3. The Opposition and the Arabs, 1910 –1911
The army’s successful suppression of the counterrev olution of April 1909 arrested both the anticonstitutionalist (pro-Hamidian) and the Liberal (decentralist) opposition to the CUP and left the Committee, though weakened, as the only viable political group. As the Committee struggled to consolidate its position, so did its opponents. Its determination to establish itself as the paramount arbiter in the government of the empire sharpened the differences between the Committee and the decentralists. By the end of 1911 the opposition dealt a critical blow to the CUP in a by-election in İstanbul, compelling it to go to early parliamentary elections.
The division between the centralists and the decentralists did not crystallize along strict socioeconomic lines. Allegiances remained fluid and frequently changed depending on perceptions of personal advantage. In general, the centralists drew their support from the lesser Muslim officialdom and lower-middle-class elements who were averse to European economic domination. Such domination had reinforced political tutelage over the empire and constituted a threat to the integrity of the Ottoman state, which the centralist Unionists, many of them members of the civil service and military establishment, were committed to preserve. Many older bureaucrats and officers who had acquired wealth or high positions prior to 1908 and sought to maintain their social and political predominance gravitated toward the opposition. As the battle lines gradually crystallized, two groups of provincial notables also identified with the opposition: those who were passed over in the distribution of favors to the advantage of other contenders and those whose local predominance was so entrenched as not to be challenged by rivals even when the latter enjoyed government backing. There were also the growing commercial elements; on the one hand they favored the opening up of the Ottoman markets to Europe, and on the other, saw their interests in the loosening of central control over the economy.
The Christian communities also looked favorably on the autonomist thrust of the decentralist platform due to their close links to the European economy, cultural concerns, or ethnic-separatist sentiments. Even though the Armenians and Greeks had largely supported the decentralist Sabahaddin faction prior to the revolution, in the euphoria of July 1908 the Unionists believed that the non-Muslims would be won over to the CUP’s Ottomanist platform in the new parliamentary regime. They hoped that religious and ethnic differences would be superseded by a broader Ottoman identity. In the eyes of most Christians, however, Ottoman citizenship based on absolute equality, as preached by the Unionists, would undermine their community privileges, which had expanded since the Tanzimat. Allowing the disintegration of the millet as a political entity in favor of a supranational civic Ottomanist identity was also likely to jeopardize Christian economic and cultural interests. Clerical leaders sought modalities of accommodation with the various governments, even as large segments of their communities drifted toward the opposition. The CUP commanded the allegiance of segments of the Christian population only to the extent that it could exploit that population’s intracommunal differences.
The CUP’s notion of an Ottomanism that denied political representation on a religious-communal basis, its denunciation of decentralization, and its inflexible attitude toward the demands and organizational initiative of the religious minorities exposed it to charges of “Turkification,” a systematic process of depriving non-Turks of their established social, political, and cultural rights. This charge was leveled first by the Committee’s European critics. In the mind of European observers of the Ottoman state, the fact that the empire was ruled by a Turkish dynasty rendered Turk, Ottoman, and Muslim synonymous. They therefore regarded the Ottomanism of the Young Turks as Turkification that threatened the empire’s Christian population. When a contemporary European observer wrote that the CUP had a “plan of reducing the various races and regions of the empire to one dead level of Turkish uniformity,” or when the British ambassador Sir Gerard Lowther defined Young Turk Ottomanism as “pounding non-Turkish elements in a Turkish mortar,” their concern was with the empire’s non-Muslims. Lowther viewed Turkification first and foremost as a means of fighting European tutelage, an “Asianization” of the Ottoman Empire and its mobilization against Western interests. The Young Turks indeed believed that the economic interests of the Muslim peoples of the empire, Arabs as well as Turks, had been neglected and thus would have to be remedied. They would deny, however, that putting the Muslims on a footing of economic and political equality had to take place at the expense of the religious or ethnic rights of other groups.
The circumscription of liberties of press and association exposed the Committee to renewed attacks. Hüseyin Cahid took on the charges leveled against the Young Turks for attempting to Turkify non-Turkish elements. He argued that the charges of Turkification were being advanced to justify separatist goals. Referring to Turkification he asked, “How could one be so devoid of political common sense as to believe that what was not enforced by the sword when there was not even the question of European intervention will be attempted under the constitutional regime?” Cahid argued that ethnic and religious differences had to be superseded to achieve unity and a strong political community, but he ruled out compromise on two points: the state religion and the state language. He viewed Islam and Turkish as the cornerstones of the Ottoman state in its six-century-long life and did not see the primacy of these elements as undermining Ottomanism.
Reference to Turkification, understood as a manifest sociopolitical program, is ubiquitous in studies of the last Ottoman decade. Even the more discriminating analyses of Arab politics, society, and ideology during the second constitutional period presuppose Turkification without adequately questioning the notion. It is accepted to have been a conscious policy conceived in 1908 and systematically implemented, often as an integral part of a nationalist program. The recent suggestion in the revisionist historiography of Arab nationalism to view Turkification as a by-product of Ottoman centralization rather than vice versa represents a useful rethinking of the conventional wisdom, but it leaves the essence of the notion of Turkification unexplored. Turkification should be examined as an ideological construct of those opposed to the actions and policies of Ottoman government as much as a conscious or unconscious element of İstanbul’s policies. The question that needs to be asked is what policies of Young Turk regimes, as different from previous practice, gave added privilege to Turkish and Turks? The issue of discrimination against the Arab element in Parliament and in other state offices needs to be addressed because it was voiced by some Arab leaders at the time, not just by later historians and future generations of Arab nationalists when pointing to the roots of Arab nationalism.
The evidence cited most often by Arab critics and contemporary European observers for the deliberate establishment of Turkish domination in the political process comes from the particular composition of the 1908 Parliament. In the absence of numerical data it is difficult to make a statistical evaluation of the results of the Ottoman elections. A general analysis of the results and of the equally erratic census data can be used to determine certain trends and tendencies in 1908. Studies on the composition of the Ottoman Chamber put the number of deputies in the 1908 Parliament within a range from 260 to 288. There is agreement on the approximate number of ethnic Turks (between 142 and 147) and Arabs (60) elected in 1908. Though population estimates for the empire at this time vary widely, it may be assumed that the Arab and Turkish populations were approximately equal. Turkish members of the 1908 Parliament outnumbered the Arabs, however, by a ratio of 2.5 to 1, a proportion far above what reasonable population estimates would warrant. This diagnosis of underrepresentation needs to be evaluated in the historical and demographic context.
An attempt to determine the numbers of Arabs and Turks in the empire during the second constitutional period runs into formidable problems. The absence of accurate census figures at the imperial and provincial levels is one problem. Another has to do with the determination of the proportion of the different Muslim groups within mixed provinces. Ethnic differences had as little meaning for the census takers as for the Muslim populations themselves. What came to be accepted as an objective criterion of nationhood by the critics of the Ottoman regime, language, was not accounted for in the census. Under the assumption of the validity of this criterion, it becomes relatively easy to identify population figures for Arabs (or Arabophone Ottomans), except in the case of the Peninsula, where no census was conducted and estimates were arbitrary and curiously generous. With the exception of the province of Aleppo, where one-third to one-half of the population was non-Arab, and northern Iraq, where sizable Kurdish and Turkic minorities lived, Greater Syria, Iraq, Tripolitania, and the Arabian Peninsula can be assumed to have been preponderantly Arab. The number of Arabs living outside these provinces was negligible. Enumerating the Turks is more problematic because Turcophone Ottomans cohabited several provinces with non-Turkish-speaking Muslim groups (e.g., Kurds, Laz, Pomak). Furthermore, language would be a more tenuous ethnic marker for Turcophone Ottomans, who included segments of Albanian, Slavic, Greek, and Kurdish peoples.
At the time of the elections the African and Asian periphery of the Ottoman state had been incompletely integrated. The goal of the CUP-controlled government to create a politically integrated society notwithstanding, the elections reflected and reproduced existing administrative conditions. Population data needed to determine the number of deputies to which each province was entitled (on the basis of one deputy for every 50,000 male Ottomans) were incomplete. The data of the 1906–07 census, upon which such calculations must have been based, contained no counts, or far lower ones than actual numbers, for many Arab provinces. The Arab sancaks where the population was mostly settled and for which population registers were kept received the requisite representation, whereas in nomadic regions populated by Beduins there were wide discrepancies between actual population and stipulated representation. In addition to inherent problems associated with the counting of itinerant populations in remote areas, the nomads consciously avoided the census in fear of state exaction, because the traditional purpose of census registration was taxation and military conscription. Indeed, taxation (more specifically, the payment of a direct tax of any amount) was an eligibility requirement for voters, even though this electoral taxation requirement was not particularly onerous compared with contemporary practices in other countries.
In the Unionist view of Ottomanism, ethnic, religious, and linguistic differences were of no import; to dwell on strict proportional parliamentary representation was wrong and divisive. If the Unionists can be accused of insincerity and idealism on the first score, they may be given the benefit of the doubt on the second. As we have seen, the Unionists did not see Parliament as a microcosm of the Ottoman collectivity, but as a forum where “enlightened sons” of this collectivity would give voice to the interests of the many diverse groups.
The idiom in which the issue of Arab underrepresentation and the breakdown of the composition of the Chamber has been presented in scholarship is shaped by anachronistic categories and subsequent political realities and concerns. Contemporary and later sources provide us with a breakdown of Greek, Armenian, Jewish, Albanian, Arab, and Turkish deputies. Here the Turkish category represents the residual non-Arab and non-Albanian Muslim group. It includes not just Muslim subjects from Slavic Balkans, the Circassians, the Georgians, the Laz, and others, who were not exclusively Turkish-speaking, but also, and more significantly, the sizable population of Kurds, of which only the Ottomanized and educated elements were Turkish-speaking. If, then, all non-Turkish-speaking Muslims are excluded from the Turkish category and the tribal population of the Peninsula is excluded from the population figures for Arabs, the respective parliamentary representation of Arabs and Turks would correspond more closely to the demographic picture.
The acknowledgment of language as the basis of ethnic identity, and of ethnicity as the basis of political identity, is an anachronistic extrapolation from the more recent experiences of Middle Eastern societies and polities. Language became the focal point in the construction of Arab and Turkish identities in the postimperial period and was rallied in the Arab case to counteract political fragmentation imposed by Europe. This did not prevent the flourishing of local territorial political identities responding to the specific realities of individual mandatory arrangements. Ottoman discrimination was invoked in the states that came into existence. Thus, an official Jordanian history points to Ottoman discrimination in the admission to Parliament of only one deputy from Jordan, a political and administrative nonentity in the Ottoman Empire, revealing the force of retrospective reasoning and anachronistic regional-political differentiation.
A more compelling argument for discrimination against Arabs is the election of several Turks from the Arab provinces, between 6 and 11 percent of all delegates from these provinces. (The exact proportion of Turks in the representation of the Arab provinces is not known because of uncertainties about the ethnic affiliation of some Muslim deputies.) This argument assumes that Turks could have been elected only as a result of electoral engineering. Of the four known Turks elected in the Arab provinces in 1908, there is numerical justification in the case of one, Ali Cenani of Aleppo, as Aleppo had a sizable Turkish population. Cenani, judging by his criticism in Parliament of the government for allocating disproportionately large revenues to İstanbul and its surroundings, cannot be considered a CUP yes-man, though he treaded the general Unionist line. A second Turkish deputy, Abdülkadir Cami of Fezzan, won his mandate only in an extraordinary by-election. His candidacy did indeed lead to the objections of one Libyan deputy on grounds that Cami was not of Libyan origin. As an administrator who had served in Libya for many years, however, he was an advocate of local interests. Thus, the election of Turks in Arab provinces, some coming from families assimilated to the local population, does not necessarily reflect a policy of Turkification. The perception or claim that Arabs were subjected to discrimination in the allocation of parliamentary seats is not irrelevant to the development of an Arab collective identity, notwithstanding the argument that such claims reflected little else beyond the bid of Arab notables for greater recognition and power. But relating perceived discrimination or actual underrepresentation to a policy of Turkification remains problematic.
The overbearing attitude of the CUP was an irritant in Turkish-Arab relations and contributed to the politicization of Arabs and to increased alienation between Arab and Turk along ethnic and linguistic lines. In his first rebuttal of accusations of Turkification in August 1909, Hüseyin Cahid wrote with exaggerated frankness:
Such remarks could hardly have inspired the confidence of non-Turks, but the almost naive juxtaposition of chauvinism against political realities underscores the Unionist commitment to the implementation of policies that would perpetuate the imperial political traditions within a multiethnic and multireligious framework.
[The Young Turks] too are attached to their nationality [milliyet]. If they had the choice and if this were possible they would lose no time to make Turks out of all nations [akvam] within the Ottoman Empire. Had the Young Chinese or the Young Hottentots been in their place they would have desired the same.
In April 1910 Shukri Ghanem, the president of the Paris Syrian Arab Society, wrote an article for Le Temps and attacked the Ottoman government for the unjust treatment of its Arab peoples. Just as he had denounced the Mutran circular for seeking autonomy for Syria, he again emphasized that the Arabs did not seek separation. He went on, however, to charge the government with discrimination against the Arabs in the allocation of public office, such as the civil service, army, navy, foreign service, and also Parliament. Once again Tanin took on these charges.
Hüseyin Cahid argued against the assumption implicit in the quest for proportional representation that the interests of different ethnic groups were antagonistic to each other. He asserted that setting up quotas would violate the spirit of Ottomanism. Then he refuted the claim that Arabs were underrepresented in Parliament. He reminded Ghanem of the absence of reliable statistics and the difficulty and futility of distinguishing among different ethnic groups. Furthermore, Cahid wrote, a unity of interests was bound to supersede unity based on ethnic consciousness. He argued that if the Arabs were underrepresented in government this was due to their past inclinations or the policies of the previous regimes. “Which senior Arab diplomat can you point to who was denied an ambassadorship?” he asked. In countering the charges of discrimination in public offices and the military, Tanin provided the names and ethnic backgrounds of army commanders. Of the top nine positions in the army, two were occupied by Arabs (Mahmud Shawkat Pasha and Commander of the Third Army Hadi Pasha), two by Albanians, two by Circassians, and one each by a Georgian, a Tartar, and a Bosnian. Dismissing Ghanem’s incrimination in this manner, but also realizing that at the crux of the issue lay the language question, he emphatically repeated the Unionist position on the state language: “To allow different languages in government would be setting up a Tower of Babel and would lead to decentralization.” Yet Ghanem’s argument would be repeated by Arab deputies and journalists as the battle lines between the CUP and the decentralists continued to take shape.
The names of some of the ethnic societies that came into existence after the revolution or surfaced after clandestine activity during the Hamidian regime, such as the Kurdish and Circassian mutual aid societies, suggest that ethnic awareness and assertion among the Muslims of the empire were not restricted to Turks, Arabs, and Albanians. In a first step to defuse these organizations after the counterrevolution, the CUP attempted to form an umbrella organization called the Ottoman Allied Committee (Heyet-i Müttefika-ı Osmaniye), which included these and other cultural and political societies, including the Liberal Party. A few months later, the new Law of Association banned ethnic-based organizations.
In this first wave of organizational activity, we do not find Arabist or Turkist organizations except Al-ikha’, or the Arab-Ottoman Brotherhood. Several months later the Arab Literary Club (Al-muntada al-adabi) and the Turkish Society (Türk Derneği) came into existence. These literary societies have been ascribed an undue share in the politicization of Arabism and Turkism, because some of the leaders of Al-muntada subsequently played a leading role in Arab nationalist activity and were among those executed by Cemal Pasha in 1915–16; and Türk Derneği and its successors had prominent Unionists, including some deputies, as members.
The Turkist societies certainly contributed to the substantiation of the charges of Turkification. In many ways, Türk Derneği was the continuation of the Turkist trend (see chapter 1) that had emerged during the Young Ottoman period. Like the Arab literary societies of the nineteenth century, it cast itself as a “scientific” society dedicated to the promotion of the Turkish language. Its language policy was one of simplification rather than purification and did not aim at purging Ottoman Turkish of Arabic and Persian words. The declared objective of the society was to promote Ottoman unity. The existence of Greek and Armenian groups in the empire who communicated in Turkish, even though they wrote it in Greek or Armenian characters, was convincing evidence of the practicality of Turkish as an Ottoman lingua franca.
The Turkish cultural societies gradually rediscovered the elements of an overarching Turkish identity in the same way that the Arabists had begun to rediscover those of a broad Arab identity under the influence of the salafis. Among the Arabs there was relative linguistic homogeneity. Moreover, language and scripture were intertwined to further strengthen the consciousness of Arab group identity among the literate. Ancestry, reinforced by tribal organization and linked to the salaf, imparted additional weight to religio-linguistic identification. Arab intellectuals could emphasize an Arab geographic and historical continuity with little straining of the imagination. Nevertheless, the obstacles in translating these elements to a political construct remained formidable. Indeed, the primacy of broader religio-political factors, namely the need to preserve and strengthen the Islamic caliphate, militated against the desirability of such a transformation.
Turkish intellectuals as well applied themselves to the task of imagining the Turkish ethnic community on the basis of the revelations of European Turcology half a century before. One avenue to affirming Turkishness would be to turn to the Central Asian roots of the Turks and to the domain of linguistic cognates. However, geographical contiguity between Anatolian and Central Asian Turks was precarious and historical links between the two groups and common lineage had to be belabored so as not to be confined to the category of myth.
Language and literature became the focus of the activities of the Genç Kalemler (Young Pens) society that was founded in 1910 and published a journal of the same name. The Genç Kalemler addressed linguistic roots and looked more favorably to the purification of Ottoman Turkish than did the adherents of Türk Derneği, but the group did not dwell on organic links with Turks of Central Asia. Their concern with language was less as marker of cultural or political identity and more as a practical vehicle. “The social unit the awakened Turks intended to reconstruct was not the Turkish or Turkic nation, but an Ottoman state.” Turkish would need to be taught to all Ottomans so that it would serve as a medium to diffuse progress.
Yet the proponents of stronger links with the “outer Turks” were not absent. They became particularly active in a third Turkist society to be formed in 1911, the Türk Yurdu (Turkish Home). Like Christian Arabs (who since the nineteenth century had formulated a linguistic-cultural conception of an Arab nation but were first unheeded and later overshadowed by Arabists of an Islamic-modernist persuasion), Russian Turks formulated similar constructs of a pan-Turkic commonality (which had equally insignificant appeal). They found, however, an opportunity to renew their activities in İstanbul after 1908. Prominent among them were Yusuf Akçura and Ahmed Agayev [Ağaoğlu]. These immigrants played a more important role in reinforcing the attempts to formulate a Turkish identity than in offering viable political programs.
Yet another Turkist society, Türk Ocağı (Turkish Hearth), has been described as the “most durable and important of all organisations with Pan-Turk proclivities.” Founded in 1911, the society underwent many transformations and survived through the first decade of the Kemalist period. Most prominent Turkists associated themselves with Türk Ocağı, as did some Unionists, including Enver Pasha. As a society, the Türk Ocağı focused on Turkist cultural and linguistic activities and concerned itself with political issues perhaps even to a lesser degree than the others. Though it eschewed party politics by statute, some Unionists’ association with the society has imparted to it the false appearance of an arm of the CUP.
Problems of practicability or considerations of raison d’état inherent in promoting a nationalist policy objective, which a few members of the CUP in Salonika or others more closely related to the state machinery in İstanbul may have harbored, were forbidding. Nevertheless, the CUP’s attitude toward the place of Turkish in the Ottoman state and government policies with regard to language were situated at the crux of the Turkification debate. The set of enactments that can be collectively viewed as a “language policy” did not represent a substantial change from the Hamidian regime to the constitutional period. The grievances, then, did not arise from the adoption of novel Turcocentric policies under the new regime, but rather from the failure of the government to adapt its existing policy when confronted with novel demands for greater recognition of languages other than Turkish in the affairs of the state.
The 1876 constitution designated the state language of the Ottoman Empire as Turkish (Türkçe). Ottoman Turkish (lisan-ı Osmani), a hybrid of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian with Turkish grammar, had historically served this purpose. The designation of the state language as Turkish rather than Ottoman Turkish in 1876 reflects the efforts, if not the decisive input, of the Young Ottomans, who advocated and used a simpler Turkish than the complicated Ottoman. While such designation has ideological and practical implications, none was detailed in the constitution. Neither the particular clause designating the state language nor any other reference to language in the constitution was modified in 1908 or afterward. The constitution stipulated a more rigid definition of ability in Turkish as a requirement for deputies (only to be applied in four years), namely ability to read and, “to the extent possible,” write Turkish (Article 68). In 1909 this clause was endorsed as it stood in the original text, and a motion to enforce the stricter requirement effective immediately was defeated.
The CUP’s political program in 1908 included the following clauses about the use of Turkish:
The vague phrasing in Article 17 suggests that Turkish was favored in secondary curriculum as the language of instruction. Neither clause contravened past policy, although past practice was not uniform. The policy as stated in the CUP program and also implemented by the government has been construed as the adoption of Turkish as the language of instruction, which was true only for secondary and higher education, where the local language would also be taught as a subject.
The official language of the state will remain as Turkish. All correspondence and official memoranda will be executed in Turkish. (Article 7)
Teaching of the Turkish language is compulsory in elementary schools. For secondary [idadi] and higher [âli] education, firm guidelines will be adopted on the basis of the Turkish language. (Article 17)
The difference between the teaching of Turkish in elementary education and its adoption as the language of instruction is significant. The overall educational policy of the second constitutional period allowed socialization in the local culture during the formative years through the teaching of the local language. Instruction in Turkish in secondary and higher education aimed at incorporating local groups into the imperial administrative system and at developing an imperial elite. Referring to the post-Tanzimat Ottoman Empire, the authors of a comprehensive study of the education of nondominant ethnic groups in Europe accurately point to the distinction between integration (in this case, Ottomanization aiming to strengthen allegiance to the state framework) and assimilation (ensuring self-identification with the “dominant nation”). Curiously, the same authors refer, without explication (and no doubt swayed by the weight of the inaccurate appraisal of Turkification in existing scholarship) to the Young Turks’ “expanding assimilation to new elements,” whereas educational policy during the second constitutional period does not depart from the patterns that had existed before. Changes were quantitative (an increase in the number of students and new schools) rather than qualitative (Turkification of the curriculum).
The main substantive change in the implementation of language policy during the second constitutional period came in the domain of law with the requirement to use Turkish in all courts of the empire—a measure that led to discontent, inconvenienced judicial officials and litigants, and threatened the administration of justice. As governor of Syria in 1878, Cevdet Pasha had tried unsuccessfully to implement a similar measure requiring the use of Turkish in courts and administrative councils in Syria. The 1909 requirement was contested even by Tanin, not for its principle but for practical reasons. Hüseyin Cahid argued that the time-honored practice of utilizing Arabic in the law courts of Arab provinces should be continued until such time when Turkish spread in these areas. Cahid did declare in unambiguous terms that everyone who wished to be in association with the state had to learn Turkish. According to him, “Turkish ought to be taught also because it is a language of knowledge and civilization.” This afterthought, that Turkish is also a language of civilization, reflects literary and cultural Turkist activity that parallels the Arab intellectuals’ rediscovery of the civilizational import of Arabic.
The primacy of Turkish in state agencies and secondary education was perceived in different ways by Arabs. Many Arabs accepted the integrative function of Turkish and supported instruction in Turkish. Deputies from Libya lamented the granting of diplomas to students who did not attain proficiency in Turkish. They demanded instruction in Turkish and deplored the fact that there were a hundred times as many Italian speakers in their provinces as Turkish speakers. All in the Arab provinces favored the appointment of Arabic-speaking local officials. The rationale for this demand was administrative efficiency. The demand was not necessarily for local appointees or native Arabic speakers but merely for officials proficient in Arabic. The Mülkiye curriculum had been revised in 1891 to require every student to receive courses in Arabic, Greek, Armenian, or Albanian. The Young Turks continued the same policy. The government favored distributing officials from a particular region throughout the empire, as it also attempted to appoint officials who had gained familiarity with the language of the locality where they were to serve.
While the administrative challenges posed by the language problem were addressed in a centralist idiom, the growth of decentralist opposition to the CUP moved the issue to a different realm. Arab critics increasingly blamed the Unionists for Turkifying the Arabs by imposing the Turkish language and for instituting a selection process that excluded non-Turkish speakers. In Eric Hobsbawm’s terms, this was an expression of “linguistic nationalism” and its “battle-lines were manned by professional journalists, schoolteachers, and aspiring subaltern officials.” These grievances were closely interlinked with the broader decentralist challenge to the CUP and will be taken up in that context in the next chapter.
Voices that called for greater emphasis on Arabic and the promotion of its instruction in schools came from non-Arabs as well. As the language of religious scriptures, Arabic had a special importance. The Islamist journal Sırat-ı Müstakim (The Straight Path), published in Turkish in İstanbul, advocated greater attention to Arabic, particularly compared with French (which was widely taught in schools), and stressed the political and religious benefits that could be derived from a dissemination of Arabic. The association of the Arabic language with Islam was a powerful element in Arabism and a recurrent theme in the Arabist discourse. The Unionists cannot have been unaware of the political value of according greater latitude to Arabic in the public realm. A concession here, however, would have invited similar demands from other linguistic groups and undermined the sense of Ottoman unity transcending communal divisions that the Unionists were trying to forge.
Language as a symbol in the expression of a yet unclearly defined political agenda is implicit in the words of the British consul in Damascus:
The antagonistic sentiment between Arab and Turk has been quietly fomented during the past three or four months now, whether by hasty or somewhat autocratic behaviour on the part of office holders, and by their occasionally contemptuous or discourteous manners towards local notables, or by the over-advanced views of those connected with the “Young Turk” Party who are manifesting themselves (not alone here in Syria I imagine) in a distinct tendency towards xenophoby.
The antagonistic sentiment between Turk and Arab is beginning to permeate downwards to the lower classes; and will soon no longer be confined to the ulama, notables, and grandees, and official circles.
The most sore point of all is the attempt of Young Turks to propagate the use of Turkish in exclusion of Arabic in all official circles.…
The rhetoric of supplanting Arabic with Turkish, to which the centralizing policy of İstanbul gave credence, was successfully exploited by those elements dissatisfied with the CUP’s role in government. They were menaced by official encroachment on their spheres of influence and underscored the Unionists’ break with traditional social and political norms in order to gain political capital in the eyes of the “lower classes.” Associating the CUP with a Turkish despotism became a convenient way for those segments of Arab society and individuals whose interests were not served by the regime to attack the Committee government.
Some provincial notables attacked the Young Turk governments not only for their Turkifying but also for alleged anti-Islamic policies. They believed that they could better preserve their social privileges and economic status in a less centralized political organization. In order to achieve this aim they invoked Arab cultural identity and warned of Turkification. With regard to Iraq, Hanna Batatu writes:
[T]he conflicts stirred by the Young Turk Revolution, and which precipitated the movement for Arab autonomy, had a distinct social facet, and were not merely ideological or ethnic conflicts between secularly minded Young Turks and “good” Moslems, or between “Turks” and “Arabs.”…In other words, it is not only concern for their Arab cultural identity or for the old Islamic beliefs that drove the sadah and other Arab landed magnates to seek autonomy.
To those who stressed the CUP’s Turkifying policies, the Committee’s attitude toward Islam furnished different kinds of handles. Some Christian minority groups and their supporters felt that the 1908 Revolution legitimized Islamic domination because it rejected communal sectarian political prerogatives. The Arab opponents of the CUP, on the other hand, held Turkification also tantamount to the elimination of Islam from public life. Dwelling on the “anti-Islamic” policies of the government and personal impiety of the CUP members became a strategy employed to fight the regime.
Partisans of the CUP who adhered closely to secular principles of personal liberties tended to provoke adverse public opinion, particularly in the provinces. The Aleppines, for example, filed complaints about a newly appointed teacher to the Aleppo sultani (high school) who allegedly taught that there is no resurrection. Again in Aleppo, the official handling of the case of an ostensible Muslim prostitute aroused passions. The woman in question, the daughter of a court official in Alexandretta, was seen in unseemly attire, and “even went to the theater as such.” The müftü took the young woman under his custody and placed her in a hotel room in preparation to send her to her father. The prosecutor, on the other hand, invoking her constitutional freedoms, asked that she be released and—according to the Aleppine deputies who brought the matter to the attention of the Ministry of the Interior—that she even be given the choice of returning to the house of ill-fame. The Ministry of Justice promised to take action against the prosecutor.
In Damascus, it was the newly appointed müftü, Sulayman Chukhadar, who drew the ire of a number of town notables, including Sa‘id Mu’ayyad al-‘Azm. Chukhadar, who had served as magistrate in a number of Arab and Anatolian towns before his election to Parliament (and who was to serve as minister of justice in Syria in the post-Ottoman period), resigned his parliamentary seat on appointment to Damascus as müftü. The petitioners expressed dissatisfaction with what they considered to be his promotion to an undeserved post and went so far as to blame the rebellion in Karak on this appointment. Chukhadar, adding insult to injury, allegedly snubbed esteemed physicians in the government hospital and checked into the British hospital for the treatment of his hernia, “where he spent several nights among nuns.”
The surge of complaints about irreligious government officials or their insensitivity to religious sensibilities accompanied a press war between the CUP organs in İstanbul and a number of papers in the Arab provinces. In April 1911, in an attempt to stem further complaints, the Ministry of the Interior wrote to all provinces urging all Muslim officials to observe the Friday prayer diligently and to do so in the principal mosque of the town. The memorandum also mentioned complaints about laxity in prayers and public drinking (or public consumption during the fasting month).
As the accusations in the press increased, some Arab deputies sent telegrams to the Beirut municipality, the Beirut CUP club, and the city’s Muslim newspapers offering to mediate in the conflict that “divided Arab and Turk” and to reinforce Islamic union. Dismayed by this initiative, Christian members of the municipality, Christian newspaper owners, and other Christian leaders sent a cable to İstanbul asking the deputies to reconsider their remarks on “Islamic union.” “The CUP or the municipality is neither Muslim nor Christian, but Ottoman,” the message read. “To call for the unity of one millet will damage the existence of the state.” The minister of the interior sent his thanks for the patriotic sentiments and played down the initiative of the deputies as their personal opinions.
Parliament: Arabs in Opposition Parties and Issues of Arab Concern
The years 1910–11 were free of external complications for the Ottoman Empire. This allowed the political process embodied in the new constitutional order to take its course in the absence of military upheaval or foreign intrusions. The period witnessed the attempts of the CUP to build confidence and to exert itself more directly and fully in government and, in turn, the formation and growing opposition of rival political groups. Until the end of 1909 the CUP had not confronted an organized opposition. The Ahrar’s challenge had become real after the elections in Parliament but had been suppressed after the counterrevolution. In the next two years factions in Parliament, including some from the ranks of the CUP, began to form political parties.
When order was restored after the revolt of April 1909, the Unionists declared the formation of a Union and Progress Party, a political party distinct from the society bearing the same name. Along with the internal regulations of the party, the CUP issued in May 1909 a revised political program. The Unionists hoped that those members of Parliament who were not committed to the CUP and who had supported the opposition before 31 March would opt to identify with the Committee under the rubric of the new party. The intention was not, however, to discipline the Unionist deputies within a rigid political program, which could in turn have encouraged and legitimized opposition. Despite the initiative to move toward a broad-based political organization, the CUP continued to refuse to open up its high-level councils to newcomers, regardless of ethnic background.
Parliament adjourned its first legislative year several days after passing the Law of Association on 16 August 1909. The beginning of the next session witnessed the formation of the new parties. The more prominent of these were the Moderate Liberal Party (Mutedil Hürriyetperveran) and the People’s (Ahali) Party. Arab deputies played a leading role in the Moderate Liberal Party, established in November 1909. This party constituted itself as a conglomeration of national groupings. It might be viewed as a bridge between Ahrar, which ceased its activities after being implicated in supporting the counterrevolution, and the oppositional coalition that called itself Liberty and Entente (Hürriyet ve İtilâf ), which was to be formed at the end of 1911. The dissolution of the Moderate Liberal Party to merge with Liberty and Entente is well documented. Its organizational or ideological links with Ahrar are more tenuous. The president of the Moderate Liberal Party, İsmail Kemal Bey, an Albanian deputy from Berat (and one of the former leaders of Ahrar), announced that Ahrar had merged with the Moderate Liberal Party under a new program, but the merger was repudiated by the general secretary of Ahrar in an open letter that announced the dissolution of the Ahrar, published two months after the formation of the Moderate Liberal Party. These contradictory statements could have been viewed as a technicality, had it not been for the important substantive differences in the programs of the two parties.
The Moderate Liberal Party formally placed a number of Arab deputies in the ranks of opposition to the CUP, whereas Ahrar’s Arab sympathizers had not played a role in the organization of that party. In fact, Arab deputies dominated the new party, which also included Albanian, Christian, and a few Turkish deputies. As Albanian parliamentary deputies became identified with the Albanian nationalist movement and party president İsmail Kemal left to join the movement, the Moderate Liberal Party turned into an “Arab party,” though no Arab held its presidency. Nafi‘ served as vice-president, while ‘Abd al-Mahdi (Karbala) and Shafiq al-Mu’ayyad (Damascus) were founding members. The tenor of the Moderate Liberal program contrasted sharply with the particular action of its founder and first president. The program was fervently Ottomanist, with references to the Ottoman “nation” (millet) and “national” sovereignty (Article 1), and explicitly castigated decentralism as the principle that constituted the prelude to—“God forbid”—the disintegration of Ottoman possessions (Article 2). This language cannot be dismissed as political prudence, because the program begins with quotations from Western scholars of politics (one being from Johann Bluntschli) about the virtues of opposition in a democracy, thus leaving no doubts about the intentions of the founders.
The Arab membership of the Moderate Liberal Party showed great diversity in terms of political outlook during its two-year existence. It was joined on the one hand by supporters of the CUP such as Yusuf Shitwan and Sulayman al-Bustani and on the other by opponents like Shukri al-‘Asali and Sayyid Talib, who formed one of the two branches of the party in Basra. Several of the Arab members were from landed families and were less interested in administrative decentralization than protection of property at a time when uprisings were breaking out in the tribal regions. Article 11 of the program sought the implementation of measures to prevent the Beduin from plundering settled areas. The party provided a legitimate organizational framework under which Arab deputies could meet after the closure of the Arab-Ottoman Brotherhood and the prohibition by the Law of Association of ethnic-based societies. Baptized in the controversial surroundings of the Lynch concession (see pages 100–102), several members of the party emerged as the most prominent segment of parliamentary opposition to the CUP. The party program included clauses that reflected the interests of Arabists. It stipulated the protection of the language and literature of all Ottoman populations from extinction and expressed the Islamist modernist view of extending support to religious education consonant with modern science (Article 13). Yet, as a whole, the Moderate Liberal program fell short of offering a true alternative to that of the CUP, nor did the party have a cohesive membership.
The People’s Party, which included several Arab members, shared these traits and similarly failed to constitute an ideological alternative to the CUP. This party, however, was more representative in its composition of the liberal trend in İstanbul. In January 1910, when one of its most vocal members, Rıza Nur (deputy from Sinop), was arrested for alleged conspiracy against the government, the Moderate Liberals and People’s Party jointly petitioned for a parliamentary investigation of the government’s action. The petition, signed by fifteen deputies, carried the signatures of Arab deputies Shafiq al-Mu’ayyad (Damascus), Dawud Yusfani and Muhammad ‘Ali Fazil (Musul), and ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Zahrawi (Hama), Sa‘id al-Husayni (Jerusalem), and Rushdi al-Sham‘a.
The new parties were indicative of a general dissatisfaction with the CUP, even though they did not offer a meaningful opposition. A fair appraisal of the condition of political parties in the empire was provided by a prominent opponent of the CUP, Lütfi Fikri (deputy from Dersim), in a speech he wrote in July 1910 for delivery in Salonika. Lütfi Fikri described the CUP contingent in Parliament as a conglomerate lending support to the cabinet under the appearance of a political party. He maintained that it was also unclear how the recently constituted parties differed from each other and that the three fundamental political currents (the conservative, the moderate, and the left) had yet to crystallize in the Ottoman Empire. Such differentiation was to occur within the CUP in 1911 temporarily with its splintering into a right (Hizb-i Cedid) and a left (Hizb-i Terakki) wing.
The various parties and factions that came into being in 1910 and 1911 did not have the ideological or organizational strength to oust the CUP. Their importance lay in impressing on the CUP that it was in need of ideological consolidation. They also demonstrated that an opposition would be capable of asserting itself under a formal party organization in the constitutional regime. Indeed, the various groups that emerged in opposition to the CUP joined forces at the end of 1911 to form the Liberty and Entente Party, which successfully challenged the CUP’s monopoly of political power.
The oppositional party activity in 1910 and 1911 exposed the estrangement of an important group of Arab deputies from the ranks of the CUP. While the convergence of several Arab deputies as the largest single contingent responsible for the formation of the Moderate Liberal Party, and the key role they then played in it, may be construed as an effort by Arabs to assert themselves politically as a national group, there was no ideological basis to this mobilization that would substantiate an Arab political movement. On the whole, Arab deputies remained divided in lending support to the CUP. In March 1911 a vote was taken on a motion by Lütfi Fikri challenging Grand Vizier İbrahim Hakkı Pasha on a cabinet decision that called for an extension of martial law in İstanbul. Of 38 nonabstaining Arab deputies, 19 voted in support of the government and 19 against it in a total tally of 112 to 62 in favor of the cabinet decision. Clearly, many deputies were shifting to the opposition, but the Arab contingent remained politically divided. Of the Arab deputies whose political inclinations can be identified at this juncture, Sabine Prätor classifies 33 Arab deputies as supporting the CUP and 25 as having joined the opposition.
During the 1909–10 and 1910–11 annual parliamentary sessions three issues of imperial significance concerned the Arab provinces directly: the Lynch concession, Zionist settlement, and the war with Italy over Libya. In deliberations on all three issues Arab deputies, both from the ranks of the CUP and those who identified with the opposition, participated extensively, as the questions bore upon their constituencies directly or indirectly. More than to the consolidation of discernible Arab collective interests, these issues pointed to the continued diversity of opinion among Arabs. The beginning of the creation of an Arab party group during the first crisis was undercut by the later growth of ideological polarization.
The Lynch Concession
The government’s plan to offer a commercial concession to a foreign enterprise in Iraq triggered a political crisis that pitted Iraqi and a number of other Arab deputies against the government and culminated in the resignation of Grand Vizier Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha. A British navigation company, Lynch Brothers, had operated on the Tigris since 1839. More than a commercial venture, the Lynch Company signified Britain’s interests in this critical region between its Egyptian and Indian possessions. Toward the end of 1909 the Ottoman government considered the proposed merger of the Ottoman Hamidiye Company (also operating on the Tigris) with Lynch, which would have given the latter a long-term monopoly over river transportation. The Unionists for the most part favored the merger in the hope of receiving a much-needed loan from the British government in return for the concession. Some Arab deputies interpreted this as a lack of governmental concern for the empire’s Arab territories. They opposed the expansion of British influence in the area, which would not only undermine local trade but also expose the region further to the Anglo-German rivalry in that part of the empire.
Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha pressed for the endorsement of the merger. Earlier in his career Hüseyin Hilmi had served as mutasarrıf in Karak and in Nablus. In 1898 he had been sent to Yemen to undertake reforms and establish government authority. He did not distinguish himself and was removed from that post in 1902. Immediately following this inglorious service he was appointed inspector of Rumelia. The Arabic Al-khilafa (London) had expressed astonishment about his new appointment and written that Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha’s governorship in Yemen was clearly responsible for the worsening of the situation in that troubled province. The perception of disservice in the Arab provinces may have reinforced Arab opposition to him.
Hilmi Pasha was only implementing the Committee’s decision. The CUP’s material need for loans and the psychological need for the political support of the liberal European powers were such that it was willing to recognize the British monopoly in the two rivers, which already existed de facto, in return for closer relations. The Committee failed to predict the reaction of local elements, whose economic and political interests the concession jeopardized. By acting in the face of local demands the government not only allowed a political issue to manifest itself as a national one but also set a precedent for Britain to aggravate such differences in an ethnically divisive direction. The concession was opposed by Iraqi deputies, Unionist and non-Unionist alike, including Tanin’s Babanzade İsmail Hakkı. All but four Arab deputies abstained in the vote of confidence that the Chamber granted Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha. Despite the vote in his favor, the grand vizier resigned his post. Mahmud Shawkat Pasha, an Iraqi himself and like many officers not a friend of Britain, most likely threw his weight for Hüseyin Hilmi’s resignation following the vote.
There was a growing need in the CUP for a grand vizier who was better versed in foreign affairs and someone who could accommodate the will of the Committee and the quest of the army, led by Mahmud Shawkat Pasha, for a greater share of political power. The choice fell on İbrahim Hakkı Pasha, who was serving as ambassador in Rome. Having received his education in the Mülkiye and served in several diplomatic and administrative posts, he offered wide experience and promise to deal with pressing issues confronting the government such as the search for loans, the related Lynch question, and insurgency in different parts of the empire. İbrahim Hakkı had worked on commissions that regulated commercial and diplomatic relations with foreign countries before serving in Young Turk cabinets as minister of education and later minister of the interior. In his new cabinet he appointed Mahmud Shawkat as the minister of war. İbrahim Hakkı’s first task was to reverse his predecessor’s decision in the Lynch affair.
The crisis over the Lynch concession lasted only two weeks, and when it ended the initiative for merger was scrapped. The crisis revealed much about the state of imperial politics. It pointed to the CUP’s ineptitude in formulating policy and judging local reaction. It thus demonstrated that the CUP’s control over both the central and provincial government was incomplete. The Lynch affair was the first time that a local issue was vigorously pressed against the will of the government in the Chamber. There was remarkable unity against the measure in Iraq. The landlords, the merchants, the tribes, Christians, Jews, Arabs, Kurds, Turks, and also the local Committees of Union and Progress all opposed the measure. The Lynch affair gave the fledgling decentralists the opportunity to assert themselves. Future parliamentary leaders of the opposition, such as Lütfi Fikri and Rıza Nur, jumped on the bandwagon. Finally, the Lynch affair revealed that other modes of participatory politics could transcend Parliament. This would not be the first time that a CUP-led vote of confidence failed to forestall a political crisis in the face of extraparliamentary pressures. Local rallies and a petition campaign backed by Iraqi as well as overlapping contingents of Arab and decentralist deputies ultimately obstructed the concession. İstanbul had no choice but respond to pressures from the widening public realm. Interestingly, the Arab deputies would not display similar unanimity in Parliament again. The Lynch crisis developed immediately before the crystallization of parliamentary opposition. Though it partly explains the propensity of the Arabs to join the Moderate Liberals, once ideological divisions between the centralists and the decentralists started to take shape, future political divisions followed those lines.
The second parliamentary showdown between the CUP and its opposition occurred in the spring of 1911. The decentralist opposition launched a frontal attack against the CUP-controlled government by bringing to the agenda the sensitive issue of Zionist settlement, which closely concerned segments of the Arab constituency. The budget discussions, in the context of which the Zionist issue was broached, became also the forum in which Turkish-Arab tensions, concurrently unleashed in the press, were voiced.
At the end of 1910 an article by the owner of the İstanbul daily Al-‘arab, Ubeydullah (deputy for the Anatolian province of Aydın), used language offensive to the Arabs while discussing the rebellion in Asir. Immediately picked up by the increasingly vocal opposition press, this particular article reverberated widely in the Arab provinces. Sharif Husayn, who was waging the war in Asir against Idrisi, expressed his concerns about the article, and the government had to send assurances that Ubeydullah was properly advised. The opposition press in Beirut and Damascus made the article the launching pad of a systematic antigovernment campaign in an anti-Turkish idiom. The first outburst appeared in ‘Abd al-Ghani al-‘Uraysi’s Al-mufid in Beirut in the form of an anti-Turkish poem. Alarmed by the divisive language, the Ministry of the Interior communicated to the provinces that similar publications should be prevented. It also dispatched to Beirut an official, who spoke Arabic and was expected to render useful service in ending the dispute. As the Damascus governor Galib Bey reported after five months of this press campaign, some papers had taken it upon themselves to promote the “separation of elements” (i.e., Arab and Turk) by sowing discord and little could be done with the existing press law to suppress such action.
Other factors contributed to making an assault against the government particularly opportune in the first months of 1911. The winter had been a particularly severe one, especially in northern Syria, causing much suffering and inducing the tribes to raid villages and towns. More relevant to the issue of Jewish settlements, reports from Jerusalem and Beirut had raised alarm about some families selling land to Jewish immigrants, on which large-scale construction was rumored to be taking place.
In the spring of 1911 the deliberations on the budget provided the opposition with an opportunity to embark on a multifaceted attack on the CUP government. On 25 February ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Zahrawi took the floor to denounce salary increases endorsed in Parliament for some high officials. He dwelled on a proposed increase for the salary of the secretary of the Chamber of Notables and pointed to the wide discrepancy in pay between the highest and lower officials. He concluded that a certain lower-level secretary in the same Chamber, “from the Arab nation that has no representatives in the offices of government,” was being paid less than his colleagues. This was the first assertion in Parliament that Arabs were underrepresented and underprivileged in state offices, indeed in Parliament itself. During the budget talks the ultimate concern was with finances and these intimations of alleged discrimination were not addressed.
Two sessions later, opposition deputies Lütfi Fikri and İsmail Hakkı (Gümülcine) accused the Unionist government of operating under the influence of Zionists in concluding certain loan agreements and favoring Jews with alleged links to Zionism when granting economic concessions. İsmail Hakkı referred to Zionism as an appalling malady in the internal politics of the state and went on to describe the goals of Zionism as the establishment of a state extending from Palestine to Mesopotamia through a systematic increase of the number of Jews in those regions.
The opposition’s charges were taken up on the one hand by the Jewish deputies, and on the other by Minister of the Interior Talat and Grand Vizier İbrahim Hakkı Pasha. The Jewish deputies rejected the claim that there was an attempt to establish a Jewish government and disavowed any links between Ottoman Jewry and the Zionists. The ministers disclaimed the alleged links of the implicated Ottoman Jews with Zionism. The Arab deputies remained passive during the discussion. The brief interjections by two deputies, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Yusuf (Damascus) and Ruhi al-Khalidi (Jerusalem), served to discredit the arguments of the opposition deputies. But when Ubeydullah, the deputy from Aydın, who had been tainted by his derogatory remarks about Arabs in his Al-‘arab, accused the opposition of being motivated by spite, four Arab deputies—Zahrawi, Khalid al-Barazi (Hama), ‘Abd al-Mahdi (Karbala), and Rida al-Sulh (Beirut)—rallied to the opposition’s support and threatened to leave the floor unless Ubeydullah retracted his words. “We will leave,” al-Sulh declared, “so that you can go ahead and insult the Arabs now.”
On the whole, during this first debate about Zionism, the division of the Arab deputies between the government and the opposition remained the rule. Nevertheless, the parliamentary debate highlighted the Zionist issue, and more attention was paid to it in the Arab provinces in its wake. Palestinian Arabs sent telegrams to Parliament asking for a halt to Jewish immigration. The press took a keener interest in the issue. For the first time a work written by an Arab, Najib Nassar, on Zionism appeared in Haifa warning of the dangers of Jewish immigration and urging the people to assume greater responsibility to stop the Zionist tide. This increase in public awareness of Zionism led the Arab deputies to take a clear position in the question of Zionist immigration and land purchase. Shukri al-‘Asali, who had carried out an anti-Zionist campaign as kaymakam of Nazareth and was elected to Parliament in the Damascus by-election as these debates were taking place in İstanbul, joined al-Sulh and al-Khalidi in this effort.
In May 1911 the Arab deputies brought the issue of Zionism to the Chamber during the deliberations on the budget of the Ministry of the Interior. On 16 May Ruhi al-Khalidi took the floor expressing his wish to hear the government’s position on an “internal issue,” namely Zionism, before the budget negotiations started. He addressed how the Jews had settled in Palestine and acquired property despite legal prohibitions and maintained that this had been possible because of the officials’ corruption. He proceeded with an extended lecture on Zionism. Even though such a lengthy discourse was out of place in the context of the budget talks, his account was heard with interest. The floor, betraying its ignorance on the subject, urged al-Khalidi on as he talked about the difference between Zionism and Semitism, the different origins of Jews, the formation of the first colonies by Russian Jews in Jaffa, Herzl’s and Mendelsohn’s theories, and so on. He also read various telegrams from Ottoman Jewish leaders and societies denouncing Zionism. He cited biblical verses that depicted Palestine as the Jewish promised land, drawing criticism from the Jewish deputies.
Khalidi was followed by Sa‘id al-Husayni, who dwelled on Jewish land purchases in Jerusalem and urged the government to take more effective measures against Jewish land acquisition. When it was Shukri al-‘Asali’s turn, he proceeded with the same kind of historical introduction to Zionism as al-Khalidi’s. Claiming to speak on the basis of his firsthand experience and investigations, he asserted that three-fourths of Tiberias and one-fourth of Haifa had been acquired by Jews. He accused the government of indifference and of yielding even strategic sites to them. Talat responded that Jews were entitled to buy property anywhere in the empire except in the Hijaz.
The speeches of the Arab deputies did not create the desired alarm. An Albanian deputy, Hafız İbrahim (İpek), raised objections about procedure and complained that the deputies should not be allowed to make speeches on whatever matter crossed their minds. He said that the question of the Jews was neither novel nor as alarming as presented. He scoffed at the notion that “one hundred thousand Jews who have come to Jerusalem will conquer Syria and Iraq.” According to Hafız İbrahim, the Jews were taking over not territories but the economy, as they had done even in Britain, and added that all of Salonika’s trade was in their hands. Dismissing Rida al-Sulh’s attempts to remind him that the Salonika Jews were not foreigners, he pointed to the fact that the trade of Beirut was also in the hands of foreigners. Instead of resenting the foreigners, he concluded, the Ottomans should try to reach their standards.
The discussion on Zionism came to an abrupt halt and the Chamber proceeded to other matters. The next day, apparently swayed by the representatives of the Zionist movement in İstanbul, the Bulgarian deputy Dimitri Vlahof took the floor to speak about the potential economic benefits of Jewish immigration. His statements, at times factually incorrect, met with the protests of Arab deputies. Yet the Arabs were not able to pursue the issue further and apply pressures on the government. The deliberations on Zionism dissipated amidst the broader issue of the budget negotiations.
The unanimity that the Arab deputies had displayed in the Lynch affair was missing during the debates on Zionism, when the battle lines between the centralists and the decentralists were drawn more sharply. Decentralist Arab deputies strengthened the opposition’s assault through periodic outbursts. No sooner had al-‘Asali entered Parliament than he took up the theme of discrimination that had been broached by al-Zahrawi in more militant terms. He decried Arab underrepresentation in state offices, disagreed with the proposition that there was a shortage of properly trained Arabs, and maintained that being Arab was the main reason for rejection when applying for a government post. He demanded legal regulations to ensure the appointment of Arabs to official posts.
These proceedings in Parliament should be viewed against the background of the articulation of the decentralist agenda in an Arabist idiom outside of Parliament. The press articles in Beiruti and, to a lesser extent, Damascene papers advanced similar demands for upholding Arab interests. Accusations and counteraccusations between the Unionist and the Arabist press started in November 1910 and continued through the entire duration of the parliamentary debates on the budget, Arab discrimination, and Zionism. This period also witnessed a renewed effort to constitute an Arab caucus in Parliament. A meeting was held in the home of Sayyid Talib, one of the decentralist leaders in Parliament and later outside it, with the participation of the majority of Arab deputies. Presumably, one initiative that came out of this organizational activity was a letter that was secretly relayed to Sharif Husayn of Mecca imploring him to assume the leadership of an anti-Turkish Arab movement.
The deputy governor in Beirut communicated to İstanbul in April his apprehensions about the growing rancor in the press. He impressed on the government that “up to now such national conflict would have been unimaginable here.” He also reported on a meeting he arranged with the owners of local newspapers. The journalists blamed the CUP for the animosity and stated that they were simply responding to the accusations of Turkish papers. The deputy governor expressed concern about foreigners seizing the opportunity to create further division. He urged the Ottoman navy to visit Beirut “to confirm bonds.” The Ministry of the Interior replied that a delegation would be sent at the end of the parliamentary session. The despatch of this delegation would have to wait until the election campaign of the following year.
Italy’s declaration of war against the Ottoman government in September 1911 broke the quiet on the international front, jolting the Ottoman government and public opinion. Arab deputies and the opposition accused the cabinet of neglect both in its appraisal of Italian foreign policy and in securing the defense of the Libyan provinces. İstanbul had recalled the Tripoli commander İbrahim Pasha and moved troops and ammunition from Libya for use against the Yemen rebellion. The government came under particularly heavy attack from the Libyan deputies. Foreign invasion of provinces where Ottoman sovereignty had never been disputed and the population was exclusively Muslim had a profound psychological effect on the government and the people of the empire.
İstanbul’s concern with domestic political issues and provincial unrest rendered Libya vulnerable to attack from Italy, which had been waiting for the opportune moment to join the colonial scramble. Despite Italy’s apparent military superiority and tactical advantages, the Ottoman government fought Italian aggression with all resources that were available. The most promising and best-trained officers, including Enver and Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk), were sent to Libya. Since Italian naval superiority hampered the mobilization of troops in the Mediterranean and the Egyptian administration did not allow troop movements through Egypt, Libyan militias and tribal forces played the leading role in the fight against the Italians. İstanbul engaged in a sustained effort to preclude Italian annexation, but it failed as a result of a more ominous threat from the Balkan countries in the fall of 1912.
The argument that the Unionist government attached little importance to the Arab provinces and hence dismissed Libya too easily is not convincing. A corollary of this view holds that the Italian War was an eye-opener for Arabs who after 1911 concluded that a government dominated by Turks would sooner or later dispense with the Arab regions of the empire; thus were the Arabs driven to autonomist, if not separatist, programs. A more plausible argument maintains that the Italian War showed that the Ottoman Empire could no longer realistically defend itself against even the weaker European states, and that at a time of growing tensions between European coalitions an isolated Ottoman Empire would either perish or diminish. Therefore, some Arabs came to the conclusion that independence from İstanbul might spare them this grim eventuality.
The Italian crisis had a unifying effect at the beginning. The unwarranted aggression galvanized Muslim Ottoman public opinion and rallied Muslims to the defense of the caliphate. The Revue du Monde Musulman reported that the Arabs were the first ones to forget their hatred of the Turks and that the CUP was actually able to profit from the war to maintain its position of power at a time of mounting opposition within Parliament and outside. The expression of support from around the empire was overwhelming. From Iraqi and Syrian tribes (including the Rwala shaykh who was reported to command 20,000 cavalry) to a retired brigadier in Aleppo, from Kurdish leader Seyyid Abdülkadir to Algerian and Tunisian immigrants in Syria, thousands of Ottomans volunteered to actively join the fight. In Baghdad large crowds gathered in front of the town hall while leading religious scholars pledged material support by forming commissions to recruit volunteers and to raise funds. There were donation drives in Acre and Tripoli (Syria). Progovernment Druze chief Shakib Arslan’s patriotic appeals echoed in the poetic rhetoric on Islamic bonds among the people of Kirkuk in Kurdish Iraq. A telegram of support and sympathy from Baghdad decried the “unseemly attack at a time when all were striving in the path of civilization irrespective of nationality [cins] or religion.”
İstanbul tried to subdue this initial outburst of enthusiasm, commending the patriotic sentiments while at the same time conveying the impression that the situation was under control. The antigovernment criticism in Parliament seemed out of touch with the sentiments pouring into the capital. In general, the opposition’s momentum dissipated in the face of the national emergency. Popular Ottomanist sentiments aroused by the war convinced the CUP to prevail upon Grand Vizier Said Pasha, who had replaced İbrahim Hakkı at the outbreak of war, to maneuver for early elections.
Unrest in the Arab Provinces
In 1910 and 1911, despite a respite from international complications, domestic insurgency was on the rise in the empire’s outlying areas for a variety of reasons: the government’s unmistakable intent to establish direct authority throughout the empire in contrast to its insufficient administrative, financial, and military resources; the general disillusionment with the new regime’s inability to bring about fundamental social change; and misinterpretation of the now widely preached concept of “liberty.” The radical political transformation in the Balkans kindled nationalist sentiments that bore the greatest responsibility for the uprisings in Albania and Crete in the first half of 1910. In the Arab East, rebellions were stimulated by the local chiefs’ fear of the extension of central authority.
The major centers of trouble in 1910 and 1911 were in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula. Uprisings broke out in mountain strongholds, areas where nomadic tribes lived, and regions furthest removed from the reach of the central government. Local warfare and insurrections were not new in these regions, but in 1910 and 1911 several erupted simultaneously. In southern Syria and the Hijaz the railway connecting Damascus and Medina, in operation since the fall of 1908, altered relations among local political factions and between them and the government. In these two years İstanbul had to deal with disturbances in Hawran and East Jordan, Asir, Najd, and Yemen.
The insurgencies were isolated and fomented by local leaders in reaction to increased central controls that came in the form of census registration, taxation, and the railway. These autonomist uprisings were quite different from the Balkan rebellions in substance and rhetoric, despite the tendency of histories oriented on future nation-states to interpret them as nationalist uprisings or reactions to the CUP’s racialist policies. The general state of anarchy in these regions placed a major burden on the financial and military resources of the government. It also sustained the army’s predominant role established in April 1909.
The Hawran–East Jordan region was the scene of successive uprisings in 1910 and 1911. The Druze had long enjoyed autonomy in the mountain districts of Hawran. Their sporadic local revolts had been brought under control at the end of 1909. In the summer of 1910 they raided the settled areas. İstanbul sent forces under the command of Faruq Sami Pasha, a high-ranking Arab general, a member of the Senate, and former minister of the gendarmery, to quell the rising. The dispatch of an Arab commander was meant to counter the rhetoric on the “Turkishness” of the government that accompanied these movements and counterbalance the use of predominantly Turkish troops. Sami Pasha next turned his attention to the uprising in Transjordan, where the Beduin between Amman and Maan were in arms, with the help of the Druze. The apparent reason for the uprising was the nonpayment to the tribes of their traditional subsidies for the protection of the roads and the pilgrims. The Beduin destroyed a station on the Hijaz Railway, as the new railway made the region easier to access and led to complacency and procrastination in the payment of subsidies. More important, the railway was the symbol of central control in the region. The disturbances in Hawran and East Jordan resulted in the dismissal of Syria’s governor, İsmail Fazıl, allegedly for his failure to pay the tribes the usual protection money. The governor denied the charges and contended that the real reason behind the uprising was the attempts to register the Beduin for purposes of a census. Following Sami Pasha’s Hawran expedition there was greater attention on the part of the government to improving conditions in the region. New roads and schools were built, such that the American consul could report that “a new and brighter day seems to be dawning in the trans-Jordan country.” However, rebels were severely punished, and in the spring of 1911 several Druze chiefs were executed. Similarly, many Beduin were court-martialed and their leaders hanged. Yet, the government’s resumption of payments to certain tribes showed that complete control was not established.
There were pockets of unrest in Asir, in Eastern Najd under the control of the Sa‘ud family, and in Yemen under the domination of the rebellious Imam Yahya. The regime was aware that a more active policy had to be pursued in the Arabian Peninsula in order to bring the area under central control, even though Ibn Rashid of Najd and Sharif Husayn of Mecca were loyal to the government. In 1910 İstanbul enhanced its military presence and strengthened the administration in northern Hijaz (see chapter 5). To implement İstanbul’s policies in the interior of the Peninsula, the government relied on the Sharif of Mecca. Sharif Husayn conducted a successful expedition against Ibn Sa‘ud, who sought to extend his sphere of influence from Riyadh westward. The first major threat to government authority and to the Sharif’s position in the Hijaz, however, came in 1911 from Idrisi of Asir. Encouraged by the apparent helplessness of the government against Imam Yahya of Yemen, assisted militarily by Italy, and espousing a messianic religious message, Idrisi led the tribes of Asir to rebellion. Combined sharifian and Ottoman military forces confronted the rebels and were able, after initial setbacks and several months of fighting, to subjugate them.
Further south, in Yemen, Imam Yahya enjoyed the allegiance of the Shiite population as the Zaydi imam and successfully challenged central authority. At the end of 1910 Yahya blocked the Hodeida-Sana road and declared a holy war against the Ottomans. The government resolved to send a major force under Ahmed İzzet Pasha, who set out from İstanbul in February 1911. The government forces failed to overcome Yahya. In October 1911 an agreement had to be signed which not only gave a measure of autonomy and financial concessions to Yahya in exchange for ending his revolt and declaring loyalty to the sultan, but also allowed him to apply Zaydi legal practices free of government judicial controls. Such an arrangement further augmented Yahya’s religious-political prestige and power in Yemen, but established long-lasting quiet in the region.
In Yemen and Asir traditional leaders aimed at carving out spheres of influence to resist the centralizing measures of the government. The Syrian uprisings were triggered by the implementation of a government policy that appeared to threaten the local leaders’ established privileges. Nevertheless, the British consul in Jidda reported at the height of disturbances in the Peninsula that “coffee house politicians of Jidda talk about Yemen and Asir rebellions as being a great nationalist Arab movement.” European observers tended to either see “hidden nationalist movements” of the Balkan kind in these revolts or purposefully misinterpret them as nationalist uprisings. Tanin criticized in July 1910 the outlandish suggestion of the European press that the Ottoman Arabs were ready to join forces with the rebels of Albania in order to rid themselves of the Turkish yoke.
More significantly for the empire (and not least because of its implications for intra-Muslim, and hence Arab-Turkish, relations) the government confronted in Albania for the first time a nationalist movement in which its Muslim subjects were involved. In 1910 and 1911 major army units had to be dispatched to suppress a series of uprisings and disarm the people. Despite religious, regional, and socioeconomic differences, the people of Albania, in the midst of Balkan nation-states that had recently separated from the empire, had developed a national consciousness nourished by a literary revival and fostered by the Albanian intelligentsia. Schemes of an independent Albanian identity to be constituted on the basis of common language had been discussed in Great Power councils since the end of the nineteenth century. The Albanians elicited many concessions from İstanbul in the realms of taxation, education, and administration, and they secured a degree of autonomy that barely fell short of national independence by the end of 1911. For most observers, it was easy to extrapolate from the Albanian situation that other Muslim groups in the empire harbored similar political ambitions and were engaging in a struggle to attain them. The example of and association with their Albanian counterparts must have in fact influenced the Arab deputies in İstanbul. Yet during these years Arab leaders both in İstanbul and Syria saw the uprisings in different Arab regions for exactly what they were, namely the pursuit of local autonomy. In the spring of 1911 the execution of Beduins brought from Karak to Damascus met with the general approval of Arab notables.
Several months after the suppression of the Syrian revolts, al-‘Asali criticized the government for not fulfilling its promises of reform in the tribal areas of Syria. He argued that the resentment against the government could be eliminated by extending an amnesty to all those imprisoned during the suppression of the revolts. This proposal was opposed even by Al-mufid, the leading Arabist-decentralist paper in Beirut, which saw such a measure as contrary to administrative wisdom. The Al-mufid author who wrote under a pseudonym attacked the local notables for inciting the people to revolt and drew on the example of the British suppression of the Boers to argue that reforms would have to be fully enacted before the prison doors can be opened.
In 1910 and 1911 the Ottoman government pursued an especially vigorous policy of fighting revolts in the Arab provinces. The disturbances had been chronic in many areas and kept under control with difficulty. In the absence of diversions abroad, İstanbul exerted its energies to settle local insurgencies and remove obstacles to administrative centralization. The regime perceived no imminent threats from nationalist movements as had been the case in Albania, but was increasingly concerned about foreign machinations and penetration in the outlying areas through cooperation with local leaders. İstanbul was specifically suspicious of British designs around the Persian Gulf, Italian interference in the Red Sea, and provocations by the government of Egypt.
In May 1911 Sultan Reşad embarked on a trip to the European provinces for a display of state authority in the region. He led the Friday prayer on June 16 on the plains of Kosova, where his ancestors had routed the Serbs in 1389. The government took the occasion of his return to stage a festive display of Ottomanist solidarity, which was meant not only to be a gesture of reconciliation but also to impress on the elements of the growing Arab opposition the aura of imperial pomp in the capital. Stressing that it was important that they witness Ottoman might and benevolence, the Ministry of the Interior asked the Syria province that the Beduin shaykhs and Druze chiefs, as well as “the young men belonging to the press,” accompany the mutasarrıf of Hawran to İstanbul to take part in the reception ceremony of the sultan.
A student of Arab nationalism writes: “[The Young Turks] favored a secular state, and one based on Turkish rather than Ottoman nationalism.…After the Young Turk revolt the Turks came to see themselves as a master race and sought to impose a Turkish imprint on the minority peoples.” Such widely accepted generalizations offer an inaccurate appraisal of Young Turk policies and obscure the political and social realities of the day. Even in a recent and very significant contribution to the new thinking on the linkages of a segment of the Arab elite to the Ottoman center it is not unusual to encounter the persisting generalizations: “The Young Turks, whose regime followed the 1908 coup in Anatolia, accelerated the education program while implementing their policy of Turkification of the non-Turkish population via schools.” The statement suggests the existence of one distinct “Young Turk regime” associated with predominantly Turkish Anatolia (the Balkans would have been more accurately singled out as the region where the Young Turks organized and the revolution broke out) and bent on utilizing education first and foremost as indoctrination in the implementation of a deliberate Turkification program. Indeed, any campaign aimed at Turkification would have had to include Turks as well, if Turkification meant more than teaching the language, as those who spoke Turkish hardly perceived themselves as an ethnic community.
In the new game of politics introduced by the parliamentary regime, opposition to government came to be expressed in an anti-Turkish idiom by different sectors of the Arab population. The “establishment” came to be defined as Turkish, regardless of the fact that many Arabs were part of it or supported it. Yet the CUP’s Arab critics were not motivated by an Arab nationalist ideology in accusing the CUP of Turkification, just as the CUP itself had not conceived of Turkish nationalism as a politically viable alternative to Ottomanism.
The question of Turkification was an extension of the centralization-decentralization debate and became an issue when Hamidian autocracy crumbled and the social groups dominating the revolutionary government prepared to establish a centralized government buttressed by a national economy. Although the decentralists submitted to the CUP in 1908, they became visible again as many deputies of the new Parliament came to support their program. The decentralists continued to favor diminished state control in the provinces and cut across all religious and ethnic groups. Those Arabs who found the centralizing policies of the CUP unpalatable for political, socioeconomic, or cultural reasons increasingly identified with the decentralist camp and found in the charges of Turkification a weapon to fight Unionist centralization and to produce a shift in the pro-CUP Arab public opinion. The Unionists soon saw that their version of Ottomanism, which presumed the ascendancy of a monolithic CUP, could not be made acceptable to all Ottomans merely by making constitutional and parliamentary principles an integral part of the Ottomanist package. The direction the Committee took was toward accommodating those “elements” (anasır) that did not harbor a political allegiance other than to the Ottoman state. During the 1910 convention of the CUP, Talat, as the minister of the interior, acknowledged that securing the allegiance of the non-Muslims to the Ottoman state had not been possible. A consequence of this admission would be the future policy of according greater emphasis to Islam.
The loss of Libya influenced the CUP’s redefinition of Ottomanism in a direction that gave primacy to the Muslims of the empire. İbrahim Hakkı Pasha expressed concern about “relinquishing an Arab province to a Christian power” and appearing to neglect “the interests of other races of the empire.” But İbrahim Hakkı and other Unionists were more concerned about the general effect of the annexation of Tripoli and Benghazi on the CUP’s centralization policy. They were sensitive not just to the Arab reaction but to that of all Ottomans. The Arab press exploited the Ottoman loss of Libya in order to weaken the CUP in the Arab provinces. In turn, when Italy decided to bomb eastern Mediterranean ports with the purpose of forcing the Ottoman government to yield in Libya, the CUP reinforced its position by availing of emergency measures and also by harnessing pro-unity sentiments arising from the immediate foreign threat. The most important outcome of the loss of Libya was that it highlighted the failure of Unionist policies of centralization, the justification for which had been the preservation of the empire’s territorial integrity.
By 1911 the CUP-backed government in İstanbul encountered vigorous organized opposition, in which many Arabs participated both inside and outside Parliament. Even though Arabist propaganda imparted strength to the decentralist agenda, the following contemporary appraisal of Arab nationalism and Turkish-Arab relations by the German consul in Beirut has a ring of truth about it: “A general Arab Question exists only in the heads of philologically-minded Orient-politicians who are charmed by the idea of a future Arabic empire because of their sympathies towards the Arabic language and poetry.…The racial antipathy that the Arab feels towards the Turk has only as much political importance as do the various Arab uprisings, namely none.”
1. Ahmad describes the Unionists as “representatives of the provincial petty bourgeoisie.” Though the Unionists were proponents of administrative centralization and wished to exercise control over state organs, they were suspicious of “cosmopolitan İstanbul.” “Vanguard of a Nascent Bourgeoisie: The Social and Economic Policy of the Young Turks, 1908–1918,” in Türkiye’nin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, 1071–1920, ed. Osman Okyar and Halil İnalcık (Ankara: Meteksan, 1980), 336. [BACK]
2. William Miller, The Ottoman Empire, 1801–1913 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913), 495. [BACK]
3. Zeine, Arab Nationalism, 76. [BACK]
4. PRO. FO 371/662/17914. Lowther to Grey, no. 584 (Therapia, 21 July 1909). [BACK]
5. Tanin, 31 August 1909. [BACK]
6. Resignations, reelections, and variant names in the records for the same individuals complicate the tally. Feroz Ahmad and Dankwart Rustow summarized data on Ottoman parliaments provided by previous studies and contributed considerable further useful, though still inconclusive, information to the existing data. “İkinci Meşrutiyet Döneminde Meclisler, 1908–1918,” in Güney-Doğu Avrupa Araştırmaları Dergisi 4–5 (1976): 247–48. See also Zeine, Arab Nationalism, 71–72. Prätor has worked with Ahmad and Rustow’s data pertaining to the Arab provinces and offered some amendments and further statistical analysis. See Prätor, 37–48. [BACK]
7. According to Fargo, there were 152 Turkish and 50 Arab deputies. See Fargo, 205. [BACK]
8. Especially noteworthy are the figures supplied by the German consul in Beirut. To refute an article titled “The Turkish Hegemony” by Orientalist D[avis] Trietsch in Osmanischer Lloyd (24 July 1910), Consul Padel analyzed and adjusted existing census data and estimated the number of Turks at 12.1 million and Arabs at 12.6 million. According to Padel’s figures, 9.1 million Turks lived in Anatolia (as opposed to Trietsch’s 7.5 million) and 3 million in the European provinces. 5.6 million Arabs (according to Trietsch, 5 million) lived in Syria and Mesopotamia, 6 million in Arabia, and 1 million in Libya. AA Türkei 165/32. Padel to Bethmann-Hollweg, no. 138 (Beirut, 30 September 1910). The inflated figures for Arabia are consistent with official Ottoman estimates. See Kemal Karpat, Ottoman Population, 1830–1914 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 150. On various other figures on the number of Arabs and Turks, see Zeine, Emergence, 140–43, and Dawn, Ottomanism, 153. [BACK]
9. Karpat, Ottoman Population, 164–68. [BACK]
10. Assignment of parliamentary contingents to regions where an eligible votership did not exist posed a certain incongruity, even in the presence of more or less reliable population estimates. In view of the general disinterest in elections, deputies from many tribal areas could only be “elected” by fiat, as was done in Yemen. [BACK]
11. Syed Ali El-Edroos, The Hashemite Arab Army, 1908–1979 (Amman: The Publishing Committee, 1980), 8. Quoted in Linda L. Layne, “Tribesmen as Citizens: “Primordial Ties” and Democracy in Rural Jordan,” in Elections in the Middle East, ed. Layne (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1987), 114. El-Edroos claims that the Arabs outnumbered Turks three to two (and Layne misquotes him as three to one) in 1908. [BACK]
12. Prätor tabulates ethnic affiliations largely relying on Ahmad and Rustow’s data. See Prätor, 29. [BACK]
13. Prätor, 203. [BACK]
14. Tanin, 31 August 1909. [BACK]
15. Tanin, 8, 10, 15, 16, and 19 April 1910. [BACK]
16. Indeed, even under Abdülhamid, who employed many Arabs in the Palace, Arabs had not “permeated” the bureaucracy that had evolved under the Tanzimat. Ruth Roded, “Ottoman Service as a Vehicle for the Rise of New Upstarts among the Urban Elite Families of Syria in the Last Decades of Ottoman Rule,” Asian and African Studies 17 (1985): 85. [BACK]
17. Tanin, 19 April 1910. [BACK]
18. For this committee’s declaration dated April 1909, see Tunaya, Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler, 1:206–7. [BACK]
19. See Tauber, Emergence, 101–8. [BACK]
20. Masami Arai, Turkish Nationalism in the Young Turk Era (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992), 6–20. [BACK]
21. Orhan Koloğlu, in his preface to Jeltyakov, makes this argument about Young Ottomans (no page number). [BACK]
22. Arai, “The Genç Kalemler and the Young Turks: A Study in Nationalism,” in Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Gelişme Dergisi 12 (1985): 227–30. [BACK]
23. On Akçura, see François Georgeon, Aux Origines du nationalisme turc: Yusuf Akçura (1876–1935) (Paris: ADPF, 1980). [BACK]
24. Jacob M. Landau, Pan-Turkism in Turkey (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1981), 40–41. [BACK]
25. Tevfik Tarık, Muaddel Kanun-u Esasi ve İntihab-ı Mebusan Kanunu (İstanbul: İkbal, 1327 ), 55, 76. [BACK]
26. Tunaya, Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler, 1:66–67. [BACK]
27. Knut Eriksen, Andreas Kazamias, Robin Okey, and Janusz Tomiak, “Governments and the Education of Non-Dominant Ethnic Groups in Comparative Perspective,” in Schooling, Educational Policy and Ethnic Identity, ed. Tomiak (New York: New York University Press, 1991), 392–93. [BACK]
28. Ibid., 395. [BACK]
29. Buzpınar, 132. [BACK]
30. Hüseyin Cahid mentioned that theoretically, and from the point of view of the constitution, the Ministry of Justice was right in implementing Turkish, but “we should confess that a state cannot be administered with theories.” Tanin, 11 November 1909; also 19 April 1910. [BACK]
31. Tanin, 11 February 1911. [BACK]
32. Prätor, 167–68. [BACK]
33. Prätor, 164–65, 169. [BACK]
34. Ergin, 2:617; Çankaya, 93–95. [BACK]
35. Hobsbawm, 117. [BACK]
36. 25 February 1909. [BACK]
37. This concern is explicitly voiced by Hüseyin Cahid in his article on the language of the courts. Tanin, 11 November 1909. [BACK]
38. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Lowther, no. 28 (Damascus, 12 July 1910). [BACK]
39. Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978), 171. [BACK]
40. BBA. DH-SYS 64/33. Aleppines to the Grand Vizier and the Ministry of the Interior (6 February 1911). [BACK]
41. BBA. DH-MTV 19/20. Deputy Governor Cemal to the Ministry of the Interior (Aleppo, 13 September 1911). These documents suggest that prostitution by non-Muslim women was tolerated in Aleppo. [BACK]
42. Prätor, 280. [BACK]
43. BBA. DH-MTV 21–1/51. Sa‘id Mu’ayyad al-‘Azm and associates to the Ministry of the Interior (Damascus, 10 April 1911). [BACK]
44. BBA. DH-MTV 6–2/4. The Ministry of the Interior to the Muhafız of Medina (15 April 1911). [BACK]
45. BBA. DH-SYS 64/27 (15 April 1911). [BACK]
46. Ahmad, Young Turks, 54. [BACK]
47. Tunaya, Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler, 1:80. [BACK]
48. For the party’s declaration to this effect, see Tunaya, Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler, 1:217. [BACK]
49. Ibid., 151–52, 170. İsmail Kemal played a leading role in the Albanian movement. See The Memoirs of İsmail Kemal Bey (London, 1920). [BACK]
50. Tunaya, Türkiye’de Siyasal Partiler, 1:214–17. [BACK]
51. “Although a constitutional government necessitates the equal treatment of all Ottoman classes (sunuf ), the Party will seek special legislation that will enable the administration of those regions backward in their social and material conditions and inhabited by nomadic tribes until such people are settled and are induced to fulfill their civil and political obligations.” [BACK]
52. Ahmad, Young Turks, 83. [BACK]
53. Tunaya, Siyasi, 295–96. Tunaya renders the Jerusalem deputy as Sa‘id. While Sa‘id al-Husayni is the likely signatory because of his oppositional activity at this stage, Hafiz al-Sa‘id was another Jerusalem deputy. [BACK]
54. Fikri, 34–35. [BACK]
55. Ibid., 25–26. The social composition of these currents, Fikri said, showed variation from one polity to the other. For instance, unlike in Europe, the lower classes [ayak takımı] were conservative in the Ottoman Empire. [BACK]
56. Tunaya, Siyasi, 186–87. [BACK]
57. MMZC, I/3/59, 16 March 1911. [BACK]
58. Prätor, 47. [BACK]
59. Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800–1914 (London and New York: Methuen, 1981), 181. In 1861 Lynch Brothers established the Euphrates & Tigris Steam Navigation Company. Despite the name, the company operated only on the Tigris, as the Euphrates was not navigable. (I thank Professor Roger Owen for this information.) Holt, 253. [BACK]
60. Feroz Ahmad, “Great Britain’s Relations with the Young Turks, 1908–1914,” Middle Eastern Studies 2 (1966): 317–18. [BACK]
61. MMZC, I/2/14, 13 December 1909. [BACK]
62. İ. Mahmud Kemal İnal, Osmanlı Devrinde Son Sadrazamlar (İstanbul: Milli Eğitim Matbaası, 1940–1953), 1161–63. [BACK]
63. The vote was 163 to 8. Two Arab deputies (Sulayman Bustani of Beirut and Amir Arslan) voted with the majority, while two others (Shafiq al-Mu’ayyad of Damascus and Haji Sa‘id of Musul) voted against the grand vizier. MMZC, I/2/14, 13 December 1909. [BACK]
64. İnal, 1763–64. [BACK]
65. In his analysis of the incident, Mahmoud Haddad describes the Iraqi reaction as “proto-nationalist.” “Iraq before World War I: A Case of Anti-European Arab Ottomanism,” in Origins of Arab Nationalism, ed. Khalidi et al., 120–29. [BACK]
66. BBA. DH-SYS 57–1/9. Governor of the Hijaz Kamil to the Ministry of the Interior (13 November 1910) and the Grand Vizier to Kamil (6 December 1910). [BACK]
67. See BBA. DH-SYS 57–1/15 for a copy of the poem (7 December 1910). Also see in the same file the Ministry of the Interior to the province of Beirut (8 January 1911). [BACK]
68. BBA. DH-SYS 64/25 (3 May 1911). [BACK]
69. BBA. DH-MTV 52–2/20. Aleppo and Urfa deputies to the Ministry of the Interior (9 February 1911). [BACK]
70. BBA. DH-İ.Um 26/4–8. The Ministry of Imperial Records (Defter-i Hakani) to the Ministry of the Interior (13 September 1910). [BACK]
71. Zahrawi was an âlim who had contributed to the Young Turk agitation in Syria before 1908. On Zahrawi, see Ahmed Tarabein, “ ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Zahrawi: The Career and Thought of an Arab Nationalist,” in Origins of Arab Nationalism, ed. Khalidi et al., 97–119. [BACK]
72. MMZC, I/3/47, 25 February 1911. [BACK]
73. See Neville J. Mandel, The Arabs and Zionism before World War I (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976), 97ff., for a discussion of the parliamentary debates based on information from British diplomatic and Zionist correspondence. See Ali Nejat Ölçen, Osmanlı Meclisi Meb’usanında Kuvvetler Ayırımı ve Siyasal İşkenceler (Ankara: Ayça, 1982), 49–58, for a partial rendering of this debate in modern Turkish. [BACK]
74. MMZC, I/3/49, 1 March 1911. [BACK]
75. See Kayalı, “Jewish Representation in the Ottoman Parliaments,” in The Jews of the Ottoman Empire, ed. Avigdor Levy (Princeton, N.J.: The Darwin Press, 1994), 513–15. [BACK]
76. Mandel, 107. [BACK]
77. Ibid., 107–12. [BACK]
78. MMZC, I/3/99, 16 May 1911. [BACK]
79. Nisim Masliyah (İzmir) said that neither Ottoman nor foreign Jews could be held responsible for what is written in Jewish scriptures. The Torah, he added, was superseded by the Quran. [BACK]
80. See also Mandel, 112–14. [BACK]
81. Ahmad, “Unionist Relations,” 426; Mandel, 114; Ölçen, 57–58. [BACK]
82. MMZC, I/3/100, 17 May 1911. [BACK]
83. MMZC, I/3/68, 29 March 1911. See also Prätor, 203–4. [BACK]
84. Prätor, 43; Tauber, Emergence, 154. [BACK]
85. BBA. DH-SYS 64/26 (8 April 1911). [BACK]
86. Selahaddin, 38. [BACK]
87. The British high commissioner in Egypt, Kitchener, held this view (Dawn, Ottomanism, 62). This helps explain the increased involvement of the British administration in Egypt in the affairs of Syria and Arabia during the next few years. [BACK]
88. 18 (1912): 214, 220. [BACK]
89. ATASE. Italian War, 12/34–35, nos. 3, 7–1, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 20, 24, 37–1 (September–October 1911). [BACK]
90. See, for instance, Mousa, Al-haraka, 27. [BACK]
91. Hüseyin Cahid remarked in October 1909 that Hawran had become quiet without the use of force, thanks to the constitution. Tanin, 25 October 1909. [BACK]
92. On Faruq Sami, see Gövsa, 345. [BACK]
93. US 867.00/307. Vice Consul to Secretary of State (Beirut, 12 August 1910). [BACK]
94. HHS. PA 38/347. Pinter to Aehrenthal (Beirut, 18 October 1910 and 15 December 1910). Also, Ritter von Zepharovich to Aehrenthal (Jerusalem, 17 December 1910). [BACK]
95. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Marling (Damascus, 13 December 1910). [BACK]
96. HHS. PA 38/347. Pinter to Aehrenthal (Beirut, 21 December 1910). [BACK]
97. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Marling (Damascus, 19 November 1910). [BACK]
98. US 867.00/329. Ravndal to Secretary of State (Beirut, 19 December 1910). [BACK]
99. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Lowther (16 March 1911 and 13 July 1911). [BACK]
100. HHS. PA 38/350. Pinter to Aehrenthal (Beirut, 8 February 1911). [BACK]
101. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 141. Sharif Abdullah to Grand Vizier (25 September 1910). See also no. 146. Husayn to Grand Vizier (7 October 1910). [BACK]
102. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 101 (30 May 1911). [BACK]
103. Bayur, 2 (pt. 1): 45. [BACK]
104. Ahmed İzzet Pasha (1864–1937) became war minister in 1912 and served as grand vizier during the Armistice period. [BACK]
105. BBA. BEO Defter 705, no. 89. Grand Vizier Hakkı to the Emirate (19 February 1911). [BACK]
106. Bayur, 2 (pt. 1): 46–47. [BACK]
107. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 30 (9 February 1911). [BACK]
108. AA. Türkei 165/Bd. 33/4. Tschirschky to Bethmann-Hollweg, no. 49 (Vienna, 10 February 1911). [BACK]
109. Tanin, 2 July 1910. [BACK]
110. In 1897, for instance, Russia and Austria discussed the partitioning of the Balkan Peninsula among the Balkan states and the setting up of an Albanian principality (Karal, 152). [BACK]
111. BBA. DH-SYS 60/3. Al-‘Asali to the Ministry of the Interior (15 October 1911). [BACK]
112. BBA. DH-SYS 60/3. Excerpt from Al-mufid of 18 November 1911. [BACK]
113. BBA. BEO 290793 (290672). The Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizier (5 April 1911); AA. Türkei 165/Bd. 33. Clipping from Dresdner Anzeiger, 18 February 1911, “Die Lage in Arabien.” [BACK]
114. BBA. BEO Defter 705, no. 95. Grand Vizier Hakkı Pasha to the Egyptian Commisariat (23 February 1911). The government was of the opinion that the ex-sharif of Mecca ‘Ali Pasha and ‘Izzat Pasha played a role in Egypt to incite the Yemenis to rebellion. [BACK]
115. Bayur, 2 (pt. 1): 38–39. [BACK]
116. BBA. DH-MTV 25/22 (31 April 1911). [BACK]
117. Richard Allen, Imperialism and Nationalism in the Fertile Crescent (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 136. [BACK]
118. Simon, 159. [BACK]
119. In his memoirs Talat Pasha mentions the reluctance of the Christian, specifically Greek, deputies to cooperate with the CUP toward the achievement of the Ottomanist ideal. See H. Cahit Yalçın, ed., Talat Paşa’nın Hatıraları (İstanbul: Bolayır, 1946), 14–15. See also Lewis, 218; Zeine, Arab Nationalism, 76. [BACK]
120. Zeine, Arab Nationalism, 77. [BACK]
121. Ahmad, Young Turks, 93. [BACK]
122. AA. Türkei 165/32. Padel to Bethmann-Hollweg, no. 138 (Beirut, 30 September 1910). [BACK]