States in the Middle East before World War One could not achieve a great deal of modernization due to the influence of the Ottoman Empire. Many countries in the Middle East did not even become nations until the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. The Ottoman Empire reached its height of success during the 15th and 16th centuries and retained dominance over the Middle East for centuries.
From 1807 to the early 20th century, the empire lost territories stretching from central and southern Europe to the Middle East. It was during this time that the Ottomans embarked on various reform campaigns throughout the empire. In the early 19th century, Mahmud II created a European-style army to compete with the West. In addition, he stripped power away from religious orders and centralized the government through the creation of ministries and administrations.
Throughout the 19th century, the Ottomans also reformed education and Islamic law and adopted the first Ottoman Constitution in 1876. When the empire dissolved in the 20th century, Turkish nationalism became prominent, and the state of Turkey issued progressive reforms that matched the West. Other countries in the region such as Iraq and Syria gained independence and statehood after the Ottoman Empire's collapse.