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KURDS / PSEUDOHISTORY / ALBANIAN AUTHORS: كردلر تاريحى و اجتماعى تدقيكات [Kürdler: Tarihi ve İctimai Tedkikat / Kurds: Historical and Social Research]


This is a rare first edition of a highly influential first separately published Ottoman work on the Kurds, written under a false name of a German scientist by an Albanian author in the time of the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The text, which diminishes the Kurdish minority, played a major role in the formation of the Turkish opinion on the Kurds for decades to come until recent researches disclosed the falsification of the author’s name and sources.


8°. [4] blank, 384 pp., 20th century brown cloth binding with lettering on the cover and spine (light staining, old glue staining on the last page, last pages with narrowly trimmed margins, hand-written old price on the inner side of back cover, otherwise in a good condition).

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A rare first edition of highly controversial and influential work on the Kurds was published in Istanbul at the end of WWI, in 1918. It is the first separately published work on the Kurds in Ottoman language.

The text, which portrays the Kurds in a diminutive light, includes the history of curds, a Kurdish-Ottoman dictionary and explanation of the words and stories from the Kurdish folklore, is according to the title page a translation of a German text, written by Dr. Fritsch from the Berlin Academy of Science. The translator was Naci İsmail, also known as Habil Adem.

The book was published immediately after the WWI, in the last year of the Ottoman Empire, amidst of the nationalist Kurdish struggle to establish their own state of Kurdistan. The movement started in 1880 under the leadership of Sheikh Ubeydullah and was eventually supressed. The movement was supressed under the Young Turks, when many Kurds were forcibly deported and almost half of the displaced perished. Many Kurds in Turkey were eventually integrated.

Naci İsmail, the Albanian Author and Forger of Texts

This book, which played into the hands of the Turkish nationalism and the legacy of the Young Turks, and was also highly influential in the following decades, recently proved to be a falsification, invented by the translator Naci İsmail. The German original of the text never existed, neither did Dr. Fritsch from the Berlin Academy of Science. The text, which contains severe mistakes regarding the Kurdish language, folklore and history was entirely invented by Naci İsmail in 1918. Not much is known about Naci İsmail, who later adopted a family name Pelister and was also known as Habil Adem or. He was of Albanian origins and allegedly studied in Germany, where he allegedly received a PhD. He spoke German, English and French. Naci İsmail was publishing articles and books and was involved in attributing his controversial work to imaginary foreign authors on several occasions. The motifs for Naci İsmail’s falsifications of translations of the texts on contemporary political issues could be purely of financial nature. In 2014, the text was published in modern Turkish under the author’s real name Habil Adem.This first edition is extremely rare. We could only find 4 institutional examples (University of Toronto Robarts Library, Boğaziçi University Library, Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Istanbul Technical University)

References: Özege 11517.

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