4 Mayıs 2009 Pazartesi

Nineteenth Century Ottoman Transformations/Ersoy-April 22,2009

Nineteenth Century Ottoman Transformations

Distinct path of modernization (among first generation of “non-western modernities,” such as Japan and Russia)

The reform attempts of Selim III (r. 1789-1807), curbed by social / economic power groups: provincial notables and the Janissaries

The modernizing reforms of Mehmed Ali Pasha (r. 1805-1848) in Egypt
First newspaper Vekayi-i Mısriyye (1829) (followed by Ottoman Takvim-i Vekayi in 1831); universal conscription

Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839) – end of the Ottoman ancient régime, the emergence of modern military and administrative infrastructure. The establishment of a centralized absolutist state.

Elimination of peripheral groups:
a) provincial magnates
b) the Janissaries (1826) – end of “kul” system. Immense socio-economic consequences: end
of economic protectionism and state monopolies – 1828 Anglo-Ottoman trade agreement
First census, cadastral survey, modern postal service and road network: Control and surveillance

Necessary reforms for modern centralized state: modern education (elementary and higher level); enlarged and efficient bureaucracy

Dress Code of 1829 – Uniform dress for all government employees
Abdülmecid (r. 1839-1861)

Edict of the Rose Chamber (Gülhane Hatt-ı Hümayunu) 1839 and the Tanzimat reforms followed by the Reform Edict (Islahat Fermanı) of 1856

Center of power moves from the palace to the Porte – “Men of Tanzimat” – the bureaucrats assume the leading role

“Ottomanism” – New Ottoman politics of identity: All-inclusive, secular, supra-ethnic, supra-religious Ottoman identity (as opposed to exclusivism of traditional Ottoman identity); Ottoman “civic patriotism”

Challenges / dilemmas / inherent flaws of integrative Tanzimat Ottomanism:

For the dominant Muslim community: The psychological challenge of acknowledging full equality with non-Muslims; abandoning privileges and traditional supremacy
For the non-Muslim communities: The systematization of the millet system (of ethno-religious communities) with the Tanzimat. Loosely organized communities becoming more rigidly segregated – communities turning into impervious compartments: A segmented society with communities having their own educational systems and institutions, and relative administrative and legal autonomy