The First Turkish Civil War was a conflict fought primarily between Turks and Arabs in the Ottoman Federation, triggered by the assassination of Sultan Kemalh in 1938. Kemalh had been a strong leader, but his just indecision with regard to the Second Eurasian War caused his downfall. His successors were unable to control the tide of rebellion, with Turkish and Arabic factions sweeping the country.

The Aftermath of Kemalh's assassination

Kemalh had been the first Sultan with any real power since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1890. His strength in dealings with terrorists and extremists had stabilised the country, but with his death there was nothing to stop all hell breaking loose. His successor, Mehmet I, soon had control of little more than Istanbul; it was the Turkish War Party, under the leadership of Visier Katrava, who now controlled the bulk of the Federation's Anatolian territory. The Arab provinces had begun to stir for independence, and the Caucasian Armenians had enlisted the support of neighbouring Persia in the event of the impending war.

Outbreak of Civil War

Mehmet did his best to allieviate the situation, attempting to assert his authority over at least his Turkish subjects. Failing that, he tried to win the support of the Armenian-Persian confederation, which outraged Turkish opinion. Just as the Armenians declared for the Sultan, Katrava marched on Istanbul and had Mehmet executed for treason to the state. He was replaced by Suleiman, Katrava's puppet. By the time Katrava had established this new government in Istanbul, the Armenians had made it to Trebizond - and the Arabs, in concert, had made it to Antioch.

German Co-operation

Katrava realised his precarious position - and having realised that the Arabs inclined towards the Japanese alliance, he made his own proposal to the European powers. It was the Germans that responded to the call, sending Marshall Krundt with a force that landed at Sinope. Katrava, who had already repulsed the Arabs at Adana, was relieved to hear this; and even more relieved when the Armenian force was routed by Krundt just before Trebizond. By March 1939, the Arab-Armenian-Persia coalition had pushed out of Anatolia and in to their own territories. The Armenian-Persian army made a stand at the town of Artaxata and were close to wiped out. At around this time the Japanese occupied Persia, which can't have helped.

Final Subjugation of the Arabs and Official End of the First Civil War

Somewhat cowed by the defeat of the Armeno-Persians at Artaxata, the Arab nations began to decline from the war. Egypt and its self-claimed possessions in the Sinai returned themselves to Ottoman jurisdiction in June, followed by Saudi Arabia and Muscat in July. Krundt had already stamped out the resistance in Mesopotamia and Armenia by this point, leaving only Syria and the other Levantine provinces in separatist hands. Katrava showed these provinces the hand of a firm ruler, retaking Antioch in August and obliterating the Arab relief force. By the time Katrava and his merciless Turkish armies had arrived at the gates of Jerusalem, the remaining Arabs were sueing for peace.

Katrava was hardly going to let them get off lightly. The provinces that turned themselves back to the Ottomans were punished with more leniency than their defeated kinsmen; usually only a raise in taxes was imposed. For Syria, the Levant, Armenia and Mesopotamia the results were harsher; wholesale massacres were conducted everywhere under the gaze of Katrava, who had rightly earned his title the Ruthless

These massacres formally mark the end of the civil war - although by the next year the Arabs were on the the move again, this time under Japanese jurisdiction. Krundt and Katrava would be powerless to stop them this time!

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