Behbud Khan Javanshir

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Behbud Khan Javanshir
Behbud xan Cavanşir
Behbud xan Cavanşir.jpg
Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR)
In office
June 17, 1918 – December 26, 1918
President Alimardan Topchubashov (Chairman of Azerbaijani Parliament)
Preceded by Fatali Khan Khoyski
Succeeded by Khalil Bey Khasmammadov
Personal details
Born 1877 (1877)
Azad Qaraqoyunlu, Javanshir Uyezd, Elisabethpol Governorate
Died 1921 (1922) (aged 44)
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Religion Islam
Javanshir's residence in Baku, early 1910s.

Behbud Khan Javanshir Azad Khan oglu (Azerbaijani: Behbud xan Cavanşir Azad xan oğlu) (1877 – July 18, 1921) was an Azerbaijani politician, diplomat, Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

Early life[edit]

Behbud Khan Javanshir was born in 1877 in Azad Qaraqoyunlu village of Javanshir Uyezd of Elisabethpol Governorate. His father Azad Khan Javanshir was the great grandson of the founder of Karabakh Khanate Panah Ali Khan. From 1890 through 1898, he studied at Tiflis Realny School where he learned German. In 1902, he got enrolled in Freiberg University of Mining and Technology graduating cum laude in 1906. He then moved to London and learned English.[1]

Upon his return to Azerbaijan in 1907, he started working as senior engineer in the oil industry. According to archival documents, Behbud Khan was a member of anti-government Difai organization along with Ahmad Bey Aghayev, Garay Bey Garaybeyov, Mammad Hasan Hajinski, Isa Bey Ashurbeyov and Niftali Bey Behbudov.

While travelling to Germany, Behbud Khan brought German wheat to Karabakh which was acclimatized by local farmers and is used today. He was also the first person to bring an automobile to Karabakh region at a time when roads were built.[1] After March massacres of 1918, Behbud Khan was a member of Azerbaijani-Armenian reconciliation commission.[2]

Political career[edit]

On June 17, 1918 Behbud Khan was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. On December 26, 1918 he was replaced by Khalil Bey Khasmammadov. Starting from October 6, 1918 as a deputy minister he was appointed acting Minister of Trade and Industry. Behbud Khan also served in the National Assembly of Azerbaijan.

After establishment of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan, with the assistance of Azerbaijani communist leader Nariman Narimanov, Javanshir was able to avoid imprisonment by the Bolsheviks and was assigned to work in Soviet oil fields in Baku. Due to his education in Germany, he was later assigned to represent the Soviet government first in Berlin, then from the summer of 1921 in Constantinople.[1]


Behbud Khan was assassinated on July 18, 1921, in Constantinople, in front of the Pera Palace Hotel by an Armenian, Misak Torlakian within "Operation Nemesis" organized by Armenian Revolutionary Federation, with assistance of other participants Ervand Fundukyan and (H)Arutiun (H)Arutuinyan for his role in the massacre of Armenians in Baku.[3] A Dashnak officer who had known him from Baku recognized him. Fundukyan and Arutuinyan were to follow Behbud Khan and Torlokyan was to shoot him. Behbud Khan was accompanied by his wife Tamara, brothers Jumshud and Surkhay were returning to the Pera Palace Hotel through the park after an evening at Tepebashi Theatre.[4] Torlakian shot Behbud Khan with a Mauser pistol, once in his face and twice in the chest, after which he was pronounced dead in the hospital.[1] Torlakian was apprehended.[5]

Court and sentencing[edit]

When questioned by the police, Torlakian said the assassination was justified because of killings of Armenians in Baku. He was "sued" by the British Military Tribunal. Torlakian's defense attorneys and an Armenian neurologist who examined him in prison and claimed he had epileptic seizures due to "the emotional crises to which he is subject" making him "not responsible for his actions" while a Turkish doctor claimed that he had no epilepsy or any mental disorders.

In October 1921, the British tribunal issued a guilty verdict but ruled that he was not responsible for his actions due to his epilepsy. Torlokyan left for Greece, where he was released and left for the United States.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d 2011-01-04. "Difai Qəzeti. Behbud xan Cavanşir" [Difai Newspaper. Behbud Khan Javanshir]. 
  2. ^ "Biographies database. Behbud xan Cavanşir". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  3. ^ Guliyev, Vilayet (1998). Ağolular. Baku. p. 153. 
  4. ^ Tamara Javanshir's testimony at the trial of Misak Torlakian, who assassinated her husband Behbud Javanshir. Vartkes and Ara Arabyan Yeghiayan, The Case of Misak Torlakian (Glendale, California: Center for Armenian Remembrance, 2006), p. 6.
  5. ^ a b Derogy, Jacques (1990). Resistance and revenge: the Armenian assassination of the Turkish leaders. United States: Transaction Publishers. pp. 120–121. ISBN 0-88738-338-6. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Yeghiayan, Vartkes and Ara Arabyan. The Case of Misak Torlakian. Center for Armenian Remembrance, 2006. ISBN 0-9777153-0-2.
  • Letter published in French newspaper in Istanbul by Behbud Javanshir's wife Tamara Javanshir and reprinted in John Dos Passos's book The Orient Express in a chapter entitled "Constantinople, July 1921: Assassination" (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1927), pp. 14–16.
  • John Dos Passos' account of the event as a witness of the commotion of the murder at Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul on June 18, 1921. Dos Passos was staying at Pera Palace and witnessed the commotion around the crime scene at the hotel. See John Dos Passos's book, The Orient Express, chapter 2: "Constantinople, July 1921: Assassination" (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1927), page 9.