The Opening of the Suez Canal and its Relationship to the Aceh War.
The Suez Canal was completed in 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, the island of Sumatra became more important because shipping traffic from Europe to East Asia no longer passed through the south, namely the Sunda Strait, but through the Aden (Yemen) – Colombo (Ceylon) route through the Malacca Strait. The east of the island of Sumatra had fallen under Dutch influence, but in the north of Sumatra, Aceh was still sovereign. The Dutch felt that the sovereignty of the Aceh Sultanate would cause difficulties in the future which weakened the colonial power in the Dutch East Indies diplomatically and politically.
The strategic position of the Sultanate of Aceh Darussalam made the Dutch feel the need to immediately establish power in North Sumatra before other powers intervened. When Sultan Mansyur Syah (Alaudddin Ibrahim Mansyur Syah) as the strongest Sultan of Aceh in the 19th century died in 1870. The Dutch thought it was time for Aceh to be conquered.
Aceh Diplomatic Mission to Ottoman Turkey in 1868 AD.
The Sultanate of Aceh, which was aware of the plan to open the Suez Canal, sent a delegation to Istanbul asking the Caliph, the Sultan of Turkey, to become the protector of the Islamic State of Aceh as the highest power in the Islamic world.
The Ottoman Empire at that time was in a state of helplessness, let alone add new problems in relation to the opening of the Suez Canal. Turkey’s power in Egypt had weakened due to conflicts with Britain and France. In the end, the construction of the Suez Canal was sabotaged by the British at the last second.
In 1867 AD Sultan Abdul Hamid ascended the throne. Later he tried to strengthen the sultan’s power by paying great attention to the Ottoman Caliphate as the center of the Islamic world so that later the Pan-Islamic movement gained progress in all Muslim countries as an early form of nationalism.
Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir initiated, initiated, and simultaneously represented 60 Acehnese nobles to ask Turkey for help against the threat of Dutch aggression. But in 1868, the Sultanate of Aceh Darussalam was still far away. Aceh’s mission was rejected, but Aceh will return. Habib returned with unsatisfactory results, only getting letters of support from the Sharif of Mecca and Pasha of Medina.
Treaty of Sumatra in 1871 AD.
To expedite the Dutch plan to expand the territory on the island of Sumatra, in 1871 AD the Dutch succeeded in persuading the British to sign the Sumatra Treaty. The treaty ended British claims to the island of Sumatra. Canceled the London Treaty of 1824 AD in which the independence of the Sultanate of Aceh was guaranteed. The Sumatra Treaty gave freedom to the Dutch in the waters of the Malacca Strait as well as gave the obligation to crush all rebellions to European powers. In return, the Dutch gave Britain a colony in West Africa called the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and equal trading rights in the territory of the Siak Sultanate.
The Treaty of Sumatra was signed on November 2, 1871 AD between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the following details:
Article I: The Kingdom of Great Britain (UK) did not object to the expansion of Dutch dominance over the island of Sumatra and also annulled the agreement in the Treaty of London of 1824;
Article II: The Kingdom of the Netherlands states that trade and shipping of the Kingdom of Great Britain (UK) may be carried out, as well as for all sultanates in Sumatra which can be responsible to the Netherlands.
As a response to the Sumatran Treaty, the Netherlands sent a warship to Aceh under the control of the Internal Government controller ER Krayenhoff to negotiate with the Aceh sultan with an offer of pressure. Aceh was offered to recognize Dutch rule and be included in the customs territory of the Dutch East Indies in return for the Aceh sultanate to remain independent and have its own government.
Krayenhoff held a meeting with Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir, an Arab, who at that time held the position of Wazir (Prime Minister). According to Krayenhoff’s report to Batavia. Abdurrahman arrogantly put forward relations with Turkey, Britain, France, and many other countries. According to the Dutch, this was an inappropriate action, if an indigenous sultanate was arrogant towards the deputy governor-general. This also does not match the reality because Britain has renewed the agreement with the Netherlands, namely the Sumatran Treaty and Turkey itself is no longer a strong country, the Netherlands is optimistic that even though Aceh asks for Turkish assistance, the result is still the same attitude as in 1868 AD.
Aceh Diplomatic Mission to Ottoman in 1873 AD.
Realizing the threat of invasion by the Dutch, and it was clear that the Sultanate of Aceh would be attacked. The Sultan of Aceh again sent Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir to ask Turkey for help again.
Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir has a high intellect, understands the situation, has the ability to argue and convince people, is fluent in various languages and has blood relations with Syarif Mecca, is supported by traders, and has wide relationships, especially among the political elite, and most importantly is widely known. in Turkey.
When the first Dutch aggression in Aceh was in March 1873, the journey of Aceh’s envoys, namely Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir and Nyak Abbas, had just arrived in Mecca. At the end of April 1874, they rushed to Istanbul, when they arrived in Turkey they received information that the Dutch had failed to conquer Aceh in the first war.
When Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir managed to reach Turkey, he kept knocking on the doors of the Ottoman Turks. He did not manage to confront the Turkish sultan, his actions impressing the Dutch who were monitoring him through a network of spies.
Habib Abdurrahman brought three documents which it stated that:
- The Sultan of Aceh surrendered his kingdom, subjects, and himself to the caliph;
- Requested him to control his property and appoint (only) a Commissioner of the Turkish Government in Aceh.
- The royal income from pepper excise owned by the Sultan of Aceh is detailed in detail. Everything is properly equipped with the stamp of the Sultan in seven copies and there is no doubt about its authenticity.
The Kingdom of Aceh begged to become Vasal of the Ottoman Empire.
The Kingdom of Aceh is trying to get Turkey to help as the caliph of the Islamic world. The Aceh delegation offered Aceh’s position as part of the Commonwealth (Vassal State) part of the Ottoman Empire.
Aceh’s request to become a vassal of the Ottoman Turks received a positive response from the Turkish community. Mass media, ulama, and nationalists. The Turkish press, which has media networks in Europe, paid considerable attention and supported the need for Turkey to send aid to Aceh. Relations between Aceh and Turkey have been going on for a long time. There was even an issue that Turkey would send 8 warships to Aceh.
The Turkish cabinet tended to avoid discussing the issue of Aceh when the nationalist camp reminded Turkey that it needed to protect Aceh related to the old document that Aceh had been a Turkish protectorate since the 1500s and had renewed the agreement in 1850. The Turkish cabinet stated that it was only a religious document without political meaning. The UK and other European countries said the document was invalid because Turkey had never announced the deal before. Aceh’s request at that time was supported by Midhat Pasha who was the Minister of Justice.
Turkey’s position in the world at that time was declining sharply. On this basis, Turkey asked for British consideration. The UK said that it was better for Turkey to remain neutral for the following reasons:
- Turkey has no interest in Aceh, if it helps Aceh, Turkey will suffer political losses in Europe and Asia Minor;
- The Aceh-Dutch war was not a religious war;
- The Aceh war had already broken out so Turkey’s role was ineffective and ethical. The Netherlands will definitely carry out a second attack in return for defeat in the first attack.
France, Russia, and Germany give the same consideration as the UK. When Germany threatened not to sell warships to Turkey, the Turkish cabinet became weak and submissive. At that time Turkey was experiencing upheaval, especially in the Balkans and Greece.
The Ottoman Turks rejected Aceh’s request to become a vassal.
Aceh’s request was rejected after going through a council of ministers meeting (Majlis-i-Vukela) with a note that although there had been good relations between the two countries, it was not convincing enough to grant Aceh’s request. When Turkey had made a decision at Aceh’s request, the presence of Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir created an uncomfortable political atmosphere in Turkey. The Turkish government asked Habib to leave Turkey immediately and simply gave him a second-class award “Osmanie” and entrusted a letter from Vazir (Prime Minister) Turkey containing summaries of Turkey’s efforts to help Aceh.
Turkey’s answer is pretty self-explanatory. According to a report to the Dutch Government, when the Dutch ambassador to Turkey Heldewier visited the Turkish Minister Khalil Pasha. This high-ranking official of the caliphate spoke calmly to the Dutch: “We absolutely do not care about all the complaints of these barbaric kings!” (‘Ces princess sauvages’)
The Netherlands, assisted by Russia, France, Germany, and England succeeded in suppressing Turkey. And finally, Istanbul gave up on the fate of Aceh, they said, “We have nothing to do with barbarians like that.” Keeping their good name issued a diplomatic note in August 1873. “That the Dutch are allowed to intervene who wants peace and is humanitarian in the benefit of Aceh.” The Netherlands obtained an important diplomatic victory and immediately set aside the note.
On December 18, 1873 AD, Habib Abdurrahman Az-Zahir left Turkey. Not all dreams of pan-Islamism have a happy ending. When the Turkish Caliphate chose not to help Aceh, it was the Aceh Sultanate that could help itself.
- Erven Paul Van ‘T Veer; De Atjeh-Oorlog; Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers / Wetenschappelijke Uitgeverij; 1979;
- Woltring; Dutch Ambassador in Istanbul about Khalif;
- DUTCH RAID OPERATION AGAINST CUT MEUTIA (1910); 20 May 2017;
- SAMUDERA PASAI AS THE FIRST ISLAMIC KINGDOM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA; 6 June 2017;
- ISLAMIC SHARIAH WHO IS AFRAID, A CASE STUDY IN ACEH; 13 June 2017;
- ACEH WOMEN FULL POWER; 13 June 2017;
- DUSK IN MALACCA; 4 July 2017;
- GOLD, INFIDELS, AND DEATH; 10 July 2017;
- MANTE THE LOST PYGMY TRIBE; 13 July 2017;
- HOW TO TELL HISTORY; 14 August 2017;
- THE ORIGIN OF THE COFFEE CULTURE IN ACEH; 19 August 2017;
- THE UNTOLD STORY ABOUT HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDONESIA IN ACEH PROVINCE; 28 September 2017;
- WHEN CRITICISM IS FORBIDDEN; 14 October 2017;
- EXPLOITATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR ACEH; 5 November 2017;
- PEUCUT KHERKOFF, ACEH-DUTCH WAR MONUMENT; 12 November 2017;
- THE PRICE OF FREEDOM; 5 December 2017;
- ACEH CRAZY OR ACEH PUNGO; 25 February 2018;
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I am Turkish. Thank you for writing about this in such detail. Truly extraordinary!
I have never read this even in such detail before.
Just remember that this is the time when the british were plotting the fall of the ottoman empire. They were very busy flooding the country with spies and rallying people everwhere to rise against the islamic caliphate .
May Allah always bless Aceh!
We love you all!
Mau Allah always bless Turkey.
From Aceh with love.