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Ottoman Janissaries and the Defending Knights of St. John, Siege of Rhodes, 1522. Süleymanname, MS. H. 1517, f. 149a, Topkapi Library, Istambul.

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Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Strong Armies, Slow Adaptation: Civil-Military Relations and the Diffusion of Military Power

  • Burak Kadercan
| Winter 2013/14

Why did the great powers of Europe adapt to the so-called military revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while the Ottoman Empire failed to do so? This puzzle is best explained by two factors: civil-military relations and historical timing. The Ottoman standing army was able to block reforms that it believed challenged its interests. Absent a similar challenge, European rulers motivated officers and military entrepreneurs to participate in military reforms.