ABADUL HAMID II (1842-1918) was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1876-1909. At the beginning of his reign he seemed to be the supporter of the reforms and constitutional rules.   In 1876 he proclaimed the Ottoman Constitution which was developed also by Grigot Otyan. However, in 1878 Abdul Hamid II dissolved the Parliament and established dictatorial regime (known as "Zulum"), introduced strict censorship, banned the words "freedom", "Armenia", etc. He suppressed the liberation movements of the Bulgarians, Macedonians, Armenians, Arabs. During the reign of Abdul Hamid England occupied the two colonies of Turkey – Cyprus and Egypt and France occupied Tunisia. Some parts of the Western Armenia including Kars and Ardahan became the part of Russia. By the Treaty of San Stefano (1878) and Berlin Convention (1878) Hamid was obliged to carry out reforms in the Western Armenia. However, the Armenian massacres started in 1894-96 (more than 300 thousand Armenians were killed) for which he received the nickname "Red Sultan". After the revolution of the Young Turks (1908), he was forced to restore the constitution of 1876, but after failed attempt to seize the power through a coup was deposed and exiled.


Source - Encyclopedia of "The Armenian Issue", Yerevan, 1996.

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