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Fight for liberation against the Ottoman occupation. The movement of Celalies

The occupation by the Ottoman empire in Azerbaijan lasted a little bit more that ten years, but as a result of hostilities and occupation, the country was destroyed; so that, the Ottoman authority could not collect necessary means for their troops and administrative office from the population. Socio-economic life in the majority of cities – in Tabriz, Maragha, Shamakha, Nakhichevan, Urmia and other cities fell. Chronicler, Iskender bey Munshi mentioned that, Ottoman military commanders “captured property in each region, where they could pretend”. If in the first years they were able to obtain and provide their demands by the vehicle of such policy, but in the next years they did not manage to provide themselves at the expense of the conquest of the country.

The population of the country valued its state and the deep followers of Shiite trend and leading dynasty became the reasons of wide popular movement for liberation from feudal oppression of Sunnite – Ottomans. The population of Tabriz and other cities frequently took their guns. General disagreement and dissatisfaction of Sunnite part of population, which waited for the rebirth of local dynasty, shaped suitable conditions for anti Ottoman uprisings in Shirvan.

At the end of the 17th century, economic circumstances inside of the Ottoman Empire became aggravated. Keeping of great army and contuniable wars in the Western and Eastern frontiers decreased the state resources. Len system, which was the basics of Ottoman land- ownership was in deep crisis. The attempts of the state authority in order to find the stabilization of the situation by the way of increasement of tax incomings caused to the destruction and poverty of peasants and craftsmen. As the empire did not pay the salary of most soldiers of Ottoman garrison, lots of them escaped from army and began to anti-administrative uprisings.

Mass ruin of population, destruction, declined of agricultural life, starvation and poverty was expressed by the movement of Celalies, which began in Eastern Anatolia in the 90s of the 16th century, came to Azerbaijan and its neighbourhood countries. The movement of celalies, which was shaped in the region of Tokat, in Minor Asia and brought his name from sheikh Celal, who was the leader of antifeudal and anti- Ottoman uprising in the first quarter of the 16th century. The movement of Celalies which began in Eastern Anatolia that captured by Ottomans possessed the feature of peasant movement-uncordination, absence of clear political program, limiting with peasant interests. The participation of ruined len-owners and craftsmen, as well as small feudals enlarged social basics of uprisings, but oftenly betray of feudals, who attained their goals caused to their neutralization.

First uprisings can be considered the uprisings of poor population in the region of Erzurum (1590), the population of Tabriz, which joint to the major part of Ottoman garrison to (1591). The uprising of Erzurum aimed to unite with the region of Azerbaijan along with its antifeudal direction. Chronicler, who informed about this uprising called the participants “people with deprowed thoughts”. The decision of Ottoman soldier about the attack against Tabriz rebels threatened further supremacy of Ottomans in Azerbaijan. According to sources, first of all the rebels captured arsenal and artillery. But soon, there became obvious that rebels did not have any certain program and durable leadership. Jafar pasha, the governor of Tabriz utilized from this situation and suppressed the revolt.

If we speak about the movement of Celalies that stretched to the frontiers of Safavids possessions at the beginning of Safavids – Ottoman war of 1603-1607, then we have to mention the decision of Shah Abbas I about the use of their forces, as well as the socio- economic crisis within the Ottoman Empire in order to returne the captured Azerbaijan, Georgian and Armenian territories. Neverthless, the campaign of Safavids troops to Azerbaijan and neighbourhood countries could not prevent the extension of the movement of Celalies.

New phase of national disagreement and uprising of the movement of Celalies began in 1606. This movement accepted decisive antifeudal character in Azerbaijan. After the defeat by the 20 thousandth Ottoman army, Celalies had to escape to the territories of kizilbashes country. Although the most part of Anatolian Celalies returned to Ottoman possessions in 1610, the others subordinated to Shah Abbas and were included to the structure of guardiance detachments of Supreme Divan.

Written sources mentioned, “there were lots of Celalies”, taking into account not only participants of the uprisings, but also the number of separate detachments. More popular leader of these detachment was the Turk from Western Azerbaijan, Koroghlu. His historical personality and heroic events, related with him were widely reflected in Azerbaijan folklore. Koroghlu’s comprades-in-arms, such as Deli Hasan, Giziroghlu Mustafa bey, Kosa Safar, Tanritanimaz and others, who had been mentioned in the epich works (dastans), were historical men as well. According to legends, the location of Koroghlu and his comprades-in-arms were called Nakhichevan, Salmas, Khoy; his main residence was located in the fortress on the Chanlibeli Mountain between Nakhichevan and Maku. Besides that there were ruins of castles and towers, built by Koroghlu in many areas (Salmas, Ighdir, Mtskheta in Georgia and etc.).

Koroghlu had to be grateful to his heroism, courage, wise and poetic feelings in his popularity; this singershug shaped general character of hero, which closely connected with historical events as well. The struggle against foreign yoke, oppression of feudals and rich merchants made the civil people love and respect Koroghlu.

So, the movement of Celalies stayed in the form of social protest and class struggle of many nations even in the second phase (1608- 1610s). By the way, this movement had been already headed by Azerbaijanian, Syrian and Kurdish representatives, which were conquered by Ottoman Empire. The major goal of the movement was the liberation from Ottoman yoke.

There happened uprising under the leadership of Malik Piri, which obtained the nickname of “Deli Malik” (“Brave Malik”) in Shirvan in 1615-1616s. Rebels managed to capture the city of Aresh, but they were suppressed by governing troops and their gavars escaped to Daghestan. The third phase of the movement (1622-1628s) was related with the name of Abaz pasha (Hasan pasha), former beylerbey of Erzurum, who was supported by various stratums of the population and gained wide extension. His fight against military-feudal aristocracy because of the murder of Sultan Osman II by yanichars, deeply influenced to anti- Ottoman and antifeudal struggle of Azerbaijan nation in the first half of the 17th century.

In 1625, there began an uprising of the followers of Mikhlubab, who was udin by origin and who led on Christian movements. Despite of its antifeudal character, the movement was initially supported by the beylerbey of Karabakh, Davud khan. Soon, the movement, which strengthened in Azerbaijan, extended to Armenia and to the Eastern vilayets (provinces) of the Ottoman Empire.

So, the mass population, who much more suffered from the long-lasted wars of military-political clans of Safavids and Ottoman Empires (for new territories and wealth), frequently took their guns and revolted for their rights.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"