Making Connections

Pasha

This is a term used to designate high rank in the Ottoman Empire and is a title granted by the sultan of Turkey. Originally, it was used only for military officials but it eventually came to refer to any high-ranking official in the Turkish government. Rank in the Ottoman Empire was determined by how many yak or horsetails one had, which were displayed as a sign of military authority. Pashas had three, while the two classes of beys and Aghas were allowed two and one, respectively.

Mehmet Talaat Pasha

From 1989 to 1908, he was a postman in the Selanik Post Office, and eventually became Head of Selanik Post Office, but he was dismissed for being a member of CUP. However, after the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, he became Minister of Interior Affairs. He became the secretary-general of CUP in 1912, and after the assassination of the Prime Minister in July 1913, he regained his position as the Minister of Interior Affairs. He formed the Three Pashas along with Ismail Enver Pasha and Ahmed Djemal Pasha, who effectively became the head of the Ottoman government until the end of World War I in October 1918. Because Talaat was the interior minister, he deserves much of the blame for the deportation of Armenians to Syria.

Ismail Enver Pasha

Before he joined the Three Pashas formed by Talaat, he was the minister of war, and was in favor of uniting all the people of Turkey. Not long before the Ottoman government declared war on Russia, Enver gave himself a new position, Vice-Generalissimo, and essentially became the dictator of the Ottoman Empire. He believed that he was a great military leader but his efforts were for naught when the Russians defeated his army at Sarikamis. When Enver failed to withstand the subsequent attack on the Dardanelles on March 18, 1915, he turned his army over to Limon von Sanders, who successfully defended the Turks at Gallipoli.

Ahmed Djemal Pasha

Djemal began work in the military, serving in the Department of the Ministry of Military Issues and he began to sympathize with the Committee of Union and Progress. Eventually, he worked his way into an influential position in the department of military issues in the CUP. Djemal ruled alongside Enver and Talaat as one of the Three Pashas through World War I. He was primarily responsible for the disaster for the Ottoman Empire during the war because he was the architect of the government's foreign policy. On the issue of the Armenians, he disagreed with the policies of the CUP but did nothing to stop the genocide, and as a member of the Operations Army, he is responsible for the murder of Armenians in Cilicia, a region of southern Anatolia.