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Perspectives: Carikli and Korda on Deraa

Turgut Carikli, as quoted by Abdullah Muradoğlu, from an article in the Turkish publication New Dawn. Turgut Carikli, the son of Hacim Muhiddin Bey, the man who has been linked with Lawrence’s rape story, has heatedly denounced all portrayals of his father as a rapist.

“In his book, My Father Hacim Muhiddin Carikli: The Life-Story of a Nationalist Hero, Carikli states: ‘Lawrence claims that his rapist had hair like a thick brush. However, my father had been bald since he was 23 years old. His head was like a ‘light bulb’ as the French say.’ Carikli also states that, ‘English journalists did not attempt to contact his family before his father’s death’; had they brought the accuser and the accused together that would have revealed the truth. Carikli concludes, ‘It may or may not be the case that Lawrence was one of the major heroes of our century. What is not up for debate is the fact that he is one of the major liars of the century.’”

And more on this topic from Michael Korda, author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (Harper Collins, 2010):

“Lawrence had the impression that the bey was Hajim (actually Hacim Bey) the governor of Deraa, but he could have been mistaken. ‘The garrison commander at Deraa was Bimbashi [Major] Ismail Bey and the militia commander Ali Riza Bey.’ It seems unlikely that the governor of Deraa would have lodged in a military compound next to the airfield and the railway yard; and in Turkish the title ‘bey’ had lost its original significance of ‘chieftain’ and become a widespread honorific rough equivalent to the use of ‘esquire’ instead of Mr. in Britain; i.e., a member of the educated professional, officer, or senior civil servant class, a step above ‘effendi’ and a couple of steps below ‘pasha’.”