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Reform Efforts in the Nineteenth Century Ottoman Empire and The Rise of “Scribal Class”
“Reform” efforts in the Ottoman Empire have a history preceding the nineteenth century. The essence of the idea of reform is based on the improvement of the existing structure and institutions. Indeed, attempts of reform in the empire were also formed in an axis where it was taken as a role model itself -the old glory days- especially within the frame of eliminating the difficulties, which showed themselves through defeats in the military field. However, by the nineteenth century, in addition to the continual of military defeats and deterioration of empire finances, upon the emergence of unsettling forces to the central authority, evoked the understanding, the obligation of a reform, which exceeds the idea of reform and which seeks the solution not in itself but in the West. As a result of reforms in the reign of Mahmut II, on the one hand steps that provide centralization were taken and the problem of authority, which began in the empire, was resolved. With the control of âyans (Local Notables) in the states and the elimination of the Janissaries in the center, all the forces in the empire were gathered in the Palace. On the other hand, the administrative organization of the empire was re-established by taking the Western-style state model as an example, and a central-bureaucratic form of organization was established by breaking the decentralized structure to a large extent. Reform efforts in line with centralization and bureaucratization in the empire led to a transition in the ruling elite of the state as well. In connection with the implementation of the reforms, the balance of power between the Sultan, ilmiye class and the army was unbalanced, and the Sublime Porte, which formed the core of “scribal class” identified with bureaucracy, survived as the ruling elite from among the destroyed balance of power. The power that Sublime Porte, which undertook the execution of the reforms, gained more with each passing day resulted with the shift of “the notion of center” from the Palace to the Sublime Porte. The Sublime Porte, under the management of Mustafa Reşit Pasha, Ali Pasha and Fuad Pasha, possessed the administrative monopoly in the empire within time. It was only possible for the Palace to be re-effective in the administration after the death of these pashas. <

Reform, Centralization, Ruling Class, Scribal Class, Sublime Porte

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