Mehmet Celal Bey
One Era One Man
by Fikret Ali Ceyhan
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This book tells the story of my great-great-grandfather, Mehmet Celal Bey (Mr.Mehmet Celal) , a distinguished Ottoman bureaucrat during last years of the Empire, in the context of a time of upheaval in Turkish history. The book tells of how Mehmet Celal Bey, a member of the Ottoman dynasty by way of his descent from Sultan Abdülhamid I, made principled decisions using his experiences and insight despite the pressures he was subjected to in his various positions of significance, and in a time when communication took time and great effort. At a time when peace was of paramount importance, Mehmet Celal Bey was a witness to an important era – a man whose humanity led him to risk his own life and position to make the right decisions at difficult times.

On one hand, as the Governor of Konya, he protected the Armenians who were deported in 1915, and on the other hand, as the Governor of Adana under the occupation in 1919, he managed to stand against the atrocities committed by the French, Armenians, and other minorities against the Ottomans. He always stood by the suffering masses, no matter what their ethnicity, whether the Armenians in Konya, or Muslims in Adana. When he was appointed Governor of Adana at the age of 56, he secretly supported the National Forces, consisting of people who were at least 20 or 30 years younger than him, and risked his rank and position because of this support – a riveting story by itself. When he was appointed the Şehremini (Mayor) of Istanbul under the occupation in 1920, all he could think of was supporting the Anatolian liberation movement. In the meantime, his children’s own exciting stories began to unfold as far away as Berlin and even Jakarta.