Selim Deringil's The Ottoman Twilight in the Arab Lands: Turkish Memoirs and Testimonies of the Great War is an account of five memoirs written after World War I by leading Ottoman military commanders and intellectuals who spent the war years in the Arab provinces. The memoirs include those of Falih Rifki Atay, Ahmad Cemal Pasha's deputy in the Fourth Army and head of intelligence in Damascus and Jerusalem; Hüseyin Kazım Kadri, a founder of the Young Turk movement and editor of Tanin; Naci Kaşif Kıcıman, the chief intelligence officer in Hijaz during the Great Revolt; Münevver Ayaşlı, the daughter of the Turkish head of the Ottoman tobacco monopoly who became an ardent Islamic feminist in the Republican period; and Ali Fuad Erden, the Fourth Army's chief of staff. Deringil's introduction, which references other works on the final days of Ottoman rule in Syria and Palestine, provides a critical framing of these narratives in the context of (some) Turkish claims that the Great Revolt constituted a “stab in the back” to the Ottoman war effort and a betrayal of the state. The memoirs contain vivid accounts of daily life in Beirut, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Medina during World War I.
From “Stab in the Back” to “Good Riddance”: Recollections of Ayyam al-Atrak
Salim Tamari is research associate at the Institute for Palestine Studies (Ramallah) and editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly. His most recent work, coauthored with Munir Fakher Eldin, is Al-awqaf wal malkiyyat al-maqdisiyyat: Dirasat li ‘iqarat al-baldat al-qadimat fil qarn al-'ishrin (Twentieth-century landed property and public endowments in Jerusalem's Old City) (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2019).
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Salim Tamari; From “Stab in the Back” to “Good Riddance”: Recollections of Ayyam al-Atrak. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 May 2020; 49 (3): 70–75. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2020.49.3.70
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