Young Turk

The Young Turks (, from , or ) were a political reform movement in the early 20th century, favoring replacement of the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire with a constitutional monarchy. Later officially known as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP; ), their leaders led a rebellion against the absolute rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. With this revolution, the Young Turks helped to establish the Second Constitutional Era in 1908, ushering in an era of multi-party democracy for the first time in the country’s history. After 1908, the Young Turks’ umbrella political party, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), began a series of modernizing military and political reforms across the Ottoman Empire. However, the CUP soon began to splinter as many of the more liberal and pro-decentralization Young Turks left to form an opposition party in late 1911, the Freedom and Accord Party (also known as the Liberal Union or Liberal Entente), with much of those staying in the CUP favoring a generally nationalist and pro-centralization policy. In a year-long power struggle throughout 1912, Freedom Accord and the remaining members of the CUP vied for control of the Ottoman government, the year seeing a rigged election by the CUP and a military revolt by Freedom and Accord. The struggle between the two groups of Young Turks ended in January 1913, when the top leadership of the CUP seized personal power from Freedom and Accord in the Raid on the Sublime Porte. The subsequent CUP-led government was headed by interior minister and Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha. Working with him were war minister Enver Pasha and naval minister Djemal Pasha. These “Three Pashas”, as they came to be known, exercised absolute control over the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1918, bringing the country closer to Germany, signing the Ottoman–German Alliance to enter the Empire into World War I on the side of the Central Powers. The term “Young Turk” has come to signify “an insurgent in a political party, especially one belonging to a group or faction that supports liberal or progressive policies”, especially ones agitating for radical reform within a party.