Liberal criticism toward the unionist policies during the great war: Ali Kemal and the Sabah / Peyam-ı Sabah newspaper
Çakmur, Onur (2018) Liberal criticism toward the unionist policies during the great war: Ali Kemal and the Sabah / Peyam-ı Sabah newspaper. [Thesis]
The First World War that lasted from 1914 to 1918 occupies an important place in Turkish History. However, in comparison with the Turkish War of Independence, Ottoman experience of the Great War remains a relatively under-researched area. The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), which ruled the Ottoman Empire during the War, constituted a dictatorship and kept the opposition under strict censorship. During the armistice period, political pressure was lifted and the press became a platform for criticism about the wartime policies of the Unionists and its consequences. Therefore, this study primarily aims to analyze Sabah (from January 1920 onwards published as Peyam-ı Sabah), a leading newspaper of the opposition, with regard to its perspective on the War during the armistice period. The emphasis of the study will be on the editor-in-chief of the paper, Ali Kemal, an iconic figure of the period, who had been very influential especially in Sabah’s analyses regarding the War and the figures who were responsible in this debacle. This study is also discussing the view propagated by Sabah, which at the time became a major platform for liberal opponents of the CUP. Sabah’s discourse has been examined in terms of four key themes, namely domestic policy, foreign policy, wartime economy and policies regarding the non-Muslims. Despite being deemed to be a traitor by many Turkish nationalist authors, Ali Kemal’s blatant criticisms on the Unionist leadership proved to be resilient and parts of it were later adopted by the historiography of the Republican period.
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