An unknown Indian Muslim hero in Turkey's liberation war
CULTURE AND ARTS

An unknown Indian Muslim hero in Turkey's liberation war

During the turbulent days of Turkey's Independence War following the defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I, an Indian Muslim had fled his country to lend a hand to the ailing Ottomans in war-torn Anatolia.

News Service
Abdurrahman Peshawari had worked together with the famous novelist Halide Edip (Adivar) and renowned journalist Yunus Nadi (Abalioglu), the two founders of Turkey's first news agency, the Anadolu Agency, wrote his news stories in a small office, typing stories of wartime atrocities, victories and losses, according to Yusuf Nadi's memoirs.

Abdurrahman Peshawari was born in the city of Peshawar in the famed Khyber Valley, and was only 26 when he sold his clothes and books to pay for his sea journey, despite the wishes of his wealthy family, who urged him to continue his studies.

Peshawari sailed with 26 Indian Muslims in an Italian ship from Mumbai to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and during the long journey volunteer doctors in the group trained him in first aid.

Peshawari was motivated by high Islamic ideals, fought with the Ottoman army and was injured three times while fighting at Gallipoli against the British Imperial navy, during which Ottoman troops managed to repel invading forces from the Dardanelles Strait.

He later joined with an Ottoman Red Crescent group, bringing financial aid from Indian Muslims to purchase medical equipment for the Ottoman armies fighting in the Balkans.

Indian Muslim communities supported the Ottomans during the empire's collapse and Peshawari was a notable member of this group, said Mucahit Arslan, a Turkish history researcher who uncovered the story of this "unknown hero" of Turkey's Independence War.

After the war, despite his family urging him to return home, he chose to stay refusing his mother's pleas to return by saying, "I cannot come back while the Muslim nation is under invasion."

Peshawari served the nascent Turkish Republic, appointed by Ataturk as ambassador to Afghanistan until his story ended tragically when he was assassinated in Istanbul in 1925, apparently mistaken for a military commander.

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