The Ottoman Conscription System, 1844–1914

TitleThe Ottoman Conscription System, 1844–1914
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsZurcher, Erik Jan
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Date Published12/1998

This article argues that the introduction of conscription in the Ottoman Empire of course was closely linked to the introduction of a European-style army, but it did not coincide with it. By the opening days of World War I, the empire had established a conscript army, but lacked the administrative, infrastructure, and manufacturing capacity to make full use of a mass military. Conscription was no more successful in facilitating nation-building because it allowed exemptions to so many. An army of Anatolian Muslim peasants, it looked forward to the Turkish nation-state established in Anatolia after the First World War, rather than back to a multinational imperial past.

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