Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay

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Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay
Şehit Kubilay Anıtı-Martyr Kubilay Memorial

Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay (1906- December 23, 1930) was a Turkish teacher and a Lieutenant (Turkish: Asteğmen) in the Turkish army. He is considered a "Martyr of the Revolution" ("Devrim Şehidi") in Turkey.


Kubilay, the son of Hüseyin and Zeynep, who were Cretan Turks, was born Mustafa Fehmi in Kozan, Adana, Ottoman Empire in 1906. He received his basic education in Aydin from 1913 to 1919, and began a tailors apprenticeship. During his apprenticeship he passed the examination for enrollment into teachers training, he received his teachers credentials in 1926. Mustafa Fehmi took Kubilay as his surname after graduation in accordance with Kemalist policies. Kubilay taught in Aydin and later at Zafer Elementary School in Menemen. He was posted in Menemen during his compulsory military service. Kubilay was married to Fatma Vedide in a civil ceremony in Aydin. He had a son, Vedat Aktuğ. Kubilay was an ardent Kemalist.

Lieutenant Kubilay was killed and beheaded by Naqshbandi (Turkish:Nakşibendi) order Sufi protesters after the troops he commanded fired into the crowd of armed demonstrators in the Menemen Incident. He became a secular martyr for Atatürk's new republic.

On December 23, 1930, a number of men associated with the Nakshibendi order gathered together in Manisa armed with guns and forcing men to join their group in protest of Republican law, demanding to install sharia law. Placing the flag of Islam on a tall pike they threatened the local populace with death if they refused to assemble under the flag by noon. Having heard of the incident, the local army base sent Mustafa Fehmi in charge of a small group of soldiers to secure the area and control the incident. Mustfa Fehmi entered the group of protesters unarmed in order to talk, however, was shot and wounded by members of the pro-sharia group. In response his soldiers opened fire, however, they were only in possession of drill cartridges rather than live weapons unlike the pro-sharia group. In response, the leader of the pro-sharia group, Dervish Mehmet, opened his satchel and took out a rough-edged saw with which he decapitated the wounded Mustafa Fehmi and attempted to place his head on the pike they used to carry the green flag of Islam. These events were followed by further skirmishes and the eventual capture of the criminals by the Turkish Army.

Zafer Elementary School in Menemen where Kubilay taught was renamed Kubilay Elementary School (Turkish: Kubilay Ilkokulu) in his honor. Kubilay Secondary School (Turkish: Kubilay Ortaokulu) in Menemen is also named in his remembrance.

A memorial parade is held by the army annually on 23 December at (the) Martyr Kubilay Memorial (Turkish: Şehit Kubilay Anıtı) located on a hill over-looking Menemen; in remembrance of Kubilay and the two municipal watchmen; Bekçi Hasan and Bekçi Şevki who were also killed in the incident. The monument features a tall sculpture by Ratip Aşir Acudoğlu which was erected in 1932. The Kubilay Memorial is a part of Kubilay Barracks, but open to the public. A military honor guard stands continuous watch at the memorial site, which contains the graves of several Turkish soldiers who were killed in the line of duty.


  • - Mememen - Kubilay Incident
  • Radikal, 1930 Menemen Olayı bir Nakşibendi tertibi miydi. Ayşe Hür, 30/12/2014 [1]
  • Kubilay Secondary School official site. T.C. MİLLÎ EĞİTİM BAKANLIĞI İZMİR - MENEMEN - KUBİLAY ORTAOKULU [2]
  • State and the Subaltern: Modernisation, Society and the State in Turkey and Iran edited by Touraj Atabaki. ISBN 9781845113391. I. B.Tauris & Company, LTD, London, 12 June 2007. [3]
  • M. Fehmi Kubilay. Official Menemen municipal website. [4] Retrieved: 21 June 2014.
  • Hurriyet Ege, news article 24 December 2000. We commemorate the martyr Kublai (Turkish) [5] Retrieved: 21 June 2014.
  • Turkish Armed Forces. Turkish General Staff. Document Archives. (Turkish) [6] Retrieved: 21 June 2014.