Ottoman reform, non-Muslim subjects, and constitutive legislation: the reform edict of 1856 and the Greek general regulations of 1862
Ozil, Ayşe (2021) Ottoman reform, non-Muslim subjects, and constitutive legislation: the reform edict of 1856 and the Greek general regulations of 1862. In: Chovanec, Johanna and Heilo, Olof, (eds.) Narrated Empires: Perceptions of Late Habsburg and Ottoman Multinationalism. Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 169-190. ISBN 978-3-030-55198-8 (Print) 978-3-030-55199-5 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55199-5_8
The chapter examines the legal-administrative reform through which the Ottoman Empire responded to the challenges of accommodating ethno-religious diversity in the age of modernization. It traces the Reform Edict of 1856 (Islahat Fermanı), which is considered to be one of the constitutive documents of the late Ottoman state, and shows how the question of the status of non-Muslims lay at the heart of the drive for modernization in the middle of the nineteenth century. Not only was the edict almost entirely about Christian and other non-Muslim subjects of the empire, but it also concerned specific administrative details of the non-Muslim population, such as the composition of communal councils and the construction of church buildings. The chapter further carries out an investigation of the Greek General regulations (Genikoi Kanonismoi) of 1862, which was a part and a result of the Reform Edict of 1856, to demonstrate the attention on reform of Christian communal structures. By focusing on these two documents and the practical developments leading to their promulgation, this examination delineates the ways in which policies of centralization, standardization, and secularization impacted legal-administrative reform. In understanding demands for institutional change, the examination delves into the dynamics concerning the Ottoman state, Ottoman Greek communities and leadership, and the British government, to lay out the formulation of reform in the late Ottoman Empire.
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