Halil Halid Bey

Journalist, Writer

Mekteb-i Hukuk (Istanbul University Faculty of Law)

One of the Ottoman's last period intellectuals (B. 1869, Ankara - D. ?) His father was Çerkes Şeyhizade Ahmet Refi Efendi, her mother was Hacı Refika Sıdıka Hanım. Halil Halid, who was very active and adventurous, lost his father at a very young age. When he was at his school age, he struggled with his mother not to go to the local school which required some discipline. Therefore, his mother called out one of their relatives and he started the local school with this old man's pressure. Halil Halid attended to rüştiye (secondary school) a year later and he continued his education here until he was fourteen. After graduating from the rüştiye, her mother sent him to Istanbul with his uncle Mehmet Tevfik Efendi who was in Ankara for some time due to the Assembly being repealed by the Sultan. Although he wanted to attend a military school, he started at Küçük Ayasofya Madrasah upon his uncle request. He went to madrasah for five years; for two years he stayed with his uncle and for three years he was a boarding student.

Halil Halid, who went to see his mother one day, met the British consulate living very close to their town and he got his first information about England and the British people. After the vacation he turned back to Istanbul and had lessons on fiqh (Islamic law) and made a progress in this field. When he went to a relative in Beirut for vacation, he saw that those who had been attending the school had been appointed to different posts. Returning from this journey, he decided to attend the Mekteb-i Hukuk (Faculty of Law) and accomplished his education there. He was grown with Eastern and Islamic culture. But he ran to Paris and Geneva, and to London which was the shelter for some Turkish intellectuals of that period. There, he started to write articles to Hürriyet which was published by Salim Faris by using nicknames. Upon Abdülhak Hamid's recommendation and the invitation of the Palace, he returned Istanbul and assigned to a post in the courthouse. But, he changed his mind eighteen days later and went back to London.

Halil Halid Bey was appointed as the vice consul to the Ottoman embassy in London in 1897. He submitted a report on March 7th, 1898 to AbdülHamid on the Persian Gulf in the capacity of deputy London consul. This report was important in terms of showing the proximity of Halil Halid Bey to the political matters and of his great determination regarding England's goals about the region. After having prepared the report, he published a paper against the Ottoman ambassador and consul in London and he was dismissed from his post in a short time.

E.J. Gibb was lecturing Turkish Literature at the Cambridge University in those years. Halil Halid, who was introduced to Gibb by Abdülhak Hamid, was appointed as the assistant Turkish lecturer at Cambridge University. Later, he was appointed to Mumbai Consulate General. However, the British government didn't want Halil Halid to be in India as his signature was recognized a little in the British media. Therefore, he was called back by Sait Halim Pasha who sent him there. During the years of truce, he went to Switzerland. In the middle of the truce period he returned to Turkey. He worked as an English Teacher at the Harbiye Mektebi (War Academy) and teacher Islamic nations’ history at the Faculty of Theology.

Some of his articles were against Adbülhamid, II and regarding the literature of Young Turks and some were defending the Turkish law against the West. He wrote in Servet-i Fünûn magazine. His book named “Hilâl ve Salip Münâzaası was translated into Arabic and Hindi. All his works written to defend the existence and the law of Turkishness were translated into Arabic, Hindi and Urdu languages. As well as having written many articles in Turkish and in foreign newspapers, he was one of the authors whose books and booklets were translated into foreign languages or written directly in those languages. During the Second World War he went to Germany and continued writing. In 1918 he published an article magazine called Bazı Berlin Makalâtı”. Although Halil Halid Bey was not well known in Turkey, he was famous in North Africa and in England, because he achieved important business in North Africa and in England on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. Sometime he opposed Abdülhamid, but once he saw the betrayal of the Young Turks he took the Sultan's side. He was known with his scientific side in the Islamic world as well as this political identity.  During his teaching in England, he reprehended the policies of England towards the Ottoman Empire and warned the Muslims regarding the imperialist goals. He was one of those who showed the strongest response to the invasion of Egypt by England and the takeover of Bosnia Herzegovina by Austria with his articles. One of the subjects he was sensitive about was the Islamic societies' falling for Westernization and starting to move away from the Islamic civilization. Halil Halid Bey, who said that nationalism was a dangerous trend for the Muslims, highlighted that the Muslims should have acted in unity in their fight with West. He believed that the Ottoman Empire should have lived at any cost. He used to say that the only way to fight against imperialism was to gather the Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Circassian, Bosnian, and Albanian Muslims under this umbrella or otherwise a society named as the Muslim society would not exist anymore, and Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Kosovo, Meşhed and Mosul would become colony lands... Halil Halid was interested closely in the Muslim students going to Europe and submitted a project to the government of the time to protect them from alienation, but the project was rejected by the İttihat (T.N. Confederation) Government pretending that it promoted reactionary.


The Diary of a Turk (Bir Türk’ün Jurnali, 1903), A Study in English Turcophobia (İngiltere’de Türk Düş­manlığı Üzerine Bir Araştırma, 1904), Cezayir Hâtırâtı (1906), Hilâle Karşı Salip (1907, the same work was published in 1907 in English with the name The Crescent Versus the Cross ), Hilâl ve Salip Münâzaası (1907), İslâm ile Nasrâniyetin Münâsebat-ı Asliyyesi (1326/1908), Arap ve Türk, Fusûl-i Mütenevvia (4 booklets, 1326/1908), Şehzade Cem Vak’asında Mesele-i Hamiyyet (1327/1909), Panislâmizm Tehlikesi (1918, German), La Turcophobie des İmpérialistes Anglais (1919, French-English), İngiliz Mesâi Fırkası ve Şark (1919, English), Türk Hâkimiyeti ve İngiliz Cihangirliği (1341/1922), İslâm Tarihi (Translation from English, 1343/1924), Her Günkü Hayatın İktisadiyatı (from H. Penson, 1926), Tacirliğin Mübadisi (from M. Clark, 1926).

REFERENCE: Abdülhak Şinasi Hisar / Haftalık Edebî Muhasebe-Halil Hâlid’in Hayatı ve Eseri (Milliyet, 7.4.1931), Türk Ansiklopedisi (c. 18, 1943-1986), TDE Ansiklopedisi (c. 4, 1976), TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (c. 15, 1996), TDOE - TDE Ansiklopedisi 4 (2004), İhsan Işık / Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006) - Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 3, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Halil Halid kime cevap verdi (dunyabizim.com, 29.07.2010), Tarık Yalçın / Sıradışı bir Osmanlı aydını; Halil Halid Bey (Dünya Bülteni / Tarih Servisi, dünyabizim.com, erişim 22.12.2010).



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