The Venetian state, led by merchant aristocrats, is the birthplace of today’s modern world. Opening its doors to Jews expelled from Spain and founding Europe’s first ghetto, Venice pioneered the fundamental ideas that shaped the New World that spread across Europe. Thanks to the power of money, the printing press, intelligence and, of course, the contribution of Machiavellian politics as well as the freemasonry and sects such as the Jesuits, the Venetians paved the way first for Europe and then for the world's politics, economy and science.
Toward the end of the 16th century, the Giovani (Young) society was founded in Venice by patriotic nobility such as Leonardo Dona, Nicolo Contarini and Antonio Querini. These “Young” members wanted Venice to play a more active role in the international arena. They held no belief in the Roman Church and had strong ties with England and the Netherlands. The spokesperson for the group was Paolo Sarpi, an atheist priest. Since they used to gather in the house of the noble Venetian Morosini family, this society was also known as Ridotto Morosini and dominated the administration of the state.
The modern ideas spread by this society made their first revolution in England, where Venice has been involved in political dynamics since Henry VIII. Following the execution of King Charles I in 1649, the Commonwealth was established in England. English poet John Milton, who was a firm enemy of the monarchy, took office in this new state after visiting Sarpi in Venice. In his book “Paradise Lost,” he praises Satan and asserts that every dethroned king is the revenge the devil took on God and Adam.
The revolutionary youth movement was put into a system in the 19th century with the efforts of Italian politician Giuseppe Mazzini. Masonic Young Italy (Giovine Italia) was founded by him with the slogan “Union, Progress and Freedom.” This movement gained momentum across all Europe and infiltrated the Ottoman lands through Pera-Beyoğlu in Istanbul and Thessaloniki, where Italian influence was abundant. Likewise, this particular trend drew great interest throughout the Balkans. People who internalized these new ideas in Ottoman lands called themselves Young (Jeune) Ottomans/Turks.
The Young Turks had carried out activities to transform the Ottoman Empire into a constitutional system. Sultan Abdulaziz, who repudiated the constitutionalism, was eliminated by the team that included Sultan Abdulmecid’s son Şehzade Murad V's Italian doctor Capoleone. Instead, his nephew Şehzade Abdülhamid II was ascended to the throne, on the condition that he would declare constitutionalism.
Sultan Albülhamid II took over a state that had collapsed due to extensive foreign debts. He was well aware of the intentions of creditors’ behind the Young Turks. Therefore, he put constitutionalism aside, by using the war with Russians as an excuse to do so. Moreover, he closed down the assembly and took over the administration. He also allowed the establishment of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration (Düyun-u Umumiye) for the collection of debts. Italy was one of six states that had taken part in this administration.
Facing off with Sultan Abdülhamid II, some of the Young Turks fled abroad and others were pulled underground. Some of the Young Turks like Midhat Pasha, who had a role in the murder of Sultan Abdülaziz, were imprisoned. However, European powers, led by Italy, were yet to act out. They were pressuring the Ottoman economy, along with sending their navy to the Bosporus, when the sultan persisted. In the meantime, those European agencies continued to stir up the Balkans and reorganized the Young. Ettore Ferrari, the assistant of the master mason Ernesto Nathan, came to Istanbul via the Orient Express in July 1900 and revived the masonic lodges in dormancy.
In 1904, European powers established an international gendarmerie in Macedonia, under the pretext of controlling the fuss there. The gendarmerie was managed by the Italian General Emilio Degiorgis. The Young were reorganized in secret meetings in Thessaloniki, where the general also participated. Emmanuele Carasso, an Italian Jew, opened the door of the masonic lodge that he managed to The Young and took them under the wing of Italy. Here, they were given training on Italian Carbonari, the informal network of secret revolutionary societies active in Italy from about 1800 to 1831, and Risorgimento, a 19th-century political and social movement in Italy.
Lawyer Emmanuel Carasso, the master of the lodge, was one of the business partners of the Jewish Bernardino Nogara, who would become the Vatican's safe in the future. Nogara was the Italian representative of Düyun-u Umumiye, which was established to collect debts given to the Ottoman Empire. He was working for the Venetian businessperson Giuseppe Volpi. Volpi was married to Nerina Pisani, a member of Venice's aristocratic family Pisani. They were in business with another nobleman: Piero Foscari.
The Young Turks in Thessaloniki established the Committee of Union and Progress, based on the slogan of Young Italy. Young Ottoman officers from the Second and Third Army were also included in this committee. With the support of the Italian navy, they rose up in Macedonia in the summer of 1908. They shot all of the pashas that the sultan sent to them for negotiation. Sultan Abdülhamid II, upon realizing that counseling was inefficient, wanted to attack with the army yet he soon realized that the army was no longer obeying him. After meeting with his ministers, there was only one thing left to do; he declared constitutionalism again with a telegram he sent to Macedonia on the night of July 23. Thereafter, the Muslim-majority peninsula was silent whilst celebrations were held for days in Beyoğlu and Thessaloniki.
As soon as the Young Turks came to power, they recruited many British advisors to the government. They entrusted the Ottoman navy to England, the army to Germany and the finances to France. The uprisings that started against the constitutional monarchy in Anatolia were harshly suppressed. Officers loyal to Sultan Abdülhamid II were promptly purged from the army, replaced by the Young unionists. However, the sultan was still in charge. The old wolf could pull in the administration again thanks to his high genius and politics. Thus, he had to be dethroned as soon as possible.
On April 13, 1909, the unionists and some provocateurs hired by the foreign consulates started a rebellion among hunter battalions brought to Istanbul after the constitutional monarchy. Some Young members of the Committee of Union and Progress fueled the fire with the articles they wrote in newspapers against the Committee of Union and Progress. Among the rebels gathered in Sultanahmet Square, spies dressed as mullahs were strolling around and cheering against the constitutional monarchy and the Union and Progress. The crowd, provoked by the spies, began to shoot the liberal-minded Young Turks.
Long before the rebellion in Istanbul, the Young Turks gathered in Thessaloniki and rolled up their sleeves to form an army of Balkan bandits. Having completed its preparations, the army seemingly aimed to suppress the rebellion, but actually set out on April 16 to take down Sultan Abdülhamid II. The Ikdam newspaper wrote about this army marching to Istanbul with the headline "Call to Arms!”
In the editorial it was written: “Thessaloniki proves today what kind of a source of freedom it is. As soon as the redif soldiers (reserves of the active soldiers) were recruited, all the Young and volunteers (Albanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Serbian, Armenian, Jew) flied off to buy weapons."
Mahmut Şevket Pasha was the head of the army, which used the trains of the German Jewish Oriental Railway Company (Compagnie des Chemins de fer Orientaux). Mahmut Şevket Pasha, who trained by Mithat Pasha, graduated from the Alliance ( Alyans) school established by modernist Jews and had a Jewish battalion of 700 volunteers under his command.
When the army came around Hadımköy, the representatives of the Dashnaksutyun Society, including the Armenian deputy Vartakes Efendi, came to meet them. The unionists, especially Major Enver Bey, thanked the Armenian delegation for their actions. Soldiers said, "Long live the Dashnaksutyun Association!" and applauded. Taking a break in Yeşilköy, the army arrived in Istanbul on April 22.
The European navies were waiting on the Ottoman shores to support the army. In the telegrams sent from the vilayets, it was written that the Italian, British and French fleets were sailing off Antalya and Mersin. The British navy was anchored in Beşike Bay, which is located in front of Bozcaada (Tenedos). The Russian navy also sailed from Sevastopol to the Black Sea. The ambassadors of these states in Istanbul also sent a memorandum to the cabinet. They declared that if blood is shed between the two armies, they will intervene via navy power.
The army entered the city on the night of April 23 and led to small clashes in Taksim, Maçka and Pangaltı, where the barracks were located. The Sublime Porte was set on fire. Committee opponents were quickly executed. Some teachers and students who were completely unrelated to the rebellion took shelter in mosques and were also massacred by Bulgarian committee members. In a short time, the city was subdued. What came next was the main target. The Young surrounded Yıldız Palace, Sultan Abdülhamid II's accommodation, with the operation they embarked on the night of April 26. The water and electricity of the palace were cut off. The guards and janitors were taken prisoners. Later, the Young, with the Bulgarian commander Sandanski and his gang, plundered the palace.
The delegation led by lawyer Carasso went to the palace the next day and informed Sultan Abdülhamid II about its decision. The sultan of the Turks was captured and taken to Thessaloniki by train. He was confined to the villa of the Italian Jew Allatini. Carasso, who distributed four tin of gold coins that he bought from an Italian bank to the members of the union for the initiation of the 1908 revolution, later said, "We led the unionists to do this revolution for 400,000 liras, which we could not make Sultan Abdülhamid II do for 25 million liras."
With the removal of Sultan Abdülhamid II, the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire became history and a new state of Turkey was founded instead. The following events such as The Balkan War, World War I, the Armenian exile and so on are not associated with the Ottoman Empire’s governance. Indeed, the spy Mark Sykes, who previously worked at the British consulate in Istanbul, wrote about this issue in his book “The Caliphs' Last Heritage: A Short History of the Turkish Empire.”
"The fall of Abdülhamid has been the fall, not of a despot or tyrant, but of a people and an idea.. In the place of theocracy, Imperial prestige and tradition, came atheism, Jacobinism, materialism and licence... In an hour, Constantinople changed; Islam, as understood by the theologians, as preached in the mosques, as the moral support of the people, as the inspiration of the army, died in a moment; the Caliphate, the clergy, the Quran, ceased to hold or inspire..”
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