Military officer, statesman, Ottoman War Minister (B.23 November 1881?, Divanyolu / Istanbul – D. 4 August 1922 Ab-ı Derya Village / Belcuvan / Eastern Bukhara). His real name is İsmail Enver. His family is from Manastır. His father is Ahmet Bey who earlier served as a cadaster technician in Ministry of Public Works and later promoted to unmilitary pasha rank. His mother is Ayşe Hanım. He completed his primary education, which he started at Istanbul Fatih Primary School, in Manastır where he went to because of his father’s duty during the 2nd grade. He went to Military Academy after completing the Military Secondary School and Military High School in the same location. Propaganda against Abdülhamid II was spread in higher schools at that time. Enver Bey seemingly was under influence of it. He completed his school ranking the 9th in class and managed to be one of the forty-five students who were selected for general staff.
During his staff education he was once taken to Yıldız Palace and questioned but not convicted. He graduated from the school ranking the 2nd in class and was assigned in the 13th mobile artillery brigade in Manastır in January 1913 with the rank of staff captain. He was assigned in September 1903 to the 1st Division of 20th infantry regiment in Koçana and one month later to 19th infantry regiment. He was charged in April 1904 in the 16th Cavalcade in Skopje. In October of the same year he returned to the headquarters in Manastır. Later he was assigned to inspectorship of Manastır Military Zone, Ohri and Kırçova regions. When he was a lieutenant commander in 1905 he showed great success in military operation against Bulgarian, Greek and Albanian guerillas and was granted gold Legion of Merit, being promoted to major’s rank. Later he joined the Ottoman Association of Freedom established in Thessaloniki and returned to Manastır. He contributed to the establishment of the association’s branch here. Meanwhile, Ottoman Association of Freedom and Ottoman Party of Union and Progress whose center was in Paris were united. He continued his works more intensively after the first organization was named Ottoman Association of Progress and Union, Internal General Center. He participated to coup and assassination attempts started by the Association of Progress and Union. After his secret works were denounced he was invited to Istanbul. However, on the evening of 24 June 1908 he climbed to the mountains and undertook a pioneering role in revolution.
Enver Bey went to Köprülü on the 21st of July 1908 after his works of organization in Tikveş. Upon the call of Sultan Abdülhamid II to an assembly in the parliament he went to Thessaloniki and joined the celebrations here. Since he had the highest rank among the officers who went up to mountains and he made the most important work with lieutenant commander Niyazi Bey, he started to be called “freedom hero”. He became one of the pioneers of the military wing within the organization, which again started to use the name “Ottoman Association of Union and Progress”. Enver Bey who was granted on the 23rd of August 1908 Inspectorship of Rumeli State was appointed Military Attaché in Berlin on the 5th of March 1909.
Upon the “31 March Incident” (13 April 2009), Enver Bey temporarily returned to homeland. He joined the Action Army and went back to Berlin. Enver Bey who was invited to Istanbul met Mahmut Şevket Pasha on the 19th of March 1911 who sent him to Macedonia to control the measures taken against the guerilla activities in that region and to prepare a report about it. Enver Bey went to Thessaloniki, Skopje, Manastır, Köprülü and Tikveş, worked on the measures against the guerilla groups and met prominent figures of Association of Union and Progress. He returned to Istanbul on the 11th of May 1911. On the 15th of May 1911 he was engaged with Naciye Sulyan, one of the nieces of Sultan Mehmet Reşat. He left Istanbul on the 27th of July 1911 because of Malisör Rebels as Chief of Staff of 2nd Army Corps gathered in İşkodra. He played important roles in quelling the rebels and solution of problems between the Albanese members of the Association of Union and Progress. Later he passed to Berlin but upon the attack of Italians to Trablusgarp he returned to homeland.
Enver Bey defended the opinion of conducting a guerilla war against Italians during the board meeting of Association of Union and Progress, which gathered on the 3rd of September 1911 in Thessaloniki. He made other members of the association accept this opinion. On the 8th of October 1911 he met the Sultan and government officials. Later he left Istanbul to go to Alexandria. He established various relations with prominent Arab leaders in Egypt and passed to Benghazi. There he had great success during the war and guerilla operation against Italians. On the 24th of January 1912 he was appointed Commander of General Benghazi Zone and on the 17th of March 1912 additionally to this duty District Governor of Benghazi. By the end of November 1912, he left Benghazi to join the Balkan Wars and passed to Alexandria and Brindisi under disguise, and after having returned to Istanbul through Vienna, he was appointed at the Commander of 10th Army Corps Chief Staff. He led operations of the Association of Union and Progress to avoid that Kâmil Pasha government signed a peace treaty. On the 10th of January 1913 Enver Bey met Nâzım Pasha. They agreed on forcing the War Minister Kâmil Pasha to resign and establish a government, which would continue the war.
Enver Bey and the prominent figures of the Association of Union and Progress realized on the 23rd of January 1913 “Babıâli Raid”. Enver Bey led this military coup and made Kamil Pasha sign his resignation. Later he visited the Sultan and made Mahmut Şevket Pasha be appointed Prime Minister. However, after this operation, which was done to save Edirne, the military operation whose planning was also done by Enver Bey failed. Edirne was left to Bulgarians, which caused problems for the Association of Union and Progress. After Mahmut Şevket Pasha was killed on the 12th of June 1913 the Party of Union and Progress took control of the country. Enver Bey who was the leader of the military cadre within the party had influence on important decisions. Enver Bey’s entry to Edirne during the 2nd Balkan War on the 22nd of July 1913 increased his credibility in the society. On the 15th of December 1913 he became colonel, on the 3rd of January 1914 brigadier general and in the same time War Minister replacing Ahmet İzzet Pasha. After a short time Enver Pasha also undertook the Presidency of General Staff. In his new duty he made great efforts to reorganize the Ottoman army, which was defeated in the 1st Balkan War.
Enver Pasha on the 5th of March 1914 married Naciye Sultan, granddaughter of the Ottoman Prince Süleyman Selim who is son of Sultan Abdülmecit and became a groom in the palace. After that he was assigned by the Association of Union and Progress to conduct operations in order to make an alliance treaty with Germany. First attempts and suggestions of Enver Pasha were refused by the German Ambassador in Istanbul Hans von Wangenheim. Later the alliance treaty was signed on the 2nd of August 1914 upon the Austrian-Hungarian authorities’ pressure and order of Kaiser Wilhelm II although Wangenheim and Chancellor Betmann-Hollweg opposed it. The point Enver Pasha did not agree about with his friends was his will to make the Ottoman Empire enter the war as an ally of Germany although the treaty did not obligate this. After the Ottomans entered the war, he took over the command of military operations as the War Minister.
However, Enver Pasha’s command during the 1st World War as the only authority was only realized in the Caucasian Front. On the 1st of November 1914 Russians crossed the Ottoman-Russian border and entered Köprüköy on the 4th of November. Enver Pasha upon this ordered the Ottoman army to advance. Enver Pasha who went to the front discharged Hasan İzzet Pasha who opposed the suggestion of advancing. He started the advance action on the 18th of December. Enver Pasha continued the operation under heavy winter conditions in spite of oppositions of his sub-commanders. Within this operation called “Sarıkamış Operation” a major part of his army of 90.000 soldiers were frozen to death in Allah-u Ekber Mountains or killed by Russians. Upon this he left the front on the 10th of January 1915 and returned to Istanbul. After this operation Enver Pasha’s reputation was shattered. On the 14th of October 1918 Talat Pasha Government resigned and Enver Pasha’s war ministry ended. Enver Pasha boarded a German submarine in Arnavutköy on the 1st - 2nd of November 1918 with other seven leaders of Union and Progress Association and escaped to Odessa. Upon this according to the Sultan’s declaration dated 1 January 1919 he was discharged from military.
Some expressions used by Enver Pasha in his letter to Grand Vizier Ahmet İzzet Pasha before he left the country gave the impression that he would attempt to establish a Turkish Government in Azerbaijan. In fact he departed from his friends in Crimea who were going to Berlin and headed towards the army troops in Caucasia, which were under control of his uncle Halil Pasha, and brother Nuri Bey. However when he failed to do that, he decided to go to Berlin. He went to Berlin in April 1919 and settled to Babelsberg. He took office in preparation works of Union and Progress Association, which was trying to reorganize in Germany.
Enver Pasha participated to the Congress of Eastern People realized in Baku between the 1-8 September 1920 on behalf of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, but no important results were achieved in this congress. Enver Pasha by the beginning of October 1920 returned to Berlin, later went to Switzerland and met Hakkı Pasha there. He decided to establish a secret society to send military help from Russia to Anatolia. However he could not provide the expected aid from Moscow. Enver Pasha by the end of February 1921 again went to Moscow. Here he realized certain negotiations with Chicherin and new Representative of Ankara Government Bekir Sami Bey. He wrote a long letter to Mustafa Kemal Pasha on the 16th of July 1921, opposed the complaints about his works and refuted the rumor that he would take over the Anatolia actions. When the Greek attack started on the 30th of July towards Ankara, Enver Pasha with other leaders of Unionists went to Batumi to pass to Anatolia. Meanwhile the Countrywide Resistance Organization in Trabzon clearly supported him. After the Unionists’ meeting done here on the 5th of September and declared as People’s Councils Party Meeting it was decided to apply to the Assembly (TBMM) in Ankara to end its cold relations with Unionist exiles.
Enver Pasha who left Baku stopped by Tbilisi, Ashgabat and Merv. Later he went to Bukhara in October 1921 with some Unionists who accompanied him. He again set forth on the 8th of November with Turkish officers and arrived at Akbulağ on the 19th of November, Başçardak winter quarters on the 21st of November and Urgantepe on the 24th of November. Enver Pasha who left here by the end of February 1922 went to winter quarters in order to organize Basmacı groups fighting against Russians. After the Russians took Dushanbe back on the 24th of July he retreated and reached Satılmış winter quarter. From here he passed to Abıderya village in Belcuvan (Eastern Bukhara) and established his last military quarters there. During the feast of sacrifice ceremonies on the 4th of August 1922 in the quarters, while exchanging greetings with soldiers, the Russians started a sudden raid. He went to Çegan hill with thirty cavalrymen aside him and was killed during the fight there. His corpse was inhumed in Abıderya village.