Intellectuals and Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Young Turks on the Challenges of Modernity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intellectuals and Reform in the Ottoman Empire

The Young Turks on the Challenges of Modernity, 1st Edition

By Stefano Taglia


168 pages

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This book uncovers Young Turk political and social ideas at the end of the nineteenth century, during the intellectual phase of the movement.

Analysing the life in exile of two of the most charismatic leaders of the Young Turk movement, Ahmed Rıza and Mehmet Sabahattin, the book unravels their plans for the future of the Ottoman Empire, covering issues of power, religion, citizenship, minority rights, the role of the West, and the accountability of the Sultan. The book follows Rıza and Sabahattin through their association with philosophical circles, and highlights how their emphasis on intellectualism and elitism had a twofold effect. On the one hand, seeing themselves as enlightened and entrusted with a mission, they engaged in enduring debates, leaving an important legacy for both Ottoman and Republican rule. On the other hand, the rigidity resulting from elitism and intellectualism prevented the conception of concrete plans for change, causing a schism at the 1902 Congress of Ottoman Liberals and marking the end of the intellectual phase.

Using bilingual period journals, contemporary accounts, police archives and political and philosophical treaties, this book is of interest to students, scholars and researchers of Middle East and Ottoman History, and Political Science more broadly.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdulhamit II 2 Young Turk Émigrés, the Press and the Parisian Milieu 3 Ahmet Riza and Mechveret 4 Mehmet Sabahattin and Social Science 5 The End of an Idea, the 1902 Congress of Ottoman Liberals in Paris Conclusion

About the Author

Stefano Taglia is Fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. His research interests are in the fields of nationalism and minorities in the Ottoman Empire.

About the Series

SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East

This series features the latest disciplinary approaches to Middle Eastern Studies. It covers the Social Sciences and the Humanities in both the pre-modern and modern periods of the region. While primarily interested in publishing single-authored studies, the series is also open to edited volumes on innovative topics, as well as textbooks and reference works.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / Turkey & Ottoman Empire
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies