Is The Regeneration of Turkey Possible?
Translated by: Barış Alp ÖzdenBuy
Demetrius Georgiades was born into a wealthy merchant family from Izmir, but he resided in Paris from the beginning of the 1870s. In the last quarter of the century, Paris was one of the meeting points of the growing Greek Orthodox diaspora and the multi-religious and multilingual Ottoman exile intelligentsia. Georgiades’s life in the “city of lights” would also pass between her family profession and a multidimensional writing and publishing activity.
Starting from the 1890s, Georgiades, although with interruptions, engaged in a comprehensive publishing activity in opposition to the Abdulhamid regime. Georgiades, who published many books and articles on the political and economic developments in both the Ottoman Empire and the Greek Kingdom, wrote Is Turkey’s Revival Possible? in the first months of 1909. Therefore, it is a work written on the possible consequences of the Kanun-i Esasi’s (The Constitution) proclamation, while so to speak, the smoke of the revolution was still fuming.
According to Georgiades the hopes raised by the 1908 revolution on the “revival of Turkey” were quickly destroyed and the culprit was the Committee of Union and Progress, which gathered all the oppression mechanism of the former regime in hand and crippled the emergence of a liberal constitutional regime by adopting a nationalist route. For Georgiades, the revolution did not cause a disruption, but resulted in the continuation of the Hamid Era in another form. Despite the weakness of its author’s occasional use of Orientalist clichés, published just after the 1908 revolution, this work provides a remarkable political testimony to perhaps one of the most critical turning points in the history of the geography we live in.