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Home / History of Kurdistan / Kurdistan Mid-decade history / Bedir Khan Beg (Kurmanji: Bedirxan Beg, Turkish: Bedirhan Bey; 1803–1869) was the last Kurdish Mîr and mütesellim of the Emirate of Botan

Bedir Khan Beg (Kurmanji: Bedirxan Beg, Turkish: Bedirhan Bey; 1803–1869) was the last Kurdish Mîr and mütesellim of the Emirate of Botan



Bedir Khan Beg (Kurmanji: Bedirxan Beg, Turkish: Bedirhan Bey; 1803–1869) was the last Kurdish Mîr and mütesellim of the Emirate of Botan.[1]

Hereditary head of the house of Rozhaki whose seat was the ancient Bitlis castle and descended from Sharafkhan Bidlisi, Bedir Khan was born in Cizre (now in Turkey). He became the Mir of the Emirate of Botan in 1821 and ruled until 1847.[1] The Bedir Khans also claim they descend from Abd Al Aziz, the son of Khalid Ibn al Walid.[2]

He began to lose his power due to the centralist policies of the Ottoman Empire, which culminated in the Tanzimat Edict of 1839 and its application the following year. Following the Battle of Nizip in 1839, in which Bedir Khan took part for the Ottoman side,[3] he emerged as the dominant Kurdish ruler in central Kurdistan.[4] He raised taxes, minted his own coins and organized the justice system.[5]

Bedir Khan Beg was repeatedly responsible for massacres of the Yazidis. In 1832, thousands of Yazidis were killed in the Shekhan area by Bedir Khan Beg in cooperation with the Kurdish Soran prince Mohammed Pasha Rawanduz.[6] And also in 1844 in the Tur Abdin mountains, Yazidis were targeted by him.[7] Bedir Khan Beg’s goal was to force the Yazidis to convert to Islam.[8]

After allying himself with Han Mahmoud of Müküs and Nurallah Bey of Hakkari in 1840,[5] Bedir Khan was encouraged to enter in conflict with the local Assyrian population, and he perpetrated massacres amongst them in 1843 and 1846.[5] In 1842, the Ottomans attempted to divide Bedir Khan’s territories by switching the administrative jurisdiction of Cizre from Diyarbekir to Mosul.[4]

Pressure from the European Powers to stop the massacres of Christians led to Ottoman forces invading his territories in 1846-7, with Omer Pasha’s 12,000 strong Ottoman force defeating the Kurdish army in the field near Zeitun, Czîra botan .[9] His entire family were banished from Cizre Botan first to Constantinople and then to Crete.[10] At the beginning of the conflict he was able to beat the Ottomans, but as an important commander of his troops, defected to the Ottomans, he was forced to flee to Evruh castle, where he endured an eight months long siege.[11] Bedir Khan had to surrender to the Ottomans at Evreh Castle[12] in Eruh, Siirt on the 4 July 1847. [13] The same day also Han Mahmud was defeated in Tatvan.[12] From Evreh castle he and his family was put in chains and taken to Kumçati in the Sırnak province. After 40 days in detention,[12] Bedir Khan and his family were transferred to Constantinople.[14] After Bedi Khans hopes, that he would be allowed to settle in Istanbul, were not fulfilled, he and his entourage were sent to Heraklion, Crete, which at the time was governed by the Ottoman Empire.[15] In 1853 he requested twice to be allowed to return to Istanbul, but his demands were turned down.[16] In 1855 he purchased a farm just outside of Heraklion, which he named “Kabıl Hora“.[17] As in 1856 a strong earthquake occurred in Crete, he faced financial calamities due to the destructions of his possessions. His salary which he still received from the Ottoman Empire, was of only 7000 Kuruş. Then in September 1857, the Sultan changed his approach towards Bedir Khan, doubling his salary, and granting to 43 members of his followers to return to Kurdistan. Nevertheless, Bedir Khan decided to stay in Crete.[17] In 1863, the Bedir Khan family was allowed to settle in Istanbul, where they bought a mansion in the Fatih quarter. Following several of his descendants were admitted into the bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empire.[18] In June 1868, Bedir Khan decided to settle in present day Syria. A year after he settled to Damascus, Bedir Khan died.[19]52450C3A-4B40-48BE-A03D-CA99B7E98FB89C7CD5AF-2ECE-4B3B-AC8B-CCDEBB0F1238


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