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Modernization processes and constitutional revolutions in the Ottoman Empire and Iran

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2010
Arslan, Sanem
This thesis aims to analyze the early modernization processes in the Ottoman Empire and Iran up to the end of their eventual constitutional revolutions of the early twentieth century in a comparative manner. In looking at the countries’ modernization processes, it emphasizes the importance of foreign influence – that of Western powers and Russia. It argues that these processes were a response to the rising socio-political and economic power of the West and Western intrusions into the territories of each state. In the Turkish case, the modernization process was mainly led by the rising Ottoman - Turkish intelligentsia despite the differences between the Young Ottomans, the Young Turks and the Committee of Union and Progress members. In the Iranian case, the modernization process was carried out mainly as a grassroots movement comprising reformist intellectuals, members of the ulema, the bazaaris (merchants), trade guilds people, workers and radical members of secret societies. In view of these aspects of the modernization processes taken in the two states, this thesis reveals that both cases ended up replacing their traditional political system with a constitutional monarchy with the aim of saving and reforming the state. The study of the outcomes of the modernizing process in the two states highlights the dissimilarities which are listed as the engagement in alliance-making and wars with the Great Powers, the role of the military, state bureaucracy, the connection between the ulema and the state and nationalist movements.