Enver Pasha was born on 22 November 1881 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) to a family of Sunni Muslim Turks. Enver joined the Ottoman Army and served as a military officer. In 1908, Enver Pasha was one of the leaders of the Young Turk Revolution against Abdulrahman II of Turkey, leading the nationalist Young Turks in an uprising against the government. The Young Turks embraced pan-Turkism and secularism, and although they decreased the influence of Islamism on the law in Turkey, the Young Turks sought to assimilate the various cultures of the Ottoman Empire into Turks. In 1914, he was appointed Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire shortly before World War I began, and he was the man responsible for the Ottoman Empire's entry into a large war as an ally of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary against the Russian Empire, France, and the United Kingdom. While World War I may have been a major feature of Enver Pasha's tenure as Minister of War from 1914 to 1918, another major feature was the Armenian Genocide and several associated atrocities. The Ottomans persecuted Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other minority groups in the empire, massacring or deporting hundreds of thousands of them and converting many of them to Islam. Most of the refugees from Armenia fled to the Russian Empire, which was the guardian of Christianity in the region, while most of the Pontic Greeks would later flee to the Kingdom of Greece in a population exchange with Thracian Turks. These atrocities helped to turn the public opinions of the Allied Powers against the Ottomans, who were seen as genocidal and ultranationalist. World War I was another disaster for the Ottomans, as the war led to the Arab Revolt in 1916 by the Bedouin of the Middle East and the Levant. The Turks mauled the ANZAC forces at the Battle of Gallipoli and the British and Indians at the Battle of Kut, but they were ultimately defeated as the Arab irregular cavalry of T.E. Lawrence and the British armored cars of General Edmund Allenby moved north and captured the cities of Jerusalem and Damascus. In October 1918, the Ottoman Empire surrendered to the Allies, ending their role in World War I. Pasha was no longer the minister of war, with his predecessor Ahmet Izzet Pasha returning to this title after his resignation. The role of Turkey in World War I resulted in the division of Turkey into zones of occupation that were occupied by Greeks, British, French, and other forces.
Enver Pasha never gave up on his hopes of achieving the creation of a large Turkish nation, however. He headed to Central Asia, the heartland of the Turkic peoples, where the Basmachi Revolt in the Russian Empire saw several Turkic nationalists rising against the collapsing Russian Empire and the rising Soviet Union. Enver Pasha took command of several of these nationalists, but in 1922 he was ambushed by a force of Buryat cavalry from the Soviet Union. Enver Pasha bravely charged the Soviets, and he was killed by machine-gun fire. Enver Pasha is one of the most important symbols of Turkic nationalism and of the Armenian Genocide alike, and Turkish ultranationalist organizations such as the Grey Wolves believe that he is their ideal leader.