The Young Ottomans

The Young Ottomans (YO) was a constitutional reform and Ottoman state opposition movement that was influential in Ottoman politics between 1860 and 1876. The YO were a response to the Ottoman Tanzimat Reforms, which members accused the government of using to cement an autocratic bureaucracy led by the Ottoman elite. Instead, the YO promoted Ottomanism, which replaced loyalty to the sultan with loyalty to the state, attempted to create a single homogenous citizen regardless of ethnoreligious differences, and was heavily influenced by ideas of the French Revolution.

Members of the YO had a complicated stance towards Europe. On the one hand, many were educated in Europe, were deeply influenced by nationalism, and saw European modernity as the model to which the Empire should aspire. On the other, they recognized the danger posed by European imperialism and colonialism and sought to strengthen the Ottoman state through constitutional reform. Factions emerged between members who emphasized the Islamic character of the Empire and others who were drawn to secularism and saw parliament as a space where diverse ethnic and religious groups could join together and derive a sense of belonging to the Ottoman homeland.

In 1876, civilian and military officials inspired by the Young Ottomans led a coup against Sultan Abdulaziz, bringing Sultan Abdulhamid II to power, who introduced a constitution and parliament.


Murat C. Menguujj, "Young Ottomans," Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, ed. Richard C. Martin (New York: Thomson Gale, 2004), p. 737-739.

See also: Turkey