Akba? arms depot raid

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The Akba? arms depot raid was one of the actions of the Kuva-yi Milliye during the Turkish War of Independence. Led by the militia leader Köprülü Hamdi Bey and Dramal? R?za Bey, the raid was conducted on the night of 26–27 January 1920.


Born in 1886 or 1888 in Köprülü (now Veles), Macedonia, Köprülü Hamdi Bey served as an officer in the First Balkan War and was a Kaymakam during the First World War. After the Armistice of Mudros and the consequent Allied invasion of the Ottoman territories, Köprülü Hamdi Bey started to organize resistance movements in the Asian part of the Marmara Region. Dramal? R?za Bey, born in 1890 in Drama, was also active in organizing the resistance in the same area with his friend Köprülü Hamdi Bey.Template:Citation needed

The Akba? arms depot was located at the Akba? bay close to Eceabat. It housed 8,000 rifles, 40 machine guns and 20,000 cases of ammunition. These were captured by the Ottoman Army on the Caucasus Front from the Russian Army, after the Russian Revolution. The weapons and ammunition were brought to the Akba? depot and after the Ottoman surender at the end of the First World War, the French troops took control of the depot. The British were planning to send these arms and ammunition to the White Army in Russia. Köprülü Hamdi Bey and Dramal? R?za Bey, trying to preempt this, planned a raid against the depot. In case the raid would result in a success, the weapons would be used by the Kuva-yi Milliye. The mission was dangerous, because Allied ships were patrolling the Dardanelles and local Greeks were reporting every suspicious circumstance to the Allies.<ref name="zeki"/> In order to gain information about the depot, the surroundings and the defence measurements, Köprülü Hamdi Bey ordered his friend Dramal? R?za Bey, dressed as a local villager, to travel to the area and to gather information. Dramal? R?za Bey managed to gather significant informations about the arms depot, he even managed to enter the depot disguised as a local egg and fruit vendor.<ref name="zeki">Zeki Çevik, 2006, page 13</ref> Returning with useful information, Hamdi Bey and R?za Bey started to plan the raid.Template:Citation needed

File:Çanakkale districts.png
The Akba? arms depot was located near Eceabat.

The Raid

On the night of 26–27 January, Dramal? R?za Bey along with 30 Turkish militias on barges and small boats crossed the Dardanelles from the Asian side. On arrival on the European side, some men were ordered to cut off the telephone lines. Most of soldiers of the depot garrison were sleeping. Therefore the whole garrison was quickly overwhelmed and taken prisoner without any casualties.<ref name="zeki2">Zeki Çevik, 2006, page 15.</ref> The weapons and ammunition were rapidly loaded on the barges and boats. Köprülü Hamdi Bey was waiting in the steamboat, Bolay?r, at Bergos, his task was to pull the barges and boats back to the Asian side.<ref name="zeki2"/> By setting up a small fire, Hamdi Bey was given the signal to come to the Akba? bay. Once the barges and boats were pulled to the Asian side, the arms and ammunition were transported to the interior areas. The captured Ottoman (Artillerymen: Major Bahri Bey, Mülaz?m Hulusi and Osman who were under the command of the French) and French soldiers were later released and sent back to the depot on a small boat.<ref name="zeki1">Zeki Çevik, 2006, page 16.</ref>


On 28 January a telegraph was sent to Mustafa Kemal Pasha, informing him about the successful raid. He congratulated them in a telegraph sent on 29 January. The Allies, informed of the raid, protested it to the Ottoman government in Constantinople.<ref name="zeki3"/> On 1 February, the British dispatched 200 men to Band?rma to search for the raiders and weapons. Furthermore, the Allies strengthened their guards of several depots in the area. In Constantinople, people who were suspected to support the Kuva-yi Milliye, were put under tighter observation. The British arrested several officers and officials in Constantinople.<ref name="zeki3">Zeki Çevik, 2006, page 17.</ref>

Ahmet Anzavur was sent into the area, by the British, to capture Köprülü Hamdi Bey and his friends. Ahmet Anzavur was against the Turkish revolutionaries and had revolted previously against the Turkish National Movement. In his opinion, the arms and ammunition from the Akba? depot would be useful for his men and a new revolt. On February 16, he found out that Hamdi Bey was residing in Biga, subsequently he surrounded the town with 1,000 men.<ref name="zeki4">Zeki Çevik, 2006, page 20-21</ref> After a brief clash, he captured Köprülü Hamdi Bey and several friends who were accompanying him. Anzavur's men tortured them before they killed them on 17 February.<ref name="zeki4"/> Anzavur and his men continued to advance. Eventually, they reached Yeniceköy, the town where the arms and ammunition from Akba? were stored. Dramal? R?za Bey, having no other choice, destroyed the weapons and ammunition by setting them on fire on 21 February.<ref name="zeki4"/> Conscience-stricken by the death of his friends and the decision to destroy the arms and ammunition, which were aqcuired after so much hard work, he planned to assassinate Damad Ferid Pasha. Dramal? R?za Bey, believing that Damad Ferid Pasha was the mastermind behind Anzavur's attack, travelled to Constantinople to assassinate him.<ref name="zeki4"/> But he was arrested by the police in Constantinople and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 12 June 1920.<ref name="zeki4"/>




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