He was born on September 1, 1874 in Edirne. His father was Kadı Ahmed Vasıf Efendi, from Çepleci village of Kırcaali, and his mother was Hürmüz Hanım. After receiving his first education in Vize, he finished Edirne Military High School. After his father’s death, he entered the Edirne Post and Telegraph Administration with a desire to support his family. He also taught Turkish at the Alliance Israélite Universelle School. At a young age, he became aware of the Young Turks through his brother-in-law İsmail Yürükoğlu and was very interested in their thoughts. Talat Bey participated in an opposition organization consisting of low level bureaucrats and soldiers in Edirne with the efforts of Hâfız İbrâhim Efendi. However, when the government learned this organization, members of the organization, which were in secret communication with the Ottoman Union and Progress Association, were arrested. (1896) Talat Bey was sentenced to three years in prison by the court and sent to Edirne Prison and dismissed from civil service (1897). He, along with his other friends, was pardoned in February 1898. However, he was not allowed to stay in Edirne and was exiled to Selanik. Talat Bey entered the Macedonia Risorta Masonic Lodge in 1903. This lodge, which was attended by opponents of the regime, made serious contributions to the later organizations that included the Ottoman Freedom Association.
Opponents in Selanik began preparations for reorganization. As a result of prolonged secret meetings and debates, the opponents decided to organize a new organization in July 1906. A delegation consisting of Talat Bey, İsmail Canbolat and Midhat Şükrü (Bleda) decided to establish a secret society called Hilâl (Muîn-i Hilâl) on September 7, 1906 and informed the other opponents. In a new meeting held on September 18, 1906, the name of the organization was changed to the Ottoman Society of Liberty. The organization expanded in a short time and the number of members increased, and especially low-ranking officers began to register to be a member. The Ottoman Progress and Union Committee, which is located in Paris and tries to turn the opposition organizations into its local branches, contacted this new organization. Although Dr. Nâzım Bey had previously expressed his doubts about the methods of organization of the Ottoman Freedom Society, the two societies decided to unite on 27 September 1907.
As a clerk of this new organization, Talat Bey provided communication with other branches and opponents in other cities and European provinces. Talat Bey, who used the name Sâî as a pseudonym, rose rapidly in the community. He played an important role in the preparation of the 1908 Revolution and became one of the most important administrators of the organization named as the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress. Talat Pasha was one of the leading politicians in the period of 1908-1918, when the Committee of Union and Progress controlled Ottoman politics. He entered Meclis-i Mebusan as the deputy of Edirne in the 1908 Elections. On August 8, 1909, he became the Internal Affairs Minister. He resigned from this position on February 11, 1911, but on February 4, 1912 he re-entered the cabinet with Post and Telegraph Ministry. His duty was ended with the resignation of Said Pasha cabinet in July 1912. After this date, he worked for Committee of Union and Progress mostly.
Although he served as a volunteer soldier in Edirne during the Balkan War, he was sent back to Istanbul on the grounds of making propaganda. He was one of the organizers of the Bâbıâli on January 23, 1913. During the II. Balkan War, he played an important role in making a military action decision to take Edirne back, and then he chaired the Ottoman delegation in Peace Talks with Bulgarian representatives. Talat Bey was brought back to the Internal Affairs Ministry in the Said Halim Pasha cabinet, which was established after the assassination of Mahmud Şevket Pasha (12 June 1913). He played an important role in the implementation of Kānûn-ı Muvakkat,( known as Tehcir Kanunu) dated 27 May 1915, as one of the leaders of the community of union and progress and the Minister of Internal Affairs.
After Said Halim Pasha resigned on 3 February 1917 by claiming his health reasons, Talat Bey was appointed as the Grand Vizier. Thus, Talat Pasha became the first deputy to become the Grand Vizier in Ottoman history. Upon the death of Sultan Reşad, he submitted the government’s resignation. On 8 July 1918, he was brought to Grand Vizier again by the new Sultan VI Mehmed (Vahdeddin). Talat Pasha presented his resignation on October 8, 1918, as it became impossible for the government to continue. On November 1, 1918, he chaired the last congress of the Committee of Union and Progress, which decided to dissolve the organization. Talat Pasha went to Sevastopol over the Black Sea with a German torpedo ship along with leading community leaders such as Enver and Cemal pashas on the night of 1-2 November and then went to Berlin.
After that day, Talat Pasha took charge in CUP under the name of Ali Sâî and conducted contacts with the Bolsheviks and other victorious states. He also talked to Mustafa Kemal Pasha during this period. Talat Pasha was shot dead by an Armenian terrorist named Soghomon Tehliryan in Berlin on March 15, 1921. The court found the murderer not guilty and acquitted him (3 June 1921). The body of Talat Pasha, who remained in the Berlin Muslim Cemetery for a long time, was brought to Istanbul twenty-two years later and buried on the Hill of Hürriyet-i Ebedi. (February 25, 1943).
All of the information was taken from TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi and the text was not used as a whole, in order to stay loyal to copyright.
ŞÜKRÜ HANİOĞLU, “TALAT PAŞA”, TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, https://islamansiklopedisi.org.tr/talat-pasa (15.03.2020).
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