Bekir Sami Kunduh

For other uses, see Bekir Sami Bey (disambiguation).
Bekir Sami Kunduh

Bekir Sami Kunduh (Ossetian: Къуындыхаты Муссæйы фырт Бечыр; 1867 Saniba, Ossetia - January 16, 1933 Istanbul) was a Turkish politician of Ossetian origin.[1] He served as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. He was in office during 1920-1921.[2]

Bekir Sami Kunduh was a son of Musa Kunduh Pasha (Musa Kundukhov; (1818–1889)), a Tagaur Ossetian chieftain and major-general in the Russian Imperial Army, who then defected to the Ottoman Empire. He earned his Baccalaureate from Galatasaray High School and went to Paris to study political sciences.

He worked at the Turkish embassy at St. Petersburg and then was appointed as Mutasarrıf of Amasya. Later in his career he served successively as governor of Van, Trabzon, Bursa, Beirut and Halep. His last appointment before the Armistice of Mudros was as governor of Beirut.

After being summoned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, he travelled to Anatolia to join the Turkish War of Independence. After the Sivas Congress and Erzurum Congress, he joined the ranks of Turkish revolutionaries negotiating the Amasya Protocol and became one of its signatories. He was present at the last term of the Chamber of Deputies of the Ottoman Empire as Amasya deputy and after the dissolution he went to Ankara and joined the newly founded Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

He became the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in the 1st cabinet of the Executive Ministers of Turkey. With this title, he led the commissions to the Soviet Union and the Conference of London of 1921-22. In the London conference, he had discussions with representatives of the Triple Entente on the subject of Malta exiles. But the protocols he made with the Entente did not properly take into account Turkish sovereignty in the eyes of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, as there had been no governmental approval on this subject. After his return to Ankara, he resigned his office on May 8, 1921.

He was one of the founders of the Progressive Republican Party of Turkey. After the dissolution of the party because of the assassination attempt against Mustafa Kemal in İzmir, he was tried and acquitted.

He died in İstanbul in 1933. Although he did not have a surname during his lifetime, the Surname Law was adopted the following year after his death, and his family adopted the surname Kunduh.


Prominent nationalists at the Sivas Congress. Left to right: Muzaffer Kılıç, Rauf (Orbay), Bekir Sami (Kunduh), Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), Ruşen Eşref (Ünaydın), Cemil Cahit (Toydemir), Cevat Abbas (Gürer)

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