The Ottoman Constitution
(23 December 1876)
The Ottoman Empire
Art. 1. The Ottoman Empire comprises present territory and possessions, and semi-dependent provinces. It forms an indivisible whole, from which no portion can be detached under any pretext whatever.
Art. 2. Istanbul is the capital of the Ottoman Empire. This city possesses no provilege or immunity peculiar to itself over the other towns of the empire.
Sultan, “Supreme Caliph”
Art. 3. The Ottoman sovereignty, which which includes in the person of the Sovereign the Supreme Caliphat of Islam, belongs to the eldest Prince of the House of Osman, in accrodance with the rules established ab antiquo.
Art. 4. His Majesty ...view middle of the document...
Public Rights of the Ottomans
Art. 8. All subjects of the empire are called Ottomans, without distinction whatever faith they profess; the status of an Ottoman is acquired and lost according to conditions specified by law.
Art. 9. Every Ottoman enjoys personal liberty on condition of non interfering with the liberty of others.
Art. 10. Personal liberty is wholly inviolable. No one can suffer punishment, under any pretext whatsoever, except in cases determined by law, and according to the forms prescribed by it.
Art. 11. Islam is the state religion. But, while maintainig this principle, the state will protect the free exercise of faiths professed in the Empire, and uphold the religious privileges granted to various bodies, on condition of public order and morality not being interfered with.
Art. 12. The press is free, within limits imposed by law.
Art. 13. Ottomans have the power of forming commercial companies, industrial or agricultural, within limits imposed by law and statute.
Right of Petition
Art 14. One or more persons of ottoman nationality have the right of presenting petitions in the proper quarter relating to the breaking of law and regulation, done either to their own or public detriment, and may likewise present in protest signed petitions to the General Ottoman Assembly, complaining of the conduct of state servants and functionaries.
Art. 15. Education is free. Every Ottoman can attend public or private instructions on condition of conforming to the law.
Art. 16. All schools are under state supervision. Proper means will be devised for harmonizing and regulating the instruction given to all the Ottomans, but without interfering with the religious education in the various districts.
Equality before the Law, Public Offices
Art. 17. All Ottomans are equal in the eyes of the law. They have the same rights, and owe the same duties towards their country, without prejudice to religion.
Art. 18. Eligibility to public office is conditional on a knowledge of Turkish, which is the official language of the State.
Art. 19. All Ottomans are admitted to public offices, according to their fitness, merit, and ability.
Art. 20. The assessment and distribution of the taxes are to be in proportion to the fortune of each taxpayer, in conformity with the laws and special regulations.
Art 21. Property, real and personal, of lawful title, is guaranteed. There can be no dispossession, except on good public cause shown, and subject to the previous payment, according to law of the value of the property in question.
Inviolability of Domicile
Art. 22. The domicile is inviolable. The authorities cannot break into any dwelling except in cases prescribed by law.
Art. 23. No one is bound to appear before any other than a competent tribunal, according to statutory form of procedure.
Property. Forced Labour. Contributions in Time of War