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Lest We Forget: Rauf Orbay

53 years ago today a naval officer passed away following a heart attack, suffered after 82 years of a turbulent life full of wars, political struggles and exiles. A life shaped by the sea. The full name of the marine registry is Huseyin Rauf, the son of Mehmet Muzaffer from Cibali.

His biography you will read below was originally written in Turkish by Uğur Esmer, a very fine history student and a naval enthusiasts. I have shortened and translated his text to English. Any syntax or grammer mistakes you will find are mine. If you want to read the original text please click here.

Rauf Orbay, born in 1881 as the son of Mehmet Muzaffer Pasha, the First Ferik (Admiral) anda member of the Ayan Parliament, continued his education at the Primary School in Cibali Primary School. The finished his studies in Tripoli after his father was appointed as a commodore to serve here. Later, in 1896, he returned to Istanbul to continue his family tradition and enrolled in Heybeliada Naval High School with the number 320.

On March 29, 1899, he was appointed as a lieutenant to the Selimiye frigate as an engineer for training. After this training, he was appointed as a navigation officer on to ship İdare-i Mahsusa Garp on 1 April 1899. On September 29, 1900, he was appointed as a navigation officer to the Mesudiye armored cruiser. On April 9, 1901, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. On April 23, 1904, he was promoted to captain. Being fluent in English and a successful officer, he has begun to stand out in international contacts and meetings.

Rauf Orbay was assigned to the armored vessel Mesudiye on 23 August 1904. During this duty he became interpreter for Buckham Pascha. He was in real life Ransford D. Buckham, a captain of one of whaleback steamers who commanded Mesudiye on her delivery voyage from USA to Istanbul. He decided to stay in Turkey, and was eventually promoted to Rear Admiral with the title of Pasha. He was a consultant in the Ottoman Navy and together with Rauf Orbay they made a trip to the shipyards in England and America. Both man created a close friendship was established between them over time.

While they are in America, Bucknam Pasha and Rauf Orbay went to the White House, to meet with the President of the United States. When they entered the president’s office, they saw a man sitting on the table, shaking his feet and reading a document. Rauf Orbay thought this guy to be the president’s secretary. He asked Buckham Pascha, who this rude man was, who did not even lift his head. Buckham replies that the man sitting on the table was no one else but the President Theodore Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt gave Rauf Orbay a signed special permission document to examine the shipyards and submarine construction sites at the end of the day’s talks.

A young lieutenant named Chester Nimitz was assigned as a guide to Rauf Orbay during his visits to the submarine shipyard. They have found an opportunity for a short trip on a submarine. Unfortunately there was a problem with the submarine and they had to stay submerged 10 long hours before surfacing again.

In October 1906 he was assigned to the crew tasked to bring the armored vessel Asar-i Tevfik back from Germany after her repairs were completed.

In March 1907 he appointed as the commander torpedo cruiser, Peyk-i Şevket. With Peyk-i Şevket he took part in the operations to suppress the Sisam uprising. In the same year he also participated in the activities of the Movement Army, that came to Istanbul because subdue the March 31 Uprising. During his involvement with the Movement Army he met with Mustafa Kemal Bey (Atatürk) and İsmet Bey (İnönü). This acquaintance would shape his life in a profound way.

For Rauf Orbay the most important day in his life is May 5 1909, the day he was assigned as the commander of the cruiser Hamidiye. This was an important milestone and turning point in the history.

Hamidiye, a protected cruiser order to Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth & co, in Newcastle on 1900 and commissioned in Ottoman Navy in 1904 was one of the best warships built and served 40 years, well into the 20. Century.

Hamidiye had a displacement of 3600 tons. Her length was 128 meters and width 12 meters. Her main armament consisted two 152mm quick firing guns. The secondary armament had six 101mm, three 76mm and 4 57mm guns. Additionally she had two 533mm torpedo tubes. Her speed was up to 27 kts. She could bunker 710 tons coal.

The first mission of Rauf Orbay and Hamidiye was to help to suppress the rebellion in Albania.

In 1911 Hamidiye was selected to represent Ottoman Empire at the coronation ceremony of King George VI of England.

Upon the start of the Balkan War, Hamidiye deployed to the Black Sea with a fleet of eight ships. They shelled ports of Varna and Kavarna

The Greek Army started to occupy islands near Anatolia with the help of the Greek Navy. With the help of the battleship Averof, Greek Navy was effectively blockading Dardanelles.

Rauf Orbay thought to use his ship as a bait by sailing to Aegean and forcing Averof to follow him. Thus creating an opportunity for the Ottoman Navy to break the blockade. He explained his plan to Minister of Navy Çürüksulu Hasan Paşa and got the permission. The naval commander and his deputies assembled a warplane action plan and identified the neutral codes for the ship’s radio codes and the ship’s shelter. The call sign of the Hamidiye would be “Fox”.

On January 13, 1913, Hamidiye sailed to Kepez Bay and dropped the anchor. Rauf Orbay ordered to flammable materials such as diesel and sawdust on the deck and informed Ottoman Naval HQ in a clear radio transmission about the fire. Later that that night, hidden in the darkness Hamidiye sailed out of Dardanelles. The cruiser started her raid that would last 7 months and 23 days.

The first target of the raid was Ermoupoli port on Syros Island. When Hamidiye arrived, the auxiliary cruiser Macedonia as in port. Hamidiye open fire on Macedonia causing her to sink in shallow water. The Ottoman warship also shelled the gunpowder factory and the power plant. This raid created excitement and indignation but Greek Navy refused to take the bait. The battleship Averof stayed off Dardanelles and Hamidiye was pursued by other ships.

According to the original plan Hamidiye was turn to İzmir but Rauf Orbay decided to sail to Adriatic Sea and harass the Greek merchant ships there.

The ship’s engines were not producing the maximum power due to the bad quality of the coal aboard. It was decided to go to Beirut for coal supply. During the supply an unidentified warships was spotted on the horizon. Hamidiye had to stop refueling and leave the port immediately.

Rauf Orbay commanded his ship to Port Said. The Egyptian government being neutral during the Balkan Wars, said it would not be able to supply more than 150 tons of coal. Rauf Orbay decided to sail to the Red Sea. With this move Ottoman Naval HQ would gain time to find suitable grade coal to supply Hamidiye and transport it to a port in Eastern Mediterranean.

Rauf Orbay who had a good sence for diplomacy and politics visited the Khiedive of Egypt, asking for coal. The Khidive agreed but with the condition that the lading of coal should be done in a remote area as it was against the neutrality rules.

Hamidiye sailed to Jeddah arriving here on February 3. The ship then sailed to north and again passing through Suez Canal. On February 14, Hamidiye entered Grand Harbour of Malta saluting the Royal Navy ships with guns. Again showing his diplomacy skills Rauf Orbay extended the duration of his visit from 24 hours to 72 hours and loaded 450 tons of coal.

Greek Navy dispatched armored vessel Psara and destroyers Aetos, Lonchi, Aspis to protect the Adricatic coast and to intercept Hamidiye. While the Greek ships were searching for her Hamidiye arrived in Gaza.

Hamidiye spend some time in Eastern Mediterranean before Ottoman General Staff tasked the ship to carry gold and ammunition to the Ottoman army in Albania. Hamidiye set sail from Papadola (Babadil) with 50 tons of ammunition and 10.000 gold cargo on 8 March 1913.

Hamidiye was almost identical to Italian cruiser Drama. Therefore when passing the Otranto Straits between Greece and Italy the Italian Naval flag was ready to be hoisted, if necessary.

Hamidiye and Greek destroyer Lonchi sighted each other from the distance, but noting happened as the larger ship was mistaken as Averrof by the destroyer. On 12 March 1909 at 03.24, Hamidiye encountered Greek merchant ship Leros. The merchant ship was ordered to stop and her 20 strong crew was taken on board. As gun fire would create unnecessary attention Rauf Orbay decided to sink Leros by ramming.

Upon arriving Shingin, Albania, Hamidiye sighted Greek merchant ships and army troops inside the port. The cruiser started to shell the port from the outside creating a large kaos. Five out of the existing 7 ships were sunk the remaining damaged

The crew of Leros were put on a nearby island with a few days’ food, water, rifles and ammunition to defend themselves against the gangs on land. 

After exiting Adriatic, Hamdiye returned to the Eastern Mediterranean and remained there until the end of the hostilities. At the end of the campaign, Rauf Bey took his place in memories as a protagonist of Hamidiye.

The raid of Hamdiye failed to achieve its main goal to lure Averrof to follow her. Never the less this raid created distraction for the enemy and galvanized the Ottoman public opinion.

Rauf Orbay was choosen to be the commander of the first Ottoman dreadnought Sultan Osman-ı Evvel ordered from England. A few hours before the flag rising ceremony, UK decided to seize the ship because of the looming World War 1.

Rauf Orbay spend the World War 1 desk bound. In 1917 he went to Germany to visit Emperor Wilhelm along with the Naval Minister Cemal Pasha and the Undersecretary Vâsıf Bey.
When Rauf Bey, was presented to the German Emperor Wilhelm, the Emperor’s first words were: “I followed your raid on Hamidiye with a great interest. Our Emden wanted to imitate you, but unfortunately could not be succeeded, she sunk on the road”

In September same year he was promoted to Captain. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he attended the meeting in Copenhagen as the President of the Turkish Delegation. Later, he represented the Ottoman Empire as a naval delegate at the Brest Litovsk Peace Conference. At the end of the war, when the existing cabinet resigned he was chosen as Naval minister on the newly established Ahmet Izzet Pasha Cabinet, on 14 October 1918.

On 30 October, Rauf Orbay signed on behalf of the Ottoman government the armistice agreement on board of HMS Agamemnon at the port of Mondros.

One week later he resigned from the Navy but his resignation was not accepted. He finally resigned from the military on May 3 1919 ending a very successful and inspiring naval career.

Later in May, he joined Mustafa Kemal Pasha and others in Anatolia. He is one of the signatories of the declaration of Amasya. In January 1920 he returned to Istanbul to attend the Ottoman Parliament as the deputy of Sivas town. In March 1920 he was arrested by the occupying British Forces and send to exile to Malta.

In November 1921 he was released and returned to Turkey. He proceeded his political career in Ankara. In November 1921 he was elected as Minister of Public Works. On July 13, 1922, Rauf Orbay was elected as the Prime Minister, becoming the first prime minister of the Grand National Assembly.

In 1924 Rauf Orbay was among the founders of Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Party, an important step on transition to a multi-party democratic regime. When the party was closed because of the Sheikh Said uprising, like many other members of the party, he chose to be an independent deputy in the parliament.

In 1926 Rauf Orbay who has been suffering from tropical malaria went to Austria to be treated in Bad-Gaschtein baths, After the treatment was over, he went to London to visit famous Turkish writer Mrs. Halide Edip Adıvar and her husband in London. During his stay in London, a plot to assassinate Mustafa Kemal was uncovered in İzmir. Rauf Orbay was accused to be among the conspirators and was tried in absentia. He was sentenced to 10 years of confinement in a fortress, deprivation of civil rights and the seizure of the goods.

Rauf Orbay never accepted his crimes but could not immediately return to Turkey because he did not have the ability to appeal. Rauf Orbay spent his days in England, India, China and Egypt. During his travels to India he gave lectures on Indian Revolutions and the Turkish Revolution in Delhi and other major cities.

His sentence was pardoned in 1933 with a general amnesty declared for tenth anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Rauf Orbay refused to return to Turkey as this move would mean to accept the pardoned accusations.

It was in 1939 and only after the ruling Republican People’s Party’s nominated him directly as a candidate for deputy of Kastamonu and officially declaring that he had not involved in the assassination plot in 1926 Rauf Orbay returned to his homeland.

Though he was elected as deputy from Kastamonu he remained uninvolved in politics and resign from his post when he was assigned as Turkish Ambassador to United Kingdom, in 1942.

Membership. He continued until March 9, 1944, when the London Embassy resigned.

One day as Ambassador in London, he left his house to attend a meeting, and he noticed a knob of his jacket was swinging. He entered into the first tailor shop he encountered on the street. The tailor behind the counter takes the jacket and then looks carefully at Rauf Orbay and asked, “You remember me, commander?”

The tailor in London turns out to be the captain of the Greek merchant ship Leros, Rauf Orbay had ordered to be sunk.

Rauf Orbay resigned from his post as Turkish Ambassador to United Kingdom in 1944.

Same year when we has visiting his nephew in USA, they rendezvous for a breakfast in a hotel. When in hotel Rauf Orbay notices an official car with an admiral’s pennant drive in. Red carpet is rolled out and a few Marines start to stay guard. An adjutant arrives at the table of Orbay’s and tells them that the admiral wishes to join them.  A few minutes later the admiral arrives and shakes hands saying “Welcome to USA, Admiral”. The american admiral is noone other than Chester Nimitz, whom Rauf Orbay had met when Nimitz was a Lieutenant. Rauf Orbay corrects him saying that he had never made to the rank of admiral and resigned as a captain.

Admiral Nimitz says “We have always followed you from the beginning. You are an admiral in our regard”.

Rauf Orbay spent the rest of his life away from the sea and politics.

He died at his home in Cihangir, İstanbul, 16. July 1964, Thursday at 13.20 from a heart attack. Due to his will, he is buried in Sahra-yı Cedit cemetery next to his father.

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TCG Atılay Decommissioned

Atilay

An Ay class submarine passing through Istanbul.

This is not a story you may find in Turkish naval circles online. According to Greek Defense and Foreign Policy website E-Amyna, Turkish Navy bid farewell to her oldest submarine TCG Atılay on 30 November 2016.

TCG Atılay was the first submarine build for Turkish Navy since the end of the Second World War. She was constructed build in Kiel by HDW shipyard and commissioned in Turkish Navy in March 1976. TCG Atılay was based on German Type 209 design one of the most successful submarine designs in post war  years.

Though there is no information about TCG Atılay‘s fate after being retired, Turkish Navy does not send its decommissioned submarines directly to breakers. Thus it is highly possible that she will remain as a floating charging platform for other submarines.

She may be even serve, as a test platform for the systems developed for the Milden (National Submarine) project as mentioned by E-Amyna.  Why not taking their word, when they can report on Turkish Navy better and faster than Turkish Navy itself.

Appearances

I don’t know why but the header picture of this blog is gone and the menus are garbled and I can’t seem to fix it at the moment. Must be a bug or something happening in the background and is definitely not my work.

Still I am sorry for the appearances of my blog for the time being.

HMAS Anzac And HMNZS Te Kaha In Istanbul

CDY_1058.NEF

After attending the Dawn Service on 25 April 2015 in Anzac Cove, Gallipoli the HMAS Anzac and HMNZS Te Kaha arrived in Istanbul for a port visit.

During the cruise from Çanakale to İstanbul, HMAS Anzac stopped at the point where the Australian submarine HMAS AE-2 was sunk by Ottoman gunboat Sultanhisar.

As the chivalry was still alive then, Captain Rıza, the commander of the Ottoman gunboat allowed Australians to scuttle their stricken submarine and rescued all crew.

Turkish Naval Deployments

We are witnessing an increased activity by Turkish Navy in the last few weeks.

Here is a short list of the deployed frigates, the mainstay of Turkish Navy:

F-490 TCG Gaziantep is participating to Joint Warrior 14-1 naval exercise in Scotland. Later she will visit Norway, Poland and Finland.

F-493 TCG Gelibolu is cruising in Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. She took part in Dimdex exhibition in Qatar. Then she has visited Kuwait and Oman. Now she is in Pakistan.

F-494 TCG Gökçeada is with the SNMG-2 in Indian Ocean and is taking part in Operation Ocean Shield.

F-495 TCG Gediz and F-245 TCG Oruçreis are circumnavigating Africa with the corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada and tanker A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. The task force will arrive in Abidjan, Ivory Coast at this week-end.

7 unnamed frigates are taking part in naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2014 in Black Sea.

 

If you do the math you will see that 12 of the 16 frigates in Turkish Navy inventory are now deployed. In other words %75 of our frigates are underway. We may be not sustain this high percentage of deployment for a prolonged time periods but it is good to see that our ships are there where they are needed: On the seas.

 

 

 

Pakistan To Assume The Command of CTF-151

Today, on 13th December 2012, Turkish Navy will formally hand over the command of the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) which is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Turkey took the command of the CTF-151 in September from South Korea and the task force will be commanded by Pakistan between December and March.

F-492 TCG Gemlik is the retiring flagship of the task force.

The Last Voyage Of TCG Muavenet

The Knox class ex-Muavenet on her way to the scrapyard in Aliağa. She is towed by A-587 TCG Gazal. Photo: Turgay Köken, used with permission.

The bulk of the FF-1093 ex-USS Capodanno, F-250 ex-TCG Muavenet is on her way to the scrapyard in Aliağa, İzmir. This is her final voyage.

The Knox class frigates served a short service in Turkish Navy compared to older Gearing class destroyers and newer Perry class frigates. F-250 TCG Muavenet was the first ever Knox class ship given by the US Navy to the Turkish Navy. She was given as a compensation to the old DM-357 TCG Muavenet, which was severely damaged by two Sea Sparrow anti aircraft missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in 1992.

The hull of ex-TCG Muavenet. Photo: Turgay Köken, used with permission.

 

The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 6)

The occupation of a Demilitarizing Zone is usually the first step of a armed conflict. But when the Green Line, that divides Cyprus in two was occupied last week it was an act of peace rather than aggression.

Young people from both communities entered the UN controlled Green Line and camping there. If this latest “Occupy” movement can find roots in both communities and financial international backing it could be the start for the change in the Island.

Inspired by the global “Occupy” movement, youths from across the divide in Cyprus have joined forces to set up camp inside the buffer zone that has split the island since 1974, demanding reunification.

After over a week, half a dozen tents are pitched in a few square metres of the occupied “public land” along the Green Line crossing point at Ledra Street in Nicosia, Europe’s last divided capital.

This month, U.N. head Ban Ki-moon reported “encouraging progress” at the last round of reunifiation talks in New York between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, but warned “there is still work to be done.”

In contrast with protesters of the U.S. or Spanish Occupy movements, the Cypriot youths hold no fears of being forcibly evicted from the site, which police forces are not allowed to enter.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus said it tolerated the occupation, the first of its kind since the island’s partition, even though it is the target of some hostile graffiti daubed around the site.

Mean while the quest for the hydro carbon riches beneath the Med is continuing. Last week Turkey signed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell for energy exploration and production sharing in the Mediterranean and southeastern Anatolia. Keeping the fact that Shell is a Anglo-Dutch company it is not surprising to see UK involvement in an affair about Cyprus.

Turkey has signed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell for energy exploration and production sharing in the Mediterranean and southeastern Anatolia.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız rejected suggestions that the deal was a response in retaliation to Greek Cypriot and Israeli oil exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

“The deal is a result of technical work and has nothing to do with international speculation,” Yıldız said at a ceremony yesterday.

The agreement, which covers seismic research off the Mediterranean province of Antalya as well as onshore drilling work near the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, was signed between the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Shell. Seismic research will be conducted off Antalya until 2014, after which exploratory drilling will begin. Shell and TPAO will share output equally if oil or gas is found, TPAO general manager Mehmet Uysal said.

According to news reports the Russians are really coming to the Eastern Med this time. As my readers may recall when the tensions in East Med started to increase about the oil of Greek side in Sector 12, Russia immediately declared that she was send several nuclear subs to the region. Later when the political situation in Syria worsened this subs were reinforced with a small flotilla of ships from Gulf Of Aden to show Russia’s solidarity with Syrian regime. But surprising both the submarines and the ships have failed to materialize and their presence was never ever proved.

How ever this time the Russians are really sending their sole aircraft carrier to the region to conduct a number of exercises with regional navies.

Russian warships and submarines are deployed worldwide within task groups and singly. It is planned that Russian warships would take part in the FRUKUS 2012 maneuvers, NATO exercises BALTOPS 2012IONIEX 2012, and the international search-and-rescue exercise Bold Monarch 2012, Russian-Norwegian exercise Pomor 2012, international exerciseNorthern Eagle 2012, and the RIMPAC 2012 exercise”, said the interviewee. 

According to him, in 2012 Black Sea Fleet will take part in activation of BLACKSEAFOR task group. Terms and dates of exercises are being currently agreed via diplomatic channels. In addition, Russian warships are supposed to pay visits to over 40 foreign ports in 2012. 

“Navy command plans that Russian warships would continue presence in the Gulf of Aden and near the Horn of Africa on the regular basis in order to maintain maritime security. With this in view, rotation of the ships is scheduled”, added the Navy spokesman. 

He stressed that Russian mariners were planning to start a long-range cruise no later than in Dec 2011. As is expected, Northern Fleet carrier group headed by aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov will be deployed in ocean zones. 

 

For the previous updates of Eastern Mediterranean:
The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 5)
The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 4)
The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 3)
The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 2)
The Situation In The Eastern Mediterranean (Part 1)

Notice To Mariners

There will be light posting or no blogging for the next two weeks.

TCG Giresun Returned Home

The frigate F-491 TCG Giresun, Turkish contribution to NATO’s SNMG-2  has completed its anti-piracy mission with this task force, off Somalia and returned to Turkey, Turkish Naval Forces Command said in a statement on Wednesday.

The frigate docked at the Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris after a 151-day mission.

During its mission off Somalia, TCG Giresun captured a total of 26 Somali pirates. The crew of the frigate boarded M/T Guanabara and M/V Full City when they were attacked by pirates. She also saved as Yemeni fishing boat, captured by the pirates and used as mother ship.

The Turkish Naval Task Force is the current Turkish anti piracy force in the region. Click here to read about the acts of TCG Giresun in Gulf Of Aden.


 

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