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THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION & THE PROBLEM OF BOURGEOIS REVOLUTIONS ÖNDER UÇAR DECEMBER 2010 THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION & THE PROBLEM OF BOURGEOIS REVOLUTIONS A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES OF MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY BY ÖNDER UÇAR IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DECEMBER 2010 Approval of the Graduate School of Social Sciences Prof. Dr. Meliha ALTUNIŞIK Director I certify that this thesis satisfies all the requirements as a thesis for the degree of Master of Science/Arts / Doctor of Philosophy. Prof. Dr. Raşit KAYA Head of Department This is to certify that we have read this thesis and that in our opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Science/Arts/Doctor of Philosophy. Assist. Prof. Dr. E. Attila AYTEKİN Supervisor Examining Committee Members (first name belongs to the chairperson of the jury and the second name belongs to supervisor) Assist. Prof. Dr. Galip YALMAN Assist. Prof. Dr. E. Attila AYTEKİN Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ferdan ERGUT (METU, ADM) (METU, ADM) (METU, HIST) I hereby declare that all information in this document has been obtained and presented in accordance with academic rules and ethical conduct. I also declare that, as required by these rules and conduct, I have fully cited and referenced all material and results that are not original to this work. Name, Last Name: Önder Uçar Signature : iii ABSTRACT THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION & THE PROBLEM OF BOURGEOIS REVOLUTIONS Uçar, Önder M. Sc., Department of Political Science and Public Administration Supervisor: Assist. Prof. Dr. E. Attila Aytekin December 2010, 164 pages This thesis points to the existence of a bourgeois revolution in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Against all approaches of the historiography on the subject which employ outmoded criteria and point to a duality between the moments in 1908 and 1923; it employs contemporary arguments on bourgeois revolutions and argues that the Ottoman Empire witnessed a single revolutionary sequence which occurred between July 1908 and November The thesis also suggests the idea that this single revolutionary sequence of the Ottoman Empire was a bourgeois revolution. Keywords: Revolutionary sequence, bourgeois revolution, the Young Turk Revolution. iv ÖZ JÖN TÜRK DEVRİMİ TARİHYAZIMI & BURJUVA DEVRİMLERİ SORUNSALI Uçar, Önder Yüksek LisansSiyaset Bilimi ve Kamu Yönetimi Bölümü Tez Yöneticisi: Yrd. Doç. Dr. E. Attila Aytekin Aralık 2010, 164 sayfa Bu tez Osmanlı İmparatorluğu tarihinde bir burjuva devriminin varlığını işaret etmektedir. Geçerliliğini kaybetmiş kıstasları kullanan ve 1908 ve 1923 teki momentler arasındaki ikiliğe işaret eden tarih yazımının bütün yaklaşımlarına karşıt olarak, tezde burjuva devrimleri üzerine güncel olan tezler kullanılmış ve Osmanlı İmparatorluğu nun Temmuz 1908 Kasım 1922 arasında gerçekleşen tek bir devrimci süreçten geçtiği iddia edilmektedir. Tezde aynı zamanda bu tek devrimci sürecin bir burjuva devrimi olduğu fikri öne sürülmektedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Devrimci süreç, burjuva devrimi, Jön Türk Devrimi. v To My Family vi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Although this thesis has been written in a short time, it owes a great debt to many people. Above all, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor Assist. Prof. Dr. E. Attila Aytekin, whose lecture inspired my inquiry on the subject, for his support, guidance and patience from the very beginning to the end of the study. This thesis would not come about without the support of my other examining committee members. I am grateful to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ferdan Ergut not only for his invaluable comments but also for his teaching to be more open minded and to have a comparative perspective. I also would like to thank to Assist. Prof. Dr. Galip Yalman, without whose encouragement I could not have tackled with some big questions on the subject. I owe a great debt to some great men; Denizcan Soner, Alper Ömer Yonga, Sertan Kutal Gökçe, Sabit Sağır, Ahmet Borazan, Murat Atak and Kemal Kağan Kurt; none of whom ever told me you are twisting my melon man although I have been blagging their heads for more than ten years. Finally I want to thank to my family. From the beginning to the end of the writing of this thesis, my brother Sencer Uçar played a great part, showed a great patience at home. Also, during my whole education, my mother Selma Uçar never lost her belief in me and always gave her greatest support with an endless love. And I want to commemorate my father Ali Uçar here. I only hope that he will see the first work of his son from somewhere. vii TABLE OF CONTENTS PLAGIARISM... iii ABSTRACT iv ÖZ.. v DEDICATION... vi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS... vii TABLE OF CONTENTS... viii LIST OF TABLES...xii ABBREVATIONS CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION THE DEBATES ON THE REVOLUTION OF 1908 IN TURKEY Continuity Paradigm Modernization Approach World-system Approach Revolutionary Paradigm Incomplete Revolution Complete Revolution CONTEMPORARY ARGUMENTS ON THE CONCEPT BOURGEOIS REVOLUTIONS & THEIR IMPLICATIONS Recent Debates on Bourgeois Revolutions Missed by Turkish Historiography.. 23 viii Bourgeois Revolution Debate: Marxisant Orthodoxy and Revisionist Challenge Reconstruction of Marxisant Paradigm Charles Tilly and the Concept of Revolution David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley: The Critique of Sonderweg Colin Mooers: Historical Comparison and Focus on State Structure Heide Gerstenberger: Transformation to Impersonal Bourgeois State Christopher Hill and the Case of England: An Example to the Transformation of Bourgeois Revolution Concept THE YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION Hamidian Regime: Restoration of Personal Rule Formation of the Challengers Coalition The First Revolutionary Situation and Outcome (July 1908) Anatolian Revolts Macedonia and the Execution of the July 1908 Revolution July 1908-April 1909: From the First Revolutionary Situation to the Second Revolutionary Situation without Outcome: April From the Second Major Revolutionary Situation to the First Coup (April June 1912) Two Coups of the Revolutionary Sequence (June 1912 January 1913) Revolutionary Situation in Albania (1912) Five Years Unionist Regime: War and Reforms (January October 1918) ix Initial Steps and The Revolutionary Situation in Western Thrace Consolidation of CUP Rule Economics Politics: Subsequent Revolutionary Situations Arab Revolt Revolutionary Situations in Caucasian Front The Final Revolutionary Situation Unionist Collapse and Fromation of Ankara Government Ankara Government during the Revolutionary Situation The Leftist Challenge and Repression: Thermidor of the Turkish Revolution ( Winter) The End of Third Revolutionary Situation and the Turkish Revolutionary Sequence A CRITIQUE OF THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF YOUNG TURK REVOLUTION Useless Must Conditions Irreconcilabilities Irreconcilability of Demands Irreconcilability between Contenders and Sudden Change in Power Revolutionary Consciousness in Below Liberal Democracy The Problem of Agency as an Intersection Presence of Bourgeoisie and Absence of Bureaucracy Useless Must Not Conditions State Preservation and Instrumentalism x 6. CONCLUSION REFERENCES xi LIST OF TABLES TABLES Table 1. The Polity Model of Tilly Table 2. The Mobilization Model of Tilly Table 3. Mutinies before the July 1908 Revolution Table 4. Turnover Rates for Bureaucrats, 1906, Table 5. Revolutionary Situations during the Revolutionary Sequence of Turkey. 118 xii Abbreviations ARF: Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) CPU: Committee of Progress and Union CUP: Committee of Union and Progress EL: Entente Libérale IMRO: Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization MP: Member of the Parliament OFC: Ottoman Freedom Society SR: Socialists-Revolutionaries xiii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The year 2008 was the 100 th year anniversary of the Revolution of Consequently, a widespread interest about the Young Turk period grew. Throughout the year, seminars were held, documentaries were made and many written works on the subject were published. Actually, the anniversary was not the only cause of this growing interest. In fact, some explanations on the subject of Unionists are one of the clearest examples of the fact that changing political conjunctures have the ability to determine inquiries and views about certain subjects of history. In today s Turkey, like many of its predecessors, the ruling party s hegemonic discourse includes a populist explanation which makes a distinction between people and elites. However, one feature of this discourse distinguishes it from previous ones: Its populist distinction does not refer to a recent antagonism only. Actually, the distinction points to a historical background, which presents itself as the main antagonism of Turkey s modern history. Possibly because of this duality of motivations, today interestingly there seems to be a direct relation between the tendency to be interested in the Young Turk period and the inclination to point to its negative significance. For many authorities in the academy or in the media Second Constitutional period is either an insignificant event or the cause of many evils that shaped the ongoing antagonisms in Turkey. The strongest faction of the period that took part in or held the government for the longest time, CUP, has a central place for this discourse. Today for some who 1 have dissident but hegemonic (Yalman 2002: 23) views, the period is almost identified with the Committee. For these people, Unionism refers to an agency, or even a spirit that had been formed during the reign of Abdülhamid II and established an absolute control over the political life of the Empire after 1908, as if various agencies did not exist. This spirit is so powerful that it passed to Kemalists and stayed in power until recently. Different actions of Unionists -including coups, assassins, and massacres- make these authorities argue that the Second Constitutional Period had no revolutionary feature. For example, for Murat Belge, a revolution is an honourable action (Akşit and Atsız 2008:10), and for Ayşe Hür, Kansu s claims about the revolutionary feature of 1908 resemble the views of official history because of the derin devlet heritage of the period (2005). Motivated by political views, one can evaluate revolutions as honourable actions. Self satisfactory arguments always call attention and attract us, yet in time they die simply as old consumption items like Mayo s doctrine or pro-moscow Marxists (Rule 1997: ). Such satisfactory arguments should be replaced for the sake of progress in social sciences. The agents of the period can also be the agents for many dishonourable actions. Yet this does not mean that the transformation that they brought on was not a bourgeois revolution according to contemporary views on the subject. The hegemonic discourse is not absolute. Of course, not all works on the subject are under the impact of the political conjuncture. In fact, many contributions which clarified countless topics of the period were made. However, still, a contribution to a core subject has not been made: although several arguments were made about the classfication of the Revolution of 1908 as a collective action, almost no work focus on the Revolution of 1908 as a starting point of a revolutionary sequence that continued for years. Such a focus is the aim of this thesis, together with the search for the existence of a bourgeois character in the sequence. Rather than addressing a single point of change and focusing on a limited era to test the existence of a bourgeois revolution in Turkey, in this thesis, the transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkey will be evaluated as a single revolutionary sequence, a Young Turk Revolution that includes several revolutionary situations and outcomes between 1908 and To look for the existence of a bourgeois revolution in Turkish history, in this thesis, I 2 will try to test the changes in the entire sequence. The attempt in this thesis will include four parts. Firstly, I will try to present arguments of various approaches that belong to the historiography of the Young Turk Revolution. These arguments will be grouped in two major views. First one will be the continuity paradigm which underlines few changes before and after the Revolution of The paradigm includes two approaches, namely the modernization approach and World-system approach. Second view will be the revolutionary paradigm that has two views, namely incomplete bourgeois revolution and full bourgeois revolution. Second, I will try to summarize some contemporary arguments concerning revolutions and bourgeois revolutions in particular. These arguments will consist of the revisionist challenge to the orthodox Marxist historiography on French Revolution and the Marxist responses. These responses will include Charles Tilly s conceptualizations about revolutions first. Then, Geoff Eley and David Blackbourn s critique of German historiography, which proposes alternative criteria for bourgeois revolution concept, will be presented. Colin Mooers s bourgeois revolutions analysis that has important contributions to changing state strucures during bourgeois revolutions will follow Blackbourn and Eley. For the same subject, Gerstenberger s views which consider the process as a transformation from personal to impersonal power will also took their part. Finally, evolution of Christopher Hill s arguments about the concept bourgeois revolution will be presented as an example to the possibility of change without shifting paradigms. Third part will be the attempt of summarizing the events that occurred before and during the revolutionary sequence by using the vocabulary of the contemporary views. In this part, firstly I will try to focus on Hamidian regime and will propose that it was a restoration of the personal rule that changed the impersonalization process accelerated with Tanzimat era. Then, I will summarize the formation of the revolutionary coalition which shaped the revolutionary situation of July Following the revolts prior to the Revolution of 1908, I will focus on the execution of the Revolution of Later, the period between two revolutionary situations (July 1908 and April 1909) will be discussed. The discussion of the revolutionary situation will be followed by a long summary of the political clashes until the consolidation of Unionist power in Then, the reforms and revolutionary 3 situations occurred during the war years of the Young Turk Revolution will be summarized. The last part of this chapter will be a summary of the events occurred during the final revolutionary situation between 1919 and Finally, I will try to point some criteria from which the historiography of the Young Turk Revolution has to be liberated from. These criteria will be grouped in three. First group will be the group of must conditions that include irreconcilabilty of demands before revolutions, irreconcilability between members of the polity and challengers, sudden changes in power, revolutionary consciousness in below and the establishment of liberal democracy. Second group will be the intersection group between must and must not conditions, which focus on the problem of agency: of the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy. Third and final group of criteria will be the must not conditions, which include the mission state preservation and instrumentalism of collective actions. 4 CHAPTER 2 THE DEBATES ON THE REVOLUTION OF 1908 IN TURKEY 2.1. Continuity Paradigm: Modernization Approach: As Kansu reveals and cirticizes, modernizationist way of thought in Turkey has a common feature that it tends to test the year 1923 as a potential breakpoint of Turkish history (2002: 10-16). Although modernization approach s arguments disagree about the existence of such a break for 1923, it can be said that there is an agreement on the Revolution of 1908 s not signifying a break: Modernization approach reveals and underlines continuity before and after Examples to this shared idea can be given from both 1923ist sides. While Karpat points an Ottoman heritage kept in the Republican era (2006: 69); Timur, by presenting a speech of Mustafa Kemal, suggests that nothing had changed after the fall of Abdülhamid II (2001: 305). This approach s favourers use the concept revolution to refer to the event. However, this does not mean that they call this event as a revolution. They use the concept only because of the fact that the Revolution of 1908 became an indicator concept in the world. For instance, for Hanioğlu, the Revolution of 1908 was a so called revolution (Hanioğlu 2008: 148). Mostly, the scholars of the approach prefer to call the period after July 1908 as Second Constitutional Period. In line with the aims of its emergence in the United States, people who adopt modernization approach prefer to define revolutionary moments as long eras of change rather than revolutions. The Ottoman-Turkish history is not an exception to the fact. For example, Lewis calls the entire era as a long transition period, a 5 revolution continued for 200 years (2002: ). Or particularly for the Revolution of 1908, Hanioğlu states that Young Turks resembled Tanzimat Statism (2008: 202). It can be demonstrated that for modernization approach, focusing on events agents and identifying these agents social positions are critical test tools that determine the revolutionary feature of a clash. Below, modernization approach s arguments on the three features of the agents of the Revolution of 1908 are to be summarized. They are namely their social positions, their motivations/aims and the relation between their discourses and policies. Thinkers that focus on Turkey through modernization perspective agree on the social position of the agents of the revolution. Simply, they are called as élites, or particularly state élites. Lewis points four special groups within these elites: officers, bureaucrats, lawyers and journalists (2002: 623). For Lewis, although in Turkey class based antagonisms emerged during transition; a class conflict way of look cannot describe this history. One must focus on governing élite in order to understand the process (2002: 656). Parallel to Lewis, Hanioğlu underlines that The prominent actors of the Young Turk movement were members of the Ottoman intellectual, bureaucratic, and military élites. These persons' propositions and policies were also understandable only for the same élite (2001: 5). Modernization approach also presents the distance between these élites and masses to reveal that the Revolution of 1908 was not a popular movement. Simply, The Young Turk movement was not a popular movement; the ideas promoted by the Young Turks penetrated no deeper than the élite (Hanioğlu 2001: 6). Hanioğlu s agreement is also in line with his observations on the events before and after the declaration of constitutionalism. For instance, people in Anatolia were so irrelevant to the struggle in Macedonia that they learned all the events after the declaration of the Sultan (Hanioğlu 2008: 149). The relationship between the movement and masses is also explained by Mardin, yet in a different way. Mardin notes that there was a trust to people within the Young Turk movement at the beginning of the movement. However, this trust disappeared after seeing no reflection from the masses (1992: ). Indicating that the revolution s agents were élites does not mean that modernization approach denies the existence of an antagonism during the period. 6 For example, Mardin observes that rather than a class struggle, Young Turk movement points to a struggle between bureaucrats themselves (1992: 307). He calls two sides as traditional and new élites (1992: 118). Hanioğlu also
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