In foreign policy, one cannot be guided by imaginary heroism. Heroism, ignorance and obsession in foreign policy, whether you like it or not, sometimes produce results that are comparable only to treason. You can be guided by excessive patriotism, but if you look at foreign policy through the prism of fanaticism, without knowing your own geography and stories, and trying to compensate for all these flaws of your heroism and courage, then your strike against the wall will be such that the consequences of their severity can be compared with betrayal. The Union and Progress Party (İttihad ve terakki, the political party of the Young Turks 1889 – 1918 - REGNUM) is an example. I cannot say that the members of this party were not patriots, but if they were not patriots and would like to put an end to the Ottoman Empire, they would have done the same. Therefore, we should move away from the Syrian problem as soon as possible. I will not call "neoittihadism" what we see today. I believe that neochemism will be a kind of goodwill. What they do is called imitation. Imitation of anything is never like the original and always looks funny. Yes, funny. But when those who run the state find themselves in a ridiculous position due to the fact that their imitation failed, they do not stop at this and make the country pay dearly for it. The state cannot be ruled by being led by imaginary heroism, which insatiable desires, ambition, anger and especially ignorance feed. Those who are at the head of the state must possess some knowledge. At least they should know their own story. Not having the necessary education, they, uttering large but wild speeches, are capable of disrupting international equilibrium, and thoughtless attacks all over the world lead to catastrophe. We were involved in the process, because of which the people are left without homeland and home. The policy of the Ittihadists led to the fact that the empire, already moving towards its end, fell too fast and many territories were lost. In essence, the Union and Progress Party seized power in the country during a certain crisis, and its leadership, though not devoid of idealistic views and patriotism, nevertheless had no experience. Anger and ambition prevailed over their abilities, experience, and knowledge. The Ottoman Empire, then in their hands, diminished geographically as much as we could not even imagine. This is the very lesson we need to learn from history. This lesson is already 100 years old. ”
Gunay compared the current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with the political party of the Young Turks, who from 1876 had tried to carry out liberal reforms in the Ottoman Empire and create a constitutional state structure. In 1908, the Multodurk managed to overthrow Sultan Abdul-Hamid II and carry out half-pro-Western reforms, but after the defeat of Turkey in the First World War, they lost power. The Ottoman Empire was ruined. Gunay also suggests the possibility of a transition from “neoittihadism” in modern Turkey, the name means “erdoganism” to “neo-kemism”, which can also be accompanied either by a breakdown or loss of part of the territories of modern Turkey. The ex-minister uses the method of historical parallels, which is not welcomed by science, because in the historical process there is no complete repeatability of events and phenomena. But the principle of the similarity of the political situation and the alignment of social forces, the generalization of previous historical experience in its comparison with today helps to reveal or at least identify the so-called “vertical” and “horizontal” trunks in Turkish history.
Our attempt to reveal the historical parallels indicated by Gunay does not pretend to the study of the classical type, we are aimed only at imparting to the affected problem a certain scope, which would give food for actual thinking. In any case, Gunay makes it clear that the fate of the Unity and Progress Party is closely connected not only with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and that the “tactics of the line” are clearly visible in the activities of modern political parties in Turkey, in particular, the ruling AKP. So what are they?
Let's start with the first illegal Young Turk party “Unity and Progress”, which was created in Geneva in 1891 year. By that time, the Ottoman Empire was experiencing a deep economic and political crisis. The efforts of the early Turkish reformers, the "new Ottomans", to bring the country out of the crisis were not crowned with success. The task was not easy. The best minds of the empire predicted death. “In the mouths of the large Ottoman dignitaries,” writes the modern Turkish historian J. Tesel, “then the question was often sounded:“ What happened to us? ”. The same question was also contained in numerous reports of representatives of the Ottoman provincial authorities sent by them to the Padishah.
The Turkish state was a conglomeration of nations and peoples, in which the role of the Turks was not so significant. For various reasons, one of which is a feature of the empire, the Turks did not want, and could not swallow, various nationalities. The empire had no internal unity, its parts, as evidenced by numerous notes of travelers, diplomats and intelligence officers, differed significantly from each other in ethnic composition, language and religion, in the level of social, economic and cultural development, in the degree of dependence on the central government. Only in Asia Minor and in the part of Rumelia (European Turkey), adjacent to Istanbul, did they live in large compact masses. In the remaining provinces, they were scattered among the indigenous population, which they did not manage to assimilate.
We note another important point. The conquerors called themselves not Turks, but Ottomans. If you open the corresponding page of the Brockhaus and Efron encyclopedia published at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, you can read the following: “The Ottomans (the name of the Turks is considered mocking or abusive) were originally the people of the Ural-Altai tribe, but due to a massive tide from other tribes completely lost its ethnographic character. Especially in Europe, the current Turks are mostly descendants of Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian and Albanian renegades, or descended from Turkish marriages with women from these tribes or with natives of the Caucasus. ” But the problem was also in the fact that the Ottoman Empire, seizing huge chunks of the territories inhabited by peoples with more ancient history and traditions, drifted more towards better developed margins. The cities of the Balkan Peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt were not only centers of provincial authority, theological education and worship, but also centers of crafts and commerce, in which they even surpassed Constantinople. By the beginning of the XIX century, at least half of the inhabitants of cities with a population of up to 100 thousand people - Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad and Tunisia - were artisans. Their products were of high quality, in demand in the markets of the Middle East and beyond. In this mode, the country existed for a long time.
Therefore, the Ittihadists were at a crossroads. Some of them pursued the goal of preserving territorial and national unity in the face of the threat of the collapse of the empire, which at that time in European political salons did not argue that it was lazy. The other part was going to work in a new direction. But which one? There were two options. The first is to rely on impulses from Europe and intensify the policy of “Westernization”, moving away from the Arabs and Persia, who had noticeable historical and cultural roots, and who are integrating into “Christian Europe”. Especially since the empire already had some kind of historical experience of tanzimat - the name of modernization reforms adopted in the literature in the Ottoman Empire from 1839 to 1876, when the first Ottoman constitution was adopted. Unlike previous reforms, the main place in Tanzimat was occupied not by military, but by socio-economic transformations, designed to strengthen the central power, prevent the development of the national liberation movement in the Balkans and weaken Ports' dependence on European powers by adapting the existing system to the norms of Western European life.
But the Western vector of the empire's development, as modern Turkish researchers write, in historical perspective led to a crisis primarily of Ottoman Islamic identity, and the consequences of the adaptation capabilities of the Ottoman Empire inevitably ended with the formation in its European territories of new national states, the transformation of the empire into the “new Byzantium”. As a modern Turkish researcher, Türker Tashansu, writes, “in the historical development of Western Europe, modernization took place parallel to the process of formation of national states,” and “the influence of the West on Turkish society reached such a level that even in intellectual circles the historical development of Europe was perceived as the only model”. Under these conditions, the direction of the reform course for the Ittihadists acquired fundamental importance. They seriously studied the experience of the emergence of the United States of America in 1776 when thirteen British colonies were united, which declared their independence, and talked about the possibilities of forming Middle Eastern Switzerland.
As for the second option, he suggested a more complex, more archaic and dramatic set of actions related to the departure from the ideology of Ottomanism to the experience of Turkization, but they had a problem of pan-Islamism. Recall that the turkization of Anatolia began in the second half of the eleventh century, but this process did not end until the fall of the Ottoman Empire, even despite elements of the civil war and violent methods - deportation, mass slaughter, etc. Therefore, the Ittihadists were divided into the Western and the so-called Eastern Wings, which were united in strategy — preserving the empire in any form — but differed in tactics. This circumstance at different stages had a noticeable effect on the policies of the Ittihadists in solving ethno-confessional problems. It is one thing to rush to Europe on the wings of the ideology of Eurocentrism, another is to delve into the problems of the "Turk Kimligi" (Turkish identity). Such were the main vectors of the geopolitical prospects of the Ittihadists, who predetermined the further course of events, and not, as some Russian and Turkish researchers assert, that everything was predetermined by the circumstance of the capture of the leadership of the Ittihad Vetrak party by "otremechennymi Jews" (devshrme), who originally set out to crush the Ottoman caliphate and succeeded. Everything is much more complicated.
In 1900, the representative of the western wing of the Ittihadists, Ali Fahri, published a small book-call to rally around the party, in which he built a priority series of solving ethno-confessional problems: Macedonian, Armenian and Albanian. But first it was necessary to destroy the main enemy - the regime of Sultan Abdul-Hamid, for which it was necessary to combine the efforts of primarily domestic national political parties, which also declared their national interests. By the way, the Armenian party "Dashnaktsutyun" not only participated in some foreign events of the Ittihadists, but also financed their activities at one time. In July, the 1908 of the year, the Ittihadists, led by Niyazi-bey, raised an armed uprising, which went down in history as the "Young Turkish Revolution of the 1908 of the Year."
“The national-religious diversity of the Turkish population creates powerful centrifugal tendencies. The old regime was thinking of overcoming them with the mechanical weight of an army recruited from some Muslims, ”wrote Leon Trotsky at the time. - But in fact, he led to the disintegration of the state. In the reign of Abdul-Hamid alone, Turkey lost: Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Tunisia, Dobrudja. Asia Minor fatally fell under the economic and political dictatorship of Germany. On the eve of the revolution, Austria was going to build a road through the Novobazarsky sanjak, paving a strategic route to Macedonia. On the other hand, England - as opposed to Austria - directly put forward the draft of the Macedonian autonomy ... Turkey’s dismemberment is not expected to end. Not national diversity, but state splitting over it, like a curse. Only a single state on the model of Switzerland or the North American Republic can bring inner peace. The Young Turks, however, strongly reject this path. The fight against powerful centrifugal tendencies makes the Young Turks supporters of a “strong central authority” and pushes them to an agreement with the sultan quand meme. This means that as soon as a tangle of national contradictions unfolds within the framework of parliamentarism, the right (east wing) of the Young Turks will be openly on the side of the counter-revolution ”. And, we add, it will crush the western wing.
Then only the blind could not see it, which were not the Dashnaktsutyun party and some other Armenian political parties. Without going into the details of this problem now, we note the following facts. From 17 August to 17 September 1911, the Sixth Congress of the Dashnaktsutyun Party was held in Constantinople, which declared "a policy of secret and open terror against the Russian Empire." At the same congress, it was decided to “expand the autonomy of the Armenian people recognized by the Constitution to the borders of Russia”. In 1911, in Thessaloniki, Ittihad concluded a special agreement with the Dashnaktsutyun party: the Dashnaks, in exchange for political loyalty, received "in their districts, through their bodies, control over local administrative institutions."
The report of the tsarist military intelligence pointed out that “the Dashnaks together with the Ittihadists are expecting a political coup in Russia next 1912, and if it does not take place, the Caucasian organization of Dashnaktsakans will have to act in accordance with the instructions of the Baku, Tiflis and Erivan Central Committees, which stand for preventing the intervention of the Russian government in the Armenian issue. " The intrigue was that the leaders of the Armenian political movements simultaneously met in two parliaments - the Russian State Duma and the Turkish Majlis. In Russia, Dashnaks entered into specific relations with the Russian Cadets and the Octobrists, the Tsar's viceroy in the Caucasus, Vorontsov-Dashkov. In the Ottoman Empire, they worked closely with the Ittighidists, hoping in the future to play cards of two empires at once - the Russian and the Ottoman.
We agree with the statements of the well-known Azerbaijani historian, Doctor of Historical Sciences Jamil Hasanli, that in the “confrontation between the two empires, certain Armenian forces considered the possibility of creating a“ Great Armenia ”. However, its first geopolitical contours were laid not by Russian politicians or generals, but by the Ittihadists, who promised the Dashnaks to carry out a program under favorable circumstances, according to which the vilayets of Western Armenia - Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Diarbekir, Harput and Sivas - would be combined into one administrative unit - Armenian an area “governed by a Christian Governor-General appointed by the Turkish government with the consent of European states”. These were the outlines of the geopolitical project of the losing western wing of the Ittihadists, who, by the way, entered into contact with St. Petersburg through military intelligence.
However, as Pavel Milyukov writes in “Memoirs”, “Turkish Armenians lived far from the eyes of Europe, and their position was relatively unknown,” although “for forty years the Turks and especially the Kurds, among whom they lived, systematically smashed them, like carrying out the principle that the solution of the Armenian question consists in the total extermination of Armenians ”. Indeed, almost throughout the Ottoman Empire, attacks on Armenians were frequent, which pointedly welcomed the Ittihadists, who allowed them to wear weaponpromising constitutional and other freedoms. Miliukov also reports that after “English philanthropists and consuls carefully summed up the digital results of the Armenian pogroms,” he witnessed in Constantinople the development of the six vilayets populated by Armenians (Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Diarbekir, Harput and Sivas), in one autonomous province. At that moment, Dashnaktsutyun announced its withdrawal from the union with Ittihad.
Thus, in the words of one French journalist, the political evolution of the Ittihad ve teracchi party determined that, “acting as a secret organization, having committed a military conspiracy in 1908, on the eve of the 1914 war, it turned into a certain supranational body, Enver triumvirate Talaat-Cemal ", which dictated the decisions of the parliament, the sultan, and the ministers", while not being part of the state. “The drama is still to come,” Trotsky will write prophetically. “European democracy with all the weight of its sympathy and assistance stands on the side of the new Turkey - the one that does not yet exist, which is yet to be born.”
Until World War I, the Ottoman Empire still remained one of the largest powers of the era, with a territory of approximately 1,7 million square kilometers, including such modern states as Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and part of the territory of the Arabian Peninsula. From 1908 to 1918, the governments of 14 changed in Turkey, three times in the context of a tough domestic political struggle, parliamentary elections were held. The old official political doctrine - Pan-Islamism - was replaced by Pan-Turkism. Meanwhile, paradoxically, in a military sense, Turkey showed amazing effectiveness - it had to wage war on the 9 fronts, many of which managed to achieve impressive success. But the finale of this period is known: the complete bankruptcy of the Young Turkish regime and the collapse of the centuries-old Ottoman Empire, which once astounded the world with its power.