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A rare publication by a leader of the extremist nationalist Turkestani movement in Berlin Mustafa Shokay, who eventually sided with the Nazis with a goal to unify Turkestan during the WWII, describes the revolutionary year 1917.

8°. 96 pp with black and white portraits, later black cloth binding with lettering on the cover and spine, pink endpapers (sporadic small partly repaired tears in margins and partly in the text (page 79), otherwise in a good condition).


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[1917nci Yıl Hatıra Parçaları / Parts of Memories of 1917]


A work by an Turkestani nationalist Mustafa Shokay (1890- 1941) , written in exile in Berlin, was published on the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking year 1917 of the Turkestani history. The portraits showcase the important people of this revolutionary year.

1917 was the year of political and cultural clashes between the overpowering Orthodox Russians and the local Muslim Turkic population in the area, which was not only a result of the revolution, but also of conflicts of class and economic interest, which were present in the area for decades. Additional conflicts were brought by the Communism, which many Turkic people embraced in a hope of the unification of the Muslims inside the Soviet Union. The other part of the Muslim population opposed the Communism and immigrated to the western countries.

In the later Soviet literature the events of 1917 in Turkestan were often explained marginally or subjectively, sometimes they were even forgotten. The area fell into an economic recession under the Soviet Union and the development of the pre-revolutionary intellectual and cultural achievements were supressed and almost erased from the history.


Yach Turkestan – Young Turkestan and Mustafa Shokay

The publishing house Yach Turkestan [Young Turkestan] was a part of a nationalistic Turkestani movement with the same name, active in Berlin.

The movement started abroad by the immigrants from Turkestan after the Soviet taking over their country. In June 1927, a magazine called Yeni Türkistan was founded in Istanbul, but was banned by the government in September 1931 for its radical political views.

Already from December 1929 a parallel magazine with the title Yach Turkestan was issued in Berlin in Ottoman letters, to reach not only Turkestani immigrants in Germany, but also those in Persia, India and Afghanistan, who could not read the Latin script. The main subjects were the independence of Turkestan, critical view of the five-year plan in the country and the problems of the nomads under the Soviet Union.

After the Istanbul-based printing was banned in 1931, the Berlin office took over the readers from Turkey. Already three years later, the Turkish government also forbade the distribution of the Berlin publications.

Yach Turkestan in Berlin was founded by Mustafa Shokay (1890- 1941), who published 117 issues of the magazine until the beginning of WWII. At the beginning of the war Shokay offered to lead, alongside with the Nazis, the Turkestan Legion to liberate the Turkic prisoners from the Soviet prison camps as a first step of the liberation of Turkestan from the Soviets. He also planed Turkestan state schools in Germany.

Mustafa Shokay died on December 27th, 1941, from blood poisoning, leading to speculations, that he was murdered.

Worldcat lists four examples of the book (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek – Leipzig / Frankfurt am Main, Stockholm, Boğaziçi University Library, Princeton University Library).

References: OCLC 84663271, 923386376, 72100983. Johannes Benzing, Berliner politische Veröffentlichungen der Türken aus der Sowjetunion. Die Welt des Islams Bd. 18 (1936), pp. 122-131. Adeeb Khalid. Tashkent 1917: Muslim Politics in Revolutionary Turkestan, Slavic Review , Summer, 1996, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 270-296.

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