Looking at the French revolution through Ottoman eyes: Ebubekir Ratib Efendi's observations


YEŞİL F.

BULLETIN OF THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES-UNIVERSITY OF LONDON, vol.70, pp.283-304, 2007 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 70
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0041977x07000432
  • Title of Journal : BULLETIN OF THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES-UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
  • Page Numbers: pp.283-304

Abstract

Received wisdom has always held that the Ottomans took little interest in events beyond their borders except when they were likely to affect them. Previous scholars have suggested that it was only when French revolutionary forces occupied the Eastern Mediterranean that the Ottomans took an interest in and then condemned the revolution. From the despatches and reports of Ebubekir Ratib Efendi, ambassador to Vienna, we discover that at least one Ottoman diplomat was sending detailed accounts of events in Paris and the reactions of governments throughout Europe. Ratib Efendi's diplomatic activities would suggest that reforms were already taking place in 1793, at least in the field of gathering intelligence. This signals a fundamental change in the psyche of the Ottoman political order.