The Auspicious Incident
The Auspicious Incident (or Event) (Turkish: (in Istanbul) Vaka-i Hayriye "Fortunate Event"; (in Balkans) Vaka-i Şerriyye, "Unfortunate Incident") was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Ottoman sultan Mahmud II in June 1826. The Janissaries revolted against Mahmud II, and after the rebellion was suppressed, its leaders killed, and many members exiled or imprisoned, the Janissary corps was disbanded and replaced with a more modern military force.
Since the early 17th century, the Janissary corps had ceased to function as an elite military unit. Many Janissaries were not soldiers and simply extorted money from the Turkish state and dictated its government, adding to the steady decline of the Ottoman Empire. Any sultan who attempted to modernize the Ottoman military structure and replace the Janissaries was either immediately killed or deposed.
When they noticed that the Sultan Mahmud II was forming a new army and hiring European gunners, the Janissaries mutinied as usual and fought on the streets of the Ottoman capital demanding justice, but the outnumbering Sipahis charged and forced them back into their barracks. Turkish historians claim that the counter-Janissary force was dominated by local residents who had hated the Janissaries for years and that this force was great in numbers.
Historians suggest that Mahmud II purposely incited them to revolt, describing it as the sultan's "coup against the Janissaries". The sultan informed them, through a fatwa, that he was forming a new army, the Sekban-ı Cedit, organized and trained along modern European lines (and that the new army would be Turkish-dominated). The Janissaries saw their order as crucial to the Ottoman Empire and especially to Rumelia; and had previously decided they would never allow its dissolution. Thus as predicted, they mutinied, advancing on the sultan's palace. Sultan Mahmud then brought out the sacred standard of the Prophet from inside the treasury, intending all true believers to gather beneath it and thus bolster the opposition to the Janissaries. In the ensuing fight, the Janissary barracks were set in flames by artillery fire resulting in 4,000 Janissary fatalities, more were killed in the heavy fighting on the streets of Constantinople (the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and the center of the Janissary order). The survivors either fled or were imprisoned, their possessions confiscated by the Sultan, an event sometimes called the Auspicious Incident. By the end of 1826 the captured Janissaries, constituting the remainder of the force, were put to death by decapitation in the Thessaloniki fortification that was soon called the "Blood Tower" (but which has been, since 1912, known as the White Tower). In the ensuing fight the Janissary barracks at Etmeydanı in Aksaray were set in flames by artillery fire resulting in a massive number of casualties. Roughly 100 other Janissaries fled to Cistern of Philoxenos where many drowned and no prisoners were taken.
The ringleaders were executed and their possessions confiscated by the Sultan. The youths[who?] were either exiled or imprisoned. Thousands of Janissaries had been killed, and thus the elite order came to its end. The Sufi order of the Bektaşi Brotherhood, a core Janissary institution, was also disbanded, and its followers executed or exiled. A new modern corps, Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye (Muhammed's Victorious Army) was established by Mahmud II to guard the Sultan and replace the Janissaries. Many ordinary[clarification needed] Janissaries, especially in the provinces, began rogue revolts and demanded autonomy. Christians in the Balkans became very hostile to their Muslim convert neighbors and the Christians began to rally against the new Turkish armies coming from Constantinople. Some Janissaries survived by keeping a low profile and taking ordinary jobs. Immediately following the destruction of the elite Janissary, Mahmud II ordered the court chronicler, Mehmet Esad Efendi (circa 1789 - 1848), to record the official version of events, Üss-i Zafer (Foundation of Victory), which was printed in Constantinople in 1828 and served as the main source for every other Ottoman account of this period. The incident had a negative impact on the newly-converted Muslims[clarification needed] and their communities in the Balkans, who lost their privileges, and rebellions broke out across Rumelia, especially in Bosnia and Albania.
See also 
- Selim III
- Sanjak of Smederevo
- First Serbian Uprising
- Mustafa IV
- Halet Efendi
- Mahmud II
- Hursid Pasha
- Reşid Mehmed Pasha
- Ottoman military reform efforts
- Ali Pasha
- Mustafa Reshiti
- Husein Gradaščević
- Muhammad Ali of Egypt
- Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
- Goodwin, pp. 296–299.
- Kinross, pp. 456–457
- Shaw, pp. 19–20
- Finkel, Caroline (2005). Osman's Dream. John Murray. p. 435. ISBN 0-465-02396-7.
- Barber, Noel (1973). The Sultans. pp. 135–136. ISBN 671-21624-4 Check
- Levy, Avigdor. "The Ottoman Ulama and the Military Reforms of Sultan Mahmud II." Asian and African Studies 7 (1971): 13 - 39.
- Goodwin, Jason (1998). Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire. New York: H. Holt ISBN 0-8050-4081-1
- Kinross, Patrick (1977) The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire London: Perennial. ISBN 978-0-688-08093-8
- Shaw, Stanford J. & Shaw, Ezel Kural (1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey] (Vol. II). New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29166-8