Rıza Nur on the 1920 Russo-Turkish Negotiations

Rıza Nur on the 1920 Russo-Turkish Negotiations

We present to your attention an excerpt from the memoirs of Turkish political scientist, writer, and surgeon Rıza Nur. This excerpt covers the Russo-Turkish negotiations held in 1920 in Moscow.

“We didn’t have the necessary weapons for the war for independence, and due to this, we considered it beneficial that I leave for Russia together with Yusuf Kemal…

I offered Yusuf Kemal Bey to visit Stalin, the General Secretary of the Russian Bolshevik Party.

“Very well,” said Stalin, “We have the same goal. We’ll support you, just let us know how much you need.”

I have been present at the signature of various agreements and have always demanded large sums.

“Ten million in gold,” I said.

“No, we won’t give that much.”

“Five million.”


“Three million.”

“We’ll give to you one million in gold.”

We left Stalin and went to Chicherin… Chicherin again demanded that we give Van to the Armenians. What should have we done? If we again returned to Turkey empty-handed, the condition of our country would turn very lamentable.

I again asked Stalin to admit us. Learning about what had happened, he called Chicherin and angrily told him something. As for us, he told us to go and take the gold.

Half a million in gold was delivered to the border by Russian cavalry. We passed the gold to Kâzım Karabekir Pasha.

With this money, we acquired what our army lacked and waged war on the giaours (meaning “infidels”, a word used for non-Muslims by Ottoman Turks. On September 23, 1920, the Turks invaded the First Republic of Armenia without declaring war).

Additional 400 thousand in gold were sent to Turkey as well, and the remaining 100 thousand remained in the Turkish embassy in Moscow. The fate of those 100 thousand remains unclear to us, though our ambassador Ali Fuad Pasha is aware of it.

Arshaluis Zurabyan

Related Publications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *