The Armistice of Mudros was stipulating that Medina be left to the British-backed Arab insurgents and the Ottoman soldiers in the city surrender. The command explaining the situation to Fahreddin Pasha, who oversaw the defense of Medina, had arrived. However, the pasha had no intention to surrender or hand over Medina to the British. He resisted until the last moment. As a matter of fact, he decided to abandon his weapons and remain in Medina as a “neighbor,” in other words, a resident who came from outside the city. However, in the eyes of most Arabs he was a hero, while among the insurgents, he was a monument of fear. He was not allowed to stay in Medina.
Fahreddin Pasha’s glorious resistance spread through the Muslim geography like wildfire and he gained fame beyond the borders. The pasha was sent to Afghanistan in 1922 as ambassador to keep him “out of sight.” They did everything that was necessary to render him forgotten.
Fahreddin Pasha, the defender of Medina, was not a known, remembered figure in Turkey until recent years. Like our Kut al-Amara victory, he was carefully made to be forgotten and carefully kept out of history books.
Fahreddin Pasha started to be remembered, known again mostly because of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan mentioned Fahreddin Pasha in many of his speeches since 2008. He recommended youth to read Feridun Kandemir’s memoir on the pasha on many occasions. In a lesson he gave to staff officers at the Turkish War Academies and during his visit to the Turkish unit in Afghanistan, he presented Fahreddin Pasha as example to the soldiers.
Fahreddin Pasha, who was tried to be made forgotten in Turkey, was never ever forgotten in the Arab streets during the 99-year period.
The statement of the impertinent United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister shows how alive the memory of Fahreddin Pasha remains in the Arab street. The statement that came 99 years later, reveals that Fahreddin Pasha was not only a “terrifying” figure in the eyes of the treacherous Arab tribes that cooperated with the British, but that he also disturbed the consciences of these tribes.
In his must-read memoir, Feridun Kandemir says the following about the way the Arabs viewed Fahreddin Pasha:
(The people of Medina) “would point to this and that direction and say, ‘he would enter from this door and when he came out nobody could approach him and he was taller than everybody; when he rode a horse nobody could catch up with him…’ while wanting to see even the footsteps remaining from the pasha, they couldn’t even pluck up the courage to take a step forward thinking he might suddenly appear before them.”
“The fear of and respect for Fahri was dominant throughout the entire desert. There used to be Bedouins who poked their animals that were scared when drinking water saying, ‘What happened, you see Fahri in the trough?’ There used to be those who came to us and asked, ‘Please, tell us for the sake of God, has Fahri really gone? Or is he still around here somewhere?’ Fahri Pasha had become a legendary hero. Such that many who wanted their children to be brave and heroic like him would name their newborns Fahri.”
“When dawn broke, morning came and the pasha appeared at the door of his tent to get in the automobile that would take him to Yenbu. That is when all hell broke loose. When the crowd of Bedouins waiting for hours, without any sleep, despite being kept quite far from the tent, saw the pasha’s face, they echoed like they were struck by lightning, ‘Fahri! Fahri!’ They were so afraid that if Fahri took one step, it was like he would crush and destroy them all under his feet; they didn’t know where to run.”
Some Arab tribes still carry the fear and pain of Fahreddin Pasha inside them. Because for the last 99 years, Fahreddin Pasha remind some Arab tribes of the heroism, the honor and the love of the prophet they lost. Fahreddin Pasha reminds some Arab tribes of how they betrayed and handed over Jerusalem, Arabs and Muslims to the Crusades, how they ignored all kinds of values in the 99 years after him and became the slaves of the Crusaders. Some of these Arabs still want to forget Fahreddin Pasha, who holds up the same mirror to them even today, but can’t.
It is not for nothing that they call Erdoğan “Fahreddin Pasha’s grandson.” It is obvious that some of these Arabs see the stance of Fahreddin Pasha in President Erdoğan. Erdoğan’s courage, determination, his sincerity, telling some Arab administrators mistakes to their face as it is, disturbs them.
The UAE minister’s impertinent statement angered us at first, but later it gave us a great and rightful pride. The treacherous Arab tribes that know their fault, their mistake, see how Turkish state tradition lives on, how that tradition is passed on from one generation to another, how the upright stance passes on from “grandfather to grandson,” and this scares them.
The nightmare of the traitors being Fahreddin Pasha and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is, by the grace of God, going to be the salvation of Muslims.
The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality changed the name of the street on which the UAE Embassy is located to “Fahreddin Pasha Street.” Now, they are going to have to use the “Fahreddin Pasha” name, which they already could not forget, in all their correspondences. We thank Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Mustafa Tuna for this excellent step.