Monday, May 7, 2012

The Young Ottomans

In the 19th Century conflicts began to raise more between Islamic factions. The issues mostly were fueled by the interference of the Europeans. Most Islamic groups shared a distaste of any and all things that could be connected to the Europeans. The Europeans were strong in trying to install a constitutional government which enraged the Muslims. On one hand there was an Islamic group that liked the idea of a constitutional government. This group was called the Young Ottomans.
The Young Ottomans was a Turkish nationalist group formed in Istanbul in June 1865. They believed that the current government in Turkey was no longer helpful for the people and insisted that a new government be put in place.  The main issue that the Young Ottomans had was that the current government was made in the multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic Ottoman Empire and not just a Turkish State. The group was kept a secret group because it was in direct opposition to the current government.  Even though it was a secret group it grew quickly. It started out with just 6 members when it was formed in 1865 to a member count of 245 in 1867[1]. That was a member increase of 239 members in just 2 years. 
Again unlike other Islamic groups the Young Ottomans accepted the liberalism brought by the Europeans. By combining the liberalism of the Europeans and traditionalism they believed they could form a successful Turkish State. The Young Ottomans believed that the European ideas went well with the traditional beliefs that the ideas were completely acceptable and would in turn revive some of the traditions through modernization.
            The Young Ottomans were one of the first Islamic groups that realized how helpful the modernized technology of the west and saw that it would only make it better for those in the East[2].  Helvaici also divides the Young Ottomans into two generations. 
The leading figures of the first generation Young Ottomans were Namik Kemal, Sinasi and Mustafa Fazil Pasha. Each leader had a different way of approving the modernization through Western ways. Namik Kemal went with modernization along with the traditions of the past saying they fit together and complimented each other. Kemal believed that the modernization would cause no harm to Islamic ways but in turn help them in every way. Kemal believed that the government should have a Parliament fashioned similar to that of the Europeans. Sinasi in some ways agreed that there should be a modernization, but the land should be ruled by a sultan. All in all Sinasi believed that the people should be ruled by an educated individual. Mustafa Fazil Pasha, unlike the other two, did not call for a full reform but in his manifesto requested that a liberal constitution be instated. Pasha stressed that there was a gap between the commoners and the uppers class and that a constitution would truly give everyone a chance to be treated as equals.
            The second generation of Young Ottomans ran in opposition of some of the leaders of the Young Turks, primarily, the main opponent to many of the Young Turks. This individual was Ahmet Riza. Riza believed that the elite were better suited to run the government, where on the other hand most of the Young Turks believed that any intellectual person hand an equal right to have some voice in the government.
            Even though it might not have been seen that the Young Ottomans had contributed much to the modern Turkish government, that is completely not the case. Each leader of the Young Ottomans proposed a new form of government that were different in their own way but each focused around the creation of a constitution and the creation of a parliament.  Those plans proposed by the Young Ottoman leaders helped shape the government that is in place in Turkey.  Along with the plans of a constitutional government the Young Ottomans helped with the modernization through the acceptance of Westernization.

Works Citied
Helvacı, Pelin. "A Critical Approach: Political Thoughts Of Young Ottomans." European Journal Of Social Science 16.3 (2010): 449-457.Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
            An analytical look at how the Young Ottomans saw the Western Civilization and the workings of becoming modernized. Pointed out good and bad things about each approach by leaders.
"Young Ottomans." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.    EncyclopædiBritannica Inc., 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. <>.
            Online Encyclopedia entry about the Young Ottomans. Had some numbers about the growth of the group and basic facts.

[1]  “Young Ottomans” Encyclopædia Britannica, Online
[2] Pelin Helvaci, “A Critical approach: Political Thoughts of Young Ottomans”

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