Generals Cemal and Halil—
Our first business was for Generals Cemal and Halil, the grandees of Turkiye, to be seriously concerned with the affairs of Turkistan. Our decisions were based on their previous statements of interest in that direction. General Cemal had been to Kabul via Tashkent and Bukhara, a year before. General Halil and Haci Sami Bey had arrived in Tashkent, wishing to journey toward Kashgar. Their thoughts of Central Asia intended to benefit Turkiye, to continue the [First World] war which they had lost in the West against the Allies. General Cemal was intending to start an uprising in India with the help of Afghans, and to include the Central Asian Turks into his Army of Islam with the aid of the Soviets. He was acting seriously. He sent one of his officers by the name of Regip Bey and Qari Kamil from Ferghana to Bukhara with letters to be delivered to the chiefs of the Basmaci. I spoke with them. Ragip Bey verbally explained General Cemal’s ideas. They were completely imaginary. We regarded the matters of Turkistan only from the prism of Turkistan. We were against the idea of melding it with the operations in Turkiye, or to eliminate the English dominion in India. The delegation from General Cemal was able to make contact with some of the Basmaci Chiefs with the permission of the Russians. However, the Russians did not at all believe in them and arrested them in Tashkent. A little later the Russians allowed them to travel to Kabul, but disallowed a stopover in Bukhara. I was avoiding telling General Cemal that his ideas were completely imaginary for fear of offending him. After Ragip Bey and Qari Kamil were sent to Kabul, a person representing the Ferghana Basmaci arrived in Bukhara (if I am not mistaken, he was Semi Kari) who told us with great regret that a completely negative impression of General Cemal was obtained when he explained that he wished to draw the Basmaci toward the Indian border and use it against the English, to abandon Turkistan completely to the Russians. At that time several of the Kazak and Ozbek intellectuals arrived in Bukhara who had spoken with Ragip Bey and Qari Kamil at Tashkent and Khokand. They told us that “the General Cemal turned out to be an adventurist who had no idea of the realities; which Basmaci would go to India to fight against the English?” In sum, the impression of ours was reminiscent of Shakespeare’s lines in King Lear: “I will do such things/ what they are, I know not, but they shall be/ the terrors of the earth.” We were depressed by those actions of the General that debased his reputation. We did not at all wish any impression be formed in the minds of our population against the grandees of Turkiye. In response we stated that “the General knows the issues of Western and Central Asia wholesale; we only know our local conditions,” by way of softening his words. We did not wish the General to know all this. We did not send on to Kabul the bitter letters written by the Basmaci Chiefs addressed to General Cemal stating: “you ought not to surrender us to the Russians.” Instead, we sent word to General Cemal that he needed to refrain from sending letters to the Basmaci Chiefs who did not believe the Russians, advising them not to fight the Russians. We advised General Cemal that the matters of Turkistan were being handled by the Turkistan National Union, and he needed to contact the Basmaci through that channel. We sent that letter, dated 25 July 1921 by way of a Bukhara External Affairs courier to Kabul, over my signature, in the name of our Union. I obtained a copy of that letter after I arrived in Kabul in 1923. A portion of that letter was published in my volume entitled Turkistan Tarihi (Pp. 430-431). In it we stated: “Our aim is… to find means of forcing the Russians to accept our existence, to strengthen our national society, and to provide modern, national and political spirit to the fighting component. To enter among the Basmaci to distance the supporters of the Emir and the conservatives, so as to eliminate their influences, to replace them with loyal and useful individuals to the National Union Society, and to re-form this Basmaci organization into the regular military wing of the young and independence minded. If the Russians agree to leave the military and economic affairs to the local Moslems in Turkistan, Kazakistan and Baskurdistan, and accept the full independence of Bukhara and Khiva, we are prepared to establish peace and resume relations with them. Otherwise, we are seriously preparing militarily and politically for an all-out struggle against them. We are going to establish Tashkent as the center for all three regions (East, South, and West) of Turkistan. At the moment, in Eastern Bukhara, we are concentrating on the formation of a national government in the Soviet style, to establish a military organization and inaugurating sincere relations with our neighboring countries of Afghanistan, China and Iran. We ask that your Middle East policies be drawn so as not to sacrifice the future of this old Turkistan to plans in preparation for the deliverance of the Islamic world. We request that you do not sacrifice the future of Turkistan in favor of the plans made for the liberation of Islamic world. Please undertake all initiatives concerning Turkistan by way of our Turkistan National Committee Center, and not to contact the Basmaci or other strata otherwise. All this will be to your benefit. In addition, it is necessary not to show any closeness to the Bukhara Emir, who is now in Eastern Bukhara. Any such help rendered him will be regarded as enmity toward our Society. Let us recapitulate again the fact that, even if the Bolsheviks are sincere in liberating the Western countries from the hands of the capitalists, and assuming that they will remain loyal to all the statements they are making and are sincere about what they publish, Turkistan cannot subsume its future to the as yet unknown outcome of forthcoming struggle between capitalism and socialism. Thus these are the principles of any political policy toward Turkistan.” Since General Cemal’s representatives were not allowed to stopover in Bukhara after they were released from jail, and sent directly to Kabul, we sent another letter to Abdurresul Han, the Afghan Ambassador in Bukhara on 10 August. We indicated to him [apparently intended for General Cemal to read] that his correspondence with the Russians did not yield a resolution and asked him not to confuse the issues of Turkistan with the Russian policies toward Afghanistan and India. We received a copy of that letter after our arrival in Kabul. The following words summarize the whole: “you must once again review your idea of including the Turkistan Basmaci into your Islamic Army in order to liberate India. That is because, the Basmaci will not participate in activities outside Turkistan; the movement is comprised of individuals who have gone to the mountain due to local necessities. Your thoughts about us convincing the Russians to let a national army be formed in Bukhara is of course a dream, but it is so for those of us who have gone underground for political reasons; Feyzullah Hoca, Sadullah Hoca and Munevver Kari believe that they will succeed and they are right. In your letters, it will be best if you did not write words that would offend their faith, or to cause them to view you with contempt.”
Moving to Samarkand—
I left all alone, with a single horse, for Samarkand via Kermine, in order to contact the rebellion movements more closely, and to observe the preparations of the Congress that would meet in September. My wife was accompanied by my orderly, Haris Sisenbayev, and travelled by rail. My outfit was that of an Ozbek villager. Despite that, I avoided localities where there were Russian soldiers. After passing Qorgan, I learned that there was a Russian detachment en-route and turned toward Ayabad where there was a mausoleum by the name of Kumusata toward the evening. I spent the night in the room of the keeper Seyh who was living in very reduced circumstances. He brought feed for my horse, prepared a meal for me. This was a meal called talkan, consumed by the poor. He apologized for not being able to provide clean coverings. There was a book in the window-sill on the lives of saints. I wrote a poem in Persian with the following meaning: “Here, there is a yellowed face, and only torn clothing is sold/ the market for silk and brocade is elsewhere.” Seyh asked me what I wrote into the book. When he read what I wrote, the poem which he already knew, tears ran down his eyes. We spoke until midnight. His knowledge about the world was complete. He was acquainted with Qaraqul Bey, who had a militia in the vicinity. He roused me for the morning prayers. We performed together. He brought milk, and served sircay containing tea, milk, butter and salt. We had become friends. A year later, when we fought against the Russians with Qarakul Bey, we again visited this old man. It transpired that he had told Qarakul Bey that I spent a night in his lodgings, wondering perhaps I was Hizir. When Qarakul Bey laid eyes on the Seyh, he introduced me with: “here, I brought you, your Hizir.” I spent another night in his lodgings.
My wife Nefise was lodged in the vineyard of Kadi Haydar, who was a member of our Society. I joined her.
Kurban Bayrami [festival of sacrifices]—
After spending a few days at the vineyard of Kadi Haydar Bey, we designated that place for our meetings, and rented a house for ourselves at a place called Mescidi Hizir. Kadi Haydar was an outstanding person. The majority of Samarkand residents are Turks, but they mostly speak Farsi. Kadi Haydar’s orchard was very large and rich with varieties. He had forty different species of apple trees alone. Grapes were as varied as well. It was a very mature orchard that was receiving very careful maintenance. He knew individuals from among the Russians. He had us settle at the back of his own home. There an event took place, as it did in Ashkabad with the Russian Ostrovski. My old and close friend, Professor Viatkin had arrived. There was a wooden wall between us. I was listening to his conversation with Kadi without showing myself. He specified that there was a rumor of me being present in the vicinity of Bukhara. I did not make a sound. He left a little later. He was an excellent historian. He knew Temur and Samarkand history especially well. In his library there were many manuscript sources. His most important volume was “Topography of Samarkand Province.” In it, he had marked many historical old cities in Samarkand Province according to vakif [pious foundation] documents. I had met Professor Viatkin along with Nalivin in 1913, because of his becoming Turkistan Governor General, and had corresponded with him regularly. The letters he wrote me on various historical problems had formed a book. He later was appointed a university professor. Perhaps he now passed away. I was very sorry I could not speak with him; I let him know of this in a letter, after I crossed the Iranian border two years later.
After we moved to the house at Mescid-I Hizir, we met with friends only at the gardens of Kadi Haydar. We did not let anyone else know where we were living with the exception of Kadi Haydar, Molla Arif and Murad Hoca. We had three horses. We took care of them, and visited old historical sites around town. Living underground allowed me to learn the topography of Bukhara and Samarkand in great detail. Especially since I was living practically next to the historical monuments of Afrasyab and Sahi Zinde, I was able to read most of the inscriptions.
During that time, my orderly soldier Haris Sisenbay passed away from malaria. This youth had not left my side since 1918, and was from the Salcuvut Branch. He was very intelligent and sincere. I was thinking of taking him with me to other countries, if that was to be the case, and have him educated. I had told him that. Since he had completed the Russian city school, he was able to type the writings I had completed by hand. He was careful. Haris was also recording what was happening to us, and burying them in various designated places around Samarkand in bottles. Haris Sisenbay was almost taking the place Ibrahim Qackinbay whom I had lost. I was devoted to him with sincere feelings of friendship. There was nobody else to fill his shoes. I had given his friend Ahmetcan leave for him to return to our country. He went crying. Upon observing that Haris revolted, and asked: “are you going to send me away back to the country? If you do, I will kill myself.” He had already listened to our conversations that we would cross over to Afghanistan or to Iran, if the conditions required. He would state that: “if you are going to leave for foreign lands, I will go with you. Teach me those languages as well.” He began learning Persian in Bukhara and Samarkand. He was also reading books during his spare time. He would tell me: “if you were to be Sultan Mahmud, I would want to be Ayvaz.” When we were living incognito in Bukhara, he would take my smallest order in the ceremonial position. He liked the military ways. I finally asked him not to do that, because it would attract the attention of outsiders that I am somebody other than what I seemed. He thus stopped that. However, when nobody else could see it, he would arrive and take the same ceremonial respectful position. He was not shy toward me; sometimes he would speak harshly. I would call him “Kemen” as in the popular Central Asian novel, and sometimes address him as “Bozyegit.” When he died, we buried him in the cemetery next to Mescid-I Hizir. I had a tombstone placed over him and wrote the following on it: “he had no equal/ he shared my troubles/ when called Bozyegit/ he would respond with “you are my life”/ oppressor fate/ you have compassion to those who have no honor/ but do not compliment the ones in difficulty/ you are taking a friend from a comrade/ separating him from his parents/ you are never satisfied with all you take.” This Haris was the one who killed Minhac, the enemy of Baskurdistan autonomy, and the servant of the Russian Tsardom, and brought his pistol to me. That pistol was with me, even in Samarkand. The body of Haris was dimunitive, but he was an unequalled hero. His death was the cause for me and my wife to cry much.
TMB [Turkistan National Union] Sixth Congress--
When Sisenbay passed away, the entire weight was left to me and my wife Nefise to carry. The ones who had sacrified most were Turekul Canuzakov of the Kirgiz and Sultan, who was an Ozbek from Andican. The latter youth was from the entourage of the Kazak intellectual Sirgaziyev, who was the governor of Samarkand. With their efforts, Turkistan National Union Congress was held between 5-7 September. All the members entered the gardens of Kadi Haydar from various gates. One day, we convened at a vineyard at the Matrid ward of the city. At that meeting, Dinse of the Kazaks was also in attendance. That Dinse was also suffering from malaria. He was present even though he would lose consciousness at times. At one point, addressing me, he said: “I am burning, in flames. Bring me a bucket of water fom Sumburun.” It turned out Sumburun was a deep well north of Lake Balkash, in the Bat-Pakdala desert, where his Branch of origin used. Apparently, it was one hundred fathoms deep, and the water was just like ice. When he lost consciousness, he was referencing that deep well, asking me to bring him water from there. Later on, he got well. But, he went back to his lands stating that he would not be completely over it without drinking the water from Sumburun. He was a poet and artist. He had an itinerant troupe. He would go with them to a variety of places and stage theatrical productions. Soysallioglu Ismail Suphi Bey, during his Turkistan trip, was in his audience in Kizil Mescit, took a large-scale photograph of the Dinse troupe and brought it to Istanbul. While the cogress was underway, Kudretullah arrived from Kashgar. While we were leaving for Turkistan, these four, Kudretulla, Inayetulla, Nimetulla and Fitratullah took their families and went to Kashgar. There, they were going to join the independence movement. Now, one arrived to give news and take instructions. He brought very good news, and left. He also brought photographs. We were very happy to learn their good health, a family whom I had known since my childhood, and their selfless work. Their father Sultan Gerey Hazret was an old friend of my father. He had worked selflessly in Baskurdistan autonomy movement. Now, his sons and daughters-in-law are working in Eastern Turkistan. Two sons and a daughter of Kudretullah arrived in Turkiye for their studies, via Tibet and India. Ataturk sincerely took interest in them. Now, the grandchildren of two friends are united in Istanbul. Among them, Enver Altay is a prominent engineer.
At the Samarkand Congress sessions, the by-laws of the society comprised of twenty- four items and the flag of Turkistan was approved. In the committee preparing the flag, I served along with Munevver Kari and Canuzakoglu and a few other individuals. The color red on this national flag was based on the Eleventh Century scholar Mahmud Kashgari who had shown that the color red was prominent in the earlier flags of the Seljukids and the Karakhanids. We had also seen the same color in the miniatures in the manuscripts of the Timurid period. The original of this flag is visible in a manuscript written in 1449 at the time of Timurid Sahrukh, in Hayir Hatun “Hamsa” held in Topkapi Palace (No. 781) on page 230. There are five red and four white stripes for a total of nine stripes at length, and surrounded by a blue stripe. We announced 6 September a holiday, the day this flag was agreed upon. Accordingly, this became the unified flag of our nation which was in general uprising against the Russians across Turkistan. Also, poems were written in Cagatay and in Persian for this flag. At the moment, I do not have any copies to my hand. Again at this congress it was decided to send political advisers to the entourage of every Basmaci Chief. To the entourage of Bas Qorbasi, chief of chiefs, Alcibay, who was from the Nayman Branch as well as Qari Kamil named influential Ozbek intellectual were appointed. This congress was the most fruitful and sincere of all the congresses that convened. No sly comptetion between Feyzullah Hoca and Abdulkadir, as was the case in Bukhara, took place.
Events in Baskurdistan—
After this congress, I contacted the Bukhara government, in order to send foodstuffs to Baskurdistan as famine was raging there. Several train cars of food was sent. Besides, representatives had arrived from Baskurdistan to obtain food. A young man named Suleyman Mirzabulatov had staged a revolt in Baskurdistan. We let him know that his revolt would have no immediate benefit, and advised him to surrender to the Soviets. He did. Mostavenko, a friend of Lenin, acting as representative of Moscow in Baskurdistan, in his printed memoirs, had written that the end of this revolt by peaceable means was due to his own skills. Meanwhile, two of our Baskurt soldiers arrived as representatives.
GENERAL ENVER IN TURKISTAN
During September and October, several letters and some journals arrived from General Enver who was at the time in Moscow, via the Turkish Officers living in Bukhara and an officer named Ali Riza. In those journals, published in Berlin under the title Liva-I Islam, and other designations, General Enver and his friends were conducting propaganda in the name of Islamic Union and against the Allies, and in favor of agreement with the Soviets. We were very unhappy with all this since it was not possible to conjoin the life-and-death struggle of Turkistan with the very just and vital calculations of Turkiye in their struggle against the Allies. The word that he might be joining the general uprising had also arrived. Even though we were organized secretly, we were continuing our fight in complete consort and understanding with our friends who were working officially within the Communist Party and Soviet institutions. Therefore, our fight ought to have remained an internal matter of the Soviet Union, and our friends in official positions needed to grow the kernels of Red Army units comprised completely of Moslem soldiers, enlarge the circles of Moslem intellectuals within Soviet institutions and the Party, and also determined never to acknowledge any contacts, if that took place, with other countries. It was easily possible to have the Baskurt national Battalion, that just arrived, join the Basmaci. However, Turar Riskulov and similar minded individuals (who were working in official government positions) specified that they ought not to join the Basmaci, instead the Soviet Army as a national unit. As such, it was also advisable for the Basmaci to do so if possible, to make them official. As a result, it would then become feasible for those of us who were working secretly to become officials in Eastern Bukhara. We could not see Turar Riskulov who was under constant surveillance. However, I was able to meet with government and party officials often, in Samarkand and elsewhere. The news from Turar was reaching me via several Baskurt soldiers in Tashkent and friends of Dinse. We also had established communication with some Social Revolutionaries in Turkistan and the national organization of Ukraine. If General Enver would involve himself in this business, and take an anti-Soviet stance, since they could not obtain aid from the Allies, the Turkistan uprising would be completely isolated even from our friends who were working in the internal governmental institutions. Even though the slogans were to grow larger, the resources available would become even smaller. I was informed that General Enver was inclined to arrive in Turkistan. We discussed the circumstances in our Committee. We responded stating it would be better for him not to arrive, but help us form the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the policies of the Russians in Bukhara took a better turn for us. The Russians, who ostensibly supported both Mirza Abdulkadir and Feyzullah Hoca groups in their struggle for primacy, announced on 27 September that they now officially supported Feyzullah Hoca. That was because Feyzullah Hoca had closer relations with the Russians. We had established a garrison organization with the hands of our War Minister Arifov in various cities of Bukhara. Feyzullah knew that they were prepared to join the Basmachi, their real objective. I had even heard him state to Arifov: “the real commander of our garrisons is Zeki Velidi.” It was becoming necessary for all the students studying at the military school we established at Kermine under the leadership of my former aide-de-camp Ibrahim Ishakov to join the Basmaci, even Ibrahim himself, and above that even War Minister Arif leaving the official Soviet side and joining the Basmaci. The police chief Mirza Muhittin, who was the primary support of Mirza Abdulkadir was Feyzullah’s real enemy. He immediately joined the Basmaci with all his police officers. Meaning, the events were taking place and we were getting caught without preparation. Mirza Muhittin sent a representative to our society and asked: “I am joining the Basmaci; where shall I station myself and what would be my duties?”
Arrival of General Enver in Bukhara and my talks with him—
One day the news reached me that General Enver had arrived in Bukhara, and the next, a short letter from him stating: “I am in Bukhara; I request you arrive here earliest.” He had arrived in Bukhara on 20 December. I immediately mounted my horse and went to Bukhara alone. I arrived at the Afghanistan Embassy, outside the city, as I was informed from Bukhara. The Ambassador was Abdurresul Han, with whom we later became very close friends and got together many times in Kabul and in Berlin. He told me that he had sent word to the General that I have arrived. In less than an hour, the General arrived. He was accompanied by his aide-de-camp Muhittin Bey. I was laying eyes on General Enver for the first time in my life. He was dressed in civilian clothes. In his photographs, I always saw him in military outfits. As soon as he sat down, he stated: “General Cemal had arrived from Kabul, I sent Dr. Nazim to the Carcuy railroad station to meet General Cemal. However, the Russians prevented General Cemal to disembark, even to talk with him. He was not held in Tashkent but sent on to Moscow immediately.” He added that he was very sorry about all that. Then, we discussed his problems. He told me that I was right, referencing my letter to General Cemal, that the Russians would follow the policy of only badly exploiting them. He asked me what he could do that would benefit Turkistan as long as he arrived in Bukhara, and what would be my advice to him. He had no determination and was not specifying that he had decided to do something. In truth, he was bewildered. I told him: “I was informed by the Turkish officers in Bukhara, those who are in contact with me, that you would join the Basmaci upon arrival. That, too, is a path. Another is your crossing over to Afghanistan from here. The Russians would not allow that, but it would be easy for you. We can help you to cross at a place called Burdalik; our organization there is secure.” The General asked me why I did not see him joining the Basmaci a positive. I told him: “First of all, this struggle began as an internal problem of Russia. We have the possibility of uniting with other anti-Bolshevik forces and parties as enemies of the Bolsheviks. We can even, once again, come to terms with the Soviets if necessary. If you were to get involved, and get the ‘liberals’ of India into the mix as supported by General Cemal, this problem will assume the characteristics of an international problem. Since the Soviets are not sincere in these matters, then this problem will assume the face of an international problem. The Allies are regarding you another Wilhelm II. We had thought that we could obtain aid from the outside. If you were to join this movement, all those possibilities would be completely removed, and our case would become an international matter before we are ready. The White Russian groups will turn their backs to us; our Society would then be forced to openly join the Basmaci. Those of our friends who are in official positions would have to either join the Basmaci, or cut all of our ties and support the Soviet side. Hundreds of our friends within the Soviet institutions have been helping us because we are working on a completely internal matter of Russia. They regard the agreements with external governments an adventure, and since they are not based on guarantees, they are not in favor of them. The English, when they entered Turkmenistan during 1918, they favored the White Russians instead of the Turkmen. That had caused a terribly bad impression. It is not forgotten anywhere that the French and American forces arriving in Siberia during 1918 had taken a completely negative attitude toward the Baskurdistan and Kazakistan Governments, and treated their armies as the enemy to the point of wanting to kill their officers by order of field court-martials. The English had left behind the Turkmen who had worked with them when they withdrew. If we were to contact the rest of the world while we are pursuing our independence, those friends who are working at the Party center will take a position against us. The Second Point is, the Soviets are now gaining in the Polish Front. If they can solve that problem fast with compromises, they can shift all their forces here. This year, the crop in Turkistan is rather small. No valley can maintain more than four or five thousand soldiers. If you were to cross over to Afghanistan, and refrain from dealing with the issues of India, and manage the affairs of Turkistan from there, it would be very beneficial. The thorny side of our problems involves the Emir of Bukhara. He left; we do not want him back, he cannot return. He is an enemy of modernity and you. Here, he has partisans who are loyal to him. They will be opposing you. On the other hand, you are obliged to join those partisans first. If you were to cross over to Afghanistan, you might be able to communicate with the Emir of Bukhara and help him see the true path. Amanullah Han of course would help. Perhaps you might choose to seek aid from other countries, such as Iran with the help of Afghanistan. You might maintain contacts with the Basmachi Chiefs and send instructors. We, on our part, can maintain our strategy. You could also come to an agreement with the English after obtaining the full trust of the Emir. Then you can return to Turkistan and command the entire movement. All forces under the command of our society would serve you. Otherwise, the majority will avoid getting involved in business that is not resting on a strong foundation. The Soviets can easily deceive our friends who wish to establish a National Turkistan Soviet Government based on ‘national red army’ by accepting our demands. They will announce your movement as Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turkist. Those are not popular here. On the other hand, you have gained fame during the World War as a prominent opponent of the Russian people. The White Russian strata will never forget that. Your open involvement in this business may cause the Whites and the Reds to unite. If you were to cross over to Afghanistan, our possibilities of communicating with the White Russians and anti-Soviet groups will remain open. General Cemal remained in Afghanistan for a year. We have not been successful in transmitting these truths to him, which you have grasped during your Bukhara talks. All business you would undertake in Afghanistan, excluding those involving India, will certainly yield good results.”
General Enver asked me: “why do your friends not desire the unity of the Turks and Moslems?” I responded with: “the common people of Turkistan only know of the Ottoman Caliph. He is the Sultan of Turkiye. The people here do not know that Turks in Turkiye speak Turkish. The educated know that, yet they are unaware of our common culture. On the other hand, the Russians are showing Pan-Islam and Pan-Turkism as abhorrent so much that those who have contacts with the Russians find it necessary to stay away from those conceptions. Another aspect that is necessary to remember is that the local population is here are concerned with their own problems and that they have never heard of unity issues. Even those who have been to pilgrimage do not know them; if anyone does, those few who have studied in Istanbul, and those who read the journal Turk Yurdu and none other. Everyone here is in favor of Turkistan. Those who have statistical information on the dense Russian population north of the Caspian Sea and Iranian population to the south will not even think that Turkiye and Turkistan will have a common political issue. It is possible to propagandize that it is feasible to increase the contacts on the bases of Islam and Turk culture. The conditions are favorable for this. Every Turkmen, Ozbek and Kazak would state “if the Turk has the power, let him come and take us on.” He will also notice that his relations with the Russians will become harsher if he were to pursue this because the Russian educated believe that that is possible and are afraid of this. Other than that, there is nobody around who would wish to prevent the unity of the Turks. He will state that we ought not pursue a ghost and make the Russian angry without a cause. Or, he is only negligent.” General Enver listened to all I said intently. He responded with: “there is one more possibility beyond the two you indicated; namely either to cross over to Afghanistan or to take over the movement here. And that is to return to the Sultan by way of returning to Moscow.” What he meant by ‘Sultan’ was his wife in Berlin. He added: “and not to be involved in the affairs of Turkistan.” I replied with: “That will be your choice. Kindly do not decide on the bases of what I stated so far. I only spoke my private thoughts. Listen to the others as well. I do not wish to hear that I have turned back the General. Since you have come all the way to Bukhara, we must make use of this opportunity for the independence of Turkistan. Who can guarantee that what happened to general Talat in Berlin will not happen to you as well?” The Afghanistan Ambassador Abdulresul Han personally and modestly served tea. His respect for the General was enormous. He did not utter a single word during our discussions, left us alone. We also ate the evening meal there. After the General left, I spent the night there. I wrote the drawbacks of the General joining the Basmaci in fourteen points. I did not want him to decide without considering all these seriously.
My consequent talks with General Enver—
The next morning, I went to the home of Hekim Bey in whose house we had lived earlier. In the afternoon, I went to the home of Hasim Sayik, the Foreign Minister of Bukhara. The General arrived there with his aide-de-camp Muhiddin and Haci Sami. He was wearing a pair of military trousers and German boots with thick rubber soles. He told me that he had read my fourteen points, and thinking about the problem, and wished to learn all he could about the true conditions of the Turkistan Basmaci. I told him the numbers of Basmaci groups, their chiefs and characters as I knew. There I learned that some of the educated in Bukhara, especially Mirza Abdulkadir and his friend from Samarkand, Ekabirsah, definitely wanted the General to take over the Turkistan uprising. In return, I indicated that Mirza Abdulkadir had lost his fight with Feyzullah Hoca, and since the Russians favored Feyzullah, and since some of their men joined the Basmaci, they would of course make such a proposal. I suggested that he ought to speak with others beyond Mirza Abdulkadir. In addition, Haci Sami indicated that General’s crossing over to Afghanistan would mean wasting his life, and it would be a mistake in trusting Amanullah. That person was aggrandizing his role in the Yedisu rebellion of 1916, stating: “I am a plain Turk, yet I was able to rouse entire Kirgizistan. Your (meaning the General) fame and influence can aid us to cause a tumult Turkistan-wide.” I corrected him that moment with: “the 1916 uprising was not caused with propaganda but was the result of the 25 June decree of the Tsar ordering the conscription of the local populations for war service. We only heard that you had joined the Sabdan Batirogullari at the Karakol Township, at the very end when the Kirgiz were preparing to cross over to China. I presented, and continue to present all the naked facts to the General. I have been decidedly avoiding sending him into the incorrect path.” I thus endeavored to draw the attention of the General to the exaggeration of Haci Sami’s words. Haci Sami reacted with indignation. After the General left that night, I did not, thinking that the Russian spies would trail him, and slept there. For every occasion of talking with the General, I would arrive before he did, and spend the night at that location. In such a manner, I spoke with the General four nights.
That night, we spoke a lot with Hasim Sayik. He was in a complete indecision. He was afraid of telling the problem to anyone, including Feyzullah. I told him I was going to see Feyzullah as well, but I could not tell him the truth. At a later hour in the hour, Haci Sami again arrived at Hasim Saik and that he had a matter he wished to speak with me separately. Haci told me: “Do not agree with the General for his return to Sultan; they will kill him there (in Berlin); the General’s arrival here is an opportunity. Either a result will be obtained or not, but with General Enver’s participation this event will constitute a global importance. Even if Turkistan is not liberated during the lifetime of this generation, the future generations will take the General’s and your example and will finally liberate Turkistan. The General is attributing great import to your words; kindly inform him that his return to Germany is not an acceptable alternative.” I gave my word in agreement and indicated: “in order for the General to be successful in Turkistan, he first must go to Afghanistan; do not object to that path, and do not make exaggerated assertions.”
The third night we spoke, I noticed the influence of Haci Sami on the General. The General, addressing me, stated: “Zeki Bey, I understand you do not like me to be working in Turkistan.” I responded with: “may God forbid, there is work for thousands of individuals for the cause like you. Only the volunteers for the cause can save this nation. The international public opinion will now develop in favor of the independence of nations, colonies will be removed, and Turkistan will be free one day. But, I spoke only on the current conditions on our homeland. You had asked me for my thoughts and analyses. It is my duty to present all I know and understand, without adding or subtracting. At our fourth meeting, the General was inclined to cross over to Afghanistan. He was to apply to the Russians for this outcome; if that aid was not forthcoming, he intended to cross with our help. I obtained maps for him. I had called the members of our society from Carcuy and Burdalik, the Turkmen, asked them to help the General cross over to Afghanistan via Burdalik, Sakarkuduk and Andhoy, to accompany him, and introduce the General to the Turkmen Basmaci operating at Kerki region. We had done that very speedily. The General liked that.
The General spoke with the Russian Councilor Officer Jurinev at Kagan, and asked him when General Cemal was going to return to Afghanistan. The Councilor Officer responded with: “let alone allowing Cemal to travel, we also know what business you have been pursuing here.” The General regarded that as a direct threat. He thought that the Russians would kill him and General Cemal. He was entertaining strange thoughts such as entering among the Basmaci once, and then returning to Berlin. I indicated to him: “if you were to enter among the Basmaci once, you cannot return to Russia; it would be best for you not even to confess anyone that you had such thoughts.” I was about to leave Bukhara for Samarkand. I spoke with the General once more. He told me that he had left all business in limbo; he was going to cross over to Eastern Bukhara, and constitute a congress there with the educated and the Basmaci. He asked me that I distribute his decisions in the name of our society to Khiva, Kazakistan, Ferghana, the Turkmen, and have them attend his proposed congress at Eastern Bukhara. In response, I indicated it was impossible for representatives to be called, and reminded him that it would be most appropriate for him to cross-over to Afghanistan. He did not like this. I could not leave the next day, because the General had indicated he wished to speak with me once more. We called two or three of our inner circle friends to the home of Mirza Muhittin Hakimbay. The General told us that he was probably going to join the Basmaci: “I still have a few more days. I am still thinking of what you told me; I am certain you are sincere in everything you told me. Let us not neglect the Burdalik path.” Tears were streaming down his face. In his demeanor, he resembled a sportsman eager to join the competition, wearing the German made boots we had seen earlier. He spoke very sincerely, and expressed his thoughts openly. He believed that if he were to cross over to Afghanistan, he would be unable to join the Turkistan national struggle. He was determined to give his life for the liberation movement of this country. He indicated that General Xalilov was included in his organization in the Caucasus. He told us that we Turkistanis are unprepared, and will not be ready in the near future. It is necessary to do whatever that could be done in order to fight the Russians. He now felt himself at the motherland of the Turks, and wanted to lead the Turks of this land to the field of competition. I then saw that this person was a great [romantic] idealist who had not been tested with life and events, and that he had not read even the European publications of Russian and Western European origin on the geography and statistics on Turkistan. Without a doubt, this person had planned what he was to do in Turkistan only in the days he was in Bukhara. The greatest influences on him for that decision was definitely the fact that he was not allowed speaking with General Cemal and the threats slung at him by the Councilor Officer Jurinev.
Sitare Mah-I Hassa and my talk with Feyzullah—
I was going to leave Bukhara in the morning. I had requested a horse from Feyzullah Hoca. He sent me word asking me to be at the Emir’s Sirare Mah-I Hassa Palace at Nine in the morning. It is one of the new palaces of the Emir. Feyzullah Hoca arrived there shortly after me. I did not like the two horses allocated to me by the Minister of Finance Nasir Hekimoglu. I indicated that I was not taking a travel companion or guide that I would be travelling alone, and the horse needed to be not showy but a sturdy one. They brought out a black and another, white horse that remained in the stables of the Emir. The white one was a tad smaller was said to be a good runner and easy amble. Even though the black one was also an easy ambler, he was showier. I elected to have the white one, and asked that Arifov send the black one to Samarkand via the train.
After the horse matter was settled, Feyzullah invited me in. There, we had talks which led me to make definite decisions in Turkistan. Feyzullah Hoca asked: “what is General Enver is doing here? I wish to know what he spoke with you.” I told him that the General was prevaricating between going to Afghanistan and returning to Berlin. Feyzullah Hoca stated: “when I was in Moscow, I saw Stalin again, he mentioned you. When I had seen him in March, he was eating fire. Now, if you were to return, they will accept you with honor; your choice.” I told him: “for me, there is no return. Perhaps I will even go to foreign countries.” His response was: “if you and Enver were to join the Basmaci, we will fight you openly. We will fire those suspicious individuals who are following you. Besides, the Russians desire me to fire Arif from War Ministry for a long time. You need to know all that. Perhaps we will not speak again after this. We will definitely act harshly. However, Sultanov will maintain his post; we can have means of communication through him.” He began crying. He must have heard that General Enver was seriously considering crossing over to the Basmaci, and noted that I was reluctant to tell him that, he became aware of the deep chasm opening up between us, and that he was in a position to fight against his old friends in collaboration with the Russians and he was horrified of this outcome. More than likely, his teardrops were caused by that. When I saw him crying, my eyes inexorably swelled with tears.
After leaving the palace, I went to the Xargos village vineyard where we lived previously. I had left behind three Baskurt soldiers there. Jointly, under the knowledge of Sultanov, we had buried an important amount of dynamite under the fire pit of the cauldron used to boil molasses. There was also quite a bit of weaponry in the building inside the vineyard. I had called Arifov from the city; he arrived without delay. I transferred the weapons and these three soldiers to him. They had intended to send these three soldiers, who had been infected with malaria, to Samarkand, if necessary. These were soldiers I liked very much. They had arrived from Baskurdistan, looking for me. I stayed there that night; we poured out our hearts and cried. There was the possibility of not seeing them again. Arifov gave me another horse, against the possibility of the white horse being too showy. He made preparations to send this white horse to Samarkand. The horse they just provided was also black, and not at all eye-catching. But, it was a strong and good running one. When I mounted my horse on my way to Samarkand via Ucduvan on 8 November, I embraced my three soldiers who did not wish to be separated from me and we cried. Since Mirza Abdulkadir had joined the Basmaci with all his policemen, Russian military detachments were spread all across the land. In order not to fall into their hands, I galloped toward north of Zarafsan River. When I arrived in the vicinity of Vabkent, I heard that the bridge over Zarafsan was now guarded by Russian soldiers. I could not turn back, because the roads to Kermine were also occupied by Russian soldiers. The water levels were high, due to the rains. I let my horse into the waters of Zarafsan a few kilometers lower than the bridge at Ucduvan. The horse turned out to be really strong. He carried me across the river and deposited me to a sandy shore after floating across the current for a distance of half a kilometer. Of course, what I did was foolish. I entered the vineyard of an Ozbek to dry my clothes and my heybe [saddlebags]. They gave me food. The head of the household asked me” “did you run into a calamity, why did you throw yourself into the rising waters?” I told him that I did not want to travel to Ucduvan Bridge in order to travel to Vabkend, and did not realize the waters were running so swiftly. I was able to continue on my way only in the afternoon. This was the homeland of Sadreddin Ayni, a leading intellectual of Bukhara, who later became the head of the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences. He was there, but I did not stop to see him. One of the leaders of the Naksibendi tarikat, Abdulmelik was also born in this township. Several other scholars also emerged from there. It was not the time to inspect the old ruins; I ran straight to a place known as Kalkan Ata. I spent the night there. From there, I arrived at Aferinkend, which was one of the centers of the Sogds before Islam. I was able to arrive in Samarkand in two days. A few days later the black and white horses given me by Feyzullah arrived in Samarkand by a friend via the train. I used these black and white horses to run errands but not in fighting. One of my soldiers from Xargos arrived in Samarkand. I tasked him to care for these horses in Samarkand. I thought that these horses might be of use to me some day. Later on they saved my life several times. After that trip to Bukhara, I never saw General Enver, Haci Sami, Feyzullah Hoca, Abdulhamid Arifov, and Sultanov, others or the city of Bukhara again. Later on, I always regarded the day of 8 November a day of crying. That day constituted a turning point for me. On that day, it became apparent that I had to leave my homeland under Russian administration for foreign countries.
General Enver’s joining the Basmaci—
Ten days after leaving Bukhara, I received a message from General Enver via a man sent by train. He had repeated the words he was made to memorize: “I decided to cross over to Eastern Bukhara. If we win, we will be gazi [victorious]; if we lose we will be martyred. Let the Turkmen at Burdalik not wait for us any longer.” The General’s aide-de-camp, who survived all the fighting and returned to Istanbul, published his memoirs in the newspaper Vakit. He wrote in the issue dated 25 November 1923: “The General stated, as he was leaving Bukhara: ‘It is necessary to struggle for Turkistan. If you are afraid of death that is rightfully yours, you will live like a dog. We will then be condemned both by our past as well as our future. If we risk death, we can provide freedom for the future generations.” In addition, Muhittin Bey stated that the General was planning to establish a Turkistan state with Samarkand as the capital. He also wrote good things about my talks with the General in the same issue. I read them after arriving in Turkiye: “one of the strong faces of the Turk in the East is manifested as Zeki Velidi. He is the author of Turk Tatar History, and his actions are as wide and sincere as his knowledge. Zeki Velidi was encouraged by the Russian Revolution, believed that it would usher in recovery and abundance; however, he did not find what he was searching. After speaking with General Enver, and understanding the Bolshevik maneuvers, Zeki Velidi found it logical to disappear once again. We first encountered him at the early stages of his fight in Moscow when we had arrived with General Halil. Our second encounter was in Bukhara where we stayed for twenty three days. Zeki Velidi was working under various outfits in order to wake the Eastern movement with the faith and energy of a saint. Zeki Velidi spoke with the General Enver, provided information on the results he had obtained and their profile, and left once again toward the direction of the Turkmen.”
Upon his return, Muhittin Bey wrote a lengthy report on the adventures of General Enver, and gave a copy to Mehmet Kazim Bey who had travelled in Turkistan. He had lauded him and me. He had stated that: “I wish the General had crossed over to Afghanistan as suggested by Zeki Velidi Bey. He would have been able to do a lot of good. He did not, followed the advice of Haci Sami.” On his part, Haci Sami, after his initiatives met with failure and he had crossed over to Afghanistan, told the Turkish Anbassador General Fahrettin: “Zeki Velidi showed the political circumstances as dark in Turkistan.” This was told me by General Fahrettin himself when I saw him in his waterside manor in Cengelkoy. In his letter dated 11 November, addressed to Osman Hoca, General Enver stated that he was inclined to cross over to Afghanistan after meeting with the Basmaci. That means, he had not completely abandoned my idea.
As soon as we received the news that the General joined the Basmaci, the members of the National Unity Committee met at a location called Kan-I Gul, North of Samarkand, and decided to support the General, for all secret members everywhere to come out into the open and join the Basmaci, and attend the congress proposed by the General in Eastern Bukhara. I; Naci, the poet of Samarkand; and Sabir Bey of the Turkish Officers, were going to head the delegation. We sent a man to let the General know of our decisions. The same man was going to let the Basmaci Cebbar Bey of our impending arrival. Less than ten days later, we had learned from our friends who were employed in the Samarkand provincial administration of the General’s contacts with the Eastern Bukhara Basmaci and that he was received with suspicion.
Joining the Basmaci and our first firefight with the Reds—
Under those circumstances, our going to the Eastern Bukhara Basmaci became a necessity. I was advised to remain with Cebbar Korbasi at the Sehrisebz Province to manage the affairs. On 20 November, I, Naci and Sabir Bey arrived at the camp of Samarkand Basmaci Behram Bey at the Bahrin (Barin) named village. It was my first visit to a Basmaci camp. I left the horses that arrived from Bukhara with my wife. Behram Bey gave me a mare. Our intent was to leave for Sehrisebz in the morning, and that night, with the members of the Society who arrived from Samarkand, we became the guests of Behram Bey. In the Samarkand Province there were three Basmaci groups: Behram’s, Acil Bey and Qaraqul Bey in the vicinity of Kette Korgan. Behram Bey was a Tajik in origin. Despite the fact that according to Ozbek traditions a Tajik could not be a Bey, he had chosen that epithet. The villages in the vicinity of Samarkand speaking Farisi had become mostly Farisi later on. For example, the Barin village was in origin Mongolian, and Behram Bey was one of them. Because of that, in Samarkand there is no Turk-Tajik distinction. Even those who are Tajik speak Ozbek. Behram Bey knew about politics. Acil Bey was from a village East of Samarkand. He was a Nayman, had a large body, an imposing man. We did not see him in this instance. But, he, too, sent his men to the meeting gathering at Behram Bey’s camp. Both Korbasi had perhaps three hundred fighters each. On Monday 21 November we were climbing the Taht-I Karaca named mountain South of Samarkand, accompanied by twenty-five fighters detached by Behram Bey, following the road. It was snowing; a strong blizzard. When we reached the pass crossing the Sehrisebz side of the mountain, the fat mare I was riding was tired. Since we did not have a spare horse, I began wondering how I was going to complete the journey. Suddenly, the Russians appeared in front of us. Because of the snowstorm, they did not immediately see us. We had a brief standoff. The Red commander was in front. The young Behram, Sabir Efendi and I were in front of our formation. We fought sword-to-sword. The Red commander had penetrated our ranks and his head was wounded possibly by the sword of Sabir Efendi. The Red commander was attacking me. But he could not do anything else but wound the head of my tired mare, and threw himself down the chasm. We started fighting the remaining Reds with rifles. They left their commander and ran away. Our fighters were firing at the Red commander from above who was in the chasm. I gave my tired mare that was wounded in the head to the fighters to lead her away, and mounted the horse of the Red commander. It was a small but fiery good horse. Two of the fleeing Reds were shot. We did not suffer any wounded. The Reds ran away, throwing away their baggage. A lot of ammunition fell into our hands. We reached the village of Karasu village near Sehrisebz. I thus inherited the Red commander’s horse, with his saddlebags and the sword attached to the saddle. It transpired that the saddlebags contained all the documents of the Red commander, private letters, and the letters of the other commanders written to their families and friends. That Red unit belonged to the formations in the Sirabad region where General Enver was. They were sent here in order to collect information on the conditions of Samarkand. We read their reports and thus received full information on the movements of General Enver and his officers in addition to the numbers of the Russian soldiers and their equipment. This was a gift granted to us by God. We could not have obtained this information even if we were right next to General Enver.
Perhaps a month later, we learned that the horse I inherited from the Red commander was confiscated from a newlywed groom at Kulab. This horse was of the lineage described in histories, in the poems of Farruhi and others as well as in the travelogue of Marco Polo, named as Xuttal horses (Esb-I Xutteli). These are small but very powerful and durable. They will run among the boulders to catch partridges, running to the left and the right of the road, and endure despite increasing the distance to one hundred kilometers whereas the other horses could cover only forty. The only drawback was they are extremely headstrong. I did not sleep all night at Karasu, but read all the war-spoil writings. Captain Sabir Efendi was most happy about all this.
While I was occupied with all this business, my friend Raci was sitting in a corner moaning and stating that he had become ill. The next morning he begged us to let him go to his relatives at the city of Kitab. It became apparent that this Tajik was became deathly afraid of the events along the way, and had no strength to continue. He was telling me: “I will rest for one day, and then I will join you at Cebbar Korbasi.” All those were lies. I told him: “all right; if you were scared that much, take a day or two to recover,” because, no good would come of him. He must have died long since. Even if he has not, since he ran away from us, and mentioned in my memoirs, Bolsheviks will not punish him. Fahreddin Raci was a friend of poet Vasli of Samarkand and a young friend of Hoca Behbudi. He was a Tajik who liked Turkism. His father, Mirza Hadi, who had passed away at the time of my birth, was also a poet. Raci had published his poems in 1913 in Farsi in Samarkand. Mirza Hadi also had translated Indian tales into Turkish. Our friend Raci could not withstand the fight we had with the Reds that lasted for fifteen minutes, became ill, and ran away from us. He did not go to Cebbar Korbasi either. He became a masterpiece of cowardice and became the subject of ridicule. No matter, he will return to us, or will be brought back.
We arrived in the village of Tal Kislak, in the presence of Cebbar Korbasi, on 23 November. He was a very brave person and the head of Ozbek troops. After we stayed there for a few days, several representatives arrived from Eastern Bukhara belonging to the Ozbek tribe of Lakay (Ilaki) under the leadership of Ibrahim Bey. They were intending to conduct propaganda in order to collect all the Ozbek Basmaci under the command of Ibrahim Bey, in the name of the Emir. They did not know us. They told us that someone who went by the name of General Enver was under arrest by them. I had earlier related that how a person from them recognized me from the events that took place in 1914 when I was with them in the high pastures. The arrest of the General was a scandal for us. These Lakays were going to visit Molla Kahar, who was a Basmaci chief operating in the vicinity of Bukhara. I advised them to return home in short order instead of spending time here and release the General who was under arrest in the hands of Ibrahim Lakay. I told them that we would attend to the business with Molla Kahhar. They returned home.
My intention in arriving here from Samarkand was to join Cebbar Bey operating around the cities of Guzar-Sehrisebz-Karsi, and to contact the officers whom I had appointed through War Minister Abdulhamit Arifoglu. If General Enver began to chase the Russians out of Eastern Bukhara, the objective was to join the General with the aid of the officers in the named cities, to cut-off the lines of communication of the Russians, and to obtain their arms and ammunition. From there, we would contact Nurata region, and from there, Khiva. I had already contacted the garrison commander Suyundukov in Sehrisebz, who was an officer of the Baskurt Army. The troops in Karshi were also under his influence. With the thirty or so Turkish officers accompanying the General, and my men, we would have been able to take over the Sehrisebz-Karsi region of Bukhara. Osman Hoca was the President of Eastern Bukhara. We would have blown the Amudarya-Zarafshan River Bridge with the dynamite we had collected in Bukhara. As a result, all of Bukhara government would have joined us. On the other hand, the men of the Emir and the energetic Lakays having acted in the entirely reverse direction and their imprisoning General Enver caused all those plans to account for naught. Since the General was imprisoned, Sabir Efendi did not wish to stay with me any longer. He wished to return to the Basmaci in Samarkand. The organization of Cebbar was weak. Since it was heard that the garrison officers in Sehrisebz were in contact with the Basmaci, they wished to join the Basmaci immediately. Suyunduk was sending his friends to a place called Cim Kurgan; I was speaking with them and sending them back to Sehrisebz. I told them the circumstances. They, too, had heard of General Enver’s imprisonment from the Russian sources. I was telling them to be patient, and that we would tell them what to do when the right time arrived. Sometimes, I would mount the chestnut horse and go to Karsi. There, there was an individual named Omer Hoca. They were originally from Baskurt Devletsah Isan family. Men would arrive from Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara to speak with me. We thus established contact. After the affairs of Osman Hoca, and Ali Riza Bey were disrupted in Dusanbe, who intended to join General Enver, Danyal Bey, Abdurresul of Tashkent, Abdullah Recebi who was a youth of Bukhara, arrived from Baysun and joined in with Cebbar Bey. Danyal Bey was a Bey of Daghestan. He had served in the Azerbaijan Army, then arrived in Bukhara and endeavored to establish the Bukharan Army along with the Turkish Officers. He was energetic. Abdurresul who had entered the service of Bukhara was from Tashkent. But, he was not doing anything else but fighting his friends because of boys. Abdullah Recebi was a circumciser from north of Bukhara. He was an honorable man. Later he was part of General Enver’s entourage. After arriving in Turkiye, in 1945 he published his own memoirs under the title of Turkistan Milli Hareketleri. He was a very timid person. The Russians would arrive and bombard us with their artillery in Talkislak and other places. He would enter the fray and fight stating Cebbar’s village was ruined. Abdullah Recebi would not leave my side. The Russian artillery shells were bad, and they would not explode when they fell on soft ground. Abdullah Recebi would search for soft ground when he was preparing to fight. But, he would not pick-up a rifle and he would not fire. He was a complete medrese student and a molla. In addition there was a high level administrator of the Emir, an Ozbek Bey by the name of Evliyaqul Toksaba. I surmise he was from the Qavcin Branch. He did not exude confidence. Individuals who were unhappy with the Soviets arrived regularly. Toqsaba’s talks with them was not one sided. However, the fighters under the command of Cebbar and Danyal Beys were not bandits, but youths who were the sons of individuals living in comfortable circumstances. Sometimes, I would visit their homes in the near and far villages. I would especially search the locations mentioned in Temur history. Later, I would correct the large scale Russian General Staff maps which they called dvuxverstayna, where two kilometers were represented by an inch.
Malaria and Shamanism—
I became ill with a severe case of malaria. I had it since Bukhara. Abdulhamid Arifov, a member of the government, had brought quinine. That was negatively affecting my ears. One day I was told: “nearby, in the village of Aq-car, there is a very experienced Baxsi, meaning shaman. Let us have him treat you.” I was forced to agree. They sent word to the Baxsi. We went to his village. It turned out, they were from the Karluks. He agreed to prepare for the ceremony. We went back the evening of the second day. A large fire was lit inside an Ozbek tent. He appeared to be forty years old, his beard jet-black, sturdy-built, he sat down with us and had tea as we spoke just like a normal human being. He then formed a circle with his friends, beating the dungur named drum, began singing samanistic songs and twirling [around his vertical axis]. Others were twirling as well. When this ceremony stretched out time-wise, the Baxsi came to me and stated: “you do not believe us; thus the spirits are not arriving.” I responded with: “please do not stop, I will believe.” They twirled some more. They played, sang. Finally, one of them reached ecstasy. He was foaming white in the mouth, lost consciousness. They laid him down to a side. After several others also reached ecstasy in a similar manner, the Baxsi himself reached ecstasy. There was an iron spade in the fire. He inserted a wooden shaft into it, and lifted up from the fire. The wooden shaft caught fire. He filled his mouth with water and sprayed it onto the spade. The water droplets bouncing off were bouncing off my face, burning me. I was told: “do not be afraid, all is good.” Finally the Baxsi took that burning spade into his mouth between his teeth. He circled me several times in that position, and threw the spade back into the fire. Meanwhile questions were being directed at the Baxsi from every direction. He stated that I would recover. He was asked if the Emir was going to succeed. He did not respond in the positive. He was asked some political questions. Finally he recovered. He told me that I would fully recover, not to take any medication. Even though he held the burning spade in his mouth, his black mustache was not even singed. I knew that the fire was not a fake from the hot water droplets bouncing off my face. Thus I had witnessed a true shamanistic ceremony. Even though I was also treated by another Baxsi called Bagucu when I was a child, he had not conducted a ceremony and I had not witnessed a similar miracles. After that, I did not take quinine and did not feel the malaria. He was considered a true Baxsi and not a fraudster. He did not accept a fee or presents. My having been through a shaman ceremony caused the local Ozbeks to grow more sincere with me; they endowed me with great respect and referenced me as a molla. Cebbar Bey one day invited me to introduce me to forty prominent Ozbeks. They were not supporters of the Emir. We had very enjoyable talks with them. I stayed with Cebbar a little over a month.
Accrual of 28 December decisions and the Baskurt Officers—
The Central Committee of our Society was to meet in the city of Guzar on 28 December. I borrowed one man from Cebbar Bey, and went there. I stayed with Mustafa Qavucin, whom I knew from 1914. Our men arriving from Bukhara had already performed their tasks by contacting Han Cuneyd in Khiva as they were sent by the General while he was in Bukhara. They had become depressed when they learned what happened to the General in Bukhara; but I calmed them down. I sent them there since I expected the General to be freed soon. I indicated that the movement was going to be expanded in three months. I also sent the Cildikoy horse that I acquired as a war trophy from the Russian Officer to the General so that he could return it to the rightful owner.
At the Guzar meeting, the Central Committee of our Society accepted the most important decisions. Meanwhile, an application was made to Kabul via the Afghanistan Ambassador in Bukhara to expedite the General Enver’s conditions. All that was going to be speeded and all the official troops in Bukhara, Kermine, Sehrisebz, Qarshi and individual members were going to join the Basmaci in three months, approximately on 23 March. In the intervening period, the Basmaci will prepare to receive them.
A few days after our Guzar meeting we learned the freedom of General Enver by order of the Bukhara Emir to the Lakays and the intervention of the Afghan Government. Also, letters from the General arrived. A little later, the General sent me Captain Halil Bey to me from his entourage. He believed that he was going to handle Eastern Bukhara himself. He was suggesting that I manage the operations in the direction of Zarafshan. I asked that my horses in Samarkand be sent to Kette-Kurgan, with their soldiers, to Qarakul Bey. I also journeyed in that direction. I spoke with Major Hudayarov, who was maintaining my contact with Major Suyunduk in Sherisebz, at our regular meeting place Cim-Kurgan village and told him of our decisions. I also asked him to accompany us. A week later, Hudayarov, an Ozbek fighter from the Qavcin Branch reporting to Cebbar Bey and I met at a place called Kaspi, and went to Qarakul Bey. With this, my preparations for 23 March began.
We established the kernel of a cavalry division which was to be under the command of a Tajik intellectual named Molla Hemrakul at north of Quytas, after we visited Nurata, Uxum, Faris and Quytas in the company of a fighter reporting to Qarakul Bey from Saray. Thus we toured Nurata, Cizzak, Samarkand, Kette-Kurgan and Guzar during January and February on horseback. I left my horses, which were tired, with my wife in Samarkand, and returned to Cebbar Bey. He was a good man. I did not believe Abdurresul and Evliyaqul Tokbey who were in his entourage. Since the soldiers of Suyunduk were going to be in Russian military uniform, I thought that the local ignorant populations would become suspicious. For that reason, I arranged fro them to cross-over to Qaraqul Bey. On 23 March, they and the War Minister Abdulhamid Arifov joined the uprising. Major Hudayarov, who visited me often, fell ill to malaria. He was going to be treated at a place called Kazan, but since he could not join his friends joining the uprising, he thought he would be caught by the Russians, and committed suicide. Hudayarov was an idealist, brave and exceedingly clean youth. His death was a great loss to Arifov and me as well as other friends. Abdulhamid did not stay with us, but went to join General Enver. About that time, Heybetullah Yanbuktin from the Baskurt Reserve Officer Corps joined us. We learned of the conditions in our homeland. Along with Suyunduk and his friends, we toured the Qershi desert, among the Ozbeks. Since the Ozbeks slaughtered the Karakul lambs during these months, there was plenty of meat everywhere. We were being invited to feasts at every village. From there, altogether we went to Qaraqul Bey. We were happy to be together. Now, we were going to fight the Russians in Bukhara territory. One early morning, Russians suddenly attacked the headquarters of Qaraqul Bey, located in the midst of mountains in Saray region. Quite a bit of fighting took place. My white horse was wounded lightly. Bullets touched my maps in my saddlebag and my spyglass, but I was not hurt. In the midst of this chaos, my old friend Abdulkadir Inan and other friends arrived from Kazakistan in Samarkand and to Qarakul Bey. Abdulkadir (Fethulkadir) had been in central Kazakistan, known as Arka, since he escaped Baskurdistan in 1920 and performing the tasks for our Society. Now his arrival was a big support for me. I also had Suyunduk and his friends, and my aide-de-camp Ibrahim Ishak from the Kermine Military School. He was going to arrive with his military school students to Nurata, all of us were going to establish our organization between Nurata and Cizzak region, in the villages named as Oxum-Faris. If the operations of General Enver progressed normally, we were going to take over the entire region of Zarafshan basin with Acil and Qarakul Beys. Our soldiers gained the affection and trust of the Ozbeks by fighting the attacking Russians. I journeyed to the partisans, to Acil Bey, operating in the Samarkand Province via the region known as Cam.
Representatives of General Enver—
Upon arriving in Samarkand, two or three men arrived sent by General Enver. They had brought a long letter from the General to me and our Society. The General was issuing an order to send those two men to Kazakistan, with soldiers accompanying them. However, we had learned from Abdulkadir Inan who had just arrived from Kazakistan, and the Kazakistan representatives present that it was impossible to create an uprising in Kazakistan at this time. Because of that, the men thus sent by the General indicated they would stay with us and Acil Bey permanently, or until they received an order from the General. At the time, I had five headquarters in the Zarafshan basin. One was in Samarkand, in our home in the Matrid subdivision, another north of Samarkand in Cambay, further north in Bidene, and one further south, in Yarkurgan and Kuytas. I and my wife would be found in one of them. We would call those who wished to talk with me to either Acil Bey or to Qarakul Bey. We established a new partisan organization between Cizzak and Nurata, in order to organize the Ozbeks, at places called Sintas and Muqru, under the administration of Hemraqul of the Tajiks. The military school at Bukhara and Kermine was going to arrive in Nurata and collaborate with Hemraqul. All of Samarkand was in the hands of the partisans subject to the Society. The Russians could not go to the villages, and their administration was unable to go outside the railroads. If General Enver was able to take over the territories of Baysun and Termiz, based on the mountains between Nurata and Cizzak, all the roads were going to be closed to the Russians in the Zarafshan basin. The former War Minister of Baskurdistan, Evhadi Ismurzin, who had earlier joined the Bukhara Government, now joined the movement. When I went elsewhere, Abdulkadir Inan would stay with Tanatar Bey, who was a friend of Qarakul Bay. This Tanatar, after our business soured, crossed over to Afghanistan and became the head of an important commercial enterprise. Last year, I saw one of those who crossed over with him, while I was visiting England. He was involved in karakul trade. Thus, the Basmaci movement had thrown the Turkistanis all over the world, and in time, they headed important businesses. I was happy to observe that.
Breakdown of Affairs in Samarkand—
Meanwhile, we fought with the Reds who made sorties around the regions of Persembe, Cilek and Yeni Kurgan. We, I and my friend Abdulkadir, and the individuals sent by the General, were present at those fights. But, all these good initiatives were despoiled due to three important events:
1. First of all, the Emirists, by remaining in opposition to General Enver, remained idle for a month-and-a-half. In the meantime, the Russians were able to send their military units to Eastern Bukhara. He was unable to take Baysun and Sirabad.
2. This was the second event: The bigoted Emirist Basmaci around Bukhara had killed the Baskurt Officers who arrived to help them, by ruse and cruelly. Nureddin Agalik, who was a man of the Emir and also a Russian agent, had a big part in that. Heybetullah Suyukdukov and his friend, who had left Samarkand on 8 April, were killed at a place called Qarneb by an Emirist Basmaci by the name of Molla Mustak. Forty of our officers from the Bukhara War Academy, in accordance with the order given them in the name of our Society, on the way to Nurata region after joining with Ibrahim Ishak, were attacked by an Emirist Basmaci by the name of Molla Kahar. A portion, including three Baskurts, was killed; the remainder was taken prisoner. Later, those prisoners were cut down. There cannot be a clearer example of how ignorance and bigotry are the worst enemies of our nation. May God never show another such example to our nation. They were all invited to a feast in the name of brotherhood, to put their weapons to a side, and were ambushed and killed. The twelve friends of Heybetullah were from Kargali, Islanlikoy, Taslikol, Bozdek near Ufa, and mentioned in the old histories as Tumen Tatar. All had studied in Russian military schools. The term Tumen dates back to the time of the Hans [rulers], meant division, belonging to the military strata. During the 17th and 18th centuries, they had again participated in the Baskurt Revolts. Those who were killed were, from Yeni Kargali: Heybetullah Suyundukov, Colonel; Ismail Suyundukov, Captain; Osman Suyundukov, Captain; Ilyas Aciyev, Captain; Izzettin Yenikeev, Captain; Ismail Yenikeev, Captain. From Taslikol: Salahattin Sakayev; Osman Memliyev, Scribe. From Islamkoy: Yahyin. From Bozdek: Ilyas Memliyev, Major. They were officers of the Baskurt Reserve Regiment. They had joined the Bukhara Army, only to work toward the independence of Turkistan. Major Ibrahim Ishakol and three Baskurts in my entourage were from the vicinity of Sterlitamak, and they were brave as well as intellectuals. Between 1917 and 1920, I always had an aide-de-camp by my side. From among those who arrived from Baskurdistan, the following remained alive because they were in my entourage: Ibrahim Suyunduk, Islamgiray Aciyev, Eyyup Sakayev, Major Hudayarov, Captain Heybetullah Yambuktin, Ahmet Varis, and Evhadi Ismurzin. Three of them arrived in Turkiye, and two are still alive. They were youths like my own offspring, and were loyal to the national ideal. After our soldiers were deceived and were killed cruelly after their weapons were taken away from them by those whom they have known as their brothers, a lot of those arriving in Turkistan to render aid were cooled-off. None of those who arrived with us would let their weapons fall away from them.
3. The third important event was the Soviet-Polish War turning in favor of the Russians. As a result, the Russians were able to send massive numbers of soldiers to Turkistan region. Molla Kahar and Molla Mustak were journeying between Kermine and Qarsi. When they realized they could no longer stay there, they moved to Nurata. We discovered that calamity very late. Along with my friend Abdulkadir Inan and other friends, and the soldiers of Hemrakul, we arrived in Nurata on 2 May. The murderers Molla Kahhar and Molla Mustak were present. Ostensibly they did not know, and were apologizing. At a wide open field, hundreds of us had a meal. At that location, I told them: “the primary calamity facing our nation is ignorance and bigotry. The men you killed were going to teach you how to use weapons, bombs, place dynamite under railroad tracks, establish lines of communication, work mimeograph machines, hand presses and radios. Now which of those can you do all that?” All had hung their head, were listening. I did not continue beyond that, thinking if I did, we might be facing another calamity. We collected Eyyub and Islam Gerey, whom they had not killed, and left with our entourage. At a place called Uxum, we wrote words on the wall indicating we were fighting for the independence of Turkistan. We returned to Samarkand on 9 May.
PANISLAMIST AHUND YUSUF OF AZERBAIJAN
Several individuals arrived from General Enver with letters. They were Osman Cavus, and religious scholar of Azerbaijan and philosopher Ahund Yusuf Talip-zade and one of the Grandees of Kazaks living in Eastern Bukhara, Burkut Esikagabasi. “Esikagasi” was the Head of all Chamberlains of the Ruler. Over time, it lost importance and took a place within the hierarchy of the Eastern Bukhara civil service. He was from the Kulab or Cildikoy Kazaks. General Enver was sending Burkut Aga, a respected member of his branch to addresses he had obtained from me earlier in the company of a detailed letter. They were mostly to Kazaks of Kazakistan. The head of the three-man delegation was Ahund Yusuf Talipzade. He was in possession of a document containing the signature and seal of General Enver, giving him the authority to organize the uprising in the regions of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Kazakistan. Ahund was presenting himself as the “Extraordinary Commissar” of General Enver to handle the businesses of Northern and Southern provinces with wide powers. However, since General Enver was a Grandee of Turkiye, his real representative was Osman Cavus, who was born either in Erzurum or Trabzon, a large man of the Efe type [see "Views of the Outlaw in Perspective: Zeybeks in the Turk lands” in H.B. Paksoy, Lectures on Central Asia, (Florence: Carrie/European University Institute, 2005)]. Ahund Talipzade had made it clear that Turkistan National Union, which was physically controlling all this territory, was obliged to render aid to him in all aspects. Now, there were two items to handle: 1. Assign additional representatives from the Society and help them travel into Northern provinces; 2. Assign additional representatives in order to guarantee their behavior, and to conduct a gathering of the Basmaci of the Samarkand and Bukhara and conduct a military parade, after their trip, to read a message from General Enver to them. Ahund Talipzade regarded those matters trivial. I indicated to him that travelling in Kazakistan was very difficult, it would be necessary for him to undertake the initiative of travel for a minimum of two to three months in order to find Kiyki Batir and Amancur Bahadir, heads of the Kipcak Branch, to deliver the General’s letters and presents and to discover and organize the forces operating in the “Arqa” region. They were possibly imagining to journey with the same horses [which will be instantly recognizable] and with all the presents. But it was necessary to do so under various guises and secretly. When I told the Ahund that the railroad North of Sirdarya basin is completely under the control of the Soviet Army, he thought that I was against this trip. On the other hand, there were many other barriers to his undertaking this business. He was unable to eat because his metallic and rubber teeth were broken. Because of that, he needed to stay in Samarkand secretly and have one of the White Russian dentists reconstruct them. Ahund was afraid of being caught; he was ordering us to steal one of those dentists, replete with all his machinery, and bring him to one of the villages. Somehow we brought a dentist to a village and had the Ahund examined. But when he realized that he could not have the bridges in his teeth mended without going to the city, he stated: “then, I will go to Kazakistan without teeth.” Even here, it had become necessary for us to constantly move as a result of firefights with the Red soldiers. He was unable to find the peace he wished. At the time, I was living next to the Rostovsove train station, within the vineyards around the village known as Ismail Ata, whose old name was Xarteng. The burial site of the famed Islamic Scholar Ismail Buhari was also here. Talibzade was paying attention to how I was spending my spare time. There were three items that came to the fore: 1. I was following the activities of the Komintern in Moscow and Leningrad. Members of our Army remaining in Moscow were sending me the clippings of interesting articles appearing in newspapers and journals on that topic. I was continuing to learn the theory and history of the Komintern that I had started in Moscow. I especially regarded learning Marxism important, in parallel with the ideas of Friedrich Engels, whom I had not heard before. 2. I was spending time with the three volumes printed in Istanbul [Divan-i Lugat-it Turk], originally written by Kashgarli Mahmut during the 11th century. My friend Hasim Sayik of Bukhara had brought it from Azerbaijan and presented it to me. 3. My friend from Samarkand, Kadi Haydar, had presented me with a pocket-copy of Mesnevi by Celaleddin Rumi printed at the time of Sultan Mecid, with the admonition: “when you feel bored, you can read this.”
As a philosopher and writer, Ahund Yusuf Talibzade occupied an important place in the intellectual life of Azerbaijan. He had volumes published in Turkish and a Kur’an commentary containing liberal ideas. His knowledge of Russian was very limited; but his Arabic and Persion were excellent. He was a complete pan-Islamist and pan-Turkist. From that aspect, he was overly devoted to General Enver, even like a disciple. He did not like any criticism of the General. During some of our talks, he behaved as if he was testing me. One day he addressed me: “Celaleddin Rumi is fine; but is it appropriate for you to be dealing with Russian books right next to the burial site of Imam Buhari?” I told him: “Since we are in a struggle with Russia and communism, we are, along with our friends in Moscow, Tashkent and Samarkand, seriously learning their theories and politics. We have no other choice.” Talibzade, addressing the youths who had secretly arrived from Tashkent during those days, stated: “the days of Bolshevizm are about to pass; God willing, it will not be necessary to deal much longer with their publications.” One day, Burkut Esikagabasi approached me during a quiet moment and said: “Do not tell everything to our chief, Ahund. He will relay them to the General in the form he likes and cause you to fall away.” I was very grateful for the words of the Esikagabasi, and felt the necessity to be extra careful when speaking. One day, we were in the village of Bidene. Some religious personages highly regarded by Acil Bey, who was the head of the troops located here, arrived. Ahund was a Shiite theologian. He liked to discourse on those topics. He told the new arrivals that it was necessary for them to fortify the national movement from a religious point of view, and that they needed to provide information from the Islamic politics. He looked to his right and his left as if to imply that the new arrivals had to accompany him in the namaz. On the other hand, those in the entourage of Acil Bey, some performed the namaz, and did not say a word about it to those who did not. After that event, I told the Ahund: “among the Samarkand province Ozbeks, the traditions of Temur are still in force. The Beys may choose not to consult the religious scholars and seyhs, even those they may regard highly. The Hoca and seyhs never think of requesting that from the Beys. The Bey may perform namaz once a week, for the noon prayers on Fridays. If we feel like it, I and the Baskurt Officers in my entourage will go and perform namaz. If we do not, nobody will call us for the purpose. Because of that, while you are in the entourage of Acil Bey, and other Samarkand Beys, it would be best for you to pay attention to this point.” Ahund Yusuf Talibzade, who made it his principle to politically uniting the Turks and other Islamic nations on the bases of Islam, did not like my words. Again, another day, my friend Kari Kamil had brought kimiz to the same village. And, it was plentiful. Koroglu and Yusuf Ahmet dastans was the soul of those discussions. Late in the afternoon, one Ozbek flute player played beautifully. On that occasion, I had recited a poem from Celaleddin Rumi: “the fire of love fell into the flute; and inside the drink, the fire of love’s exuberance.” Kari Kamil and some other friends, who knew Persian well, repeated that couplet in Ozbek. Our Ahund stated: “there is the flute, but no drink.” I responded with: “in this country of ours, kimiz is consumed during the summer months. Since you are an educated Islamic scholar, you not being satisfied with kimiz and recalling other drinks may not be suitable for this environment, because we do not prefer drink to kimiz.” Ahund stated: “do you not drink wine?” I said: “why should I not? But, leave us to a side; since you are the representative of General Enver, there may be those who would not see it fit for you to turn down kimiz in the high pastures and start asking for wine.” Kari Kamil added: “we know you as a religious scholar, a commentator.” And prevented wine being served to Ahund.
A few days later, we sent our Ahund in the direction of Sirdarya Kazak Beys who were members of our Society in the company of couple of Kazaks from Samarkand, plus three soldiers, in addition to Burkut Aga and Osman Cavus.
How we almost fell for Muhiddin Mahdum—
Before the representatives of General Enver left for Kazakistan, we wanted to gather all the Basmaci leadership in Samarkand so that they could talk. About that time, Ahund was present in a firefight with the Russians and wanted to leave immediately, that such a meeting could be held later, and if they were late in getting underway, the Russians may prevent the trip altogether. During those days, members of the Baskurt Army who were with other Basmaci groups around Zarafsan, namely Evhadi Ismurzin, Hibetullah Yanbukti, Islam Aciyef, Ibrahim Suyunduk, Eyyub Saqay-Gerey, Ahmet Varis joined me. Thus, we were all together in the entourage of Acil Bey. Minhac and Sahveli named Baskurts were providing our contacts with Tashkent. There were ten of us, after others were killed. That number could have been raised to hundreds. However, how could we provide for them? Because of that, we were advising those who wished to join us to postpone their arrivals.
But, the problem was not being solved easily. The representative of Ekabir Mahdum of Samarkand and Mirza Abdulkadir of Bukhara to the TMB [Turkistan National Union] were not at all amenable to leaving the Basmaci uprising to the internal development of the movement. Both of these individuals were suffering from the souring of Bukhara Police Chief Muhiddin Mahdum’s circumstances. They were insisting that I call out the Baskurt units in the Soviet Army, who were under my influence, to join the Basmaci forming a regular military unit in the Zarafsan basin and using that to take over Samarkand. They were telling me that if the events did not take a serious form in Zarafsan, Muhiddin Mahdum would surrender to the Soviets. Two Baskurt soldiers who were within the Soviet Army arrived in Samarkand and spoke with me and Evhadi Ismurzin at the house I had rented next to Kadi Haydar’s vineyard. They told me that if I were to receive them personally, they were prepared to join the Basmaci in Fergana and Uratube in the company of two hundred fifty troops. Evhadi enumerated to them the ignorance of the Basmaci, which resulted in the death of Suyunduk and his friends, and the fact that fighting between the Poles and the Soviets was developing in favor of the Soviets resulting in massive Soviet deployment into Turkistan, and indicated it would be better for them to wait a little longer. Ekabir Mahdum of Samarkand and his friends wanted the inclusion of these troops in the uprising immediately, and wanted me to join the Halbuta Bek to meet their arrival. The two soldiers indicated that their friends in the barracks were as eager as themselves to join us. I repeated what Evhadi said that it was necessary for them to wait another fifteen to twenty days, and if General Enver was to move in the direction of Guzar, I would let them know, ordering them to return to their barracks. Kadi Haydar and his friends from Samarkand approved what we did, indicating Muhiddin Mahmud was not trustworthy and our thought process was logical. Kadi Haydar recited a poem from Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi admiring the precautions of a commander, praising me; he thus quieted Ekabir and his friends. Fifteen days had not yet passed since those talks, our business began to sour. Muhiddin Mahdum was valued by some on our side, especially Evhadi, who knew him. Mahdum had trained regular police officers in his entourage and had sworn that he would fight until the last drop of his blood. When he crossed over to the Soviet side, his action negatively influenced the spirits of my friends. When the events began developing in that direction, Evhadi stated: “it is not advisable for the civilians to get mixed-up in military matters, especially from among the Tajiks. We ought to account for ourselves against the Red forces a couple of times with our extant forces. If we are unsuccessful, we can cross over to Afghanistan taking with us the General.” He also saw that it was not feasible to trust the Samarkand Basmaci any more than the Bukhara Basmaci, and that it was not possible to enter into serious fighting in conjunction with them.
The Samarkand Basmaci—
During those days, there were partisan groups established directly under the authority of the Society:
1. Acil Bek was from the Qostamgali branch of the Ozbeks, aged thirty-eight, very brave, completely moral, serious, dignified and with a sense of caution about him. He was able to follow the Russian and world politics from the newspapers. He had with him his nephew, a fiery youth, Devran Acil.
2. Behram Bey. He was from the Dihnev village near Samarkand, form a Mogol-Barin uruk who had become tajikified. He knew enough Russian so as to be able to read and write in it. Behram and Acil Bek both served Seyyid Ekrem Ture, the uncle of the Bukhara Emir, in Guzzar. Both of them formed and organized their partizans with the order of the Society. Acil Bey had fifteen-hundred fighters and one of the luminary intellectuals of the Samarkand Province, Member of the Central Committee of the Society, Kari Kamil in his entourage. Acil Bey also had influential youths with him by the name of Acil Toksaba and from the Township of Cilek, ulama descendent Kette Mahdum and Kucuk Mahdum. The second in command of Behram Bey was Hemrekul Bek from Pest Kislak. He was also honorable and brave as Acil Bey; he was also educated. He was a student of Muallim Sekuri of the Samarkand Cedids. He later arrived in Istanbul; now he is in Afghanistan. Behram Bey had with him a Samarkand intellectual by the name of Hemrakul Bek, Abdulhalim and Kari Mehmet as well as Esat Bey of Azerbaijan. Behram Bey had influence among the Tajiks.
3. South of Samarkand, in the Kette Korgan sancak, an adventurist of common lineage by the name of Karakul Bey held the mountaneous regions south of Zarafsan with five-hundred fighters. They were from the Karluk Branch. Most of the intellectuals arriving from Bukhara were joining him. In the Cam region, a man named Akbas Bek was reporting to Karakul Bey, representing the Saray branch. He had approximately one hundred fighters. He had a brave countenance, and was moral. They were reporting to Behram Bey.
There was also Haci Abdulkadir of the Urgut Tajiks; he knew Russian and had served the Soviets, an open minded individual. With his friend Muallim Sekuri he had formed a secret ban, ambushed the Russian garrison there, took their weapons and ascended to the mountains. He had a command of the old Farsi and Turkish literature. But, since they were hesitant in their demeanor, they were not liked much.
As part of Acil Bey Partisans, in the Cizak sancak, there were two intellectual Basmaci by the names of Niyazi Bek and Turab Bek. These were young men who had obtained middle level education in Russian in Tashkent, became members of the Communisty Party and had served as Director of the Police. Both of them were from the Ozbek urugh which had suffered much druing the 1916 uprising. Mamur Bek was from the Qir-sadak uruk; later, arriving in Turkiye, he worked in the Yeni Turkistan journal which we established together. He worked in the raidroad construction and passed away in 1929 at Tavsanli of Kutahya Province.
Turab Bek was from the old Ozbek Grandees. He had approximately two hundred fighters. The mountaneous region between Samarkand and Ferghana was in their hands. He took refuge in Iran, but the Soviets kidnapped him from Meshed and after a long torture, the Soviets had executed him in Tashkent. There are letters he had written me from Khorasan, which constitute a valuable record of the Turkistan national struggle history.
Also, there was Molla Hemrakul of the Tajiks, in the mountaneous regions of the Nurata. He had established his center in Qoytas. He was an educated person who understood poetry. He was reporting directly to me since I was the head of the Society. The communications with Sirdarya and Khiva, over Kizilkum, was conducted by individuals who were in his entourage. A letter written to Khiva would take five days to reach a recipient, and another five for the answer to reach us. He had organized that business well. Reporting to him in the Oxum region Takijs were Molla Mehmet Yasar and an Ozbek of the Aktepe, Molla Karaqul. They were trusted individuals of those regions. This Molla Karaqul knew history. He would call the mountains of Qoytas where Hemrakul lived as Ergenequn, inspired from the Turk dastans. We would take the tired horses there, for them to recover. I journeyed there several times. The Ozbeks in that area are very committed to the bozkir traditions, and the Ozbek they spoke was a very clean one. Their women would not shun the presence of the men. The people’s literature they knew was virgin, nobody came and collected them. After all these events, the Education Director of Tashkent found Erges Cumanbulbul, and had many destans transcribed from his mouth; some of those were published.
The head of the Tajiks living on the Maca Mountains around the Zarafsan River, Esrar Han and Hamid Bek, were reporting to Acil Bey.
The mountains between Samarkand and Fergahana, in the region of Uratepe, were in the hands of an adventurist by the name of Halbuta Bek. He had approximately five hundred fighters. He was extraordinarily brave, an enemy of the Russians and a patriot. His fighters and the population in general loved him. He had an adviser by the name of Mustafakul, who was very intelligent, cautious, and cognizant of the world. He also looked after the finances. I think they were from the Yuz Branch.
Russians called all the Basmaci brigands and thieves altogether. However, the leaders of the Samarkand Basmaci were all patriots, self-sacrificing and knowledgeable about the world.
Fights in Celek—
The primary objective of all these partisans was to prevent the Russians from expanding into the provinces; if they did, then to ambush them and take their weapons and ammunition. Besides the fighting, they were to conduct public meetings in various places of the province, to unite the population in support of the uprising; if there were favorable developments in Eastern Bukhara, to prepare the dismantling of the railroads in Samarkand. During June, there were somewhat important battles in Yar-Qorgan, Yana-Qorgan and Carsamba. At a certain point, there was a battle at Qala-I Ziyaeddin. This was a place known as Debusiye during the time of the Arabs. During that battle, I had taken positions with my entourage in the cemetery. I was reading the headstones written in the Kufi script. My friend Abdulkadir (Fethulkadir) shouted “an arrow [bullet] touched me.” But, when we looked, it turned out he was wounded by a thorn. Later on, that event became famous as the subject of a joke. Abdulkadir took my wife Nefise to Sirdarya basine, then to the city of Turkistan (Yese). They were to remain there until they heard from us. At a certain point, we were in a place called Cambay, north of Samarkand. The Soviets had sent the Samarkand ulama in order to conduct peace talks with Acil Bey. The ulama stated: “the Soviets told us to go and talk; so we arrive. You will know what to do.” Acil Bey almost killed an imam who had too close a tie to the Soviets among them. Kadi Isa and Isan Hoca named ‘grand ulama of Samarkand’ was also in this group. They spoke on certain religious topics with us, and wanted to lead the Basmaci in performing the namaz; nobody followed them. They were sent by the Samarkand Governor, Kazak Siraziyev. From the same channel, the Russian Army Commanders let us know that they wanted to send an officer to speak with Acil Bey. Acil Bek, addressing me, stated: “if you wish, you go and talk.” Samarkand Committee Members thought it was dangerous for me to go. The talk was going to take place between Cilek and Gumuskend villages. Five individuals were going to arrive from each side. Intellectual Basmaci known as Mahdumlar were going to surround the environs as a precaution, but, if the Russians did not attack, they were not going to molest them. They provided Abdulhalim from Acil and Behram Bek group, who knew Russian, and another person. It was the Mahdums who were going to carry on the primary conversation. I was not going to talk with the Russian Officer, and behave as if I did not speak Russian. It was carried out as planned. The Officer advised that we stop the fighting and agree with the Soviets. The talks ended without a result. This was the location where the representatives of Temur and Emir Huseyin held peace-talks in history. Those talks also did not yield a result; they were probably a test by the Russians. Russians observed that no results could be obtained by talking.
Meetings at Yaryaylak high pastures—
Ahund Yusuf, Osman Cavus and Burkut Aga went as far as lower Sirdarya in Kazakistan, but since all directions were loaded with Russian soldiers, they returned without conducting any Business. They could not even make contact with Kiyki Batir and other Kazak Basmaci and without relaying the swords and other presents sent by General Enver. Ahund Yusuf addressed me: “you of course know this country better than us. As you see, we have now returned, there is nothing we can do there.” We have considered what we were going to do, after the battle that was waged near the village of Carsamba, in which the Baskurt soldiers participated. Now that the conditions in Poland were turning in favor of the Russians, and if the events left no other alternative to General Enver but to cross over to Afghanistan, what we were going to do. Evhadi Ismurzin led the discussions on how the Baskurts would join Mamur and Turab Beys in the direction of Maca then join with General Enver; I would be establishing my headquarters in Turkmenistan, and we all would rejoin in Afghanistan. But, before all, I would be attending the Conference in Tashkent.
We spoke with Kari Kamil and Acil Bey and decided, for all of us to take a deep breath in the high pastures, to call all the Samarkand Province Basmaci and even the Halbuta Bey in Uratepe, just before Ahund Yusuf and Osman Cavus were to return to the entourage of General Enver at the beginning of August. At the end of July, we invited all the Partisans from the Eastern portion of Samarkand to gather at a place called Bagdan. From there, all of us would journey to the headwaters of Sangzar River, at Yaryalak, mentioned often in the histories of Afsin, Temur and Babur. They made Stuffed Tandir on the high pastures, just below the snowy caps of Turkistan Maca Mountains. They dug deep pits in the ground to perform as tandir ovens. They covered the inner walls with stones, built large fires in them. Then, they placed slaughtered sheep and a horse, after stuffing their bellies with rice, onions, peppers et al, and stitched them closed, placing all into these hot ovens. They covered them with leaves, and after that, with earth. We were able to eat these very tasty dishes only on the second day for lunch. The same day, when we had this kebap, I, Ahund Yusuf and Evhadi, with a couple of Ozbeks, mounted our horses and visited a waterfall we could see from the distance, formed out of the water coming down from the snowy caps. The afternoon sun was giving the water many different colors. The beauty of nature made me understand the reasons how our ancestors worshipped the mountains and rivers, and offer sacrifices. I placed my head on the ground in awe and admiration. Ahund Yusuf stated: “if you are worshipping, you have become a believer.” A few more of the soldiers arrived from the tandir.
That night we spent time in a way I could never forget. The poet Vasli from Samarkand, and an author from Tashent, who I surmise is still alive, were also present. All of the important Basmaci Chiefs were here. All of my friends who arrived from Baskurdistan were with me. An old man, Hekim Tore, who arrived from Kashgar, was reading a poem, said to be known in Eastern Bukhara, was echoing from the mountains: “We no longer have the energy to be slaves to our enemies/ let our possessions and life be sacrified to freedom/ we have our leader, we have our faith/ the blood we shed will turn this land into a tulip field.”
The love of freedom of our people, our sincerity toward each other, the self confidence of the soldiers, the wealth of the nature, and the glorious past of these lands which we read in histories, had filled the bottle of our hearts.
The evening discussions ol cultural matters—
On our third day of our stary on Yaryaylak, we became the guests in the tents of a rich Ozbek by the name of Omer Haci. He was of the hereditary type of rich-man seen among the semi-nomadic Turk branches of Kazak, Kirgiz, Baskurt and Ozbeks. The people here had deep respect toward Omer Haci. His entire wealth was comprised of the number of herds he owned. His kimiz and food was for his people. He was said to be fond of aiding the people with his mind as well as his money. He brought the majority of his wealth here, thinking he could save most of it from the Soviets. Omer Haci showed us the items he had inherited from his ancestors: quite a few old written works, ancient rugs, ceremonial dresses of his grandfathers, saddle and tack, women’s dresses left behind from a woman who was said to be a revered lady, her jewelry, illuminated manuscripts belonging to her preserved in trunks, embroidered manuscript Kur’ans and repetitive prayers and the Hafiz and Nevai Divans [poetry collections]. Those representing the reactionaries are unable to establish a government of continuity. He was crying and stating: “if you were to go, the Reds will arrive and and kill me and plunder my treasury and destroy them and that makes me sad.” Among those manuscripts, there were the famed Ozbek ruler Ubeydullah Han’s collection of poems he wrote in Turkish, Farisi and Arabic, and the “Eyyuha l’veled” meaning “my children” which he wrote as his last will and testament. They also contained the notes attributed to his grandfather whose name was mentioned in the histories. Kari Kamil, who was also present at this occasion, indicated that the manuscript Kur’ans did not belong to the ancestors of Omer Haci, but were left as a loan to this family by others. Apparently, this Ozbek family, from the first half of the 16th century until now, was able to preserve, for the past four centuries, a lot of valuable treasures without losing them. However, just like the possessions of my family that were preserved for two or three centuries that were lost to the plunders of the Soviet Army, these were also going to be lost to them as well. One of the treasures in the hands of Omer Haci was a belt embroidered with gold and silver. There were writings on it which I cannot now recall. The leather on which those gold and silver writing were embossed, maintained its flexibility, and the poems written on it in Farisi were still readable. Today, in Europe, it is possible to press such embroidery on leather. But, how did the Ozbeks, several centuries ago, manage to do that? This was a masterpiece of art on leather. If the Russians were to plunder this treasury, their first act would be to cut and confiscate the gold and silver of this belt and throw-away the beautiful art of the leather away. Omer Haci asked us to find a solution for the preservation of these treasures. Ahund Yusuf asked that the most important pieces to be given him, so that he could take them to the General, and perhaps they would be able to take them to Afghanistan. Omer Haci indicated that he was not in favor of dividing his collection; all needed to be preserved as a whole. He stated that: “in order to reach the General, you are going to cross the Russian invasion lines. Who can assert that all this will not be taken over the Russians? You are not secure.” Then, addressing the Basmaci, he made them laugh by stating: “if their ‘qurjin,’ their saddlebags, were to fall on the ground, they do not have time to stop to recover it.” I made a suggestion which seemed very strange in that environment: “You need to take this treasure to the museum in Samarkand.” Ahund Yusuf objected: “Is it logical to take all this to the Russians by your hands, against the possibility of them taking it by force?” I responded: “The official museums and libraries in large cities maintain presence despite regime change. If our aims are successful, those museums will once again be the property of our nation.” Acil Bey joined: “it is a demonstration of disbelief in our struggle not to surrender the treasures found in our homes.” I then stated: “in that case, Omer Haci might preserve this treasure elsewhere than in his home.” Omer Haci responded with: “if giving this treasure to the Samarkand Museum will harm the national movement, then there are no bases for that movement. He also stated that he could take them far away from his home, to an unknown place; but, that would not be a serious solution. Perhaps giving them all to a museum might be a good outcome. A month after those talks we heard that the Red Army had completely occupied the Sengzar River basin, and took away all that Omer Haci from his home and family, at the TNU Congress at Samarkand. And, I could not learn if he was able to donate at least some of his valuable treasures to the Museum. All these valuable properties in the hands of Omer Haci provided a good proof of the very treasured pieces in the hands of the “Bekzade” families.
That night, we did not sleep in the home of Omer Haci. We spent the night discussing literary issues, especially those of Mesnevi of Mewlana with Ahund Yusuf Talipzade and poet Vasli. Omer Haci, who could not dream of the poverty he was about to face in a matter of weeks, was listening to those discussions, sitting on his knees, and participated in them with all his heart. In truth, I had heavily berated Celaleddin Rumi, and seriously, and in doing so, I had placed pressure on the very delicate senses of Ahund Yusuf. Mevlana produced methaphorical, philosophical and Sufi origin writings. Therefore, it was not easy for anyone to understand them who did not know religious literature, even Jewish traditions, prophetical fables, Harut-Marut, Balam-Bagur parables, and the necessity of understanding Arabic literature deeply, as I did. It was absolutely necessary to know the Bayazit Bestami, Mansur Hallac and Ibrahim Ethem admonitions, biographies of the Sufis, the verses of the Kur’an, Arabic and Persian folklore, and especially the intrigues of the devil. Mewlana Celaleddin Rumi, who knew this entire quite well, only touches upon a portion of those stories. We are not allowed to know who those referenced Sufis were, what are the beginnings and endings of the statements of the Prophet were from, which he relates only a few words, why were they stated and in what context, we do not know. Besides, he passes on to a second or even third story without completing the first one. The connections of all are within the culture of tasavvuf [Islamic mysticism]. In those talks, I concentrated in a single story related by Rumi: During the 11th and 12th centuries, an ulema [theologian] family administered Bukhara by the name of Sadr Cihan. Those Sadr Cihan were such scholars, who administered the city in a theocratic style much like Tibetan Dalai Lama or the Pope of Rome that they left behind volumes on the Central Asian and Western Asian law and theology. One of the young members of this Sadr Cihan was also very beautiful [handsome?]. The central commander of the city, the “Sahne,” who was also the the engineer, the highest civil servant appointed, fell in love with his luminous Sadr Cihan. Gossip developed. When he, the Sahne, realized that his love resembled a rabbit embracing the neck of a lion, and represented such a danger, he left Bukhara with the fear that Sadr would kill him. He wondered around Khorasan and in Irak in the cities and villages for twelve years as a bum; but never forgot the Sadr Cihan he loved. Finally, he went back to Bukhara to see him one last time, regardless of what may happen, before he died. It transpired that Sadr also loved Sahne secretly, and he was thinking that he would forgive him, if he were to return. But, arriving in Bukhara, before he could offer himself to Sadr Cihan, he faced many events and barriers. His friends scared him. Rumi embellished the emotional pains Sahne experiences with different stories he had collected from all manner and directions, and made it into a novel cantaining a thousand couplets or more. Since the people of Bukhara knew all of this in detail, in the words of Rumi “all aged, women, and children, and everyone” were taking the side of love and considered the position of Sadr taking an opposing view as a cruel act of forbidding the love one may feel for another human being. Rumi joins the people in that respect. He details the ending of the story in a rather dramatic fashion, and praises the Bukharans for the excitement they exhibited in this love story. But, since I knew that that story reflected the famed love of men in Bukhara even during the tenth century, it awakened feelings of loathing in me. Rumi also told the story of a young man who fell in love with a girl, but unable to reach her for seven years. However, that story does not relay the excitement he described in the love of one man for another male. Turkistan always witnessed the struggles of two cultures against each other. The great historian and philosopher of the Islamic world in the 12th century, Ibn Qayyim al Cezvi had described at length how the love of men in Bagdat during the first centuries of Islam became a great social disease. Imam Malik Ibn Enes, founder of one of the four major Islamic sects, who rose in the 8th century, had strictly forbade the existence of youths whose beards did not yet grown among those listening to his lectures on the sayings of the Prophet. If such were among the audience without his permission, he would have them whipped. He did not even allow the children of the tradesmen who were dressed ostentatiously and embellished. Because, when such individuals were mixed in with the rest of the audience listening to lessons from the geart master, they were causing the Bagdadis to lose their minds. Even another scholar who flourished after Malik indicated that a single beautiful youth such as that would instigate more mischief than seventy attractive and beautiful girls. That was also recorded by Ibn Qayyim. That type of excitement was definitely not of the platonic type.
In his poems, Alisir Navai speaks of beautiful youths who would powder their faces, wear their hair in braids; that he was prepared to stroke their throats and lips, and if necessary, kiss their feet; and that such individuals would “cause the people to discord by their ‘lines’ and their ‘ghubar.’” However, for Navai, who lived as a bachelor all his life all this is a matter of asthetics. Another of the Herat authors of the time (Kemaleddin Huseyin) wrote books such as “Mecalis al Ussaq” showing even all of the old men and saints as addicted to love of the males. During the time of the Safavids, the youths were pictured as embellished as women, in a manner unsuitable for our times. Even the works such as “Mahmut ve Ayaz” and “Koroglu ve Ayvaz” were turned into novels to excite sexual feelings by some 17th and 18th century poets. Under these circumstances, we can no longer reform and reconstitute the “beautiful human culture” of the Middle Ages that had helped us take great steps in development. We must leave aside these stories and ghazals in the works of the greats such as Rumi and Alisir Navai, and translate into clean Turkish the works that resonate with the moral and artistic values of our day and publish them. The Turkish that has a future is the Turkish of the Kazaks. The Chaghatay, which has adopted the idioms of the Arabs and the Persians, much like the Divan period of Ottoman literature, will fall by the wayside. Mirseref of Ferghana was an intellectual Officer. He asked me: “are you considering Mawlana, Cami and Navai immoral humans?” I responded: “God forbid. Only that the era in which they lived does no longer suit us. That era was for the Persian literature, “worshipping the beauty.” It was the same in miniature painting as well. In our present day, when a movie beauty appears, the statement is “exploded like a bomb.” In those days, that was also the case. One of the Herat authors, Sihabeddin Devletabadi, while relating an event of his own time, specified: “in the Samarkand Province, a beauty by the name of Mirza Hemdem. Sultan Huseyin Baykara, listening to what is said about him fell in love with him. Molla Cami went to Samarkand only to see him.” That is possible. Except, amongst us, it will not be necessary to keep men playing the women parts on the stage. In general, the tastes of the middle Ages are evaporating.
The same person, Mirseref, next day, asked: “When you relate some poems from Mewlana, Navai, Allahyar, they appear to be the words of contemporary philosophers. We had buried them, believing they were the personification of recidivism. How could that be?” I answered: “Sofi-Allahyar is a small and single dimentional man. What you stated about him is true. However, there are fragments in his poems that make his name. Except, it is necessary to know how to do that. The great philosophers that emerged from among the Turks, Mewlana-I Rumi, El-Biruni and Navai are multi-dimentional and very cultured. They knew how to make a statement according to their surroundings. Navai was definitely not a drunkard. However, much like Omer Hayyam, who was much like him, said so much about drinking. When El-Biruni stated: ‘those humans who believe they are the center of everything also believe that the skies revolve around the earth.’ In doing so, he must have definitely known the true movement of the earth. He was content relating the words of the old Greeks and the Indians. In order to prevent gossip among his contemporaries, he stated: “this is a problem of physics; I am an algebraist.” That means, he was also a diplomat. Celaleddin Rumi also knows much. Because of that he stated: ‘the place of divine inspiration is the ear of the spirit. What is divine inspiration? It is making a pronouncement from the deep emotions where it was secreted.’ That means, Tengri [God of the Turks. See HB Paksoy, «Tengri on Mars» Entelequia. Revista Interdisciplinar, 11, Spring, 2010] addressing the deep feelings of the Prophet, making him prounce statements; however, he is representing the process as the people understand, as if it was done by Archangel Gabriel. He is relating the process as if the Phophet is perspiring and Gabriel is cooling him with his wings serving as a fan. Individuals with a high culture use words that would not alarm the people in his environment, to live in that environment, to be of benefit to that stratum. However, for example, you are taking an unnecessarily nervous position against the principles of the people, driving them away from yourself in disgust. Rumi had stated: ‘I only take the morrow from the Kur’an, and throw the bones to the dogs.’ But, Rumi is not feeding us with that morrow; by telling us the rumors and myths’ constituting the bones, presents himself as the owner of those.”
A few days after arriving in Samarkand, I noticed that Mirseref had related those talks to his friends. We sent those words to the Afghanistan Ambassador to Bukhara, Mirza Rahmetullah so that they will not be forgotten. A year later when I arrived in Kabul, I received them from Hasim Sayik who had replaced Mirza Rahmetullah. I stated that, we were going to talk about very beautiful topics in independent Turkistan.
A lot of beneficial business was conducted during the period of Samarkand Basmaci. Evhadi Ismurzin, who was in my entourage, Osman Terigulov, who was working in Khiva, and the Ozbek Mirseref were translating the military field manuals into Ozbek. A law-man from the Kazaks was working on the future constitution of Turkistan.
Letter written to Mustafa Cokayoglu—
Molla Rahmetullah, an intellectual, a poet and writer, was sent to Kabul as the Bukhara representative. A man from his entourage brought very interesting letters from Abdulhamid Arifov, the former War Minister of Bukhara, who was at the time in Kabul, and from others. Abdulhamid was relating his trip to India and Citral, and explaining the world politics. In addition, he had explained that he had corresponded with the former head of the Khiva National Government, and that he was now in Paris. For us, these were lights arriving from the world of freedom. After reading them, I wrote letters to be sent to Cokayoglu in Paris, to be sent via Ahund Yusuf and Abdulhamid. Actually, Ahund Yusuf was able to reach the Afghan border after General Enver had died, and was able to send the letters on to Kabul. I was able to read that letter, written on 27 July 1922, during December of 1923 after arriving in Paris borrowing it from Mustafa Cokayoglu. I wrote in that letter the events taking place in Samarkand Province, and the news I had received from Moscow. From that letter, the following needed to be transferred to my memoirs:
“If the Soviet Government is able to succeed in the war against the Poles, it appears they will be applying a new cultural policy toward the Moslems. I learned that from a friend who arrived in Samarkand from Moscow three days ago. They had called the following to Moscow: Ali Han Bukeyhan, Ahmet Baytursun, Nezir Turekulov from the Kazaks; Abdullah Ismeti, Salah Atnagulof, Manatof from the Baskurts; Mehmet Aga Sahtahtinski, Ali Ejder Saidzade, Celil Mehmet Kulizade from the Azeris; Ahmet Cevat, Nazim Hikmet from the Turkish Communists; Sultan Ahliyev, Nevsirvan Yavusev from the Tatars. Each was tasked with the duty of producing a grand work on their own people’s cultures and the formation of Communism or to translate them. An ‘Eastern University’ is established in Moscow. Sunitze and Broyda are at the head of it. Broyda is now an assistant to Stalin. Now you can realize what an error it was to support him as a friend and help send him to Khiva as the governor. This Broyda and Professor Polivanov, after coopting the old Russianist Sahtahtinski of Azerbaijan and Ahmet Cevat of Turkiye, are following the policy of designing a different alphabet to each of the Turk dialects and so to distance us from each other. Nezir Turekulov and his wife Hanife Turekulova are stating that if Latin alphabet is agreed upon, it should be a unified one for all Turk Branches. However, Broyda and Polivanov are following the policy of creating a different alphabet, phonetically, for each branch. The Latin alphabet will of course will be used as an intermediary in order to make the transition to the Russian alphabet. In Dagistan, for the Ossetian and Circassian languages, the Russian Cyrillic letters are already in use. And for the Altaian Tatars, the Fins and the Yakuts, the Latin alphabet is not weven in the running. It is Broyda and Polivanov who are advancing these ideas. Qubland [sic; Qoblandi Batir?] and others are now being printed in the Arabic alphabet; they will re-print them in the Latin alphabet in a few years. After that, of course it will be in Russian. They are already taking youths from Khiva, Bukhara, Ashkabad, Kokand and Taskent to Moscow, to be trained at the Eastern University. You must write articles on these matters in order to make these new cultural polices of the Russians known to the world. Apparently, after defeating us in the field of battle, they will turn to matter to the cultural front. In Tashkent a serious journal by the name of Inqilab [Revolution] began to be issued since February of this year under the administration of Nezir Turekulov and Hadi Feyzi. So far, five issues appeared. This is an initiative of Safarov. They wish to gain the Turkistan intellectuals, and by their hands crush those opposing the Soviet policies. In that journal, Haci Muin of Samarkand, Abdulhamid Colpan, Sadreddin Ayni, Polat Saliyef, Abdurrahman Sadi and others are publishing. Nezir is also writing under the name of Dervis. Nezir is speaking of ‘reviving the Culture of Turkistan Turks by the hand of the Soviets.’ He had taken the nom-de-plume of Dervis in order to refute the intellectuals who have joined our Basmaci and had taken on Ibrahim Canuzakov. Your friend who was descended from Cengiz Han, Sencer Isfendiyarov, is attacking the policies of Alas-Orda and Validov. Abdurrahman Sadi keeps talking of a common Turk language, but Professor Polivanov immediately opposes him on the grounds that that is not scientific but only Pan-Turkistic in the same journal. Nezir Tuekulov, while presenting the Treaty between Soviet Russia and Turkiye on 16 March 1921, and Yusuf Akcura’s speech on 20 December 1921 in Ankara where he declared himself a friend of Russia and Poland, he also touches upon the Culture of the Islamic Society, attempting to show that Soviets are applying the appropriate policies toward the Easterners. However, Pavlovic, Broyda and Polivanov and their likes, are endeavoring not to use Azerbaijan dialect as the bases of Turkish literature. They are also using all available means to prevent the local nationalists who are experimenting with establishing a common language and literature, writing in Ozbek, Kazak, Turkmen and Tatar in Tashkent. Polivanov is writing that when the Latin alphabet is accepted, all of the hopes of a cultural union will be defeated. This is the foundation of the future Soviet policies. You must note all this from this point on.”
The days of Kurban Bayrami—
We spent the days of the Kurban Bayrami, 4-5 August at Bidene with the relatives of Kari Kamil. At the mosque, the public speakers were speaking directly against the Russians. That was because, nobody could have dreamed of Russians would be able to send massive amounts of military force here in a matter of days. On the surface, all matters were in the hands of the Basmaci. However, since I was reflective, Kari Kamil was troubled. We had arrived in the Cambay village near Samarkand. A few individuals we have known from Tashkent arrived. Since all thought that the administration was going to pass into the hands of the Moslems soon, they were not afraid to visit us. One of our Beys organized the game of Kopkeri [“Rod & Bat;” later, in London, known as “Tipcat.” http://aton.ttu.edu/TWO_ALTAIC_GAMES.asp] for his soldiers. The soldiers played it with such discipline that they created the impression that they were especially trained with Kopkeri. We had become acquainted with an Arab scholar in Samarkand. He, too, had arrived in Cambay. He recited poems in Arabic, praising the soldiers. Essentially, he recited couplets that were used to praise the soldiers of the Prophet attributing them to the Basmaci, and had them translated. Among them, I had liked the following: “the soldiers are standing on their horses, as if shrubs on rocks. This is not because their saddle tie-downs are tightened well, but because their will to fight is strong.” Some recited beautiful poems in Turkish. We had fun till the evening. There was also someone from Daghestan who arrived to see our soldiers in Bidene and Cambay. In sum, the military parade, and free talks, poems recited had made everyone proud. I had written my predictions on the fate of Turkistan and Turk Branches and the Moslems under the Soviet administration and redevelopment at the hands of the Russians at length while we stayed at Bidene village. It was dated 23 July 1922, and I was going to send that writing to Turkiye, and in a different format, to the statesmen of Iran and Afghanistan. I later brought that writing to Iran, and sent it to Ankara via the Turkish Consulate. I am going to write more about this piece further down, which bore the heading “Social Revolution in the East or the future of Recidivism and the duties of Eastern Revolutionary Intellectuals.” I was not in the mind to send this writing to General Enver. Because of that I did not show it to Ahund Yusuf Talibzade who was in my entourage. This writing is now in the Archives of Turkish Republic Ministry of Foreign Relations. Ahund Yusuf and his friends went to General Enver with the addition of some men from our side via Maca and Karatekin. By the time they reached his environs, The General was already martyred. Since Ahund Yusuf was a Shi’ite, he took refuge among Sugnan Tajiks who were of the same sect, and remained with Haci Sami who took over from General Enver. He was demoralized with the death of the General, and the severity of the Russian prosecution, and killed his friend Abdurresul because of a woman; finally he threw himself into the River Penc with the intention of crossing over to Afghanistan, and drowned. May God have mercy on his soul.
The fine meetings on the banks of the Sengzar (in Turkish, Taslik) were marred when Acil Bey had another Ozbek adventurist Abdulmecid Bey killed by drowning, whom Acil Bey saw as his competitor. It had been earlier decided that Acil Bey was not going to execute anyone, including the Beys in the Zarafsan basin, and any member of the Society, without the approval of the Society Committee members. Those who were most distressed by this was I and Kari Kamil, because, if something happened to Acil Bey, it was Kari Kamil who was going to replace him. He was from Sengzar Ozbeks. While we were at Sengzar, it was decided to journey to Oratepe, to contact Halbuta Bey, the head of the national military units, to search for means of cooperating with him. We did that, by journeying to Zamin region with Mamur Bey and Turab Bey at night. We conferred and returned to the Bidene region with the soldiers.
Piece-of-Work by Ahund Yusuf—
Earlier I had mentioned what the representative of Eastern Bukhara Kazaks, Burkut Esikagabasi Bey had told me in confidence that it was not acceptable to completely believe in Ahund, and not to tell him everything, that he might relay the wrong impression to General Enver. It became apparent that the warnings of Burkut Esikagabasi were very appropriate and sincere, after he and Ahund Yusuf left for Eastern Bukhara during 6-7 August. A day or two after they left, a letter arrived from General Enver via Baysun, written during the last week of July. In addition, there was a letter from my friend Mustafa Sahkuli. These letters distressed me, for the following reasons: in his letter of 28 April, which he had sent with Ahund Yusuf and Burkut Esikagabasi, General Enver indicated that if there were unfavorable conditions and if the Russians were able to send soldiers from the Polish front to Turkistan, he advised that the Basmacis in the Samarkand and Ferghana provinces under the National Union Committee should prepare to enter into peace negotiations with the Russians on their own. He added that, he would be speaking on behalf of the Bukhara Khanate, if necessary. It was apparent that General Enver was taking precautions to prevent the pockets of weakness that might form when the Russian forces may be increased, causing the impression of failure by the Command structure on the Basmaci Front. In addition, Osman Cavus told me matters verbally which were not written in the letter. He asked us to determine the condition of the Soviets on the Western Front. He wanted to know if it was possible to determine how many troops they could send. Actually, our intelligence gathering in Tashkent and in Moscow was not bad. However, it was not possible to learn how many soldiers could be sent by the Russians and when was not a possibility. Our Committee met in Samarkand on 11 May. We discussed this issue. The conditions in Fargana were bad. Besides, some Basmaci had already begun their discussions with the Russians. Kursimet and and his brother Nurmuhammed were thinking of stopping the war and crossing over to Afghanistan. We had decided that, if the conditions were to change in the Polish Front, and the Russians proceeded to send massive military formations, we needed to initiate dicsussions with the Soviets. Commanders Acil Bey and Behram Bey were also of that mind. Before Burkut Esikagabasi, Ahund Yusuf and Osman Cavus left for Kazakistan, when we noticed that the conditions were deteriorating, we had convened the Committee at Bidene, and made some decisions. In principle, it was decided to enter into discussions by way of intellectuals who held positions in the government at Moscow and Tashkent. Ahund Yusuf was also present in that meeting. The decision to start the negotiations immediately was not taken. However, Ahund Yusuf had informed General Enver that Zeki Velidi and the Central Committee had decided to make peace independently by sidelining General Enver. That was an act of an informer. It appeared that Burkut Esikagabasi had warned us that Ahund Yusuf could do just that. The General did not dwell on this fact in his letter, but Osman Hoca and Mustafa Sahkuli may have seen that it was just the act of an informer, to the person of General Enver. Mustafa Sahkuli related the negative influences of that act of informing after he arrived in Turkiye. I wonder if the General did not understand the fact that this famed theologian was a yes-man. Besides that, Ahund Yusuf had many other initiatives that did not agree with the views of our country.
Our intention of joining with General Enver via the Oratepe and Maca route—
A day or two had passed since Ahund Yusuf and his friends began their journey back. Our friends who were involved in intelligence matters in Moscow and those who were members of the Tashkent Government had let us know that when the Russians were successful in the Polish Front, they would be sending large scale and different types of Divisions and that some of the soldiers and their commanders must have already arrived in the Samarkand region. We had relayed all that information to General Enver in detail by the Maca route, the fact that we would be concentrating our forces primarily in Oratepe and Maca, end, if necessary, we would be joining the General via the Belcuvan and Karategin route, and again, if necessary, we would cross over to Afghanistan, and, finally, that some dissolution among the Fergana Basmaci was being observed. The second day after we received the information, we were about to embark on the Oratape route as decided earlier. We were informed that two Red military units had entered the Sengzar plains at a place called Rabat, and laid military telephone lines where they crossed. They apparently entered that region knowing that the Samarkand Basmaci was in the region. We spent the night in a tiny Ozbek village. It transpired that the name of it was “Yenge Kent.” This was the ancestral home village of Afsin, who, as the commander of the Abbasid Islamic Armies, conquered Central Asia Minor. Toward midnight, news arrived that Russians sent large-scale military units Sengzar Boyu.
The Battle of Davul--
The night of the day after we let the Sengzar basin, the Russians arrived, and learning that we had gone in the direction of Zamin, they moved toward Davul region. Since we learned that they were going to move toward Davul, we were able to take up positions earlier, and settled on both sides of the creek among the hillocks and the rocks in order to cut them off. Very severe fighting took place. When the Reds realized that the sides and the hillocks of the creek were occupied by the Basmaci, and their front was also blocked, they attempted to climb the rocks to reach the hights above our soldiers, to scare and clear us out. However, the rocks and hillocks were much further away from us; their rounds were not reaching us. I and my entourage and some Ozbek troops left our horses in the creek, and took up positions in the fields on the right bank being attacked by the Reds. That was because, if the Reds were able to climb out of the creek, this was where they were going to reach. In the afternoon, the Reds abandoned the effort to climb the higher hills, and attacked the side with all their might where we were. A Red Officer giving orders reached the top of the hill on his horse. Where we left our horses the creek was approached by the Reds. They were unable to see us; we were dropping them off their horses’ one at a time. Islam, who today is working in the nitrogen factory in Kutahya and his friend Eyyup, who were both in my entourage, were going ahead of me, ostensibly intending to shield me with their bodies. I was whispering to them: “The Russian rounds hitting you will also hit me, do not go further; if we are going to die, we will do so together.” About this time, the Officer giving commands from the back of his horse fell down by our rounds. His soldiers also ran away. They left their machinegun as well. We had no time to deal with the machinegun; the Red soldiers returned with two donkeys to retrieve the body of the Red commander. We immediately went back to our horses taking advantage of that, climbed the hills right before the eyes of the Russians on the right side at speed, caught up with the Basmaci units behind us, ordered them to block the exit of the creek. Evhadi was exuberantly running about from one hilltop to the next on his foaming gray horse, giving commands personally. Reds took advantage of our movement and their forces finally reached the hilltop where their commander was killed. They started firing their machinegun very heavily toward us. However, the machinegun barrel having been overheated, as well as their rifle barrels, rounds were unable to reach us. I was telling our soldiers who took to hold the end of the creek “do not be afraid, the Red bullets will not reach us; you hold the end of the creek now.” Even though our numbers were much smaller, the Basmaci units that came up from behind were able to close the Red exit point. The reds were unable to bring down their vehicles into this roadless creek. They kept fighting inside the Davul Creek to open the end we had closed. They suffered quite a bit of casualties and left large amount of war booty to the Basmaci.
Even though we were successful in that event, since we learned the arrival of large amounts of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Zamin and Oratepe, we decided not to undertake the Oratepe expedition. Besides, we learned from the documents we collected as war booty, these troops and their weapons were brought from the Western front. That meant, the conditions were getting serious. We rested for two days at a place called Bes Koruk in the Sengzar basin, then arrived at Usmet. That day, Soviet newspapers published in Tashkent arrived. They were awash with the news of the battle in Davul, and they were cussing us out. It turned out that the Red commander who was shot dead while giving orders on horseback was an important personage.
Talks at Usmet and Samarkand—
With all the war booty we obtained at the battle of Davul, we ascended to a yayla [high evelation pasture] and spent the night. In the consultation talks, we decided to to keep under our hands, with all our might, the region starting from Uratepe, Yaryaylak, and Usmet all the way to Samarkand, Sehrisebz and toward the Eastern mountains and Maca. We sent letters to Ahmet Han, Chief of the Maca, and to General Enver, by the speediest means, informing them of the Russian attacks from all directions, and all the decisions we made in relation. Later on we learned that those letters speedily reached those of Maca and General Enver. In the morning, we arrived on the Western side of the Turkistan Mountains, at a place called Usmet, which had plentiful grass and water. As soon as we arrived, we gathered the important leaders of the Zarafshan Basmaci and held another, wider consultative meeting. At night we galloped at speed to Samarkand, to a place on the banks of Ab-I Rahmet River, where the Ulugh Bey Observatory is located and spoke with the Society’s Central Committee Members at a vineyard. Some of our friends from Tashkent and Ferghana were also present there. It was decided that those friends who could not accompany the military units and whose lives were also in danger, to depart for General Enver’s location. Apart from that, we decided to defend the Samarkand Province resolutely. Men were also present from Halbuta Bey. He was intent on staying at his location what may come. Russians took advantage of the fact that the Basmaci were scattered due to the Kurban Bayrami celebrations, and attacked their various gatherings. After that, all the scattered units regrouped at Usmet on 10 August.
In compliance with the decisions made at the Samarkand Meeting, those educated friends whose help to Basmaci were either uncovered or were suspected by the Russians, joined the Basmaci either individually or as groups. Those were headed by the Police Chief of Samarkand, Abdullah Tulebayev; his Deputy, Abdussekur Hekimbayoglu; Kari Mahmut of Samarkand and Esat Efendi of Azerbaijan. The day they arrived was an eventful one. Russians attacked Usmet, where we had our headquarters, but were thrown back. Usmet is an old cultural center, recorded as Usmend in old Arabic geography works. Quite a few scholars have emerged from here, medreses have flourished; the location was very wealthy, had excellent agriculture and cash crop garden output. Their garden, sometimes at an elevation of one thousand five hundred meters above the sea level, overlooks the Zarafsan valley. On 11 August, while we were all in town, Russians attacked suddenly. Police Chief Tulebayev and his friends directly attacked the Russians. Tulebayev was wounded gravely. He had not yet fallen off of his horse; his friends were holding him. When he saw me right next to him, touching, he told me: “hold me.” I did. Others did as well. He told us that the body of one of his friends was left to the Russians, and that Abdussekur did not retrieve him either, in a criticizing manner. I immediately whipped the shoulders of Abdussekur repeatedly, stating: “why did you leave your friend there, go immediately.” Abdussekur went with his friends to look for the body of his friend; not long after, they brought the body of the young policemen back. When Tulebay saw the body of his youtful relative and friend, Tulebay, who was on his deathbed, jumped on his feet and stated: “thanks to God, his body was not left to the Russians, now I can die in peace. We are going, let our people live.” A few minutes later he passed away, repeating sehadet [formula in Arabic, witnessing God]. Abdussekur later arrived in Turkiye, via Iran, in the company of Haci Sami. He became a merchant. He also established a factory. Sometimes, he would joke: “I still feel the pain of the whipping you gave me.” He missed those battles and state: “when you whipped me, I should have attacked the Russians at Usmet and be martyred; that would have been the best.” He passed away in Eskisehir during 1944. God rest his soul. The battle of Usmet was a severe one and became the stuff of legend because it also caused the demise of many of our friends. The Russian forces, either Regiments or Battalions, while they were attacking the township, they found themselves in two creeks and were surrounded. Perhaps they attacked without a plan. They found themselves under siege. When we prevented them from climbing the creek banks, with my friend Kari Kamil, Evhadi, Esat Efendi of Azerbaijan, and other members of our entourage, the Red soldiers left their horses in the creeks, climbing the precipies, entering the planted fields, and hiding in the hay-stacks. Acil Bey, Kari Kamil and Evhadi pulled their soldiers into the tree line of the vineyards in order not to stop the Reds from doing so. Russians were, amazingly, hid in that fashion; later, mounted soldiers were sent after them and all of them were eliminated. Only a very few remained alive. After that event, I heard that dastans were written on the occasion. Abdussekur had a German lady friend; they were partners in the factory business. That lady wrote the Usmet events in the fashion of a story, after learning of it from Abdussekur. It was written in an interesting manner. I could not learn if it was published or not.
Decisions taken at Usmet—
The Davul battles, then journeying to Usmet in one night, from there to Samarkand, and return to Usmet, and the ensuing battle at Usmet caused us as well as our horses on which we did all that, were tired. We spent the night of that battle at Usmet. They completed the reading of the Kur’an for the martys who fell in the battles. In the morning, we left the soldiers in the village and with Acil Bey as well as the other Partisan chiefs, ascended to a very high vineyard. We had consultations and took the following emergency decisions:
1. I, along with three friends, would secretly cross the Russian lines and attend the National Union Congress that was already meeting in Tashkent.
2. Turab Bek, Mamur Bek and Evhadi Ismurzin were police Chiefs at Cizak and Zamin, and when their positive aid to the national movements was heard, they had joined the Basmaci. They and the Baskurt and Tatar officers were to cross over to Eastern Bukhara via Maca, to join General Enver. Acil Bey and the Basmaci answering to him were to withdraw from the Northern portions of Samarkand Province and go to Sehrisebz and Guzar in the South. They will also withdraw the units in Bukhara and Nurata gradually.
3. What is to be done after that will be decided by the Tashkent Congress, and after consultations with General Enver.
After our meeting ended at the high vineyard, the darkness of the future had descended on us. The soldiers and their horses were rested. We were going to disperse according to the decisions made. In order not to scare the entourage, I only told Evhadi: “if I do not find you with Halbuta, perhaps we will meet-up in Afghanistan.” Acil Bey, Kari Kamil and others, my entourage, we all embraced each other. We could not hold back the tears welling in our eyes, and we all cried. It was not certain if we were to see each other again.
Zarafsah River seen from the apex of Akdag—
Two others were going to journey to Tashkent with me. One was Major Minhac of Baskurdistan. He had worked for the success of the national autonomy with sincerity and self-scarifice, gave his relatives and sons to the Army, and he had served in administrative duties in the Usergen Region where he was from. He had arrived in Samarkand at the beginning of this year, hoping he could help. I had suggested that he may need to return to his home. He did not wish to separate at all, and stated: ”if we are going to die, let us do so together.” My second friend was a nationalist Kazak, who had completed the Moscow Military School. We had bestowed upon him the nickname Kalkaman. He was extremely intelligent and had the sould of a poet. He had left his home in the Akmola Province in order to join the nationalist movement in the company of several nationalist youths, mounted on their own horses, arrived in Tashkent. He left them in the Abliq village in my home to work as laborers. He arrived in Samarkand, while waiting for me in Cambay village he caught typhoid disease, and later recovered from it. Now, he was convalescing and was going to journey with me to Tashkent. Kalkaman had two very fine pistols and sufficient amount of ammunition for them. I had him give one of those to Minhac. I had Minhac wear the ammunition belt as well. I also had a pistol and a rifle. I wore them once again. I told the two friends to load their pistols. Here, we had only two horses; my gray horse and the black horse we allocated to the Kazak Officer. Acil Bey, just before taking to the road, had ordered a member of his retinue by the name of Mustak, to give his horse to Minhac and follow him [Acil Bey] on foot. I did not like this Mustak at all. I regarded him as having a treacherous constitution. After Acil Bey left, he remained behind with his friends. He was stating that he was going to ride on the back of his friend but was not surrendering his horse to us. When we noticed that, regarding that he might have bad intentions, we withdrew up higher with our two horses. Keeping our pistols and rifle at the ready, we shouted down at him to bring the horse to us. Even though the sun was about to set, he did not. The Kazak Officer, even though he was still ill, stated: “give me the rifle, I will shoot him.” I responded with: “it is not appropriate to start such a dangerous mission by killing a man. I would like to do such things without spilling the blood of a Turk. Let it be.” I called back down to him: “In that case, we are not going to wait for your horse; get under way, go straight. Follow that road; do not take a turn to the right or the left, or you will die.” Both of those men mounted their horses and began following the footpath that was visible. At one point, I noticed that they were attempting to turn right, I picked up my rifle and and fired at a rock on their way. I shouted: “do not leave the path.” They immediately turned back onto the road and ran down the hill at speed. Mamur Niyazi Bey, who remained behind at Cizak and Sanzar region with his Partizans for a much longer period, after arriving in Istanbul via Afghanistan and Iran, told me the rest of the story. This Mustak was a Soviet agent tasked to kill me and Kari Kamil. A much more important Soviet agent was right behind us that night, following in order to reach us. He thought he had seen my gray horse from the distance, surmised we turned back to the plains not having found our way through Aktav, and thinking he could not find our traces in the dark, he turned back. He wanted to spend the night near Usmet Township at a village, but he vomited blood and died. On the other hand, Mustak finally succeeded and killed Kari Kamil while he was performing namaz.
After we got away from Mustak and his friend, we went toward Turkistan Mountain Range, to the most Western corner called Koktepe of the Aktav Mountains overlooking Maca. This was a magnificent place. The sun was about to set. The sunset was sprawled in full splendor before our eyes. Below, various feeders and channels of the Zarafsan River were dazzling our eyes with many different colors. That river was knowns as Mani in the old days. Renaming it as Zarafsan during the Islamic period, meaning ‘scatterer of gold,’ may have been due to this extraordinary reflection on the mountains during the sunset. I questioned myself: “if these independence wars were not taking place, would I have been able to see the wondrous waterfall at the headwaters of the Sengzar River and the glaciers, and the wonderful scene we were enjoying at the Turkistan Mountains?” The Arab conquorer, Kutaybe ibn Muslim, fell in love especially with Samarkand Province, and stated: “the greenery of the Samarkand province reminds one of the sky; her rivers, the milkyway; and her chateaus, the stars.” Kalkaman, who was still suffering from the effects of typhoid, was admiring the scene. However, he was barely able to sit on his horse. He was in no condition to express his admiration of the scenery in poetry. We continued to follow the footpaths among the snow. At midnight, the road ran out. On our right, we could see the precipice all the way down to Maca. It was possible to see everything because of the full moon. The Falgar Mountains, at the headwaters of Zarafsan, seemed as close as to echo anything one might say; except, it would take many days of travel there! All of the hills of this mountain were snow-capped. However, there was not the cold to chill a human being. Both of our horses stopped and were looking at us as if to say “there are no more roads.” It was exceedingly dangerous to ride a horse on the snow at night. We had thought that we would descend onto Sengzar without encountering any obastacles (snow). Now, our way was blocked. We placed both horses on the Northern side where the snow was a bit more flat. They were in the snow up to their knees. There was no tree or rock to tie them. I told my friends: “let the horses remain here; let us descend to the rock we see on our left, and go to sleep leaning on it.” We did just that. We took our saddlebags, leaning on the rocks, singing the song favored by the Ozbek troops: “who sleeps on these mountains/ soldier youths do/ rocks stick to their breasts/ who love their land.” We thus went to sleep. The sun was rising. Our horses neighed. They were ordering us to get up. Just like our horses, all three of us were hungry. But, the scenery was to be seen without being sated. In the East, which was just getting red in color, the Western Alay and Karatekin Mountains; in the Southeast, the mountains ringing Maca, all of which were forever capped with snow, appeared as if they could be reached in a single day. In reality, it would have taken a week or ten days to do so.
From the Maca Mountains to Tashkent via Kizilkum—
How are we going to cross the Kizilkum desert, on our way to the secret meeting gathering at Tashkent, the three of us, with only two horses, in our hunger? But, we did, and how! When I picked up the pen to relate the surrounding events, I recalled the aphorism by Saltikov-Schedrin at the beginning of his volume “The Old Days:” ”even though the story is fresh, it is difficult to believe it.” I was the only one able to advance ideas about the internal and external aspects of the trip; my two friends were in no condition to do so. Since the old Minhac was also ill, he, too, had to mount my reserve horse. The God gave me faith and an ideal, but the weight of it was falling on others rather than me. Both of them, ill, stated: “How are we going to descend from these snowy mountains, surrounded with precipies? Allow us to fire our pistols into our heads. You can use both horses alternately to reach Tashkent.” I told them: “no; whatever we are going to see, we will see together.” Under the snows, there was a pathway apparently has been in use for centuries. It was certain that it was used during the sovereignty of the Karluks. But, that road was following the heights of the mountain toward Alay Mountains. But, when we descended a little below the snow-line, we discovered that there was no pathway that would take us to Sengar River basin. I told my friends: “you two descend on horseback. I will walk down, searching a path. Do not move until I wave for you to start coming down. Otherwise, you will send a torrent of stones toward me.” I began walking down before the sun rose. I could see them from afar. The creeks below had snow in them. There was no pathway, but there were roads used by the sheep they made while they were searching for grass. They were visible from afar. All of a sudden, stones started falling on me. The rocks were dragging each-other on the way down in a horrifying fashion. I immediately took shelter under a rock resembling a fountain. Thousands of rocks were flying above me. Perhaps about an hour later, sounds resembling horseshoes reached me. Those sounds gradually approached, and when they reached me, I rose. Both of my friends were crying. I told them: “Thanks are to God; we did not die in the battle of yesterday, we did not fall into the precipice in the middle of the night nor did ve freeze. Now, I am alive because of this small boulder.” It transpired that my friends thought I was waving and calling them down, and began moving. That put the rocks into motion. At this point, it was necessary for my friends to get down from their horses. But, it would have been very difficult for me and Minhac to get Kalkaman back on the horse if he did. I did not walk in front of them, but walked in line with them. After zig-zagging down hundreds of times, we finally and safely reached the creek and the snow-bridge on it. We knew that the snow on the mountains were strong, and serve as a bridge as well. But, we noticed that our horses were not going anywhere near that snow-bridge. We could easily descend into the running stream below on foot; but it was impossible to bring the horses there. The depth of the banks most suitable for the purpose was three and a half meters down. Even if we could get the horses to jump that distance, we assumed that their legs would unquestionably be broken. These two horses, one black, the other white, were from the stables of the Bukhara Emir. They endeared themselves to their owners not only by their physical appearance, but through their loyalty and discernment. If I were to leave the white horse somewhere, he would run after me neighing and swishing his tail. After us three descended down, we could see that the horses wanted to throw themselves down the escarpment but were having a difficult time deciding. I ascended to their location, removed their saddles, tied a long rein to their halters and encouraged them to jump into an area which we cleared from the rocks. The white horse threw himself on his back; was not injured. He neighed with happiness. I again ascended and did the same to the black horse. He, too, jumped. Right side of his face was a little bruised. We and the horses were happy. After we crossed the creek, we had descended a bit more. It was high noon. Even though we had been on the road for seven hours, here and there there still were snow bridges on the creek. We encountered a single sheep, obviously ill and separated from the herd. We wanted to slaughter and eat it, but there was no wood for a fire. I held the sheep, and the two ill men suckled the sheep just like children. There was water between rocks for the horses, and next to them, grass. After we rested in that fashion for a spell, we continued on our way. Since our horses were carrying the two ill men, I could not use them even for a minute. On the contrary, since the pathways used by the sheep along the creek were cut-off by rocks on the right and the left, it fell upon me to search for a pathway all day long. That was because the bridges used by the sheep and the goats did not hold the weight of the horses. Since those bridges were of snow, they appeared to be growing soft and weak. Once, the bridge could not hold me, and I fell into the creek. In order to avoid a repetition, it became necessary to ascend quite a bit again and bring the two horses back down to the creek level carrying the two sick men through a sinuous way. Toward the evening, we saw a cow for the first time. Small trees were beginning to appear. While I was walking in the rocks looking for a pathway, the heels of my boots came off. I wore Kalkaman’s boots. We had travelled for fourteen hours. We still had not seen the face of a human. We milked that cow; I as well as the sick men thus obtained some nourishment. In the dark, about ten at night we reached a hut. In that hut, the mother of a prominent individual we knew well was living. She had nobody with her. She fed us bulghur, yoghurt and bread cooked in the ashes. The Beknazar village straddling the both banks of the creek we had been following, now had Russian soldiers since this morning. We showed the three pistols and the rifle to the old woman, and hid them between the rocks at a secure place. We removed anything that might bring suspicion if we were to be searched by the Reds. I only placed my eye-glass lenses, without the frame, into the felt of the saddle after making holes for them. We left that location at about eleven in the evening. During the midnight of thirteenth of August, an Ozbek faced us and said “Stop!” We did. He approached, and immediately recognized us. He told us he was one of the troopers of the partisan organization established here. A few days earlier, he was at Sangzar and Yaryaylak with us. He told us that the Red soldiers arrived here exhausted. They had lain down to sleep immediately, they had appointed guards from the villagers to watch the roads, and he was one of them. He added: “if you have any force with you, it is possible to catch all of them.” I told him: “now our intent is not fighting; we need to somehow cross the river and reach the villages on the other side to rest a bit. We are arriving from Goktepe.” He was astonished: “I had never seen anyone arriving from that direction on horseback.” I continued: “if we were to follow the creek, in the direction of Baskoruk, the Reds will awaken from the hoof sounds. We can leave the horses to you, and cross on foot. Perhaps we can obtain other horses.” He said: “after you cross this village, there is a Bugut, meaning half a bend, in the creek. Wait there; perhaps I can bring you your horses. I have a friend here; maybe he can help, too. If the Reds ask whose horses are these, we will them them we found them as they are. In that case, they will confiscate them.” After we reached the Bugut, we did not wait long. He brought the horses with his friend. We thanked him, embraced and cried and separated. Following our route, we reached the Yavas village by early morning. We knocked on the door of a person we knew. We told our adventure. He stated: “I will slaughter a sheep. Sleep a little until the meal is ready, because you cannot stay here during the day. All of the upper villages are full of Red soldiers.” They also took care of our horses. When the meal was ready, they awakened us. This was our first meal since the evening of 11 August. A little later: “news arrived; a portion of the Reds will be coming to this village. Apparently, nobody saw you coming into our house. They will pressure us to know who was here, and then follow you.” He, all the women and his brothers took down the wall facing the river of the stable where our horses were, to allow us to descend into the riverbank. They provisioned us with food and barley for our horses. We took our leave with moist eyes. All that showed the endless fidelity of the Ozbeks of this region to the independence idea and that they were trustworthy. When we began descending from the Goktepe heights of Akdag a day earlier at sunrise, we had not imagined that the Russians would have arrived here, or that we would discover the mother of a friend we knew well, or that we would encounter a couple of them welcoming us as the guards of the Reds. As we were leaving the family we knew at Yavas village, we told them we had left our rifle and pistols with the grandmother at the higher elevation. He gave us his pistol with ammunition. I told him that: “we are on our way to Tashkent; we cannot carry pistols with us.” We thus separated sweetly.
We continued following the footpath next to the creek. We did not get on the banks in order not to be seen by the Russians. We passed south of the Yanqurgan railroad station on the railroad line connecting Taskent to Samarkand. The old Minhac was going to walk to that station, board the train to Samarkand, take the news of our travel to our friends in Samarkand that we crossed the dangerous places with our health, and then join us in Taskent by train. After Minhac disappeared, we again found the creek. We ate the food we were given at Yavas, and the horses consumed the barley; we rested a bit. We slept about an hour. We began moving toward Mukuru village. A little time was left till sunset. One old, one young person were coming toward us on their donkeys. The young one whispered something to the ear of the old one. The old one addressed us with: “happy travelling.” We told him that we would be staying either at Muquru or Cumapazar villages. The old man stated: “as you know, Major Molla Mustaq betrayed you. He has Red soldiers with him. He will catch you and turn you over to them. Wherever you are goin, we will show you the way. We did not tell him we were on our way to Tashkent; instead we stated that we were going to the Kazaks we knew at Kizilkum. At that moment Kalkaman was moaning with pains next to me. I told them: “behold; we are going to them.” It transpired that the young one was a soldier in the entourage of Molla Hemraqul at Quytas. When that Partizan unit was disbanded, he came home. He dismounted from his donkey, grabbed my hand and kissed it. He was even kissing my stirrup and my boot. “Sir” he stated, that was the standard form of address here, “at the pinewoods facing me, there are two cemeteries. Follow this road all the way there.” He added: “go slow; after you cross all that, you can run your horses at speed. Nobody will hear you. Then, you will be free. After that, Kizilkum starts. God keep your road open; happy travelling.” Kalkaman, with me, was very sick. He continually told me to: “kill me and continue on your way; do not torture me anymore.” I was asking God’s help for him to stay on his horse until we crossed the cemetery. When we reached the small hill as described by the young man earlier, he whispered to me: “Tengri is your helper in all your undertaking; we have witnessed that all along the way. Should we not call those two Hizir? After that, we wanted to speed our horses a bit. It was two A.M. in the morning of 14 August. Kalkaman no longer could hang on; he fell off the horse. It was impossible for me to help him mount the horse. He was telling me: “sacrifice me to the beneficial works you will be doing, go on your way.” Those words were taken from the Cora Batir dastan well known among the Kazaks. I hobbled the horses, and let them graze. I was hoping that Kalkaman would get better by the morning. He placed his head on my knee and went to sleep. I slept by placing my back on a rock. A slow and cool wind was coming from the North. I awoke at Six A.M. Kalkaman was a little better. The crown of a Kazak tent, which appeared to be very far away, was shining against the rising sun. That had a good effect on Kalkaman. I asked him if he could mount the horse. I offered to have him step on the rock to do so, before I could lay him on the horse. He asked me to tie him to the horse from his underarms and legs. I did. We started moving toward the Kazak tents we could see. He was unable to keep his balance on horseback. At one point, I could not hold him; he fell down under the horse. I untied the ropes. We waited there for a spell. I told him that I would go to the tents, in the hopes of finding someone to help me bring him there. Kalkaman remained there, after I tied the reins and the rope of his horse to his feet. I was about three to four kilometers to the Kazak village. I reached them and told them: “I have a sick man, he fell off his horse, and I am unable to bring him; help me.” A couple of men immediately horsed and ran to help. They helped him on his horse, and ran on either side holding him. It transpired that what was shining with the early sun was a wash-basin placed on the crown of the tent. We arrived at that home. Kazaks are generally very good hosts. Even though the time was still very early (perhaps it took us an hour and a half to make the return trip), a sheep was slaughtered for us and it was already on the fire. The young brides were fussing over the sick man. Even though they were not a rich family, they also had kimiz. We let the sick man drink some. When the meat was cooked, he was also given some of the broth in a wooden cup. As soon as he had that broth, his eyes opened. By the end of the meal, he stated: “I am no more ill; I got better.” That day I understood the meaning of what the historian Residettin had stated: “Turks handle their ailments while they are on an arduous expedition; apparently, the related toils serve as a medicine for their cure.” This place where we arrived was a well-head north of the Tuz-Kani salt lake of Kizilkum. On the Eleventh day of the month, ascending to the mountains from Usmet; the second day, our descent; the third day crossing Sengzar and arriving at Kizilkum, we traveled a distance of more than two-hundred kilometers under the most grueling conditions. This youth did not die on this road of harships but got well at a place known as Kaskir Kuyu, Tilek.
We thought we would leave in the afternoon. But a piece of news arrived. The Bulis, meaning the administrative head of the region in which we were, was going to arrive in the company of twelve soldiers. We were told amidst laughter that: “travel after dark, looking at the North Star. The next day you will be in Mirza Desert.” We were also told that after travelling two to three hours, we wouldcome across a Kazak family with a single tent; we could rest there. Although we did not tell them who we were, they knew for certain we were two Mirza [prince] who had fought the Russians and aftereward had taken refuge in the Kizilkum Kazak. That meant to them we were educated, political and individuals who work for their people. They inspected our horses as if they were X-Raying them, inspected every detail, including the underside of their tails; but, they did not ask our names. Kalkaman showed an astonishing energy. He mounted the horse even if he was helped by the men. We found the tent told us by the Kazaks. Besides, we were travelling without a road. We turned in that direction. Both horses were ambling. When the ambient temperature dropped, they let themselves go. Kalkaman was also revived with passion. We quickly arrived at the tents we saw from the distance. We rested there for about two hours. They took care of us very well. They made a soup out of the meet dried in the sun, with salt, which is called kak, and bread. We ate it with pleasure. Afterward, we continued in the direction of the stars we have been following. There was no wolf or bird [no creatures]. Occasionally we were facing saksavul or yantak [haloxylon ammodendron] named shrubs, but they were neither dense nor often enough to impede our travel. But, by the morning, our horses were completely drained. Despite that, they were running with the last bit of energy. By sunrise of 15 August, we arrived at the remnants of a caravansaray. We watered our horses, and we drank as well. When the sun rose, we were at a Town called Mirza Colu. That day was the market day. Outside the town, we arrived at a Kazak tent pitched next to a house built with sun-dried bricks. They also had a garden. They offered us melons. We drank tea. We also found cigarettes which we had not smoked for a long time. Kazaks use snuff. But the owner’s son was smoking cigarettes. Meaning, he had tobacco. He was rolling it in newspaper sheets. We smoked it with such enthusiasm that Kalkaman passed-out. I was very afraid that his ailment had returned. He was himself again in half and hour. We fed our horses. We rested until people gathered at the market place. The clothes we were wearing were those of Ozbek villagers. We walked about the market without a care. We bought cigarettes. Nobody knew us. We went to the home of the Kazak who was hosting us, in order to depart for Tashkent. We discovered that they had prepared a meal for us. We ate. We got on the way about noon. We arrived at the horsecart crossing, not too far away from the train bridge. We had to wait a bit, since it was crowded. But nobody asked any questions. About four or five kilometers after we crossed, we arrived at the home of a family we knew at the Township of Cinaz. We were relieved. We asked that they take care of our horses, we did not want anything more than a glass of tea, and let us sleep without waking. Thus we were able to sleep in a cool garden, in a secure place until eight in the morning, probably for fifteen or sixteen hours. When we woke in the morning, they had prepared a meal. We were told that our horses could not carry us any longer, that their tiredness would indicate we had arrived from afar. They gave us new horses and told us that they would send our black and white horses after us. These new horses were very select ones, too. We crossed a distance of seventy kilometers rapidly, and we entered Tashkent about late afternoon. Our headquarters here was known. It was the Kazakistan Pedagogical Institute, right in the middle of the city. This building was a gymnasium during the time of the Tsardom. It was surrounded by a park. We entered the garden of the Institute on horseback. Muallim Azimbek Berimcan met us; and in a few years, we were to meet again in Berlin. Besides, we were coming to see him. They took our horses to a vineyard outside the city. That night, we saw the former President of Turkistan, meaning Head of Khokand Autonomous National Government, Muhammed Can Aga Tinisbaev. We indicated to him that we were very tired, especially between Cinaz and Tashkent the hot weather tired us that it was necessary for us to sleep, we would tell them of the events in the morning, and read the letters that arrived. We again slept peacefully, this time right in the middle of Tashkent among the government buildings. We possibly slept for fifteen or sixteen hours once more. Travel from Samarkand-Usmet-Maca Mountains-Kizilkum arriving in Tashkent is not a route I read in history books. That route not only saved me from the hands of a Soviet agent, but also displayed to me the deep devotion of the Ozbek people to their national independence.
THE ISSUE OF TURKISTAN
MUST TAKE A PLACE AMONG THE WORLD PROBLEMS
Secret life in Tashkent—
The next morning we woke and arrived at the Ivanov vineyard by phaeton. I was expected there. My wife nefise, who stayed with friends in the city of Turkistan [Yese] during the months of July and August, with my friend Abdulkadir, was also there. Four concealed places were prepared for us in Tashkent and environs. One was the vineyard where we were. The second was a house rented for us in the Bes Agac subdivision of Tashkent. The third was the home of Major Abdurrahman of the Kazaks at the Keles location; the fourth was our own grove at Ablik. We decided to be at Keles during the day, hold the meetings at Besagac and at this Ivanov vineyard. They had wanted to give me two pieces of important news upon my arrival, but they did not for fear of keeping me awake. One of those pieces of news was that General Enver was killed by the Red soldiers two days ago in the Kulab location; the other was that Samarkand Province chief of the Organization, Kari Kamil, had been killed and his head was delivered to the Russians. I was asked if I believed the news that General Enver was killed. In response, I stated: “the Basmaci do not have castles or fortifications. Sometimes, one can cheat death several times in a single day.” With regard to the murder of Kari Kamil, that was done by traitor Mustak, who was required to give us his horse five or six days ago at Usmet hills, but did not. On that day, Kari Kamil had gone to visit his family, imprudently without guards. The treacherous Mustaq took advantage of that he shot Kari Kamil from a distance with a rifle as he was praying. Later, took his head to Cizaq. From there, they sent the head to be displayed at the Communist Congress being held in Tashkent. The young men were in a great deal of agitation. They agreed to catch and shoot Mustaq wherever he was. I surmise that turncoat did not live long. Despite the fact that he was being protected by the Bolsheviks, he was eliminated. It was a shame about Kari Kamil. He was the most self sacrificing, educated and sincere fighter of Samarkand. My wife often stayed with them. In the Turkistan cultural and edicational sphere Kari Kamil in Samarkand was what Munevver Kari was in Tashkent. For a few days, at Yaryaylak meeting, he had written poems and excited the young people, and recited them with his fine voice.
About that time, thirty or forty men from the Branches around the Lake Balkas had received the military orders by way of Dinse at the Bedbak-Dala Desert, who at one time was with us in Bukhara. Finally, they arrived in Tashkent ostensibly to trade horses, in order to join us in Samarkand and General Enver. They were all fiery youths. They were exactly the Bozkir type. The majority had not even tasted fruits such as apples, pears, peaches or melons even once in their lifetime. There were also the Kazak youths brought by Kalkaman, who were staying in our vineyard at Ablik. Dinse, who was a poet and a theater artist, had visited them there. He was going to bring more among those who wanted. Now that General Enver is dead, what will those excited youths do? They will be forced to return to their homes. They and the fighters of Kalkaman, and the organized youth in Tashkent did not at all believe, nor did they wish to believe the news of General Enver’s demise. Either the Western or the Bolshevik press, during June-August news on the Basmaci Movement, did not mention the fact that the educated had decided to wage a life-or-death struggle everywhere in Turkistan. That was because, they did not know. If General Enver had not been killed by a Red bullet, and the Soviet Army had not succeeded in the Western Front that allowed them to send their soldiers to Turkistan, at the end of this August the railroad between Tashkent and Ashakabad was going to be cut, and many a Moslem serving the Soviet Army in Khiva, Bukhara and Ferghana were going to join the Basmaci. For those reasons, General Enver’s movement was not something to be scoffed. The trip of Burkut Esikagabasi, Ahund Yusuf and Osman Cavus to the Southern Kazaks at the location of Buken Tav, and the encouragements sent by the General from Samarkand to Khiva were fully effective. When our Society had met at Samarkand on 5 August, it was decided to hold the Turkistan National Congress in Taskent on or about 20 September. It was a more hopeful time. We were going to discuss the organization and plans for action. Now, we had arrived in Tashkent after dispersing the Partizans in Samarkand to prevent them from being annihilated by the large Russian forces arriving. On top of that now there was the issue of General Enver’s martyrdom which we could not completely believe. Under these conditions, at the Congress we were going to discuss what we were to do if the National Movement had met a complete route. The Congress was going to meet for three days between 18-20 September. However, since the prominent individuals of Turkistan, Ali Han Bukeyhan, Turar Riskulov, Ahmet Baytursun, Muhammed Can Tinisbay; Munevver Kari of the Ozbeks; Hekimzades, Mirza Abdulkadir Muhittin from Bukhara; Advocate Qoqacan Berdiyev of the Turkmen, and others could not participate in this Congress because they were under constant surveilliance of the Soviets. Since it was not possible to gather everyone into a large convocation, the Congress was going to consist of ten to fifteen individuals. With the precautions taken, instead of the above referenced individuals, others who are influential, most active young leaders as well as older intellectuals who are known not to be tightly followed were safe to attend. Members of the National Society working within governmental organizations and secret police ensured that the Congress was going to meet securely. I was having rumors circulated by way of my friends in the Samarkand Soviet Government that I and my entourage were percolating in that Province. The news of my then living in Tashkent Province never reached the Russians.
The demise of the white horse—
The white and the black horses we left back in Cinas, we had declared them as votive offerings. Meaning, they were not going to be ridden again. After they were brought to Keles location, both fell ill. The saddle had scraped the back of the white one. Among the Kazaks, the dried dung of dogs, in powder form, was regarded as very beneficial for this condition. They would collect and bring it. Once, while I was taking a walk with my wife, I found a piece of dried dog dung, and put it into my handkerchief. At one point my wife stated: “on one hand, in order to save Turkistan you are running around the wide expanses of our country, leading the people. On the other, you are collecting dog dung from the grass and saving it in your handkerchief. Is there not a dichotomy in that?” I stated: “no, there is not. The gray horse that I like saved my life. Since it is difficult to find a veterinarian here, it is appropriate to undertake this. I will give my life to my beloved nation. What keeps me alive is love. A few days later, the front hooves of the same horse came off, as if galoshes tossed away from the feet. That meant, these horses spent their lives carrying us from Akdag to Kizilkum, and from there to Cinas. When his hooves came off, he laid down on the ground. Tears were rolling off his eyes, indicating he was in pain. I told the Kazaks to slaughter him immediately. I also told them to take away the black one, far from me. If he gets better, that is fine. If not, then you can slaughter him as well. We buried the bones of the white horse along the Senk at the Kelesi village. Feyzullah Hoca gave me that horse at the last instance when we had seen each other at the Sitaremah-Hassa, just before I left Bukhara in 1921. Even though it was small in stature, his eyes were always shiny and he was very lively. The first day I rode him, he had saved me from the Russian soldiers by swimming across the overflowing Zarafsan River. Perhaps I already wrote that event earlier. I asked Major Abdurrahman that if he had a chance, to have a carved monument placed where his bones were buried. I also wrote a poem and gave it to him: “Silver headed Aktav, where even the birds cannot fly/ where I made the sharp stones a pillow, and the white couds my quilt/ you waited for me my fleet-footed/ made the enemy vomit blood/ before the sunrise, made the snowy roads a bridge/ running all night arriving at Sanzar River/ crossing the enemy’s battle lines, life saving fleet-foot/ in the morning arriving in Yuvas, then to Tilek heights of Kizilkum the same midnight/ from Kizilkum to Sirdarya and in the morning to Cinas all well/ There will be resurrection, and when it comes, you will reach me swishing your tail, moving your mane, my beloved fleet-foot.”
I reached the city alone, riding across the Besalaca vineyards of Kekes. Thay had given me a good ambling horse. Almost every night there was a feast, we would all gather. Friends from Orenburg, Semipalat, Akmola, and Khiva were never in short supply. The topic would always revolve around the death of General Enver. However, we still had not received full account of what happened from the Basmaci Chiefs.
7th Turkistan National Congress—
Our congress convened on 18 September. I recall there being sixteen members. Especially the Kazak intellectuals were well represented. Three consecutive nights we met at different locations. All the decisions made were taken with sincerity. When the Organization was in Bukhara, the designation was “Central Asian Moslem National People’s Federation of Societies.” Now, it was simply “Turkistan National Union.” It was decided that in Kazakistan, instead of “Alas-Orda,” henceforth it was going to be referenced as Northern Turkistan. Among the primary decisions was the application of the Federation principle which would naturally remove the question of which uruks would be dominant in education and governance, and provide for equality and brotherhood among all. It was also important for the Turkistan question to be taken before the international community and not be left as an internal matter of Russia any longer. In addition, it was necessary to represent the Turkistan National problem outside the Russian realm. This meeting decided that I leave Turkistan, and arrive in Europe via Iran, Afghanistan and India, to meet with Cokayoglu Mustafa to establish the Center for Turkistan National Union there. I was also given a document to that effect, signed by the President of the Congress. Since there was nobody who could write it in any other language, it was written in Russian and in Turkish on a piece of cloth. I was going to take my wife along. I sent her to a family we knew in Ashkabad via the railroad. During the last day of the Congress, a letter arrived detailing the conditions of Eastern Bukhara. It informed us that, after General Enver’s martyrdom, Haci Sami and Danyal Bey of Daghestan were going to replace him. After that congress, I remained in and around Tashkent for about a month. Meanwhile, a youth took a picture of me without glasses and carried it to Baskurdistan. The old Minhac took a copy of that picture and a letter from me to the Head Fighter of the Kirgiz, Parpi Beke, at Ferghana Ozgend Mountains, which urged them to cross-over to Kashgar. In return, he brought back a picture of Parpi Beke on horseback, and his regards. Minhac returned to Baskurdistan. Later on, I met Parpi Haci in Turkiye; he had arrived via Hoten, Tibet and India. His life is the dastan of an intelligent, brave man. Another Baskurt and a Kazak, made the two-way trip to the Kirgiz adventurists in the north of Ferghana.
Imprisonment of Evhadi Ismurzin—
We learned of an event that was very sad for us, via our friends working in the governmental offices in Tashkent. That was my friend Evhadi’s becoming a prisoner of war to the Red Army. Even though we could not obtain information about this event from any other source, we believed it. A year later, while we were in Kabul we learned that Evhadi was executed in Moscow; but, we were only able to learn the full progression of events after we arrived in Turkiye during 1925, three years afterward.
Evhadi and his entourage, after he and I made our farewells on 11 August at Usmet, continued fighting the Red Army units at Zamin and Uratepe mountains along with Mamur and Turab Beys for a spell. According to his friend Heybetullah, Evhadi fell prisoner to the Russians ten kilometers south of the Zamin train station, at the Kuru Guldurevuk high pasture, while fighting them. Evhadi seemed pessimistic during those days. According to again what Heybetullah told us, one night they were staying at an alacik at a yayla. The weather was rainy and foggy. He brought a bottle of cognac from his saddle bag, shared it with his friends. He was reciting a poem by Pushkin: “hurricane and fog is blocking the skies. Harsh wind mixed with snow turning everything upside down. The tent in which we are is dark and dreary. Where is the glass, let us drink a little wine. Perhaps our heart may be relived.”
He was not in favor of spending much time on these mountains, had the intent to find General Enver via Maca route; he did not wish to spend much time with him either, but to cross over to Afghanistan. Esrarhan, the Chief of the Maca had arrived with his soldiers. They attacked Zamin, and withdrew to Kuru Guldurevuk. Evhadi showed much bravery in that battle, but just as they were facing the Russians, his horse slipped on a rock and fell down. Just at that moment, the Red soldiers caught up with him. Evhadi killed a few of them with his pistol, but the Reds caught him. The next day, the commander of the Red unit, a colonel was also killed. They found his bag and his spy-glasses in his saddlebag. All of that are in the possession of Islam Gerey who is now living in Turkiye. They saw a Red soldier running away on Evhadi’s gray horse. Thus the valuable War Minister of Baskurdistan was taken prisoner and taken to Zamin while he was being beaten, thence to Moscow. However, our friends working for the government could not obtain details of the event.
The last night in Tashkent—
I was going to leave Tashkent on 22 October for Turkmenistan. On the night of the 21st, my friends asked to convene one more time. They saw it fit that I still should work on the branches of the Turkistan National Union for another few months prior to my crossing over to Iran. Everyone thought that this may be the very last meeting of our Society.
Everyone was very sincere. There were those who cried because we might not see each other again. The spirit of belief in our existence, good spiritual brotherhood dominated the meeting. After leaving that meeting at a very late hour, I went to spend the night at the home of a distinguished Kirgiz and Kazak intellectual, in order to leave early in the morning. That person had studied in Saint Petersburg. His wife was also a Moslem who had studied with him. Since they are still alive, I am unable to provide their names; they were my close friends in Saint Petersburg. When we had arrived at their home, his wife was not at home. They had food left over from luch. The gentleman of the house warmed them, we ate. I was dressed exactly as a Kazak. My glasses were only two lenses that I carried in my pocket, and used them only when absolutely necessary. My beard and mustache was trimmed in the Kazak fashion. The gentleman of the hosue had me sit in the most revered chair in the house. He told me: “My wife must not recognize you; you must speak only in Kazak.” A little later, his wife arrived. In Russian, she stated: “whoever arrives from the village, you invite them to your table; even have them sit in your chair” mumbling in a disapproving manner. I was sitting as if I understood nothing, and speaking as if I had no knowledge of the world talking about simple matters. A little later, the gentleman of the house motioned me to lie down at the corner of the house serving as the salon, after placing blankets and pillows on the couch, despite the protests of his wife. They went to bed in the next room. But, the upper portion of the wall between the two rooms was open. The wife was nagging her husband in Russian, objecting him to hosting me in their home, giving me blankets and pillows and has me sleep on the couch, angrily talking and preventing him from going to sleep. She was repeating “your loused Kazak.” The gentleman did not say anything beyond: “be quiet, be quiet.” In the morning I woke up, and got ready to leave. I wrote on a piece of paper, in Russian, a letter: “Dear Lady X; do not tire your brain for me. I was sorry we could not talk about our memories of Saint Petersburg. We are travelling under these conditions. Please destroy this letter.” I signed it. I placed the letter in an envelope, left it on the dining table, and continued on my journey. A year had not passed; I had arrived in Germany via India and France. It transpired that a person close to the gentleman of the house was sent to Germany by the Turkistan Soviet Government for education and arrived in Berlin. He told me. Lady X, when she found may letter was pulling out her hair and crying with deep sighs, criticizing her husband with: “why did you hide him from me, you made me disgraced; if he arrives again one day, how will I be able to look him in the eye?”
Farewell to Tashkent—
At our house in Besagac, a youth was waiting for me, to accompany me to Cinas. This was an Ozbek youth. Since it was not appropriate for me to take the train in cities like Tashkent and Samarkand, I was boarding a freight train one or two stations before or after such cities. Since I had learned that there was a tight control of documents between Cinas station and Mirza Desert along Sirdarya and Carcuy while crossing Amudarya, I decided to ride to Cinas, cross the river on a raft, and board the train at Mirza Desert.
That day, I visited my sick friend Ferid at Nogay Korgan, and spent the night with Hoca Makbuloglu Omer at Kavunci. We boarded the train on 24 October at Xavas station at a late hour. That was because I could travel on the train only at night. I disembarked a station before Samarkand. The horses were ready. We arrived in Samarkand with my friend Sahveli.
Farewell to Samarkand—
I spent four days in Samarkand. After it was decided that I was going to other countries, for the purpose of the publications I was going to produce, I began keeping a regular diary without mentioning names. I stayed there four days. Every night, there was a feast in a different friend’s house and we had sweet discussions. At the meeting near the Paykabak Gate, in another friend’s house, the issues debated in Tashkent were once again discussed. The friends who had arrived via the railroad had already told other friends of my leaving the country.
The people of Samarkand, as it was in the past, are today truly brave and sincere individuals. Even though the Russian Commander in Chief General Kamenev was also here, our meetings were being held in complete security, trust in each other and without fear. The reason was there were trustworthy individuals in the administration of the Province. The meetings held in the vineyard next to the Paykabak Dervanesi left truly unforgettable memories of friendship in my mind; and it transpired that the friends wanted to place those pleasant memories in my heart. Kadi Haydar had brought a Samarkand Doppu [skullcap] especially ornamented for me, and a silk capan [overgarment]. Someone brought a few bottles of the best “triangles” found in Samarkand. I was going to send them to Turkmenistan by the hand of the Baskurt youth named Sahveli, who was to serve as our courier henceforth. My closest friend Murad Hoca Isan, in consultation with other friends, presented me with a “bunch” which they had prepared with care. It carried the written designation “rosebunch of bravery and fortitude.” There was no table; we were sitting on the ground. One of the friends read the following which he read. It was sent to Hasim Saik in Kabul via the Afghan courier in Bukhara. I am relaying the pertinent portions here: “do not look down on this humble bunch. Regardless of how long it is kept in the water, it shall wilt. However, it is sufficient for us to know that it will live in your heart without perishing, to remind you of our regards for you always. We wrote upon it ‘bunch of bravery and fortitude.’ This is your own words. It had raised the banner of revolt in every province of Turkistan. But, why did you choose our city and province to serve as the headquarters of the Society that began the secret endeavors and operations for the national struggle? You had given us the the reason at the night meeting held at Ab-I Rahmet during the previous Kurban Bayrami. You made statements that left us filled with gratitude for you. You stated that the Arab Scholar Mukaddesi had written about the people of Samarkand, and stated that ‘they are different than other provinces of Maveraunnehir; they are brave and have fortitude’. You then asked: ‘let us see if you are still?’ We surmise that the people of Samarkand Province did not do anything to cause you to experience disappointment. You arrived amongst us on Tuesday, 9 August 1921. Four days later, during the Kurban Bayrami, we made important decisions and a month later we had organized the Sixth Congress, fixed the flag of Turkistan and the bylaws of the Society. You gave each of us duties, and since the day you arrived in Samarkand, for the past fourteen months and fifteen days, we regarded you as the Commander in your capacity as the President of the Turkistan National Union. We endeavored not to have any shortcomings in carrying-out your commands. Prior to your and the Society’s arrival, in this Province there were small groups of Basmaci who were fighting each other, lacking national ideals, and those who were at most under the influence of the Mollas instead of organized Basmaci groups. The Society provided them with the internal organization and discipline so as to hold them up to all Turkistan Basmaci as a specimen. ‘Bravery and fortitude’ we had in the past. We now see them in you. You were with Haci Abdulkadir at Urgut Mountains when General Enver sent for you from Bukhara. You rode there in two days, and solved the issue of the Turkish Grandees joining the Turkistan national independence movement. From Cabbar at Guzar, Karakul at Kette-Kurgan, Xalbuta at Uratepe, Molla Kahhar at Bukhara, you ran to them on horseback, sometimes crossing the enemy lines just like Battal Gazi, have them accept the principle of obedience to the Society. The men of Molla Kahhar treacherously killed the friends you brought from Baskurdistan. Despite that, you went to Nurata and freed your friends who remained alive. Your intelligent behavior gained those Basmaci for the Society once more; otherwise they would have become Emirists once more, away from the Society. And, they could have killed you there. Upon arrival in Samarkand, you used a room at the Ulug Bey Medrese for the purpose of ‘interviews.’ That was bravery. You were not going to Gur-I Emir (Temur’s burial site), because you knew that there would be those who would be waiting continuously. That was acceptance of fortitude. Some of our friends requested you to have the Baskurt and Kazak soldiers in the directions of Tashkent and Ferghana to join the Basmaci for the sole purpose of helping Muhiddin Mahdum. They are today ashamed. That Mahdum now surrendered to the Russians. If your soldiers were to enter the non-official life, they were going to be left in dire circumstances. You were not angry at that either; you managed us. That is what we are calling fortitude. That was the best quality loved and appreciated by our Prophet and the grandees of Islam who were leaders and commanders. Now, it appears General Enver is dead. You will show us ways in order not to have our population fall into alarm because of that death. You will obtain aid from other nations for our salvation.” The fortitude praised by Zamaxseri may be the hostage to guarantee of success in other countries.
In reality, I had learned the city and Province people of Samarkand very well during these battles, and I had a heartfelt affection for them. How can a human forget his friends, like Isan Murad Hoca? Kadi Haydar stated: “A man named Burhaneddin Sagirci had emerged from within us. He had worked in Bagdat, India and China for this country. God willing, you can surpass him; we wish you all the success. After Sagirci had passed away, his burial here he had attained him the rank of people’s saint. We are going to pray that you return to us in the shortest possible time.”
While I was living secretly in Samarkand, I had visited the burial sites of the Martyrs who were brought back to the city, and buried in the city cemeteries. Among them was the tomb of my friend Haris Sisenbay who was buried near Mescid-I Hizir. He had passed away not in a battle field, but in the city, from malaria.
While visiting the tombs of the loyal friends I lost, such as Ibrahim Kackinbay, Alimcan Tagan, and Haris Sisenbay, I felt I was performing a very important task. When I visited my village, I visited the grave of my beloved sister Aynulhayat; during severe battles of 1919 at southern Urals, Kackinbay’s snow covered burial; during the 1954 winter in Hamburg, Dr. Tagan; I bestowed the verses I could remember to their souls in each case. Now, at Haris’s tomb, I performed that duty. I longed for the day of resurrection so I could see them again. How would the members of religions who do not believe in resurrection remember their friends? The explanation of my Chinese student on this matter did not satisfy me. For Haris, his life on earth was almost like an episode one second long. On 6 May 1922 he had placed his head on my knees, cried and told me and my wife: “If I die, we will meet again on the day of resurrection; but always remember me, and read a few verses to beatify my soul” and passed away in my embrace. Just like my son Iris Mehmet who also passed away from Malaria in Bukhara. What is sweeter than believing that the fidelity is non-ending, and kneeling on the tombs of those we love to send a few prayers to their souls? Haris had managed my complete communications. He took care of my horses; he handled whatever money I had. He oversaw the secret armory we had established, just like two of his friends I had brought from Xarigos. He took my verbal communications to Baskurdistan once, twice to Khiva, several times to Bukhara. He did not have any other ideal than to see the independence of his people or to die working on that path. His Russian was good; he had learned Persian in Bukhara and Samarkand. If I were to go to other countries, he wished to travel with me. I thought we might benefit from him in the State administrative apparatus, as he was exceedingly intelligent, virtuous, exceedingly brave and prudent. In his spare time, he read the history of Mirhond. Even though he behaved in a very refined way toward my wife, he would sometimes be rough toward me and that gave him pangs of conscious. When he read that the Salciyut Beys’ had been punished when they behaved in that manner toward Cengiz Han, he stated that perhaps this was a genetically inherited condition. I had given furlough to two of his friends and sent them to Baskurdistan. Haris did not want to serve in a place away from me. If he were in Turkiye today, he would have completed tasks beneficial to knowledge. He had the ideal of becoming a soldier in the footsteps of Babur, a poet knowing history. I had taught him the alliterative, internal rhyming poetry style of the Altaians. He had produced a good work expressing his inspiration from visiting Temur’s tomb called Kokgumbez. Some of his lines are in my memory now: “Kök kümbezin kürüldetip, Ürkütme bizni Biy Temir; / Qaraqaş taşın qımıldatıp, Qorkutma bizni Biy Temir/ = Do not scare us Bey Temir/ by making your blue dome thunder; / Do not frighten us Bey Temir/ by moving your black stone.” The “black stone” mentioned was brought from Huten Province; a hard nifrit stone. He had learned all that from reading Bartold. He was charmed by the Kazak and Nogay dastans. He had written beautiful pieces in imitation of them. It would have been so much better if he had lived.
After those four days I spent in Samarkand I was so much closer to the city and my friends there.
Turkmenistan once more—
My friend Sahveli left for Ashkabad by train. Since I could not board the train in Samarkand, I went to the Utarci station by horse, boarded the freight train and reached the Amudarya shores. I disembarked at Farab Dort-Kuyu station, went to the Turkmen I knew and rested for three days. Two years ago we had arrived here with the poet Seyyid Gerey Magaz and had become their guests. They crossed me over to Carcuy by boat. From there, I again boarded a freight train and arrived in Merv. There I stayed with my friend Berdioglu Kokacan for a few days, and arrived in Askabad on horseback during 18 November. Sahveli had rented a house. He was also very pleased with the talks I had with my friends in Samarkand. He had recorded what was discussed, without mentioning the names of the individuals. He also believed that the participation of individuals from The Baskurt Army in this uprising was a good deed. On 1 December, my wife Nefise arrived from the city of Turkistan, in the company of a Kazak youth. She and Sahveli by train, and I, again in caution, by horse, arrived in the village of our Turkmen friend Kadi Mahmut. In Askabad we had rented a house in the outskirts of the city, and separate quarters for conversation with those visiting from the outside. We did the same at Yeni Merv. That was because we were going to live in two diferent cities alternately. My friend Fethulkadir had arrived in Askabad on 8 December. He was going to undertake the trips to Iran, Afganistan, India, Europe and Turkiye with me. We sent Sahveli to Samarkand. A few days later he arrived in Yeni Merv in the company of two literate Ozbek youths. They were providing our contacts with Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. Sometimes, someone was making the trip to and from Orenburg. In that manner, we stayed there, until we exited to Iran, for the next four months. The Turkmen organization was also providing us with horses. We could go anywhere and be guests. During that time, I worked on the book of Mahmud Kasgari, and wrote the history of contemporary history of Turkmenistan. With the aid of our friends working in the Russian GPU, I was appearing as if I had stayed in the region of Samarkand, and as if I had crossed over to Eastern Bukhara after the demise of General Enver. As it was the case in Tashkent, we lived with ease in Askabad. Russians did not know. Only a very few Turkmen knew us. Haci Sami and Danyal Bey, who had replaced General Enver after his martyrdom, had prepared a long report on the events of the General’s demise, and sent sent it to the TMB [Turkistan National Union] headquarters with their men. This was the first report we had on the General’s martyrdom after a span of month and a half.
Martyrdom of General Enver—
Those who were in the entourage of General Enver on the day of his martyrdom had gathered around Basmaci Fuzayil Mahdum on 17 August and sent me a letter to Tashkent via one of their men, asked me to take over the movement. That letter had arrived during the Tashkent Congress. But, that letter did not provide any detailed information on the General’s demise. During that time, Haci Sami was in Afghanistan. He finally arrived and wrote the aforementioned long report. His writing was expressing his sincere feelings, and almost like a poem. Additional letters also arrived from former members of the Baskurt Government, Mustafa Sahkuli and Heybetullah Yambuktin, who were with the entourage of General Enver. Mustafa Sahkuli provided the greatest details. The General fell in the battle with the Russians during the Kurban Bayrami on Friday, 4 August at Ceken village seven or eight kilometers from Belcivan. It was understood that the Russians did not possess clear details about that event. Several men from among the Russians emerged to claim that they had killed the General. Among them, there is the publication of the Ceka Officer Agabekov. An Australian by the name of Gustav Krist had heard it from Agabekov himself, and wrote it as if it was a documented case in his Along Through the Forbidden Land. After that the Yugoslavian Mahmut Muftic and C. Howard Ellis mentioned the event in the March and December 1962 issues of The Islamic Review. Those were complete fiction. The General was killed by the bullet of a Russian soldier, but it was not certain whose bullet it was. Those who wish to humiliate the late General Enver wrote many nonsensical pieces, and continue to do so. With that, they are attempting to belittle the Turkistan people. Ostensibly, the General did not know war tactics. The Turkistan forces could not be trusted. However, this is guerilla warfare. As I mentioned above, all of us, much liked the General, had our lives under danger at all times. Even at the time of the Seljuks, fighting against the Crusaders, the conditions were very much similar. Later on, I read in the history of Muneccim Basi, an event very much like that of experienced by General Enver in Ceken. The martyrdom of Giyasuddin Keyhusrev I, in 1210, the son of Kilicaslan II, the Sultan of the Seljuks, was very much like the demise of General Enver. While Giyasuddin was pursuing the defeated infidel units, and pillaging their weaponry and ammunition, while he was a lone, an enemy soldier not knowing who he was, shot him. The dead body of the Sultan was completely stripped of his clothes. General Enver had told me: “I do not wish to die like General Talat in the streets of Berlin with an Armenian bullet. It is necessary for my life to be lost for the sake of the Turkish nation. If we cannot be a Gazi [victorious fighter], then we will become a Martyr.” He definitely was an idealist, and he was of course sincere in his wish to die on Turkistan soil, fighting for her independence. He attained his wish, and his name has gone down into immortality of the Turkistan history. I wish the world only consisted of persons who would undertake warfare only when they knew that they would be the victors. In that manner, no foolish fighter would have emerged to lose the fight. The late General Cemal had left a different last testament. When he had sent letters from Kabul inviting the Basmaci to come to an understanding with the Soviets, while he was thinking of attracting them to Afghanistan for the purpose of expelling the English from India, among the Basmaci the idea was formed that General Cemal was a dreamer and and an adventurist. There is no doubt that General Cemal was an idealist. However, General Enver was a pure idealist. When we were in Bukhara he had stated to me: “if we are not successful, by leaving my corpse here, I will serve the future of Turkism.” In that, he was sincere. He knew what he wanted to do. He regarded crossing over to Afghanistan as only an adventure, and he was stating he never had that intention. Besides, what he had stated to Efdalettin Han was just that. Many of my friends, who were with the General, in his entourage, during the hours of his Martyrdom, later arrived in Turkiye; all of them, especially Mustafa Sakuli’s and Mirza Nefes Turkmen stated: “Turkmen Abdurrahman, who was defending Kurgan Tepe for the General, had informed the General several days before the Kurban Bayrami that the Russians had sent massive forces to Kulab on the banks of Amudarya, in order to cut his reatreat route to Afghanistan. Amanullah, King of Aghanistan had sent three hundred men under the command of an officer by the name of Efdalettin, to serve as bodyguards for the General. They were with him at the Baysun expedition. Another letter arrived from Amanullah Han, when the General was withdrawing from there, arrived at a mid-point between Belcivan and Kulab, known as Gevrekli. In that letter, the King was insistently inviting the General to Afghanistan stating: ‘the embrace of our nation and the door of our state are open for you.’ Danyal Bey was commanding the unit at Gevrekli. The General called the commander of the Afghan forces, Efdal Han, and stated: ‘your duty here is over; return to your country.’ He also immediately wrote a letter to Amanullah Han stating: ‘I will definitely stay here. If I die, soil will be found in the land of my lineage to cover my body. Departing from here will be a grevious error. I also granted permission to your soldiers.’” Amanullah Han had already invited the General to Afghanistan, even when he was under the surveillance of the Lakays, by sending a relative by the name of Nurullah. The General’s answer was the same at that time. The General fought the Russians bravely at Ceken. He was martyred by a bullet of a fleeing Russian. His soldiers were dispersed, but Danya and Faruk Beys immediately concentrated all the forces and surrounded the Russians and completely destroyed their Battalion that had reached Ceken. That was the cause of Russians not knowing how the General was killed when they first received the news. Russians themselves did not know whose bullet killed the General or who it was that was killed. According to Mirza Muhittin and Mirza Nefes Turkmen, who were in the entourage of the General, the local Tajiks who did not recognize the General, stripped his body, uncoiled their turbans and as was customary, using that material as a shroud, buried him. It is surmised that what fell into the hands of the Russian agents such as clothes and writings had passed onto their hands after those Tajiks.
In the letters reaching me in Askabad, besides the one written by Haci Sami, there were the signatures of Turkish [Ottoman] Officers and Basmaci Chiefs such as Ismail Hakki, Nafi Bey, Halil Bey, Hasan Bey and others. In his letter, Heybetullah provided a detailed report of the trip from Usmet battles to Belcivan via Maca. Along those lines it was mentioned that Evhadi Ismurzin was surrounded and taken prisoner, but there was no other casualties. Heybetullah detailed how Evhadi was killed. Once again, let us remember that friend on this occasion. Evhadi was my old friend; he was with me from the very beginning of the National Movement. His woman was a Russian; he always thought of her. I would tell him: “that kind of thinking would cause you to fall into a calamity. Leave it.”
Guests arriving from Merv—
When those letters arrived, since my friend Abdulkadir had gone to Taskent along with Sahveli, my wife and I were alone. Atabay and Kurban from Khiva and Kadi Mahmut of the Turkmen arrived; they consoled us. Kadi Mahmut invited us to his home. Nefise did not wish to go. Kadi took me to his village. We drank our fill of the good wine Kadi had himself made. There was a flute player from the Turkmen, who played well, which we enjoyed. Kadi knew Celaleddin Rumi’s poems well, and he was reciting them. I was translating them into Chaghatay Turkish in verse. That made Kadi exuberant. A friend of him who was present at the gathering was cussing-out another person who was not, with epithets such as tightwad and perfidious because of some action he had taken. In that connection Kadi recited a poem from the poet Baqa’I from Balkh. I translated that ino Turkish, because it was easy: “even if that miserable person promises to give you the treasure of Harun, do not ask for it; it is not worth the pain of waiting for the false promises to come true.” They liked it so much that, even though I received no share of poetic skill, I felt as if I had become a poet. At midnight, Kadi brought me and Kurban to our home at Askabad (Home of Huseyin Kasimoglu of Tebriz). Meanwhile, he was singing Turkmen songs, swaying from side-to-side on his horse. Kadi Mahmut was curious about history and worked on it; he had agricultural fields in the vicinity of Merv. When I hid in Turkmenistan the first time during 1920, he had taken me to a site, known as Mahmudi, where Emir Huseyin and the Oirat emirs had quarreled in 1362.
On the way, we stopped at a village. It transpired that it was a place where the soldiers of Han Cuneyd spent time. We spent a pleasant few hours with them. They had good looking uniform-like outfits. We sent a photographer from Askabad and had their images taken, and sent those to them. We also had our pictures taken.
My letter to Rudzutak—
On the twentieth day of the month, another letter arrived from Tashkent. Turar Riskilov had brought news from our friends. “Velidov had been pardoned by the decision of the Party Centre. If he likes, he can immediately come and speak with Rudzutak; but he must keep in mind that his activities during the last few years are referenced as ‘Comrade Velidov, whose whereabouts is unknown.’” In the private letter Rudzutak sent me he wrote: “if you do not wish to return, I am undertaking the task of facilitating your journey to any country you wish.” This invitation by Rudzutak, who was acting as the Governor General of Turkistan, was significant. I immediately responded to him: “During the 9th Party Congress, while the discussion was on the issue of Profsoyuz (labor unions), you had shaken my hand with both of your hands when I had indicated to you and Comrade Tomski that those laborers who were members of the labor unions but not members of the Party must not be treated as privates in the Army, their self-determination and freedoms must not be taken from them. But, what happened? Three months after that Congress, Lenin gave me his twelve theses on ‘Nationality and Colonialism’ for me ‘to comment’ for the Second Comintern Congress. Despite those, Lenin had dictated the passage of the principle of the dictatorship of the metropolitan proletariat over the colonial proletariat in that Congress. Thus, his request for my comments and writings was made only ‘to learn my views.’ Lenin, who ostensibly was in favor of the Trotsky and Buxarin’s ‘working front’ supporting the ‘working people have the right to have ideas and free will’ immediately accepted the opposing thesis, and took the road to deny the free will and rights of the working people. This demonstrated that not only Stalin, but Lenin himself was no longer trustworthy, and socialism in Russia was tumbling toward Russian imperialism. All of us witnessed that including Trotsky. Now, who shall I trust to return? Are you certain of yourself so that I can trust you? You know that we do not have any conflicts on social issues, but you also know that I am a person who believes in reciprocal trust and sincerity among revolutionaries. Who, even people like you, whose sincerity I believe, are able to trust? I am convinced that the Islamic statement ‘a believer will not stick his finger into a snake hole a second time, after he is bitten the first time’ is quite true. I will remain true to my decision, even if I am to remain in the world of unofficial, to remain in freedom and the right to take a free breath. I wish comrades like you, Tomski, Frunze and Rykov, who have regarded me a friend and trusted me, health.”
The letter I wote to Lenin—
“20 February 1923
Dear Vladimir Ilich,
Due to your illness, it is possible that you might have been prevented from reading this letter or it might not have reached you. But since I sent copies of it to some other friends, it is now a historical document. Comrade Stalin ostensibly stated that under Comrade Rudzutak's auspices I could return to the Party. In other words they (Party) would disregard the letter I sent to the Central Committee from Baku in 1920, outlining my opposition to and initiatives against Moscow by joining the Rebellion. However, who can believe that and return? Especially since you have abrogated the 20 March 1919 agreement which was signed by you, Stalin, I and my friends; by your order of 19 May 1920 signed only by you and Stalin? When I personally protested that latter order, you had characterized our 20 March 1919 agreement "only a piece of paper." However, that agreement announced that Bashkurts would retain the right of maintaining their own army and that army was going to be under the command of Soviet Headquarters without intermediary stages. With your 19 May 1920 order, you have deprived the Bashkurt army of those provisions, assigning it to the trans-Volga army, dispersing the Bashkurt units as the trans-Volga Headquarters saw fit among its formations. Indeed, that is what happened and today there is no physical Bashkurt Army. Similarly, in the same order what was deceivingly termed "attaching Ufa to Bashkurdistan" turned out to be the reverse, attaching Bashkurdistan to the Ufa province. Consequently, what was conceded to the "Russian Moslems" on 20 December 1917, "the right to secede from Russia," should they choose has been destroyed from its foundations by your order of May 1920. From now on, following the defeat of Bashkurts, Kazakhs and the Turkistanis in the South-West and my departure from Soviet Russia as of tomorrow, a new era shall begin in their history; that is, rather than seeking their legal equality with the Russians (in the Russian context), that experimentation having failed, the transition to the international arena (for seeking those rights) is being made. My task will be to familiarize the world with the history of those struggles. The Veklikiirus nation has already decided on the specific policy to be applied to the captive nations and tribes they are holding, not only in economic and social matters, but also in cultural affairs. The "Eastern University" which you established last year is operating as a center for these policies. A specialized "eastern affairs" group, comprised of Velikiirus personnel around the Central Committee has also been formed. The Central Committee has brought in certain individuals of the eastern nationalities of the Soviet domains, charged with the specific duty of preparing material for these "eastern specialists." Those eastern nationals even published certain books and pamphlets. But, the topics they are to work on are assigned by your Velikiirus. These non-Russian intellectuals are not even being admitted into the debates on the "constitutions" which are being prepared to govern them. Today, the main task on which the Central Committee Eastern Affairs Specialists are working is to prepare separate alphabets and literary languages for each nationality and tribe, based on the extant local "phonetic" differences between them. In principle, the non-Russian communists are said to be serving only as consultants in this endeavor. In the latest issue of the journal Kizil Shark, published by the members of the Eastern University, contained a commentary by one Omer Aliyev of Daghestan. According to him, should the Cyrillic alphabet be accepted for the Northern Caucasus Turkish dialects, this would lead to Christianization. Further, he has reportedly said, it would be necessary to borrow the Latin alphabet in use in Azerbaijan. It is imperative that the issues of Alphabet and literary language (according to Aliyev) not require Russian help, but the aid of those governments formed on the basis of national political freedom, and should be accomplished by native scholars. These writings and efforts of the Azerbaijanis to gather the intellectual communist of the Turk tribes around Kizil Shark and one literary language is said to be making the Velikiirus specialists nervous, angry. When Shahtahtinskii and Jelal Guliev of Azerbaijan defended a single alphabet based on Latin, Prof. Polivanov and other Russians are said to have stated that even if the Latin alphabet is accepted, this would be replaced by the Cyrillic and a special sub-set will be created for Turkish dialects, whose numbers were approaching forty. Shahtahtinskii retorted that the aim of Russians was not to allow standard literary language to live. It is now understood that, when you Velikiirus friends begin playing with the language and the syntax of a people, you will not let their collars free until they, too, become complete Russians. It is not possible not to be surprised to observe the differences between your current policies and your writings in "Against the Tide" and in your other writings, where you state that ideally, the rights of nations should be placed in their hands. Your representative comrade Zeretskii gave numerous conferences to our people, during the summer of 1919 while we were refurbishing our army in Saransk, to the effect that the Soviet government was the first in history to base the freedoms of captive nations on their own national armies. I myself published an article in Pravda in the same vein. It has not been four years since those events and it appears that your policies will be developing in the opposite direction. RKP may continue to claim, in Asia and the countries far away from Russia, such as Africa, that it will liberate them. The truth is, your Velikiirus become angry when people such as Gregori Safarov display the colonial policies of the tsar in Turkistan. Those Velikiirus enjoy hearing the native communists liken themselves to small fish being eaten by the whale, better if that argument were presented as a proverb. When comrade Artium was visiting us, he used to state his belief that except for China and India, the Soviet Russian culture would become dominant in all of Asia. Those native languages and cultures attempting to prevent this would not be worth dwelling upon, since they are only going to be used to spread communism. These and similar words were repeated elsewhere. Without a doubt, this will be carried-out and as a result all those nations who wish to retain their independence but have become your prisoners will view Soviet Russia as their foremost enemy. I mentioned these matters to you while you and I were discussing your theses on "Colonialism and the Nationality Question." Later, I read your aforementioned theses in Kommunisticheskii Internatsional journal (No. 11) once more. You have suggested that even after the establishment of the worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat, "it would be obligatory for the vanguard nationalities to actively participate in the establishment of socialist regimes in the less developed countries." This translates into perpetuating the colonial regimes in India by the British, in Turkistan by Russia, in Africa by French and the Belgium through their labor organizations. When I spoke with you and your friends in Ufa during 1919, never was there a mention of the use of terror to destroy the human self-determination. What happened? Was that the object of those revolutions? Piatokov was correct when he directed this question to you while debating the "labor unions" issues. You were beseeched not to take away those revolutions from the labor unions whose sweat and blood were spilled for it. It is said that even Rosa Luxembourg was of the opinion that no good would come of socialism, should it become a prisoner of imperialist traditions serving great nations. If Russia has not descended into the lows of becoming the prisoner of imperial traditions, what business did it have concocting literary languages and alphabets from the regional vernaculars? If you are alive, perhaps you can personally correct some of these errors. I have but one request: I ask that permission be given to my wife Nefise to meet me in Germany; she could not accompany me tomorrow on the way to Iran, due to her pregnancy.
Ahmet Zeki Validov.”
I sent the letters to Rudzutak and to Lenin by way of private couriers. Sadulla Hoca, who had arrived in Meshed while we were in Iran, knew about those letters. My letter to Lenin was presented by my former aide-de-camp and member of the Central Committee, Abdurresid Bikbav.
Letters of Farewell written to some friends—
Since we were going to cross to Iran in two days time, I wrote a letter to one or two Baskurt intellectuals. We sewed that letter to the layers of Sahveli’s boots. During 1943, I was relived to learn from my compatriots who have joined the Germans, that letter had reached the intended destination, read by many and acquired the designation “famous letter.” I had given a copy of that letter, in addition to some important documents, to a Turkmen merchant for him to bring to Mehmedabad. The text of the letter I sent my friends is as follows:
“I worked as much as I could in pursuit of our nation’s rights and freedoms. Our movement had brought excitement to citizens in Baskurdistan as well as in Turkistan. That brought many from Turkiye, Daghistan and Azerbaijan, even Afghans and finally General Enver into the fold. It is a pity that the Polish war ended in favor of Moscow. If that war had continued a few more months, General Enver arriving from Baysun-Guzar and the Samarkand Basmaci arriving from Cizak-Nurata could have taken Samarkand and Bukhara. Dynamite was prepared at various points along the railroad; that route was going to be closed to the Red Army in August, in the direction of Kizilarvad and Sirdarya region. It is a shame that Moscow found the possibility of sending significant forces. Despite the fact that circumstances had turned completely against us during August, I was working to sustain our fight and have all Sehrisebz and Samarkand Basmaci to join with General Enver along with Baskurt, Tatar and Kazak Officers at the end of August in the Baysun region. But, events suddenly turned against us. General Enver was martyred in battle. At the same time-frame (in September), the Turkistan National Congress meeting secretly in Tashkent tasked me with the duty of continuing with this struggle in other countries, write the history of the movement and organize it as an international case. I am goin to live either in Europe or in Turkiye. However, it is necessary to open eyes wide to the reality: this stage of this movement, meaning local uprising against the Soviets in order to gain concessions, is not working. Now, our nation is a sheep that fell into the paws of the wolf.
However, there is the next and new stage of this problem that is about to begin: organizing that struggle. The problem of Soviet dominance in Russia, after the internal struggles are over, has become a matter between the states. Henceforth, great states will be dealing with that. Some day in the future, it will stop being a matter for the great states and will become a problem for the entire world to consider. The lies about Soviets going to the rescue of nations and colonies are exposed. Furthermore that converted socialism, which must necessarily be on the side of and defending the rights and legalities of those shouldering the related troubles, into the objectives of an imperialistic administration of an egotistic nation. I stressed those facts to Rudzutak, Turkistan Governor General of Turkistan in a letter, and another for him to relay to Stalin, Lenin and their friends. The program of Soviet policies applies not only to those nations that are captives of the Russians but also the neighboring ones, to establish Russian linguistic and cultural dominance. World socialism, which they have everyone work for, is only a means to reach their aims. To make the world Russian is not possible. Of course, the world is slow to understand all this. That is because, it is not easy to explain those free nations the true meaning of the imperialist nature of the Russian problem. Even the Young Khivans could not, until four months before the Russians blew the ashes of their government into the skies. Otherwise, in order to understand the truth, it is necessary for each nation to be subject to the prison of the Russians. Under all conditions, rebellions and uprisings must not be allowed in our country. The movement of Suleyman Mirzabulatov can only cause harm to our nation today. I had personally told him that in Bukhara. Good thing the damage was not great.
Now, the matters you must pay attention as much as you can are as follows:
1. To work for the education of the youth, and the training of scholarly and technical specialists.
2. Individuals who can undertake business to eschew private trading to enter the cooperatives. They need to get used to the idea and see that as their means of serving the people. I also had mentioned this at the Sterlitamak meeting of August 1919.
3. Expend energies to save our language and religion. The heaviest operation will fall on these two principles. Since it will not be possible to keep any organization alive except those established by the Soviets, to serve only their benefit, it will be necessary to pursue legitimate as well as secret efforts to that end.
4. During the second stage of our struggle, we must prepare with the belief that Turkistan matter will become part of the international scene. It is also necessary for the Edil and Ural Turks to believe in the inevitability of joining in with Turkistan. It is essential that our children must be taught that at home, on whom we have been lavishing attention since 1917. Even if the world powers cannot stop Communism, and the majority of the Asian states become communist, since Communism is a sect that fans the flames of national longings, they will fight among themselves. Since we are now living in an era where airways are expanding to include trade routes, it will be impossible for Russia to keep the East-West trade in their own monopoly. Russian’s digestion of Turk branches cannot be completed in less than a century. Because, that matter is tied to the successful Russification of Caucasus and Ukraine. However, those nations who have been subjected to the Russification policies will not remain passive; they will progress as the Russians will. At this point, I will write some of my thoughts for the future; do not regard them as divination: The remainder of the Twentieth Century is pregnant with large and momentous events affecting the future of all nations due to Russian Imperialism and their forcing of world revolution. Since there are no limits to Russian appetite, they will be chasing those events. And, those big events that are certain to come will allow us to be reborn. Countries where there are sizeable Moslem communities, such as Turkistan, will benefit from that. It will serve us best to insinuate that belief to the younger generations, as the Jewish populations do propagate their belief in the rejuvenation of the State of Israel. We are going to be working in other countries; but, I trust, our generation will not perish without seeing those days of deliverance. We had given life to the Baskurdistan National Movement through legal means. We established a national regular army by the decision of the congresses, by means of open struggle. We displayed our thoughts and intentions openly in the schools, national press. All this had already started in Turkistan prior to our arrival, in the form of uprisings. Most of the Basmaci were under the influence of the mollas [theologians]. We injected national ideas, ideals into that movement. Finally, a national figure of Turkiye joined the movement with his own officiers. This is not an event that can be forgotten in a few years, or even in a couple of generations. Since the Turkish nation is devoted to the idea of independence, the memories of Canibek Han, Temur, Edige, Kucum and his sons Kayib Han and Ablay Han remain always fresh. Even those groups of us who remained in non-Turk environments and thus have forgotten or were about to forget their mother tongue sprang to life when the conditions were right and established new states. Among them are Tuyuhun, Sato and Tavgac Turks among the Chinese; Karlik and Kalac among the Indians; Arpat among the Fin-Ugur; Oguz, Agaceri and Akkoyunlu in Iran, Arab and Kurds were minorities but maintained their identities and later established their own states. They constitute historical lessons for us. I wish to have them written as novels and published. Ergenekon legend tells us how a brave Turk community was rejuvenated long after it was regarded dead. Now, we are living the most dangerous period of our existence among the Russians; but, we must not be discouraged. Personally, I never lived a moment of disappointment at the hours of a failure, because I have always been thinking of the future. The Branches mentioned above left their homelands in pursuit of their freedoms, but attained their freedoms onece again. Our nation is just like couch-grass, even if only a piece is left in the soil, it will revive to take over the entire garden. If we had remained motionless during 1917-1922 and not taken advantage of conditions afforded us to develop, it would have been difficult to make use of other opportunities. However, we made use of them, even for a short period. What we did will create even greater memories than Kucuk Sultan, and his son Murad Sultan; Busay Sultan and his son Iris Mehmet Sultan; Sultan Gerey (Karasakal); Batirsa; Salavat; Ablay and Kinesari events. The poems and couplets stated during this struggle must not be forgotten. The enemy, of course, will exert maximum energies to have us forget them. Whatever publication that could not be done within Russia can be done outside. Russia cannot keep the borders closed forever. If the publications that inoculate freedom and national determination can not be read inside our country, then they can be read outside and brought to homeland. Now, what appears to be a dead end and terror must not lead the nation to despair. Faith and love of freedom always point us toward the path of deliverance and serve as a vanguard.”