Author: ÖZDIS HAMDI
Governors of a town
Name of Governor of city: Kadri Bey (Paşa)
Inclusive dates of public service: 1892
Kadri Bey was born in 1843 in Istanbul, the child of a prominent family[i] and was educated at the elementary school[ii] of the time as well as privately, taking classes of logic, traditional Turkish quatrain, history and geography; he learned Arabic and Persian as well as a little French. A powerful writer, Kadri Bey wrote, at quite a young age, an essay on the situation of the pious foundations in the Ottoman Empire and also at a very young age (13 years’ old) he started working for the management of the Finance school. Kadri Bey, who worked at very important posts such as marshal of the Imperial Armoury and Financial under-secretary, was one of the high-rising bureaucrats. There are also notes from which we deduct that he gave Persian lessons to Abdülhamid II when the latter was still a prince.[iii] In 1882 he was appointed as defterdar (head of finances) of the province of Aydın, in what is considered to be his first employment in the countryside.
The fame of Kadri Bey, decorated with many state medals and badges, began with his post as vali of the province of Trabzon. Remaining the vali uninterrupted for ten years (1892-1902), he became one of the valis who served the longest. Apart from ensuring the order in the city, he became the subject of jokes for his particular fight against tobacco smugglers. His coffee treats of “little sugar” or “medium sweet” were notorious. Even though many complaints were made about him to the palace, sultan Abdülhamid protected him and Kadri Bey was never removed from office. [iv]
In notes about development activities, it is recorded that, from the period of Kadri Bey’s time in office, a great deal of private roads were constructed, as well as the stone pier in Değirmendere.[v]
According to English consul Longworth’s observations in 1895, Kadri Bey is remembered as a capable vali who broke the power of local lords in the province, kept banditry under pressure and, furthermore, showed more respect to the people. [vi] If we refer to Kadri Bey’s attitude towards certain events that took place at the time of his office, we gain clarity about other directions of management. In this context, there are two events in particular to refer to. The first one is his relations with the Tobacco Regie and the tobacco producers and the other is the 1894 Armenian incidents.
His behaviour against the tobacco producers in the case of the tobacco Regie (the tobacco monopoly) in Akçaabad and the strict measures he took against smuggling provoked the reaction and protests of the people in the region. The fact that the vali’s clash with the tobacco Regie about the relevant matters became a reason for such tension is recorded in documents in the Ottoman Archives.[vii] On this subject we must note that the Nemlizades were active in the production of tobacco and had close relations with the Regie management. We should also remember that Osman Efendi of the Nemlizades had in his hands the iltizam of the tobacco Regie, meaning he had the right to collect the taxes resulting from the tobacco production. We also have information that the Nemlizades founded a tobacco factory jointly with the Regie management in 1895 to manufacture and trade tobacco. [viii] Thus, it is clear that the vali protected the Nemlizades and this can be clearly seen in an official document. [ix]
In his relations with the local notables, the vali gathered near him the strongest and most influential ones and protected them on many accounts. Because of that he managed to establish his own authority in the region. This was another reason for his close relation to Trabzon’s two local powers, the Eyüpzades and the Nemlizades. [x] It is argued that in a trial concerning the Nemlizades, the vali took the side of Şatırzade Şakire Hanım, from one of the oldest notable families against whom there was also a complaint, and caused a stir.[xi]
The discreet behavior of Kadri Bey during the 1894-5 Armenian events in Trabzon, is again recorded by English consul Longworth. According to him, the vali showed great common sense and hang posters on the city’s main avenues, written in Turkish, that contained thoughts made to appease the people that were acting up and followed closely the events himself. [xii] However, the information from the same English consul after the vali’s death (23 October 1903) and eight years after the events, together with praise for the vali, would record his responsibility for the Armenian incidents. It is noted that there are big stains in the vali’s past like the slaughter of the Armenians and that he felt deep remorse for not preventing or not being able to prevent it.[xiii]
[i] Hacı Edhem Paşa whose father was one of the ministers of sultan Abdülmecid’s time. BOA, DH. Said., Meşhur Adamlar Ansiklopedisi, p. 853.
[ii] Elementary schools where reading and writing was taught, together with religious knowledge and basic arithmetic operations.
[iii] Mahmut Goloğlu, Trabzon Tarihi, p. 213.
[iv] These refer to the vali’s punishing methods: Kadri Bey, who applied “a treat of medium sugar”, “the court does not need paperwork” and “Roman Law rules” also had a method called “with a baton”. According to it, the criminals were treated, depending on their punishment, to coffee without any sugar, with little, medium or a lot of sugar, which translated to the number of floggings they would receive. The most violent or the most important was “sweet coffee”, the recipient of which could lie in the hospital for ten or twelve days! Lui Ramber, Gizli Notlar, ed. Niyazi Ahmet Banoglu, Tercüman Yayınları, no date, p. 132.
[v] Kudret Emiroğlu, (haz.) Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1902, Cilt 20, p.108.
[vi]FO, 195/1902, No: 107, Longworth to Sir P. Currie, August 31, 1895.
[vii] In 1895, local Akçaabadlı notables gathered 1000 people in front of the vali’s building in Trabzon and threatened him and “went door to door” in Istanbul to have him removed from office. See Prime-ministerial Ottoman Archive ( Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi-BOA) Şura-yı Devlet, (ŞD) 1848/26).
[viii] BOA, Şura-yı Devlet, 1848/39.
[ix]BOA, Şura-yı Devlet, 1848/39.
[x] Kadri Bey’s son Hüseyin Kazım Kadri, while talking in his memoirs about his father’s relations with the local notables, he notes that when he needed the notables’ powers for issues such as ensuring order in the Province of Trabzon and preventing smuggling, he put them to use. Amongst the people with whom he had close relations of trust and care and whom he consulted on important matters was Eyübzade Ali Efendi. See Hüseyin Kazım Kadri, Mesrutiyet'ten Cumhuriyet'e Hatıralarım haz. İsmail Kara, İstanbul: İletisim Yay.1991, p.54-55.
[xi] BOA, ŞD. 1862/20
[xii]FO, 524/24, H.S. Shipley to Mr. Herbert, p. 616.
[xiii]FO 195/2136, Longworth, February 17, 1903.
The National Archives, Foreign Office (FO)
FO 524/24; FO. 195/2136; FO 195/1902.
Başabakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (BOA) Prime-Ministerial Ottoman Archive
BOA, Şura-yı Devlet (ŞD) 1848/26;1848/39; 1862/39
Hüseyin Kazım Kadri, Mesrutiyet'ten Cumhuriyet'e Hatıralarım [My memories from the Second Constitutional Period to the Republic], ed. İsmail Kara, İstanbul: İletisim Yay.1991
Lui Ramber, Gizli Notlar [Hidden Notes], ed. Niyazi Ahmet Banoglu, Tercüman Yayınları, no date, s. 132.
Mahmut Goloğlu, Trabzon Tarihi, Fetihten Kurtuluşa Kadar [History of Trabzon, from the conquest to the liberation], Ankara, 1975.
Kudret Emiroğlu, (haz.) Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi [Yearbook of the province of Trabzon], 1902, Cilt 20, Ankara, 2008.
Meşhur Adamlar Ansiklopedisi [Encyclopedia of Famous Men], Cilt 3, Alaeddin Gövsa, ed. Sedat Simavi, İstanbul, 1933-35, p. 853.