I can’t remember when I first heard there was a media entity who actually decided it was a good idea to name their little group, “The Young Turks.”
Full disclosure, I have in past, taken the time to listen to what the folks from The (“new”) Young Turks, have had to say and have not found myself in agreement with them on much of anything.
I suppose as well, that there are many people who associate the idea of the “original” Young Turks with good.
The problem here, is that one need only go to History.com (https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/armenian-genocide) to find an article on Armenian Genocide (which was even worse for Christian Armenians). There are some interesting “takeaways” from this article.
Firstly, the Young Turks looked like they were “more reasonable” than the government of the sultan who proceeded them. According to the article though:
“At first, the Armenians were hopeful that they would have an equal place in this new state, but they soon learned that what the nationalistic Young Turks wanted most of all was to “Turkify” the empire. According to this way of thinking, non-Turks – and especially Christian non-Turks – were a grave threat to the new state.”
So it turns out this was not to be the case.
In case you’re wondering, the time after the sultan ruled was significantly worse for Armenians (particularly Armenian Christians), than the time in which he ruled.
In order to give you context, we start with an excerpt from the article that describes life under the sultan:
“Between 1894 and 1896, this “box on the ear” took the form of a state-sanctioned pogrom.
In response to large scale protests by Armenians, Turkish military officials, soldiers and ordinary men sacked Armenian villages and cities and massacred their citizens. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were murdered.”
Under the Young Turks, as stated, things became not better, as hoped, but far worse. With regard to the massacre that coincided with World War I, in which the Young Turks were essentially in control of Turkey (and by extension, what had been considered Armenia), the same article says the following:
“Though reports vary, most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacre. In 1922, when the genocide was over, there were just 388,000 Armenians remaining in the Ottoman Empire.”
The article says a great deal more, but you can read it yourself to find out precisely what, you may rest assured, the Young Turks do not “come off looking good” as a result of what’s said.
To begin with, Turkey supported Germany in World War I, and yes, Germany was a “bad apple” the First World War, as in the second. In fact, it’s argued that part of the reason for the rise of the “Third Reich,” were the very strict sanctions and reparations imposed on Germany as a result of its loss in World War I.
I have no idea why the “new” Young Turks” chose their name. I also have no idea, whether the concept of the “Young Turks” has been in some sense, supposedly “redeemed.” What I do know is that anybody who’s looked at the history of Turkey during that time (most particularly if they’re Armenian and even more so if they’re Armenian Christians), would be hard put to speak tolerantly, much less kindly of the acts and attitudes of the Young Turks or anyone acting as people known by that name did.
I’m willing to give the “ new” Young Turks an F in history, and proceed with the expectation that they know nothing of the “original” Young Turks—though I’m sad to say that’s what I would need to do.
I’m willing to accept that there are probably people out there who—in some wise—see what the (original) Young Turks did as somehow noble or reasonable. You may rest assured that, strictly as a Christian, I am not among them.
I don’t think it reasonable that anyone acted like the “original” Young Turks did towards Armenians or Christians. I don’t think it can or should be considered reasonable that others have acted in similar fashions toward Turks, or Muslims for that matter, either.
Through all of this, I stand amaze that so many people are calling for the renaming of groups like the Washington Redskins, yet apparently totally ignoring entities like the (new) Young Turks.
For my part, what I know about the naming of the Washington Redskins, makes it so I see no reason for them to change their name. Even if I assume it reasonable to force such a change though, I certainly find the naming of a political media entity like the Young Turks to be every bit as bad (if not substantially worse).
To say that it’s grossly insensitive to (particularly older) Armenians (and again, particularly Armenian Christians) to use such a name to describe oneself would be a serious understatement. Imagine that a large number of your community was killed in a genocide primarily perpetrated by a group called “The Young Turks.” Now imagine that you name your political media group (yes, even in another country) “in honor of” that group. Can you envision how others are likely to take that?
Regardless the reason for doing so. Regardless what you support—or don’t. Using that term can do nothing but bring people to a recognition of the horror that was an Armenian genocide. And that you chose to have the name be a “title for” your group, can do nothing that I can imagine, but indicate your assent to those horrible activities they purveyed.
I’ve thought many times about putting this down in text, and stopped myself thinking I needed to do more research. I believe I’ve done a sufficiency.
Even though I disagree with The (new) Young Turks political ideology, I can argue those things on their merit. The name they’ve chosen for themselves? Not so much.
I hope folks looking at what I’m saying here come to understand one thing if no other. The use of the name in question (The Young Turks) should be incongruent with any reasonably minded political group in the modern day. You think it’s not? Do the research and decide for yourself. I invite anyone who disagrees to “straighten me out.”
Thanks for reading and may your time be good.