|The article investigates the internationalist activities of a Turkish nationalist during his Swiss exile at the outset of the postwar settlements in early 1919. Reşit Saffet a devoted Young Turk and Ottoman diplomat on leave moved in the internationalist milieus in Berne while his agenda remained utterly nationalist. Drawing on pan-Turkic pan-Islamic anti-imperialist socialist and Wilsonian ideas he adapted his rhetoric to the internationalist conferences he attended; he thus sought to disguise and to defend his otherwise discredited nationalist cause on these global stages. The article traces Reşit Saffet’s internationalist activities as a strategy to engage with the ‘Paris moment’ and the Ottoman question beyond official politics and governmental discourse. In a time when Ottoman diplomacy was in deadlock as a result of the Empire’s exclusion from the peace conference and Reşit Saffet’s career faced an unknown future in the face of the Ottoman collapse internationalism seemed a promising option. The case illustrates the increasingly blurred border between state diplomacy and non-governmental influence and thus questions exclusively state-centered approaches. It reveals the appeal and potential held by civil society internationalism not only for Western pacifists and socialists but also for anti-imperialist nationalists confronted with the disappointment of the ‘Wilsonian moment’.
|Paris Peace Conference Internationalism League of Nations Second International Ottoman Empire Panturkism