Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908

Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908

Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908

Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908


This book will completely transform the standard interpretation of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, a watershed event in the late Ottoman Empire and a key to the emergence of the modern nation-states in the Middle East and Balkans. Preparation for a Revolution is the first book on the Young Turk Revolution to draw on both the extensive memoirs and papers of the Young Turks and on the extensive diplomatic archives around the world. The author has plumbed not only the Ottoman Archives but collected documents from archives in Bonn, Berlin, Jerusalem, London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Sofia, Tirana, Bern, Geneva, Sarajevo, Cairo, Stockholm, and Tokyo. Breaking new ground, Hanioglu describes in detail how practical considerations led the Young Turks to sacrifice or alter many of their goals for social transformation. He tells a story rich in character and plot, and reveals the many factions and competing intellectual trends that marked this tumultuous period at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Preparation for a Revolution will prove indispensable to anyone working on the political, intellectual, and social history of the Ottoman Empire and of the states that were established on its ruins.


The 1902 Congress precipitated the formation of two major fronts by various Young Turk groups and marked the end of the cup, which, as an umbrella organization, had dominated the movement since the outset. in a sense, the coalition between the followers of Ahmed Riza and the activists now replaced the cup. the new coalition, however, lacked the most significant characteristic of the old cup, namely its role as an umbrella organization in which all groups worked together despite their conflicting agendas. the “majority” led by Sabahaddin Bey naturally attempted to counter the coalition's influence and prevent it from becoming a dominant force in the Young Turk movement. But it was the coalition's caustic and inflexible ideology that enabled Sabahaddin Bey and his followers to deny dominance to this body even during their period of inactivity following their ignominious defeat in 1903. Thus from 1902 onward the Young Turk movement displayed a polarized character.

The period between 1902 and 1905 also witnessed the gradual disintegration of several groups that could not join either of the two fronts that emerged after the congress. Worth mentioning in this regard are the activities of the various Young Turk groups in Egypt, in the Balkans, in the Ottoman capital, and in the other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Additionally a Turkish nationalist intellectual group, which published the journal Türk (Turk), developed in Cairo. Notable also were the activities of Ahmed Celâleddin Pasha, a former Ottoman Intelligence Service chief who had negotiated with the Young Turks in his capacity as the sultan's special envoy five years prior to his flight, but who in 1904 joined the ranks of the opposition with the intention of leading it.

The Remaining Members of the Old cup Organization

The remaining members of the old cup organization had no alternative but to bequeath the official organ Osmanli to the new central committee under Sabahaddin Bey and İsmail Kemal. the new central committee set up by the “majority, ” however, had no desire whatsoever to work with this impotent group of intriguers. Thus . . .

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