Who is Sabahattin Bey (Prince Sabahattin)?June 26, 2021
“Sultanzade” Sabahaddin Bey ―the famously named Prince Sabahaddin, contrary to Ottoman traditions― [1878, Istanbul―1948, Switzerland]; Due to its position in the Young Turk movement and its being the pioneer of one of the two main traditions of Turkish sociology, II. He made a name for himself during and after the Constitutional Monarchy.
Being the representative of the Le Play sociology movement in Turkey, advocating a pro-British policy, being at the very center of the political events of the period ―despite the persistent rejections of him and his supporters― etc. He is a typical Turkish intellectual.
The beginning of Prince Sabahaddin’s influence on Turkish political and intellectual life, his father Mahmut Celaleddin Pasha, II. After the troubles he had with Abdülhamit, he coincided with the years when he went to Paris as a “benefit” [: voluntary exile], taking himself and his brother Lütfullah with him. He attended the First Young Turk Congress, which resulted in disagreement and division [1902, Paris]. The reason for the disagreement, II. There were differences of opinion regarding the method to be followed in the struggle to be waged against Abdülhamid’s rule.
The group, led by Ahmet Rıza ―later to be defined as “centralist”― He was rejecting the intervention of foreign states in the attempted revolution against Abdulhamid. The other group, led by Sabahaddin Bey, “later to be characterized as decentralized”, advocated the involvement of foreign states in this initiative, together with representatives of the minority. Although Sabahaddin Bey made various attempts to realize these thoughts, he was not successful.
In these efforts, he also saw the material and moral support of the British. Its role in the 31 March events is still being debated. Behind the distrust of Sabahaddin Bey during the Constitutional and Republican periods; It is certain that his thoughts, actions and relationships during this period had a significant impact.
Sabahaddin Bey is known as the spokesperson of the understanding of sociology developed by Frederick Le Play in Turkey. With the sociology of Le Play; Edmond Demolins’s A quoi tient la superiorite des Anglo-Saxon (1897) (What is the Opinion of the Anglo-Saxons?) , trans. Ali Fuad [Erden] and Ahmet Naci, Istanbul: Kitaphane-yi Askerî İbrahim Hilmi, 1330/1914) by buying and reading his book.
Later, he entered into close relations with this circle, which also published a journal called Le Science Social, became a member of the association “Societe pour le developpement de l’initiative privee et la vulgarisation de la science sociale” founded by the group in Paris. He opened the Turkey branch of the association, known as the Enterprise ―ü Şahsi ve Adem―i Merkeziyet Cemiyeti [TŞAMC]. He published a journal called Terakki as the publication organ of the society . Sabahaddin Bey, together with this environment, found the opportunity of a sociological expression for the political ideas he defended. During his political struggle, he wrote several works in the volume of pamphlets.
In these works, there are his approach to Turkey’s problems, his conceptualizations and suggestions for solutions on how the country can get rid of these problems. The most concise form of the thoughts of Sabahaddin Bey, our first thinker who dealt with the problems of the Ottoman society and country in the context of social structure, How Turkey Can Be Saved? can be found in his.
As Cenk Reyhan stated in his article titled “Prince Sabahaddin” in the first volume of the Encyclopedia of Political Thought in Modern Turkey, “The ‘Science Sociale program’ benefited by Prince Sabahaddin was originally developed by the Le Play School with the aim of solving the depressions of the French society, It was a method with philosophical foundations. Prince Sabahaddin, who did not touch upon the sociological investigations of this sociology school on issues such as wars, enrichment and impoverishment, the formation of religion and the deterioration of community integrity, the increase and decrease of population, and social hostilities, draws parallels between the situation of Ottoman society at that moment and the France of Le Play. and social techniques developed to correct a specific social disorder, instead of the political program, he cast the ‘ilm-i Ictimaiye’ as a magic wand that could solve the problems of the Ottoman Empire in every field from its administrative life to its military structure.
The basis of Sabahaddin Bey’s thought system is the science sociale environment that follows the ideas of Le Play. Le Play’s ideas were later developed by Edmond Demolins, Henri de Tourville, and Paul Descamps. Except for the names of this school, references to others are not encountered in the few works of Sabahaddin Bey. The distinction between public/subsidiary or communal societies and individualist/infiradi societies, developed by Demolins on the basis of Le Play’s family classification, became Turkish as science sociale [ilm―i society].