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A Criticism of Constitutionalism in “Did the Sultan deceive or was he deceived” Worko Süleyman Kadizâde Rifat one of the State Officials Opposing Sultan Abdulhamid
Sultan Abdulhamid struggled with many domestic and foreign events during his reign and tried to make the nation survive. However, the methods that he applied were not understood by many. Especially European countries, non-Muslim minorities led by Armenians and opponents such as committee of union and progress tried a lot to dethrone the sultan. Sultan Abdulhamid, who survived lots of crises from coup attempt to assassination attempt, could not resist the constitutionalist opposition ultimately although he overcame Armenian incidents. Sultan, who never accepted the accusations made to him, just made a short explanation about the practices and applications of his time that the conditions of the time required him to act that way. Süleyman Kadızâde Rıfat is a state official who graduated Mekteb-i Sultani, lived during constitutional monarchy and worked as an official. In his work “Did the Sultan deceive or was he deceived”, which was written during second constitutional era with a critical style and unionist point of view, he expressed his constitutionalism criticism to Sultan harshly. The work, which is known as a collection of biographies written to Sultan Murad Majesty, includes the incidents of Sultan Abdulhamid era, practices of rural officials and statesmen and relations with the public. The author who describes Sultan Abdulhamid’s ruling as tyranny in general and considers constitutionalism as necessary tries to compare the two regimes by explaining the practices of rural officials and statesmen and tries to base his thoughts by discussing the relations between rural officials and villagers. He assesses the attitudes of some statesmen to Sultan separately and interprets the practices and applications performed as enmity for country and nation. He explains the difficulty of the conditions the nation is in through the pressure and violence exerted on them and advocates the necessity for constitutionalism with exaggerated expressions in some places by speaking highly of the statesmen and the army trying to bring this regime. He tries to show the shortcomings and mistakes of Sultan Abdulhamid regime through a collection of biographies written by Sultan Murad to Sultan Abdulhamid once. In the last stage, he claims that the Sultan was also deceived and tries to answer the question of why constitutionalism is necessary for the people. Kadızâde Rıfat created a significant work in critical history literature since he included cases he personally witnessed and his work had a value of first-degree resource although he assessed the events with a subjective point of view; he expressed the criticism for constitutionalism dramatically while he was still on duty and he created a work about the era which should be read and analyzed.

Süleyman Kadızâde Rıfat, Sultan Abdulhamid, Constitutionalism, Tyranny, committee of union and progr

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