Major Halis Ataksor, also known under the alias as
'Halis the Blind', by many surrounding him for loosing his vision in one eye during the Balkan War, was born in 1876
in the Turkish City of Kutahya. His father from the 'Aydinian Tribe'in South-Western Turkey was Hamlaci Muhtar. His
mother from the 'Germinian Tribe' was Havva Naime.
After completing the Turkish Army Academy, he
pursued his career as a ranked officer. Accepting this responsibility as a ranked officer, Halis was soonafter involved
in four major wars that the Ottoman State
were involved, namely: The Tripolitanian War
between the Turks and the Italians; the Balkan War, the Battle of Gallipoli and finally, as an inspector in the South
Anatolian region during the Turkish War of Independence as a Mardin Region Inspector against the
French. Halis, also had the opportunity to meet and write articles for Ziya Gokalp's periodicals.
Ziya Gokalp, at the time, was and still is inTurkish Literature a great scholar and
Because Halis was born in a time of war, his whole
life was spent in military defense. He was however quinti-lingual, that is, he spoke and understood precisely five
different languages(His own language inclusive): Ottoman, French,
German, Arabic, and Persian.
He understood Western and Eastern cultures
extremely well. At the same time, Mustafa Kemal who laterwent on to become the founder of the modern
Republic of Turkey, was serving as commander of the 19th Division.
Because Mustafa Kemal was promoted to higher
challenges in his military career,Sefik Aker who was commanding under the 27th
Regiment, filled in Mustafa Kemal's vacancy in the 19th Division.
Due to the administrative transfer, the 27th
Regiment Commandship was also under vacancy.Sefik Aker, described Captain Halis as 'very
worthy and courageous'.[See Askeri Mecmua Canakkale, Ariburnu
Savaslari 1- Kanuevvel 1935 sayi 40 sayfa 55]
Captain Halis then found a shining opportunity to
brighten his career and his history by pursuing newer challenges by taking command of 27th Regiment's 3rd
Batallion. Shortly within his service as a Major under the 27th Regiment, he was severely injured from his arm in battle,
thus being eligible for transfer duty. According to literary legends and many sources that wrote about him, he was
stubborn (in a patriotic way) when it came to leaving, due to his conviction of
nationalistic creed. He was a man that never thought twice about
dying for his country. However, after a short period of going through a
'stubborn' period, his close friends plotted a 'friendly' conspiracy to capture him and take him to safety due to a
risk to his life. The conspirators succeeded in the plot to capture Major Halis to safety by constant
persuassion. The 'worthiness and courageness' phrase coined by Major Sefik Aker Bey regarding Major Halis, is
evidenced in literature. Commander Lieutenent Mucip (Kemalyeri), another
ranking officer praised Major Halis in numerous lines in his book entitled How the Spirit of Gallipoli Was
And The Azerbeijian Wars:
"During our short stay in the Anzak Cove the
messenger corresponded notifying us of our current status. As time went by, our
current situation was disintegrating getting worse than worse. Thereafter during our stay
in the Anzak Cove, Commander Halis emerged.
I was only 20 years old at the time and his mere
presence rejuvenated me.
The enemy too, was slowly probing our status.
Shortly after, he gave each soldier to carry out specific orders - once he gave me my orders, he made the following
statement to all that were present: 'It appears as if the enemy will drift away into
His face however was transforming to a more
yellowish color. Ironically, his vicious eyes were slowly dwindling, yet I saw the cloth of his left arm ripped
severely through his bruising skin and saw the blood dripping down towards his
fingertips. I attempted to make some sort of sense of this paradox description, but felt no need for it given the
circumstances. But curious me, just felt the need to ask:
'Commander - you are injured'.
He then said: 'Not to worry - it happend on the
I felt it neccessary to get the surgeon. I was
stopped by Commander Halis and he ordered me to not speak of what truely happen.
He ordered me to:
'...dare not mention anything to the
soldiers of my injuries'.
He was hurt in combat. Perhaps the reason for him
saying this is not to lower the soldiers confidence.
Despite the severity of his injuries, Commander
Halis and a few soldiers were in patrol eyeing
for any sudden possible attack. As each minute
passed by, I felt his pain and saw that he was
begining to loose focus. During his exchange with
us, I could feel his sophistication but in reality
he too was scared and this concerned me. He then
gave the following order:
'All men must stand there ground and under no
circumstance must they withdraw back -
Only send a messenger for your current status and
if our situation worsens, then I will have reinforcement' "
The literature about Commander Halis is not only
limited to the preceding work. Many other authors such as Sevki Yazmanand Abdurrahman Ozgen have written books on the
Battle of Gallipoli, and mention Major Halis in afew sections of their respective books. A
noteworthy citation comes from Ahmet Uzun, son of Halil born in 1883 -
focused much of his attention on the place of
Sebdul Bahir made the following assertion:
"As we were situated at the port, we noticed an
enemy boat nearing to our surprise.
They were approaching with such comfort and ease
as if they were entering there fathers' backyard.
Nearly 20-30 enemy soldiers were present in this
boat. We soon discovered that these soldiers were situated here occasionly in an area close to
ours. Major Halis quickly was notified of this unusual incident and upon his arrival towards where we were
stationed, he vehemently stated:
'Why? Even if you are situated in comfort while
off-duty, you must not allow soldiers comfort.
If I were to see such comfort granted one more
time by you, then I shall kill you myself.
Furthermore, if you were to see a scant of
deception on my part, then I expect you to kill me!'"
The setting: The Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. The enemy
began preparing and scheming an attack.
There was an incident which is worth these lines.
While Major Halis was on his horse maneuvering the enemy through bunkers, he was severely shot in the leg.
After being shot, ofcourse, he was infuriated due to a failure in tactical.
He then ordered the soldiers to affix knives on
the tip of there rifles and to attack the enemy bar handedly. The next thing was a reverberation of
'Allah-Allah' much like 'Hurraa'. A newsletter at the timeentitled 'History Speaks' (Tarih Konusuyor)
described the situation that took place during this exchange. Perhaps one of the most talked about encouraging
reverse-psychology tactics applied by Major Halis was being subliminalized to the soldiers. Apparently
this tactic by Halis against his soldiers
was an encouragement:
"As the canyons and bullets were pouring towards our side, Commander Halis
arouse to his feet.
I could not believe what I was seeing. A very
dangerous, yet peculiar sight - Commander Halis was standing in a middle of a bullet shower. Seeing
this, I rushed towards him and yelled 'Commander - why are you setting yourself as
a target' to which he replied:
'My damn tummy is too fat. I am getting
exhausted standing up and down. It does not matter anyway - the enemy is going to kill you and I
anyway - right? This is the exact reason why I am standing up."