Saviour officers (Ottoman Turkish: Halâskâr Zâbitân) was the name of a secret organization during the dissolution era of the Ottoman Empire, often associated as the military wing of the Freedom and Accord Party (Liberal Union).
Committee of Union and Progress (Turkish: İttihat ve Terakki cemiyeti, abbreviated as CUP) was a revolutionary organization and later party which was the main force behind the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire in 1908. After 1908 they increased their power and formed the vast majority of the parliament after the notoriously fraudulent and violent 1912 elections against the Freedom and Accord Party. 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.
Emergence of the savior officers
A group of officers headed by staff major Kemal (later surnamed Şenkil) who were against CUP-backed government, began a counterrevolution. They named themselves Halaskar Zabitan. According to historian Sina Akşin, active participants of the group were not more than 5 officers. But they were able to force the government to resign. The new government (also called the "Great government") was formed by Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasha, a war hero. The members of the government were prestigious statesmen, and they easily received the vote of confidence. But soon it became clear that they shared the same views with the Saviour officers. Thus CUP, notwithstanding its majority in the parliament, lost its executive power. Soon saviour officers forced the government to adjourn the parliament and CUP lost its last stronghold.
Beginning by Summer of 1912, Ottoman Empire was governed by saviour-backed governments. However in October Balkan Wars began and the Ottoman Empire was defeated in all fronts. This gave CUP chance to regain strength. In January 1913, CUP staged a coup. (see 1913 Ottoman coup d'état) The leaders of the saviour officers escaped to Egypt and Albania. CUP governments continued up to the end the First World War.
- An essy on Savoir officers (Nuve) (Turkish)
- Türkiye Tarihi, editor Sina Akşin, Cem yayınevi, ISBN 978-975-406-5664, Vol 5 p. 41
- İnkilap Tarihi (revolution history) page (Turkish)