31 March Incident

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The Committee of Union and Progress's "Army of Action" entering Istanbul to regain power from the organizers of the countercoup.

The 31 March Incident (Turkish: 31 Mart Vakası or 31 Mart Olayı or 31 Mart Hadisesi) was a 1909 rebellion of reactionaries in Constantinople against the restoration of the constitutional system that had taken place in 1908 through the Young Turk Revolution. It took place on 13 April 1909 (31 March on the Rumi calendar in use at the time in the Ottoman Empire for official timekeeping), and was a culmination of the stirring Ottoman countercoup of 1909. The countercoup attempted to put a temporary end to the nascent Second Constitutional Era in the Ottoman Empire and to the newly established influence of the Committee of Union and Progress, in order to re-affirm the position of the Sultan Abdulhamid II as absolute monarch.

Soon after the countercoup, however, the Committee of Union and Progress organized the Army of Action (Turkish: Hareket Ordusu) and regained power from the reactionaries.


The counter-coup, led by a certain Dervish Vahdeti, reigned supreme in Constantinople for a few days.

On the other hand Dogan Avcıoglu and other Turkish writers denouncing English support and one of the English diplomat (and secret service agent??) Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice (1865-1939) as the hidden hand behind this reactionary religious uprising. British government supported that rebellion because of blocking the effect of increasing German sympathizers in Ottoman Empire for 20 years.[1] Also according to these sources this counter coup was made against Committee of Union and Progress Selanik branch which outmatch the British sympathizer Bitola Branch. Also the aim of that rebellion wasn't made for Abdulhamid II as it seems; Vahdeti would have planned to change Sultan Abdulhamid II if the counter coup had reached a success.

Dervish Vahdeti and supporters were put down by Hareket Ordusu (The Army of Action) constituted in urgency with troops stationed in the Balkans and which rapidly departed from Salonica. Among the officers who entered the capital was Mustafa Kemal.[2]

A few weeks after the re-establishment of order, Sultan Abdul Hamid II himself was deposed and sent to exile in Salonica, and replaced by his brother Mehmed V Reşad.


The incident led to a change of Grand Vizier, and Ahmed Tevfik Pasha assumed the position.


In memorial of the 74 soldiers killed in action during this event, the Monument of Liberty (Ottoman Turkish: Abide-i Hürriyet) was erected 1911 in Şişli district of Istanbul.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Şeriatçı bir ayaklanma (A fundamentalist uprising) by Sina Akşin with particular emphasis on British involvement.