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The Young Turks Fight Against The Decline Of The Ottoman Empire

1244 words - 5 pages

Between 1301 to 1922, in the region north of present day Syria, was known as the Ottoman empire. It was rooted in the belief that Islam as an ideology should be in power. One territory held by the Ottoman empire was their homeland of Turkey. In 1907, the Sultan Abdul Hamid II, wanted for the most part to have people who were educated outside of the country limited in what they could do, and if not then they were expunged, as he thought that they were the cause of his land’s plight and decline. This resulted in him becoming very unpopular with his people, thus having many secret societies created practically under his nose. The most important being The Young Turks.

The Young Turks, a group of young military officers who wanted to keep their country’s decline from continuing, wanted to improve general conditions for certain peoples in the Ottoman empire. Not only was anyone who was not Muslim treated as second class citizens, they were also required by law to pay more for their taxes than a muslim civilian. Realizing this, in the 1890s and early 1900s, an organization called The Young Turks arose, pressing for political reform calling for the right to vote, a constitutional government and and an end to discriminatory practices such as the aforementioned raised taxes. Eventually, The Young Turks staged a coup successfully in an attempt to change the rule to a constitutional monarchy . This, however, had some unforeseen consequences.

The men at the forefront of the Young Turk’s rebellion were Mehmed Talaat, Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal. Eventually, they came to have more of a dictatorial sort of rule on their people, with their own visions of what they wanted for the Turkic people. They all wanted to unite their people and expand eastward, across the Caucasus and into Central Asia. This would create a new, greater Turkic empire with one religion and one language. However, these plans for glory would have to come at the expense of the Armenian people, whose homeland lay right in the middle of where the Turks wanted to expand towards. This land held over 2 million Christian Armenians, making up about 10 percent of the empire’s overall population.

With the rise in The Young Turk’s newfound ‘Turanism’ came a dramatic rise in Islamic fundamentalist agitation throughout Turkey. The Christian Armenians were once again labeled Infidels (non believers in islam). Young Islamic extremists, sometimes taking actions of violence against their captives, would stage Anti-Armenian demonstrations. During one such demonstration in 1909, two hundred villages were plundered and 30,000 people were massacred in the Cilicia district along the coast of the Mediterranean. Throughout the country, sporadic local attacks against Armenians continued for the next several years.

With the spark of World War I in 1914, the Young Turks figured that, since the rest of the world’s attention was elsewhere in France and Belgium, that they could solve the long-standing “Armenian...

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