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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: 12/18/1916
Arrival of telegram: 12/28/1916
Embassy/consular serial number: Nr. 176
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 04/03/2012

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


Nr. 176
Constantinople, 18 December 1916.


Mr. Foreign Minister,

We are still not receiving any parliamentary minutes, but from what I hear the opposition in the Senate have not spoken since the meeting on the 7th of this month. Perhaps it has occurred to them that there is not far from the Capitol to the Tarpeian Rock [a place of execution in ancient Rome].

The commander-in-chief in Syria, honorary Marine Minister Djemal Pacha [Ahmed Cemal Pasha] about whose arrival I have already reported, tells me today that he returns to his post in Damascus on Friday, and this he is likely to do if the Entente declines Turkey's peace offer.

The Pasha arrived here when the negotiations about the drawing up of the peace offer began between the Central Powers and Turkey, and rumors immediately connected his presence with a possible change in the composition of the government which might perhaps be necessary in the event of peace negotiations.

Djemal Pacha, who is a rising star, is fully Enver Pacha's equal when it comes to age, energy, and ambition, and since he is furthermore quite the statesman and politician, it has since long been believed here that he will rise to power if Enver Pacha and the German party meet adversity.

And if the Entente will negotiate with the Young Turk government at all, it is more likely that they will deal with Djemal Pacha and Djavid Bey [Mehmet Cavit Bey] than with Enver Pacha and Talaat Pacha whom they have held personally responsible.

Djemal Pacha, who visited and was much honored in France shortly before the war, has no more than Djavid Bey wanted to approve of the state of dependence on Germany that now exists by remaining in the ministry, and when the war started he preferred to leave the capital and assume command of the Fourth Army in Syria where he has reigned virtually supreme ever since.

As it appears from the many incidents I have already reported on, Djemal Pacha seems to be a great despot, but he is still more popular in the army than Enver Pacha, and what is left of Turkey's independence is to a large degree still there thanks to him. Where his reign begins, at Adana, German influence ends. He dispenses strict justice to the German officers in his army, something that makes him popular and is not so easy for Enver Pacha to do.

It is clear that Djemal Pacha will not take up the post as nominal Grand Vizier - like Prince Said Halim Pacha has - in a ministry where Enver Pacha and Talaat Bey have the power. There is hardly room for him and Enver Pacha in the same ministry, and it is even doubtful if he will be able to cooperate with Talaat Bey, although the latter, probably the most significant politician in the country, would, in the event, most likely pretend to stand down for Djemal, as he has done up until now for Enver, until his own time comes.

In this connection I shall remind you of my earlier reports on how it has several times been rumored during the war that Djemal Pacha, who is considered a friend of the Entente for many reasons, have negotiated on his own with England and France, and that he has even at one point been suspected here of wanting to conclude separate peace for Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc., but that he had no difficulty in showing that the suspicion he was under was unfounded and that his patriotism and loyalty could be trusted.

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


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