« AnteriorContinuar »
that Abd-ul-Aziz was terrified, his eyes were for a moment opened, and he saw the dreadful truth; so deposing Mahmud Nedim he appointed Midhat and Rushdi as his principal ministers and advisers. For three months only these reforming statesmen were left in power, for Midhat Pasha was suddenly disgraced because he had expressed indignation when a favourite odalisque of the monarch had sent a negro to him to ask him to appoint one of her servants to a provincial vice-governorship. The system of Mahmud Nedim was reintroduced; things went from bad to worse; justice became openly venal; ranks in the services were sold by Palace favourites; the entire administration became grossly corrupt and disorganised; and at last, in 1875, the Turkish Government had to declare itself insolvent. Turks who had the welfare of their country at heart felt that it was necessary to put a forcible end to this state of things. On May 22, 6,000 Softas, the theological students attached to the mosques, invaded the Sublime Porte and clamoured for the deposition of the Grand Vizier, while some thousands of others demonstrated in front of the Palace. The Sultan, terrified, yielded to these demands, deposed Mahmud Nedim, recalled Rushdi Pasha ; and a Cabinet of reforming statesmen, including Midhat Pasha, was
formed. Then came the famous coup d'état. The ministers, having reason to doubt the good faith of the monarch, decided to depose him. In the night of May 30, 1876, the Palace was surrounded by troops, the Chief Eunuch was called up and was ordered to awake his master and hand him the fetva, or decree of the Sheikh-ulIslam, Hairoullah Effendi, in his capacity of chief expounder of the sacred law, a decree to which even a Sultan must submit. The fetva was set forth in the form of a question and answer as follows: “If the Head of the Believers has so lost his reason as to ruin the State, which God has confided to his care, by foolish expenditure, by wild caprices, and if the continuation of this misrule is likely to bring on a situation which will destroy the sacred interests of the country, is it permissible to leave that man at the head of affairs, or ought one to deprive him of his power? The answer is, that he ought to be deprived of his power.” Thus the Sheikh-ul-Islam, in the name of the Mohammedan religion, approved of the revolution of 1876, even as did another Sheikhul-Islam declare himself in favour of the recent Young Turk revolution and the granting of the Constitution. It is important to remember that despotism is not (as many suppose that it is) in accord with the teachings of the Koran, and that constitutional government ought not to be acceptable to good Mussulmans. Islam, as the Young Turks point out, condemns tyranny and encourages peoples to rule themselves. The following, for example, are passages from the Koran which have been much quoted in Turkey of late: “God loveth not tyrants”; “When a people direct their affairs by consulting among themselves they shall get their reward.” So Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed and Murad V became Sultan in his place. The new monarch issued a proclamation by which he promised to carry out the reforms advocated by his minister Midhat Pasha; and the well-wishers of Turkey rejoiced. But unhappy Turkey was not to be freed yet, and an event happened that turned hope into despair. Four days after his deposition Abd-ulAziz either committed suicide or was assassinated in the palace to which he had been removed. If he was murdered, he who committed the crime must have been the greatest enemy of Turkey, and none of the ministers could have had anything to do with a deed that upset all their plans for the regeneration of their country. So soon as Abd-ul-Aziz was found dead his Circassian aidede-camp, Hassan, rushed to Midhat Pasha's house, where the ministers were assembled, and assassinated two of these whom Turkey could ill spare, Avni Pasha and Rachid Pasha. This succession of tragic events so shook the weak mind of the new Sultan that he became hopelessly insane. After a reign of only three months it became necessary to depose him, and the legitimate heir,
MIDHAT PASHA. The first martyr of the young Turk cause. He framed Turkey's Constitution 32 years ago. He was exiled when the Sultan Abdul Hamid usurped the despotic power. In 1884, while a prisoner in a fortress in Arabia, he was strangled by order of the Palace. The words written by the side of the portrait signify : " Presented to Mr. Knight as a souvenir of friendship by Ali Haider, the son of Midhat Pasha."