The Criticisms Brought on the Ottoman Imperial School of Medicine by the "Société Impériale de Médecine de Constantinople" (1857-1867)
Feza Günergun & Nuran Yıldırım
The foundation of the Imperial School of Medicine (Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane) in Istanbul in 1827 was landmark in the history of medical education in Turkey. About thirty years later, in 1856, the "Société Impériale de Médecine de Constantinople" (Cemiyet-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane) was founded by the European physicians then present in Istanbul for the Crimean War. The society was enlarged through the memberships of non-muslim Ottoman physicians. The Gazette Medicale d'Orient, the Society's journal, contains several articles critisizing the Imperial School of Medicine. The present paper aims to study these articles and assert the relation between the society and the school.
Criticism was mainly brought on the organisation, administraiton, location, teaching staff, education and graduates of the medical school. Positive opinions were rare and immediately followed by severe criticisms. Some of the criticisms, on the other hand, were rational and true: Alterations and renovations were then made on certain issues. For instance, the secondary school was separated from the School of Medicine or the army's health affairs were removed from the School's control and put under the administration of "Conseil des Hopitaux." There were also criticisms aiming to maintain the European, especially French, cultural dominance in this institution. Most of the articles were written in a style despising what was conducted at the School or giving advice to the administration. This attitude resulted mainly from the fact that the Society considered itself an institution directing and supervising the health affairs in the Ottoman Empire.