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A Muslim Dualism? Inter-Imperial History and Austria-Hungary in Ottoman Thought, 1867–1921

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2021

Adam Mestyan*
History Department, Duke University, 224 Classroom Building, Durham, NC27708-0719, United States


Historians often look for genealogies of nationalism in Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman imperial history. In this article, I use an inter-imperial framework to argue that the formative period of contemporary Eastern Mediterranean-European regionalism was the last five decades of these two empires. The diplomatic, economic and cultural relations between the two middle powers compose an alternative history to national narratives. I show that dualism (‘independence’ within empire) was an attractive imperial reform model for Ottoman Muslim intellectuals. I describe first a forgotten Egyptian-Ottoman dualist vision, and then I analyse the more well-known Arab-Turkish dualist plans up to 1921.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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9 In the ocean of studies about national identifications in Ottoman and Habsburg lands, I point at one recent critical study about an Ottoman case: Yosmaoğlu, İpek, Blood Ties: Religion, Violence, and the Politics of Nationhood in Ottoman Macedonia, 1878–1908 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014), 57Google Scholar.

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11 Hajdarpašić, Edin, ‘Out of the Ruins of the Ottoman Empire: Reflections on the Ottoman Legacy in South-Eastern Europe’, Middle Eastern Studies, 44, (2008), 715–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Alp Yenen, ‘The Young Turk Aftermath: Making Sense of Transnational Contentious Politics at the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1918–1922’, Ph.D. thesis, University of Basel, 2016; Provence, Michael, The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schayegh, Cyrus, The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Payk, Marcus M. and Pergher, Roberta, eds., Beyond Versailles: Sovereignty, Legitimacy, and the Formation of New Polities After the Great War (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ü. Polat, Gülsüm, Türk-Arap İlişkileri – Eski Eyaletler Yeni Komşulara Dönüşürken (1914–1923) (Istanbul: Kronik Kitab, 2019)Google Scholar.

12 Fujinami, Nobuyoshi, ‘Decentralizing Centralists, or the Political Language on Provincial Administration in the Second Ottoman Constitutional Period’, Middle Eastern Studies, 49, 6 (2013), 880900CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Matossian, Shattered Dreams of Revolution, Chapter Two; François Georgeon, ed., ‘L'ivresse de la liberté’ – La revolution de 1908 dans l'Empire ottoman (Paris: Peeters, 2012); François Georgeon and Noémi Lévy, eds., The Young Turk Revolution and the Ottoman Empire: The Aftermath of 1908 (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2017).

13 Bayram Nazır, ‘II. Abdülhamid dönemi Osmanlı-Macar dostluk ilişkileri’, Atatürk Üniversitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi, 17 (2010), 309–17; Hilmi Bayraktar, ‘Osmanlı Perspektifiyle Macar Bağımsızlık Hareketi ve Osmanlı-Macar İlişkileri’, in Ekrem Causevic, Nenad Moacanin, Vjeran Kursar, eds., Perspectives on Ottoman Studies – Papers from the 18th Symposium of the International Committee of Pre-Ottoman and Ottoman Studies (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2010), 889–906. For our special topic and period, see Erich Würl, ‘Die Tatigkeit des Markgrafen Pallavicini in Konstantinopel: 1906–1914’, PhD thesis, University of Vienna, 1951 (1953); F.R. Bridge, ‘The Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, 1900–1918’, in Marian Kent, ed., The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire (London: Routledge, 1996), 31–50; Roman Kodet, ‘Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire since the End of the Bosnian Annexation Crisis till the Italo-Turkish War’, Central European Papers, 2 (2013), 29–38; Fónagy Zoltán, ‘Bosznia-Hercegovina integrációja az okkupáció után: Hatalompolitika és modernizáció a közös minisztertanácsi jegyzőkönyvek tükrében’, Történelmi Szemle, 66 (2014), 27–60; Bilge Karbi, ‘Avusturya-Macaristan İmparatorluğu'nun Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'na İktisadi-Askeri Nüfuzu (1914–1918)’, Cumhuriyet Tarihi Araştırmaları Dergisi, 13, 25 (2017), 117–54; there are several recent German and English edited volumes about cultural and political relations by Rudolf Angster and Elmar Samsinger, the Don Juan Archiv and specifically about Egypt-Austria by Johanna Holaubek. A recent publication that I have not yet had the opportnuity to read is Gábor Fodor, ed., Between Empires – Beyond Borders – The Late Ottoman Empire and the Early Republican Era through the Lens of the Köpe Family (Budapest: MTA Bölcsészettudományi központ, 2020).

14 F.R. Bridge, ‘The Foreign Policy of the Monarchy’, in Mark Cornwall, ed., The Last Years of Austria-Hungary (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002), 13–45; Faik Reşit Unat, Osmanlı Sefirleri ve Sefaretnameleri (Ankara: Türk Tarıh Kurumu Basımevi, 1968); Selim Hilmi Özkan, Osmanlı Devleti ve Diplomasi (İstanbul: İdeal Kültür Yayıncılık, 2017); Doğan Gürpınar, Ottoman Imperial Diplomacy: A Political, Social and Cultural History (London: I.B. Tauris, 2014). For the most recent literature on borderlands, see the forum ‘The Habsburg-Ottoman Borderlands: New Insights for the Study of the Nineteenth-Century European Legal and Social Order’ articles in Austrian History Yearbook, 51 (2020).

15 Šedivý, Miroslav, ‘Metternich and Mustafa Reshid Pasha's Fall in 1841’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 39, 2 (2012), 259–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 For revolutionary refugees after 1848, Deringil, Selim, Conversion and Apostasy in the Late Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 159–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17 The first estimate is in Roger Owen, The Middle East in World Economy (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009 [1981]), 86–7; for the argument about diminished trade volume in the 1900s, Bridge, ‘The Habsburg Monarchy’, 32–3.

18 Quoted in Kmoskó Mihály, ‘Jelentés a szíriai katolikus missziók jelen állapotáról’, appendix in Ormos István, Egy életút állomásai – Kmoskó Mihály, 1876–1931 (Budapest: Magyar Egyháztörténeti Enciklopédia Munkaközösség, 2017), 253–330, at 324.

19 Keltie, John Scott and Epstein, E., eds., The Statesman's Year-Book – Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1918 (London: MacMillan, 1918), 1333Google Scholar; Quataert, Donald, ‘Commerce’, in Faroqhi, Suraiya et al. , eds., An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 2, 833Google Scholar.

20 For şehbender reports in the late nineteenth century, see HR.H 353-354, HR. SYS 156, etc, in the Ottoman Archives of the Turkish Prime Ministry (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi; hereinafter BOA); Hariciye Vekaleti, Salname-i Nezaret-i Hariciye, 1 (1884/85), 258–9, for the two ambassadors: Würl, ‘Die Tätigkeit’; Kornrumpf, Hans-Jürgen, ‘Hüseyn Hilmi Pascha. Anmerkungen zu Seiner Biographie’, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 76 (1986), 193–8Google Scholar and Hilmi Pasha's personal papers at İslam Araştırmaları Merkezi (İSAM).

21 Shalfun, Yusuf, Anis al-Jalis (Beirut: al-Matba‘a al-Kulliyya, 1874), 55–6Google Scholar.

22 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities – Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition (London: Verso, 2006), 20.

23 ‘Keleti Akadémia Igazgatói Hivatal iratai, Iktatókönyv, 1902–1912’ (Registry Book, Documents of the Director's Office of the Oriental Academy, 1902–1912), Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem Levéltára (Archive of the Corvinus University in Budapest); Adam Mestyan, ‘Materials for a History of Hungarian Academic Orientalism – The Case Of Gyula Germanus (1884–1979)’, Die Welt des Islams, 54 (2014), 4–33.

24 Ilyas, Edwar, Mashahid al-Mamalik (Cairo: al-Muqattam, 1910), 2, 26–7, 28Google Scholar.

25 Articles in Irtiqa, 20 Mar., 28 Apr., 5 May, 19 May 1899; without author, Avusturya ve Macaristan Hukumeti ve Ordusu (Dersa‘adet: Mahmud Bey Matba‘asi, 1331).

26 Murad to Fuad, Foreign Minister, 14 Apr. 1867, HR.SYS. 157/4, BOA.

27 Haydar's letters to Fuad in early July 1867 in HR.SYS. 157/13, BOA; similar documents in Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv should help to reconstruct this truly inter-imperial moment. Budapesti Közlöny, 1 and 2 Aug. 1867, 1–2.

28 Correspondence, especially Prokesch-Osten to Foreign Minister, Ottoman translation of letter dated 2 Dec. 1868, in A.{}DVN.NMH 18/12, BOA.

29 Barabás Béla, Emlékirataim (1855–1929) (Arad: Corvin Könyvnyomdai Műintézet, 1929), 92–7.

30 Ormos, Egy életút állomásai, 60–72.

31 Leyla Amzi-Erdoğdular, ‘Afterlife of Empire: Muslim-Ottoman Relations in Habsburg Bosnia Herzegovina, 1878–1914’, PhD thesis, Columbia University, 2013.

32 Graf Andrassy auf der Anklagebank der Delegationen (München: Caesar Fritsch, 1878); Gróf Andrássy Gyula, Bosznia okkupácziójáról 1878 November 30-án, Deczember 6-án és 14-én tartott három beszéde (Budapest: Franklin-Társulat, 1914); Fónagy, ‘Bosznia-Hercegovina integrációja’.

33 Quoted in Fónagy, ‘Bosznia-Hercegovina integrációja’, 43; for the genesis of the image of Austria-Hungary as ‘mediator’ between East and West, see Judson, The Habsburg Empire, 317–20; the Bosnia-occupation, 329–31.

34 Amzi-Erdoğdular, ‘Afterlife of Empire’, 45–8; 52; 59–60; see also the 1883 hududname in A{}DVN.NMH 28/16, BOA; for the legal situation from a Hungarian point of view: Szilárd Szabó, ‘Bosznia-Hercegovina közjogi viszonya Ausztriához és Magyarországhoz 1878 és 1918 között’, PhD thesis, University of Miskolc, 2010.

35 Fodor, Pál, ‘A budapesti imám’, Történelmi Szemle 2 (2017), 315–23Google Scholar.

36 ‘Ali al-Laythi, Rihlat al-Shaykh ‘Ali al-Laythi bi-Bilad al-Nimsa wa'l-Almaniya min 17 Dhu al-Hijja sanat 1291 ila an ‘ada fi 20 Muharram 1292 (Beirut: Dar al-Basha'ir al-Islamiyya, 2011), 82–3.

37 Mohamed Ali, Souvenirs d'enfance – I. Le Théresianum, II. Vienne de mon temps (Cairo: Imp. A. Enani, s.d.), 4; Specht, Edith, ‘Egyptian Students at the Theresianum in Vienna 1882–1914’, in Holaubek, Johanna, Navrátilová, Hanna and Oerter, Wolf B., eds., Egypt and Austria IV (Prague: Tschechisches Ägyptologisches Institut, 2008), 297302Google Scholar.

38 István Ormos, Max Herz Pasha (1856–1919): His Life and Career, 2 vols (Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 2009); in general, Komár Krisztián, ‘Az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia és Egyiptom kapcsolatai, 1882–1914’, PhD thesis, University of Sciences in Szeged, 2006.

39 Ignác, Goldziher, Napló (Budapest: Magvető, 1984), 316–8, 331Google Scholar.

40 Some imperial federalist plans are in Ahmet Ersoy, Maciej Górny and Vangelis Kechriotis, eds., Modernism: The Creation of Nation-States: Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe 1770–1945: Texts and Commentaries, volume III/1 (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010), Chapter IV.

41 Taylor, A.J.P., The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809–1918 – A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1948), 134–7Google Scholar; Gerald Stourzh, Die Gleichberechtigung der Nationalitäten in der Verfassung und Verwaltung Österreichs, 1848–1918 (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1985); László Kontler, A History of Hungary – Millenium in Central Europe (Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), 263, 277–84; Evans, Austria, Hungary, 193–208, 266–92; Judson, The Habsburg Empire, 220–1, 259–64; Deák, Forging, 167–70; for the cultural-political milieu of liberal Hungarian small landlords see Vaderna Gábor, A költészet születése: A magyarországi költészet társadalomtörténete a 19. század első évtizedeiben (Budapest: Universitas Könyvkiadó, 2017); the customs’ union law is quoted from Az 1865-dik évi deczember 10-dikére hirdetett Országgyűlés főrendházának irományai I. kötet (Pest: Atheneum, 1868), 215–22.

42 Judson, The Habsburg Empire, 219 argues that the absolutist rule in the 1850s had already established liberal reforms which were codified fully in the late 1860s; Deák, Forging, 141–2, takes a similar position.

43 Mardin, Şerif, The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in the Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962)Google Scholar; Davison, Roderic H., Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–1876 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963)Google Scholar; Çiçek, Nazan, The Young Ottomans: Turkish Critics of the Eastern Question in the Late Nineteenth Century (London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

44 Fikret, ‘Religious Communities’, 74.

45 Fujinami, Nobuyoshi, ‘Between Sovereignty and Suzerainty: History of the Ottoman Privileged Provinces’, in Okamoto, Takashi, ed., A World History of Suzerainty: A Modern History of East and West Asia and Translated Concepts (Tokyo: Toyo Bunko, 2019), 4169Google Scholar.

46 Matossian, Shattered Dreams; for the Arabic press: Adam Mestyan, Till Grallert et al., Project Jara'id, (last visited 21 Jan. 2019); Khuri-Makdisi, Ilham, The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860–1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010)Google Scholar; Ayalon, Ami, The Arabic Print Revolution: Cultural Production and Mass Readership (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

47 Yuhanna Abkariyus, Qatf al-Zuhur fi Tarikh al-Duhur (Beirut: n.p., 1873), 573.

48 Al-Jinan, 15 Jan. 1876, 5–6.

49 Butrus al-Bustani, Da'irat al-Ma‘arif (1876), 1, 76.

50 Salim al-Bustani, ‘al-Nimsa’, al-Jinan, 15 Mar.1876, 188–205.

51 Mahmud ‘Umar Bajuri, al-Tadhkira fi Takhtit al-Kura ([Cairo]: n.p., [1883]), 75.

52 Lisan al-Hal starts the reporting on 23 Safar 1295 (26 Feb. 1878), 2–3; and it lasts until 11 Dhu al-Qad‘a 1295 (6 Nov. 1878), 2.

53 Cole, Juan, Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt's Urabi Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 150–1Google Scholar.

54 ‘Al-Islah al-Dini’, al-Manar, 1, 39, 17 Dec. 1898, 764–71, at 770.

55 Hasan Husni al-Tuwayrani, ‘Awamil al-Mustaqbal fi Urubba (Cairo: Matba‘at al-Nil, 1892), 9: hiya hukuma dhat wizara munfasila wa-majlis nuwwab mustaqill fi a‘malihi wa-munisabitihi wa-laha istiqlal tamm fi al-idara wa-l-maliyya.

56 Stoler, ‘Considerations on Imperial Comparisons’, 47.

57 Genell, ‘Autonomous Provinces’; James Jankowski, ‘Ottomanism and Arabism in Egypt, 1860–1914’, The Muslim World 70, 3–4 (1980), 226–59; Mestyan, Adam, Arab Patriotism: The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 286–8Google Scholar.

58 Mestyan, Adam, ‘Tawfiq Muhammad al-Bakri’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 6, 1921Google Scholar.

59 Interview in al-Liwa’, 10 and 20 Sept. 1908, quoted in full in Hasan Fahmi, Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri (Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1967), 81; a modified version is in Faruq al-Shubaki, Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri: Hayatuhu wa-Adabuhu (Cairo: Maktabat al-Adab, 2013), 135–9.

60 Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri, ‘Bahth al-istiqlal al-tamm’ (A Study in Complete Independence), al-Liwa’, 4 Oct. 1908, 5.

61 Mahmud Salim, ‘Al-Bab al-Maftuh fi Dar al-Sa‘da’, al-Liwa’, 5 Oct. 1908, 1.

62 ‘Al-Thawra al-‘Uthmani’, al-Muqtataf, 1 Oct. 1908, 813–6, at 815.

63 ‘Al-Majlis al-Niyabi’, al-Manar, 27 Aug. 1908, 544.

64 Mestyan, Arab Patriotism, Chapter Five.

65 Cohen, Gary B., ‘Neither Absolutism nor Anarchy: New Narratives on Society and Government in Late Imperial Austria’, Austrian History Yearbook, 29, 1 (1998), 3761CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

66 Matossian, Shattered Dreams of Revolution, Chapter Two; Fujinami, ‘Decentralizing Centralists’, 895; Yenen, ‘Envisioning’, 89–90.

67 See Mestyan, Modern Arab Kingship, forthcoming.

68 This is the narrative of Matossian, Shattered Dreams.

69 Bozarslan, Hamit, ‘Le prince Sabaheddin (1879–1948)’, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte, 52, 3 (2002), 287301Google Scholar; Fujinami, ‘Decentralizing Centralists’.

70 Ileana Moroni, ‘Continuity and Change in the 1909 Constitutional Revision: An Ottoman Imperial Nation Claims Its Sovereignty’, in Lévy-Aksu and Georgeon, eds., The Young Turk Revolution, 265–85.

71 Prince Sabeheddin, ‘A Second Account on Individual Initiative and Decentralization’, in Ahmet Ersoy et al, eds., Modernism: The Creation of Nation-States; Şükrü Hanioğlu, A Brief History of the Ottoman Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 144, for decentralisation, 146; Taglia, Stefano, Intellectuals and Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Young Turks on the Challenges of Modernity (London: Routledge, 2015), 85103CrossRefGoogle Scholar; E.J. Zürcher, ‘Sabah al-Din’, in P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs, eds., Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, 13 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1986–2004), 8: 669; Kayalı, Arabs and Young Turks, Chapters Three and Four; Fujinami, ‘Decentralizing Centralists’.

72 Judson, The Habsburg Empire, Chapter Five and 378–9.

73 The Decentralisation Party in Cairo immediately printed the proceedings, but I have not seen that publication; their criticism is in Shakib Arslan, Ila al-‘Arab: Bayan al-Umma al-‘Arabiyya ‘an Hizb al-La-Markaziyya (1913; Beirut: Dar al-Taqaddumiyya, 2009), 29–30; quotations 34, 52; Sahila al-Rihawi, ‘Tatawwur mafhum al-La-markaziyya ‘inda al-‘Arab al-‘Uthmaniyyin’, Dirasat Tarikhiyya, 13–14 (1974), 138–83; Tauber, The Emergence, 285; for the meagre membership of the pre-1914 Arabist societies, Dawn, Ernest, ‘The Rise of Arabism in Syria’, Middle East Journal, 16, 2 (1962), 145–68Google Scholar; for Emrullah's letter Yenen, ‘Envisioning’, 84; for the discussions in Damascus and Greater Syria in 1913, Martin Hartmann, Reisebriefe aus Syrien (Berlin: Reimer, 1913), 13–5; 35–9: the Beiruti reform committee's demands 40–2, 98; Aleppins’ opinion about the Cairo Decentralisation Party in Aleppo, 91–5.

74 Shumsky, Dmitry, Beyond the Nation-State: The Zionist Political Imagination from Pinsker to Ben-Gurion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018), 144–8Google Scholar.

75 Kayalı, Arabs and Young Turks, 136–7; Freiherr v. d. Goltz, ‘Die Türkei nach dem Frieden’, Neue Freie Presse, 18 May 1913, 1–3. Yenen, ‘Envisioning’, 86.

76 Al-Ahram, 11 Nov. 1912, 1.

77 Tauber, The Emergence, 369–70.

78 Sadrazam ve Harbiye Nazırı Mahmut Şevket Paşa'nın Günlüğü (Istanbul: Arba, 1988), 7–8.

79 Ibid., 53, 93.

80 Ibid., 184.

81 Kayalı, Young Turks, 137.

82 Yenen, ‘Envisioning’, 89–90.

83 Tauber, The Emergence, 221; I slightly modified his translation.

84 Pasha, Djemal, Memoirs of a Turkish Statesman, 1913–1919 (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1922), 5860Google Scholar.

85 Tauber, The Emergence, 369.

86 Sa‘id Bey Suqayr's poem in al-Muqtataf, Nov. 1 1908, 912–5.

87 Gershoni, Israel and Jankowski, James P., Egypt, Islam and the Arabs – The Search for Egyptian Nationhood, 1900–1930 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 18–9Google Scholar.

88 The Egyptian Gazette quoted in Kayalı, Young Turks, 134.

89 Quoted in al-Manar, 20, 1 (30 July 1917), 60–1.

90 Karsh, Efraim and Karsh, Inari, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1923 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 196–7Google Scholar.

91 Yenen, ‘Envisioning’, 102–10; Polat, Türk-Arap İlişkileri, 236–308, Fadil Bayat, ‘Al-Hukuma al-‘Arabiyya fi Dimashq fi Watha'iq al-Arshif al-‘Uthmani’, in Muhammad Jamal Barut, ed., Al-Hukuma al-‘Arabiyya fi Dimashq (Qatar: Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, 2020), 351–89.

92 Talk by Aimee Genell, MESA, 5 Oct. 2020, quoted with permission; Philliou, Christine M., Turkey – A Past Against History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021), Chapter FourGoogle Scholar.