Tag Archives: Ottoman Empire

Western Intervention and Mideast Christians: Lessons from the Nineteenth Century

by Mark L. Movsesian  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский  |  српски

The history of Christian persecution in the Middle East – which, sadly, is quite long, though not unmitigated – should inform the strategies we use in our relief efforts for Mideast Christians today. One important episode from this history that is worth considering is the 19th century Ottoman movement known as the Tanzimat, which caused unintended harm to Armenians and other Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

The Tanzimat – the word in Turkish means “Reorganization”– was a wide-ranging reform movement from the 1830s to the 1870s. The reforms were promoted by the West, which sought, among other things, to relieve the situation of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. Although the movement was well-meant and had some success, in the end the Tanzimat exposed Christians to a violent backlash and actually worsened their situation. I believe the episode offers lessons for today. Continue Reading…