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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1, ”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 1, til 31 Dec. 1916
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 09/20/1915
Arrival of telegram: 10/04/1915
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 122
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 122

Constantinople, 20 September 1915.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

As mentioned in my respectful report No. CXVIII [118] of the 16th this month His Excellency the Minister of War Enver Pasha ventured out on an inspection journey on the 7th of this month to Smyrna and Adalia.

This journey nearly cost him his life as he was followed by 2 officers from the Constantinople garrison who tried to murder him as his train stopped at the railway station in Afion Karahissar on the 9th or 10th of this month.

The Royal Consul at Smyrna [Alfred van der Zee] has reported the following about this incident:

"In continuation of my last report dated 7th. Inst. I beg to inform you that H.E. Enver Pacha after having inspected all the fortifications & entranchments in the Menemen & Kilisman districts which protect this city, proceeded by special train to Baldiz leaving Smyrna on Wednesday 8th. Inst. at 6.45 p.m. arrived Baldiz next morning at 5 a.m. & motored thence to Adalia, which he reached at 1 o'clock p.m.. After an inspection of seventeen hours he returned to Smyrna arriving on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. & left this city the same day at 6 p.m. by special train for the Capital via Afion Karahissar - Eski-Chehir.

While on his way to Smyrna an attempt to assassinate him was made which fortunately failed. On the train arriving at the station of Afion Karahissar two supposed civilians tried to force their way into his carriage but were caught and prevented by the guards in attendance. The prisoners on being handcuffed & searched documents were found in their possession proving that they were officers in the army stationed at Constantinople. These papers together with a considerable sum of money that was found on their persons were seized & the officers themselves were sent back in irons to the Capital for trial."

If this attempted murder had succeeded, Enver Pasha would have been the third Turkish Minister of War to be assassinated over the last two years, and in reality it must be considered a miracle that this brave man has not yet become a victim of one of the many attempted assassinations that he has most likely already been exposed to, and which have meticulously been kept secret.

The loss of Enver Pasha would at the present time most likely have led to a disaster in Turkish history, as he is the cornerstone of the present system and cannot be replaced.

Enver Pacha's significance is especially due to his great energy and unbelievable foolhardiness and to the luck that has up until now followed him in almost everything he does.

He is a good example of what a vigorous fatalist, who believes in his calling and has a will, can still to this day achieve in the Orient.

He is so used to being lucky that nothing seems to be impossible to him, and in this circumstance one must seek a large part of the explanation for his actions.

No one - not even his comrades and most eager followers - can understand how he has managed to survive the radical changes he, seemingly with success, has carried out in the army in an incredibly short period of time.

During the Balkan War the Turkish army turned out to be demoralized and almost worthless; the officers thought first and foremost of saving their lives because they knew that their wifes and children would perish from poverty if they fell on the battle field (a Turkish officer's widow with children receives a pension of 2 1/2 Turkish pounds a month), but during the present war Enver Pasha has made good this sad state of affairs by ordering that any officer who tries to save his own life is to be shot immediately.

Even where the heat of the battle is most pronounced the Turkish officer is therefore now less certain of death than he would be if he sought cover where the enemy's bullets could not reach him.

And the value of the Turkish troops depends on the attitude of the officers; they will follow those officers blindly into death who leads them into the battle and who immediately shoots down the man who does not follow him, but they will flee if they see that the officer's courage fails.

I have once seen luck failing Enver Pasha when he at the end of 1914, despite the warnings of the German officers of the general staff, carried out the breakneck campaign in the Caucasus that led to the destruction of the Turkish army.

During the Balkan War the expedition to Charkøj [Sarköy] (to fall upon the Bulgarians from the behind at Tchataldja [Chataldja]) that Enver Pasha had personally planned failed just as completely, but at that time this event was followed by the fortunate reconquering of Adrianople which made people forget the defeat that had been suffered. After the defeat in the Caucasus it was chosen to keep what had happened a secret, and Enver Pasha, after all the horrors he had gone through, returned to Constantinople with an undiminished faith in his lucky star.

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully


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