The Ottomans’ ‘Wilsonian Moment’ - Yigit Akin

The end of the First World War plunged the Ottoman Empire into a painful period of instability and uncertainty. In November 1918, Allied warships crossed the Straits, reached the imperial capital, and established a de-facto occupation regime. The arrival of the Allied troops, the collapse of the ruthless wartime regime, and the global spread of the Wilsonian promise of national self-determination politically energized the Ottoman minorities. Each ethno-religious community of the empire ambitiously took on aspirations of self-determination including the Ottoman Turks who pinned their hopes of preserving the empire’s territorial integrity on Wilsonian principles. This presentation explores the Ottomans’ “Wilsonian Moment” and its dramatic impact on the ethnicization of the Ottoman public sphere.