Young Turks


Young Turks
   Originally a coalition of young dissidents based in Salonika who ended the Ottoman sultanate, the Young Turk movement consisted of college students and dissident soldiers. Formally known as The Committee on Union and Progress, founded in 1889, the Young Turks succeeded in 1908 in forcing Abdülhamid II to reinstitute the 1876 constitution and recall the legislature. They deposed him the next year, reorganized the government, and started modernizing and industrializing Ottoman society. During the Balkan Wars, in which the Ottoman Empire suffered significant territorial losses, the influence of the nationalists eclipsed that of the liberals. The Young Turks government aligned the Ottoman Empire with the Central Powers during World War I. In 1915, in response to the formation of anti-Turkish Armenian battalions, they deported 1.75 million Armenians to Syria and Mesopotamia, in the course of which 600,000 to 800,000 Armenians were killed or died of starvation. Facing defeat in 1918, the Young Turks resigned a month before the war ended. A number of leading Young Turks, including Enver Pasha, unsuccessfully sought Soviet help to overthrow Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the postwar period.
   FURTHER READING:
    Hanioglu, M. Sükrü. Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
   ANDREKOS VARNAVA

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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