• Imperial Ottoman Identity in Salonica at the End of Ottoman Rule

    This paper examines the development of imperial Ottoman identity at the end of Ottoman rule in Salonica. This identity transcended communal divisions and antagonized separatist nationalisms fostered by neighboring Balkan states. It is argued that this identity was promoted by the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, at least rhetorically, and more importantly, by the cosmopolitan setting of Ottoman port cities. As imperial Ottoman identity was developed within Salonica’s pre/proto-nationalist and multicommunalframework, this paper focuses on loci conducive to an imperial Ottoman imaginary, such as newspapers, urban landscape, civic festivities and events, and schools. Newspapers promoted imagination of a common Ottoman community, articulated Ottomanness, and depicted Salonica as a shared city. The conviviality of Salonica’s communities was experienced in entertainment sites and public places, while Salonicans experienced a magnificent multiplicity of architectural styles and encountered the diversity of religions, languages, and cultures in their daily life. Political events, such as the Young Turk Revolution, and civic festivities, such as the visit of Sultan Mehmed V, mobilized Salonicans across communal boundaries. High-quality and foreign schools had become loci of embryonic Ottoman cross-national elites. In tandem with the development of imperial Ottoman identity, Balkan nationalisms were competing for the minds and souls of Salonicans with their antagonism culminating in the Balkan Wars and the demise of Ottoman rule and identity.

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  • The Zionist Leaders’ Fear: Perception of, Comparison with, and Reactions to the Armenian Genocide

    During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was characterized by a political shift toward Turkish nationalism and the resulting growth of repressive measures against non-Turkish populations. From 1915 to 1916 this policy came to its climax in the extirpation of Anatolia’s Armenians. This change of atmosphere and the deadly actions of the Young Turk government were documented by Zionist leaders living in the empire. Not least because of the continued rise of a “Jewish Question” in Palestine, these events were regarded with anxiety. Based on research in the Central Zionist Archives, this article examines the Zionist leaders’ perception of the Armenian Genocide and focuses on the effects the massacres had on them. It expounds on the Yishuv’s problematic situation in Palestine, which was the result of repressive measures emanating from both the central and local Ottoman authorities, and shows how the Zionist leaders, keeping the fate of the Armenians in mind, coped with the situation. The topics of this article include the Zionist leaders’ concerns about the situation of the Jews living under Young Turk rule; their confrontation with various problems; and their fight for the future of the Yishuv, Zionism, and their colonization work in Palestine.

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