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Numan Celebicihan (1885-1918)

On February 23, 2000, the Crimean Tatars commemorated the eighty second anniversary of the tragic murder of Numan Celebicihan, the first president of the independent Crimean Tatar Republic.
Numan Celebicihan

Numan Celebicihan

Despite his young age, Celebicihan became one of the most respected members of the Crimean Tatar Kurultay. He was not only highly educated and trained as a lawyer, but he also had deep knowledge of Islam which enabled him to be elected as the Muftu of Crimea. Celebicihan and his deputy friends did, indeed, have high aspirations to make Crimea a modern nation based upon the brotherhood of all peoples living in Crimea at that time. It is unfortunate that he was not given the opportunity, and was brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks on February 23, 1918. The Crimean Tatar nation continues to mourn the untimely murder of its beloved leader and waits for the appearance of another Celebicihan who would share his national aspirations. Allah rahmet eylesin! May Allah's blessings be upon him forever!

The following is a part of his opening speech at the historic first Crimean Tatar Kurultay and its rough translation by this author.

Mubeyyin Batu Altan


NUMAN CELEBICIHAN'S OPENING SPEECH TO KURULTAY

Esteemed Delegates (of Kurultay)!

After a century and a half of Russian oppression, our political history reopens today. The Crimean Meclis (Parliament) convened in this great hall today to rejuvenate the Tatar national rule which was destroyed by the Russian tyranny.

Today, the Tatar Nation is born again. The deep wounds inflicted upon the Tatar social life by the Russian absolute rule, oppression and tyranny until the twentieth century, continues to bleed.

Through the banner of the celestial (Bolshevik) revolution which began on February 27, 1917 by promising to provide basic human equality, new life to peoples, and even justice in Russia, the entire (Tatar) nation declares its national self rule.

The (Crimean )Tatars , the native people of the Crimean peninsula, asked you, the esteemed deputies, to convene around the political history of our nation, to rejuvenate this celestial right and revered law of human equality which is the foundation of justice. The Tatar nation who embraces human equality as one of the basic human rights, along with other nations' banners, erects its national banner to the summit of Kurultay.

The noble Tatar people who embraces the brotherhood of nations as its high aspirations, from today on will legislate its own basic laws through this law of brotherhood.

Today, our national conscience orders us to implement the high obligations of deputies that our people entrusted upon us, in the true sense of the word; tomorrow those obligations will make us follow a critical path layed down by our national and political history.

After eight months of political campaign, the temporary Executive Committee of Crimean Muslims, feels honored to turn over the national trust (milli emanet) to you, the elected deputies (of Kurultay). This Committee expects you to attend to the wounds inflicted upon our national life by the oppression and tyranny (of the Russian government), with all your might, your unshakable determination and your sacrifices. This Committee also wishes that with your long trembling consciences, you recreate long lasting successes the (Crimean) Tatar nation deserves....

Numan Celebicihan

(November 28, 1917)

* The text of this speech appeared in KIRIM, No.9-12., 1957, p.283, published in Ankara, Turkey. The original text of the speech is given below.

Numan Celebicihan'in Kurultay Acilis Nutku

Muhterem Mebus Efendiler!

Bugun, birbucuk asirdanberi kapanmis olan tarih-i siyasimiz tekrar aciliyor. Bugun, bu bab-i Divanda toplanan Kirim Kurultayi Meclisi, Rusya hukumet-i mutlakasi tarafindan oldurulen Tatar idare-i milliyesini yeniden canlandiriyor.

Bugun Tatar milleti yeniden doguyor. Yirminci asra kadar Rusya hukumet-i mutlakasinin milli ve ruhi ananelerimize dusmanlikla umumi maarifimiz, askeri ve mali hayatimiz hususunda yapmis oldugu zulum ve istibdadin hayat-i ictimayemizde actigi cerihalar hala kaniyor.

1917 Fevral 27de hukuk-u besere musavat, milletlere hayat vererek, Rusya'da dahi hukuk-u adaleti yasatmak icin acilan mukaddes ve ulvi inkilap bayragi kendisinin saye-i subhanisinde butun milletin kendi kanunlarini kendi iradeleriyle yazdirmaya basladi. Kirim yarimadasinda yasayan Tatar milleti de adaletin temeli olan bu ulvi hakki, bu mubeccel kanunu canlandirmak icin siz muhterem mebuslarin vatanin siyasi tarihi basina topladi. Musavat-i beseriyeyi esas ittihaz eden Tatar milleti de baska milletlerin bayragiyle beraber olan rayet-i milliyesini kendi Kurultayinin zirve-i balasina rekzetti.

Daima milletlerin kardesligi emel-i mukaddessesini yasata gelen Tatar nasl-i necibi, bugunden itibaren kendi hukuk-u esasisini ancak kardeslik kanunlariyle cizecektir.

Milletin uhdemize tevdi etmis oldugu mebusluk vazifesini kelimenin tam manasiyle icra etmemizi bugun vicdan-i milli bize emrediyor, yarin da milli ve siyasi tarihimiz tehditkerane tenkidleriyle bizi takip edecektir.

Kirim Tatar inkilapcilari tarafindan tesekkul eden muvakkat Kirim Muslumanlari Icra Komitesi uhdesine almis oldugu emanet-i milliyeyi sekiz aylik siyasi ve ictimai faaliyetten sonra bugun milletin saylanmis vekillerine tevdi etmekle serfiyab oluyor.

Komite zulum ve istibdadin milli hayatimizda actigi yaralari sarsilmaz bir azim ve metanetle, yilmaz bir fedakarlikla butun kuvvetiniz ve vukufunuzla saracaginizi; onlarin tesiratiyle uzun yillardanberi titreyen vicdanlarinizdan bekliyerek Tatar milletinin seref ve haysiyetiyle mutenasip muvaffakiyetler ve ebediyetler yasatmanizi temenni eder...

Numan Celebicihan

(Noyabr 28, 1917)

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