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Cohorts of Britain in the Ottoman Administration

Cohorts of Britain in the Ottoman Administration

The Society of the Friends of England was an organization with people such as Damat Ferid Pasha and Said Molla, and fervently supported the idea of the British mandate. It was founded on May 20, 1919 with the main purpose of inciting unrest in Anatolia to stop the nationalist movement of independence, and received financial support of the British to this end. Every local protest started against the Turkish War of Independence was somehow linked to this society. Another method of this group was to use various publications to discredit the Ankara government in the eyes of the Istanbul public, while building public opinion in favor of the British deep state.

Said Molla, one of the co-founders, launched a full-on propaganda war in Istanbul with his daily Yeni Istanbul. Later it became clear that he was paid 300 Lira a month from the British Embassy. The founding declaration was penned by Dr. Abdullah Cevdet, who had peculiar ideas like improving the Turkish race with stallion men from Europe because Turks were supposedly primitive (the noble Turkish Nation is above such statements). The society managed to obtain 53 thousand members in the first three months after its inception. On May 23, 1919, Said Molla sent a telegram to all Mayors claiming that the only way of salvation was accepting the British mandate.(SOURCE)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk mentioned the purpose of this society and their members in his famous Nutuk (The Great Speech):

One of the most important of these, the “Society of the Friends of England” is worthy of special mention. It does not follow from its name that its members were necessarily friends of England. In my opinion, the founders of this society were people who thought, before anything else, of their own safety and their own particular interests, and who tried to secure both by inducing Lloyd George’s Government to afford them English protection. I wonder whether these misguided persons really imagined for a moment that the English Government had any idea at all of maintaining and preserving the Ottoman State in its integrity?

… Certain English adventurers, for instance a clergyman named Frew, also belonged to this Society. To judge from the energy the latter displayed, he was practically its chairman. The Society had a double face and a twofold character. On the one hand, it openly sought the protection of England by methods inspired by civilisation. On the other, it worked in secret and showed that its real aim was to incite the people to revolt by forming organisations in the interior, to paralyse the national conscience and encourage foreign countries to interfere. These were the treacherous designs underlying the work of the secret section of the Society. We shall see later how Said Molla played just as active a part, or even a still more important one, in this secret work as in the public enterprises of the Society. What I have just said about this Society will become much clearer to you when I enter into further particulars later on and lay before you certain documents which will astonish you.(Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Nutuk [The Great Speech])

Clergyman Frew, whom Atatürk mentions in his Great Speech, was the chief of British intelligence in Istanbul. He held British communication codes, which Ali Rıza Bey from the Karakol Society (a secret society within the Istanbul government of the Ottoman Empire whose purpose was to assist the efforts of nationalist forces) stole and broke. This unraveled the planned uprising in Diyarbakir by the Bedirhan tribe under the auspices of Damat Ferid Pasha. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, after being informed directly about the details, which were all in Frew’s file, was able to take necessary precautions.

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The British propaganda in Istanbul wasn’t only from the Society of the Friends of England. Refi Cevat Ulunay’s daily Alemdar printed an editorial on the day Atatürk arrived at Samsun, entitled ‘Who We Want’. It read:Instead of getting another limb torn every day, let’s surrender our skin to a doctor and let’s save ourselves. Anglo-Saxons are able to breathe such strong life to wherever they are that they bring that community to a position where it will be a strong candidate for the future.

Grand Vizier Ahmet Tevfik Pasha, who succeeded Damat Ferid Pasha, as soon as he took up his position on November 11, gave an interview to The Daily Mail and said that ‘their purpose was bringing back the old friendship with England and that it was essential the Allied Powers placed the Ottomans under the disposal of experienced people’.(SOURCE)


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