1912 Ottoman coup d'état

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1912 Ottoman coup d'état (17 July 1912) was a military coup in the Ottoman Empire against the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) government (elected during the 1912 general elections) by a group of military officers calling themselves the Saviour Officers (Ottoman Turkish: Halâskâr Zâbitân‎; Modern Turkish: Kurtarıcı Subaylar) during the dissolution era of the Ottoman Empire.[1]

The Saviour Officers are often referred to as the military wing of the Freedom and Accord Party (Liberal Union or Liberal Entente), which became the main opposition party after the 1912 election, which became notorious for electioneering and voter fraud by the CUP. Freedom and Accord members recruited elements such as the officers to their cause in protest. The coup was one of the central events of the politically volatile 1912–13 years, which saw political instability due to the power struggle between the CUP and Freedom and Accord, as well as the newly sparked Balkan Wars.


The Young Turks were a revolutionary movement that was the main force behind the Young Turk Revolution. The revolution resulted in the Sultan Abdulhamid II announcing the restoration of the Ottoman constitution of 1876 on 3 July 1908. The Ottoman general election, 1908 was in effect during November and December 1908. Senate of the Ottoman Empire reconvened for the first time in over 30 years on December 17, 1908 with the living members from the first constitutional area. Chamber of Deputies first session was on 30 January 1909. 1908 election put the CUP into the government as majority party where main minority was the LU. The Ottoman countercoup of 1909 (13 April 1909) was an attempt to dismantle the Constitutional Era and replace it with an autocracy under Sultan/Caliph Abdul Hamid II. The countercoup was put down by the Army of Action (Hareket Ordusu), 31 March Incident (24 April 1909). After the notoriously contested and violent 1912 elections against the LU, CUP increased its power and formed the vast majority of the parliament. However, the CUP didn't fully control the government, and elements in the country became alarmed at the manner in which the CUP had rigged the elections in their favor. Moreover, because of the Italo-Turkish War in Libya and the start of Albanian revolt, CUP lost its former support and prestige.

A group of officers headed by staff major Kemal (later surnamed Şenkil) who were against the CUP-backed government, began a counterrevolution.[1] They named themselves "Saviour Officers" (Halâskâr Zâbitân). The officers were able to force the government to resign. The new government, known as the "Great Cabinet" (Turkish: Büyuk Kabine), was formed by Gazi Ahmed Muhtar Pasha, a war hero. The members of the government were prestigious statesmen, and they easily received the vote of confidence.[2] The CUP, notwithstanding its majority in the parliament, lost its executive power. Although Ahmed Muhtar Pasha and his cabinet were non-partisan, the Saviour Officers pressured Ahmed Muhtar Pasha's government to adjourn the parliament, losing CUP its last stronghold.[3]


Beginning in the summer of 1912, Ottoman Empire was governed by Saviour-backed governments. However, in October, the Balkan Wars began, and the Ottoman Empire was defeated on all fronts. This gave CUP chance to regain strength. In January 1913, the leadership of the CUP staged a coup, forcing the Saviour-backed Freedom and Accord government to resign at gunpoint. The leaders of the Saviour Officers escaped to Egypt and Albania.[1] CUP governments continued up to the end the First World War.