In the nineteen century, the Ottoman Empire witnessed a lot of series, and the reformers tried to balance between westernization, modernization, and reservation of the Islamic rules, but the reforms in the Ottoman Empire had an intricate methodology; every result made new Issues. The implement and practices of those new rules were slowed for a number of Reasons. First of all, the domain of the Empire stayed exact large, with a heterogeneous particular social order, and weak interchanges and communications. Second, the weak experience of the reformists also encourages the greed of the majestic forces for Europe to benefits on the expense of the moderately undeveloped Empire also its people sustained and developed an arrangement about financial issues inherited from the past. Third, requests for social and political reforms, themselves outcomes of the ‘Tanzimat’, conflicted with those yearning from claiming its authority with modernizing as quickly What’s more effectively as possible, without those postponements furthermore. Fourth, nationalistic components e.g.: minorities which they were supported by Russia and the other western power start to demand its autonomy or independence from the Empire.
Because of all these series a lot of movement and parties emerged with a different ideologies, and perspectives.
The committee of the Union and Progress was a political movement that guided the capabilities of the Ottoman Empire and managed its affairs since the constitutional revolution in 1908 until the defeat of the state in World War I and the signing of the Treaty of Modros in 1918.
The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) represented a new generation of dissidents responding to there latively novel internal and external circuit-stances associated with New Imperialism, the rise of nationalism, and they were Motivated by new strands of social thought, they came from a wide cross-section of Ottoman society, and they were intellectual moderated bureaucrats.
The historical context of the Union and Progress movement:
The establishment of the party (1965-1989):
The origins of this committee date back to 1965 when a group of young intellectuals called themselves “neo-Ottomans”, they saw that the reforms which had been introduced by the men of the organizations since 1839 have undermined the moral basis of the Ottoman society without providing a suitable alternative. so, Some of them, such as Namik Kamal and Dia Pasha, went even further; They said that the organizations had abolished the rights imposed on the people under the Islamic rule and did not give them any of the advantages of the westernized government, and this ruling had opened the Sultanate’s kingdoms to foreigners influence and intervention so the economic collapse was an inevitable consequence of the foreign exploitation and the internal tyranny.
The solution was according to the perspective of the leaders of ‘neo-Ottomans’, is the parliamentary constitutional rule based on an Islamic basis, and thus were among the first Muslim thinkers who tried to reconcile the Western political systems and the principles of Islamic shura.
But when the new constitution was promulgated in 1876, most of the rights and liberties that they advocated were achieved, and Abdullhamid era was started.
Abdulhamid took the throne with the approaching of a new Ottoman-Russian war, Complex international conditions and, disturbances in some parts of the country, particularly in the Balkans.
And because of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire against Russia, Sultan Abdul Hamid felt that he was compelled to decide the war because of the pressure of Medhat Pasha – the great leader – who incited the students of higher religious sciences to conduct demonstrations forcing the Sultan to wage war. Public opinion escalated following these demonstrations, calling for war. The Sultan saw that there were shortcomings in the public opinion represented in the parliament, which led the Empire to war at the time and without readiness or need for it; therefore, he paralyzed the parliamentary life.
Dissolve the parliament, suspend the constitution and concentrate power in the hand of Abdulhamid led to the transformation of the ‘ottoman union’ into a secret movement. In 1889, Ottoman activity was re-established when a group of medical students organized a revolutionary secret society aimed at fighting the individual rule and restoring constitutional life.
The nucleus in the medical school was included Albanians Ibrahim Temo, the founder of the group, and Ishak Sükuti; Abdullah Cevdet, Kurd, and future champion of positivist secularism; and Circassian Mehmed Reshid, all of them were against Abdullhamid and influenced by contemporary European thought.
Ahmed Raza invoked a visit to a national exhibition in Paris and remained with a number of free Ottomans there. Then, the secret society in Istanbul and the Ahmad Reza group was contacted and they decided that the two groups would be merged into the name of the Association of the Ottoman Union and Progress. The reformist platform called for reforms in all the states of the Sultanate for all Ottomans of all nationalities, religions, and sects. The Association of the Union and Progress gained new support by the accession of the brother-in-law of Sultan Abdelhamid Damat Mahmud Pasha and his two sons, Sabahuddin and Latifullah.
Ahmet Reza published ‘me?veret’ consultancy newspaper because of the Armenian revolution when the sultan didn’t success in the depression, and unionist wants to save the state and made a political declaration that Abdulhamid couldn’t face the attempt of Armenians to split the Empire.
The prosperity of the Union and Progress movement (1989-1908):
In 1906 the provincial branches of Union and Progress stayed secret, with an organization based on cells, and In addition to Union and Progress, there were other activist clusters within the Young Turk movement. In Damascus, Mustafa Kemal, as a young officer in the Fifth Army, joined a group called Fatherland (Vatan), and they renamed it as a ‘Fatherland and liberty’ (Vatan ve Hürriyet); its main objective is to restore the constitution.
The activity of the UP committee moved to Thessaloniki, In Thessaloniki, the UP adopted its military character, and its activities grew there.
Macedonia’s revolution against British Empire in order to achieve its independence, it inspired the Union and Progress to demand the same thing.
The revolution was, in essence, to overthrow the Sultan’s autocratic power and the substitution therefor of parliamentary government under their control.
The assassination or exile of all who opposed the regime in the slightest detail, the loss of territory and of prestige, the consciousness that the economic penetration of the foreign powers could end only in the dissolution of the Empire, forced the Turks of all classes to consider the constitution their only salvation.
And there is an interesting point here, that there were important differences between the groups of the revolution, but all of them have common points:
· They were in favor to establish a constitutional regime.
· They were against Abdulhamid.
· They demand liberty over the economy.
The Sultan was forced to restore the Constitution, thus the ending of his reign and the era of unionist were started.
They made an election, and they won the majority of the votes.
The Union and Progress published a statement containing its platform for political reforms, guaranteeing the freedom of the masses, strengthening the sovereignty and unity of the state, developing agriculture and industry, and achieving justice in paying taxes.
The emergence of parties against Union and Progress (1909-1912):
Proponents of the old situation denounced the manifestations of secularism and the path of the West that characterized the New Testament. They called for a return to the provisions of Islamic law. On April 13, 1909, discontent was turned into a rebellion by a number of officers demanding and the dissolution of the parliament and called for the abolition of the Constitution and the declaration of the rule of Islamic law, Sultan Abdulhamid was accused of masterminding the counterrevolution. The Salonika army marched to Istanbul under the leadership of Mahmoud Shawkat and overthrew the Sultan and his brother Mohammed Rashad in the name of Muhammad V took the throne, and from that time until the collapse of the Sultanate, the unionist remains the leader party.
In 1911 ‘Hürriyet ve Hilaf f?rkas?’ was established, and it is the first organized movement against Union and Progress, there was consist of a very different perspective of people, but the common point between them, all were against Union and Progress.
In 1912: the unionist abolishes the parliament, and re-established it, in order to make the election again, and they won the majority of the votes also.
Union and Progress (1913-1918):
In 1913, UP became more powerful after the coup (they was a state within a state), because they manage to eliminate all their enemies.
In 1915,’ Armenian issue’ took place; they want to be independent and established Armenian state in the eastern part so the UP decides to relocate them to the eastern part.
In 1916, ‘sheikh-Islam’ was removed from the cabinet.
In 1917, the religious court become under the control of the secular court,’Medrese’ also become under the control of secular authority, and the minister of the religious foundation was established.
World War I in the Ottoman Empire:
The Ottoman Empire involved in the war, without any preparations for it, and it allied with Germany because they were weak, and they don’t want to be isolated, and they thought that they will be only against Russia, and they will gain good advantages from it, but it ended with the defeat of Germany, and it was a disaster for the Ottoman Empire and for the Union and Progress Committee.
In 1918, the conference of the committee was postponed which was to be held in early October due to a Bulgarian truce. The conference was opened in early November after the signing of the Modros truce. , Talaat Pasha led the meeting. In another session, he and the members of the Central Committee withdrew from the conference and fled to Europe later, leaving one of the members of the Assembly with the task of dissolving it and reconstituting it with a new name, the Party of Regeneration (Tcedud Firkasi).
In spite of the problems and wars that faced the Association of the Union and progress, its era, achieved many of the objectives of the Ottoman organizations, which were aimed at regulating the new state on a new basis in all fields, and established the rules set by the men of the organizations in the nineteenth century, which result the foundation of the Turkish Republic in20th.