akaki Chkhenkeli explained that he had supported the Seim's demand of autonomy for ‘Turkish Armenia’ only because he feared that otherwise the Armenians would retaliate by sowing anarchy within the Transcaucasus, and warned Rauf that the Armenians had already begun co-operating with the British. Labelling the Armenians a ‘harmful element’, he explained that they could be controlled only if the Georgians and Azeris co-operated against them.76 Responding to the suggestion that the Armenians be divided between the Ottomans and Georgians, the Georgian prime minister of the Transcaucasian Commissariat Evgeny Gegechkori said, ‘the massive Russian and Ottoman empires could not cope with these fellows. How can my tiny Georgia deal with these trouble-makers?’77

Ottoman military officers approvingly quoted their Georgian counterparts’ comments that no serious basis for Ottoman–Georgian hostility existed, but the future of Batum loomed as an obstacle to an Ottoman–Georgian alliance. The Georgians insisted Batum must remain theirs, and the North Caucasians urged the Ottomans to leave Batum to the Georgians as a sign of goodwill. This would ensure good relations with the Georgians and thereby facilitate the delivery to the north of the arms and supplies the mountaineers needed to repel the Bolsheviks.78 Rauf and the commander of the Third Army, Vehib Pasha, endorsed the recommendation that Batum be left to the Georgians. Annexing Batum, Vehib warned, would drive the Georgians into the Armenian camp and drag ‘the state into a tragic quagmire’. The Muslims of the Caucasus were unreliable, he cautioned, and sooner or later the Caucasus would fall into Russia's grasp.79 Enver, however, was adamant that Batum be reincorporated. It was a key port, and its return would be a tangible prize for the war.80

Ottoman anxieties about the Armenians in 1918 stemmed from two sources. One was that they were constantly receiving reports from varied sources of Armenian massacres of Muslims as well as pleas from Muslims for protection.81 These reports and requests spurred them to move still faster, and provided them with fodder for constant complaints to domestic and international audiences about Armenian inhumanity.82 In response to the outrages he discovered, Kâzım Karabekir promised local Muslims he would take vengeance, and ordered that Armenian ‘bandits’ and ‘outlaws’ be put to death ‘wherever they are found’.83 At other times, however, he and other commanders issued emphatic instructions that Russian and Ottoman subjects alike were to be treated strictly according to the law and that ‘all women and children without regard to ethnic and sectarian identity’ were to be treated with ‘a nobility and compassion appropriate to Ottomanness’.84 To what extent, if any, the latter tendency prevailed is uncertain. By 1918 loathing of Armenians was real, but it was secondary to the greater anxiety that the British, or others, would use Caucasian Armenia as a base from which to drive the Ottomans out of eastern Anatolia.85

The experience of the Balkan wars, however, and the defeat suffered at the hands of the Bulgarians shaped estimations of the Armenians for the worse. Writing in May, Talât expressed his dread of the idea of an Armenian government in any form:
I am absolutely not in favour of the Armenians establishing a government. A small Armenian autonomous [government] will five years later become a five-million-strong Armenian state, it will dominate the Caucasus, and it will become the ‘Bulgaria of the East’. All the Armenians in Iran and America will gather there and, as you describe, they will get every form of aid from the English and French, and in the future they will move against us with the Christian Georgians and also with great ease with the Persians. Therefore, were it possible, the best thing would be to lance the boil [çıbanı kökünden temizlemek]. Since it is not possible, it is necessary that Armenia be formed in an extremely weak and unviable form.86
Enver came to agree. Writing three days later to Vehib Pasha to warn him that an Armenian proposal that they be compensated for territorial losses to the Ottomans with land from Caucasian Muslims was dangerous, he echoed Talât's fears but found the notion of an independent Armenia even less acceptable:

In my opinion this is a very big mistake. If today in the Caucasus a small Armenia possessing a population of five to six hundred thousand and sufficient territory is formed, in the future this government, together with the Armenians that will come mainly from America and from elsewhere, will have a population of millions. And in the east we will have another Bulgaria and it will be a worse enemy than Russia because all the Armenians’ interests and ambitions are in our country. Consequently, in order to remove this danger, the formation of even the smallest Armenian government must be prevented. Land from the Muslims must not be given to the Armenians, rather to the contrary I prefer that the Muslims occupy provinces such as Erivan.87

It was precisely at this juncture that Armenian forces for the first time stood their ground. They threw back the attacking Ottoman units at Karakilise and Sardarabad and compelled the Ottomans to scale back their ambitions. As Vehib Pasha warned headquarters,

We do not have the strength to defeat the Armenians. The three-day battle in Karakilise shows that as long as their existence is in danger they will prefer to die fighting. We must not bring on a battle with the force that 1,200,000 Armenians can raise. If the Georgians join in the hostilities, it will be impossible to advance … In short, we must come to terms with the Armenians and Georgians.88
The Ottoman priority was to take hold of the railway line. The Ottomans lacked the men and resources for a protracted confrontation with Armenia and Georgia, and, as even Talât and Enver understood despite their vivid fears of Armenia as a second Bulgaria, there were more pressing strategic concerns elsewhere in the Caucasus. Indeed, Talât and Enver towards the end of the war became advocates of a strong and independent Armenia. When in October the special emissary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Ottoman Empire, Alimardan Topchibashev, met with Talât, minister of justice Halil Bey, and foreign minister Nesimî Bey and complained about the Armenians, all three separately berated him and implored the Azeris to co-operate with the Armenians. The dissolution of tsarist Russia, Talât emphasized, was the one positive achievement of the war, and to preserve this achievement it was imperative that the Azeris resolve their problems with the Armenians and live with them peacefully.89



The question of Armenia's status as a part of a federation or as an independent state was decided not by the Armenians or the Ottomans but by the Georgians, who on 26 May in a scheme pre-arranged with the Germans declared they had broken from the Transcaucasian Federation and constituted an independent state. The Georgians immediately signed a number of agreements with Germany that effectively established Georgia as a German protectorate. Georgia's abandonment left Armenia and Azerbaijan little choice other than also declaring independence separately two days later. The Transcaucasian Federation was no more.

On 4 June, Ottoman representatives in Batum signed treaties of ‘peace and friendship’ with the republics of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the North Caucasus. Halil Bey did not let slip the opportunity to lecture the Georgians. He berated them for vainly attempting to resist the Ottoman army at Batum and Kars and bringing about their current unhappy situation. But, Halil added, the formation of a solidly organized and progressive state in the Caucasus was a vital interest of the Ottoman Empire, and such a state should be based upon friendly relations between Caucasian Muslims and Georgians.90 In order to bolster those relations, Halil Bey yielded to Georgian claims on the district of Akhaltsikh, despite an orchestrated campaign of letters and petitions from the Muslim natives of that province asking for inclusion in the Ottoman Empire.91

By these treaties the Ottomans recognized each signatory as an independent state. To be sure, the treaties impinged upon the sovereignty of the states. For example, the Ottomans reserved the authority to limit the size of the Georgian and Armenian armies and claimed the right to use the Transcaucasian railway so long as the war with Britain continued. But the limitations of sovereignty were no greater than, for example, those that Germany put on Georgia, and the relations the Ottomans established with the Transcaucasian republics are in no way comparable to those between an imperial metropole and newly annexed provinces.

In this regard, some attention should be given to relations between the Ottoman Empire and Azerbaijan. If, in fact, a Panturanic ideology was driving Ottoman policies, it should have manifested itself above all in Ottoman policies towards Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was both overwhelmingly Turkic and Muslim (albeit Shia). Indeed, some leading Azeris actually did propose to the Ottomans that Azerbaijan be annexed to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans, however, rejected the idea in no uncertain terms, preferring to see an independent Azeri state. It is worth noting that the motives of the so-called ‘annexationists’ (ilhakçılar, in Russian ilkhagisty) were rooted not so much in religious or ethnic sentiment but instead in fear of the domestic political agenda of the socialist Azerbaijani National Council. The annexationists reasoned that joining with Istanbul would stifle land redistribution and similar reforms.92

Although the Azeris possessed the best prospects with a regionally dominant Ottoman state, Azerbaijan's ‘Act of Independence’ was, like those of the other two Transcaucasian republics, strikingly subdued in its tone. Indeed, the soon-to-be prime minister of the republic, Fathali Khan Khoisky, was himself ambivalent about independence. He suggested that the Azeri National Council ‘refrain from declaring the independence of Azerbaijan and limit itself to the formation of a government with full rights for the conduct of peace talks with the powers’.93 The declaration of independence narrated Azerbaijan's emergence not as a positive act of will but as the unhappy consequence of war, Russia's collapse and anarchy. The act was also devoid of any ethno-nationalist, let alone Panturkist or Panislamic, sentiment. It made no reference to a titular or dominant nation, but defined the state in terms of territory and embraced the principle of neutrality with regard to nationality, religion and sex. Its content demonstrated that the ideals of the February Revolution and democracy still retained a strong grip over the imagination of the Azeri political elite.94



As it did in the treaties with Georgia and Armenia, the fourth article of the treaty with Azerbaijan bound the Ottomans to intervene on Azerbaijani territory if necessary to restore internal security and order. In the Azeri case article 4 carried a concrete meaning. The nominal capital of the Azerbaijani republic was Azerbaijan's largest city, the Caspian port and oil metropolis Baku. Baku, however, was under the control of an uneasy coalition of Bolsheviks and Dashnaks, forcing the newly born republic to use the town of Ganja as its first capital. The Azeri motive for taking control of Baku was obvious.

The Ottomans’ motives were not much more complex — by restoring Baku to the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ottomans would succeed in driving Bolshevik influence out of the Transcaucasus, significantly boost the prospects for survival of the Azeri republic, and put Baku's oil industry under the control of a friendly state. The Bolsheviks, the Russian Whites, the Germans and the British all recognized the strategic value of Baku, and each attempted to gain control over it. None of the aforementioned groups, of course, wished to seize Baku because they claimed to share a special religious or ethnic affinity with the residents of Baku (none of them, including the British, even claimed seriously to be intervening on behalf of its Armenian population). Likewise, there is no need to resort to notions of ethnic or religious identity in order to explain the Ottoman desire to take oil-rich Baku.

Russia's descent into chaos and disorder following the February Revolution and the Bolshevik coup d’état in November 1917 invigorated the hopes of some, and of Enver especially, that the Muslims of the Caucasus and elsewhere could be mobilized in support of Ottoman goals. The idea of mobilizing borderland populations against imperial centres is a hoary idea. From the very beginning of the war the Ottomans had hoped to make use of indigenous uprisings of both Muslims and non-Muslims, including Georgians, Ukrainians, Cossacks and even Armenians.95 The Germans were in general tremendous enthusiasts of the ideas of stirring the non-Russian peoples of the Russian Empire to revolt and of rousing the Muslims of the world against the Russian, British and French empires.96

Beginning in the autumn of 1917, varied delegations of Caucasian Muslims made contact with Ottoman army units. Eager to receive military aid, they depicted a Caucasus in political ferment and ripe for rebellion.97 Ottoman military intelligence, however, had earlier cautioned that the Muslims of the Transcaucasus and Russia were too passive. It judged that at most only a movement for autonomy might succeed.98 Nonetheless, in February 1918 Enver decided to dispatch Ottoman officers to mobilize and organize the indigenous Muslims into a military force. His first choice to lead the effort in the North Caucasus was Kazım Karabekir, commander of the Second Army. Karabekir, like Vehib Pasha, thought the idea irresponsible, and he turned down Enver's offer.99 When indigenous Caucasians objected to Enver's second choice, the Ottoman Circassian prince Ömer Faruk, as too dissolute, Enver chose his own brother, Nuri Pasha, who had recently arrived in Istanbul from leading partisans in North Africa.100 He sent Nuri with a score of staff officers to Mosul, from where they made their way to Ganja on 25 May. In Ganja Nuri was to organize ‘the Caucasus Army of Islam’.101 Enver outlined the mission of the Army of Islam on 5 April. The first article of his directive read:

The purpose of the formation of the Caucasus Army is to create the foundation for an army that will be formed of Caucasians, to gradually expand this foundation, to train Caucasian recruits, and to establish in the Caucasus the interests of Islam and political and military ties to the Caliph of the Sacred Law and the Ottoman State.102

The existence of the Army of Islam, it would seem, is strong evidence of the existence of a Panislamic ideological bent among the Ottoman leadership. Such a conclusion does not, however, hold up under closer investigation.

As Nuri Pasha wrote to his superiors in the summer of 1918, of the 250 officers of the Azerbaijani National Corps that he had organized, only twenty-three were even Muslim.103 The rest were former officers of the Imperial Russian Army. That is, the body that was to serve as the indigenous nucleus of the Army of Islam was officered primarily by non-Muslims. Contrary to the expectations created by the Caucasian delegations, few Muslims in the South Caucasus were eager to take up arms or otherwise actively assist the Army of Islam. As an Ottoman officer later stated in a field report, ‘Whereas 30,000 youths were expected to take up arms, instead only thirty-seven have’. A frustrated Nuri abjectly wrote, ‘The Muslims of the South Caucasus talk a lot but do little, they like comfort, and they have an inordinate love of money’.104

Enver's plans for the Caucasus had rested on the assumption that substantial numbers of indigenous Muslims would augment the Ottoman forces. The intention was to exploit Muslim solidarity to serve the goals of the Ottoman state, not to sacrifice the resources or goals of the Ottoman state for the sake of that solidarity. The failure to raise significant native forces left the Army of Islam chronically under strength and forced Nuri repeatedly to beg Enver for reinforcements. Enver obliged by sending only elements of the 5th and 15th divisions to bolster the Army of Islam, far less than what Nuri wanted. Rebuffing more requests, Enver told him to use the forces he had at hand to take Baku.105 Given the difficulties the Ottomans were about to experience on other fronts, and in Palestine in particular, some have criticized Enver's commitment of Ottoman forces to the Caucasus as evidence of an irrational Panturanic commitment. The fact is, however, that Enver committed fewer than 8,000 men to the Caucasus, not nearly enough to have made a decisive difference elsewhere.106

This false criticism echoes Ludendorff's repeated warnings to Enver to desist from advancing on Baku and redeploy his forces to Mesopotamia and Iran.107 Ludendorff's ‘advice’ was motivated more by German fears that Baku and its oil would fall into Ottoman hands than by concern for the Ottomans’ strategic situation. Moreover, the Germans, as well as the British, were themselves also diverting scarce manpower to the east, including the Caucasus. The Ottoman Empire, unlike either Germany or Britain, had no ability to influence events in western Europe, where by 1918 it was evident the war would ultimately be decided. Istanbul could only affect the outcome of the war at the margins and in its immediate neighbourhood. Unlike Germany and Britain, the Ottoman Empire bordered on the Caucasus and had even ruled it for centuries. The diversion of German and British forces to that region should be judged a mystery greater than the diversion of Ottoman units.

The assertion that Panislamic ideology inspired the formation of the Caucasus Army of Islam looks still less credible when put into the context of the growing secularization of the Ottoman state and the secular policies of the Azerbaijani republic. The process of secularization of the Ottoman state during the war did not slow, but actually accelerated as the central government expanded its power at the expense of the ulema and religious institutions. Given the declining influence of Islamic institutions and principles within the Ottoman state, it would be difficult to maintain that a commitment to the faith and principles of Islam inspired the creation of the Caucasus Army of Islam. Similarly, the Republic of Azerbaijan, as noted above, was wholly secular in its principles. The Azeri elite was, like the intelligentsia of the whole of the Russian Empire, profoundly influenced by socialist ideas. Indeed, when one Ottoman hoja of Caucasian descent applied to join the Army of Islam, Naki Keykurun, Azerbaijan's minister of national security, bluntly told him that the Army of Islam had no place for men of religion.108 There was little Islamic about the Caucasus Army of Islam other than its name.

What the name ‘Army of Islam’ lent was the appearance, however shallow, of independence from the Ottoman high command and a sheen of popular indigenous support. Competition between Berlin and Istanbul for the dominant position in the Caucasus nearly sundered the alliance. In armed clashes in Georgia Ottoman forces took Germans prisoner, sparking a scandal and forcing the dismissal of Vehib Pasha.109 Yet other considerations on both sides militated against an open rupture. Thus the Germans covertly concluded a deal with the Bolsheviks whereby in exchange for one-quarter of Baku's oil they would act to prevent the Ottomans from taking the city.110 When Ludendorff warned the Ottomans not to go further, Enver complied in open orders to his commanders but secretly instructed them to advance and use force against the Germans if necessary.111 Istanbul could deny responsibility for the Army of Islam. In this context of rivalry a nominally independent and native force had value.112

The message that Sultan Vahideddin sent to the Army of Islam in early July reveals another aspect of the army. In his message Vahideddin praised the courage and heroism that the soldiers had displayed in fighting for their homeland and the Ottoman dynasty, ‘which has been in trouble for years’. To be sure, the references to homeland and the Ottoman dynasty make clear that, in point of fact, the Army of Islam as a project to mobilize the Muslims of the Caucasus had not succeeded, and that it essentially had become just an extension of the Ottoman army with some native militia attached. More importantly, the message lacked any reference to Panturkism or Panislam, and indeed was devoid of any sense of triumphalism. Vahideddin noted the sacrifices made in the course of the war, and asked that the soldiers continue to fight bravely until the war's end, which, he wrote, was probably approaching.113 Again, far from heralding the appearance of new vistas of conquest, the collapse of Russia signalled to the Ottomans above all the impending end of the war.

In the summer of 1918 the Army of Islam and elements of the Ottoman 5th Division crawled across the parched countryside, plagued by shortages of food and water and an epidemic of cholera. After repelling the mixed Bolshevik–Armenian units of the Baku Commune the Ottoman-led force reached Baku by the end of July. The Bolsheviks abdicated in panic, but the arrival of a small British detachment bolstered the city's morale enough to defeat the initial attack.114 Depleted by combat, disease and desertions and numbering now just 3,500, the Army of Islam ceased operations. Nuri begged for support. Fear that the British would build up sufficient strength in Baku to enable them to create a greater Armenian state to dominate the Caucasus added a further incentive to take the city, and Enver ordered an additional 5,541 soldiers and 191 officers to Baku.115 On 14 September Nuri ordered the city to be stormed, and it fell. In gross violation of his guarantee of the residents’ lives and property, Nuri held back the regular Ottoman forces and permitted the Azeris to enter and take vengeance for the massacres of March, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 Armenians.116

From Baku, the Ottoman 15th Division (in reality now numbering just 2,200 men)117 under the Ottoman Circassian Yusuf İzzet Pasha marched north into Dagestan. There it linked up with militia units of the UAM and a small advance force of roughly 500 Ottoman volunteers and seized the city of Derbent. The victors held a ceremony on 13 October to celebrate the return of the UAM government that had been driven out by the Bolsheviks in the winter. Panislamic themes, let alone Panturkic themes, were absent. Indeed, the North Caucasian president, the Chechen Tapa Chermoev, emphasized in his first decrees the political, not fraternal, nature of the UAM–Ottoman relationship and stressed the liberal principles of the republic.118 To underscore the theme of ecumenicism, Georgian and Russian Orthodox priests and a Jewish rabbi participated in the ceremony at the Ottomans’ and North Caucasians’ behest.119

Chermoev knew that the bonds of history, religion and ethnicity carried little weight with the Ottomans. His foreign minister, Haïdar Bammate, in private correspondence despaired at the Ottomans’ lack of sympathy for the North Caucasians, noting that only Enver had any interest.120 The Azeri Naki Keykurun, who was in Istanbul at the time lobbying for support, was almost as distraught. Aside from Enver, Talât and Cemal, he lamented, no one in the CUP supported the idea of assisting the Azeris.121 These were not, however, cases of unreciprocated devotion. Chermoev and Bammate identified Germany's support as more essential than the Ottoman Empire's to the long-term viability of the mountaineer republic and pursued the Germans' favour.122 As soon as the Ottomans departed, the anti-Bolshevik North Caucasians and Azeris both eagerly courted the next Great Power in the region, the British.

As soon as Baku fell, Enver ordered the withdrawal of Ottoman units from Azerbaijan to begin. Nuri Pasha similarly urged Yusuf İzzet Pasha to complete the Dagestan operation as soon as possible so that the 15th Division could be redeployed outside the Caucasus. In short, there is no evidence to support the thesis that the Ottomans intended to invade Turkestan from Baku or held as the objective of their Caucasus offensive anything beyond the establishment of independent states in Azerbaijan and the North Caucasus.



A note should be made regarding the difference between how the Ottomans dealt with Elviye-i Selâse and how they dealt with the other territories that their forces entered in the course of 1918. Ottoman internal government documents and the Ottoman press alike consistently referred to the territories of Kars, Ardahan and Batum as ‘our lands’ or ‘our provinces’ (bizim topraklarımız, sancaklarımız), whereas no such pretensions were asserted in respect of Azerbaijan, the North Caucasus or any other territory beyond those three provinces. Almost immediately after the occupation of the three provinces, the Ottoman government began making preparations to conduct a plebiscite regarding its future, as required by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.123 The results of the plebiscite were announced in August, and at the end of the month a delegation from the three provinces arrived in Istanbul to request annexation. The decree announcing the annexation was issued on 28 August 1918.124 The fact that before the plebiscite was held the Ottoman government began re-establishing its authority in the region, doing things such as opening schools and deploying gendarmes for policing, demonstrates that Istanbul never doubted the plebiscite's outcome and was intent on re-annexation.125 But what is important to note is that, again, no comparable effort was made in other Caucasian territories.

Germany's collapse on the western front meant the loss of the war for all the Central Powers. Enver, Talât and the other CUP elite resigned and fled to Odessa, leaving a caretaker government to sign an armistice on 30 October. Meanwhile, the joint Ottoman–North Caucasian force, unaware of what had transpired in the world beyond Dagestan, clawed northwards along the Caspian coast towards its final objective, Port-Petrovsk (Makhachkala). Upon entering the city they learned, after several nights of desperate fighting in the cold and mud, that the war had already been lost over a week earlier and that article 11 of the armistice required the withdrawal of all Ottoman military personnel from the Caucasus.126

Bolshevik armies conquered the North Caucasus and Azerbaijan in 1920, and then Armenia and Georgia the following year. Once again a greater Russia bordered on Anatolia. The offensive of 1917–18, however, had not been entirely in vain. When Mustafa Kemal and his nationalists turned to the Bolsheviks in 1919 for assistance in the fight for Anatolia they were able to use their influence in the Caucasus to facilitate the Bolshevik conquest and thereby secure Bolshevik material aid in exchange. Ottoman officers now assisted the Bolsheviks.127 The reversal in the geopolitical dynamics could not have been any more stunning. In less than a year Russia had metamorphosed from being the single greatest existential threat to the Ottoman Empire to becoming the best hope for Muslim sovereignty in Anatolia. Where in 1918 the Ottomans had rejoiced at Russia's weakness and sent their army to bolt across the Caucasus in a race to bolster anti-Russian states before Russia's resurgence, the Kemalists now fervently wished for the Bolsheviks’ success and scrambled to hand those same lands over to the Bolsheviks, causing Azeris to charge the Turks with selling Azerbaijan out to save themselves.128 The fact that Kemal, a self-consciously nationalist Turk, would facilitate the conquest of another Turkic state only heightened the irony.129 Clearly, their loyalties lay with the former Ottoman institutions fighting for existence within Anatolia, and not to any Panturanist ideal.

Control of geographic space through the establishment of buffer states, and not ethnic sentiment or visions of regained imperial grandeur, determined the course of Ottoman operations in the Caucasus in 1917–18. In an essay titled ‘The Ottoman Empire and Russian Muslims: Brothers or Rivals?’130 Selim Deringil goes against the conventional emphasis on the mutual attraction between Ottoman and Russian Muslim intellectuals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to highlight the fact that the growth of state bureaucracies at the time was erecting greater boundaries between the two populations. The modernizing states were inculcating new loyalties that undermined rather than strengthened the bonds between their Muslim populations. The Ottoman advance into Russia's Caucasus in 1917–18, told so often as part of the story of the centrifugal force of modern nationalism and the breakup of empire, is in fact better seen as part of the story of the centripetal force of the emerging modern state.


↵* I would like to thank Howard Eissenstat, Nobuyoshi Fujinami, Şükrü Hanioğlu, Peter Holquist, Yoshiro Ikeda, Onur Önol, Nader Sohrabi and Ronald Suny for their comments, criticisms and suggestions.

↵1The following is a suggestive, but not comprehensive, list of English-language book-length works that reproduce this thesis: Taner Akçam, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (New York, 2004); W. E. D. Allen and Paul Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border (1953; Nashville, 1999); Donald Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians (New York, 2005); David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914–1922 (New York, 1989); William Hale, Turkish Foreign Policy, 1774–2000 (London, 2000); Efraim Karsh and Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1923 (Cambridge, Mass., 1999); Jacob M. Landau, Pan-Turkism: From Irredentism to Cooperation, 2nd edn (London, 1995); Jacob M. Landau, The Politics of Pan-Islam: Ideology and Organization (Oxford, 1990); Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 3rd edn (New York, 2001); Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London, 2001); Alan Palmer, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1992); Aviel Roshwald, Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, 1914–1923 (New York, 2001); Stanford Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, ii (New York, 1977); Hew Strachan, The First World War (New York, 2004); Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (New York, 1998).

↵2On Panislam, see initially Landau, Politics of Pan-Islam. On Abdülhamid II and Panislam, see Cezmi Eraslan, II. Abdülhamid ve İslâm Birliği [Abdülhamid II and Islamic Unity] (Istanbul, 1992), and François Georgeon, Abdülhamid II: le sultan calife, 1876–1909 (Paris, 2003), 192–214. For a different take on Panislam, see Adeeb Khalid, ‘Pan-Islamism in Practice’, in Elisabeth Özdalga (ed.), Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy (London, 2005).

↵3Landau, Pan-Turkism, 2; Gotthard Jäschke, ‘Der Turanismus der Jungtürken: zur osmanischen Aussenpolitik im Weltkriege’, Die Welt des Islams, xxiii (1941), 2.

↵4Yusuf Akçura, ‘Three Policies’, trans. David S. Thomas, in Central Asian
Monuments, ed. Hasan B. Paksoy (Istanbul, 1992).

↵5For new research on the Ottoman entry into the war, see Mustafa Aksakal, The Ottoman Road to War in 1914 (Cambridge, 2008).

↵6Edward J. Erickson, Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (Westport, 2001), 120–37; E. V. Maslovsky, Mirovaya voina na Kavkazskom fronte, 1914–1917 g. [The World War on the Caucasian Front, 1914–1917] (Paris, 1933), 296–8, 403–11; Fahri Belen, Birinci Cihan Harbinde Türk Harbi [The Turkish War in the First World War], iii (Ankara, 1965), 3–107.

↵7Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi voenno-istoricheskii arkhiv [Russian State Military-Historical Archive], Moscow (hereafter RGVIA), Reports on the Enemy, Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasus Front, 15–25 Oct. 1917 [28 Oct.–7 Nov. 1917]: f. 2320, op. 1, d. 16, fos. 302, 329. In references, dates given according to the Julian and Rumî calendars are followed in square brackets by their Gregorian equivalents, and years anno Hegirae by their equivalents anno Domini.

↵8‘Rusya İhtilali Hakkında’ [On the Russian Revolution], Sabah, 6 Apr. 1917.

↵9RGVIA, Reports on the Enemy, 5–15 Nov. 1917 [18–28 Nov. 1917]: f. 2320, op. 1, d. 16, fo. 303.

↵10As the newspaper Vakit put it, although Russia with her population of 150 million would remain an eternal threat, ‘whatever course events in Russia take’, the fact was that ‘the Russian revolution … has saved us from an immediate threat’ and ‘we can now heave a deep sigh’. ‘Yarınki Rusya’ [The Russia of Tomorrow], Vakit, 27 Nov. 1917.

↵11Yusuf Hikmet Bayur, Türk İnkılâbı Tarihi [The History of the Turkish Revolution], iii, pt 4 (Ankara, 1967), 106–7.

↵12Selami Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu [The Birth of Turkish–Soviet Relations] (Istanbul, 1998), 77–87.

↵13Allan K. Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1980–7).

↵14Erickson, Ordered to Die, 166–71. The Russian side insisted as a key condition of the Erzincan armistice that Ottoman forces be forbidden from withdrawing from the Caucasian front: ‘Instruktsiya predsedatelyu komissii po vyrabotke uslovii peremiriya’ [Instruction to the Chairman of the Commission for Drawing Up the Conditions of the Armistice], in Dokumenty i materialy po vneshnei politike Zakavkaz′ya i Gruzii [Documents and Materials on the Foreign Policy of Transcaucasia and Georgia] (Tiflis, 1919), 17. Enver therefore made sure to withdraw two divisions before signing the armistice: Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 71.

↵15Askerî Tarih ve Stratejik Etüt Başkanlığı Arşivi [Archive of the Directorate of Military History and Strategic Studies], Ankara (hereafter ATASE), Birinci Dünya Harbi Koleksiyonu, k. 2897, d. 301/398, f. 3-21, as cited in Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 94; Birinci Dünya Harbinde Türk Harbi, ii, Kafkas Cephesi Üçüncü Ordu Harekâtı [The Turkish War in the First World War: Third Army Operations on the Caucasian Front] (Ankara, 1993), 425.

↵16Akdes Nimet Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya: XVIII. Yüzyıl Sonundan Kurtuluş Savaşına Kadar Türk-Rus İlişkileri (1798–1919) [Turkey and Russia: Turkish–Russian Relations from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the War of Independence, 1798–1919] (Ankara, 1970), 357–8.

↵17Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 64; Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 359.

↵18Basil Dmytryshyn and Frederick J. Cox (eds.), The Soviet Union and the Middle East: A Documentary Record of Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, 1917–1985 (Princeton, 1987), 463–4.

↵19Bayur, Türk İnkılâbı Tarihi, iii, pt 4, 120–1; Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 338.

↵20Richard Hovannisian, echoing B. A. Borian, contends that the Decree on Armenia had two purposes: to provide the Bolshevik government with a face-saving way to withdraw Russian troops while appearing to maintain an anti-imperialist stance, and to court the favour of Muslims in the Russian Empire and elsewhere. While the former might at least be plausible though unsupported by evidence, the latter is wholly unconvincing. Richard G. Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 (Berkeley, 1967), 98–101; Richard G. Hovannisian, The Republic of Armenia, i, The First Year (1918–1919) (Berkeley, 1971), 20–1. Kurat's interpretation that it was an attempt to exploit Russian chauvinism is equally unconvincing: Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 337.

↵21Galip Kemalî Söylemezoğlu, Hariciye Hizmetinde Otuz Sene [Thirty Years in Foreign Service] (Istanbul, 1950), 442–3.

↵22Department of State, Proceedings of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference (Washington, DC, 1918), 169–72.

↵23‘Talât Pasha to Enver Pasha’, 1 Feb. 1918, as cited in Emin Ali Türkgeldi, ‘Brest-Litowsk Hatıraları’ [Memories of Brest-Litovsk], Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi: Dün, Bugün, Yarın, vol. iii, no. 13 (1986), 48–9.

↵24Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 313.

↵25Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 369; Hakan Kırımlı, ‘Diplomatic Relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Ukrainian Democratic Republic, 1918–1921’, in Sylvia Kedourie (ed.), Turkey before and after Atatürk: Internal and External Affairs (London, 1999), 204.

↵26Hakan Kırımlı, ‘The Activities of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War’, in Kedourie (ed.), Turkey before and after Atatürk.

↵27ATASE, Report from Stockholm, 12 July 1333 [1917]: k. 302, d. 937/1231, f. 87; Report on Conditions in Russia, 28 June–28 July 1333 [1917]: k. 1843, d. 129/67, ff. 1-24, 1-37.

↵28ATASE, Report from the Military Attaché in Stockholm, 10 July 1917 [23 July 1917]: k. 302, d. 937/1231, f. 85.

↵29The text of the ultimatum can be found in John W. Wheeler-Bennett, Brest-Litovsk: The Forgotten Peace, March 1918 (New York, 1939), 255–7, and Department of State, Proceedings of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference, 176–7.

↵30Enver to Zeki Pasha, 20 Dec. 1917, as cited in Şevket Süreyya Aydemir, Makedonya’dan Orta Asya’ya Enver Paşa [Enver Pasha from Macedonia to Central Asia], iii (Istanbul, 1992), 372.

↵31The German ambassador to Istanbul dismissed the request for the return of the 1877 border as a ‘typical Oriental’ bargaining tactic. Still, he had told Talât that some evidence of popular demand for Ottoman rule would assist Istanbul's claim. Foreign minister Richard von Kühlmann also noted the need for such evidence. Ulrich Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 1914–1918 (Princeton, 1968), 168; Tülay Duran, ‘I. Dünya Savaşı Sonunda Türk Diplomasisinin İlk Başarısı: Brest-Litovsk Hazırlıkları’ [Turkish Diplomacy's First Success at the End of the First World War: The Brest-Litovsk Preparations], Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi, xii, nos. 67–8 (1973), 45.

↵32ATASE, k. 1867, d. 167/20, as cited in Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 127.

↵33Söylemezoğlu, Hariciye Hizmetinde Otuz Sene, 438–9, 442–3.

↵34Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 129.

↵35Fritz Fischer, Germany’s Aims in the First World War (New York, 1967), 551.

↵36For a portrait, see Carter Vaughn Findley, Ottoman Civil Officialdom: A Social History (Princeton, 1989), 195–209.

↵37Türkgeldi, ‘Brest-Litowsk Hatıraları’, 52–3; Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 343–4.

↵38Wheeler-Bennett, Brest-Litovsk, 405–6; the Russian text can be found in Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR [Foreign Policy Documents of the USSR], i (Moscow, 1959), 121.
↵39Türkgeldi, ‘Brest-Litowsk Hatıraları’, 52–3.

↵40Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy, i, 1917–1924, ed. Jane Degras (New York, 1951), 48–50; Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, i, 117–19.

↵41Türkgeldi, ‘Brest-Litowsk Hatıraları’, 52; Department of State, Proceedings of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference, 183; G. Ya. Sokolnikov, Brestskii Mir [The Brest Peace] (Moscow, 1920), 20–2.

↵42Türkgeldi, ‘Brest-Litowsk Hatıraları’, 53.

↵43Meclis-i Mebusan Zabıt Ceridesi [Minutes of the Chamber of Deputies], iii, pt 2 (Ankara, 1991), 656–7.

↵44Ibid., 658.
↵46Ibid., 658–9.
↵47Ibid., 709–10.

↵48Richard Pipes, The Formation of the Soviet Union (Cambridge, Mass., 1997), 158–9; Azade-Ayşe Rorlich, The Volga Tatars: A Profile in National Resilience (Stanford, 1986), 132–3; Serge A. Zenkovsky, Pan-Turkism and Islam in Russia (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), 170–8. This is not to say that the Trans-Bulak Republic would have survived or that the All-Russian Muslim movement would have succeeded had it not been for Brest-Litovsk. But Brest-Litovsk did enable the Bolsheviks to suppress their internal enemies, including the Tatar Muslim movements.

↵49Jäschke, ‘Der Turanismus der Jungtürken’, 23–4.

↵50Kırımlı, ‘Diplomatic Relations’, 207; Mustafa Balcıoğlu, Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa’dan Cumhuriyete [From the Special Organization to the Republic] (Ankara, 2004), 146.

↵51ATASE, ‘Information on Conditions in Russia’, 17 June 1334 [1918]: k. 1854, d. 142/121, f. 1-20.

↵52‘Tarihte Brest-Litovsk’ [Brest-Litovsk in History], Tasvir-i Efkâr, 3 Mar. 1334 [1918].

↵53‘Ardahan, Kars ve Batum’ [Ardahan, Kars and Batum], Vakit, 6 Mar. 1334 [1918].

↵54Kılıç, Türk-Sovyet İlişkilerinin Doğuşu, 402.

↵55Ibid., 98–102.

↵56ATASE, Enver to Vehib, 12 Jan. 1334 [1918]: k. 340, d. 1366, f. 1-48; ‘Pis′mo Komanduyushchego Turetskimi armiyami na Kavkazskom fronte Vekhiba-pashi’ [Letter of the Commander of the Turkish Armies on the Caucasian Front Vehib Pasha], 1 Jan. 1918 [14 Jan. 1918], in Dokumenty i materialy, 24–5.

↵57The Seim had resolved that it favoured a peace that guaranteed the return of the 1914 borders, and granted self-determination to Eastern Anatolia and autonomy for Turkish Armenia: ‘“Osnovnye polozheniya” po voprosu o mire’ [‘Basic Provisions’ on the Peace Question], in Dokumenty i materialy, 83–4; Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 125–30; Firuz Kazemzadeh, The Struggle for Transcaucasia, 1917–1921 (New York, 1951), 87–90.

↵58Zurab Avalov, Nezavisimost′ Gruzii v mezhdunarodnoi politike, 1918–1921 gg. [The Independence of Georgia in International Politics, 1918–1921] (1924; New York, 1982), 34.

↵59Kazemzadeh, Struggle for Transcaucasia, 94–5.

↵60For the rhetoric, see Dokumenty i materialy, 166–84. See also Avalov, Nezavisimost′ Gruzii, 28; Kazemzadeh, Struggle for Transcaucasia, 99–100.

↵61Allen and Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields, 465; Birinci Dünya Harbinde Türk Harbi, ii, 488–9; Avalov, Nezavisimost′ Gruzii, 33.

↵62Kâzım Karabekir, Doğunun Kurtuluşu [The Liberation of the East] (Erzurum, 1990), 360–1.

↵63Kazemzadeh, Struggle for Transcaucasia, 111; Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 182.

↵64Halil Menteşe, Osmanlı Mebusan Meclisi Reisi Halil Menteşe’nin Anıları [Memoirs of the Premier of the Chamber of Deputies Halil Menteşe] (Istanbul, 1986), 229–30; Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 175; ‘Nota ottomanskoi delegatsii o propuske turetskoi armii cherez Zakavkaz′e’ [Note of the Ottoman Delegation Concerning the Permitted Passage of the Turkish Army through Transcaucasia], 14 May 1918 [27 May 1918], in Dokumenty i materialy, 269–70

↵65Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War, 552–4, 558.

↵66Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 476.

↵67Ronald Grigor Suny, The Making of the Georgian Nation (Bloomington, 1988), 139–40, 144–5.

↵68Jörg Baberowski, Der Feind ist überall: Stalinismus im Kaukasus (Munich, 2003), 138.

↵69For more on the UAM, see Michael A. Reynolds, ‘Native Sons: Post-Imperial Politics, Islam, and Identity in the North Caucasus, 1917–1918’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, lvi (2008).

↵70ATASE, Col. Tevfik to Vehib, 17–18 Apr. 1334 [1918]: k. 2918, d. 496, f. 1-35.

↵71ATASE, Enver to Vehib, 9 Jan. 1334 [1918]: k. 2921, d. 511, f. 1-24.

↵72ATASE, Enver to Vehib, 14 Apr. 1334 [1918]: k. 526, d. 2054/369, f. 3-2.

↵73Haïdar Bammate, ‘Le Problème du Caucase’, Revue politique internationale, xiii (1920), 213; ‘Stenogramma predvaritel′nogo zasedaniya’ [Shorthand Record of the Preliminary Session], 9 May 1918, in Soyuz ob″edinennykh gortsev Severnogo Kavkaza i Dagestana (1917–1918 gg.), Gorskaya Respublika (1918–1920 gg.): dokumenty i materialy [The Union of Allied Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan (1917–1918), the Mountaineer Republic (1918–1920): Documents and Materials], ed. M. D. Butaev et al. (Makhachkala, 1994), 111–17; ‘Telegramma Vekhiba-Pashi o priznanii nezavisimosti Zakavkaz′ya’ [Telegram of Vehib Pasha Acknowledging the Independence of Transcaucasia], 28 Apr. 1917, in Dokumenty i materialy, 253.

↵74ATASE, Enver to Vehib, 10 Apr. 1334 [1918]: k. 2921, d. 511, f. 1-209.

↵75ATASE, Tevfik to Vehib, 17 Mar. 1334 [1918]: k. 2918, d. 496, f. 1-35; to the Foreign Minister from Trabzon, 2 Apr. 1334 [1918]: k. 2921, d. 511, ff. 1-189, 1-190; Rauf to the Foreign Ministry, 4 Apr. 1334 [1918]: k. 2921, d. 511, f. 1-194.

↵76Enis Şahin, Trabzon ve Batum Konferensları ve Antlaşmaları (1917–1918) [The Trabzon and Batum Conferences and Agreements (1917–1918)] (Ankara, 2002), 336–9.
↵77Menteşe, Osmanlı Mebusan Meclisi Reisi Halil Menteşe’nin Anıları, 229.

↵78Şahin, Trabzon ve Batum Konferensları ve Antlaşmaları, 388.

↵79Ibid., 458.

↵80Ibid., 406, 414.

↵81For Russian documentation of these acts, see, for example, RGVIA, Telegram from the Fifth Corps Commander, 31 Dec. 1917 [13 Jan. 1918]: f. 2168, op. 1, d. 506, fo. 7; RGVIA, Telegram from the Commander of the Second Turkestan Corps, 30 Jan. 1918 [11 Feb. 1918]: f. 2168, op. 1, d. 506, fo. 46; RGVIA, Prince Shakhovsky to the Chief of Staff of the Caucasus Army, 31 Jan. 1917 [13 Feb. 1917]: f. 2168, op. 1, d. 264, fos. 1–3; RGVIA, Dispatch of the Chief of Staff of the Caucasus Army General Major Vyshinsky, 13/14 Nov. 1917 [26/27 Nov. 1917]: f. 2168, op. 1, d. 493, fo. 30.

↵82Thus Vehib, alleging that Armenian atrocities were part of an ‘organized plan’, claimed to his Russian counterpart that he was ordering his men to advance for the sake of ‘humanity and civilization’. ATASE, Vehib to General Przhevalsky, undated: k. 2930, d. 5530, f. 8. This phrase does not appear in the similar, but not identical and abbreviated, Russian text, ‘Telegramma Vekhiba-Pashi o perekhode turetskikh voisk v nastuplenie’ [Telegram of Vehib Pasha about the Turkish Forces Taking the Offensive], 30 Jan. 1918 [12 Feb. 1918], in Dokumenty i materialy, 47–9. Unlike the Ottoman version, the Russian one includes a warning by Vehib Pasha about how he was ‘no longer in a state to keep his forces in the role of silent witnessess, who hear and understand that their parents and children, wives and relatives are doomed to extermination’. These complaints were not solely for the consumption of others. In December 1917 Enver wired the Ottoman army headquarters that the retreating Russian forces were acting contrary to ‘the laws of states and civilization’, carrying out cruelties such as gouging eyes, attacking hospitals, dismembering the sick and wounded, and looting the property of Muslim Ottoman subjects: ATASE, Telegram to the General Headquarters, 28 Dec. 1333 [1917]: k. 511, d. 27/1995, f. 1-1.

↵83Muhammet Erat, ‘Kâzım Karabekir’in Nahçıvan ve Çevresindeki Faaliyetleri’ [Kâzım Karabekir's Activities in and around Nahchivan], Kafkas Araştırmaları IV [Caucasus Research IV] (Istanbul, 1998), 52; Karabekir, Doğunun Kurtuluşu, 342–3.

↵84ATASE, Karabekir to the Command of the 36th Caucasus Division, undated: k. 3920, d. 86, f. 2-3a; Declaration to Townspeople and Villagers, undated: k. 2908, d. 444, f. 6-4.

↵85On the role of Great Power politics in the decimation of Ottoman Armenians, see Bloxham, Great Game of Genocide.

↵86Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 661–2.

↵87ATASE, Enver to Vehib, 27 May 1334 [1918]: k. 2919, d. 499, f. 3-31.

↵88ATASE, Intelligence Summary Regarding the Caucasus, 28 May 1334 [1918]: k. 526, d. 2054/369, f. 50. Allen and Muratoff were wrong in their assessment that the successful battles fought by the Armenians at the end of May had less impact on Ottoman plans than did the Georgian tactic of temporizing in negotiations: Allen and Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields, 476.

↵89A. A. Topchibashev, Diplomaticheskie besedy v Stambule, 1918–1919 [The Diplomatic Talks in Istanbul, 1918–1919], ed. Gasan Gasanov (Baku, 1994), 9–15.

↵90Avalov, Nezavisimost′ Gruzii, 93.

↵91‘Postanovlenie delegatov musul′manskogo naseleniya Akhaltsikhskogo i Akhalkalakskogo uezdov’ [The Resolution of the Delegates of the Muslim Population of the Akhaltsikh and Akhalkalaki Districts], 26 May 1918 [8 June 1918], in Dokumenty i materialy, 310–12. Vehib had downplayed the strategic importance of annexing Akhaltsikh for the Ottomans: ATASE, Intelligence Summary Regarding the Caucasus, 28 May 1334 [1918]: k. 526, d. 2054/369, f. 50.

↵92Aidyn Balaev, Azerbaidzhanskoe natsional′noe dvizhenie v 1917–1918 gg. [The Azerbaijani National Movement in 1917–1918] (Baku, 1998), 207; A. N. Kheifets, Sovetskaya Rossiya i sopredel′nye strany vostoka v gody grazhdanskoi voiny, 1918–1920 [Soviet Russia and Contiguous Countries of the East in the Years of the Civil War, 1918–1920] (Moscow, 1964), 53; Tadeusz Swietochowski, Russia and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition (New York, 1995), 68. Swietochowski on the following page contradicts himself and asserts that the treaty of peace and friendship that the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Azerbaijan concluded on 4 June ‘stopped short of recognizing Azerbaijan as an independent state’. In fact, the treaty in its opening explicitly recognizes ‘the Republican Government of Azerbaijan which has declared independence’. For the full text, see Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 662–6; Şahin, Trabzon ve Batum Konferensları ve Antlaşmaları, 700–4.

↵93Balaev, Azerbaidzhanskoe natsional′noe dvizhenie, 209.

↵94Ibid., 204–5.

↵95Michael A. Reynolds, ‘The Ottoman–Russian Struggle for Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, 1908–1918: Identity, Ideology, and the Geopolitics of World Order’ (Princeton Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 2003), 204–46.

↵96For an overview of German plans to employ Muslim liberation movements, see Donald M. McKale, War by Revolution: Germany and Great Britain in the Middle East in the Era of World War I (London, 1998).

↵97Hüsamettin Tuğaç, Bir Neslin Dramı [One Generation's Drama] (Istanbul, 1975), 192; Nasır Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı [The Ottoman Army's Azerbaijan and Dagestan Operations in the First World War] (Ankara, 1996), 41; Aydemir, Makedonya’dan Orta Asya’ya Enver Paşa, iii, 361.

↵98ATASE, Report to the Directorate of Eastern Affairs of the Ministry of War, 28 June–28 July 1333 [1917]: k. 1843, d. 129/67, ff. 1-34, 1-35.

↵99Karabekir, Doğunun Kurtuluşu, 101–3; Ali İhsan Sâbis, Harp Hatıralarım [My War Memoirs], iv (1943; Istanbul, 1990), 189.

↵100Naki Keykurun, Azerbaycan İstiklal Mücadelesinden Hatıralar, 1905–1920 [Memoirs of Azerbaijan's Independence Struggle, 1905–1920] (Ankara, 1998), 101–2.

↵101Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 72. For more, see Mehman Süleymanov, Qafqaz Ordusu vä Azärbaycan [The Caucasus Army and Azerbaijan] (Baku, 1999).

↵102The full directive can be found in Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 189.

↵103This did not unduly worry Nuri. When he received reports of friction between the Russian officers and the officers of the Ottoman 5th Division, he advised the command of the latter that the Russians were also fighting the Bolsheviks and serving well. ATASE, k. 3818, d. 4, f. 27, as cited in Süleymanov, Qafqaz Ordusu vä Azärbaycan, 154.

↵104ATASE, TAR Koleksiyonu, k. 1, d. 1, f. 1-116, as cited in Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 85.

↵105Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 76.

↵106Similarly, the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, the infamous ‘Special Organization’ used for covert operations and special warfare, was able to scrape together just 500 out of a requested 2,000 gold lira for its chief officer in the Caucasus and Turkestan, Ruşeni Bey. Writing more than a year later in June 1918, Ruşeni complained that he still had not received the rest of those funds and had been forced to pay 1,600 gold lira out of his own pocket: ATASE, Letter to the Head of the Directorate of Eastern Affairs, 26 June 1334 [1918]: k. 1859, d. 88/142, f. 1-22.

↵107Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 179, 188; Carl Mühlmann, Das deutsch-türkische Waffenbündnis im Weltkriege (Leipzig, 1940), 197.

↵108Keykurun, Azerbaycan İstiklal Mücadelesinden Hatıralar, 103.

↵109Allen and Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields, 476, 478; E. Kaymakam Rüştü, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı: Büyük Harpte Baku Yollarında. 5 Kafkas Piyade Fırkası [Military Journal History Section: On the Road to Baku during the Great War. The 5th Caucasus Infantry Division] (Ankara, 1934) 9, 17; Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 184.

↵110Kheifets, Sovetskaya Rossiya i sopredel′nye strany vostoka, 57; Trumpener, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 191; Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, i, 443–4.

↵111Rüştü, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı, 107, 117; Bayur, Türk İnkılâbı Tarihi, iii, pt 4, 222–3; Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 93–6.

↵112Kheifets, Sovetskaya Rossiya i sopredel′nye strany vostoka, 48–9.

↵113Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 91 n. 16.

↵114Ronald Grigor Suny, The Baku Commune, 1917–1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution (Princeton, 1972), 326–7; Allen and Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields, 490.

↵115ATASE, k. 136, d. 628, f. 72-1, as cited in Birinci Dünya Harbinde Türk Harbi, ii, 584, 587; Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 114.

↵116Kazemzadeh, Struggle for Transcaucasia, 121; Suny, Baku Commune, 337; Rüştü, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı, 212–14; Yüceer, Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda Osmanlı Ordusu’nun Azerbaycan ve Dağıstan Harekatı, 124.

↵117Kadircan Kaflı, Şimalî Kafkasya [The North Caucasus] (Istanbul, 1942), 139.

↵118‘Prikaz predsedatelya pravitel′stva Gorskoi respubliki A. Chermoeva’ [Order of the Chairman of the Government of the Mountaineer Republic A. Chermoev], 14 Oct. 1918, in Soyuz ob″edinennykh gortsev, ed. Butaev et al., 162–3.

↵119Süleyman İzzet, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı: Büyük Harpte 15 Piyade Tümeninin Azerbaycan ve Şimalî Kafkasya’daki Hareket ve Muharebeleri [Military Journal History Section: The 15th Infantry Division's Operations and Battles in Azerbaijan and the North Caucasus during the Great War] (Istanbul, 1936), 147; İsmail Berkok, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı: Büyük Harpte Şimalî Kafkasya'daki Faaliyetlerimiz ve 15. Fırkanın Harekâti ve Muharebeleri [Military Journal History Section: Our Activities and the 15th Division's Operations and Battles in the North Caucasus during the Great War] (Ankara, 1934), 73.

↵120Soyuz ob″edinennykh gortsev, ed. Butaev et al., 145.

↵121Keykurun, Azerbaycan İstiklal Mücadelesinden Hatıralar, 101.

↵122‘Pis′mo diplomaticheskogo predstavitelya Gorskogo pravitel′stva G. Bammatova’ [Letter of the Diplomatic Representative of the Mountaineer Government G. Bammatov], 31 July 1918, and ‘Pis′mo diplomaticheskogo predstavitelya Gorskogo pravitel′stva G. Bammatova’, 31 Aug. 1918, in Soyuz ob″edinennykh gortsev, ed. Butaev et al., 143, 152.

↵123Hilmi Uran, Hatıralarım [My Memoirs] (Ankara, 1959), 86, 90; S. Esin Dayı, Elviye-i Selâse’de (Kars, Ardahan, Batum) Millî Teşkilâtlanma [Nationalist Organization in the Three Provinces (Kars, Ardahan, Batum)] (Erzurum, 1997), 61.

↵124Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi [Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archive], Istanbul, ‘The Annexation of Elviye-i Selâse’, 15 Aug. 1334 [1918]: DH İ UM d. 20/19, s. 13/41, f. 15.

↵125Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, ‘Decree on the Organization of the Province of Batum by Uniting Batum, Kars and Ardahan’, 14 Sept. 1334 [1918]: DH İ UM d. E-40, s. 30, f. 3; Kurat, Türkiye ve Rusya, 491–4.

↵126İzzet, Askerî Mecmua Tarih Kısmı, 217–23.

↵127Bülent Gökay, A Clash of Empires: Turkey between Russian Bolshevism and British Imperialism, 1918–1923 (London, 1997), 74–5, 82; Swietochowski, Russia and Azerbaijan, 86–7.

↵128Veysel Ünüvar, İstiklal Harbinde Bolşeviklerle Sekiz Ay, 1920–1921 [Eight Months with the Bolsheviks During the War for Independence] (Istanbul, 1948), 24.

↵129The Kemalists assisted the Bolsheviks in suppressing opposition not only in Azerbaijan, but also at the famous revolt of Red Sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, when the visiting Turkish general Ali Fuat Cebesoy appealed on the Bolsheviks’ behalf to a unit of cadets from Tatarstan to wipe out the ‘counter-revolutionaries’. Ivar Spector, ‘General Ali Fuat Cebesoy and the Kronstadt Revolt (1921): A Footnote to History’, Internat. Jl Middle East Studies, iii (1972).

↵130Selim Deringil, ‘The Ottoman Empire and Russian Muslims: Brothers or Rivals?’, Central Asian Survey, xiii (1994).

© The Past and Present Society, Oxford, 2009


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