Young Turks

Young Turks

After the 1908 mutiny: mass strikes and the socialist movement

The event that bears the closest similarities to the 1908 revolt, is the Russian Revolution of 1905. The most obvious similarity is the fact that in both cases, faced with massive opposition, absolutist monarchies granted constitutional regimes and parliaments. The difference was that the Ottoman Meclis-i Mebusan was considerably stronger than the Russian Duma, and the Ottoman bourgeoisie was determined not to hand power back to the monarchy.

The revolt of 1908

The Abdulhamid regime had been tottering since 1902. On July 3rd 1908 an eccentric military officer, Niyazi of Resen, who belonged to the Society of Union and Progress, ‘went rogue’ with the two hundred soldiers under his command and took to the mountains. In three weeks the mutiny in the Ottoman military had grown like an avalanche and the monarchy began to collapse. The spark turned into a fire that spread to almost all the Ottoman armed forces in Macedonia and to a significant section in the rest of the Empire.

The rise of the Young Turks and the attitude of the Socialists

On 21st May 1889 five students at the Military Medicine University of Constantinople met in complete secrecy in order to do something about a matter they deemed extremely important. Their names were Ishak Sukuti, Ibrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, Mehmed Resid and Hikmet Emin. They were not to be as successful at writing their names into the pages of history as they may have hoped when they met that day. Nevertheless, the tradition they started was to live on for a long time. For that day they laid the foundations of the Society of Union and Progress.

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