History in the trench: The Ottoman Special Organization – Teşkilat-i Mahsusa literature
Middle Eastern Studies
89 - 106
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Aside from a few exceptional works, studies on the subject of the Ottoman Special Organization (SO, Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa) are marred by confusing, vague, and inconsistent sets of arguments and assumptions. This may be attributed to certain methodological and linguistic shortcomings of particular studies and a general laziness in the use of existing primary and secondary sources. It is also an outcome of the degree to which contemporary political and ideological currents and concerns colour the nature of the historical inquiry into the subject. Based on a comprehensive and systematic critical reading of existing literature in the light of certain sets of hitherto unused archival material, the present study aims to re-open to discussion such historiographical problems both by revisiting the most speculative, and well-trodden, research topics in the literature, such as the very nature of the organization as well as its administrative features, and offering insights into the potential(s) of certain little-explored Turkish archives.