chapter  42
16 Pages

Bureaucracy in the Ottoman-Turkish Polity

WithMetin Heper

In the Ottoman-Turkish political evolution both government and civil bureaucracy went through significant changes. This chapter presents an analysis of the place of the higher civil servants in the Ottoman and the Republican Turkish polities. The bureaucratic elite in question were primarily involved in “politics” rather than in “administration.” The Ottoman and Turkish higher civil servants’ aloof attitude toward their subordinates was a replica of their relations with social groups, and, later, with politicians. The Ottoman-Turkish polity and its social structure developed out of a nucleus of ghazi traditions and in the process adopted Islam. The economic resources so retrieved came to a great degree under the control of the civil bureaucracy. The objective was to develop a bureaucracy able to save the empire through political formulae based on “reason.” The military bureaucracy was rendered subordinate to the military. The leaders of the Young Turk era were, according to Berkes, “Turks who had broken with tradition through education.”