Asan-Sabri Aivazov
Asan-Sabri Aivazov

Orientations of Jaffar Seydamet


The Kurultai tried to protest against the government’s attempt to keep its management of affairs on the peninsula within narrow limits, and D. Seidamet decided to use this situation to his own advantage. In July 1918, he made another attempt to recreate the independence of the Crimean Khanate and become the head of the Crimean government. Together with A. Hilmi and A.-S. Aivazov, he made a kind of report in which a program of action was developed.

The document began with a preamble: “The Crimean people, who fell under the Russian yoke due to the fall of the Crimean Khanate 135 years ago, are happy to be able to bring their political hopes to the attention of the German government, which the Turkish and Muslim worlds offered to the Muslim countries of His Majesty the Great German State “. It was further reported that the Russian government’s policy had ensured that most Crimean Tatars were forced to emigrate unwillingly. «From the statistical collection of zemstvos of the former Tavriya province for 1915 it is possible to see that by 1790 300 thousand Tatars left Crimea and in the period from 1860 to 1862 – 181 177 Crimean Tatars because they were subjected to injustices and oppression, as a result. what happened is that in the Crimea there were 687 completely deserted settlements. One part of the enslaved people, having endured thousands of sufferings and oppressions, found refuge in Dobrogea and Bulgaria, while the main part lives in Turkey . ”

It was further stated that if these people were given a chance to create their own state on the peninsula, the vast majority of those who went abroad would immediately return to their homeland. ” If we take into account the pleas of emigrants and guarantee them return to the Crimea, we can assume that the Crimean Tatars will make up 75-80% of the Crimean population. Tatars who emigrated to Turkey and Dobrogea cannot forget their historical connection with Crimea. Day and night, both in their national literature and in their own songs, they dream of reunification with the Crimea . ”

Jaffer Seydamet
Jaffer Seydamet
Asan-Sabri Aivazov
Asan-Sabri Aivazov

The authors of the note then described the merits of the Crimean Tatars, this “politically and nationally disadvantaged people,” in the struggle to restore their rights. It was emphasized that “Crimean Tatars, the first of the Russian Mohammedans, joined Eastern European civilization” and, with the help of “selfless, hopeful young teachers, spread general education and developed national literature.” In this way, they supported the national feelings of the Tatars …, affirmed in them the belief in liberation. ” Thanks to these efforts, the Crimean Tatars “during the revolution of 1917, when none of the peoples inhabiting Russia had yet seen a noticeable national movement, declared on March 25 at a congress held in Ak-Masjit with the participation of 3,000 representatives, their national-civil autonomy “. By their consistent actions, they not only forced the Provisional Government to recognize their autonomy,but they were also able to create “their own national military organization of soldiers to be sent to the front, and 2,000 infantry with a cavalry regiment maintained order and peace in the country.”

The note highlighted the role played by the Crimean Tatars and their government in the fight against the Bolshevik anarchy: “On November 26, 1917, that is, when even Ukraine, one of the great nations that had seceded from Russia, was unable to convene its parliament, the Crimean Tatars convened a national council elected by men and women, in short, and they managed to form a Tatar parliament and form a Tatar government. Relying on the 5,000-strong Tatar army they managed to create under this government, they took over the protection and management of both the Tatars and other nationalities inhabiting the Crimea; until January 13, 1918, they managed to prevent both agrarian and other disorder in the Crimea. In the end, in the struggle for their ideals, they were defeated by 7-8 times stronger Black Sea troops. The Crimean Tatar people, who declared and defended the independence of Crimea, suffered the most from the Bolsheviks,sacrificing in these terrible days both officers and highly respected statesmen».

It was further concluded that “ Crimean Tatars want to restore Tatar rule in Crimea on the following basis. They are a permanent element of Crimea as the oldest masters of Crimea, they form the basis of the entire economic life of the country, they make up the majority of the Crimean population, they declared and defended the independence of Crimea and for this purpose sacrificed thousands of officers, soldiers and volunteers. in international diplomacy, they are best prepared for this through their parliament and political and national organizations; thanks to the historical and military abilities of their own race, they can maintain peace and quiet in the country and in the end they rely on the Central Rada of Ukraine“(Quite a strange wording, because at that time in Ukraine there was no Central Council, and Hetmanate P. Skoropadsky – author).

The author of the memorandum to the German authorities is Jaffer Seidamet
The author of the memorandum to the German authorities is Jaffer Seidamet

To achieve this “sacred goal”, it was necessary, according to the authors of the note, to perform the following points:
“1. Transformation of Crimea into an independent neutral khanate, based on German and Turkish support.
2. Achieving the recognition of the independent Crimean Khanate in Germany, its allies and neutral states before the conclusion of general peace
3. The formation of the Tatar government in the Crimea in order to completely liberate the Crimea from the domination and political influence of the Russians
. Return of Tatar government officials and officers living in Turkey, Dobrudja and Bulgaria to Crimea
5. Ensuring the creation of the Tatar army to maintain order in the country.
6. Recognition of the right to return of Crimean emigrants living in Dobrogea and Turkey, and their material support. ”

The authors of the document further wrote: “The Turkish and Muslim worlds are preparing for a political alliance with the Great German Empire, their liberator, who has already sacrificed hundreds of thousands of people and is ready to do so on an even larger scale to root a lasting position. While Russia, its great historical enemy, perished and the road to India liberated for Germany, the stronghold of England faltered, the Muslim world finds strength in the firm determination of those Mohammedans who in the Crimea and the Caucasus have been deprived of the right to die for centuries. aspirations and hopes “.

At the end of the note it was stated: ” Crimean Tatars bring to the attention of the German government, allied with the famous Mohammedans, pointing out new paths with great resolute courage, which could not be overcome for centuries, with certain hopes and faith in firm domination, about their goals.” in the country of their ancestors. Above all, they dare to express their unwavering belief that German diplomacy, together with all the Muslims of the highly esteemed Caliphate, as well as with the Turkish government, a staunch ally of Germany, will fulfill these sacred hopes . ”

On July 21, this note, known today as the Attitude of the Directors of the Directorate of the Crimean Tatar National Council № 37 of July 21, 1918, was secretly passed on by D. Seidamet, who went to Berlin, to the German government for support. But the German authorities left this memorandum unanswered.

The Minister of Finance of the Crimean regional government is Count Volodymyr Tatyshchev
The Minister of Finance of the Crimean regional government is Count Volodymyr Tatyshchev

In search of another force that could help restore the Crimean Khanate, Seydamet again turned his attention to the Ottoman Empire. To this end, even without the knowledge (and even more so – the consent) of the Council of the regional government, he sent documents to Constantinople to Constantinople A.-S. Aivazov as a diplomatic attorney for Crimean Tatar public figures, accredited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Kurultay. The formal reason for this trip was a trip to the Ottoman Empire of a group of Crimean Tatars, who were to bring condolences to the government of the empire on behalf of the Kurultai on the death of Sultan Mehmed V. Aivazov included in the group, but his real goal was to negotiate with the government to appoint a representative Crimea in the empire.

As you know, everything secret sooner or later becomes clear. This is what happened with this initiative. Ottoman statesmen recognized the appointment of such a representative as the right move, and local newspapers reported in early August that the empire’s government had accepted the Crimean government’s credentials and recognized its envoy as Crimea’s representative in its own state.

This information surprised Simferopol, and members of the Crimean regional government asked for an explanation. On August 15, a peculiar explanation appeared in the Crimean newspapers on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating: “ Officially. Due to reports in Crimean and other newspapers about the “envoy” or even “ambassador” of the Crimean government who arrived in Constantinople, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that there is no representative of the supreme power of Crimea (Council of Ministers) in Constantinople yet, and there is a diplomatic attorney accredited in accordance with international law not by the Council of Ministers but by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Crimean Charge d’Affaires at the High Port is a member of the Kurultay A.-S. Aivazov ».

Outraged ministers of the regional government, to whom the announcement came as a surprise, asked the prime minister for an explanation of how Aivazov could have been sent to Constantinople without the permission of the supreme authority. Sulkevich pleaded guilty to the diplomatic scandal of Seydamet, whom he accused of arbitrarily sending a “representative” to the Ottoman Empire. However, Seidamet denied the allegations, saying he “did not act personally, but entirely with the consent and assistance of the prime minister,” adding that “about 20 more members of the Kurultay were present at the signing of the appointment.”

As a result, it was approved: “ Aivazov, Charge d’Affaires in Constantinople, was appointed and accredited exclusively by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without the knowledge and consent of the Council of Ministers; The Council of Ministers is ready to issue a public order on the invalidity of such an appointment; the implementation of this faces obstacles in its path in the form of undesirable and inevitable complications from the point of view of international relations, especially following the adoption by Turkey of credentials from the charge d’affaires .

During the meeting, the Council of Ministers also decided to appeal to the German government to “resolve a complex international incident that has arisen.” A telegram was sent to Berlin stating, among other things: “Jaffar Seydamet has appointed Aivazov as the commissioner for affairs in Constantinople, who is now, according to Constantinople newspapers, already recognized by the Turkish government. As the Council of Ministers did not approve such a position for Constantinople, the accreditation of anyone to this position by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not take place, so the Council of Ministers considers it necessary to propose to Seydamet to immediately suspend all actions of Aivazov as a diplomatic agent. has no legal powers of the Government. Not considering it possible to aggravate international relations with the immediate recall of Aivazov, we ask you to take all possible measures to resolve this annoying misunderstanding . ”

Count Vladimir Tatishchev at the talks in Berlin. Photo from Oko magazine (Kyiv, issue 8 in 1918)
Count Vladimir Tatishchev at the talks in Berlin. Photo from Oko magazine (Kyiv, issue 8 in 1918)

However, it was not possible to “fix the unfortunate international incident.” The next blow to Seydamet’s plans and intentions was dealt by the publication by the German leadership of a note written and taken to Germany. The Germans informed V. Tatishchev, who was in Berlin at the time, that Aivazov was negotiating with the Ottoman government, as well as a report brought by Seydamet to Berlin, and even gave the count an opportunity to read its contents. According to the memoirs of V. Obolensky, “the Germans expressed their dissatisfaction with the Crimean government for secretly negotiating with Turkey. Tatishchev denied such disloyal treatment of the Crimean government by its patrons, but he was provided with evidence and named a person who traveled from the Crimea to Constantinople and received an audience with the sultan. It turned out that Foreign Minister Jaffer Seydamet, with General Sulkevich’s blessing and secretly from other members of the government, had sent one of the Kurultai members to Constantinople for some secret talks. I do not know what these negotiations were about. Apparently, it was not known to the members of the Crimean government, who were not dedicated to it. However, the very fact that the Prime Minister carried out serious political actions without the knowledge of his colleagues, forced the most principled of them VS Nalbandov to resign immediately.His example was followed by Count Tatishchev, who, thanks to Sulkevich, found himself in a stupid position in Berlin».


When V. Tatishchev read the memorandum, he wrote a letter to V. Nalbandov, in which he said with indignation that the presentation of similar papers written by him “by my office colleague, who is with me in the same political mission, secretly from me, created here the impression of a complete lack of solidarity between the members of the Government and thus significantly undermined his authority… This way of action of D. Seidamet deeply outraged me as a Russian man, exposing me as a traitor to his homeland; I have never been and never will be . ” At the end of the letter, Tatishchev asked Nalbandov to inform the Crimean regional government that he was leaving his ranks “from the moment of entering the territory of Crimea.”

This information about the existence of the report and its content caused a huge scandal (because the note was sent to Germany not only without the knowledge of the Council of Ministers of the regional government, but also most members of the Kurultay). In the future, this led to severe consequences, especially for the Crimean Tatar revolutionary movement.
D. Seidamet immediately denied its authorship, stating that “it is the work of individuals and denied his active participation in this political step.” The note met with a sharp negative attitude in almost all segments of the Tatar population, including the Kurultai. The latter set up a commission “to investigate this issue and the source of the report” consisting of three people – Kemal, Degirmendzhiev and Abiybulaev.

This event sharply narrowed the circle of its potential allies for the Crimean Tatar movement, forcing them to continue to seek support where they would not have thought to seek it before. Many sources and memoirs suggest that the publication of this note later led to a split among the representatives of the revolutionary movement of the Crimean Tatars into two camps – the moderate and the left, which later entered into an alliance with the Bolsheviks…

On September 1, 1918, the Crimean Tatar Kurultai opened after the holidays and began discussing urgent matters. Particular attention was paid to the events surrounding the scandal that erupted around ties with the Ottoman Empire and Germany. During the September parliamentary session, the Crimean Tatar revolutionary movement split. The left wing of the Kurultay, led by A. Bodaninsky, applied to resign from the Kurultay because of a fundamental disagreement with the line he pursued on major issues of political life.

Aivazov’s interview with the Turkish newspaper Ihdam added to the flames of the scandal. It openly stated: ” Our goal was, by taking all measures, to establish the independence of Crimea and, thus, to give the indigenous population a dominant position .”

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The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Tetiana Bikova

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Scientist of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

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