Research Article


DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1400617   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1400617    Full Text (PDF)

The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers

Pir Murat Sivri

The declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy was followed with great interest by Western public opinion. Both Western statesmen and the press dwelt on this event seriously. Although statesmen congratulated the Ottoman authorities on the proclamation of the Constitutional Monarchy as a matter of political courtesy, they did not refrain from analyzing at length what this development meant for their own countries. For countries like Britain and France, the proclamation of the Constitutional Monarchy was a positive development, while Russia and  Germany openly expressed their concerns. Small Balkan countries such as Greece and Bulgaria were also skeptical of the Constitutional Monarchy, believing that it would harm their interests in Macedonia. The Western press, on the other hand, largely supported the Constitutional Monarchy, believing that it would pave the way for a new phase of development in the East. This study seeks to answer the question of how the Constitutional Monarchy was received by Western public opinion in the light of archival documents, especially press materials and copyrighted works.

DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1400617   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1400617    Full Text (PDF)

Avrupalı Büyük Devletlerin Basın Organlarına Göre 1908 Jön Türk İhtilali ve Meşruti Yönetime Yeniden Geçilmesi

Pir Murat Sivri

II. Meşrutiyet’in ilanı Batı kamuoyunda merakla takip edildi. Gerek Batılı devlet adamları gerekse basın bu olay üzerinde ciddiyetle durdu. Devlet adamları her ne kadar siyasi nezaket gereği Meşrutiyet’in ilanından dolayı Osmanlı makamlarını tebrik etseler de bu gelişmenin kendi ülkeleri için yol açacakları vaziyeti uzun uzadıya analiz etmekten geri durmadılar. İngiltere ve Fransa gibi ülkeler için Meşrutiyet’in ilanı olumlu bir gelişme olarak kabul edilirken, Rusya ve Almanya açıkça Meşrutiyet’in ilanından duydukları endişeyi dile getirdiler. Yine Yunanistan ve Bulgaristan gibi küçük Balkan ülkeleri de Makedonya’daki çıkarlarına zarar vereceğini düşünerek Meşrutiyet’i şüpheyle karşıladılar. Buna karşılık Batı basını ise büyük ölçüde Meşrutiyet’in Doğu’da yeni bir gelişme evresine sahne olacağı düşüncesiyle bu hareketi destekler bir tutum sergiledi. Bu çalışmada başta basın materyalleri olmak üzere arşiv belgeleri ve telif eserler ışığında II. Meşrutiyet’in Batı kamuoyunda nasıl karşılandığı sorusuna cevap aranmaya çalışılmıştır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


After nearly thirty years of Sultan Abdülhamid’s rule, the Constitutional Monarchy was reinstated on July 23, 1908, through the efforts of the Committee of Union and Progress. The Unionists, who had lived in exile in Europe for many years, believed that an Ottoman Empire with a parliamentary system and a constitution would restore its lost prestige in the West. The Committee of Union and Progress saw the salvation of the Ottoman Empire, which was considered a “sick man” by the West, in adopting Western systems. Motivated by these ideas, the Unionists forced Sultan Abdülhamid to declare the Constitutional Monarchy following a rebellion they initiated in Macedonia. 

The re-proclamation of the Constitutional Monarchy aroused great excitement in Europe. Both statesmen and the press took the issue seriously. European statesmen congratulated the Ottoman authorities on the proclamation of the Constitutional Monarchy as a matter of diplomatic courtesy, but they also rigorously analyzed the potential impacts on their own countries. Especially Britain and France seemed pleased with the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy. Britain, which had conflicted with Sultan Abdul Hamid’s administration for years, thought that it could better align with the new regime and increase its investments in the Ottoman Empire. For this reason, many British statesmen, particularly British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey, supported the Constitutional Monarchy. However, they harbored doubts about its success and followed this movement with a mix of sympathy and skepticism. France adopted a similar attitude.

Conversely, other European states such as Germany and Russia were apprehensive about the Constitutional Monarchy. Germany, the only European state that had long enjoyed healthy relations with the Ottoman Empire, feared losing this influence under the new regime. Russia, on the other hand, was concerned that the new regime would strengthen the Ottoman Empire, thwarting its longstanding aim to dismantle it and seize its territories in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Russia also feared that Britain might sympathize with the Ottoman Empire after the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy and return to its policy of preserving its territorial integrity. However, Britain had no intention of reverting to its traditional Ottoman policy; it only wanted to keep the Ottoman Empire in a position that would not harm European politics. 

The small Balkan states of Greece and Bulgaria were also concerned about the Constitutional Monarchy. Both states, having claims over Macedonia, preferred the continuation of unrest in the region. The declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy, however, brought an end to the unrest in Macedonia and ceased the activities of local gangs, restoring Ottoman authority in the region. This situation worried Greece and Bulgaria.

In addition to the official views of states, the Western press also followed the Constitutional Monarchy closely. The British and French press, in particular, were largely positive about the Constitutional Monarchy. Headlines such as “The End of the Eastern Question” and “The Awakening of the East” reflected hopes that the Constitutional Monarchy would elevate the Ottoman Empire to the level of European states. However, this goodwill and support in Europe came to an abrupt end in October 1908. A chain of events, including Bulgaria declaring its independence, Greece annexing Crete, and Austria annexing Bosnia, put the Ottoman Empire in a difficult situation early on.

Faced with these crises, the Ottoman Empire expected support from European states and public opinion. However, it did not receive the anticipated support from any state or organization. European states found it in their interest to support the perpetrators of these events rather than the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, the Committee of Union and Progress realized that the idea of European support for the Ottoman Empire through the Constitutional Monarchy was merely a dream. This realization led the Unionists to intensify their rhetoric against Europe in the subsequent years. Ultimately, these tensions culminated in the Ottoman Empire opposing the European powers in the Great War.


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APA

Sivri, P.M. (2024). The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers. Recent Period Turkish Studies, 0(45), 27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


AMA

Sivri P M. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers. Recent Period Turkish Studies. 2024;0(45):27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


ABNT

Sivri, P.M. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers. Recent Period Turkish Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 45, p. 27-72, 2024.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Sivri, Pir Murat,. 2024. “The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers.” Recent Period Turkish Studies 0, no. 45: 27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


Chicago: Humanities Style

Sivri, Pir Murat,. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers.” Recent Period Turkish Studies 0, no. 45 (Jul. 2024): 27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


Harvard: Australian Style

Sivri, PM 2024, 'The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers', Recent Period Turkish Studies, vol. 0, no. 45, pp. 27-72, viewed 24 Jul. 2024, https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Sivri, P.M. (2024) ‘The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers’, Recent Period Turkish Studies, 0(45), pp. 27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617 (24 Jul. 2024).


MLA

Sivri, Pir Murat,. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers.” Recent Period Turkish Studies, vol. 0, no. 45, 2024, pp. 27-72. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


Vancouver

Sivri PM. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers. Recent Period Turkish Studies [Internet]. 24 Jul. 2024 [cited 24 Jul. 2024];0(45):27-72. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617 doi: 10.26650/YTA2024-1400617


ISNAD

Sivri, PirMurat. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Restoration of Constitutional Rule According to the Press Organs of the Great European Powers”. Recent Period Turkish Studies 0/45 (Jul. 2024): 27-72. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1400617



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Submitted05.12.2023
Accepted23.02.2024
Published Online05.07.2024

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