The Turkish Officer who arrested Lawrence

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Tosun Saral
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The Turkish Officer who arrested Lawrence

Post by Tosun Saral » 02 Aug 2006 09:01

Col. Selahattin Gunay (Istanbul 1890- Istanbul 1956)
He graduated the War School the Harbiye in Istanbul in 1912 as a infantry officer. He later joined to the Gendarmerie Forces and served as an Gendarm Officer during the WW1 and War of Independance until his retirement in July 14th 1948. During the WW1 between the years August 1916-April 1917 2nd Lt. Selahattin was responsible for the security of Dara, Aclun, Basr-i Eski Scham (Old Damascus) One day while he was looking out of his window of his office in Dara he saw a suspicious man in Arab clothes. He immediately called this sargeant to arrest him. He cross-examined him. The man told untrue stories and lied. He ordered him to take his shoes. The mans foot was tidy neet and clean like a gentlemen. The Arabs of the region never had shooes. Their foot were all full of scars of wound. 2nd Lt. Selahattin send him under arrest to the main Imperial Officials Quartier.

source:Memories of Selahattin Gunay "Bizi Kimlere Birakip Gidiyorsun Turk?" p.129 ( Why you are leaving us alone behind Turk?)
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Tosun Saral
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Film "Lawrence of Arabia"

Post by Tosun Saral » 02 Aug 2006 09:25

A Sceene from the film.
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Byrom
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Post by Byrom » 02 Aug 2006 09:47

Hi Tosun

Fascinating thread, there is great controversy in Britain amongst Lawrence's biographers about whether Lawrence made the whole Dera incident up or if it was true.

Did this gendarme ever write of his experiences and did he realise he had arrested an Englishman and did he know it was Lawrence? There is a problem with dates, Lawrence says he was caught in Dera on 20th November 1917 and your man was only responsible for security until April 1917.

Lawrence James' biography of Lawrence 'The Golden Warrior: The Life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia' which is the best biography, mentions Lawrence being interogated by the governor Hajim Muhtittin Bey who died in Smyrna in 1965.

Any more information would be very interesting if you could provide it,

BYROM

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 02 Aug 2006 10:14

Dear Byrom, I am just translating the memories. I am not a Lawrence experte I just want to open a door.
1- He didn't knew that the man he arrasted was Lawrence. He thought that he could be a spy. Therefore he send him under arrest to higer officials.
2- As his son Huseyin Sait Gunay wrote in a deep note that his father arrested Lawrence during his duty in Dera between August 1916-April 1917. On the other hand his son wrotes that also the Near East Magazine Nr 102 dated: Dec. 1st 1916 published a letter of Lawrence dated Oct. 17 1916 in which Lawrence mentions his arrestment.
3- The Mutasarrif the highest Imperial Civil Official Hacim Muhittin (He got the surname Carikli) Bey was appointed to that Region on May 8th 1917.
4- Lawrence slanders an honourable Turkish Civil Servant.

Byrom
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Post by Byrom » 02 Aug 2006 11:09

Hi Tosun

Thanks for the extra information-very intersting. I totally agree with your views about Lawrence in respect of this incident-it is the worst sort of slander.

He never did have any respect for the Turkish troops he fought-unlike a lot of his countrymen who respected the Turks for their bravery and skill.

Byrom.

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 02 Aug 2006 11:37

Thank you Friend. Since the Turks left the Balkans, Iraq and Palastine there is no peace on that area. There will not be in the coming few 100 years until the Turks return.

I want to draw your attantion to the tittle of the Memoriy of Selahattin Gunay "Why are you leaving us alone behind Turk? That was a question of an ordinary Arab asked on his departure to home. On the way he was taken POW by the British on September 29th 1918. On that day Divizion commander Asim Bey and other 5oo officers and 10000 men were taken POWs.
He was released on Jan. 1920. After his arrival to Istanbul which was under British occupation he didn't hesitate to join the National Forces of Mustafa Kemal Pasha.
He was one of those brave and crazy Turks who stood alone againts men of 7 worlds and 7 seas.
May his resting place be in light.
Mote it be !

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Post by alkankizil@tr.net » 21 Aug 2006 15:06

LATEST RESEARCH BY TWO BRITISH AUTHORS REVEALED THAT LAWRENCE NEVER VISITED DERA... AS IT IS WELL KNOWN NOW HE WAS AN INVETERATE FABULIST.+

ALKAN KIZILDEL

YM
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Post by YM » 23 Aug 2006 10:07

An article was written about Lawrence a few weeks ago in the Israeli newspaper
"Makor Rishon" corresponding to the release of a new Hebrew translation of "Seven Pillars
of Wisdom". The journalist who wrote the article raises the
question of just how reliable Lawrence is in his memoirs, especially considering
how egotistical he was, but he states that
in cases where other people could confirm incidents that are mentioned,
they found his descriptions of events to be reliable.

My father's father fought against the Turks in World War I in the British Army
(I do not know on which front, however) and he told my father that he had
a lot of respect for the Turkish soldiers.

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Matt Gibbs
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Post by Matt Gibbs » 17 Sep 2006 04:22

As far as I am aware, if you read the published and unpublished letters of TE Lawrence there are altogether far too many references to the incident in many places, apart from The Pillars of Wisdom where he alludes to this, so I think it is not so easy to dismiss it as a fiction of his egotistical side. I would be interested to know who proved he did not visit Deraa and what the "facts" actually are.
Regards
Matt Gibbs

Byrom
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Post by Byrom » 18 Sep 2006 13:06

Hi Matt

Both Lawrence James And Michael Asher make the point that Lawrence only started mentioning the 1917 Deraa episode 2 years after it is supposed to have happened, in 1919. There are no letters or reports contemporary with the event that mention it and everybody who saw Lawrence at the time said he looked very healthy. His own pocket diary recording where he was at the time has pages ripped out for the exact period the episode is supposed to have happened.

As Asher says why make up a pointless tale-but then Lawrence did a lot of them!

Byrom.

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Matt Gibbs
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Post by Matt Gibbs » 20 Sep 2006 01:38

True, I suppose we shall all have to wait until as you say a contemporary report turns up that confirms or denies it then. Until then, it's on to other sideshows...
I sometimes wonder how reliable any of anyones memoirs are 100% reliable! Perhaps its the fog of war getting into the ink bottle, or people wishing to add spice to their careers, chances of promotion et al.
Regards
Matt Gibbs

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Post by Nikolay » 21 Sep 2006 07:51

Tosun Saral wrote:Thank you Friend. Since the Turks left the Balkans, there is no peace on that area. There will not be in the coming few 100 years until the Turks return.
What this humourous remark has to do with the topic I don't know. And I believe you don't know either. As Swejk used to say - it is better to say "S..t" than to say nothing. :lol:


To return to the serious matter - most what I have read about Lawrence states that the whole Deraa affair is dubious to say the least. In the preface to the edition of the "Seven pillars" I have (right now I don't have it with me) it was mentioned that the whole rape accident was probably made up by him and hinted to his homosexuality and desire to make his book as scandalous as possible.

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 21 Sep 2006 11:34

Dear Komschu, Be Polite! I don't wait you to support my ideas or feelings or theories but You must behave yourself to be a polite member "S...t" means "f**** off"

Nikolay
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Post by Nikolay » 21 Sep 2006 11:46

Tosun Saral wrote:Dear Komschu, Be Polite! I don't wait you to support my ideas or feelings or theories but You must behave yourself to be a polite member "S...t" means "f**** off"
My dear comshu, I was just citing the book "Good soldier Svejk's adventures in the Great war". If I wanted to say "f... ..f" I would have said "f... ..f". But I did not. I just said that your humourous remark had nothing to do with the subject of the discussion.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 21 Sep 2006 13:12

Lets keep on topic gents.

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