Nov 20, 2020 in Case Studies

Tanzimat Reforms

Tanzimat Reforms

The Tanzimat Reforms era was necessary in maintaining the Ottoman Empire integral when nationalist movement appeared in the empire and other regions. Sultan Mahmud II was a learned leader who had witnessed similar reforms that took place in Europe. He was educated in the western and had seen the rise of nationalism elsewhere. Therefore, he believed that his people needed reforms to catch up with the west. The Tanzimat Reforms were a series of reforms that occurred between 1839 and 1876 (Pamuk, 1987). They were aimed to rationalize and centralize the Ottoman rule and seize extra tax revenue for the defense force of the empire. The Tanzimat Reforms are associated with particular persons in the central government that include high-ranking bureaucrats Fuad Pasa, Ali Pasa and Resid Pasa, and the sulatans Abdulaziz and Abdulmecit II. Tanzimat Reforms were preceded over by earlier reforms that occurred in the 18th century, especially by Abdulaziz and Abdulmecit Is father Mahmud II from 1808 to 1839. The Tanzimat Reforms were followed by the reforms in the reign of Young Turks and Abdulhamit II (Davison, 1963).


In 1939, Mahmud II announced the initial reforms that mainly intended to uproot the oppression and injustices which the millet system induced. The reforms assured to give all men equal rights. The reforms also endeavored to westernize the empire by establishing the criminal justice system, new civic, factories, railroads, equal tax reforms and universal conscription. In addition, the reforms brought Christians under the Ottoman rule. However, the reforms required major reformation of the society that dissatisfied some groups (Owen, 1981).

Among the group that was unsatisfied were the Christians in the Balkans. They were uncomfortable with the centralized government that delayed their goal of independence. The other Europeans wanted sovereignty. Whereas the Ottomans tried to hold their borders, Russians wanted to enlarge their land. The opposing policies caused the Crimean War. Without the help from the French and the British, the Ottomans could have lost most of their territory. In 1856, the war ended and welcomed new reforms. The non-Muslims and Muslims in the empire were promised equality. This stirred discontent and rebellion within both Christians and Muslims. Initially, Muslims held legal and social superiority. Therefore, they were enraged at the loss of their tradition, territorial autonomy and status. Additionally, the reforms introduced a secularized system of justice, which most Muslims believed contradicted the sharia law (Pamuk, 1987).

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Despite the fact, European influence was not a key motive of the reforms, it was significant. British and French diplomats recurrently contributed to the drafts of different Tanzimat reform proclamations, especially those delivered during times of war like in the Egypts expulsions that occurred in 1839 and at the end of Crimean war in 1856. The Ottoman reformers turned to the European organization for inspiration (Davison, 1963).

Finally, a reason for reform developed from the empire peoples. Dissatisfaction with the Ottoman military dimness and the growing point of view of substitutes to the new regime promoted discontent. This comprised not only the cited Balkan nationalist schedules, but smaller sporadic outbreaks, similar to the 1860 conflicts in Damascus and Mount Lebanon that developed economic disturbances. Religious heads organized protests, as in the year 1859 Kueli event in Constantinople. Religious minorities stood up against the corrupt and oppressive rule of their nation-sponsored leaders, leading to reforms of millets in the year1860. Provincial personages utilized the local assemblies, established in the year 1840 as the forum for protests and as the vehicle for discussing the reform path (Pamuk, 1987).

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The Tanzimat was not a prefabricated, coherent plan. This means that the Gulhane deceleration was not a proposal. It took shape via hard work in the Constantinople, as well as the Ottoman officials provinces. The MeclIs-I Vala in Istanbul weighed conflicting interests, such as the military challengers, the nationalist movements in Balkans, the Egyptians and Russians (Pamuk, 1987). Thus, Tanzimat goals were articulated and established through bargains made between opposing forces. Policies steered between the instantaneous aims of provincial autonomy and central control. It was made between the model of a common and identical Ottoman reality and citizenry of disruptive religious social edifies and nationalist particularism between the necessity to mollify international difficulties (Davison, 1963). The need to defend domestic interests, and the effectiveness of autocratic. The top-down reforms and the similarly necessary contribution of the public in implementing the change.

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In the culmination, the reforms program succeeded its objectives of order. Reorganizing the provincial bureaucracy and central, building infrastructure for transport a trade and restructuring the military. Less favorable was its development towards justice. The law cyphers were venality and rationalized in office, abridged through improved economic inequalities amplified, political participation and salaries remained negligible. The attentiveness of influence in Constantinople rented itself to misuse. The Tanzimat time would accomplish with a more effective managerial and legal device. However, one that could be requisitioned by despotic sultan, with the agreement of Abdulhamit II in the year 1876. Labors to reinforce the military and to assimilate a population split with ethnic and religious differences could not continue quickly sufficient to prevent the mutilation of the Balkan boonies and the calamitous Russo-Turkish War of the year 1877 and 1878 (Owen, 1981).

However, the Tanzimat was an intrepid and impressive effort to rearrange the Ottoman policy. It could not have the opportunity or time by the year 1876 to result significant economic and social change. However, most of the Tanzimat projects could bear fruits under Abdulhamit that endured the Tanzimat's chase of order. Whilst Abdulhamit could leave other significant elements of the Tanzimat, such as political and justice participation. These could be raised with the upcoming of a current generation, skilled in the Tanzimat's universities and the year 1908 constitutional revolution.


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