Arabs and Young Turks provides a detailed study of Arab politics in the late Ottoman Empire as viewed from the imperial capital in Istanbul. In an analytical narrative of the Young Turk period (1908-1918) historian Hasan Kayali discusses Arab concerns on the one hand and the policies of the Ottoman government toward the Arabs on the other. Kayali’s novel use of documents from the Ottoman archives, as well as Arabic sources and Western and Central European documents, enables him to reassess conventional wisdom on this complex subject and to present an original appraisal of proto-nationalist ideologies as the longest-living Middle Eastern dynasty headed for collapse. He demonstrates the persistence and resilience of the supranational ideology of Islamism which overshadowed Arab and Turkish ethnic nationalism in this crucial transition period. Kayali’s study reaches back to the nineteenth century and highlights both continuity and change in Arab-Turkish relations from the reign of Abdulhamid II to the constitutional period ushered in by the revolution of 1908.
Arabs and Young Turks is essential for an understanding of contemporary issues such as Islamist politics and the continuing crises of nationalism in the Middle East.