Dervish Vahdeti and the 31 March Incident

Dervish Vahdeti and the 31 March Incident

Dervish Vahdeti, who was one of the significant leaders of the 31 March Incident, was in truth a Cypriot spy working for the British. Prior to the riot, he was making provocative claims like ‘religion was being lost’ in his newspaper Volkan. It should be noted that Grand Vizier ‘English’ Kamil Pasha was also a writer at the same paper. During the riot, Vahdeti gave long, fiery speeches to provoke people in the Sultanahmet Square. Chanting the slogan ‘we want sharia’, Vahdeti split the country into two and caused a military coup. The truth is, he had never been a religious person.

In his newspaper, he frequently spoke of his fondness of the British and said that Cyprus under British rule had become a little Switzerland.

Ahmet Yemin (Yalman), a young Turkish journalist back then, wrote about Dervish Vahdeti’s relations with the British and the role Britain played in the 31 March Incident:

… The Cypriot petitioner named Dervish Vahdeti was in truth handpicked by the British intelligence service, was trained as a riot agent and was tasked with founding Volkan Newspaper, the Committee of Union of Mohammedians and provoking people. Although Volkan seemed to pursue an Islamist, liberal, humanist policy, it was a front to conceal its pro-British line, which had been its main task all along. That was a classical method used by the British spies.(SOURCE)

Vahdeti was, in truth, a Darwinist who wasn’t religious at all. However, he had a duty given to him by the British deep state and, true to his duty, he managed to gain influence using religion, led a pro-sharia movement and incited a wide-scaled riot. Author Sina Akşin explains the basic qualities of Vahdeti with the following words:

Islamist qualities, liberal views, pro-constitution approach, humanist and Western-leaning opinions… Vahdeti was knowledgeable about Western scholars to the extent of quoting Dreyfus, Zola and Darwin in his pieces. He was protective of old fugitives and exiles, was vehemently against the civilian leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress, most notably Ahmed Rıza. Nevertheless, he was supporting Sabahaddin Bey and Kamil Pasha. Therefore, he had a pro-British stance. Dervish believed that the best policy would be the British policy.(SOURCE)

The 31 March Incident was co-planned by Vahdeti and his British allies. The true goal was creating turmoil in the country in an attempt to further weaken the Ottomans. One account of British agents’ support to Vahdeti can be found below:

Dervish Vahdeti, who played an active role in starting the riot, did everything in his power to inflame the rising, and his Committee of Union of Mohammedians and its publication Volkan newspaper, acting together with other opposition parties, managed to provoke the media against the Committee of Union and Progress. In his sedition, he enjoyed support from Cypriot Kamil Pasha and British spies.151

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