The First World War, With a Different Face of It

The First World War, With a Different Face of It

Political or military journals are written for defense purposes. When a person realizes that he has been wronged and cannot defend himself by the judiciary or any other way, he picks up the pen and begins to write the “truths” about all the crimes, misdemeanors and mistakes. Because both victory and defeat are attributed to one person. Both victory and defeat symbolize one name. Symbol names are usually the commander, leading the army.

Commity of Union member Director General of Public Security Hüseyin Aziz Akyürek’s memoirs titled İstihbarat Savaşları (Wars of Intelligence) (Kronik Books, 2019) is not focusing on defence. It was mostly written to provide information. The subtitle of the book is “Espionage Activities in Syria and Lebanon in the First World War”. According to the information given by Polat Safi, who prepared the book for publication, it is not certain whether the book was actually written by Aziz Akyürek. But the events are true. Polat Safi corrected some information errors, using footnotes. He also determined the people and events that are completely fictional. Therefore, we are confronted with a memoir whose author is fictional, but the content is not. This situation is as interesting as the espionage events described in it.

If the Wars of Intelligence was written by Aziz Akyürek, he would have written it in Turkish. But the original Turkish version of the book could not be found. The book was translated into Arabic by Fuad Meydânî. It was published in a newspaper called el-Ahrar in 1932-1933. It is not known who Fuad Meydânî is. Meydânî is probably a pen name. In short, Wars of Intelligence is a book full of secrets from its author to its publication. Given the information provided, it is a book that explains the Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese leg of the First World War, and at least provides an opportunity to look at the events from different perspectives, revealing, intriguing and opening the door to different readings and research.

Wars of Intelligence seems to have been written by a person with a background in non-military warfare, taking advantage of different sources of memoir and information. It tells of hundreds of espionage events. At the end of the book, the reader begins to understand how important and determinant irregular warfare is. Agents, illegal organizations, secret propaganda, assassinations, popular uprisings, and more system-smashing, uncontrollable moves to conquer a country… These are indications that the war has started before the war has started, and which side is certain to win.

The activities of the French, British, Russian and Italian agents in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, and the measures taken by the Ottoman administration against these secret organizations are almost like little rehearsals of the First World War. Wars of Intelligence make it clear that the First World War had a thousand fronts, the most complex or determinant of these being irregular warfare and methods.

The book consists of 25 chapters and contains thousands of names. We know some of the names; we are hearing some of the names for the first time. The events are perhaps the kind we cannot find in any official history book. Therefore, Polat Safi believes that the book should be evaluated through a critical reading. We are of the same opinion.

The Library of the Author

– Cengiz Dağcı, Korkunç Yıllar, Ötüken Neşriyat

– Gündüz Vassaf, Cehenneme Övgü, İletişim Publications

– İsmail Kılıçarslan, Ortaçağ Meslekler Atlası, Ketebe Publishing House

– Alain, Minerva veya Bilgelik, Doğu Batı Publications