16 November 2019 - 14:30


16 November 2019 - 16:30

The Life at the Border of Turkish Empire

 With its naming for its late period which is also called as ‘Ottoman’, The Turkish Empire is the second important ruling example which has seen throughout the history of civilization. The borders of this ruling are not as extensive as the Roman Empire. However, the types of subjects are much more than that.

Naturally, The Turkish Empire first reaches to the size ‘principality’ then to the ‘state’ and finally to the ‘empire”.  In every epoch of this ascension process, with the lands captured, the ‘borderline’ is carried forward. The phenomenon which shows a fast change in a short duration, renders an ambiguous position between ‘existence and non-existence’. As soon as the loss of land begins, and then the concept of border gains importance and defence phase is started.

All empires are such kind of structures which are ‘beyond nations’ structures as well as ‘beyond countries. In every country which is under the ruling umbrella, the local people of that land live. The subsequent groups of people depend on the need for new management. Shortly, a land is only valuable with the people living on it.

Who lives at the “end of borders” or “borderline” of the Turkish Empire? In other words, how is the situation of the local people who live at the borderline? First of all, they are the people who live in the “shadow of weapons’ and “edge of death”. Incrementally, their products, livelihoods, land even their lives can be matter of loss during a battle. Because of this “unsecured environment” the borders become places where life dependent on cotton thread.

And in this case, many kinds of privileges and assurances are required to keep people on this ‘line of fire’. And most important of these are ‘hunger’ and ‘tax’.  Moreover, according to the Turkish State, the people are accepted as ‘bailments of God’. The state always protects the interests of the people, even theirs interests confronts with its own expenses.

With this characteristic, the Turkish Empire is distinguished from other empires. And the starting point of this behavior derives from the idea that being ‘humanistic’ accepted as the greatest virtue.

Mahir Aydın, İstanbul Üniversitesi