Said, Sheikh of Palu

(1865-1925)
   Sheikh Said was a charismatic Naqshbandi sheikh who in 1925 led the first great Kurdish revolt in the modern Republic of Turkey. After some spectacular initial successes, the revolt was crushed by the vastly superior Turkish military, and Sheikh Said himself was captured. He was convicted of treason and hanged.
   To this date, debate rages over whether Sheikh Said led a Kurdish nationalist uprising or simply one of religious reaction. In truth, both are valid explanations for what occurred. The revolt was prepared by Azadi, a political organization that chose Sheikh Said to be the military leader because of his mass following, which Azadi itself lacked. The explicit goal of the revolt was to establish an independent Kurdish state in which Islamic principles, violated by a secular Turkey that had just abolished the caliphate, would be respected.
   Unfortunately for the Kurds, Sheikh Said could rally only the Zaza-speaking Kurds. Alevi Kurds actually fought on the side of the Turkish government because they felt they would be better off in a secular Turkey than in a Sunni Kurdistan led by a Naqshbandi sheikh. Other Kurdish tribes simply remained neutral. Sheikh Said himself was apparently betrayed by one of them while trying to escape. The Ararat revolt that came to a climax in 1930 can be seen as a continuation of Sheikh Said's uprising.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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