Railway Transport in the Ottoman Empire

The first railway line where Made in Turkey
The first railway line where Made in Turkey

Railway method (policy) in the Ottoman Empire are the political thoughts of the Ottoman rulers within the borders of the Ottoman State.

Road construction method

Road construction methods in the Ottoman Empire were made by local administrators for a long time based solely on military needs. In the periods when the state was strong and robust, it progressed partially, and then it was completely left aside and remained neglected. After the Tanzimat Edict, “Road and Bridges Ordinance” was issued and an attempt was made to find a solution to the road problem. In addition, accordingly, it is envisaged to provide links to agriculture and the sea and to provide transportation.

The emerging model of rail transportation in Europe and America, along with the developing and changing means of transportation, was of great importance for the Ottoman Empire in terms of economy, politics and military.

The railway was a rising model, its convenience, economy and modernity. The situation that the Ottoman State was in was not sufficient for these systems.

Ottoman expectations from railway transportation

Abdülhamit's ideas about railways; increasing the military power, preventing rebellion and banditry as well as the delivery of agricultural productions to the world market.

With the construction of the railroads, agricultural production would be increased and the revenues of taxes would increase. In addition, trade would develop, import and export customs duties would be transferred to the treasury. In the places where the railroad passes, rich mineral deposits will be opened to enterprises and the mining production will be increased.

The economical inadequacy of the Ottoman State in railway transportation caused the European imperialist states to be built according to their economic and political interests and to take them into consideration.

Unlike the profitable purpose of the railway in the Ottoman Empire, it led the European state to think about its policies. Because European states have privileges on the railway. kazanThey resorted to economic and political pressure to do so. The aim of Europe was to create population zones by undertaking railway construction in the Ottoman Empire. This situation, which the French and the British attempted, developed in favor of Germany after 1889.

European states want to reach their interests from the Ottoman by rail

European states wanted to strengthen their social base by building railways in the Ottoman Empire and to have privileges over the Ottoman Empire. However, they constantly competed to build a railway. Privilege to build a state railway kazanAs a result, another state was also pressuring and receiving privileges.

Another situation for the interests of European states is the transit route of the railways, which was a major problem in the Ottoman Empire. The spread of the railway from the center, that is, from Istanbul to the country, did not come to Europe's business. So they were for the railroad starting from the Mediterranean.

Another point used by Europe; It is the debts of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were giving privileges in return for their debts, or faced with a privilege offer when requested.

The first railway construction in the Ottoman Empire emerged with the Tanzimat. Later, after the establishment of the Düyûnu Umumiye Administration, speed kazanis gone. In addition, railway companies targeted the Worldwide Public Administration.

The railways in the Ottoman State were carried out by foreign capital, with the exception of the Hijaz Line. It was under the protection of the British first, then the French and the Germans.

One of the most important methods of the Ottoman in the railway; It is a privilege to give railway productions. Km. With the system called guarantee, the profits of the companies were guaranteed by the Ottoman Empire. In the event that railway companies made profits under the guaranteed profit, the Ottomans met this difference.

On the other hand, the treasury places where the line will pass will be given to the production company free of charge. Again, the construction and maintenance materials of the railway were exported without customs duty.


Erzurum 356-kilometer remaining from the Ottoman era Russians-Sarikamish-except for the border line, the state of the line itself in his 1564-kilometer Hejaz and 6778 km has remained in total 8343 kilometers of railway construction Turkia path of the Republic of Turkey with his 4112-kilometer railway of foreign companies. However, these railways, shaped by external pressures and extending from the ports to the inner regions in the appearance of a tree, served mostly to European states rather than the interests of the country; National and independent methods could not be followed during the Ottoman period.

Ottoman Railway Policy and its Results | Asst. Assoc. Dr. View İsmail's Full Profile

* Greenwood Press Ordered to Die, A World of War (2001), s.16
* Murat Özyüksel, Anatolia and Baghdad Railways, Ist.

Transportation in the Ottoman State, Land-Sea-Railway, (Editors: Vahdettin Engin, Ahmet Uçar, Osman Doğan), Çamlıca Publishing, Istanbul 2011.


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