3404) Question Of Genocidal Tendency In The Minority Politics Of The Young Turks

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Kemal Çiçek

The Armenian Question of 1915 should be addressed in a broader context and the events and/or politics that led to the deportation of Ottoman Armenians must be evaluated within the framework of the commonplace population politics in the global context of World War I. By examining unpublished archival sources and existing secondary literature as well as the memoirs of leading Ottoman politicians in the pre-war period, I will question the applicability of the term “ genocide ” and see whether the cadres of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), commonly known as the Young Turks, had any genocidal intention towards the non-Muslim communities in the Ottoman Empire. I shall also put forward many new questions as to whether or not there was, as has been emphasized in the dominant literature, any intent of extermination of the Armenians. Some of the questions to be discussed here are as follows: What was the reason for a sudden change in the Ottoman policies towards the non-Muslim Ottoman citizens even though the Empire had benefited from their service in the pre-WWI period in all sectors of the Ottoman adminis-tration? Were there any racist notions in circulation that might have influenced the CUP ’ s policies towards the Armenians in particular? Although Turkism was one of the main pillars of the Ottomanist movement, why did it become the only pol-itical solution to save the Ottoman Empire during the WWI? . . .


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