--- quote ---
"from at least the end of the eighteenth century, ottoman rulers recognized that drastic administrative and organizational changes in the empire were necessary. however, stubborn resistance from entrenched interests hobbled the first steps toward change. for example, the janissaries, once the heart of the ottoman army, had become less a military force and more a political force in istanbul. their military effectiveness declined precipitously after the end of the seventeenth century. by the beginning of the nineteenth century, they were completely outside of the sultan's control and more interested in pursuing the good life than in protecting the empire's borders. in 1808, sultan selim ııı paid with his life when he attempted to abolish the janissaries; however, his son and successor, mahmud ıı planned carefully for years and successfully disbanded the janissaries in 1826.
"[in the 1800s] the ottoman reformers faced the much more onerous task of trying to implement fundamental change across a multilingual and multiethnic empire that spanned three continents.
"the scale of the reforms was staggering and extremely expensive. to fund the tanzimat, the sultans took out a series of loans beginning in 1854. given the vast sums required and the relatively limited ways the ottomans could raise the funds necessary to meet their obligations, it is hardly surprising that the porte soon found itself in dire financial straits. indeed, by the mid-1870s the ottoman state was bankrupt. in 1881 european creditors forced the ottomans into accepting a financial oversight body called the ottoman public debt commission made up of representatives of british, french, dutch, and other nations' bondholders, and it had extraordinary power to use tax payments to reimburse foreign investors. with the debt commission, the ottoman empire essentially ceded control of its finances to western europeans.
"the question of security was paramount to the reformers as corruption and porous borders weakened the economic foundation of the empire. they tackled this complex problem with administrative reforms and by rebuilding the armed forces and upgrading the empire's communication and transportation infrastructure. they built vast road, railroad, and telegraph networks that crisscrossed the empire. these improvements enabled istanbul to act quickly to quell disturbances and to confront internal challengers to the ottoman center. this, in combination with more professionalized and efficient policing throughout the empire, led to increased security, making it possible for the state to extend its mandate to outlying areas such as syria and palestine, which had often suffered from raiding and general lawlessness.
"a rationalized and modernized bureaucracy required qualified and educated officials; thus , the ottomans expended a great deal of effort to modernize education. they established new kinds of primary and secondary schools throughout the empire. a modern university was opened in istanbul, as were medical, veterinary, and engineering schools; another institute was established for training the bureaucrats who were to be sent to the far reaches of the empire to implement the tanzimat reforms. the ottomans also created modern military academies for infantry and naval officers and other technical schools for munitions experts, engineers, and military doctors.
"legal reform represented another priority for the tanzimat reformers. they took a number of steps to rationalize the complicated and multilayered ottoman legal system. for example, the ottoman land code of 1858 and land registration law of 1859 codified, regularized, and modernized land ownership rules that varied widely from place to place throughout the empire. reformers then introduced a modified french civil code that restricted the brief of islamic law. these moves brought the ottoman legal regime in line with those operating in europe. the hope was that these steps would help ottoman merchants compete with their european competitors. unfortunately, legal reform also made it easier for european merchants to do business locally. therefore, it did nothing to stem the tide of european finished goods pouring in; nor did it change the fact that the ottoman empire was merely a source of raw materials for western european manufacturers. all of this deepened the marginal economic position of the ottomans in the emergent global economy.
"legal reform had far-reaching consequences beyond the economic sphere. with the hatt-ı humayun decree of 1856 and the nationality law of 1869, the ottomans undertook one of the most sweeping social and legal reforms of the tanzimat period. they all but abolished the millet system and its multiple status hierarchy and inaugurated a form of modern citizenship. ... one early twentieth-century reformer [enver bey] put it this way: "henceforth we are all brothers. there are not bulgars, greeks, romanians, jews, muslims; under the same blue sky we are all equal, we glory in being ottomans."
"as it turned out equality did not prove to be very popular. equality politicized difference in ways that had not been seen before. this was true among muslims and non-muslims alike. some muslims, especially among the elite, felt they were losing privileges justified by their status as the majority of the population. at the same time, some christians objected to the new definition of equality and proto-citizenship because of the duties it imposed upon them, in particular, military conscription. indeed, conscription was so unpopular that the ottoman authorities eventually permitted christians to buy their way out of military service. this concession then created great resentment among muslims, who were not granted this right."
gasper, michael. 2013. "the making of the modern middle east." in the middle east
[thirteenth edition], ed. ellen lust. pp. 1-72. 14-17.
--- quote ---