Home / World War One and the British Deep State / The British Deliberately Blinded Turkish Prisoners of War in Egypt’s Sidi Bashir Prisoner Camp
The British Deliberately Blinded Turkish Prisoners of War in Egypt’s Sidi Bashir Prisoner Camp

The British Deliberately Blinded Turkish Prisoners of War in Egypt’s Sidi Bashir Prisoner Camp

The Ottoman Empire fought on multiple fronts during WWI and the British took many Turkish soldiers as prisoners in these regions. One prisoner camp where the British kept Turkish prisoners of war was Sidi Bashir, situated 15 km northeast of Alexandria, Egypt.

Captain Gillespie
Captain Gillespie

The commander of the camp was the British Lt. Col. Coates. Under the supervision of the military doctor Captain Gillespie, an Armenian physician, one British corporal and 5 British nurses were in charge of the prisoners’ health.

This camp held the Ottoman troops of the 48th regiment of the 16th division that were taken as prisoners in Palestine in 1918. For two years until June 12, 1920, these soldiers were subjected to constant torture, mistreatment, insults and humiliation. One source reveals how the captive Turkish soldiers were martyred due to the inhumane treatment of the British:

Beginning from August 1, 1919, the British started to give horse and donkey meat to all Ottoman prisoners. Forced to eat rotten horse and donkey meat in the scorching heat of Egypt in the middle of August, many couldn’t escape catching dysentery, while some others got a horrible disease resembling mange, which the British doctors called Pellagra, before they died.(Eyüb Sabri Akgöl and Nejat Sefercioğlu, Esaret Hatıraları: Bir Esirin Hatıraları ve Matbuat Ve Istihbarat Müdüriyet-i Umumiyesi: Yunan İllerinde Zavallı Esirlerimiz [Memoirs of Captivity], Istanbul: Tercüman, 1978 )

However, this wasn’t the only appalling treatment that the Turkish prisoners encountered at the camp. Historical sources report that British deliberately blinded around 15,000 Turkish soldiers in the camp. This shocking violence caused great outrage during the time and was widely debated at the Turkish Parliament and in the Turkish media throughout 1919, 1920 and 1921. These claims were based on two significant documents. The first is the Turkish Parliament’s decision of June 28, 1921, which was signed by Mustafa Kemal, the Chairman of the Turkish Parliament, and eleven ministers. The decision reads as follows:

Edirne MPs Şeref and Faik Bey presented their notice of motion regarding the troops held captive in Malta, as well as about the British doctors, garrison commander and officers in Egypt who deliberately disabled fifteen thousand prisoners of war, to the Cabinet of Ministers, which submitted the same to the Turkish Parliament on 29.5.337 with number 354/706. The message was read during the meeting of the Cabinet on 28.6.337 and it was decided that scientific investigation is required and the findings shall be presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the copy of the notice of motion. June 28, 1337. (SOURCE)

This document is the Turkish parliament’s decision to initiate a criminal investigation into the actions of the British doctors, garrison commander and officers that deliberately disabled 15 thousand prisoners of war in Egypt. Another document is the motion presented by Edirne MPs Faik and Şeref Bey during the 37th session of the Turkish Parliament on May 28, 1921. The last part of the motion refers to the Turkish prisoners of war who were deliberately blinded in Egyptian camps:

In Egypt, the British has deliberately blinded the 15,000 sons of our nation by making them enter baths, which contained cresol more than necessary, with the pretense of disinfecting them. We hereby ask the premeditators of this murderous crime, who are the British physicians, the garrison commander and officers, be declared as criminals…(Cemalettin Taşkıran, Ana Ben Ölmedim / 1. Dünya Savaşı’nda Türk Esirleri [Mother I Did Not Die / Turkish Prisoners of War in WWI], Istanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 2001, pp. 143-147)

After the motion was read at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Mehmet Şeref Bey took the stage and explained the horrible events:

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… When the British took prisoners the sons of our nation from Anatolia and Rumelia, who fought for the dignity and honor of this country, they were directly transferred to Egypt. They were forced to enter baths that had a specially formulated, smelly solution up to their necks… When the Turkish soldiers didn’t want to immerse their heads, British soldiers would come by and force them in with their bayonets. When the helpless dear ones put their heads in the solution, both eyes would go blind. This is how the British blinded 15,000 Turks…(Cemalettin Taşkıran, Ana Ben Ölmedim, pp. 143-147)

At the onset of the Turkish War of Independence, the news that the British deliberately blinded Turkish prisoners of war had been widely covered by Istanbul and Anatolian media. People of Konya especially reacted very strongly and a newspaper of Konya, Öğüt covered the news with bold headlines.

General Milne
General Milne

As a result, a serious anti-British sentiment spread across Anatolia. It was not long until, upon the orders of the British General Milne, one of the Allied Powers commanders in Istanbul, Öğüt was forced to stop its news about the blinded prisoners of war. Not only did they stop this news; the newspaper was shut down permanently.

This incident drew the attention of Mustafa Kemal, who went to Ankara to organize the War of Independence. As soon as he found out why Öğüt was shut down, he sent a telegram to the Konya Governor on behalf of the Representative Committee, where he condemned the British pressure and attacks on the Turkish media and said that the development should be strongly protested by a rally.(Cemalettin Taşkıran, Ana Ben Ölmedim, pp. 143-147)

Another source that details the events is Eyüp Sabri Bey’s book entitled Bir Esirin Hatıraları (Memoirs of a Prisoner of War) written in 1922. Eyüp Sabri Bey was a Gaziantep resident who had previously worked in the Defter-i Hakanı (Directorate for Title Deeds). In his book, he gave a detailed account of how the Turkish prisoners of war were tortured and mistreated under British supervision. Eyüp Sabri Bey recalls his personal experiences when he was in British-controlled Heliopolis prison camp in Egypt and explains the ‘deliberate blinding procedure’ that the Turkish prisoners of war were subjected to:

However, since they [the doctors at the hospital] were given extensive powers, these horrid people felt free to act as they wished and gouged the eyes of our helpless, innocent sons that were prisoners of war there, amidst painful screams. Who is responsible for these murders? I think every conscientious person will agree that in addition to the actual perpetrators, the entire British government is to be held responsible for being the cause of these crimes. In Abbasiye hospital… the doctors, with metal bars in their hands, sleeves rolled up to elbows, continuously operated on the Turkish soldiers and gouged their eyes out. According to the accounts of many Egyptian brothers and local prisoners, these eye surgeries took place in the past as well, but it intensified especially after the armistice, as the British felt proud with their victory. When we went there, I personally saw that it was going on at full speed.(Eyüb Sabri Akgöl and Nejat Sefercioğlu, Esaret Hatıraları)

These examples of violence and brutality directed at the Turks once again show that the British deep state is the center of the dajjali system. Although this violence caused outrage among both the Turkish public and government, all their time and energy had to be used for the survival of the state and the nation. Therefore, it wasn’t possible to take real action about these outrageous crimes.

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Regrettably, this oppression and violence were later denied and swept under the rug, just like countless other crimes of the British deep state throughout history.

Although there were talks about exchanging prisoners of war during the Conference of Lausanne, there is no indication that the situation of the 15,000 Turkish soldiers deliberately made blind was ever discussed. This shows the skill of the British deep state to hide its crimes and its true face and how it employs various threats, intimidation and pressure tactics to achieve its goals.

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