Local Autonomy and the Tanzimat | Elektra Kostopoulou

113.    The Question of Late Ottoman Decentralization

Turkish official with 'sole survivor'
of village of 350 in Candia, Crete (1897)
Source: Library of Congress
The Tanzimat era is conventionally viewed as a period of centralization in the Ottoman Empire, and as such, any concessions to local interests or extensions of autonomy during this period are viewed as a failure of state policy. However, given the aspects of decentralization also contained within late Ottoman reform, it is worth considering local autonomy as a strategy employed by the Ottomans in their attempt to govern disparate territories. In this episode, Elektra Kostopoulou explores these issues and discusses the transformation of Ottoman rule in Crete during the nineteenth century and the eventual creation of an autonomous region the in 1898.

Elektra Kostopoulou holds a PhD in History from Boğaziçi University and is currently a visiting scholar at New York University. (see academia.edu)
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see academia.edu)

Citation: "Local Autonomy and the Tanzimat: the Case of Crete," Elektra Kostopoulou and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 113 (July 11, 2013) http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2011/07/autonomous-crete-greece.html.


Flag of Autonomous Crete (1898-1913)
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Postcard of Crete

Küçük Hasan or Janissaries’ mosque in Chania (western Crete), 17th century
Source: Elektra Kostopoulou

Arrival of the Post

Cretan Gendarmerie

Music: Ross Daly - Hatif


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