By Naveed Tajammal
The Secularist Movement was started by certain elements which were the real pressure groups, as well the intellectual class of the later Ottoman Empire, whose efforts, were the culmination and introduction of the idea of secularism in the new constitution of a new Turkey in 1924.These people, who were infused with this thought process, brought a disaster for the Muslims of Turkey. The purpose of highlighting Ottoman Turkey as a case study, though very briefly and practically in general outline, is to state that, just because the Turk leadership of that time had done a blunder due to pressure of the then superpowers, we need not think about it as an example to follow, for reasons, as will be explained. These blunders have resulted in a chain reaction of events. A study of which however brief is a must. The intellectual class which had spearheaded this move were ethnically and religiously not the actual Turks, as the term goes. I had earlier stated, that the composition of the Turkish Empire were fifty percent Muslims, as late as 1910.However,at the time of the start of the 1839 and 1856 so-called reforms ,"tanzimats", the Muslim population was much less as in between this period and by 1910 the Empire had lost a lot of its area, courtesy, it’s weak sultans and the leadership factor .
The powers of that time were obsessed with breaking Turkey, as they are with us now, with the balakanistion map so eagerly being propagated for us, and its merits too. Reverting back to the Empire, and its, population as it stood, at the start of 20th century ,the inhabited; Iannina, Scutari, Kossovo and Monastir. They were Muslims Orthodox, as Albanians, as well as Catholic Christians. The Bulgarians, inhabited, Salonica, Kossova as well Monastir. All were Orthodox Christians. Here it is pertinent to note that the Headquarter of 'The Committee of Union and Progress was based at Salonica, or Salonika. The Freemason Jews, lent a powerful support to the work of the Committee. The later leader of Turks, Mustapha Kamal, was a key figure of this organization.
I had stated earlier, the Empire had 300,000 Jews all over. Business and commerce was in their hands. The Greeks followed next. What happened to Adan Meneders, and his hanging much later ,on 16 sept.1961,along with Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Hasan Polatkan, was an interconnected sequence, spread over decades of resistance against secularism. The Servians, were in Kossova and the Christians, the Greeks, were spread all over doing business in the Empire, and were Orthodox as well as Greco-Christains. The Kutzo-Vlachs(Macedonians) were Christians. The Lazes, found in Trebizond and East were Muslims as well as Christians. The Kurds were in Erzerum, Sivas, Seert, Angora, and Mosul, all were Muslims. The Circassians, spread all over Asia Minor were Muslims. The Arabs, in the Empire, were in Adana, Aleppo, Syria, Baghdad, Sanjak of Jerusalem, Hejaz, Yemen, Beirut and Basra. All being Muslim Armenians, lived in Istanbul, as well in ,Vilayets, of Turkey, in Europe. Also in Sivas, Angora, Trebizond, Adana, Erzirum, Bittlis, Mosul, Van and Aleppo. All were Gregorian and Christian Catholics.
The Jews had spread in Europe courtesy the Empire, on whose destruction they were bent upon. They retained the jugular of business, in the Empire. a sect of Jews called the Samaritan, were confined to Napluze, a Vilayet of Beirut,(province).The Chaldeans or the Nestorians, who then spoke Syro-Chaldaic, and partly Arabic too, were in Baghdad, Mosul, Aleppo, Beirut, and Mamurat -ul-Aziz.
The Melchites, or the Syrian, were Greco-Catholics, who were Greeks, ethnically, spoke Arabic, but, were united Orthodox Christians, as went the classifications and lived all over Syria. The Jacobites/Syrians, who spoke Arabic, were all Monophysite, as well Jacobite Christians. The Monites, spoke Arabic, but in their churches ,it was Syro-Chaldaic. They were located around Mount Lebanon and Beirut. All were Monophysite, (Catholics). The Druse, and the Mendaties, or Ben-i-Yahya, too were located around Mount Lebanon and the Sanjak of Hauran & Basra. They were all Sabaeans. The main aim of these, other than Muslim races was to disrupt and destroy the Empire.
The first to go were the "Janissaries". This will be explained later, as to why they were, axed.
Now , to have a brief insight in the administrative set up of the Empire, is also a must. Muhammad The Second, the Conqueror of Constantinople in 1453, had created a very free set up,with not much of red tape, as the term goes. He presided over all key matters, and led the army too .The administration was composed of “Kazas” or Cantons, under command of a Kazi. The Sanjaks, or departments, came under Alia Beys or Mir-i-Livas(Colonels and Brigadiers) with one horse-tail banners. The Vilayets were under, Bey- Ler –Beys Pashas with two-horse tail banners. In war times all Bey-Ler-Beys served under the Grand-Vezier. The title of Vezier was also held by six or seven persons, They all met under a "Kubbe" or a Dome,(Cupola) as the Hall of the Divan had a massive Cupola. The Veziers were also Pashas, with three-horse tail banners. Here it should also be kept in mind that prior to the reforms of 1839,the Empire was much larger and had more Christians,.The Arabs were cut off after the Arab revolt spearheaded by T. E. Lawrence, and the new party which now rules Arabia,(Saudi Arabia).
The Christians hated the Turk, because, he had taken over the capital of their Eastern Roman Empire.In 1529,he was at the gates of "Vienna" Austria, and Khair Ud Din called Barbarossa had made the Mediterranean Sea a Turkish Lake.
In 1683,the brilliant, "Kara Mustapha", the Grand Vezier, with an army of 500,000 was again at Vienna. This time, he wanted the conquest of the whole of Germany, and create an Ottoman Province, from Rhine to Danube. The weak ruler, Muhammad the Fourth, could not bear the Grand Vezier. So, planned his destruction while Kara Mustapha led the army but in history such fickle minded weak rulers have always existed. Hence in the middle of the war, Kara Mustapha was executed at Belgrade, by the cowardly Sultan’s orders. Eventually, the Turkish Army deposed him, and brought forward, Sulaman The Second. Now, the "Jannissaries" revolted. All these events were manipulated & led by a constant interference of the super powers, and the Christian population, as well the Jews, ended in the 1839 and 1856 Reforms. By 1821,the Greeks had revolted on the behest of the Russians. It was only the timely help of Mehmet Ali, the Pasha of Misr(Egypt),who saved the day by the Protocol of 4 April 1826,signed,at St. Petersburg, on the behest of British, vide this Treaty, Greece was to be governed by its own elected authorities and would have independent commercial relations. The further end on Turks by the superpowers came at battle of Navarino, on the 20th Oct.1827.With this came the axe on the "Jannissaries" and the end of the main fighting force of the Turks.
Poor leadership, always destroys, an organization which it is unable to control, and then dies its own death. A new leadership, controls the events, and leads the same nation, once declared dead by all, on a new path.
Ruining empires and nations, is and has been, the policy of various pivotal powers of the past, present and will be of the future, too. unless we awaken up to these facts of life, and counter the moves. The nations are always mislead by propagandists, working in various modes and using different means of implementing their ends. the unwary and unwitting gullible people are taken for the high jump, where the damage has already been done, as is, in our case; we must arise to these problems and re-adjust our thought process.
We study history, or political process, which is an ongoing event with a purpose. The point of all drawing room discussions is to exchange ideas and arrive at some mental conclusions. If a debate continues without an end, it is a waste of time, and effort. The purpose to my mind is, we should, analyze and try to stay away from something which has been proven a failed experiment, as was, and is, the case of secularism, in Turkey. Hence these articles, are meant, to give, a reader more insight into the course of events which led to the situation at hand in a brotherly country.
Our people fail to understand that, the political events are a chain of events ,which, a player had played in the past, and they affect our lives to in one form or the other, even now so, instead of remaining a "pawn in the game”. We too, should do something about it rather than be used by others.
The present policy, is the old "Statesman “policy being used on us, the power players in this case, subvert the loyalty of the victim nations population from its governments, which eventually travels down to the very foundations of the country’s military power. THIS is in reality the final objective, in the first place. A militarily weakened nation is then targeted, and destroyed by dismemberment or balkanization, to use a more current terminology. But this term, remember originated from the nation that was the Osmanli Empire till the last century, the Headquarter of our Muslim Khilafat. The present case study, the scourge of the west had been it’s "Jannissaries". A corrupted Turkish word, from the word, "Yenni-Cheri" or the new troops .The entire corps was commanded by the "Agha" of the Yennicheri, called "Oj Ak"(the hearth).It was divided into "Ortas" or units, of varying numbers. The "Oda" or the room, was the name given to the barracks in which they were lodged. Sultan Sulaman The First, had organized them into 196 orta's, divided into three classes, "Jemaat' had 101,ortas;Beuluk,had 61,and,Sekban had 34 ortas. There were also additional 34 ortas of apprentices. In the peace times, the ortas were 100 men strong, in war times 500.
The distinction, between the different classes, was in duty, they performed,. The Jemmat; or the "Yaya Beiter" were charged with the frontier duties, The Beuluk, had the privilege to serve as the Sultan’s guards, and kept the sacred banner in the war and the peace. The sacred banner was the flag of The Holy Prophet.
Until 1574, the effective strength of the Yennicheri, including the Ajami ,was not allowed to exceed 20,000. In 1805, they numbered 112,000.and at the time of their destruction they were 135,000.
The ‘Yennicheri’ were spread all over the Empire, guarding all the vital places. It was this fighting machine which was destroyed by, the weak and cowardly Sultan Mahmud The Second, on the orders of his mentors ie the powers. And, they want to disband our armed forces too.
Let us have a better insight into the function of this remarkable institution, which kept the Empire in one piece while it was in existence. The Code of Conduct, was a creation,which only effected them. Implicit obedience to the officers, perfect accord and union among themselves, abstinence from luxury, Islam was the code, enforced by the rules of "Haji Bektash" a learned, pious Muslim, saint.
Yennicheri, were entitled to special rules ,regarding, a death penalty, if awarded to them, promotion was by seniority. They could be punished and admonished by their own officers. Only the infirm and unfit were pensioned off. They were not allowed beards, nor to marry, nor to leave their barracks, or engage into trade , but to spend the time in drill and in the practice of the "art of war".
In the time of the peace, the Janissaries (Yennicheri) could not carry arms, but were armed with clubs, only in the frontier were they allowed arms in peace times.
The Janissaries, banner, was of white silk, on which verses from the Quran, were embroidered, in gold. This banner was planted besides the "Agha’s" tent, in the camp, with 4 other flags, in red cases and a three horse tail banner/standard.
Each orta, had its flag, half-red and half-yellow & placed before the tent of its commander in the start. The Janissaries, bore no other, mark of distinctive nature, save a white turban. This was converted into red with gold work on it. The officers had the difference in the color of the boots, the commanding officers, of the Beuluk, wore red boots, the others yellow,while the junior wore black.
Thus on 10 June 1826, Mahmud The Second, ordered the destruction. A fatwa, was issued by the Shaikh-ul-Islam, the flag of the Holy Prophet was "unfurled" and Ibrahim Agha the Artillery Commander opened cannon fire on the barracks. They were asked to ‘’surrender’’, which was replied with the cry of "Olmaz" (never or not possible). None survived, the massacre, the barracks were burnt down, men burnt, but none pleaded for mercy. Such was the unity and discipline, amongst them. The rest of 135,000, men too met the fate as stoically. All over the Empire. The reason being the flag of the Prophet had been "unfurled" on them by a devious Sultan. The cause of non resistance was that the Jannissaries, had been the custodians of the same flag, in the past. It was the "unfurling " that created special circumstances and was the signal of the final act," to do or die." for it. Thus died the manhood of the Empire .With its destruction ended the State, eventually, which had been the gravest threat to the whole Europe, within a year, the powers of the West had forced the ill-fated Sultan by “The Treaty of London’’,6th July 1827, to grant autonomy to Greece. And to be governed by a Prince of their choice(Christian).
With the destruction of ‘Yennicheri’, Mehmet Ali, Viceroy of ‘’Egypt’’, too revolted and was at the doors of Istanbul, from the Eastern and Southern side. He was made by these powers, a hereditary ruler of Egypt ,by a ’’farman’’ issued by the new Boy Sultan, Abd- ul -Majid(1839-61)Through him these powers introduced, edicts ,called "tanzimats ",much to the pleasure of the merchant classes and traders of the Empire, who were all Christians & Jews, for whom all these efforts in the breakup of the structure were done, through the hands of a doomed Sultan, named Mahmud The Second. Followed by a equally ill omen ed ruler.
(The writer has over 26 years of experience in Investigative Historical Research)