Photos and Postcards
Photo album of a French couple visiting Turkey and Algiers aboard the Y.C.F. Sagitta. Rare photos of Sultan Mehmed V in Istanbul. 152 photos in all, and from a quality camera. Dated approximately 1910 as Mehmed V reigned from 1909-1918. No captions. Spine cover seperating but solid album
Photo collection by the R. Corpo di Sepdizione Italiano nel Mediterraneo Orientale, of the Italian occupation of Rhodes between 1912-1920. Shown are the battle of Psithos, General Elias (commander of Italian forces in Anatolia, graves of fallen soldiers, residence of Governor General Mario Lago, a number of civilian and military photos. 50 photos in all, most described on reverse. Also 3 panoramic postcard fold-outs of Rhodes and Archangelos, along with 36 postcards of Italian structures, Turkish quarters and topos of Rhodes. N
Note: The Battle of Rhodes was fought in May 1912 as part of the Italo-Turkish War. Italian troops under Lieutenant General Giovanni Ameglio landed on the Turkish held island and took control of it after thirteen days of fighting, ending nearly 400 years of Ottoman rule. The battle became the major engagement during the Italian operations in the Aegean Sea.
Italian forces numbered about 9,000-10,400 men supported by a fleet of Regia Marina warships. Many of the Italian troops were veterans of the campaigns in Libya, having been shipped from Benghazi and Tobruk. The Regia Marina began operating off the island a few days prior to the invasion, on May 1, the Italian navy cut the communications cable linking Rhodes with the mainland. An unopposed landing in Kalithea Bay began at 4:00 am on May 4 and lasted until 2:00 pm when the Italians began their march north towards the city of Rhodes. Ottoman Army personnel numbered about 1,000 men and officers with a handful of old artillery pieces though another 10,000 militiamen were recruited from the local Muslim civilian population. At first the Italians overestimated the Ottoman garrison on the island at 2,000-5,000, therefore they waited until they gathered enough men for the attack. Rhodes was protected by a castle but it was not utilized by the Turks and played no part in the battle. The first line of Turkish defenses was at Smith Plateau, where a few hundred men were stationed. Italian troops attacked the position, while eleven Italian ships bombarded the area. The Turks were routed with significant losses though the Italians reported that only seven of their men were wounded. Ottoman forces retreated that night to the mountains around Psithos and the Italians advanced to within two kilometers of Rhodes and stopped at 7:00 pm. When the city was surrendered the following morning at 10:00 am, the Italian army marched in without opposition.
Meanwhile additional unopposed landings took place at Kalavarda and Malona Bay, both about thirty miles south of Rhodes. On May 7, the Wali of Rhodes was captured with over 100 other Turkish officials by the Italian destroyer Ostro. The Turks were trying to flee the islands but instead ended up going to Taranto on May 11 as prisoners. Lieutenant General Ameglio took the offensive again on May 15 against the enemy forces around Psithos. With the landings at Kalavarda and Malona Bay completed Ameglio and his main force were able to surround the Turkish position on three sides while thebattleship Ammiraglio di Saint Bon bombarded troop concentrations from the fourth. After a nine hour battle the Ottomans were defeated and the battle for Rhodes came to an end when the Turkish commanders surrendered the next day on May 16. Eighty-three Turks were killed at Psithos, twenty-six were wounded and 983 surrendered. The remaining 10,000 militiamen returned to their homes. Four Italians were reported to have been killed in the final engagement and twenty-six men were wounded.
Rhodes and the Dodecanese was formally annexed by Fascist Italy, as the Possedimenti Italiani dell'Egeo. Italian interest in the Dodecanese was rooted in strategic purposes, and the islands were intended to further the Empire's long range imperial policy. The islands of Leros and Patmos were used as bases for the Royal Italian Navy.
From 1923, the Italians embarked on a gradual forced Italianization campaign of the islands. The first Governor General, Mario Lago, delegated land for Italian settlers and encouraged intermarriage with local Greeks. In 1929, scholarships at the University of Pisa for Dodecanesian students were promoted to disseminate Italian culture and language among the local professional class. The Orthodox rite was suppressed and only Catholic ceremonies were recognized. The Italian authorities also tried to limit the power of the Greek church without success by trying to set up an autonomous Dodecanesian church. Fascist youth organizations such as Opera Nazionale Balilla were introduced on the islands, and the Italianization of names was encouraged by the Italian authorities. Local Greek islanders did not receive a full Italian citizenship and were not required to serve in the Italian armed forces.
Photo album taken mostly in Syria or South-Eastern Turkey, during the handover period from Turkish to French control. Unfortunately there is no text with the photos. There are 182 photos in all. The trip also included Istanbul as well and a short visit to Egypt. There are high ranking French and Turkish officers shown so I am sure an expert can identify them.
Note: Officially the French Mandate of Syria was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. During the two years that followed the end of the war in 1918 – and in accordance with the Sykes-Picot Agreement that was signed between Britain and France during the war – the French controlled most of Ottoman Syria (modern Syria, Lebanon, Alexandretta) and other portions of southeastern Turkey. In the early 1920’s, the French control of these territories became formalized by the League of Nations mandate system, and France was assigned the mandate of Syria on September 29, 1923.
The Sanjak of Alexandretta became an autonomous province of Syria under Article 7 of the French-Turkish treaty of October 20, 1921: “A special administratie regime shall be established for the district of Alexandretta. The Turkish inhabitants of this district shall enjoy facility for their cultural development. The Turkish language shall have official recognition.”
In 1923, Alexandretta was attached to the State of Aleppo, and in 1925 it was directly attached to the French mandate of Syria, still with special administrative status.The Sanjak was given autonomy in November 1937 in an arrangement brokered by the League. Under its new statute, the Sanjak became ‘distinct but not seperated’ from the French mandate of Syria on the diplomatic level, linked to both France and Turkey for defense matters.