The Sheikh Saeed movement marked a turning point in the Kurdish national struggle in the twentieth century. However, first-hand information and documents about this movement are almost non-existent. Recently published “Sheikh Ali Riza, Memoirs of Sheikh Saeed’s Son; The work titled “Babam Seh says” clarifies many unknown and obscure things about the Sheikh Saeed movement.
It is also important to note that the book is based on the testimony of Sheikh Ali Raza, son of Sheikh Saeed, who was one of the most important and leading cadres of the time.
Sheikh Ali Riza was born in 1898 in the village of Kolhisar in the Hanis district of Erzuram. He received many lessons from his father Sheikh Saeed and his uncle Hanis Mufti Sheikh Bahadur. Sheikh Saeed was 26 years old when the movement started. It played an important political and military role in the movement. He took command of the Manjikart front. He made various contacts in Aleppo and spoke on behalf of his father with Sayyid Abdul Qadir, head of the Kurdish Teli Association in Istanbul. Sheikh Ali Riza is considered to be the brainchild of Sheikh Syed movement.
After capturing Sheikh Saeed, Sheikh Ali Riza, along with many of his leaders, traveled first to Iran and then to Iraq. In order to continue the movement, he had various contacts with Seyit Taha, Sheikh Mahmoud Bargensi and Simkoe Shikaki, who were important personalities at that time. He is one of the founders of Sheikh Ali Riza Hoybun Society. He returned to Turkey with his family in exile with the Sheikh Saeed Case Amnesty, issued in 1928. In his second exile in 1935, he was exiled with his family to the Surgeon of Thrace. Sheikh Ali Riza has converted a 10 sq m house in exile into an education and science center for his children and nephews. He died in 1970. His body was buried in the Kolhisa family cemetery.
Sheikh Ali Riza was at the home of Abdulmelik Firaat in Ankara, where he went for medical treatment in 1967. While in Ankara, his nephew and son-in-law Abdulmelik Firat, his son Fuat Farat and journalist Dogan Kilik had a long conversation with him in Kurdish and Turkish. The talk / conversation was recorded by 4 AGFA relay Abdulmelik Firat and carefully stored so as not to get caught during the operation. The sound recordings in question were carefully cleaned by experts after a 55-year hiatus and transferred to digital media after the necessary procedures. The main task fell on the shoulders of Abdulmelik Fart’s two grandchildren, anthropologists Dilhad and Dilsad Ferat. Dilsad and Dilhad Bhai deciphered the audio recordings as a result of their careful and tedious work, then the recording was deciphered and the lectures were collected under a specific title and published without comment.
The state Beytüşşebap began to take the lead with the rebellion
Sheikh Ali Reza in his recorded conversation reveals all aspects of the social, cultural and political situation of Kurdish society in the early 20th century. It reveals the relations and animosity between the Kurdish tribes themselves and the Turkish state’s policy of division and division towards the Kurdish tribes. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was important for Kurdish society. He described in detail the Kurdish struggle against Russian occupation in the name of religion and how the state of Dar es Salaam was conquered.
Sheikh Ali Riza said in his conversation that the state took action before the start of Sheikh Saeed movement. In 1924, a military unit led by a group of Azadi Society officers, including Ihsan Nouri and Yusuf Zia’s brother Ali Riza, revolted in Beitusheba and then the officer corps left for Iraq. This gives the state a chance to take action before a massive resistance begins.
“The government was secretly trying to teach the Kurds power. He was trying to determine the number of arms, troops, property and zamindars … He sent a paper to the district magistrate Sheikh Effendi and said, ‘I want to know the number of tribes here, I want to know the number of armed soldiers. “Then we realized that they would deploy our forces and send troops against us.” p.18
Beytüşşebap used the incident as a justification, the state took action against the Azadi Society and its activists. Azadi Society leader Mirale Halid Bay and Beatles deputy Yusuf Zia Bey were arrested and taken to Beatles prison. After a while, Sheikh Saeed’s statement was taken. The circle is shrinking. Seeing this danger, Sheikh Saeed prepared to evaluate the development with the Kurdish elites and to prepare the infrastructure for a new movement.
However, provoking the state piranha is the cause of the premature birth of the predicted movement.
“When the master arrives, the Kurds start a movement, they take Darain, they take Selasu, they take Palu, they take Maden, when they capture it, it was a mistake … Presumably, they captured Sheikh Effendi for Sheikh Effendi , And they stood up.… ”P.35
Thus, Sheikh Saeed finds himself at the head of an early movement whose infrastructure is not adequately prepared.
The reason for the defeat
Sheikh Ali Riza explained that although the movement started before the plan, the situation was initially in favor of the Kurds, but the movement was defeated due to other reasons.
“There were 15,000 soldiers in Turkey, not a single soldier was left, all of them were taken prisoner.“P.30
For this reason, the Kurds were able to capture important centers such as Genç, Palu, Bingöl, Elazığ and Maden within a few days.
The first reason for the defeat was the French support.
“Then the French gave way, when the French gave way, 120,000 troops announced to gather.Tyler… ”p.30
According to Sheikh Ali Riza, if the French had not given way, if the Turkish army had not used the Baghdad railway to reach the rebel-held area, things would have been different. Because there were no strong troops in the area and there was no other way for the troops from the west to enter the area.
The second reason is the attitude of the Kurdish leaders.
More importantly, some Kurdish leaders called on the state to suppress the movement. Moreover, most of those who made the call were fugitives for various reasons and were sought by the state, hoping to be pardoned by the benefactors of the state through these calls.
“If Agha and Shekhra had remained neutral, it would have been enough, if they had not sent telegrams, it would have been enough.… ”P.36
The third factor is the capture of Sheikh Saeed
According to She Ali Rizar; “If Sheikh Effendi had not been caught, the movement would have been successful … ”p.33
And the fourth factor is the betrayal of Major Qasim.
Major Qasim was instrumental in instigating the movement by using his kinship with Sheikh Saeed and Jibran’s nets for his military knowledge and cunning tactics. Eventually, by instructing Sheikh Saeed in various tactics, he brought him to his own territory Verto and unexpectedly captured him, thus dealing a final blow to the movement.
The purpose is to restart the challenge
After the defeat of the movement, Sheikh Ali Reza set out with his troops to cross the Iranian border and from there reach the Emdinli border point. The aim is to resume the struggle by uniting with the forces of Simco, Sayyid Taha and Sayyid Abdullah. However, development will develop in a different direction. Twenty-seven rebels were killed in clashes with Iranian forces after crossing the border into Iran. Sheikh Ali Riza and his friends were arrested for a long time, their money was taken, they were robbed and they were subjected to extreme persecution.
Released Sheikh Ali Reza met with various Kurdish groups in Iran and Iraq and witnessed important events.
Witness the historical time
The eruption and defeat of the Sheikh Saeed movement coincided with an unfortunate moment in the Middle East and Kurdistan. The British and the French are fighting to redistribute the Middle East. Kurdistan, divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, is churning like a boiling pot. The Kurds stand to fight in four parts, they are fighting for existence and existence. The problem is that they do not have the desired unity and they do not have any program to direct their energy towards the goal.
Simco, Sayyid Taha, Sayyid Abdullah, Abdurrezak Bedirhan in Iran; Mahmoud Barzani and the Barzani of Iraq are trying to find a way for themselves in a multifaceted quest for national independence.
Cadres in northern Kurdistan, on the other hand, are in intense talks to gather under the roof of the Syrian Hoybun.
Sheikh Ali Reza had the opportunity to witness the historical events at a time when the region was hot and the Kurds were everywhere. He had the opportunity to meet and communicate with all Kurdish leaders. His observations about his meeting with Mahmoud Bergensi are impressive.
“He told me that Sheikh Saeed Effendi was not just your father, he was the father of us all. “A lot of misfortune has befallen you,” he said. You were devastated in Iraq, I was in the desert then, I couldn’t do anything … Tears came out of his eyes, he was crying … “p.67
On the unfortunate role of the French
The French did not defeat the Sheikh Saeed movement by allowing Turkish troops to travel by rail in 1925, but rather severely disrupted the Kurds and their organizational activities in West Kurdistan (Rojava) under their control.
Although Sheikh Ali Riza was the founder of Hoybun, the French prevented him from joining the Hoybun Congress. According to Sheikh Ali Riza, Seladet Bediruxan also has a role in this business. However, other examples show that the French took a stand against the Kurds from the beginning and supported Turkey.
An important part of Sheikh Ali Riza’s conversation is about Seyit Riza.
“He was intelligent, Sayeed Riza was the bravest of all, he was the text … When caught they ask about his wealth; He puts a two-cent silver coin on the table and says, ‘This is my good fortune …’
The long conversation with Shed Ali Riza does not flow smoothly and even if there is some disconnection in it, it provides very valuable information about the hot events of that time. It partially compensates for the lack of information and documents related to Kurdish history, which we feel is lacking and allows the stones of the past to be placed in their place.
Remembering Abdul Melik Farat
Of course, if Abdulmelik Farat had not been there, the recordings in question would not have been taken, we would not have such a valuable resource today. On the other hand, I have a very meaningful experience in the joint struggle with Mr. Abdul Melik Firaat. We established HAK-PAR in 2002 under the presidency of Mr. Abdul Melik Fart and we have been conducting it under his presidency for four years. It was a unique opportunity for me to meet Mr. Abdul Melik Firaat and benefit from his profound experience. Mr. Abdul Melik Farat represents the fighting tradition of Sheikh Saeed, one of the founders of the Kurdish movement, and has maintained it at a high level throughout his life. On this occasion, I feel compelled to once again respectfully remember Mr. Abdul Melik Firaat.
Of course, the biggest thanks to Dilhat and Dilsad Firat.
Good luck to you.
You have a beautiful way.
Dilshad Firat-Dilhad Firat, My Father Sheikh says: Memories of Sheikh Ali Rizar, son of Sheikh Saeed, 40 Book Publishing House, Ankara, 2022.