The Relationship Between Art and Politics in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire: Institutionalization, Change and Continuity
The Politics of the Ottoman Empire In the 19th Century: Institutionalization, Change and ContinuityBülent Arı
This article focuses on the political dynamics of Ottoman modernization attempts undertaken between the late 18th century and the 20th century. These historical attempts are generally classified in the political literature either as modernization or Westernization. This process was not linear; rather, it fluctuated. This study describes certain military, legal, administrative, social and institutional milestones of these movements. For instance, Selim III’s attempts were predominantly military, while from the Tanzimat onwards, the reforms acquired political, legal and administrative tones. This paper also outlines domestic and international developments that systematically affected the modernization measures. Russian wars could be considered the main factor influencing Ottoman statesmen until the end of the 19th century. Conversely, Western powers did not fully support the Ottoman Empire during this period. In return, Ottoman statesmen played one power against another to sustain the empire’s diplomatic existence. The paper concludes by evaluating the more recent developments of the 20th century to elucidate the inheritance of the state system of the new-born Turkish Republic.