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About Posof

About Posof

 

The History of Posof

     The name of Posof, essentially is the name of water called Posof Stream. The name of the valley Posof Stream forms by coming out  the west high plateus of the district and streaming towards east, is Poshov-Poshof.  Therefore Posof is the name of a region, not an allocation-unit. This is a region including the district Cıldır of Kars to be termed as Upper Kur tribe and district Hanak of Ardahan, districts Ardanuc, Savsat, Borcka of Artvin with the inclusion of  center .

      The history of Posof goes back thousands of years ago. According to the historians, the lines of this old history dating back to Hurri, Urartu and Sakhas are not clear.  When Alexander the Great , the famous king of  Macedonia, went to the east expedition, it is known that there was a very strong Turkish  presence resisting to him in the Caucasus. These Turks are the first Kipchak Turks immigrating from the north of Caucasus to the south and known as Bun-Turk. Bun-Turk means indigenous Turks.

    The nomadic and horseman Iskhit Turks coming from the north side of Caucasus in the 680s B.C. ruled 500 years by capturing the neighbourhood from Urartu. Later Arshak Turks coming from Khorasan existed between the years 150 B.C.- 430 A.C. After  Arshak Turks, Pecenek and Oghuz  Turks are known to exist in the region.                

Islamic Religion Age
        We see the moslem arabs in the era of Hz. ( a title means Lord in Islamic religion) Osman as from 610. This date, is the beginning of notification of Islamic Religion. The moslem arabs brought Cıldır, Ardahan, Posof, Meskhetia, Artvin and Achara under their power in 646.
     Khazars-Arabs conflict occured in the region as from 650s. The region came under the rule of each one  from time to time.
    After the 700s The Georcian Bagrat family’s reign starts in the broad geography including Posof. Asut Bey of Bagratian Family and his generation hold  the world record by remaining upon Georcian throne for 1000 years until 1801.
     In the 9th century, the center of Posof region was Kol Castle. It’s understood from the historical sources that Kol Castle is the throne location of many kings.  Beginning from 1021, Byzantine domination took place in the region.

Seljuks’ Age 
            Seljuks having subverted Ghaznis in Khorasan, conquered Iran with Dandanakan victory they won in 1040. Alparslan,the sultan of Seljuks going on first west  expedition in 1064, invaded Bagratian-Georcian country and captured the banks of Aras River. He laid Georcian king under contribution.  
     At his second west expedition in 1068, Alparslan fronted the country of  Bagrat IV having broken the peace with the instigations of Byzantine Empire. He seized the city of Tbilisi Caferoğulları held. Alparslan conquered Kars, Ardahan and Hanak at this expedition. He returned the city of Rey by accepting the peace offer of Bagrat. 
     Seljuks army commanded by Ahmet from Danishment defeats the United Army of Byzantine and Georgian Bagratian by passing the mount Arsiyan over Şavşat and  surrounding  the castle existing even today in Kol village and this region came under Seljuks’ power in 1080. The Georcian sources note down this victory as Didi- Turk- Tent ( Great Turk Festival).
      From this date to 1124, in the region being under the rule of Seljuks for 44 years, Islamic religion began to outspread by settling of Oghuz Turks - Turkomans. In the 2nd century, a new name appeared in Altai: Kipchak. Kipchak was given as a name to the people immigrating to desert areas. This word meaning narrow place is the name of a big Turk tribe having many clans.
      Kipchak Turks were called Polovtsi by Russians, Falb by Germans and Hardes by Armenians.  The common meaning of names these three nations used for Kipchak, was blonde. Living in the North of Black Sea and neighbourhood of the Caucasus, Kipchak Turks were really blond and very handsome people in point of body structure.
     Bagratian Monarchy having no regular army, was helpless to defend the country against foreign threats especially Seljuks invasions. For that reason The king David, invented the Kipchak Turks to the South Caucasus in 1118. While the Christian Kipchak Turks were passing the South Caucasus through Daryal upon the invitation of Georgian king, The moslem Kipchak Turks went down south through Derbend in order to attend to Seljuks
      During the Georgian  Queen Tamara’s reign  (1184-1213) the number and the penetration of Kipchak Turks increased considerably. 
     In 1256 Hulagu, having seized Khorasan, Iran, Iraq took over these countries. This country whose capital city is Tebriz, survived in power until 1336 with the name of  Ilhanlian government.
     Ilhanlian Government has an important role in respect of settling down of Kipchak-Turks in Meskhetia-Posof region. Because the coming into existence as a government of Kipchak Atabeks here, was thanks to Abaka Khan, the ruler of Ilhanlian.
      The famous Cak Family called with the name of Cakeli in Georgian History,  lived as Ilbeyi (lord of province) at Cak Castle whose ruins exist in Caksu village of Posof today. The lords belonging to this family which is Orthodox-Christian affiliated to Georgian Church had considerable control in the country management. Boço Bey, the oldest of well known people of this family, had control over Ardahan and Meskhetia region  during Queen Tamara’s reign (1184-1213).
       Kipchak Turks getting tired of living under the control of Georgia, declared their demand for breaking away from Georgia by sending Sargis Bey to Tbilisi in 1268. The ruler of Ilhanlian Abaka Khan  met with approval the demand of Sargiz Bey and supported his activities. Consequently, an independent Kipchak Atabek Government was founded in Meskhetia in 1268. The borders of this government belonging directly to the ruler of Ilhanlian contained Meskhetia, Posof, Ardahan, Cıldır, Kars, Tortum, Ispir, Acara and Artvin beginning from the Azgur Strait.  These Kipchak Turks having appeared on the history stage during the Abaka Khan’s reign, started to become a Moslem entity.
       Kipchaks started to get Islamic religion as from the ends of 12th century, long after Oghuz Turks. Until this date, they were either Christian or Shaman. Embracing Islamic religion of Kipchaks coming to Georgia, started with the Ottoman conquest occured in 1578.

Ottoman Age
        In 1578 Ottoman Empire started to military campaign  to the east.  Lala Mustafa Pahsa, the conquerer of Cyprus was appointed as commander by Sultan. The other Beylerbeyi joined the army coming to Erzurum with their soldiers on July 2. The commander Lala Mustafa Pahsa came to Ardahan from Erzurum over Oltu with a large army on August 5.
      While Ottoman Army was going ahead Tbilisi over Cıldır came across Safevi Army. The pitched battle occured here resulted in the victory of Ottaman Army on August 9, 1578. Flag officer of Ardahan, Abdurrahman Bey and  troop officer of Bayburt, Bekir Bey with his own soldiers came to Posof by way of Ulgar Mountain on August 8. The center of Posof region was Mere Castle. Mere and Vale were seized without a battle and soldiers were located here. On August 9, Meskhetia, Tumuk, Hirtiz and Ahilkelek Castles were occupied. Thereby the last territory of Atabek Country were added to Ottoman Empire that day.    
     Manucahr Bey, Meskhetia Atabek, accepted the obedience by coming to mansion of the commander with his soldiers. National ensign of Azgur was given to him. Manucahr Bey, was circumcised as a moslem in Court in Istanbul. Later, he became Meskhetia / Cıldır Beylerbeyi with the name of  Atabekoglu Mustafa Pahsa. National ensign of Oltu was given  to his brother, Gorgora V. 
     Lala Mustafa Pahsa established  Cıldır State with the inclusion of Meskhetia to be center of this state in August of 1578 and he became flag officer of Posof.                 

Russians’ coming to Caucasus and Russian-Turk struggle
     Russians began to come up history scene after Timur’s subverting Altınordu Country. Russia regarded itself as the inheritor of Byzantine. For that reason they started to the campaigns to İstanbul they called Cangrad (Tsar city or shah of the cities) soon after the foundation of Russian Country, before even fifty years  passed. 
    Georgians has an important role in respect of Russians’ entering Caucasus and settling in. Some Georgian Beys, made a claim for help from Moscow against Ottoman and Iran in 1658. In 1801 Georgia was possessed to Russia. Thus, Russians secured their positions in Caucasus from now on. 
    Russians having passed Prut River on April 26, 1828, attacked from three directions, Caucasus, Anatolia and Rumelia. Russian forces going on forward military operation, surrounded the city of Meskhetia. The city was fallen with big fire and massacre.           
     In 1828 battle, Meskhetia was given to Russians. Therefore Meskhetia, having been the capital city of Ottoman State for 250 years, was lost. Posof stayed  within the borders of mother land with Treaty of Edirne. The state border of Turkey- Georgia, passing through Posof at the present day, was specified by Tahdid-i Hudud Commission ( The commission of  Border Restrictions)                        
     When Meskhetia, the capital city of Cıldır State was left to Russia, the center of state became Oltu. With the states to be abolished and cities to established after the Administrative Reforms, National ensign of Cıldır with the capital –Oltu was constituted. National ensign of Cıldır- Oltu was belonged to the province of Erzurum with its counties ; Ardahan and Ardanuç. During this period, Posof was the district of  Ardahan County.

1877–1878 (1293) Ottoman- Russian War (93 War)         
      In the 9th Ottoman-Russia War, known as 93 War among the public and a disaster in Turkish History, Posof was invaded too.
      The war ended with the Treaty of Yesilkoy- Ayastefanos signed on March 3,1878. The subjects being negotiated here, was adjudicated by being discussed in Berlin Congress held on June 13, 1878. According to this treaty, national ensigns of Batumi, Ardahan and Kars were left to Russia instead of war reparations. 
    With this war, unfortunate days lasting for forty years started. This captivity caused immigrations, many people drewback behind the lines of central Anatolia by leaving their homeland.The places being cut off the fatherland with the 93 War disaster, were included in motherland after 40 years with Brest-Litovsk Aggrement signed with Bolshevik Russia on March 3, 1918.           
     We learn from the notes about Posof of a Russian scholar wandering around this region in 1883, that  the whole society of the region spoke Turkish, there was nobody speaking Georcian, besides there wasn’t anybody eager to learn Georgian. Again in these notes, it is emphasized that after Ottoman-Russian War in 1877-78, 331 families immigrated to Anatolia from Posof,103 of these families returned.   
     In March of 1917, the Revolution brought about in the Petrograd, the capital city of Russia spread throughout the country rapidly. The Bolsheviks Lenin leading, had the power by subverting the temporary government with the coup d’etat on November 7.  So, Tsarist Russia wiped away from the world stage and a Bolshevik- Communist revolution appeared. After the revolution, while undisciplined Russian troops were withdrawing from Erzurum- Kars region, they gave their weapons and places to Georgian and Armenian soldiers and these ones behaved cruelly to the Moslem community.
    Meanwhile, Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty had been signed on March 3, 1918. On the following day, Caucasus Government’s Georgian and Armenian sides, having learned that Ardahan, Kars and Batumi were left to Turkey within the terms of agreement, announced they didn’t approve the treaty. So they called off the negotiation with Turkey.
     While our old territories on the east borders were reunited with motherland and wrapped their wounds with Trebizond- Batumi negotiations following the Brest- Litovsk Peace Treaty, there occured a new troublesome : Armistice of Mudros! On the day when Turkish heads to be held down on October 30, 1918, Armenians, Greeks and Jews were so blissful.
     The most noteworthy side of this armistice related to Posof, Posof and neighbourhood reunited with motherland after Brest-Litovsk Treaty, was condemned to leave Turkish soldiers. Because the terms of the treaty ordered Turkish soldiers to withdraw to the borders as in 1914.     
      Kars Islamic Council was founded in November 5th 1918. A local government was organized  with the name of Milli Islam Surası Merkezi Umumi (National Islamic Council Central-Public) in the congress held on 14 November. In the great congress held in Kars,  Temporary South-west Caucasus National Government was set up  at night of 17-18 January. With the Kars Government’s being established, local people organized against the Armenians and Georgians.   
    When Turkish soldiers withdrew from Posof Region with Armistice of Mudros, this region was occupied by Georgians. The people starting to struggle against Georcian forces  with local leaders, proved their bravery in the matter of defending their county. The robbery Georcian soldier committed in Posof village in March 1919, exasperated the public. The people caught these soldiers and took back their goods. The armed forces of Georcian Government regarding this event as cause of war, assaulted to Badele moving off from Meskhetia. In view of this attack, militia forces of Posof took action. Georgian army had to withdraw in the presence of resistance of Posof’s militia forces. But, Georgian army invaded Posof and neighbourhood with a bigger and standing army.

Under the Turkish Flag
     In February of 1921, Government against Bolshevizm in power in Georgia fell on hard times . The Red Army having had  Armenia and Azerbaijan be socialist was crossing to Tbilisi. 
      With the closed-door conference held at night of 20-21 February in 1921 by Turkish Grand National Assembly, a note was sent to the Ankara ambassador of Georgia.
       Early in the morning on 23 February, Simon Midiyani, Georgian ambassador informed Ahmet Muhtar Bey, Turkish Foreign Minister  that so-called religion was vacated. In the same morning, Georgian Miliary and Civil officers went to Meskhetia via Posof after leaving Ardahan.
    Therefore; Artvin, Posof, Savsat, Hanak, Cıldır were reunited with motherland and the flag on 23 February, 1921. When Posof was retaken, Captain Aziz Hikmet Bey represented military rule in Caksu for about 3 months. With the coming of military Lieutenant Governor, the center of county was transfered to Dugur ( Posof).The first Lieutenant Governor was Kurd Macid Bey. The borders became definite with Treaty of Moscow signed between Turkish Republic and  USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) on 16 March 1921
     Posof was determined as the center of district after the proclamation of the republic in 1923.


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