Timur Koraev 1
  • 1 MSU, 1 Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russia

“United by Enthusiasm” or “Young Turkey”: Glimpses of Ottoman Sociopolitical Thought in the Second Half of the 19th Century

2014, vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 33–71 [issue contents]
The article is centered around the activities of the first political club in the history of the Ottoman realm — the so-called “Young Ottomans” (originally — Ittifak-i hamiyyet, “The League of Enthusiasm”). The evolution in the world outlook of its foremost representatives, namely Ibrahim Şinasi (1826–1871), Namık Kemal (1840–1888), Abdülhamit Ziya (1829–1880) and Ali Suavi (1839–1878), is put under scrutiny. Special attention is paid to the societal context for the rise of the “Young Ottoman” movement: competition among courtly cliques, uneven modernization of the bureaucracy, gradual emergence of “proto-national” conscience under the impact of modern ideologies. Questioning the conceptualization of the “Young Ottoman” circle as a consolidated and organized community with a clear-cut program of action, we stress the differences in concrete attitudes and ambitions which account for the absence of a common platform and the individualism of political behavior, typical for the movement’s leaders. An attempt is also made at analyzing the individual careers of the circle’s members against their social background, education, informal links, participation in client-patron networks of the Sublime Porte and personal relationships with the imperial elite of the Tanzimat period (1839–1876) and Abdülhamit II’s reign (1876–1909). Modes of interaction are traced between Western and Islamicate elements in “Young Ottoman” concepts of “Motherland”, “freedom”, “nation” and others, which were rapidly imbibed by the political language of the Islamic world in the second half of the 19th century. Special accent is made on the innovative features of the “Young Ottoman” press (Tercüman-i ahval, Tasvir-i efkar, Muhbir, Hürriyet journals) in the context of the history of Middle Eastern media. Specific points of their intellectual attitude towards the issues of cultural transformation faced by the Ottoman society in 1830–1860-s are discussed, in particular, a consideration is made of the contribution of their literary and journalistic legacy to the Turkish nation-building success of the 20th century based on the consolidation of Turkic-speaking populations in Asia Minor and the Balkans.
Citation: Koraev T. (2014) «Soyuz v rvenii», ili «Molodaya Turtsiya»: k istorii osmanskoy obshchestvenno-politicheskoy mysli vtoroy poloviny XIX veka [“United by Enthusiasm” or “Young Turkey”: Glimpses of Ottoman Sociopolitical Thought in the Second Half of the 19th Century]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 13, no 2, pp. 33-71 (in Russian)
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