Takvim-i Vekayi (Ottoman Turkish: تقویم وقایع, meaning
"Calendar of facts") was the first fully
Turkish language newspaper.
It was launched in 1831 by Sultan Mahmud II, taking over from the
Moniteur ottoman as the Official Gazette of the Ottoman Empire. With
the beginning of the
Tanzimat reform period,
Takvim-i Vekayi produced
Armenian, Greek and Arabic language editions. It ceased publication in
1878, resuming in 1891-2, before being closed again. It resumed in
1908 until around 1922. In the 1831-1878 period it published a
total of 2119 issues - an average of slightly less than one a week.
1 Early Years of Publication
3 Censorship during the Hamidian Era
4 Influence on Political Movements
4.1 The Young Ottomans
4.2 The Young Turks
5 Notable Content
6 End of Publication
7 Actual Text
10 Further reading
Early Years of Publication
Takvim-i Vekayi was first published under Mahmud II. The first
publication was in the year 1831. Mahmud II’s reign was at the
beginning of the
Tanzimat period of reform in the Ottoman Empire. Many
of the reforms of this time period were heavily influenced by
relations with Europe and new European ideas being taught in schools
in the Ottoman Empire. Before Mahmud II,
Selim III was one of the
first Sultans to establish relations with European powers. Between the
years 1793-1796 he established the first embassies in London, Vienna,
Berlin, and Paris. In 1807 he was overthrown by the ulama and
Janissaries who did not like the French influence he was allowing.
Mustafa IV followed after him.
Mahmud II came to power and immediately laid a foundation of
power by giving positions in the ulema, scribal service, and army to
supporters of his beliefs. He wanted a centralized government with
more control for the ayans rather than the ulama. He reorganized the
military and abolished the janissaries during The Auspicious Event. To
strengthen a centralized hold on the provinces he created a postal
system, more infrastructure like roads, and the Takvim-i Vekayi.
Ottoman Empire had a French newspaper since 1796 and one from
Izmir since 1824 but they were only read by foreigners in the empire.
Takvim-i Vekayi was the first official
Ottoman Empire news. At the
start of its publication a French version was printed too. Esad
Erbili was the first editor. The newspaper was mainly circulated
near the capital and read by the elite but it was still very
beneficial for government use.
The statesmen at the beginning of the
Tanzimat reform era needed a way
to centralize the empire and in a completely different way than former
leaders had done. Many historians think the economic reforms of this
period were a failure but the communication reforms were a success. To
centralize they needed to consolidate the government’s forms and
records. They limited redundant forms and by publishing the Takvim-i
Vekayi were able to publicize government activity and notices in one
place. Other forms of new media such as year books and volumes of
legal texts were published to help centralize the government. 
Circulation of the
Takvim-i Vekayi fluctuated in circulation depending
on the time period. In the beginning stages only civil servants,
elites, and business men read the paper. It was also mostly read near
the capital, not in faraway provinces. Circulation only grew during
the Hamidian Era due to increase in literacy.
Censorship during the Hamidian Era
Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II did not want any notions of liberalism, nationalism,
and constitutionalism in the press. Current affairs were no longer
published during his rule. The
Takvim-i Vekayi was then just filled
with government legal notices and encyclopedia like articles about
science, math, and other academic topics.
Under Abdul Hamid II’s rule censorship of the press was carried out
by a considerably large group of people. The Domestic Press
Directorate by 1908 contained twelve mufettis (inspectors), five
mumeyyiz (assistants), and five examining clerks. They censored the
newspaper, other printing establishments, and the theatre. During
Abdul Hamid II’s reign one shut down of Takvim-i Vekayi's
publication occurred due to what many historians think was a
typesetter’s error when publishing a legal act in the büstur part
of the newspaper. Other publications were allowed to be run during
this time but the
Takvim-i Vekayi was shut down till the end of his
reign in 1909. His censorship blocked revolutionary news spreading.
The events in Macedonia during the
Young Turks revolt traveled slowly
throughout the empire due to the censorship of the press.
Even with the censorship Abdul Hamid II’s other reforms regarding
education caused the circulation of the newspaper to grow between
12,000 and 15,000 people, much larger than during the Tanzimat
Influence on Political Movements
The Young Ottomans
Young Ottoman movement was based on young men taught in the Office
of Translation. They received a western education where they were
taught European liberalism but believed in Ottoman patriotism and
creating a constitutional government based on Islamic traditions. They
thought that Mahmud II’s rule was based too heavily on European
influences. They wanted to use westernized advancements in academics
but implement them in an Islamic context. They saw the Takvim-i
Vekayi as an official document of the government, used just for record
keeping. It inspired them however, to publish their ideals in their
own privately owned newspapers.
The first privately owned Ottoman Turkish newspaper was Ceride-i
Havadis (Chronicle of Events) published in 1840 that included more
news and international developments than the Takvim-i Vekayi. This
spurred the creation of more newspapers to help the Young Ottoman’s
cause. They include some of the following:
Tercuman-i Ahual (Interpreter of Situation) published in the 1860s
Tasuir-i Efkar (Illustration of Opinion) published by Ibrahim Sinasi
Multiple newspapers was published in France by
Namik Kemal in response
to his disagreements with the Young Ottoman’s lack of tradition and
the Tanzimat’s destruction of the check and balance system he
thought the ulama had in place.
Namik Kemal created newspapers and pamphlets as a way to explain to
his views. For example, he wrote about how he believed that European
liberal ideas about fraternity and nationalism were comparable to the
Islamic teachings about millet (community).
The Young Turks
The Young Turks
The Young Turks also saw the importance of the media and of the
Takvim-i Vekayi. When they rose to power they restarted the
publication of the
Takvim-i Vekayi and through the office of the
Directorate of Legal Compilation published official legal mandates.
This was done in conjunction with the printing of copies of legal
certificates for government officials to have and spread throughout
In the 1830s
Mahmud II reorganized the military in the hopes of having
an auxiliary force throughout the empire. They would help with
provincial security and work agricultural jobs during times of peace.
To gain support for this army he published his plan in the Takvim-i
Vekayi. By 1836 the newspaper stated that 33 new battalions had been
Under the rule of Sultan
Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II the newspaper served as a
source to make official legislation. The Decree of July 1872 defined
the roles the Council of State and Council of Ministers had in the
legislative process. After this point once laws were made they were
printed in the newspaper. Fifteen days from the laws publication it
went into effect. If the newspaper was not frequently circulated in an
area, the law would be publicly announced in that province for fifteen
days and then go into effect.
During the First Constitutional period of the
Ottoman Empire the
Chamber of Deputies according to Article 78 of the new constitution
mandated that all sittings be public or recorded for the public. Many
times the Chamber of Deputies met in secret and did not disclose their
sessions. The sessions that were public or closed to the public but
not secret were documented and published in the Takvim-i Vekayi. The
minutes of these sessions started off as short but grew in length and
detail in the newspaper as they continued.
At one point complex programs of study were published in the Takvim-i
Vekayi for students at the Office of Translation to study from.
The announcement of Cemal Jamal Efendi to the Council in August 1870
was published in the newspaper.Some one attaining a political position
was frequently announced.
End of Publication
On November 1, 1922 the Grand National Assembly decided to end the
Sultanate and the
Ottoman Empire ended. After 4,891 issues between
1831 -1922 the
Takvim-i Vekayi published its last issue on November 4,
Follow this link to see an actual copy of
Takvim-i Vekayi written by
Ahmet Mithat about the Russo-Turkish War. Text is in Arabic. Ahmet
Takvim-i Vekayi 
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