However, the Hamidiye were more often used by the Ottoman authorities to harass and assault Armenians living in Turkish Armenia. A major role in the Armenian massacres of had been often ascribed to the Hamidiye regiments, particularly during the bloody suppression of the revolt of the Armenians of Sasun , but recent research contends that the Hamidiye played a less important role than previously assumed. Sultan Abdul Hamid II 's reign has the reputation of being "the most despotic and centralized era in modern Ottoman History". His reign struggled with the culmination of 75 years of change throughout the empire and an opposing reaction to that change. The Ottoman Empire's local provinces had more control over their areas than the central government.
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While carrying out the project of the Hamidiye troops, Abdulhamid II thought of connecting the tribes to the state and using them as the power preventing the regional riots. If we are to list these, they are as follows Kodaman, :. All of these developments required Abdulhamid II to be precautious. Abdulhamid II was seeing the intense pressure on the Balkans and was aware of the obligation of holding Ottoman Rumelia together as a whole.
For this reason, he wanted to keep the Eastern provinces and all of Anatolia tightly in his hand and turn these places into the last fortresses of Islam. Also the fact that European countries had put forward their idea of establishing an Armenian state in the east in this period caused Abulhamid to take such a precaution. The fact that the Russians settled in the Kars and Ardahan regions at the end of the Ottoman-Russian War caused Armenians to start activities targeting all Eastern Anatolia; this situation caused the reaction of the Muslim people who held the majority and it also caused the activities of nomad tribes to get intensified.
It can be said that while Abdulhamid II was establishing the Hamidiye Troops and arming the tribes, he planned to use these as a deterrent force against those allying with the foreigners as well as to use them for a war in the future Kodaman, Muscovies on the other side of our borders, on the other hand, give their all in a way to constitute an example for us.
For example, they have such a Kazakh organization that it is worth of being taken as a model. The Russians greatly benefits from the tribes within their borders. Right after these expressions of M. Zeki Pasha, the establishment of the Hamidiye troops started with the command of the Sultan. With the establishment of the troops, as well as the military benefits, which were aimed at, it was also thought that the people of the region would develop in the way of a civilization. In this way, the life levels of nomad tribes would get higher within the laws and orders of the state.
The children of the tribes would be educated through the primary schools in accordance with the lifestyles of the tribes. Thanks to these troops, the Russian border would be secured, Armenian riots would be prevented, and the security of the region would be ensured. The Hamidiye troops to be established as an organization securing the security and the order of the region would also be used against the illegal actions of the tribes.
Among the purposes of establishment of the Hamidiye troops, reducing the authority of the sheiks in region should also be mentioned. Tribe leaders were able to be taken under control more easily as compared to the sheiks Olsen, In this way, Abdulhamid II would be able to strengthen his authority in the region by taking the tribes under his control.
When the formation of the troops became the topic of discussion, an amnesty was granted to the tribe members about whom a prosecution was started before, due to the abuse of laws and orders. Being a member of the troops should not give them the right to maintain their old bad habits and break the laws in the future. Otherwise, the leading justice foundation of the government would be damaged. The Hamidiye Cavalry troops showed that they would be beneficial after their establishment. This situation disturbed Britain and Russia which hoped for help from the unrest and conflicts in the region and did not avoid provoking Armenians.
The Hamidiye cavalry troops were made a subject matter even in the British Parliament. As it is apparent, Britain wanted to wear the practice out by pointing out its discomfort about the establishment of the Hamidiye Cavalry troops in its own parliament.
However, how much did the claims of the British deputy reflect the reality? It was understood as a result of the investigation that no event of taking the horses of Armenians by force took place. Even though Kamil Pasha and some old statesmen criticise these troops, the objection of foreigners to the troops is the indicator of how accurate this practice is. Our Sultan created this organization by eliminating all kinds of difficulties.
While all Kurds and tribes under the command of the 4 th Army were in a state of disorder, these troops became a strong security power when we connected them to our government under the name of the Hamidiye Cavalry soldiery. An event possible to turn into a conflict between two tribes was solved with a telegraph sent from the 4 th Army commandership thanks to the connection of tribes to the Hamidiye organization.
The problem of a British girl disappearing on the Iran border was also similarly solved thanks to the connection to the Hamidiye troops. Thanks to the census, many people who were not recorded emerged. The benefits of the organization brought the cavalry troops considered as the only reason of the military victories apart from the times of peace to a level where European countries could not reach.
In this way, armies without expenses were created. If we think that there were twenty five thousands soldiers and animals only in forty six cavalry troops, the power created can be better understood. A large-scale Armenian riot broke out in Taluri in The Ottoman Empire chose to quell the continuance of the riot. For this a military operation was arranged.
The action was like the operation of a natural process. There was a riot in a region and the state was using military power to quell that riot. However, Britain, which has been having an attitude against the Hamidiye troops, wanted to intervene in the problem. In October of , the British ambassador wrote a letter with an inscription saying that it is very urgent and important to the Ottoman government.
They especially criticized that a strict commander was sent to the riot region and demanded that a mild commander is sent to the region if the riot is required to be quelled. HR, no. The command given to Zeki Pasha, the commander of the 4 th Army is quite clear. Armenians rioted in Taluri, attacked Muslim villages and burnt them, massacred Muslim leaders and abducted a Muslim girl, and did every kind of vileness. The duty of Zeki Pasha is to arrest these butchers who commit all of these crimes without recognizing any law or order and to punish them.
Zeki Pasha left for the region in accordance with the order given to him. Britain should know this. If there is brigandage in a country, determining who is going to command the forces sent against them concerns only that country. As for the issue of the Hamidiye Cavalry troops; these troops are part of the Ottoman military forces and they have been given guard posts.
These troops are under the administration of the 4 th Army. They drill within an arrangement and have no difference from other Ottoman military forces. Among the officers of these there are active Ottoman officers. The thing that has been done is here is to send three Hamidiye troops and other members of the 4 th Army to the region to ensure the public order. During the military operation, the regular army is sent against the brigands and the Hamidiye troops perform their duty of ensuring the public order in the region.
Britain has to know this so. This point should also be reminded. When the Armenian events broke out, there was a point which Sultan Abdulhamid especially gave importance to. It was that the quelling of the events should definitely be done by security forces. Abdulhamid II never wanted that Muslim people who were attacked reacted back at Armenians and the problem turned into a conflict between civilians.
For this reason, he often emphasized on not making civil people get involved in the problem in his orders. The Armenian events were intensified with the provocations of Russian consuls in Eastern Anatolia. The priests told the consul that the Hamidiye troops pressured Armenians and Armenians were seized and attacked.
Zeki Pasha pointed out in his report that what the priests said was made up and such kind of actions targeted weakening the troop organization and abolishing the troops if possible.
Zeki Pasha had mentioned in another report that similar events had taken place. The Russian consul and the committee with him had gone to Kars and stopped by many places in the region while returning to Erzurum. He was getting in touch with Armenians in the places he stopped by and listening to their complaints about the Hamidiye troops. Russia was maintaining its politics of directing Armenians to riot and the activities of deception of the world public opinion about the events which took place in this period.
In the information given to foreign agencies from the Russian embassy in August of , it was stated that members of the Hamidiye troops attacked Armenians, and the Armenians who were scared passed the border and migrated to Russia. The statements of Russian ambassador Nelidov were to attract the attention of the world public opinion.
In this way, the perception that Armenians were massacred in Eastern Anatolia would be settled. All of the claims were untrue. There was no pressure in this decision by them.
Other Armenians living in the villages tried to prevent these people from converting to Islam and they provoked them in various ways. For this tense atmosphere some gendarme forces were sent to the villages.
In the meantime, some troublesome Armenians went to the Russian border and they were rejected from there. The terror created by the Armenian organizations in the region had reached severe dimensions.
The government was aware of these and was trying to take some precautions. Sultan Abdulhamid II explained the targets of terrorist organizations as follows Engin 46 :. They developed the discourse that these troops suppressed Armenians as the most valid method in this context. Within the framework of this discourse, applications were being made to Ottoman officials and the abolishment of the troops and punishment of troop members were being demanded.
These claims mostly came to be false. The fact that Russia, and then Britain, often expressed their discomfort in this way was an indicator that the Hamidiye Cavalry troops were actually useful.
The existence of public order in the region, thanks to the troops, prevented the efforts of Russia to encourage Armenians to rebel. In conclusion, we can say that the Hamidiye troops carried out the function expected from them.
Foundations of the Hamidiye Light Cavalry Troops. Vahdettin Engin. If we are to list these, they are as follows Kodaman, : The Big Powers not being able to prevent the opening war of Russia against the Ottoman Empire and not intervening in any way.
The fact that the Eastern Problem was reverted to Anatolia where Muslims were in the majority, and especially to Eastern Anatolia by Article 61 of the Berlin Treaty, and the legal and political status of the region became discussable.
Their reaction to the Russian occupation being full of sympathy and some of them cooperating with the Russians and abusing Muslims. An Armenian committee being sent to the Berlin Congress with the encouragement of the British Ambassador Layard and the addition of Article 61, which required special reforms for Armenians, to the agreement text.
Armenians creating armed troops, guerrilla groups, and organizations in Eastern Anatolia and distributing arms to the people. The Dashnaksutyun and Hunchakian organizations opening branches everywhere and speeding up their propaganda activities. Ilustration No
Hamidiye Alayları : İmparatorluğun Sınır Boyları ve Kürt Aşiretleri
While carrying out the project of the Hamidiye troops, Abdulhamid II thought of connecting the tribes to the state and using them as the power preventing the regional riots. If we are to list these, they are as follows Kodaman, :. All of these developments required Abdulhamid II to be precautious. Abdulhamid II was seeing the intense pressure on the Balkans and was aware of the obligation of holding Ottoman Rumelia together as a whole. For this reason, he wanted to keep the Eastern provinces and all of Anatolia tightly in his hand and turn these places into the last fortresses of Islam. Also the fact that European countries had put forward their idea of establishing an Armenian state in the east in this period caused Abulhamid to take such a precaution.
Foundations of the Hamidiye Light Cavalry Troops