The Later Tanzimat and the Ottoman Legacy in the Near Eastern Successor States
The Later Tanzimat and the Ottoman Legacy in the Near Eastern Successor States
Abstract and Keywords
The period of Ottoman decline (from approximately the late seventeenth- to the early nineteenth-century), the system of checks and balances was grossly undermined and arbitrary and despotic government prevailed both at the center and in the provinces. In the later Tanzimat period (1856–71), by contrast, the emphasis was placed on strong state organs and a powerful bureaucracy, armed with a new set of laws borrowed from western legal systems. The maintenance of law and order in the cities and towns was performed by an officer called a subashi, who was one of the kadi's prominent aides and who was “a legal police and a high security official with executive authority”. The kadi's deputies also came from the local 'ulama, whether in the principal court where he presided or in the neighborhood courts of big cities or in towns throughout the province.
This article examines the transformation of the Ottoman government from an Ottoman-Islamic system to a westernized system, the motives behind that transformation, and its impact on the Ottoman peoples. The Ottoman-Islamic system in the classical period was based on the supremacy of the shari‘a and the sultanic regulations (kanuns) and was safeguarded by a system of checks and balances, both at the center and in the provinces. Its objective was to guarantee justice and to prevent governors from resorting to arbitrary rule. However, in the period of Ottoman decline (from approximately the late seventeenth-to the early nineteenth-century), the system of checks and balances was grossly undermined and arbitrary and despotic government prevailed both at the center and in the provinces.
The response to this situation was the Tanzimat Reforms, which fell into two distinct periods. During the first period (1839–54), theTanzimat reformers attempted to restore the supremacy of the shari‘a and kanuns and to reestablish a system of checks and balances. In the later Tanzimat period (1856–71), by contrast, the emphasis was placed on strong state organs and a powerful bureaucracy, armed with a new set of laws borrowed from western legal systems. Instead of the Islamic ideal of justice, state power became the ultimate goal. One of the casualties of the new system was the system of checks and balances. The result was that the ordinary subject stood humbled and unprotected before this powerful machine. It was this new system of government, along with the new classes that it helped to promote, that formed the Ottoman state legacy in the ex-Ottoman lands of the Near East.
(p.62) The Classical System and the Search for a Just Government
Writing about provincial administration in his book, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 1300–1600, Halil Inalcik stated that the sultans “had appointed two authorities to administer a district—the bey [governor], who came from the military class … and the kadi [judge], who came from the ‘ulama.”1 The kadi, he explained, was independent of the bey and received his instructions directly from the Porte. According to Inalcik, the Ottomans considered this “division of power in the provincial government as essential to a just administration.”2 With the expansion of the empire, the sultans united several districts to form a beylerbeyilik (later called eyalet) governed by a beylerbeyi, or governor general. Among the higher functionaries in the province was the hazine defterdari, who was awarded responsibility for revenue collection for thecentral treasury and who, like the kadi, was independent of the governors and enjoyed direct access to Istanbul.3 The Janissary garrisons in the cities, too, were independent of the governors and received their orders directly from Istanbul.4
The idea behind this system was that beys or beylerbeyis sent to remote provinces, who enjoyed military and executive authority, should have checks and balances on their power lest they become too powerful and resort to arbitrary government.5
The provincial governor's prerogatives were basically military and financial. In his military capacity, the governor served as the commander of the cavalry (sipahis, to whom agricultural miri land known as timar was assigned in the countryside for their livelihood). He commanded the cavalry in military campaigns whenever summoned by the sultan. The sipahis, under his leadership, were also charged with maintaining law andorder in the province, outside the cities. Another responsibility of the governor was to ensure the levying of the taxes for the treasury.
The kadi, on the other hand, was entrusted with the application of the shari‘a and kanuns. However, many other functions of a civil nature fell within his prerogatives. The maintenance of law and order in the cities and towns was performed by an officer called a subashi, who was one of the kadi's prominent aides and who was “a legal police and … a high security official with executive authority.”6 Also among the kadi's functions was the appointment of the religious functionaries in the mosques of cities and towns; the instructors in the medreses; the controllers of waqfs (nazirs and mutawallis); and supervisors of the markets and other (p.63) functions of civil character, as mentioned, all of whom came from among the local ‘ulama. “The real men of the pen were the ulama who filled the religious, legal, and educational functions,” wrote H.A.R. Gibb and Harold Bowen.7 Moreover, the kadi's deputies (nuwwab; singular na’ib) also came from the local ‘ulama, whether in the principal court where he presided or in the neighborhood courts of big cities or in towns throughout the province.8 In other words, the local ‘ulama formed the class upon which the kadi depended to carry out his duties. Their functions marked the considerable share that they, as local ‘ulama, had in running the day-today affairs of their towns and cities.
Because the kadi enjoyed such wide prerogatives and was closely associated with the local ‘ulama, he was able to act as a counterbalance to the bey. As long as the checks and balances between the bey and the kadi were maintained, and as long as the separation of military and legal-civil authority was preserved, Ottoman rule in the provinces was characterized by good administration, justice, and stability. This was the essence of the Ottoman classical system of government, and it remained an ideal for later generations.
The Decline of the Classical System
The survival of this system depended, among other things, on a strong central government and a stable socioeconomic order. However, a variety of factors, which can be dealt with only cursorily here, led to the decline of this system of administration and to the rise of arbitrary government, both at the center and in the provinces.9 First of all, the expansion of the use of firearms made the sipahis useless in battle. Thus, the sultans started to replace the cavalry with infantry. But whereas the sipahis had lived on income from the land, the infantry had to be paid salaries. Consequently, starting from about the end of the sixteenth century the state stopped distributing timars. Instead, it began to lease the collection of taxes in a system known as iltizam (tax farming). This system was soon expanded, as the Porte was hit by spreading inflation and faced a growing need for cash to pay for its increasing expenses.10 Soon the governor general of a province became the chief multazim of his province. He was required to pay the annual tribute to the central treasury in advance and then levied the taxes himself for his own treasury, usually by subleasing their collection to agents. In the absence of efficient control, the sums collected far exceeded the sums paid to the (p.64) central treasury at Istanbul.11 Partly as an attempt to levy taxes, the governors general employed at their own expense mercenary troops that functioned as private armies. This was a source of much oppression for the subjects. Meanwhile, the Janissary garrisons posted in the towns and cities, which were supposed to serve as a check on the governor, became involved in local affairs, in commerce, trades, and crafts, and even as sub-contractors of iltizam.
Corruption also crept into the judiciary, and the kadi, “the backbone of the Ottoman administration,”12 lost much of his moral stature and dignity in the eyes of the public.13 As a result of this and for other reasons, the kadi could no longer either guarantee the rule of law or act as a check on the governor or military authority. In other words, the military authority prevailed over the legal-civil authority. Arbitrary rule throughout Ottoman lands became the norm, with governors abusing the law, whether shari‘a or sultanic.
My aim in this brief background description is to emphasize that during the classical age, social forces in the urban centers, especially those represented by the ‘ulama, had an important and effective share in local government. As the kadi's main body of subordinates who served as functionaries in the legal system or in many other civil duties, they exerted considerable influence on public life in the city and the province. Thus, they contributed considerably to the kadi's role as a counterbalance to the governor and played a substantial role in guaranteeing justice in the city. But in the period of decline, in which arbitrary and despotic government became the norm, they suffered along with all other classes of society.
The First Tanzimat Period and the Restoration of Checks and Balances
In an article I wrote some years ago about the Gülhane Rescript, the edict that ushered in the first Tanzimat period, I showed that its reformist ideals were rooted in Islam and in the Ottoman classical past.14 The preamble of the rescript stated: “In the last one hundred and fifty years, because of … diverse causes, the sacred Sheriat was not obeyed nor were the beneficent regulations followed [meaning the sultanic laws]; consequently, the former strength and prosperity have changed into weakness and poverty.”15 In other words, the Gülhane Rescript was intended to herald the end of arbitrary government and the restoration (p.65) of the rule of law. Writing in 1840, within a year of the rescript's proclamation, Lutfi Efendi, the official historian of the empire, wrote that the “Tanzimat … were a measure for the abolishing of the old tyrannical methods.”16 Promising to guarantee “perfect security for life, honor, and property,” the Gülhane Rescript declared that both iltizam (tax farming) and the practice of leasing provincial tax collection to the governor general as against advance payment of a lump sum, which “amounts to handing over the financial and political affairs of a country … to the grasp of force and oppression,”17 must be abolished. In issuing this edict, the sultan pledged to restore the rule of the shari‘a and the laws in the state and to guarantee justice. The question is, in what way could the implementation of this pledge be guaranteed in the provinces?
Among the measures enacted by the Porte following the proclamation of the Gülhane Rescript were, first, the application of a system of separation between the civil, military, and financial authorities, and second, the reintroduction of a system of checks and balances to the government of the provinces. It should be noted that this principle of separation between the authorities had already been introduced at the level of the Porte during the last years of Sultan Mahmud II's reign. As of the mid-1830s, the grand vizier's prerogatives began to be confined to civil and political matters, while military functions became the exclusive domain of the ser-asker (the commander-in-chief of the armed forces). The Tanzimat continued this trend and extended its application to the provinces.18
There, the functions of the governor were confined to civil matters, while military affairs were entrusted to the mushir, the commander of the military forces. Moreover, upon the abolition of the iltizam, the Porte appointed a collector of taxes (muhassil). This functionary and the mushir were both independent of the governor and accountable to their respective ministries in Istanbul.19 Perhaps even more significant for provincial governance than the separation between authorities was the establishment of provincial administrative councils. Thus, barely two months after the proclamation of the Gülhane, instructions went out from the Porte to establish an administrative council (meclis-i idaret) in all the provincial capitals (and later on, and on a smaller scale, in the capital cities of the subprovinces, or sanjaks). The councils were to be composed of government officials and local notables. The government officials that were represented in the councils of the provincial capitals included the kadi, the muhassil, the mushir, the chief of police (zabtiyye), and two scribes. Significantly, the governor general (vali) was not a member of the (p.66) council. As for the local members of the councils, these included, ex officio, both the mufti and the naqib al-ashraf, along with four other local notables, mostly from the higher ‘ulama of the city or town. Representatives of the local non-Muslim communities were also included.20 With the kadi, the mufti, and the ‘ulama, about half the members of the administrative councils were men of religion. As Roderic Davison has pointed out, “Members of the ‘ulama on the council retained great influence.”21 The inclusion of the kadi and the mufti as permanent members in the council was intended to guarantee the supremacy of the shari‘a and the laws. It is noteworthy that all the ‘ulama were local except for the kadi, who was sent from Istanbul.
The checks and balances that were embodied in the system were not accidental. The fact that the governor general was officially denied membership throughout the first Tanzimat period would seem to indicate that maintaining checks and balances was an important concern for the policymakers at the Porte. Davison, discussing the purpose behind the establishment of the council, argued that Mustafa Reshid, whom he regarded as the architect of the Tanzimat, had “wanted the provincial councils to act as a check … on the Istanbul-appointed officials.”22 Moshe Maoz, writing about the councils in the Syrian cities, noted “the unprecedented amount of power with which it was invested by the Porte”23 and added that the councils “constituted a further check on the Pasha's [the governor general's] authority.”24 In other words, the establishment of the administrative council can be seen as another indication that the framework of principles guiding the early Tanzimat reformers was drawn from the classical age of the empire, when checks and balances had been the norm.
Despite sharing these guiding principles, the classical and the first Tanzimat systems had clear differences. While the kadi in classical times was assured of the backing of the ‘ulama, upon whom he depended to carry out his functions and because it served their interests, the early Tanzimat reformers chose to institutionalize local involvement through the structure of the council, which provided a relatively large role for the ‘ulama and local dignitaries in the affairs of their province.25 Similarly, although a central element of both the classical period and the early Tanzimat was the separation between military and civil functions, this took a different form in each era. In the classical period, military power was in the hands of the governors general of the provinces and the governors of subprovinces, while the legal and civil authority was the (p.67) domain of the kadi and the courts. Following the inauguration of the Tanzimat, the vali (governor general) no longer had military authority but was entrusted with civil functions, while military affairs were placed in the hands of the commander-in-chief (mushir) of the army units.
In summary, the major aim of the first period of the Tanzimat was to restore the supremacy of the shari‘a and laws in the governance of the empire, and hence to guarantee justice and security to the empire's subjects. Justice and security, it was deemed, would ensure the prosperity of the subjects and reinforce their loyalty to the sultanate. As the Gülhane Rescript proclaimed, if a man “enjoys perfect security, it is clear that he will not depart from the ways of loyalty.” In addition, if the individual “feels complete security about his possessions, then he will be preoccupied with his own affairs, which he will seek to expand, and his devotion to the dynasty [devlet] and to his community [millet] and love for his country [watan] will steadily grow.”26
The rescript did not call for equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, although it did pledge equality before the law. In fact, equality before the law was not new with regard to the kanuns, or sultanic law. Former sultans issued “general kanunnames applicable to the whole empire.”27 However, equality before the law is not the same as civil or political equality. One example is the fact that non-Muslims continued to have to pay the jizya, the yearly poll tax—a clear sign of inequality— until it was abolished in 1855 during the Crimean War.28 In other words, the Gülhane was framed within the Islamic concept of the state.
The principles and ideals inherent in the Gülhane Rescript constituted the dominant trend of this period. This trend was led by Mustafa Reshid, backed by many among the upper ‘ulama, including two successive chief jurisprudents (sing. shaykh al-Islam)—Mustafa Asim Efendi (1833–46) and Arif Hikmet Bey (1846–54)—and segments of the senior bureaucracy. But already during the same period another very different political trend was gathering strength in Istanbul, one that advocated the supremacy of the state and of sultanic power. The proponents of this trend believed in a powerful sultan who respects the shari‘a but whose will is supreme.29 For them, Mustafa Reshid's policies, including the limits to the provincial governors’ powers and the system of checks and balances, were unacceptable. This second trend was led by a number of politicians left over from the later years of Sultan Mahmud II's reign, most prominently the Damads (sons or brothers-in-law of the sultan) Mehmed Sa‘id, Mehmed ‘Ali, and later Ahmet Fethi. Another leading (p.68) member of this trend was Hasan Riza, who was brought up at the court and served for many years as the ser-asker. Despite such imperial connections, this trend failed to gain the support of Sultan Abdulmecid.30 In August 1852, Reshid was dismissed from the grand vizierate under pressure from these politicians. When, after a brief interval, Damad Mehmet ‘Ali was elevated to the post of grand vizier, one of his first acts was to invest valis with full powers. On 28 November 1852, a firman was issued according to which every branch of the provincial administration, including the administrative council, was placed under the jurisdiction of the vali.31 This measure found confirmation in the Vilayet Law of 1864.
Meanwhile, the outbreak of the Crimean War further weakened the Gülhane trend. Reshid, who was the foreign minister at the time, found himself isolated within Istanbul's political circles and discredited among foreign representatives in the city, apparently because of his failure to halt the drift to war.32 The weakening of Reshid's hold on power led to the rise of two men, ‘Ali and Fuad, who had been among his principal aides and who, while ostensibly his disciples, were actually inclined toward state power. Thus the Gülhane trend, which had gathered strength after the destruction of the Janissaries in 1826, gained ground in Ottoman politics, and dominated the government after the death of Sultan Mahmud II in 1839, finally fell out of favor following the fall of Reshid after the outbreak of the Crimean War.
‘Ali Pasha, Fuad Pasha, and the Genesis of the Modern State
Modern historians of the period tend to attribute the measures undertaken by the Tanzimat statesmen to their resolve “to preserve the Ottoman Empire by reinvigorating it”33 or to preserve “the integrity of the empire … [and] the imperial political and social system.”34 Although such assessments are undoubtedly sound, ‘Ali Pasha and Fuad Pasha took the Tanzimat in quite a different direction from the course undertaken in the early period. Indeed, their vision of the function of the state in society appears to have differed from that of Mustafa Reshid. In addition, their policies and course of action were in no small measure shaped by the challenges they met along the way.
Perhaps the most daunting of these challenges was a growing and deep discontent among large sectors of the population. Initially, the advent of ‘Ali Pasha and Fuad Pasha to power in 1855 represented the rise of a new (p.69) stratum within society, with strong middle-class and especially lower-middle-class elements gaining ground at the expense of the higher classes that had controlled power since the last phase of Mahmud II's reign. However, these groups were alienated by one of the first measures undertaken by ‘Ali and Fuad, the proclamation of the Reform Edict of 1856. Drafted with the active participation of the ambassadors of England, France, and Austria, the edict granted civil equality to the sultan's non-Muslim subjects. Granting such equality amounted to a gross breach of the shari‘a and aroused deep anger in the Muslim public, which, by contrast, had hailed the Gülhane Rescript.35 At the same time, the transformation of the economy of Ottoman lands from one of subsistence to a market economy, hastened by the economic expansion of Western Europe,36 had a devastating effect on local handicrafts, forcing many artisans and merchants out of work.37 This process, which reached its zenith during the ascendancy of ‘Ali and Fuad, aggravated the discontent aroused by the Reform Edict. Also contributing to the rising discontent were political difficulties faced by the Porte in the 1860s, which compelled ‘Ali and Fuad to make concessions concerning the Ottoman dependencies of Belgrade and Crete.38 In short, the Porte faced during this phase a growing alienation among wider sections of its Muslim subjects, which led to polarization within the Muslim communities in Istanbul and in other cities of the empire.
The discontent aroused by the Reform Edict found expression early on in an 1859 plot involving ‘ulama and military personnel against ‘Ali and Fuad and even against the sultan. This plot is known in Ottoman historiography as the Kuleli Affair. A more important challenge, perhaps, was the emergence around 1865 of the movement of the Young Ottomans, which formulated many of the arguments against the policies of ‘Ali and Fuad and which reached a wide audience through the printed media.39 Both the Kuleli and Young Ottoman movements seem to have found much sympathy among the upper classes in Istanbul and perhaps in other cities.40 Further, both seem to have been rooted in the wave of Sunni-Orthodox Islam that prevailed in Istanbul in the first half of the nineteenth century, following the expansion of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi order, a shari‘a-minded order, into the city. This wave had been invigorated by the expansion of the Naqshbandi-Khalidi suborder,41 a branch of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi.42 Thus, the mounting protest at the policies of ‘Ali and Fuad and the discontent they aroused appear to have taken the shape of a new trend in Ottoman politics that was permeated by Islamic ideals. In (p.70) combating this trend, the two statesmen strengthened their hold on power and hardened their authoritarian political course, enjoying the backing of the senior bureaucracy and the army higher command.43
Inalcik's observation that “while the ‘ulama represented the Islamic ideal, the kuttab (bureaucrats) represented the idea of state power”44 fits well the later Tanzimat period. Under the force of the aforementioned circumstances on the one hand and in light of their concept of the state on the other, ‘Ali and Fuad worked to insure that the state should enjoy full power exercised exclusively by its organs and representatives. In this sense, they were the inheritors not of the first Tanzimat period but of Sultan Mahmud II's policies in his later years.
The issue at stake was not the secularization of the state, as some historians claim.45 Neither the Ottoman Empire nor other Muslim states were theocracies or states controlled by the tenets of religion or by religious hierarchies. Rather than ensuring secularism as an end in itself, the issue was reforming and strengthening the civil and military authorities and empowering them with new state laws and regulations borrowed from western legal systems and implemented by civil officialdom, not by the kadi or the ‘ulama as in former times. Moreover, as in western countries, such authorities or regulations stood in direct relation to the citizen, which meant the application of direct rule. In other words, these organs of the state functioned as the regulators of the life of the citizen and of society, in contrast to the norms followed in the Muslim state where the shari‘a was the regulative principle and where semiautonomous intermediary bodies, dominated by the ‘ulama or other dignitaries in the cities and towns, local chieftains in the countryside, or the religious functionaries of the non-Muslim communities, stood in between the authorities and the subjects. In a modern state, such bodies would be marginalized or abolished altogether.46 Thus, the modern state structured by ‘Ali and Fuad was founded on the bureaucracy and the army. A deeper look at the 1860s shows that these two statesmen expended great efforts to strengthen these two pillars of the state. The bureaucracy, for instance, became far better trained following the establishment in 1859 of the Mülkiye as an institute for training civil officials. As the number of ministries increased and as direct government spread, the bureaucracy expanded accordingly. It was indeed transformed “into something more like a modern civil administration or even a civil service,”47 armed with new laws that were strange and indeed incomprehensible to the ordinary citizen. Moreover, ‘Ali and (p.71) Fuad reorganized and strengthened the army and equipped it with modern weapons.48 The police (zabtiyye), including the gendarmerie, was also reorganized and in 1870 a ministry of police founded.49 Finally, the new court system (nizamiyye courts) was extended to every city and town under the Porte.50“There is no doubt,” concludes Donald Quataert, “that the late-nineteenth century state exerted more power over its subjects … than ever before in Ottoman history.”51
These measures and institutions were implemented without the establishment of a counterbalance in the shape of a constitution or parliament. No social or political force could have constituted a check upon this powerful machine. In the first Tanzimat period, the administrative council, the ‘ulama, and other local dignitaries had been adequately represented and had thus served as a check upon the provincial authorities. This situation ended with the later Tanzimat. The ‘ulama were for all practical purposes marginalized. So too was the mufti, who had been an ex officio member of the council, which was now entirely dominated by the vali. Whereas the vali was officially denied membership in the council throughout the early Tanzimat period, he was given effective control over it as of 1852 and was formally made its president under the Vilayet Law of 1864, which also endowed him with far-reaching powers “over police, political affairs, financial affairs, the carrying out of judicial decisions, and the execution of imperial laws.”52 Meanwhile, the kadi's prerogatives were shorn and his duties ultimately confined to the legal aspects of personal status issues.
As a result of these measures, the state organs were left without checks and balances and were freed from the semiautonomous and intermediary bodies through which governmental authority had formerly filtered down. Thus, in place of the local chiefs or notables (such as the ‘ulama and other dignitaries), whom the subject had known and generally rusted, stood new government officials armed with new laws and powers, who were largely strangers to him and often ignorant of his ways of speech and habits. Consequently, the subject stood before this powerful political machine weakened, perplexed, and understandably resentful.
The State and the New Upper Class
‘Ali and Fuad seem to have become isolated soon after assuming power. They faced mounting discontent, especially from segments of the upper classes in Istanbul, which was nourished by the Orthodox Sufi revival of (p.72) the first half of the nineteenth century. Few statesmen supported them. So unpopular was ‘Ali Pasha that he was described by the derogatory term kapuci-zade (son of the gatekeeper) and denounced as “a very bad man who brought ruin to the country.”53 ‘Ali and Fuad depended on the bureaucracy and the army, but this was not enough. Their dilemma was how to rally societal support to counter their opponents and contain mounting resentment.
To counterbalance various oppositional forces, ‘Ali and Fuad endeavored to cultivate certain Sufi orders, especially the Mevlevi order, which appealed to the Turkish middle and lower middle classes and which was regarded as tolerant and apolitical. To this end, the Porte bestowed favors upon leading Mevlevi dedes (shaykhs) and provided the order, which was based in Konya, with generous and unprecedented grants. For example, the head of the order at the time, Mehmed Sa‘id Hemdem (called Çelebi Efendi), saw his debts paid in 1855 and the cost of building a new mansion for him in Konya covered by the state treasury in 1858.54 There is no question that these favors were politically motivated.55 ‘Ali, Fuad, and other statesmen and senior bureaucrats also had close relations with Osman Salahuddin, the shaykh of the Yenikapi Mevlevi lodge in Istanbul.56 “It would seem,” concluded D.S. Margoliouth in his entry on the Mevlevi order in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, that “reforming sultans used the Mawlawi orderas a makeweight … against the ‘ulama’.”57 Nor were the Mevlevis the only Sufis to benefit from this policy. The Bektashi order, known for its heterodox and eclectic beliefs and popular among the lower classes, which had been legally abolished in 1826, began during this period to reopen its tekkes (lodges) in Istanbul. By the end of the 1860s, most of its tekkes were again operating in the open, and a printing press set up in the Eyup suburb began to publish Bektashi literature.58 As far as it is known, the firman that abolished the order was never revoked, but the order's open activity would not have been possible without the tacit approval of the authorities.
The cultivation of these two orders provided ‘Ali and Fuad with substantial public support in Istanbul and other Turkish towns in Anatolia, where the orders had a strong presence. However, the Mevlevi and Bektashi orders were almost exclusively Turkish and their presence in non-Turkish provinces (except for the Bektashi order in Albania) was negligible. The policy's effectiveness was therefore limited and it was necessary to generate support among other communities and other quarters.
(p.73) As referred to above, the Ottoman economy had been undergoing a profound transformation since the early decades of the nineteenth century and especially following the implementation of the 1838 Balta Liman commercial treaty between Britain and the Porte. As similar treaties with other European countries followed, the volume of trade between the empire and the west expanded rapidly.59 Basically, Ottoman lands were wide open to manufactured goods from Europe, while European countries imported from the Ottomans raw materials and agricultural products. The growth of this trade was greatly enhanced by the deployment of steam navigation.
Among the effects of this economic transformation was the emergence of a new socioeconomic elite of big merchants in the large port cities and of landlords in towns and cities. This elite was coming into its own during the later Tanzimat period, and ‘Ali and Fuad did not fail to find backing and support in it. Both groups had a high interest in the existence of powerful organs of the modern state.
Indeed, the Porte had begun to encourage the expansion of agriculture in Ottoman lands and to promote the export of agricultural products in the early 1840s. To that end, it established the Agricultural Council in Istanbul under the auspices of the ministry of finance in 1843,60 and the next year it set up similar councils in the provinces, with a director of agriculture (zira‘at müdürü) appointed in each province with deputies in district towns “in order to stimulate the growth of agriculture in them.”61 As the export of agricultural products increased, the demand for arable land was intensified and agriculture expanded accordingly.62
The growing importance of agriculture in turn spurred the Porte to introduce a radical change in the landholding system. In April 1858, the Land Law was enacted, according to which it became possible to possess miri land (state land) and register it in the land registry and acquire a titledeed.63 Villagers whose lands were regarded as miri could register them under their name and receive a title deed. Before the year ended, a second law, the Tapu Law, was enacted with the aim of enforcing the Land Law.64
The Land Law had a particularly transformative effect in the Asiatic and especially Arab provinces, where large tracts of potentially fertile and arable miri land lay fallow, open to the incursion of nomads. Under the Land Law, these state lands were offered for use against certain fees, on condition that they be reclaimed, cultivated, and entered into the production cycle.65 The main beneficiaries of this law were city notables close to the authorities, as well as persons of means such as rich merchants of (p.74) the port cities.66 These two groups, especially the notables, acquired vast tracts of land for cultivation, and within a few decades an elite of landlords with large estates had emerged in the cities of the Asiatic provinces.67 As a result of the Porte's agricultural policy and the application of the Land Law, agriculture was undoubtedly stimulated and the export of agricultural products was greatly increased, to the satisfaction of Istanbul and the new elite of landlords, big merchants, and brokers in the seaports.
However, the policy was not without ill effects. In contravention of the Land Law, many members of the new landowning elite acquired excessive quantities of land from peasants and even entire villages,68 transforming large numbers of peasants into sharecroppers and tenant farmers.69 Naturally, these developments aroused discontent among the peasants. Coupled with the resentment of the traditional class of merchants and artisans, who were, within a few decades, practically ruined economically by the free trade policy of the Porte, the discontent reached a dangerous level. It is hardly surprising then that “the Port … decided to cultivate the landholders and use this stratum to form the foundation of the state.”70 In fact, it was natural for this stratum to provide the Porte with the support it needed, bound as it was by common interests. The authorities gained from “selling” the miri land to them, from the taxes on its production, and from custom duties on the exported products. The landowners, meanwhile, gathered much wealth from selling the agricultural products without actually investing much.
The rise of the landowning elite as a powerful socioeconomic stratum in the cities was a new phenomenon in the Ottoman Empire. In earlier centuries, certain privileged notables administered ex-timar lands as malikane (iltizam for life), but they were too few to form a stratum in its own right and did not officially own the land. Moreover, the agricultural produce was largely for local consumption and not for export. The new landlords unquestionably constituted a new social class in the cities and towns throughout the empire, far exceeding the wealth, power, and influence of the former traditional elite of ‘ulama and merchants.
In contrast to the local ‘ulama, who, along with the kadi or as members of the council, had constituted a counterbalance to the power of the vali at the provincial level, this new landlord class worked hand in hand with him. Indeed, this new elite had a vested interest in the powerful state that emerged in the later Tanzimat, which it regarded as the best guarantee for protecting its newly acquired property and wealth and for (p.75) keeping the peasantry at bay. The big merchants of the port cities (who also often had a share in acquiring large estates) had the same vested interest in the powerful later Tanzimat state because it served their commercial interests, which depended on the free movement of commodities and the security and safety of inland transportation to and from the ports. Both the new landowners and the new merchants, then, gave the system their full support.
Soon this class was to exercise political influence as well. The valis, armed with powers accorded to them by the Vilayet Law of 1864, turned the administrative council into an instrument in their hands. They reshuffled it, bringing in members of the new landed elite and the new commercial class.71 Following these social and political changes, the rising classes became, within a few decades, the leading classes in the provinces, to the obvious detriment of the ‘ulama and merchants. What aggravated the situation of the ‘ulama was that many civil functions they had formerly performed now passed into the hands of the new civil officialdom.
The changes in the economic, social, and political spheres that the later Tanzimat introduced to the provinces of western Asia in general and particularly to the non-Turkish provinces affected their future in a decisive way. The Porte worked to establish powerful state organs such as a modern army, bureaucracy, and other coercive organs, but it failed to establish a system of checks and balances. Moreover, in the words of official historian Abdulrahman Sheref, “Ali Pasha was not a partisan of a constitution,”72 which implies that he was not a partisan of a parliament. Along with that, and as a result of the economic expansion of Western European countries, a sociopolitical change took place in the region. According to this change, the older elite of ‘ulama and merchants lost its status and was supplanted by the new landed elite and the big merchants and brokers in the ports.
This new elite provided the Porte with the social and political backing necessary to face the opponents of the new system and, with the army and the bureaucracy, furnished it with the societal base upon which it established its rule. It might be emphasized, moreover, that the guiding principle of the later Tanzimat statesmen was no longer to guarantee justice (as had been the case for the architects of the first Tanzimat period) but state power and interest.
(p.76) In other words, the policies and acts undertaken by ‘Ali Pasha and Fuad Pasha laid the foundations of the modern state in Ottoman lands. After the demise of the empire, the organs and institutions of the modern state, along with the new socioeconomic stratification, were the Ottoman legacy to successor states. The new elite of landowners and big merchants, along with the ex-Ottoman bureaucrats, despite their limited numbers, dominated those new states both socially and economically. On the whole, this elite shifted its allegiance to the mandatory governments, which, for their part, did not challenge the existing sociopolitical order but acted within its framework.
(1.) Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300–1600 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973), p. 104
(2.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, p. 104. See also Metin I. Kunt, The Sultan Servants: The Transformation of the Ottoman Provincial Government, 1550–1650 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), pp. 9, 12; Hasan al-Burini, Tarajim al-a‘yan min abna’ al-zaman, ed. Salah al-Din al-Munajjid (Damascus: al-Majma‘ al-‘Ilmi al-‘Arabi bi-Dimashq, 1963), writes in vol. 2, p. 74: “The governor of Damascus on the part of the military was … Hasan Pasha and on the judicial-civil part was ‘Ali Efendi” (author's translation). Muhammad Amin al-Muhibbi, Khulasat al-athar fi a‘yan al-qarn al-hadi ‘ashar (Beirut: Maktabat Khayyat, 1966), vol. 3, p. 80,calls the governor general “hakim al-‘urf,” or governor of the military rule.
(3.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, pp. 117–18.
(4.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, p. 105.
(5.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, p. 118.
(6.) Osman Nuri Ergin, ed., Mecelle-yi Umur-i Belediye (Istanbul: Arsak Garoyan Matbaasi, 1922), vol. 1, p. 902. See also H.A.R. Gibb and Harold Bowen, Islamic Society and the West, vol. 1 (London: Oxford University Press, 1950), part 1, p. 154.
(7.) Gibb and Bowen, Islamic Society, part 1, p. 45. See also Ilber Ortayli, Hukuk ve Idare Adami olarak Osmanli Devletinde Kadi (Ankara: Turhan Kitabevi, 1994); Ilber Ortayli, “The Role of the Ottoman Kadi in Provincial Administration,” Turkish PublicAdministrationAnnual 3 (1976), pp. 1–22; Halil Inalcik and Carter Findlay, “Mahkama: The Ottoman Empire,” in C.E. Bosworth et al., eds., Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (Leidin: E.J. Brill, 1991), vol. 6, pp. 3–11.
(8.) I.H. Uzuncarseli, Osmanli Devletinin Ilmiye Teskilati (Ankara: TTK Basimevi, 1965), pp. 117–18; I. Ortayli, “The Role of the Ottoman Kadi,” pp. 5–11; Gibb (p.77) and Bowen, Islamic Society and the West, part 2, p. 124; Colin Imber, The Ottoman Empire, 1300–1650: The Structure of Power (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), p. 232.
(9.) For a good analysis of the causes of decline, see Mustafa Nuri, Neta’ic ul-Vuku‘at, 4 vols. (Istanbul: Matbaa-i Amire, 1877–1909), vol. 1, pp. 148–49, and vol. 2, pp. 92ff.; Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, pp. 41–52.
(10.) Mehmed Genç in Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Islam Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi, 1988–present), vol. 22, pp. 154–58; Abdulrahman Vefik, Tekalif Kavaidi (Istanbul: n.p., 1910–11), vol. 1, pp. 62, 102–103.
(11.) Genç, in Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Islam Ansiklopedisi, vol. 22, p. 157.
(12.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, p. 118. See also Colin Imber, Ebu's-Su‘ud: The Islamic Legal Tradition (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997), pp. 6–7.
(13.) Imber, Ebu's-Su‘ud, pp. 6–7; Gibb and Bowen, Islamic Society and the West, part 2, p. 109; Koci Bey, Koci Bey Risalesi, ed. Ali Kemali Aksut (Istanbul: Vakit Kutuphanesi, 1939), pp. 34ff.; Pal Fodor, “State and Society, Crisis and Reform, in 15th–17th Century Ottoman Mirror for Princes,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hung 40, nos. 2–3 (1986), pp. 217–40 (see pp. 231–33).
(14.) See “The Islamic Roots of the Gülhane Rescript,” in Butrus Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam and the Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century (1826–1876) (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2001), pp. 73–99.
(15.) The text is found in Ahmet Lutfi Efendi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vols. 1–8 (Istanbul: Matbaa-yiAmire, 1873–1911), vol. 6, pp. 61–64; translated from OttomanTurkish into English in J.C. Hurewitz, The Middle East and NorthAfrica inWorld Politics: ADoc-umentary Record (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), vol. 1, pp. 269–71. Thistranslation is not complete. A long and important paragraph at the end is missing; in it, the sultan pledges not to act contrary to its stipulations (see pp. 63–64 in Lutfi). However this paragraph is found in J.C. Hurewitz, Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1956), vol. 1, pp. 113–16. Seep. 115, column 2, from “The laws regulating the military service” until the end.
(16.) Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 6, p. 107: “The Tanzimat was a law for the eradication of old tyrannical methods” (author's translation). Nuri, Neta’ic ul-Vuku‘at, vol. 4, pp. 101–102;Ahmet Rasim, OsmanliTarih-i, vol. 4 (Istanbul: Ikbal Kutuphanesi, 1912–14), p. 1928; Roderic Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–1876 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 43.
(17.) Hurewitz, Middle East, p. 270; see also Halil Inalcik, “Application of the Tanzimat and Its Social Effects,” in The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization, and Economy (London: Variorum, 1979), p. 8.
(18.) Edouard Engelhardt, La Turquie et le tanzimat, 2 vols. (Paris: A. Cotillon et Cie, 1882–84), vol. 1, p. 107.
(19.) Engelhardt, Turquie, p. 108.
(20.) On the Meclis, see Roderic Davison, “The Advent of the Principle of Representation in the Government of the Ottoman Empire,” in William R. Polk and Richard L. Chambers, eds., Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp.93–108, especially p. 98; Inalcik, “Application of the Tanzimat,” pp. 6ff.
(21.) Davison, “Advent of the Principle of Representation,” p. 98.
(22.) Davison, “Advent of the Principle of Representation,” p. 99. See also Davison, Reform, p. 48.
(23.) Moshe Maoz, Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), p. 93.
(24.) Maoz, Ottoman Reform, p. 95.
(25.) For the powers of the Meclis, see Halil Inalcik, “Tanzimat'in Uygulanmasi ve Sosyal Tepkileri,” Belleten 28 (1964), pp. 626–27; Maoz, Ottoman Reform, pp. 93–94.
(26.) Hurewitz, Middle East, p. 270.
(27.) Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire, p. 71.
(28.) Davison, Reform, p. 53 and n. 6; Engelhardt, La Turquie et le Tanzimat, vol. 1, pp. 126–27; Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 114.
(29.) See “The Roots of the Ascendancy of Ali and Fu'ad Pashas at the Porte,” in Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, pp. 115–25.
(30.) Abu-Manneh, “The Roots of theAscendancy,” pp. 116–17. See also Halil Inalcik, “On Secularism in Turkey,” Orientalische literatur-zeitung (September-October 1969), p. 439.
(31.) Engelhardt, La Turquie et le tanzimat, vol. 1, p. 109; Enver Ziya Karal, Osmanli Tarih-i, vol. 6 (Ankara: TTK Basimevi, 1954), pp. 32–33; M.A. Ubicini, Letters on Turkey (London: John Murray, 1856), vol. 1, p. 45.
(32.) Ali Fuad, Ricali Muhimme-i Siyasiye (Istanbul: n.p., 1928), pp. 23, 32; Harold W. Temperly, England and the Near East: The Crimea (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1936), pp. 325–26, 331–32.
(33.) Davison, Reform, p. 406.
(34.) Halil Inalcik, “Between Europe and the Middle East,” in From Empire to Republic: Essays on Ottoman and Turkish Social History (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1995), p. 144.
(35.) See “The Islamic Roots of the Gülhane Rescript,” in Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, p. 94; Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, Tezakir, ed. Cavid Baysun (Ankara: TTK Basimevi, 1953), vol. 1, pp. 7–8.
(36.) For the text of Balta Liman treaty, see J.C. Hurewitz, Middle East, vol. 1, pp. 265–66. For the impact of this treaty, see Charles Issawi, ed., The Economic (p.79) History of the Middle East, 1800–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), pp. 38–39, 41ff.
(37.) See Feroz Ahmad, “The State and Intervention in Turkey,” Turcica 16 (1984), pp. 53–54.
(38.) See Ahmet Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vols. 10–16, ed. M. Munir Aktepe (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1989–93), vol. 10, p. 73; Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 11, pp. 41–42, 73–74, 93–94; the layiha (memorandum) of‘Ali Pasha in Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 11, pp. 118–28. See also Şerif Mardin, The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962), pp. 17, 24ff., 35ff.
(39.) For example, the Young Ottomans took up the cause of the traditional merchants and artisans who had lost their livelihoods because of their inability to compete against imported commodities, and they attacked ‘Ali and Fuad for their failure to protect this class from ruin. See Ahmad, “State and Intervention,” p. 56; Ihsan Sungu, “Tanzimat ve Yeni Osmanlilar” in Tanzimat (Istanbul: Maarif Matbaasi, 1940), pp. 835–40.
(40.) See Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, pp. 126–28; Davison, Reform, pp. 100–102, 172ff.; Mardin, Genesis, pp. 18ff.
(41.) Abu-Manneh, “Islamic Roots of the Gülhane Rescript.”
(42.) On the Orthodox Sufi revival, see Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, pp. 41–59, 105–15, 125–40. See also Huseyin Vassaf, Sefine-i Evliya, vol. 2, ed. Ali Yilmaz and Mehmet Akkuş (Istanbul: Kitabevi, 1999); Şerif Mardin, “The Nakşibendi Order in Turkish History,” in Richard Tapper, ed., Islam in Modern Turkey (London: I.B. Tauris, 1991), pp. 121–42, especially pp. 129–30;HürMahmut Yücer, Osmanli Toplumunda Tasavvuf (19 Yüzyil) (Istanbul: Haziran, 2003), pp. 248–93, on the expansion of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi order and the Khalidi suborder.
(43.) See “The Roots of the Ascendancy of Ali and Fu’ad at the Porte,” in Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, pp. 122–24.
(44.) See Halil Inalcik's review of Niyazi Berkes's The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964), in Orientalische literaturzeitung 64 (September-October 1969), p. 439.
(45.) Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey, pp. 89–135, 155ff.
(46.) Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 63–64.
(48.) “Tanzimat ve Ordu,” in Necati Tacan, Tanzimat (Ankara: Maarif Matbaasi, 1940), pp. 129–37; Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 12, pp. 110–11; Davison, Reform, (p.80) pp. 264ff.; “Islahat Firmani Devri, 1861–1876,” in Enver Ziya Karal, Osmanli Tarih-i VII. Cilt, Islahat Firmani Devri 1861–1876 (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1956), pp. 183ff.
(49.) Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 10, p. 91; vol. 13, p. 54; Nuri, Mecelleyi Umuru Belediye, vol. 1, pp. 934–42.
(50.) “Islahat Fermani Devri, 1861–1876” in Karal, Osmanli Tarih-i; C. Findley, “Mahkama,” Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1954–present), vol. 6, pp. 5–9.
(51.) Quataert, Ottoman Empire, p. 63.
(52.) Davison, Reform, pp. 147–48; Lewis, Emergence, pp. 381–82.
(53.) Ali Suavi, Ali Pasa'nin Siyaseti (Istanbul: Kutuphaneyi Islam ve Askeri, 1907), 1–39, especially pp. 4, 7, 8, 10–11, 39 (“a very bad man …”); Mardin, Genesis, pp. 17ff.
(54.) For the March 1855 agreement by the sultan to grant Celebi Effendi (Mehmed Sa‘id Hemdem) 200,000 kurush “in order to pay his debts,” see Basbakanlik Osmanli Arsivi (hereinafter BOA), Dahiliye Iradeleri, no. 22004, dated 26 Rabi‘ al-Thani AH 1272 (5 January 1856). For the state's covering the costs of a new mansion, see Abdülbaki Gölpinarli, Mevlanadan Sonra Mevlevilik, (Istanbul: Inkilap Kitabevi, 1983), p. 176, referring to Dahiliye Iradeleri, no. 26793.
(55.) It happened before that a sultan had forged a relation with a Mevlevi shaykh, as Sultan Selim III had with Ghalib Dede, the shaykh of Galata Mevlevihanesi (d. 1795), but this relation was not politically motivated. Both the sultan and Shaykh Ghalib were poets, and the latter was a noted one (see Gölpinarli, Mevlanadan Sonra Mevlevilik, p. 271). The relation of ‘Ali and Fuad with the head of the order was politically motivated.
(56.) Mehmet Ziya [Ihtifalci], Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi (Istanbul: Yavuz Senemoglu, 1913), pp. 180, 192ff. See also Gölpinarli, Mevlanadan Sonra Mevlevilik, pp. 256ff.; Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam, pp. 138–39.
(57.) D.S. Margoliouth, Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 6, p. 888.
(58.) A. Rifki, Bektaşi Sirri (Istanbul: Asir Matbaasi ve Kitabevi, 1907), pp. 147–48; Ekrem Işin, “Bektaşilik,” in Istanbul Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: Istanbul Ansiklopedisi ve Nesriyat Kollektif Sirketi, 1958–71), vol. 2, pp. 131–37, especially pp. 136–37; vol. 1, p. 130, col. c.
(59.) See the text of the treaty in Hurewitz, Middle East, vol. 1, pp. 265–66. See also Issawi, ed., Economic History, pp. 38–41; Donald Quataert, “The Age of Reforms, 1812–1914,” inHalil Inalcik and Donald Quataert, eds., An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), especially pp. 825ff.
(60.) Lutfi, Tarih-i Lutfi, vol. 7, p. 66.
(62.) Issawi, ed., Economic History, pp. 9, 19; Doreen Warriner, “Land Tenure in the Fertile Crescent,” in Issawi, ed., Economic History, pp. 72–78, especially pp. 77–78.
(63.) For an English translation of this law, see R.C. Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, with a Commentary on the Ottoman Land Code of 7th Ramadan 1274 (Jerusalem: Greek Convent Press, 1927), pp. 1–125. See also Doreen Warriner, Land Reform and Development in the Middle East (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1957), pp. 68–70; Haim Gerber, The Social Origins of the Modern Middle East (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1994), pp. 67–90.
(64.) The Tapu Law was passed in December 1858. For the text of the Tapu Law of AH 1275 translated into English, see Tute, Ottoman Land Laws, pp. 129–37.
(65.) Inalcik and Quataert, eds., Economic and Social History, pp. 859ff.
(66.) Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800–1914 (London: Methuen, 1981), pp. 118–19, 174–75; Gerber, Social Origins, pp. 72–73.
(67.) Kemal Karpat, “Some Historical and Methodological Considerations Concerning Social Stratification in the Middle East,” in Kemal Karpat, Studies on Ottoman Social and Political History (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002), pp. 307ff. See also Karpat, “Land Regime, Social Structure, and Modernization in the Ottoman Empire,” in Karpat, Studies, especially pp. 349–51; Peter Slugglet and Marion Faruk-Slugglet, “The Application of the 1858 Land Code in Greater Syria: Some Preliminary Observations,” in Tarif Khalidi, ed., Land Tenure and Social Transformation in the Middle East (Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, 1984), pp. 409–21, who suggest that “this development seems to have been taking place for some time” (p. 413).
(68.) See Article 8 of the Land Law in Tute, Ottoman Land Laws, p. 17; Warriner, Land Reform, p. 69.
(69.) Warriner, “Land Tenure,” pp. 77–78.
(70.) Ahmad, “State and Intervention,” p. 56.
(71.) Karpat, Studies, pp. 307–308; cf. Ahmad, “State and Intervention,” pp. 56–57.
(72.) Abdulrahman Sheref, Tarih Musahabeleri (Istanbul: Matbaa-iAmire, 1339), p. 96.