Through my research, of the websites and book listed in the works cited section of my paper, I have found that the Young Turks have been an important part of Turkish and Armenian history. The young Turks were a coalition of reform groups that led a revolutionary movement against the Ottoman Empires Sultan Abdulhamid the Second. They opposed him because of the absolute power he had, and because they wanted to eliminate foreign influence, and to restore Turkish pride.
The Young Turks movement was started in the Imperial Medical college of Istanbul. In Istanbul it spread to other colleges including the military institutes. When Abdulhamid the Second, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, learned of their plot against him he exiled the students. The Young Turks fled to various cities in Europe. It was here that the preparations for their revolution took place.
An important Young Turk was Ahmed Riza, who was part of the Committee of Union and Progress, which was an influential Young Turk organization. He pushed for a strong central government and he was against all foreign influence. When the Young Turks came to power these ideas were important in their policies.
The revolution occurred when discontented members of the Ottomans Army, the Committee of Union and Progress, and another group called the League of Private Initiative and Decentralization all agreed to work together. The revolt took place in 1908. Ahmed Niyazi a member of the Third Army Corps led a small revolt against provincial authorities; other revolutionaries holding revolts that were inspired by Ahmed’s followed this. Since the Sultan could not rely on his military to support him he recalled parliament and in 1913 the triumvirate of Talat Pasa, Ahmed Cemel Pasa, and Enver Pasa gained power. Under the triumvirate the Young Turks major reforms took place. Their reforms led to a more centralized government; they promoted industrialization, and improved education.
The Young Turks lost power in 1918. Hoping to gain political power they joined in on World War One on the side of the Germans, and the Central Powers. They did this thinking that Germany had a superior army. When the Young Turks realized defeat was coming they resigned their power and the Ottomans ended up signing the Armistice of Mudros ending Turkey’s involvement in the war.
The Young Turks are important to Armenian history because of the treatment the Armenians received under their control. The Young Turks preached cooperation between themselves and the minority groups in Turkey before they gained power. When the Young Turks took control they did not follow their ideas of cooperation. In 1913 at the city of Adana 30,000 Armenians were killed. When World War One broke out the Young Turks looked at it as a perfect opportunity to dispose of, what they looked at as a problem, Armenians. The government intentionally tried to eliminate the Armenians. Armenian leaders were killed. The rest were forced to relocate into the deserts of Syria, Arabia, and Mesopotamia. During these marches many Armenians were flogged to death, burned, bayoneted, buried alive in pits, drowned in rivers, beheaded, raped, abducted into harems, or just simply died of exhaustion. This genocide, conducted by the Young Turks, took the lives of 1.5 million Armenians.
Balakian, Peter. Black Dog of Fate. New York: Broadway Books, 1997.
CedarLand. 20 Febuary 2001. The Armenian Genocide. 20 Febuary 2001
Encyclopedia Britanica. 20 February 2001. Young Turks. 20 February 2001