Sultan Abdülmecid was born in 25th day of April, 1823. He is the son of Sultan Mahmud II and Bezm-i Alem Mother Sultana. Bezm-i Alem Sultana was Georgian originated. Abdulmecid, followed his fathers footsteps, he admired the western civilisation, and like his father he was a reformist. In his 17th year, he succeeded his father Sultan Mahmud II, and, on the fourth month of his sovereign he declared the Reform Firman (Tanzimat Fermani), in Gulhane Park, Istanbul. He is known as the Sultan of the Reform Period. European historians and writers appreciate his reforms as well as his character.
Sultan Abdulmecid I was a fair and graicous sovereign, but, he used to have drinking alcohol since his youth. He died at the age of 39, because of tuberculosis. He was buried near the tomb of Sultan Selim III.
When Sultan Mahmud II was in his dead bed, Kavalali Mehmet Ali Pasha (Governor of Egypt) had revolted and defeated the Ottoman Forces in Nizip. Abdulmecid was acceded under such a chaotic condition. Egypt appeared as an European conflict with the Russian Navy�s arrival to Istanbul due to the Treaty of Hunkar Iskelesi.
England, Austria, Prussia and Russia assembled a conference to solve the problem between Kavalali and the Ottoman Empire. The European countries were against a strong administration in Egypt and they favoured the Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of London was signed in 1840. Due to this treaty; Egypt remained in the Ottoman authority, but, Kavalali Pasha and his sons took the administration. Egypt was imposed to pay 80.000 gold annual tax. Syria, Adana, Kyrite were left to the Ottoman Empire.
Another conference assembled in 1841 after the treaty of Hunkar Iskelesi had fallen due. France, England, Prussia and Austria joined to this conference and, the domination of the Straits was given to the Ottoman Empire, also, other countries� battleships� transit in the periods of peace was forbidden. With this conference; France and England ensured their safety in the Straits but, the Ottoman authority was declined.
TANZIMAT FERMANI (The REFORM FERMAN)
The Ottoman reform movements led by Sultan Mahmud II and appeared in cultural and social lives of the Empire; had been strongly influenced by the European reforms.
Sultan Abdulmecid appreciated his fathers� reformist character and as soon as he came to throne he designed a widespread reform movement. He appointed Mustafa Resit Pasha (Ottoman Ambassador in London) as the Minister of International Relations. Mustafa Resit Pasha was very well educated and he was highly aware of the European politics.
Mustafa Resit Pasha represented the Reform Firman in the Gulhane Park, to the representatives of the European countries, to the statesman and to public (08.11.1839). According to the firman;
The Ottoman Government had guaranteed the safety of the lives and the properties of both Muslim and Non-Muslim subjects.
The taxes would have been regulated according to the annual incomes.
The military services of the Ottoman subjects were re-organised.
Executions without a court decision were strictly forbidden.
Everybody has gained a right for inheritance.
Bribery was forbidden.
Law was regarded as the superior of all powers.
The Reform Firman can be considered as the draft of first Ottoman Constitution. Even the Sultan had accepted a power higher than himself. The minorities were given rights to hinder the European interference in internal issues, but they have found a chance to involve more in the Empire�s domestic administrations.
The WAR of CRIMEA
The Reform Firman did not effected the Empire as planned but it became very effective on Europe. Meanwhile, Russia was advancing through the River Tuna and intending to end the Ottoman domination in the Balkans. Besides, Russia was planning to divide these lands among the Europeans and desiring to dominate all the Orthodox people in the region. But, England and France rejected Russia�s plan and favoured the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman forces supported by England and France defeated the Russian Army in 1855 and invaded Sivastopol.
Char Nikolai I, committed suicide after this withdrawal and Alexander II succeeded him. In 1886, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the Ottoman Empire was considered as an European country and put under the protection of the other European countries. The Black Sea was neutralised and both Russia and the Ottoman Empire left the lands they were invaded.
ISLAHAT FERMANI (The IMPROVMENT FERMAN)
The Improvement Firman was not only designed to organise the interior issues of the Ottoman Empire but also to hinder European and Russian interference in the internal regulations.
It was declared just before the Paris Conference, in Istanbul to the foreign representatives. Important articles of the firman as below;
Religious freedom will be obtained.
New councils will be established in the Patriarchate and the decisions of these councils will be approved by the Ottoman Government.
All the subjects will be equal in the government offices, schools and in military service.
The taxes will be equally imposed.
Foreigners will be free to buy estates in the Ottoman territories.
Sultan Abdulmecid I had passed away in his 38th year. He was the first Ottoman Sultan who had an European education. He tried to reform and restore all the regulations of the empire. He gave permission to the newspapers and to the birth of new ideas.
In Abdulmecid I�s period; Kucuk Mecidiye Camii (Small Mecidiye Mosque) in Besiktas, Fatih Hirka-i Serif Mosque, Dolmabahce Mosque, Ortakoy Mosque, Kucuksu Palace, and Mecidiye Palace were built.