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"young Turk"

Posted by masakim on October 02, 2002

In Reply to: "Young Turk" posted by Guy Andrews on October 02, 2002

: I read recently the expression,"the coup was led by a group of "young Turk" junior partners in the firm. Does anyone know the origin and definition of this expression? Thanks Guy Andrews

young Turk writes:
I wonder about the expression "young turk." I know what it means, but where does it come from? Is it from a work of literature, or was it a particular Turk in history?
The main meaning of the expression young Turk is 'a member of an insurgent, usually liberal faction within a political group or other organization'. The expression is a figurative application of the Young Turks, which was the popular name for the Committee of Union and Progress, a revolutionary reformist group that led a successful rebellion in (yes!) Turkey in 1908 and held power for another decade or so.
The word Turk has been used since the sixteenth century to mean 'a person having characteristics traditionally applied to the Turks; (specifically) a cruel or tyrannical person'; there is an isolated example in 1904 of the phrase "young Turk" which is probably just an application of this sense.
From The Mavens' Word of the Day (Sep 17, 1996)
"These young Turks in the LDP are still on the fringe," said Hideaki Kase, a historian and political commentator. "So it's my bet that Hashimoto will win, because he controls the apparatus." (Doug Struck, "Revolt Opens Up Race to Lead Japan," _The Washington Post_, Apr 12, 2001).

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