11 March 2007

1488) Armenian Political Thinking In the 2nd Constitutional Period: Case Of Krikor Zohrab, By Murat Koptas, Bogaziçi University, 2005

Krikor Zohrab © This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com This thesis aims to examine the attitude of the Ottoman Armenian society and its political elites towards the idea of Ottomanism and Constitutional Regime in the Second Constitutional Period, in which an atmosphere of political pluralism was experienced first time in the Ottoman Empire. While studying the late Ottoman period, the dominant nationalist historiography in Turkey puts forward the Ottoman Armenians as a monolithic entity organized around a certain political engagement; namely, as the absolute supporters of Armenian independence and seperation from the Ottoman State.

In this thesis, accepting beforehand that there were groups, individiuals, in a nutshell voices among the Ottoman Armenians supporting different world views, it is intended to avoid essentialist generalisations while re-constructing the mentioned period, and to examine how were these voices depicted. In this respect, programs and declarations of different political parties representing the Armenian community, such as Tashnak and Hnchag parties, is examined, and it is observed that these groups expressed several ocassions their devotion to the Ottoman State and the Constituitonal Regime on condition that some certain socio-political priorities were guarded by the constituitonal governments. The policy of Ottomanism was approved as an protective umbrella by the political movements and political elites, such as Krikor Zohrab expressing such a devotion. Zohrab (1861-1915), the author and the lawyer, who was elected as the deputy of I.stanbul three times, worked for an Ottomanism more liberal, pluralist, and peaciful on the basis of a symbiosis of different ethnic groups.

He became one of the most active deputies in the Ottoman Parliament with his efforts and rhetorical talent, and spent his political energy to lead the Tashnak Party –which he was politically very close– to a political cooperation with the Comittee of Union and Progress, leading political power of the period. It is undoubtedly very clear that there were some Armenian people or groups which were not sharing the attitude explained above. But, the aim of this thesis is to open a passageway to a historiography far from essentialism, hasty and nasty generalisations, and reductionism, by revealing that there were Ottoman Armenians who imagine their future as citizens of a more prosperous, peaciful, libertarian Ottoman State.
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