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any scholars consider the Iranian constitutional revolution of 1906 –11 as a turning point in the history of modern Iran that ushered in a long century of popular struggles and resistance against the absolutism of the shahs (Qajars and Pahlavis) and Western imperialism. The historiography of the Iranian constitutional revolution is rich and varied; the recent publication in Iran of primary sources like newspapers, memoirs, political tracts, parliamentary debates, and consular reports only enhances it further.1 The international dimension of the Iranian constitutional revolution is receiving more attention with access to foreign consular reports in the British, Turkish, and French archives.2 Except for a few notable studies, the Turkish constitutional movements of 1876 and 1908, by comparison, have received much less attention from scholars of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. 3 Despite two divergent historiographies, a comparative study of the Ottoman and Iranian constitutional movements is just beginning to receive some attention.4 With a few notable excepResearch for this essay was funded by a grant from the Iran Heritage Foundation in London. This essay was presented at the centennial of the Iranian constitutional revolution at Oxford University in June 2006. I thank the Başbakanlik Archives in Istanbul, the Atatürk Library, the interlibrary loan at Northwestern University Library, and the Middle East staff at Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. I also thank my father for his invaluable insights. A shorter version of this article was published in the Turkish journal Toplumsal Tarih, no. 166 (October 2007). 1. For recent publications of these sources in Iran, see Mansoureh Ettehadieh, “‘Newspapers and Journals Reprinted from 1991 to 2001’ and ‘Historical Works Relating to the Qajar Era Published in Iran, 1996 – 2001,’ ” Iranian Studies 34 (2001): 195 – 226; Peter Avery, “Printing, the Press, and Literature in Modern Iran,” in Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 7, From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, ed. Peter Avery, Gavin Hambly, and Charles Melville (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 815 – 69; and Mansour Bonakdarian, Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 – 11: Foreign Policy, Imperialism, and Dissent (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2006). 2. The opening of the Russian archives will shed light on a very important player in the constitutional revolution. That history is still to be written. On the influence of Indian intellectual currents on Persian nationalism, see Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Historiography (London: Palgrave, 2001). 3. Hakki Tarik Us, Meclis-i Mebusan, 1293:1877; Zabit Ceridesi, 2 vols. (Istanbul: Vakif Matbaasi, 1939 – 40); Şerif Mardin, The Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962); Robert Devereux, The First Ottoman Constitutional Period: A Study of the Midhat Constitution and Paliament (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1963), Niyazi Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964); and Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks (Oxford: Clarendon, 1969). For a critical historiography of the Young Turk revolution, see Şükru Hanioğlu, Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902 –1908 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). 4. Thierry Zarcone and Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr, eds., Les Iraniens d’Istanbul (Louvain: Peeters, 1993); Nader Sohrabi, “Constitutionalism, Revolution, and State: The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 with Comparisons to the Russian Revolution of 1905” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1996); Sohrabi, “Historicizing Revolutions: Constitutional Revolutions in the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and Russia, 1905 – 1908,” American Journal of Sociology 100 (1995): 1383 – 1448; and Sohrabi, “Global Waves, Local Actors: What the Young Turks Knew about Other Revolutions and Why It Mattered,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (2007): 45 – 79.
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I do not discuss the European intellectual influences. since this topic has already received a great deal of attention by scholars of both modern Turley and Iran. The latter vein of Iranian constitutionalism laid the foundation for the constitution of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Islam and Modernism: The Iranian Revolution of 1906 (London: I. less attention has been paid to the reception of Western ideas and the subsequent cross-fertilization of modernist discourse among different intellectual and social groups.7 In both states. under pressure from Western powers and in order to save the empire from further disintegration. In the Ottoman Empire. particularly of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. I have undertaken a larger study on the history of Tabriz during the constitutional era. in alliance with some members of the Shi‘i ulema. B.5 I highlight the role of Iranian and Ottoman reformists in this formative period in the articulation of two competing discourses: Western liberal constitutionalism based on French and Belgian models and an Islamist constitutionalism (mashrutay-i mashru’ah) that was popular among the ulema and more traditional classes. 6 In Iran the merchants. most of the existing historiography has emphasized the role of Western thought in the development of Turkish and Iranian modernity. the first phase of reform started with modernization projects traceable to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that were initiated by reformist bureaucrats in response to Western and Russian military victories and territorial gains. and activists by drawing on Turkish archival material. narrative sources. the merchant bourgeoisie was largely non-Muslim and prone to nationalist ideologies that promoted independence (Armenians and Greeks). Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought. But Islam and Turkish ethnic sentiments were emerging as the dominant intellectual paradigms in the aftermath of wars of independence and the Russo-Turkish wars that led to the ethnic cleansing of the Balkans and the Caucasus and created millions of Muslim refugees crossing into the Ottoman lands. and books printed in Istanbul. The conservative outcome of the Iranian constitutional movement had to do with the active participation of these two tightly knit social groups. Persian newspapers. The reforms of the Tanzimat era undermined the status of the lower-ranking ulema. which can be traced back to the eighteenth century. intellectuals. and newspapers were the products of the 155 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf 7.tions. The intellectual interaction between Ottoman and Iranian reformists and intellectuals took place in several phases that began first in the Ottoman Empire during the Tanzimat reforms (1839 – 78) and culminated in the granting of the first Ottoman constitution of 1876 by Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876 –1909). The urban masses made up of artisans and professional members of guilds played an important role in the success of the Iranian revolution of 1906. played an important role in the mobilization of urban masses in the constitutional movement of 1906 –11. these groups played an important role in forging a nationalist discourse. consular reports. Mardin. Military academies. Tauris. modern bureaucracy. The Ottoman state manifested the strongest modernist impulse. The second period started in the last decade of the nineteenth century and culminated in the Iranian constitutional revolution of 1906 –11 and the Young Turk revolution of 1908. The Transcaucasian Muslim refugees of Crimean and Azeri background identified with both the Sunni Ottomans and the Shi‘i Iranians and settled in both states. The aim of this study is to shed light on the relationship between Turkish and Iranian reformists. dependence dealt a heavy blow to the position of non-Muslims. 1989). the ulema were closely tied to the state and were independent of the middle class. 6. the printing press. modern schools. while local and regional influences have been ignored. while the nationalist movements for in5. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran . a new class of bureaucrats and reformists created a pan-Ottoman discourse for a modern type of government that would grant citizenship rights to all male subjects regardless of religion and ethnicity and would continue the Tanzimat reforms. Moreover. See Vanessa Martin. which composed the traditional middle class and survived until the Islamic revolution of 1979. In both states.
In Istanbul he lived in the Iranian neighborhood next to Valide Hani. Azerbaijan was one of the first places for the establishment of Western missionaries. 35 – 36. the founder and owner of the newspaper Akhtar in Istanbul. and European capitals enjoyed more freedom in expressing criticism of the government and in bypassing censorship laws. and Europe. many became members of freemason lodges that were established in the second half of the nineteenth century. He also read the Persian opposition newspapers and literature in Istanbul and came into contact with the authors. 12.. AH 1358/1979). went out from Tabriz. Ervand Abrahamian. The print media. 10. Hajji Mirza Mehdi and Mirza Mehdi. the author of Mizan al-Mavâzin. and cultural contacts among intellectuals and reformists in Tabriz and Istanbul as well as Transcaucasia assumed great importance. Modern civilization came to Azerbaijan primarily from two sources: through knowledge of the Turkish language there were intellectual ties first with Istanbul and Ottoman territories and second with Rus- sian territories.9 He established the first secular bookstore (Tarbiyat) with Mirza Muhammad Ali Khan Tarbiyat (“Education”) in 1903. 75 – 76. 26 – 45. . Zendegi-yi Tufani. Persian newspapers printed in Istanbul. Calcutta. During this period. Najaf Quli Khan. The use of the telegraph was equally important in communication among the revolutionaries in various cities and between Iran and the Ottoman Empire. the caravansary of Iranians. especially Transcaucasia and to a degree Astrakhan (in the Crimea).10 Taqizade and Tarbiyat published an influential newspaper called Ganjinah-yi funun (Treasure of Knowledge) in Tabriz and founded the Secret Center together with twelve young radicals. Zendegi-yi Tufânî: Khâtirât-i Seyyid Hasan Taqizade (Tehran: ‘Ilmi. See also Iraj Afshar. So were the two editors of that newspaper. T 9. Tiflis. and read with great interest books and newspapers published in Istanbul. which he described as the gateway to Europe. this city became the exclusive center of Iranian foreign relations. Afshar. which lasted almost until the beginning of the constitutional movement and whose articles were very influential. The Emergence of the Modern Middle East: Selected Readings (Columbia: University of South Carolina. Agha Muhammad Tahir. Haji Zeyn al-Abidin Marâgha’î. offered a forum for the exchange of ideas among the intellectuals and a growing literate middle class. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. borrowing and reading banned books like those written by Namik Kemal. described the history of these contacts in his autobiography in the following manner: Preliminary steps to acquire western accomplishments began in Tabriz. Foreign ambassadors usually came here and Iranian envoys abroad. two tanners. The members promoted Western secular education and were interested in French political philosophy and the Young Ottoman movement in the Ottoman Empire. for six months.8 Taqizade was born to an ulema family of Sheikhi background in Tabriz. Robert Landen. 128 – 29. founder of the well-known satirical paper Molla Nasr adDin and whom he called the Molière and Tolstoy of Muslim Russia. including several merchants like Ali Karbalâ’î (“Monsieur”). and a linguist.156 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . One important thing which helped progress on the road of civilization was that. The latter afterwards went to Egypt and founded the newspaper Hekmat (1892) in Cairo. ed. with few exceptions. NJ: Princeton University Press. e S o A u th a a si a f A ric n h d t st M le idd Ea first phase of the reform movements. who traveled to Baku for business. studied modern sciences and English in the American missionary school (Memorial). 1982). It goes without saying that both Ottoman and Iranian thinkers and bureaucrats were directly influenced by Western liberal philosophy during their educational sojourns in Europe. In Tiflis he met Mirza Jalil Muhammad Qulizade Tabrizi. which for a time was the only modern-style newspaper in Persia. the Caucasus. the author of Yek Kalama and Ganj-i Danesh. particularly newspapers. Because of its large Christian minority. commercial. Seyyid Hasan Taqizade (1878 –1970). Qaim Maqam Farahani. They were Mirza Yusuf Khan Mustashar al-Dawleh Tabrizi.11 Taqizade traveled to Istanbul via Tif lis. who was a very intelligent man. Taqizaded went to Istanbul via iflis and Batumi. Cairo. 8. Iran between Two Revolutions (Princeton. was a Tabrizi. because of the presence in Tabriz of Abbas Mirza and his vizir. 1970). a leading constitutionalist figure who was elected to the majlis twice as the deputy of Tabriz and Azerbaijan. He spent most of his time in bookstores in Beyoğlu. Graduates of modern schools became the leaders of the second phase of the reform movement for national awakening and constitutionalism. The role of Western missionaries (American and French) has not received much attention in the spread of modern education in Iran.12 He met the editors of the Persian news11. diplomatic.
Paris. Russian Transcaucasia. B. and the Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1841 opened up Iranian markets to English and Russian goods and granted their merchants freedom of trade and lower customs rates (4 – 5 Haji Mirza Hasan Khan Kabir al-Mulk. 203 – 12 . the volume of trade with Russia. Tiflis. the heir apparent in Tabriz. and London. 14. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul. He founded the printing press (1816) and sent the first group of Iranian students to Europe to acquire Western education in military science. 1997).14 These two books played an important role in the political awakening of many Iranians.13 Taqizade also traveled to Dagestan in 1906 and met Abdul-Rehim Talibuf (1834–1911). and economic reforms as well as a constitutional form of government to limit the absolutism of the shah and his ministers and to preserve the independence of Iran. Zendegi-yi Tufani. Talibuf died in Dagestan. 37 – 43. “The Iranian (Azeri) Merchant Community in the Ottoman Empire and the Constitutional Revolution. percent ad valorem). The bilingual background of Azeris who spoke both Azeri Turkish and Persian (as well as Russian in some cases) made these contacts possible. Abbas Amanat. In the absence of rigid borders between Iran. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran .17 157 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf 15. Istanbul. Letters from Persia. Trabzon. See also Charles Burghess and Edward Burghess. the frontier between Iran. Talibuf claims that he was inspired by Rousseau’s Emile.16 The Qajar prince and governor of Azerbaijan. educational. which was printed in Istanbul and banned in Iran. Sheikh Ahmad Ruhi. ed. modern reforms. and Tabriz and imported cotton textiles and shawls and exported silks. He wrote his book in two volumes. 16. and the presence of European and Russian diplomatic and merchant communities made Tabriz the largest (three hundred thousand residents) and most cosmopolitan and modern city in nineteenth-century Iran. AH 2537/1977). and Istanbul. Anglo-Iranian Relations since 1800 (London: Routledge. 1851 – 1896 (Berkeley: University of California Press. and so forth. Many leading bureaucrats like Amir Kabir first served in the court of Qajar. established a modern army (of six thousand soldiers) modeled after the nezam-i jedid of Selim III (1789 –1807) and built a canon factory and a musket plant by importing cast iron from the Ottoman Empire. and the center of modernization and international trade. 1942).” in Zarcone and ZarinebafShahr. established Iran’s first permanent missions in Paris and London. Iranian merchants of mostly Azeri background traveled to the Ottoman Empire via the Caucasus and resided in major towns and cities. 122 – 3 7. Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr. Talibuf advocated unity b etween Shi‘is and Sunnis. Istanbul. 74 – 75. the Treaty of Turkmanchai with Russia in 1814 and 1828. Istanbul and Trabzon became the ports of Tabriz. and the Ottoman Empire. and Europe increased enormously in the second half of the nineteenth century. and hired Western (French) military advisers. ed. Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr. 1828 – 1855. Batumi. He set up a translation office. Abbas Mirza (d. and 1876. Traffic on this route became greater than that on the old overland route via Erzurum and Anatolia. “Tabriz under Ottoman Rule. the author of the Travelogue of Ibrahim Beg. After the opening of the Tabriz-Trabzon-Istanbul route in the 1830s. In his travels. University of Chicago. Taqizade received financial support and lodging from the Iranian communities in Baku. 1991). hides. Pivot of the Universe: Nasir ad-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy. and Huseyn Danish. dried fruits. although border disputes and Ottoman skirmishes continued into the twentieth century. 17. the Ottoman Empire. 2005). and medicine. Mirza Agha Khan K irmani. ed. Baku.1833). via Tiflis. 84 – 85... Tabriz was the seat of the Qajar heir apparent. Both were born in Iranian Azerbaijan. Kitâb-i Ahmad. Trade. carpets. Abd a l-Rahim Talibuf. engineering. Greek and Persian merchants carried on the bulk of trade between Manchester. The introduction of steamships and European shipping on the Black Sea made travel between Tabriz and Istanbul (via Tif lis) shorter and safer. Travel from Iran to Istanbul usually went through the Caucasus and the Black Sea. the author of Ketab-i Ahmad. 1841. 13. which was printed in Istanbul in 1890 – 93. modern languages. and Russia.15 Because of its strategic location. the Ottoman Empire.paper Akhtar and Zeyn al-Abidin Marâgha’î. and Vanessa Martin. 1725 – 1730” (PhD diss. Mo’mini (Tehran: Shabgir. The signing of the Treaty of Erzurum with the Ottoman Empire in 1823. Afshar. They were written in the form of imaginary conversations about the causes of the economic and cultural backwardness of Iran and the need for legal. Marâgha’î died in Istanbul. Benjamin Schwartz (New York: New York Public Library. The cessation of religious hostilities between the Sunni Ottomans and the Shi‘i Iranians played an important role in the easing of tensions.
Van (448). established contacts with the Secret Center in Tabriz.” Encyclopedia Iranica (Costa Mesa. many Iranians worked in construction. 203 – 12. See Hassan Hakimian. Tauris. a merchant from Iranian Azerbaijan who lived and traded in Transcaucasia and Istanbul. 18 – 6 6. Baku. Zeyn al-Abidin Marâgha’î. “Iranian Diaspora in Caucasus and Central Asia in the late Nineteenth Century. Ibid. and toleration of all religions. the discovery of oil and the economic boom in Baku attracted many Iranian Azeri workers to Baku. and Iranian/Azeri community settled in Baku. merchants served as consular representatives (shehbenders) and translators whose main mission was to protect the interests of the growing Iranian merchant communities and pilgrims. By 1897. “Iranian Diaspora in Ottoman Turkey.. 94. “Istanbul and the Carpet Trade of Iran since the 1870’s. of whom 60.142 in Tiflis). He was critical of the failure of the I ranian government to protect Iranian goods and merchants who were losing out in competition to Russian and Western merchants. Haj Zeyn al-Abidin Marâgha’î. 128 – 32. 80 percent of whom were from Azerbaijan. Abrahamian. . AH 1345/1966). mosques. and a large Russian. 23. Erzurum (721). In many instances. even coffeehouses. 22 Other than Istanbul. Sayâhatnâmah-yi Ibrahim Beg. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul. and Istanbul became the centers of cultural and political contact. railways.968 in Baku and 8. the largest Iranian communities in Anatolia were in Adana (2. a wide commercial and diplomatic network. European. their number in Russia had grown to 73. 213 – 31. 22. 20.23 Most of them were merchants. Iranians came into contact with Ottoman reformers and intellectuals as well as European communities. It also advocated women’s rights. The party drew inspiration from Russian social democracy and Marxism.24 It had its own caravansary in Valide Hani. 97 – 1 00. 7:375 – 7 7. 7:373 – 75. The community had a printing press that published Persian books like the travelogue of Marâgha’î and the Persian newspaper Akhtar in 1876. Iran between Two Revolutions.158 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . This figure is based on the first national census in Russia.800 families that received tezkires in 1889. Between Two Empires: Ahmet Ağaoğlu and the New Turkey (London: I. According to this author. He praised Taqiyev for his progressive ideas and investment in Muslim enterprises. some had become Ottoman subjects and married Ottoman women despite the Ottoman prohibition against the marriage of Sunnis and Shi‘is. Iranian merchants dominated the Istanbul carpet trade with Europe. press. Holly Shissler. The Iranian Azeri émigré community established the Social Democratic Party of Iran in Baku in 1904. ed. See Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. M. see A. Russian and European firms were very active in the oil sector. sixteen thousand Iranians (four thousand families) lived in Istanbul in 1889.714). 77. The party called for workers’ rights to organize and strike and work an eight-hour day. and other cities. Marâgha’î. According to Khan Malek Sassani.405 lived in the Caucasus (23. making Baku the jewel of the Caspian Sea. On the Azeri press in Baku. Izmir (955). schools. 24. 1985). freedom of speech. totaling 10. and public meetings. and a cemetery in Üsküdar. and many 18. In cities like Istanbul with a sizable and growing European presence. Yâdbudhây-i Safârat-i Istanbul (Tehran: Firdusi. deplored the condition of Iranian émigrés and merchants in Baku and Tiflis in his travelogue. 1995). 24.21 The establishment of Iranian embassies and consulates in the Ottoman. Ibid. See also Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr.920. 25. European. 19. 21. a progressive income tax. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul.18 Many were common laborers and lived in miserable conditions. and the oil industry and their number in the last field grew from 11 percent in 1893 to 29 percent in 1915. and lent military assistance to revolutionaries such as Sattar Khan during the Qajar repression of constitutionalists and the Russian siege of Tabriz in 1908. Tsutomu Sakamoto. Aleppo (850). he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st In the late nineteenth century.” Encyclopedia Iranica. Sepanlu (Tehran: Nashr-i Asfâr.25 They imported European luxury goods and woolen and cotton textiles into Tabriz via Trabzon. Khan Malek-e Sassani. CA: Mazda Publishers.20 Ottoman and Russian modernity and political movements reached Iran via this route. 2003). Local oil barons like Zeyn al-Abidin Taqiyev invested their wealth in the modernization of the city. and an international community. Iranian Muslim merchants of predominantly Azeri background felt at ease in the capital of a Muslim empire that boasted both Eastern and Western traditions.. shops.” in Zarcone and ZarinebafS hahr. and Tabriz. the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Istanbul (1919 – 21). Sayâhatnâmah-yi Ibrahim Beg. the distribution of land among peasants. B. and Russian capitals and port cities raised the level of diplomatic and intellectual interaction.19 Their exposure to Marxist ideas and their social marginalization radicalized many Iranians who participated in oil strikes in Baku.
Mardin. Albert H. Phillip Khoury. Iranian bureaucrats and intellectuals came into contact with the Young Ottomans and were inspired by the Tanzimat reforms. France. Iranian merchants became critical of Qajar policies in granting commercial concessions to foreign merchants and failing to protect the interests of Iranian merchants and voiced their discontent in Akhtar and another Persian newspaper. thus paving the way for centralization. As people of the book. Uriel Heyd. honor. such as the building of new churches. and Mary Wilson (London: I. the most important thinker of this group. administration or to build new churches. culminating in the kuleli rebellion in Istanbul in September 1859. Ottoman Reforms and Discontent The Tanzimat reforms of 1839 – 78 were initiated by a group of Ottoman bureaucrats after the bloody elimination of the janissary corps in 1826 and the suppression of provincial ayans by Sultan Mahmud II (1808 – 39). and Refik Bey. ed. and social autonomy. however. joined this group and became its leader in 1866. Traditionally. brother of Kedive Isma‘il of Egypt. The limited application of these reforms. Although these reforms were never fully implemented and the millet system continued to exist.27 The jurisdiction of the Sharia courts became confined to family law and inheritance-related matters. The volume of trade on this route declined in the last decade of the nineteenth century when trade with Europe shifted to the Persian Gulf with the opening of the Suez Canal. In Istanbul. Hourani. causing economic distress and even bankruptcies among the Iranian merchants in Istanbul. The semiconstitutional charter known as Hatt-i serif-i gülhane drafted by Reşit ¸ Pasha in 1839 introduced the concept of the equality of Ottoman subjects before the law and the protection of the property. To put these reforms into practice. the Romanian principalities.” in The Modern Middle East. Lebanon.From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism made fortunes from this trade. Ayetullah Bey. They formed their own society called Anjuman-i Sa’âdat in 1908. the introduction of the European penal code and mixed tribunals. Tauris. and supported Iranian activists and exiles. and the concept of equality between Muslims and non-Muslims were at the heart of this opposition. the group was inspired by political movements in Italy (led by Giuesepe Mazzini). Ottoman subjects had been divided into millets based on religious identity and maintained a degree of cultural. Crete. B. Catholic. only half of the population was Muslim. a poet and the publisher of the periodical Tafsir-i Efkâr . and Spain. and fiscal and legal reforms in several stages. Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought. “The Ottoman Ulama and Westernization in the Time of Selim III and Mahmud II. or Protestant. Ottoman provincial councils made up of Muslims and non-Muslims introduced the principle of proportional representation among the empire’s various ethnic and religious communities. Many poorer Iranians who owned tobacco shops and drove carriages also lived in Istanbul. and lives of all Ottoman subjects regardless of religion. In Istanbul. Mardin. modernization of the bureaucracy. 28. Sorush. who had received an education in Paris and returned to Istanbul and was calling for a constitutional government. 28 Namik Kemal (1840 – 88). 27. and Serbia) made these reforms ineffective. legal. forged a syn- 159 Fariba Zarinebaf in the Ottoman Empire and Iran . whose number in Istanbul grew in the late nineteenth century. 14. According to Mardin. and continuing unrest in the Balkans (Herzegovina. owner of the periodical Mir’at. established contact with the town council (anjuman) in Tabriz. 34 – 36. Mustafa Fazil Pasha. they paid the poll tax in return for protection but were not allowed to serve in the military or the 26. An opposition group called the Patriotic Alliance was led by Mehmed Bey. the concept of equality of Muslims and non-Muslims led to more demands for equality and privileges by non-Muslims.26 Government control of pious foundations. 1993). Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought. while 40 percent were Christian (Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox) and the rest (10 percent) were Jewish. 18. The rest were Namik Kemal Bey. These reforms strengthened the hand of Ottoman bureaucrats like Ali Pasha and Fuad Pasha and generated opposition among the lower-ranking ulema and the populace at large.
essays. They also opposed any man-made law based on consultation (shura). France. Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought. The pro-constitutionalists used the Koranic verse 42:38. the thawing of his relationship with Sultan Abdülaziz. the deposition of Abdülaziz. while Fazlullâh Nurî turned against it on similar grounds.”30 But majority rule and individual rights could not transgress the boundaries of the moral law of the Sharia. Namik Kemal translated it and distributed fifty thousand copies in the cap- ital. 29. and several translations and articles that he contributed to Hürriyet and Ibret. was in contact with Mustafa Fazil Pasha. the grand vizier and a leading figure in the drafting of the constitution. 387 – 4 01. and Spain. 31 In March 1867. and their papers were closed down. Ayatollah Tabâtabâ’î and Bihbahânî as well as Mirza Muhammad Hussein Nâ’inî were proc onstitutionalists. Ayatollah Khurasanî and Mâzandarânî initially supported the constitutional movement but were opposed to radical secularists like Taqizade. Tafsir-i Efkâr printed and discussed the news of the proclamation of the Egyptian constitution in 1866 and the opening of the Romanian parliament. Mustafa Fazil Pasha. M uslims in the parliament and the administration. 1982). In ‘Atabât.” These tensions were very similar to those among the Iranian opponents of the constitution. According to Şerif Mardin. Namik Kemal wrote on Ottoman history. novels. Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (London: Holmes and Meier.33 The return of Mustfa Fazil Pasha to Istanbul. provided important financial support to this group and their periodical in exile. “Non-Muslim Representatives in the First Constitutional Assembly. Ibid. Belgian. Ibid. Giampietry. short biographies.” in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society.160 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . Ibid. the difficulties of life in exile. he completed six plays. But in Iran. and Niş for a few years and was a firm believer in cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims in order to save the empire from collapsing. “Discuss among yourselves. wrote a letter to the sultan demanding a constitution as a cure for the empire’s ills. The mental illness of Murad V. This letter was soon published in the French daily Liberté. they eventually escaped to Paris at the invitation of Mustafa Fazil Pasha. who was bypassed for succession in favor of Khedive Isma‘il’s son and had sold all his property in Egypt. Courier was widely read by Turkish intellectuals. however. 35. 1876 – 1877. Danube. Hüriyyet. The group was inspired by political movements in Italy (led by Giusepe Mazzini [1805 – 72]). 32.32 Namik Kemal and his collaborators were subsequently banished from Istanbul. The young sultan and his grand vizier seemed committed to the principle of liberty and representative government and assembled a grand council of notables to discuss constitutional reform. Enver Ziya Karal. 42 – 43.35 He formed a commission of twenty-eight men that included three nonMuslims and drafted more than twenty proposals based on translations of the French. and consultation (me¸veret). and the accession of Murad V as sultan in 1876 drastically changed the political atmosphere in favor of the Young Ottomans. 283 – 336. no document exists that describes the agenda of the Patriotic Alliance. ed. who claimed credit for this proposal. brother of Egyptian Khedive Isma‘il. he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st thesis between Islamic and Western political concepts and introduced the concepts of fatherland (vatan). 30. who at first supported the constitutionalists. The group was opposed to the monarchical rule of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861– 76) and the interference of the great powers in the internal affairs of the empire after the Crimean War of 1856.34 He encouraged the formation of a constitutional committee in October 1876 and appointed both Ziya and Namik Kemal to it. 281 – 82. rule was a trust given to the ruler by the will of the community. the Shi‘i ulema first appeared to be divided on this question. 32 – 33. and the Islamic state was a “republic at its inception. Mardin. and the differences of opinion among the Young Ottomans led to their return to Istanbul after the death of Ali Pasha in 1871. had served as governor of the Balkan provinces in Salonika. who resided in Istanbul. The foreign press in Istanbul led by Courier d’Orient started a rigorous constitutional campaign in 1867. Midhat Pasha. The appointment of Midhat Pasha as the grand vizier in 1872. Mardin states that a letter from a Turco-Egyptian pasha to the sultan demanding a constitution in 1866 and the uprising in Crete played important roles in the political awareness of this group... opened the way for the accession in 1876 of his brother Abdülhamid II.. Its owner.29 In his opinion. Ibid. 31. 34. Mustafa Fazil Pasha. 33. Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought.. Members wrote articles criticizing government policies in periodicals like Tafsir-i Efkâr and Muhbir. He advocated checks on the absolutist s rule of the sultan based on the ideas of Baron de Montesquieu and the implementation of justice based on the Sharia to achieve harmony in an ideal Islamic state. liberty (hüriyyert). 296 – 97. Mardin. 72 – 73. The opponents of the constitution used the inequality of Muslims and non-Muslims promised in the Sharia against the participation of non- .
the empire had acquired a distinctly Muslim character. This led to the dismissal of Vizier Midhat Pasha and his banishment to the provinces. an official in the embassy who lived in Istanbul from 1861 to 1871.and Prussian constitutions. The council of the state was nominated by the sultan and was in charge of preparing and drafting laws that would be accepted or rejected by the elected deputies and the senate. 67 were Muslim and 48 were non-Muslim.39 The Russian invasion in April 1877 resulted in Ottoman defeat.38 The great powers did not show much support for the constitution while discussing the question of nationalities and the Balkan crisis at an international conference in Istanbul. one Muslim and one non-Muslim. Algar is very critical of Malkum Khan’s character and ideas and his opportunism.36 Sultan Abdülhamid finally accepted the translation of the French constitution but retained considerable executive authority.37 On 3 December 1876. 76 – 7 7. Several months later. Egypt. Malkum Khan was apparently very pro-British. “Participation of Iranian Diplomats in Masonic Lodges of Istanbul. Algar. Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire. and India became an attractive idea to the sultan. Hamid Algar. Istanbul’s twenty districts each chose two electors. who met at the municipality and selected ten representatives. Namik Kemal advocated the constitution of the Second Empire of France (1830) and rejected those of America. The Ottoman Empire faced a serious crisis of legitimacy at home and abroad. his advisers. His father traveled to Istanbul and took his son. who learned French in Istanbul. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran .” in Braude and Lewis. 1908 – 1914. Rhodes. 38. and Prussia. Mardin. the constitution would create a system of government composed of three branches: a council of state and a senate appointed by the sultan and a lower chamber elected indirectly by the people and supervised by the sultan.40 Sultan Abdülhamid II ordered the closure of the parliament. and suspended the constitution in February 1878. Pan-Islamic unity among the Ottoman Empire. Provincial administrative councils set up by direct elections were in charge of sending electors to the assembly in proportion to the number of Muslims and non-Muslims in each province.41 Mu’in al-Mulk was born in Tabriz to a merchant family. With the loss of most of its non-Muslim subjects in the Balkans and the flow of more than 1 million Muslim refugees. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul. 311. 37. 39. The British press and the Western press in general were very hostile to the constitution. using the Russian invasion as justification for an emergency measure. Mîrzâ Malkum Khân: A Study in the History of Iranian Modernism (Berkeley: University of California Press. 401 – 34. Mardin. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul. 49 – 52. 33 – 4 4. Austrian control of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Armenian. dismissed the former and arrested Kemal on charges of trying to depose him. and Mirza Muhsin Khan Mu’in al-Mulk. See also Feroz Ahmed. the Iranian ambassador to Istanbul from 1880 to 1898. an imperial firman proclaimed the constitution. and Jewish Communities of the Ottoman Empire. Karal. “Mirza Aqa Khan. 394. and Chios and died on 2 December 1888. Ibid. Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought.” in Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. An Ottoman-Iranian alliance against British and Russian imperialism united Iranian and Ottoman intellectuals and reformists. 1973). who was becoming weary of the 36. Iran. and he attributed Ottoman reforms to British pressures. the granting of autonomy to Bulgaria and Romania.. five Muslims and five non-Muslims. the sultan. Malkum Khan (1833–1908). His father returned to Iran during the premiership of Amir Kabir. He also supported Abdülhamid’s panI slamic policies. “Unionist Relations with the Greek. of 115 deputies. Namik Kemal was exiled to Mytilene. 1860 – 1897. Following the first elections. “Non-Muslim Representatives.” 394 – 95. while ten Anatolian provinces sent twenty-one Muslims and twelve non-Muslims. From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism growing power of Midhat and Kemal. “Non-Muslim Representatives. Sayyed Jamâ al-Din et Malkom Khan a Istanbul. Mu’in al-Mulk became a translator for the government and served as a member of 41. Homa Nategh. Genesis of the Young Ottoman Thought.” in Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. 40. and some leading ulema like Muhammad ‘Abduh and Seyyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani as well as many Iranian intellectuals. and the mass migration of more than 1 million Muslims from the Balkans. Iranian Reformists in Istanbul 161 Fariba Zarinebaf Leading Iranian bureaucrats and reformists who spent some time in Istanbul and were exposed to Ottoman reformist trends were Prime Minister Amir Kabir (1848 – 51). The nine Balkan provinces sent twentytwo Muslims and twenty-two non-Muslims.” 391. as a result of its republicanism. helping them to gain concessions. Based on the French model. Karal.
G. Isfahan. Ya’kub Khan. no doubt under the influence of Afghani. claims that he changed his mind about serving the Regie when he received this issue of Akhtar in London. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul. “Un journal Persan d’Istanbul: Akhtar. Naja Quli Khan. Algar. 1905 – 1909 (Washington. Nasir ad-Din Shah (1848 – 96) personally subscribed to the paper and read it with great interest. The Persian Revolution. many Iranian diplomats belonged to Masonic lodges active in Istanbul. and Tehran in 1891. The content of the Ottoman constitution and the elections to the parliament were discussed in several issues. and kanun-i ceza (the penal code) into Iran. composed a pamphlet called Daftar-i tanzimat (The Book of Tanzimat). after his first stay in Istanbul and his contacts with Reşid Pasha. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul.” in Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. “The Persian Newspaper Akhtar as a Transmitter of Ottoman Political Ideas. divan-i adliye (the council of justice).46 Malkum Khan was born to a family of Armenian merchants in Isfahan. 43. Isfahan. it even promoted the agenda of Abdülhamid II. Its purpose was to inform and educate the Iranian community in Istanbul about the news in the empire and Europe. In his treatise Kitabcha-yi ghaybi (The Secret Notebook). he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st the Iranian embassies in St. . 45. Tehran. Malkum Khan. and Baku. Browne has translated the text of the news from the Turkish newspaper Sabah that printed this information for the first time. Pistor-Hatam argues that the paper was first financed and supported by the Persian and Ottoman governments but soon fell under the control of the Iranian community in Istanbul. who contributed to Akhtar and called for the boycott of the Tobacco Regie. which introduced Ottoman reformist institutions like shuray-i devlet (the council of state).” 42. Yâdbudhây-i Safârat-i Istanbul. 46. and the European press. Later. It translated and printed the text of the Ottoman constitution of 1876 in February 1877.42 He served as the Iranian ambassador in Istanbul for eighteen years and became closely associated with Sultan Abdülhamid II. He served in diplomatic missions in Istanbul and there joined Masonic lodges. with the help of his father. Sunnis and Shi‘is alike. to the caliph-sultan. composed in 1859. Akhtar was briefly suspended for reporting and exposing to a British company the harmful effects of the tobacco concession on local merchants and producers in its November issue in 1890 (no. and in India. “Participation of Iranian Diplomats in Masonic Lodges. In 1859.162 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . Browne. Petersburg. he put forward 44.43 Akhtar drew some of its financial support from the Iranian merchant community that resided in Istanbul. The paper was distributed in Tabriz. 261. E. and the paper began informing its Iranian readers about the benefits of a constitutional type of government. like the French Grand Orient and the Greek Proodos. he put forward his ideas concerning the need for legal reform and the adoption of Western laws as the foundation of state and society. Paris. a British orientalist and a firm supporter of the Iranian constitutional movement who subscribed to Akhtar. it escaped the censorship of the government in Iran.” in Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. and ‘Anja Pistor-Hatam. Some members of the Iranian community were members of Masonic lodges in Istanbul. he established the first freemason lodge in Iran in 1858. Orhan Koloğlu. the Grand Orient in Istanbul. 255 – 64. Greek. following Sabah. the Iranian consul general. 1995). and London before his appointment as ambassador to Istanbul. Mu’in al-Mulk was politically very active in the foreign diplomatic community in Istanbul and became a member of the Masonic lodge. composed in 1883 – 84. in his Daftar-i qanun (Book of Law). DC: Mage Publishers. Edward Browne. 141 – 47. in Hyderabad and Lahore. supported the paper and placed it under the editorship of Muhammad Tahir Tabrizi. Shiraz. the need for Muslim unity and the loyalty of all Muslims. a Turkish newspaper. They came into contact with the Young Ottomans as well as European. 133 – 40. 46 – 49. that is.45 According to Algar. Sassani. At times. 430). which led to widespread boycotts and rebellions in Tabriz. Since it was printed in Istanbul. Upon his return. One positive outcome of this friendship was Abdülhamid’s initial support for the establishment of the Persian weekly newspaper Akhtar in Istanbul in 1876. Yâdbudhây-i Safârat-i Istanbul. and Armenian intellectuals.44 Akhtar played a leading role in informing the Iranian merchants about the content of the tobacco concession. attended Catholic missionary school. and converted to Islam. Malkum Khan spent some time in France and witnessed the French Revolution of 1858 in Paris. Sassani.
his property was confiscated. he placed the principles of the French constitution in an Islamic framework based on the Koran and the tradition of the prophet Muhammad. advice literature. 52. was born to a merchant family in Tabriz in 1822. and service to the state. but he became disillusioned with the degree of corruption and injustice and quit his post. Algar describes the paper as a propaganda periodical sheet against the Qajar government. Nasir ad-Din Shah appointed Mustashâr al-Dawlah minister of justice in 1881. a representative government based on consultation (me¸ veret. personal liberty. 53 He was arrested. 187 – 88. freedom of speech and assembly. wrote articles critical of the Iranian system of justice in Qanun. Petersburg. He claimed that the principles of equality of all before the law. during his second appointment to Paris. Seyyid Muhammad Sadiq Fayz (Tehran: Sabah. He was then appointed chargé d’affaires to Paris for three years (1866 – 69).48 Mustashâr al-Dawlah. Mirza Yusuf Tabrizi. a leading Iranian reformist. military organization. His book Yek kalameh was presented by his enemies to Nasir ad Din Shah. asking him to form an alliance with the Ottoman government. and imprisoned for several months on the order of Nasir ad-Din Shah for his critical articles in Akhtar. 49. shura). He was arrested in 1891 and was beaten over the head with his book until he fainted. a jury system. 52 He wrote a letter in 1888 to Muzaffar ad-Din Mirza when the latter was the governor of Azerbaijan.. Islamic modernism. Mîrzâ Malkum Khân. He contributed articles to Akhtar that were critical of the system of justice in Iran. 44 – 79. was appointed as Iranian general consul in Astrakhan for eight years (1853 – 61). a law code. 48. and just government. Islamic legal and political principles (din ve devlet. 163 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf 50. both Mustashâr al-Dawlah and Malkum Khan paid lip service to Islam and couched their Western-oriented philosophy of law and progress in universal humanitarian terms not alien to religion. 67 – 76.47 In 1890 he set up the monthly newspaper Qanun (Law) in London. and protection of life and property. Ibid. Ibid.. the Iranian and Ottoman traditions of “mirror for princes. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran . His house was looted. 51. Algar. s just rule. spent six months as the Iranian minister in St. 190 – 91.. the separation of the executive from the judiciary. In 1870. Mustashâr al-Dawlah. shura). known as Mustashâr al-Dawlah. In his editorials. activism. Much like Namik Kemal. He died in Qazvin in 1895. 50 He believed the main foundation of European progress to be the principles of absolute liberty (hurriyet-i mutlak). he wrote his book Yek kalameh.51 47. These men were involved in an intense intellectual dialogue and in forging a synthesis between Ottoman and Iranian reformist ideals. fraternity. Yek kalameh ve yek nâmeh. Yek kalameh.49 He basically advocated nineteen principles of reform highlighted by the need for a constitutional monarchy modeled after the French system. ed. 53. education. In this book. and equality).” and modern European political concepts inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution (liberty. were within the Koran and the Islamic tradition. 11 – 17. which lasted until 1898 (twenty-two issues were published) and was modeled after the Turkish press. he attacked the Iranian ministers and advocated the incorporation of European ideals of enlightenment and progress and the separation of the executive from the judiciary and religious from civil law as models for reform in Iran. who accused him of collaborating with Malkum Khan and dismissed him from his new post in the foreign mission in Tabriz. Ibid. especially the exilic opposition paper Hüriyyet. They led a life of literary and intellectual production. and became the consul general in Tiflis for four years. 1962). To gain economic and political independence. the government had to guarantee everyone’s liberty and equality and provide for good and just government based on laws that would be in harmony with Islam. beaten up. good administration. and interaction with nonMuslims and European governments. He worked in the British Consulate in Tabriz. Mirza Yusuf Mustashâr al-Dawlah-yi Tabrizi. They based their ideas on the tradition of reform. 81 – 90. Ibid.the elements of a new penal code that reformed the Sharia. and France against Russia and England.. other Muslim states. and he was incarcerated and tortured at a prison in Qazvin.
and Sheikh Ahmad Ruhi shared a common fate of exile. he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st founding or writing for opposition newspapers and providing advice to rulers. a disciple of Afghani. 62. Mustashâr al-Dawlah. banishment. whose personality was sacred as the caliph of Muslims and whose duty was to protect Islamic law rather than the constitution. Abrahamian.57 Their grievances were reflected in the editorials of Akhtar. As stated above. or Asadabadi. equality (musavat). Abdülhamid supported Akhtar financially because it promoted his pan-Islamic policies.164 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . majlis (assembly). high inflation. they wrote letters to the Shi‘i ulema inviting them to join their pan-Islamic group. In Istanbul he formed an Iranian and Ottoman pan-Islamist circle with two leading Azali-Babi thinkers. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven. . The Persian newspaper Akhtar was suspended permanently for its political tone critical of Nasir ad-Din Shah. Akhtar. together to battle the British and Russians. and the need for equal rights among Ottoman subjects regardless of religion. and Sheikh Ahmad Ruhi. while the news of its promulgation was suppressed in Iran. and constitutional gov- ernment (meshruteh). Their idea of Islamic modernism was appropriated by Sultan Abdülhamid II. and shura (consultation) to Persian readers. 54 With the support they received from the sultan. 55 Akhtar translated and printed the text of the Ottoman constitution in February 1877. the paper was shut down permanently by the Ottoman government 56. 2003). liberty (hüriyyet). Western economic ascendancy. Iran between Two Revolutions. Russian threats. Mirza Agha Khan Kirmani. The editorials in Akhtar debated the compatibility of Islamic notions of governance (din ve devlet). imprisonment. 54. The economic crisis of the last decades of the century in Iran and the Ottoman Empire. Mirza Agha Khan Kirmani. Following the debates in the Turkish press. At the same time. which contradicted the promise of liberty and equality in the constitution. Abdülhamid’s government kept an eye on Afghani and the Iranian community in Istanbul. Nikki Keddie. 4 ( 7 February. the editorials in Akhtar emphasized the patrimonial rights of the Ottoman sultan over all his subjects. But it had serious shortcomings because it gave supreme authority to the sultan. Namik Kemal. Afghani. He was also inspired by Afghani’s (1839 –97) anti-British crusade in India and Egypt that aimed at bringing all Muslims. just rule (‘adâlat). undoubtedly affected the lot of many Iranians trading in the empire. Balkan uprisings. 56 The editorials in Akhtar offered commentaries and analysis on the principles of the Ottoman constitution that introduced political vocabularies like kanuniesasi (fundamental laws).” 203 – 12. and the granting of unfavorable concessions. Zarinebaf-Shahr. which attracted many Muslim activists to his cause. He sought the support of Sultan Abdülhamid when he was expelled from Iran for his role in the Tobacco Rebellion of 1891. Abdülhamid’s call for pan-Islamic unity under the caliph-sultan was an attempt to gain legitimacy and unite all his Muslim subjects against British and Russian imperialism. and death for their ideas. CT: Yale University Press. The sultan had the authority to suspend the parliament. the Iranian government demanded the extradition of all three men to Iran. Akhtar reflected Ottoman optimism that the granting of the constitution would satisfy European demands and unite all the subjects of the empire as equal Ottoman subjects (taba’a) with loyalty to a common state and only contractual rights to the sultan. which he used when the Russians attacked in 1878. He spent some time in London and went to Istanbul in 1892 at the invitation of Abdülhamid II. 1877). “Iranian (Azeri) Merchant Community. thus ending the short life of the first parliament after it had sat for only two sessions. after the assassination of Nasir ad-Din Shah by Mirza Reza Kirmani. The significance of the Ottoman constitution was debated in Akhtar in the context of European (British) pressures for reform. was a Shi‘i reformist preacher of Azeri origin who became an activist and agitator and chose the surname Afghani to cover his Shi‘i background while he was in India and Egypt. Shi‘i and Sunni. no. 57. and other Iranian activists like Afghani. In May 1896. marked by budget crises. where he died or was allegedly poisoned by order of the sultan five years later. who wrote for the Persian newspaper Akhtar. 55.
The revolution started in December 1905 when the governor of Tehran beat the feet of sugar merchants for not lowering the price. political treatises.59 The death of the shah in January 1907 and the accession of his son Muhammad Ali. and newspapers printed abroad prepared the ground for the constitutional movement in Iran. the deputy of Tabriz and the leader of the Social Democratic Party. On the Fundamental Laws. First. Shams was printed under the directorship of Sayyid Hasan Shams Tabrizi and with the support of Tefvik Beg in Istanbul. The accession to the throne of Muzaffar ad-Din Shah in 1896 coincided with the growing economic crisis exacerbated by fresh loans from Russia in 1900 and 1902 and economic concessions by Iran to the subjects of Russia and Great Britain. Persian Revolution. Modern Iran. Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. This conflict of opinion revolved around the role of the Sharia in the legal system and that of the ulema in drafting laws that would not be contrary to the Sharia. Sir Edward Grey (British foreign secretary. See Koloğlu. “Persian Newspaper Akhtar. the arbitrary rule of Qajar. they demanded the dismissal of both the governor and the Belgian customs officials and a representative house of justice (adâlatkhâne). which the shah signed in December 1906. Muhammad Ali Mirza in 1897.58 Shortly thereafter. The Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1907. merchants. though the agreement pledged to respect Iran’s independence and territorial integrity. and Belgian customs officials led to social discontent and unrest throughout the country and in major towns in 1903. see Browne. 1905 – 16) encountered considerable opposition to this agreement from the radicals in the parliament — Edward Browne and Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (governor general and viceroy of India. In protest against this act of the governor. This protest later evolved into a demand for a representative majlis and a constitution with the input of the intellectuals. Sheikh Muhammad Va’ez. 60 The coup of Muhammad Ali Shah with the help of the Russian Cossack brigade headed by General Liakhoff in June 1908 and the bombardment of the majlis resulted in the execution of nationalists and the exile of leading intellectuals like Ali Akbar Dihkuda and Taqizade to Istanbul and Europe. and the conservative ulema like Bihbahânî. and artisans took refuge (bast) in the royal mosque of Tehran and retired later to the shrine of ‘Abd al-’Azim. “Un Journal Persan d’Istanbul”. were extradited to Iran and executed in Tabriz by the Qajar governor and prince. The bazaar and mosques played an important role in the mobilization of the masses. 71 – 96. 1899 – 1905) — as well as Iranian nationalists like Taqizade. the two Babi contributors to Akhtar. The Supplementary Laws of 1907 were the product of the resolution of this conflict in favor of conservative preachers like Sheikh Fazlullâh Nurî. and Pistor-Hatam. the shah’s extravagant trips and courtly expenditures. Mirza Agha Khan Kirmani and Ruhi. who was very hostile to the majlis and the constitutionalists.after the assassination of Nasir ad-Din Shah in 1896. The shah first agreed to an adâlatkhâne in January 1906 and accepted a majlis in August 1906. The ulema were led by the liberal mujtahid Seyyid Mohammaf Tabâtabâ’î and radical preachers Seyyed Jamâl al-Din Isfahani and 58. it undertook to write the Fundamental Laws based on the French and Belgian constitutions. After Akhtar. a large number of mullahs. led to tensions and conflicts between the more radical deputies like Taqizade. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran . Secret centers and anjumans were established that smuggled newspapers abroad into Iran and disseminated the news of Qajar oppression through secret leaflets (shabnames). but it did not enjoy the popularity of Akhtar. 353 – 7 1. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904 – 5 and the Russian Revolution of 1905 emboldened the opposition led by intellectuals. Keddie. Bonakdarian. Persian books. The subsequent civil war and the siege of Tabriz by royalist forces and the reactionary ulema in June 1908 and the Russian occupation in April 1909 ended the first phase of the constitutional 165 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf 60. and progressive ulema. After the election of deputies from Tehran. Furthermore. merchants.” 59. ended any hope of British support for the constitutionalists and against Russian intervention. which divided Iran into two spheres of influence and a neutral zone. According to Mansour Bonakdarian. 68 – 69. The first majlis opened in October 1906.
Tanin. although the principle of religious and communal identity remained part and parcel of the Ottoman constitution. On Ağaoğlu. Kermanshah. According to Taqizade.70 The Anjuman-i Sa’âdat in Istanbul sent telegraphs to the local council in Tabriz regularly and expressed its support for the constitutionalists. Between Two Empires. 64. met Morgan Shuster.67 Tanin expressed its sincere support for the Iranian constitutionalists and reported that two hundred people had taken refuge in the Ottoman embassy in Tehran in June 1908.org/Otto manConstitution1876. Hariciye-Siyasiye dossiers 743/80. Istanbul became the center for the Iranian exiles who gathered there from Iran and Europe.64 After the restoration of constitutional government by the Young Turks in July 1908. 66. he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st movement. 125. After being exiled to Istanbul in 1910. Qazvin. The Anjuman-i Sa’âdat send a letter to Anjuman of Tabriz in November 1908 claiming that it rather than the sultan gave Sattar Khan the medallion of honor. “‘Ali Akbar Dihkhuda et le Journal Surūsh d’Istanbul (Juin-November 1909). 2 (Şevval AH 1326/October 1908). Başbakanlik Archives. 61. Zendegi-yi Tufânî. Anjuman. there.68 The same issue discussed the new Ottoman constitution of 1908. Zendegi-yi Tufânî. 7 (August 1908). established the Persian newspaper Sorush in Istanbul in 1909. see Shissler. Iranian and Azeri intellectual figures like Huseyn Danish and Ahmad Ağaoğlu contributed editorials to the paper in support of Iranian constitutionalists during the civil war in Tabriz. 65. Research on the two years that Taqizade spent in Istanbul would shed great light on his connections to the Young Turks. 62. who had fled Tehran and Baku under Russian pressure. On Browne’s formation in London of the Persian Committee. According to Bonakdarian. Janet Afary.worldstatesmen. Wilfrid Blunt. no. the local newspaper in Tabriz. 22 (Zilkade AH 1326/November 1908). Istanbul. who had also fled to Istanbul. no. Anjuman. . 68. 70. 66 The Young Turk newspapers like Tanin supported the Iranian constitutionalists during the counterrevolution and the royalist siege of Tabriz from June 1908 to July 1909. the Young Turks honored Sattar Khan for his defense of the constitution and the sultan gave him a medallion. 243 – 51. see Bonakdarian. no. 69. the American lawyer and financial adviser to the majlis on his way to Iran.htm (accessed 16 July 2007). and lived with Muhammad Emin Resulzâde. Ali Akbar Dihkhuda.65 Anjuman-i Sa’âdat in Istanbul received word of the siege of Tabriz via telegraphs and spread the news to the Iranian communities in the Ottoman Empire and to the Shi‘i ulema in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbalâ.69 According to Anjuman. Bonakdarian. 743/76. Tanin.61 Taqizade fled to London and Cambridge where he was hosted by Edward Browne in 1908. 743/70 – 7 2.72 The aim of the Ottoman bureaucrats was to unify the empire by forging a new identity and loyalty to the state among the empire’s various subjects. recognized him and invited him to sit in the front row. (Tehran.” in Zarcone and Zarinebaf-Shahr. Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. and some took refuge in Ottoman consulates. Atatürk Library. see www. the Iranian constitutionalists in Tabriz. For an English translation of the Ottoman constitution of 1876. which was critical of Grey’s Persia policy. In Browne’s house. 4 (June 1908). 1996). 31 (Zilhijja AH 1326/December 1908). Afshar. The Turkish newspaper Sabah set up an account to collect contributions to help the constitutionalists in Tabriz. 211 – 31.71 Ottoman and Iranian Constitutions The first Ottoman constitution was the culmination of modern reformist principles of state building. and Tehran wrote petitions and sent telegrams to the Ottoman consulates and government asking for their support. he came into contact with Young Turk leaders like Ahmed Reza Beg and exchanged ideas with them about constitutionalism. it lasted for six months and was the official organ of Anjuman-i Sa’âdat (the society for the welfare of Iranians in Istanbul).63 During the counterrevolution in Iran. Afshar. Thierry Zarcone. in line with the Sharia and the Ottoman millet system. no. in these meetings Browne encouraged cooperation between the Young Turks and the constitutionalists in Iran. 157. Taqizade spent two years. Britain and the Iranian Constitutional Revo- lution. 72. 67. 71. the British writer and diplomat. Anjuman.62 According to Taqizade. the British supported the Young Turks against the sultan on account of his pro-German sentiments and policies. AH 1376/1997). demand for equal rights by Ottoman ethnic and religious minorities. Istanbul. 133 – 37. 157 – 7 1. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution (New York: Columbia University Press. 63. no. and a response to European pressures to carry out legal and political reforms among the empire’s non-Muslim subjects. He also came into close contact with the Young Turk leaders like Ahmed Reza Beg and attended one of the sessions of the Ottoman parliament. Les Iraniens d’Istanbul.166 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . Anjuman (Tabriz). 35 (24 Zilhijja AH 1326/December 1908). who was the speaker of the parliament. Taqizade claims that Ahmed Reza Beg. had advised Browne to go to Istanbul and seek Young Turk support for the Iranian constitutionalists.
DC: Mage. It was the precursor of the Guardian Council in the constitution of the Islamic Republic. which had minimal reference to Islam and the Sharia. however. 89 – 115. The executive had the authority to ban “heretical” organizations and publications. Article 11 of the Ottoman constitution recognized the free expression of all religions. domicile. Musavat. Afary. Abrahamian. and. 76. the Belgian (1831). Browne. For the translation of the Ottoman constitution. the ulema. The drafting of the Supplementary Laws in Iran. The Iranian Supplementary Fundamental Laws of October 1907 (articles 1– 57) followed very closely the French (1830). and the ulema (mashrutay-i mashru’a) 167 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf 75. strong in the Caucasus.76 This was a radical departure from the Ottoman constitution. and honor. the first Ottoman constitution had a major impact on political developments in the empire by inspiring not only the Young Turks who engineered the 1908 revolution but also the Young Iranians who came into contact with Ottoman political thinkers in Istanbul and played a major role in the constitutional revolution in Iran. reflected the ideological struggle and deep polarization between the conservative ulema led by Bihbahânî and Sheikh Fazlullâh Nurî and the more secular-minded representatives like Taqizade and Sad ad-Dawleh. articles 8 –10 of the Ottoman constitution and articles 8 and 9 of the Iranian Supplementary Laws of 1907 defined the rights of Ottoman and Persian nations as equal before the law and gave them protection of life. Iran between Two Revolutions.75 The judiciary was divided into civil and religious courts with extensive jurisdiction over religious laws. After the victory of the conservative sheikh Fazlullâh Nurî. and Zoroastrianism as recognized religions outside Islam. the care of the proofs of Islam. According to Afary. see Browne. the secularists received support from the provincial council in Tabriz and the radical press like Sur-i Israfil. but Afary is right to be more cautious in her final assessment. 77. who in turn established the constitution as a favor with the assistance of the Imam of the Age. Judaism. 90.77 Adamiyat regards the Supplementary Laws of 1907 as a victory for the secularists. and Molla Nasr al-Din.wikipedia. in the Ottoman Empire and Iran . entire Persian nation (articles 35 – 57). the Iranian Supplementary Laws declared that none of the legal enactments of the National Assembly should be at variance with the sacred principles of Islam. Iranian Constitutional Revolution. 363 – 96.org/wiki/Iranian_ Constitution_of_1906 (accessed 23 January 2008). Emergence of the Modern Middle East. the Iranian constitution defined sovereignty as a trust and divine gift confided by the people to the king. the National Assembly should select a “supreme committee” composed of five mujtahids elected by the deputies from among twenty mujtahids who shall determine whether or not such laws that may be proposed are in conformity with the principles of Islam. Persian Revolution. Similarly. property. The Supplementary Laws were a compromise between the conservative ulema. For the English translation of the Iranian constitution. 74. Both Fereydun Adamiyat and Janet Afary rightly point out the intense struggle going on inside and outside the parliament. whereas the Iranian Supplementary Laws spelled out Christianity.73 Following the French and Belgian constitutions. The active role of the Iranian Shi‘i ulema in the constitutional movement was an important factor in this development. The last two were inspired by Russian social democracy. 1905 – 1909 (Washington. The Islamic character of the Ottoman and Iranian constitutions was stated in their declaration that Islam was the official religion of the state (Twelver Shiism in Iran). Following the French constitution and Islamic notions of rule.Despite its shortcomings and short life (one year). Therefore. For an English translation of the Iranian constitution of 1906. The Persian Revolution. 1995). the people of the 73. who stood for the strong role of the Sharia. and the first (1876) Ottoman constitutions but departed from them in important ways.74 The idea of indirect elections and two chambers was drawn from the French constitution of 1830. see en. the Ottoman constitution elaborated the sacred and executive authority of the sultan. who belonged to the Ottoman dynasty and was the caliph of all Muslims (articles 3 – 7) and exempt from all responsibilities. see Landen. last.
80 The Iranian constitutional movement was a grassroots and urban movement with the active participation of artisans. The sultan and the shah could dismiss the parliament in special circumstances. although the Ottoman economy and society were far more open to Western economic domination. in the case of the Iranian constitution. The sultan and the shah appointed and dismissed members of the executive and the ministers of state and opened and ended the sessions of the parliament. merchants. The first Ottoman constitutional movement of 1876 was a continuation of the Tanzimat reforms led by Ottoman statesmen and a reflection of the changing Ottoman attitudes toward non-Muslims. 64. It was left for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Reza Shah to continue state building under strong leadership and a weakened parliament and civil society. the Sharia.”81 A revised history of the Qajar era would also contribute to our understanding of a more complex society that underwent change and experienced 81. It was also to some degree a response to Western pressures to improve the status of non-Muslims and an attempt to rein in Balkan nationalism and centrifugal forces among non-Muslim subjects. popular principles of sovereignty (mashrutay-i mutlak). Idi’uluji-yi Nihzat-i Mashrutiyat-i Iran (Tehran: Payâm. and the legislative and executive branches were balanced out and their relations regulated. 408 – 23. “Constitutionalism. and Wilson. and the constitutional monarchy.168 Co S mp t ar a s o i ve ie tu d f . but they had some major differences as well. The initial support Ottoman sultan Abdülhamid gave to Iranian activists in Istanbul and Atabât sheds a new light on his legacy as the “Red Sultan. While the Kemalist republic completed institutional secularization in Turkey. Iran faced similar issues of religious dissent among the Babis. AH 2535/1976). ulema. and equality among all religions.” in Hourani. Tauris. they took out twenty-one articles and added three new ones. 79. Adamiyat. and State. The absolute supremacy of the sultan was abolished.78 The ambiguity of the Iranian constitution reflected different understandings of a constitutional type of government by different social classes and groups in society. he S o A u th a a si a f A ric t nd M le idd Ea st in the judiciary and those who advocated secular laws. apostates (Babis). the ulema and secularists forged an alliance with Reza Shah in Iran in the hope of saving the nation. The active role of the Shi‘i ulema in Ottoman Iraq had to do with their relative freedom of action outside the Iranian borders. freedom of religion. “Turkish Attitudes concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century. B. Sohrabi. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire. F. Khoury. 1998). 1876 – 1909 (London: I. . What united the middle class. the struggle against imperial powers took on similar expressions. the ulema. Modern Middle East. While both the Ottoman and Iranian constitutions specified three branches of government. Revolution. the progressive ulema. 80. 78. the Young Turks restored the Ottoman constitution in 1908 and revised it on 22 August 1909. Conclusion The constitutional movements in Turkey and Iran had a great deal in common. The loss of territories in the Caucasus to Russia during the first half of the nineteenth century and the granting of concessions to the subjects of Russia and England mobilized Iranian merchants. artisans.” 176 – 93.79 Both constitutions were based on limited suffrage that denied equal rights to women. the Iranian constitution drew a clear and important distinction among the executive. The sultan was obliged to be loyal to the constitution. The Balkan wars in the Ottoman Empire and World War I and the allied occupation of Istanbul ended the Young Turk government. See Selim Deringil. the legislative. and ethnic minorities. and a small but vocal group of the intelligentsia. After a period of thirty-one years. In the Ottoman Empire. Roderic Davison. the government was responsible to the parliament. and intellectuals. the artisans. and great power rivalry. centrifugal disintegration in the north (Azerbaijan and Gilan). and the judiciary (articles 26 – 29). and the intellectuals was a struggle against Western (and Russian) economic penetration of Iranian markets and the policies of Qajar rulers in “selling out” the resources of the country to foreigners.
Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernization under Atatürk and Reza Shah (London: I. composed of young military officers and secret cells in the Balkans. and the role of Islam. 82.82 This discourse was anticolonial. particularly the Social Democrats in Russia and the liberal members of Parliament in Great Britain. and books (in the form of travelogues and biographies) in Istanbul. The success of both movements. was hampered by World War I and occupation. diplomatic. however. and activists started far earlier than one might imagine. intellectuals. political debates on the nature of reform. protonationalist. But Ottoman and Iranian modernity had a great deal more in common with each other than with the Western models. Tabriz.” 209 – 37. Atatürk’s state building and secular reforms were a continuation of the Young Turk policies. and spread secular and Western education. and contributed to the formation of a civil society and public sphere with a rich range of print media. 2004). While the liberal elements lost out in Turkey. the role of Islam and the Sharia. These issues directly impacted the religious dimension of both constitutions and the citizenship rights of religious and ethnic minorities. The divisive issues in both movements were the question of the sovereignty of the people. influenced one another mutually. 169 From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism Fariba Zarinebaf in the Ottoman Empire and Iran .modernity that was very similar to the same process in the Ottoman Empire. in Iran the growing polarization between the liberal secularists like Taqizade and the more conservative ulema like Sheikh Fazlullâh Nurî was never really resolved. and modernist. was inspired by Balkan nationalism and pushed for centralizing and radical reforms and an end to the reign of the caliph-sultan Abdülhamid II. In many ways. The Committee of Union and Progress. “Dress Codes for Men in Turkey and Iran. their representatives would be in a position to put an end to unfavorable concessions to the subjects of Great Britain and Russia. even after the execution of the latter. Iranian reformists. Iranian reformists like their Ottoman counterparts sought to limit the absolutist rule of the sultans and the shahs. and intellectual contacts grew stronger between these two states during this period. Touraj Atabaki and Eric Zürcher. eds. See the introduction and the article by Houchang Chehabi. and independence from foreign control among Ottomans. and create a more just government in the framework of a constitutional type of monarchy. A shared discourse on government and civil society and the modernization and independence of Muslim societies emerged during this period that continued into the republican era and the reign of Reza Shah. and Baku during the second half of the nineteenth century. B. Furthermore.. Tauris. The unintended consequence of these reforms was the creation of a civil society and a quest for full citizenship rights. and the ulema in the legislative branch and the judiciary. the Sharia. Neither experienced direct colonialism like Egypt and India. protect the interests of local merchants and producers. freedom and liberty. however limited in scope. Turkish and Iranian constitutionalists supported each other and made a united front whenever the opportunity presented itself. Tiflis. The Turkish-speaking Azeri intellectuals and merchants played an important role in this interaction. The graduates of missionary and modern secular schools who became activists aimed at pushing these reforms further by creating checks and balances on the absolutist power of the ruler and his ministers who would be responsible to the elected representatives. Therefore. These debates were printed in the numerous newspapers. They also reached out to more liberal elements abroad. Instead. the extent of the sacred and executive authority of the sultan and the shah. the form of government. modernize the army. reorganize the central administration and the legal system. commercial. satirical journals. the legislative authority of the national assembly.
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