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For other Kâzım Pasha, see Kâzım Pasha (disambiguation), and for the district of Karaman Province in Turkey, see Kazımkarabekir.
Musa Kâzım Karabekir
1318 (1902)-P. 1
Ferik Kâzım Karabekir
Nickname Kâzım Zeyrek
Born (1882-07-23)July 23, 1882
Died 26 January 1959(1959-01-26) (aged 76)
Place of birth Koca Mustafa Paşa, Istanbul (Constantinople), Ottoman Empire
Place of death Ankara, Turkey
Buried at Ankara Hava Şehitliği
Allegiance  Ottoman Empire
Years of service Ottoman: 1902–1919
Turkey: March 2, 1919 – January 1, 1924
Rank Birinci Ferik
Commands held 1st Expeditionary Force, 14th Division, 18th Corps, II Corps, I Caucasian Corps, XIV Corps, XV Corps, Eastern Front, 1st Army
Battles/wars Balkan Wars
First World War
War of Independence
Other work Member of the GNAT (Edirne)
Member of the GNAT (Istanbul)

Musa Kâzım Karabekir (23 July 1882, Koca Mustafapaşa, Constantinople (present Istanbul [1][2][3][4] – January 26, 1948, Ankara) was a Turkish general and politician. He was commander of the Eastern Army in the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I and served as Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey before his death.

Early years

Karabekir was born in 1882 as the son of an Ottoman General, Mehmet Emin Pasha, in the Koca Mustafa Paşa quarter (Fatih) of Constantinople, Ottoman Empire. Karabekir family is traced its heritage back to the Turkmen principality of Karaman.[2]

He toured several places in the Ottoman Empire due to his father’s duty in the military. He returned to Constantinople in 1893 with his mother after his father’s death in Mecca. They settled in the Zeyrek quarter. Karabekir was put into Fatih military secondary school the next year. After finishing his school, he attended Kuleli military high school, from which he graduated in 1899. He continued his education at the military college in Istanbul, which he finished on December 6, 1902 as the top of his class.

Military career

After two months, the junior officer was commissioned in January 1906 to the Third Army in the region around Bitola in Macedonia. There, he was involved in fights with Greek and Bulgarian komitadjis. For his successful service, he was promoted to the rank of a Senior Captain in 1907. In the following years, he served in Istanbul and again in the Second Army in Edirne.

On April 15, 1911 Kâzım applied to change his family name from Zeyrek to Karabekir.[citation needed] Until that time, he was called Kâzım Zeyrek, after the place where he lived with his mother, a custom in the Ottoman Empire as family names were not used. From then on he adopted Karabekir, the name of his ancestors.

Balkan Wars

During his service in Edirne, Karabekir was promoted to the rank of a major on April 27, 1912. He took part in the First Balkan War against Bulgarian forces, but was captured during the Battle of Edirne-Kale on April 22, 1913. He remained a POW until the armistice signed on October 21, 1913.

World War I

Before the outbreak of World War I, Karabekir served a while in Istanbul and then was sent to some European countries like Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland. In July 1914, he returned home, as a world war was likely.

Back in Istanbul, Karabekir was assigned the chief of intelligence at the General Staff. Soon, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. After a short time at the southeastern front, he was sent to the Dardanelles. As commander of the 14th Division, Karabekir fought in the Battle of Gallipoli in the summer months of 1915. In October 1915, he was appointed chief staff officer at the First Army in Istanbul.

He was commissioned to Iraqi front to join the Sixth Army. For his success in military activities in Gallipoli, he was decorated in December 1915 both by the Ottoman and German Command, and was contemporaneously promoted to Colonel rank. In April 1916, he took over the command of the 18th Corps, which gained a great victory over the British forces led by General Charles Townshend during the Siege of Kut-al Amara in Iraq.

Karabekir was appointed commander of the 2nd Corps at the Caucasian front and fought bitterly against the Russian and Armenian forces almost ten months. In September 1917, he was promoted to Brigadier General by a decree of the Sultan.

War of Independence

Kâzım Karabekir was appointed the commander of the Ottoman XV Corps and landed at Trabzon on April 19, 1919

According to the Treaty of Sèvres, which ended World War I, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet Vahdettin gave Karabekir the order to surrender to Entente powers, which he refused. He stayed in the region and, on the eve of the Erzurum Congress when Mustafa Kemal had just arrived Erzurum, secured the city with a Cavalry Brigade in his command to protect him and the congressmen. He pledged with Mustafa Kemal to join the Turkish national movement and subsequently took the command of the Eastern front of the Turkish Independence War by the Kuvayi Milliye.

In early September 1920, Karabekir commenced the first military operations against the Democratic Republic of Armenia. There were brief, small-scale skirmishes in the region of Olti but as the Turkish offensive elicited virtually no reaction from the Allied Powers, Karabekir opened up the offensive: on September 28, he sent four divisions from the XV Army Corps across the Armenian border with the objective of capturing the strategic fortress of Sarikamish.[5] Sarikamish was taken the following day, as the rest of the Turkish advance continued unabated. Throughout the month of October, Armenian resistance progressively collapsed and the Turkish armies were able to capture Kars on October 30 and occupy Alexandropol, a major center of the new Armenian republic, on November 6.[6] A cease fire was concluded on November 18 and negotiations were then carried out between Karabekir and a peace delegation led by Alexander Khatisian in Alexandropol; although Karabekir’s terms were extremely harsh the Armenian delegation had little recourse but to agree to them. Karabekir affixed his signature under the peace agreement, Treaty of Alexandropol, which was signed on December 2/3, 1920.[7]

He was designated by the newly formed parliament in Ankara to sign also the friendship agreement Treaty of Kars with the Soviet Union on October 23, 1921.

Political career

From left to right: Commander of the VI Corps Mirliva Ali Hikmet Pasha (Ayerdem), Commander of the First Army Ferik Kâzım Karabekir Pasha, and Commander of the 4th Division Miralay Sıtkı Bey (Üke)

After the defeat of Greek forces in Western Anatolia, the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Republic of Turkey) was proclaimed. Kâzım Karabekir Pasha moved to Ankara in October 1922, and continued to serve in the parliament as Deputy of Edirne. He was still the acting commander of the Eastern Army as he was elected Deputy of Istanbul on June 29, 1923. Six months later, he was appointed Inspector of First Army. The parliament awarded him the highest Turkish "Order of Independence" for his meritorious and distinguished service in military and politics during the War of Independence. He retired from his final military service on October 26, 1924.

Karabekir had differences of opinion with Mustafa Kemal about the realization of Atatürk's Reforms, one of the most important being the abolition of caliphate. Even though he agreed on the subject, he was of another opinion as Mustafa Kemal insisted on the immediate action. For Karabekir, the timing was improper, because British forces stood at the border of southeastern Turkey, claiming Kerkuk in modern day Iraq. Karabekir did not believe that the caliphate should be abolished before solving this problem. Kurds, more radical in their shafi-sunni Islamic beliefs, began to rise up against the government, because they thought the government would lift the religion after the abolition. Struggling with this rebellion, Turkey agreed to leave Kerkük to Iraq, which was under the British mandate. Such conflicts prompted tensions between Karabekir and Mustafa Kemal.

On November 17, 1924, Karabekir co-founded the political movement Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası) and became its leader. Afterwards, Mustafa Kemal blamed Karabekir for the Kurdish rebellion and the assassination attempt made against him in İzmir, and the party was closed on June 5, 1925 by the government. Karabekir was imprisoned with many of his party members. Following these developments, all relations were broken between Karabekir and Mustafa Kemal.

Threatened with execution, Karabekir was forced to retire from politics. He devoted himself to writing his memories of the Turkish War of Independence and the reforms. However, all of his works were collected and burned on the orders of the Turkish government. Karabekir lived in fear of the police and the government until the death of Mustafa Kemal in 1938. İsmet İnönü Pasha, who was his close friend, rehabilitated him.

In 1939, Kâzım Karabekir returned to the parliament as Deputy of İstanbul. He was even elected as speaker of the parliament on August 5, 1946. Still in office, he died at age of 66 on January 26, 1948 in Ankara following a heart attack. His remains were later relocated to the Turkish State Cemetery in Ankara.

Kâzım Karabekir was survived by his wife İclal and three daughters Hayat, Emel and Timsal. The four-storey mansion in the Erenköy quarter of Kadıköy district in İstanbul, where he lived for almost 15 years under house arrest, was converted in 2005 to a museum.

His works

  • Ankarada Savaş Rüzgarları (Winds of War in Ankara), 448 pp.
  • Bir Duello ve Bir Suikast (A Duel and An Assassination), 272 pp. ISBN 975-7369-39-X
  • Birinci Cihan Harbi 1–4 (World War I 1–4), 4 books 1320 pp. ISBN 975-7369-21-7
    • Birinci Cihan Harbine Neden Girdik? (Why Did We Enter the World War I?), 199 pp. 1st book ISBN 975-7369-21-7
    • Birinci Cihan Harbine Nasıl Girdik? (How Did We Enter the World War I?), 464 pp. 2nd book ISBN 975-7369-22-5
    • Birinci Cihan Harbini Nasıl İdare Ettik? (How Did We Manage the World War I?), 272 pp. 3rd book ISBN 975-7369-23-3
    • Birinci Cihan Harbini Nasıl İdare Ettik? (How Did We Manage the World War I?), 384 pp. 4th book ISBN 975-7369-24-1
  • Cumhuriyet Tarihi Set 1 (History of the Republic Set 1), 13 books
  • Cumhuriyet Tarihi Set 2 (History of the Republic Set 2), 12 books
  • İstiklal Harbimiz 1–5 (Our War of Independence 1–5), 5 books
  • Paşaların Kavgası (Struggle of the Pashas)
  • Paşaların Hesaplaşması (Revenge of the Pashas)
  • Cehennem Değirmeni 1–2 (Windmill of Hell 1–2), 2 books
  • İzmir Suikasti (Assassination in İzmir)
  • Çocuklara Öğütler (Advice to Children)
  • Hayatım (My Life)
  • İttihat ve Terraki Cemiyeti 1896–1909 (Committee of Union and Progress 1896–1909)
  • Ermeni Dosyası (Armenian Dossier)
  • İngiltere, İtalya ve Habeş Harbi (British, Italian and Ethiopian War)
  • Kürt Meselesi (Kurdish Problem)
  • Çocuk, Davamız 1–2 (The Child, Our Problem 1–2), 2 books
  • İstiklal Harbimizin Esasları (Principals of Our War of Independence)
  • Yunan Süngüsü (Greek Bayonet)
  • Sanayi Projelerimiz (Our Industrial Projects)
  • İktisat Esaslarımız (Our Principals of Economy)
  • Tarihte Almanlar ve Alman Ordusu (Germans in the History and German Army)
  • Türkiye’de ve Türk Ordusunda Almanlar (Germans in Türkiye and in the Türk Army)
  • Tarih Boyunca Türk-Alman İlişkileri (Türk German Relations Throughout the History)
  • İstiklal Harbimizde İttihad Terraki ve Enver Paşa 1–2 (Union Progress and Enver Pasha in Our War of Independence)
  • İstiklal Harbimizin Esasları Neden Yazıldı? (Why Was the Principals of Our War of Independence Written?)
  • Milli Mücadelede Bursa (Bursa During the War of Independence)
  • İtalya ve Habeş (Italy and Ethiopia)
  • Ermeni Mezalimi (Armenian Outrage)
  • Sırp-Bulgar Seferi (Serbian-Bulgarian Campaign)
  • Osmanlı Ordusunun Taaruz Fikri (Attack Concept of the Ottoman Army)
  • Erkan-i Harbiye Vezaifinden İstihbarat (Intelligence from the Service at General Staff)
  • Sarıkamış-Kars ve Ötesi (Sarıkamış, Kars and Beyond)
  • Erzincan ve Erzurum'un Kurtuluşu (Liberation of Erzincan and Erzurum)
  • Bulgaristan Esareti -Hatıralar, Notlar (Captivity in Bulgaria -Memories, Notes)
  • Nutuk ve Karabekir'den Cevaplar (The Address and Replies From Karabekir)

See also


  1. Elaine Diana Smith, Turkey: origins of the Kemalist movement and the government of the Grand National Assembly, 1919–1923, American University, 26 January 1959, p. 171.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stanford Jay Shaw, The Ottoman Empire in World War I: Prelude to war, Turkish Historical Society, 2006, ISBN 978-975-16-1881-8, p. 119.
  3. The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire...
  4. Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  5. Hovannisian, Richard G. (1996). The Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV: Between Crescent and Sickle, Partition and Sovietization. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 184–195. ISBN 0-520-08804-2. 
  6. Hovannisian. Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV, pp. 237–282.
  7. Hovannisian. Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV, pp. 394–396.
Military offices
Preceded by
Nurettin Pasha
Inspector of the First Army
October 21, 1923 – October 26, 1924
Succeeded by
Ali Said Pasha (Akbaytogan)
Political offices
Preceded by
Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda
Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey
August 5, 1946 – January 26, 1948
Succeeded by
Ali Fuat Cebesoy

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