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Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918

Product Description
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.

Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918


  1. It’s really hard to find books about this subject. If you are really interested, i recommend you to read this book. (not: kitabýn türkçesi tarih vakfý yayýnlarýndan çok daha ucuza temin edilebilir.)
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. This book boils down to an examination of the aims of the Committe for Union and Progress after the end of the reign of Abdülhamid and the second constitutional experiment–all of which embody the last ditch efforts to revive the moribund sick man of Europe. As the title connotes, this is done with a particular emphasis on how the CUP/Young Turks viewed the Arab provinces; therefore, issues surrounding the turkification (better: centralization) of the late Ottoman empire and its relation vis a vis nascent Arabism and fading Ottomanism.

    Kayali forms his work as a counterargument against the view that would describe the reforms of the Young Turks as motivated by the desire for the aggrandizement of Turkish ethnicity and language–prefering, rather, to see the actions of the CUP as an attempt to centralize and consolidate Ottoman authority, albeit by employing the Turkish language and emphasizing Ottoman interests over local ones to do so.

    A note on the inclusion of “Islamism” in the title: the author throughout uses the term Islamism in what would appear to be a anachronistic fashion, being that it is rather tenuous to speak of Islamism at all until after the Second World War. Kayali plays fast and loose the term “Islamism” as meaning any gov’t project that takes recourse to Islamic rhetoric. It’s inclusion and usage in the book appears, then, to be a gimmick. Anyone looking for insights into Islamism, being mass populist political movements based on religious soiidarity, would do better to look elsewhere.
    Rating: 4 / 5


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