Young Turk Revolution
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 reversed the suspension of the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 parliament by Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era
Second Constitutional Era (Ottoman Empire)
The Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire began shortly after Sultan Abdülhamid II restored the constitutional monarchy after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. The period established many political groups...

. A landmark in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire included the watershed events of the Young Turk Revolution and the establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, and ended with the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious sides of World War I.- Establishment of the Second Constitutional Era, 24...

, the Revolution arose from an unlikely union of reform-minded pluralists, Turkish nationalists
Pan-Turkism is a nationalist movement that emerged in 1880s among the Turkic intellectuals of the Russian Empire, with the aim of cultural and political unification of all Turkic peoples.-Name:...

, Western-oriented secularists
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, and indeed anyone who accorded the Sultan political blame for the harried state of the Empire.

The Revolution restored the parliament, which had been suspended by the Sultan in 1878. However, the process of supplanting the monarchic institutions with constitutional institutions and electoral policies was neither as simple nor as bloodless as the regime change. The periphery of the Empire continued to splinter under the pressures of local revolutions.

The Revolution


"...Then we heard of the onward march on Constantinople, of the Army of Liberty, the 3rd Army Corps of Salonica, still faithful to the Committee of Union and Progress. Volunteers were called for, and Armenians, Jews, Greeks, Bulgarians, Koords and Lazes, all flocked to the Turkish standard. For the first time in the history of the world, Christian stood shoulder to shoulder with Moslem in a triumphant onslaught for the recovery of liberty and the reinstatement of the Constitution. Constantinople was besieged. Sultan Hamid 's own guard and the officerless Constantinople Army Corps he had bribed were conquered. Hamid was dethroned and Mohamed V., subordinate to the Constitution and the Committee of Union and Progress, reigned in his stead. "
"Liberty and The Ottoman" by Robert Chambers

The revolt began in mid-April, when, under Young Turk leadership, the 3rd Army Corps in Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 marched against Constantinople. Major Ahmed Niyazi, fearing discovery of his political moves by an investigatory committee sent from the capital, decamped from Resen on July 3, 1908 with 200 followers demanding restoration of the constitution. The sultan's attempt to suppress this uprising failed due to the popularity of the movement among the troops themselves. Rebellion spread rapidly. On July 24, Abdül Hamid announced restoration of the constitution.


Significant results of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution included:
  • The gradual creation of a new governing elite.
  • Indirectly led to the deposition of Sultan Abdul Hamid II
    Abdul Hamid II
    His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

     in favor of Mehmed V
    Mehmed V
    Mehmed V Reshad was the 35th Ottoman Sultan. He was the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I. He was succeeded by his half-brother Mehmed VI.-Birth:...

     the following year
  • Opening a path for consolidation over the Ottoman civil and military administration, Coup of 1913
    Coup of 1913
    The Coup of 1913 in the Ottoman Empire resulted in the grand vizier Kamil Pasha being driven from power and the replacement of Minister of War Nazim Pasha by İsmail Enver...

  • Young Turks
    Young Turks
    The Young Turks , from French: Les Jeunes Turcs) were a coalition of various groups favouring reformation of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The movement was against the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Sultan and favoured a re-installation of the short-lived Kanûn-ı Esâsî constitution...

    , small organizations, consolidated under the Committee of Union and Progress
    Committee of Union and Progress
    The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

  • Committee of Union and Progress
    Committee of Union and Progress
    The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

     became the new power center in Ottoman politics.
  • Armenian Revolutionary Federation
    Armenian Revolutionary Federation
    The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian...

    , previously outlawed, became the main representative of the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire, replacing the pre-1908 Armenian
    Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

     elite, which had been composed of merchants, artisans, and clerics who had seen their future in obtaining more privileges within the boundaries of the state's version of Ottomanism
    Ottomanism was a concept which developed prior to the First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. Its proponents believed that it could solve the social issues that the empire was facing. Ottomanism was highly affected by thinkers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau and the French Revolution. It...

  • The Muslim Albanian
    Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

     elite, who had greatly benefited from the Hamidian regime in return for their fidelity to the sultan
    Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

    , was also replaced by an intellectual-nationalist elite. With members such as Bajram Curri
    Bajram Curri
    Bajram Curri was an ethnic Albanian politician and activist within the Vilayet of Kosovo, Ottoman Empire. He is awarded the title Hero of Albania....

    , Nexhib Draga, and Myfit Libohova
    Myfit Libohova
    Myfit Bej Libohova or Mufid Libohova ,was born in the southern Albanian city of Libohova, scion of a wealthy landowning family. He served initially in the Ottoman administration and represented Albania in the parliament of the Young Turks in 1908...

    , the revolution aimed at uniting Albanians of three different faiths under the flag of Skenderbeu and called for reforms for the benefit of all Albanians.
  • In some communities, such as the Jewish (cf. Jews in Islamic Europe and North Africa and History of the Jews in Turkey
    History of the Jews in Turkey
    Turkish Jews The history of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey covers the 2,400 years that Jews have lived in what is now Turkey. There have been Jewish communities in Asia Minor since at least the 5th century BCE and many Spanish and Portuguese Jews expelled from Spain were welcomed to the...

    ), reformist groups emulating the Young Turks ousted the conservative ruling elite and replaced them with a new reformist one.

Further reading

  • M. Şükrü Hanioğlu
    M. Sükrü Hanioglu
    M. Şükrü Hanioğlu is a Turkish professor of late Ottoman history in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. From July 2005 he is the department chair....

    , Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908, Oxford University Press 2001, ISBN 0-19-513463-X
  • Esther Benbassa, Un grand rabbin sepharde en politique, 1892-1923 (Paris, 1990), page 27-28
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