From Collapse to Liberation

  • Ersin Kalaycioğlu
Part of the Middle East in Focus book series (MEF)


The end of the nineteenth century was replete with dramatic developments in the domestic political life of the Ottoman Empire. The modernizing reforms had run their course and culminated in the first constitution and the establishment of the first legislative institution, the Imperial Assembly (Meclis) of the Ottoman Empire by 1877. The term “Ottoman” in the text of the Constitution,1 yet it failed to make any difference on how the “Ottoman subjects” perceived their identity. Ottoman “citizenship” never seemed to be sufficient in providing an idea around which the myriads of religious communities (millets), ethnic groups, tribes and clans united, nor were democratization on firm ground. The Ottoman bicameral Meclis met in 1877 with the election of deputies from all over the Empire from Arabia to Serbia. However, the eruption of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, and the Constitution’s entrusting the Sultan Abdülhamit II with excessive powers, shortly after led to the suspension of the activities of the Meclis, when the deputies started to level criticisms of the Sultan’s handling of the Russo-Turkish war, until 1908.2


Turkish Republic Constitutional Monarchy Armenian Population Turkish Subject Turkish Nation 
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© Ersin Kalaycioğlu 2005

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  • Ersin Kalaycioğlu

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