By Bulent Gokay
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What are the reasons of imperial decline? This paintings reviews the Ottoman empire within the 18th and nineteenth centuries to argue that the Ottoman imperial decline resulted from a mixture of Ottoman inner dynamics with exterior impacts. particularly, it contends that the break up in the Ottoman social constitution throughout ethno-religious traces interacted with the consequences of conflict and trade with the West to provide a bifurcated Ottoman bourgeoisie.
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Lower on the economic scale, and able to survive but not prosper, were the villages “owned” by Kurdish tribes. Again, such villages were both Christian and Muslim. These villages paid a traditional “tax” to a tribe in their region. In turn, the tribe provided protection from other tribes as well as protection from the owner tribe itself. This type of arrangement was seen all over Europe and Asia in premodern times. It had been in place in Eastern Anatolia long before the Ottomans appeared. 2 Occasionally the arrangement worked very well for both the Kurdish “owners” and the villagers.
8, Eastern Turkey Mission, Woman’s Board, vol. 01, Eastern Turkey, 1903–1909, Letters, no. 18; Otto Kley, “Der Deutsche Bildungseinfluss in der Türkei,” Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Orients 14 (1917): 43. They had not yet begun teaching in 1910 (Grace H. Knapp, Mission at Van [privately published, 1916], p. 12; Clarence D. Ussher, An American Physician in Turkey [Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917], p. 211). Unless otherwise indicated, agricultural and horticultural comparisons in this section are drawn from Orman ve Maden ve Ziraat Nezâreti, Kalem-i Mahsus Müdüriyeti İstatistik Şübesi, 1325 Senesi Asya ve Afrika-yı Osmanı Ziraat İstatistiği (Istanbul: Matbaa-yı Osmani, 1327 Mali).
Others were well armed and able to protect themselves from attacks by Kurdish tribes. The armed villages were inhabited by Muslims, Christians, or both together. They had always been armed. While unable to resist concerted attacks by entire tribes, they could make attacks on them an expensive proposition for tribes or bandits. There were easier targets, so the tribes and bandits left them alone. Easily defended villages in mountainous terrain, perhaps the majority of them Armenian and Nestorian, particularly fell into the well-defended category.