Riza Nur
Riza Nur was a Turkish
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 surgeon, politician and writer.

Early years

After graduating from the Military Medical School in 1901 Riza Nur went on to work as a surgeon
In medicine, a surgeon is a specialist in surgery. Surgery is a broad category of invasive medical treatment that involves the cutting of a body, whether human or animal, for a specific reason such as the removal of diseased tissue or to repair a tear or breakage...

 at Gülhane Military Hospital before returning to the Military Medical School as an academic in 1907. Before this an early posting had seen him serve on the border with Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 where his job was to check if imported flour was contaminated with killer germs, after the Sultan had claimed this to be the case. The somewhat foolish nature of the work, as well as the refusal of his superiors to supply Riza with a microscope
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...

 and other basic scientific tools, helped to convince him that Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

's rule was backward, corrupt and leading Turkey into severe decline. He entered politics following the adoption of a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 but was imprisoned and later exiled for coming into conflict with the Committee of Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

 (CUP) administration, remaining a dissenting voice from abroad. Feeling that Turkey was too reliant on Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 but accepting that the country needed a close relationship with a bigger power to prosper he toyed with the idea of a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 in Turkey in the immediate aftermath of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


In Government

Returning to Turkey in 1919 he was a founder member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Grand National Assembly of Turkey
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey , usually referred to simply as the Meclis , is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the Turkish War of Independence...

 and was appointed Minister of National Education in 1920 and Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs in 1921, as well as serving as the envoy at the 1921 Treaty of Moscow
Treaty of Moscow (1921)
The Treaty of Moscow or Treaty of Brotherhood was a friendship treaty between the Grand National Assembly of Turkey under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Bolshevist Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, signed on 16 March 1921...

 and the Conference of Lausanne
Conference of Lausanne
The Conference of Lausanne was a conference held in Lausanne, Switzerland during 1922 and 1923. Its purpose was the negotiation of a treaty to replace the Treaty of Sèvres, which, under the new government of Kemal Pasha, was no longer recognised by Turkey....

. For Kemal Ataturk, Riza was an important appointment as his presence in government, along with that of Ahmet Ferit, lent weight to Ataturk's claims to being a uniting force as both men had been opponents of the CUP which provided most government ministers.

At Lausanne Riza was sent as assistant to the head of the Turkish delegation İsmet İnönü
Ismet Inönü
Mustafa İsmet İnönü was a Turkish Army General, Prime Minister and the second President of Turkey. In 1938, the Republican People's Party gave him the title of "Milli Şef" .-Family and early life:...

. It was he who proposed the motions recognising the Grand National Assembly as the legitimate government of Turkey, the end of the monarchy but the continuing control of the Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 by the Turkish government. However whilst at Lausanne he also came to blows with the former Prime Minister of Greece
Prime Minister of Greece
The Prime Minister of Greece , officially the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic , is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The current interim Prime Minister is Lucas Papademos, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank, following...

 Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos was an eminent Greek revolutionary, a prominent and illustrious statesman as well as a charismatic leader in the early 20th century. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece and served from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932...

 over the issue of the Pontic Greeks
Pontic Greeks
The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...

. Indeed what the Allies
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 saw as Riza's intransigence over both this issue and that of the Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 led to a Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n delegate claiming that Riza was "beginning to show the cloven hoof
Cloven hoof
A cloven hoof is a hoof split into two toes. This is found on members of the mammalian order Artiodactyla. Examples of mammals that possess this type of hoof are deer and sheep. In folklore and popular culture, a cloven hoof has long been associated with the Devil.The two digits of cloven hoofed...


Later years

Following the formation of the Turkish Republic, Riza Nur fell out of favour somewhat and he left the country in 1926 after an attempt on the life of Ataturk at Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

. Riza condemned the executions of Mehmet Cavit Bey
Mehmet Cavit Bey
Mehmet Cavit Bey, Mehmed Cavid Bey or Mehmed Djavid Bey was an Ottoman Sabbateaneconomist, newspaper editor and leading politician during the last period of the Ottoman Empire. A member of the Committee of Union and Progress , he was part of the Young Turks and had positions in government after...

 and the other alleged conspirators arguing that, whilst he personally disliked the men who had been his own political opponents, he felt that they had not been involved in the plot and so were unjustly killed. Embittered at the fall-out with his former ally, Riza also wrote widely about Ataturk's alleged alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. Returning from exile in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 after Atatürk's death he published the Tanridagi journal, which supported Turanism
Turanism, or Pan-Turanism, is a political movement for the union of all Turanian peoples. It implies not merely the unity of all Turkic peoples , but also the unification of a wider Turanid "race", also known as the controversial Uralo-Altaic "race," believed to include all peoples speaking...


Rıza Nur was also a noted writer on a number of topics, with his most well-known work being a history of Turkey in 14 volumes.

He died at the age of 63 and was buried at the Merkezefendi Cemetery
Merkezefendi Cemetery
The Merkezefendi Cemetery is a burial ground situated in Merkezefendi neighborhood of Zeytinburnu district on the European part of Istanbul, Turkey.Many renowned intellectuals, writers and artists rest in this old cemetery covering an area of ....

, Istanbul.


  • Servet-i Sahane ve Hakk-i Millet (Great Wealth and the Right of the People) (1909)
  • Meclis-i Mebusan'dan Firkalar (Parties of the Ottoman Parliament) (1910)
  • Tibbiye Hayatindan (Of Medical Life) (1911)
  • Cemiyet-i Hafiye (The Secret Organization) (1914)
  • Gurbet Dagarcigi (The Vocabulary of the Exile) (1919)
  • Hürriyet ve Itilaf Nasil Dogdu, Nasil Öldü (Liberty and Agreement, How was It Born and How Did It Die?) (1919)
  • Türk Tarihi (Turkish History, 14 vols) (1924-26)
  • Arab Siir Birligi (The Arab Poetry Union) (1926)
  • Hilalin Tarihi (History of the Crescent) (1933)
  • Ali Sir Nevai (1935)
  • Namik Kemal (1936)
  • Hücumlara Cevaplar (Replies to the Attacks Made) (1941)
  • Hayat ve Hatiratim (My Life and Memoirs) (1968)
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