Legendary Leader of East Turkestan Independence Movement Osman Batur
The insurgent leader who struggled for the independence of East Turkestan, the freedom fighter Osman Ismailoglu was from Altai-Kazakhs. In the first half of the 20th century, he struggled for independence against the Chinese and the Russians and was executed by the Chinese force in 1951.
The real name was Osman Islamoğlu. However, people had given a name "Batur”, meaning a brave hero. He was born in 1899 in Öktdirkara, Köktogay district of Altai region. He was the son of Islâm Bey, a middle-class farmer from Altai Kazakhs. Osman Batur grew up living the nomadic Kazakh life. Osman Batur learned to be a good rider and skilled hunter before the age of 10, from Böke Batur, one of the Kazakh Turks, who mastered the martial arts at the age of 12. Followed by the defeat from Chinese, Böke Batur was captured and beheaded while trying to reach Turkey through Tibet. After which, Osman Batur was engaged in farming in his birthplace until the age of 40. By 1940 the Chinese government had increased its pressure, Osman Batur went up to the mountain alone, armed with weapon. The struggle he started on his own continued until April 29, 1951, when he was executed in Urumqi.
Osman Batur, who started fighting against the Chinese and Russians in 1911, aimed to liberate all Altai lands and East Turkestan from the Chinese and Russian forces. With the increasing Chinese pressure against the Turks on the lands of East Turkistan during World War II, reactionary movements gained strength and prepared a ground for the rise Osman Batur.
Osman Batur, who started cleansing of the Chinese, seemed to reach his goal in 1943. On July 22, 1943, a ceremony was held in the Bulgun and Osman Batur was declared Khan of Altai Kazakhs. In 1945, Turks controlled East Turkestan except a few cities. The situation was dangerous for the Chinese, after which the Chinese armies launched intense operations against the region. Osman Batur started struggle with thirty thousand people from Altai and Targatabay regions, but by 1950, this number of people was about four thousand. Alibek Hakim and his gun friends also had a fight.
In 1951 Osman Batur was captured in Kanambal and was taken to Urumchi.
Osman Batur was shot on the execution grounds of Urumchi after his hands and feet were cut off on April 29, 1951. After Osman Batur was martyred, his children were also tortured to death.
Mamey Hatun, who could not stand the torture and bloodshed done for her children, lost her mind and jumped into the fast-flowing river.
The Turks of East Turkestan say, "The day when the sun faded away" on April 29, 1951, when Osman Batur was martyred, but, that sun is burning stronger than before.
Despite of Chinese malicious acts, they could not blow out the Osman Batur’s fire of freedom in the hearts of the nation! Even today, his name makes the Beijing administration shiver!
Today, on the anniversary of his martyrdom, we once again commemorate Altai’s great hero with respect.
May he rest in peace!