| Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy

Roundtable discussion, ‘The Pan-Ottoman Spring of 1812-1821?: Suggesting a New Frame for Reinterpreting the Greek Revolution’, 29/02/2012

The crucial decade preceding the beginning of the Greek Revolution constitutes one of Ottoman history’s many black holes and has not attracted its due scholarly attention. While historians of several ex-Ottoman nationalities, especially the Serbs, Greeks and Romanians, have dealt with this period from the perspective of their national narratives, there is not a single monograph, or even a comprehensive article, examining the concomitant empire-wide events and developments. Sukru Ilicak suggests that the Greek Revolution should also be seen as part of an ongoing civil war between the Ottoman central state and provincial power-brokers across religion and ethnicity which had been taking place since the end of the Russo-Ottoman War of 1806-12. He views the forty-four mass uprisings in all corners of the Ottoman Empire in this decade as acts of ideological delegitimation of the Ottoman central state’s attempts at repudiating the contractual basis of the Ottoman polity on a provincial basis. He suggests using the term de-ayanization  to describe this process, which was officially announced as a reform project by the Sublime Porte in February 1813, and “entertains” the idea that the Greek Revolution, whose main force was the Greek powerbrokers of the Morea and Rumeli, can be considered as a link in the chain of de-ayanization.

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