Pelin Helvacı / Prince Sabahattin (1878-1948) and His Place in Ottoman Intellectual Development

An abstract of the thesis of Pelin Helvaci for the degree of Master of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken June 2007

Prince Sabahattin (1878-1948) and His Place in Ottoman Intellectual Development

This thesis examines Prince Sabahattin’s place in Ottoman intellectual development that started to flourish in Tanzimat era. Prince Sabahattin is portrayed with his intellectual capacity, besides his stance in politics as a liberal and his lead in social sciences. As an intellectual, Prince Sabahattin was misunderstood in his own period due to his close association to Anglo-Saxon system with decentralization and private initiative issues that were pillars of liberalism. Although he did not involve actively in politics, he influenced the formation of opposition party, Ahrar (Liberal Party). But his main impact was putting individual development to the core for the advancement of the society, which, according to him, was possible only by inner dynamics, rather than applying top-down reforms. For this, he outlined a social program, Meslek-i Içtimai (Profession of Sociology), which was the first attempt to look for the solutions of social problems, like administration, education and village development in a systematic way that he learned from the French sociologist, Le Play. In this program, which was shaped around the belief in the superiority of Anglo-Saxon system, he emphasized the importance of individualistic form of society, rather than communitarian one and put the British type of education to the core, which led the prospering of individual by himself rather than kinship ties or community bonds for the advancement of society. The Village Institutes of the 1940s could be traced back him, since he was the first one to mention the importance of village development, which became one of the main issues in 1940s. Although his lack of knowledge of Ottoman society could not be ignored because of his belonging to the Ottoman dynasty, as a son of Mahmud Celaleddin Pasa and Seniha Sultan (Abdulhamid II’s sister), compared to his contemporaries, his program was a permanent and a projectionist one, which left an imprint in both Turkish politics and social sciences.

Atatürk Ilkeleri ve Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans derecesi için Pelin Helvaci tarafindan Haziran 2007’de teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

Prens Sabahattin (1878-1948) ve Osmanli Entellektüel Gelisimindeki Yeri

Bu tez Prens Sabahattin’in Tanzimat ile baslayan Osmanli entellektüel gelisimindeki yerini incelemektedir. Bir liberal olarak siyasetteki durusuna ve sosyal bilimlerdeki yerine göre bir aydin olarak ele alinmistir. Liberalizmin ana maddeleri olan adem-i merkeziyet ve sahsi tesebbüse inanarak Ingiliz sistemiyle yakindan ilgilendigi için Prens Sabahattin kendi zamaninda anlasilamamis bir aydindir. Siyasette aktif olarak yer almamasina karsin düsünceleri liberal bir muhalefet partisi (Ahrar) olusturmustur. Sabahattin’in asil etkisi, toplumun gelisimi için yukaridan uygulanan ihraç edilmis reformlarin yerine, kisisel gelisimi savunmasidir. Fransiz sosyolog Le Play’den etkilenerek yönetim biçimi, egitim ve köy gelisimi gibi sosyal problemlere çözüm aramis ve Meslek-i Içtimai programiyla Osmanli aydinlari arasinda ilk defa sistemli bir program uygulamistir. Anglo-Sakson sisteminin üstünlügünü savundugu programinda, tecemmüi (komuniter) yerine infiradi (ferdiyetçi) toplum yapisini benimsemis ve aile ve toplum iliskileri yerine bireysel gelisimi ön planda tutan Ingiliz egitim sisteminin önemini vurgulamistir. Prens Sabahattin köylerin gelisimini göz önünde tutan ve programinda bunu da kapsayan ilk aydin oldugu için 1940larda gelisen Köy Enstitülerinin olusumu Prens Sabahattin’e kadar getirilebilir. Mahmud Celaleddin Pasa ve II. Abdülhamid’in kiz kardesi Seniha Sultan’in oglu olarak kendisinin Osmanli toplumuna mesafesi gözden kaçirilamaz, fakat çagdaslarina göre sosyal programi kalici ve ileri görüslü olmasi sebebiyle Prens Sabahattin, Osmanli/Türk siyasetinde ve sosyal bilimlerinde iz birakmistir.