Derviş Vahdeti

Derviş Vahdeti (1870–1909) was a Cyrus-born religious figure and Islamist politician. He was the leading figure of 31 March incident. He was executed on 19 July 1909 due to his role in the incident.

Derviş Vahdeti
Died19 July 1909 (aged 38–39)
Years active1900–1909
Known forVolkan newspaper
31 March incident


Vahdeti was born in Cyprus in 1870.[1][2] He worked as a hafiz there and joined the Naqshbandi order[1] or the Bektaşi order.[3] In 1902 he settled in Constantinople[1] where he began to work as a public servant.[4] After a while he was exiled to Diyarbakır and soon returned to Constantinople.[4] He attempted to continue to work in his former post, but he was not given the post.[4]

He established a daily newspaper entitled Volkan in 1908 for which he asked for financial support from Sultan Abdulhamid.[3] However, his request was not accepted by the Sultan.[3] He headed a Islamist movement, Muhammadan Union (Ittihad-i Muhammadi in Ottoman Turkish), which was founded by him on 5 April 1908 and was one of the major critics of the Committee of Union and Progress.[1][3] His paper also acted as the organ of the Muhammadan Union.[1]

On 13 April 1909 a group of religious figured led by Vahdeti started a riot against the constitution and the Committee of Union and Progress, which is known as 31 March incident in reference to the Islamic date of the day, namely 31 March 1325.[5] They demanded the annulment of the constitution, dissolution of the parliament, the expulsion of the Committee of Union and Progress members which were considered to be atheist, and the implementation of the Sharia as the constitution of the Empire.[5] Vahdeti argued that the rule of the Committee of Union and Progress would terminate the Ottoman Empire and damage Islam.[6] He called for military action to realize the group's goals.[6] During the events the editor of Serbestî, Hasan Fehmi, was killed on 6 April.[6] They achieved their goals, and Sultan Abdulhamid endorsed all of these demands of the group which he secretly supported.[5] However, the Committee of Union and Progress regained the power soon and Derviş Vahdeti was arrested in Constantinople on 18 April.[2] He managed to escape, but again was arrested on 25 May in Izmir.[2] He was sentenced to death for his involvement in the 31 March Incident and was executed in Constantinople on 19 July 1909.[2][7]

In popular cultureEdit

Vahdeti was implied in a story by Refik Halit Karay entitled "Dervish Hasan’s Conscience” (“Dede Hasan’ın Vicdanı” in Turkish).[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e Feroz Ahmad (January 1991). "Politics and Islam in Modern Turkey". Middle Eastern Studies. 27 (1): 4–5. JSTOR 4283411.
  2. ^ a b c d "Derviş Vahdeti" (in Turkish). Islam Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d David Farhi (October 1971). "The Şeriat as a Political Slogan: Or the 'Incident of the 31st Mart'". Middle Eastern Studies. 7 (3): 283. doi:10.1080/00263207108700182.
  4. ^ a b c M. Ertuğrul Düzdağ. "Volkan". Encyclopedia of Islam. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Salim Tamari (2014). "A Farcical Moment? Nabulsi Exceptionalism and the 1908 Ottoman Revolution". Jerusalem Quarterly. 92 (60): 102. ProQuest 1696233936.
  6. ^ a b c Victor R. Swenson (1970). "The Military Rising in Istanbul 1909". Journal of Contemporary History. 5 (4): 176–177. doi:10.1177/002200947000500410.
  7. ^ Erik-Jan Zürcher (2010). "The Importance of Being Secular: Islam in the Service of the National and Pre-National State". In Celia Kerslake; Kerem Ökten; Philip Robins (eds.). Turkey’s Engagement with Modernity. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 56. doi:10.1057/9780230277397_3. ISBN 978-1-349-31326-6.
  8. ^ Christine M. Philliou (2021). Turkey. A Past Against History. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. p. 52. ISBN 9780520276390.