A Venezuelan in Turkey

Faced with the need to arrive in Madrid via Istanbul to carry out academic activities, we had the opportunity to speak with Professor Mehmed Kutlu, director of the Latin American Institute in the Turkish capital. Beyond the obligatory question of the need to find a solution between Russia and Ukraine, where Turkey can be a fundamental factor for peace, for being a member of NATO and for maintaining good relations with Moscow. Them
We remember the contribution of a Venezuelan whom the Turks respect and admire for his services to the Ottoman Empire, as a soldier and high-ranking officer during the First World War, both on the front against Russia and in Middle East. Professor Kutlu, as part of a final dissertation, has developed a research work on this character of university protection and recognized by other histories and by other nations. José Rafael Nogales Méndez, born in the city of San Cristóbal, in 1879 and died in Panama in 1936. This taxidence educated in Europe and expatriate participated in various international conflicts, leaving a deep imprint on the spirit of Ottoman Turkey under the flag of the Media Luna faithfully served the Turkish sultanate, he also left a work written with special reference to the fall of the four defeated empires in the First World War; Germany, Russia, Austria, Hungary. A man of action but also of thought. Unknown in Venezuela, but admired and respected in today’s Turkey. As in almost all the characters who make history, chance and circumstance They were present throughout his life. Man makes history, but often he doesn’t they know what story they are writing. in his book “THE BLACK SWAN”, the Thinker American of Lebanese origin Nassin Taleb insists on the weight of the unknown and the unpredictable, all action is imprinted by man.

Like Lawrence of Arabia at the same times and in the same places, the Venezuelan he left his mark on the battlefields but also in his literary work. Similar to “THE THE SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM” where the Briton recounts his military experience and during their wars against the Turks in the Middle East during World War I World Cup, Nogales Méndez with his book “FOUR YEARS UNDER THE HALF-MOON” is the Chronicle against the Armenians, the Russians and the British.

Nogales Méndez is part of university history and must be considered and studied in our national history, like so many other Venezuelans who, inside and outside the territory, their extraordinary activities form the backbone of Venezuela. But it is also part of the heritage of Turkey today with its democracy and great development. The Turks consider him an exemplary soldier, the dictatorships of Castro and Gómez they forced him to live outside the country and denied him any recognition. Today we see it as a idealist in the manner of Don Quixote, immersed in letters and arms. But we should know More of him. Violeta Rojo from Simón Bolívar University, referring to Nogales Méndez,He describes himself as a soldier, a traveler and a fighter against different dictatorships and governments. and highlights its participation in World War I, the American invasion of Cuba, the Mexican Revolution and his friendship with César Augusto Sandino. For her, her writings autobiographical are an example of Venezuelan self-referential literature, but also testimony of a great forgotten character.

Very young he was sent to study in Europe, his family linked to the German colony dedicated to the cultivation of coffee referred him to this country. In 1902 he returned to Venezuela enthusiastic for the ideals of the liberating revolution of Castro and Gómez, but he was disappointed. In 1898 we find him with the Spanish troops in Cuba against the invasion American. In 1904, he was involved in the Sino-Japanese war. always rejected new American hegemony on the continent, which is why its participation in the Mexican Revolution with Francisco Madero with whom he started it in 1910. In his book “THE NICARAGUA PILLAGE“demonstrates his friendship and cooperation with Augustus Caesar sandin. In 1919 he went to Alaska and got involved in all the gold rush projects. and also in whaling with the Eskimos.

Nogales Mendez’s participation in World War I is recorded in his books “MEMORIES” Yes “FOUR YEARS UNDER THE HALF-MOON”. Contrary to the policy ofeutrality of Venezuela governed by Gómez and wishing to participate, involved in this distant conflict and eager to get involved in the First World War. It was in Bulgaria, in Sofia, by the agreement of the German and Turkish diplomats, that they allowed him

enter the Ottoman army, retaining Venezuelan nationality. The Venezuelan fought for the Turkish flag until 1918. He spent 1915 on the eastern Anatolia front, his participation in the siege of Van at the foot of the Caucasus was important, before being assigned to various fronts in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Sinai. He spoke several languages ​​and knew the culture of these peoples. I criticize the Western view of denigrating the religion and culture of Muslims and minorities who lived in the region, especially Armenian Christians. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, he returned to Istanbul where his activity was recognized and Sultan Rashid Effendi decorated him with the star of Mechrdieh, he also obtained the iron cross in his first class from Kaizer William I.

Back in Venezuela, he becomes an illustrious stranger. His death came completely went unnoticed and was considered only an adventurer in a world of revolutions fantasies. But his testimony and the reflections of those who have studied this character make him a person of great importance.

In our region, Turkey currently has thirteen diplomatic representations, including that of Venezuela, and the attitude of deepening the diplomatic, political, commercial, technological, financial and cultural relations. Raphael Nogales Mendez, as we appreciate him in Turkey, is an important link for the necessary relationship between modern, secular and democratic Turkey with our continent. In several events organized in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoted by the Institute of Latin America, the reference to Venezuelan and

Nogales Mendez from Latin America. During these events, we had the opportunity to discuss with the Turkish ambassadors in these countries, who ratified the importance that Turkey attaches to Latin America and the Caribbean.


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