Alp Yenen

The Young Turk Aftermath (1918-1922)

In my PhD project I study the exile activities of leading Young Turk figures during the aftermath of World War I (1918-1922). As revolutionary non-state actors, the exiled Young Turk leaders, such as Enver, Talat and Cemal Pashas, were challenging the changing international order of the aftermath of World War I in an attempt of uniting the Muslim insurgents against the colonial occupation.

This exile episode of the Young Turks is generally marginalized and trivialized in most studies due to the teleological wisdom that they have terribly failed. Nevertheless, I argue that the exile story of the Young Turks is rather representative of the political and intellectual currents of the aftermath of World War I in Europe, the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia, and delivers an alternative and transnational narrative.

The major objectives of the dissertation project are the contextualization of the Young Turks within the transnational history of post-war conflicts, the reconstruction and evaluation of their political activities within their network of friends and partners, the intellectual embedding of their discourse within the zeitgeist of Muslim anti-imperialist struggles in Asia, and the theoretical conceptionalization of revolutionary non-state actors and their contentious politics in world politics.

The story of the exiled Young Turks, irrespective of their political failure, connects and resembles rather a more global history of the ideologically diffuse and politically chaotic but historically formative events of the aftermath of World War I in a wide-reaching geography stretching from Germany over Russia to Caucasia and from the Middle East over Central Asia to India.

The historical reconstruction is based on archival research in various archives in Europe and Turkey. A vast collection ego-documents such as letters, memoirs, and diaries by the Young Turk figures and their acquaintances are read in correlation to the public discourse found in the contemporary press and publications and in comparison to the perspective of state actors as it is documented in state documents and private writings state officials.

My project has been funded from July 2010 to January 2013 by a doctoral grant from Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Since February 2013 I am an assistant lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel.

Supervisor: Maurus Reinkowski

Co-Supervisor: Paul Dumont (Université de Strasbourg)



I was born in 1982 in Ankara, Turkey. In Ankara I attended there elementary school and partly middle school. The school year 1995/1996 I spent in Dresden, Germany. After that I went to the German School in Ankara. Since 1999 I live in Germany.
After finishing high school in Munich, I studied a combined undergraduate and graduate program at the University of Munich. In the summer of 2009 I completed my MA in History and Culture of the Middle East (Ottoman, Turkish, and Iranian Studies), Political Science and Economic Geography. In winter term 2009/2010 and summer term 2010 I worked as a research and teaching assistant at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the University of Freiburg. From the fall semester 2010 on, I was employed at the University of Basel as an adjunct lecturer for Turkish language and later for Middle East history and politics. Before my enrollment at the University of Basel in autumn term 2013, I was enrolled at a doctoral program at the University of Freiburg. Since October 2009 Prof. Dr. Maurus Reinkowski is my doctoral advisor.  
Since spring term 2013, I am  an assistant lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel.