The Young Turks and the Boycott Movement: Nationalism, Protest and the Working Classes in the Formation of Modern Turkey


I.B.Tauris, London, 2014

  • Publication Type: Book / Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris
  • City: London


This book provides an in-depth narrative of the boycott movement during the Young Turk period, initially directed against Austria-Hungary, then against the Kingdom of Greece, and finally against non-Muslims (mostly Greek-Orthodox) within the Ottoman empire. Differing from the conventional historiography on the subject, Y. Dogan Çetinkaya highlights not so much intellectual currents as the motor of the rising Muslim/Turkish nationalism, but rather the agency of social groups –workers, merchants, urban notables, civil servants and officers – that formed the backbone of numerous initiatives and organizations which succeeded in imposing the boycott on an empire-wide scale and thus exercised a direct influence on the political process. Although the ruling elite swiftly learned how to manipulate the population and control its reactions, the author argues persuasively that it was basically the interests of the Muslim middle class, articulated increasingly in the context of mass politics, which effected the shift from the Ottomanist discourse of 1908 to a radical nationalism that demanded the elimination of non-Muslims from the economy from 1914 onwards. On the whole, the book represents an important contribution to the history of Islamization and Turkification of Asia Minor in the twentieth century.