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Under the Ottoman Empire, an askeri (Ottoman Turkish: عسكري) was a member of a class of imperial administrators.

This elite class consisted of three main groups: the military, the court officials, and clergy. Though the term itself literally means "of the military", it more broadly encompasses all higher levels of imperial administration. To be a member of this ruling elite, one thus had to hold a political office in the service of the Ottoman Empire, meaning that both Muslims and non-Muslims in those positions could be considered askeri.

After Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, there was a reform movement in Sultan Selim III’s regime to reduce the numbers of the Askeri class, who were the first class citizens or military class (also called Janissary).

Sultan Salim III was taken prisoner and murdered by the Janissary revolt. The successor to the sultan, Mahmud II was patient but remembered the results of the uprising in 1807. In 1827 he caused a revolt among the Janissaries, kept them all in their barracks and slaughtered thousands of them.[1]

It was contrasted with the reaya, the tax-paying lower class, and the kul, or slave class, which included the Janissaries.


  1. ^ . Hubbard, Glenn and Tim Kane. (2013). Balance: The Economics of Great Powers From Ancient Rome to Modern America . Simon & Schuster. P. 153. ISBN 978-1-4767-0025-0

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