International Committee for Crimea, Inc

HOME Historical Sources and Personalities SEARCH

How They Arrested Numan Celebicihan on July 27, 1917:
In His Own Words*

Translated by Mubeyyin B. Altan

It was about 4 am. As I was busy writing, the door bell kept ringing for the past ten minutes. The servants were ill; therefore I went to the door and asked:

"Who is there?"

"This is the head of Militia, I want to see Chelebiev!" he said.

"Let Chelebiev think about it!" I said, and started to think about the situation. If I did not open the door, they would have waited till the morning and then begin shooting carelessly towards the old door and the window. I really didn't mind if the bullets hit me, but there was the possibility that they might shoot the innocent servants. The circumstance was such that we had to open the door. I explained this to the servants who then went and let the militia in. There were twelve of them, head of the militia and all different men. They informed me that they were here to arrest me. Per documents they had, it seemed they were from the "Kontrrazvedocni Buro" and had the authority to arrest anyone including the Prime Minister. I opposed their action and said:

I am the Mufti (of Crimea) and this is my residence. Without an authorization from the Interior Minister no one has the right to arrest me. If anyone attempts to arrest me, I am ready to do anything in my power to resist this arrest. I strongly protest and will continue to protest this action. I know you are from an official agency of the Transitional Government, but I will not go voluntarily. You have to take me by brut force!

After my brief (verbal) protest all, except the only member of the Kontrrazvedocni Buro, left stating that they will prepare to take action. He asked me to go with him, but I repeated my aforementioned statement. Then the bayonet-equipped men forcible removed me from the house. Somehow I kept protesting their action by declaring that I did not consider myself a prisoner. I repeated my statement in Akyar (Sevastopol). By having them acknowledge my non-prisoner status, I was trying to show that Muftiate (highest Muslim Office) was not subservient to Kontrrazvedkaga Buro. I requested permission to send a telegram to the commander of the "Fort" who helped me during this ordeal....

*First published in Kures Meydanini Ot Basmaz by Yunus Kandim (Simferopol-Akmescit, 2002), pp. 153-154. Under the orders from the Crimean Commissariat, the militia arrested Celebicihan to answer charges of untigovernmental activities. He was taken to Sevastopol but released unharmed the next day. The authorities were forced to take this action in response to strong protest of the Tatar community. See: Alan Fisher, Crimean Tatars (Stanford: 1978), pp. 114-15.

ICC Web site includes the following additional documents and articles on Numan «elebicihan:

Posted: 30 July 2013

ICC Home Page