Nuri Pasha, younger brother of Enver Pasha, contributed to Ottoman special operations in Libya against Italy before and during World War I. In 1918, he became the commander of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus during the Ottoman advance into the Caucasus. After the armistice, Nuri commanded Muslim bands against Armenians and Bolsheviks in the Caucasus.
World War I was over. Before the treaty was signed, Enver sent secret messages to Nuri, ordering him to disobey the official demobilization orders by Istanbul Government. Once British forces occupied Baku, however, Nuri returned to Istanbul, where he was arrested and handed over to British officials. Deported back to the Caucasus to be court-martialed, Nuri’s friends rescued him from the Ardahan military barracks. After a debriefing in Erzurum, Nuri went back to Baku with the assignment to secretly organize support for the National Struggle in Turkey. Appointed as the commander of the armed forces by the Northern Caucasus Committee, Nuri commanded Muslim bands in coalition with the Red Army against the White Army in Daghestan. After defeating Denikin, Nuri and his men were ousted by the Bolsheviks. Nuri’s attempts to start an anti-Bolshevik uprising in Karabakh were suppressed, forcing him and his cavalry unit to leave the Caucasus. Back in Anatolia, they joined the Ankara Government’s Eastern Army and participated in the Turkish-Armenian War in September 1920. Nuri later devoted himself to reestablishing factories and workshops in Erzurum and Kars, producing military arms and supplies. Nuri retired from the military in November 1921, and was later awarded the Independence Medal for his services during the War of Independence.
Nuri Killigil became a leading arms and weapon industrialist in Turkey, but remained loyal to the political outlook shaped by his frontier experiences. Nuri was an anti-Bolshevik for the rest of his life. Active in pan-Turkist circles, Nuri proposed a plan to the Nazi regime in 1942 for recruiting Turkic and Muslim legions from Red Army POWs in order to build a federation of independent Muslim states. During the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, Nuri accepted government contracts from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon and secretly delivered arms to Arab countries. Nuri Killigil, married to a Turk-Egyptian princess in 1946, died in a mysterious explosion at his arms factory in Istanbul on 2 March 1949—an incident that remains the subject of conspiracy theories in Turkey.