This paper basically observes the development of citizenship in the Ottoman Empire through critical engagement with pre-existing theoretical frameworks and sophisticated analysis of the historical, political, and social variables that had an impact on Ottoman citizenship. It aims to answer the following questions: who was included in and excluded from citizenship in the Ottoman Empire? What were the significant factors that influenced the evolution over time? How does it mold our perception of the basis and consequences of citizenship in the region?
The main argument is that citizenship in the Ottoman Empire rotated from a pre-modern conception of ethnic and religious communal belonging to a modern institutional and legal framework grounded on allegiance and nationality. Various internal and external variables, such as religious and ethnic diversity (Millet/Tanzimat reforms), imperial reforms and crises, as well as worldwide changes in citizenship and nationalism, intertwined in a complex manner to develop citizenship in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire left a mixed impact on citizenship in the Middle East and elsewhere, having modeled inclusion and pluralism in some instances while also entrenching exclusion and inequality along ethnic and religious lines.
It is difficult to entirely apprehend the evolution of citizenship in the Ottoman Empire through a single theoretical framework because it was a complicated and multifaceted process. Therefore, it uses a historical and comparative approach to analyze the Ottoman legal documents, historical documents, and academic literature. It relies on a critical evaluation of the sources, taking into account any biases, omissions, and silences in them.
Initially, it gives a historical overview of citizenship in the pre-modern Ottoman Empire, discussing how ethnicity and religion define citizenship and giving examples of citizenship rights and responsibilities. Subsequently, it explores citizenship in the modern Ottoman Empire with a particular emphasis on the Millet system, the Tanzimat reforms, and the Hamidian period. Finally, it explains the Young Turk Revolution, and the Ottoman Empire's participation in World War I, which examines citizenship in the late Ottoman Empire.
In conclusion, the study reveals that citizenship was a complicated and contentious notion in the Ottoman Empire that changed over time in relation to both external and internal variables. The study also emphasizes the legacy of the Ottoman Empire on citizenship, which continues to influence citizenship in the region and beyond in both positive and negative ways.