Emre Gul / World Bulletin / History
Today, the region East Turkestan, which has been absorned into China, has been given the name Xinjian, which means 'the new colony,' 'the new land,' or 'the conquested land'.
East Turkestan is a region where many governments were established in the fight for independence. One particular battle took place in 1933, which was known as the Kumul uprising that led to the establishment of the “Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan”.
Yakub Beg was a very important person in the history of East Turkestan. He founded the Kashgar Khanate under the Atalik Gazi government. However, this government was brought down by China, which then introduced an era of torture, oppression and cruelty.
China took over Kashgar, exhumed Yakub Beg’s body and cremated him. The governor and clerks were appointed by the Manchu royal household, who were tasked with integrating East Turkestan with China. In 1911 after the People's Republic of China was established; came the revolution that was initiated by Sun Yat Sen. Han Chinese people were placed in areas that were mostly rich in agriculture. In April of 1931, an uprising that was triggered by the leaders of Kumul, Niyaz Haji and Salih Darga, led to independence.
Many leaders spread all over East Turkestan, such as Mahmud Muhiti, went to Turfan in January of 1933. Mehmed Emin Bugra went to Hoten in February of the same year, Masul Mahsut, Hafiz Beg, Sabit Damolla and Osman Beg went to Altay. Two years later, after a period of hardship, the Uighurs were victorious despite the Chinese governor of East Turkestan, Jing Shu Ren, arranging an agreement with the Russians to receive weapons. They were able to save East Turkestan from becoming the nineteenth province of China besides a few districts in and around Urumqi.
On November 12, 1933, the “Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkistan” was established in Kashgar under the control of president Niyaz Haji and Prime Minister Sabit Damolla. The republic's symbol consisted of a cresent and three stars, which had an Ottoman symbol in the middle of it called the Tugra (a calligraphic symbol). Additionally, the banner featured a composition which included verses from the Holy Qur'an and the slogan “Long live Turkestan’s freedom, May the Islamic dominion be filled with happiness”, which was based on the principles of “Islam, Freedom, Justice and Solidarity”.
Prime Minister Sabit Damolla, who left a great legacy and helped strengthen the national identity of this new republic, got in contact with Afghanistan, Iran, Britain and Turkey for help. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears.
The “Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan” was destroyed on February 6, 1934, because there were countries like Russia and China who couldn’t stand the fact that East Turkestan shared borders with them. Niyaz Haji, who was one of the bravest warriors to raised in East Turkestan at that time and was a key player in the Kumul uprising, despite at one point acting as deputy Prime Minister under the Chinese military regime of Shen Shi Shey, was executed after being arrested in 1942.
Doç. Dr. S. Gömeç, Doğu Türkistan’da Yakub Han Dönemi Ve Osmanlı Devleti İle İlişkileri,Ankara Üniversitesi, Osmanlı Tarihi Araştırma ve Uygulama Merkezi Dergisi, Sayı: 9, Yıl: 1998.
Gökbayrak Dergisi, “Doğu Türkistan İslam Cumhuriyeti Devlet Arması”, Yıl:7, Sayı: 40, Mart-Nisan, 2001.