Son Osmanli Yandim Ali (The Last Ottoman: Yandim Ali) (2007)

 

 

 

Director:  Mustafa Sevki Dogan. 

Cast:  Kenan Imirzalioglu (Yandim Ali), Cansu Dere (Defne), Emin Boztepe (Gro), Engin Senkan (ukuresmeli Osman), ner Erkan (Jerar), Levent ktem (Scott), Anna Babkova (Nadya), Hasan Yalnizoglu (Kara Necati), John Baker (Dimitri), Ilker Ayrik (Yorgo), Murat Tayyar (Iskelet), Baykut Badem (Kelle), Engin Yksel (opur Talat), Dogan Tank (Rum Niko), Akin Erozan (Aleko).

veteran wants to meet Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), who wants to start a resistance against the occupiers

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie. 

1918.  Istanbul is under British occupation.  The navy of the Allied Forces is in the Bosporus.  Mustafa Kemal is returning from the Syrian Front.  Soldiers and sailors march through the streets.  A big fellow known as Knock Out Ali plays cards.  He accuses one of the players of cheating.  This creates a fight and as you would suspect from his name, Knock Out Ali comes out on top.  But then he has to run from the British troops. 

Residence of the former Grand Vizier.  Tevfik Pasha is getting a vote of confidence from the Parliament, but this will only accelerate the enemy occupation.  Mustafa Kemal says that it will be difficult for Tevfik Pasha to get the votes, but he must become the Grand Vizier again. 

At dinner at the house of Dimitri with his wife Defne and the British Colonel, Dimitri asks if the British troops will be coming ashore pretty soon.  Knock Out Ali goes down by the waterside.  He gets hit from behind by a young man.  He turns around and knocks out the fellow (named Jerar).  When he regains consciousness, Jerer tells Ali that he is a guard here for the boats.  He himself is a seaman with a boat of his own.  A fellow named Gro is looking for Ali.  He has a debt to settle with the tough guy.  

Ali sneaks over to Dimitri's house to see Defne.  Ali and Defne were together previous to her present marriage.  Dimitri scolds his wife for still thinking about that "scoundrel".  He breaks the record she was playing. 

The vote in the Grand Assembly goes against the Pasha. Mustafa Kemal says:  "Gentlemen, the liberation will not start in Istanbul." 

Three months later. March 1919.  Some Greeks in a bar tell Knock Out Ali that Istanbul will soon belong to the Greeks.  The leader of the group challenges Ali.  He says Istanbul will soon be known as Constantinople.  To make it worse, he says that Ali's beloved Defne is under a 100 kilo Greek with a hairy belly.  Ali knocks out four of the Greeks.  Ali asks Jerar to make the cross-over. 

The leader of the small group tells Dimitri to put aside 50 revolvers, 5,000 bullets and 20 hand grenades.  The Greek will then give him the money for the weapons and ammunition. 

Ali whistles for Defne and she and her husband hear it.  Dimitri starts screaming to the British soldiers: "There's a thief in the garden.  Catch him!"  The husband even tries to shoot Ali.  Ali takes off to go down to the waterside.  Jerar knocks a British soldier down and Ali is able to get onto the boat and cast off. 

Knock Out Ali talks with some Turkish soldiers.  He gives them some money to help them get back to their homes.  The British soldiers, however, want to know what Ali gave to the Turkish soldiers.  Ali knocks the guy in charge down and shoots a soldier.  He, in turn, is shot.  The Turkish soldiers jump on the British soldiers. 

Dimitri scolds Defne for her behavior.  She responds that that she will not stain her honor with Ali.  Ali busts into a cafe, knocks three guys down and shouts:  "Get me Osman Bey."  Osman Bey comes out and greets Ali warmly.  A doctor takes the bullet out of the wounded Ali.  A fellow followed Ali and soon the Brits are at the door.  The soldiers burst in looking for Ali.  With a bar girl named Nadya and a British officer's uniform, Ali and Nadya pretend that they are in the midst of having sex and are left alone. 

There is a raid on the Parliament and party members are arrested.  They place the detainees on the back of a wagon bound for who knows where.  Some of the deputies need to get away.  "Because of the Armenians" it is said, the Brits are arresting members of Parliament.  Especially vulnerable are Union and Progress Members.  They desperately try to get away from the Brits. 

Ali explains that the fellow with the grudge Gro was his sports teacher at the Academy.  Kolet, Gro's wife taught Ali French.  They started an affair and Gro caught them red-handed.  To protect him from Gro, Ali was assigned to the battleship Yavuz.  The Germans were the ones in command.  They sailed to the Black Sea.  The Germans bombed Odessa.  Ali k.o'd the German commander.  It was said that Kolet hanged herself, but in reality Gro beat her up and she died. 

The British Colonel keeps coming on to Defne.  And she keeps evading him.  At Major Bennet's office, Kara Nekali is given the job of spying on Mustafa Kemal.  The printers of a Turkish underground press, show pictures of the "bloody Greeks' Black Sea murders".  The British are up in arms because it is said the Turkish rebels are attacking the Greek people and shooting British soldiers.

The rebellious group of Turks say that the Sultan looks hopeless.  They need a new leader.  And the obvious man for the job is Mustafa Kemal.  One of his officer friends tells him that "My army in Erzurum is ready."  The commander of the 20th corps says his unit is also ready.  Mustafa Kemal will be the new army inspection up north and hopes to go to Anatolia.  Kemal goes to Samsun.  Osman Bey is given the responsibility for security in his area. 

Office of the Defense Ministry.  Osman Bey grabs Knock Out Ali to help him protect Mustafa Kemal.  Kara Nekali and his men plan to assassinate Mustafa Kemal, the inspector of the 9th army.  Ali realizes that the guards at the building's entrance are missing.  He goes to investigate and finds them either knocked out or dead.  Ali kills Nekali, who jumps out of the second floor window in an escape attempt.  The hero gets to meet Mustafa Kemal, who thanks Ali.  Osman Bey shoots one of his own guards for cooperating with Nekali. 

More Union and Progress men have to get away from the Brits.  Osman Bey tells them that he cannot help them.  All roads are being watched.  Ali volunteers to take them to Tuzla. 

The small group of Greeks grabs Dimitri and tells him to give them weapons:  50 rifles and 1,000 bullets.  This so upsets Dimitri that it looks as though he is having a heart attack.  Enver Pasha ran to Germany, but by dealing with Lenin he will soon be back with a Caucasan army to start the War of Independence in Anatolia.  Knock Out Ali tells the Union and Progress men about his military career.  He has a scar, he says, that Lawrence gave him.  (Presumably Lawrence of Arabia.)  Ali and Jerar get the Union and Progress men across the water.  On shore they are attacked in an ambush.  Everyone is killed on both sides except for Ali and Jerar, but Jerar is badly wounded.    He is so badly wounded that he dies on board his own vessel on the trip back.  One of the Union and Progess men gave Ali his gold coins to help buy weapons for the struggle for independence.  Ali knows the attack was an ambush.  Who told?  He now has doubts about Osman Bey himself. 

One of five British soldiers tries to take down the Turkish flag.   Ali knocks the man down and out.  This gets Ali arrested.  At headquarters, he is really roughed up with several blows to the face.  They want to know where Ali got the gold coins.  Ali finally gives them the name of Dimitri.  Someone is sent to pick up Dimitri, but the only person brought in is Defne.  She tells the British Colonel that Dimitri has died.  She then proceeds to cover for Ali's story.  So the British Colonel has Ali freed.  Ali goes with Defne to her home.  There they embrace, kiss and make love.  She explains to Ali that she was told that he had died in the war.  Now that she has Ali again, she suggests that they both leave Turkey.  Ali wanted to buy weapons for Anatolia with the gold coins, but the Britis took them.  Defne tells him that Dimitri left some arms behind that he can have. 

The leader of the small group of Greeks comes to visit Gro.  He tells him where he can find Ali.  The British Colonel is also around the Dimitri house a great deal.  The Colonel agrees to help Gro kill Ali. 

Mustafa Kemal makes a declaration of Turkish independence.  Osman Bey tells Ali to bring the weapons to him.  Nadya is killed by one of Osman Bey's men.  Ali shoots the man's gun hand when he tries to shoot her a second time.  The assassin says that Nadya was a spy and was just about to send a message to the British.  Nadya dies.  Back at the Dimitri house, Gro has tied up Defne, put a noose around her neck and made her stand on a small stool.  When Ali comes in, Gro threatens to push over the stand.   Ali challenges him to fight with their fists; Gro agrees; and Ali kills him.  He then releases Defne.  British soldiers rush in and Ali and Defne make a run for it.  They go down to the basement where there is a lot of gun powder.  He makes a fuse of gunpowder and it explodes the barrels of gunpowder just as the British soldiers pile into the basement.  All the soldiers are killed and the house destroyed. 

Ali follows a fellow, who when he sees Ali tries unsuccessfully to shoot him.  Ali is able to disarm him.  When the fellow then pulls out a knife, Ali just pushes the  hand with the knife into the man's belly area, killing him.  The dead man was already supposedly killed by Osman Bey.  (He was the guard at the ministry of defense building Osman supposedly killed for collaborating with the assassin Nekali.)  Ali starts thinking more about the possibility of rat finks in the Bey organization.  Ali tells Osman Bey that he does not think that Nayda was a traitor.  He then asks why the supposedly dead man was very much alive.  Osman Bey does not have a satisfactory answer.  So Ali tells him that only he and Osman will know where the weapons are that are to be send to Anatolia. 

Ali takes Osman Bey down to a wharf where the boat is located.  An assassin shows up and tries to kill Ali.  But Ali  grabs the assassin.  Osman Bey then pulls out his pistol and tells Ali to let the man go.  Another of Osman's men shoots at Ali, but hits the assassin instead, killing him.  Ali shoots and kills Osman's man, who pulls the pistol's trigger hitting Osman in the back.  Ali goes over to talk with Osman.  He wants to know why.  Osman tells him that the British were blackmailing him and he had no choice but to collaborate as his sick daughter and wife are being held hostage in Italy. 

Osman asks Ali to kill him.  Ali gives him a pistol with one bullet in it.  Osman picks up the pistol to put to his head, but then suddenly shoots at Ali.  But he wasn't really shooting at Ali.  The bullet hits the British Colonel right between the eyes.  Ali then has to engage in a fire fight with the British soldiers.  He kills quite a few of them.  One of the soldiers falls right at the feet of Osman, who grabs a grenade off the dead man, pulls the pin and throws it to the oncoming British.  Ali runs and dives off the peer into the water as the grenade goes up killing many of the British soldiers. 

Ali and Defne get in contact with a patriotic midwife in the underground.  She has the boat's weapons unloaded and transported to Anatolia.  Ali tells Defne that he has to go to Anatolia with the others.  She is very upset at this turn of events and cries.  But as Ali starts riding away from Defne, she calls out for him, he stops to help Defne onto his horse with him. 

 

A pretty decent movie.  But boy, that Knock Out Ali was too much of a superman to be believed.  I guess that's the Turkish way of catching the attention of a wider audience for the movie set in a period of Turkish history.  Maybe Ali could be compared to the character Zorro fighting for justice in Old California.  Well, maybe but Ali is more of a super-Zorro.  If one wants to appreciate the movie, they have to read a bit about Turkish history for the period portrayed in the film.   

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

Mustafa Kema Atatrk  --  the Father of the Nation of Turkey. 

1881  --   Mustafa Kema Atatrk born in today's Thessaloniki, Greece (but then the Ottoman Empire city of Selnik.  His father was a minor official who later became a timber merchant.

1888  --  at the age of seven, Mustafa loses his father to death. 

1893  --  at the age of twelve, Mustafa attended the military schools of Selnik and Manastir (present-day Bitola, Republic of Macedonia).  Later he studied at the Selnik military secondary school. 

1885  --  Mustafa Kemal enrolled in the Ottoman Army Academy at Manastir.

1905  --  he graduated as a lieutenant and was assigned to the 5th Army (in Damascus).  Mustafa joined a secret revolutionary society of reformist officers called Vatan ve Hrriyet (Motherland and Liberty) and became an active opponent of the Ottoman autocratic regime of Abdlhamid II.

1907  --  promoted to captain and assigned to the 3rd Army in Manastir.  He joined the Committee of Union and Progress, commonly known as the Young Turks.

1908  --  the Young Turks seized power from the Sultan Abdlhamid II.  Mustafa became a senior military man.

1910  --  Mustafa took part in the Picardie army maneuvers in France.

1911  --  he served at the Ministry of War in Istanbul.

1911  --  Mustafa was posted to present-day Libya to fight against the Italian invasion.

1911 (December 22)  --  the successful defense of Tobruk. 

1912 (March 6)  --  he was appointed the commander of Derne.

1912 (October)  --  Mustafa returned to Istanbul following the outbreak of the Balkan Wars that pitted the Balkan League (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria) against the Ottoman Empire.  During the First Balkan War, Kemal fought against the Bulgarian army at Gallipoli and Bolayir on the coast of Thrace. In the war the Balkan League first conquered Ottoman-held Macedonia and most of Thrace.  After this the Balkan league nations fought amongst themselves over the division of the spoils. 

1913 (May 17)  --  the Treaty of London ended the First Balkan War.

1913  --  the Second Balkan War.  Bulgaria fought against Greece and Serbia (with Romania and the Ottoman Empire intervening against Bulgaria).  Mustafa played an important role in the recapture of Edirne and Didymoteicho. Serbia became an important regional power. 

Mustafa came to be an opponent and critic of the policies pursued by the leadership of the Young Turks.  He had bad relations with one leader in particular:  Enver Pasha.

1913 (July)  --  a general armistice was agreed on to end the Second Balkan War.  

1913  --  Mustafa appointed military attach to Sofia, partly because Enver Pasha saw him as a rival.

after 1913  --  Mustafa was left outside the center of power once Enver Pasha emerged as the foremost military leader.

1914 (March)  --  in Sofia, Kemal was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

1914-1918  --  the First World War.  Turkey fought along side Germany (an alliance that Mustafa had opposed, but Enver Pasha had pushed). 

1915-1916  --  Mustafa was at the center of the Turkish defeat of the Allies during their Gallipoli campaign.  Mustafa promoted to colonel.

1915-1917  --  Turkish forcible deportation and massacring of from hundreds of thousands to over 1.5 million Armenians during the government of the Young Turks. 

1916  --  Mustafa sent to the Caucasus Campaign.

1916 (April 1)  --  he was promoted to Brigadier General. 

1917-1918  --  Mustafa was in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.  The local population hated the Ottoman government.  With the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa had to deal with the disintegration of his army, faced with severe desertion rates. 

1918 (autumn)  --  Mustafa able to stop the British advance on the Palestine front. 

1918 (October 30)  --  the Ottomans surrendered to the Allies.  The Ottoman Empire was split up. 

1918 (November 13)  --  Mustafa Kemal returned back to Istanbul, which was occupied by the British.   The occupation led to a War of Independence and the eventual establishment of a Republic of Turkey. .

1919 (May 19)  --  Mustafa Kemal landed at Samsun, a port city on the Black Sea coast of Anatolia.  He was there as the General Inspector to the 9th Army (assigned by Sultan Mehmed VI).  This was the start of his active participation in the national resistance movement. He oversaw the demobilization of remaining Ottoman military units and nationalist organizations.  Mustafa began to organize the units and organizations into a independence movement. 

1919 (May) - 1922 (September 10)  --  the Greco-Turkish War. 

1919 (June)  --  Mustafa Kemal and his close friends issued the Amasya Circular stating the reasons for the independence movement.  The scared British got the Ottoman government to intervene and they eventually condemned Mustafa to death.

1919 (July 8)  --  Mustafa resigned from the Ottoman Army .  He made a successful call for a national election to establish a new Turkish Parliament at Ankara. 

1920 (February 12)  --  the last Ottoman Parliament before it was dissolved by the occupying British forces.

1920 (April 23)  --  the first session of the "Grand National Assembly of Turkey", with Mustafa Kemal as president.

In the Turkish War of Independence, the Turkish National Army faced the Allied occupation forces in the Franco-Turkish War, the Greco-Turkish War and the Turkish-Armenian war.

1920 (April)  --  beginning of the Franco-Turkish War. (The conflicts officially ended with the Accord of Ankara on October 20, 1921.)

1920 (September 24 to December 2)  --  Turkish-Armenian War.   

1921  --  the new constitution of 1921 (passed along with a popular sovereignty law). 

1921 (August 23 - September 13)  --  the Turkish Army defeated the Greeks in the twenty-day Battle of Sakarya.   The triumphant Mustafa Kemal was given the rank of Field Marshal of the Army. 

1921 (end of September)  --  due to the great successes of Mustafa Kemal, Enver Pasha left the region for good. 

1922 (August 30)  -  the Turks decisively defeated the Greek army at the Battle of Dumlupinar. 

1922 (by September 10)  --   the remainder of the Greek forces completely evacuated Anatolia.

1923 (July 24)  --  the Treaty of Lausanne was signed, ending the Turkish War of Independence.  Ten weeks later the Allied forces evacuated Istanbul.

1923 (October 29)  --  declaration of the Republic of Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal was 42 years old.

 

 

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