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Şahin Bey

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Şahin Bey

Coordinates: 36°54′24″N 37°12′15″E / 36.906566°N 37.20417°E / 36.906566; 37.20417 Mehmed Said (1877–March 28, 1920), better known as "Şahin Bey", was the commander of the Turkish revolutionaries that were stationed in the city of Gaziantep during the Turkish War of Independence.

Ottoman Army Years

Beginning in 1899, he started to take active roles at numerous battles for the Ottoman Empire. He was sent to Yemen to fight against the local Imams that were trying to take the control of the region from the Ottomans. His efforts would help Ottomans to control the region until their dissolution after World War I.

Later he voluntarily went to Trablusgarp in 1911 to defend the Ottoman territories against the invading Italian forces. After a successful beginning for the Ottoman side, the Italo-Turkish War turned out to be an Italian victory in the end. An outcome that ended the Ottoman presence in the North Africa totally. Disappointed after the defeat, Şahin Bey returned to Istanbul and was sent to the Balkan front immediately. Another defeat was waiting for him there. Turks lost nearly all of their territories in Europe.

Şahin Bey's return to the Western front would come after the Ottoman Empire entered the World War I next to Central Powers. He was sent to Galicia to help the allies of the empire. He was later transferred to the Middle Eastern front of the war, specifically to Sinai in 1917. There he took part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign which resulted with another defeat for the Ottoman-German alliance. Şahin Bey became a prisoner of war in the hands of the British forces. He wasn't released until 1919.

When he returned to his homeland, the Southeast Anatolia, in 1919, he became the representative of the Ottoman Army with a duty to control the important road between Kilis and Gaziantep. There he saw the disadvantageous results of World War I.

Local Leader of the Revolution

1919 was an important year for the Turkish revolution. Mustafa Kemal was starting a revolt in Anatolia and the French were invading Şahin Bey's homeland. He decided to join the spirit of the revolution and became the leader of the local revolutionaries.

He was hoping to defeat the French Army, just like his comrades did at the Battle of Marash. For this purpose, he attacked Charles Joseph Edouard Andréa's forces, a spearhead group of the actual army, that left Kilis to Aintab in the morning of March 26, 1920. The combat started with the advance of the Turkish side but turned into a defeat when the main French force arrived to the battlefield. Şahin Bey desperately fought against the advancing Andréa's troops and managed to stop them on Elmalı bridge . On 28 March, he and his men were killed. And then Andrea's forces could enter to the city of Aintab.[1]

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