Young Turks, The: The History and Legacy of the Political Movement that Attempted to Reform the Ottoman Empire Before Its Collapse, Charles River Editors
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Young Turks, The: The History and Legacy of the Political Movement that Attempted to Reform the Ottoman Empire Before Its Collapse

Author: Charles River Editors

Narrator: Colin Fluxman

Unabridged: 2 hr 21 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Findaway Voices

Published: 10/28/2019

Genre: History - Middle East - Turkey & Ottoman Empire

Synopsis

In August 2017, Turkey’s President Recip Tayyip Erdogan gave a directive to the Foreign Ministry to go into ravaged Syria and rescue an 87-year-old Turkish man stranded in Damascus by the civil war. The elderly gentleman lived his life simply and quietly. He disliked drawing attention to himself, and he was grieving for his wife who had just died. The man called himself Dundar Abdulkerim Osmanoglu, but many affixed the title Sehzade (“Prince”) to his name, for he was Head of the imperial House of Osman and heir to the defunct throne of the Ottoman Empire. His ancestors had created an Empire that had lasted for over 600 years and caused the greatest rulers of both the Muslim East and the Christian West to tremble.

When studying the fall of the Ottoman Empire, historians have argued over the breaking point that saw a leading global power slowly become a decadent empire, but to men like Erdogan, the long agony of the “sick man of Europe,” an expression used by the Tsar of Russia to depict the falling Ottoman Empire, blinds people to its incredible power and history.  Overall, the history of the dissolution of the empire can be defined as a race between the empire’s growing “illness” on one side (the Ottomans’ inability to appease and federate the various people within its territory) and constant attempts to find a cure in the form of broad reforms. As this all suggests, the story of the Young Turks and the last years of the Ottoman Sultanate is a complex and interesting one. It is the history of a state struggling to survive against seemingly impossible odds, featuring a long battle for the minds and souls of the inhabitants of a declining empire between nationalism and liberal imperialism. It is a struggle that has produced not only modern Turkey but several states in the Balkans and the Middle East as they exist today. The Young Turks were triumphant, but in many ways it was a Pyrrhic victory.

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