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Turkish POW executed 1917

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Turkish POW executed 1917

Postby Peter H on 06 Oct 2007 01:48

http://website.lineone.net/~remosliema/Marsa.htm

HAJ ALI ISSA, Major, Turkish Prisoner-of-War, executed 24th April 1917 for the murder of another Prisoner-of-War
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Postby Tosun Saral on 06 Oct 2007 14:02

HAJ ALI ISSA

There is something strange in this Turkish name.
1-Haj = could be "El Hac" El Hac is a tittle given to those who pilgert to Mecca. There is no Turkish officer major with a tittle "El Hac" or "Haj" Although Ottoman Turkey was an islamic imperium governed by a Sultan Caliph the army was always secular. For that reason no officer had a title " Haj" But we have names commenly " Haci" eg. Haci Mustafa . The name must be "Haci Ali İsa"
2- ISSA= There is no name Issa in Turkish but "isa/Isa" Isa is the Turkish form of Christus. We have still today many people called "Isa" to honour "Jesus Christus", "Ibrahim" to honour Abraham, "Mehmet" to honour Muhammed, "Musa" to honout Moses.
3- I havent heard a Turkish major executed for the murder of another POW. In every army the rank of "major" is very important. It is not easy to execute a major for murder. If the poor man was really Turkish major there would be great noise in Great Britain. propaganda ect. For that reason this subject must be searched by our UK members.
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Postby Bill Woerlee on 07 Oct 2007 01:49

Peter & Tosun

Thanks for bringing this interesting story to light. I sent a note to a mate of mine in Malta who came back with this answer:

Haj Ali Issa, 40, a Major in the Cavalry of the Turkish Sultanate, was hanged on April 24, 1917 at the Civil Prison for the murder of Nedjet Saadi at Verdala Barracks on 17 October 1916.

Issa was the son of Issa Pasha, governor general of the Turkish city of Aleppo in Syria and the brother of the Public Prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice at Constantinople.

During the night of 16-17 October, a number of persons in the detention camp had approached Issa's tent to attack him but had run away when Issa shouted for help.

Two hours later Issa entered Saadi's tent and smashed his skull; as Saadi staggered out of the tent Issa stabbed him several times with a knife. The motive was a political one as Issa upheld the Sultan whilst his victim was a supporter of the Young Turks.

The Civil Prison mentioned would be the one still in use today in the town of Paola, while the Turkish Cemetery is located at Marsa.


The above information comes from:

GALLIPOLI : The Malta Connection

It is a story that illustrates the tensions experienced within the POW camps for members of the Ottoman Empire. Political and ethnic tensions would have been rife. This one exploded into the deaths of two men.

Below is a pic of the Turkish Cemetery at Malta.

Cheers

Bill
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Last edited by Bill Woerlee on 07 Oct 2007 05:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Peter H on 07 Oct 2007 04:33

Thanks Bill!

Regards
Peter
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Postby Bill Woerlee on 07 Oct 2007 08:27

Mates

Just doing some calculations with the information, Major Haj Ali Issa, late of the Turkish Cavalry, could only have been captured during the Battle of Romani or Katia in August 1916, the only time in this story when a cavalry officer could be captured. Perhaps Tosun, you could identify the Cavalry formation to which he was attached.

Thanks.

Bill
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Postby stevebecker on 07 Oct 2007 22:55

Mate,

I notice Nedjet Saadi is not mentioned as buried in the same cemetery as the Major.

Where did they bury him?

As to when the Major was captured its impossible to tell off hand even if the small time frame makes it possible during the Romani operations. But Tosun's list of the Romani Turkish forces shows only Camel Troops with these.

Independant Hecin cavalry Co's. (later 1st Camel Regt)

There appears no Cavalry here untill the 3rd Div arrives late 1916 and later the 3rd Cav Div late 1916 early 1917.

But I am open to correction here.

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Re: Turkish POW executed 1917

Postby malti on 15 Apr 2011 10:31

There is another burial ground for Turkish prisoners of WW1 in Malta. It is located just outside the walls of Cospicua at the point before the turning to Cottonera Gate. The area is a merely walled-in section outside the fortifications and is not normally accessible. It is very close to Fort Verdala, which is where the Turkish prisoners of war were housed during the war.
See the attached picture for details. Fort Verdala is just south of the picture
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Re: Turkish POW executed 1917

Postby Osman Levent on 15 Apr 2011 15:50

It seems to me that the most important note about this incident is the almost unnoticed quote informing the reader that "on the 17th October 1916 Dr. Saadi was due to leave Malta for Egypt" I do not know when the prisoner camp at Sidi Bashir near Alexandria was initiated but for a Prisoner of War to be sent to Egypt seems a bit odd. Is it possible that the victim had changed sides and Turkish Prisoners had taken exception to a turncoat ? In 1916, the Young Turks Party was in full power with the blessings of Sultan Mehmed Reshad and an alleged animosity by party members for those supporting the Sultan sounds a bit fabricated to say the least. I have checked the War Annals of the all three offensives against the Canal where all Turkish Officers above the rank of Major are well documented and could not find a "Hacı Ali İsa" Bey amongst them. May I suggest that the Major was taken prisoner in the Hijaz.
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Re: Turkish POW executed 1917

Postby button_guru on 15 Jun 2012 18:29

I'm also a Maltese and am sorry to say that Malti is wrong about the Turkish burials in a cemetery outside Fort Verdala. What he has shown and is referring to is what remains of the former Rock Gate Cemetery, opened around 1802 by the British for their soldiers and later including burials of their dependents. By 1865/66, it was full and both the Secretary to the Governor and the Superintendent of Police barred any further burials there for health reasons.

When King George V celebrated his Diamond Jubilee, the ditches between the fortifications were converted into a wider road that linked the Three Cities to Zabbar Gate. Rock Gate was demolished and the cemetery reduced to the walled up section Malti mentions. Most salvageable headstones were fixed around the internal perimeter walls. Time and then the Axis bombings during WWII continued to deteriorate the place and by 1956, not much was left of it.

The Turkish Military Cemetery at Marsa was built in Muslim architectural style in 1874 and designed by the renowned Maltese architect Emanuel L. Galizia, whom the Turkish Sultan Abdul Aziz presented with the Order of the Mejidie when then visiting Malta. Remains from an earlier cemetery known as Tat-Torok (of the Turks) were taken to the new cemetery. Records show that in March 1928 in the new cemetery were 103 unidentified Muslims burials, including 24 who died in the sinking of SS Sardegna. There are also 23 Turkish prisoners of war who died in Malta as well as six British and six French burials, probably being Muslims.

With regards to Turkish and Ottoman POWs in Malta during WWI, the officers were actually retained at St. Clements’s Retrenchment just outside Fort Verdala, now a school. Other Ranks of mixed nationalities like Turks, German, Austrian, Egyptian, Greeks and other Balkans were kept within Fort Verdala and Polverista Barracks. Some of the German POWs were the crew of the German surface raider Emden. One of the officers was Lieutenant Prince Franz Josef von Hohenzollern of the German Royal Family. Another officer was Karl Dönitz who later became Grossadmiral, Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine.

As to the case of Major Haj Ali Issa, there are a number of accounts. One states that Major Haj Ali Issa, Turkish Army, from Aleppo, Mesopotamia and aged 40 years, was executed on 24th April 1917 at the Military Detention Barracks, Corradino. He was a Prisoner of War. Dr. Nedjet Saadi, another POW belonged to the Young Turk party, with whom Major Issa didn’t get along as he was a supporter of the Old Faction and with whom he frequently quarreled. On the morning of 17th October 1916 Dr. Saadi was due to leave Malta for Egypt. During an encounter around 6:00am, Major Issa pulled out a knife and stabbed Dr. Saadi, and although medical help was quickly given by Major Lund RAMC, his life could not be saved. Major Issa stood trial in front of H.M. Criminal Court on 16th April 1917, accused of the willful murder of Dr. Saadi. After three days of evidence the Jury unanimously found him guilty of the murder and he was sentenced to death.

Another version states that Saadi was the owner of a pet monkey. He had attempted to assassinate Major Isa, his political opponent but instead was murdered by his intended victim. Major Isa was convicted and despite local outrage, was hanged in Corradino Military Prison in April 1917.

Other material on the Turkish prisoners in Malta can be found here:

http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/malta-details.htm (Photo titled The Malta Prison is in fact the grand portal of the Turkish Military Cemetery, Marsa)
http://www.ataa.org/reference/deportees_ozer.html
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/vi ... and.391618
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/vi ... r-I.382161
http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp? ... mid=142111


I hope that you’ll find all of interest.

Saħħa

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