History Turkish Coinage
In July of 1908, the Young Turk revolution put an end to the despotic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and restored the Ottoman Empire to the constitutional rule that Abdul Hamid had abolished in his first few years on the throne in the mid 1870′s. In this first phase of the revolution, Abdul Hamid was allowed to remain on the throne as a constitutional monarch while the Ottoman Parliament and the Grand Vizier conducted the actual business of government(5). But like any power hungry and paranoid dictator, Abdul Hamid wasn’t going to simply take this lying down. In April of 1909, a counterrevolution was staged by a large group of students from the Empire’s religious schools with the backing of some conservative soldiers from the Ottoman Army and Abdul Hamid saw his chance. This series of events brought Abdul Hamid II back to full power and he made the disastrous mistake of instituting Islamic Religious Law, or Sharia Law, as the law of the land in the Ottoman Empire(8). This was a situation that had never existed within the Ottoman Empire before as the laws prior to that had been essentially secular in nature, though the Ottomans themselves didn’t really use that word for it(1). They just accepted that religion and government both had their places in society, but those places weren’t the same(1). This institution of Sharia Law was a disaster as it took away many rights that Ottoman citizens of all genders, races, ethnicities and religions had enjoyed for centuries(1). The only people in the Ottoman Empire who were happy with this turn of events were the theological students that staged the counterrevolution and Abdul Hamid himself. Within days, riots had erupted all over the Ottoman Empire, and they Young Turks acted more decisively this time. After a final 2 week coda reign of Sharia Law terror, the Young Turks deposed Abdul Hamid II once and for all and exiled him to Salonika(8). In his place, the Young Turks enthroned Abdul Hamid’s half brother Reshat, who took the regnal name of Mehmed V, as constitutional Sultan. From this point on until the end of World War I, governmental power resided with the Ottoman Parliament and the Grand Vizier, who was essentially the Ottoman Prime Minister(8).