Hicaz’da Bir Suikastın Arkaplanı: Şerif Hüseyin, Afganlar ve İngilizler (1877-1880)Şit Tufan Buzpınar
Bu makale, Şerif Hüseyin Paşa’nın Temmuz 1877-Mart 1880 tarihleri arasında devam eden Mekke Emirliği döneminde meydana gelen bazı gelişmeleri ele almaktadır. Makale, Hicaz vilayetinin kendine has idari yapısı ve Mekke Emirliği ile ilgili giriş mahiyetinde bilgiler aktardıktan sonra Hüseyin Paşa’nın devlet hizmetindeki tecrübesi, emirliğe atanma süreci ve kendi döneminde Hicaz’da gelişen siyasi faaliyetlere odaklanmaktadır. 1879’un ilk çeyreğine kadar Osmanlı hükümeti çizgisinde bir yönetim anlayışı sergileyen, vali ve Medine muhafızı ile uyumlu çalışan Şerif Hüseyin Paşa’nın giderek yeni bir arayışa girmesi ve bu çerçevede İngiltere ile gizli diyalog kurması, dönemin öne çıkan ve hakkında literatür oluşmamış gelişmelerindendir. İngiliz-Afgan gerginliği bahanesi üzerinden Cidde konsolosluğu aracılığıyla İngiltere ile kurulan gizli iletişimin safhaları, amacı ve İngiliz hariciyesindeki süreçleri dönemin bağlamı içerisinde anlatılmaya çalışılmaktadır. Ardından Şerif Hüseyin’in Afganistan’a heyet gönderme projesi ele alınmakta, neden böyle bir girişimde bulunduğu ve bunun getirileri üzerinde durulmaktadır. İngiltere lehine girişimlerde bulunmak ve Afgan Müslümanlarının İngilizlerle dostane ilişki kurmasını temin etmek amacıyla kararlaştırılan heyetle ilgili gelişmeler İngiliz arşivleri imkanlarıyla aydınlatılmaktadır. Son olarak, Şerif Hüseyin Paşa’nın heyetle ilgili nihai hazırlıkları tamamlamak üzere Cidde’ye girişi sırasında bir Afgan tarafından suikasta uğrayarak hayatını kaybetmesi, yakalanan katilin sorgulanma ve idam süreçlerinin açıklanmasının ardından suikastla ilgili spekülasyonlar aktarılmaktadır.
Background of an Assassination in the Hijaz: Sharif Husayn, the Afghans, and the BritishŞit Tufan Buzpınar
This article focuses on the developments that took place during Sharif Husayn Pasha’s Emirate of Mecca between July 1877 and March 1880. After giving a brief information about the unique status of the province of the Hijaz, its administrative structure, and the Emirate of Mecca, it addresses the political developments of the period of Husayn Pasha, who acted in accordance with the policies of the Ottoman government until the first quarter of 1879 and cooperated with the governor of the province and the commander of Medina. From March 1879 onward, however, Pasha was in search of a new political future, and in this context, he initiated an unusual and secret dialogue with Britain. Using the Anglo-Afghan War of 1878 as a pretext, Sharif Husayn established a secret dialogue with Britain, and in time, strengthened it until he was assassinated in March 1880. The article explains the stages and aims of his secret dialogue with Britain as well as the decision-making processes at the British Foreign Office regarding relations with Husayn Pasha in detail. Sharif Husayn’s Afghanistan mission, members of the mission and context of the letter are also explained based on the British archival sources. The final part of the paper focuses on the assassination of Sharif Husayn, its consequences, and trial and execution of the assassin.
This article focuses on the developments that took place during Sharif Husayn Pasha’s Emirate of Mecca between July 1877 and March 1880. The first part of the article briefly explains the unique administrative status of the province of Hijaz in the Ottoman state, the main factors that made the province particularly important for the Ottomans as well as for the Great Powers of the period, namely England, France, and Russia. It also elaborates on the international significance of Hijaz as a center for Muslims around the world, which carried risks as well as benefits for the Ottoman government since several of these Muslim pilgrims visited Mecca and Medina annually from the colonies of the abovementioned states. The Ottoman government was inevitably concerned for fear that this interest in the welfare of the pilgrims would develop into an attempt to exercise political influence in Hijaz. It is from this perspective that the article examines the Emirate of Mecca. After brief background information is given on the emirate, the Ottoman practice of appointment of the emirs as well as the ambiguity of the rules and regulations concerning the institution of the Emirate are explained.
The second part of the study deliberates upon the political developments in Hijaz during Husayn Pasha’s Emirate in Mecca. Husayn Pasha was appointed to the Emirate in July 1877 after his brother Abdullah Pasha’s demise. Due to Abdullah Pasha’s positive impression, and because Husayn Pasha had already been familiar with state affairs due to his employment as a member of the Council of State, his appointment to the role of emir took place without hesitation. At the time of appointment, the Ottoman state was facing a serious crisis due to the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877–78. As the new emir of Mecca, Husayn Pasha acted in accordance with the policies of the Ottoman government until the first quarter of 1879. Thus, at this juncture of his career, he cooperated well with both the civil and military authorities of the province.
The third part of the article is devoted to Husayn Pasha’s search for a new political future. It appears that from March 1879 onward, he initiated an unusual and secret dialogue with Britain, which has not yet been examined in Turkish. Based mainly on the British archival sources, the article explains how and when Sharif Husayn initiated this dialogue. He first convinced the British authorities in England and India that the true spiritual leader of the Muslims was not the Ottoman caliph but himself since he was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Afterward, the emir conveyed a message to the British that he was ready to use his spiritual power in the service of Britain; through the pretext of the Anglo-Afghan War of 1878, he proposed sending a mission to advise the Afghans to end the war against Britain on the basis that the British people were friends of the Muslims.
Zohrab, the British consul in Jidda, immediately conveyed the proposal to London and urged his authorities not to miss this opportunity. After serious discussions between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the India Office, and the Viceroy in India, the proposal was accepted despite some reservations of the government in India and the British Ambassador in Istanbul. Upon learning of the acceptance of his proposal, Sharif Husayn held several meetings with the ulema of Mecca and some Meccan dignitaries to complete the preparations for the mission; the dragoman of the British consulate in Jidda, Yusuf Kudsi, also attended some of the meetings. When preparations were completed in Mecca, Sharif Husayn decided to meet Zohrab in person in Jidda to finalize the details of the mission and offer a final shape to the letters to be sent to the Afghans.
The following section of the article moves on to explain Sharif Husayn’s journey to Jidda, his reception by an official ceremony, and his assassination by an Afghan while he was proceeding toward his residence. The emir’s death on the next day and the interrogation and trial of the assassin in Mecca are expounded upon in this part. Issues related to the fact that the assassin was an Afghan and that he had attempted to approach Sharif Husayn while in Mecca and during his journey to Jidda several times are also examined and discussed. This section ends by posing questions such as how far the Ottoman authorities in Hijaz and Istanbul were aware of Sharif Husayn’s secret dealings with the British and addressed in the light of the Ottoman and British primary sources.
The final part of the paper focuses on the consequences of the assassination. As soon as the trial ended, the execution of the assassin took place as he was considered old and in poor health. The assassin’s identity and timing of the assassination led to several speculations by the British diplomats in Istanbul as well as in Hijaz and Egypt. The British diplomats tried to find answers to questions such as whether the Ottoman authorities knew anything about Sharif Husayn’s secret dealings with the British, whether the assassin’s Afghan identity was pure coincidence, and whether the assassination could be related to the proposed Afghan mission. In the absence of any sound evidence to answer any of these and other related questions, the British diplomats proposed some speculative ideas to the Foreign Office in London. This section narrates and discusses all those speculations.
In conclusion, it is argued that Sharif Husayn was motivated by the crisis that the Ottoman state underwent in the years following 1875 and decided to develop close but secret ties with Britain. The choice of Britain was obvious since, as one of the strongest Great Powers of the time, Britain had vital interests in Hijaz due to the millions of Muslims living in the British colonies and had a need to develop good relations with a Muslim leader such as Sharif Husayn Pasha. However, due to the assassination, the secret Afghan mission was not realized. If it had, however, Britain would have learned the answer to the question of whether the Ottoman caliph or the emir of Mecca was the more effective Muslim leader in the eyes of the Afghan Muslims.