Damat Ferid Paşa

Osmanlı Sadrazamı, Devlet Adamı

Diğer İsimler
Mehmed Ferid, Damat Ferit Paşa

Statesman, Ottoman Grand Vizier (Born 1853, Istanbul – Death 1923, Nice / France). His real name is Mehmed Ferid and his father is Seyyid Hasan İzzet Efendi, a Council of State Member. His family originally comes from Poşasi village of Montenegro. Mehmed Ferid who started to work as an officer in foreign affairs worked as a deputy clerk in Paris, Berlin, Petersburg and London embassies. He married Mediha Sultan, the sister of Sultan Abdülhamid II and joined the Royal Family and was assigned to Council of State Membership (1886). After two years, he was promoted to be a Vizier. However when his request for reassignment to London Embassy which was submitted to Abdülhamid II by his sister was not accepted, he took offense at the Sultan and retreated to his wife’s residence in Baltalimanı for a long time. He lived a secluded and lonely life for a period.

Damat Ferid was elected to Membership of Senate after the declaration of Second Constitutionalist Period (1908).With the hope of promoting to better positions he tried to ingratiate himself with the Party of Union and Progress and started to revile against the former period. However, as he could not see the welcome of party members he turned his back on them. He presented a constitutional amendment proposal to the Senate in February 1910 and criticized the constitutional amendment actualized in 1909 by the Party Members of Union and Progress. He defended that the idea of national sovereignty was harmful for multinational Ottoman country and that the powers assigned to the legislature should be divided between the Sultan, Senate and Parliament.

Even if his proposal was not accepted in the Senate, he became the hope of the opposition against the Party of Union and Progress. Damat Ferid was elected as the General President of the Party of Freedom and Accord which came into being with the consortium of various adversary groups (25 November 1911); however he resigned because of rifts within the party. (3 June I912). After that, as a Senate Member, together with an ex-Member of Party of Union and Progress, Ahmed Rıza Bey, he became as influent as an opposition party against the Party of Union and Progress which applied a one-party-system without opposition, especially between the years 1913-18.

By the end of the 1st World War, Damat Ferid attempted to gain influence again since Ministers of the Party of Union and Progress moved away from the government. Meanwhile, the Sultan intended to send him to Mondros as head of the representatives but this was refused by the İzzet Pasha Government. Therefore, Ferid Pasha accused the İzzet Pasha Government of being a continuation of Unionists and his infusions caused the Sultan to demand the resignation of the unionist ministers in the government; however the whole government resigned. Three days after the foundation of the new government, allied powers’ navy anchored in Istanbul. (14 November 1918). The new Tevfik Pasha Government started to arrest and judges some Unionists but this did not satisfy the Allied Powers. Meanwhile, Sultan Abdülhamid II accused Tevfik Pasha of being too passive against Unionists and made him resign. Damat Ferid Pasha was assigned to Prime Ministry. (14 March 1919).      

Damat Ferid Pasha undertook the Foreign Affairs himself in the government he established. His first move was to arrest ex-Unionists including Prime Ministers, Ministers and High-Ranked Officers, with a legal decision published by him called “Act about Customs of Court Martial in Dersaadet”. Besides, worrying about the complete invasion of the Ottoman Country, Ferid Pasha asked the English to build outposts in important places. He presented a plan on the 30th of March 1919. According to this plan, under the condition of preserving the Sultan’s sovereignty rights, Arab countries were granted autonomy and Armenians were granted independence. In return, he asked the English to invade necessary areas in order to maintain the order and safety there. The violence policy started by Damat Ferid against the Unionists for the sake of winning the English; and that the Governor of Boğazlıyan, Kemal Bey, was held responsible for incidents in Yozgat during the Armenian deportation, immediately judged and executed on the 10th of April 1919, created reactions country-wide. At this time, some officers were made to commanders in Anatolian troops. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was assigned to Inspectorate of the 9th Army and granted broad authorities. (30 April 1919).

With the diplomatic note given from the English High Commissioner to the government dated 14 May 1919, Izmir was requested to handover to Allied Forces according to the armistice. The next day, Izmir was invaded by Greeks. Ferid Pasha who informed English authorities that the Greek invasion would never be accepted under these circumstances, did not receive a positive reply from them. He resigned on the 16th of May 1919 but the duty of establishing a government was again granted to him the next day. The new Damat Ferid Government which came into office on the 19th of May 1919 did not receive the expected support from the English and hence approached the French. He informed them that a French patronage would be accepted and made an application to Paris Conference through them. Allied Forces decided on the 30th of May 1919 that an Ottoman committee participated to the conference. Ferid Pasha, who went to Paris Conference with great hopes, returned empty-handed and he was criticized by various communities. Meanwhile, since the government developed an attitude towards the leaders who started the national struggle there was distantness between Anatolia and Istanbul. Ferid Pasha, claiming that affairs were troubled during the period in which he was not there, accused the government and resigned from the Prime Ministry (20 July 1919). However the next day he was reassigned to establish a government for the third time.

Damat Ferid Pasha established the government with impartial persons who were not member of any party. Allied Forces informed him about that Mustafa Kemal Pasha who leaded the Erzurum Congress and Rauf Bey must be arrested, otherwise they would invade Eastern Anatolia, which worried Ferid Pasha. United States also gave a diplomatic note to the government on the 21st of August 1919 about that the Ottoman Empire would be dismantled in case Armenians were killed. Ferid Pasha under the pressure of the English, attempted to dismantle the Sivas Congress on the one hand and on the other hand he attempted to receive help from the English about signing the agreement as early as possible, mentioning dangers created by the developments here. Mustafa Kemal Pasha informed the Allied Forces via a telegraph on behalf of the Representation Committee that the Turkish nation sought a national government instead of Ferid Pasha Government whose “treason was obvious” (24 September 1919). Damat Ferid resigned again from the Prime Ministry after the Allied Forces suggested him to reconcile with Mustafa Ke­mal. The government established by his successor Ali Rıza Pasha also resigned after one year (3 March 1920).

The Sultan this time assigned Salih Pasha to establish the government (8 March 1920). Allied Forces who did not welcome this invaded Istanbul officially (16 March 1920), broke into the Parliament and expulsed some deputies to Malta. Salih Pasha who could not resist the pressure also resigned (2 April 1920). The Sultan thereupon assigned Damat Ferid to Prime Ministry for the fourth time (5 April 1920). Ferid Pasha requested on the 8th of April the use of military force in order to repress National Forces who entered into relations with the English. He informed that he was ready to work in the way the English would approve. He issued a notice on the 10th of April 1920 and declared the leaders of national movement in Anatolia as “instigators and mischief-makers” and National Forces as “rebels”. National Forces published a fatwa signed by 153 muftis and especially the Mufti of Ankara Mehmed Rifat (Börekçi) in order to neutralize the fatwa of Shaykh-al Islam Dürrizâde who issued a fatwa to enable Damat Ferid’s notice.

Meanwhile, after the closure of the Parliament of Deputies by Ferid Pasha, the Grand National Assembly gathered in Ankara with deputies who escaped from there (23 April 1920). The Assembly took over the rule of the state and country with a government recruited from within itself, so the country now had two governments. The Ankara government gave a diplomatic note to Allied Forces on the 30th of April, informing them that the only legitimate rule of the country is the Grand National Assembly’s Government until Istanbul was saved from the Sultan and the invasion. In spite of this, the Istanbul Government on the same day sent a committee to Paris led by Tevfik Pasha in order to determine conditions of peace. The Paris Conference informed the Ottoman Committee on the 11th of May about the peace conditions it prepared. The contract which required a written answer within one month did not have any difference from a death warrant.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha declared that the committee which went to Paris did not represent the Turkish nation and was not authorized to approve the conference’s decision. The Ankara Independence Court condemned Ferid Pasha to death because of treason. Damat Ferid Pasha returned to Istanbul without acquiring any positive result in Paris and without signing the contract (14 July 1920). Nevertheless, after the Paris Conference informed him that the necessary measures would be taken in case the contract was not signed within ten days, Ferid Pasha sought to reconcile with Ankara. Meanwhile since some ministers within the government were against signing the contract, Ferid Pasha resigned to establish a new government and was assigned on the same day to establish a new government. (31 July). Damat Ferid Pasha established his fifth and last government rather with “yes-men”. He undertook Foreign Affairs himself. That Damat Ferid Government signed the Treaty of Sevres made the whole country deplore (10 August 1920). The Ankara Government condemned the signers to death because of treason.

Starting from this date, Damat Ferid lost reputation in the eye of the English. The French High Commissioner offered collaboration to his English colleague to remove Ferid Pasha from the Prime Ministry whom he regarded as the only obstacle of reconciliation between Ankara and İstanbul. Both High Commissioners visited the Sultan on the 17th of October 1920 and requested the resignation of Ferid Pasha. He resigned the same day and stayed for a while in Istanbul. Then, he used his wife’s disease as an excuse and went to Europe. He returned to Istanbul after the Great Victory, however considering this dangerous he went to France on the 21st of September 1922 with his family and settled to Nice. He died on the 6th of October 1923 when the Turkish army under the rule of Şükrü Naili Pasha saved Istanbul from invasion. 

REFERENCE: Gazi Mustafa Kemal / Nutuk (1927),  Kâzım Karabekir / İstiklâl Har­bimiz (1960), Refik Halit Karay/ Minelbab İlelmihrab (1964), İbnülemin Mahmut Kemal İnal / Osmanlı Devrinde Son Sadrazamlar (c. IV, 1969), Tarık Mümtaz Göztepe / Vahdettin Mütareke Gayyasında (1969), Sina Akşin / İstanbul Hükümetleri ve Milli Mücade­le (1983), Tarık Zafer Tunaya / Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler (c. I, 1984), Salâh R. Sonyel / Türk Kurtuluş Savaşı ve Dış Politika (1987), TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi (c. 8, İstanbul 1993), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Devlet Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).



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