The Ottoman memorandum of Indian Muslims to the British PM

On January 5, 1919, Indian Muslims living in Britain gave the then prime minister Lloyd George a memorandum regarding the occupation of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman memorandum of Indian Muslims to the British PM

Ismail Cal / World Bulletin – History

Indian Muslims living in Britain expressed their deep concern and anger to the British prime minister Lloyd George on January 5, 1919, after the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul, was occupied by allied forces led by Britain.

On October 30, 1918, the Ottoman Empire left itself at the mercy of the Allied States when it was left with no choice but to sign the Mudros Armistice.

When the news reached southern Asia, the Indian Muslims, who were known for their love of the Ottomans and the Caliph, immediately got to work in preparation for the Paris Peace Conference, which was scheduled to take place on January 18, 1919, in order to discuss new developments in the war.

Thirteen days before the conference, Indian Muslims living in Britain sent Prime Minister Lloyd George a memorandum warning that Ottoman sovereignty over the Turkish nations will never be destroyed.

The memorandum also stated that the Ottomans had never willingly entered the war, and that they were pushed into it by the British and the French to fight against Russia. They also rejected claims that the Turks were treating ethnic Armenians and Greek prisoners badly, saying that it was in fact them who were guilty of atrocities against Turks. At the same time, they mentioned that as a condition of Islam, the Ottoman state had always treated minorities well, and that they had always honored agreements with Europe. Moreover, the memorandum claimed that the Ottoman state had always been more civilized that Europe in the past.

Stating their demands, the Indian Muslims said in the memorandum that Istanbul was an Islamic city and should thus remain an Islamic city. They rejected the caliphate of Sharif Hussein, who declared himself as the caliph of all Muslims after he declared the independence of the Arabian Hejaz from the Ottomans, stating that the caliphate still belonged to the Ottomans. Additionally, they instructed Europe to ensure the safety of Muslims in the Balkans and to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Turks. Should Europe not recognize the same rights given to Christians who left the Ottoman Empire to the Muslims, the entire Muslim world would become enraged, they warned. The Indian Muslims also tried to influence public opinion by publishing articles in the press.

While the British demonstrated that they were not open for compromise in this issue, the campaign of the Indian Muslims only grew stronger. Muslims in India started a movement for the caliphate, which even Mahatma Gandhi winded up supporting. A delegation was sent from India to meet with Lloyd George just before the Treaty of Sevres. Following a negative response from the British prime minister, the delegation met representatives of France and Italy.

The hard work of the Indian Muslims in the international arena, as well as the support they gave to the Turkish people throughout their national struggle for independence, will always stand as a monument to the eternal friendship between these two great communities of the Muslim world.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Kasım 2013, 17:53