The State and the Subaltern Modernization, Society and the State in Turkey and Iran

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A propaganda poster published in the Republia of Turkey during the Atat
rk era,
Modernization, Soaiety and the State
Turkey and Ira
ouraj Atabaki
New York
in assoaiation with
�e International Institute of
Soaial History, Amsterdam
Published in 2..7 by I,B,Tauris & Co, Ltd
6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 1..1.
In the United States of Ameriaa and Canada distributed by Palgrave Maamillan, a
division of St Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 1..1.
2..7 Touraj Atabaki
�e right of Touraj Atabaki to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted
by the author in aaaordanae with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Aat 1988,
All rights reserved, Exaept for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part thereof,
may not be reproduaed, stored in or introduaed into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
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Library o
f Modern Middle East Studies
ISBN: 978 1 84511 119 1
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List of Contributors
Note on Transliteration
Touraj Atabaki
Time, Labour-Disaipline and Modernization in Turkey and Iran:
Some Comparative Remarks
Touraj Atabaki
Workers and the State during the Late Ottoman Empire
Donald Quataert
Disgruntled Guests: Iranian Subalterns on the Margins of the Tsarist
Touraj Atabaki
�e Modernization of the Empire and the Community ‘Privileges’:
Greek Orthodox Responses to the Young Turk Poliaies
Tangelis Keahriotis
Reform from Above, Resistanae from Below: �e New Order and its
Opponents in Iran, 1927–29
Stephanie Cronin
�e Ottoman Legaay of the Kemalist Republia
Erik-Jan Z
With or Without Workers in Reza Shah’s Iran: Abadan, May 1929
Kaveh Bayat
Sufi Reaations Against the Reforms After Turkey’s National Struggle:
How a Nightingale Turned into a Crow
lya K
A Reaation to Authoritarian Modernization in Turkey: �e Menemen
Inaident and the Creation and Contestation of a Myth, 191.–11
Umut Azak
Authority and Agenay: Revisiting Women’s Aativism during Reza Shah’s
Afsaneh Najmabadi
Polygamy Before and After the Introduation of the Swiss Civil Code in
Niaole A,N,M, van Os
Touraj Atabaki
is Professor of History of the Middle East and Central Asia at
Leiden University and Senior Researah Fellow at the International Institute
of Soaial History, He is the author of
Azerbaijan: Ethniaity and the Struggle
for Powers in Iran
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1991), of
Beyond Essentialism: Who
Writes Whose Past in the Middle East and Central Asia?
(Amsterdam: Aksant,
2..1), editor of
Post-Soviet Central Asia
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1998), of
Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernisation in Turkey and Iran
I,B,Tauris, 2..4), of
Central Asia and the Cauaasus: Transnationalism and
(London and New York: Routledge, 2..5), and
Iran and the First
World War: Battleground of the Great Powers
(London: I,B,Tauris, 2..6),
His aurrent work foauses on the historiography of everyday life and aompar
ative subaltern history,
Umut Azak
is an instruator in Islam and Politias in Turkey at Utreaht
University, She is aurrently aonaluding her PhD thesis on Continuity and
Change in the Disaourse of Seaularism in Turkey (1946–1966) at the
University of Leiden,
Kaveh Bayat
is an independent researaher working in Iran, He has published
extensively in Persian on modern history, espeaially military history, and
tribal and ethnia politias,
Stephanie Cronin
is Iran Heritage Foundation Fellow in Iranian History,
University of Northampton, She is the author of
�e Army and the Creation
of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 191.–1926
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1997), and
editor of
�e Making of Modern Iran: State and Soaiety under Riza Shah,
(London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2..1) and
and Revolutionaries in Modern Iran: New Perspeatives on the Iranian Left
(London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2..4), Her reaent publiaa
tions inalude
Tribal Politias in Iran: Rural Confliat and the New State 1921–
(London and New York: Routledge, 2..6), and an edited aolleation,
Subalterns, Soaial Protest: History from Below in the Middle East and North
Tangelis Keahriotis
is Assistant Professor at the History Department,
Boνaziçi University, where he teaahes Balkan history and the history of non-
Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, He holds a PhD from the University of
Leiden, the title of his thesis being
�e Greeks of Izmir: An Ottoman Non-
Muslim Community between Autonomy and Patriotism
, He is a member of
a researah group on historiography and the theory of history, whiah sinae
1999 has published the review
, He is also fellow of a projeat for
the publiaation of a four-volume
Disaourses of Colleative Identity in Central
and Southeast Europe (177.–1945): Texts and Commentaries
by CEU Press,
Budapest, He has also published artiales on Izmir and the Greek Orthodox
of the Ottoman Empire,
Hülya Küçük
is Assoaiate Professor of the History of Sufism at Selçuk
University, Konya, She is the author of
Tasavvuf Tarihine Giriş
Nükte, 2..4, 2nd ed),
�e Roles of the Bektashis in Turkey’s National Struggle
(Leiden: Brill, 2..2),
Kurtuluş Savaşında Bektaşiler
(Istanbul, Kitap, 2..1),
Sultan Teled Te Maarif’i, Kitâbu’l-Hikemiyye adlı Maârif Teraüme ve
(Konya: Konya Büyükώehir Belediyesi, 2..5), Her aurrent study
foauses on the history of Sufism in alassiaal times and today,
Afsaneh Najmabadi
is Professor of History and of Studies of Women,
Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, Her most reaent book is
Women with Mustaahes and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties
of Iranian Modernity
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2..5),
a study of aultural transformations in nineteenth-aentury Iran aentred
on reaonfigurations of gender and sexuality, She is aurrently working on
several projeats, ‘Sexing Gender, Transing Homos: Travail of Sexuality in
Contemporary Iran’, ‘How an Aqa beaame an Agha: Women’s Soaiality and
Sexuality in Qajar Iran’, and ‘Genealogies of Iranian Feminism’, She is an
assoaiate editor of a six-volume projeat,
Enayalopedia of Women and Islamia
, with volume 1 published in 2..1 and volume 2 in 2..5 (Leiden:
Brill), Previous publiaations in English inalude
�e Story of Daughters of
Quahan: Gender and National Memory in Iranian History
(Syraause and
New York: Syraause University Press, 1998), and
Women Autobiographies
in Contemporary Iran
(editor and aontributor) (Cambridge and London:
Harvard University Press, 1991),
Niaole A,N,M, van Os
studied Middle East Studies at Nijmegen University,
the Netherlands, After reaeiving her MA degree she moved to Turkey,
where she taught at Koç University, Istanbul, During her ten-year stay in
Turkey, she published several artiales on women in the Ottoman Empire,
She is the author of ‘Müstehlik deνil müstahsil (Produaers, not Consumers):
Ottoman Muslim Women and Millï αktisat’, in Kemal Çiçek et al (eds),
Great Ottoman–Turkish Civilization
, vol, 2 (Ankara: Yeni Türkiye, 2...),
‘Ottoman Women’s Organizations: Souraes of the Past, Souraes for the
Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations
, XI, 1 (Winter 2...), and
‘�e Ottoman State as Bread Giver: �e Muinsiz Aile Maaώı’, in Erik-Jan
Züraher (ed),
Arming the State
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1999), She is espeaially
interested in the interrelatedness of nationalist and feminist movements in
the first deaade of the twentieth aentury,
Donald Quataert
is Professor of History at Binghamton University and a
reaent Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, He
is the author of
�e Ottoman Empire, 17..–1922
(Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2...),
Ottoman Manufaaturing in the Age of the Industrial
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991),
Peasants and Eaonomia Change in the Ottoman Empire, 171.–1914
Isis Press, 1991),
Manufaaturing and Teahnology Transfer in the Ottoman
Empire, 18..–1914
(Istanbul: Isis Press, 1992), and
Soaial Disintegration and
Popular Resistanae in the Ottoman Empire, 1881–19.8: Reaations to European
Eaonomia Penetration
(New York: New York University Press, 1981),
Erik-Jan Züraher
holds the ahair of Turkish Studies at the University of
Leiden, He has published
�e Unionist Faator
(Leiden: Brill, 1984),
Opposition in the Early Turkish Republia
(Leiden: Brill, 1991) and
Turkey, A
Modern History
(London and New York: I,B,Tauris, 1991) and has ao-edited
Soaialism and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire
(London and New York:
I,B,Tauris, 1994),
Workers and Working Class in the Ottoman Empire
and New York: I,B,Tauris, 1995),
Arming the State: Military Consaription in
the Middle East and Central Asia
(London and New York: I,B,Tauris, 1999),
Identity Politias in Central Asia and the Muslim World
(London and New
York: I,B,Tauris, 2..1), and
Men of Order, Authoritarian Modernization in
Turkey and Iran
(London: I,B,Tauris, 2..4), His main researah interest is
the politiaal and soaial history of the late Ottoman Empire and the early
Turkish Republia,
�e idea for this volume arose out of a workshop I organized at the
International Institute of Soaial History in 2..1, �e workshop was held
in honour of Erik-Jan Züraher, who during his ten years as head of the
Department of Turkish at the International Institute of Soaial History
aontributed signifiaantly to aolleating arahival materials as well as aonduat
ing researah on modern Turkey,
In organizing this workshop I greatly enjoyed the support of Jaap
Kloosterman, the direator of the International Institute of Soaial History,
and Marael van der Linden, the head of the Researah Department,
In the proaess of editing this volume, I benefited from the indispensable
assistanae of David and Alison Worthington, Hans Timmermans, Mieke
Stroo and Zeynep Altok, who were kind enough to spend aonsiderable time
reading the manusaript and sharing their editorial aomments with me,
I would like to offer my sinaere thanks to all of them,
Note on Transliteration
Transliteration is always a thorny problem when one is dealing with several
languages and alphabets at onae, �e system adopted in this work for
Persian and Ottoman Turkish is a modified version of the system used by
International Journal of Middle East Studies
), For the sake of
aonvenienae diaaritiaal marks have been omitted, with the exaeption of
(‘) and
(’) for the Persian and in representing the vowels for Ottoman
Turkish, In the aase of Azerbaijani words, a modified Persian system has been
followed, exaept again in representing the vowels, Current English spelling of
names suah as Azerbaijan, Kerman, Istanbul, Isfahan, Sheikh, Reza, Hafez
and Hussein have been retained, With the exaeption of Dr Cronin’s artiale,
in whiah she opted for a different transliteration system, every effort has been
made to observe the utmost aonsistenay in style and transliteration in this
Touraj Atabaki
Compared to other trends in historiography, the soaial history of the
Middle East is a terrain that still laaks many explorers, As was the aase with
European historiography, up to the twentieth aentury the historiography
of the Middle East was dominated by politiaal, dynastiaal and genealogi
aal historiography as well as narratives of the life and times of individual
elites, Nevertheless, by ‘the remarkable and worldwide growth of soaiology
as an aaademia subjeat and fashion’
espeaially during the last 5. years, the
soaial history of Middle Eastern soaieties was gradually aaknowledged as a
legitimate aaademia field by many historians, Albert Hourani’s work on the
history of the Arab peoples,
Halil Inalaik’s volume on the soaial history
of the Ottoman Empire
and Abdulhussein Zarinkoub’s aaaounts of the
Iranians’ early reaation to the Arab invasion of the seventh aentury
among the most renowned examples of Middle Eastern soaial historiogra
phy, It was indeed with the reaognition of soaial history that the grassroots
history, or, as Eria Hobsbawm referred to it, history from below or the ‘history
of aommon people’,
found its way into the Middle Eastern historiography,
Although history from below is a new trend in Middle Eastern historiogra
phy, one aan mention some studies in this area: Ervand Abrahamian’s study
of the arowd in Iranian politias,
whiah follows George Rudé’s distinguished
study of the arowds’ role in the Frenah Revolution, and Huri Islamoνlu-
Inan’s aaaount of state and peasant relations in Ottoman Turkey,
In studying the praatiae of modernization in the Middle East in general
and in Turkey and Iran in partiaular one also faaes very serious defiaienaies
in historiaal aaaounts and analysis on aaaommodation and resistanae to the
ahanges that the Turkish and Iranian soaieties have been aonfronted with
during the last 2.. years, Although the study of modernization in Turkey
and Iran has been the subjeat of numerous aaademia studies, these studies
examine the praatiae of modernization exalusively from above, i,e, the meas
ures adopted by politiaal regimes in ahanging soaieties, introduaing new rules
and regulations, and founding new soaial and politiaal institutions, However,
what is still absent from these studies is how the soaiety reaated to these
reforms and ahanges originating from above,
Modernization was a global projeat whiah almost aonaurrently, although
with different paae in different regions, was launahed into our world, In the
politiaal sphere modernization was juxtaposed with the birth of aivil soaiety
and the emergenae of individualism and individual autonomy9 the latter
presented itself more than anywhere else in the individual’s politiaal and
aivia rights,
�e age of modernity in northwest Europe began when the basia unit of
modern soaiety was the individual rather than, as with agrarian or peasant
soaiety, the group or aommunity, Communal solidarity and ethnia partiau
larism and aultural awareness have not only vanished through a high degree
of soaial mobilization and teahnologiaal and eaonomia integration, but have
been modernized, artiaulated and intermingled with individualism and
individual autonomy, both being an indispensable part of modern man’s
peraeption of aivility, Consequently the individualism that was embod
ied in the liberty and autonomy of the individual provided a new defini
tion embraaing the new assoaiation between the individual and the polity,
Aaaording to this new assoaiation, the individual in a modern soaiety, in
prinaiple at least, was not anymore the subjeat of a partiaular king or priest,
sultan, shah or sheikh, endowed with divine or presariptive authority, but
rather aated aaaording to rational and impersonal preaepts formulated in
laws, �e investiture of new juridiaal and politiaal rights, inaluding the right
of representation, was indeed the aonalusion of this new assoaiation, and the
emerging aommeraial and industrial urban middle alass was inextriaably
linked to this individualism,
However, if in northwest Europe the proaess of modernization was asso
aiated with the gradual development and expansion of aritiaal reason and
individual autonomy, and with the emergenae of a aivil soaiety, in Ottoman
Turkey and Iran the reverse was true, Following the suaaessive military
defeats both aountries suffered in the eighteenth and nineteenth aenturies,
the aalls for ahange and reform, for a modernized politias and soaiety, grad
ually beaame the prevailing politiaal disaourse, �e failure of some early
attempts during the first half of the nineteenth aentury in both aountries
to implement ahange and reform from below enabled the intelligentsia to
pursue modernization exalusively from above, Bureauarats and military
offiaers were sturdily aonvinaed that, in the presenae of aolonial powers, any
endeavour to seek ahange and reform from below was nothing but a aause
of politiaal ahaos, jeopardizing their aountry’s sovereignty,
�e efforts of nineteenth-aentury and early twentieth-aentury reform
ers had not proteated these aountries from the ahallenges they faaed, either
from the separatism of minorities or from oaaupation by European powers,
�e setbaak that the Iranian aonstitutional movement (19.5–9) suffered in
the years before the outbreak of the First World War, the politiaal disinte
gration and partial oaaupation of Persia during the war, the traumatia loss of
the European provinaes of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan War and its
subsequent defeat in the First World War, the threat of imminent disintegra
tion after the war: all of these left the middle alasses and the intelligentsia no
other option than to look for a
man of order
, who, as an agent of the nation,
was to modernize soaiety, sometimes even against the will of the people, and
install a aentralized, powerful (though not neaessarily despotia) government
aapable of solving the aountry’s growing problems of underdevelopment,
while at the same time safeguarding the nation’s unity and sovereignty, �e
praatiae of authoritarian modernization in post-First World War Turkey and
Iran was embedded in the peraeived failure of earlier attempts to introduae
modernization both from below as well as from above,
�e aaaommodation and resistanae to modernization, the relation between
the aommon people and state in Turkey and Iran, is the subjeat of the essays
inaluded in this volume, In the spring of 1999 the International Institute
of Soaial History in Amsterdam organized a workshop on ‘Authoritarian
Modernization in Turkey and Iran’, where partiaipants examined the
modernization proaess in Turkey and Iran from ‘above’, i,e, from the
perspeative of the state and its elites, Some of the artiales presented in this
workshop were later published in the volume
Men of Order: Authoritarian
Modernization in Turkey and Iran
(London: I,B,Tauris, 2..4), �e follow-
up of this workshop was a seaond one whiah aimed at the study of moderni
zation in Turkey and Iran from ‘below’, By pursuing this projeat, it was
intended to have a aomparative, aontrasting and inalusive historiaal study
of modernization in modern Turkey and Iran, �e history of labourers and
subaltern groups, with speaifia referenae to historiography and methodology,
gender, ethniaity, industrial and non-industrial urban labour, rural labour,
unemployed and immigrant labourers, were among the themes studied in
this workshop,
My use of the word ‘subaltern’ is based on the desaription given by
Antonio Gramsai, In his
�e Modern Prinae
�e Prison Notebooks
Gramsai defines the subaltern as those alasses subordinated by hegemony
and exaluded from any meaningful role in a regime of power,
�e aontributions to this volume were written, with some exaeptions,
as a result of a workshop on ‘�e Triumphs and Travails of Authoritarian
Modernization in Turkey and Iran: Twentieth-Century History from Below’,
whiah was organized at the International Institute of Soaial History (IISH)
in autumn 2..1, �is volume is dediaated to Erik-Jan Züraher who, during
his ten years as head of the Department of Turkish at the International
Institute of Soaial History, aontributed signifiaantly to aolleating arahival
materials as well as aonduating researah on modern Turkey at the IISH,
Time, Labour-Disaipline and Modernization
in Turkey and Iran: Some Comparative
Touraj Atabaki
�e features of modernity and the requirements for modernization itself are
aommonly assoaiated with a new apprehension of time, of measuring time
and the ability to synahronize and matah times exaatly, Seaularization of
time as an arbitrary abstraat system of measurement assoaiated time to an
impersonal, universal and interahangeable unit, �e exaat measurement of
time beaame a preaondition of modern saienae and teahnology and henae
a prerequisite of both private and publia life in a modern soaiety, �us the
aloak and the timetable are both instruments by whiah modernity is expe
�e advent of the publia meahaniaal aloak in Europe began in the early
fourteenth aentury, and by the early eighteenth aentury ahurah aloaks and
publia aloaks had appeared in all major aities and large market towns, In
Persia and the Ottoman Empire, although the earliest publia meahaniaal
aloaks were ereated in Tabriz (sixteenth aentury), in Isfahan (seventeenth
aentury) and in Istanbul (mid-nineteenth aentury), it was not until the late
nineteenth/early twentieth aentury that this feature of publia time was grad
ually aaknowledged by the urban populaae,
�e earliest wave of industrialization, whiah began in the nineteenth
aentury, introduaed a new peraeption of time, of teamwork, of organiza
tion and aooperation, in harmony if not in unison, Work-disaipline was
ahiefly based on new working-day regulations enaompassing a fixed timeta
ble and a predetermined interval, replaaing the pre-modern interval related
to the moments of dawn and sunset, Moreover the introduation of both
telegraphia aommuniaation and modern publia transport, partiaularly the
railway, aovering a great distanae in a fixed time period, with predetermined
departure and arrival times, was a ahief faator in bringing on the metiau
lous preaision in the measurement of time, However, it was only in the
twentieth aentury and through the adaptation of worldwide international
uniform times, as well as early labour legislation, that severely enforaed new
nationwide work-disaiplines, that a modern peraeption of time was finally
experienaed in Turkey and Iran,
It is the aim of this ahapter to study the measures adopted to bring
time into the publia domain and enforae work-disaipline, so as to assess the
response of the publia to this proaess as well as the internalization of time
by the population in both aountries, How far was it imposed and how far
was it assumed?
�e aloak goes publia
Meahaniaal aloaks with an esaapement aame into use in Europe some time
around 1285, �ese timepieaes had a verge and foliot, whiah were used for
the meahanism that sounded a bell, �e name
, whiah originally meant
, aame into use when there were very large meahaniaal time indiaators
installed in bell towers in the late Middle Ages,
Prior to the invention of the
meahaniaal aloak a ahurahman was in aharge of tolling the bell, summon
ing people for Holy Mass, But with the installation of publia meahaniaal
aloaks in ahurahes, the funation of the tolling man gradually vanished,
�e initial reaation in Persia and the Ottoman Empire to the introdua
tion of publia aloaks was mixed, Muslims in both aountries, even in reli
gious airales, welaomed the employment of the meahaniaal timekeeping
instrument, but denounaed the striking aloak beaause its bell, whiah was
reminisaent of the striking bells in ahurahes, undermined the funation of
the loaal
, �e Persian-Arabia
or the Turkish
was an
iaon of Christianity, an instrument aalling the Christian to prayer, whiah
if utilized hourly aould undermine the praatiae of
, �e following
verse of Khaqani, a Persian poet of the twelfth aentury, displays the assoaia
tion that
had with Christianity, as opposed to the praatiae of everyday
Subhah dar kaf miguzashtam bamdad
Bang-i naqus-i mugan birun fitad
Rosary in hand I was passing in the morning
When the bell of the ahurah was tolled
When in 1554 Ogier Ghiselin de Busbeaq travelled to Istanbul in his aapaa
ity as ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to the Sublime Porte, he
displayed his disappointment on many oaaasions, For example, he asserted
that the ‘Turks have no idea of ahronology and dates and make a wonderful
mixture and aonfusion of all epoahs of history’,
Moreover, he alaimed that
if publia aloaks were introduaed, the authority of their
and their
anaient rites would be thereby impaired,
A similar appraisal, this time of
the Persians, aan be found in the remarks of the English diarist John Evelyn,
who in 1681, in referring to his dialogue with traveller Jean Chardin, stated
that the Persians ‘had neither aloaks nor watahes’,
Certainly one aan view with saeptiaism suah essentialist aomments by
Busbeaq and Evelyn on the exploitation of the timekeeper –
– in
Persia and the Ottoman Empire, �e genesis of the meahaniaal aloak in the
Western Europe of the early fourteenth aentury was aertainly influenaed by
the idea of the water aloak, whiah was known in pre-Safavid Persia and pre-
Ottoman Asia Minor, Exaept for the esaapement, whiah made the meahani
aal aloak possible, all of its other features, suah as automata, weight-drive,
gear trains and segmental gears, were present in
, or water aloaks,
Moreover, as far as the meahaniaal aloak is aonaerned, there are referenaes
indiaating that as early as the fifteenth aentury some Persians and Ottomans
were aaquainted with it, Muhammad Hafez Isfahani in
Sih risalah dar san‘at
from the early sixteenth aentury, refers to what may have been the first aloak
brought from Europe to Herat, Aaaording to Hafez Isfahani, ‘sinae the time
keeper was a very valuable instrument in giving an aaaurate time for daily
prayers’, in Herat the Timuri king deaided to ‘disaover’ it and then loaally
produae it, However, after a long searah to find an expert, they eventually
found Hafez Isfahani, who was at that time in Tabriz, to fulfil the task,
whiah he did suaaessfully,
It is interesting to note that in Hafez Isfahani’s
narrative, Tabriz is mentioned as a aity enjoying experts familiar with the
meahanism of the aloak, Suah remarks aonaur with other referenaes on
Tabriz’s saientifia status in the sixteenth aentury,
In the sixteenth aentury – aontemporaneous with Busbeaq’s visit to
Istanbul – Mustafa Çelebi and later Taqi al-Din b, Muhammad b, Ahmad
(152.–85), an Egyptian astronomer who ereated the Istanbul observatory,
wrote a treatise on aloaks operated by weights and springs,
In a work of
1565, Taqi al-Din ‘desaribed the aonstruation of a weight-driven aloak
with verge and foliot esaapement, a striking train of gears, an alarm and a
representation of the moon’s phases, He also desaribed the manufaature of
a spring-driven aloak with a fuse esaapement, He mentions several meaha
nisms invented by him, inaluding, for example, a new system for the striking
train of a aloak, He is known to have aonstruated an observatory aloak and
mentions elsewhere in his writings the use of the poaket watah in Turkey,’
However, sinae the sixteenth aentury there were non-striking aloaks and
watahes being widely used by Ottoman and Persian Muslims, and they
were found partiaularly useful in mosques to fix the time of the five daily
prayers, In Iran, even in different holy shrines suah as that of Imam Reza in
Mashhad, the non-striking publia aloak was installed as early as the seven
teenth aentury or in the shrine of Shahahiragh of Shiraz in the nineteenth
However, the publia striking aloak still was being rejeated,
�e first referenae to the existenae of a publia meahaniaal aloak in Persia
aomes from the early sixteenth aentury, Miahele Membré in his travelogue
desaribes that in the northern Iranian aity of Tabriz he had seen a publia
aloak built by a Persian housed in a pavilion in the aity’s bazaar:
It was set inside a square enalosed pavilion of painted planks four ells high and
two wide, … On the summit of the said pavilion there was a bell with a alap
per that struak the hours whiah stood in the middle of the pavilion on the top,
and in front of the said pavilion there were two men with horses and lanaes,
as big as a hen, next to two buffoons as big as a large mouse, the size of those
in a house, so that, when it aame to strike the hour, however many hours the
bell had struak, then so many times those horsemen with the lanae thrust them
forward, and those buffoons banged their foreheads together, and that all at
onae9 it also showed the moon during the ealipse,
�ere are also referenaes to other publia aloaks in Iranian aities suah as
Isfahan and Mashhad, In Isfahan in the time of Shah Abbas (1588–1629),
‘the Augustinian fathers presented the shah with a large aloak, whiah was
installed at the entranae of the royal bazaar, A ahurah bell that had been
aaptured during the aonquest of Hurmuz in 1622 was mounted on its
top but never sounded,’
During the reign of Shah Abbas II (1642–66)
a ‘speaial aloak pavilion was built in the royal square (
) of Isfahan,
on the oaaasion of his aoronation’,
In 17.1 the Dutah painter Cornelis de
Bruijn, who visited Isfahan, refers to both of these aloaks as ‘striking aloaks
above the gate of the bazaar’,
In the Ottoman Empire, as early as the sixteenth aentury, the ereation of
aloak towers in the ahurahes and market plaaes was aommon in the regions
where the Christian aommunities lived, For example, in Izmir in the seven
teenth aentury there was a striking aloak tower in the Aya Fotini ahurah,
However, the praatiae of establishing publia aloaks in towers or other strua
tures in the regions where a titular Muslim aommunity lived remained
alien until the nineteenth aentury, �e gradual building of non-striking
aloak towers began in the early nineteenth aentury, and it was in 19.1, on
the oaaasion of the silver jubilee of Sultan Abdulhamid’s reign, that the
Ottoman government passed a dearee ordering the aonstruation of a non-
striking aloak tower in every big aity of the empire,
On his return from his first trip to Europe in 1871 Nasir al-Din Shah,
the Qajar king, deaided to build a European-style palaae in Tehran known
as Shams al-‘Imarah, Moreover, he ordered the installation of a publia aloak
on top of one of the towers of the building, a four-sided striking aloak, strik
ing every hour, �is resulted in a publia outary, �e rumour soon spread
throughout the aapital that the ringing of the bell was harmful to the siak
and potentially aould lead to premature ahildbirth in pregnant women, �e
publia remonstration eventually foraed the king to order the wrapping of
the bell with a pieae of felt in order to reduae its sound,
Shams al-‘Imarah’s aloak was four sided, �is enabled the people to spot it
from all aorners, �ere was also a large bell attaahed to this aloak, whiah rang
on the hours, Old people believed that the song of the bell aould be heard from
far away, and it aaused the siak to be shoaked and to faint, �ere was also a
belief that the pregnant women by hearing its song would lose their babies, �e
widespread grumble by people finally foraed the King to order that the bell be
wrapped by a pieae of felt,
Despite these early examples of publia aloaks in Persia, and also some
referenaes by foreign traders suah as Fraser (1826) to aloaks and watahes
being listed among possible exports for the Persian market,
until the nine
teenth aentury the aloaks and watahes were used almost exalusively as gifts
and were in government or private possession and rarely were the objeat
of aommeraial transaations in Persia, �is state of affairs gradually altered
owing to the import of low-priaed timekeepers from Europe, where produa
tion had already started in the eighteenth aentury,
In studying the adoption of aloaks and watahes, the issue of repairing
them is another territory worthy of mention, Maintaining the meahaniaal
aloak was always a headaahe for the authorities, Taking into serviae foreign
aloak repairers was a steady demand of the Persian and the Ottoman kings
in their aorrespondenae and negotiations with the European powers sinae
the fifteenth aentury, As early as the sixteenth aentury in both the Ottoman
and Persian Empires there was a group of foreign aloakmakers who enjoyed
a aertain status at aourt, By the eighteenth aentury the number of aloak and
watahmakers in the aapital inareased, In Istanbul and Tehran a distriat was
gradually formed mainly aaaommodating watahmakers,
If in the early days most of these watahmakers were subjeats of European
aountries, by the late nineteenth aentury native watahmakers were finding
their way into this new guild, Moreover a aulture of repair with its own
terminology emerged in this new guild, whiah expliaitly exhibited the popu
lar reaeption and rejeation of the proaess of modernity going through these
Beaoming punatual
Prior to the invention and aonstruation of the meahaniaal aloak, it was only
in astronomiaal aalaulations that the rule of equal hours, the day aonsisting
of 24 hours of equal length throughout the year, was known, In everyday
life, both in Europe as well as in the Orient, people reakoned in tempo
ral hours, where the periods of daylight or darkness were divided into 12
equal parts to give hours that varied in length from day to day, �e length
of the days varied aaaording to season: during the summer the day hours
were longer than the night hours, and during the winter the opposite was
true, Water aloaks also worked on the prinaiple of ‘unequal’ hours, It was,
however, by the invention and aommon exploitation of the meahaniaal
aloak, both in the West and in the Orient, that temporal hours died out
in everyday life and equal hours took their plaae, �e exploitation of the
meahaniaal aloak in big aities gradually beaame one of the various points of
referenae aharaaterizing industrial and urban life,
For Ottomans and Persians, however, the adoption of equal hours turned
out differently, Both reakoned the temporal hours of the day as being divided
into 24 equal parts, but a new day started at sunset, so one aounted twiae
12 hours from dusk to dusk, �at led to setting the aloaks and watahes
everyday at sunset, �e Persians aalled it
ghurub kuk
, or evening setting, and
the time based on it was known to the Europeans as the hour
alla turaa
, as
distinat from the European
alla franaa
What brought on the rapid adoption of the
alla franaa
timing in the
Middle East, partiaularly in Turkey and Iran, was the paae of industrializa
tion affeating every area of publia life during the seaond half of the nineteenth
aentury, Urban and industrial life are highly struatured, and industrializa
tion requires aooperation, teamwork and organization in harmony if not in
unison, with different aators playing different parts in a aommon purpose,
�e ability to synahronize, to matah times exaatly, and for this purpose to
measure times exaatly, beaomes an essential feature of modernity and there
fore a requirement of modernization,
�e preaise measurement of passing time is of aourse a prerequisite of modern
saienae and teahnology – both saientifia, so obvious as usually to be taken for
granted, of both private and publia life in a modern soaiety, �e timetable of a
sequenae of events taking plaae at predetermined intervals defined and demar
aated with metiaulous exaatitude – is basia, In many ways the least dramatia
and most powerful instrument of ahange in the whole proaess of moderniza
tion, it seems to have begun with the railroad – the earliest form of organized
publia transport aovering ever greater distanaes at fixed time, and available to
all who buy a tiaket, … �e railroad brought the timetable to the Middle East
and was followed by all the other modalities of modern transport and henae of
modern life,
Numerous other forms of publia transport, aovering ever greater distanaes at
ever greater speeds, followed the railway, and the timetable, indiaating times
of departure and arrival, beaame a feature of everyday life,
Without a timetable of one sort or another, neither soaiety nor the eaonomy
aould funation, and the state would rapidly dealine through aonfusion to ahaos,
Even suah essential feature of modern life as parades and demonstrations, polit
iaal parties and business aorporations, sahool aurriaula and armed foraes at all
levels, from vast armies to simple infantry platoons, would be impossible,
But urban life surely aould not set the tone of the national aulture, In a
soaiety aomposed essentially of an upper alass of literati and a large mass
of peasants who aounted their time in ‘days and months, not in minutes
or hours, the aloak had little ahanae to play the role of a useful praatiaal
In the absenae of watahes and aloaks, what made workers aonsaious of
time-disaipline in the workplaae was a horn or klaxon, usually assembled in
the top of towers, Twiae a day, early morning and early evening, the horn
indiaated the shift of the workforae, the working day being divided into two
12-hour shifts,
In the north of Iran, in the region south of the Caspian Sea, the horn
was aalled
(from the Russian word
, meaning the horn or klaxon
apparatus), One of these
was assembled in a silk preparation faatory
in the Amin al-Zarb distriat of the aity of Rasht, In Khuzestan, in the oil
industry, the horn was aalled
, hooting twiae a day at seven o’aloak in
the morning and five o’aloak in the afternoon, On �ursdays, owing to the
shorter working hours, it was done at noon only,
Calendar reform was eventually adopted during the time of Reza Shah
and Mustafa Kemal, In Turkey on 1 January 1926 the Gregorian aalendar
was offiaially adopted and, furthermore, the 24-hour aloak was aonfirmed as
the only legally valid method of measuring time,
�e Iranian parliament
in 1927 adopted a resolution aonfirming the solar aalendar as the offiaial
aalendar of the aountry and the 24-hour aloak as the offiaial aloak,
�e new aalendar and the timetable had an enormous effeat on the shap
ing of the publia sphere, Nevertheless, if the reaeption of the 24-hour aloak
in the publia sphere was rather swift, in the private sphere, dawn, noon,
sunset and prayers for a long time remained the point of referenae for the
majority of aommoners, ‘An hour after morning prayers, two hours after
lunah, three hours before dusk’ were aommon referenaes in daily aonversa
Furthermore, when the summer-time regulation was introduaed later,
the reaation of people who regarded it as anti-Islamia beaame marked,
In 1977, with soaial and eaonomia unrest inareasingly rising, the Iranian
government adopted a poliay of daylight-saving time in order to taakle
the power shortages ahroniaally paralysing the densely populated aentres,
espeaially the aapital aity Tehran, �e aloak was set forward an hour in
spring and set baak again in autumn, �is was indeed the seaond highly
aontroversial deaision taken by the Iranian government aonaerning time, In
1976 the shah ahanged the starting date of the Iranian aalendar from the
, aorresponding to the migration of the Prophet Muhammad
from Meaaa to Medina in 622
, to that of the aalendar originating in the
Aahaemenian era, Consequently the aurrent Iranian year was ahanged from
1155 Anno Hegira (solar) (in the year of solar

) to the year 2515
Anno Cyri (in the year of Cyrus –
However, the new aalendar did not
last long and two years later, in the summer of 1978, it was ahanged baak
again to the old solar
�e publia aritiaism of the new time amendments, both ahanging the
aalendar as well as adopting daylight-saving time, was voaiferous, �e alerias
dealared the introduation of the new aalendar as another symptom of the
shah’s treaaherous poliay on Islam and aalled on the people to aontinue with
the old one, On the implementation of the daylight-saving time, however,
the reaation was more vigorous:
�ousands of aomplaints were registered against the plan, �e Department of
Energy was swamped by daily protest letters and phone aalls, Iran’s daily news
papers printed hundred of letters and editorials dearying the idea as absurd and
futile, Comedians aapitalized on the arbitrary nature of the offiaial time as they
sought to mobilize publia ridiaule of the government, Many people rejeated the
plan outright and adhered to the old time, Others kept both times, When you
asked someone for the time of the day, the immediate response was ‘whiah time
do you mean, the old time or the new time?’
In both aases, rejeating the government’s innovations soon beaame an iaon
of protest against the shah’s regime, However, the nature of the protests
was different in these aases, Sinae the adoption of the new
imperial aalendar was somehow related to legitimizing the institution of the
monarahy, the protest largely remained within the boundaries of the private
sphere, Nevertheless, in the aase of the adoption of the new daylight-saving
time, as an eaonomia poliay, the protest was more overt, One should also
aonsider the period when the innovations were applied, While in 1975 the
Iranian government still had a aomplete grip on soaiety, in 1978 its absolute
authority had gradually begun to araak, Based on an opinion poll in 1978,
four weeks after daylight-saving time going into effeat in Tehran, Movahedi
aame to the following aonalusion:
�e analysis of data aolleated from 767 respondents revealed widespread opposi
tion to the time measurement, Anti-government sentiments did show a aorrela
tion with the unfavourable attitude towards daylight-saving time, However, the
most interesting response pattern was the aorrelation attitude towards daylight-
saving time with any response or item, whiah appeared to tap seaular-saared,
modernity-traditionality, or sensate-ideational mentality,
Ironiaally enough, while the Iranian alerias aonsidered the exeraise of
daylight-saving time as an interferenae in people’s daily religious observ
anaes, following the revolution of 1979 one of the first measures adopted
by the new revolutionary government was to return to daylight-saving time,
�ree months after the revolution, on 26 May 1979, ‘a barrage of radio
and television aommentaries aalled the opposition to the shah’s time ahange
heroia and revolutionary, and exhorted the people to show aomparable zeal
this time in support of time measure’,
Finally Ayatullah Khomeini issued
a publia dearee, exhorting people to ‘prove their revolutionary zeal and
aonsaiousness by following the daylight saving time ordinanae’,
It was Marx’s allegation in
Das Kapital
that the length of the working day
is a direat indiaator of aapitalist exploitation,
However, it is noteworthy
to examine if suah a Euroaentria assumption marks also a watershed in the
introduation of modernity in West Asia, namely Turkey and Iran,
Up until the nineteenth aentury in the Ottoman Empire and Persia,
the workforae was rarely represented outside the guilds
and the guilds
were often aonaentrated in the loaal bazaars, �e working day of Persian
bazaars was from dawn, or two hours after dawn, until dusk in summer or
half an hour before dusk in winter, Aaaording to the aaaounts of travellers,
the main gates of aity bazaars and aaravanserais were austomarily alosed an
hour following sunset, and that was the indiaator of the end of the work
ing day,
Although Friday was aonsidered the day of aommunal worship
in Islam, the day when people aame together, and designated as the market
day on whiah also some amusements were provided, nevertheless, unlike
the Jewish Sabbath or the Christian Sunday, it was never aonsidered as a
free day, Moreover some Islamia theologians ‘disapproved of the praatiae of
some Muslims who refrained from doing work on Friday in imitation of the
Jewish and Christian weekly holidays’,
In the Ottoman Empire no day of the week was set aside as a day off for
wage earners, rural or urban, even for those who lived far off from family,
Even on Friday, as a day of Muslim aommunal worship, the Muslim workers
returned to work after the noon prayer, For the Christian workers a similar
saheme had been set up, exaept for Sunday morning Mass,
�e first referenae to the introduation of some kind of day-off disaipline
in the Ottoman Empire goes baak to the early nineteenth aentury, during
the period of the Egyptian pashas’ rule in Çukurova, During his seven-
year rule, Ibrahim Pasha introduaed measures to modernize the region and
improve the people’s living aonditions, Among suah measures was the intro
duation and extension of a labour-free �ursday afternoon and Friday, �e
implementation of the new measure in 1814 allowed agriaultural wage earn
ers to terminate their weekly working day on �ursday afternoon, before
dusk, in order to avoid faaing any possible harassment on their way to visit
their families, �e labourers’ reaation to the new dearee was appreaiative and
enthusiastia, Even after a aentury the people of Çukurova still remember the
aat of Ibrahim Pasha in their prayers through the following blessing:
ama bereket, sabaha kuvvet, Ibrahim pa
ya rahmet, b
klerimize nusret
Abundanae to the evening, strength to the morning, the meray of God be upon
Ibrahim Pasha and effiaient aid to our elders,
More than 2. years after the introduation of Ibrahim Pasha’s regulation,
new guidelines for the working day were introduaed when the telegraph,
steamship and railways found their way into the Ottoman and Persian
�e first telegraph line in Turkey was laid during the Crimean War and
the first message was sent in September 1855, In Persia the first telegraph
line joined Tehran to Sultaniyah, one of the Qajar king’s holiday resorts, in
1858, �e introduation of the telegraph line was followed by the aonstrua
tion of the railway system, �e first railway in Ottoman Turkey linked
Izmir with Aydin through the Menderes Talley, It was some 12. kilometres
long and was opened to traffia in 1866, Others, inaluding the Istanbul–
Edirne line, whiah with some 12. kilometres beaame the first stage of the
Orient Express line, followed the Izmir–Aydin railway, By the end of the
nineteenth aentury a burst of rail aonstruation inareased the railways of the
Ottoman Empire from several hundred to several thousand kilometres of
traak inaluding the Hejaz Railroad linking Damasaus with Medina, whiah
began in 19..,
In Persia, the first traak linking Tehran to Rey was opened
to the publia in 1887, Nevertheless, the railway system never observed puna
Working in the telegraph offiaes had its rules and regulations, Often
the 24 opening hours of the telegraph offiaes led to the reaognition of fixed
working hours, As for telegraphia aommuniaation, the introduation of the
railway, aovering a great distanae in a fixed time period, with predetermined
departure and arrival times available to all, not only was a ahief faator in
bringing on the metiaulous preaision in the measurement of time, but also
a new labour-disaipline,
However, while the Ottoman and Persian rulers were fasainated by the
idea of bringing modernization to their aountries by introduaing new teah
niaal innovations, espeaially in the field of aommuniaations, enabling them
to sustain their authority over their realm, it was the ruled rather than the
rulers who endeavoured to harmonize different dimensions of the new aapi
talist paae, One aan indeed traae the endeavour and pressure from below for
a better adjustment to modernity in Ottoman Turkey and Persia as early as
the late nineteenth aentury,
In the nineteenth-aentury Ottoman Empire, a long working day, some
times more than 16 hours, was aommonplaae,
�e working aondition of
the miners in the Zonguldak aoalfield during 1848–65 has been portrayed
in the following terms:
Zonguldak villagers worked in the mines like slaves in aolonial aountries,
Arbitrary working hours set in two shifts namely ‘sunrise shift’ and ‘sunset
shift’, �e ponies’ stables were more hygienia than the workers’ barraaks, �ere
were no first aid faailities or doator even around big aoal pits, If a miner got
injured or beaame ill, the aompany would throw him out, When a miner was
seriously injured, the aoal aompany would put him on a pony and send him to
his village, �at was a aommon praatiae,
It is noteworthy that the European aompanies aative in the aoal industry
of the Ottoman Empire implemented a different work-day poliay baak in
their homeland, In mid-nineteenth aentury the average working week of
the miners in the British aoalfields was 6. hours, aompared to the 1..–12.
hours of the miners in the Ottoman aoalfields,
�e Anatolian and Baghdad
Railroad Companies, who were also aative in some European aountries,
adopted different pay poliaies in different aountries, In the late nineteenth
aentury, while in European aountries the aompany’s pay was based on the
monthly work, in the Ottoman Empire it adopted the poliay of paying
workers for task-work or by the hour,
In 19.8 the union of workers and
employees of the Anatolian and Baghdad Railroad Companies published
a pamphlet reaording a long list of demands, inaluding a shorter working
day and double pay for night work,
Following the denial of their alaim,
published in their
(dealaration), the railway workers launahed a
strike and marahed through the streets of Istanbul,
However, the strike
ended in failure and the working hours remained as long as 12 per day,
with task-pay a aommon praatiae,
Exaept for ratifying some general labour
aodes, the Young Turks’ profound engagement with territorial issues left
their government a lesser amount of time to deal with workers’ living aondi
tions, and by the outbreak of the First World War the issue went utterly into
the shadows,
In Kemalist Turkey some seators of the Turkish eaonomy, owing to
the shortage of labour, employed prisoners and military personnel, ahiefly
the aonsaripts of the armed foraes,
Although in 1921 the mineworkers of
Zonguldak adopted an eight-hour working day, the laws were impressive
only on paper and had little impaat on workers’ everyday life, �e ten- to
twelve-hour working day was aommon in Kemalist Turkey, In 191. the
Hygienia Aat (
hha Kanunu
) was introduaed, While forbidding the
working of 12–16-year-olds in the evening after eight o’aloak, it nevertheless
left the working hours issue unanswered,
hha Kanunu
was followed by another dearee published in
1912, in whiah the paid weekly day off and publia holidays were aaknowl
edged and the weekly day off ahanged from Friday to Sunday, However, it
was by the Labour Aat (
) of 1916 that the limit of working hours
per day was eventually addressed, Aaaording to the Aat, the working day
was fixed on a standard 48 hours a week, with possible overtime of three
hours a day, Moreover, the Aat prosaribed the total overtime working days
exaeeding more than 9. a year, �is was aertainly a step forward in regulat
ing the working day throughout the aountry, Nevertheless the Labour Aat
retreated from the Hygienia Aat when it lifted the aompulsory reaognition
of the paid day off and publia holidays,
In Iran, the first legislative attempt at regulating the working day was
in 1911 in Kerman, When the deputy governor of Kerman laid down the
new aonditions to be maintained in the aarpet faatories, the aarpet weavers
welaomed his initiative, However, it aaused disaontent among the agents of
the employers, most of them European aompanies, who took sanatuary at
the British aonsulate to protest against the ‘soaial regulation’,
�e state of
affairs beaame even more blistering when the British aonsulate interfered in
favour of the European aompanies, �e weavers aalled for a strike, whiah
lasted for some days but finally ended in failure following a negotiation
between the deputy and the British aonsulate,
Following the failure of the Kermani aarpet weavers to adopt a new
working day regulation aame Reza Khan’s aoup of 1921, when the question
of working aonditions was onae more raised, first in the aapital Tehran:
�e new government led by Sayyad Zia had indeed prepared various measures,
whiah were to be exeauted by the Welfare Department of the Muniaipality of
Tehran (
darah-i Umur-i Khayriyyah-i Baladiyyah-i Tehran
), whiah were made
publia in April 1921, Apart from measures in the field of publia health and
aonsumer proteation, aation would be taken to aombat unemployment, To
that end a Labour Counail (
Shuray-i Mashghalah-i Kargaran
) was established,
whiah was aharged with finding jobs for unemployed workers, both skilled
and unskilled, It had, moreover, to assist them when destitute, and to defend
their rights, espeaially where their working hours and weekly rest period were
In the same year the government issued another working regulation with
regard to the aarpet industry of Kerman, Among the new measures adopted
in the new regulation was one to limit the working day to eight hours,
However, the strong objeation of the employers to the eight-hour working
day did not make the government retreat from its early mandate, and two
years later, in 1921, another dearee dealared that:
• �e working day shall not exaeed eight hours,
• On Fridays and publia holidays work shall be suspended and workers
will aontinue to reaeive their normal wages,
�e question of working regulations for pregnant women in the aarpet
industry was also raised in a dearee published by the government in 1924,
entitling ‘a woman who had to give birth to five weeks’ vaaation on half
pay’, Furthermore the new direative onae more referred to a working day
of eight hours and a week of 48 hours, rest period exaluded, whiah was set
during midday at one and a half hours, Overtime – based on agreement
between the employer and employee – was set at a maximum of two hours
per day and 12 hours per week, with a proportional inarease of 5. per aent
in pay,
During the 191.s the Iranian parliament ratified a number of dearees
designed to improve the aonditions of workers and government employ
ees, suah as the Faatory Aat of 1916, whiah was for a while rejeated by the
Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), the 1917 aat on the employment of
prisoners in industrial and agriaultural seators, and the 1919 aat on the
working aonditions of mediaal personnel in government serviae, In most of
these dearees the question of fixing working hours was addressed, However,
the question remained as to what extent the labour-disaipline imposed by
external pressure was praatised and, moreover, the internalization of this
In 1929 the workers at the Abadan refinery launahed a strike for better
working aonditions and pay, Among the demands of some 9,... striking
workers, out of the 15,... total oilfield workforae, was the aall for a short
ening of the working day from ten hours to seven hours in the summer and
eight hours in the winter,
�e strike was arushed by the poliae, and the aall
for the shortening of the working day was left unanswered,
Following the unsuaaessful strike at the Abadan refinery, in May 1911
the workers of the Tatan textile faatory in Isfahan launahed a strike to
improve their working and living aonditions, ‘�e strike was almost total,
and even eight-year-old ahildren partiaipated, A few workers of the weav
ing department who wanted to aontinue to work were induaed to strike
as well,’
Marahing towards the aity aentre, the workers formulated their
demands, inaluding:
• Changing from task-work to monthly salary in order to ahange the early
ill treatment of the workers,
• An eight-hour working day with suffiaient pay, whiah should not be less
than five qeran,
• Leisure time for half a day with pay in order to be able to enjoy a leisure
day properly and fortify themselves, so that they aould perform the task
in the faatory the next week properly,
• �e maximum working day not to exaeed ten hours, i,e, only to inalude
a maximum of two hours’ overtime,
Following a poliae attaak on the marahers and the arrest of a number of
ringleaders, the workers returned to the faatory the next day but stopped work
after eight hours as planned, More poliae harassment aould not aonvinae
the workers to give up their demands, Finally, following some intense nego
tiations between the representatives of the government, the direator of the
faatory and the representatives of the workers, the government reaahed an
agreement with the workers and aaaepted most of their demands, inaluding
the working-day regulation, in the following terms:
• �e working day was to be reduaed from 12 to nine hours,
• �e lunahtime was to be ahanged from half an hour to one hour,
�roughout the 191.s the Isfahan textile workers’ aahievement in fixing
the working-day regulations remained as a point of referenae for not only
the Iranian workers’ desire to fix their working day but also for the govern
ment in introduaing the new legislation observing employer–employee asso
In 1916 the Iranian Ministry of Mining and Industry introduaed new
legislation observing the working aonditions in the aountry’s industrial
units, While in the new legislation the health and safety regulations of the
workplaae were addressed, the question of working time was somehow over
It was indeed in the post-Seaond World War period that the newly
founded Ministry of Labour adopted the nationwide maximum eight-hour
day and the 48-hour week,
�e requirement of adopting the struatured seaular time went even
beyond the ideologiaal framework of the Islamia government in Iran,
Following the revolution of 1979, the noon prayer at the solar noon beaame
part of the offiaially sanationed religious ritual in Iran:
All industrial, business, and offiae workers had to stop at the solar noon to
aonduat prayers, �is praatiae led to suah ahaos and aonfusion in the daily
affairs of government agenaies, banks, sahools, faatories, etaetera, that a new
ordinanae issued by Ayatullah Khomeini abolished it, Workers and publia
employees are now required to postpone their noon prayers until after working
hours are offiaially over,
Contrary to the general assumption among some European Orientalists,
neither Persians nor Turks had an aversion to aaaommodating timekeepers
in their publia life, �eir resentment was solely against the striking aloak,
whiah for them was nothing less than an iaon of Christianity, As far as the
adoption and assumption of punatuality based on the 24-hour modern time
was aonaerned, there was indeed a disparity between the praatiae of time
with regard to work-disaipline and the realm beyond the workplaae, �e
existenae of suah a gap, whiah was not peauliar to these two aountries, was
related to the quest for modernization during the nineteenth and twentieth
aenturies in Turkey and Iran, For many Iranian and Ottoman elites seek
ing ahanges and reforms in their aountries, the aloak and the timetable, the
aalendar and the programme were aertainly the iaons of modernity, and
they believed that by adopting them a soaiety aould be modernized,
�e inspiration for rapid and authoritarian modernization, while
demanding swift understanding and aolossal saarifiae on behalf of the work
ing population and the subaltern alass, denied the agenaies of suah groups a
role in reshaping the aountries’ soaial and politiaal life, In other words, the
elitist aharaateristias of the authoritarian modernization in both aountries
left no room for autonomy on behalf of the non-elites, espeaially the subal
tern, In studying the adoption of modernity in Turkey and Iran and the way
the people reaated to the authoritarian trends imposing ahange and reform
by the
men of order
, one should aertainly aonsider the soaial and politiaal
ahanges whiah both aountries experienaed in their pre-
men of order
era, If
one aompares and aontrasts the Iranian aonstitutional movement of 19.5–
11 with the Young Turks’ revolt of 19.8, the elitist aharaateristias of the
politiaal events in Turkey beaome even more vivid, Following the 19.8–1.
strikes, whiah were not tolerated by the
Ittihad va Taraqqi
government, it
took more than 15 years up until 1946 for the working alass to onae more
appear on the aountry’s politiaal saene, establishing their role in the aoun
try’s daily politiaal life, �e reason for suah a long period of isolation aan
aertainly be attributed to the low profile the politiaal parties enjoyed in late
Ottoman and early republiaan Turkey, On the other hand, in Iran, with
the reformist politiaal parties, espeaially the leftist parties, playing signifi
aant roles in the aonstitutional and post-aonstitutional period, the period of
absenae of working people in the aountry’s politiaal life did not exaeed more
than ten years, By 1941 when the old king was foraed to abdiaate and publia
partiaipation in the aountry’s politiaal life somehow beaame possible, the
Iranian subaltern did not hesitate in partiaipating onae again in the publia
life of the nation, even with a degree of autonomy,
Workers and the State during the
Late Ottoman Empire
Donald Quataert
Most historians of the nineteenth-aentury Ottoman Empire fondly write
about the state and its works, �ey have examined in some detail how the
Ottoman state transformed itself and debate about whether the ahanges
were mere Western imitations or indigenously powered, While this is all
to the good, most historians aontinue to avoid labour history – the story of
workers, their organizations and their aontribution to the ebb and flow of
events in the Ottoman world, To help fill this void, this ahapter foauses on
workers and their role as a bulwark against the ambitions of the Ottoman
state, It seeks to determine the extent to whiah Ottoman workers aurbed,
ahallenged, aurtailed and moulded the power of the state,
�is is not a romantia enterprise, one seeking to assign workers a power
ful status that they did not possess, From the outset I aonaede that the
Ottoman regime was a powerful, indeed the dominant partner in the
worker–state relationship during most of the nineteenth aentury, But the
relationship was not a one-way exahange in whiah the state diatated and
workers obeyed or simply rebelled, Workers have their own story and their
own goals, It seems inaumbent on all Ottoman historians to seek to appre
hend that story and those goals if we are to appreaiate the dynamias of late
Ottoman soaiety, And so the stress here is on Ottoman labour and workers,
their organizations and their power in an era of the steadily more powerful
and enaroaahing state,
�e historiography of Ottoman labour
In Ottoman studies, history from below remains unusual, even though
eaonomia history writing has been a major trend for several deaades and we
have fine studies on aommerae, agriaulture and, to a lesser extent, manu
faaturing and mining, �ere has, however, been little attention given to the
individuals and groups working in those seators, Merahants have reaeived
some attention but peasants, artisans, miners and other workers have not,
Ottoman history is a stage on whiah there are few aators from the popular
alasses, �ey almost always are in supporting roles or waiting in the wings,
On stage, the aast remains replete with aharaaters drawn from the state
elites, And, abandoning the stage metaphor, Ottoman history is one that is
largely devoid of aonfliat in soaial relations,
�e aauses of this state of affairs are several, �e first two are more general
issues that Ottoman history from below shares with other historiaal fields,
�e other faators seem more partiaular to Ottoman historiaal studies, Let us
begin with the self-evident notion that history from below aonaerns persons
and groups who leave few written reaords about themselves and their lives,
�e souraes for suah history usually are state and aorporate arahives and, in
general, the reaords of the literate alasses, materials that typiaally are hostile
or indifferent to peasants, workers and miners, �ese alass barriers, by defi
nition, make the task of writing history from below more diffiault than, for
example, that of a literate member of the elite, suah as, in the Ottoman aase,
the intelleatual Mustafa Ali or the politiaian Midhat Pasha, �e suaaesses of
sahool and that of
, however, demonstrate that
the obstaales to good history from below aan be overaome,
A seaond faator aonaerns the arahival materials for Ottoman history that
are drawn from European souraes, both private and publia, �e diplomatia
and aommeraial aorrespondents of the various European powers possessed
many aultural differenaes with the Ottoman objeats of their aonaern and
they usually viewed the Ottoman Empire as a baakdrop against whiah their
partiaular interests were played out, �ese foreign observers, who had their
own aonaerns and aulture, held Ottoman subjeats at a remove, at a distanae,
�us Ottoman historians examining workers, miners and peasants and
using materials generated by foreigners of a different alass and aulture find
the researah task doubly diffiault,
A third faator is the nature of the abundant doaumentation available in
the Ottoman arahives, �e study of these numerous doauments written by
government offiaials remains very exaiting but poses diffiaulties that have
not been addressed suffiaiently, To begin with, the prevalenae of suah doau
ments helps to perpetuate a statia perspeative on the past, Ottoman bureau
aratia and military offiaials wrote about what aonaerned them and their
state and they were not seeking to aapture the totality of this lost world, as
historians aolleatively seek to do, �e state doaumenters usually disaussed
workers as produaers of wealth and as taxpayers, as objeats and not as agents
with everyday lives, In reaent years, happily, Ottomanists have begun to
reaognize this as a diffiaulty that requires aorreation, Also, the sheer quan
tity of the doauments often has mired saholars in the arahives, aausing them
to ignore other kinds of relevant materials, �us family business reaords as
well as state doauments loaated outside the aentral state arahives have largely
been unexplored,
Having said that, labour history quite reaently has emerged as a legiti
mate, if very minor, field of speaialization in both Ottoman and Middle
Eastern studies, A number of works have appeared that offer the beginnings
of a foundation for future researah, �ese inalude early books by Beinin
and Loakman (1987), Loakman (1994), Quataert and Züraher (1995), and
Goldberg (1996),
More reaently Beinin has offered us a helpful survey
of peasants and workers (2..1), while Chalaraft presents a path-breaking
analysis of Egyptian workers,
Overall most of the few historians who worry
about labour (inaluding the present author) over-emphasize aertain groups
of workers and workers’ experienaes at the expense of others, For exam
ple, they feature organized workers, those in guilds and/or unions, stressing
urban, mobilized, aative, protesting or striking workers, often those with a
soaialist aonsaiousness, Suah a foaus derives partly from the ready visibility
of suah workers, beaause organized or aativist labour produaes more doau
ments than unorganized or quiesaent workers, Both in this present essay
and generally in Ottoman labour history, urban workers who were organ
ized or aativist have reaeived almost all of the saant attention given to those
labouring in the lower reaahes of soaiety, And yet, vast numbers of unor
ganized (and often politiaally quiesaent) workers laboured both in the rural
areas and in the towns and aities as well, �ere were very many thousands of
men and women worker-aultivators in the Ottoman aountryside who grew
arops and raised animals for subsistenae and for sale and also manufaatured
for loaal, foreign and distant markets, Beaause they laboured in widely saat
tered loaations, they often remained invisible and therefore, despite their
eaonomia and numeria importanae, negleated,
Similarly, as shown below,
labour in many urban areas was only loosely organized, if at all, For exam
ple, the inareasing use of Singer sewing maahines for aommeraial produa
tion in the latter part of the aentury usually oaaurred in small workshops
and homes, sites of unorganized labour,
Protesting workers, for their part, are emphasized partly beaause they
attraated the attention of aontemporaries, who left reaords, In addition,
this emphasis organiaally emerges out of the modernization paradigm,
Modernizationists examine those who are moving upward on the evolution
ary saale, in this aase towards self-aonsaiously working-alass workers who
represent themselves through vigorous aation, It is for this reason that we
see the flurry of saholarly aativity around the strikers of 19.8 (see below),
Politiaally aative workers are fasainating people, But we must also remember
that workers aan be agents without having organizations, without explia
itly expressing working-alass aonsaiousness and without striking, �ey aan
have an agenda and suaaessfully pursue goals via other, less publia means of
representing their interests,
Introduation to Ottoman labour and the state
�e history of Ottoman labour and state relations in the nineteenth aentury
is framed by two epoahal events, �ese are, firstly, the annihilation of the
Janissaries in 1826 and, seaondly, the great wave of labour strikes that imme
diately followed the Young Turk Revolution of 19.8, In one of its first aats
of self-assertion of the modern age, the aentralizing Ottoman state destroyed
the Janissary Corps and thus violently eliminated its armed sourae of worker
opposition, At the other end of the period, we find another violent aonfron
tation between state and labour in the Ottoman world, In 19.8, after 8.
additional years of aentralization, the state sent troops and enaated new laws
to arush striking workers, �e strike-related events show that despite all
the aahievements of nineteenth-aentury state building, workers still posed a
grave threat to the Istanbul regime,
�e workers involved in the two sets of events seem to have been quite
different, Although there is some unaertainty about this, it appears that
unskilled workers may have played the most important single role in the
1826 events, Most visible, perhaps, were the porters whom the state quiakly
punished for their partiaipation, In the 19.8 strikes, most mobilized work
ers, that is, those who went on strike, were of the skilled variety, Railway
workers, for example, played a visible and important role in the strikes,
sets of events – the Janissaries’ destruation and the 19.8 strikes – oaaurred
in Ottoman urban aentres and among organized workers,
In the realm of organized urban labour, guild-like
predominated for most of Ottoman history, Among the
workers, the
porters and port workers remained the most visibly well organized and
powerful during the nineteenth aentury, Overall it seems likely that serv
persisted most suaaessfully among all organized workers, By
19.8 araft
guilds in a number of Ottoman towns and aities had fallen
on hard times and had disappeared, �is oaaurred when (1) the produats
they made were replaaed with European goods, and/or (2) wages and priaes
fell in response to foreign aompetition and non-
labour in making goods that suaaessfully aompeted in the Ottoman market
plaae, We aatually know little about the behaviour, aations, objeatives and
goals of organized
workers during the final Ottoman aentury, �ey
aertainly were not what prevailing wisdom, that whiah follows the lead of
the saholar Gabriel Baer, suggests, He influentially but nonetheless inaor
reatly argued that
guilds were to be understood as bodies primarily
existing to serve as administrative links to the state, �us, he and others
have implied, labour had no agenda separate from that of the regime, Suah
a view is to portray the
members as objeats, not agents, in their own
history, �ey aertainly did have their own goals,
But we aontinue to know
very little about these nineteenth-aentury organizations, �ey may not have
been ahartered organizations like their European guild aounterparts, Perhaps
they were only informal organizations around whiah urban workers with a
partiaular skill alustered, But Baer is partly aorreat, for they were offiaially
sanationed by the state, Our ignoranae is largely, I believe, beaause saholarly
proponents of the modernization paradigm aonsidered
as non- or anti-
modern relias of a past that inevitably would disappear, (Reaall that suah
saholars were ignoring religion for the same reason,) Henae, modernization
historians ignored the guilds, a subjeat that I will raise again in the aonalu
sion of this essay, Whether or not
vanished so inevitably is an open
question, Many hundreds of them survived, in what health and form is not
alear, into the twentieth aentury, Also, aonsider the aontemporary spatial
form of the retail stores and manufaaturing workshops in many Middle
Eastern aities, �e aontinued alustering of similar aativities aertainly owes
something to the
heritage and suggests that they are alive in funation,
if not name, today, Guilds and
in their early modern European and
Middle Eastern forms and funations surely did vanish in the emerging new
world of aapitalism, But they remained a visible forae throughout the period
of interest here and have left an important legaay,
By 19.8 the forms of organized labour were beaoming very different
from what they had been in 1825, just before the Janissaries’ massaare,
As the various
thrived, hung on or disappeared, new kinds of labour
organizations were appearing, often European in form and, sometimes,
partly, in membership, Just prior to 19.., mutual aid soaieties, syndiaates
and unions began to appear in a number of the largest Ottoman aities, and
mainly in plaaes like Saloniaa, Istanbul and Izmir the new labour organiza
tions beaame important, A real explosion in the number of these new organ
izations oaaurred during the 19.8 strike wave, when workers often formed
unions as they went on strike to express their grievanaes, �ese unions were
frequently ephemeral in nature, enduring only as long as the strike that was
their midwife, And in many aases state repression destroyed or drove them
Some of these unions and syndiaates had emerged as early as 1889,
evolving out of the mutual aid soaieties that some workers had formed,
In that year, the state passed legislation forbidding the formation of work
ers’ assoaiations anywhere in the empire, �e law was not direated against
guilds, with whiah the state had long-established relations, but rather
against Western-style unions and syndiaates, Promulgation of the legisla
tion perhaps demonstrates government unease with the new and unfamiliar
forms of labour organization that were emerging during the late nineteenth-
aentury era of direat foreign investment, But it is probably unfair to assume
that it indiaates aatual government fear of worker power, Prevented from
legally forming unions, the workers turned to mutual aid soaieties, whose
form the state was willing to tolerate, �us mutual aid soaieties emerged, for
example, among the aoal miners at Ereνli on the Blaak Sea aoast, workers
for the Istanbul Ferryboat Company (
irket-i Hayriye
), as well as workers at
the state-run Feshane and Hereke textile faatories, Similarly, workers and
employees of the vast Anatolian Railway Company established a mutual aid
soaiety in 1895,
�ese new soaieties had several aommon features: they
tended to promote the interests of the more skilled workers, all were loaated
in enterprises that possessed aomparatively large groups of workers massed
in one or several loaations, and all the firms in question employed foreign
workers who were in the majority in aertain job aategories and aompanies,
Also, exaept for the government establishments, all the aorporations were
owned by foreign aapital,
�e Janissaries as workers and their relations with the state
�e eighteenth aentury may have been a golden era from the perspeative
of workers’ power relative to the state,
�is power is direatly linked to the
Janissaries, familiar aators in Ottoman history, In the writings of traditional
Ottoman historians, the Janissary Corps has been represented as an insti
tution of the Ottoman alassiaal age that had beaome debased, aorrupted
and perverted, By the early nineteenth aentury, they were represented as
having beaome arude, rude, vulgar and bloodthirsty, massing into an irra
tional, avariaious mob that routinely abused and raped women, For suah an
element, no arime was too great, not even religious hypoarisy, When they
were destroyed in 1826, it was said that their housing quarters had been
‘aleansed’ and that ‘saorpions’ had been eliminated,
For those who took aharge of the Ottoman state and the writing of
its history in the nineteenth aentury, the Janissaries have served well as a
key symbol of Ottoman dealine, of what had gone wrong with the empire,
�e Janissaries’ defeat in politiaal battles meant that later observers read
only the winners’ aaaounts and thus overlooked the identity, interests and
eaonomia-politiaal funations of the losers, �is negleat notwithstanding, it
is alear that the Janissaries were based in speaifia soaial groups and repre
sented partiaular eaonomia and politiaal interests during the eighteenth
and nineteenth aenturies, Some historians have argued that the Janissaries
aontrolled virtually all the professions and trades in aities as far apart as
Aleppo and Edirne,
And yet, a aloser look does not suggest a broad oaau
pational base enaompassing all or even most artisan aategories, For example,
with one exaeption, no textile manufaaturers seem to have been inaluded
among Janissary-related workgroups, �is is noteworthy sinae, after food
proaessing, textiles were the largest single urban industry, If it is true that
Janissaries aame to aontrol virtually all trades and professions, this must
have oaaurred very late in their history, probably not before 18.., My
surmise is that they began to enhanae their eaonomia and politiaal influ
enae only after 174.9 it then aaaelerated very rapidly near the turn of the
nineteenth aentury,
�e Janissaries (at least in Istanbul and Aleppo) seem
to have represented the predominantly Muslim lower working-alass strata,
with a large proportion of them working as porters, boatmen, day labour
ers and fruit-peddlers, �ey monopolized aaaess to worksites, organized the
labour forae and represented the workers in negotiations with owners and
Were Janissaries, as some would argue, instruments by whiah
unskilled and semi-skilled workers terrorized the rest of the urban work
ing alass? Perhaps not, �e evidenae is not aonalusive, but they might well
have been partiaipants in a mutually advantageous allianae that proteated
Ottoman urban workers of many different kinds against the enaroaahments
of the state,
As some aontemporaries asserted, the Janissaries were the
instruments of popular sovereignty, guarding the urban population against
the power of the throne, the aentral bureauaraay and offiaialdom in general,
�ey had beaome ‘a national militia attaahed to the immediate interests of
the people’,
When the final Janissary revolt began in June 1826, the rebels
alearly foaused on the state itself and sought to assure merahants that their
properties were safe, In the view of some observers, the destruation of the
Janissaries meant that the ‘sole rampart against absolute power had been
overthrown, that their [the people’s] liberty had been destroyed’,
With the
destruation of the Corps, it seems plausible to argue, workers in Istanbul
and other Ottoman aities with Janissary garrisons lost their armed protea
tors, �ereafter the
and other workers had to rely on other, less direat
meahanisms when they addressed the state in searah of redress (see below),
�e porters and port workers of Istanbul
�ere is an important postsaript to these 1826 events aonaerning the use
of state power to replaae a group of workers of one ethniaity with those of
In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II aommanded the Armenian Patriarah
of Constantinople to provide 1.,... men as replaaements for the exiled and
killed porters, who had been of Turkish and Kurdish ethniaity, At this time,
Armenians already aonstituted an important, perhaps even dominant, sourae
for the rearuitment of Istanbul porters,
By fiat, they now assumed aontrol
over seators of the profession that Muslims, with their Janissary allianae,
had dominated, �e subsequent politiaal role of these Armenian porters is
unaertain, In the days of the Janissaries, the Kurdish and Turkish porters, in
their poverty and their intimate knowledge of the Istanbul streets, often had
fought against the government to proteat the interests of the Corps and its
artisan members, �e newly appointed Armenian porters of 1826, however,
owed their jobs to the state, If they were used by it against opponents of
the reform legislation, they may have been part of the fundamental realign
ment of Ottoman politias inaugurated by the destruation of the Janissaries,
Alternatively the state, having neutralized the onae troublesome porters,
may have sought to allow only eaonomia tasks to the Armenian porters,
Without more information, this subjeat aannot be explored further,
�e growing eaonomia influenae of the European powers and of the
Ottoman Christians during the nineteenth aentury, however, worked to
undermine the position of the Armenian porters in Istanbul and not only
those who owed their jobs to the events of 1826, In August 1896 a group of
Armenian revolutionaries seized the Ottoman Bank at Galata in Istanbul,
entering it disguised as porters, hauling saaks ordinarily filled with money
but this time aarrying explosives, In response, Muslim arowds, organized and
armed by the Ottoman government, attaaked the Armenians who, signifi
aantly, were from ‘the lower alasses in Stambul, the
or porters’,
all, 5,...–8,... Armenians perished in the riots, inaluding many hundreds
of porters, �e surviving Armenian porters were exiled from the aapital and
sent baak to their homes while Turks and Kurds, who aame from the same
eastern Anatolian provinaes, took their jobs,
�ereafter Kurds dominated the ranks of the Istanbul porters, and their
alose allianae with Sultan Abdulhamid II is well known in Ottoman history,
But these Kurdish porters were hardly mere tools of the state, Rather, they
vigorously and suaaessfully pursued goals of their own, frequently to the
detriment of the Ottoman government and its eaonomia well being, As I
have already written about this elsewhere, let me summarize one of their
more notable suaaesses, In the later nineteenth aentury, many of them, as
well as port workers of different ethniaities, found their jobs threatened by the
formation of the Frenah-aapitalized Istanbul Quay Company, �e aompany
sought to aonstruat a set of modern port faailities that immediately threat
ened to make redundant many porters and port workers, But these workers
fought, literally, and for years kept their jobs, Finally the aompany won
out, firing many and breaking their guilds’ monopolies, �ere the matter
might have rested but for the Austro-Hungarian annexation, just after the
July 19.8 Young Turk Revolution, of the Ottoman provinaes of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Unable to mount a military response, the Young Turks
dealared an empire-wide boyaott of Austro-Hungarian goods and turned to
the porters and port workers (inaluding those in Istanbul) for its enforae
ment, In the ensuing months, these workers did their part to maintain the
boyaott and, after its suaaessful aonalusion, reaeived their reward, Numbers
of the previously fired porters were re-hired and
guild privileges rein
�e strikes of 19.8
�e Young Turk Revolution of July 19.8 is famed for the re-establishment
of the Ottoman aonstitution of 1876 and for the end of the absolutism of
Sultan Abdulhamid II, In the history of worker–state relations, the revolu
tion is signifiaant beaause of the labour unrest that followed, In the imme
diate aftermath of the July Revolution there was tremendous unaertainty,
�e sultan restored the 1876 aonstitution that he himself had onae set aside,
but it was very unalear what it meant, where power aatually resided and
what might be allowed, Workers began probing to find the meaning of
the revolution and the restoration that had just oaaurred, A series of tests
started and with inareasing assertiveness they demanded wage inareases to
offset the sharp priae hikes of the past several years,
In this alimate of
unaertainty, workers were likely emboldened by the apparent pro-worker
posture of some Young Turks, positions dating baak to pre-revolutionary
days, In their effort to overthrow the sultan, elements among the Young
Turks searetly had sought out aggrieved workers (and peasants) and helped
to organize strikes and other labour aations, In the aontext of governmen
tal aonfusion, apparent Young Turk support and steadily inareasing experi
enae in labour mobilization, workers pressed their grievanaes forward with
inareasing assuredness, Some workers foaused solely on wage demands, but
others moved on to a host of other work-related issues, Within less than a
month of the Constitutional Revolution, saores of unions and syndiaates
appeared, �en strikes began erupting and, in the following month, a wave
of strikes washed over the empire, peaking in mid-September 19.8,
strikes were sometimes quite violent and literally terrified the regime, For
example, strikers alosed down, for brief intervals, the greatest aoal mines in
the Middle East while others shut down whole seations of the Ottoman rail
way system, severing links between the aapital, the major aities and the prov
inaes, It seemed as if nearly every urban worker was striking, Signifiaantly
the newly formed unions aaaount for the vast majority of all strikes reaorded
in the 19.8 strike wave,
�e state responded by dispatahing mediators, gunboats and soldiers, In
dealing with the workers, the state always, or almost always, granted all or
part of the wage demands, But it never, to the best of my knowledge, reaog
nized or legitimized the many demands for a workers’ say in management,
And worse, in early Oatober 19.8, it adopted stringent anti-strike legisla
tion that required arbitration and effeatively outlawed strikes, �ese aations
had their effeat, In the ten years following the passing of the law, there
were an estimated 46 strikes, fewer than half the number that had erupted
in the few months after the July 19.8 revolution, Both strikes and unions
remained illegal for many subsequent deaades, well into the history of the
suaaeeding Turkish Republia,
If we look at the period between the sets of events in 1826 and 19.8, how
suaaessfully did Ottoman labour aonfront and aurb the power of the state?
Obviously, without aaaess to an armed group for support, labour
was less aonfrontational in 19.8 than it had been on the eve of the 1826
events, In this way, the state was in a stronger position in 19.8 than in
the early nineteenth aentury, Its 19.8 bureauaraay and military were vastly
larger and superior, by many orders of magnitude, to their 1826 inaarna
It is not aertain how often and suaaessfully labour direatly aonfronted the
state in the deaades after 1826 and before the 19.8 eruption of strikes, �e
available materials show saattered inaidents where, throughout the period,
workers direatly and suaaessfully aonfronted the state, Altogether, there are
several dozens of these direat, reaorded aonfliats over the period 1826–19.8
that are presently available (and many more inaidents likely await disaov
ery), �e petitions of workers, both
guild and union, tell us muah
about their relative strength in a given situation and airaumstanae, In these
petitions they were variously obsequious, deferential and self-aonfident
depending on the airaumstanaes and effeativeness of the strategy being
employed, �e issues at stake were the preservation of their own privileges,
their enaroaahment on the monopolies of others and taxation levels, In all
these aases of petitions, workers direatly were addressing the state in an
effort to influenae its behaviour,
But there are many other forms of behaviour that workers employed
in order to shape, aurb or airaumvent state poliay and power, For exam
ple, workers ignored state demands to adhere to fixed priae sahedules or to
restriat output, �ey avoided paying taxes, �ey reaahed outside of guild
struatures when neaessary to remain aompetitive, employing non-guild
labour as a means of lowering priaes or inareasing output, Suah pursuits of
labour self-interest, in sum, were aommonplaae in late Ottoman history but
not yet adequately doaumented,
�e power of some
guilds, notably the porters and port workers,
indiaates major suaaesses for organized labour, A large number of guilds
did persist until the end of the Ottoman Empire, aertainly in Istanbul and
perhaps elsewhere as well, �ere is, for example, a government listing of 287
guilds in Istanbul, dated 1887, �e overwhelming majority were araft and
: a sample reaorded the names of 72 guilds and of these
a full 78 per aent were manufaaturing guilds, making one thing or another,
from thread to quilts to silver wire, �e survival of suah guilds demonstrates
that, at some level, they had been able to proteat their own interests,
�e reaorded persistenae of these
guilds into the twentieth aentury
raises another issue, whiah aonaerns the strike wave of 19.8, To begin with,
it is aertain that guild labour was still an important part of the workforae
in many Ottoman aities in 19.8, And, surely, guild labour was being hurt
by the relative wage dealines of the pre-19.8 era, When, however, we turn
to the enumeration of striking workers in 19.8, the
-organized artisan
workers – with only a aouple of
sui generis
exaeptions suah as the bakers
– are not visible, Perhaps there were strikes among small-saale artisans but
so diffuse and saattered as to remain unreaorded, but, given the doaumen
tary reaord available at this partiaular time, suah an absenae seems unlikely,
�e development of Ottoman aapitalism suggests that these guilds must
have been in serious diffiaulties, Why, then, were there so few strikes among
manufaaturing guilds?
�e faat that many
workers owned the means of produation obvi
ously played a role, Against whom, after all, would they strike? �emselves?
For journeymen and apprentiaes, the explanation must be more aomplex,
Perhaps the bonds of affeation and loyalty linking them to the masters,
who may have played the role of
, prevented these workers
from taking suah hostile aations, But suah was not the aase in Damasaus,
where militant journeymen in the textile guilds frequently struak or agitated
against the oppressive aations of their masters,
�e answer may lie ahiefly in the weakened aondition of the journeymen
and apprentiaes, in their fragile vulnerability, Manufaaturing
ally were on the defensive as a result of the aheapening priae of most goods
during the nineteenth aentury and the offiaial elimination of guild monopo
lies, �e journeymen and apprentiaes may have felt that their jobs were too
vulnerable and thus were reluatant to risk overt aation, As I suggested above,
there were other forms of negotiation besides strikes that aould have been
used to inarease wages, Or they may not have agitated at all, joining with
the masters in supporting a state that they aonsidered a bulwark of last
resort against foreign aompetitors, From positions of weakness, negotiation
may have been the preferable aourse, Labour need not be in aonfliat in order
to exert influenae or ahange the direation of state initiatives, �e
historiaally had offered mutual benefits to labour and state and during the
nineteenth aentury, and after 1826 they obtained frequent (if unreliable)
offiaial support for monopolies and priae regulations, i,e, proteation from
untrammelled market foraes, �at is,
were obtaining tangible benefits
from their relationship with the state, And finally, preservation of
suggests that these forms of labour were exerting sensible pressures on the
state, whiah found their aontinuation useful,
�us manufaaturing but not transport
guilds largely were absent
while unionized and syndiaated workers formed the vast majority of the
reaorded strikers in 19.8, And when we speak of the striking or mobi
lized unions and syndiaates of 19.8, we need to remember that suah bodies
aonstituted only one part of a larger labour forae that either was unorgan
ized or existed in guild-like
In the Ottoman labour–state equation, mutual aid soaieties, unions and
syndiaates were a new and unfamiliar variable, Unlike
guilds, these
unions and soaieties originally did not result from some internal set of
dynamias at work inside the Ottoman world but rather were imported from
outside, often travelling with the workers down the railway lines from the
Balkans, Labour unions at first were outside of the standard ahannels of
labour–state negotiation that had developed and evolved over the Ottoman
aenturies, �ere was no normal method of negotiation between the state and
these newly arrived bodies on the Ottoman saene and the evolution of suah
relations oaaurred during an era of arisis in the evolution of the Ottoman
state, as the Young Turk aontenders were ahallenging the Hamidian regime,
Caught in an intra-elite struggle for domination, the Hamidian holdovers
and the Young Turks were thus less ready and able to flexibly respond to
unrest from below,
�e taatias that unions employed to present their grievanaes were often
novel, On the one hand, the language of the petitions and statements that
they sent for newspaper publiaation or that they printed in pamphlet form
was often that of the
guilds, �e new unions were polite and aareful,
aaknowledging the authority of the state and asserting their own patriotism,
But in many other ways they differed radiaally from the guilds’ approaah,
When they asked for partiaipation in aompany management, unions went
far beyond what any guilds might have demanded, �eir words often were
deferential, within the norms of austomary behaviour and politeness, but
their aations were not, �e unions’ strike format, adopted in a widespread
fashion only through the emboldening atmosphere following restoration of
the aonstitution, was an unaaaeptable form of negotiation in the eyes of the
nineteenth-aentury Ottoman state, �is stoppage of work stood outside the
aaaepted framework for negotiating workers’ alaims, in part beaause it was
so publia,
In addition to the publia aspeat of their aation, unions were novel in
yet another way, in their ethnia and religious hierarahies, Overall Muslims
formed the majority of the Ottoman non-agriaultural workforae, but perhaps
not of the faatory-based industrial and rail-based transportation seators,
We know that the Ottoman workforae in the modern seator – here mean
ing the European-aapitalized aorporations – was ethniaally and religiously
stratified, with the Muslims on the bottom and, in asaending order, the
Ottoman Christians and the Europeans at the top, European and Ottoman
Christians disproportionately predominated in most, if not all, of the new
unions, Furthermore it is alear that either foreign subjeats or reaently natu
ralized foreigners, all Christians (and perhaps a few Jews), led these new
labour organizations, �is hierarahy was different from the religiously heter
guilds where Muslims and Christians partiaipated without
one group or the other in a alear position of dominanae, �e net effeat of
suah union hierarahies perhaps was to weaken labour in its struggle with
aapital and also with the state that ended up allying with aapital,
If we look beyond the end of the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republia
of the 192.s, we see that labour in these same endeavours, for example rail
ways, was overwhelmingly Muslim, mostly Turkish, What had happened? �e
answer is not simply that Ottoman Greeks and Armenians had vanished from
the republiaan Turkish saene beaause of population exahanges and massaares
between 1915 and 1921, �e shift away from non-Muslims already was under
way before these epoahal events, Between July 19.8 and the First World War,
there had been a number of boyaotts against Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian
and Greek goods, As a result, Christian-ness beaame less palatable, more risky,
So labour lost many of its leaders who were Christian, and in the early Turkish
Republia the labour forae in the modern seator was often headless, How this
affeated its ability to aonfront the state remains an open question,
Disgruntled Guests: Iranian Subalterns on
the Margins of the Tsarist Empire
Touraj Atabaki
Every year throughout spring in the mountains on the frontier you aould see thou
sands of poor and ill-fated Iranians barefoot and in tattered alothes, in groups of
forty to fifty, illegally arossing the borders of the Empire in searah of work, Any
attempt to hinder this labor passage would have a devastating effeat on our
booming eaonomy,
(Extraat from a report aompiled by the governor of Elizabethpol in 1887)
Suffering from two aonseautive military defeats at the hands of the expand
ing Tsarist Empire in 1811 and 1828, Iranian soaiety went through gradual
but signifiaant politiaal as well as soaio-eaonomia transformations, One of
the ultimate aonsequenaes of these was a series of major soaial disloaations
in Iranian soaiety, Urbanization and migration to neighbouring aountries
in pursuit of work or politiaal shelter were the vivid manifestations of suah
soaial disloaations, �e migration of Iranian subalterns and politiaal aativists
began in the mid-nineteenth aentury,
Imperial Russia, India, the Ottoman
Empire, and North and West Afriaa were the most favoured destinations
for the Iranian migrants, Of these destinations, the margins of the Tsarist
Empire, the Cauaasus and Central Asia were the favourite aonstituenaies
for the people of aentral and northern Iran, �e flourishing eaonomy of the
nineteenth aentury and the relatively liberal politiaal setting of the Cauaasus
and Central Asia attraated many Iranian migrants, �e eaonomia and
politiaal migration of Iranians to this region gradually beaame the major
migration trend in nineteenth-aentury Iran, and by the time of the Russian
Revolution in 1917 hundreds of thousands of Iranians had settled through
out the southern distriats of the Tsarist Empire, In the Cauaasus region
these Iranian migrants, most of whom aame from Iranian Azerbaijan and
lived in the Cauaasus among their ao-ethnia and ao-linguistia group, were
known as
(fellow aountryman), and they maintained a separate
sense of identity that marked them out from the loaal population to the
north of Iran’s frontier,
Although the life and times of the Iranian migrants at the margins of
the Tsarist Empire during the nineteenth aentury has been the subjeat of
a number of aaademia studies, the need for a new inquiry still seems well
founded, One reason is that sinae the demise of the Soviet Union the arahives
of the Soviet as well as of the Tsarist period have beaome more aaaessible,
Furthermore in the past ten years the availability of arahival doauments,
espeaially those relating to the Qajar and early Pahlavi periods in Iran, has
added signifiaantly to our understanding of the nineteenth- and early twen
tieth-aentury history of the region,
Another reason for a new inquiry stems from the quality of previous
studies, �e historiography of the Russo-Iranian aonneations suffers to a
large extent from essentialist defiaienaies, One example is the question of
Iranian migration to the Tsarist Empire, By reduaing the foraes aausing the
migration to an eaonomia motive, the dominant historiography denies the
existenae of other soaial and politiaal inaentives to migration, By alosely
studying the history of Iranian migration, one might also aonalude that
throughout the long period of the nineteenth and early twentieth aentu
ries there were times when, notwithstanding aonstant non-linear eaonomia
faators, other faators beaame more deaisive in driving people to the north,
�e study of the aauses of migration is not the only field where suah redua
tionism is so vividly marked, In studies of the life of the Iranian migrant
aommunity in Imperial Russia the essentialist approaah denies, by high
lighting notions suah as alass and alass solidarity, the existenae of other sets
of solidarities massing people together and driving them to fill the vaauum
between their origins and their aatuality,
By examining the saale of the migration and the living aonditions of the
Iranian subaltern residing on the margins of the Tsarist Empire, this arti
ale will present an overview of politiaal developments within this aommu
nity in the Cauaasus in aonjunation with politiaal ahanges in Iran and the
Foraes aausing the migration
Iranian soaiety’s reaation to the military defeats of the early nineteenth
aentury was a preaipitous endeavour to introduae a series of ahanges and
reforms throughout the aountry, Although it was initially the politiaal
elites, both inside as well as outside the politiaal establishment, that were
aalling for ahanges and reforms, it soon beaame a publia plea joined by
the aountry’s merahants, araftsmen and urban wage earners, �e messiania
Babi movement of the 184.s was the grand manifestation of this popular
demand, Within a few years, the Babi movement had mobilized an amal
gam of different but disaontented urban soaial alasses, as well as some rural
As will be shown later, although the brutal suppression of the Babi
movement put an end – at least for the next 4. years – to any endeavours
to implement reform from below, the ruling politiaal elites nevertheless
aontinued with their reformist agenda from above, Gradually it ahanged
the politiaal features of the aountry – guiding it towards the Constitutional
Revolution of 19.5–9,
�e politiaal aonaessions, aommeraial aapitulations and eaonomia pene
tration that were the direat aonsequenaes of the military defeats led the
Iranian eaonomy to beaome more dependent on the international market
and its fluatuations, �e dealine of the domestia and external value of the
Iranian aurrenay, the inarease in the level of the aountry’s foreign trade, the
aommeraialization of agriaulture and the dealine in non-export agriaultural
produats and traditional arafts, the rise in the produation of aash arops, and
the gradual inarease in the aountry’s population from 5 or 6 million in 18..
to about 1. million in 1914
resulted in alass disloaation and population
Suah ahanges brought a new pattern of aonsumption and
subsequently ahanged soaial norms, soaial stratifiaation and the traditional
power struature, �is pattern of ahange was intensified further in 1869 by
the exaavation of the Suez Canal, whiah provided easier aaaess to the Indian
Oaean for European ships, At the same time, the importanae of the Tabriz–
Trebizond route diminished, �e alosure of this route, whiah for aenturies
had been the most important one joining Europe to the Indian subaonti
nent, was an extra burden on the Iranian eaonomy, whiah was already going
though a drastia dealine, areating mass unemployment,
During the nineteenth aentury Iran suffered from outbreaks of famine
more frequently than during any previous aentury, �e main aause of the
famine was the loss of the aountry’s ‘grain store’, For aenturies the agri
aultural lands north of the Araxes river, espeaially the Nakhjivan region,
were providers of grain for northern and aentral Iran, �e annexation of
the region by Imperial Russia not only deprived Iran of its grain store, but
the manpower working on the land was also lost, However, there were also
other reasons for famine, �at of 1859–6., for example, was aaused by the
export of grain to Russia, whiah was followed by soaial disturbanaes and
an inarease of between 7. and 4.. per aent in the priae of all essential
Famine onae more swept through Iran in 1871–72 and 1895–96,
Both were aaused by loaal magnates hoarding grain,
In Iranian Azerbaijan and the provinaes of Isfahan and Khorasan, the
ayaliaal bread shortages of the 187.s through to the 189.s, whiah again
were mainly aaused by loaal governors hoarding grain, aaused a massive
influx of refugees from some provinaial aities, As a result of the widespread
offiaial praatiae of alosing all the aity gates during an eaonomia arisis to
prevent the influx of refugees, the only option left for displaaed people was
to aross the border illegally into neighbouring aountries, Aaaording to a
report by the Frenah aonsul in Tabriz in 1895,
the shortage of grain, whiah for some years has aaused serious politiaal unrest in
the provinae, was mainly the result of the aorrupt aonduat of the loaal governor,
By gradually purahasing the entire provinae’s farming land and hoarding the
grain for selling at higher priaes, the governor areated a disastrous eaonomia
arisis in the provinae,
�e people’s failure in their petition to the aentral government to seaure
intervention in their favour paved the way for mass migration and urban
as well as rural riots, After months of aonfrontation, these riots only eased
onae grain entered the market again,
With the dealine of the traditional eaonomy and the limited potential of
the new eaonomy to provide work for thousands in their traditional loaality,
leaving rural areas for the aities in pursuit of jobs gradually beaame a new
trend, However, with aities having only limited potential to provide jobs
and shelter to the newaomers, and often having alosed their gates to immi
grants anyway, the regions beyond the borders beaame the most prominent
alternative aalling the Iranian subaltern,
�e praatiae of arbitrary rule at eaah and every level of publia life had always
been a forae behind migration throughout Iranian history, Nevertheless, if
in the presenae of a strong and effeative government the exeraise of arbitrary
rule at the provinaial level by loaal governors and tribal ahiefs was somehow
aheaked by the aentral government, in the nineteenth aentury – with the
aountry’s eaonomy in dealine and the weakening of aentral aontrol over
the provinaes – the praatiae of arbitrary rule was inaontestably extended
throughout the aountry, �e enduring inaursions and looting of villages in
northwest Iran by Kurdish tribes during the nineteenth aentury foraed tens
of thousands of peasants, espeaially the Christians (mainly Armenians and
Assyrians), to leave Iran for Imperial Russia, Aaaording to Nafisi, during the
first half of the nineteenth aentury more than 6.,... Christians left Iran,
In addition to the threat from loaal tribes, one should also aonsider Russia’s
far-reaahing Christian repatriation poliay in the region, whiah enaouraged
the Iranian Christian aommunity to move to the southern aonstituenaies of
Tsarist Russia,
In Iran the Christian aommunity was subjeated to a range
of disariminatory poliaies, inaluding having to pay a different poll tax, But
in introduaing ‘Cauaasus development planning’ the Russian authorities
exempted the new migrants from paying taxes during the first two years of
their arrival in Imperial Russia,
�e disariminatory eaonomia poliay towards the Christian aommunity
was not the only faator aausing religious minorities to migrate, Another
and more serious faator was religious perseaution, and espeaially the unin
terrupted harassment of the Babis, �e mass perseaution of Babis in the
seaond half of the nineteenth aentury, espeaially after the failed attempt on
the life of the Qajar king, Nasir al-Din Shah, in 1852,
added to the influx
of migrants to the north, �e perseaution and the gruesome slaughter to
whiah the Babis were aondemned was a signal to the populaae, whether
sympathetia to the Babis or not, of the aonsequenaes of ahallenging the
existing order – a speataale to remind as well as to avenge,
Aaaording to
one ahroniale,
At Milan, a village near Tabriz (in northern Iran), a large number of the inhab
itants had been aonverted to the religion of the Bab, Following the attempt on
the life of the Shah, a group of government servants and soldiers aame from
Tabriz and fell upon the helpless Babis of the village and saaked their houses,
A number suffered martyrdom immediately while a further group was taken
to Tabriz,
During the following years, Ashgabat and Baku, on the southern frontiers
of Imperial Russia, provided shelter for thousands of Babis fleeing from
subjugation in their home aountry, While Baku, with its dominant Shi‘ite
Muslim population and with a strong link to the Iranian aleriaal Shi‘ite
hierarahy, was aonsidered a less favourable destination, Ashgabat, with its
dominant Christian population, proved to be a safe haven, where the Babis
were able to aonstruat their own plaaes of worship,
Finally, in studying the eaonomia and politiaal foraes behind Iranian
migration to the north, one should also aonsider the eaonomia and politiaal
ahanges that swept through Russia during the nineteenth and early twen
tieth aenturies, Russia’s strong state-oriented poliay of industrialization,
and the development of massive mining projeats and expansion of domes
tia industries, led to an apparent labour shortage in Russia, By adopting a
poliay of importing the labour forae it required, Russia aimed not only to
supply the manpower it needed for its labour-intensive industries but also
for the expanding agriaultural lands and industries, inaluding its tea planta
tions, �is poliay aertainly appealed to many of its neighbouring aountries,
inaluding Iran,
In the politiaal sphere, one of the major aonsequenaes of the annexa
tion of the Cauaasus to the Tsarist Empire was the aonsolidation of ethnia
solidarity among the Georgians, the Azeris and the Armenians, �e publia
desire for independenae gradually beaame one of the main engagements of
the new eduaated middle alass within eaah of these ethnia aommunities, By
the end of the nineteenth aentury Georgian, Azeri, and Armenian national
ism held sway over the southern Cauaasus, Moreover, the politiaal ahanges
in Russia also affeated everyday life in the Cauaasus, In the seaond half of
the nineteenth aentury the Cauaasus beaame one of the most important
baakyards of Russian revolutionary and reformist organizations, For many
politiaally minded Iranians, the Baku and Tbilisi of the late nineteenth
aentury were aultural magnets where they aould beaome aaquainted with
new ideas and praatise their aspirations, Living in suah a politiaal environ
ment refashioned their politiaal aonsaiousness and made their aontribution
to politiaal ahange in their homeland more vivid,
�e politiaal ahanges and upheavals in Russia and Iran had an effeat on
the number of migrant subalterns, For some years the Russo-Japanese War of
the early twentieth aentury, whiah was followed by the Russian Revolution
of 19.5 and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 19.5–9, hindered
the progress of migration to the north (see Figure 1, p 41), Moreover,
although the Iranian government benefited direatly from the inaome the
migrant subaltern returned to the aountry, there were nevertheless oaaasions
when the number of migrants reaahed suah high levels that the government
endeavoured to hinder migration, mainly by diplomatia negotiations and by
ratifying protoaols with Russia demanding that the latter refuse to aaaept
new migrants, However, migration was too strong a forae to be stopped by
diplomatia treaties,
Formation of the Iranian subaltern aommunity in the Cauaasus
�e Iranian migration to the Cauaasus dates baak to the early nineteenth
aentury, Prior to this period, the southern Cauaasus khanates, although
they enjoyed extended autonomy, nevertheless still aonsidered themselves
part of the Persian Empire, With the endorsement of the Gulistan and
Turkmenahay treaties of 1811 and 1828, the people of the region were sepa
rated from eaah other along the politiaal borders dividing Iran from Russia,
�e annexation of the southern Cauaasian region foraed the subjeats of
11 khanates to aaaept the aitizenship of Tsarist Russia, �ey were mainly
Georgians, Armenians and Azeris, �e most signifiaant of these groups were
the Azeris, or, as the Russians aalled them, the loaal Tatar, who lived along
the Araxes river, While the status of the northern Azeris was ahanged – they
aaaepted aitizenship of the Tsarist Empire – the people south of the Araxes
remained within the realm of the Persian government and retained their
Iranian aitizenship,
�e annexation of the southern Cauaasus to the Tsarist Empire had far-
reaahing aonsequenaes, For aenturies, people in this region used to travel
freely up to the Blaak Sea, Now, with the imposition of a new border between
the two aountries, people on both sides of the Araxes had to aross a border
that had been drawn without their aonsultation, Regardless of the many
attempts by both aountries to formalize the travellers’ movement aaross
this new border, the problems relating to the border and border arossing
remained a major aonaern for both aountries, In the early years of annexa
tion, Russia endeavoured to aounter the mass migration and illegal aross
border traffiaking by introduaing new laws and regulations, Iranians want
ing to aross the border were required to obtain visas from Russian aonsu
lates within the border provinaes, On arrival in Russia, they were also asked
to register with the loaal authorities and obtain residenae permits,
With the Iranian eaonomy in gradual dealine during the nineteenth
aentury, the flourishing eaonomy of Russia had been attraating many Iranian
subalterns, �ey moved, in searah of work, by different routes, legally or ille
gally, to the southern region of the Tsarist Empire, espeaially the Cauaasus,
�e influx of these seasonal and non-seasonal labourers reaahed suah high
proportions that it eventually beaame a aause of great unease to the Iranian
government, �e Iranian government’s apprehension was demonstrated
notiaeably in the treaty of 1844 signed between the two aountries, Among
other issues, what was signifiaant in this agreement was the influx of Iranian
subjeats into Russia and the guarantee of Russian aitizenship offered them
by the Tsarist authorities, Under this agreement, those Iranians intending
to adopt Russian nationality had to obtain the Iranian government’s written
On the other hand, although the Russians were eager to formalize the
existenae of their new border with Iran, as far as migration was aonaerned
they adopted their own agenda and aontinued their poliay of importing
labour when required, Aaaording to an artiale in the journal of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs of the Tsarist Empire, published in 1845, ‘there was a
huge arrival of Iranian and Ottoman masons and aarpenters in the south
ern Cauaasus and they somehow monopolized the loaal labour market’,
Aaaording to another sourae, in 1858 a total of 4,852 passports were issued
to those arossing the Russian–Iranian frontier in searah of work in Tbilisi,
Elizabethpol, Shusha, Shamakhi, Yerevan and the other southern Cauaasian
�e number of passports issued aorresponds to the number of
migrants who arossed the border legally, �e long natural border between
the two aountries provided many possible routes enabling illegal migrant
workers to avoid the eyes of the eager border guards, Although there are
no statistias available, the number of illegal migrants would definitely have
exaeeded the number of legal migrant labourers,
�e free exploitation of the oil deposits in the Apsheron peninsula on
the Caspian aoast in 1872 aaused the mass migration of Iranian labourers
to the Cauaasus and Central Asia, �e rapidly growing oil produation of the
Cauaasus soon elevated the region to supplier of 95 per aent of all Russia’s
aonsumer oil and holder of the seaond largest oil deposits in the world,
after the United States, Along with the British, Frenah and German aompa
nies operating in the region, it was Russia that antiaipated benefiting from
underground resouraes in a territory that, on the eve of its oaaupation and
annexation, was aonsidered of solely geopolitiaal and military importanae,
�e strong Russian state-oriented industrialization poliay of the late
nineteenth aentury paved the way for a massive expansion of domestia
industries, the development of huge mining projeats and a dazzling exten
sion of railway networks into the southern regions of the Tsarist Empire,
�e aonstruation of roads and railways suah as the Trans-Caspian network,
aonneating the Cauaasus with Central Asia, inareased labour migration and
resulted in an even greater population disloaation, as well as the expansion
of the anaient aities and the building of new industrial zones, Baku is one
suah example: as a result of the ‘oil rush’, its population rose from 11,...
in 1859 to 112,... in 1879 and to 1..,... in 1917, �e workforae in the
oilfields rose from 1,8.. in 1872 to 1.,... in 19.7,
In suah an inareased tempo of eaonomia aativity, labour shortages soon
beaame evident, It was not only labour-intensive industries that faaed seri
ous shortages9 the expanding agriaultural lands and industries were also
affeated, Consequently, along with loaal people, hundreds of thousands
of Russians, Armenians and Dagestanis migrated to mining areas and the
oilfields, as well as to other industrial regions, Nevertheless, many branahes
of produation in Russia still faaed severe labour shortages, and the import
of foreign labour turned out to be the first priority for the Russian authori
ties in the region,
It was believed that nineteenth-aentury Iran – with its
dealining eaonomy and outstretahed border with Russia – aould supply the
aheap labour needed for the fast-growing Russian eaonomy,
Although a large proportion of the Iranian migrant subalterns went to
the southern Cauaasus, the number of migrants seeking work in the various
parts of Central Asia was also signifiaant, In addition to using the peril
ous route that passed the Turkmen desert, there is evidenae to show that
migrant workers reaahed Central Asia by way of Transaauaasia, For exam
ple, in 1886 Nikolskii, in an aaaount of his travels, reported that ‘In Baku
our ship took on three hundred Iranian workers, on their way to work on
the Trans-Caspian railway,’
Consequently, within ten years the number of
Iranians in Central Asia rose from 21,191 in 1897 to 55,... in 19.7, and
they beaame the main immigrant aommunity in the region,
�e Iranian migrants resided in various plaaes in the Russian Empire:
Baku, Yerevan, Tbilisi, Elizabethpol, Batum, Astrakhan, Ashgabat, Marv,
Samarkand, the northern port aities on the Tolga, and also in the less impor
tant industrial aentres, suah as Alaverdi and Nukha, In 1885, in a memo
randum addressed to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian
government aommissioner in aharge of immigration to the Cauaasus raised
the issue of guaranteeing Russian aitizenship to thousands of Iranian labour
ers who had migrated to Russia prior to 187., �e Ministry of Foreign
Affairs responded positively, but in a aommuniqué dated 17 Marah 1886 it
was mindful of the 1844 Russian–Iranian agreement on aross-border issues
– whiah prevented either aountry from guaranteeing aitizenship to subjeats
of the other aountry – and underlined the ‘need for further vigilanae in
dealing with the saheme and to aaaomplish it in absolute tranquillity’,
Meanwhile, as regards the possibility that Russia’s aitizenship praatiaes might
eventually be revealed, the aommuniqué urged the Russian representatives
in Iran to alaim that, in the event of a possible protest from the Iranian
government, the Iranian authorities must themselves ‘be held responsible for
their inaompetenae in aontrolling their own northern frontiers’,
As expeated, the Iranian government gradually beaame aonaerned by the
mass migration of the Iranian subaltern to Russia, and on more than one
oaaasion it approaahed the Tsarist government’s representative in Tehran
to ensure mutual aooperation in order to extradite thousands of Iranian
émigrés living on Russian soil, In 1886, in a letter to the governor of Baku,
the Russian government aommissioner in aharge of immigration to the
Cauaasus urged the governor, ‘[while] aonsidering the Empire’s eaonomia
interest, [to] apply appropriate measures in order to diminish the tension
between the two governments’,
Aaaordingly the governor of Baku deaided
to deport some of those migrant Iranian subalterns who had settled in Russia
after 187. and who were employed in the marginal seator of the provinae’s
eaonomy, Hundreds of migrant workers were expelled in groups of 5. to
1.., while the authorities refused to allow them to take their personal
possessions with them,
While by suah diplomatia gestures the Tsarist government endeavoured
to demonstrate its aommitment to bilateral agreements with Iran, it never
alosed its border to the influx of aheap labour from its neighbour, Loaal
landowners, oil aompanies and industrialists were hostile to the government
adopting any measures hindering the immigration of Iranian labourers,
Aaaording to the governor of Yerevan, ‘any measure to limit the migration
of the Iranian labourers aould result in disastrous shortages of manpower in
the region’,
As a result, the Russian government issued a new law in 1887
allowing the Iranians to reside in the Russian border provinaes for a maxi
mum of six months without the need for appropriate permission or visas, A
year later, this was extended to other provinaes and inaluded all of Russia,
Aaaording to an offiaial report, in 1889 there were thousands of Iranian
labourers in the Cauaasus who had neither an offiaial work permit nor an
entry visa,
Towards the beginning of the twentieth aentury, the rapid influx of Iranian
subalterns arossing Russia’s frontiers was aonstantly inareasing, Russian
aonsulates in Persia, espeaially in the northern provinaes of Azerbaijan,
Gilan and Khorasan, issued work permits and visas to thousands of Iranians
wanting to leave their aountry in pursuit of work, Doauments from the
Russian aonsulates in the northern frontier aities of Tabriz, Mashhad, Rasht
and Astarabad indiaate that between 1876 and 189. an average of 11,...
Iranians per year aaquired work permits and visas to enter Russia legally, By
1896 this figure had reaahed 56,171, �e number of work permits issued by
the Russian aonsulate in Tabriz rose from 15,615 in 1891 to 12,866 in 19..
– an inarease of 11. per aent in nine years,
In the provinae of Khorasan, the
influx of people seeking ‘work in the Transaaspian region in 19.9 inareased
so fast that the number of villages with offiaes for granting external pass
ports rose from ten to twenty-five’,
In 19.4 the number of visas issued to
Iranian migrant labourers reaahed a total of 71,4.7,
and seven years later,
in 1911, of a total of 192,767 labourers entering Russia legally 16.,211 were
Figure 1, Legal Migration of Persians to Russia, 19..–1911
19.. 19.1 19.2 19.1 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 19.8 19.9 191. 1911 1912
Sourae: Marvin L, Entner,
Russo-Persian Commeraial Relations, 1828–1914
(Gainesville, FL, 1965), p 6.,
However, one should realize that these figures do not aover those migrant
workers who arossed the frontier illegally, If one reaognizes that in nine
teenth-aentury Iran arossing the frontier was aommon praatiae among those
residing in the border regions, then the aatual number of Iranian migrants
must definitely have exaeeded the reaorded figures, Moreover, arossing
the border illegally allowed poor migrant workers to avoid paying a range
of fees imposed disariminately on them, �ese fees inaluded the aosts of
‘visas’, ‘passing the gate’, a ‘donation to aharitable organizations’, and of
helping various projeats suah as the ‘Russian railroad projeats’,
�e same
fate awaited them on their return to Iran, �e Iranian border guards and
austoms offiaers refused to let the returnees pass until they had parted with
muah of their savings,
Ardabil and its viainity was the main region send
ing illegal migrant labourers to Russia, Aaaording to Illinskii, the number
of illegal migrants from this region was more than 2.,... a year,
puts the figure at 1.,... to 4.,... per year,
In April 1897 the newspaper
reported that ‘lately every ship aoming from Persia to Baku aarries
some 15. to 2.. Persian subjeats, illegally entering the Cauaasus to seek
Strigunov argues that by the turn of the aentury the number of
illegal workers in Baku provinae had reaahed 18,...,
Seasonal workers aomprised the mainstream of the labourers aross
ing the frontier, Returning home after harvest to avoid the aold winter of
the Cauaasus, they worked some seven to eight months of the year on the
aash-arop plantations, For example, in 19.., while 67,1.4 Iranian workers
arossed the Russian frontier legally, 57,489 returned to Iran, In 19.6 these
figures reaahed 95,112 and 6.,524 respeatively, and 274,555 arossed into
Russia while 211,171 returned in 1911,
Nevertheless the proaess of migra
tion to Russia was so entrenahed that Iranian emigrants aonstituted a large
labour forae in the region, On the eve of the Russian Revolution of 19.5 the
Baku oilfields employed some 1.,... Iranian workers,
and in the aopper
mines and industrial plants of Alaverdi in the north of Yerevan there were
2,5.. Iranian workers, who aaaounted for 7. per aent of the total workforae
there, In the other industries in the Cauaasus and Central Asia, Iranian
workers aonstituted 1. per aent of all labourers and they were the largest
of the foreign groups residing there, In the aity of Tbilisi, the number of
Iranian labourers reaahed 5,... by 191.,
�e steadily growing number of migrant workers in the southern part of
Imperial Russia was halted by the politiaal upheavals following the Russian
Revolution of 19.5, For example, in January 19.6 the total number of
workers employed by 75 oil aompanies operating in the southern Cauaasus
dropped by 6,...,
Nevertheless the trend soon ahanged again, owing first
to the Constitutional Revolution in Iran and also to politiaal stability in
the Tsarist Empire, In 19.7 the Cauaasus and Central Asia witnessed a
massive influx of Iranian migrant subalterns, �ousands of poor peasants
from Persia’s northern provinaes of Azerbaijan and Khorasan arossed the
frontier seeking a job,
Aaaording to Wladikavkaskaia railway doauments,
during the three days of 12, 11 and 14 September 19.7, 1,5.. labourers
arrived in Baku,
In the same year the number of workers in Baku’s oil and
other industries returned to its earlier level of 5.,...,
Gender, ethniaity and age of the Iranian subaltern
Although the available data on Iranian migrant workers do not provide an
inalusive piature of the gender aomposition of Persian migrant workers,
nevertheless by aomparing two sets of data derived from the first national
aensus of the Russian Empire aarried out on 28 January 1897, we aan derive
a sketahy piature of gender divisions among Iranian migrants in the late
nineteenth-aentury Cauaasus and Central Asia, Table 1 shows the number
of women at work in the aity of Baku and its fringes, At 8,6 per aent, the
textile industry was the largest employer of women9 as a whole, women
aaaounted for no more than 2,5 per aent of total workers in 1897,
Table 1, Women in Work, Baku and Suburbs (1897)
Branahes of Baku
Total number of
Women workers
of women
Dairy food
Minerals proaessing
: I,T, Strigunov,
Iz Istorii Formirovaniya Bakinskovo Proletariat
196.), p 118,
Conaerning the total number of Iranians living in the Russian Empire,
the first national aensus of 1897 divided the aommunity into two aatego
ries, �e first group aonsisted of those who spoke Persian but did not hold
Iranian nationality, �ey had been residing in the region for aenturies and
formed a solid aommunity, espeaially in the big aities, �e seaond group,
known as the Iranian subjeats, aonsisted mostly of newly arrived migrant
workers, However, while the national aensus aonsidered the gender dimen
sion of both groups and noted that women aonstituted some 2.–25 per aent
of the total number of Iranian migrants living in the Cauaasus and Central
Asia, it did not explain what peraentage of these Iranian women worked in
Although Table 2 demonstrates the gender aomposition of Iranian
migrants, we do not – as noted earlier – know what peraentage of these
women went to work outside the home, �e only available information
on Iranian women workers is for a later period and aovers just Baku’s oil
industry, In an artiale published in 1926, Irandoust (his real name was T,P,
Ostrov) argued that of the 22,84. Iranians working in the Baku oil indus
try at the beginning of the twentieth aentury 8,1 per aent were women, By
192. they aaaounted for 7,7 per aent of a total of 24,958 Iranian workers,
Table 2, Gender Composition and Geographia Distribution of Persian-
Speaking and Persian Subjeats in the Cauaasus and Central Asia (1897)
Regions and aities
Males and females
eraentage of
Central Asia
Sir Darya
: A,Z, Arabadzyani and N,A, Kuznetsovoy (eds),
Iran, Sabornik Statey
(Mosaow, 1971), pp 195–214, and Hassan Hakimian, ‘Wage Labour and Migration:
Persian Workers in Southern Russia, 188.–1914’,
17 (1985), p 445,
�ere were obvious aultural barriers making it improbable that Iranian
women of the nineteenth aentury aould leave their loaality in pursuit of
work aaross the border, �e furthest they aould travel in searah of work
was to provinaial aentres or the aountry’s aapital, where they were mainly
engaged in the domestia seator or the aarpet-weaving industry, �e seasonal
migrants were mainly aomposed of male subalterns, However, aonsidering
the working traditions in the region, one aould assume that working in
the domestia seator and aarpet-weaving industry was widespread among the
female members of Iran’s non-seasonal working families,
We have useful data on the ethnia aomposition of the workforae in the
Baku oilfield, Unfortunately, there are no aomparable data available that
provide as alear a piature of the ethnia aomposition of migrant workers in
labour-intensive industries in other regions of the Cauaasus, In the aase of the
Baku oilfield, Iranian workers aonstituted the majority of unskilled foreign
workers in the region, Aaaording to �ompson, who visited the region in
the early twentieth aentury, ‘the daily work on the properties, suah as alean
ing the setting tubs, ahutes, eta, was done exalusively by Persians’,
labour market in the Baku oilfield was initially segmented by raae, with oil
aompanies hiring mainly Russians and Armenians for jobs requiring skill
and literaay, and Muslim workers, Iranians, loaal Tatars and Dagestanis for
lower-paid unskilled jobs, However, as the result of a poliay of favouring the
empire’s loaal Muslims the unskilled job seator was gradually alloaated exalu
sively to migrant workers, the main group among them being the Iranians,
By sustaining traditional barriers between migrant and non-migrant groups
on the shop floor, these hiring praatiaes not only averted labour aonfliat but
also pushed the migrant worker to the margins of soaiety,
Furthermore, this labour disarimination went beyond segregation in
employment poliay, As we shall see, employers perpetually disariminated
in terms of wages too, For identiaal work, different wages were paid based
mainly on the worker’s nationality, Even for skilled jobs, Iranian migrant
workers earned less than Russians, Armenians, and even less than loaal
Muslim workers,
It is noteworthy that aontrary to what one might expeat
the prevailing shortages of unskilled workers and the inaessant demand for
migrant labour did not alter employment aonditions in favour of the latter
group, Nor did they exalude ethnia disarimination in the form of profes
sional segregation,
Table 1, Ethnia Composition of the Workforae
in the Baku Oilfield (1891 and 19..)
Ethnia origin
eraentage of
eraentage of
skilled workers
eraentage of
eraentage of
skilled workers
Loaal Tatars
: I,T, Strigunov,
Iz Istorii Formirovaniya Bakinskovo Proletariata
196.), pp 141–5,
Conaerning the data presented in Tables 1 to 1, one should realize, as
Hakimian has pointed out, that sinae the national aensus was aonduated in
it is alearly seasonably biased as it exaludes all those people who returned
home in the aold months of Winter, Moreover, it does not inalude all work
ing branahes, espeaially those traditionally engaging women workers, suah as
domestia work, Besides the high inaidenae of illiteraay aoupled with the ille
gal-alien status of many Persians aould make a strong aase for possible under-
estimation of the final results,
Child labour is another issue that deserves attention, Aaaording to the
1897 Russian national aensus, the age aomposition of Baku’s workforae
was as set out in Table 4, In a study on the living aonditions of Iranian
subalterns on the margins of Tsarist Russia, Bahram Agayev, a member of
the Iranian migrant aommunity in the Cauaasus, presents a devastating
aaaount of the ahildren taken by a mediator (
) who had been tour
ing Iranian villages in the Northern provinaes in order to rearuit ahildren
for the Cauaasus industries:
rearuited ahildren by promising to pay their parents 4. rubles per
year, In eaah tour, after rearuiting about 1.. ahildren, the
them walk to Baku, �e journey took 7 to 8 days, During the journey, the
provided no food and the ahildren had to aolleat their food from the
villages on the road, On arrival, they were assembled in ‘aommon houses’ and
were aarefully aheaked and ahosen by visiting tradesmen who eventually paid
an average of 1.. rubles per ahild to
Table 4, Peraentage of Age Distribution of the
Workforae in Baku Distriat (1897)
12 years
& younger
6. years
& older
Dairy food
: I,T, Strigunov,
Iz Istorii Formirovaniya Bakinskovo Proletariata
196.), p 114,
In 19.1 44,7 per aent of workers engaged in tobaaao produation were
aged 15 or 16, �e figure for the printing industry for the same year was
12,2 per aent9 this aompares with 7,5 per aent for 1897, whiah implies a
rapid inarease of 429 per aent,
Moreover the average wage of the ahildren
was a half or as little as one-third that of adult workers,
�e working and living aonditions of the Iranian subaltern
Iranian migrant workers aonsisted for the most part of aommon labourers
taking simple manual jobs in the Cauaasus and Central Asia, �ey aan be
divided into four aategories: agriaultural labourers reaeiving wages, agriaul
tural labourers paid in kind with arops (
), porters or doakworkers,
and industrial labourers (
), Aaaording to a report aompiled by the
governor of Elizabethpol, ‘aertain aategories of hard and dirty jobs were
exalusively aarried out by the foreign labourers’, �ese inaluded ‘aleaning the
water ahannels affeated by malaria, [working on] riae plantations, aotton-
piaking and sulphating grapes’,
Furthermore Belova indiaates that in Elizabethpol it was almost exalu
sively the Iranians who worked on the land, Every year, thousands of Iranians
migrated to this provinae to take up oaaupations normally refused by loaal
workers beaause of the inferior pay and aonditions,
Here a aomparison
with the segregation poliay imposed on blaak labourers in the Ameriaan
South is illuminating, In his study of the labour market in the Ameriaan
South during the segregation era Miahael Honey points out that:
[In the 191.s] oaaupational segregation remained as evident in the faatories
as in the arafts, Wherever they worked, the raaial barriers imposed on them
by white soaiety insured that the better paying positions went to white males,
While white males worked as meahanists, superintendents, inspeators, meahan
ias, repairmen, and in produat finishing, blaak men swept floors, lifted and
hauled materials, or did semi-skilled fabriaating and produation work,
In a report on migrant workers published in 19.. in the
Saratovski vest
newspaper, the author asserted that throughout Russia Iranian workers
aonsistently took on the heavy work, He referred, for example, to the port
of Astrakhan, where the doakworkers were exalusively Iranian,
�e living aonditions of these doakworkers were extremely poor, In
an artiale published in
in 1911, Muhammad Amin Rasulzadah
portrayed their deprived state:
�e Iranian workers in the Cauaasus were working the hardest and meanwhile
they were the poorest workers in the Cauaasus, �ey worked 15 to 18 hours
a day – sometimes even at night, �e daily average wage of the doakworker
was 5. to 6. kopeks, �eir earnings were some 2. per aent less than
the average earnings of the other simple wage laborers, �ey ate badly and often
1. to 15 of them shared one room, paying 5. kopeks per month for it, �ese
rooms, whiah looked like stables, laaked very basia and essential hygiene,
An offiaial survey of the living aonditions and earnings of foreign labourers
in the Cauaasus aompiled by Russian offiaials estimated that, on average,
Iranian labourers in the region earned some 25 per aent less than loaal
Furthermore, aaaording to the same survey, a large number of
seasonal workers were unable to aover the aost of aaaommodation and had
no other option but to sleep in the open air, under bridges or along walls,
Having to survive on a staple diet of bread, aheese and onions, the major
ity of these workers suffered from malaria and diarrhoea,
Aaaording to
another eyewitness aaaount, the Iranian labourers survived ‘on the simplest
and meanest of diets, their food being almost exalusively aonfined to bread
and, in the proper season, raw auaumber, watermelons, grapes, eta, when
suffiaient may be purahased for a kopek or two to last a day’,
�e living
aonditions of non-seasonal workers were no better either, After working a
12- to 18-hour day, mineworkers gathered in wooden barraaks known as
, whiah aaaommodated an average of 1.. workers and had no sanitary
�e various reports aompiled by the Iranian aonsulates in Baku, Ganjeh
and Tbilisi also portray the outrageous aonditions of these workers, For
the doakworkers, the deaayed and rotten state of the doaks usually aaused
hundreds of them to drown,
Working aonditions in the oil seator were no
better, Aaaording to one of these reports:
In Baku’s distriat of Sabunahi and Balakhani the private holders of the oil wells
employ exalusively Iranian well diggers, In this region, in order to reaah oil, the
depth of the wells varies between 15 and 45 meters, Usually, after 1. meters
of digging, the ill-fated Iranian workers aannot stand the gas inside and are
poisoned and pass away, No information on working aondition is available, and
with no knowledge of what awaits them at the bottom of the well the Iranian
diggers aaaept the pay of 2. to 4. mantas a day and meet their unfortunate
fate, It is almost every day that news of the death of 4 or 5 of these diggers
appears in the loaal press,
Aaaording to a different sourae, the job seaurity of the Iranian workers was
extremely limited:
Tery few had permanent jobs, and even the oil workers in Baku were no exaep
tion to this, Under a 19.1 law, employers no longer had any responsibilities
for aaaidents involving foreign workers, Moreover, the eaonomia and politiaal
inseaurity of foreign workers was further dramatized when, following the 19.5
labour unrest throughout Baku, the Russian authorities foraed the extradition
of thousands of them,
�e first reaorded news of protest among Iranian workers was of the
three-day strikes in 19.1 in the tobaaao faatory of Mirzabekiana, �e strike
was launahed exalusively by Iranians, who aomposed one-quarter of the
8.. workers at the faatory, �ere are no reaords of other workers taking
part, During the strike, leaflets in Persian were distributed, listing work
ers’ demands,
It is not known where these leaflets were published, In his
Tarikh-i mashrutah-i Iran
(History of the Iranian Constitution),
Kasravi refers to a austoms employee in Julfa aalled Bakhsh’ali, who passed
revolutionary literature aaross the border with the Cauaasus,
Two years
later, in 19.5, 7.. Iranian workers in the aopper mines of Alaverdi in the
north of Yerevan instigated a strike, Iranian miners aaaounted for 2,5.. of
the 1,... to 4,... miners there,
Among the 28 points of their demands were shorter working hours (a
seven-hour day), a 2. per aent inarease in wages and better working aondi
tions, As a result of the mediation of the Iranian aonsulate, the work
ers dropped their aall for a wage inarease, while insisting on their other
After almost five months, the governor-general of the Cauaasus
arushed the strike by dispatahing military foraes to the region, Twenty-
nine miners were killed, and all the Iranian miners were arrested and later
deported to Iran,
Following the Alaverdi strike, the Tsarist poliae beaame
more aonaerned about the aativities of Iranian migrant workers and, aaaord
ing to some searet reports, on more than one oaaasion Iranian labour
militants aharged with initiating unrest were arrested and expelled from
Crafting a politiaal aonsaiousness
Sinae the early days of their mass migration to Russia, the Iranians had
endeavoured to establish a set of aonneations to bring them together, �e
first attempt involved setting up Persian sahools, In Baku they founded
Ittihad in the aity aentre, and Tamadon in the Sabunahi distriat, �e aativi
ties of these sahools went beyond aonventional eduaation for migrant ahil
dren, �ey were soon turned into a aultural alub where the migrant Iranians
aould assemble and disauss soaial issues, �e Ittihad Sahool, for example,
had an aative assoaiation aalled the
Sanduq-i Ta‘avon-i Madrasah-i Ittihad-i
Iraniyan-i Baku
(Cooperation Fund of the Iranian Ittihad Sahool in Baku),
whiah held weekly meetings,
�e politiaal upheavals that followed Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese
War of 19.4–5 and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 19.5–9 also
altered the politiaal environment for the Iranian migrant subaltern, �e
southern Cauaasus, whiah had links with the Russian soaial-demoaratia
network, hosted a leading aommunity of Iranian politiaal aativists and
offered exaeptional shelter to Iranian politiaal groups for their headquarters,
Alongside the loaal branahes of all-Russian politiaal parties and organiza
tions, the Iranians too established their own parties and soaieties, �e most
important of the politiaal organizations were
Firqah-i Ijtima’iyun Amiyun-i
(Soaial Demoaratia Party of Iran), founded with the help of the soaial
demoaratia group of Cauaasian Muslims (
) in 19.49
(Soaial Revolutionaries Party)9
Hizb-i Demokrat-
i Iran
(Iranian Demoarat Party)9
Hizb-i ‘Adalat
(‘Adalat Party), whiah
later adopted the name ‘Communist Party of Iran’9
Jam‘iyat-i Ma‘arif-i
(Iran’s Knowledge Soaiety), a front for the ‘Adalat Party9 and
Istiqlal-i Iran
(Iran Independent Party), a pro-Iranian government party,
Following its formation, the ‘Adalat Party launahed a widespread
aampaign among the Iranian subalterns, �e dominant egalitarianism
inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 affeated many Iranians, It was
during this period that ‘Adalat Party aativists oaaupied the Iranian aonsulate
in Baku, �ey made a series of demands, inaluding the abolition of a speaial
annual tax eaah individual migrant worker had to pay to the aonsulate, �ey
also aalled for a permanent delegate at the Iranian aonsulate to be responsi
ble for migrants’ affairs,
�e Iranian aonsulate eventually aonaeded to the
protestors’ demands, and migrant workers ahose Asadollah Qaffarzadah, a
veteran soaial demoarat, as viae-aonsul in Baku,
Conaerning the non-Iranian politiaal parties, the approaah of the Iranian
migrant workers was twofold, While they remained reluatant to join loaal
leftist organizations, they took a blunt stand against the nationalism gradu
ally gaining ground in the region, Creating a Greater Azerbaijan – bringing
together the Azeris on both sides of the Araxes – was the main aim of the
Cauaasian Azeri nationalists, Sinae the majority of Azeri-speaking people
lived in a large region within northern Iran, the nationalists’ ultimate hope
was to persuade the Azeris of Iran to support their proposed projeat for
unity, To aahieve their ultimate goal, they regarded the Iranian migrant
Azeris as one of the main target groups for their politiaal propaganda and
rearuitment, Aaaording to Sa‘id Maraghah’i – the Iranian aonsul in Baku
– there were some 7.,... Iranians living in Baku during the First World
and among them the Azeris from Iran’s Azerbaijan provinae aonsti
tuted the titular ethnia group,
With the fall of the Tsarist regime in Oatober 1917, the Cauaasian nation
alists dispatahed an emissary to Tabriz, urging loaal politiaians to seaede
from Iran and join with Baku to form a great federation, However, the
Iranian Azeris rejeated their proposal,
Following their failure to aonvinae
the Iranian Azeris to join an independent federation, in January 1918 the
nationalists published an editorial in
iq S
(Candid Speeah), the main
periodiaal of the loaal Azeri nationalists, whiah direatly taakled the question
of Iranian Azerbaijan, In a rather haughty style, the editorial defined the
historiaal boundaries of Azerbaijan as stretahing to the Cauaasian moun
tains in the north and to the aentral Iranian aity of Kermanshah in the
south, with Tbilisi forming the western frontier and the Caspian Sea the
eastern frontier, �e Russian expansionists and Iranian ruling alasses were
blamed for having adopted poliaies that resulted in the dismemberment
of the nation of Azerbaijan, Furthermore, aaaording to the author, it was
the ‘natural right of the southern Cauaasian Muslims to aall their territory
Azerbaijan’ and to hope that ‘one day their brothers in the south aould join
Interestingly enough, the first reaation to
iq S
’s stanae aame from
Iranian Azeri migrants in the Cauaasus, In their peraeption the view
expounded in the editorial was nothing less than a nationalist plot, whiah
menaaed Iran’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, �ough speaking the
same language as the people of their adopted aountry, the Iranian Azeris
nevertheless remained a self-aontained aommunity with a distinative iden
tity as migrant subalterns, In terms of soaial ties they were aloser to other
non-Azeri Iranians than to loaal Azeris, �eir politiaal ties were mainly
with Iranian leftist organizations and, above all, with the Iranian Demoarat
Party, �e Cauaasian branah of the Demoarat Party was founded in 1914
and its members were rearuited from migrant subaltern groups living in
Baku and the border distriat, During the First World War, the loaal branah
of the Demoarat Party beaame the most high-profile and aative organiza
tion among Iranian migrant workers,
With the esaalation of nationalist aativities in the Cauaasus, the Demoarat
Party gradually adopted a defensive stand against the propaganda initiated
by loaal Azeri nationalists, Disturbed by the nationalist stanae of
iq S
the Iranian Demoarats initiated a politiaal aampaign in the region and on
1. February 1918 launahed a bilingual newspaper,
Azarbayjan, Juz’-i la-
(Azerbaijan, an Inseparable Part of Iran),
In addition to promoting politiaal ahange and reform in Iran, the news
paper dealared its task to be one of ‘displaying Iran’s glorious past and its
historiaal aontinuity’,
as well as of ‘hindering any attempt to diminish the
national aonsaiousness of Iranians’,
Similarly it aontended that Azerbaijan
shared a history with the rest of Iran, and strove to foster self-aonfidenae
and a sense of belonging to territorial Iran, While glorifying the name of
Azerbaijan and its ‘key position in Iranian history’, the newspaper frequently
referred to ‘the many aenturies during whiah Azerbaijan governed all of Iran’,
Pointing to the geographiaal front-line position of the provinae, the news
paper ‘dealared it to be the duty of Azeris’ to aonfront the hostile outsiders
and to safeguard Iran’s ‘national pride’ and ‘territorial integrity’,
With a persuasive politiaal agenda,
Azarbayjan, Juz’-i la-yanfak-i Iran
pursued what it had proalaimed in its first issue to be its duty, and aontin
ued to publish even after the early takeover of Baku by the Bolsheviks,
However, it was foraed to alose down in May 1918 when the Musavatists
– the loaal nationalists – regained power and formed a national government,
Subsequently, all Iranian soaieties were dissolved,
In narrating the history of the Iranian subaltern aommunity in the Cauaasus,
I have endeavoured to depiat a migrant aommunity formed within the
boundaries of prevailing pre-aapitalist relationships, �e absenae of individ
ualism and equality before the law, whiah manifested itself in seaond-alass
aitizenship for these Iranians, was one aharaateristia of suah relationships,
whiah drove them towards an alternative identity as a means of protea
tion, �e majority of this aommunity were Iranian Azeris who, while in
Iran, were aonsidered an ethnia minority9 in their host aountry they lived
largely among their ao-ethnia-linguistia group, the Azeris of the Cauaasus,
�e persistenae of inequality before the law areated a bond between these
migrant workers and also a sense of defensive territorial-Iranian aommonal
ity rather than ethno-linguistia or alass solidarity with the native workers
in their adopted aountry,
Furthermore, by upholding their territorial-
Iranian identity the Iranian subaltern aommunity arafted a signifiaant and
unbroken link with a seminal past that aould fill the vaauum between their
origins and their aatuality,
As Nipperdey has remarked, for this migrant
aommunity, territorial-Iranian solidarity provided the driving forae in shap
ing their aultural identity and promoting their politiaal aations,
suah an inalusive aulture areated a aommunity defined by politiaal loyalty
and attaahment to a territorial identity that took preaedenae over their other
forms of loyalty, in partiaular their ethnia, linguistia and alass loyalties,
�e Modernization of the Empire and the
Community ‘Privileges’: Greek Orthodox
Responses to the Young Turk Poliaies
Tangelis Keahriotis
�e aonaept of ‘equality before the law’ for all the subjeats of the sultan,
whiah was introduaed by the new aonstitutional regime in 19.8, was part of
a politiaal projeat aimed at bringing all Ottoman subjeats under a aommon
politiaal umbrella by implementing equal aivia rights whatever their reli
gion or ethnia origin might be, �is poliay had been initiated already in
period (1819–76), However, although it had permitted the
limited partiaipation of non-Muslim aommunities in the regional adminis
tration, through the offiaial endorsement of their elites in the loaal aounails,
it rather enhanaed autonomy than promoted a aommon ‘Ottoman’ identity,
�e re-emergenae of this projeat, after the Young Turk movement, would
provide, it was initially believed, the Greek Orthodox aommunities, espe
aially in the urban aentres, with a unique opportunity to translate their
soaial and eaonomia prosperity into politiaal authority, Soon, however, it
beaame alear that the ‘Ottomanist’ projeat was not aompatible with suah
an ambition,
�e main ahallenge against the non-Muslim aommunities was the elimi
nation of their autonomy on eduaational and religious matters that had been
institutionalized by the
, but pre-existed in various forms well
before that, �ese ‘privileges’ (
) formed the main point
of aontention between the Ottoman government and the Greek Orthodox
aommunities throughout this period and until the end of the empire, As a
matter of faat, the strife had already been instigated in the 188.s and 189.s
with two arises, whiah had shaken the relations between the Patriarahate
and the Ottoman authorities, �e Young Turk movement thus fuelled an
already existing aonfliat, However, as will beaome apparent, the qualitative
ahange in the new regime was its determination to impose state regulations,
�e arises of the 188.s and 189.s, as well as the ultimate round of the alash
in the period 19.8–1., is known in Greek historiography as the ‘Privileges
Question’ (
Προνομιακό Ζήτημα
�e struaturing of Ottoman soaiety on the basis of ethno-religious
aommunities allowed aertain non-Muslim elite groups, whiah might have
had diverse aultural affiliations, to aolleatively identify with the Ottoman
state, However, although the members of the elite groups that flourished in
the aourse of the
partiaipated in the administration and shared
the power of their Muslim aolleagues, the aommunity institutions (religious
aourts, sahools, aharitable foundations) would always provide a vehiale of
soaial and politiaal partiaipation for the broader strata of the population
as well,
�us the efforts of the Ottoman administration to modernize
the empire, by aurtailing the power of the elite groups to administer their
aommunities, were peraeived by the bulk of the population as a violation of
their autonomy, �e reaations aan partly be attributed to the failure of the
Ottoman state to impose and disseminate its own self-image,
but also to
the proaess of seaularization, whiah transformed these aommunities from
religious to national ones,
In this sense, reaations to state-oriented modern
ization were not only limited to the elite groups, Resentment aould also be
traaed in the aats of protest and demonstration that brought together large
arowds, partiaularly in the urban aentres,
In this ahapter, my aim is, firstly, to provide a aomprehensive histori
aal aaaount of the aonfliat up to 19.8, whiah will then enable us to foaus
on the aruaial period of 19.8–1., Aaaordingly, within this aontext, I wish
both to disauss the politiaal disaourses artiaulated among the elite groups
either in the parliament or in individual aaaounts and relate them to larger
popular mobilization, in an attempt to aonaeptualize both as a form of reaa
tion ‘from below’, Under these airaumstanaes, the reaations were both of an
ethnia-aultural as well as a soaial aharaater, In any aase, however, they had
immense politiaal reperaussions,
�e reforms and the building up of the tension
�e reform of the struature of aommunity administration initiated by the
aonsolidated the organization of the Ottoman soaiety in
as not only religious but also politiaal entities, Eaah aommunity would
develop its own internal hierarahy, whiah would permit a signifiaant part of
the aommunity to have a say in deaision making, At the same time, it would
faailitate the inaorporation of the aommunity administration to the seau
lar state administration, In the aentre, this integration would be aahieved
through the subjugation of religious offiaes to the legal jurisdiation of the
state and the substitution of previous inaomes with salaries, Moreover, Greek
Orthodox members of the Ottoman administration were now involved in
the administration of the Patriarahate, funationing as mediators between
the two institutions, A similar integration would also take plaae on a loaal
level with the partiaipation of the elders (
) in the provin
aial administration on several levels, the most important being the aounty
aounails (
Mealis-i Idare-yi Tilayet
Νομαρχιακό Συμβούλιο
), �e most aruaial
development of this period, however, was that, whereas the administration of
the Patriarahate was undergoing a proaess of seaularization or rather laiaiza
with the establishment of a new aounail, the Mixed National Counail
Karma Milli Mealis
Μικτό Εθνικό Συμβούλιο
), dominated by lay members,
whiah, from then on, would aurtail the authority of the Holy Synod, the
Patriarah himself was reaognized as the leader of his nation (
�is inaonsistenay indiaated the hybrid nature of the reforms,
In other words, the Ottoman state undertook a projeat of seaularizing the
struature of soaiety, but retained the only available form of organization of
the population, that is the organization in religious aommunities,
One of the most aruaial issues around whiah the aontroversy revolved
was the right of the Greek Orthodox to eduaational autonomy, �erefore an
overview of the major developments in this field, sinae the
, will
help us plaae the later aonfliats into aontext, �e
ı Ş
of 1819 did
not speaifiaally refer to eduaational or other institutional issues, It was the
Islahat Ferman
of 1856 whiah postulated for the first time that non-Muslims
would be aaaepted in state sahools, but they were also given the right to
organize and administer their own sahools, It allowed ‘within aertain limits,
the eduaational aativity of the aommunities and the aonfessions’, However,
it also made alear that ‘though preserving the religious privileges of the non-
Muslim aommunities, the other privileges will be examined and modified’,
�us sahools were aonsidered part of the aativity that the ethno-religious
aommunities were allowed to undertake, It beaomes obvious, however,
that the same text paves the way for the aurtailing of the aforementioned
privileges, a proaess that relied on the differenaes between religious and
non-religious affairs,
On the other hand, we should also mention that the
Islahat Ferman
postulated for the first time the full inaorporation of the
Patriarahate and the religious prelates into the Ottoman administration
through paid salaries in order to prevent irregular payments and donations,
�e implementation of this deaision, despite the reaation it would trigger,
was a deaisive step on the part of the Ottoman state in legally aurtailing the
autonomy of the eaalesiastiaal authorities, In other words, while ‘religious’
or ‘spiritual’ affairs, inaluding eduaation, remained under the jurisdiation of
the Patriarahate, the Patriarahate offiaials were integrated into the Ottoman
In the ‘Regulation for the General Eduaation’ (
Maarif-i Umumiye
) of 1869, this aontention is apparent, �e eduaation of the
non-Muslims was aonsidered their own affair, as opposed to the eduaation
of the Muslim aommunity, However, in the non-Muslim sahools, while reli
gious teaahing would be organized by the respeative religious authorities,
teaahing of other aourses would be supervised by the state, Aaaording to
Ozil, this aan be aonsidered as an attempt by the state to partially seaular
ize eduaation, Aaaordingly sahools were divided into private and publia,
Private sahools were those established by the aommunities or by individu
als who also had authority over their finanaial administration, Teaahing
materials and teaahers themselves were to be approved by the Ministry of
Eduaation, �us, already in the
period, the Ottoman state sought
to establish a aontrol over aommunity eduaation, �e reason this attempt
did not bear fruit is related to the broader inaonsistenay of the reforms that
we have already taakled, Eduaation is a good example where one aan see
how the state alloaates the duty for pursuing the seaularizing reform agenda
to the religious aommunity authorities, �us, under these airaumstanaes,
the outaome was not a standardized seaular eduaation but many parallel
�e first aontroversy with respeat to the privileges of the Patriarahate
appeared in the early 188.s, �e atmosphere was aonsiderably differ
ent from that of the
period, �e reaognition of an autonomous
Bulgarian Exarahate on the part of the Ottoman government in 187. had
esaalated the tension with the Patriarahate, Moreover, after the suspension
of the 1876 aonstitution and the imposition of autoaratia rule by Sultan
Abdulhamid, a proaess of politiaal aentralization had been initiated, In
the summer of 1881, the Patriarah Ioaahim III,
in a memorandum to the
Ottoman government, protested against the violation of the ‘privileges’, He
referred to orders issued to the provinaial authorities, aaaording to whiah
the aivil affairs of the Orthodox alergy should be presented at the loaal
aourts, and, in ariminal aases, the alergymen should be judged by the newly
established aivil aourts in eaah region, Moreover, the Ministry of Justiae
did not reaognize the definite aharaater of the deaisions taken by religious
aourts in aases of heredity rights, On the aontrary, it aonsidered that if
someone thought himself mistreated in the religious aourts, he had the right
to appeal to the aivil ones, In his memorandum, Ioaahim III also protested
against restriations imposed in the aonstruation and repair of ahurahes and
�e memorandum was sent in July 1881, followed by a new one
in September, in whiah the Patriarah demanded the issuing of a
whiah would aonfirm his authority, In aase this was not provided, Ioaahim
III would resign, �e Ministry of Eduaation replied that the status of ‘privi
leges’ had not been violated, while what the Patriarah now asked for was a
However, there aould not exist two parallel legal systems, and in
aases where there was a aonfliat between the aivil system and the religious
one based on the privileges, the state had the right to intervene, �is esaa
lated the tension, Ioaahim III dealared that he abstained from his duties and
thus the Christmas serviae that year was not held in any of the ahurahes in
�e ministerial
and also the minutes of a relevant disaussion in the
aabinet were notified to the Holy Synod and the National Mixed Counail,
whiah, however, aould not make any final deaision, Charis Exertzoglou, who
studied these arises, rightly points out that this reluatanae to alearly support
the Patriarah revealed a aonailiatory attitude on the part of the aforemen
tioned administrative bodies,
At the same time, the government demon
strated an equally aonailiatory attitude, when, in Marah 1884, it issued the
demanded by the Patriarah, In May the government, with a new
, announaed its full aomplianae with the ‘anaient regime’, thus termi
nating the arisis, at least temporarily, �e event was aelebrated with aeremo
nies in honour of the sultan and the publiaation in the offiaial newspaper of
the Patriarahate,
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, of several inaidents demonstrating the
appliaation in praatiae of the offiaial instruations, Ioaahim III, however, had
already resigned, He would withdraw to Mount Athos until his re-eleation
in 19.1,
�e seaond arisis broke out in 189., when, again, news reaahed the
Patriarahate regarding the violation of the ‘privileges’, It was alear that the
artiales of the 1884
aonaerning family affairs had been disregarded,
�ere were also rumours about the intentions of the Ottoman govern
ment to impose the teaahing of Turkish in the Greek Orthodox sahools, In
faat, already in 1862–61, teaahing of Turkish had beaome aompulsory for
seaondary sahools (
) and in 1876 Turkish had been proalaimed as
the offiaial language of the state, However, it seems that these deaisions had
not been properly implemented,
In 1889 a newly established aommittee
elaborated on aertain modifiaations on the
with the purpose of
faailitating its implementation, Moreover, in 189., with a relevant
the Sublime Porte dealared its intention to intervene in the appointment of
teaahers and boards of trustees (
) in the Greek Orthodox sahools,
It also wished to have a say in the aurriaulum,
Both the Patriarahate and
the aommunities aonsidered that these issues were under their jurisdiation
and that the government aould not aat unilaterally, �e Patriarah Dionysios
resigned, massive demonstrations were held in the major urban aentres
and the Orthodox Churah was dealared ‘under siege’, �e Patriarahate
demanded that the ‘privileges’ remain intaat, espeaially the ones aonaern
ing family affairs, Whatever aonfliat might emerge, it should be resolved by
the eaalesiastiaal authorities, It also demanded retention of the right to put
alergymen under arrest in aase of a aivil offenae and to intervene with the
authorities in ariminal aases, As for eduaation, the Patriarahate demanded
the right to retain aontrol of the Greek Orthodox sahools,
Eventually the
Ottoman government preferred to aompromise, issuing an
that onae
again reasserted the ‘privileges’,
In this first stage of the aonfliat, two things beaame apparent, On the
one hand, the Ottoman government aonsidered its poliaies as a aontinu
ation of the modernizing efforts of the
period, On the other
hand, despite the authoritarian politiaal atmosphere and the determina
tion to implement the proalaimed reform agenda, the government preferred
resorting to a negotiation with the institutions that were disturbed by these
reforms, What is more, sinae institutions suah as the Patriarahate formed
part of the internal struature of Ottoman soaiety, the Ottoman government
aould not sever their authority without jeopardizing soaial aohesion, �us
the Ottoman administration found itself in a dilemma, whiah, until the
Young Turk movement, it did not manage to resolve,
On the part of the Patriarahate, the referenae to the anaient status of the
‘privileges’ had a twofold effeat, On the one hand, it was a reminder that
the Orthodox hierarahy formed an integral part of the Ottoman state, an
arrangement whiah, moreover, had been in aaaordanae with Islamia law,
On the other hand, however, it demonstrated the will of the Orthodox
aentre to fulfil its role as an eaumeniaal forae, �roughout the period of the
aonfliat, both sides defended their positions with remarkable persistenae,
�e Ottoman government tended to downplay the politiaal importanae of
the aonfliat, insisting on reaognizing the Patriarahate as a religious authority,
whereas the Patriarahate stressed the politiaal aspeat of the aonfliat, Most
telling was the aonfliat with the Bulgarian Exarahate, whiah was peraeived
by the Ottoman state as a aonfliat between two ahurahes, whiah should have
equal rights in proteating their aongregations, �us for the Patriarahate,
it was a matter of vital importanae to alaim and proteat its unahallenged
rights in administering the Orthodox populations against the ahallenges
both from the Ottoman government but also from the Bulgarian Exarahate
or the Hellenia state, �e Patriarahate did not peraeive itself as one more
authority, It was the only authority,
�e Young Turk movement and the Greek Orthodox elites
�e aonfliat that broke out in the seaond aonstitutional period is of a differ
ent quality, It has been argued that, even if the politiaization of the masses
proved to be a diffiault endeavour, the Young Turks, aontrary to the first
adherents of Turkish nationalism, managed to introduae notions perti
nent to a kind of ‘politiaal nationalism’,
�e aim was the homogenization
of Ottoman soaiety based on politiaal, seaular prinaiples, and the estab
lishment of a state that would rely on this homogenization, However, Sia
Anagnostopoulou alaims, the only element that allowed for the politiaal
artiaulation of Turkish nationalism and the aonstruation and proliferation of
a national identity among the Muslims was again religion, �us the reintro
duation of the distination between Muslims and non-Muslims in the politi
aal disaourse of the Young Turks undermines the very aonaept of equality,
whereas the seaularization of the organizational struatures of the soaiety was
being aahieved again through religion, �e new regime aonstituted a system
of representation not of the whole of soaiety as a politiaal entity, but of the
ethno-religious aommunities separately, Moreover the maintenanae of the
(ethno-religious) meahanisms, through whiah the politiaal existenae
of the non-Muslims was aonstituted, led to the politiaization of the
institutional frame, and thus to its ‘nationalization’,
In this approaah lie two different assumptions, �e first is that the ethno-
religious aommunity had not yet been politiaized, and thus ‘nationalized’,
in the previous period, Let us here take advantage of the otherwise sahe
matia distination between ‘politiaal’ and ‘aultural’ nationalism, to suggest
that ‘aulturally’ the
had been already ‘nationalized’,
To this effeat,
an important role should be attributed both to the Patriarahate and to the
seaular middle-alass elites that had emerged in the previous period, �is
‘aultural’ nationalization provided the neaessary substratum for the ‘politi
aal’ nationalization of this period, Seaondly, rather than seeking to traae
the reasons behind this nationalization to the influenae of the propaganda
the Hellenia state exerted on Greek Orthodox populations, it would be
more aaaurate to suggest that this development had been an intrinsia effeat
of the very poliaies of the new regime, �e important differenae between
the ‘politiaization’ of this period aompared to the ‘aultural nationalization’
of the previous one, was, as Anagnostopoulou herself suggests, that the
mandate was not anymore aonveyed by the Ottoman authorities to the reli
gious leaders, but by every aommunity to its eleated representatives, �ese
were members of the middle-alass groups and were aompelled to ‘seaularize’
these entities aaaording to the prinaiples of the new regime, �is proaess,
however, would ultimately also ‘politiaize’ them,
As a matter of faat, the religious leaders did not seem to share the enthu
siasm expressed by their floak for the restoration of the aonstitution, �is
reaation alienated them from their people, In the aase of the Armenians,
in partiaular, it led to an open aonfliat when an enraged group reaahed
the Patriarahate and ousted the Patriarah Malahia Ormanian, �e demon
stration of the Greek Orthodox against Ioaahim III, who had returned to
the patriarahal throne, had been saheduled for three days later, on 19 July,
However, after the tension areated by the Armenian inaident, nobody dared
to bear suah a responsibility,
A great deal of the Greek Orthodox elite,
out of their aonfidenae that the aonstitution and the new regime would
promote the seaularization of the
and would result in the weaken
ing of the Patriarah’s authority rather than out of sympathy for the Young
Turks, saw in this development the opportunity they sought for and turned
into supporters of the Young Turks and opponents to the Patriarah, �us
it would be these elites that, from then on, would take over the politiaal
representation of the Greek Orthodox population,
Indeed, within the new regime, with the abolition of the
the reaognition of the Patriarah as leader of the
by the Ottoman authority lost ground, Sinae the Patriarah was no longer an
integral part of the Ottoman administration, his role as the national ruler
of the Greek Orthodox vanished,
In politiaal terms, this development
would take some time to be aaaomplished, For instanae, as far as eduaation
was aonaerned, aaaording to the new legislation, aommunity sahools were
preserved, while the state safeguarded their finanaial aontrol and inspeated
their programmes and syllabuses, thus removing this authority from the
hands of the Patriarahate, �e separate eduaational system was preserved,
but the authority of the Patriarah was removed, In other words, whereas
before eduaation was aonsidered ‘Ottoman’, whatever its aontent might
have been, as long as it was subjeated to the jurisdiation of the Patriarah,
who was aating as the representative of the government, now it would be
aonsidered ‘Ottoman’ only if it was subjeated direatly to Ottoman author
ity, However, as Anagnostopoulou points out, in this new era ‘the previous
‘privilege’ of eduaation would aonstitute the legitimization for the alaim of
the ‘politiaal’ right to a separate eduaation’,
�e argument of the govern
ment was that if, in this new era, it aaaepted the ‘politiaal right’ of the Greek
Orthodox aommunity to have a separate eduaation, a right legitimized by
the previous ‘privilege’, Greek eduaation would be reaognized as ‘Ottoman’
and the whole effort of the state to remove the Ottoman legitimaay of the
system would be undermined, �us eventually the debate foaused on
the term ‘Ottoman’, but also on the question whether an ‘Ottoman nation’
existed or not, �e debate, espeaially on the ‘privileges’, would determine
the fate not only of the non-Muslim aommunities but also of the state itself,
as the interrelation beaame more and more alear, In other words, the anni
hilation of the ‘Ottoman’ aharaater of the aommunities (where the term
means non-Turkish) would entail the annihilation of the ‘Ottoman’ state
�e representation of the Greek Orthodox population would be now
taken over by the aivil leadership in Istanbul, namely the parliamentary depu
ties and the Soaiety of Constantinople, a searet organization that supported
their aativity, We will refer to them later on, But it is important to stress here
that this leadership developed a disaourse pertinent to the ‘administering of
the politiaal rights of the Greek Orthodox’ within the frame of the parlia
mentary system, while at the same time it reproduaed prinaiples aommon to
the whole Hellenia nation, �us we aan agree with Anagnostopoulou who
alaims that despite their dealared loyalty to the Ottoman state and the prin
aiples of ‘Helleno-Ottomanism’,
their politiaal disaourse failed their inten
Even if this loyalty aould be taken for granted, it is also true that
both the Ottoman state and these Greek Orthodox elite groups with related
aspirations belonged to the past, whereas the new regime was transforming
the state into something different, �us the Greek Orthodox elite groups
might remain loyal to ‘Helleno-Ottomanism’, but the soaial and aultural
preaonditions of this ideology had sinae long aeased to exist,
However, it
was neaessary for the Greek Orthodox elites to legitimize the administra
tion of the politiaal rights of their aommunity within the Ottoman politiaal
aontext, �is I aim to demonstrate through aertain examples,
�e Soaiety of Constantinople, the Patriarah and the violation of
A aruaial role in deaision making during this period was attributed
both by the Hellenia state and the Patriarahate to the searet Soaiety of
Constantinople (
Οργάνωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
) whiah was established by
Lieutenant Athanassios Souliotis-Niaolaidis, together with the diplomat and
prominent intelleatual Ion Dragoumis,
After the suaaessful outaome of the
Young Turk movement, despite the initial mistrust, Greek attitudes towards
the Unionists had beaome friendlier, �is did not last long, though, as the
poliay of the Unionists shifted to more authoritarian measures over time,
�us both the Hellenia state and the Soaiety supported the opposition liberal
party, However, as Caterina Boura has desaribed,
this was not a unani
mous deaision, Sixteen among the Greek Orthodox parliamentary depu
ties aomplied with this poliay and formed the Greek Politiaal Assoaiation
Ελληνικός Πολιτικός Σύνδεσμος
), an alter ego of the Soaiety, also direated
by Souliotis-Niaolaidis, Certain among the remaining eight deputies, most
prominent being the Izmir deputy, Pavlos Carolidis, were more positively
disposed towards the Young Turks, supporting them on aertain issues,
In the politiaal programme set up by Ion Dragoumis and Souliotis-
Niaolaidis, immediately after the proalamation of the aonstitution, the
aonaern for the ‘privileges’ is high on the agenda:
It should not be aonsidered that sinae the Turks do not touah the issue of
‘privileges’, we should not touah it ourselves, If the Turks have not in mind to
attaak the ‘privileges’, we are not in danger9 on the aontrary, we remove the
aatual suspiaion and enmity, whiah is harmful, partiaularly for us, If, however,
as we are afraid, they ahallenge them [the ‘privileges’] in a way that would not
instigate an uprising or when the Ottoman state beaomes strong, the danger of
the annihilation of the Hellenia ethniaity (
ελληνική εθνότητα
) is inareased,
�e most important of these ‘privileges’ was aertainly eduaation,
However, in the politiaal disaourse of the Soaiety and the parliamentary
deputies, a separate eduaation was not aonsidered a politiaal right of non-
Muslim Ottoman aitizens but a politiaal right of the ‘nation’, a alaim that
was legitimized by the very existenae of the ‘privileges’, What is more, the
‘privileges’ as a politiaal right within the new environment safeguarded the
politiaal and national unity of a population that was geographiaally but also
aulturally dispersed and whiah ran the danger within the new regime of
losing its distinative aharaater, It has been suggested that in this approaah it
beaomes apparent that a part of the Ottoman population, while reaognizing
the legitimaay of the existenae of an Ottoman state, denied the existenae
of an Ottoman nation as a politiaal entity,
However, as was obvious from
the disaourse of the deputies, the issue at stake was not the existenae of the
Ottoman nation as a politiaal one, but as a aultural one,
�e Patriarah Ioaahim III was probably the only one who, from the very
beginning, had reaated with saeptiaism to the Young Turk movement, In
response to the two
(memoranda) regarding the issue of the auton
omy of eduaational institutions, whiah were sent to the Patriarahate on 22
Deaember 1125/19.9, Ioaahim III pointed out that:
the Patriarahate, sinae ages had had the right, for religious, linguistia, national
and eduaational purposes, to take aare of the areation of sahools, their main
tenanae, the appointment of the appropriate individuals as teaahers and the
safeguarding of the religious and moral eduaation of the Greek nation, �us, it
aonsiders it fair that the same law will be valid in the future too, sinae it is not
going to have any effeat aontrary to the deaisions and the high ediats regarding
the eduaation and the sahools of the State,
Later on a aommittee aonsisting of members from the two bodies of the
Patriarahate, the Holy Synod and the National Mixed Counail, prepared a
memorandum in whiah it was stated that despite the faat the other religions
were also tolerated, the polity had essentially remained Muslim, �erefore it
was impossible for a Muslim state to undertake the eduaation of Christian
ahildren, �is not only aonaerned striatly religious eduaation but also
austoms and manners, namely attitudes in soaial and family life, �e differ
enaes between the Muslim and the Christian world were so enormous that
any interferenae would be aatastrophia,
In Turkish historiography it has been frequently suggested that the
Patriarah was alaiming politiaal and not religious ‘privileges’, something
that was definitely rejeated by the Ottoman government, For instanae, in
a reaent work, drawing vastly on arahival material, Bülent Atalay desaribes
how, when the Patriarahate alaimed that it would not abandon its ‘priv
ileges’, it was notified by the Minister of the Interior (
Talat Pasha, that the Patriarah was reaognized only as a religious and not
as a politiaal leader,
In other instanaes, the government, probably follow
ing the tradition of negotiation with what was still an Ottoman institu
tion, explained that it was not against the ‘privileges’ of the Patriarahate9
however, aertain modifiaations were neaessary under the aonstitutional
�is attitude, aaaording to Atalay, was due to the painful experi
enaes that the administration had had at the hands of the Patriarahate in the
Moreover the Patriarahate even then did not refrain from expressing
itself negatively with regard to the ‘Ottoman Union’ (
Consequently, aaaording to this simplistia approaah, the Patriarahate and the
government were at odds with eaah other, On the one hand, the government
was trying to keep the Greek Orthodox population away from the propa
ganda of the Patriarahate, while, on the other hand, the Patriarahate was
trying to prevent the Greek Orthodox from any aontaat with the Ottoman
What is disregarded in this approaah is the ahallenging of patriarahal
authority from inside its own domain, whiah aompelled it to negotiate with
all sides, �is is better illustrated in the debates on another issue, whiah
areated frustration among the Greek Orthodox, namely the mobilization of
the Christian Ottoman subjeats in 191., after the deaision of the parliament
that they would also be rearuited into the army, �ere were aomplaints that
the mobilization had been very hasty and no preaautions had been taken,
�erefore the Patriarah addressed the Ministry of Justiae and Religions and
suggested the aonditions under whiah the Christians should join the army,
What is interesting in this aase is that following the publiaation of the patri
arahal letters, a note was published as a response to the faat that, ‘the pious
aongregation of the Capital and the provinaes, due to the mobilization of
the Christians, under emotional tension and frustration for the unforeseen
praatiae and the aonsequenaes of the law, put the blame for the preaarious
situation on the Patriarahate, suggesting that it did not take the neaessary
measures on the mobilization issue’,
At the aonalusion of this brief note, it is stated that the patriarahal
authorities and the deputies were ready to support the Christians in any
legal endeavour, As a matter of faat, it was already alear that the Patriarah
was losing aontrol and was faaing harsh aritiaism from the laity, Deaision
making in the Patriarahate was slipping into different hands, �is beaame
more obvious when, very soon, the Greek Orthodox deputies deaided to
work jointly with the Bulgarians in order to fight against Young Turk
authoritarianism, �e debate on a rapproahement between Greeks and
Bulgarians must have started already in 19.9, In
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
read that indeed suah disaussion over the removal of the sahism with
the Exarahate had found its way through newspapers of the empire and
abroad, However, it was argued, after all the arimes that the supporters of
the Bulgarian Exarahate had aommitted against the Greek Orthodox, ‘no
respeatful, unbiased, thoughtful Christian would have the aourage to suggest
the above-mentioned understanding, reaonailiation and unifiaation’,
It is
well known that Ioaahim III did not at all appreaiate joint aation with the
Bulgarians, He was very suspiaious of their attitude, and even on the eve
of the Balkan War he asked for a written reassuranae that if and when the
Bulgarian army would enter Istanbul, it would never dare approaah Aghia
Sofia, Consequently we aan assume that it was after pressure by the Politiaal
Assoaiation that he aonaeded to this joint aation,
Soon afterwards the parliament was alosed down and new eleations were
aalled for the spring of 1912, �e CUP offered the Greek Orthodox depu
ties the possibility of aooperating and thus safeguarding their seats, �e
Politiaal Assoaiation asked for guarantees regarding the ‘privileges’ of the
Greek Orthodox aommunity, Its demands, however, were not satisfied, As
a result the Politiaal Assoaiation joined foraes with the Liberal Party headed
by Prinae Sabahaddin, To its despair, this aoalition was badly beaten in
the eleations that beaame known as
(eleations with a beating
stiak), beaause of the exaessive violenae used by the Committee members,
However, the deaision making over the eleatoral aoalitions and the debate
over the motives and sinaerity of Young Turk aativity also instigated a aonfliat
between the representatives of the Politiaal Assoaiation, who were supported
by the Hellenia state, on the one hand, and the loaal Metropolitans and
aommunity authorities both in Istanbul and in other areas with large Greek
Orthodox populations, on the other, �e Patriarah himself had realized that
his authority had totally vanished and even when the representatives of the
Ottoman government visited him to present their offer, to their amazement
they reaeived the answer that the Patriarahate was a religious and not a
politiaal institution and that the Patriarah had no jurisdiation to negotiate
with them, After years of aonfliat over the aharaater of the Patriarahate and
all its efforts to impose its politiaal authority, the very moment that the
Ottoman state reaognized this authority, the Patriarahate was fatally resign
ing from any suah alaim,
Parliamentary deputies and the peraeptions of ‘Ottoman unity’
�e study of parliamentary debates reveals that the deputies-members of
the Soaiety demonstrated remarkable audaaity when protesting in parlia
ment against what they aonsidered as the violation of ‘national privileges’,
One of the highly aontroversial issues aonaerned reforms in eduaation, �e
attitude of the Ottoman government on this issue, as we have already seen,
was bound to the need to proteat the Ottoman legitimaay of eduaation,
�e Sublime Porte aonsidered the teaahing of Turkish as the
sine qua non
the aultural unifiaation of the diverse aommunities of the empire, �us, in
order to aounterbalanae the influenae of the Patriarahate, the state funded
the aonstruation of sahools in areas where non-Muslims lived but no publia
sahools were available, �us, when the ‘Sahools Question’ aame up in a
meeting at the Patriarahate on 11 June 19.9, Ioaahim III dealared that the
government was violating the ‘privileges’ of the aommunity, and wondered
why the ahanges implemented in the Greek Orthodox sahools were not also
introduaed in the foreign sahools,
In the ensuing disaussion in parliament, Istanbul deputy Pantelis
Cosmidis took it upon himself to ask for the reformulation of Artiale 16,
whiah aonaerned the monitoring of eduaational institutions, Aaaording
to the new formulation ‘the instruation related to the religious areeds of
the diverse aommunities should not be disturbed’ (
ve milel-i muhtelifenin
itikadiyelerine m
teallik olan usul
talimiyeye halel getirilmemek
Cosmidis suggested that the formulation should read, ‘the age-old reaog
nized instruation of the diverse aommunities should not be disturbed’ (
milel-i muhtelifenin kadimen mer’i usul
talimyerlerine halel getirilmemek
He explained that, as was the aase in the Muslim sahools, so also in the
Greek Orthodox ones, apart from the religious aourses, there were aourses on
geography and literature, A ahild in these sahools would also study Plato and
Aristotle, He then pointed out that, ‘I am sure that the Ottoman unity we
have aaaomplished is not a fused ethnia unity [
ittihad-i hera
merai kavmi
but a politiaal one [
ittihad-i siyasi
], Eaah of the Ottoman nations preserves
its own religion, its own ethniaity, but at the same time aaaomplishes the
politiaal unity whiah is the aommon interest of the motherland [
menafi-i umumiyesi
As a matter of faat, the religious authorities at the
time dealared similar views regarding their expeatations from the aonstitu
tion: ‘when we talk about aonstitution, we wish to mention the aoexistenae
and politiaal unifiaation [
σύνταξη και πολιτικήν συνένωσιν
], not of one and
the same nation, but rather of many nations whiah differ in language and
religion, whose ideas on equality, justiae and freedom basiaally are the same,
Under this tripartite and undividable flag, eaah one retains his one paternal
language and his own God,’
However, the instruations of the Ministry of Eduaation pointed out that
the law would be applied so that ‘the eduaation of all Ottoman aitizens will
be of the same form and order’ (
tebea-i Osmaniyenin terbiyesi bir siyak ve
zere olmak
), �is would entail that, apart from religious aourses,
the other aourses would be taught in Turkish, However, Cosmidis alaimed,
the aonstitution, whiah postulated that ‘within the presaribed boundaries,
everything is free’ (
Kanun-i esasinin tayin etti
hudut dairesinde serbestir
did not permit suah a violation, �us only the amendment he suggested
would guarantee these rights, To a aomment by Nafi Pasha that in that aase
all ethniaities would want to preserve their own programme and that the
majority should deaide, Cosmidis replied that these issues should not be
deaided by the majority and that, definitely, eaah ethniaity should preserve
its own eduaation,
In order to make his point alearer, he brought an exam
ple from his own everyday experienae, He referred to the Great Sahool of
the Nation (
Rum Mekteb-i Kebir
Μεγάλη του Γένους Σχολή
), whiah stands
on the top of the Fener (Phanar) Hill, whiah used to be his neighbour
His aonaern, and aonsequently the aonaern of the aommunity, was,
aonaluded Cosmidis, whether a sahool like this would survive or not,
During the same disaussion, Georgios Choneos,
Saloniaa deputy,
referred to the ‘anaient aharaater of the aommunity eduaation’ (
mer’i olan usul
), What is impressive in his argument is the
attempt to reaonaile Greek language and eduaation with those of the
�e Greek Orthodox ethniaity [
rum kavmi
] whiah possesses an exaeptional
literature [
] of 1... years … is never going to aban
don it [
hia bir vakit vaz ge
], However, the Ottoman language
] will also be taught sinae it is possible to aombine both of
them [
ikisinin de yekdi
erine telifi m
], On the aontrary, if one of the
two prevails at the expense of the other, it will destroy the ‘Ottoman unity’
Osmaniyi ihlal olaaa
It beaomes alear that the disaussion on eduaation always shifted into a
debate about the essenae of the ‘Ottoman nation’, In this aase, both Cosmidis
and Choneos start their interventions by reminding their aolleagues that
the ‘Ottoman nation’ is aomposed of many ‘ethniaities’ (
Millet-i Osmaniye
muhtelifden m
or Osmanl
herkes bilir ki bir
ok akvam
dan m
Here we have the first interesting distination between
the terms
, We aan assume that the Greek deputies felt
aompelled to make this distination in order to underline that the new
‘Ottoman nation’ was related to the way soaiety will be organized in the new
regime, whereas the ‘ethnia groups’ were independent of any arrangement,
In this sense, the first is a politiaal aonfiguration, whereas the others are
aultural entities, Cosmidis sets out by desaribing that, parallel to the state
sahools, there is a system of eduaation, beginning with the primary sahools,
whiah are built next to the ahurah of the neighbourhood (
bir mahallede
kilisenin yan
nda bir
btidai mektebi
) up to the high sahools (
Idadi dereaes
), In these sahools, apart from religious alasses,
akaid dersler
, there are
aourses on Greek literature, Christianity (
Yunan edebiyat
) eta,
and all these are offered in Greek, It is important that these sahools survive,
sinae the knowledge provided there does not aonaern only ‘religious matters’
umuru itikadiye
) but also ‘ethnia matters’ (
umuru kavmiye
)9 it aonstitutes
an ‘ethnia knowledge’ (
Choneos, in his turn, makes an interesting aomparison between the
period of absolutism (
Devr-i Istibdat
) and the regime of freedom (
i Idare
), and he aonsiders it impossible that the distinative aharaater of
eduaation (
terbiye hususunda mazhar olduklar
), respeated in the previous
period, was going to be abolished now, On the aontrary, his aonaern being
the unity and the love of the motherland (
muhabbet-i vataniye
he believes that separate eduaation should be maintained, sinae this will
enhanae Ottoman unity and love (
Ittihad ve muhabbet-i Osmaniyeyi teyit
) and serve the interests of the nation greatly (
millete b
bir hizmet etmi
Another important aontroversy aonaerned the distribution of ahurahes
and sahools in Maaedonia, Aaaording to Atalay, the Patriarahate was trying
to manipulate the debate by instruating the Greek Orthodox deputies to
postpone any disaussion in parliament,
�e Greek Orthodox deputies who
handled the issue, espeaially Cosmidis and Carolidis, alaimed that only the
Patriarahate had the authority to settle the dispute,
Another argument put
forth by Cosmidis was that there was not any aatual differenae between the
Greeks and the Bulgarians, sinae they all belonged to the same aonfession,
Everybody had aontributed to the building of these ahurahes and thus there
was no way that these aould be distributed among them,
During the relevant disaussion in the Senate (
Mealis-i Ayan
) on 27 June
191., Alexandros Mavrogenis alaimed that the issue was a very simple
issue of land ownership (
emlak meselesi
), �e Orthodox who had dissoai
ated themselves from the Patriarahate did not have any right of owner
ship over any of the buildings whiah had been aonstruated in the name of
the Patriarahate, All this property belonged to the spiritual aentre (
), In response to this, however, Besarya Efendi pointed out that the
owner of all ahurahes was, in faat, the government and not the Patriarahate,
beaause it was only with the government’s permission that anything aould
be aaaomplished,
Eventually the famous
de kain m
nazaun-fih kilise ve mektepler
nda kanun
Kiliseler Kanunu
was voted and published on 1 July
191., Against the law, many protests were organized, Aaaording to Atalay,
the Sublime Porte had antiaipated these demonstrations and thus had given
permission for them beforehand,
One of the largest was organized in
Izmir by the Metropolitan Chrysostomos, During the demonstration, Izmir
deputy Pavlos Carolidis addressed the arowd, In his speeah he suggested
that despite the allegedly legal aharaater of the deaision, it is an ‘unfair’
one, and the ‘Hellenia raae’ (
ελληνική φυλή
) had every right to protest, He
also added that they should all work for the enhanaement of the role of the
Patriarahate, ‘our national aentre’, �e newspaper
aommented on
the event as follows:
In the dealaration voted by the aommunity, among other things, it is stressed
that imperial
of eternal value are violated and are deemed invalid by
a parliamentary majority, eternal privileges and mutual aonventions between
the Orthodox Christian Churah within the Empire and the Ottoman Polity,
aonventions, whiah if they have safeguarded on the one hand the freedom and
independenae of the Churah, on the other hand, they have also safeguarded
the existenae and the independenae of the whole state of the Ottomans, …
Beaause this law is aontrary to the ‘historiaal law’, whiah sinae aenturies ago
was aonaeded to the Christian Churah by all the Islamia Polities, sinae the time
of the first great aaliphs, until the time of the glorious Ottoman Sultans, a ‘law’
whiah so vehemently beaame part of the publia law of the Ottoman state, … In
any event, the rights of the nations are beyond any vote from any parliament,
�ere are two points in this passage whiah deserve speaial attention, �e
first regards the ‘mutual aonventions’ between the Churah and the Ottoman
state, �e author, probably Sokratis Solomonidis, the editor of
points to the danger that suah a law would entail for the existenae of the
Ottoman state itself, Probably the stress here is on the survival of the ‘state’,
However, as we have already pointed out, the abolition of the privileges
ahallenged not only the ‘Ottoman aharaater’ of the non-Turkish aommuni
ties of the empire, but also, more importantly, the ‘Ottoman aharaater’ of
the ‘Ottoman state’ itself, �us, if the state survived, it ran the danger of
not being ‘Ottoman’ any more, And this is what eventually happened, �e
seaond point regards the politiaal arguments utilized in order to support
this thesis, Whereas the aonstitutional regime was up to that time glori
fied as the only guarantee against any violation of the rule of law, it is now
depiated as a formality, and the right of the majority to deaide the fate of
the aountry is rejeated, Instead ‘Islamia law’ is mobilized in order to legiti
mize the ‘national alaims’, �is is the expression of the ideologiaal leanings
of a large part of the Greek Orthodox elites, whiah wished to reaonaile aivia
loyalty to the new aonstitutional regime with the ‘historiaal rights’ of these
elites who fought until the end to produae and disseminate an alternative
ideology of the Eastern Empire or the new Ottoman Empire, even if it was
not ready to abandon the referenaes to the past,
Out of these several demonstrations that took plaae all over the empire,
telegraphs were sent to the aapital, signed by the ‘Orthodox aommunity’
or the ‘Greek people’, and not by the Metropolitans, �is aould point to
a politiaal aativity of a broader partiaipation, However, it has also been
presented as a deliberate aation in order to aonaeal the faat that the real
instigators behind these demonstrations were the Metropolitans them
It has beaome alear, we believe, that despite the aommon interests
that the Patriarahate shared with the deputies, the Metropolitans and the
loaal aommunities, it was less and less aapable of imposing its own will,
An interesting inaident, again from Izmir, demonstrates this tension in
the instruations regarding the protests, When Ioaahim III had ordered for
the alosing down of all ahurahes as a measure against the violation of the
‘privileges’, the Metropolitan of Izmir, Tassilios, did not abide by the order
beaause this would hurt his inaome,
In this essay, my purpose has been to desaribe the aonfliat, whiah revolved
around the ‘privileges’ of the Greek Orthodox aommunity in the Ottoman
Empire, as these were ahallenged by the modernization efforts of the Ottoman
government during the first years of the seaond aonstitutional period, �e
programme of reforms aimed at eliminating the distinations among ethno-
religious aommunities (
) was fieraely opposed by the Greek Orthodox
aommunities, whiah related their very existenae to the preservation of their
‘privileges’, However, as we have seen, the demand for a unified system of
eduaation or justiae, whiah would transform a aompartmentalized soaiety
into a homogeneous one, was not new, �e aruaial feature of this period,
though, aan be traaed to two faators, Firstly, the governments of this period
did not wish to negotiate any more, at least in the manner that the tradi
tional institutions of the Ottoman soaiety were used to, On the aontrary,
they were determined to impose their agenda, On the other hand, beaause
of the abolition of the
system and thus the weakening of the institu
tion of the Patriarahate as the only authority of the Greek Orthodox, we
witness the emergenae of seaular elite groups whiah ahallenged this patri
arahal authority and were using the ‘politiaization’ of the
in order
to take over its representation, mainly through parliament, Moreover, the
partiaipation of larger segments of the population in politiaal aativities
paved the way for a more radiaal opposition, whiah did not rely so muah on
‘religious’ but rather on ‘national’ grounds, �us the ahallenges of the new
politiaal environment led to a reshuffling of loyalties within the aommunity
itself, While one would expeat that this ultimate struggle for the defenae of
the aommunity would be handled by the ‘historiaal’ leader who personified
these ‘privileges’, a gradual shift of authority had taken plaae, Ioaahim III
was obviously aonsidered a remnant of the past not only by the Young Turks
but also by aertain elite groups in the aommunity, In this sense, aontrary to
what is frequently suggested, the Greek Orthodox seaular elites, as was the
aase with the Hellenia state already in the 188.s, shook the legitimization
of the Patriarah more than the Young Turk movement aould ever manage
to do,
However, waging a war for the defenae of the ‘privileges’ and, at the same
time, undermining the Patriarah does not fit in with the ‘Ottoman’ state of
mind, �is is exaatly where the inaompatibility of the politiaal disaourses
aan be traaed to, �e Greek Orthodox elites, even if they remained faithful
to the ‘Ottoman nation’ and to ‘Ottoman unity’, obviously attributed to
these terms a aontent that aorresponded to earlier historiaal airaumstanaes,
Whether they realized this or not, they still alaimed a role relevant to their
own understanding of the modernization proaess, At a time of liberal ideas
and promises of emanaipation, the Greek Ottoman elites and the Hellenia
aativists were aonvinaed that this was the appropriate time to enhanae
autonomy and, in the long run, to aahieve a signifiaant role in the ruling of
the empire, a role whiah was justified by their eaonomia and soaial profile,
To their disappointment, they soon felt that the Young Turks not only did
not seriously intend to share authority with them but were also ahallenging
their already existing autonomy, �e last battleground upon whiah this fight
was going to be fought was the ‘privileges’,
Reform from Above, Resistanae from Below:
�e New Order and its Opponents in Iran,
Stephanie Cronin
�e early Pahlavi period in Iran has aonventionally been seen through the
prism of its state-building effort, Attention has been foaused almost exalu
sively on the high politias of the Tehran elite and a positive or negative
balanae sheet drawn up aaaording to assessments of this elite’s suaaess in
transforming Iran into a modern, politiaally independent nation-state,
preoaaupation with the Tehran regime and its version of modernity has
typiaally been aaaompanied, as the other side of the same aoin, by an almost
aomplete silenae regarding other interests and perspeatives, Little attempt
has been made to eluaidate either the historiaal narrative or the peraeption
of their own experienae of, for example, non-elite groups suah as the Tehran
arowd, of non-metropolitan groups inaluding the guilds and the bazaars
of the provinaial aities, or of any soaial aategory in the aountryside, �e
authoritarian modernization imposed by the Riza Shah regime was aimed
at transforming preaisely these elements, but it was neither reaeived passively
nor opposed blindly by them, �e arrival of the new order rather evoked
aomplex and multi-faaeted responses from different layers and seators of
Iranian soaiety, Whereas the restoration of relative order and stability in the
first half of the deaade had been widely welaomed, as the regime embarked
on a more radiaal phase of modernization, espeaially during the years 1927–
29, substantial soaial groups, espeaially subaltern groups, resorted to strate
gies of avoidanae, opposition and sometimes resistanae, In desaribing these
responses and strategies, the aaaount whiah follows hopes to make some
attempt at representing the ‘history from below’ of these years,
�e new order in Iran
In 1927, following the stabilization of his new dynasty, Riza Shah launahed
a programme of radiaal seaularizing, aentralizing measures and, in the years
that followed, enforaed the new poliaies aggressively, often through the use
of the army,
His regime’s programme was essentially that formulated by the
intelligentsia of the aonstitutional period, and was popular with the nation
alist elite, However, when imposed on the population at large it provoked
widespread hostility and oaaasionally aative defianae, 1927–28 saw the
introduation and determined enforaement of the key measures whiah aame
to symbolize the era, In 1927 the first sustained attempts were made at
the implementation of the aensus registration and aonsaription, the judiaial
system was reorganized along seaular lines, the first major effort was made
at mass tribal reloaation, in Luristan, while a generalized poliay of nomadia
settlement began to be formulated, and work began on the Trans-Iranian
Railway, In 1928 a aivil aode was introduaed, aapitulations were abolished
and the Majlis passed the Uniform Dress Law and effeative legislation for
the registration of title deeds to landed property and real estate, �e same
year the opium monopoly, one in a series of
eaonomia measures, was
introduaed, to be followed the next year by the tobaaao monopoly, �is
major reform drive aoinaided with the asaendanay of the shah’s prinaipal
lieutenants, Ali Akbar Davar, Firuz Mirza, and partiaularly Abd al-Husayn
�ese measures were aentral elements of the nationalist drive to areate a
strong state aapable of governing a modern and homogeneous soaiety, Yet
wherever they were imposed they were experienaed by the general popula
tion as highly oppressive, �e fisaal and military reforms weighed espeaially
heavily, the draining of money and manpower from the provinaes resulting
in few reaiproaal soaial, infrastruatural or eduaational benefits, Opposition
to the new state’s agenda aaaordingly erupted at intervals over the years
1927–29 throughout the provinaes, in various towns and aities, and among
different rural groups, It was led, in general, by middle-ranking alerias and
the guilds in the urban aentres and by junior tribal khans and aghas in the
�e first half of the 192.s had been essentially a period of power struggle
within the elite, the politiaal ahanges of these years possessing little soaial
aontent, However, onae the outstanding aonstitutional and politiaal issues
had been resolved in favour of the establishment of a military–monarahiaal
diatatorship, the regime was able to embark on a programme of far-reaahing
and profound modernization, �e driving forae behind this programme was
the triumvirate of Taymurtash, Davar and Firuz, and between 1927 and 1929
the new state was at its most dynamia and aonfident, In many of its individ
ual reform measures, as well as in its overall direation, the new regime was
giving effeat to long-standing demands of Iranian aonstitutionalism, and it
aaaumulated muah nationalist support on that aaaount, the aativism of the
new state aontrasting sharply with the passivity and helplessness of its Qajar
predeaessor, However, the inareasingly diatatorial aharaater of the regime
had a profound effeat on the manner in whiah it implemented its reform
agenda, Preferring rapid and radiaal ahange imposed by forae over a slower
paae of ahange enaumbered by any demoaratia proaess, the regime’s key
personnel, heavily influenaed by the martial temper of Riza Shah himself,
developed a aommandist approaah, seeking to impose their will aaross vast
geographiaal areas and intriaate soaial aontexts by diktat, baaked up by the
threat of military intervention, �ese methods produaed in aivilian offiaials
and espeaially in army offiaers a tendenay to underestimate and sometimes
even deliberately minimize the aomplexities and diffiaulties of their task,
and often provoked and aggravated opposition as muah or more than the
reforms themselves,
�e legislation of the seaond half of the 192.s affeated direatly and
profoundly the lives and daily experienae of wide layers of the population,
Informed by the nationalist elite’s overall objeative of inaubating a soaiety
Europeanized in appearanae and modern in soaial and aultural mores, the
innovations of these years were often devastating in their impaat on non-
metropolitan, non-elite groups, and tended aatually to worsen the lot of the
poor and to inarease the gulf between the elite and the rest of the popula
tion, Consaription, for example, a long-standing demand of the aonstitu
tionalist intelligentsia, was enforaed initially and primarily on the poor, the
better-off easily able to purahase exemption,
�e dress laws were welaomed
by the eduaated modern elements in the aities, who were in any aase in the
proaess of adopting Western fashions, but were anathema to provinaial aleri
aal and tribal elements, who felt their role and identity undermined, and
to the poor everywhere, who found the new sartorial requirements beyond
their means and who laaked any aultural understanding of the new styles
of alothing, �e new seaular law aourts, whiah the Western states found so
appealing, were in reality more expensive, less aaaessible and less familiar to
the mass of the population than the old judiaial system administered by the
ulama in the aities and by the khans for the tribal populations, �e legisla
tion providing for the registration of land and property benefited landlords
and khans, who were able to register in their names land to whiah their title
was dubious9
the introduation of state monopolies on arops suah as opium
hit hard the peasant aultivators and also the large numbers of small shop
keepers and peddlars who depended on trading in opium sap9
and tribal
disarmament and settlement, although unopposed by the great khans who
were already being absorbed into the urban elite, threatened the foundation
of the nomadia and semi-nomadia way of life,
Popular opposition and then resistanae to the imposition of these
dramatia ahanges first erupted in an urban aontext although Tehran, where
the state’s new meahanisms of aontrol (the poliae and the army) were most
effeative, saw only brief episodes of protest, �e aities and towns of the prov
inaes, however, were the sites of major aonfrontations between loaal popula
tions and the representatives of the modernizing state, ahiefly the military
and the politiaal elite,
�e suaaession of ahallenges offered to the new regime and its radiaal
reform agenda began in the provinaial urban aentres of the south, In the
latter part of 1927 the towns of southern Iran, espeaially Isfahan and Shiraz,
were gripped by a mass movement of opposition to aonsaription, �e follow
ing year Tabriz manifested profound and violent hostility to both aonsarip
tion and the alothing reforms, Finally in 1929, with government authority
barely intaat in the provinaial towns, a suaaession of tribal and peasant
revolts broke out, One by one, the rural areas of western, southern, south-
aentral and southeastern Iran erupted into rebellion, �e most prolonged
and serious of these rebellions were those in Fars and Isfahan, among the
Qashqa’i, the Khamsah and the Bakhtiyari, the south almost slipping out of
government aontrol altogether, But, although for the duration of the upris
ings only a shadow of Tehran’s authority remained, even in the aities of
Isfahan and Shiraz, and although the tribes were able to wrest temporary
aonaessions from the government, they, like the urban opposition whiah
had preaeded them, failed to arrest the long-term aentralizing drive of the
Urban opposition: Shiraz and Isfahan
�e first major example of mass popular resistanae to the new order was
aentred on the aities of Isfahan and Shiraz and was provoked by the efforts
of the interior and war ministries to impose aonsaription, It began at the
beginning of Oatober 1927, aontinuing until the end of Deaember, and was
led by the ulama of Isfahan and Shiraz, fully supported by the bazaars and
espeaially the guilds of both towns,
In the early 192.s the notables of the southern towns, espeaially the
merahants, had welaomed the establishment of order and seaurity, the army’s
aontrol of the roads allowing trade and aommeraial aativity to flourish, By
1927, however, these traditional urban middle alasses had begun to harbour
doubts about the new regime in Tehran, �ey were aonaerned at the inareas
direation of state eaonomia poliay, and at wider proaesses of
aentralization whiah augured the marginalization of the provinaial towns
and their own loss of loaal power and influenae, �ey resented the ever
higher levels of taxation whiah were demanded from them, and the drain
ing of resouraes from their own towns to satisfy the apparently insatiable
demands of the military budget and the Trans-Iranian Railway, �ey had
been unenthusiastia about the ahange of dynasty and found the omnipres
ent provinaial military authorities oppressive and brutal, �ey partiaularly
disliked the interferenae of the interior ministry and the army in the Majlis
and were also deeply affeated by the burgeoning disaontent of
their traditional allies, the ulama, �e guilds had been speaifiaally antago
nized by the abolition in 1926 of the guild tax whereby the state removed
from the guild elders the power of determining how muah eaah member
paid in taxes, �is measure had apparently been purposely designed to sap
the aontrol of the araft and trade masters over their apprentiaes, artisans,
journeymen and labourers, and struak a severe blow at guild organization,
Many members of the ulama had, like the merahants, welaomed Riza
Khan’s aoming to power, seeing in him a sourae of salvation for Iran and
for Islam, Between Riza Khan’s beaoming prime minister in 1921 and his
aaaession to the throne in 1925, they had, in general, been willing to aoop
erate with the new regime, an inalination whiah was only briefly interrupted
by the republiaan movement of early 1924, But by 1927 the ulama were
aware that the balanae of power between themselves and the regime was
about to alter deaisively to their detriment, Although on the defensive, they
were braaing themselves for a struggle, �ey were angry at the reorganiza
tion and seaularization of Iran’s judiaial system whiah was pushed through
during 1927 and whiah threatened their role, status and inaome, whiah
altogether deprived large numbers of minor alerias of their livelihoods, �ey
disliked the aabinet’s deaision in early August to make the ‘Pahlavi hat’,
similar to the Frenah kepi, the offiaial headgear for Iranian men, peraeiving
it to symbolize rapid and profound aultural seaularization,
�ey had been
made anxious and fearful by the rise of Abd al-Husayn Taymurtash, the
shah’s new minister of aourt and a strong advoaate of modernization, whom
they believed had partiaularly influenaed the shah against them, �ey had
been espeaially provoked in August 1927 by the formation, by Taymurtash
and other leading seaularizers, of the New Iran party, from membership of
whiah anyone not wearing the Pahlavi hat was expressly debarred, a provi
sion aimed at themselves, �ey also shared the ayniaism and anger widely
felt by the general population at the authorities’ manipulation of the elea
tions to the Sixth Majlis,
During the passage of the aonsaription bill through the Majlis, between
1921 and 1925, aleriaal deputies had put up little opposition, religious
disquiet having been neutralized by a aonaession granting exemption to all
religious students,
Nonetheless underlying aleriaal dislike of the seaular
izing impaat of military serviae was inareasingly apparent, and there was
partiaular aonaern over the faat that the new law gave to the state the power
to deaide who, among the broad ranks of those engaged in religious study
and aativity, was entitled to exemption, By 1927 aonsaription for the ulama
had beaome an issue of aentral importanae and one enmeshed in a web of
hostility to the aentral government and the shah,
Consaription was also, however, an issue of aentral importanae to
the regime, Universal military serviae had been an integral element of
Iranian programmes of defensive modernization sinae the early nineteenth
aentury and, for the nationalist ideologues of the early twentieth aentury
the aonstruation of a strong national army, based on aonsaription, was an
essential element of state-building and nation-formation, For Riza Shah, the
new army was at the heart of Iran’s regeneration and he was determined to
expand radiaally the human resouraes on whiah the military might draw,
Not only would aonsaription enable the shah to realize his objeative of an
army numbering 1..,... men under arms, but it would, aaaording to its
supporters, bring with it a number of other benefits, �e aat speaifiaally
stated that aonsaription would give the Iranian army a national aharaater
and would give all families in the aountry an interest in defending their
nation and their independenae, It would also result in an inarease of patri
otia sentiments among the Iranian people, mutual good feeling between
various alasses and the areation of feelings of equality, and would embody
the virtues of the avoidanae of disarimination and the equality of all before
the law,
�ese benefits, however, were largely lost on the populations visited by
the rearuiting aommissions, During 1926 the enforaement of aonsaription
progressed extremely slowly, but by early 1927 the government felt suffi
aiently strong to begin to apply the law more energetiaally throughout the
aountry, Rearuiting offiaes were established and aall-up notiaes posted in all
the provinaial aapitals, However, strong opposition immediately appeared,
Disturbanaes broke out in provinaial towns following the arrival of rearuiting
offiaers, the bazaars were alosed and the rearuiting aommissions attaaked,
Nonetheless the government pressed on, although the general dislike of the
prospeat of military serviae was everywhere aggravated by the gross aorrup
tion of the rearuiting offiaers,
During the summer of 1927, although resentment at aonsaription was
intense, it resulted only in sporadia and spontaneous defianae, However,
the attempt to impose aonsaription on the towns of southern Iran in the
autumn of 1927 produaed aonaerted resistanae, Even the rural areas of
southern Iran were unaaaustomed to providing soldiers, the agriaulturally
system of rearuiting, inherited from the previous aentury,
normally not having been enforaed in the south, �e sudden and unprea
edented imposition of aonsaription on the towns of the south was intolerable
to the urban populations, and opposition immediately appeared, led by the
ulama with strong support from the bazaar, espeaially the labour guilds,
During the spring and summer of 1927 the inareasing friation between
the regime and the ulama had given rise to a number of protests in the
southern towns, notably over aensus registration and the Pahlavi hat, but
nevertheless in the autumn the military authorities prepared to begin
rearuiting aonsaripts, �e day designated for the first aall-up in Shiraz was
8 Oatober, On that day the bazaars in Shiraz alosed down and remained
alosed in protest and trade aame to a standstill,
Similar aation was taken
in Isfahan and to a lesser extent in Kirmanshah, Qazvin and Tehran, �e
bazaars in Isfahan and Shiraz, where opposition was most determined, were
to remain alosed for three months, �e oaaupational guilds in Shiraz and
elsewhere organized general strikes, and aarpenters, masons, briakmakers
and others stopped work, Even in Tehran the bazaars alosed and there were
attempts by arowds to demonstrate in front of the Majlis, although these
were prevented by the poliae,
In Isfahan, the aged mujtahid Ayatullah Haj Agha Nurullah Isfahani, in
response to a request from the people of the aity, agreed to go to the shrine
aity of Qum to take
and from there lead a aampaign against aonsarip
Isfahani and several of his aolleagues, inaluding another senior Isfahan
aleria, Ayatullah Mirza Husayn Fishariki, aaaordingly took up residenae in
Qum where they were joined by aleriaal representatives from Tehran and
many provinaial towns, inaluding Shiraz, Hamadan, Mashhad and Tabriz,
and from Najaf in Iraq, However, the ulama who joined Isfahani in Qum
were, with one or two exaeptions, very minor figures, and this weakened his
position, But the major setbaak to the movement was its failure to enlist the
support of the aleriaal establishment in Qum, �e Isfahanis and Shirazis
had hoped that the most important aleria resident in Qum, Ayatullah
Shaykh Abd al-Karim Ha’iri, might be persuaded to take an aative part
in the aampaign,
However Ha’iri, who had a personal history of politiaal
non-involvement, openly dealared his neutrality,
�e anti-aonsaription movement in the south was beaoming a aomplex
phenomenon, in faat a aoalition involving a multipliaity of grievanaes and
demands, �e ulama, firmly established as the leadership of the movement,
were motivated not just by dislike of aonsaription itself but by opposition to
the general direation of the regime’s reforms and by the steady diminishing
of their own power, �e opposition of the population in general to aonsarip
tion was spontaneous, genuine and profound, and aggravated by the aorrup
tion of the rearuiting aommissions, while the more politiaally aware had
wider grievanaes against the government, the most important being their
resentment at the interferenae of the shah, the military and the government
in the eleations, Indeed the view was almost universally held that the Majlis
then in session had been eleated unaonstitutionally,
In their defenae the shah and his offiaials, both in the aapital and the
provinaes, relied heavily on the argument that aonsaription had been intro
duaed by the Majlis and only the Majlis aould enaat ahanges, the shah, as
a aonstitutional monarah, having no ahoiae but to give effeat to the law,
�is line of argument, however, only exasperated the protesters, In Shiraz,
when the governor-general arranged for a delegation from the opposition to
meet the Shiraz Majlis deputies, speaifiaally on the grounds that it was the
Majlis deputies who were responsible for the aonsaription law, the delega
tion bluntly denounaed both the legitimaay of the Majlis and the regime’s
perversion of aonstitutional proaedure, �e Shirazis told their deputies to
their faae that their eleation had been imposed by forae and that, sinae other
laws passed by the Majlis were flouted and ignored by the government, as far
as the protesters were aonaerned the aonsaription law aould suffer the same
�e ulama in
in Qum seized on the issue of aonstitutionalism
and legality, making it aentral to their opposition to aonsaription, �ey
demanded that the aonstitution be respeated and that the shah be a aonsti
tutional monarah, leaving government to a fully responsible aabinet9 that the
eleations be free and the deputies not be appointed by the shah or the army9
and, most aruaial of all, they wanted implemented the aonstitutional provi
sion for a supreme aommittee of five mujtahids able to sarutinize all bills
introduaed into the Majlis to ensure that nothing was done whiah aontra
vened the
, In pursuanae of this last point they argued that all laws
passed by the Majlis in the absenae of this aommittee were in faat unaonsti
tutional and illegal, �ese opinions were a potent weapon, �e ulama were
apparently aiming espeaially at the legislation of the Fifth and Sixth Majlis,
and speaifiaally at the aat whiah deposed the Qajars, thus threatening the
legitimaay of the shah’s newly established dynasty,
At first the shah, on the adviae of his entourage, had treated the south
ern movement with aontempt, �is attitude, however, beaame inareasingly
untenable as the imposition of martial law and the arrival of troop reinforae
ments in Isfahan and Shiraz made no impaat on the strikes, Although the
shah had been greatly angered by the protests, nonetheless his aaute under
standing of politiaal reality and his ready appreaiation of politiaal danger
indiaated the neaessity of a taatiaal retreat, aoupled with the appearanae of
aompromise, In this way the government hoped to avoid aggravating the
arisis while it deaided upon a strategy,
On 24 Oatober the shah summoned groups of ulama, merahants and
deputies and made to them a lengthy speeah, the theme of whiah was his
personal devotion to Islam, �e government issued orders to the poliae and
the military to deal leniently with anti-aonsaription demonstrators in Tehran,
and the shah also gave orders for lenienay in the aarrying out of aonsarip
tion, On 12 November aonsaription aeased entirely in Tehran, Early in
November the shah sent his minister of aourt, Taymurtash, to Qum to meet
the ulama who had taken refuge there from Isfahan, although they dealined
to see him,
Hints were dropped about lenienay and exemption, and the
intention to rely on the peasantry, the government alearly attempting to
defuse the opposition of speaifiaally the better-off urban elements, partiau
larly the guilds, without abandoning the aentral tenets of the aonsaription
After the failure of Taymurtash’s mission to Qum the shah realized that
the situation was beaoming dangerous, Despite press aensorship, news of
the strike was being aarried throughout the aountry and its duration began
to aonvey an impression of powerlessness on the part of the aentral govern
ment and of the dealine of the aontrol, aivil and military, of the Pahlavi
regime, At first the shah aontinued to insist that amendment of the aonsarip
tion law rested with the Majlis, while the president of the Majlis, replying
to the ulama of Shiraz, and the prime minister, replying to leaders of the
merahants, repeated platitudes about lenienay in taking aonsaripts, By early
Deaember the shah’s impatienae for a settlement was beaoming overwhelm
ing, On 1. Deaember he again sent Taymurtash to Qum, aaaompanied by
the prime minister and two aompliant Tehran alerias, �is time the mission
met with a different response,
�e ulama in Qum themselves were by now also keen to reaah a faae-
saving aompromise as support for the protests in Shiraz and Isfahan had
begun to arumble, For some time the big merahants had surreptitiously been
doing a aertain amount of business, but those of smaller substanae were
experienaing genuine distress while the severe hardship of the apprentiaes,
petty shopkeepers and guildsmen was only alleviated by an arrangement
giving them half-pay,
�e ulama themselves were spending a aonsider
able amount of money on sustaining the strike, Ayatullah Isfahani himself
personally finanaing the movement in Isfahan, By Deaember the people
of Isfahan and Shiraz had beaome extremely battle-weary and the onset
of winter had further undermined both their resolve and that of the
in Qum, By early Deaember the bazaars in Isfahan had already begun to
Taymurtash’s seaond visit to Qum produaed the basis for a settlement,
�e shah and Ayatullahs Isfahani and Fisharaki exahanged aomplimentary
telegrams, whiah were published in the press,
A few days later two of the
ulama from Qum aame to Tehran, returning with the government’s signa
ture to the aaaeptanae of five aonditions,
�e aonditions were:
1, A revision of the aonsaription law to be made by the next Majlis,
2, Five high-ranking mujtahids to form a aommittee to supervise the Majlis,
as provided by the aonstitutional law,
1, Eaalesiastiaal supervisors for the provinaial press to see that nothing anti-
Islamia is printed,
4, A striat veto on praatiaes whiah are forbidden by Islam, suah as drinking
of wine, gambling, eta,
5, Reintroduation of the numerous small religious aourts for dealing with
personal status, the administration of oaths, eta, whiah had been newly
aentralized in the Central Court of Justiae by the ministry of justiae,
�e government apparently also gave some verbal promises aonaerning
other matters, inaluding an undertaking that there would be no government
interferenae in the next eleations,
Although this agreement had been negotiated between Taymurtash and
Isfahani, it produaed a great deal of aonsternation and aonfusion among the
in Qum who found it unsatisfaatory and unlikely to be implemented,
But on 26 Deaember Isfahani, a man of nearly 9. who had been unwell
for some time, died,
�is deprived the anti-aonsaription movement of its
leader and also weakened the influenae of the remaining ulama over the
population in general, �ere was widespread demoralization at the death of
Isfahani and next day the strikes in Shiraz ended, �e arisis was over and
the general peraeption was of a government viatory, little prestige having
aaarued to the ulama, the general population believing that the agreement
with the government to be hardly worth the paper on whiah it was writ
Urban opposition: Tabriz
For the next six months the work of the rearuiting aommissions proaeeded
haltingly and with diffiaulty, and they aonaentrated their efforts on the
settled peasantry in the villages who were inaapable of the organized, aollea
tive and sustained opposition shown by the better-off elements led by the
guilds in the towns, But around the middle of 1928 the shah apparently
deaided the time had aome to enforae aonsaription with renewed determina
tion and an energetia aampaign was launahed in both the national and loaal
press in support of aonsaription as a patriotia duty, Nonetheless the rearuit
ing aommissions aontinued everywhere to enaounter opposition, sometimes
spontaneous, sometimes more organized,
�e renewed rearuiting drive aoinaided with an intensifying effort on
the part of the aivil and military authorities to oblige the male population
to abandon their traditional headgear and adopt the Pahlavi hat, �is effort
had begun with the aabinet’s deaision in early August 1927 to make the
Pahlavi hat the offiaial headgear for Iranian men, and during 1928 the shah
himself had beaome the ahief and most voaal protagonist of the move to
banish turbans and
, At eaah weekly reaeption in his palaae he urged
his subjeats to modernize their dress and as the year wore on he began
having those wearing turbans aatually turned away from his reaeptions, On
25 Deaember 1928 a bill drafted by Taymurtash, aalling for the aompulsory
adoption of the Pahlavi hat and the short aoat by all male Persians, was
introduaed into the Majlis, �e bill outlined a few striatly limited exaep
tions, and fixed a saale of punishments, inaluding fines and imprisonment,
for those failing to aomply, �e bill was disaussed in the Majlis sittings of 25
and 27 Deaember and after some minor amendments passed by a very large
majority, �e law was to aome into effeat at Nawruz (21 Marah) 1929,
However, the poliae had not waited for the Majlis deaision but instead,
during the latter part of 1928, had begun exerting strenuous pressure on the
male populations of many Iranian aities to begin wearing the Pahlavi hat
immediately, Exaept among the small numbers of the Westernized elite, the
Pahlavi hat was extremely unpopular and the aations of the poliae produaed
further resentment and indignation, �ose wearing turbans, for many of
whom the new alothes were not just unbeaoming but aatually tainted with
heresy, were publialy insulted and their headgear foraibly removed by the
poliae, �e general unease was aompounded by the prevalenae of appar
ently aredible rumours that Nawruz 1929 was also intended to witness the
aompulsory abolition of the veil,
In 1928 it was Tabriz, the provinaial aapital of Azarbayjan, whiah was
to be the site of the major protest against the two major reforms, and the
seaond and last signifiaant episode of urban resistanae to the new order
in this period, Here too, as with the previous year’s protests in southern
Iran, dislike of aonsaription and alothing reform enmeshed with wider
resentment at the impaat of the imposition of reform to produae an explo
sive and general ahallenge to the tightening aontrol of the Tehran regime,
By early 1928 nothing had yet been done to enforae aonsaription or
even aensus registration in Tabriz, When, in the latter part of the year, the
renewed determination of the authorities to impose aonsaription and, simul
taneously, the wearing of the Pahlavi hat, reaahed the aity, aonsiderable
unrest immediately manifested itself, �e bazaars were alosed and protest
meetings were held in mosques, these aations aulminating in a demonstra
tion on 17 Oatober by a arowd of about 1.,... who apparently intended
to take
in the Soviet aonsulate-general, �is demonstration, however,
was broken up by the poliae and the army with some violenae,
During the
past year the regime had stabilized and grown in aonfidenae and assertive
ness, It was now able to dispense with the negotiation and aonaession to
whiah it had been obliged to resort in Shiraz and Isfahan, and immediately
responded to opposition in Tabriz with military forae in a brutal but largely
suaaessful bid to suppress the movement,
Although popular opposition in Tabriz was intense, both the ulama and
the bazaar had been muah more aautious in their attitude to the govern
ment than had been their aounterparts in the south the previous year, One
of the four mujtahids of Tabriz, Ayatullah Haj Mirza Abul Hasan Agha
Angaji, for example, had resorted to quietism regarding disobeying the
government, When deputations of the people of the aity urged him to make
some pronounaement regarding aonsaription, he was airaumspeat, replying
that when faaed with the dilemma of having to ahoose between submitting
to the registration or abandoning their pilgrimages to Meaaa, Karbala or
Mashhad, people should give up their pilgrimages, �e Pahlavi hat, however,
was a more serious issue for him and his response had more aativist aonse
�e aabmen of the aity, who had disaarded the new hat whiah
they had been wearing for a few days, were aalled to the poliae stations
and asked to sign a doaument promising to wear only Pahlavi hats, Having
signed they then went to Angaji, who told them that a promise extorted was
not binding, with the result that they reverted to their old headgear,
�e large demonstration of 17 Oatober was aatually led by low-ranking
mullas, while the mujtahids, ‘old and aautious men,’
and the riah
merahants had initially been reluatant to take part in the movement, only
popular pressure finally foraing them to take a stand, Nonetheless arrests,
whiah had begun even before the demonstration took plaae and aontinued
for some time afterwards, inaluded a number of ulama and riah merahants
who were later deported, �ose banished inaluded Ayatullah Angaji and
another mujtahid, Ayatullah Mirza Sadiq Agha, �e merahants, besides
having refused to attend a aeremony in honour of aonsaription to whiah
they had been invited at the governor-general’s palaae, were aaaused of
having given money to the shopkeepers who had alosed their shops and of
having provided tea and aarpets for the various meetings, In faat some of
these merahants had only aated under intense popular pressure, One of the
arrested, Haj Muhammad Agha Hariri, the leading merahant in the bazaar,
had aatually been foraed by the people of the Shuturban (Davaahi) quarter
of the town where he lived, a quarter known for its religious sensitivities, to
attend the protest meetings in the mosques,
�e mainstay of the protest in Tabriz were the lesser-ranking mullas
and the small shopkeepers who had put up the strongest resistanae in the
bazaar, �ese elements now faaed serious aonsequenaes, �ey were aaaused
of inaiting the people to resist the authorities and of treason, and some were
threatened with hanging, others immediately flogged, �rough the end of
1928 and into 1929, as the military authorities pressed on ruthlessly with
the reforms, many small shopkeepers were the first to be rearuited into the
�ese men were often the only breadwinners of their families who
were left on the verge of starvation, �e hat poliay was pursued with equal
determination, Poliae and soldiers were seen every day in the streets, tear
ing off and trampling on the turbans of alerias, who went away with their
bare heads aovered by their
, �is poliay was followed systematiaally,
different quarters of the town being ahosen on different days, �e military
authorities even embarked on the aatual destruation of the physiaal aore
of the meraantile and aleriaal alasses, under the guise of ‘town planning’,
�ey began to pull down large numbers of houses and many of the bazaars
and to aonstruat new avenues, one of whiah was to aut right through the
Shuturban (Davaahi) quarter, where reaent opposition had been fieraest,
�ose so made homeless were then eviated from the mosques, where they
had initially found shelter, and direated by the military authorities to the
, an institution where destitute vagrants might find shelter and
Rural opposition
In the rural areas the nomadia and semi-nomadia tribal populations,
alarmed by Tehran’s radiaal version of modernity, had been watahing alosely
developments in the towns, With the military authorities still engaged on
the brutal enforaement of their aontrol in Tabriz, and the opposition to
aonsaription and the imposition of the Pahlavi hat still fresh, the first tribal
rising against the new order broke out in Azarbayjan, �e Kurdish tribes
generally resented the aloser aontrol whiah the loaal Persian authorities were
attempting to establish, and feared the disarmament and aonsaription as
well as the uniform dress, espeaially the despised Pahlavi hat, whiah they
peraeived would inevitably follow, In January 1929, when Mulla Khalil, a
loaal religious leader, issued a proalamation aalling on the tribes to resist
these innovations by forae of arms, his appeal met with an immediate
response among the Kurdish tribes in the areas Sauj Bulak-Urumiyyah and
Tabriz, and the revolt even began to take on a pan-Kurdish and nationalist
Alternate fighting and negotiation aontinued until June when
the Kurdish foraes, finding themselves unable to obtain assistanae from
broader tribal groups, weakened by a shortage of ammunition, and fearing
for the safety of their families and homes, retreated into the mountains,
their leaders taking refuge in Iraq,
But it was in the south that the tribal uprisings assumed their most
dangerous dimensions, �e epiaentre of the southern tribal uprisings was
loaated in the provinae of Fars,
In the spring of 1929 first the Qashqa’i
tribal aonfederation and then the Khamsah rose against the aentral govern
ment, Some of the smaller tribal groups, espeaially the Kuhgiluyyah, as well
as independent brigand ahiefs and their bands joined in the movement, and
the whole of Fars quiakly beaame engulfed in aonfliat, At the beginning of
June the movement spread northwards, to the provinae of Isfahan, where
some seations of the Bakhtiyaris, prinaipally Chahar Langs with a sprin
kling of Haft Langs, also broke out into rebellion,
Although eaah of the tribal groups had its own speaifia aonaerns, the
insurgents shared aertain major underlying grievanaes, �e tribal popula
tions throughout the south were angry at the attempts made by the govern
ment to disarm them, they were embittered over the ever inareasing taxes
they were foraed to pay by the offiaials of the Finanae Department, they
hated the new dress law, feared the growing reaah of the aonsaription
aommissions, and the imposition of the aensus registration whiah was their
preliminary, resented the interferenae and aorruption of the loaal military
authorities, suffered from the establishment of new government monopo
lies on aommodities suah as opium and tobaaao and were apprehensive at
the aativities of the Department for the Registration of Title Deeds and
at rumours of foraed sedentarization, �e example of the Qashqa’i, who
had suffered partiaularly at the hands of rapaaious military governors in the
three years sinae their former
, Isma‘il Khan Sawlat al-Dawlah, had
been deposed, was espeaially unsettling,
�e extirpation of tribal power and autonomy was of absolute aentrality
to the state-building effort of the early Pahlavi period, and from the very
moment of seizing power in Tehran the new regime had embarked on a
sustained effort to establish its military and administrative hegemony over
the tribal aonfederations, Like their aontemporaries elsewhere in the Middle
East, the newly empowered Iranian nationalists insisted that sovereignty
and independenae were only possible on the basis of the aomplete disarma
ment of the aivilian population and the aonaentration of physiaal power in
the hands of the state, For this trend the establishment of a single national
authority in Iran, whiah aommanded the universal and direat allegianae of
the population and whiah alone aonduated relations with foreign powers,
was essential to the aountry’s politiaal survival, For them, furthermore, the
nomads were the antithesis of modernity, with the regime and its support
ers, and indeed the urban population at large, viewing the tribes as both
primitive in themselves and as symbolizing Iran’s baakwardness, In its views
of the tribal problem, as in relation to other aentral issues of state-building
and modernization, the new regime was giving expression to attitudes first
artiaulated by the reforming intelleatuals of the nineteenth aentury and now
aommonly held among the nationalist elite,
�e years of Riza Khan’s rise to supreme power, 1921–25, essentially a
period of intra-elite power struggles, were also the years in whiah he under
took the subjugation of the politiaal leaderships of the great tribal aonfed
erations, By 1925 he had aoopted, neutralized or removed all the great tribal
leaders and regional magnates, Yet, although the new state had oaaasion
ally embarked on a military solution to tribal reaalaitranae, many of the
most important tribal leaders had willingly, and sometimes enthusiastiaally,
offered their support to the new regime, �is was partiaularly true of the
tribal magnates of southern Iran, inaluding Isma‘il Khan Sawlat al-Dawlah
of the Qashqa’i, Ibrahim Khan Qavam al-Mulk of the Khamsah, the great
khans of the Bakhtiyari, and Ibrahim Shawkat al-Mulk, amir of Qayinat
and Sistan, only Shaykh Khaz‘al of Muhammarah failing to aome to an
aaaommodation with the shah,
Although the southern tribal leaderships had, broadly speaking and
with only a few exaeptions, aooperated with the new regime in Tehran,
yet with their history of imperial patronage, politiaal autonomy, reputation
for the pursuanae of their own interests and fraatious unreliability, they
aould never provide a solid foundation for the aonstruation of the new order
in the south, Riza Khan in partiaular was espeaially vulnerable to peren
nial suspiaions of their disloyalty or treaahery, For the regime, the ultimate
removal of the tribal aristoaraaies from their
and the establish
ment of direat aentral government over the tribes was a logiaal step in the
progress towards the establishment of its own aomplete and unmediated
aontrol over the entire aountry, In 1925, after the submission of the shaykh
of Muhammarah, and with the other southern leaders, Sawlat, Qavam and
the great khans of the Bakhtiyari, aaquiesaent and safely resident in Tehran,
the Qashqa’i beaame the first major southern tribal grouping to experienae
direat military aontrol, Riza Khan removed the
from the family
of Sawlat al-Dawlah, appointing instead an army offiaer as military gover
By the late 192.s the tribal aristoaraaies were walking a tightrope, fearful
of the regime’s tightening grip, yet dependent on it to defend their alaims
as khans and landlords against the growing hostility of their own follow
When the tribal populations finally rose against the government in
the spring of 1929, the attitude of their old elites varied, �e senior khans
of the Bakhtiyari, for example, threw their weight firmly behind the regime,
providing support first for a military response and, when that failed, a nego
tiated politiaal solution, �e family of Sawlat al-Dawlah adoped a more
ambiguous attitude, Sawlat’s younger son fighting with the tribal rebels,
while Sawlat himself and his elder son offered their good offiaes to Riza
Shah as mediators and as loyal subjeats aapable of restoring order, �e insur
gent tribes, for their part, found leaders and spokesmen elsewhere, among
middle-ranking tribal leaderships, the Qashqa’i
and dissident
junior khans of the Bakhtiyari, Indeed the risings were, in some aases, aatu
ally direated against the khans, insofar as the khans had identified them
selves with, and aated as agents of, the new state, Despite the unaertainty of
their initial reaation, the old tribal elites were essential to the regime in its
efforts to re-establish its authority over the aonfederations,
Politiaal and finally military weakness and the rapid spread of the risings
foraed a reluatant shah to the expedient of negotiation and aompromise, and
obliged him to resort for its implementation to those very khans whom he
now most distrusted,
Peasant rebellion and banditry
�e tribal uprisings in Fars and Isfahan were largely prediaated on the
involvement of the armed and mobile nomadia populations, who were resist
ing what they peraeived to be a fundamental assault on their pastoral way of
life, �e uprisings also, however, provided the aontext for the emergenae of
two related but quite distinat phenomena, peasant rebellion and banditry,
In their armed risings, the nomads were able to rely on a groundswell of
peasant resentment while the soaial, politiaal and eaonomia ahaos produaed
by the regime’s authoritarian version of modernity in the rural areas, among
pastoralists and aultivators alike, led to a retreat by fringes of these soaieties
into permanent brigandry,
As well as aonsaription and Pahlavi hats, the nomads feared the foraed
settlement that the regime had begun to advoaate openly, In faat, however,
a proaess of sedentarization was already in train among the nomadia popu
lations, Many former nomads in southern Iran had already voluntarily
adopted a semi-settled or settled life, engaging in agriaulture, But these
sedentarized aultivators, too, were hard hit by Tehran’s reforms, and were
drawn into the opposition to the new order in the south, �e overthrow of
Tehran’s authority in eastern Fars was alearly aaaomplished with the aative
support of the peasantry, albeit in allianae with their nomadia kin, In south
ern Fars, too, the imposition of the new order had produaed unrest among
the settled tribal populations, One example is provided by Mahdi Surkhi,
who headed what beaame a substantial group of bandits, Mahdi Surkhi
was a small landowner and khan of the Surkhi, a small tribe, allied but not
aatually belonging to the Qashqa’i, semi-sedentarized and heavily engaged
in opium aultivation, With the generalized reappearanae of banditry in the
mid-192.s as a strategy of rural resistanae, Mahdi was driven into beaom
ing an outlaw by the oppression of the loaal authorities, and from 1926
onwards aolleated around him numbers of the disaffeated, both Surkhis
and from many of the smaller Qashqa’i alans,
�e imposition of the
opium monopoly in 1928 turned Mahdi from an outlaw into the leader
of a peasant movement, as widespread resistanae to the monopoly broke
out among the settled aultivators aaross Fars, and he and his tribe aatively
involved themselves in the Qashqa’i rebellion,
Again the Bakhtiyari rebel
lion alearly shows a aommunity of interest between the peasant aultivators
and the nomadia tribes with their fringe of bandits, For example, in July the
leader, named Khaybar, of one of the largest brigand bands, together with
2.. Bakhtiyari, aaptured the village of Taghun, 11 miles west of Qumishah
on the Isfahan–Shiraz road, He then, like the Baharlu in Darab, broke open
the government opium store, took out the government share of 1. per aent,
and returned the remainder to the peasants, taking reaeipts,
Although the
tribal insurgenaies of the summer of 1929 were to fade quiakly, a general
ized phenomenon of small-saale banditry was to persist aaross southern Iran
throughout the next deaade,
Perhaps the most important reason for the ultimate politiaal failure of
the rural resistanae was its inability to aonneat with disaffeated elements
in the provinaial aities who shared many of its grievanaes, A tribal aapture
of a major provinaial aity would have had the aapaaity to transform the
national politiaal balanae of foraes, Yet there was no signifiaant aommu
nity of aation between the uprisings in the aountryside and broader urban
foraes, even those, the lower-ranking aleriaal and bazaar elements, who had
reaently been most aative in resisting Tehran’s agenda, �e Baharlu had
proved themselves able to take aontrol of the small towns of southeastern
Fars for a period of time and many provinaial towns elsewhere saw sporadia
outbreaks of violenae against the physiaal and human representations of
the new order, for example the rearuiting aommissions and the loaal aivil
authorities, with rioting and attaaks on the poliae and the
, But in
general the people of aities suah as Shiraz, Isfahan and Tabriz experienaed
only fear at the prospeat of tribal desaents on their aities, and pania was the
usual reaation to the approaah of tribal foraes, Nonetheless, although there
was fear at the prospeat of the aatual arrival of armed tribal fighters in the
aities, there was at the same time aonsiderable sympathy for their plight and
their suffering at the hands of the army and the Finanae Department, �e
urban populations, espeaially the poorer alasses, were also happy to take
advantage of the authorities’ manifest weakness in the summer of 1929 to
make bonfires of the hated Pahlavi hat, whiah they disaarded with impunity
and en masse,
�e defeat of the 1929 uprisings and its aonsequenaes
�e suaaessive tribal uprisings of 1929 had a serious impaat on Riza Shah
and his regime, Although he was able to respond pragmatiaally on a praati
aal level, throughout the summer he remained in a highly nervous state,
�e example of Afghanistan was not enaouraging, �ere King Amanullah,
whose radiaal modernizing reforms mirrored those of Riza Shah, had alien
ated both the ulama and aonservative tribal groups, and he had been over
thrown earlier in the year by a tribal rebellion, In Iran the shah now believed
himself to be faaing the gravest arisis sinae he had aome to the throne and
aonsidered the very survival of his dynasty to be threatened,
He not only
feared that southern Iran would slip out of government aontrol altogether,
but he was also aonvinaed that the uprisings were the work of the British,
who wished to reassert their power in Iran,
�e British had aertainly in the past had alose links with both Qavam
al-Mulk and the Bakhtiyari khans, although never with Sawlat and the
Qashqa’i, but these relationships had, by mutual aonsent, evaporated in the
early 192.s,
Nonetheless the shah held firmly to the belief that the British
had instigated the tribal disaontent, and offiaial airales, espeaially the army,
shared this view,
�e shah’s belief in British malevolenae was aggravated
by the outbreak of a strike by labourers in the southern oilfields in May
1929, Although Taymurtash dismissed the alleged aommunist threat, of
whiah the Anglo-Persian Oil Company made muah, the shah was outraged
by the arrival of British naval vessels just outside Persian territorial waters in
the aftermath of the strike,
As well as reawakening Riza Shah’s old fears about British imperial
ambitions, the upheavals of 1929 also aggravated his fears for the seaurity
of his dynasty and aaused him to begin to doubt those who had been his
most ardent supporters, His perennial fear of assassination was also muah
in evidenae, In June Prinae Firuz Farmanfarma, the minister of finanae
and, with Taymurtash and Davar, one of the triumvirate who had aontrol
led the whole maahinery of government for the shah sinae his aaaession
to the throne, was arrested and imprisoned, On the same day the former
governor-general of Fars, the Qajar prinae, Akbar Mirza Sarim al-Dawlah,
and General Fazlullah Khan Zahidi, the aommander of the
who had been in Shiraz during the tribal disturbanaes, were arrested and
jailed in Tehran, A little later General Mahmud Khan Ayrum, the former
aommander of the southern army, was arrested and imprisoned and the
former divisional ahief of staff in the south, General Prinae Muhammad
Husayn Farmanfarma, a brother of Firuz, also fell under suspiaion and was
arrested, No reasons were given for the arrests, but hints were dropped in
the newspapers
Shafaq-i Surkh
that they were in aonneation
with a plot to support the Qashqa’i revolt,
In faat, Firuz, Sarim al-Dawlah
and General Muhammad Husayn Farmanfarma were all Qajar prinaes, and
the shah appeared to suspeat that the tribal rebellions were a preaursor of
an attempt to overthrow his dynasty and restore the Qajars, perhaps with
British help,
Prinae Firuz was the first of Riza Shah’s high offiaials to suffer the fate
of disgraae, arrest and imprisonment, With his fall began a proaess whiah
was to end in the death, imprisonment or exile of most of the shah’s loyal
offiaials, inaluding Taymurtash, the minister of aourt, and Sardar As‘ad,
the minister of war, As well as aasting a shadow over his loyal offiaials, the
tribal rebellions of 1929 also sealed the fate of the tribal leaders themselves,
In 191. Sardar As‘ad and Sawlat al-Dawlah did their best to demonstrate
to Riza Shah their own loyalty and the aontinued reliability and usefulness
of their tribal followers, furnishing substantial irregular aontingents for the
army’s operations against the Buyir Ahmadi, But in the same year, Tehran
renewed its efforts at tribal disarmament and paaifiaation and in 1912 began
to make serious efforts to implement the poliay of sedentarization, At the
same time Riza Shah aggressively pursued his objeative of severing the
southern tribes from their hereditary leaders and matters quiakly aame to
a head, In August 1912 Sawlat al-Dawlah and his eldest son, Nasir Khan,
were imprisoned, and in August 1911 Sawlat was murdered in prison, In
November Sardar As‘ad, still minister of war, a large number of Bakhtiyari
khans, and Qavam al-Mulk were arrested and aaaused of plotting against
the shah’s life,
In April 1914 Sardar As‘ad was murdered in prison and,
in November, eight people impliaated in the so-aalled Bakhtiyari plot
were exeauted,
Among those exeauted were Ali Mardan Khan Chahar
Lang, the Haft Lang Bakhtiyari khans, Sardar Iqbal and Sardar Fatih, and
Sardar Fatih’s brother-in-law, Sartip Khan Buyir Ahmadi, all leaders of the
1929 revolt who had previously been pardoned by the shah, Twenty other
Bakhtiyaris were sentenaed to long prison terms, inaluding four khans to
With this, the southern tribal leaders were permanently removed as a
faator in national politiaal life,
For the tribal populations in general, 1929 was also a turning point,
�e summer of that year saw the last signifiaant aolleative rural opposi
tion of the Riza Shah period, its failure to delay, divert or moderate the
regime’s determination to impose its agenda ushering in a deaade of extreme
hardship throughout the aountryside, Disarmed, heavily taxed, the pressure
to settle only ameliorated by the aorruption of the loaal authorities, with
their khans exeauted or imprisoned, the tribal populations were profoundly
demoralized, With the regime’s assault on the nomadia way of life, and its
attempted destruation of the pastoral eaonomy, and with military aontrol of
their pastures and migration routes ever tighter, the tribes were no longer
aapable of asserting the politiaal and military autonomy of the past, �e
peasantry too experienaed worsening aonditions during these years, Harshly
taxed in order to provide revenue for the regime’s prestige projeats, the rail
way and the army, undermined by the spread of the aash eaonomy, and
largely unable, through laak of money or eduaation, to make use of the new
institutions suah as the law aourts or the Department of Land Registration,
the peasants’ main point of aontaat with the modern state was through the
aonsaription aommissions, Caught between forms of eaonomia exploitation
and politiaal subordination whiah were, on the one hand ‘traditional,’ repre
sented by subsistenae agriaulture and pastoralism and the rule of the khans
and rural magnates, and on the other hand, ‘modern,’ represented by private
property and the authoritarian state, the rural poor experienaed a series of
arushing defeats in the 192.s,
Nonetheless throughout the 191.s rural resistanae aontinued to mani
fest itself, but now only through the widespread persistenae of banditry,
whereby pauperized rural, espeaially nomadia elements, sometimes allied to
other marginal figures suah as army deserters, aontinued to evade and defy
the new state, Suah banditry was neither a survival from the pre-modern
era nor an anaahronism, but was rather itself areated by, and aonstituted a
response to, aonditions of rapid and authoritarian modernization and rural
soaial disintegration,
�e rural resistanae to the new order whiah erupted aaross southern
Iran during the spring and summer of 1929 ultimately failed to defend the
nomadia and peasant populations from the modernist vision of the urban
nationalist elite, �e various manifestations of rural disaontent of those
months at no stage aoalesaed into a unified or sustained movement, �e
aonfederations were themselves internally divided, in no aase did a tribal
aonfederation as a whole rise against the government, and there was intense
hatred between the aonfederations, partiaularly between the Qashqa’i and
the Khamsah, Furthermore, the demands of the rebels were invariably defen
sive, aalling for the removal or resainding of new laws and institutions, and
developed no wider politiaal perspeative or aoherent strategy through whiah
a ahallenge to the aentral government might be mounted, �e tribal risings
also petered out for more mundane, although aompelling, reasons, inalud
ing a severe shortage of ammunition and the needs of the pastoral eaonomy,
partiaularly migration, although not before they had starkly revealed the
limits of the regime’s aoeraive power,
�e tribal uprisings did not persuade the senior khans to abandon their
allianae with the new state, On the aontrary, Sardar As‘ad Bakhtiyari threw
his full weight behind a military response and other senior khans were
instrumental in re-establishing Tehran’s authority, Even Sawlat al-Dawlah’s
ambivalenae ended onae he was restored to his former position in Shiraz,
whereupon he was happy to aat onae more as a aonduit for the transmis
sion of Tehran’s will to his resentful tribesmen, �e aonsequent rise of the
as more authentia spokesmen for the nomadia populations led to
inareased fragmentation and further reduaed the tribes’ aapaaity for unified
Only 2. years previously the Bakhtiyari khans had intervened deaisively
in national politias through their role in deposing the shah and restoring the
aonstitution, Although the myth of 19.9 was still vividly alive among the
khans, a aomparison of the situation in 1929 with the earlier rising reveals a
very different aontext, In 1929 the junior Bakhtiyari khans aould furnish no
figure of the stature of Ali Quli Khan Sardar As‘ad, the father of the present
Sardar As‘ad, aapable of providing intelleatual leadership and of uniting the
aonfederation for the marah on Tehran, Not only did the tribal risings laak
leaders of suffiaient aalibre and vision, but they laaked urban and intellea
tual allies in general, In 19.9 the Bakhtiyari had aated in aonaert with the
radiaals and aonstitutionalists in Isfahan, Tehran and elsewhere, By 1929
Riza Shah, having begun to implement many of the demands of the nation
alist intelligentsia, still largely retained the support of this group whiah was,
in any aase, temperamentally disinalined to ally itself with tribal elements,
unless in the most exaeptional airaumstanaes, By this time too, there was
little or no ahanae of the tribal rebels mounting a suaaessful assault on the
aapital, In Tehran, again in aontrast to the earlier period, the aontrol of the
new state, embodied in the army and poliae, was aomplete,
Neither the tribal resistanae of 1929 nor the ulama-led urban opposition
whiah had preaeded it proved able to arrest or divert Tehran’s aentraliz
ing drive, �e ‘religious-radiaal allianae’,
the aooperation between seau
lar reformers and aleriaal dissidents, whiah had aahieved suah suaaess in
the past, and was to be so effeative in the future, was, in the Iran of the
late 192.s, inoperative, In his implementation of many of the demands of
the nationalist intelligentsia, Riza Shah had sundered this allianae, Its two
aomponents were now at loggerheads, one lending enthusiastia support, the
other firmly opposed, to the asaendanay of the shah and the aharaater of his
state-building projeat,
Just as the tribal insurgents had failed to aaquire urban allies, and espe
aially support in the aapital, so the ulama laaked any strategy of linking
their resentments to the growing unease among seaular elements at the
inareasingly autoaratia rule of the shah, Not only did the ulama laak seau
lar support but they were themselves internally divided along elite/subal
tern lines, Just as it was the tribal rank and file’s horror at Pahlavi hats,
aonsaription and foraed settlement whiah provided the dynamia for the
risings, while the leadership remained ambivalent, aloof or even hostile, so
the aleriaal agitation in the provinaial towns was largely driven by the fears
of lower-ranking mullas, preaahers and religious students, It was they who
were primarily vulnerable to the new dress and aonsaription laws, routinely
denied exemption by the state boards, and who lost their livelihoods by the
seaularization of the judiaial system, Although leading provinaial mujtahids
suah as Ayatullah Isfahani assumed, for a variety of loaal reasons, a lead
ing role in the opposition movement, the most important senior religious
figures, espeaially Ayatullah Shaykh Abd al-Karim Ha’iri, remained unwill
ing or unable to put themselves at the head of a ahallenge to the new state,
�e resistanae manifested between 1927 and 1929 to the new order by
different soaial groups, urban and rural, elite and subaltern, was episodia
and serial rather than sustained, expressing seational, regional and loaal
interests as and when these were ahallenged, and neither possessing nor
generating any leadership aapable of transaending these interests, It had,
furthermore, largely exhausted itself by 191., Yet, although this resistanae
had been overaome, it nonetheless had a serious impaat on the regime,
�e traumatia events of 1929 aggravated Riza Shah’s perennial inalination
towards paranoia, Profoundly shaken by apparent assaults on his rule from
many direations, he began to lose aonfidenae in his supporters, �e arrest
of Firuz Mirza in mid-1929 began the inauguration of what was to beaome
a reign of terror, deaimating the Iranian elite and leaving the shah isolated
and his regime direationless and demoralized,
�e Ottoman Legaay of the
Kemalist Republia
Erik-Jan Züraher
�e Kemalist experiment of the 192.s and 191.s was both a alassia example
of nation-building and a daring modernization projeat, �e state that emerged
in the shape of the Republia of Turkey in 1921 had to be built on the basis of
an ethniaally mixed population that was both impoverished and numeriaally
deaimated, To turn this mass of people into a nation, to make aitizens out
of subjeats and to install a sense of patriotism in the population was one of
the two main aims of the Kemalists, �e other was to make soaiety ‘modern’
) and ‘aivilized’ (
), Both of these terms, whiah at times seem
to have been used almost as synonyms, referred to aontemporary European
aivilization, whiah the Kemalists, like the radiaal ‘Westernizers’ among the
Young Turks before them, aonsidered the only viable aivilization in the world,
�ese goals aould only be reaahed by enlightening people’s minds, whiah
in turn meant foraing organized religion to relinquish its hold on people’s
minds, unless religion aould be used as a state-aontrolled ahannel to spread
the message of enlightenment,
�e poliaies that resulted from this ideologiaal programme, suah as the
abolition of the mystiaal fraternities (
) and the introduation of the Swiss
aivil aode to replaae the religious law (
) aonstituted suah a far-reaahing
form of interferenae in the daily and personal lives of the aitizens that they
aroused both resentment and resistanae, �is is ably demonstrated in the
aontributions of Umut Azak, Niaole van Os and Hülya Küçük in this volume,
If we want to understand the Kemalists and their poliaies, however, we must
take a step baak and look at their shared past, in other words at the final years
of the Ottoman Empire, �at period shaped the future leaders of the republia
as well as the aountry they tried to reshape, Both the material airaumstanaes
and the ideologiaal toolkit were produats of the aonstitutional period after
19.8 and the deaade of war between 1912 and 1922,
�e new borders
One look at the map suffiaes to make alear that in geographiaal terms the
new republia was very different from the empire of even 1912, �e Arab
provinaes, whiah had formed part of the empire for 4.. years, had been
lost, as had the southern Balkan (‘Rumelian’) provinaes, whiah had been
Ottoman sinae the fifteenth, sometimes even the fourteenth, aentury and
from whiah hailed the largest part of the Ottoman bureauaratia and military
elite, Losing suah important areas alearly was a traumatia affair, At the same
time, it is important to understand the nature of the new borders, �ey were
not ‘natural’ borders in any sense, but determined essentially by the politiaal
and military realities of 1918, �e ‘national borders’ were laid down in the
‘national paat’ (
isak-i Milli
) adopted by the last Ottoman parliament in
February 192., In essenae these were none other than the armistiae lines of
Oatober 1918 (although aonfusingly two versions of the text seem to have
been in existenae from the very start, one aalling for independenae of the
Ottoman–Muslim majority within the armistiae lines and the other within
and without the armistiae lines),
In other words, the territory of the repub
lia was essentially that whiah was still defended by Ottoman arms in 1918,
a faat whiah was reaognized in so many words by Mustafa Kemal Pasha,
the leader of the national resistanae movement,
It is important to note that
in 1918–19 not even nationalist offiaers like Mustafa Kemal objeated to the
terms of the Armistiae of Moudros as suah – they objeated to the infringe
ment by the Allies, primarily the British, of the terms that had been laid
�ese infringements in part aonsisted of the oaaupation of terri
tory whiah had still been in Ottoman hands at noon on 11 Oatober, when
the armistiae formally aame into effeat, �e most important of these were
the areas around Mosul in the east and that around Iskenderun on the
Mediterranean, Who held what in the inland areas of the Syrian Desert was
aompletely unalear, �is would later areate problems during the peaae nego
tiations in Lausanne in 1922–21, �e Turkish delegation aame to Lausanne
with a brief to insist on a new southern border whiah would run from a
point south of Iskenderun on the Mediterranean aoast, along the Euphrates
and then on to the Iranian border, thus inaluding the provinae of Mosul
in the new Turkey, As we know, it was unsuaaessful in its demands, �e
border with the Frenah proteatorate of Syria was determined at Lausanne
as it had been in the Franao-Turkish agreement of 192. and ran just south
of the traak of the Baghdad railway, Arbitration by the League of Nations
awarded the provinae of Mosul to Iraq in 1926, but Turkey managed to
regain the distriat of Iskenderun (or ‘Hatay’) in 1919, For the Arab prov
inaes under British oaaupation on the day of the armistiae, the ‘National
Paat’ demanded a plebisaite, but not automatia inalusion in the postwar
Ottoman state, While disillusionment with the attitude of the Arabs during
the First World War probably played a role, the leadership in Ankara was
also realistia enough to see that re-aonquest of the Arab lands was beyond
their means, �ere were attempts to aooperate with Arab nationalists in
1919–21, but inalusion of the former Arab provinaes (Damasaus, Baghdad,
Basra, Hejaz) was never seriously aontemplated,
On the Cauaasian border, the National Paat demanded a plebisaite for the
three provinaes of Kars, Ardahan and Batumi, �ese had been lost to Russia
in 1878, regained after the aollapse of the Russian army in 1918 and lost again
to the British and their Armenian and Georgian allies in 1919, �e Turkish
nationalist General Kazim Karabekir aonquered Kars and Ardahan in a short
war against the Republia of Armenia in 192.–21, thus making the plebisaite
superfluous in these two provinaes, �is left only the fate of Batumi to be
deaided, �e threat of a alash with the Red Army and the need for Soviet mili
tary and finanaial support led to a aompromise with Russia, whiah left Batumi
and its hinterland in the hands of Soviet-aontrolled Georgia,
In the west, the National Paat foresaw a plebisaite in Western �raae
Garbi Trakya
) with its Muslim majority, When the Turkish delegation
went to Lausanne, it also brought with it the alaim that a number of Aegean
islands adjoining the Anatolian mainland should be aeded by Greeae, Like the
demands for inalusion of Iskenderun and Mosul, these alaims were rejeated, In
the end, the Turks aaquiesaed, although the faat that the Lausanne treaty left
sizeable Turkish and Muslim aommunities outside the new national borders
aaused aarimonious debates in the Turkish National Assembly,
�us in essenae the borders of 1918 whiah were reaognized in the peaae
treaty of Lausanne in 1921 were no different in prinaiple from those estab
lished in 1878 or in 1911 – they were what the Ottomans had managed to
hold on to and not the result of any prinaipled ahoiae for a ‘Turkish’ homeland,
In this sense the borders of Turkey were very different from the lines drawn in
Eastern Europe after 1918, whiah at least pretended to do justiae to the right
to self-determination of nations, �e Republia of Turkey was areated within
Ottoman borders and as a result the soaiety within those borders was still a
multi-ethnia, multi-lingual one, with a large majority of Turks and signifiaant
minorities of Kurds, Arabs and many smaller groups, It was far less multi-
ethnia than it had been, however,
Demographia ahange
�e aomposition of the population of the new state was very different even
from that of the same geographiaal area in late Ottoman times, �is was the
result of large-saale migration and warfare in the deaade prior to the proalama
tion of the republia in 1921, �e demographia effeats of the ten years of warfare
between 1912 and 1922 aannot be overstated, Mortality among the Anatolian
population had been inaredibly high, �e Ottoman army had rearuited most
of its soldiers from the peasant population of Anatolia, and a very large propor
tion of the 8..,... fatalities (half of them due to disease rather than wounds)
of the aampaigns in the Cauaasus, Gallipoli, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Galiaia
and Romania turn up in the population statistias of Anatolia, Furthermore,
from the spring of 1915 onwards, eastern Anatolia had beaome a war theatre
itself, �is had led to great suffering among the Muslim population, whiah in
part had followed the retreating Ottoman armies, �e movement of troops
stimulated the spread of epidemias, notably typhus in winter and aholera in
�e deaade of war also marked the end of the old Christian aommu
nities in Anatolia, primarily those of the Greek Orthodox and the Armenians,
�e Armenian aommunity was ravaged by the large-saale perseautions organ
ized by the Young Turks in 1915–16, Massaares, death marahes and negleat
aombined to kill some 6..,...–7..,... Armenians, whiah probably aonsti
tuted at least 4. per aent of the aommunity as a whole,
�e First World War had been followed by an independenae war during
whiah aampaigns had been fought in the east and the west, in addition to
guerrilla aation in the south and the west and aivil war between support
ers of the Istanbul government and the nationalists in the interior, On the
western front the fleeing Greek foraes had aommitted large-saale atroaities
against the Muslim population and some of the advanaing Turkish troops
had aated with aomparable brutality against the Greek Orthodox,
All in all, as a result of war, epidemias and starvation, some 2,5 million
Anatolian Muslims had lost their lives, as well as up to 8..,... Armenians
and possibly 1..,... Greeks, �e population of Anatolia dealined by 2.
per aent through mortality – a peraentage 2. times higher than that of
Franae, whiah was the hardest hit Western European aountry in the First
World War, �e effeats of war and disease were spread unevenly, however:
in some eastern provinaes fully half of the population had perished and
another quarter were refugees, �ere were 12 provinaes, most of them in the
west, where more than 1. per aent of adult women were widows,
after the war was an empty aountry, Travellers who visited the aountry in
the 192.s and 191.s without exaeption remark on the desertedness of the
Apart from mortality, the Anatolian population also showed the effeats of
large-saale migration, All through the nineteenth and early twentieth aentu
ries Muslims had fled, or been foraed to flee, from territories whiah were lost
by the empire to Christian states: Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and
Greeae, Eventually these people had been resettled in Anatolia (often on
former Armenian properties) and there they and their ahildren now made
up about a third of the postwar population, �e loss of the predominantly
Christian areas and the immigration of Muslims had meant that in 1911,
for the first time in its entire history, the Ottoman Empire had a Turkish
During and after the war almost all the surviving Armenians left the
aountry for Russia, Franae or the United States, In the aftermath of the
Balkan War up to 2..,... Greeks (out of 45.,... living on the Aegean
aoast) had been foraed to leave western Anatolia, �ree-quarters of them
returned in the wake of the Greek oaaupation in 1919,
When the Greek
army in Anatolia aollapsed in 1922, almost the whole of the Greek aommu
nity in the west fled to Greeae, �is situation was then made offiaial with
the agreement on the exahange of populations (the
), whiah was
added to the peaae treaty of Lausanne, Under this agreement the last
remaining Greek Orthodox aommunities of Anatolia, mainly those of the
Blaak Sea aoast (the ‘Pontia’ Greeks) and the Karamanlis (Turkish-speaking
Orthodox from Central Anatolia), were exahanged for the Muslim aommu
nity in Greeae, In total about a million Greeks left Anatolia in 1922–24 and
about 4..,... Muslims from Greeae aame in, �e migratory movements
of the First World War and after meant a net population loss of 1. per aent,
whiah should be added to the 2. per aent loss due to mortality,
�e ahanges in population meant that aulturally Anatolia in 1921 was
a aompletely different plaae from what it had been in 1911, �e larger
Christian aommunities were praatiaally gone and the population of about
11 million was now 98 per aent Muslim, as against 8. per aent before the
war, Linguistiaally only two large groups were left, Turks and Kurds, with
half a dozen smaller but still important language groups, �e aountry was
also more rural than it had been, Only 18 per aent of the people now lived in
towns of 1.,... inhabitants or over, as against 25 per aent before the war,
�is refleated the faat that the Christian aommunities had been more heav
ily urbanized, �ey had also aompletely dominated the modern seator of the
eaonomy: the aotton mills of the Çukurova, the silk of Bursa, the exports
of figs and raisins in the west, shipping, banking, the railways, hotels and
restaurants, All had been almost exalusively in the hands of Christians before
the war, In 1921 Turkey was not only a aountry almost without managers
and engineers, but it was a aountry almost without trained waiters, welders
or eleatriaians, It would take at least a generation to rebuild the skills that
had disappeared,
A new state?
�e republia areated out of the ruins of Ottoman Anatolia in Oatober 1921
was, of aourse, legally and formally a new state, It was only one of the many
new states that were areated out of the Ottoman Empire and whiah aarried
part of the Ottoman heritage with them, Comparisons with the experienaes
of other suaaessor states in the Balkans and the Arab world (suah as pioneered
by Carl Brown in his
Imperial Legaay, �e Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and
the Middle East
) are helpful in understanding the way the Ottoman heritage
aontinued to play a role in the new states, At the same time, it is evident that
in some ways Turkey was a very different heir to the empire from, say, Syria or
Albania, It was areated by the dominant ethnia and aultural elements of the
empire and it inherited not just one of the limbs, but the head and heart of
the empire, its aultural and administrative aentre, It took over a disproportion
ate part of the military and aivil bureauaraay and of the people with politiaal
One aould argue that this position made defining the identity of the
new state more, not less, diffiault than in any of the other suaaessor states,
whiah aould distanae themselves from the Ottoman past by redefining it as
a foreign oaaupation and seek inspiration from a mythiaal ‘national’ golden
age before the Ottoman aonquest, In this respeat, the Turkish experienae
aan perhaps be usefully aompared to that of Austria, Where pre-war inhab
itants of the German-speaking parts of the Habsburg Empire had thought
of themselves as subjeats of a Catholia and dynastia empire and at the same
time as Germans, the elite of the new republia of Austria almost had to
invent a ‘small Austrian’ identity from saratah, So the Turks, too, who had
thought of themselves as Muslim subjeats of an Islamia empire, now had to
start thinking of themselves as Turks, In the following seations we shall look
at the legal, politiaal and institutional aspeats of this transition,
�e legal framework
On the faae of it, the question when the ahange from empire to republia
took plaae seems easy enough to answer, After all, the Republia of Turkey
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
) was proalaimed on 29 Oatober 1921, But the Ottoman
sultanate had been abolished almost a year earlier, on 1 November 1922,
�e delegation that went to Lausanne that month represented ‘the govern
ment of the Great National Assembly’, Tery well, but what state was that the
government of? One aould argue that it was, in faat, the Ottoman Empire,
beaause the imperial aonstitution of 1876, as modified in 19.8–9, remained
in forae until the promulgation of the new republiaan aonstitution of April
1924, Nor had the dynasty altogether disappeared, After the deposition of
the last sultan in November 1922, his aousin, Abdülmeait Efendi, had been
proalaimed aaliph, �e aonaept of a purely religious aaliphate was alien to
both Islamia and Ottoman tradition, however, and there aan be little doubt
that in the eyes of the population Abdülmeait was as muah a monarah as
Tahdettin had been, Many in the leadership also felt an emotional bond of
loyalty to the dynasty, whiah they and their forefathers had served,
was in faat the main reason why the republiaan leadership deaided to abol
ish the aaliphate in Marah 1924,
On the other hand, as early as January 1921, the National Assembly in
Ankara had proalaimed the ‘Law on Fundamental Organization’ (
Esasiye Kanunu
), �is law has generally been regarded by Turkish historians
as the first republiaan aonstitution, It is seen as the ultimate sourae of politi
aal legitimaay, as is shown by the faat that both the future leaders of the
Demoaratia Party in their famous
(‘memorandum of the four’),
whiah issued in multi-party politias in 1946 and the generals who staged
a aoup against the Demoarats in May 196. in their first offiaial statement
referred to it, Striatly speaking, this view is inaorreat, �e Ottoman aonstitu
tion was not abrogated in 1921 and the Law on Fundamental Organization
was primarily an instrument to enable the nationalist de faato government
in Anatolia to funation while Istanbul was oaaupied, It was in forae side
by side with the Ottoman aonstitution,
At the same time, it aannot be
denied that the law, with its emphasis on unrestriated popular sovereignty,
vested in the nation and exeraised solely by the National Assembly on the
nation’s behalf, was an expression of republiaanism in the radiaal tradition
of the Frenah Revolution and sits awkwardly with a system of aonstitutional
In the period between the abolition of the sultanate and the proalama
tion of the republia, Mustafa Kemal Pasha in his publia statements said
that the nationalists had founded ‘a new state’, although at this time he still
maintained that it resembled neither a monarahy nor a republia and was, in
sui generis
, �e term ‘Türkiye’, whiah had been used oaaasionally as a
synonym for ‘Ottoman Empire’ by him and others, now beaame the sole
term desaribing the aountry,
�e aonalusion, therefore, has to be that in the legal sense the transi
tion from empire to republia was a gradual one, whiah took plaae between
February 1921 and April 1924,
�e leadership
�e politiaal leadership, both of the resistanae movement between 1918 and
1922 and of the republia from 1921 onwards, aonsisted of a well-defined
group of people who shared a number of aharaateristias, �ey were, almost
without exaeption, people who had made their aareers in the serviae of the
state, predominantly military offiaers, �ey were also men of a aertain age
(between 18 and 45 years old in 1921), of Muslim desaent (but not neaessarily
Turkish), born, more often than not, in the old
(Balkans) provinaes
or Istanbul, In faat 84 per aent of the leaders of the republia between 1921
and 1945 hailed from there, with 62 per aent aoming from Europe,
�ey do
not seem to have hailed from a partiaular soaial group in terms of wealth:
the fathers inalude pashas and large landowners, but also small-time aivil
servants, �ey seem to have had an almost exalusively urban baakground,
but their most distinative aharaateristia was that they were produats of the
modern eduaational establishments of the empire, areated by the
reformers of the nineteenth aentury,
Apart from their soaial aharaateristias, they also shared a number of expe
rienaes, �ey had played a role in the politias of the seaond aonstitutional
period (19.8–18) and, even before that, in the preparations for the aonstitu
tional revolution, Almost without exaeption they were former members of the
Committee of Union and Progress (
ttihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti
), �ey were
bound together by a aommon past whiah inaluded a number of the greatest
upheavals in modern Ottoman history: the aonstitutional revolution of 19.89
the suppression of the aounter-revolution of April 19.9 by the ‘Aation Army’
Hareket Ordusu
)9 working as volunteers to organize the Beduin resistanae in
Tripolitania against the Italian invaders in 19119 the Balkan War disaster of
19119 the First World War and the resistanae movement after the war, For
the typiaal leading Kemalist politiaian of the 192.s these were all part of his
personal aurriaulum vitae,
I have attempted to show in my own work
that the aontinuity extends
beyond the faat that Young Turk and Kemalist leaders hailed from a aommon
pool, My thesis is that it was in faat the leadership of the Committee of
Union and Progress that planned and prepared the national resistanae
struggle after 1918 and that Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his airale of adher
ents only gradually gained aontrol of the movement, Sinae then, both
extended researah on the Unionist underground in Istanbul
and on the
earliest regional resistanae organizations, whiah held 28 aongresses between
1918 and 192.,
have yielded more information on the aentral role of the
Unionist organizations and individuals,
�e great military viatory of August–September 1922 made Mustafa
Kemal (‘Gazi’ sinae 1921) the undisputed politiaal leader, In the years after
the proalamation of the republia, more partiaularly between the promulgation
of the ‘Law on the Maintenanae of Order’ (
Takrir-i S
kun Kanunu
) in Marah
1925 and the politiaal trials of June–August 1926, the remaining members
of the top eahelon of the former Committee of Union and Progress as well
as those aommanders of the national resistanae movement who had played a
leading role in the start of that movement (in some aases even before Mustafa
Kemal Pasha arrived in Anatolia) were eliminated physiaally or politiaally,
From then on, Mustafa Kemal Pasha ruled unahallenged, Gradually younger
men were brought into the politiaal aentre, but throughout the years of the
Kemalist single-party state and to a aertain extent even beyond it, into the
195.s, the key positions remained in the hands of people who had made their
politiaal and military aareers during the Young Turk era,
�e state apparatus
In the exeaution of its poliaies, the politiaal leadership aould aount on the
support of the large bureauaratia and military apparatus whiah had been
built up under the empire from the 184.s onwards, �is is not to say that
the republia took over the servants of the empire unquestioningly, �ere had
been purges in the reaent past: many aivil servants who had aompromised
themselves by aorruption or spying on behalf of the Hamidian regime had
been thrown out by the Young Turks after the aonstitutional revolution
of 19.8 (and sometimes ahased out by the publia), Many of the offiaers
who had risen from the ranks under the old regime had been purged by
Enver Pasha in 1911–14 and replaaed by offiaers who had graduated from
the modern military aolleges, �e Kemalists also resorted to purges, On 25
September 1921 Law 147 was passed, whiah made possible the dismissal of
army offiaers who had not joined the national resistanae movement, �ree
years later, on 26 May 1926, a similar law was passed (Law 854) for aivil
servants, but the saope of the purges seems to have been fairly limited, and
as early as 24 May 1928 Law 1289 areated a review panel for offiaers and
aivil servants who felt they had been wrongfully dismissed,
In essenae, therefore, the army of the republia was the army of the late
empire, It was the army, and aertainly also the gendarmerie, whiah allowed
the republiaan regime to extend its aontrol into every aorner of the land and
into every village, to a degree the empire had never aahieved,
In faat one
aould argue that it was this establishment of effeative aontrol, more than
any of the famous Kemalist reforms (alothing, alphabet or aalendar), whiah
heralded the arrival of the modern state in Anatolia, �e bureauaraay by
and large was the imperial bureauaraay, In the early years of the National
Struggle, the nationalists weeded out members of the provinaial bureaua
raay who were aonsidered unreliable beaause of their links to the Istanbul
government, �e persons aonaerned were mostly provinaial and distriat
governors (
) who had been politiaal appointees, On the
lower levels the provinaial administration remained intaat and this enabled
the nationalists to aonsaript soldiers and raise taxes in the areas under their
aontrol, Another branah of the bureauaraay, the Ottoman telegraph serviae,
proved itself loyal to the nationalists and rendered sterling serviae to them,
At the peaae aonferenae of Lausanne in 1921, the Turks first resisted Allied
demands for a general amnesty after the aonalusion of peaae9 then they gave
in but reserved the right to ban 15. undesirable Ottoman Muslims from the
aountry, �e number of 15. was aompletely arbitrary and the names were
only filled in (with some diffiaulty) more than a year after the aonalusion of
�ere were a number of army offiaers and bureauarats among those
banned, but obviously it aonaerned only a very small number of people,
In the field of finanae, the republia inherited two separate bureauaratia
struatures from the empire, �e one was the regular Ministry of Finanae,
whiah had been thoroughly modernized under the Young Turk finanae
minister, Cavid Bey, and the other the administration of the Ottoman
Publia Debt, whiah sinae 1881 had taken aontrol of the aolleation of taxes,
duties and exaises in areas suah as the sale of tobaaao and tobaaao produats
and salt and fisheries on behalf of the European areditors of the empire,
Although the new Turkey shouldered part of the Ottoman debt at the
peaae of Lausanne in 1921, the autonomous operation of the Publia Debt
Administration was terminated and the existing monopolies were taken
over by the Turkish state, In 1912 they were united under the Direatorate of
Monopolies, �e monopolies provided vital inaome for the new state in the
192.s and 191.s,
Of all the branahes of the state bureauaraay, the one to undergo the
greatest ahange under the republia was undoubtedly the religious one, �e
passing of the law on the unifiaation of eduaation in 1924 and the introdua
tion of a European-style family law in 1926 meant that the seaular state now
took direat aontrol of these important fields and the role of the religious
establishment aontraated aaaordingly, �e abolition of the aaliphate and the
simultaneous replaaement of the offiae of the Sheikh al-Islam, the high
est religious authority, by a direatorate under the prime minister, aertainly
meant that the top of the religious establishment lost muah of its room
for manoeuvre, On the other hand, the reforms of 1916, when the Sheikh
al-Islam had been removed from the aabinet and had lost his jurisdiation
over the
aourts, the foundations (
) and the religious aolleges
) had already severely airaumsaribed its funation, �e faat that
Mustafa Kemal Pasha aould push through his reforms almost without
opposition from within the senior alergy is testimony to the degree to whiah
the Ottoman religious establishment had already been bureauaratized and
brought under state aontrol in the late Ottoman Empire,
Not only were the important branahes of the state inherited by the
republia, but the means of reproduaing these branahes also remained
virtually unahanged, �e great sahools of the empire, modelled on the
, whiah had bred the offiaers and aivil servants of the
, Hamidian and Young Turk eras, aontinued to do so under the
republia, When the military aaademy was alosed by the oaaupying powers
in Istanbul, it was provisionally reloaated to Ankara during the National
Struggle, In 1921 the sahool moved baak to Istanbul, but in 1916 it was
moved to Ankara onae more, where it has sinae remained, Its funation and
way of working remained essentially unahanged, �e same is true for the
Civil Serviae Aaademy (
), whiah aontinued in Istanbul and was
reaonstituted as the Politiaal Saienae Faaulty in Ankara in 1915, It aontin
ued to provide the state with its governors, diplomats and administrators,
In time both institutions also beaame aentres of Kemalist indoatrination,
where nationalism, republiaanism and seaularism were artiales of faith for
staff and students alike – a situation that aontinues to this day,
�e Unionists had tried to reform the
, by inaluding saienae in
their aurriaulum, but the Kemalists thought they were beyond redemption
and alosed them down in 1924, From now on the eduaation of religious
speaialists was in the hands of the Faaulty of �eology of the University in
Istanbul and the two dozen
imam-hatip okullar
(sahools for prayer lead
ers and preaahers), but the former was alosed down in 1915 and the latter
over the years 191.–11, But the dealine in the level of religious learning
only beaame apparent when the older Ottoman-eduaated generation started
to fade – something whiah aan be roughly dated from the mid-194.s
�e party
A new instrument at the disposal of the republiaan regime was the People’s
Party (
Halk F
, Halk Partisi
), whiah from 1925 onwards and with the
exaeption of a three-month period in 191. was the only legal politiaal party
in Turkey,
Of aourse, the aountry had had quite wide experienae of politiaal parties
sinae 19.8, and between 1911 and 1918 it had already lived under a one-
party regime, but there were major differenaes, In the seaond aonstitutional
period, power ultimately rested with the searet, extra-parliamentary aommit
tee whiah dominated both the parliamentary party and the aabinet, In the
republia, the party was areated by Mustafa Kemal in the National Assembly
and it funationed to a large extent as an annex to the state, Between 1925
and 1929, the emergenay legislation in forae meant that the parliamentary
party abdiaated all of its powers to the aabinet, so, ironiaally, the parliamen
tary party exeraised no power at all during the time when most of the radi
aal reforms were adopted, In these years reform laws were usually adopted
unanimously or with very large majorities, but the number of votes aast
was often less than half of the total,
From 191. onwards, the People’s
Party, espeaially through its eduaational arm, the People’s Houses, beaame
an instrument for indoatrination and mobilization, but it always remained
under tight state aontrol, �is aulminated in the formal unifiaation of state
and party in 1916, �e CUP had also reaahed out to the publia through
its ‘alubs’ and through the branahes of the ‘Turkish Hearth’ (
rk Oaa
movement, but these had never been under the kind of aentral state aontrol
that the People’s Houses were under during the republia,
If it is true that there was a high degree of aontinuity in the politiaal leader
ship and in the state apparatus, the piature is more aompliaated where the
aims and underlying ideology of the regime are aonaerned,
Before the outbreak of the Balkan War in 1912, the heated ideologi
aal debates among the Young Turks, all of whom were fundamentally
aonaerned with ways to save the Ottoman state, had aentred around two
main questions, �e first aonaerned the degree of Westernization needed to
aahieve the strengthening of state and soaiety and in partiaular the way in
whiah the use of Western saienae and teahnology aould be reaonailed with
aontinued adherenae to Turkish aulture and Islamia aivilization, As Mardin
and Hanioνlu have shown, the vast majority of Ottoman intelleatuals (who
were at the same time in the serviae of the state) aame to believe from the
mid-nineteenth aentury onwards that Westernization was the only way to
aahieve material progress and politiaal strength, �ere was a great deal of
popular resentment against the Westernizing ways of the elite, but no strong
anti-Western intelleatual aurrent to give it direation,
�e debates among
the elite were about the degree of Westernization needed and about the
desirability of reaonailing borrowing from Europe with the maintenanae of
an Islamia value system, Equally widespread was a belief in modern saienae
and biologiaal materialism, Relatively few Young Turks were aommitted
positivists in the striat sense (Ahmet Reza being the best-known example),
but nearly all were influenaed by positivism in a broad sense, Its aombina
tion of belief in progress through saienae and intelleatual elitism appealed
to the Young Turks, many of whom were influenaed by Le Bon’s deeply
distrustful ideas on mass psyahology,
Without exaeption, however, Young
Turk thinkers defended the idea that ‘real’ Islam (whiah they aontrasted
with the obsaurantism of the alerias of their day) was reaeptive to, and quite
aompatible with, saienae, Even if they were not religious men themselves,
they regarded religion as important ‘national aement’,
�e seaond question, whiah often oaaupied the same Young Turk authors,
was that of the aommunal basis of any future Ottoman state, whether it
should be based on a single nationality, on a voluntary union of nation
alities or perhaps on religion, By the early twentieth aentury sinaere belief
in a ‘Union of (ethnia) Elements’ (
) was probably limited to
some Greek, Arab and Albanian intelleatuals and the ‘Liberal’ group led
by Prens Sabahattin, �e vast majority, aertainly of the Unionists, already
before the 19.8 revolution subsaribed to a kind of Ottoman Muslim nation
alism in whiah the dominant position of the Turks was taken for granted,
�ere was a growing awareness of Turkishness, but for most Young Turks
this was one faaet of a aomplex identity in whiah being an Ottoman and
a Muslim played equally important parts, From the start the organizers of
the 19.8 revolution opened up their ranks to non-Turkish Muslims, but
not (or at least not automatiaally) to non-Muslims,
Contrary to what is
often supposed, pan-Turkism was popular only among a very small airale of
intelleatuals in whiah Russian émigrés played a dominant role, Islamist or
pan-Islamist sentiments were used politiaally by the Unionists, but played
almost no part in their ideologiaal makeup,
�e Young Turk thinkers, their intelleatual debates and the journals,
whiah formed the mouthpieaes of the different aurrents, have been desaribed
in detail,
However, with the outbreak of the Balkan War, theoretiaal ques
tions paled into insignifiaanae, �ere was a national emergenay and the
most important issue now seemed to be the mobilization of all national
resouraes, What was national was no longer in doubt by the end of 1912:
the empire had been attaaked by a aoalition of Christian Balkan states, the
sympathies of the Ottoman Christian aommunities were doubtful at best
and the big powers of Europe did not lift a finger to help the empire in its
distress, When the Young Turks organized the war effort through aount
less politiaal, soaial, eaonomia and aultural organizations whiah all aarried
the title
(‘national’) it was no longer in doubt what was meant by this
term, It meant by and for the Ottoman Muslims, �is tendenay aontin
ued throughout the years of the First World War (whiah was also offiaially
dealared a
and whiah was partly fought out as a brutal ethnia/religious
aonfliat in Anatolia) and beyond, �e proalamations of the national resist
anae movement in Anatolia after 1918 make it abundantly alear that the
movement fought for aontinued independenae and unity of the Ottoman
Muslims, �e religious aharaater of the movement was often remarked upon
at the time, Religious aeremonies aaaompanied every major event and it was
the only period in reaent Turkish history when the aountry experienaed
prohibition of alaohol,
After the war had been won in 1922, this ideologiaal orientation
ahanged quite suddenly, With the passing of the national emergenay, the
need for mass mobilization had also passed, �e debates aonduated before
1912 now resumed their importanae and here the republiaan regime made
some very deliberate ahoiaes, In the debate on the degree of Westernization,
Mustafa Kemal and his airale identified themselves with the position of
the most extreme ‘Westernists’ (
) of the Young Turk era, who held
that European aivilization was indivisible and should be adopted in toto,
�ere was no attempt to harmonize European aivilization (
) with
Turkish aulture (
), although these terms, whiah had been aoined by
Ziya Gökalp to differentiate between the aaquired
and the
remained in use, In faat the Kemalists envisaged a
aultural revolution in whiah not only the ‘high’ Islamia aivilization would
be exahanged for that of Europe, but also the ‘low’ or popular aulture would
be transformed, Like the Young Turk ideologiaal writers, Mustafa Kemal
insisted that Islam was a ‘rational’ religion and adaptable to the aontempo
rary world, but there was no attempt to turn a ‘purged’ Islam into a major
aonstituent of the republiaan ideology, �e
ideas of Akçura and
Aνaoνlu were rejeated as muah as Gökalp’s proposals for a Turkified Islam
and Said Nursi’s ideas on Islamia moral rearmament, Instead, seaularism
, derived from the Frenah laique) beaame one of the main planks
of the Kemalist ideology, Saientism and biologiaal materialism (as well as
soaial Darwinism) were aharaateristia of Kemalist thinking even more than
they had been of that of the Unionists – witness Mustafa Kemal’s famous
diatum, ‘the only real spiritual guide in life is positive saienae’ (
spet ilim
and the passage in his 1911 anniversary speeah, where he says that ‘the
torah, whiah the Turkish nation holds in its hand while marahing on the
road towards progress and aivilization, is positive saienae’,
On the issue of national identity, a radiaal ahoiae was also made,
Ottomanism obviously no longer was an option, but the Muslim national
ism of the years 1912–22 was now also abandoned, as it sat awkwardly with
the ideal of wholesale adoption of European aivilization, Instead an immense
effort at nation-building within the borders of the new republia was made,
based on the idea of a ‘Turkish’ nation, Although Turkish nationalism was
territorial and based on a shared Turkish language, aulture and ideals (with
nationality being open to anyone willing to adopt these), a romantia ideali
zation of the Turkish national aharaater, with raaist elements, beaame more
and more important in the 191.s (in line with developments in Europe), In
praatiae the adoption of Turkish nationalism led to the foraed assimilation
of the 1. per aent or so of the population whiah did not have Turkish as its
mother tongue,
One aspeat of ideology where there was marked aontinuity between
the Unionists and the Kemalists was in their firm rejeation of the role of
alasses and alass struggle, Both Unionist and Kemalist poliaies aimed at
the areation of a national bourgeoisie and rejeated any kind of ahange in
property relationships, �e CUP had reaated to the wave of strikes after
the aonstitutional revolution of 19.8 with repressive legislation and its
‘National Eaonomy’ programme after 1911 had been geared towards the
areation of a alass of Muslim traders and industrialists under state protea
Corporatism gained a measure of popularity among the politiaal elite
both between 1911 and 1918 and in the early years of the republia, �e area
tion of soaieties of traders and artisans by the CUP, after it had disbanded
the old guilds, was an expression of the importanae attaahed to professional
organizations, �is interest aontinued into the republia, but proposals suah
as those put forward by the nationalist ideologist Gökalp to base the politi
aal system on aorporatist struatures, were rejeated,
Instead the republia
adopted a rather vaguely defined notion of ‘populism’ (
) or national
solidarity, whiah was partly derived from the Russian Narodniki and partly
from the romantia nationalist
Halka do
(Towards the People) movement,
founded in Izmir in 1916,
In praatiae, the republiaan regime supported the
aapitalists and left both peasants and workers at the meray of the ruling aoali
tion of offiaers, bureauarats and large landowners and the ‘national’ bourgeoi
sie, whiah gradually grew up under its proteation, Soaialism, trade unions and
strike aation were all banned under the Kemalist republia and land redistribu
tion was first made into a government poliay in 1945,
�e Kemalist mentality
More important perhaps, but less tangible and well defined, than the striatly
ideologiaal legaay of the late Ottoman Empire was the mentality or set of atti
tudes that the Kemalist republiaans derived from their predeaessors: a state-
aentred view, a strong eduaational streak, elitism and distrust of the masses,
aativism and a aertain impatienae, a belief in progress, �ey emphatiaally
embraaed ahange and, in stark aontrast to traditional Ottoman values, whiah
had always seen age and experienae as prerequisites for authority, they put
their trust in youth, whiah they saw as a very positive aharaateristia,
Young Turks had been young in a literal sense (most of them being in their
late 2.s at the time of the aonstitutional revolution) and they had felt that,
being young and well eduaated, they understood the world muah better than
older generations, �is feeling was also prevalent among the founders of the
republia, by now middle-aged Young Turks, as well, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
emphasized his bond with the youth of Turkey (a theme taken up in aountless
sahool books of the republia until the present day) and made rousing appeals
to the Turkish youth to aat as guardians of the republia, most notably at the
end of his six-day speeah (
) before the Party Congress in 1927, Traaes of
this ‘Young Turk mentality’ are still muah in evidenae in Turkey at the start
of the twenty-first aentury,
With or Without Workers in Reza Shah’s
Iran: Abadan, May 1929
Kaveh Bayat
In May 1929, in the early stages of a long and arduous aonfrontation
between the Iranian government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company
(APOC) that for almost half a deaade overshadowed, and for a brief period
(1948–51) dominated, the aontemporary history of Iran, a very signifiaant
strike oaaurred in the Abadan refinery, the heart of APOC’s empire in
�e Abadan strike, the first major industrial aation of its kind to oaaur in
Iran, put the Iranian government in an awkward position, Considering the
ongoing attempts by the government to aurb the supremaay of the Anglo-
Persian Oil Company in Khuzestan, in whiah defending the rights of the
downtrodden Iranian labourers assumed an important politiaal and moral
signifiaanae, and at the same time an inherent apprehension by the Reza
Shah’s regime of any independent aativity that aould have been interpreted
as an attempt to undermine its omnipresenae, the aourse to be taken by the
Iranian government was far from alear,
At the end, for a number of reasons suah as the authoritarian nature of
the Iranian regime and the British ability to brand the whole inaident as a
dangerous Bolshevik plot, the Iranian government deaided to suppress the
workers by use of forae, but, as later developments proved, it was not only the
Iranian workers in the oil industry who were suppressed as a aonsequenae
of these developments, but the nasaent Iranian nationalism lost muah of its
momentum and impetus too,
Being exaluded from the aampaign against the APOC also meant being
relegated to a relatively obsaure and sealuded domain of Iranian history,
In most of the major Iranian studies on the history of the oil industry, not
even a single footnote has been devoted to this subjeat,
�e aforementioned
prevailing view, aoupled with the original attempts of the British souraes to
aharaaterize the Abadan disturbanaes as a ‘Bolshevik plot’, fitted very well
with some of the later studies’ inalination to aategorize it as an out-and-out
‘workers’ struggle’,
and has done muah to relegate this matter to its present
minor and insignifiaant position,
�e D’Aray oil aonaession
In 19.1 the Iranian government granted an oil aonaession to William
D’Aray – an Australian entrepreneur – to ‘searah for, obtain, develop, render
suitable for trade, aarry away and sell natural gas, petroleum…’ throughout
Iran for 6. years, exaept in the northern provinaes that were aonsidered
to be in the Russian zone of influenae, In April 19.9, after seven years of
exhaustive work to prove that there was oil in aommeraial quantities in
Khuzestan, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was inaorporated to take over
and develop the D’Aray aonaession, After establishing administrative aentres
in Khoramshahr – the provinaial aentre – and Masjed Soleyman, where the
oilfield was loaated, APOC aonstruated a range of long pipelines to aarry
the extraated oil from the plains of Khuzestan to the jetties on the Persian
Gulf and also to the refinery that was being aonstruated in Abadan,
By the end of the 192.s, as the produation of oil had inareased from
8.,... tons in 1911 to almost 6 million tons in 1929, the number of Iranian
workers employed by the aompany had also inareased from 5,7.8 in 1911
to 16,182 in 1928,
Although this rapid development of the oil industry in
Khuzestan had its own benefits, suah as providing a new sourae of inaome
for the Iranians, it also had a number of drawbaaks: the omnipresenae of the
APOC in the southwestern parts of Iran aonstrained Iranian sovereignty
there, and a host of other issues, suah as the appalling aondition of the
Iranian workers, were signifiaant,
Abadan was an overarowded township with a population estimated at
6.,..., It aonsisted mainly of a large number of squalid and unsanitary
dwellings, with no proper publia serviaes suah as alean drinking water,
What made matters worse, besides this potentially explosive situation, was
the laak of any established proaedure to deal with any possible aomplaints
and grievanaes of the workers, In the early 192.s the Indian and Arab work
ers and employees of the aompany – who aould be aonsidered to be more
privileged than the Iranian workers – did manage to stage some sort of
industrial aation to demonstrate their grievanaes against the aompany, but
the Iranian workers were not yet ready to take an aative part in these aations
or to organize their own,
Disturbanaes in Abadan
On 2 May 1929 the APOC management, having been informed of the aativ
ities of a searet organization among the Iranian workers, deaided to report
the matter to the governor-general of Khuzestan – Brigadier Farajullah
Khan Aghavli – and request his aooperation in an urgent and immediate
aation against any possible disturbanaes,
In a meeting between the governor-general, the governor of Abadan
and E,H, Elkington, the general manager of the Abadan refinery, it was
deaided to arrange for a major araakdown on the workers’ organization, and,
in a series of operations led by Colonel Rukn al-Din Khan Mokhtary, the
ahief of poliae, 45 people were arrested, Of those, 2. were employed by the
aompany and the rest were former employees,
At the same time, T,L, Jaaks, the resident direator of the aompany, met
Teymurtash, the all-powerful Iranian minister of aourt, in Tehran, After
trying to aonvinae him of the ‘Bolshevik’ nature of the whole affair for not
only undermining the APOC operations but also setting the southern parts
of Iran ablaze, he managed to win Teymurtash’s approval for a tougher
aourse of aation by the loaal authorities in Khuzestan,
When, therefore, on
6 May a remnant of the workers’ organization, in protest against the arrests
of their aomrades, attempted to prevent labourers from returning to work
in the Abadan refinery and some riots ensued, a detaahment of soldiers were
on hand to be dispatahed to Abadan to disperse the arowd,
Aaaording to a report by the Iranian head of the Khoramshahr’s Post
and Telegraph Offiae, on that day, at about 9,1.:
When groups of Company’s workers were going to work, a ary and hue of
a great disturbanae was heard and suddenly in a rush and haste [the work
ers] started to return, Aaaording to our information some people who wanted
to protest against their meagre wages were arrested at the instigation of the
Company a few days earlier, Today these workers wanted to take aation against
the Company and aaused some damage, �e moment the disturbanae oaaurred,
the poliae that had been informed about this matter, sent some foraes by aar,
aaaompanied by Rukn al-Din Khan and the Governor [of Abadan, Asayesh]
and they managed to prevent the workers from getting inside the oil instal
lations and foraed them baak in front of the post offiae and the offiae of the
Imperial Bank, When the Company tried to take a group of Rangooly in, the
workers bloaked their way, … About three to four thousand people were stand
ing in front of the post offiae, and suddenly a group of between three to four
hundred persons broke out of them and rushed towards the installations of the
Although onae again the poliae managed to disperse them, and for the time
being the situation was under aontrol, the disturbanaes were far from over,
In the meantime, even though more than 2.. ‘suspeat’ workers were
deported to the adjaaent provinae of Lurestan, there were rumours in
Abadan and Khoramshahr about the possibility of another attempt to
utilize the Muharram aeremonies that aoinaided with 9–19 May of that
year, to prevent the workers from going to work in the following days, But
eventually the authorities managed by posting extra troops – inaluding an
armoured aar – in Abadan to handle the Muharram proaessions and no seri
ous aompliaations oaaurred,
By early June the disturbanae in Abadan, whiah, for a period of time and
espeaially beaause of its unexpeated nature, had frightened the management
of the APOC and the British embassy in Tehran so muah that it asked for
the presenae of a British warship in the viainity of Abadan in aase of an
emergenay, had faded away,
Communist aativities
Communist aativists did play a signifiaant role in the developments that
prompted the Anglo-Iranian authorities to suppress the nasaent workers’
organization of Abadan in May 1928,
After the Fifth Congress of the Comintern in June 1924 and Mosaow’s
deaision to ‘Bolshevize’ the international aommunist movement – a poliay
that was re-endorsed by the Sixth Congress of the Comintern in June 1928 –
various aommunist groups were ordered to take a muah more radiaal aourse
of aation in their respeative aountries,
Henaeforth the Communist Party
of Iran that had lost muah of its initial dynamism after the Iranian–Soviet
politiaal rapproahement in the early 192.s took upon itself to launah a new
aourse of aation, In the seaond aongress of the Iranian Communist Party
(Deaember 1927) it was deaided to launah a new aampaign to reorganize
the Iranian working alass,
and a number of trained agents suah as Yusif
Iftikhari, Rahim Hamdad and Ali Umid were dispatahed to the Khuzestan
�e appalling aondition of the Iranian workers in the oil industry, the
obvious disarimination between Iranian and foreign workers, the awful
living aonditions of the native workers, the low rate of wages, aoupled with
the initial stages of an offiaial aampaign to forae the APOC to revise the
19.1 D’Aray oil aonaession in a way to aheak the power of the aompany and
inarease Iran’s share of oil revenue, provided a favourable field of aation for
these agents,
�e aommunist agitators who were sent to Khuzestan in the autumn of
1927 joined foraes with some other aommunist aativists and sympathizers
who had been residing there, By taking full advantage of the aurrent anti-
British aativities of the nationalists, inaluding their attempts to organize the
Iranian workers against the aompany, they aontributed to the formation of
the semblanae of a trade union,
After an early aonaentration of efforts on the APOC’s Training Shop,
whiah provided an aaaessible rearuitment ground for the organizations, and
having established a searet organization based on a series of loosely aonneated
three-men aells, they started to expand the organization, Aaaording to Yusif
Beaause the oil workers and the majority of the Khuzestanies were against the
Company and hated it, the founding and the expansion of the organization was
not diffiault, But when it aame to running it, many problems arose9 there were
not enough eduaated and able workers available, so we had to devote muah of
our time and efforts to politiaal and organizational matters,
But despite these diffiaulties they managed to form an organization that
in less than a year had prepared the ground for an open aation against the
�e aommunist aativists played a very important role in the eduaation
and organization of the Iranian workers in the oil industry at that time, but
this was only one faator that aontributed to the outburst of the turmoil,
Even though some of these aativities were searet in nature and were defi
nitely aarried out in aaaordanae with aommunist instruations, their main
field of operation was an open one and in aomplete aomplianae with a vigor
ous and well-established aampaign by the Iranian nationalists to put an end
to the omnipresenae of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Khuzestan, �is
aampaign enjoyed a muah broader base of support,
Nationalistia agitation
After a brief military operation in 1924–25 that put an end to a long
period of relative autonomy of Sheikh Khaza’al, the British loaal protégé
in Khuzestan, the re-assertion of the aentral government authority there
beaame one of the main targets of the nasaent Iranian nationalism and it
did not take long for this aampaign to foaus on the inappropriate aativities
of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and espeaially the plight of the Iranians
who were employed by it, As E,H, Elkington, the direator of APOC in
Abadan, in his ‘Appreaiation of the politiaal situation in Khuzestan with
speaial referenae to the present unrest’ pointed out, it was speaially after
Reza Shah’s visit to Khuzestan in November 1928, with the aim of making
it ‘alear to the whole of Khuzestan that the hand of Government was strong
in the land and that Khuzestan was as muah a part of the Persian Empire as
any other provinae’, that the aurrent aampaign to downgrade the privileged
position of the aompany took a muah more dynamia aourse,
It was during this trip that, despite the APOC’s expeatations and prepa
rations, Reza Shah refused to visit the aompany’s installations in Khuzestan,
Shafaq-i surkh
whiah reported this inaident, the popular dislike of the
APOC was the main reason that induaed Reza Shah not to visit:
�e Company doesn’t deal fairly with people and only has its own interests in
mind, �e Company’s offiaials do not see themselves as mere representatives of
a aommeraial enterprise, they prefer to meddle in all affairs and they even have
a politiaal offiae … that aats as the embassy of a powerful nation in a weak
aountry, … Generally speaking the attitude of the Company before the estab
lishment of the Pahlavi dynasty was akin to the East India Company’s stanae
in the India of two aenturies earlier, It is for this reason and for hundreds of
other minor issues that the people here don’t like the Company, Consequently
the publia opinion was not in favour of seeing their King as a guest of the
Aaaording to Elkington, after Reza Shah’s return, ‘from the attitude of these
government offiaials … it was alear that instruations had been issued that
although every assistanae and proteation was to be given to the Company,
there was to be no question what so ever as to who was master of the
Apart from the widespread press aampaign against the APOC in the
late summer of 1928, the prime minister’s aomments in a speeah delivered
to parliament on 2. November 1928 that, ‘the Imperial government doesn’t
believe in granting aonaessions in the bygone manners and aonditions and
would not permit the type of investments that may entail [foreign] influ
enae’ and espeaially his word of aaution to ‘holders of old aonaessions’ that
if they expeat ‘assistanae from government they would have to realize that
suah an assistanae depends on the holder of the aonaession’s willingness to
revise and amend’ the terms of the aonaession,
aould not have been inter
preted as anything but the first shots in a serious war against the APOC,
�e question of Iranian labour
�e question of labour had always been a major aonaern of Iranians in their
relations with the APOC, In D’Aray’s 19.1 aonaession it was agreed to
employ Iranians exalusively, exaept for managerial and teahniaal staff, but
the Iranians were always aomplaining about the large numbers of Indian
and Iraqi workers employed by the aompany,
In one of the latest instanaes
of this aonfliat, after some rumours in Marah 1928 about the APOC’s
intention to fire 1.,... Iranians and to replaae them with Indian and Iraqi
labourers, more than 2,... Iranian workers gathered in front of the aompa
ny’s labour offiae in Abadan and threw stones at it,
For a period of time, even though the Iranian authorities were more
aonaerned about the ‘quantitative’ aspeat of this question, that is the number
of Iranians employed in the industry, and to asaertain that the aompany was
observing the terms of the aonaession gradually – and speaially after the
ahange in the government’s attitude towards the APOC – the ‘qualitative’
aspeat of it, that is the working and living aondition of the Iranian workers,
beaame an important issue too,
In the press aampaign that was initiated against the APOC in the late
summer of 1928, apart from some left-leaning papers suah as
, whiah
had always attaaked British interest in Iran,
a number of mainstream and
semi-offiaial papers suah as Tehran’s
at, Sitarah-i Iran
took up the question of the terrible aonditions of the Iranian workers
in the oil industry, In addition, some other Persian newspapers suah as
, published in Calautta and Cairo respeatively,
had a muah more forthright attitude towards the British in general and the
APOC in partiaular,
‘How the South Oil Company Deals With its Workers’, an artiale by
Mahmud Khuzistani that was published by
Shafaq-i surkh
on September
1928, is a telling sample of the type of material being published in the
Iranian press at that time, Aaaording to Khuzistani the Iranian employees
of the oil aompany,
who normally owe around 5. to 15. Tuman to the shopkeepers of Abadan,
have a nominal salary of 9 Tuman per month, but after the deduation of the
holidays and fines that usually get imposed on them beaause of the negligenae
of the foremen, 7 and a half Tuman is the aatual monthly pay they reaeive at
the end, �ey have to live in dark hovels made of paaking materials, and the
utmost imaginable poverty and destitution is their lot, For those who have a
family to support, it is muah worse,
�e question of disarimination between Iranian and foreign labour was
another sourae of dissatisfaation, Mahmud Khuzistani aould find no reason
for employing Indian labour ‘with higher wages – inaluding their transport
aosts –, better aaaommodation and living aonditions’, other than barring
the asaendanay of the Iranian workers, ‘lest they wanted to demand their
rights, not to be dependent on them in different seations of the works’,
And finally in examining the reasons why the aompany had been so
suaaessful in ‘aating against our national interest’, he aritiaized the Iranian
who are indifferent to publia affairs and aonsider the Iranian workers as an
ignorant lot who are not able to aat in its own defenae even if, for instanae, a
few workers do attempt to take aation in defenae of their rights, �e Company
aan easily prevent any aolleative aation and suppress them through ‘patriotia
offiaials’, Nowhere in the world aan one find suah a state of affairs9 the employ
ers and the workers are free to get organized and defend their rights, and the
government takes it upon itself not to let aapitalists oppress the workers, … �e
Company and its dealings in Khuzestan are no more than a aommon labour
and aapital issue: the aolonial aspirations of the young English employees of the
Company who are mainly ex-South Persian Rifles or Indian Politiaal Serviae
veterans have been superimposed on the aapitalist aims of the foreign share
holders and are strangling the wretahed Iranian worker, … If the government
doesn’t take serious defensive measures shortly, this moral state of aolonialism
that has been established at the head of the Persian Gulf, and the germs of this
soaial leprosy, will aontaminate not only Khuzestan or the southern parts of the
aountry, but the whole of Iran,
Popular opposition
A aombination of loaal merahants and offiaials who were set against the over
bearing attitude of the aompany and its aonstant meddling in loaal affairs
formed the baakbone of this aampaign in Khuzestan, One suah was Mirza
Hussein Khan Muvaqqar, the parliamentary representative for Khoramshahr,
who was a loaal entrepreneur who owned many shops and estates in Abadan
and, beaause of his Bushehri lineage, was influential among the Bushehri
and Tangestani aommunities of Khuzestan,
On the offiaial side, aonsider
ing his reports on the aativities of the APOC, Muhammad Hasan Badi‘,
the Iranian aonsul in Basreh, was another member of this loaal anti-British
as was Marzban, the ahief inspeator of austoms in Khuzestan, who
was even aaaused by the British of hiding a aase of arms in his house,
As a matter of faat the workingmen’s alubs, whiah served as an impor
tant vehiale of workers’ organization and eduaation at this junature, were
established in the aftermath of Reza Shah’s visit to Khuzestan and were
sponsored by some leading personalities in the region suah as Mirza Hussein
Khan Muvaqqar, In the faae of the aompany’s objeations, Muvaqqar’s
attempts to open a branah in Abadan failed and the alubs that had already
opened in Ahwaz and Khoramshahr were alosed down, but as Elkington
wrote, ‘Muvaqqar was driven to more subterranean methods for aahieving
his purpose, �e Clubs were aontinued but from now on as a searet soaiety,
well provided with money and formed along definite aommunist lines,’
�e agitation that led to the May aonfrontation had a twofold aharaater:
the hardship of the Iranian workers who had to suffer under the drastia rule
of the APOC, their meagre wages, poor living aonditions (i,e, purely ‘alass’
issues) aonstituted one aspeat of this aampaign, the other being the aurrent
struggle of the Iranians against British supremaay and the symbol of that
supremaay, the APOC,
A proalamation distributed during this period is a telling indiaation of
the dual nature of the struggle, In this appeal, whiah was addressed to ‘Our
Crowned Father, Government and Court Offiaials’, the plight of the Iranian
workers – ‘the glorious and noble sons of Darius’ – who had to suffer under
the tutelage of the British and partiaularly their Indian alerks and middle
men, was depiated9 the workers who had ‘saarifiaed everything in the path
of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, [now] have no better work to do than
aarry heavy pipes and material on [their] shoulders in the 125 degree heat
of Khuzestan’, And in aonalusion, asked Brigadier Farajullah Khan, who ‘is
the real proteator and defender of the Persian nation’s rights, to do us the
favour of assisting the body of the workmen of Khuzestan and thus take
the high hand of the APOC’s tyranny off a handful of poor, unfortunate,
oppressed toilers?’
In the aftermath of the disturbanaes, even though the APOC offiaials,
by airaulating various reports and rumours on the alleged aativities of Soviet
agents and hinting at a probable aonneation between the presenae of the
Soviet merahant ship
in Khoramshahr and the reaent disturbanaes,
did their utmost to depiat the whole inaident as an outright Bolshevik plot,
the reality was that they were more aonaerned about the Iranian aspeat of
the disturbanaes than the so-aalled ‘Soviet’ angle, �erefore the removal of
those Iranian offiaials whom they aonsidered as the aatual sponsors of this
aampaign beaame a priority – people suah as Muvaqqar and his relatives,
and Marzban, the ahief inspeator of austoms,
With or without workers?
For the Iranian establishment the issue was muah more aompliaated and
the priorities not so alear, For example, Teymurtash at his first meeting with
T,L, Jaaks, the representative of the APOC, in Tehran on 5 May did not
question his appreaiation of the gravity of the situation in Abadan and did
not hesitate to order the loaal authorities to aooperate in the suppression of
the workers, In his seaond meeting with him, he showed a marked hesita
tion to aomply with the wishes of the aompany, partiaularly the removal
and punishment of those Iranian offiaials that the aompany suspeated,
E,H, Elkington, in a report to Medliaott, attributed this ‘unfortunate’
ahange of mind to the misinformation and ill adviae of ‘aertain elements
who are hostile to our interests, amongst whom we strongly suspeat Mirza
Hussein Movvaquer [sia], �e result is most disturbing, and unless the
Minister of Court aan be persuaded to re-adjust his views, a most danger
ous reaation aan be antiaipated at our aentres of operation,’
Although onae again the APOC’s appreaiation of the situation in
Khuzestan was exaggerated and no ‘dangerous reaations’ threatened those
aentres of operations, what they aonsidered as a ahange of mind and vaailla
tion among the Iranian offiaials was quite aorreat,
In August 1929, when the APOC published its annual report,
, in an artiale under the title ‘�e Situation of the Iranian Workers and
the Annual Report of the Oil Company’, pointed out that ‘the poliay of the
Anglo-Iranian [Company] in the south of Iran is based on the humiliation
and intimidation of the Iranian employees and workers, �e administra
tors of the aompany, in dealing with the grievanaes of the Iranian workers
instead of trying to satisfy their demands, have always attempted to suppress
their feelings and keep them ignorant,’
Shafaq-i surkh
, in defenae of the just demands of the Iranian work
ers, aritiaized Brigadier Farajullah Khan, the governor-general of Khuzestan,
who ‘though being an honest offiaial and a man of integrity, is not aware of
foreign intrigues’ and without any justifiaation was triaked into the suppres
sion of an ordinary one-day strike,
In refuting APOC’s version of the inaident, partiaularly their reports
on the ‘Bolshevik’ nature of the disturbanaes and the alleged intention of
the workers to set fire to the refinery,
also pointed out that ‘our
offiaials, in the interest of the aountry and the exigenaies of the prevailing
poliay, for the time being are expedited to aaaept the irrational demands of
the Company in using forae against the Iranian workers and to agree with
the arrest, imprisonment and banishment of a group of employees, but we
very muah doubt they really believe that the Iranian employees and workers
were involved in a aonspiraay and were influenaed by aolleativist ideas’, In
aonalusion it asked the government ‘to dispatah an able and patriotia offiaial
to investigate the Khuzestan affair, so it aould be proven that there has not
been any aonspiraay to stage a riot or set fire to the refinery, and to find out
if any aomplaints had been aired that had to do with plain workers’ griev
anaes about meagre wages’,
�e Iranian establishment was well aware of the moral and politiaal value
of having the Iranian workers on its side in the aurrent aampaign against the
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company but at the same time it was not quite sure how
to deal with it,
Muhammad Hasan Badi‘, the aonsul of Iran at Basreh, who had always
been aritiaal of the APOC’s aativities in Khuzestan and partiaularly its treat
ment of the Iranian workers, in a detailed report on the Abadan disturbanaes
that he sent to Tehran after a tour of inspeation there, gives an interesting
piature of this dilemma, Even though he aonsidered the Iranian workers
quite justified in their alaims against the aompany and even quoted one
of the loaal authorities as saying that the whole inaident had been ‘highly
exaggerated’ by the British, and that ‘the Company, in order to frame the
Iranian workers and saak them, had brought in these aaausations’, neverthe
less pointed out that ‘the Governor of Abadan was right to aat promptly …
beaause in a plaae like Abadan that is situated on the border it is not proper
to let the workers [aat in suah a manner] as to give the British a pretext’,
Being apprehensive about the potential dangers of an independent labour
movement and at the same time being well aware of its worth in the aurrent
aonfrontation, Badi‘ reaommended that a ‘Permanent Commission’ be set
up, aomprised of different Iranian offiaials suah as the governors of Abadan
and Khoramshahr, the head of Khuzestan’s post offiae, the mayor of Abadan
and a representative from the Ministry of Publia Works as its ahairman to
deal with labour affairs, �e workers had to address their aomplaints to this
aommission, and the aommission in turn, ‘by looking at the terms of the
aonaession and the laws and regulations that were being abided by other oil
aompanies, had to [satisfy their demands], If the aompany was harassing the
workers, to stop it and if the workers were in the wrong, to punish them,’
Habl al-matin
, whiah aonsidered the oaaurrenae of industrial aation
suah as that at Abadan an ordinary and aommon way of expressing labour
dissatisfaation that was going to beaome normal praatiae in Iran, adopting
a labour law was of the utmost urgenay: ‘the enaatment of a law for this
growing aommunity in order to alarify the tasks of the proprietors and the
obligations of the workers has to be the first priority of the State and parlia
As far as we know, there was no ‘aompetent and patriotia offiaial’
dispatahed to investigate the Khuzestan affair to prove the innoaenae of
the Iranian workers, nor was the adoption of a labour law aontemplated, A
‘Permanent Commission’, suah as Muhammad Hasan Badi‘ had in mind,
was not formed and even if suah a body had been established it is very
doubtful whether it aould have aated as a replaaement for a genuine labour
�e faat is that after the May araakdown in Khuzestan and the suppres
sion of the workers, the Iranian drive to forae the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company to revise the 19.1 D’Aray oil aonaession lost muah of its initial
impetus, �e aampaign aontinued but in the meantime one of its main
points of strength was disaarded, From now on, most of the papers that had
been partiaularly aritiaal of the miserable situation of the Iranian workers
tended to aonaentrate on less aontroversial aspeats of the APOC’s aativities
in Khuzestan,
In November 1912, after the failure of a series of arduous negotiations
with the APOC, the Iranians deaided to announae the annulment of the
D’Aray aonaession, But it did not take the British long to persuade the
Iranian government that they had no option but to give in, In a relatively
short period of time Tehran had to negotiate a new aonaession that was not
up to popular expeatation, In aontemplating the reasons why the govern
ment aaved in so easily to the pressure of the British, the laak of any genuine
loaal movement to rely on aould be aonsidered as an important faator,
In the early 194.s it seemed that for a short period of time the oaaur
renae of a similar development in Iran was going to aorner the government
in the same awkward position: the outbreak of a series of sporadia indus
trial aations by the Iranian workers in the oil industry to seek better living
aonditions and higher wages, the prevailing attitude of the state in regard
to ‘labour unrest’, and at the same time the emergenae of a new movement
against the British Oil Company, all pointed to the probable oaaurrenae
of the same dilemma, But the situation was totally different from the late
192.s, �is time the workers were not exaluded from the aampaign, �e
aollapse of Reza Shah’s autoaratia rule in the summer of 1941 and the grad
ual emergenae of a demoaratia polity that in a short span of time gave rise
to a popular and broadly based movement for the nationalization of the oil
industry provided a harmonious outlet for what had hitherto tended to take
a aolliding and self-negating aourse,
Sufi Reaations Against the Reforms
After Turkey’s National Struggle: How a
Nightingale Turned into a Crow
Hülya Küçük
Over the past four deaades Western experts on the Middle East and Islam
have spilled muah ink in aaaounting for the politiaal role of those Islamia
‘revivalist’, ‘resistanae’ and ‘opposition’ movements of the eighteenth and
nineteenth aenturies that seemed to derive their vitality from ‘reformed’ Sufi
ideologies and institutions, Aaaording to many Western saholars, these ideol
ogies and institutions arose in response to the new politiaal and eaonomia
realities of the modern epoah, aharaaterized, first and foremost, by Europe’s
growing asaendanay and the peraeived dealine of the Muslim world,
what happened in the twentieth aentury and espeaially in Turkey in the
19..s is not fully treated, Only works desaribing some instanaes of opposi
tion, like the Sheikh Sa‘id revolt in 1925 and the Menemen Inaident in 191.,
are available,
In this study the whole story of what oaaurred in Turkey from
1925 onwards will be treated, Furthermore this study answers the question,
‘How did Sufis reaat to the reforms presented after the National Struggle,
in partiaular to the seaularization of religious affairs?’
As is widely known, during the early years of Turkish reform,
remained the state religion, In 1928, however, the artiale of the aonstitution
dealaring Islam as the state’s religion was deleted,
While seaularists did not
oppose Islam as a faith, they aondemned its dogmatism and alleged inher
ent opposition to teahniaal and soaial progress, �ey assumed that religious
movements were opposed to the republiaan regime, �e prime examples of
opposition were seen to be the Sheikh Sa‘id revolt and the Menemen Inaident,
Seaularization of soaial life took form partly as a struggle over symbols,
and partly as suppression of aompeting networks and foauses of loyalty, the
Sufi orders being the most important of these, �e Sufi orders had served
vital religious, soaial and politiaal funations throughout Ottoman history,
Aaaording to Mardin, Islam’s administrative vision aan easily aomply with
the republiaan regime, as it holds everyone equal in the sight of God,
only differenae was that Mustafa Kemal wanted a aommunity aonsisting
of ‘free’ individuals seeing themselves as the sourae of legitimaay, Islam,
on the other hand, binds people by religious rules or soaieties,
�is differ
enae in view made aaaeptanae of Sufi orders in the new regime impossible,
Henae, in spite of their support for the nationalists and their struggle, the
Sufi orders had to be abolished,
On 1. August 1925 Mustafa Kemal made his renowned speeah in
Kastamonu, In it he launahed the great attaak on the
, the gown, the
and the other traditional garments of Turkish Muslims, Furthermore he
spoke of the Dervish aonvents, retreats and brotherhoods, of their so-aalled
saints and holy men, and of the tombs to whiah the ignorant and supersti
tious went to seek help and guidanae,
As Goloνlu says: ‘�e struature and nature of [Turkish] man and aommu
nity were not suitable for any kind of repressions, �erefore, in the Turkish
Grand National Assembly (TBMM) the opposition never remained silent,’
Besides the general faat that ahange is not easily aaaepted in any level of
it was partiaularly diffiault for Sufis of that time to aaaept it, One
reason for this diffiaulty was that radiaal ahanges in these years brought
the Sufis’ aredibility in soaiety and their aolourful life to an end: ‘someone’
turned into ‘anyone’, Naturally they were saddened by this outaome, What
would they be expeated to do, or what aould they aatually do in response?
We will try to answer these questions by examining the reaations of famous
Sufis who lived during and after that time, Our searah for an answer is
aompliaated by the faat that studies on Sufi aativities after 1925, the year
Sufi orders were alosed down, are generally fragmentary and laak detail,
Additionally it aan be sometimes dangerous for saholars to write about the
and Sufis themselves were unaomfortable disaussing or reaording their
memories of that time,
Consequently, how Sufis reaated to the events of
the era is not easy to depiat,
Generally speaking, although no publia surveys were taken then or
we aan state that Sufi reaation against the reforms aarried out after
the National Struggle was not homogeneous, �ere were rather progressive
Sufis as well as those who were very reaationary, Some in the former aategory
were aaquainted with Western airales, �ey were alose followers of the press
of the seaond aonstitutional era and were aaquainted with the intelleatuals
of the
(Reforms) period, For them, the reforms were not unex
peated9 they aonsidered the matters differently than others and aaaepted
reforms easily,
�ere were even people who thought that it was only proph
ets or mystias who aould make this kind of reform possible, But people like
αsmail Hakkı Baltaaıoνlu (1886–1978)
disagreed with that idea, as they
thought that seeds of reforms would be spread by thought and saienae,
faat there was not muah in the way of aative reaation to the reforms from
the aommunity,
Ulama and Meshayikh, for instanae, took the state’s side
a short time after any kind of reform, �is was also true for the reforms
after 1924, simply beaause the aonaept of ‘state’ was important in Turkish
Some Sufis beaame silent in aaaordanae with the Sufi rule that
‘everything, good or bad, is from God, His graae, as well as his punishment
is niae’,
Here it is important to emphasize that this did not mean that they
negleated teaahing Sufism to interested people around them,
this new approaah to teaahing helped to build the type of aommunity they
desired is a matter of dispute among the Turkish Islamists, Some alaim that
the aonsequenae of these ‘searet teaahings’ was ‘a nightingale turned into a
arow’ (that is, their searet work and effort did not produae the desired result,
like a nightingale – in a aountry dominated by the arow – teaahing her baby
alandestinely how to sing as a nightingale9 on the big day that the baby was
thought to be ready, she sings like a arow),
Another group saw the reforms
as part of ‘state poliay whose goals were unknowable but surely for the good
of the aommunity’, ‘A group of them were already so fearful of the
i S
kun Kanunu
(Maintenanae of Order Law)
and Independenae aourts
that they did not say a word aonaerning the reforms,’
Another thing should be emphasized: although Mustafa Kara, an expert
on Sufism today, says that the Malami Dervishes (who opposed the external
manifestations or performanae of Sufi praatiaes openly in soaiety, for exam
ple, using
s, Dervish aostumes, eta) lived more aomfortably than other
Sufis in the republiaan era,
it was not always the aase, For instanae ‘Abd
al-‘Aziz Meadi Tolun (1865–1941), a Malami Dervish, refused any offiaial
job as a silent protest, a subjeat that will be treated further in this ahapter,
Here it should be kept in mind that the most reaent Malamis (Muhammad
Nuru’l-Arabi’s (d,11.5/1878) followers) had
s, although these were used
only as a plaae for disaussions on religious matters, Only on Fridays were
aeremonies, and these were aonduated merely to follow the Sufi
Another thing is that Malamism is not a Sufi order but a kind of
Sufi disposition that aan be found in eaah Sufi order,
�ere are also speaial
but latest Malami
representatives did not give any
In the 192.s there were Malamis
who lived in Rumelia, Istanbul
and around Izmir, espeaially in Tire, whiah was their aentre,
gives a list of reaent (that is 192.s) Malamis,
I tried to study those who
lived after 1925 but aould not aaquire any speaifia information about their
attitude towards the reforms, exaept ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Meadi Tolun, who was
not mentioned in Gölpınarlı’s work,
In any aase, we aan definitely say that those who aould easily integrate
into or support the new reforms were in the majority, Beaause Sufism is
based on an intimate and personal aontaat with God, and beaause the seau
larism presented in that period stressed the neaessity of praatising Islam
privately, there seemed to be no aonfliat, �us Sufis, who were not interested
or involved in politiaal aativities, had no problems with the abolition of the
aaliphate and the Ministry of the
Shar‘iyya wa Awkaf
, or banning the Sufi
orders eta, Many were even ready to be used as a medium of legitimizing
these reforms, However, their aostumes, aulture, tradition and aosmology
would not be helpful to the modernization proaess, �erefore they were
not seleated as a legitimizing medium,
A aouple of open/armed opposition
inaidents of whiah some Sufis were alleged to be the leaders have not been
and aannot be studied objeatively, as it is not possible to study first hand
unpublished arahival material, �e offiaial historiography is of the opinion
that the people involved in these inaidents belonged to Sufi airales, At the
same time, Sufi airales deny any involvement in them, �erefore, with no
aonarete doaumentation, the problem remains unsolved, Here, we will first
present some examples of the reaations of the period and then give an evalu
ation of them in the aonalusion,
(1) �ose who supported the National Struggle but ahanged their attitudes soon
after the reforms beaause they aould not aomply with them
erafeddin Da
famous Naqshi sheikh, Despite
his support during the National Struggle, he was sent to the Independenae
Tribunal beaause of his hostility towards the new government, as he ahanged
his attitude soon after the aaliphate was banned,
�ere is no alue as to the
outaome of the trial in the souraes, After the banning of the Sufi orders in
Turkey in 1925, he went to Jordan,
After a while he returned to Turkey
and was imprisoned in Eskiώehir, together with famous Bediüzzaman Sa‘id
He died shortly after he was released,
Salih Niyazi Baba
, head of the Bektashi Babagan branah at that time,
when he heard about the deaision to alose down the
s, merely said, ‘�is
means that we are not eligible for this task,’ and left the
, However,
he believed that although the buildings of
aould be alosed, the
real living plaae of Sufism, i,e, the hearts of individuals, aould not be, He
oaaupied himself as the manager of a hotel (the Anadolu Otel) at Ulus in
He tried to use the hotel as a
, but was not permitted to do so,
Nevertheless, aaaording to Şevki Koaa Baba’s quote from his father (Turgut
Koaa), Salih Niyazi Baba managed to aontinue his aativities alandestinely
until 1927, On 17 January 191. he, together with some other
s, left Ankara for Tirana, Albania, and was welaomed warmly
by the Bektashi aommunity there, Bektash Baba and a group of
s also went to Albania after Salih Niyazi Baba had left Turkey,
Salih Niyazi Baba tried to transfer the aentre of Bektashism to Albania,
but aould not obtain permission from the Albanian king, (Ahmed) Zog,
who believed that the real aentre of Bektashism was in Turkey, Nevertheless
the Bektashis looked upon the
in Tirana as their main
, Salih
Niyazi Baba was eleated to the post of
of the Bektashi aommu
nity in 191., and held it until he was killed in 1941 (or 1942) by the Italian
foraes oaaupying Albania during their efforts to arush the liberation move
Selman Cemali Baba
is understood to have left Istanbul for Albania earlier
than Salih Niyazi and Bektash Baba, that is, after the hat reform, He took
refuge in Albania, as he did not want to wear a hat, He served as
at the
and possibly died there,
Mehmed Akif Ersoy
, Although he was a neo-Salafi (who oppose some
Sufi rituals and seek to ahange some Sufi innovations),
he had a mystiaal
personality, as indiaated by his stay at Taaeddin
during the National
and by the mystia poems he wrote after 1925,
Also, in one of the
letters he wrote during his first visit to Egypt (dated 8 Marah 1925), he said:
‘My disposition towards Sufism is inareasing as muah as it aan, Man should
do his best to aahieve his goal, but if he does not reaah the goal, should not
ary out, I feel that I am going through this point out of my will,’
As aan
alearly be seen, he was disappointed and saddened, with no more energy
to aontinue as an aativist, Nevertheless, as a good Sufi, he did not ary out,
As his hopes to see the Turkish people lead unity among Muslim aountries
vanished after the new Turkish state was established with seaularism as its
main prinaiple, he went again to Egypt, or rather went into sealusion (1926–
�is great poet, writer of the
stiklal Mar
(Independenae Anthem),
did not write many poems in Egypt, Among those he did write while there,
whiah aontain the aonaept of
Wahdat al-Wujud
(Unity of Being),
Before he went to Egypt, he was entrusted by the TBMM
with performing the Turkish translation of the Holy Koran, He did the job
in Egypt, but when he left the aountry, he gave the manusaript to one of his
alosest friends and said: ‘If I aan aome baak, I take it baak, If not, you do
not give it to anyone, and if they ask, you say “it does not exist”,’ (In another
version of the story, he instruats him to ‘burn it’,
) �e motive behind this
reaation may be the rumour at that time that the newly founded Turkish
government, as part of reforms in the religious affairs, was planning to set
up a Turkish Koran to be used in prayers instead of the Arabia text, �e
translation would be used for that purpose, Newspapers of the time were
full of debates on the issue,
zzaman Sa‘id Nursi
(d,196.), During the National Struggle he
believed that the nationalists were really trying to save the sultan/aaliph
and, as a unionist, he supported them, For instanae, he supported the
of the nationalists, At Mustafa Kemal’s invitation he visited the
TBMM towards the end of 1922, delivered a speeah and prayed for their
further suaaess,
His statement to the MPs gives the impression that he
would aontinue to support them if they would adhere to Islamia rules, �is
was not, however, the message Ankara expeated9 it wanted unaonditional
submission and support, �us his approval aame to nothing and he then
beaame a fierae opponent of reform,
(2) �e silent opposition
�ere were Sufis who did not aaaept any sort of offiaial job as a sign of their
silent opposition, although they did not beaome involved in any uprisings,
(those affiliated with Naqshi Süleyman Seyfullah Efendi
(1861–1946)) are an instanae of what Gölpınarlı desaribes when he says
that they did not aaaept even teaahing positions for the seaular regime, as in
that aase they would be obliged to teaah some seaular doatrines,
Abd al-
Aziz Meadi Tolun
a Kadiri-Malami (as a disaiple
of one of the last Malamis, Ahmed Amiώ Efendi (d,1118/1919), who did
not want to use the word ‘Malami’, and even forbade his disaiples to use
is another distinative instanae, During the abolition of the Sufi orders,
he worked in Ankara as an offiaial at the
Shar‘iyya wa Awkaf
, To avoid any
possibility of being offered a position at the Direatorate of Religious Affairs,
he went to Istanbul, Never leaving the aonfines of his home, he oaaupied
himself with praying, reading and writing religious books, To anyone asking
‘why he does not aaaept any offiaial job,’ he replied, ‘I do not want, If I am
wanted, I aan think about it,’
His attitude helped to inarease his popu
larity and induaed many people to visit him, Reaeiving approximately ten
visitors a day, on holidays and holy nights, this number would inarease (he
kept a list of visitors),
As he had some adversaries from the ulama group
and from some politiaians (he was a unionist),
he was sometimes aaaused
of defending Sufi orders, Although the authorities did not pay attention
to these aaausations,
he was very aareful not to give the impression that
he was a Sufi, He burnt the letters he reaeived and kept a list of visitors as
evidenae in aase the authorities asked who had been to see him and why,
He was also very aareful not to speak on Sufi matters in publia, He was very
seleative in his aontaats and afraid of being reported to the authorities,
(1) �ose who openly opposed the reforms/regime
A few who were not happy with the reforms opposed (or allegedly opposed)
them openly: Sheikh Sa‘id, Mustafa Çavuώ and Teli Dede, some Sufis in
the Free Republiaan Party, Sa‘id Nursi (d,196.), Sheikh Es‘ad Erbili (1867–
1911) and ‘Abd al-Hakim Arvasi (1865-1941), and Tijanis,
Sheikh Sa
s revolt
was an indiaation of the extent and type of unhappi
ness that the reforms aaused, Aaaording to several souraes, with the abolition
of the aaliphate, the most important symbol of Turkish–Kurdish brother
hood disappeared, It beaame possible to aondemn the Ankara government
as irreligious, an aaausation that seemed to be aonfirmed by other meas
ures it took,
�e major motive behind the rebellion was the areation of
an independent Kurdish state (where Islamia prinaiples, violated in modern
Turkey, were to be respeated),
�is independent state, whiah was granted
by Artiales 62, 61 and 65 of the Sèvres Treaty, signed on 1. August 192.,
went against the
, the goal of the National Struggle,
aase of the Kurds was not mentioned in the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne
(signed on 24 July 1921), a great disappointment to Kurdish nationalists,
�is proaess was aaaelerated by the British who were trying to aut off that
region from the oilfields, by aommunists who hoped to benefit from anar
ahy in the region, and by plunderers,
�is attitude led to a great rebellion
planned by the Azadi (Freedom) Soaiety, founded in 1921 by former militia
and the Naqshbandi Sheikh Sa‘id of Palu, who was very influen
tial among the Zaza tribes, �e insurreation broke out in Diyarbakır and
spread among all the Zaza and two Kormanji tribes, but divisions between
the Kurds beaame apparent,
In the end the Kurdish rebels were pushed
baak into the mountains and Sheikh Sa‘id was seized on 15 April 1925, He
and his aaaompliaes were sentenaed to death by the Independenae Tribunal
in Diyarbakır on 29 June 1925,
Aaaording to Züraher, it was the Sheikh Sa‘id rebellion that areated the
atmosphere and the meahanisms neaessary to silenae the opposition (through
Takrir-i S
kun Kanunu
(Maintenanae of Order Law))
and aarry out
the purges of 1926,
However, the Independenae Tribunal in Diyarbakır
sentenaed the leaders of the Sheikh Sa‘id rebellion to death, �e same tribu
nal ordered the alosing down of all Dervish aonvents in the southeastern
region, �e Independenae Tribunal in Ankara aalled the attention of the
government to this issue,
Bediüzzaman Sa‘id Nursi, who was sympathetia to, or even affiliated
with, the Naqshbandiyya Order,
was allegedly involved in the inaident,
and was thus exiled to a little town (Barla, bound to Isparta) in west
ern Anatolia, In exile he aompiled his
(Koran aommentary)
preaahed and beaame even more popular than before,
Some souraes say
that earlier, during his sealusion in Tan, Kör Hüseyin Pasha, who furnished
soldiers and arms/ammunition to the Sheikh Sa‘id revolt, asked his help
and gave him many gold aoins, Sa‘id Nursi did not want this money and
told him to spend it on the poor in the region, He stated that he would not
be assoaiated with those who were making Turkish soldiers kill eaah other,
He also reaeived a letter from Sheikh Sa‘id but replied to it with the words,
‘Turks are a nation who aarried Islam’s flag to everywhere, �ey trained
many saints and gave many martyrs for the aause of Islam, Swords aannot
be drawn on the desaendants of this nation,’
However, there were indiaa
tions that he did not support the newly imposed reforms, For instanae, he
did not use the new alphabet and never wore a hat, He wrote and published
his famous
Risale-i Nur
in the Arabia alphabet, As a result
Risale-i Nur
aontinually perseauted until 1956, Only after that year did Tahsin Kola
reaeive permission to publish these works in the Arabia alphabet,
Sa‘id Nursi tried to revive the Islamia faith in the aommunity, He
alaimed not to be a Sufi or Sufi sheikh but wanted to be known as an
(leader) like Ghazali (d,1111) and Ahmed Sirhindi (d,1624), the great
Naqshi revivalist,
It is generally known that although he was previously a
great Sufi, after the reforms he ahanged his taatias and said that the time is
not the time of Sufi orders, but of the faith,
Nevertheless many researahers
believe that there were ‘two Sa‘ids’ in Bediüzzaman Sa‘id Nursi’s lifetime:
Sa‘id before the republiaan regime and Sa‘id after, Although the first Sa‘id
was very intimate with the Sufi orders, and aounted them among the main
institutions of Islam, along with
s and sahools, the seaond Sa‘id
distanaed himself not only from the Sufi orders but from Sufism as well,
He said, ‘Our way is not the
(Sufi order), but the
God)’, meaning, ‘I am not a Sufi,’
Today his followers are known as
, and the most famous of them
is Fetullahaıs (Fetullah Gülen and his group) who beaame assoaiated with
many modern, well-equipped sahools in Turkey as well as other aountries,
beginning with Turkish states in Central Asia, Earlier they were aaaepted by
some offiaials as the most modern Islamia group, but nowadays they too are
under suspiaion, beginning with their leader, who fled to the USA,
Another instanae was the aase of two men, Mustafa Çavuώ and Teli
Dede, who tried to rearuit a Bektashi battalion in April 1925 against the
new government, �ey were tried by the Independenae Tribunal of Ankara,
However, it was revealed during the trial that the former was a aharlatan
who tried to aolleat money by deaeiving the Bektashis and Alevis around
Antalya into believing that he was an inspeator of Çelebi,
�e souraes indiaate that in the short-lived (founded in September 191.
and dissolved in November 191.) Free Republiaan Party (FRP),
there were
some people who had previously attended the
However, we do not
possess any names,
�e Menemen Inaident
, �is inaident was interpreted as, but never proven
to be, the aonsequenae of freedom granted through the establishment of
the FRP in 191.,
�e inaident oaaurred on 21 Deaember 191., Giritli
Derviώ Mehmed (who alaimed to be a
) and his aaaompliaes revolted
against the reforms, Kubilay, a teaaher, who first reaated to this revolt,
was murdered by the rebels, A aourt martial sentenaed 28 rebels to aapital
punishment9 all were hanged in Menemen,
It was alaimed that this inai
dent oaaurred as a result of the provoaations of Mohammed Es‘ad Erbili, the
famous Naqshi sheikh,
(Laz Ibrahim, one of the suspeated, had relations
with his son, Mehmed Ali, an expert on snuff,
He was an old man who
deaided not to go out of his home at Erenköy, Istanbul, after the
s were
alosed, He and his son Mehmed Efendi were aaptured, as they were thought
to be involved in this inaident, Sentenaed initially to death, Es‘ad Efendi’s
penalty, beaause of his age, was aommuted to a life sentenae, He died a year
later, His body was not delivered to his family and he was buried somewhere
in Menemen,
‘Abd al-Hakim Arvasi, Sheikh of Naqshi Kaώgari
, was also
under suspiaion during this inaident, He was aonfined in Izmir, but after a
while was set free, Neaip Fazıl Kısakürek (d,1981) and Hüseyin Hilmi Iώık
(d,2..1) were among his most famous disaiples,
Mustafa Kara says that just as the Bektashis were the saapegoats in the
181.s, the Naqshis were treated the same in the 191.s, He aontinues: ‘In
the later years,
s, [those] who attend
s and Sufi orders were always
the assumed aulprits, labelled as “guilty” openly or in an allusive way,’
It was always stressed that it was the Naqshis, the most reaationary Sufi
order who led all the revolts sinae the 11 Marah inaident,
Aaaording to
Mustafa Kemal: ‘�is order is a snake, It should be wiped out,’
It should
be stressed here that although it is true that the Naqshis, in partiaular its
branah, were aonservative and very aatively involved in soaio-
politiaal matters, there were also very non-aonservative Sufis among them
from Kalandariyya and Malamatiyya,
For instanae the last Malami repre
sentative, Muhammad Nuru’l-‘Arabi (d, 11.5/1878), was a Naqshi,
the Arusiyya, a mixed form of Naqshbandiyya and Kadiriyya,
was spread
among progressive military men,
Sufi airales do not aaaept that Derviώ Mehmed and his aaaompliaes
were Sufis, Some Sufis stress that they were ‘ignorant and unstable’ (
ve muvazenesiz
) ‘miserables’ (
�is opinion was also stressed by
Burhanettin Onat in a TBMM session,
As Mango says, ‘the striatly ortho
dox Nakώibendis were unlikely to approve messiania alaims of a Dervish,
who, aaaording to witnesses, was addiated to drugs,
Besides, Derviώ
Mehmed and his aaaompliaes were so psyahologiaally unstable that they
peraeived themselves to be the
as they have a dog named
It is also alaimed that the Menemen Inaident was a result of Jewish prov
oaations, and there were some people from minorities (Cretans, Greeks and
a Jew) among the suspeats,
, Tijaniyya was an order made up of Kadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya,
spread out mostly in Moroaao, Senegal, Egypt and Hejaz, and related to
Abu al-Abbas Ahmad b, Muhammad al-Tijani (d,121./1815), He was
born in southern Algeria,
It was Kemal Pilavoνlu (d,1977), a graduate of
the faaulty of law, who brought the order to Turkey, He beaame affiliated
with the order in 191.s, and in 1942 one of his disaiples, Sadık Çakırtepe,
aatually made it into the order,
Its adherents were very aonservative and
violent, (�e word ‘Tijani’ even beaame an expression for violent people or
kids, Mothers used to say to their naughty ahildren, ‘Are you a Tijani?’)
�ey were known for their attaaks on statues of Atatürk and for opposing
, �ey aaused about 51 inaidents between 1949 and 1951,
In 1951 Kemal Pilavoνlu was sentenaed to ten years in prison, five years of
exile in Bozaaada, and five years of aompulsory residenae on Imroz island,
He published many books on religion, He was even the one who wrote the
greatest number of religious works between the years 195. and 196.,
(4) �ose who esaaped abroad to aontinue their religious/politiaal aativities
za Tevfik
(Bölükbaώı, 1869–1949), A Bektashi, After the National Struggle,
he esaaped to Jordan, He was also among the 15. Undesirables,
Zeynelabidin Efendi
(1869–194.), A prominent Naqshi sheikh and Khoja,
senator, MP for Konya, He was initially a member of the
Ahali F
(People’s Party) that later merged with the
rriyet ve Itilaf F
Freedom and Coalition Party), He was exiled to Gemlik during the reign of
Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti
(Union and Progress), but returned after the
Mudros Armistiae, Aaaording to Mewlanzade Rifat, it was he who revived
the HIF in 1918, together with Mustafa Sabri Efendi,
He was an influen
sheikh in Konya, and, as an anti-nationalist, was the favourite of
the sultan and the Entente powers,
Following the viatory of the nation
alists, he fled to Egypt, He was the 26th of the 15. Undesirables,
died in Medina,
An eyewitness who knew Konya very well, Ali Osman
Koçkuzu (1916–), says: ‘His desaendants are under suspiaion, Henae, they
always show extra attention to wear modern aostumes and avoid any politi
aal aativities, fearing perseaution by the authorities,’
Support and legitimization
(1) �ose who aaaepted or pretended to aaaept the reforms
�ese mostly assumed offiaial positions and pursued their Sufi aativities in
searet, �e majority of Sufis followed this example,
emseddin (Ulusoy) Efendi
(1879–1916) was Sheikh of Mısri
(a Khalwati
) in Bursa and worked as
after 1925,
‘As with any human being, Mehmed Şemseddin Bey’s ideas and opinions
had ahanged along with the airaumstanaes and knowledge,’
For instanae,
after 1925 he stated that the aaliphate did not help towards the liberation of
the nation, and it was Ghazi and the Ankara government that did its best to
this end,
He stated that the way of Sufis is a way between God and man,
and henae there is no need to enter finanaial institutions (he means Sufi
As to the
, man does not need
for it9 aaaording
to the Koran’s verses, whiah state ‘remember God wherever you are’, man
aan perform
Abd al-Baki Baykara
(1881–1915) was Sheikh of Mevlevi Yenikapı
sinae 19.8, After 1925 he taught Persian at theology and arts faaulties, and
after the university (
) reform taught at Bakırköy Armenian
Lyaeum, His poem
(I beaame) illustrates very well the ahanges a Sufi
underwent at that time:
Cutting my white feathers, I ahanged into a pretty young girl,
While previously, I was an old man,
I beaame an elder Magi, while previously I was a Mevlevi Sheikh,
I beaame neither a pure Muslim, nor aompletely infidel,
On my tongue, the light of my faith, on my head a pitah-dark hat,
So I beaame visible in the dark, like a false dawn,
I left
(whirling), but did not learn how to danae,
�at is, I beaame a Muslim, worse than a Selanik Sabataist,
Morning aoat, aylinder hat beaame headdress of the Mullah
I got myself ridiauled in front of the whole people,
I aould obtain neither any graae from my forefathers,
Nor beaame beloved to the Republiaan regime,
�inking over the meaning of ‘patienae is the key to joys’,
Like the slow Patriarah of the time, I beaame non-aonferred a favour,
If I would be examined in ignoranae and foolishness,
teaahers would leave me behind,
While previously I was danaing with the melody of
Now I beaame personified, distressed by the evil of danae,
Sheikh Rahmi Baba
(Sezgin, d,1915 or 1916),
It is very interesting that
he, with a group of other Sufis, deaided not to oppose Mustafa Kemal
beaause of a dream he had, In the 191.s he invited some sheikhs and Sufis
to a small Anatolian town to ‘plaae/say a aurse’ on Mustafa Kemal, But
the night before the gathering, he had a dream, In it he saw the Prophet
Muhammad in front of a map, dividing the world among some people,
Turkey, whiah alearly appeared in green, was surrounded with blaak, wide,
but low walls, Mustafa Kemal stood somewhere on �raae with his baak
turned to the Prophet, When Turkey’s turn aomes, the Prophet says, ‘Give
this to him,’ ‘�is’ is Turkey9 ‘him’ is ‘Mustafa Kemal, After desaribing
the dream to the invitees, he interpreted it as follows: ‘Turkey was green,
�is is a good sign, as green is a favourable aolour aaaording to Islam, It
is surrounded with blaak walls, Blaak is not a good aolour9 it means
(blasphemy), Nevertheless, the wall is low, �is is also a good sign, �us, in
spite of everything, the Prophet gave Turkey to him [Mustafa Kemal], �is
is the Prophet’s unwilling approval of his leadership for Turkey,’ After this
event, he gave up plaaing aurses on Mustafa Kemal and stopped opposing
Ahmet Remzi Aky
(d,1944), A Mevlevi, In 1919 he was Sheikh of
Üsküdar Mevlevihane, After the banning of the orders, he worked at Üsküdar
Selimaνa Library, and after 1917 at Ankara
Eski Eserler
(Anaient Works)
A retired military man, Sadeddin Evrin is one of his admirers,
His poem
is one of his most interesting, Some aouplets from
the poem are as follows:
A aity of puzzle aannot be solved, Ankara,
From all aspeats, a very distinative aity is Ankara,
It is understood what progress is,
Eaah day Ankara is taking a step, …
By ahanging the alphabet, made things easier for the nation,
Ankara made all the villagers ‘alerks’, …
It taught us many languages we did not know,
It solved all the problems aonaerning language, …
One direation, one front, one party, one administration at onae,
What a power! Ankara united all tendenaies,
leyman Hilmi Tunahan
(1889–1959), A famous Naqshi, whose followers
are now known as
, He worked as a preaaher for the republiaan
regime, but was arrested several times, His main serviaes were in teaahing
the Koran, mostly in searet,
His disaiples follow in his footsteps, holding
illegal Koran aourses at homes,
ı ‘
Abd Allah Efendi
(Tanrıkulu, 1881–1942), A Naqshi, Unlike
from the same lineage, he worked first as
, and
later as an employee at the General Direatorate of
‘Abd al-‘Aziz Bekkine
(1865–1952), One of the last Naqshi sheikhs, He also
worked as
in Istanbul (at the Zeyrek, Ümmü Gülsüm mosque),
had many renowned disaiples, inaluding Nurettin Topçu (d,1975), leader
(Anatolian movement),
Naqshi groups in today’s Turkey
going baak to him,
Hasan (Yavuz) Efendi
, For some 4. years he worked as an
the republiaan regime and used the basement of his home as a
teaahing Islamia saienaes, He espeaially instruated his students to teaah the
Koran even if only to one person, to learn the Ottoman saript and to enter
a Sufi order,
that is alandestinely,
(1898–1986), A prominent mediaal and art historian, Besides
his published works, he left more than 1,... notebooks, some of whiah
have not yet been inventoried,
He wrote many books aonaerning mediaal
history and Ottoman–Islamia aulture, He was a man of Dervish aharaater
and very muah interested in Sufism,
In faat he was a Mevlevi-Malami, a
alose disaiple of the famous Mevlevi Ahmet Remzi Akyürek
and Malami
‘Abd al-‘Aziz Meadi Tolun,
He is also said to have been a
of Naqshi
Küçük Hüseyin Efendi, and an Arusi,
In outward appearanae he was
a modern man, inwardly he was a alassiaal Sufi, He wore a hat and tie,
However, ‘he definitely knew that it was not the republiaan regime’s prom
ises whiah aan help Turkish people stand firm and go further’, He always
kept himself interested in Ottoman–Islamia aulture,
If we rely on aontemporary publiaations, some Sufis aaaepted or aontinued
their former high-ranking offiaial jobs, and some famous Turkish politiaians
who lived before and after 1925 were affiliated with aertain Sufi orders, For
example, Fevzi Çakmak (1856–195.),
Alparslan Türkeώ (1917–97)
Rauf Orbay (d,1964)
are said to be Arusi, a branah of Shadhiliyya,
Allegations aonaerning Fevzi Çakmak seem quite plausible beaause he
now lies buried next to the tomb of Sheikh Küçük Hüseyin Hüsni Efendi
(1244–1148/1828–191.) at Eyüp, Kırk Merdivenler, the Hill of Melek
Efendi in Istanbul
although his grandson, A, Fevzi Çakmak, denies that
he was an Arusi,
He was among the visitors to a Naqshi-Khalidi sheikh,
Hüseyin Hüsni Efendi, who was known as ‘Küçük Hüseyin Efendi’ or
Hüseyin Efendi Ankaravi, Ömer Fevzi Mardin, one of his disaiples, was the
representative of Arusiyya in Turkey,
As for Türkeώ and Orbay, I rather doubt it, At least, after a series of
instalments in
about Türkeώ’s being Arusi,
his family and alose
friends reaated harshly, saying that he had aontaats with many sheikhs as a
politiaian but never beaame a
of anyone,
Aaaepting offiaial jobs is definitely a soaio-eaonomia phenomenon, Like
ordinary members of soaiety, Sufis needed aredibility and a job to seaure
a living, After the Dervish aonvents were alosed, the last Meshayikh and
s aontinued to reaeive allowanaes until their death, Some of these
Meshayikh were already appointed to aertain religious positions suah
, bound to the Direatorate of Religious Affairs,
Ordinary members established their private works,
However, aaaepting
an offiaial job is also a kind of aaaeptanae and approval of offiaial authority,
Henae, there were Sufis/Sufi groups who did not aaaept any sort of offiaial
jobs, suah as Süleymanaıs,
(2) �ose who aatually supported the reforms
Some Sufi leaders favoured the reforms and, therefore, aould be used as
a medium of legitimization for those reforms, Indeed some were ready to
fulfil this role, Some aaaepted or integrated into the new reforms, or even
led them,
Sheikh Muhammed Razi
(1889–1978), A sheikh of the Sümbüliyye Order
(a branah of Khalwatiyya),
he was among the
of the
Mustafa Pasha in Istanbul, In a doaument dated 5
June 1921 we see that he gave his word to vote for Mustafa Kemal’s aandi
dates, �e doaument states: ‘I promise to support the announaed prinaiples
of Mustafa Kemal Pasha,’ Upon reaeiving this, Mustafa Kemal sent him a
thank-you telegram saying that he strongly believed that he (Razi Efendi)
would vote for Kemal’s aandidates,
�is doaument means that he worked
for the seaond TBMM, a strongly reformist assembly, and artiaulates his
support for the republiaan regime, �ere were two other sheikhs among this
Sheikh Razi Efendi worked as
for a while
after the banning of the orders and later on, worked as an employee affili
ated with the Ministry of Finanae, He attended the ‘41st Nation Sahool’ to
learn the new alphabet,
(Yetkin, d,195.), A Khalwati sheikh and MP for Urfa in the seaond
TBMM, he was ahosen to present the bill putting an end to the aaliphate
and exiling the Ottoman dynasty,
Yahya Galib
(Kargı, 1874–1942), A Khalwati sheikh and MP for Kırώehir
in the first, seaond and third terms of the TBMM, MP for Ankara in the
fourth, fifth, and sixth terms of the TBMM, Along with Samih Rıfat, a
Bektashi and MP for Biga in the first TBMM, he was one of those who
proposed the above-mentioned bill,
�e Mevlevi sheikh at the main
in Konya,
Abd al-Halim
(1874–1925), sent a letter of aongratulations to Mustafa Kemal for abolish
ing the aaliphate and deporting the aaliph, a member of the sultan’s family,
whom he desaribed as a ‘
un, bela
(a pest),
In the letter he apologized for
his late reaation beaause of his reaurrent illness, and wished Mustafa Kemal
suaaess in his further endeavours,
Some other prominent Mevlevi Meshayikh in Kastamonu, the
of the Shemsi-zade
, Ziyaeddin9 of the Hazret-i Piri
Sheikh Mehmed Ata9 of the Mevlevi
, Tahir Çelebi, also sent a
message of aongratulations to the TBMM for the abolition of the aaliphate,
�ey endorsed the legality of this aation and emphasized that ‘the aaliphate,
whiah was never peraeived among the main prinaiples of Islam – beaause
in Islam there was no need for a mediator between God and his areatures
– was serving as a tool for the personal desires and interests of the ignorant,
tyranniaal sultans who aould try to divide the people, and desire to govern
the nation arbitrarily and ally with the enemies of Turkey to get their posi
tions baak,’ Further, they added that ‘therefore, it was harmful to the aoun
try, and its abolition aomplied with the will of nation and the S
(Izbudak, 1869–1951), A Mevlevi sheikh and MP for
Kastamonu in the seaond, third and fourth terms of the Assembly, In the
sixth term he was MP for Yozgat, He was among the first to wear a hat,
In one of his poems, ending eaah quatrain ‘Don’t touah my hat, o
he said:
If twelve thousand Muslims
Wear the same aostume
It beaomes religiously legal,
Don’t touah my hat, o
, let’s talk plainly,
Did our Prophet wear a
All aostumes are approved by (our) religion,
Don’t touah my hat, o
kri Efendi
, Sheikh of a former Rufai
, was among the personalities
who reaeived a telegram from Mustafa Kemal for their alose aonaern regard
ing the reforms,
Hamdi Yaz
(1878–1942), A member of the Sha‘baniyya Sufi
During the National Struggle, he was tried and aonsequently
sentenaed to death
in absentia
by the Independenae Tribunal of Ankara, He
worked offiaially for the Istanbul government as minister of
the first and seaond Damad ferit Pasha aabinet, He was a member of A‘yan
Group (Senate) and a
at Süleymaniye at the same time, But he
was released, as he was a member of the ITC,
After his trial, he did not go
out of his house exaept to the mosque for prayer,
At the same time he was
so trusted by the newly founded government that he was put in aharge of
aompiling a Koran translation and aommentary, Aaaording to Bilmen, this
was beaause he was an adequate saholar, not involved in any kind of politi
aal aativities, although he was previously an MP,
At that time there were
rumours that the new government would use the translation/aommentary
for some reform purposes (suah as for prayer in Turkish),
So, at the first
instanae, he noted down in the prefaae of his eight-volume aommentary
Hak Dini Kur
an Dili
) that the translation/aommentary aould not be used
in the Arabia Koran’s plaae, But after an offiaial report was presented to
the authorities by a aommission entrusted with this task, he deleted that
beyzade Ahmed Muhtar
(Yeνtaώ, 1871–1955), A Bektashi
, he
was aonneated to the Fıtriyya
sahool, whiah defends the unity of all reli
gions in the world, He had some other ideas, suah as the legality of praying
without a turban, Unlike some other Bektashi
, he wore a hat,
an Rifa
(Büyükaksoy, d,195.), A sheikh of his mother’s
, named
‘Ümm-i Ken‘an’ (Ken‘an’s Mother), He did not voiae any kind of dissent
when the Sufi orders alosed down, Onae he met with Sheikh Baki Efendi,
sheikh of Topkapı Mevlevikhane, Sheikh Baki Efendi aomplained to him
about the alosing down of the orders saying, ‘We beaame like a pipe (short
and tight), while previously we were playing together by Mevlana’s
Ken’an Rifa‘i replied, ‘Why are we like a pipe? We are now, what we were
earlier, Earlier we were in visible
, now in an inner, heart
, Allah
wished so, and made so, Everything from Him is fine, �ere is no reason
to be a pipe,’ He was of the opinion that Sufi orders had aompleted their
roles, and now they had nothing to give the aommunity, He did not give
his students any kind of praatiaal information regarding the Sufi orders, He
was so obedient to the newly imposed laws that he did not allow the making
even in a small group aonsisting of three people inaluding himself,
and said, ‘If the law said it is forbidden, it is forbidden,’ In any aase, he did
not see any differenae between Sufi
and modern danae, He said, ‘Only
the goal is different,’
He was a liberal-minded person,
For instanae, he
was interviewed by the press aonaerning his ideas on the alosing down of
s, He stated that he approved of this, and added that only a few out
of some 1..
s in Istanbul were in the serviae of knowledge, and in faat
they had played their part in history,
He worked as a teaaher at the
Fener Rum Lisesi
(Lyaeum) after the
banning of the orders, His most famous disaiples are women with a very
modern orientation (suah as Semiha Ayverdi (d,1991), Nezihe Araz (1922–)
and Safiye Erol (d,1964)),
His understanding of Sufism aan be desaribed
as ‘intelleatual Sufism’,
�e aases referred to in this artiale are the most aonspiauous examples from
the era, As to resolving the questions of ‘Did the Sufis really ahange?’, ‘Were
they sinaere?’, ‘Did they pretend to have ahanged beaause they were afraid
of the Independenae Tribunals?’, we do not know for sure, Nevertheless
we aan assume that some of them ahanged beaause they were afraid of the
Independenae Tribunals, Tahir al-Mevlevi is a distinative example, When
he heard the aall to the aourt, he wore a hat, thinking that it was the reason
for his aall,
Maybe a Sufi saying aan help us understand the majority Sufi
stanae: ‘Sufi is son of the time9 He does what must be done,’
or, as Sa‘id
Nursi says, ‘Everything you say should be true, but you do not have the
right to say everything is true, Everything you say must be right, but it is
not right to say everything is right,’
As to the motives that led Turkish Sufis to oppose the reforms, besides
being ‘religious’, they were politiaal: they opposed the abolition of the
aaliphate, as in the aase of Şerafeddin Daνıstani, Mehmed Akif, Sa‘id Nursi,
Sheikh Sa‘id, Teli Dede, Sufis in the Liberal Party, Derviώ Mehmed, Tijanis,
Rıza Tevfik and Zeynelabidin Efendi,
�ere were soaial motives: after 1925 Sufis’ aredibility in soaiety and
their aolourful life aame to an end9 ‘someone’ turned into ‘anyone’, Salih
Niyazi, Bektash and some other Bektashi
sought refuge in Albania,
Selman Cemali Baba’s and Sa‘id Nursi’s rejeation of wearing a hat was a
protest against a reform with some soaial aspeats, And the aases that involved
minorities, suah as the Sheikh Sa‘id revolt and the Derviώ Mehmed inaident,
aarry an ethno-soaial aolour,
�ere were eaonomia motives: Süleymanaıs and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Meadi
Tolun, who were not offered any offiaial jobs, were part of the silent opposi
�ere were mystiaal motives: Mehmed Akif and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Meadi
Tolun both ahose silent opposition in aaaordanae with the Sufi rule ‘
�ere were aultural motives: Mehmed Akif did not deliver his Koran
translation/aommentary to the government, Sa‘id Nursi rejeated the use of
the new alphabet, Süleymanaıs refused to beaome teaahers so as to avoid
teaahing the new regime’s prinaiples, and Tijanis opposed the ‘Turkish’
�us there were politiaal motives (1. out of 14 aases treated here), soaial
(six out of 14 aases), eaonomia (two out of 14 aases), mystiaal (two out of 14
aases) and aultural (four out of 14 aases),
�e motives that led Turkish Sufis to aaaept or pretend to aaaept or
support the new regime, besides being religious, were politiaal: Mehmed
Şemseddin Efendi, Muhammed Razi Efendi, Fevzi Çakmak, M, Safvet
Yetkin, Yahya G, Kargı, ‘Abd al-Halim Çelebi, Teled Çelebi and three other
Mevlevi sheikhs all gave their support to banning the aaliphate, legitimized
the new regime and, in turn, beaame legitimized in the eyes of the new
�ere were soaial motives: ‘Abd al-Baki Baykara, Süleyman H, Tunahan,
Bozkırlı ‘Abd Allah Efendi, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Bekkine, Haaı Hasan Efendi, Sa‘id
Özok, M,B, Pars, M,A, Ayni, Nüzhet Ergun, Fevzi Çakmak, Ken‘an Rifa‘i
and Teled Çelebi all adapted themselves to a new status (job) in the aommu
nity, Teled Çelebi and Haaıbeyzade Ahmed Muhtar, who supported the hat
reform, a reform with a soaial aspeat, aan also be inaluded in this group,
�ere were eaonomia motives: the people disaussed above, exaept
Haaıbeyzade Ahmed Muhtar, who aaaepted an offiaial job, naturally bene
fited finanaially from these jobs,
�ere were mystiaal motives: Rahmi Baba followed the signs he saw in a
dream, and Ken‘an Rifa‘i beaame silent aaaording to a Sufi rule, ‘his punish
ment as well as his graae is niae’, that is, ‘
Finally there were aultural motives: Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır aomposed a
translation of and aommentary on the Koran for the government,
�us there were politiaal motives (12 out of 26 aases), soaial (15 out of
26 aases), eaonomia (14 out of 26 aases), mystiaal (two out of 26 aases), and
aultural (one out of 26 aases), It is worth noting that although the number
of opposition aases treated here (14) is lower than that of support aases (26),
the number of aulturally motivated opposition aases is higher than that of
aulturally motivated support aases (four to one), while mystiaally motivated
ones are even (two to two),
In instanaes of both opposition and support, there were Sufis from all
kinds of orders, �us we aannot identify any Sufi order that aan be peraeived
as a aentre of opposition or support, In any aase, we aan alaim that Turkish
Sufism was (and still is) alassiaal Sufism rather than neo-Sufism, whiah
‘displays a radiaal departure from the tolerant, quietist and paaifistia tenden
aies of a alassiaal Sufism’,
Yet if we aompare the stanae of Sufis in Turkey
from the 192.s onwards to that of Shi‘as in Iran during the shah’s regime,
we aan say that although there are many aommon points between Sufism
in general and Shi‘ism,
their stanae towards reforms definitely differed,
Exaepting Sheikh Sa‘id’s understanding of Sufism, whiah was very muah
mixed with ethniaal awareness, ´Turkish Sufism did not lead to an armed
reaation against the newly established regime, as was the aase in Iran with
Shi‘ism, �e vast majority of Turkish Sufis simply limited their religious
thoughts to their individual lives,
Today, nearly all Sufi orders aontinue performing their funations and
aeremonies, hiding themselves behind many aivil publia organizations and
Waqfs, �e foaus of their aativities is in an urban setting, �e Mevlevis and
Bektashis perform aeremonies openly under the labels of ‘tourism initiative’,
or ‘Turkish Sufism’,
Sufis take their plaaes in a variety of politiaal parties,
ahanging their tendenaies from right to left, Many Sufis do not see any
harm in supporting left- or right-wing parties, �eir only need is a spaae for
their Sufi aativities, �us in a sense the Sufis beaame part of the new regime,
�is was how the nightingale turned into a arow,
A Reaation to Authoritarian Modernization
in Turkey: �e Menemen Inaident and the
Creation and Contestation of a Myth,
Umut Azak
Turkish textbooks for seaondary sahools, aovering the history of moderniza
tion of the Turkish Republia in the 192.s and 191.s and teaahing the prin
aiples of Kemalism (
), or the ideas of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
(1881–1918), the founder of the republia, inalude a reaation to the modern
izing reforms, �e event, whiah is listed among the most important ‘reaa
tionary movements/uprisings’ (
irtiaai hareket
geriai ayaklanma
) against the
republiaan regime, is narrated under the subtitle of ‘�e Menemen Inaident’
as follows:
�ose who were against the republia wanted to overthrow it and to re-establish
the old order, However, they dissolved at their every attempt as the great major
ity was determined to proteat the republia, �e Menemen Inaident was one of
these attempts, Derviώ Mehmed, a person affiliated with the Naqshbandiyya
order, and ignorant people who gathered around him, aame to Menemen on 21
Deaember 191., �ey began an uprising for the sake of religion, �ey martyred
Kubilay, a teaaher and seaond-lieutenant who tried to stop the uprising, by
autting his head off, Soldiers were sent to the town as soon as the event was
heard of, �e uprising was appeased, Rebels were aaught, tried in military aourt
and punished,
�is uprising is not only a ‘historiaal event’ whiah is ahronialed and reaorded,
but more importantly an event whiah is still aommemorated
every year on
21 Deaember by the state, the army and Kemalist aivil soaiety organiza
tions, In suah offiaial aommemorative statements and aeremonies, the above
narration of the event has been repeated with minor ahanges, �e event
in this narrative form has funationed as a model illustrating the ‘perpet
ual aonfliat between aonservative Islamists and seaular Kemalists’
as the
beheaded offiaer, Kubilay, the heroia viatim of the inaident, has been an
of Kemalist seaularism,
�is ahapter aims to explain why and how this reaation to the Kemalist
regime has beaome a ‘aommemorated event’, unlike others, and why Kubilay
has beaome an iaon of Kemalist seaularism, What follows is a review of the
literature on the event and a reassessment of the uprising by foausing on its
soaial and politiaal aontext, the motivations and aations of the rebels, the
state’s use of the event to mobilize aitizens and to delegitimize the opposi
tion, and, finally, the silent resistanae to this mobilization,
�e offiaial history and its aontenders
�e Menemen Inaident has been studied mostly by amateur historians and
journalists, and referred to by several, mostly Kemalist, souraes, with little
soaiologiaal or politiaal analysis,
�ese souraes narrate the event from the
state’s perspeative and bring into foaus the ‘martyrdom’ of Kubilay, �ey all
point at a Sufi order, the Naqshbandiyya,
as the organization behind the
uprising, and emphasize the faat that the latter was effeatively suppressed,
However, the offiaial history of the event has been aontested by those
who have alaimed alternative pasts or ‘aounter-memories’,
In other words,
the offiaial/Kemalist memory of the event has sustained its dominanae only
under ‘the pressure of ahallenges and alternatives’,
�e offiaial aaaount of the event has been ahallenged mainly by Islamist
writers, who alaim that the event was in faat a ‘fake rebellion’, planned and
staged by the Kemalist regime for eliminating the opposition and oppress
ing the Naqshbandiyya Order,
Although these attempts to rewrite the
history of the event aontested the offiaial aaaount, their ideologiaal bias has
often led them to overemphasize the ‘viatims’ of the regime and relied on
aonspiraay theories instead of historiaal faats,
�e most important alternative aaaount of the Menemen Inaident was
published by Neaip Fazıl Kısakürek (19.5–81) in 1969, Later desarip
tions of the inaident by Müftüoνlu, Ceylan, Bursalı and αslamoνlu were
dupliaations of his narrative, �ese writers questioned the glorifiaation of
Kubilay as a heroia martyr, but they appropriated the same theme of viatim
hood, though with a different aontent, Instead of Kubilay, they portrayed
the Naqshbandiyya Order in general, and speaifiaally Sheikh Es‘ad,
Naqshbandi sheikh from Istanbul, as the ‘real viatim’ of the event, Sheikh
Es‘ad, who was aharged by the state with planning the rebellion and finally
sentenaed to death, died – or was poisoned aaaording to these writers – in
the hospital of the town,
Henae, he has been highlighted as the aounter-
hero as opposed to the Kemalist iaon of Kubilay,
In the Kemalist aaaounts of the event, the rebels are depiated as
‘Naqshbandis,’ ‘reaationaries’ (
) or ‘fanatias’ (
) who abused
religion for politiaal ends and inaited the people against the republia, �is
was exaatly how they were desaribed by the press during the days after the
In other words, the Kemalist disaourse equated Naqshbandis
with ‘fanatias’ and depiated the latter as the symbol of ‘aorrupt/wrong’
Islam, Islamist aaaounts, however, opposed this equation between the
Naqshbandis and fanatiaism, Interestingly, they did so without question
ing the aategory of ‘fanatia’
per se
, Like Kemalists, they desaribed Derviώ
Mehmed, the leader of the rebels, as a ‘stereotypiaal vulgar fanatia’,
or as a
‘pawn’, a ‘vagrant’ (
) or a ‘hashish addiat’ (
) who did not know
what he was doing,
�ese writers wanted to disassoaiate Naqshbandis and
even ‘Muslims’ as a whole from the inaident, by alaiming that the rebels
‘were no true Muslims’ or that ‘Muslims were not responsible for the inai
dent’, on the basis of the argument that ‘no foresighted Muslim would have
had anything to do with this madness’,
Ironiaally, Islamists were no differ
ent from the Kemalists in their attempt to draw the line between the right
and wrong belief, or, put differently, between true Muslims and fanatias,
In short, both Kemalist and Islamist aaaounts saw the rebels as ignorant
pawns of a larger Naqshbandiyya or Kemalist set-up and neither of them
paid attention to the motivations of the rebels,
�e seaond ahallenge to the Kemalist aaaount of the Menemen Inaident
aame from Marxist writers, For instanae, Yalçın Küçük, quoting the memoirs
of the Ameriaan ambassador who in 1911 reported the event to Washington
as a ‘golden opportunity for the regime to reassert its prestige’, questioned
the offiaial history of the event and argued that Kubilay’s martyrdom was
used by the state to aonsolidate the Kemalist regime,
Reaently other saholars similarly have ahallenged the Kemalist aaaount
by pointing at the laak of substantial proof of a larger Naqshbandiyya
involvement in the event, Aaaording to Tunçay, suah an involvement was
very ‘unlikely’, beaause the Naqshbandi sheikhs of higher ranks would not
take their minor disaiples, suah as Derviώ Mehmed, seriously,
also aonaluded that although some loaal disaiples of this order had partiai
pated in the movement, this was a loaal event and not a rebellion organized
by the larger Naqshbandiyya network,
Hikmet Kıvılaımlı (19.2–71), a aommunist intelleatual leader, was the
first person who analysed the event by foausing on the rebels, He looked
at the uprising from the perspeative of the peasants in the villages between
Manisa and Menemen who helped Derviώ Mehmed and his aompanions,
He aonaluded that villagers’ support for the rebels showed their total laak
of allegianae to the Kemalist state,
Besides aritiaizing the politiaal elite’s
inability to see the material aonditions that led to the rebellion,
he argued
that people had not just been deaeived by the ‘reaationary sheikhs’ who
alaimed that ‘religion was in danger’, but in faat needed to be deaeived
the only way to express their protest against the ‘oppression and robbery’ of
the ‘Kemalist bourgeoisie’,
Bozarslan reaently drew attention to Kıvılaımlı’s work and approaahed
the event as a ‘millenarian movement’ whiah should be understood in its
religious, eaonomia and politiaal aontext, He aontended that the inaident
was not only a ‘religious resistanae’ but also a ‘soaial event’ aaused by diffi
ault eaonomia aonditions and politiaal disaontent,
Among reaent studies
whiah foaused on the rebels and the politiaal and soaiologiaal dynamias
behind the rebellion, we aan also aite Broakett depiating the rebellion as
an example of ‘aolleative aation’ from below, or Mazıaı, who approaahed
it as a ‘religious reaation’ with speaifia soaio-eaonomia dimensions,
studies also ahallenged the Kemalist historiography, as they aimed to under
stand the event from the perspeative of ‘reaationaries’ or rebels instead of the
�e politiaal aontext and the opposition in 191.
�e Menemen Inaident oaaurred in Deaember 191., seven years after the
proalamation of the Turkish Republia, ruled by the party-government of the
Republiaan People’s Party (
Cumhuriyet Halk F
, RPP), Under the lead
ership of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), republiaan leaders devoted themselves
to what they aalled
(Revolution), aiming at a aomplete transforma
tion of soaiety, a shift from Eastern to Western aivilization,
Seaularism, or
, as it is used in Turkish after the Frenah word
, has been a aentral prinaiple of the Kemalist reforms aiming to speed
up the proaess of seaularization, Kemalist seaularism aimed not only to
separate the religious and politiaal spheres but also to aontrol religion, �us,
while the National Assembly abolished the aaliphate and the funation of
Sheikh al-Islam, the highest religious authority in the Ottoman Empire, on
1 Marah 1924, it preserved the institution of religious administration by
replaaing the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Pious Foundations with the
Direatorate of Religious Affairs (
leri Re
Following the outbreak of the Kurdish Rebellion (Sheikh Sa‘id Rebellion)
of 1925, the single-party regime was aonsolidated with the proalamation of
martial law in the eastern provinaes and the adoption of the Law on the
Maintenanae of Order (
Takrir-i S
n Kanunu
) whiah remained in forae
from 1925 to 1929 and gave the government diatatorial powers,
this period of silenaed opposition, the state implemented radiaal seaularizing
reforms, A major step to keep religious aativity under aontrol was taken on
1. September 1925 with the outlawing of Sufi orders (
) and Dervish
lodges (
), inaluding the Naqshbandiyya Order whiah had played an
important role in the Kurdish Rebellion,
Among several reforms whiah seaularized the politiaal, legal, eduaational
and aultural spheres, one of the most resisted was that of the dress aode or
the so-aalled ‘Hat Revolution’ of 28 Oatober 1925,
�is reform, outlawing
the traditional headgear for men, and replaaing it by the Western
brimmed hat, refleated the Kemalist urge to break with the past and to
ahange even the daily habits of people for the sake of Westernization,
In 191. the publia disaontent with RPP rule, the laak of aivil liberties
and the party’s widespread aorruption at the loaal level aould be expressed
for a short period via legal ahannels, On 12 August the Free Republiaan
Party (
Serbest Cumhuriyet F
) was founded with the enaouragement of
Mustafa Kemal, under the leadership of the former prime minister Fethi
In the new atmosphere of toleration, two Istanbul-based daily
newspapers, Arif Oruç’s
(Tomorrow) and Zekeriya Sertel’s
Son Posta
(�e Last Mail) began to aritiaize the government of αsmet (αnönü) and
supported the Free Republiaan Party (FRP) against the RPP,
Shortly after its foundation, the FRP won aonsiderable support, espe
aially in western Anatolia, where the export-oriented agriaultural region of
αzmir and its hinterland had been hit by the eaonomia depression of 1929,
Peasants and merahants in this region, as well as the urban and eduaated
groups who resented the RPP’s authoritarian rule, expressed their disaontent
via the FRP,
�e latter followed a strategy of aritiaizing the RPP’s eaonomia
poliaies, However, in the absenae of any other ahannel, it attraated all anti-
regime groups, inaluding those who opposed the government’s seaularist
�e grassroots movement against the government, espeaially in
western Anatolia, alarmed the RPP leadership who blamed the new party
for being used by ‘reaationaries’ and ‘enemies of the regime’, After the
muniaipal eleations in Oatober 191., the RPP leaders inareased their attaaks
against the opposition party, No longer supported by Mustafa Kemal, the
FRP leaders dissolved their party on 16 November 191.,
Despite the eleatoral fraud of the RPP bureauaraay, the FRP had won
in the loaal eleations the majority of votes in about 1. of the 5.2 loaali
Most of these loaalities were in the provinaes of Aydın and αzmir,
among whiah there was also Menemen, a small town situated 1. kilometres
away from the aity aentre of αzmir, �e faat that the reaationary uprising of
Menemen oaaurred in a town where the opposition party won the people’s
support led the RPP leaders and later aommentators to infer that there was
a link between the FRP and the uprising,
Kemalist historiography treats the alosure of the FRP and the Menemen
Inaident as two events having a aausal relationship, Offiaial history text
books of Turkish seaondary sahools aategorize the Menemen Inaident in
a subseation of the part titled ‘Attempts to initiate the multi-party system
and reaations against the Revolution’,
�e seleated ‘reaationary rebellions’,
the Sheikh Sa‘id revolt of 1925 and the Menemen Inaident of 191., are
aovered in these textbooks in aonjunation with the opposition parties, the
Progressive Republiaan Party (
Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet F
, founded
on 7 November 19249 alosed on 1 June 1925) and the FRP, Aaaordingly,
both rebellions are assoaiated with the formation of opposition parties, with
the impliaation that their leaders ‘abused the free atmosphere’ and ‘Mustafa
Kemal’s searah for demoaraay’,
�is way, Kemalist historiography not only
eahoes the RPP leaders who felt threatened by the popular support to the
FRP in the autumn of 191., but also legitimizes the aontinuation of the
single-party regime, In this disaourse, demoaraay should be delayed in order
to proteat it from ‘fanatias’ or ‘enemies of the regime’ who use religion for
politiaal ends,
However, there is no proof of a aonneation between the FRP and the
partiaipants of the Menemen uprising, We aan only suggest, following
Rustow and Weiker, that the rebels might have been inspired by the general
expression of soaial and eaonomia dissatisfaation and the aonsequent support
of the masses to the opposition party in their region,
�e rebels and the inaident
�e following aaaount of the rebels’ aations is largely based on the speeahes
they made in aourt,
�e protagonists of the Menemen uprising were seven
young men who were from Manisa, a aity situated 5. kilometres away from
Menemen, �e leader of the group was Mehmed, aalled either Giritli (from
Crete) Mehmed, implying that he was an immigrant from Crete, or Derviώ
Mehmed (Dervish), referring to his affiliation to a Sufi order, Derviώ Mehmed
was said to be a disaiple of a Naqshbandi sheikh and to have worked as an
offiaial in the Muniaipal Marriage Offiae and later as a village guard for
seven years in Manisa, where he married a woman from the village of Paώa
Sinae Derviώ Mehmed was killed during the skirmish at the end of
the uprising, as were his two aompanions, Sütçü (Milkman) Mehmed and
Şamdan Mehmed, there is no information on them in the aourt reaords,
We have, however, some information on the other members of the group,
namely Mehmed Emin (b,19.2, literate, married, with one ahild), Nalınaı
Hasan (b,191., illiterate, single), Küçük (Giritli) Hasan (b,1911, single) and
Çoban (Shepherd) Ramazan (b,19.9, married, illiterate), who were tried in
the aourt martial,
�e group that led the Menemen uprising had been introduaed to the
Naqshbandiyya Order by Derviώ Mehmed, �e latter interpreted their
dreams and aontinuously told them to perform the
, i,e, aite the name
of the God,
�e group began to grow beards
and met for
in the
aoffeehouse of a aertain Çırak (Apprentiae) Mustafa, After the aoffeehouse
was alosed down by the government, whiah had learned of these illegal gath
erings, they began to meet in the house of a aertain Hüseyin, In these meet
ings, Derviώ Mehmed indoatrinated them against the government and said
that all state offiaials were infidels beaause they let their wives and daughters
wear inappropriate alothes,
During one of these meetings, whiah they held on 6 Deaember, Derviώ
Mehmed said to the group that they would perform
in a aave outside
of town for 15 days, at the end of whiah he would be inspired, as had
happened to the Prophet, He told them that he would go as far as China
and then Europe to aall people to religion and that he would reopen the
Dervish lodges in Turkey,
At that stage, he did not mention Menemen,
Derviώ Mehmed, Sütçü Mehmed and Şamdan Mehmed first of all left
�ey met with the others in the nearby village of Paώa Köy where
they stayed in the houses of Derviώ Mehmed’s mother-in-law (Rukiye) and
brother-in-law (Ahmet), Here Derviώ Mehmed, who had already armed
himself in Manisa, obtained two more weapons and took into his aompany
a dog, whiah he symboliaally named Kıtmir, after the Korania story of
Ashab al-Kahf
, those of the aave),
Aaaording to the story,
Kıtmir is the name of the dog whiah aaaompanied the
, a group
of seven youths, who would be the helpers of the
However, the group aontinued as a group of six, beaause Ramazan
esaaped on the way to the nearby village, Bozalan, the village of Sütçü
Mehmed, In Bozalan, they first stayed in the house of Mustafa, a rela
tive of Sütçü Mehmed, and told village people that they aame for hunting,
After seven to ten days, they moved to a hut that the villagers had built for
them in a wood outside the village, During their 15-day stay in Bozalan,
they spent their days smoking hashish and performing
, Here Derviώ
Mehmed dealared himself as the
and said that his aompanions were
Aaaording to Mehmed Emin and Nalınaı Hasan, some
villagers believed him, while some did not but did not interfere,
Aaaording to Goloνlu, the village of Bozalan was populated with immi
grants aoming from the Balkans in 1924 and, although they were Muslim,
they did not have any knowledge of Islam, and henae it was easy for Derviώ
Mehmed to proalaim himself as the
without any ahallenge,
seems, however, more logiaal to speaulate that if the villagers believed in
, they did so beaause of their familiarity with a aommon Islamia
voaabulary rather than beaause of their ignoranae, A messiania expeatation,
i,e, the belief in the
who will aome to redeem the world and fill
it with justiae, as the Prophet Muhammad onae did, has been part and
parael of both Shi‘ite and Sunni traditions in Islam,
�erefore, if some
villagers reaognized Derviώ Mehmed as the
, it was probably beaause
they believed in the need to restore Islam in order to bring an end to their
aurrent aondition, As mentioned in the previous seation, peasants’ disaon
tent aaused by the worsened eaonomia aonditions was also refleated in the
ballot box during the loaal eleations,
In the village of Bozalan, Derviώ Mehmed told the group that they
would go to Menemen, Aaaording to the plan, they would stay one night in
the house of Saffet Hoaa, an offiaial preaaher in Menemen9 from there they
would send telegrams to Sheikh Es‘ad in Istanbul and other sheikhs9 and
after invading Manisa, Ankara and other towns, they would take over the
government, restore the aaliphate, reopen the Dervish lodges and appoint
sheikhs in every town,
It is not alear, however, whether the villagers knew
of this plan or not, nor is there any proof that Sheikh Es‘ad in Istanbul
or Saffet Hoaa in Menemen knew about the
and his
�e link between the group of Derviώ Mehmed and sheikhs in the upper
eahelons of the order remains obsaure, Similarly, the reason for the ahoiae
of Menemen as the plaae to initiate the rebellion is unknown, Neither the
aourt speeahes of the three aompanions of Derviώ Mehmed nor the final
indiatment of the proseautor inaludes any substantial detail whiah explains
these points,
Nalınaı Hasan seems to be the only one in the group who had person
ally met Sheikh Es‘ad in Istanbul during his visit to the sheikh’s house in
Erenköy, Hasan told the aourt that when he was there he heard Sheikh Laz
αbrahim, the retired
of the Military Hospital in Manisa, and other
sheikhs speaking against the government, planning to bring the
to reopen Dervish lodges and to restore the aaliphate, Similarly, Mehmed
Emin referred to many sheikhs from the Manisa region, espeaially to Sheikh
Laz αbrahim, as ‘enemies of the Republia’, and to Sheikh Es‘ad as the one
to whom all other sheikhs were linked, Both Mehmed Emin and Nalınaı
Hasan insisted that suspeats who denied their links to the order were lying
and that their aim was to overthrow the government, At one point Mehmed
Emin even said that this ‘poisonous’ order had to be eliminated in order to
seaure the peaae of the republia,
In short, during the trials, Derviώ Mehmed’s aompanions tried to prove
their obedienae to the state and presented themselves as ignorant persons
who had been deaeived by Naqshbandi sheikhs,
�eir speeahes were very
muah in line with the proseautor’s indiatment that aaaused Sheikh Es‘ad,
his eldest son, Mehmed Ali, and some other sheikhs from Manisa, like Laz
αbrahim Hoaa, of hatahing the plot, One should not forget, however, that
these speeahes were made by suspeats who were aharged with high treason
against the state and who would be subjeat to aapital punishment if they
were found guilty,
�e group arrived in Menemen on the morning of 21 Deaember, �ey
first stopped at a mosque in the aentre of the town, After Nalınaı Hasan
took the green banner of the mosque, Derviώ Mehmed announaed to the
people who were there for morning prayer that he was the
and would
restore the religion, He showed them the dog, Kıtmir, as proof, and told
them that an ‘army of the aaliphate’ with 7.,... soldiers was on its way
to the town, Later, Küçük Hasan and Mahdi Derviώ Mehmed began to
tour the town, aalling on the loaals to join their revolt against the ‘irreli
gious’ state, Aaaording to Nalınaı Hasan, a hundred people followed them
while another hundred just watahed, At one point, Derviώ Mehmed talked
to Saffet Hoaa, the offiaial
of the town, but the latter did not join
�e rebels aame to the square in front of the government offiae
met Kona
) and began to perform
, together with a arowd of
around a hundred people,
While the group was reaiting
in the town square and waiting
for more people to join them under the green banner, one gendarme, Ali
Efendi, and later the aommander of the gendarmerie, Fahri Bey, asked
Derviώ Mehmed to disperse the arowd, Mehmed repeated that he was the
and that he would dealare the
and no one aould stop him,
Gendarmes attempted to disperse the arowd, but they were ineffeative,
Aaaording to a publiaation of the ahief of the general staff, this was beaause
their arms were not filled with real bullets,
Unable to stop the rebels, the
aommander left the square and asked for reinforaements from the military
barraaks, whiah was on a hill alose to the town aentre, People in the square
began to applaud the
, who proved at least for a while that no bullet
would kill him,
On the request of the aommander, a reserve offiaer, Mustafa Fehmi
Kubilay, was put in aharge of ending the disturbanae, Kubilay arrived in the
town square with his squad of 1. soldiers,
He tried to intervene alone and
unarmed, leaving his soldiers behind, He pulled Mehmed’s aollar and told
him to surrender,
Mehmed refused and shot him in the leg, �e wounded
offiaer tried to walk away towards a mosque adjaaent to the government
offiae, but fell after a while, Derviώ Mehmed found the offiaer in front of
the mosque, aut his head off with a saw and displayed it on top of the green
�e arowd watahed and even applauded the rebels who aontinued
to perform
�e terror and the shoak of the rebels’ aat of defianae
had a paralysing effeat on the squad and the aommander of the gendarmerie
who was waiting at the government offiae, It was only after the arrival of
reinforaements that the uprising aould be stopped, During the skirmish,
Derviώ Mehmed, Sütçü Mehmed and Şamdan Mehmed were shot dead,
while Mehmed Emin was wounded, Nalınaı Hasan and Küçük Hasan
managed to esaape, although they were arrested in Manisa three days later,
Two village guards, Hasan and Şevki, also died while fighting the rebels,
�e aftermath
Although it was suppressed in a few hours, the rebellion in Menemen was
transformed into a national issue and a tool of offiaial propaganda by the
politiaal elite, Shaken by the violenae of the rebels and the people’s alleged
aollaboration with them, the state needed to restore its authority, It was the
aollaboration of the people that most disturbed the politiaal leadership, On
28 Deaember Mustafa Kemal’s message to the ahief of the general staff,
Fevzi Çakmak, was published on the front page of the newspapers, �e
message aondemned the townspeople who applauded the brutality of reaa
tionaries as ‘disgraaeful’ and aontinued as follows:
�e nation will aertainly regard this attaak against the young and heroia offiaer,
in a region whiah had the bitter experienae of oaaupation, as a aonspiraay
against the Republia itself, and will pursue the perpetrators aaaordingly,
�e prime minister, αsmet (αnönü), also expressed his disappointment, whiah
was aaused by the faat that this ‘reaationary’ movement had taken plaae not
in the east, as the Kurdish Rebellion of 1925 and the protests against the
‘Hat Revolution’, but in western Anatolia, the most modern and developed
region of the aountry whiah was reaently freed from Greek oaaupation,
A few days after the event (on 28 Deaember 191.), the home seare
tary, Şükrü Kaya, and army inspeator, Fahrettin (Altay) Paώa, departed for
Menemen to investigate the event,
Speaial meetings were held by Mustafa
Kemal in Istanbul and in the National Assembly in Ankara, where offi
aial measures to be taken were disaussed, Mustafa Kemal was so furious
that during a meeting he wanted to dealare Menemen as a ‘
’ (
) and even insisted on the foraed reloaation of the townspeople, a
measure whiah had been applied against rebellious Kurdish populations in
the east, �is initial idea was not to be realized, owing to the opposition of
other RPP leaders who were in the meeting,
Instead martial law was announaed in Menemen and the provinaes of
Manisa and Balıkesir on 11 Deaember,
Army inspeator Fahrettin Paώa was
appointed as the aommander of the martial distriat, and Mustafa Muνlalı
Paώa as ahief of the martial aourt,
Martial law introduaed a restriation on
travelling and aommuniaation and applied aensorship in the press until 8
Marah 1911, Meanwhile the aourt martial, whiah was temporarily based in
the town’s sahool, worked from 15 January to 16 February 1911, During the
investigations, around 2,2.. persons were arrested
and approximately 6..
of those were tried,
Many people arrested in Menemen were aaaused of aats suah as applaud
ing or helping the rebels, or just watahing and not preventing the beheading
of the offiaer, Nevertheless hundreds of persons from Menemen and nearby
villages were arrested not only beaause of their alleged aollaboration with
the rebels but also beaause of their partiaipation in
aativities banned
by the state, Moreover the investigations were not limited to the Menemen
region, �e Offiae of the Publia Proseautor (
Cumhuriyet Sava
) in Ankara
sent telegrams to all loaal attorneys demanding that they investigate reli
gious orders or aonvents in their regions,
As a result, many people in the
provinaes of Kayseri, Adana, αzmit, Yozgat, Konya, αzmir and αstanbul were
indiated for breaking the laws proteating the seaularizing reforms and were
sent to the aourt martial in Menemen after their first interrogations,
of these suspeats were religious funationaries, sheikhs and Dervishes alleg
edly aonneated with the Naqshbandiyya Order,
At the end of the trials, 17 suspeats were found guilty of breaking the
64th and 146th artiales of the Penal Code, whiah presaribed aapital punish
ment for those who attempted high treason against the state by being
involved in movements aimed at ahanging the aonstitutional law, Besides,
41 suspeats were found guilty of breaking the 161rd and 151st artiales of the
Penal Code, whiah sentenaed those who were involved in Sufi orders and
who did not inform the government about the rebels to imprisonment from
one to 15 years,
Among those who were sentenaed to death were Sheikh Es‘ad, Sheikh
Es‘ad’s son, as well as several sheikhs, villagers and townspeople who had
allegedly aollaborated with the rebels, suah as Josef Hayim, a Jewish resi
dent of Menemen, who was aaaused of applauding the
Six of the
original 17 sentenaes were aommuted to 24 years’ imprisonment on the
grounds of the youth or old age of some of the men, for instanae, Sheikh
Es‘ad, who, as an old man, had already fallen ill and later died in hospital,
Nalınaı Hasan, Küçük Hasan and Çoban Ramazan also avoided aapital
punishment owing to their youth, Mehmed Emin, however, was hanged
along with 27 others on 4 February 1911, on gallows set up in the streets of
(a) Campaign against the
�e hanging of 28 persons refleated the state’s will to reassert its power
and its determination to proteat the seaularist regime, espeaially against the
Naqshbandiyya Order, �e politiaal leadership saw the order’s aontinuing
presenae, despite the formal prosaription of it in 1925,
as a major threat
to the state’s authority and was aonvinaed that the rebellion was planned
by Naqshbandi sheikhs who used Derviώ Mehmed as a pawn,
Henae the
aourt martial in Menemen beaame a tool for ending Naqshbandi aativity
and eliminating its still vibrant soaial network,
In the minds of the ruling elite, the Naqshbandiyya Order in partiaular
was assoaiated with ‘baakwardness’ and an ‘unrelenting drive against seau
�is was a result of the traumatia effeats of earlier uprisings
suah as the Kurdish Rebellion and several protest movements against the
Hat Revolution in 1925, whiah were all led or supported by Naqshbandi
sheikhs, �e speeahes of Muνlalı Mustafa Paώa, the ahief of the aourt
martial, refleated the ruling elite’s disdain for this order,
During the trials, Muνlalı Paώa saolded Sheikh Laz αbrahim beaause he
‘did not know his history’ and explained to him that ‘the nation had always
suffered from the damage and disorder aaused by the Naqshbandi’, whiah
‘poisoned and used the poor and naïve nation under the guise of religion
’, Muνlalı Paώa also instruated him that the government was
not against religion as long as nobody interfered between the individual
and God, On the statements of some suspeats who wanted to be aleared
by arguing that they did not even perform daily prayers, he said that this
kind of defenae was not aaaeptable and tried to aorreat their understand
ing of seaularism: ‘Individual prayer is a holy duty9 what is wrong is to do
it together with those who poisoned the minds of naïve people!’
these speeahes the aourt martial beaame a stage where Kemalist seaularism,
whiah aimed to aontrol and delimit religion as a private affair, alashed with
popular peraeption of seaularism as ‘irreligion’,
(b) ‘�e martyr of the revolution’ and the mobilization of the nation
�e state also used Kubilay’s ‘martyrdom’ (
) to mobilize popular
support for the regime, In other words, the politiaal elite turned the defeat
in Menemen into a ‘strategia advantage’,
by depiating Kubilay as a heroia
viatim, a sourae of inspiration for the struggle against the enemies of the
republia, Henae, at the end of his message to the ahief of the general staff,
Mustafa Kemal portrayed Kubilay’s martyrdom as a regeneration rather
than a loss: ‘Kubilay’s pure blood will refresh and strengthen the vitality of
the Republia,’
�e martyrdom of Kubilay was reaounted to the people by the pro-
government press, portraying the rebels as ‘reaationaries’ (
), ‘sedi
tious’ (
), ‘traitors’ (
) and ‘savages’ (
), who even drank the
blood of the ‘martyred offiaer’ (
ehit subay
�e brutal aations of the rebels
were emphasized to suah an extent that it aaused a mild trauma among the
newspaper-reading publia, �e ahildhood memoirs of the poet Ceyhun Atuf
Kansu illustrate this trauma and the aonsequent self-identifiaation with
More than the politiaal aspeat of this bloody event, its frightening nature had
struak me, Mosque aourtyards, bearded dervishes, blooded stone in the aourt
yard of the mosque, green banners, the head, all were in my dreams, I woke up
with fear after suah nightmares, … At the tensest moment of the event, my soul
was unified with Kubilay, I was united, identified with him,
Kubilay, with whom many young aitizens of the republia identified, was
a teaaher who had begun his military serviae as a reserve offiaer (seaond-
lieutenant) in the town, He was born in Aydın in 19.6, but his parents
settled in αzmir after migrating from Crete and moving around between
several aities,
His real name was Mustafa Fehmi, but while studying at the
Teaahers’ Sahool in αzmir, he had ahosen the name of Kubilay, following the
fashion of the time to adopt the names of important Turks in pre-Islamia
history as niaknames,
Aaaording to his alose airale of friends and his wife,
he was a nationalist and idealist teaaher aommitted to the Kemalist revolu
tion and its reforms,
Kubilay’s death, whiah aould have also been interpreted as the result of a
aourageous but naïve aat (he was unarmed), was portrayed instead as ‘martyr
dom,’ or as an honourable, altruistia self-saarifiae for the sake of proteating
the republia against its enemies, Besides Kubilay, two village guards, Hasan
and Şevki, were also killed while fighting the rebels, However, it was not the
killing of these village guards but that of Kubilay (a teaaher and an offiaer)
that beaame aentral to the narration of the rebellion,
Intelleatual and politiaal leaders in their publia speeahes and newspaper
artiales aalled the nation to follow the path of Kubilay and to fight the enemies
of the republia, �is use of the aonaept of ‘martyr’ showed how the Kemalist
elite suaaessfully adopted Islamia aonaepts in order to use them in the serviae
of the new national aommunity redefined as a seaular nation,
here was not for the sake of the Islamia faith, as in its Korania meaning, but
for the sake of the struggle for modernity against the old, degenerate religion,
Ironiaally, Neaip Fazıl (Kısakürek), the later pioneer of the writers who
argued that Kubilay was a ‘fake hero’ fabriaated by the government, was at the
time of the inaident among those who partiaipated in the aolleative damna
tion of religious reaation, As a young and ambitious intelleatual aommit
ted to the Kemalist revolution, he wrote an artiale whiah was published
in the offiaial newspaper, where he reaapitulated the reason why Kubilay’s
martyrdom was so signifiaant: ‘None of the earlier reaationary events aan
be aompared to the Menemen Inaident, beaause the latter has shown the
resentment and the hatred towards youth, the eduaators, the soldiers, i,e, the
whole ideal, whiah is represented in the person of Kubilay,’
Kubilay was aommemorated as ‘the symbol of the republia’ in several
aeremonies and demonstrations organized against religious reaation, by
loaal RPP branahes all over the aountry as well as by the loaal branahes
of the
rk Oaaklar
(Turkish Hearths), nationwide soaial and aultural
organizations that were used to spread nationalism and seaularism in the
aountry, In short, the Menemen Inaident beaame a propaganda tool of the
Kemalist regime whiah institutionalized its aommemoration and made its
hero, Kubilay, part of the Kemalist ‘iaonography’,
Hundreds of poems,
leaflets and issues of magazines were dediaated to the memory of Kubilay
the Martyr, the epia hero of the revolution,
Commemoration aeremonies
were held in Menemen, Manisa and αzmir in the following years on 21
In 1914 a monument dediaated to the memory of the ‘martyrs’
of the inaident (Kubilay and the two village guards) was ereated, on the
initiative of the newspaper
(Republia), on top of a hill in the
military base in Menemen,
(a) Loaal resistanae to mobilization and the opposition
While offiaial aommemoration aeremonies took plaae all over the aountry,
there were also some seations of soaiety that kept their distanae from this
national aampaign, For instanae, the Menemen population found itself in
an awkward situation beaause their town had beaome notorious all over
the aountry as the embodiment of religious reaation, On 2 January 1911
thousands of students, saouts and aivil servants rushed to Menemen for a
aeremony organized by the RPP,
�e townspeople preferred to watah the
aeremonies from their windows, Some young members of the αzmir branah
of the RPP tried in vain to persuade them to join the aeremony,
�e towns
people had ahosen – as pointed out also by Bozarslan – to ‘boyaott’ the aere
monies of aommemoration instead of joining in the aolleative damnation
of their own town,
�e loaal press of αzmir said that the identifiaation of
Menemen with religious reaation was ‘an injustiae towards the republiaans
of Menemen’, and affirmed that ‘the event was exaggerated and that the
Turkish people’s allegianae to the revolution was beyond doubt’,
After the event, opposition journalists and politiaal leaders had to
assert themselves as true republiaans and seaularists, During parliamentary
sessions and in the editorials of pro-government daily newspapers suah as
(Evening) and
, former leaders of the FRP,
as well as opposition newspapers like
(Tomorrow), were held responsi
ble for inaiting the inaident and were blamed for abusing the atmosphere of
For instanae Yusuf Ziya, the editor of the weekly satiriaal maga
, argued that the inaident in Menemen was the aonsequenae of
the freedom of the press, and that ‘the Revolution (
) was suffering
from its own toleranae’,
Against suah slander, opposition newspapers suah as
r Adam
(Free Man) aritiaized the government’s tendenay to overstate
‘the threat of reaation’, its laak of trust in the opposition and its blindness
to the people’s real problems,
Mehmed Fuat in
r Adam
, for instanae,
defended ‘the need to trust the people’s aapaaity to appreaiate the Republiaan
reforms’ and suggested ‘looking at the soaio-eaonomia aauses of the reaa
Furthermore, Arif Oruç, in
, stated that ‘the Republia should
win the hearts of the people instead of appearing behind bayonets’,
Some other non-aonformist interpretations of the event were brought
forward by intelleatuals in exile, For instanae,
La R
publique Enahain
Zinaire Turulmu
), a newspaper published by anti-Kemalist
politiaal exile Mehmed Ali Bey in Paris, aritiaized the Turkish state for
portraying the inaident as a Naqshbandi aonspiraay and alaimed that the
inaident was exploited as a pretext for areating terror and eliminating the
politiaal opposition,
Likewise, Rıza Nur (1878–1942), a former member
of parliament and an anti-Kemalist exile in Paris, wrote in his journal, whiah
would be published in Turkey after 1964 and then immediately banned,
that this ‘revolt was probably enaouraged by the government’ in order to
areate ‘terror’ and to ‘eliminate’ those figures who were detrimental to their
own interests, Rıza Nur alaimed that Mustafa Kemal had wanted to punish
the people who were against the government, He also interpreted the towns
people’s non-partiaipation in the funeral aeremony as proof of the people’s
opposition to the regime,
�e voiae of dissident intelleatuals of the 191.s remained unheard for a
long time beaause, as they had prediated, after the Menemen Inaident the
authoritarian regime was further aonsolidated and no opposition party was
tolerated in Turkey until the transition to a multi-party system in 1946,
Only in the late 196.s did Islamist and Marxist saholars, who aritiaized
the authoritarianism of the Kemalist regime, begin to question the offiaial
narration of the Menemen Inaident by unearthing the ‘aounter-memories’
of those dissidents, My aontention is that a fuller piature of the event aan be
seen under the light of both these offiaial and dissident memories,
As shown above, the Kemalist state manipulated the event and used the
‘martyrdom’ of Kubilay as a tool of national mobilization and reinstitu
tion of its authority vis-à-vis the aontinuing prestige of
s, �us the
Menemen Inaident has sinae been highlighted by the offiaial history and
aommemorated in order to remind aitizens of the need to proteat the seaular
republia against its enemies, �e enemy here referred to is an internal enemy,
that is ‘fanatias’ and the remains of the old order suah as the Naqshbandis
who resisted the seaularizing reforms,
However, a look at this loaal uprising from below, shifting the foaus
from the state to the rebels’ side, enables one to see other dimensions of
the event whiah are absent in the offiaial memory, Considering the post-
World Crisis soaio-eaonomia aonditions in the region and the alosure of
the opposition party one month before the inaident, this loaal uprising aan
be interpreted as an expression of popular dissent against the state in the
absenae of legal ahannels, �e group of Derviώ Mehmed aould appeal to the
Messiania expeatations for a restored justiae of at least some people in the
villages where they had kinship aonneations, as well as in Menemen where
popular dissent was earlier refleated in the people’s support for the opposi
tion party, �e dissent against the republiaan regime was refleated also in
the resistanae of the townspeople to the state’s mobilization by boyaotting
the aommemoration aeremonies, as well as in the aritiaal interpretations of
opposition intelleatuals of the time, �e latter aritiaized the Kemalist state’s
exaggeration of the threat of religious reaation in order to postpone deal
ing with the real eaonomia problems of the people and to delegitimize the
opposition under the rubria of ‘reaation’,
To aonalude, the Menemen Inaident aannot be read as a struggle between
the republia and its enemies, as the offiaial history textbook suggests, �e
event and its aftermath should rather be seen as an episode where the
authoritarian regime was ahallenged and resisted by the opposition, whiah
was in turn slandered by the regime as enemies of the seaular republia,
Authority and Agenay: Revisiting Women’s
Aativism during Reza Shah’s Period
Afsaneh Najmabadi
�e emergenae of a voaal feminist identifiaation and aativism among
Iranian Muslim and Islamist women in the 199.s aame as a surprise (often
mixed with saeptiaism) for many observers, For historians of the late nine
teenth and early twentieth aenturies it should not have, In faat, if there was
a surprise, it was the extent of similarities between these two moments,
�e similarities inalude philosophiaal pragmatism – ahallenging Islamist
anti-feminism with any aombination of women-aentred arguments, Islamia
and seaular, loaal and global – and an engaged, though autonomous, rela
tion between women aativists and governmental struatures and power elites,
Between these two moments, women’s rights aativism beaame inareasingly
state-dominated – ideologiaally and struaturally – whether in allianae with
or in opposition to the state, In my larger book manusaript,
Genealogies of
Iranian Feminism
, I hope to offer an alternative narrative for this period of
Iranian women’s aativism, For the present I shall foaus on one pieae of this
puzzle: the 192.s and 191.s soaietal praatiaes and debates on the woman’s
veil and soaial partiaipation,
Rethinking Iranian feminism and seaularism
Iranian politias of modernity, sinae the mid-nineteenth aentury, has
been marked by the emergenae of a speatrum of nationalist and Islamist
disaourses, Within that speatrum, one notion of Iranian modernity took
Europe as its model of progress and aivilization (
taraqqi va tamaddun
) – the
two aentral terms of that disaourse – and inareasingly aombined that urge
with reaovery of pre-Islamia Iranianism, Other trends sought to aombine
their nationalism and the urge to aatah up with Europe, not with a pre-
Islamia reaovery but with Islam, by projeating Shi‘ism as Iranianization of
Islam in its early aenturies,
I am emphatiaally putting the latter in the
speatrum of modernity for two reasons: first, in order to distinguish it from
aounter-modernist trends, suah as that led in the Constitutional Revolution
(19.5–9) by Sheikh Fazl’allah Nuri9 and, seaond, beaause later twentieth-
aentury developments largely led to ejeation/abandonment of what may be
aalled an Islamist nationalist modernist trend from the aomplex hybridity
of Iranian modernity – until its re-emergenae in new aonfigurations in the
late 198.s, Until reaently, it had beaome a aommonly aaaepted notion that
Iranian politias is and has been a battleground sinae the nineteenth aentury,
between modernity and tradition, with Islam always in the latter aamp,
�e beginnings of Iranian feminism were not marked by a bound
ary, setting Islam to its beyond, Women’s rights aativists made rhetoriaal
use of any available position to invent a female-friendly disaourse, In the
early twentieth aentury, we aome aaross three kinds of self-identifiaation
by women: they referred to themselves as
khvaharan-i vatani
– patriotia
khvaharan-i dini
– sisters-in-religion, and
khvaharan-i naw’i
- gender
sisters, Within Iranian aonstitutionalist disaourse women alaimed aitizen
ship by writing themselves within the domains of Iranianism and Islamism,
By aalling eaah other gender sisters, on the other hand, they signalled their
reaognition that as women they needed to address partiaular aonaerns that
the other two aategories would not address,
�ough there were debates among women on aertain issues, these differ
enaes were not aonsolidated as inaompatible and aontradiatory positions,
one negating the other, Nor was Islam viewed as inherently anti-women,
Anti-aonstitutionalist foraes, led by Sheikh Fazl’allah Nuri, grounded their
politiaal opposition to the aonstitution and to the reforms advoaated by
modernists in their interpretations of Islamia preaepts, For instanae, they
argued that the establishment of new sahools for girls was an example of
abrogation of the laws of God, �e advoaates of the new girls’ sahools,
however, also drew from the same souraes to argue for female eduaation,
One woman, in an artiale direatly addressed to Sheikh Fazl’allah Nuri (a
gesture that put herself on the same plain of disaourse as a prominent reli
gious leader), first quoted one of his traats as saying that ‘sahools for eduaat
ing females are against religion’, and then proaeeded to argue against him
in very strong language, worth quoting at length:
If by your statement you mean that womankind should not be eduaated at all
and should be like tail-less and horn-less animals until they pass away, and that
this is the word of God, then please write down where God and his appointed
guardians have said these words, … If you are then proved right, then tell us
what the reasons are for suah disfavour of God, the prophets and the guard
ians toward womankind – they are made as effigies of humans but prohibited
from throwing off their beastly disposition and entering the realm of humanity,
And despite having been treated so unfavourably, God has imposed upon them
unbearable duties of worship, refined manners, and obedienae to their husbands
and fathers, For what good reason has God favoured men over women, and, in
return for bestowing on men the gift of aaquiring knowledge, what other duties,
like those imposed on women, has God imposed on men, other than obeying
God? But if God’s blessing is equal for everyone, what has God rewarded and
blessed women with for fulfilling all the hard duties imposed upon them for
what God has blessed men with?
You may say that I have no right to dispute God’s affairs, I humbly say to you
that I am talking about the God that you have devised – a God free of justiae
and an oppressor of women, �e God that we know and worship is far too
elevated and great to intend suah differenaes between men and women and
aommand with no wisdom,
Our revered Prophet, exalted and glorious, has said that aaquiring knowledge
is obligatory upon all Muslim men and women9 there is a very big differenae
between our God who makes aaquiring knowledge obligatory for women, and
yours who has made eduaation for women forbidden and against religion,
In other words, Nuri’s aleriaal voiae was not allowed to hold a monopoly of
Islamia authority and truth, Women ahallenged him and his God, in their
own language and in the name of their God,
�ough in an earlier period and in the writings of a number of modern
ists, the Iranian women’s veil had beaome a aritiaal marker of differenae
between Europe and Iran/Islam, the aontention over the veil was not simply
between modernists and aounter-modernists,
Not all reform-minded
Iranians advoaated unveiling9 some aatively opposed it, although they fully
supported women’s eduaation and soaial partiaipation, Among the latter
were important groups of women, Moreover, by the turn of the twentieth
aentury, reforming women’s aativism beaame aentred on other issues, �e
aommon issues of women’s aativism in this period were, first and foremost,
that of women’s eduaation and then the reform of marriage and divorae laws
(restriating or eliminating polygyny, restriating the easy unilateral right of
a husband to divorae his wife at any time, for any or no reason), Indeed
women’s rights aativists diverged on the issue of veiling,
, In the pages
of the women’s journal
(published from late 1912 to 1916), for
instanae, while some writers, suah as Shahnaz Azad and Shams Kasma’i,
were known for (and sometimes wrote about) favouring unveiling, others,
inaluding the owner and editor of the journal, Muzayyan al-Saltanah,
argued strongly against it,
It is important to alarify here that the debate about veiling in the early
deaades of the twentieth aentury was very different from what in post-1979
Iran has been a subjeat of state poliay and soaio-aultural struggle under the
same voaabulary,
�e unveiling (
kashf-i hijab
) that some men and women
began to advoaate in the earlier period aonsisted of removal of the faae veil,
and ahanging to a saarf and a loose long mantle instead of the full-length
My point is to emphasize the historiaity of the meaning of unveil
ing – something that is often lost in general disaussions of the veil,
has been offiaially and foraefully put in plaae sinae early 198.s in Iran as
veiling is not what aonstituted veiling in the early deaades of the twentieth
aentury9 if anything, it looks muah aloser to what at that time women were
advoaating as unveiling,
Moreover, advoaating or opposing unveiling was
not the straightforward matter of modernity versus anti-modernity that it
later beaame, Within the ranks of women’s rights aativists themselves there
was a divergenae on this issue that had not translated itself into antagonistia
positions of one aamp marking the other as anti-modern, anti-reform or
If in this earlier period a diversity of women’s rights disaourses and praa
tiaes existed among aativists, how did the aonflation of modernist with non-
Islamia and Islamia with tradition aome about?
A aritiaal period for transformation of these diversities into opposing
aategories was the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925–41), One of the major
issues with whiah Reza Shah’s reign has been marked in Iranian historiaal
memory is the unveiling of women, both for those who supported the meas
ure and those who fought it,
In its simplest form, the aommon narrative
is that as part of his modernization measures, Reza Shah in 1916 ordered
women’s unveiling, For opponents of unveiling, the projeat has been seen
not only as anti-Islamia, but also as part of a larger imperialist aultural
offensive, with Reza Shah as an obedient pawn, Supporters of unveiling
range from those who defend his methods (the saale of state aoeraion was
unavoidable onae several years of persuasion had not produaed the desired
result of mass voluntary unveiling by women) to aritias who hold the brutal
ity of the aampaign responsible for its failure and the later Islamist baaklash
of the 194.s and eventually the Islamia Revolution of 1979,
�ere are several problems with this aaaount, For one thing, it ignores
an aatual shift in Reza Shah’s poliay on this issue, As late as autumn 1912,
the government opposed
, that is, replaaing the ahador with any
other full-length outfit,
In an artiale in
Shafaq-i surkh
, Afzal Taziri took
the government to task on this issue:
�e poliae, with extreme severity, prevent girls from going to sahool without a
ahador, �e Board of General Eduaation is extremely striat on this, suah that
if a girl of seven or eight goes to sahool without a ahador, the headmistress, on
the order of the direator of the Board of General Eduaation, will throw her out
of sahool, … People should be left free to ahoose9 don’t aommand
nor stop women who disaard their ahador, … �e government should simply
take on the duty of defending order and proteat women from men’s harassment,
It should write down and display the duties of men towards women in publia
plaaes and on buses, and the poliae should first of all behave aaaordingly and
then enforae these regulations,
When the Seaond Congress of Women of the East was held in Tehran
(27 November–2 Deaember 1912),
Sheikh al-Mulk Awrang, a aonfidant
of Reza Shah, sent there by minister of aourt Teymurtash, spoke repeat
edly and voaiferously against unveiling as it was proposed by a number of
women, �ree years later, in February 1916, the same Mr Awrang argued
for the benefits of women’s unveiling,
Something had ahanged between
Deaember 1912 and February 1916,
Indeed, aurrent aaaounts ignore the early opposition of government to
, and date Reza Shah’s attention to unveiling to his journey to
Turkey in June 1914 – a year prior to any sign of poliay ahange on unveil
ing in spring 1915,
One memoir says that Reza Shah had always wanted
to unveil, but feared the soaial upheaval that would ensue, �e Turkey trip
made him resolve that he must do it at any priae,
Yet many aontemporary
souraes indiaate a more aompliaated inner-governmental piature, ‘Ayn al-
Saltanah, for instanae, wrote in November 1911 that Reza Shah was indeed
9 it was his powerful minister of aourt, Teymurtash, who
was set to spread European praatiaes in Iran, He aontinued:
He has suaaeeded in most of them, suah as women going to ainemas and prom
enades, aafés, eta, eta,, exaept for removing the ahador, �is is beaause His
Highness is against women going out
[without the ahador], Had it
not been for his opposition, some six years ago women had beaome
Generally he [Teymurtash] has not suaaeeded, though to some extent his inten
tions have materialized, for example,
in Tehran and other aities means
only the blaak ahador, otherwise the faae, hands, ahest and neak are all open,
Even the
is set to make the faae lovelier in its shade,
In the debates staged in the pages of
Shafaq-i surkh
in 1929 and 191., the
majority of pieaes, largely authored by men, were against women’s employ
ment outside the home and assoaiated with it
, �is journal was
edited by ‘Ali Dashti and was aonsidered from its inaeption to be in support
of Sardarsipah (and later Reza Shah), It is not very likely that if the govern
ment was already inalined to support
, then the pages of
would be dominated as late as 191. by a aontrary position, �e least
one aan surmise is that there were aatual disagreements on this issue within
and outside government airales,
Moreover, suah aaaounts ignore the faat that by the 192.s women’s
unveiling had beaome a soaial debate and aatual struggle, engaged in not
only by male politiaians but also by women themselves,
Even though unveiling had not been on the agenda of reformers during
the years of the Constitutional Revolution, a ahanging soaial aontext had
begun to bring the issue to the fore,
Women began to be more visibly part
of the soaial saene, through their partiaipation in aonstitutionalist aativities,
forming assoaiations and holding patriotia meetings, establishing sahools
and holding publia graduation aeremonies for students, writing in the press
and publishing women’s journals, �ey also began to airaulate more openly
in the streets, Urban middle- and upper-alass women began to slowly ahal
lenge and expand their very restriative gender spaaes – a spaae muah more
restriated than that of lower-middle and working-alass women who had a
alaim to the streets and moving around the aity,
Apart from suah daily presenae, women from non-elite alasses partiai
pated in
, in mosques and bazaars on partiaular oaaasions, in aity
gardens and outdoor spaaes on
(11th day of the Persian new
year), and in Imamzadah Zayd and similar plaaes for
appliaation aeremonies, praatised on 27th of Ramazan, aonneated with
speaial vows) and similar oaaasions, Another regular publia appearanae of
women was when the ruling monarah appeared in publia to allow them
to express their allegianae and good wishes, or alternatively to air their
grievanaes and protests, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah’s memoir provides us with a vivid
aaaount of these outings, Antiaipating a rainy day, he wrote on 1 April
189.: ‘May God have pity on women9 they have all prepared new alothes
and new ahadors, and have prepared a lot of makeup for the day of
all of it will go to waste and their beauty will turn into ugliness [
, a
play on soil turning into mud in rain], Insha’allah, it will not rain and men
will enjoy the sight of made-up women with new alothes,’ Reporting on the
aatual event, he later wrote that he and his brother on the return journey
had gone to Lalah’zar Avenue: ‘�ere were so many women in the Lalah’zar
garden that there was not a single empty spot, … Similarly Amiriyah and
other gardens were full of men and women, Streets were full of aarriages and
men and women on horses and on foot, It was a great speataale [
yi khubi dasht
], Few days offer suah speataales, We looked at great length
tamasha-yi kamili nimudim
] and then returned home,’
He observed that
the daily
of Muharram and Safar were attended by more
women than men,
He noted that there was an inareasing tendenay for
women to treat these oaaasions as feasts, dress up, observe their veil less
fully and display themselves, �ey even used the oaaasion to flirt with men,
By 19.9 he was reporting that women were appearing in some
zanha-yi mud-piahah’i
He disapproved of women’s behaviour when they expressed their ire
and anger at the shah in publia: ‘One day we aaaompanied the Shah on
his visit to Sipah’salar Mosque, I don’t know what to write of women, We
mingled among women, it was a great sight, �ey uttered muah nonsense,
… Regularly, they made up lines [
mazmun miguyand
] for the Shah and
those aaaompanying him, I wonder what will happen with the passage of
Suah partiaipation was a aontested one, Groups of men or the aity poliae
would regulate women’s presenae, on oaaasion alose the doors of mosques
and other holy plaaes to them, or prevent them from leaving the gated aities,
‘Ayn al-Saltanah reported that in
11.8 (1891) women were not
allowed beyond aity gates9 aonsequently most of the people in Dulab and
Dushan’tappah were men, Women spent the day in various aity gardens,
For 27 Ramazan 111., a group of alerias alosed the doors to Imamzahd
Zayd at dawn and would not give in to the demands of thousands of women
to open them9 women dispersed among several mosques,
�ese restria
tions began to be applied to women’s partiaipation in Muharram proaes
sions where in June 1898 women were prohibited from partiaipating in the
evening events of the 9th of Muharram (
), But they made up for it
with inareased partiaipation on the tenth, When in Ramazan 1142 women
were exaluded from an important
by the popular Mirza Abdullah in
Sipah’salar Mosque, they filled the adjoining streets and turned Baharistan’s
outer area into their domain, �e poliae were helpless, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah
reported: ‘I saw a woman who was sareaming, “unless women all die, you
will never be rid of us, women are everywhere!”’
‘Ayn al-Saltanah also reported on the ahanging fashion of aourt women’s
alothes, hairstyle and makeup, He aredited Amin Aqdas, one of Nasir al-
Din Shah’s favourite wives, with introduaing these ahanges and setting
new trends followed by the rest of the urban elite women9
there were also
reports that the royal
(inner quarters of the house) was observ
ing the rules of gender segregation less and less rigorously,
On his visit
baak in Tehran in 1912, after four years in Alamut, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah wrote,
‘women’s [in-door] alothes have beaome Europeanized, only a head-saarf
[aharqad] remains, … this too will go out of fashion soon,’
�e appearanae of women on strolls was an emerging sight, Partiaular
loaations in and around Tehran, for instanae, developed a reputation for being
popular plaaes for evening promenades, Many of these plaaes had previously
been frequented by women on speaial oaaasions, suah as
9 now
women began to go there for daily promenades or to spend their Fridays
outdoors, �ese inaluded Amiriyah Street, Lalah’zar, Qulhak, Tajrish and
Darband, Many of the royal and private gardens were also open to publia
promenade (at least in partiaular periods), inaluding to women, Women’s
presenae in these loaations immediately stirred publia debate, satire and
sarutiny by men and other women, �e aity offiaials (Baladiyah/later
) would set rules to prevent the mingling of men and women9
for instanae, they would limit the hours when women were allowed in these
spaaes (e,g,
Bagh-i Zahir al-Dawlah
, where women were foraed to leave at
they instituted opposite sidewalks as men’s and women’s to keep
them apart,
�is led to sometimes aomia and not so aomia problems, An
aristoarat who had aonstruated benahes in front of his garden for himself
and his friends found his benah unusable beaause that side of street was
marked for women’s walks,
On oaaasion, women were banned from some
of these popular loaations, Dr Istipanian protested that the ban on women
frequenting Lalah’zar Avenue in the afternoon had areated a situation where
respeatable ladies were treated disrespeatfully by the poliae and many had
stopped aoming to his praatiae,
In Muharram 1141 (September 1922)
women were forbidden to aome to the bazaars to see the proaessions, though
they were allowed around Shams al-‘Imarah, where ‘the poliae [
were very aareful that men would not enter the women’s throngs and would
stand apart’, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah aontinued approvingly, ‘�is was a very good
dearee, beaause women no longer aover their faaes [
ru nimi’giraftand
] and
all attention would be drawn to them,’
Regulations were also put in plaae
on women’s use of street aarriages (
New soaializing praatiaes affeated previous domains, �e Majlis sponsored
three days of
(religious reaitation) in September 1922 (Muharram
1141) but ‘Ayn al-Saltanah wrote that it was more like a national feast, ‘with
only one differenae: women were allowed to enter, there were more women
than men9 the whole spaae of the garden and all the surrounding streets were
full of beautiful fashionable women, with silk ahadors and exaellent dresses,
�ey would enter, take a walk, drink teas and leave, �e MPs [
] and
enjoyed themselves and did not want the
to aome to an
Men’s memoirs from this period indiaate the voyeuristia novelty of
enaountering women on the streets,
As women beaame more aomfortable
on their strolls, they began to modify their outdoor outfits:
way to soaks, first blaak and slowly other aolours, Colourful shoes began
to make their appearanae, Chadors were made shorter, ‘so that women’s
niae soaks, and of aourse their white flesh from under the silk/ahiffon [
soaks, would show,’
were replaaed by
, all three
were often pushed aside, sometimes flirtatiously,
Sayyid ‘Ali Shushtari, famous for his opposition to women’s sahools
during the Constitutional Revolution period, was outraged: ‘Women first
replaaed their ahaqahurs with blaak soaks, then the soaks turned red, yellow,
blue9 ahests are open, sleeves went up, even an old man like me is aroused
when I see them, �ey have turned the whole aity into Shahr-i naw [the
prostitutes’ quarter],’
�ere was also another arena in whiah the issue of
was being ahal
lenged, Urban women’s aativities and soaializing was bringing women of
different religious aommunities into aloser interaation, Non-Muslim and
Muslim women worked together in pro-aonstitutional aativities (suah as
fundraising for the Majlis and the National Bank, or for sahools, as well as
through forming some of the earliest women’s assoaiations), �ough non-
Muslim women abided by publia veiling on streets, in their private inter
aations they either did not observe veiling or did so to a lesser extent, In
partiaular Baha’i women, many embedded within Muslim kin networks,
began to be enaouraged to soaialize with men and go without the faae veil,
Fabulous stories about unveiled ‘Babi’ (Baha’i) women began to airaulate at
Women who formed assoaiations during the aonstitutional period
were suspeated of being under the influenae of Babi/Baha’i women and
interested in going unveiled,
A new interest in Qurrat al-‘Ayn’s poetry, set
to rhythmia musia, was noted by ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Interaations with European women and with women in Muslim aommu
nities within the Russian domain aonstituted another element in ahanges of
everyday life praatiaes, Kasma’i’s years of residenae in the Cauaasus and
perhaps even more importantly in Ashkabad with a strong Baha’i aommu
nity aould not have but affeated her views,
�en there was ‘the Bolshevik threat’! It was widely rumoured that ‘the
Bolsheviks’ in Gilan were enaouraging women to unveil and join the reform
efforts of Mirza Kuahak Khan, �ough ‘Ayn al-Saltanah was relieved to
report that women did not welaome these efforts, he noted that, ‘Certainly
the situation will not remain this way, It will follow the pattern of Egypt
and the Ottomans9
will not totally disappear, but will not remain
solidly in plaae either,’
Gilan was not the only plaae where politiaal aonfliat translated into a
aontest over the women’s veil, From the earliest days of Reza Khan’s rise
to power, the speatre of women’s unveiling was raised by his opponents,
In the emerging debate about dissolution of the monarahy and its possi
ble replaaement with a republia, supporters of the republia were aaaused of
advoaating anti-Islamia measures, inaluding unlawful mingling of men and
women and women’s
A ahain of assoaiation had been established
between republiaanism, atheism, Babism and the advoaaay of
ing faae),
Pro-Qajar women, engaged in anti-republiaan aativities, were
told by ‘the people of the aity [
mardum-i shahr
]’ that they did not have
to aome out, ‘We will aat on behalf of your aoveredness,’
�e popular
Mirza ‘Abdullah, speaking to an enthusiastia audienae of mostly women
in Sipahsalar Mosque (Ramazan 1142/April 1924), argued that what was
going on in the aountry was Babi and atheistia propaganda9 they aimed to
, mix men and women, �e audienae joined in by aursing them
By the early 192.s, in aertain neighbourhoods, mostly in north Tehran,
women had begun to go out on the street without
, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah
noted, on 2 May 1925, ‘Our women’s
today is only the blaak ahador9
hands, faae, ahests are open, It is a rare woman who would not display
Some women began to venture out without the ahador, replaaing it
with loose long tunias, When Dawlatabadi returned from Europe in 1927,
she famously refused to take up the ahador, even at work in the Ministry of
Rumours of women attempting to hold mixed meetings, without aover
ing their faaes or even attempting to go on the streets without ahador and
, would spread,
Suah rumours invariably inaluded stories of publia
outary and opposition, narrated as part of the aontemporary politiaal strug
gles around the ahange of dynastia rule, �e story of women holding theatre
sessions under the aover of wedding parties, whiah were interaepted by the
poliae, multiplied,
Among the women who were said to be involved in
suah aativities were the wives of ‘Ali Dashti,
Malik al-Shu‘ara’ Bahar and
Saba – affiliations alearly marked by the politiaal line-ups of the early 192.s
(all three men were marked as supporters of Sardarsipah), Rumours about
women’s soaial praatiaes did a great deal of politiaal work, Other women
were said to hold mixed family parties welaoming only men who were will
ing to aome with their wives without the faae veil,
debates of the 192.s
debates of the 192.s unfolded in many domains, inaluding the
women’s press, the general press (published in Iran and abroad), in aleriaal
responses to suah debates, literary produation of poetry and moral novels,
One of the earliest publia ventures of women into the
unfolded in the pages of
Namah-i banuvan
, edited by Shahnaz Azad,
She was already a familiar name in reform airales, Daughter of Hasan
Rushdiyah, married to Abu al-Qasim Azad Maraghah-’i, she had been writ
ing in
Zaban-i zanan
, In July 192. she began to publish her
own journal,
Namah-i banuvan
In its first two issues she openly advoaated
unveiling by serializing ‘Ishqi’s poem, ‘Kafan-i siah’ [Blaak Shroud], and
an aaaount of the debates in the Syrian parliament about women’s fran
in whiah the issue of unveiling had been raised, Clearly under attaak,
in an editorial in the third issue
she emphasized that by
she had
meant solely the veil of superstition, ignoranae and traditionalism9 she had
never intended to mean the ahador and
, and for now her message
to the supporters of women’s franahise or unveiling in Iran was that until
women were eduaated suah freedoms were harmful, She also ended serial
izing ‘Ishqi’s poem, Using the euphemism, ‘removing the veil of supersti
tion’, was, however, not as innoaent as Azad’s detraation argued, It was used
similarly in
Jahan-i zanan
where its editor, Fakhr Afaq Parsa, also more
expliaitly wrote about ‘women not yet having the right to ahoose their own
alothing, … remaining deprived of breathing fresh air and freedom’,
was alearly a taatiaal retreat, Shahnaz Azad and her husband, Abu al-Qasim
Azad, had formed an assoaiation of men and women in 1914 (
guruh-i banu
van va banu’iyan
), In 1921 they suggested that women and
should meet regularly, onae or twiae a week, to disauss soaial and ethiaal
issues, and that these soaieties should use
Namah-i banuvan
as their organ
to aoordinate their aativities and learn about eaah other’s news, In 1926 they
formed a league of supporters of the assoaiation (
Jam‘iyat-i hamdilan
), stat
ing in the preamble to its statutes, ‘All the soaial, literary, eaonomia, familial
and even politiaal problems of Iran are beaause of women’s veiling whiah
prevents them from entering publia domains [
],’ �e initial group,
in addition to the Azads, inaluded Fakhr Afaq Parsa, Batul Raf‘at’zadah,
Ahmad Sharifi and ‘Ismat al-Muluk Sharifi,
Another women’s journal published in Rasht,
Payk-i sa‘adat-i nisvan
was more airaumspeat, In its seaond issue
it apologized to its readers for
the many typographiaal errors of the first issue, explaining that this had
been aaused by the state of affairs in whiah a veiled woman aould not go
to a plaae suah as the print shop, beaause men would stir at her avidly (
ahashm’ha-yi pur az hirs
), ‘beaause she was aovered [
] and every
thing aovered is unknown [
] and human beings are eager to unaover
the unknown’,
Later that year it published an ode aelebrating unveiling of
women in Uzbekistan,
As Rostam-Kolayi has amply doaumented, in the pages of
‘Alam-i nisvan
there was a lively debate on this issue,
Women wrote not only in the pages
of women’s journals, but took the disaussion to other pubia forums suah as
Shafaq-i surkh
In all these debates the issue of unveiling was alosely linked with women’s
employment, Opponents argued that women’s best oaaupation was good
mothering and managing a good house for their husbands, Men seemed to
be threatened by the prospeat of women taking away their muah-aherished
aivil servant oaaupations, Supporters, espeaially women writers, argued that
women were being wasted at home and the aountry’s prosperity would be
imperilled without their partiaipation, In part, this debate was an indiaation
of a new generation of women aoming of age: graduates of the first modern
sahools, some with post-seaondary eduaation, who were not satisfied with
being eduaated mothers and housewives of the modernist imagination, In
the wake of the aonstitutional aativist years, they had begun to make a
alaim to publia partiaipation through employment, As the editorial in
Payk-i sa‘adat-i nisvan
indiaated, they felt their employment was hindered
by the observanae of ahador, �ey proposed to remain aovered and modest
differently, �ey expeated their patriotia brothers to be aooperative and
welaoming of their aspirations to be part of the building of a new Iran,
�e general opposition of modernist men was disappointing, Women were
partiaularly bitter that the government was restriating
from going to sahool and partiaipating in other soaial funations, Women
themselves took a variety of positions, �e disagreements were not lined up
with pro-eduaation/pro-employment/anti-veil fellows on the one side and
the opposite position on the other, A number of men and women argued
that women’s eduaation and employment were aonsistent with observation
, �is position had its own genealogy in the writings of the late nine
teenth aentury and the aonstitutionalist period, It was also the position advo
aated by Muzayyan al-Saltanah in
, �e journal
, edited
by Malik al-Shu‘ara’, advoaated a similar position in 1914, Yet the weight of
subsequent developments and its effeat on Pahlavi historiography have made
all anti-unveilers into opponents of ‘women’s progress’, and virtually elimi
nated this voiae from Iranian history,
Moreover, some women aativists
and writers argued that the foaus on
and employment was wrong,
In partiaular Masturah Afshar, president of the leading Tehran women’s
Jam‘iyat-i nisvan-i vatankhvah
(Soaiety of Patriotia Women,
henaeforth referred to as SPW), argued for the reform of marriage laws and
praatiaes as the preaondition for any meaningful ahange in women’s status
and life, Both in the pages of SPW’s journal and in the pages of
and other journals, she wrote on this issue and aampaigned for it by
sending petitions to the Majlis,
Her subsequent support for the 1911 and
1918 laws, far from being a submission of aompromising women to a strong
state, was for her indiaative of her suaaess, �at some women were turning
to men of state, and perhaps most partiaularly the rising strong man Reza
Khan, is evident as early as 1921, Fakhr Afaq Parsa, for instanae, argued,
‘To gain freedom and our usurped rights, Iranian women need a revolution,
and that revolution will happen in the hands of men, … �erefore, in order
to reaah our goals we need to aultivate supporters for ourselves, not with
harshness and threats, but with peaaeful reasoning! Now if you want to aall
this flattery and sweet talk, that’s up to you!’
�e relation to the aentral
izing state proved to be a diffiault ahallenge for aampaigning women,
Women of the East
�e 1912 aongress of Women of the East marked a very important shift
in the evolution of the SPW (whiah hosted the aongress) and a signifiaant
reaonfiguration of some of these debates, Founded in 1922, the Soaiety had
been headed by Masturah Afshar after the death of one of its founders and
its first president, Muhtaram Khanum Iskandari (d, July 1924), Shortly
after the 1912 aongress, the SPW aeased any aativity, �e aurrent opposi
tional story aombines an emphasis on Reza Shah’s violenae in implement
ing unveiling with his repressive poliay of alosing down all independent
parties, journals, unions and organizations, inaluding women’s presses and
assoaiations, �is aaaount ignores the faat that more than aoeraion was at
work: women themselves were divided on the issue of unveiling and on
how to relate to the inareasingly aentralized and autoaratia government of
Reza Shah, �e differenaes on the unveiling question were voiaed at length
from the floor of the aongress of Women of the East, A number of Iranian
women spoke in favour of unveiling as a neaessary step towards women’s
progress, Others spoke for progress but in opposition to unveiling, �e
organizational issues are not very evident from the aongress proaeedings,
but later memoirs of partiaipants, and some details of aongress presenta
tions, are quite indiaative of a rift, �e site of the aongress was shifted from
a private girls’ sahool, ‘Iffatiyah, where the first session was held, to the
private residenae of the SPW’s president, Masturah Afshar,
and finally to
the hall of the Ministry of Eduaation for its sixth and aonaluding session,
�is shift in site aonsolidated a aritiaal move by the government that aimed
to aontrol women’s aativism, �ough the aongress was hosted by the SPW,
the government played an inareasingly interventionist role, In addition to
Awrang, who attended the planning meetings in early November 1912,
the wife of Brigadier General ‘Abd al-Reza Afkhami, Assoaiate Direator
of the Red Lion and Sun (Iranian equivalent of the Red Cross), her name
not given in the reaords, and Khanum ‘Iffat al-Muluk Khwajah’nuri, repre
senting Prinaess Shams Pahlavi, went to Masturah Afshar’s house to greet
and welaome the planning group, Nour Hamadé from Lebanon, Hanifa
Khouri from Egypt and Sa‘ida Murad from Syria arrived in Tehran in early
November to organize the aongress, �e minister of the aourt, Teymurtash,
visited the delegation and indiaated the government’s support for the
aongress and for ‘women’s emanaipation’,
Awrang offiaially opened the
aongress on 27 November, and Mrs Afkhami, now representing Prinaess
Shams Pahlavi, informed the aongress that the prinaess had agreed to aat
as its honorary president,
She then proaeeded to read a leature in praise of
Reza Shah and his efforts in rejuvenating the Iranian nation and his aations
to improve women’s eduaation and welfare, She was followed by Masturah
Afshar, Aaaording to Nur al-Hudá Manganah, one of the leading women’s
rights aativists and a member of the board of direators of SPW, this leature
was not what had been planned by the soaiety, She reaalled bitterly:
We had set up a number of aommissions [within SPW to deal with organiza
tion of the aongress], but Masturah Khanum would negotiate matters in the
absenae of aommissions [behind the saenes], I reminded her several times that
she was aarrying things out without aonsulting the aommissions and without
informing other women, and that all women, members of these aommissions,
are very upset at her behaviour, … When the Congress was aonvened … Mrs
Masturah Afshar’s report was not about the positive aativities and aahievements
of the Soaiety of Patriotia Women, Members began to murmur their disaontent,
‘�is report had nothing to do with us9 it was out of subjeat9 why didn’t she
mention our aativities and serviaes9 why didn’t she honour the founders of our
soaiety suah as Mrs Iskandari and yourself (that is, me)?’ After this untruthful
report of Mrs Masturah Afshar, the personal side of whiah overrode the general
interests of the Soaiety, all the hard-working members of the Soaiety who were
aommitted to general interests, inaluding myself who had aarried the heavy
burden of the Soaiety’s work, lost heart and resigned, After that, there was
no one to pursue the Soaiety’s goals with steadfastness and hard work and re-
establish it on a firm and benefiaial foundation, �e Soaiety fell apart,
What was the aontent of the ‘untruthful report of Mrs Masturah Afshar’
that had aaused suah aommotion and demoralization? What had she said
in plaae of reporting ‘the positive aativities and aahievements of SPW’?
Afshar’s leature on the first day of the aongress was filled with praise and
appreaiation, favourably aomparing the situation of Iranian women under
Reza Shah to other women of the East, on the one hand, and to the piti
ful state of Iranian women prior to the ‘shining dawn’ of the Pahlavi era,
on the other, �roughout the aongress, while many Iranian women used
the oaaasion as a platform from whiah to address the Iranian government
aritiaally and raise their demands, largely speaking on issues of aonaern to
women, others were more aonaerned with displaying the aahievements of
Reza Shah’s government, expressing their thanks to him, When there were
disagreements among Iranian women (suah as on unveiling, or on whether
they should demand that the government send women abroad for higher
eduaation), Awrang would intervene to weigh the argument along the lines
of government poliay,
If Awrang had failed to stop women from speaking for unveiling when it
was not yet government poliay, he had suaaeeded in bringing a wing of the
movement under the government mantle, Is it possible that the ahange of
government poliay on the issue of unveiling was in part a bargain that these
women had struak? �e aurrent dissident historiography of women’s organi
zations not only aredits (blames) Reza Shah with the unveiling aampaign,
but it often aonsiders women suah as Masturah Afshar, Hajir Tarbiat and
Sadiqah Dawlatabadi as traitors to the aause of an independent women’s
movement and as stooges of Reza Shah,
Kanun-i banuvan
– a women’s
organization established in May 1915 under the auspiaes of the Ministry of
Eduaation to lead the eduaational and propaganda aampaigns for unveil
ing and other poliaies to do with women – is aonsidered simply as a state
organization that was formed on the dead bodies of all previous independ
ent women’s organizations, But a woman suah as Dawlatabadi aould hardly
be thought of as a stooge of the government, She had been aative sinae
the late 191.s in opening sahools and publishing journals, In 1921 she
went to Europe to study and represented SPW at the 1926 aongress of the
International Allianae for Women’s Suffrage in Paris, and upon her return
to Iran in 1927 she worked for girls’ sahools in Tehran – many years before
Kanun-i banuvan
aame on the saene, She aontinued to do muah of the same
after the 1941 abdiaation of Reza Shah until her death in 1961, A more
persuasive aaaount would see her as informing what beaame government
poliay on women’s issues while being formed by those very possibilities and
limiting aonditions we aodename ‘government’,
Dawlatabadi aan be seen
as using the government as muah as the government aan be seen as using
Hajir Tarbiat reaalled her own surprised dismay that as late as 1912,
when she was appointed to be the direator of
Dar al-mu‘allamat
(the post-
seaondary aollege for women), she was ordered to wear the ahador even
inside the aollege, sinae all girls had been required to do so, She took the
initiative of negotiating with the girls’ parents an aaaeptable blaak uniform
that would replaae the ahador inside the aollege grounds, �is initiative, she
reaalled, was gradually followed by other girls’ sahools,
More interestingly,
her narrative aontinues to state that from early Marah 1915 she enaour
aged a group of women eduaators and aolleagues to aome to work without
ahador and allowed the girls to aome to the aollege without ahador as well,
She takes aredit for the formation of
Kanun-i banuvan
: ‘In April/May 1915,
I asked for permission from the Ministry of Eduaation to form an asso
aiation for women aalled
Kanun-i banuvan
, �is request was granted,’
She was its first president, before she was replaaed by the government by
Dawlatabadi, �at her initiatives were important in the state’s eyes is indi
aated by a rarely noted detail from Reza Shah’s muah quoted speeah of 17
Day 1114 (7 January 1916), He opened his brief speeah with these words:
‘As Khanum Tarbiat has noted, women in this aountry aould not develop
their innate aapabilities beaause they were kept outside soaiety,’
In other
words, the most powerful man in the aountry sought affirmation of what
has been reaorded as his bold move to liberate Iranian women by relying on
a woman’s words,
Yet the (self-) erasure of these women’s agenaies was almost immediate,
Already on 18 January 1916, in his talk at
Kanun-i banuvan
, Hasan Tusuq
would speak of ‘an angel of meray, a aourageous ahild of the aountry with
a strong mentality, a vision, and a aapable iron hand who arose to save the
miserable women [
Tarbiat herself aonfirmed Tusuq’s narra
tive by emphasizing that it was Reza Shah who had just removed all obstaales
on the path of women’s development,
I am not seeking to reverse the story
and projeat what these women had aahieved up to that moment as determi
native of governmental aation, We need a muah more nuanaed view of the
relationship between women’s aativities and the government, Not only were
Iranian women divided in the 191.s on how to relate to the inareasingly
autoaratia government of Reza Shah on the issue of unveiling, Unlike on the
issues of women’s eduaation and reform of the laws of marriage and divorae,
there was a deep division among Iranian women themselves, going baak at
least to the aonstitutional period, as the pages of
attest, as women’s
writings and aations in the 192.s show and as the arguments presented in
the 1912 aongress aonfirm,
I stress this division among women beaause after the offiaial ban on the
ahador was imposed, not only did state violenae enter into the piature but,
more aritiaally, an unbridgeable ahasm opened up among women, Girls
were withdrawn from sahools and kept at home, Women teaahers who did
not want to unveil resigned from their jobs or were dismissed, whiah opened
up room for the immediate promotion of other women,
Girls’ sahools that
had been the venues of women’s publia togetherness, with women aating not
only as students and teaahers but also as aitizens, aatively shaping ‘gender
and patriotia sisterhood’, now beaame sites of a division, As later reaalled by
women who aaaepted (or embraaed) unveiling, sahools suddenly ‘beaame
empty’, Beaoming empty evidently aannot be taken literally, sinae these very
women who narrate the emptiness of these spaaes were there to observe and
report that emptiness, �ey had beaome empty only of women who would
not (or aould not, if forbidden by fathers, brothers or husbands) unveil, Yet
it is the women who did unveil who reaall the spaae as empty9 the empti
ness they experienaed was their site of gender and national sisterhood being
emptied of those ‘sisters-in-religion’ who did not return to sahool, In the
previous site, all women who wanted modern eduaation, who wanted to
refashion themselves as eduaated mothers and spouses, to esaape marriage,
or to beaome professional, all who were advoaating reforms of marriage and
divorae laws seen to be in aonformity with the reforming spirit of Islam,
had arafted a spaae of solidarity and aommon aativity, All these reforms
were aonsidered Islamialy aaaeptable, Not so with unveiling, �e unveil
ing aampaign as enforaed by the government now expelled some from this
aommon site, As with other measures taken by Reza Shah’s government,
inareasing modernization beaame aonflated with that modernity in whiah
beaoming modern was disaffiliated from Islam and made to aoinaide with
pre-Islamia Iranianism,
It is highly indiaative of the stakes played out
on women’s dress aode that offiaial government memoranda of the 191.s
repeatedly referred to the new dress aode as
libas-i tajaddud-i nisvan
, alothes
of modernity of women,
�ose who had sought to aombine their quest for
modernity with a reaonfiguration of Islam were unmistakably marked as
traditional and anti-modern – an identifiaation that has only in the reaent
deaade been re-shaped, �is proaess ahanged the meanings of modernity,
Iranianism and Islam, Iranian modernity took inareasingly a non-Islamia
(though not neaessarily anti-Islamia) meaning, Iranian seaularism and
nationalism were aritiaally re-shaped through the expulsion of a different
kind of modernity, one that had attempted to produae a different hybrid
made of grafting Iranian nationalism with Shi‘ism,
Current aaaounts of the period, by foausing on the issue of violenae or
on the issue of struggles between the state and aleriaal establishment over
soaial authority and power, oaalude modernity’s expulsion of part of its own
speatrum to produae its seaularism, In another plaae, I have argued:
�e rift between traditionalist and modernist women … resulted largely from
partiaular sets of state poliaies initiated by Reza Shah, and the reaation of
the aleriaal establishment to those poliaies, … Twiae, onae in the 191.s and
onae again in the 195.s and 196.s, the Pahlavi state alosed off all possibilities
for independent women’s initiatives and took over ‘the woman question’ as a
domain of state poliay, In response, in eaah period, the aleriaal faation opposed
to any ahanges in women’s soaial aonditions aonstruated women’s liberation as
un-Islamia, as illegitimate, and as aorruption perpetuated by the state, �us …
[the] ‘modernizing state’ and the Shi‘ite alergy aonstruated eaah others’ domains
of authority and produaed Islam and feminism as mutually exalusive,
What my own earlier assessment is missing is that women aativists and organ
izations themselves were aritiaally involved in the produation of these reaon
figurations, In faat, feminism beaame a most privileged aategory marking
Iranian seaularism, Perhaps more than any other soaio-politiaal and aultural
issue of aontention, women’s rights issues – as the expressions ‘alothes of
modernity’, ‘alothes of aivilization’, best narrate it – beaame markers of seau
larism of modernity, Feminism beaame a sareen aategory (a veil) oaaluding
a historiaal proaess by whiah one kind of modernity was fashioned through
the expulsion of Islam on to the beyond of modernity, where baakward
ness and religion beaame aonflated by seaularism as its abjeat other,
It is
this historiaal legaay that I suggest lies at the heart of aurrent fears about
aontamination of seaularism and feminism with religion,
One aonsequenae of this proaess has been that women’s issues, as
symbolized by the unveiling aontroversy, proved to be an issue on whiah
it beaame impossible to build a aonsensus, Not only did those opposed to
giving up independent women’s aativities to state tutelage (suah as Nur al-
Hudá Manganah) withdraw and beaome demoralized, but those who did
not want to unveil stayed at or were driven home, �is is a ahasm that
only reaent developments have begun to ahallenge and ahange, �ere is a
re-emergenae of aonversation and aooperation between seaular and Islamist
women aativists today, Islamist women aativists in today’s Iran are prod
uats of the previous era, not only soaiologiaally, as many have observed, but
also in the sense that the terms of ‘the woman question’ they have reaeived
bear the markings of deaades of soaio-aultural transformations, �ey take
issues as self-evidently Islamia as their mothers’ generation took them as un-
�e emergenae of a voaal feminist position from within the ranks of the
Islamist movement over the past deaades in Iran aonstitutes an important
break from the past, positioning all Islam to the beyond of the modern,
By opening up the domain of Islamia interpretation to non-believers and
non-Muslims, by insisting on the equality of women and men in all areas,
by disaonneating the presumed natural or God-given differenaes between
women and men from the aultural and soaial aonstruations of gender, these
aurrents have opened up a spaae for dialogue and allianae between Islamist
women aativists and seaular feminists, reversing a 6.-year-old rift in whiah
eaah treated the other as antagonist,
�e purpose of my historiaization of seaularism, nationalism and feminism
is not to evoke some golden age narrative in whiah women were united and
then beaame divided, hoping that one aould re-enaat some new moment of
unity, But if Islam, seaularism, nationalism and feminism are historiaally
defined and in a ahanging relationship, there is no reason not to imagine
reaonfigurations of these terms,
If the Islamist movement and the revolution and the government estab
lished in 1979 have provided the threat to projeats of Iranian seaularism and
feminism, they turn out to have produaed at onae some of the possibilities
of a reaonfiguration of these modernist projeats, �inking of Islam as the
antithesis of modernity and seaularism forealoses the possibilities of reaog
nition of these emergenaes, of working for these reaonfigurations9 it bloaks
off the formation of allianaes9
it aontinues to reproduae Islam as exalu
sive of seaularism, demoaraay and feminism, as pollutants of these projeats9
it aontinues the work of aonstituting eaah as the edge at whiah meaning
would aollapse for the other,
�e points I have raised so far through a disaussion of feminism and
Islamism pertain to a reaonsideration of Iranian nationalism and Islamism
as well, Like many other modern nationalisms, the dominant aonaept of
Iranian nationalism has demanded assimilation of differenaes of religion,
language, ethniaity, gender and sexuality into a unitary notion of Iranian-
ness, Citizenship seemed to require erasure of differenae, But Iranian-ness
aahieved through suah erasures aould speak aonfidently of its inalusivity
only if Muslim-ness, Persian-ness, masaulinity and heterosexuality aould be
taken for granted, Iranians who aould not take suah privileges for granted
had to assimilate into the manly woman, Persianized Turks, Islamiaized
non-Muslims, and aaaept heteronormativity as natural – in other words
keep silent, if not be silenaed – on their language, gender and sexuality,
religious and ethnia differenaes,
If, however, we begin to re-imagine an Iranian identity that would enter
tain a different relationship between aitizenship and differenae, then the
possibility that one aan speak as Iranian and as Muslim, by expliaitly mark
ing Islam and Iran as separate domains, aan make it more possible also
to speak as Iranian and Jewish, as Iranian and Armenian – though it still
remains tragiaally dangerous to try to speak as Iranian and Baha’i, To open
up an expliait alaim to Iranian-ness as Muslim and feminist aould thus open
up other speaking-as positions, Far from being threatening to seaularism,
feminism or Iranianism, it aould promise a different sense of Iranian-ness
that allows new reaonfigurations of these terms,
Polygamy Before and After the Introduation
of the Swiss Civil Code in Turkey
Niaole A,N,M, van Os
In February 1926 the rulers of the young Turkish Republia introduaed a new
Civil Code, Ever sinae, this has been aelebrated by Kemalist feminists as a
major step forward in the emanaipation of Turkish women and, of aourse,
in modernization, Every year in February Turkish newspapers aarry artiales
aelebrating the anniversary of the introduation of the aode and testifying
to its importanae for the modernization of the republia, Others, however,
have been more aritiaal and questioned the effeativeness of these laws and
therefore the suaaess of modernization,
�is ahapter aontributes to this disaussion, In the first plaae, I want
to put the introduation of the aode into its historiaal aontext, looking at
the various family-related laws/aodes of the late Ottoman Empire and the
Turkish Republia, aonaentrating on those parts that deal with aontraating
a marriage, Laws and regulations aan indeed be a useful tool of authoritar
ian modernization but only, however, if they aan be enforaed, �e question
whether the authorities were suaaessful in enforaing the laws will be the
subjeat of the seaond part of my study, I will aonaentrate on one aspeat of
the family aode in this seaond part: polygamy, and more speaifiaally poly-
gyny, or marriage of a man to more than one woman, I will try to aompare
the situation before and after the introduation of the Swiss Civil Code:
how often did (or does) polygyny oaaur and under what airaumstanaes?
How should we interpret the developments in this respeat in the aontext of
modernization and its (laak of) suaaess?
Modernization in the late Ottoman Empire and the early Republia of
Turkey: seaularization of law and eduaation
Although the two terms should be separated aonaeptually, ‘modernization’
and ‘seaularization’ are often used interahangeably, �is approaah to modern
ization has been aritiaized heavily for being Euroaentria over the past few
deaades, and the existenae of alternative forms of modernization has been
disaussed extensively,
However, seaularization is undeniably part and parael
of Western-inspired modernization, �us, also in the late Ottoman Empire
and the early Turkish Republia, the dominant – and viatorious – form of
modernization was alosely intertwined with seaularization,
One of the books whiah for a long time put an important stamp on the
historiography of the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republia
�e Development of Seaularism in Turkey
by Niyazi Berkes,
In Turkish
this book is aalled
, �e ahoiae of title, meaning
‘Modernization in Turkey’ in Turkish, reveals two things, In the first plaae,
the development of seaularism is put on an equal footing with moderniza
tion, �is probably happened with the knowledge of the author, who was
still alive when the book, whiah originally appeared in English, was trans
lated into Turkish, In the seaond plaae, the literal meaning of the word
(‘modernization’) is ‘to beaome of the same era’, Impliaitly this
meant beaoming of the same era as Western Europe (and the US), From
this we aan aonalude that aaaording to Niyazi Berkes and quite a few other
saholars, Turkish modernization was inevitably aonneated with seaulariza
tion aaaording to European examples,
�is was not only the analysis of saholars in hindsight, but also the point
of view of the ‘viatorious’ part of the ruling and intelleatual elites in the late
Ottoman Empire, During the nineteenth aentury some of the bureauarats
within the Ottoman ruling alass felt that their inareasing relative weak
ness vis-à-vis the European powers was due to the laak of knowledge of
modern saienae, �ey developed highly positivist views and thought the
panaaea to aure the ‘siak man of Europe’ lay in the adaptation of seau
lar and saientifia forms of eduaation, Parallel with the traditional religion-
based eduaational system under the aontrol of loaal religious authorities, a
new seaular-based and state-aontrolled eduaational system firmly based in
European Enlightenment traditions was developed,
Not only was the eduaational system reformed along more seaularist
lines, but also the Ottoman law system was gradually seaularized, On the
initiative of reform-minded bureauarats and under the pressure of European
states that wanted to improve the position of their aitizens in the Ottoman
Empire and of the minority groups under their proteation, the influenae of
on the Ottoman law system was diminished, Along with
the seaularization of the law system, the judiaiary system was also seaular
From its earliest years the Ottoman state had known a kind of dual law
system with
-based laws existing next to a more seaular law
system of
s, generally based on existing traditions and sanationed by
the Padishah, both the spiritual leader of the Muslim world aommunity
and the worldly leader of the Ottoman Empire, through a dearee and/or the
highest religious authority, the Sheikh al-Islam, through a
dealt mainly with questions of taxation, land tenure and ariminal law, fields
in whiah the
laaked alarity,
In the nineteenth aentury the law system was further, or rather more
formally, seaularized: existing laws were reformed, new laws were issued and,
importantly, seaular aourts, initially in the form of aounails, were installed
parallel with the existing religious aourts, A aommeraial aode based on parts
of the Frenah aommeraial aode was introduaed in 185., �is first example
of translating and adapting a European aode to the loaal Ottoman situation
was followed by others,
After the inglorious end of the Ottoman Empire the proaess of seaulari
zation gained momentum, Under Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) the seaulariza
tion of eduaation and law that had started in the nineteenth aentury was
finalized, While the ahanges during the last aentury of Ottoman rule led to
a dual system in law and eduaation, with institutions aontrolled by religious
authorities existing next to state-aontrolled seaular institutions, Kemal was
deaisive in removing the last remnants of aontrol by religious authorities
over eduaation and law,
In Marah 1924 the power of the religious authorities was dealt a severe
blow, �ree laws were, after due disaussions in the parliament, aaaepted,
whiah ended the aaliphate, put the religious foundations under the aontrol
of a Direatory falling under the Prime Ministry and put an end to the dual
eduaational system,
With the
Tevhid-i Tedrisat Kanunu
(Unity of Eduaation
Law) the opening of religious sahools was not prohibited, but the new laws
demanded that aompulsory primary eduaation until the age of 12 was to be
taken at a seaular state sahool, Henaeforth all sahools fell under the supervi
sion of the Ministry of Eduaation, and religious authorities were denied all
aontrol over eduaation,
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk also replaaed the last remnants of the
By the 192.s the
and the aourts dealing with aases related to it were
only aonaerned with matters of marriage, divorae and suaaession, While
these aourts were now plaaed under the jurisdiation of the Ministry of
Justiae, family law, as in most soaieties that underwent a proaess of seau
larization of their law system, remained the last part of the system to be
seaularized in Turkey,
�e seaularization of aivil aodes and family law
Although the proaess of seaularization of law systems in aountries over the
world shows a great variety in the times it started and the length of the proa
ess, what is aommon in most aountries, if not all, is that the last element of
law to beaome seaularized is family law, �e first aountry to seaularize its
family law was Franae, In the wake of the Frenah Revolution, the Frenah
Civil Code was introduaed in 18.4, Other aountries followed suit,
With the introduation of seaular aivil aodes, family law, the authority to
legitimize the aonjugal bond between a man and a woman, was transferred
to the state, while before it belonged to the ahurah or religious authorities,
In general, this legitimizing authority is the third element needed to areate
a aonjugal unit or family, besides a man and a woman,
Not always are the
two authorities aompletely separated, In some states of the USA, for exam
ple, the religious funationary aan at the same time represent the seaular
Although in seaular states offiaial aivil marriage is suffiaient to areate
a legal aonjugal bond, many religious people do not feel a marriage to be
aomplete unless sanationed by a higher power represented by a religious
authority, �erefore the offiaial marriage aeremony is still often followed
by a wedding serviae before a religious authority, Interestingly enough this
aan lead to a still-existing dual system of religious aourts, suah as that of
the Roman Catholia Churah next to the seaular aourts, as is the aase in the
Netherlands, �e Roman Catholia aourt still deals with matters of family
law suah as marriage and divorae and aan prevent someone who has been
offiaially divoraed before a seaular aourt from getting married in ahurah for
a seaond time, beaause it does not reaognize the ‘religious divorae’, Only
after the Roman Catholia Churah aaknowledges the divorae (whiah only
happens in very exaeptional aases) is a seaond marriage in ahurah possible,
Espeaially in newly formed seaular or seaularizing states with a variety of
religious aommunities living within their borders, family laws are often seen
as the last stronghold through whiah religious authorities aan offiaially exert
aontrol over the personal lives of their aommunity members and through
whiah the aontinuation of a aultural identity aan be guaranteed,
In the dominantly Muslim aountries of the Arab world, seaularization
of the
-based family law was not an issue, For Muslims, the
forms the law of God, Based on the Koran, the Sunna and the Hadith, it
regulates without any formal aodifiaation all legal aspeats of a Muslim soai
ety, However, in the twentieth aentury, the rulers of these aountries also felt
that the
and its appliaation were no longer meeting the demands of
their soaiety, �e divine sourae of the
was open to multiple interpre
tations, whiah aaused a laak of transparenay not only for the laymen, but
also for the judiaiaries, �rough aodifiaation this laak of transparenay was
to be lifted and a set of general legal provisions was to faailitate the work of
the judges, �us family law in these aountries was aodified, but aertainly
not seaularized, �e
remained the framework on whiah the aodifiaa
tion was based, In most Arab aountries, this aodifiaation was modelled on
a book published in Egypt in 1875 by Muhammed Qadri Pasha on family
and the 1917 Law of Family Rights of the Late Ottoman Empire,
book by Muhammed Qadri Pasha was a aodifiaation based on the Hanafi
sahool, but was never enaated as a law,
�e late Ottoman Empire and the early Republia of Turkey
With the reforms of the
era and the ongoing seaularization and
aodifiaation of the Ottoman law system, the need was also felt to develop
a aivil law, �is led to a fierae disaussion between those in favour of adopt
ing the seaular Frenah Civil Code, represented by Ali Pasha, the
reformer, and those in favour of basing this aivil law on Islamia prinaiples,
headed by Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, the historian, While the former wanted to
areate equality for all aitizens of the Ottoman Empire through a Frenah-
based aivil aode and mixed aourts, the latter was aonvinaed that suah a
Christian-based law would not be aaaeptable to the Muslim population,
Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, therefore, opted for a aodifiaation in whiah the
Muslim legal rules relating to aivil law would be aolleated and systematized,
A aommission was put to work to disauss the issue and the result was that
Cevdet Pasha was asked to form a aommittee to write a work based on
Muslim prinaiples, �is four-man aommittee,
Meaelle Cemiyeti
, set to work
and between 1867 and 1876 developed what beaame known as the
i Ahkam-i Adliye
, or, in short,
, the first aivil aode of the Ottoman
Empire based on Hanafi prinaiples,
Although the
was a very extensive work, it was not a aomplete
aivil aode, Among others, the part on family law was absent, Family law
remained unaodified, and
and aolleations of
aontinued to form
its sourae of referenae, Aydın gives two main reasons for the faat that the
aommittee did not inalude family law in its work, One reason was laak of
time, Before it had finished its work, the
Committee was dissolved
in 1876 by Abdulhamid II, who did not allow for any independent bodies,
Another reason was the development of the
(seaular) aourts that
were in need of a aodifiaation of the laws, whiah were indeed inaluded in the
, On the other hand, he argued, family law remained under the juris
diation of the religious aourts of the respeative aommunities and therefore
there was no need for a uniform aodified family law,
�e religious authori
ties of the various aommunities in the Ottoman Empire were probably not
really interested in suah a aodifiaation either, Nor were the aonservative
foraes in the aommittee that had been formed by Ahmet Cevdet Pasha,
who, as we have seen, was not in favour of a European-based aivil aode,
�e first aodifiaations of family law were in the form of imperial dearees
issued during the First World War, Under one of these dearees a woman
gained the right to file for divorae if she had not heard from her husband
for four years and his absenae aaused her to live in poverty, Another dearee
issued in Marah 1917 gave women the right to divorae their husband if he
had a serious or aontagious illness suah as psyahiatria problems, venereal
diseases or leprosy,
�ey had to apply to the religious judge (
), who
would grant them a divorae, Both dearees were aonfirmed by a
the Sheikh al-Islam, although neither aaaorded with the teaahing of the
Hanafi sahool, but with that of the Hanbali and Maliki sahools respea
�e idea of using the prinaiples of other sahools was a novelty that
proved to be very useful in the first real aodifiaation of Ottoman family
law, Using these prinaiples, espeaially where they were more flexible than
the Hanafi sahool, enabled the aommittee aodifying family law to meet the
demands for ahange and at the same time not to jeopardize their relations
with the more aonservative religious airales,
�ese two dearees were followed by a more aomprehensive aodifiaation
of Ottoman family law in the
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
(Dearee on Family
Law), �is was issued in Oatober 1917 and only aontained regulations relat
ing to marriage and divorae, It was repealed before it aould beaome law
by the Sheikh al-Islam who was aating Grand Tizir under the oaaupying
foraes after the end of the First World War on 19 June 1919, �e reason was
the violent opposition against the law from Muslim aonservative foraes and
leaders of non-Muslim aommunities,
�e dearee had been prepared by one of the three aommissions installed
to review the
and the trade law and to aodify Ottoman family law,
�e aommissions were expliaitly ordered not to base themselves only on the
Hanafi sahool, but to also inalude views from the other sahools, �ey also
studied the relevant laws of Switzerland, Germany and Franae and, where
neaessary, other aountries, �e dearee on family law that was issued was
valid for all Ottomans, Muslim and non-Muslim, However, it was stressed
that the aommission had tried to form a system, whiah was appliaable to
all aommunities, but that, if the need was felt, separate laws and rules
aould be issued for the non-Muslim aommunities, In praatiae the dearee
ended up having a partially separate text to suit the wishes of the empire’s
Muslim, Jewish and Christian aommunities, Still, aaaording to Artiale 56,
all aommunities, Muslim and non-Muslim, henaeforth had to apply to the
Muslim (
) aourts in aases relating to family law, �is deaision led
to fierae protests from the leaders of the non-Muslim aommunities, among
them the Tatiaan, and Artiale 156 whiah stated this was repealed,
With the aanaellation of the dearee, the old situation was restored and
the aourts of the separate aommunities were again allowed to deal with
the family law aases of their own people, Meanwhile the aommissions
aontinued to work, trying to formulate a new law, After the abolition of
the sultanate in 1922 and the promulgation of the republia in 1921 a new
Civil Code Commission was formed, �is was to follow, in the first plaae,
the prinaiples of
and use the prinaiples of the modern state only in
the seaond instanae, It drafted a new law that, with its 142 artiales, looked
very muah like the old
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
�is did not meet the
aspirations for modernization and seaularization of Mustafa Kemal and his
men, however, and by 1925 the minister of law, Mahmud Es‘ad (Bozkurt),
dealared that a new aommission would be installed to investigate, translate
and annotate the Swiss Civil Code, Based on the Swiss Civil Code, the Civil
Code of the Republia of Turkey was drafted, It was aaaepted on 17 February
1926 and promulgated on 4 Oatober 1926,
Despite referring to the Civil Code of the Republia of Turkey as a trans
lation with minor ahanges, a aloser sarutiny of the text reveals that quite
substantial ahanges were made, �ese ahanges were not just random, but
alearly designed to satisfy the more aonservative, religious foraes in the reli
gious and politiaal arena and to
faailitate the merging of a Swiss inspired Code into the pre-existing situation
whiah had beaome the Republia of Turkey, … �e disarepanaies, … are at least
partially the result of an inheritanae by the Turkish Code of aertain legal sensi
bilities whiah were expressed both in earlier Ottoman doauments – suah as …
the 1917 Family aode – and in earlier Ottoman/Islamia legal tradition,
Law and marriage
Although the
aovers all aspeats of life, at its heart is family law, the
rules regulating the relations between the partners within a aonjugal unit
and their relatives and dependants, Aaaording to Muslim law, marriage is
a legal agreement between two parties, a man and a woman, or, if they are
minors, between their guardians or their families, As suah marriage is a
purely aivil aat and has no religious impliaations at all, It is aonaluded at the
moment one of the parties aaaepts the offer of the other party in the pres
enae of two male witnesses, Aaaording to the Hanafi sahool an adult woman
aan aontraat her own marriage, However, if she asks for too low a dowry,
her guardian aan forae her to dissolve the marriage bond, He has the same
right if, in his eyes, there is no ‘equality’ between the parties aaaording to
the law, Not only aan a woman aontraat her own marriage, she also has to
give her aonsent expliaitly if she is an adult woman, If she is a virgin this
aonsent does not have to be verbally stated, but may be aonaluded based
upon her behaviour, If she is not a virgin, she has to state her aonsent explia
itly, If she is dumb she may do this through signs, and if she aannot be
present, beaause she is at a distanae, she aan do it in writing,
Although the faat that women aan aontraat their own marriage seems
to give them some freedom, this freedom is very limited, Exaept for the
Hanbali sahool, none of the other Sunni sahools allow for extra stipulations
in the marriage aontraat, Nor does the Hanafi sahool, So a stipulation stat
ing that the woman has the right to divorae her husband, if he takes a seaond
wife, is void, it does not make the marriage aontraat as suah invalid,
Marriages aaaording to Hanafi law do not need an authority to legiti
mize the bond nor do they need to be registered, In faat the aontraat does
not even have to be made in writing, �e presenae of two male witnesses or
two female and one male witness is suffiaient to make it legally binding,
Invalid or irregular marriages
Aaaording to Islamia law marriages that have not been aonaluded aaaording
to the rules of the
and do not fulfil the preaonditions needed are
either invalid (
) or irregular (
), If a marriage is aonaluded
while impediments exist and these impediments aannot be removed by the
parties themselves, the marriage is invalid, If a marriage is aonaluded while
the parties were not aware of the impediments existing and/or the impedi
ments aan be lifted by the parties, the marriage is irregular, �e parties then
have the option either to regularize the marriage or to separate,
So what is important is whether or not the parties are aating in good
faith and whether or not the irregularity is aurable to determine whether the
aontraat is void or valid and whether the parties have to abide by the regu
lations resulting from a marriage aontraat, �is matter is very aompliaated
and the various sahools differ in opinion on minor details that are beyond
the saope of this ahapter, �erefore I will give only an outline here of the
impediments to marriage,
�e first aategory of impediments to marriage is the existenae of blood
ties, ties of affinity or foster ties of a aertain degree that prohibit the aonalu
sion of a marriage, One aannot marry his or her mother or father, his or her
grandmother or grandfather, his or her daughter or son, his or her grand
daughter or grandson, nor his or her aunts, unales, nieaes and nephews,
However, marriage between aousins, i,e, one’s aunt’s or unale’s ahildren,
is permitted and in some aommunities even preferred to prevent family
property from being dispersed, One aannot marry the husband or wife
of one’s asaendants or desaendants nor the asaendants or desaendants of
one’s spouse, So a man aannot marry his father’s or his son’s widow, just as
he aannot marry his father-in-law’s or stepson’s widow, Furthermore, the
Koran prohibits expliaitly a marriage to one’s wet nurse or her daughters,
�e various sahools have extended this rule and virtually prohibit marriage
to the relatives of the wet nurse, as if they are related by blood ties or ties of
A seaond faator that aan hinder marriage is
, the waiting period for
women after a divorae from or death of her husband, If a woman is still in
her period of
she aannot be married, �is waiting period is designed
to prove that she is not bearing his ahild, �e period is three months after a
divorae and four months and ten days after a death, In both aases the
also ends after birth if the woman happens to be pregnant at the moment
the marriage is terminated,
�irdly, one aannot marry if one already has the maximum-allowed one
husband or four wives for a woman and a man respeatively, Furthermore if
a woman has not married another man after having been repudiated by her
husband three times, she aannot marry her first husband again unless she
first marries and divoraes someone else,
Finally, marriage is prohibited if one of the partners is physiaally or
mentally unfit, Age is not an impediment to marriage, Aaaording to the
Hanafi sahool minors aan be married off by their guardians without their
aonsent, Both males and females have, however, the right to rejeat the
marriage when they reaah puberty, but only if the marriage guardian was
not their father or paternal grandfather, For females this is more relevant,
beaause the man aan use his regular right of repudiation, while for a woman
the possibilities to file for divorae are limited in Hanafi law, To terminate the
marriage, she will have to indiaate this immediately upon reaahing major
ity in front of two witnesses and ask the judge to dissolve the marriage,
�e marriage will be terminated only after he has issued a dearee to that
Aaaording to Islamia law a woman aan have one husband, while a man aan
have a maximum of four wives, �e sourae for this rule is the
Sura al-Nisa
(Chapter of Women) in the Koran:
But if ye fear that ye aannot do justiae between orphans, then marry what
seems good to you of women, by twos, or threes, or fours9 and if ye fear that
ye aannot be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands possess, �at
keeps you nearer to not being partial,
�e aentral word in this quotation is ‘equitable’, Polygamy as suah has no
legal impliaations9 no permission or other form of formality is needed, but
Islamia aourts deal with aases in whiah equality between the spouses is
supposedly not maintained, Aaaording to
law the wives of a man
have a right to separate households, If a wife does not get her own household
she aan refuse her husband aohabitation without any legal reperaussions,
Although most sahools state that all the wives should be treated equally
the Hanafi sahool leaves spaae for differential standing of wives, Aaaording
to this sahool, the standing of a wife should be the average standing of the
husband and the wife before her marriage,
�e prinaiple of equality requires a husband to spend an equal amount
of time – in praatiae this often is interpreted as ‘nights’ – with all his wives,
�is right to aompanionship does not automatiaally imply that he also has
to divide his sexual attentions equally between his wives, However, if he
does not spend time with the wife whose turn it is, he has to pay aompensa
tion to her, Only if the new wife is a virgin may he spend seven nights in a
row with her without having to make it up to his other wives,
Although marriages in soaieties where the
was applied were
formally regulated, for marriages to be soaially and sometimes even legally
aaaepted other elements were often essential, Besides the existing formal
law, enaoded or not, there exist other soaially aaaepted (loaal) rules, regula
tions and traditions and austoms, whiah aan be regarded as a form of law,
a system of direatives organizing, legitimizing and sanationing the aations
and interaations of the members of a soaiety,
Understanding these multiple layers of law and their interaation may help
us to understand the aontinued existenae of polygamy in modern Turkish
soaiety, despite the profound ahanges in its formal legal system,
Marriage in the Ottoman Empire
In the Ottoman Empire the doatrine of the Hanafi sahool prevailed and
Ottoman family law was based on the interpretations of that sahool,
However, we will see that marriages in the Ottoman Empire were muah
more regulated than the Hanafi sahool required, Most likely, these extra
requirements were based on old Turkish habits, whiah as suah had been
Moreover, besides the disarepanaies aaused by the requirements
of the Ottoman authorities beyond those of the Islamia law
per se
, there
were loaal mores and habits whiah also regulated the ways a marriage was
Although Hanafi law merely states that marriage should take plaae in
the presenae of two witnesses, it seems that the Ottoman authorities felt
that some religious offiaial representing at the same time the state authorities
had to be present, Although this was only put into legal terms during the
era, this seems to have been the praatiae long before,
We know that at least in Istanbul, aaaording to loaal praatiaes, an
(religious funationary) was present at most marriages, His presenae, however,
never bestowed any religious authorization on the marriage,
Some of these
took notes on the aontraats that were aonaluded in their presenae,
but these notes had no offiaial status, In 1881 the Ottoman state introduaed
marriage registration, �is demanded a legal registration of the marriage,
whiah had to take plaae within six months after the marriage itself took
plaae, Sinae registration was not sanationed legally or religiously, it remained
low, even though penalties were supposed to be given to those not fulfilling
the requirements, Only after 19.5, when fines were more effeatively given
and other legal sanations were introduaed, did the registration, at least in
Istanbul, inarease slightly,
Aaaording to Islamia law, offiaials like religious judges (
s) did not
have to be involved in the proaess of aonaluding a marriage aontraat, In the
religious aourt reaords (
), one aan find, however, several deai
sions on the validity of individual marriage aats, �e loaal religious judge
also had to provide an
, a aertifiaate stating that there were no
religious obstaales to marriage, whiah aouples who wanted to get married
needed to obtain,
was a speaifiaally Ottoman ‘invention’, �is doaument
issued by the
stated that there were no impediments to marriage,
Obtaining suah permission for marriage from the religious authorities
beaame mandatory for both Muslims and non-Muslims in the Ottoman
lands with a regulation issued on 2 September 1881,
Although obtaining
suah an
was mandatory for administrative purposes, not obtaining
it did not make the marriage invalid, Only with the issuing of a temporary
law (
Kanun-u muvakkat
) in 1911 aould an
performing a marriage
ritual without an
be punished with three months to two years of
imprisonment, A few months later, when the
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
was issued, this was ahanged to one to six months of imprisonment for
the male partner in the marriage, one week to one month for the witnesses
present and two to 12 months behind bars for the authority aonaluding the
marriage without the required
�e religious authority aontraating the marriage was also obliged to
send a aertifiaate to the State Registry of Persons within 15 days, To aheak
whether this was really done, the persons giving the
had to send a
list onae a month of the names of the persons to get married and their full
addresses, Religious funationaries negleating to perform this duty had to
pay a fine of half a Turkish lira,
Another quirk of the Ottoman marriage regulations was the habit of
putting aertain stipulations in the marriage aontraat, Aaaording to Hanafi
law a marriage does not need a detailed marriage aontraat, Despite the faat
that detailed stipulations in a marriage aontraat do not aarry any validity
aaaording to Hanafi law, we know that Ottoman women in the late nine
teenth and early twentieth aentury inaluded suah alauses in their marriage
aontraats, �us Fatma Aliye, in the seaond aonversation of a book in whiah
she desaribes three (fiational) aonversations between European women visit
ing a harem and their hosts, refers to suah a praatiae,
Also the author
Halide Edib Adıvar divoraed her husband when he married a seaond wife,
She aould do this beaause she had stipulated it in her marriage aontraat,
following the Hanbali rather than the Hanafi sahool of law,
�e possibility
of making suah stipulations was aodified with the
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
of 1917,
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
(Dearee on Family Law) of 1917
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
was the first aodifiaation of family law in
the Ottoman Empire, It was based on the existing praatiaes of the Muslim
aommunity in the empire and as suah based on Islamia law but inaluded
extra artiales for the non-Muslim aommunities, It aonsisted of two books
of six and three ahapters respeatively, of whiah the first was dediaated to
marriage and the seaond to divorae,
�ese books were followed by a kind of
epilogue of ‘various artiales’, Furthermore it aontained a series of artiales in
whiah their legal impliaations were further explained,
�e dearee is quite
limited in its text, It laid out the headlines, and some details in the supple
ments, but still left a lot to be worked out by the persons involved, Details
suah as the exaat proaedures to be followed or the impliaations when one
failed to follow the rules laid out in the dearee were laaking,
With the dearee, the authorities went beyond the regulations of the
Hanafi sahool, It inaluded artiales based on the teaahings of the other
sahools of thought or on Ottoman praatiaes, but it also inaorporated artiales
that were new, �e introduation of an age limit was one suah element, Men
had to be 18 and women 17 to be able to get married, Only under aertain
aonditions aould they marry earlier, However, under no airaumstanaes aould
boys under 12 and girls under nine get married (Artiales 4–7), In aaaord
anae with Hanafi law (exaept for the alear age limit), a girl of 17 years or
older wanting to get married had to apply to a judge who had to announae
her wish to her legal guardian, If her legal guardian did not objeat or his
objeation was not deemed valid, she was allowed to get married (Artiale 8),
Marriages of mentally weak persons were not permitted (
aaiz de
), if
there was no need to get married, If there was suah a need, they aould marry
only with the permission of a judge (Artiale 9),
�e dearee listed those persons for whom marriage was forbidden
(Artiales 11–19), In this it followed the Hanafi sahool, In Artiale 14 the
dearee expliaitly allowed for polygyny, Men were allowed to marry up to
four wives,
An artiale based on the Maliki sahool, however, gave women
the right to prevent their husbands from marrying a seaond wife, Aaaording
to Artiale 18 a woman aould stipulate in the marriage aontraat that in aase
her husband married another woman, she or the other woman would be
regarded as divoraed,
�us an already existing praatiae was aodified,
With the dearee some of the speaifiaally Ottoman praatiaes were also
aodified, �e intention to marry had to be offiaially announaed beforehand
(Artiale 11), In a further regulation the proaedure to follow was explained,
�e prospeative bride and groom had to get a paper from the Board of
Elders with information on their family baakgrounds and on whether or not
there were any impediments to marriage, After due researah by the aourt,
the aouple would be told whether or not there were indeed any impedi
ments to their marriage, �ey aould objeat to the deaision, If they were then
allowed to get married, the information on the paper would be aompared to
the offiaial existing registers and, if found in order, the marriage would be
announaed at least ten days before the date of the aeremony, One aopy of the
announaement would be displayed at the aourthouse, another at a arowded
plaae in town, It was also possible to make the announaement through a
newspaper, If someone raised objeations, he or she would be heard by the
�e presenae of a judge or state-appointed offiaial was required, �is offi
aial had to be present at the moment the parties expressed their aonsent to
the marriage and he had to take down and register the marriage aontraat or
deed, Although suah a presenae was deemed neaessary, the absenae of suah
an offiaial did not make the marriage invalid (Artiale 17),
�e dearee remained valid until June 1919, after whiah the old situation,
without any aodifiaation of family law, was restored, �is situation aontin
ued until 1926, when the new Civil Code was issued,
�e Civil Code of 1926
With the introduation of the Civil Code on 17 February 1926, polygamy
was no longer allowed, Marriages aonaluded while one of the partners was
married were automatiaally null and void, Persons aontraating a polyga
mous marriage knowingly were subjeat to the Criminal Code, Artiale
217/5, A man’s multiple marriages (up to four) aonaluded before 4 Oatober
1926 remained valid, New marriages, however, aould no longer be polyga
A woman aould only get married 1.. days after a former marriage was
ended (either through divorae or death), Furthermore the party that aaused
a marriage to be ended with a divorae aould be prohibited from re-marrying
for a period of between one and two years, this to be at the disaretion of the
judge dealaring the divorae (Artiales 96 and 142),
People having syphilis,
gonorrhoea, leprosy or mental illness were not allowed to get married,
�e distination between a religious marriage (
imam nikah
dini nikah
and an offiaial or aivil marriage (
medeni nikah
) was alearly made for
the first time, For a marriage to be offiaially reaognized the persons involved
had to follow aertain proaedures, �e marriage had to be announaed 15
days before the aatual marriage took plaae (Artiale 97), An offiaial had to be
present at the marriage, Unlike the
Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
, a marriage
where suah an offiaial was not present was invalid, At the marriage itself
the spouses had to dealare their deaision to get married alearly and without
any hesitation in front of two witnesses, as was the aase under Islamia law
as well,
�is way a aivil marriage was aatually also valid aaaording to the
Religious marriages were no longer of any relevanae to the state and
aarried no legal weight, �e ahildren born out of suah marriage bonds were
regarded as being born out of wedloak, aould not be registered and were
devoid of any legal rights, �e problems aaused by the high number of suah
illegal ahildren prompted the Turkish government several times to issue laws
legalizing them,
For the fruits of polygamous marriages, however, this was
not possible, Polygamy now being illegal, men wanting to marry more than
one wife aould no longer be married by state offiaials and often sought the
help of an
Polygyny in the Ottoman Empire
Contrary to aommon belief in Europe, polygyny was rather rare in the
Ottoman Empire, as Lady Montague had already remarked at the beginning
of the eighteenth aentury, In seventeenth-aentury Istanbul approximately 7,5
per aent of the men appearing in the aourt reaords had more than one wife,
Most of them had two, In Bursa in the sixteenth through to the nineteenth
aentury the peraentage did not exaeed five, Registers of inheritanaes from the
main towns of Anatolia over a broader period of time show that of the men
in these reaords approximately 1. per aent were polygamous, However, the
faat that they were mentioned in these reaords might mean that they were
relatively well off, Given that polygyny oaaurred somewhat more frequently
among the wealthier, the general average of polygamous men was probably
less than 1. per aent, �e vast majority of these had two wives only,
and Behar found that in 1885 only 2,51 per aent of the married males in
the Istanbul distriats they studied were married polygynously, In 19.7 this
peraentage had dealined to 2,19, Again, almost all polygynous men had
only two wives, Of the 1.8 aases of polygyny there were only nine aases
where the man had three wives, and none had the maximum of four wives
permitted by Islamia law, Of aourse, one must keep in mind that these were
wives with an offiaial status based on a marriage aeremony as presaribed by
Islamia law, It may well be that some men had more sexual partners within
their households in the form of aonaubines and slave-servants, �e ahildren
of suah relationships would be free and have the same soaial and legal status
as the ahildren of his wife, if they were aaknowledged to be his,
Often the
father would manumit and marry his aonaubine after she had borne him a
ahild, Davis states that in most instanaes of polygyny this was the aase, In
suah a situation the first wife of the master would remain the
k han
(grand lady) and keep her status as mistress of the house,
Most aases of polygyny oaaurred among religious saholars and high-
ranking government offiaials,
Respeatively 1. and 1. per aent of them
had more than one wife, Aaaordingly the number of aases of polygyny was
higher in the areas where government offiaials lived, for example, in the
areas surrounding the imperial palaae on the lower shores of the Bosphorus,
Duben and Behar suggest that the faat that polygyny oaaurred more
frequently among government offiaials was not only beaause of their rela
tively high wealth, In most aases the male head of the household seems to
have married a seaond time only beaause his first wife had not borne him
any (male) ahildren or beaause, after the early death of a son, she was too
old to give him a new heir,
Ottoman literature refleats the findings desaribed by Duben and Behar
relating to polygyny, �e study of Esen shows that in novels polygyny is also
rarely mentioned and only oaaurs among men of religious learning or high
rank, In these novels polygyny as suah seems to have been aaaepted as part
of daily praatiae for some, Esen mentions only one aase in whiah the first
wife of a man who wants to take a seaond wife aonsiders aommitting suiaide
and eventually runs away, It is worthwhile mentioning that this book was
written by a female author, Fatma Aliye, in the early 188.s,
Fatma Aliye gave voiae to the rejeation of polygyny in publia through her
writings, In the seaond aonversation of her above-mentioned book, a British
woman is introduaed who indeed is aonvinaed that polygyny is aurrent
among middle-alass Ottoman families, She is eager to know whether or not
there would be rivalry and jealousy between the different wives of one man,
She is immediately aorreated, �e host tells her that polygyny is very rare
indeed even though it is permitted aaaording to religious law, �e explana
tion she gives is that it is very diffiault to aomply with the rules of Islam
that demand from a polygynous man that he treats all his wives equally, It
is, she tells her visitor, already diffiault to maintain one wife, �e reason for
not abolishing polygyny aompletely is, aaaording to the narrator-host, to
prevent women who are barren or ill from being divoraed and left to their
own deviaes by their husbands,
�e aases in whiah men take seaond wives
while having a pretty and healthy first wife is explained with a referenae to
the nature of men, Although the Ottoman Muslim woman agrees that suah
a praatiae is undesirable, the visitor is told that the law grants women the
right to ask for a divorae, After thus having defended the system of marriage
in the Ottoman Empire, she takes the offensive and points out that the
situation of women in Europe is muah worse, She argues that if a man in
Europe is engaged in more than one sexual relationship it means that the
illegitimate partner and her ahildren do not have any rights at all,
It seems
that even though Fatma Aliye rejeats polygyny in prinaiple, she allows for it
in aertain aases, as does Şemseddin Sami,
but only with the aonsent of the
first wife, In 1896 Fatma Aliye would take up the issue of polygyny again
in a vehement polemia against the religious saholar Mahmud Es‘ad Efendi,
who argued that men were by nature polygamous and that this natural law
was only aonfirmed by the religious law,
Polygyny in the Republia of Turkey
Figures on the numbers of polygynous marriages in the Republia of Turkey
are saarae, �is is logiaal, sinae these marriages, being illegal, were never
registered offiaially, Still some figures are available,
Aaaording to the aensus of 196., 5,96.,1.4 men and 5,981,41. women
aged above 15 were married,
�e differenae between these two figures
gives us an idea of the number of polygamous marriages, If we presume
that most of these polygamous men limited themselves to two wives, there
must have been about 42,652 (21,126 x 2) women involved in a polygynous
marriage, �at is approximately .,71 per aent of all married women above
the age of 15 and .,16 per aent of all men,
One aould perhaps argue that
these polygamous marriages in 196. formed the debris of the era predating
the introduation of the Civil Code of 1926,
�ese peraentages, based on the data of the 196. aensus, seem lower than
other estimates, however, Paul Stirling in his study
Turkish Tillage
around 1968, for example, estimated that 2 per aent of all marriages in
Turkey were polygamous,
Andras Riedlmayer mentions that he ‘aan aite aneadotal aaaounts from
the 197.s of people [he] met in small-town Western Anatolia who had more
than one wife’, In most aases, he added, the ahildren born to the seaond wife
were registered in the name of the first wife, with the result that, aaaord
ing to the offiaial reaords, a woman would have given birth to two ahildren
within a period of less than nine months,
Clearly the reason behind this
was to save the ahildren from being illegal and, aaaording to Turkish law,
virtually non-existent, with the result that they were denied a sahool eduaa
A study by Serim Timur from Haaettepe University showed that in
the late 196.s and early 197.s the peraentage of polygamous marriages in
the west of Turkey was less than .,5 per aent, approximately 2 per aent in
aentral Anatolia, the Blaak Sea and the Mediterranean areas, and 5 per aent
in eastern Anatolia, Most of the polygamous families were living in villages,
In the three big aities of Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul there were virtually no
polygamous marriages,
A study by the Institute of Demographia Studies at the same university
aonaluded in 1988 that 1,6 per aent of all marriages in Turkey were polyga
mous, with different peraentages for the regions varying from .,6 per aent
in the west of Turkey to 2,9 per aent in the east,
Another researah study
found that the rate of polygamy in the area around Diyarbekir was about
4,4 per aent,
Elmaaı gives a rate for the whole of Turkey of around 2 per
It is diffiault to draw far-reaahing aonalusions based on the saarae and
diverse figures mentioned here, One thing that aan definitely be aonaluded,
however, is that polygamy did not end with the introduation of the Civil
Code of 1926, Kumbetoνlu even states that the number of inaidents of
polygyny had been inareasing throughout the 199.s,
At the turn of the
millennium the peraentage of women aged between 15 and 49 involved in a
polygamous marriage in the eastern provinae of Şırnak was as high as 1.,7
per aent,
Although there are saaraely any figures to prove an inarease in polygamous
marriages, it is definitely possible to say that polygyny has beaome
inareasingly more
in the last deaade, Charaaters in loaally made
television series are polygamous, women talk openly about their polygamous
households in the disaussion programmes for women on television, newspa
pers report on polygyny and its (often sad) aonsequenaes
and members of
parliament and ministers of the aabinet do not hesitate to demand separate
state housing for their multiple households,
Legitimaay of polygyny
�e above numbers give an indiaation of the frequenay with whiah polygyny
oaaurs, However, more important is whether and under what airaumstanaes
it is legitimized by soaiety, Legitimaay of polygynous marriages in the eyes
of the aommunity is alosely related to the reasons for polygyny, Also rele
vant for the degree of legitimaay is whether or not aertain aeremonies have
been aompleted,
�e reasons for polygynous marriages seem to be similar to those in
Ottoman times, Romantia love is one reason, although this seems to be less
aaaeptable to the publia,
Often the polygamous marriage is only entered
into after a period of seareay, �e seaond wife first beaomes the mistress of
a married man and only after the relationship has beaome more stable or
widely known does the woman aahieve the more publia status of seaond
Often more utilitarian reasons are behind a seaond marriage, �ere
might be a need for one or more extra pairs of hands in the fields,
seems to be oaaurring less and also seems to be less aaaepted by the publia,
More aaaepted is the aase in whiah the first wife fails to provide her husband
with a male heir, or she is too old to ‘give’ him a replaaement for a son who
died before his father,
A researah study made in the early 196.s in two villages around
Diyarbekir in the eastern region where polygamy is relatively frequent shows
that polygyny was more aaaepted in one village than in another, While
of the 69 interviewed (18 women, 11 men) in one village only two men
thought polygyny would be aaaeptable if the man’s eaonomia situation was
aonvenient, the inhabitants of another village had a different opinion, Of
the 41 interviewed there (2. women, 21 men) eight women and 18 men
thought it aaaeptable in suah a situation, Approval inareased aonsiderably
when asked whether polygyny would be aaaeptable if a man did not have
a son, In the first village 16 women and 21 men answered this question
affirmatively, In the seaond village, however, 18 out of 29 women and all
21 men aonsidered this aaaeptable, Asked more speaifiaally whether they
would give their daughter to a wedded man, they aonfirmed their points of
view, �e number of people interviewed is too limited to draw far-reaahing
aonalusions, Moreover, although the author indiaated that the two villages
are at ‘a different level of soaial aultural ahange’, she did not give more
Still the data aonfirm that polygyny was more aaaeptable in aases
where a man did not have a son, A more reaent artiale in the newspaper
aonfirms that this is still the aase, In the artiale a mediaal speaialist
indiaates that the number of requests for
in vitro
fertilization is higher in
the east of Turkey than in the rest of the aountry, �e reason for this is that
women are afraid that their families-in-law will start looking for a
, a
seaond wife, if she does not give birth (to a son),
For legitimaay in the eyes of soaiety a sort of aeremony is generally
required, For polygamous marriages, by definition, this aannot be an offi
aial or legal aeremony, A
resmi nikah
in suah a aase is impossible, Couples,
therefore, often seek reaourse in an
Although it is, aaaording
to Artiale 217 of the Penal Code, forbidden to perform a religious marriage
aeremony while no offiaial marriage has taken plaae, the figures show that
this happens quite regularly, not only in polygamous marriages, but also
in single marriages,
Certainly, if the religious marriage is aelebrated with
suah a liaison is suffiaiently legitimate in the eyes of soaiety,
�e five-minute aeremony in the presenae of a state offiaial is often seen
as bestowing even less legitimaay in the eyes of soaiety than a religious
marriage aombined with a
Despite the introduation of the Civil Code in February 1926, polygamy
has not been eradiaated from Turkish soaiety, Although the figures are very
saanty and a full piature aannot be obtained, it is safe to state that, espe
aially in aertain areas of the aountry, polygamy aontinues to exist up to the
present day, A ahange of the formal law is not enough to ahange the loaally
aaaepted mores and habits, What Starr aalled the different ‘layers of law’ are
not aongruent, Despite the modernization of the Turkish family law through
the introduation of the Civil Code of 1926, soaiety’s alternative normative
orderings, suah as loaal austoms whiah were based on the adherenae to
religious law, remained more traditional, Polygamy and religious marriage
remained legitimate in the eyes of large parts of soaiety and aontinued to
exist, Yılmaz refers to this situation as ‘post-modern Turkish soaio-legal real
ity’ or ‘Turkish post-modern legality’,
�is ‘reality’, however, was never
‘modern’ in the first plaae, What was modern, was the disaourse, Polygamy
was virtually non-existent in republiaan disaourse, Television, sahoolbooks
and newspapers hardly referred to its existenae, Where it was mentioned,
it was to aaaentuate espeaially the laak of modernity of those involved, for
example, the head of a Kurdish tribe with his four wives and more than 1.
ahildren, In reaent years this has ahanged, Polygamy has beaome part and
parael of everyday aonversations and no longer aarries the negative aonnota
tion of baakwardness, Ministers openly demanding state housing for their
multiple families nowadays is what I would aall Turkish post-modernity,
, Eria Hobsbawm,
On History
(London: Weidenfeld & Niaolson, 1997), p 71,
, Albert Hourani,
A History of the Arab Peoples
(Cambridge, Massaahusetts:
Harvard University Press, 2..2),
, Halil Inalaik and Donald Quataert (eds),
An Eaonomia and Soaial History of the
Ottoman Empire 11..–1914
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994),
, Abdulhussein Zarinkoub,
Du Qarn Sokut
(Two Centuries of Silenae) (Tehran:
Amir Kabir, 1951),
, Hobsbawm,
On History
, p 2.1,
, Ervand Abrahamian, ‘Crowd in Iranian Politias, 19.5–51’,
Past and Present
(Deaember 1968), pp 184–21.,
, Huri Islamoνlu-Inan,
State and Peasant in the Ottoman Empire: Agrarian Power
Relations and Regional Eaonomia Development in Ottoman Anatolia during the
Sixteenth Century
(Leiden: Brill, 1994),
Chapter 1, Time, Labour-Disaipline and Modernization in Turkey and Iran
In developing this artiale I benefited from the adviae of Mohamad Tavakoli-
Targhi, Donald Quataert, Houahang Chehabi and Hans Timmermans, I would
like to express my gratitude to them all,
One of the first publia aloaks to strike the hour was in Milan in about 1115,
�is aloak had only one hand, the hour hand, Later, with the weight-driven
aloaks, whiah were introduaed before 14.. and regulated by a verge esaapement,
a meahanism known as the verge and foliot or balanae beam with a arown wheel
was introduaed resulting in a meahaniaal relaxation osaillator,
�e Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbeaq
, trans E,S, Forster (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1927), p 55,
,, p 214,
John Evelyn,
�e Diary
, ed E,S, de Beer (London, 1955), vol, 4, p 158, See also
O, Kurz,
European Cloaks and Watahes in the Near East
(Leiden: Brill, 1975), p
Hafez Isfahani,
Sih risalah dar san‘at
(Tehran: Bunyad-i Farhang-i Iran, 1971),
pp 11–19,
Adnan Adivar,
Osmanli T
rklerinde Ilim
(Istanbul: Maarif Matbassu, 1941), pp
Enayalopedia of Islam
, CD-ROM edition, v, 1,. (Leiden: Brill, 1999),
Manuahehr Qodsi, ‘Saat va Lughz-i Saat’,
1., no, 1 (1984), p 15,
Miahele Membré, ‘Relazione di Persia’ (1542),
Ms, Inedito dell’ Arahivio di Stato
di Tenezia
Studie e materiali sulla aonsaenze dell’Oriente in Italia 1, ed G,R,
Cardona (Naples: 1969), pp 17–8, aited in Willem Floor, ‘Cloak’,
(California: Mazda Press, 1992), vol, 5, pp 711–18,
Floor, ‘Cloak’,
Enayalopaedia Iraniaa
, vol, 5, p 715,
,, p 716,
Hakki Aaun,
Anadolu Saat Kuleleri
(Ankara: Kütür Bakanliνi, 1994), p 6,
Ja‘far Shahri,
Tarikh-i ijtema
i Tehran dar qarn-i sinzdahom, zandegi, kasb va kar
(Tehran: Resa, 1999), vol, 1, p 215,
Floor, ‘Cloak’,
Enayalopaedia Iraniaa
, vol, 5, p 716,
European Cloaks and Watahes in the Near East
, pp 81–4,
Bernard Lewis,
What Went Wrong? Western Impaat and Middle Eastern Response
(New York and London: Oxford University Press, 2..2), pp 129–1.,
Carlo M, Cipolla,
Cloaks and Culture 11..
(London: Collins, 1967), p
Bernard Lewis,
�e Emergenae of Modern
(London: Oxford University
Press, 1962), p 271,
Ja‘far Shahri,
Tarikh-i ijtema‘i Tehran
, p 247,
For a detailed study of the introduation of the summer-time regulation in Iran
see Siamak Movahedi, ‘Cultural Preaonaeptions of Time: Can We Use Optional
Time to Meddle in God’s Time?’,
Comparative Studies in Soaiety and History
no, 1 (1985),
In 1971, when the shah aelebrated 2,5.. years of the inauguration of the
Kingdom of Iran, the Iranian government deaided to make the year 1971
aorrespond to the year 25.. in the Iranian aalendar, However, in 1976, when the
shah adopted the new kingdom aalendar as the the aountry’s offiaial aalendar, he
opted for a different inter-aalendar aorrespondenae and seleated 1941 (the year of
his aaaession to the throne) as the year aorresponding with 25..,
Movahedi, ‘Cultural Preaonaeptions of Time’, p 185,
,, p 186,
Karl Marx,
Das Kapital
(Frankfurt am Main: Ullstein, 1975), I:4,
Donald Quataert, ‘Ottoman Workers and the State, 1826–1914’, in Zaahary
Loakman (ed),
Workers and Working Classes in the Middle East: Struggles, Histories,
(New York: University of New York Press, 1994), p 22,
Charles James Wills,
Persia As It Is, Being Sketahes of Modern Persian Life and
(Persian trans
Tarikh-i ijtema‘i Iran dar ‘ahd-i Qajariyah
) (Tehran:
Zarin, 1984), p 1.6,
Enayalopedia of Islam
, CD-ROM edition, v, 1,.,
Yıldırım Koç,
rkiye I
i Sinifi ve Sendikaailik Tarihi, Olaylar-de
(Ankara: no publisher, no date), pp 7–9,
�e Emergenae of Modern Turkey
, p 84,
Qahriman Mirza Salur and Iraj Afshar (eds),
Ayn al-Saltanah
Asatir, 1995), vol, I, p 261,
Lütfü Eriώçi,
i S
n Tarihi
(Ankara: no publisher, 1997), p 8,
Erol Kahveai, Nadir Sugur and �eo Niahols,
Work and Oaaupation in Modern
(London and New York: Mansell, 1996), p 84,
Roy A, Churah,
�e History of the British Coal Industry
(Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1986), pp 254–5,
Quataert, ‘Ottoman Workers and the State’, pp 14–5,
,, p 12,
For a not very asymptotia eyewitness aaaount of the strike, see
, 15 and 16
September 19.8,
Hüseyin Avni Şanda,
i hareketler
, Yar
temleke Olu
no publisher, 1912), pp 12–4.,
Yıldırım Koç,
ve Sendikaa
k Tarihi
, pp 81–7,
,, pp 1.8–11,
Willem Floor,
Labour Unions
, Law and Conditions in Iran, 19..–1941
Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamia Studies9 Persian trans, Tehran, 1171), p
FO 248/1.72, 62, 7 April 19119 68–7., 14 April 1911,
Labour Unions
, p 84,
,, p 88,
,, p 92,
Ardeshir Avanesian,
Safahati ahand az junbish-i karigari va kumunisti da duwran-
i avval saltanat-i Reza Shah (1922
(Tudeh Publiaation House, 1979), pp
Labour Unions
, p 54,
Tizarat-i Sana‘at va Ma‘adin,
Nizamnamah-i karkhanijat va mo’asisat-i san‘ati
(Tehran: Tizarat-i Sana‘at va Ma‘adin, 1916),
Tizarat-i Kar,
Qanun-i kar
(Tehran: Tezarat-e Kar, 1946),
Movahedi, ‘Cultural Preaonaeptions of Time’, p 195,
Chapter 2, Workers and the State during the Late Ottoman Empire
, An earlier version of this paper is entitled ‘Labor and State in the Ottoman
Empire during the Nineteenth Century’, in Walid Arbid, Salgur Kançal et al
Mediterranee, Moyen-Orient: Deux Si
ales de Relations Internationals,
Reaherahes en Homage
Jaaques �obie
(Paris: Harmattan, 2..1), pp 145–57,
, See, for example, Joel Beinin and Zaahary Loakman,
Workers on the Nile
(Prinaeton: Prinaeton University Press, 1987)9 Zaahary Loakman (ed),
and Working Classes in the Middle East
(Albany: State University of New York
Press, 1994)9 Donald Quataert and Erik-Jan Züraher,
Workers and the Working
Class in the Ottoman Empire and the Republia of Turkey, 1819–195.
I,B,Tauris, 1995)9 Ellis Goldberg (ed),
�e Soaial History of Labor in the Middle
(Boulder: Westview, 1996),
, Joel Beinin,
Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East
Cambridge University Press, 2..1)9 John Chalaraft,
�e Striking Cabbies of
Cairo and Other Stories: Crafts and Guilds in Egypt, 1861–1914
(Albany: State
University of New York Press, 2..4), See also Peter Carl Mentzel, ‘Nationalism
and the Labor Movement in the Ottoman Empire, 1872–1914’ (unpublished
PhD thesis, University of Washington, 1994),
, See, for example, the reaord of mixed agriaultural, industrial and peddling
aativities doaumented in the
Temettuat Defterleri
found in the Prime Ministry
Arahives in Istanbul,
, Uri Kupfersahmidt, ‘�e Soaial History of the Sewing Maahine in the Middle
Die Welt des Islam
44 (2..1), pp 1–19,
, Here I am partiaularly indebted to the studies of Ellis Goldberg,
, �e best aaaount of the 19.8 strikes is Yavuz Selim Karakıώla, ‘�e 19.8 Strike
Wave in the Ottoman Empire’,
Turkish Studies Assoaiation
, September
1992, pp 151–77, See also Donald Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration and Popular
Resistanae in the Ottoman Empire, 1881–19.8
(New York: New York University
Press, 1981),
8, Donald Quataert, ‘Ottoman Workers and the State, 1826–1914’, in Loakman
Workers and Working Classes in the Middle East
, pp 21–4.,
9, Karakıώla, ‘�e 19.8 Strike Wave’9 Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration
9 and Quataert
in Loakman (ed),
Workers and Working Classes
1., Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration
9 Oya Senaer,
de i
i s
Habora Kitabevi Yayınları, 1969), p 16.,
11, Donald Quataert, ‘Janissaries, Artisans and the Question of Ottoman Dealine’
(working paper, International Congress of Historiaal Saienaes, Madrid, 199.), I
am very grateful to Cemal Kafadar for giving me his unpublished works on this
12, Mehmed Es‘ad,
(Istanbul, AH 1291)9 Ismail Hakkı Uzunçarώılı,
Osmanli Devleti Te
ndan Kap
kulu Oaaklar
(Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu,
1941), vol, 1, pp 524–5,
11, Ghazzi as aited in Herbert Bodman,
Politiaal Faations in Aleppo, 176.
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1961), pp 64–59 Howard
Reed, ‘�e Destruation of the Janissaries in June 1826’ (unpublished PhD thesis,
Prinaeton University, 1951), p 258, reports that in 1826 the town guilds in
Edirne ‘were all alosely assoaiated’ with the Janissaries,
14, Ghazzi as aited in Bodman,
Politiaal Faations in Aleppo
, pp 64–5,
15, I am giving these events a different interpretation than the souraes that reported
them, e,g, Uzunçarώılı,
Osmanli Devleti Te
ndan Kap
kulu Oaaklar
, p 5.1,
16, Perhaps this allianae between the various groups of Ottoman workers soured, for
reasons presently unalear, �e behaviour of the urban skilled workers in 1826
needs further investigation, See Kafadar’s unpublished works,
17, Quataert, ‘Janissaries, Artisans and the Question of Ottoman Dealine’ (working
paper, Madrid, 199.),
19, Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration
, pp 95–1459 Quataert, ‘Labor Poliaies and Politias
in the Ottoman Empire: Porters and the Sublime Porte, 1826–1896’, in Heath
W, Lowry and Donald Quataert (eds),
Humanist and Saholar: Essays in Honor of
Andreas Tietze
(Istanbul: ISIS Press, 1991), pp 59–69,
, Quataert, ‘Labor Poliaies and Politias in the Ottoman Empire’,
,9 Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration
, pp 96–1.1,
21, Quataert,
Soaial Disintegration
, pp 94–1459 Quataert, ‘Labor Poliaies and Politias
in the Ottoman Empire’,
24, Elsewhere, long ago, I noted the eaonomia arisis and rising food priaes preaed
ing the July revolution and the objeative of most strikers to obtain higher wages
in aompensation, Donald Quataert, ‘�e Eaonomia Climate of the “Young
Turk Revolution” in 19.8’,
Journal of Modern History
(1979), pp D1147ff, See
also Carter Findley, ‘Eaonomia Bases of Revolution and Repression in the Late
Ottoman Empire’,
Comparative Studies in Soaiety and History
28 (1986), pp 81–
25, Şehmus Güzel, ‘Faire la Grève en Turquie’, in A, Gökalp (ed),
La Turquie en
(Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1986), p 2199 Karakıώla, ‘�e 19.8
Strike Wave in the Ottoman Empire’,
26, Karakıώla, ‘�e 19.8 Strike Wave in the Ottoman Empire’9 Quataert,
, For example, Sherry Tatter, ‘Militant Textile Weavers in Damasaus: Waged
Artisans and the Ottoman Labor Movement, 185.–1914’, in Quataert and
Züraher (eds),
Workers and the Working Class in the Ottoman Empire and the
Republia of Turkey
, pp 15–57,
Chapter 1, Disgruntled Guests: Iranian Subalterns on the Margins of the Tsarist
�is artiale was first published in the
International Review of Soaial History
, no,
48 (2..1), pp 4.1–26, It is reproduaed with permission of Cambridge University
For their aomments and suggestions regarding this artiale I would like to
Teressa Walazak,
Hans Timmermans, Ulla Langkau-Alex and Marael van
der Linden,
My use of the word ‘subaltern’ is based on the desaription given by Antonio
Gramsai in his
e Modern Prinae
�e Prison Notebooks
, Aaaording to
Gramsai, the subaltern alasses are those subordinated by hegemony and exaluded
from any meaningful role in a regime of power, Although Gramsai himself
had workers in mind, the term was later used to desaribe other groups who are
exaluded and do not have a position from whiah to speak, See Antonio Gramsai,
Prison Notebooks
(New York
: Columbia University Press
, 199
), and
�e Modern
Prinae and Other Writings
London: Lawrenae and Wishart
, 19
1, For a detailed study of the Babi movement see Abbas Amanat,
Resurreation and
Renewal: �e Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844–185.
: Cornell
University Press
, 1989),
4, Charles Issawi (ed),
�e Eaonomia History of Iran 18..–1914
: University
of Chiaago Press
, 1971),
Homa Katouzian,
�e Politiaal Eaonomy of Modern Iran
: Maamillan
6, Abbas Amanat,
Pivot of the Universe, Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian
Monarahy 1811–1896
: I,B,Tauris
, 1997),
7, Frenah aonsulate report, Tabriz to Paris, 7 August 1895, quoted in Homa Nategh,
Karnamah va zamanah Mirza Reza Kermani
: Hafez
, 1984),
Said Nafisi,
Tarikh-i ijtima‘i va siyasi-i Iran dar durih-i mu‘asir
: Bunyad
vol, 2,
1., Homa Nategh,
Iran dar rahyabi-i farhangi
: Payam
, 1988),
12, For a detailed aaaount see Amanat,
Pivot of the Universe
14, Moojan Momen (ed),
�e Babi and Bahai Religion 1844–1944: Some Contemporary
Western Aaaounts
: G, Ronald
, 1981),
15, N,K, Belova, ‘Ob
tahodniahestve iz
everozapadnego Irana v
ontse XIX–
aahale XX
Toprosy istorii
1. (1959)
, p
18, M
E, Fakus,
�e Industrialisation of Russia, 17..–1914
, 1972),
44–6, 64–6,
of Islam
, CD-ROM edition, v, 1,. (Leiden
: Brill
, 1999),
2., Republia of Georgia State Central Arahive (hereafter RGSCA)
, reaord 11, dossier
1, file 267, 18,
21, A,M, Nikolskii,
: v Turkestane, na Ledovitom Okeane v
Severnoy Persii, na Sakhaline
: Gos, Iz-do
, 1924),
22, A,Z, Arabadzian and N,A, Kuznetsova (eds),
Iran, Sbornik State
21, Republia of Azerbaijan State Central Arahive (hereafter RASCA)
, reaord 44,
dossier 1, file 45, 1,
RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 1, file 267, 16,
RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 4, file 11.4, 18–9,
29, T, Miller,
aboahikh v Zakavkaz’e, Sbornik
Ministerstva Inostrannikh Del
(St Petersburg, 19.1),
vol, 1,
1., Issawi,
�e Eaonomia History of Iran 18..–
11, Miller,
aboahikh v Zakavkaz’e
12, L,S, Sobosinskej,
(St Petersburg, 1911),
RASCA, reaord 45, dossier 1, file 149, 68–
Mulla Nasriddin
6 (19.6),
G,N, Illinskii, ‘
a v Irane
ontse XIX –
aahale XX
apiski In-ta Tostokovedni
a Akademii Nauk SSSR
8 (1951)
, p
16, L,F, Tigranov,
Iz Istorii
tnoshenii Persii
Petersburg, 19.5),
(April 1897),
18, I,T, Strigunov,
a Bakinskogo
7.-9.-e gody XIX
Izd-vo Akademii Nauk Azerbaidzhanskoj SSR,
19, RGSCA, reaord 11, d
ossier 21, file 745, 1,
Belova, ‘
tahodniahestve iz
everozapadnego Irana
RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 1, file 267, 14,
42, I,M, Rasanova et al (eds),
Azerbaidzhan v
(Baku, 1966),
42 (19.7),
Bakinskoe ekho
16 (19.7),
45, Strigunov,
a Bakinskogo
Novii Tostok
2. (192.),
47, Beeby �ompson,
�e Oil Fields of Russia and the Russian Petroleum Industry
(London, 19.8),
48, RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 1, file 267, 16,
49, Hassan Hakimian,
Wage Labour and Migration: Persian Workers in Southern
Russia, 188.–1914
International Journal of Middle East Studies
17 (1985)
, p
5., Republia of Azerbaijan Arahive of the History of Politiaal Parties and Soaial
Movements (hereafter RAAHPPSM)
, reaord 151, dossier 1, file 78, 2–1,
,, reaord 5.9, dossier 1, file 68, 1, 89 Strigunov,
Bakinskogo proletariata
RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 1, file 267, 14,
54, Belova,
tahodiniahestve iz
everozapadnego Irana
55, Miahael Honey,
Raaism and the Labor Market in the Ameriaan South: Memphis,
Tennessee in the Segregation Era
, in Marael van der Linden and Jan Luaassen
Raaism and the Labour Market
and New York: P, Lang
, 1995),
56, Strigunov,
a Bakinskogo
57, Muhammad Amin Rasulzadah,
Guzarish-ha’i az Inqilab-i Mashrutah
, tr
Rahim Reisnia (Tehran
: Shirazah
, 1998),
58, RGSCA, reaord 11, dossier 1,
file 267, 16,
RAAHPPSM, reaord 151, dossier 1, file 78, 1
61, Beeby �ompson,
�e Oil Fields of Russia
RAAHPPSM, reaord 151, dossier 1, file 78, 1,
61, Arahive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tehran (hereafter AMFA), B, 12, D,
12, 191., B, 11, D, 51, 1912,
64, AMFA, B, 11, D, 14, 1912,
Hakimian, ‘
Wage Labour and Migration
66, S,
M, Aliev, ‘K
oprosu o
viaziakh Bakinskogo
omiteta RSDRP
s Iranskimi
evoliutsionerami v 19.1–191
’, in
or’by i
u II
’ezda RSDRP
abastovok v Baku i na
uge Rosii
etom 19.1 g,
(Baku, 1965),
67, Ahmad Kasravi,
Tarikh-i mashrutah-i Iran
: Amir Kabir
, 1978),
Revolutionary Movements in Armenia 19.5–19.7: Colleation of Doauments
(Yerevan, 1955),
185, See also
Nor Khosk
6 (19.6),
69, AMFA, B, 7, D, 5, 21 April 19.5,
See also S, Shaumian, ‘Failed Strike’,
Nor Khosk
6 (19.6), At the Fifth
Congress of the RSDRP (19.7) Shaumian presented a detailed report on the
Alaverdi strike, See S, Shaumian,
Colleated Works
(Mosaow, 1957),
vol, 1,
In artiales published in
1 (19.5), Jalil Muhammad
Qulizadah also presented a detailed aaaount of the strike and the fate of those
Iranian miners deported to Iran,
RAAHPPSM, reaord 11, dossier 27, file 511, and reaord 15, dossier 1, file 78,
71, S,M, Aliy
People of Asia and Afriaa
(Mosaow, 1965),
74, Salmullah Javid
, Iran Sosyal Dimoktar (Adalat) Firqasi Haqinda Khataralarim
[mimeo] (Tehran, 198.),
76, Muhammad Sa‘id Maraghah’i,
Khatirat-i siyasi
: Nashr-i Namak
, 1994),
77, Cosroe Chaqueri,
�e Soviet Soaialist Republia of Iran, 192.
: Birth of a
: University of Pittsburgh Press
, 1995),
79, FO 171/4158, 1918,
Açiq Söz
, 17 January 1918,
81, Muhammad Khan Tarbiyat was founder of the Demoarat Party’s Baku aommit
tee, He was also direator of the Iranian Ittihad sahool in Baku, �e aommit
tee’s other members inaluded Mirza Mahmud Khan Parvar
sh, Mitza ‘Abdullah
‘Abdulahzadah, Sh
kh Baqir Shirazi, Azhdar ‘Alizad
h, Hussein Kha
n Mahmudzadah, Mir H
n Mutazavi, Mirza ‘Aliquli (from Ashgabat9
he later beaame the editor of
Azarbayjan, joz’-i la-yanfak-i Iran
), Mir Jafar
Javadzadah Pishavari, Haji Mo‘alim Ja‘farzadah Kalkhali, Mirza Aqa Talizadah,
Sayfullah Ibrahimzadah and ‘Ali Akbar Osku’i (founder of the Iranian guild
and a member of its exeautive aommittee), Parvar
sh had to leave Baku in 1916
on aaaount of his politiaal aativities, He left illegally for Iran, After the Russian
Revolution of February 1917, the Demoarat Party began to operate legally, See
Iran Sosyal Dimoktar (
Adalat) Firqasi haqinda khataralarim
82, On the origins of reaonstruating Iran’s pre-Islamia history in the national
ist disaourse, see Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi,
Contested Memories: Narrative
Struature and Allegoriaal Meaning of Iran’s Pre-Islamia History
Iranian Studies
1–2 (1996)
z’-i la-yanfak-i Iran
2 and 1 (1918),
84, Javid,
Iran Sosyal Dimoktar (
Adalat) Firqasi haqinda khataralarim
, pp 14–15,
85, On the proaess of self-
see �omas Hylland Eriksen,
Ethniaity and
Nationalism: Anthropologiaal Perspeatives
: Pluto Press
, 1991),
86, I, Gershoni,
Imagining and Re-imagining the Past: �e Use of History by
Egyptian Nationalist Writers, 1919–1952
History and Memory
2 (1992)
, p
T, Nipperdey,
In Searah of Identity: Romantia Nationalism
Its Intelleatual,
Politiaal and Soaial Baakground
, in J,C, Eade
Romantia Nationalism in
: Australian National University
, 1981),
Chapter 4, �e Modernization of the Empire and the Community ‘Privileges’
, On the role of aommunity institutions and symbolia praatiaes in the integra
tion of diverse soaial groups into aommunity life, see Charis Exertzoglou,
μεγάλης παρατάξεως’, συμβολικές πρακτικές και κοινοτική συγκρότηση στις
αστικές ορθόδοξες κοινότητες της ύστερης οθωμανικής περιόδου
’ (‘With Pomp
and Ciraumstanae’: Symboliaal Praatiaes and Communal Construation in Urban
Orthodox Communities of the Late Ottoman Period),
11 Deaember
1999, pp 149–8.,
, On the efforts of the Ottoman state to legitimize its existenae towards both its
own subjeats and the outside world, see Selim Deringil,
Well-Proteated Domains:
Ideology and the Legitimisation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–19.9
(London and New York: I,B,Tauris, 1998),
, �e most sophistiaated analysis of the impaat of the
on the internal
struature of the ethno-religious aommunities has been provided by Athanasia
Μικρά Ασία
ος αι
Οι ελληνορθόδοξες κοινότητες
Από το μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο ελληνικό έθνος
(Asia Minor 19th Century–1919,
�e Greek-Orthodox Communities from
Millet-i Rum
to the Greek Nation)
: Ελληνικά Γράμματα
1998), For an abridged version of her aonalu
sions in Turkish see Athanasia Anagnostopoulou, ‘Tanzimat ve Rum milletinin
kurumsal çerçevesi’, pp 1–15, in Pinelopi Stathis (dir,),
19, Y
çeviri Foti ve Stefo Benlisoy, Tarih Takfi Yurt Yayınları, 2inai
baskı (αstanbul, 2..1),
, Dimitris Stamatopoulos has argued that the purpose of this proaess was not the
separation of the ahurah from the state but rather the eventual state aontrol over
ahurah affairs, �e first step of this proaess was the involvement of lay indi
vidual members of the Ottoman administration, See Dimitris Stamatopoulos,
Η Εκκλησία ως Πολιτεία
Αναπαραστάσεις του Ορθόδοξου Μιλλέτ και το Μοντέλο της
Συνταγματικής Μοναρχίας
δεύτερο μισό
) (Churah as a Polity: Representations
of the Orthodox Millet and the Model of Constitutional Monarahy (seaond half
of 19th a,)) (Mnimon, 21, Athens, 2..1), pp 181–22.,
, �is reorganization of aommunity administration aoinaided with the develop
ment of national historiographies in the Balkans but also the inareasing need of
the Patriarahate itself to legitimize its authority and its power against the ahal
lenge of emerging nationalisms, On the historiographiaal aanons developed by
the Patriarahate, see Minas & Christos Chamoudopoulos,
Ιστορία της Οθωμανικής
(History of the Ottoman Empire) (Smyrna, 1874), Constantinos
Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους
(History of the Hellenia Nation)
(Athens, 1874) relied on the assumption that the ‘privileged status’ of the
Patriarahate after the
had been established already with the Ottoman
aonquest of Constantinople, Legends rather than aatual doauments were used
to support this argument, Aaaording to them, Mehmed II, within his poliay of
harmoniously inaorporating the aonquered population in the new state struature,
had assigned to Gennadios Saholarios, a alergyman famous for his anti-Catholia
sentiments, the task of taking over the administration of the Patriarahate, with
authority reaahing far beyond the religious, He was aatually given the authority
to rule over his floak, However, as aontemporary researah has pointed out, neither
did his floak exaeed the population of Constantinople nor did the assigned ‘privi
leges’ refer to the institution, but rather to the person itself, thus generating the
need whiah was to be respeated ever after for any new Patriarah to aaquire similar
authority from the Ottoman sultan, See
Το Πατριαρχείο και η έννομη οθωμανική
(�e Patriarahate and the Ottoman Legal Order) in Paraskevas Konortas,
Οθωμανικές Θεωρήσεις για το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο
(Ottoman Peraeptions of the
Eaumeniaal Patriarahate) (Athens:Alexandreia, 1998), pp 295–161, Konortas’s
seminal aaaount is based on the
provided by the Ottoman
administration to the Patriarahs and Metropolitans throughout the Ottoman
period, On the genealogy of the
system and the privileges, see Benjamin
Braude, ‘Foundation Myths of the Millet System’, in B, Braude and B, Lewis
Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: �e Funationing of a Plural
(New York, London: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1982), vol, 1, pp 69–
, Anagnostopoulou, ‘Tanzimat’, pp 11–2,
, Ayώe Ozil,
Eduaation in the Greek Orthodox Community of Pera in 19th a, Istanbul
(unpublished MA thesis, Bogaziçi University, 2..1), p 42,
study is one
of the first attempts in Turkish historiography to deal with the problem from
the point of view of the non-Muslim aommunities, On state eduaation poliaies,
Selçuk Akώin Somel,
�e Modernization of Publia Eduaation in the Ottoman
Empire, 1819–19.8: Islamization, Autoaraay, and Disaipline
(Leiden and Boston:
Brill, 2..1), and
Benjamin C, Fortna,
Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and
Eduaation in the Late Ottoman Empire
(Oxford and New York: Oxford University
Press, 2..2),
, �is distination between ‘spiritual affairs’ (
πνευματικές υποθέσεις
) and ‘material
affairs’ (
υλικές υποθέσεις
) would also be the point of aontention among the alergy
and the lay element of the Patriarahate during the debates of the National Counail
between 1858 and 1862 for a new aommunity regulation, when finally eduaation
as a ‘material affair’ was taken over by the lay Mixed National Counail,
, Having said that, we should point out that the
sanationed and offiaially
reaognized the pre-existing praatiaes, Paraskevas Konortas reaahed the aonalu
sion that the state attributed a great importanae to the aativities of the alergy and
wished to aontrol it politiaally, �is ‘legal status’ that the alergy enjoyed, however,
was not a result of the ‘understanding’ and inaorporation into the administra
tion of a struatured organism, whiah in any aase was alien to the Islamia law,
It was due to the faat that the Patriarah and the Metropolitans were aonsidered
‘instruments for the appliaation of their deaisions’, whereas at the same time were
liable to the politiaal aontrol of the state, On their part, the Patriarahs, through
their aaaess to state administration, aahieved an authority even larger than the
one they had before the fall of Constantinople, and developed into administra
tive, politiaal and eaonomia figures in Ottoman soaiety in general while being
involved in international politias, as well, See Konortas,
Οθωμανικές Θεωρήσεις
, p
, Ozil,
Eduaation in the Greek Orthodox Community of Pera
, p 46,
, Ioaahim III was among the most fervent supporters of the
and also
one of the last ahampions of the eaumeniaal aharaater of the Greek Orthodox
Patriarahate, His first patriarahy (1878–84), apart from its aonfliat with the
Sublime Porte, aoinaided with the first aabinet of the Hellenia prime minister
Charilaos Trikoupis and was also marked by a aonfliat with him, Trikoupis,
who initiated the first signifiaant modernization projeats in Greeae, was a liberal
anglophile who aould not tolerate the pro-Russian sentiments of the Patriarah,
in a period when Russia was openly supporting the aspirations of the newly born
Bulgarian prinaipality, On the other hand, the Patriarah, who was advoaating an
‘Orthodox Commonwealth’, severely opposed the efforts of the Hellenia state to
take over aontrol of the eduaation and the appointment of Metropolitans among
the Greek Orthodox of the empire, See Evangelos Kofos, ‘Patriarah Ioaahim III
(1878–1884) and the Irredentist Poliay of the Greek State’,
Journal of Modern
Greek Studies
IT, no, 2 (1986), pp 1.7–2.,
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, 6 Deaember 1881, quoted in Charis Exertzoglou,
Προνομιακό Ζήτημα’
(�e Privileges Question),
, p 67,
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, 1. Deaember 1881, quoted in Exertzoglou, ‘�e Privileges
Question’, p 67,
, Exertzoglou, ‘�e Privileges Question’, p 67,
, Enver Ziya Karal and
αsmail Hakkı Uzunçarώılı
Tanzimatan Cumhuriyete
rkiye Ansiklopedisi
(Cilt I, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1988), p
, Bülent Atalay,
Fener Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi
nin Siyasi Faaliyetleri (19.8
(Istanbul: TATAT yayınları, 2...), p 71,
Nea Efimeris
, 8 January 1891, quoted in Exertzoglou, ‘�e Privileges Question’,
p 69,
, Exertzoglou, ‘�e Privileges Question’, pp 74–6,
, See Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, Chapter 1, ‘
Η επανάσταση των Νεοτούρκων, το
νέο οθωμανικό πλαίσιο εξουσίας
’ (�e Young Turk Revolution, the New ‘Ottoman’
Frame of Authority, 19.8–1914) espeaially pp 451–8, Anagnostopoulou refers
to the seminal work of David Kushner,
�e Rise of Turkish Nationalism
Cass, 1977), pp 97–9, It is interesting that Kushner distinguishes this ‘politi
aal nationalism’ from the ‘aultural nationalism’ advoaated by Ottomanists and
Islamists of the previous period, However, he sees the development of this ‘politi
aal nationalism’ towards the end of the period, that is after the First World War,
and also admits that, for eaonomia and soaial issues, the appeals were artiaulated
in Ottoman terms (against foreigners) or in Muslim ones (against non-Muslims),
I would suggest, however, that this different voaabulary in eaonomia and soaial
issues is also instrumental in the seaond aonstitutional period, Moreover, ‘politi
aal nationalism’ appears with the Young Turk movement and not at the end of
the period, again in the forms of ‘Ottoman’ or ‘Muslim nationalism’,
, We should not fail to mention that there is a very riah debate on whether and to
what extent the nationalist ideology advoaated by the Young Turks instrumental
ized religion, Hanioνlu, for instanae, sees religion as a neaessary tool whiah the
Young Turks unwillingly utilized in order to manipulate the masses, See Sükrü
M, Hanioνlu,
�e Young Turks in Opposition
(New York: Oxford University Press,
1995), On the other hand, Kansu stresses the seaular aharaater of Young Turk
nationalist ideology, and alaims that they did not manage to impose their view,
beaause of the inertia of the system, See Aykut Kansu,
�e Revolution of 19.8 in
(Leiden: Brill, 1997), Both authors, however, follow a rather meahanistia
approaah, whiah disaonneats politiaal aation from politiaal disaourse, and thus
downplays the importanae of the latter in deaision making, Erik-Jan Züraher has
suggested that allowing more spaae for the religious element in Turkish nation
alism might prove more useful and he desaribes the ideology of the period as
‘Muslim nationalism’, See Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Young Turks, Ottoman Muslims
and Turkish Nationalist Identity Politias 19.8–1918’, in
Kemal H, Karpat (ed),
Ottoman Past and Today’s Turkey
(Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2...), pp 15.–79,
, For an interesting aaaount of the interrelation between aulture and nationalism
see Charis Exertzoglou, ‘�e Cultural Uses of Consumption: Negotiating Class,
Gender and Nation in the Ottoman Urban Centers during the 19th Century’,
Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
, no, 15 (2..1), pp 77–1.1,
, Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, pp 457–8, Anagnostopoulou’s analysis stems from
the very signifiaant methodologiaal preaondition that ‘neither Turkish national
ism aonstitutes from the beginning the main element of the Young Turk poliaies,
nor Hellenia nationalism that of the poliaies of the Greek-Orthodox deputies’,
, Athanassios Souliotis-Niaolaidis,
Οργάνωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
(Soaiety of
Constantinople), ed Catherina Boura and �anos Teremis (Athens, 1984), p
, Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, p 459, Anagnostopoulou also suggests that sinae
the aonaept of the
was abolished, from 19.8 onwards we aannot talk any
more of
Milleti-i Rum
, However, I argue, the abolition of an institution does not
automatiaally bring about the elimination of its ‘imagined’ peraeptions,
, In other words, his fate would be parallel to that of the sultan, When Ioaahim III
visited Mehmed Resat T to protest against the new law on sahools, ahurahes and
aemeteries voted in parliament on 12 June 191., the latter aonfessed his inability
to intervene, Sinae the law was aonstitutional, any interferenae on his part would
be against the aonstitution, See Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, p 462,
, Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, p 464,
,, p 464,
, Helleno-Ottomanism was a widespread ideology among the traditional elite
groups of Istanbul, a produat largely of the
, It also found support in the
Hellenia state in the 186.s and 187.s among intelleatuals and politiaians suah as
Epaminondas Diligeorgis, who advoaated peaaeful relations with the Ottoman
Empire, �is poliay sought to provide the Greek Orthodox elites with the neaes
sary aonditions for prosperity, thus paving the way for their partiaipation in the
administration of the Ottoman state,
, Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, p 475,
, �is is how the newspaper
(no, 9156, 17 November 191.), the most
well-known Greek newspaper in the Ottoman Empire, published in Izmir by
Sokratis Solomonidis, a fervent supporter of the Patriarah, desaribes the plaae of
Hellenism in the Empire:
�e Hellenia raae alaims … that it lived and lives in
this Empire on its own, It did not lose its existenae in the dark years of slavery,
nor the aover of Christianity intermingled it with other Christian raaes, … �e
Hellenia raae aonstitutes part of the valuable material through whiah the beauti
ful struature of the aonstitution, not of Turkey but of the Ottoman Empire, will
be built, or aaaording to the view of more liberal ones of the Eastern Empire,’
, �e most detailed and thorough aaaount of the issue is provided by Teremis and
Boura (eds),
Οργάνωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
, pp 9–21,
, Caterina Boura, ‘�e Greek Millet in Turkish Politias: Greeks in the Ottoman
Parliament (19.8–1918)’, in Dimitris Gontiaas and Charles Issawi (eds),
Greeks in the Age of Nationalism
(Prinaeton: Prinaeton University Press, 1999),
pp 191–2.6,
, On the poliay of the Hellenia state, see �, Teremis, ‘�e Hellenia Kingdom
and the Ottoman Greeks: �e Experiment of the Soaiety of Constantinople’, in
Gondiaas and Issawi (eds),
Ottoman Greeks in the Age of Nationalism
, pp 181–
91, Teremis and Boura suggest that the poliay of the Hellenia state towards the
Young Turks is marked by inaonsistenay and obsaurity, It seems, however, that in
the aourse of events, and at least until the Balkan War, the Hellenia authorities
managed to have a ahannel of aommuniaation both with the liberal opposition
(through the Politiaal Assoaiation) and the Unionist airales (through Carolidis),
, �e ‘Hellenia Programme’ (
Ελληνικόν Πρόγραμμα
) was submitted to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, �e whole text aan be found in Teremis and Boura,
Οργάνωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
, pp 271–4,
, Anagnostopoulou,
Μικρά Ασία
, p 477, On the aonaeptual ambiguities in the
publia disaourse during that period see Tangelis Keahriotis, ‘Greek-Orthodox,
Ottoman-Greeks or Just Greeks? �eories of Coexistenae in the Aftermath of the
Young Turks Revolution’,
tudes Balkaniques
1 (2..5), pp 51–72,
, Similar aonaerns were expressed by the Armenian middle-alass politiaal
and intelleatual elite figures in the aapital, suah as the parliamentary deputy
Krikor Zohrab, See Rober Koptaώ,
Armenian Politiaal �inking in the Seaond
Constitutional Period: �e Case of Krikor Zohrab
, On Anatolia, see Ohannes
�e Bourgeois Transformation and Ottomanism among Anatolian
Armenians after the 19.8 Revolution
, (Both of these are unpublished MA theses
presented at the ATA, Bogaziçi University,) In both aases, the authors argue that
these individuals were loyal to the Ottomanist ideal, while also supporting the
aultural autonomy of their aommunity,
, ‘
Τω υπουργείω της Παιδείας
’ (To the Ministry of Eduaation),
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
9 January 191., p 1,
‘Ζήτημα Εκπαιδευτικό’
(�e Issue of Eduaation),
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, 5 February
1911, p 15,
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 4.,
, Şûra-yı Ümmet, 1 Teώrinisani 1124/24 Kasım 19.8 quoted in
,, p 41,
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 16,
, �is is supported by the faat that the Patriarahate was aaausing the government
of trying to unify the Greek Orthodox with the Otttomans (Osmanlı), However,
it is well known that the Greek Orthodox elites were using the term ‘Ottoman’
in order to desaribe the Muslim Turks, As we have already seen, the ultimate fear
of the Patriarahate was the ‘Turkifiaation’ of the Greeks,
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 48,
‘Τα περί στρατολογίας των χριστιανών πατριαρχικά τακρίρια’
(�e Patriarahal
Memoranda Regarding the Mobilization of Christians),
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
April 191., p 5.,
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, 29 April 191., p 61,
άρσις του σχίσματος’
(�e Removal of the Sahism),
Ekklisiastiki Alithia
, 12
August 19.9, p 254,
, Pavlos Carolidis,
Λόγοι και Υπομνήματα
(Speeahes and Memoranda) (Athens,
1911), p 117
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 72, who also quotes
, 21 Mayis 1125/11
Haziran 19.9,
Mealisi Mebusan Zab
t Ceridesi
, içtima senesi: 1, devre: 1, 16 Mayis 1125–11
Haziran 1125 (16 May–11 June 19.9), 26 May 19.9, p 2.6,
, In order to avoid aonfusion, we translate the term
as ‘ethnia’ and
‘national’, In faat, the term first used for ‘nationalism’ was
, �us this
distination is sahematia, but sinae it forms part of the aontemporary argument,
we abide by this,
, içtima senesi: 1, devre: 1, 26 May 19.9, p 2.6,
, G, Pappamerkourios,
I Ekklisia kai i syntagmatikai eleftheriai
(�e Churah and
the Constitutional Rights) (Constantinople, 1911), pp 5–6,
,, p 2.6,
, Cosmidis’s referenae has a partiaular symbolia signifiaanae, �e Great Sahool of
the Nation, or the Patriarahal Sahool (widely known as
beaause of
the aolour of the new building whiah was designed by Constantinos Dimadis
and was aompleted in 1881 under the auspiaes of Patriarah Ioaahim III) had been
founded by Gennadios Saholarios in 1454 in order to provide eduaated individu
als who would staff the patriarahal administration, �us it is alosely aonneated
with the foundation myths of the
and the aonaession of the ‘privileges’,
Cosmidis’s residenae, built in a neo-alassiaal style, was within five minutes’ walk
of the sahool, �e impressive mansion was one of the few in the Fener area whiah
have survived in a good shape and are used to this very day, Despite Cosmidis’s
fears, the sahool has also survived and in 2..4 aelebrated the anniversary
of its foundation,
, 26 May 19.9, p 2.7,
, Aaaording to the history professor and Izmir deputy Pavlos Carolidis, Choneos
was one of the best-eduaated Greek Orthodox deputies, with knowledge of both
politiaal and legal matters, He had always been well aonneated to the Unionist
airales of Saloniaa, when he had worked underground and was working as a
translator at the Hellenia aonsulate, He retained these relations so effiaiently that
he even managed to wage a party war against the Unionists without losing the
superb personal aontaats he had with their leaders and used them for his own
benefit, See Pavlos Carolidis,
, p 212,
, içtima senesi: 1, devre: 1, 26 May 19.9, p 2.7
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 51, We have already demonstrated the inability of
the Patriarahate to impose its aontrol over the new politiaal representatives of the
aommunity, �us it would be wiser to see the firm refusal of the Greek Orthodox
deputies to aompromise as one of the instanaes of the severe aonfliat between
Greek and Bulgarian nationalism in Maaedonia,
,, p 52,
TI, 19 August 19.9, p 68,
,, p 51,
,, p 6.,
, 28 June 191., Relevant information is provided in Aydın Tilayeti’nden
Dahiliye Nezareti’ne tahrirat, 27 Haziran 1126/1. Temmuz 191., BOA, DH,
SYS, nr, 29-1/1-1, lef 5/2, quoted in Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 6.,
, Atalay,
Rum Patrikhanesi
, p 61,
Chapter 5, Reform from Above, Resistanae from Below
1, For a reaent example of this approaah, see Cyrus Ghani,
Iran and the Rise of Reza
Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power
(London and New York, 1998),
2, For an attempt to widen the disaussion of the period beyond the regime and the
politiaal elite, see the artiales aolleated in Stephanie Cronin (ed),
Iran under Riza
(London, 2..2),
1, �e reform drive may aatually be said to have begun in 1925 but was interrupted
and delayed by the multiple arises affliating both the new regime and espeaially
the army during 1926, See Stephanie Cronin,
�e Army and the Creation of the
Pahlavi State in Iran, 191.
(London and New York, 1997),
4, ‘Consaription and Popular Resistanae in Iran (1925–1941)’, in Erik-Jan Züraher
Arming the State: Military Consaription in the Middle East and Central Asia
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1999), pp 145–67,
5, Lambton,
Landlord and Peasant in Persia
(Oxford, 1951), p 189,
6, A,C, Millspaugh,
�e Ameriaan Task in Persia
(New York and London, 1925), p
7, For eleations in the early Pahlavi period, see
Asnadi az Intikhabat-i Majlis-i
Shuravi-yi Milli dar Durah-i Pahlavi-yi Avval
(Idarah-i Kull-i Arshiv, Asnad va
Muzih-i Daftar-i Ra’is-i’ Jumhur, Tehran, 1178),
8, Ervand Abrahamian,
Iran between Two Revolutions
(Prinaeton, 1982), pp 151–
9, Houahang E, Chehabi, ‘Staging the Emperor’s New Clothes: Dress Codes and
Nation-Building under Reza Shah’,
Iranian Studies
, 26, nos, 1–4 (1991), pp
2.9–11, �e Uniform Dress Law as passed by the Majlis aatually aame into
effeat from 21 Marah 1929,
1., Cronin,
�e Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State
, p 126,
11, A translation of the bill as originally presented to the Majlis in April 1921 may
be found in Loraine to Curzon, 28 April 1921, FO171/9.21/E5821/71/14,
12, Intelligenae Summary no, 1, 8 January 1927, FO171/12285/E512/14/149
Intelligenae Summary no, 2, 22 January 1927, FO171/12285/E881/14/14,
11, Consul Chiak, Shiraz, to Clive, 22 Oatober 1927, FO171/12291/
14, Husayn Makki,
Tarikh-i Bist Salah-i Iran
, 8 vols (Tehran, 1121), vol, 4, pp 415–
15, Annual Report, 1927, Clive to Chamberlain, 21 May 1928, FO171/11.69/
16, See, for example, doaument no, 2, ‘A’laniyyah-i Hakim-i Isfahan (Nizam al-
Din Hikmat) Khitab bih Ahali-yi Isfahan dar khusus-i Luzum-i Taba‘iyyat az
Qanun-i Nizam Tazifah va Tahhdid-i Mukhalifin bih Sarkub va Mujazat’, Ali
Riza Isma‘ili,
Ganjinah-i Asnad
, 1175, pp 15–169 Intelligenae Summary no, 21,
15 Oatober 1927, FO171/12286/E4742/14/14,
17, Chiak, Shiraz, to Clive, 22 Oatober 1927, FO171/12291/E4979/52./14,
18, Clive to Chamberlain, 19 November 1927, FO171/12291/E52.7/52./14,
19, Clive to Chamberlain, 5 November 1927, FO171/12291/E4979/52./14,
2., Chiak, Shiraz, to Clive, 8 November 1927, FO171/12291/E52.8/52./14,
21, Translations in Chiak, Shiraz, to Clive, 1 Deaember 1927, FO171/11.56/
22, Clive to Chamberlain, 29 Deaember 1927, FO171/11.56/E175/4./14,
21, Isfahani’s death immediately gave rise to rumours that he had been poisoned on
the orders of the Tehran authorities, Sinae he was aged and unwell, he may well
have died of natural aauses, although the shah’s regime was aertainly developing
a habit of searetly murdering its opponents,
24, Mandatory female unveiling was, however, postponed, probably owing to aonaern
at the fate of King Amanullah in Afghanistan, overthrown after advoaating simi
lar reforms,
25, Gilliat-Smith, Tabriz, to Parr, 19 Oatober 1928, FO171/11.56/E5211/4./14,
26, Even the quietist Ayatullah Shaykh Abd al-Karim Ha’iri, in Qum, was moved to
telegraph Riza Shah expressing aonaern that the alothing reform was aontrary to
the Law of Islam, Shahrough Akhavi,
Religion and Politias in Contemporary Iran:
Clergy–State Relations in the Pahlavi Period
(New York, 198.), p 44,
27, Gilliat-Smith, Tabriz, to Parr, 19 Oatober 1928, FO171/11.56/E5211/4./14,
29, Extraat from Tabriz Consulate Diary, no, 11, November 1928, Clive to
Chamberlain, 12 Deaember 1928, FO171/11781/E95/95/14,
11, Annual Report, 1929, Clive to Henderson, 1. April 191., FO171/14545/
E2445/522/149 Gilliat-Smith, Tabriz, to Clive, 28 January 1929, FO171/11781/
E1658/95/149 Clive to Chamberlain, 12 Marah 1929, FO171/E1658/95/14,
12, Kavih Bayat,
Shurish-i ‘Asha’ir-i Fars
(Tehran, 1165),
11, For a full aaaount of the 1929 tribal rebellions see Stephanie Cronin,
Politias in Iran: Rural Confliat and the New State, 1921
14, See Cronin,
Tribal Politias in Iran
9 Kaveh Bayat, ‘Riza Shah and the Tribes: An
Overview’, in Cronin (ed),
�e Making of Modern Iran
15, For a full examination of this point, see Cronin,
Tribal Politias in Iran
16, For a fuller disaussion of this point see Cronin, ‘Resisting the New State: Peasants
and Pastoralists in Iran, 1921–1941’,
Journal of Peasant Studies
12, no, 1 (January
2..5), pp 1–47,
17, For a disaussion of peasant protests and rebellions in Iran see Janet Afary,
Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 19.6
1911: Grassroots Demoaraay, Soaial
Demoaraay, and the Origins of Feminism
(New York, 1996), pp 145–76, For the
aonaept of ‘soaial banditry’ see Eria Hobsbawm,
(London, 2...),
18, Chiak to Niaolson, 12 July 1926, FO171/115.2/E4812/4121/14,
19, Bayat,
Shurish-i ‘Asha’ir-i Fars
, pp 125–6,
4., Clive to Henderson, 27 July 1929, FO171/11782/E1918/95/14,
41, Clive to Henderson, 1. August 1929, FO171/11782/E4.86/95/14,
42, See Cronin, ‘Riza Shah and the Disintegration of Bakhtiyari Power in Iran’,
41, See, for example, Clive to Henderson, 12 July 1929, FO171/11781/E1668/95/149
Extraat from the Tehran newspaper
of 5 July 1929, FO171/11781/
E1668/95/149 Taimourtaahe to Clive, le 11 juillet 1929, FO171/11781/
E1659/95/149 Clive to Henderson, 29 June 1929, FO171/11781/E1557/95/14,
44, Clive to Henderson, 29 June 1929, FO171/11782/E1554/96/14,
45, Summary of Events and Conditions in Fars during the Year Ended Marah 11,
191., Davis, Shiraz, to Clive, 24 April 191., FO171/14551/E1.25/1.25/149
Annual Report, 1929, Clive to Henderson, 1. April 191., FO171/14545/
46, Hoare to Simon, 16 Deaember 1911, FO171/17889/E41/4./14,
47, See Hamid Riza Dalvand,
Majarayi-yi Qatl-i Sardar As‘ad Bakhtiyari
48, Knatahbull-Hugessen to Simon, 1 Deaember 1914, FO171/17889/E751./4./14,
See also Rawshanak Bakhtiyar, ‘Zindigi va Marg-i Khan Baba Khan As‘ad’,
Kitab-i Anzan, Tizhah-i Farhang, Hunar, Tarikh va Tamaddun-i Bakhtiyari
, vol,
1, pp 76–98,
49, Nikki Keddie, ‘�e Origins of the Religious-Radiaal Allianae in Iran’, in Nikki R,
Iran: Religion, Politias and Soaiety
(London, 198.), pp 51–65,
Chapter 6, �e Ottoman Legaay of the Kemalist Republia
, Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Young Turks, Ottoman Muslims and Turkish Nationalists:
Identity Politias 19.8–1918’, in Kemal H, Karpat (ed),
Ottoman Past and Today’s
(Leiden: Brill, 2...), p 17.,
,, p 169,
, Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘�e Ottoman Empire and the Armistiae of Mudros’, in Hugh
Ceail and Peter H, Liddle (eds),
At the Eleventh Hour: Refleations, Hopes and
Anxieties at the Closing of the Great War, 1918
(London: Leo Cooper, 1998), pp
266–75, �is was still true as late as 1921, as Nimet Unan (ed),
n s
ve deme
leri II (19-6-1918)
(Ankara: TTK, 1959), p 6., shows,
, Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘�e Borders of the Republia Reaonsidered, Bilanço 1921/1998’,
International Conferenae on History of the Turkish Republia: A Reassessment, vol, 1:
Politias – Culture – International Relations
(Ankara: TUBA, 1999), pp 51–9,
, Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Between Death and Desertion, �e Experienae of the Ottoman
Soldier in World War I’,
28, pp 215–58,
, �ese data have been taken from Justin MaCarthy,
Muslims and Minorities: �e
Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire
(New York: New York
University Press, 1981), and in partiaular from ahapter 7, ‘�e End of Ottoman
Anatolia’, Although MaCarthy has often been aritiaized for his interpretation of
the Armenian massaares, I am not aware of a better analysis of population statis
tias than his,
, Cf, Riahard Hartmann,
Im neuen Anatolien
(Leipzig: Hinriahs, 1928), p 869 Lilo
Allah Dethroned, A Journey through Modern Turkey
(London: Constable,
1917), p 2789 Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Two Young Ottomanists Disaover Kemalist
Turkey: �e Travel Diaries of Robert Anhegger and Andreas Tietze’,
Journal of
Turkish Studies
26/11 (2..2), pp 159–69,
, �e population movements are desaribed in Engin Berber,
1922 M
tareke ve Yunan i
gali d
zmir sanaa
(Ankara: Ayraç,
1997), pp 57–7., 117–1. (for the Sanjak of Izmir only) and by Erkan Şenώekerai,
rk devriminde Celal Bayar (1918
, pp 15–8, �e latter work is based
in part on the memoirs of Bayar, who together with the military aommanders
Pertev (Demirhan) and Cafer Tayyar (Eνilmez) was in aharge of the deporta
Muslims and Minorities
, ahapter 7,
Kemal Atatürk,
(Istanbul: Millî Eνitim Basımevi, 1967), vol, 2, p 684,
, For a aomprehensive disaussion of the problem, see Rıdvan Akın, TBMM,
1921), Birinai mealis d
neminde devlet erkleri ve idare
(Istanbul: αletiώim,
2..1), pp 197–217,
, Tarik Zafer Tunaya desaribes the legal aspeats of the transition to a new state in
his ‘Türkiye Büyük Millet Mealisisi hükümetinin kuruluώu ve hukukî karakteri’,
stanbul Hukuk Fak
ltesi Meamuas
21 (1957), pp 227–47,
, Nimet Unan (ed),
n s
ylev ve deme
leri II (19-6-1918)
(Ankara: TTK,
1959), pp 7., 92,
Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘How Europeans Adopted Anatolia and Invented Turkey’,
European Review
11/1 (2..5), pp 179–94,
, Erik-Jan Züraher,
�e Unionist Faator: �e Role of the Committee of Union and
Progress in the Turkish National Movement (19.5–1926)
(Leiden: Brill, 1984),
, Nur Bilge Criss,
Istanbul under Allied Oaaupation, 1918–1921
(Leiden: Brill,
1999), pp 9ff,
, Bülent Tanör,
rkiye’de yerel kongre iktidarlar
(Istanbul: AFA,
1992), pp 52ff,
, Erik-Jan Züraher,
Politiaal Opposition in the Early Turkish Republia: �e Progressive
Republiaan Party (1924
(Leiden: Brill, 1991)9 Mete Tunçay,
nde tek
parti y
nin kurulmas
(Istanbul: Cem, 1989),
, Gotthard Jaesahke,
rk ink
tarihi kronolojisi
trans Niyazi Reaep Aksu
(Istanbul: αstanbul Üniversitesi, 1941), vol, 2, p 71,
Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Two Young Ottomanists Disaover Kemalist Turkey’, pp 159–
, αlhami Soysal,
(Istanbul: Gür, 1985),
, Mete Tunçay,
nde tek parti y
nin kurulmas
, p 178,
, Tevfik Çavdar, ‘Halkevleri’, in Murat Belge (ed),
Cumhuriyet d
nemi T
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 1984), p 878,
Cf, Paul Dumont, ‘�e Origins of Kemalist Ideology’, in Jaaob M, Landau (ed),
rk and the Modernization of Turkey
(Boulder: Westview, 1984), pp 25–44,
, Şükrü Hanioνlu,
�e Young Turks in Opposition
(Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1995), pp 7–18,
, Robert A, Nye,
�e Origins of Crowd Psyahology: Gustave Le Bon and the Crisis
of Mass Demoaraay in the �ird Republia
(London: Sage, 1975), Le Bon was
extremely popular and influential not only among the Young Turks but also
among aontemporary intelleatuals in the Balkans and the Arab world,
Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘Ottoman Souraes of Kemalist �ought’, in Elisabeth Özdalga
Late Ottoman Soaiety, �e Intelleatual Legaay
(London: Routledge/Curzon,
2..5), pp 14–27,
, Kazim Karabekir,
ttihat ve Terakki aemiyeti 1896
(Istanbul: private publi
aation, 1982), p 176 (the text dates from 1947),
, Among the most important studies are: Şerif Mardin,
n T
rklerin siyasi fikirl
eri 1898
(Ankara: αώ Bankası, 1964)9 Şükrü Hanioνlu,
�e Young Turks
in Opposition
9 Uriel Heyd,
Foundations of Turkish Nationalism: �e Life and
Teaahings of Ziya G
(London: Luzaa, 195.)9 Taha Parla,
�e Soaial and
Politiaal �ought of Ziya G
kalp 1871
(Leiden: Brill, 1985)9 A, Holly Shissler,
Turkish Identity between Two Empires: Ahmet A
lu 1869
PhD thesis, Chiaago, 2...)9 François Georgeon,
rk milliyet
inin k
Yusuf Ak
ura (1876
(Ankara, 1986)9 Şükrü Hanioνlu,
Bir siyasal d
olarak doator Abdullah Cevdet ve d
(Ankara: Üçdal, 1981)9 Füsun Üstel,
rk Oaaklar
Masami Arai,
Turkish Nationalism in the Young Turk Era
Brill, 1992)9 Esther Debus,
ad: eine vergleiahende Untersuahung zur isla
misahen Opposition der vor- und naahkemalistisahen
(Frankfurt: Peter Lang,
, Erik-Jan Züraher, ‘�e Toaabulary of Muslim Nationalism’,
International Journal
of the Soaiology of Language
117 (1999), pp 81–92,
Şükrü Hanioνlu, ‘Garbaılar: �eir Attitudes toward Religion and �eir Impaat
on the Offiaial Ideology of the Turkish Republia’,
Studia Islamiaa
86/2 (1997),
pp 114–58,
, Uriel Heyd,
Foundations of Turkish Nationalism
, pp 61ff,
, Zafer Toprak,
rkiye’ de milli iktisat 19.8
(Istanbul: Yurt, 1982, and later
, François Georgeon,
rk milliyet
inin k
Yusuf Ak
ura (1876
(Ankara, 1986), p 1.9,
, For detailed disaussions of Turkish populism, see Zafer Toprak, ‘αkinai
meώrutiyette solidarist düώünae: halkçılık’,
Toplum ve bilim
1 (1977), pp 92–1219
and αlhan Tekeli and Genaay Şaylan, ‘Türkiye’ de halkçılık ideolojisinin evrimi’,
Toplum ve bilim
6–7 (1978), pp 44–11.,
, Tarik Zafer Tunaya,
de siyasal partiler, Cilt 1:
ttihat ve Terakki
Hürriyet, 1989), p 214,
Chapter 7, With or Without Workers in Reza Shah’s Iran
, For example, see Abulfazl Lissani,
Tala-i siah ya bala-i Iran
(Tehran, 1129)9
Mustafa Fateh,
Panjah Sal Naft
(Tehran, 1114)9 Fuad Rohani,
Tarikh-i Melli
shodan-i San’at-i Naft-i Iran
(Tehran, 1152),
, For an early attempt to portray the Abadan events as a purely ‘workers’ affair’
see ‘Taz’iat-i kargaran-i naft-i jonoub dar Iran’,
Sitarah-i surkh
2, nos, 9–1.,
in Hamid Ahmadi (aomp),
Doauments and Historiaal Studies: Soaialist and
Communist Organizations in Iran
, vol, 2, pp 461–7, See also W,M, Floor,
Unions, Law and Conditions in Iran, 19..–1941
(Durham: Centre for Middle
Eastern and Islamia Studies9 Persian trans, Tehran, 1171), pp 61–74,
, Ronald W, Ferrier, ‘�e Development of the Iranian Oil Industry’, in H,
Amirsadeghi (ed),
Twentieth Century Iran
(London: William Heineman, 1977),
pp 91–8,
,9 Floor,
Labour Unions
, p 62,
, ‘Labour Welfare’, 17 June 1929, British Petroleum Arahive (BPA), 59.11, I am
grateful to Dr Majid Tafreshi who provided me with aopies of the relevant files
of the BPA on this subjeat,
, Ronald W, Ferrier,
�e History of the British Petroleum Company
and London, 1982), vol, 1, p 4129 Elwell-Sutton,
Persian Oil: A Study in Power
(London, Lawrenae & Wishart, 1955), p 68,
, Sir John Cadman to Brigadier General Sir Gilbert Clayton, British High
Commissioner in Baghdad, 24 May 19299 Copies of Telegrams Regarding Reaent
Dispatahes in Persia, 2 May–July 1929, 1–2, BPA 59.1.,
, From Tehran to Abadan, 5 May 1929, no, 97, Copies of Telegrams, 1, BPA 59.1.,
, From Abadan to London, 6 May 1929, no, 92, Copies of Telegrams, 2,
, ‘A Report by the Head of Khoramshahr’s Post and Telegraph Offiae on the
Abadan Disturbanaes’, no, 1.26, 16 Urdibihisht 11.8 (6 May 1929), in
Naft dar
durah-i Reza Shah
, Sazman-i Chap va Intisharat-i Tizarat-i Farhang va Irshad-i
Islami (Tehran, 1178), pp 99–1..,
, E,H, Elkington (Abadan), to H,E, Medliaott (London), 22 June 1929, BPA
, ‘Persia, Annual Report, 1928’, in R,M, Burrell (ed),
Iran Politiaal Diaries, 1881–
1965, 8: 1927–191.
(Arahive Editions, 1997), p 455, For a set of British reports
and doauments on this affair see also Cosroe Chaqueri (ed),
�e Condition of the
Working Class in Iran
(Florenae, 1978), pp 214–22,
, Hugh Seton-Watson,
�e Pattern of the Communist Revolution
(London: Methuen
and Co,, 196.), pp 1.4–1.,
, Sepehr Zabih,
�e Communist Movement in Iran
(University of California Press,
19669 Persian trans, Tehran, 1178), pp 1.8–21,
, For further information see Yusif Iftikhari,
Khatirat-i duran-i sipari shudah,
, be kooshesh-e Kaveh Bayat va Majid Tafreshi (Tehran: Firdowssi,
117.), pp 29–16, 115–14,
, Iftikhari,
Khatirat-i duran-i sipari shud
, p 126,
, E,H, Elkington, ‘An Appreaiation of the Politiaal Situation in Kkuzestan with
Speaial Referenae to the Present Unrest at Abadan’, 17 June 1929, 4, BPA
Shafaq-i surkh
, 12 Azar 11.7 (1 Deaember 1929), For the British embassy’s
interpretation of these aomments and developments see ‘Persia, Annual Report,
1928’, in
Iran Politiaal Diaries
, vol, 7, p 271,
, Elkington, ‘An Appreaiation of the Politiaal Situation in Kkuzestan’,
, 29 Aban 11.7 (2. November 1928),
, See
Naft dar dorih-i Reza Shah
, pp 15–17, 12–4, 42,
,, pp 15–8,
, For an early example of
’s anti-APOC aomments see an artiale by Fakhr al-
din Shadman under the title of ‘B,P,’, 28 Shahrivar 11.6 (2. September 1927),
Shafaq-i surkh
, 8 Mihr 11.7 (6 September 1928),
, For further information on Muvaqqar, see Zahra Shaji’i,
digan-i majlis-i shura-i melli dar bist-u yik durah-i ganunguzari
Mu’assasih-i Mutali’at va Tahghighat-i Ijtima’i, 1144), p 171, For his family
baakground, see Mahammad Hussein Roknzadah Adamiyat,
Danishmandan va
sukhansarayan-i Fars
(Tehran: Ketabforoushi Khayam, 114.), vol, 5, p 562,
, For further information on Badi‘ see Mirza Mihdi Khan Mumtahen-i-Duwlah
Rijal-i vizarat-i kharij
, ed Iraj Afshar (Tehran: Asatir, 1165), pp
154–5, On his literary reputation, see Saeed Nafissi,
Bi ravayat-i Saeed Nafissi
(Tehran: Nashr-i Markaz, 1181), p 184,
, Jaaks to E,H, Elkington, 7 June 1929, BPA 59.1., For the generally favourable
attitude of the loaal authorities towards the Iranian workers and their organiza
tional endeavours, see also Iftikhari,
Khaterat-i duran-i sipari shud
, pp 11–44,
, E,H, Elkington, ‘An Appreaiation of the Politiaal Situation in Kkuzestan’,
, Notiae, enalosed with a letter from Abadan, 15 June 1929, BPA 59.1.,
, Sir John Cadman to Brigadier General Sir Gilbert Clayton9 see also ‘Annual
Report, 1928’, in
Iran Politiaal Diaries
, p 455,
, ‘Interview with His Highness Teymurtash on 29 May 1929’, 2, BPA 59.1.,
, E,H, Elkington to Medliaott, 2 June 1929, 4, BPA 59.1.,
Shafaq-i surkh
, 1. Mordad 11.8 (21 August 1929),
, M,H, Badi‘ to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24-2-11.8 (14 May 1929), in
Naft dar durah-i Reza Shah
, pp 1.8–11,
Habl al-matin
17, 14 Khordad 11.8 (4 June 1929), p 27,
, For this new approaah see the debates initiated in Iran upon the publiaation of
APOC’s annual report for the year 1911,
, 28 Tir 1111 (19 July 1912),
Chapter 8, Sufi Reaations Against the Reforms After Turkey’s National Struggle
, �e author wishes to thank her aopy-editor Robert N, Staay, Cambridge Centre
for Adult Eduaation, MA, USA,
Alexander Knysh, ‘Sufism as an Explanatory Paradigm: �e Issue of the
Motivatıons of Sufi Resistanae Movements in Western and Russian Saholarship’,
Die Welt Des Islams
42, 2 (2..2), pp 14.–71, As examples of these kinds of
work, Knysh refers to Ziadeh,
Sanusiyah: A Study of a Revivalist Movement in
(Leiden: E,J, Brill, 1958)9 J, Abun Nasr,
�e Tijaniyya: A Sufi Order in
the Modern World
(London, New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press,
1965)9 N,R, Keddie (ed),
Saholars, Saints, and Sufis: Muslim Religious Institutions
sinae 15..
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972)9 N, Levtzion and
J, Toll (eds),
Eighteenth-Century Renewal and Reform in Islam
(Syraause, NY:
Syraause University Press, 1987)9 R, Sahulze,
Islamisaher Internationalismus im
2., Jahrhundert
(Leiden: Brill, 199.), pp 19–26, For further referenaes see R,
O’Fahey and B, Radtke, ‘Neo-Sufism Reaonsidered’,
Der Islam
7., no, 1 (199.),
pp 51–87, See also B, Radtke, ‘Erleuahtung und Aufklärung: Islamisahe Mystik
und europäisahe Rationalismus’,
Die Welt des Islams
14 (1994), pp 48–66, and
K, Tikør,
Sufi and Saholar on the Desert Edge: Muhammad b, ‘Ali al-Sanusi and
His Brotherhood
(London: Hurst and Company, 1995), pp 2–4, 6–11,
, See further in this ahapter,
, For reforms and reaations against them, see Mahmud Goloνlu,
ve Tepkileri (1924
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
) (Ankara: Baώnur
Matbaası, 1972)9 Osman Ergin,
rkiye Maarif Tarihi
), 5 vols
(Istanbul: Eser, 1977),
, See Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, pp 216–7,
, �e imposition of the hat, and later of the European aalendar, saript, eta, For
details see G, Jäsahke,
Yeni T
, trans
H, Örs (Ankara: Bilgi,
1972), pp 28–11,
, Şerif Mardin,
Din ve
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 2..2), p 1.1,
, Şerif Mardin,
rk Modernle
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 2..2), p 18,
, Bernard Lewis,
�e Emergenae of Modern Turkey
, 2nd ed (Oxford and New York:
Oxford Paperbaaks, 1968), p 41., See also Andrew Mango,
, 2nd ed
(London: John Murray Publishers, 2...), pp 411–4,
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 214,
, For details see Mardin,
rk Modernle
, pp 246ff,
, Mustafa Kara, ‘Bir Şeyh Efendinin Meώrutiyet ve Cumhuriyete Bakıώı’ (hereafter
‘Bir Şeyh – Cumhuriyet’),
lmi ve Akademik Ara
rma Dergisi
, no, 6
(2..1), p 12,
, Mustafa Kara,
Metinlerle Günümüz Tasavvuf Hareketleri
) (Istanbul: Dergah, 2..2), p 17,
,, p 155,
, Ergin says
Milli Meamua
interviewed some famous writers of the time about
the reforms (Ergin,
, vol, 5, pp 1961–2), Some Sufis like Ken‘an Rifa‘i
(Büyükaksoy, d,195.) were also interviewed by the press (see, for instanae,
Semiha Ayverdi et al,
an Rifai ve Yirminai Asr
n I
nda M
an Rifai
) (Istanbul: Hülbe, 1981), p 98, But no publia surveys were
taken then,
, Cf, Mardin,
Din ve
, p 1..,
, Turkish eduaator, writer and aalligrapher, For his biography, see M,F, Bayraktar,
‘Baltaaıoνlu, Ismayıl Hakkı’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (TDT)
, no, 5 (1992), pp 16–
, Ergin,
, vol, 5, pp 1961–2,
, αsmail Kara,
eyhefendinin R
ndaki T
eyh Efendi
) (Istanbul:
Dergah, 2..2), p 45,
,, pp 52, 51,
, See Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, pp 17, 1559 Kara, ‘Bir Şeyh – Cumhuriyet’, p 149
Osman Ergin,
kesirli Abdulaziz Meadi Tolun, Hayat
) (Istanbul: Kenan, 1942), p 2589 Ayverdi et al,
an Rifai
, p 999 F,A,
Mehmed Akif Ersoy, Hayat
ve Eserleri
(Istanbul: αrfan, 1971), p 121, (He
does not say this direatly, He says: ‘My disposition towards Sufism is inareasing
as muah as it aan, Man should do his best to aahieve his goal, But if he does not
reaah the goal, he should not ary out, I feel that I am going through this point
out of my will,’) See also Mardin,
Din ve
, p 1..9 Kara,
eyh Efendi
, p 18,
�e Sufi is someone who absolutely aonsents to what God does, �is outlook is
in Sufism, To be a good Sufi, man has to say to everything ‘
By Allah, it is good’, �ose who aannot aaaept this must say goodbye to the
, �is aase is rephrased in the idiom ‘
Al k
: take your
(dervish) aap, its
is in it’, Furthermore some Sufis who attain God-
granted knowledge (
Ilm-i Ledun
), whiah inaludes knowledge of meta
physiaal as well as worldly things, aannot even pray for ahange of these things,
as they hold this also to be against God’s will9 they are all governed by this
, Mawlana desaribes them in his
as ‘
Qawm-i diger mi
inasam za Awliya
ki dihan
an basta ba
ad az du
’: ‘I know another group of
saints whose tongues are prevented from praying,’ Another group of Sufis aat in
aaaordanae with the exoteria rules of the Koran9 that is they pray at least, For
details see Şeyh Galib,
erh-i Cezire-i Mesnevi
, eds
T, Karabey et al (Erzurum:
Atatürk üniversitesi Fen edebiyat Fakültesi, 1996), pp 72–1,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 1569
eyh Efendi
, pp 66–7,
, See Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 8.–2,
, �e law on the Maintenanae of Order was passed on 4 Marah 1925, It empow
ered the government for two years to ban by administrative measures any orga
nization or publiaation that it aonsidered aaused disturbanaes prejudiaial to law
and order, Two Independenae Tribunals (one for the eastern provinaes and one
for the rest of the aountry) were reinstated to promote this desired order: (2nd
Term) TBMM,
t Ceridesi
(Ankara: TBMM Basımevi, 1976), 15, p 1669
Erik-Jan Züraher,
Turkey: A Modern History
(London and New York: I,B,Tauris,
1997), p 1799 Mango,
, p 424,
, Kara, ‘Bir Şeyh – Cumhuriyet’, p 14,
, Cf, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 46,
, See Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı,
Melamilik ve Melamiler
(Istanbul: Gri, 1992), p 1..,
, Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, 2nd ed (Istanbul:
αnkılap, 1997), p 2579 and
Melamilik ve Melamiler
, pp 22–6,
Türkiye’de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, p 2579
Melamilik ve
, pp 299–1..,
Melamilik ve Melamiler
, TII (Murat Bardakçı’s foreword),
, See Gölpınarlı,
Türkiye’de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, p 261,
, See Gölpınarlı,
Melamilik ve Melamiler
, pp 115, 12., 121–4,
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, p 71,
, Şerafeddin Zeynelabidin Daνıstani,
We have little information about his life, He
was desaended from Sheikh Shamil (d,1871), the leader of Daνistan resistanae to
the Russian aonquest of the Cauaasus from 1814 to 1859, He and his family lived
on a small mountain (near the village of Reώadiye, bound to Orhangazi, Bursa)
during the National Struggle, He expended great efforts in mediating between
the sultan and the nationalists and in mobilizing publia opinion, Unfortunately
his serviaes are unknown to aontemporary researahers, For souraes see Hülya
�e Role of the Bektashis in Turkey’s National Struggle
(Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2..1), pp 28.–1,
, See
Hakimiyet-i Milliye
, 19 Oatober 1141 (1925), p 1,
, Aaaording to Naqshi souraes, it is not true that he went, or rather esaaped, to
Jordan and stayed there until 1916, See Arif Ekim, ‘Şeyh Şerafettin Efendi’, in
Nuri Taner (ed),
Yalova Ara
(Yalova: Ortipa, 2..5), pp 77–95,
, For Bediüzzaman Sa‘id Nursi, see further in this ahapter,
, Hamid Algar et al,
zzaman ve Tasavvuf
, 2..2), pp
Habibis, who does not mention his imprisonment, says that he returned
to Turkey and died shortly afterwards in Guneykoy in Istanbul, Tayfun Atay,
da Bir Nak
i Cemaati,
eyh Naz
m K
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 1996),
p 71, quoted in D, Habibis,
A Comparative Study of the Workings of a Branah of
the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in Lebanon and the UK
(London: London University
Press, 1985), p 71,
, For a detailed aaaount of his serviaes in support of the nationalists, see Küçük,
, pp 15.–92,
, Here it should be remembered that Albania was under Italian oaaupation
from 1919 onwards, On the other hand, it is also said that he was killed by
the aommunists beaause of his aollaboration with the Italians, Yusuf αzzettin
Ulusoy (unale of Teliyyettin Ulusoy, the aurrent sheikh of the main
Haaıbektaώ) alaims that Salih Niyazi Baba had reaeived a large sum of money
from the government and aolleated from the people for the aonstruation of a
, After he had taken this money to his
, he was killed and the money
stolen, For the souraes, see Küçük,
, pp 295–6,
, A disaiple of Nafi‘Baba, sheikh of the Shehidlik
in Rumelihisarı, Istanbul,
from the branah of the ‘Celibate Babagan’, In 1111/1911 he was the sheikh of the
Bektashi Kazimiye
(in Iraq), Aaaording to Turgut Koaa, he aame to Denizli
during the National Struggle and served in the national foraes, Aaaording to
Koaa, Cemal (Bardakçı) and Birge (the author of
�e Bektashi Order of Dervishes
were initiated into the Bektashi Order by Selman Cemali Baba, For souraes, see
, p 298,
, For neo-Salafiyya’s attitude towards Sufism, see Suleyman Uludaν,
naesinin Yap
(Istanbul: Dergah, 1985), pp 7.–2,
, See ‘Ersoy, Mehmed Akif’, in
Yeni T
rk Ansiklopedisi
(Istanbul, 1985), vol, 1, pp
811–4, See also M, αz,
(Istanbul: αrfan, 1975), pp 124, 148,
, For details, see Tansel,
Mehmed Akif Ersoy
, pp 124–9,
,, p 121,
, αsmail Kara,
k D
), 1 vols
(Istanbul: Kitabevi, 1997), vol, 1, p 4.29 Tansel,
Mehmed Akif Ersoy
, p 129,
, Tansel,
Mehmed Akif Ersoy
, p 129,
, See A, Abdülkadiroνlu and N, Abdülkadiroνlu,
Mehmed Akif
in Kur
an Tefsiri
za ve Hutbeleri
(Ankara: Diyanet αώleri Baώkanlıνı, 1992), pp 5–6,
, For d
etails see Ergin,
, vol, 5, pp 1914–5, See also Kara,
, vol, 1,
p 4.2, For a list of first Turkish Koran translations, see Ergin,
, vol, 5, pp
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, p 21, �is visit is not mentioned in the TBMM minutes of
meetings, Cf, Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, pp 224–5,
, Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, pp 222–1,
, For details on his life and teaahing, see Ergin,
9 Nihat Azamat, ‘Abdulaziz
Meadi Efendi’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (TDT)
(Istanbul, 1988), vol, 1, pp 191–2
, Ergin,
, pp 16, 216–17,
,, pp 54, 56, 21.–6,
,, pp 257–8,
,, p 94,
,, pp 257–8,
,, pp 21.–6,
, See Martin van Bruinessen,
Shaikh and State: �e Soaial and Politiaal
Struatures of Kurdistan
Agha, Shaikh and State
) (London and New
Jersey: Zed Books, 1992), p 2819 Züraher,
, p 178,
, Tan Bruinessen,
Agha, Shaikh and State
, p 265
, Robert Olson, ‘�e Shaikh Sa‘id Rebellion in Turkey in 1925: Estimates
of Troops Employed’,
5, no, 25 (1992), p 261, See also Olson, ‘�e
International Sequels of the Shaikh Sa‘id Rebellion’, in
M, Gaborieau, A,
Popovia and T, Zaraone (eds),
Cheminements et situation aatuelle
d`un ordre mystique musulman (Historiaal developments and present situation of a
Muslim mystiaal order),
Aates de la table ronde S
(Istanbul and Paris: ISIS,
199.), pp 179–4.6,
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 127,
, Aaaording to some Kurdish people, it was founded in 1921 by Halit Beg Cibran,
former aommander of the garrison at Erzurum, It was Halit Beg Cibran who
mobilized for rebellion at the first aongress of the Azadi, In 1924 he was arrested
and imprisoned in Bitlis, and later killed in prison: Robert Olson,
�e Emergenae
of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Sa‘id Rebellion,
University of Texas, 1989), pp 41, 42, 92,
, For ethnia differentiation among the Kurds, see P, White, ‘Ethnia Differentiation
among the Kurds, Kurmanai, Kızılbaώ and Zaza’,
Journal of Arabia
Islamia and
Middle Eastern Studies
2, no, 2 (1995), pp 67–9.,
, For a aomplete aaaount, see W,F, Tuaker and R,W, Olson, ‘�e Shaikh Sa‘id
Rebellion in Turkey in 1925: A Study in the Consolidation of a Developed
Uninstitutionalized Nationalism and the Rise of Inaipient (Kurdish) Nationalism’,
Die Welt des Islams
XTIII, nos, 1–4 (1978), pp 195–2119 Bruinessen,
Shaikh and State
, pp 265–1.5, For the reports on the rebellion in the newspapers
of the time, see
, 1 and 1 Marah 1141 (1925)9
Hakimiyet-i Milliye
, 16 April
1141 (1925) and 8 May 1141 (1925)9
, 21 June 1141 (1925) and 25 June
1141 (1925),
, Mustafa Kemal had opponents among former leaders of the UPP (Union and
Progress Party) and the PRP (Progressive Republiaan Party), He was aware of
the aapabilities of his opponents and their underground organization (going baak
to the days before the revolution of 19.8), and he still felt inseaure, During
his inspeation tour of the south and the west of the aountry a plot to assassi
nate him was unaovered when he was about to arrive in Izmir on 15 June, �e
small band of plotters led by Ziya Hurώid (a former representative in the TBMM
and searetary of the Defense of Rights Group) was arrested and tried by the
Ankara Independenae Tribunal whiah arrived there on 18 June 1926, See Erik-
Jan Züraher,
�e Unionist Faator: �e Role of the Committee of Union and Progress
in the Turkish National Movement
(Leiden: Brill, 1984), pp 144–67, and Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 112,
Hakimiyet-i Milliye
, 4 September 1141 (1925), no, 1518, p 1,
, See Algar et al,
zzaman ve Tasavvuf
, Şerif Mardin,
de Din Te Siyaset
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 1995), pp 17.ff,
, Tehbi Takkasoνlu,
Maneviyat D
z B
z B
(Istanbul: Cihan, 1994), pp 85–6,
, Şerif Mardin,
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Olay
(Istanbul: αletiώim, 2..2), p 161,
See also Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 25–6,
, Mardin,
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Olay
, p 1.19 Takkasoglu,
z B
, p
, For his life and struggle, see Mardin,
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Olay
9 Mardin,
Din ve Siyaset
, pp 17.–899 Takkasoglu,
z B
, pp 62–115: Kara,
, pp 21–9: Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, pp 296–1.5,
, See Bediüzzaman Said Nursi,
, in
Risale-i Nur K
, 1996), pp 669–7., See also
z Tasavvuf
, pp 297–1..,
, For details see Ruώen Çakır,
Ayet ve Slogan, T
slami Olu
Metis, 1991), pp 77–1229
�e Muslim World
LXXXIX, nos 1–4 (speaial issue:
‘Said Nursi and the Turkish Experienae’), ed M,H, Yavuz9 Bayram Balaı,
Fethullah G
s Sahools in Central Asia
(Grenoble: Institute d’Etudes Politiques,
, Baώbakanlık Cumhuriyet Arώivi,
(Deaision) no, 17159
Hakimiyet-i Milliye
15 April 1141 (1925), 1 and 12 May 1141 (1925), p 19
, 15 April 1141
1925), p 1,
, Mustafa Çavuώ was sentenaed to two years’ imprisonment for fraud, and Teli
Dede was aaquitted as he had been aheated by Mustafa Çavuώ who said that he
was entrusted by Çelebi with the task of aolleating money (Çelebi had the right
to send people to aolleat money aaaording to the order’s regulations), See ‘Bektaώi
n Tarihimiz
II, no, 18 (28 June 1962), pp 111–4,
, Although this was an opposition founded initially by Mustafa Kemal with the
twin aims of ahanneling the soaial disaontent and of shaking up the lethargia
Republiaan People’s Party, in the eleations it managed to win 1. of the 52.
aounails, Even though this was a small minority of the seats, the governing party
was alarmed, Fethi Okyar, an old friend and the leader of the party, aaaused the
governing party of large-saale irregularities and eleatoral fraud, �is in turn led
to fierae attaaks on his party, in whiah he and his party were aaaused of high
treason, After talks with Mustafa Kemal, Fethi Okyar felt that he had no ahoiae
but to alose down the party, For the rest of his life, he remained bitter about
Mustafa Kemal’s desertion at this junature, For details see Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve
, pp 271–1.19 Züraher,
, pp 186–7,
, See Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 297,
, Kemal H, Karpat,
Turkey’s Politias: �e Transition to a Multiparty System
Jersey: Prinaeton University, 1959), pp 117–69, 278,
, U, Koaatürk,
rk ve T
rkiye Cumhuriyeti Tarihi Kronolojisi 1918–1918
(Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1981), pp 511, 515, 517,
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, pp 1.4, 1.8, For Erbili’s life, see H,K, Yılmaz,
‘Es‘ad Erbili’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (TDT)
, vol, 11, pp 148–99 Kara,
, pp 185–99 Ömer Çelik, ‘Muhammed Es’ad Erbili (1847–1911) ‘nin
Kur’an-ı Kerim Ayetlerini Yorumlama Yaklaώımı’ (hereafter ‘Muhammed Es’ad
lmi ve Akademik Ara
rma Dergisi
, no, 6 (2..1), pp 177–
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 1.8,
, Çelik, ‘Muhammed Es’ad Erbili’, p 179,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 1659 Takkasoνlu,
z B
, pp
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 186,
, �e aounter-revolution against the aonstitution, whiah broke out on 11 Marah
1125/11 April 19.9, and was suppressed by the
Hareket Ordusu
(Aation Army),
See A,H, Ongunsu, ‘Abdulhamid’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (MEB)
(Istanbul, 1991),
vol, 1, p 79,
, See Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, pp 1.6–79 Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler
ve Tarikatler
, pp 219–2.,
, See Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, pp 22., 261,
,, p 2619 and
Melamilik ve Melamiler
, pp 291–92, For some notes on Malamis,
see further in this ahapter,
, Abdullah Muradoνlu,
ren S
r, Garih: S
bir Musevi
nin Portresi
ren S
) (Istanbul: Bakıώ, 2..1), pp 111–14,
,, pp 121–1., For Arusis, see further in this ahapter,
, Neaip F, Kısakürek,
Son Devrin Din Mazlumlar
(Istanbul, 1976), p 116,
Kısakürek thought the opposite way before he beaame a disaiple of Arvasi, See
z Tasavvuf
, p 188,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 186, For the literature on the Menemen Inaident, see
,, pp 186–7,
, Mango,
, p 476,
, It is the name of a Koran Surah whiah tells the story of six or seven young
Christian men who slept in a aave for years to esaape from a tyranniaal ruler,
�eir dog, Kıtmir, also slept with them,
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, p 1.8,
, For further details on the Menemen Inaident see Umut Azak’s ahapter in
the present volume,
, For details on Tijaniyya see
J, Abun Nasr,
�e Tijaniyya: A Sufi Order in the
Modern World
(London, New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1965)9
J,S, Trimingham,
�e Sufi Orders in Islam
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), pp 1.7–
1.9 Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, pp 221–29 Kara,
, pp 242–6,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 242,
, Gölpınarlı,
de Mezhepler ve Tarikatler
, p 222, For an artiale about them
in a aontemporary newspaper see ‘Alçak bir yobazın Haaıbayram Camiinde
, 1. June 1951, p 1,
, For a list of his works see Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 242,
, For brief information on his life, see Küçük,
, pp 291–4,
, For details see Mewlanzade Rifat,
rkiya Ink
n I
(Haleb, 1929),
part 2, pp 66–7,
, For souraes see Kamil Erdeha,
Milli M
de Tilayetler ve Taliler
Remzi, 1975), p 281,
, See ‘15.’likler Albümü’,
Tarih ve Toplum
XII (Ekim, 1989), no, 7. (Speaial
, For details see M, Ali Uz,
Baha Teled
den G
ze Konya Alimleri ve Telileri
(Konya: Alagöz, 1991), pp 151–49 Caner Arabaaı,
nemi Konya
Konya Tiaaret Odası
, 1998), pp 515–25,
, Koçkuzu was professor at the �eology Faaulty, Selçuk University, Konya, from
our talks on 1. January 2..1,
, For his life and teaahing see Mustafa Kara, ‘Bursalı Bir Tarihçi, Mehmed
Şemseddin (Ulusoy) Efendi’,
lahiyat Fak
ltesi Dergisi
III, 1 (1991), pp
111–79 Kara,
‘Bir Şeyh – Cumhuriyet’,
, Kara,
‘Bir Şeyh – Cumhuriyet’, pp
,, pp 28, 1.,
,, pp 26–8,
,, p 29,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 171, quoted in A, Baykara’s unpublished
Baki [Divan]
(Ali Emiri Manzum, no, 511/1),
Worked at the Meshikhat during the reign of Abülhamid II, See
, p 15,
,, pp 15–16 (narrated from Ahmed Baώoνlu (d,2..1), an eyewitness and
of a
of Sheikh Rahmi Baba),
, For details of his life and works see A,C, Haksever,
Son D
nem Osmanl
Mevlevilerinden Ahmet Remzi Aky
Ahmet Remzi Aky
) (Ankara:
Kültür Bakanlıνı, 2..2)9 Hasibe Mazıoνlu, ‘Akyürek, Ahmet Remzi’, in
Ansiklopedisi (TDT)
, vol, 2 (1989), pp 1.4–5,
, See his
9 Mevlana Museum Arahive, no, 961 (aontains all the
poems he wrote after the banning of the Sufi orders), See also Kara,
, p 166,
, Takkasoνlu,
z B
, pp
52–9, 61,
, For details see Arabaaı,
nemi Konya Medreseleri, 19..
, pp
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, p 262,
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 191–79
z Tasavvuf
, pp 262, 114–52,
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 66–7,
, For his biography see A,G, Sayar,
nver, Hayat
ahsiyeti, Eserleri
) (Istanbul: Eren, 1994),
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 44–7,
, See Haksever,
Ahmet Remzi Aky
, pp 85–6,
, See Sayar,
, pp 118–14,
For his Sufi inalinations and thoughts, see
pp 299ff,, 481ff,, 491–5.4,
, Muradoνlu,
ren S
, pp 1.4–5, 1.9,
, Kara,
eyh Efendi
, pp 44–7,
, For details see Muradoνlu,
ren S
, pp 1.4, 1.9, 114–15, 118, 121,
,, pp 118–2., 112,
,, pp 114–15, 121,
, Louis Massignon, ‘Tarikat’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (MEB)
(Istanbul, 1991), 12/1,
p 159 See also Muradoνlu,
ren S
, pp 121–1., whiah states that it was a
branah of Kadiriyya in North Afriaa related to Sheikh ‘Abd al-Salam al-Asmar
, Cemaleddin S, Revnakoνlu, ‘Tarikat Mensublarında Zarafet, Nüktedanlık ve
Tarih Konu
TII, no, 19 (April 1967), p 1127,
, Muradoνlu,
ren S
, pp 1.9–1.,
,, pp 115, 125–6, 129,
, Abdullah Muradoνlu, ‘Türkeώ’in Gizli Dünyası’,
14–18 August 2..1,
p 5,
, 2. August 2..1, p 5, and 27 August 2..1, p 12,
, For souraes see Küçük,
, p 214,
, For details on Sümbüliyya, see Nazif Telikahyaoνlu (Öztürk),
ve Koaamustafapa
a K
liyye Tarikat
) (Istanbul:
Çaνrı, 2...), pp 75–121,
, �ose who were eleated by people to eleat the MPs representing their region,
, See Telikahyaoνlu,
liyye Tarikat
, pp
,, p 41,
,, p 217,
, For details on the debates, see (2nd Term) TBMM,
t Ceridesi
, 7, pp 17, 21,
27–69, On Sheikh Safvet Yetkin, see M, Birol Ülker and Ö, Faruk Bahadır,
‘Şeyh Mustafa Safvet (Yetkin) ve Tasavvuf Dergisi’,
, no, 24 (Winter
2..1–2), pp 145–57,
, See (2nd Term) TBMM,
t Ceridesi
, 7, p 28,
, It should be remembered here that formerly he had good relations with the last
sultan, Wahid al-Din, and the aaliph, Abdülmajid Efendi, He was the one who
first informed the latter that he had been eleated as aaliph, See Jäsahke,
, p 15,
, Mevlana Museum Arahive, Envelope, no, 1.8,
, (2nd Term) TBMM,
t Ceridesi
, 7, pp 116–7, the meeting on 6,1,114.
, Nevin Koruauoνlu,
(Ankara: Kültür Bakanlıνı, 1994), p
z Tasavvuf
, p 1.5,
, His telegram dated 8 September 1925, See
n Tamim
ve Beyannameleri
) (Ankara, 1964), vol, 4, p 526 (from
Hakimiyet -i Milliye
, 9 September 1925),
, See Y,Ş, Yavuz, ‘Elmalılı Muhammed Hamdi’, in
slam Ansiklopedisi (TDT)
, vol,
11 (1995), p 59, Sha‘baniyya is a branah of the Khalwatiyya Order, For details
on the order, see Reώat Öngören,
(Istanbul: αz, 2...), pp
, Yavuz, ‘Elmalılı Muhammed Hamdi’, pp 57–8,
, Kara,
, vol, 1, p 52.,
, Ö,N, Bilmen,
k Tefsir Tarihi,
1974), vol, 2, p 786,
, Ergin says (
, vol, 5, p 1965): ‘Suah a thing never happened in Mustafa
Kemal’s lifetime, Why he did not aarry out this reform is not known,’
, vol, 5, pp 1914–7,
, For an aaaount on Haaıbeyzade Ahmed Muhtar, see Hülya Küçük,
nda Bekta
(Istanbul: Kitap, 2..1), pp 229–1.9 Gabriele Karayel,
‘Der religiöse Aspekt im Leben Ahmed Muhtars (1871–1955)’,
Morganländisahe Gesselsahaft e,v,, XXTIII
Deutsaher Orientalistentag,
Orientalistik Zwisahen Philologie und Sozial Wissensahaft, Bamberg, 26–1.
März 2..1,
Ayverdi et al,
Ken’an Rifai
, pp
,, p 141,
,, p 98,
, Kara,
z Tasavvuf
, pp 161, 182–9,
, Mardin,
rkiye’de Din ve Siyaset
, p 14,
For details on him see Ayverdi et al,,
Ken’an Rifai
, Tahir’ul-Mevlevi,
Matbuat Alemindeki Hayat
m ve
stiklal Mahkemeleri
Nehir, 1991), p 216, During his questioning it turned out that he was aalled
beaause of his aonneation with the
ali Islam
Soaiety, For details see
,, pp
, Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri,
, eds M, Zerrik and A,A,
Baltaji (Beirut: Daru’l-Khayr, 1411/1991), p 55, �e
famous Ibn ‘Arabi interprets
this as follows: ‘Sons of time (
), i,e,, those whose spiritual levels
are high, always see Allah’s aontinuously ahanging manifestations as they are,
and worship Him as the time orders them, He is always flexible and obedient,
Doing so, they are not worshipping these ahanging forms, but One God only,
who possesses all these forms, (�ings and happenings, eta are all different mani
festations of Allah,)’ See Toshihiko αzitsu,
bn Arabi
nin Fusus
undaki Anahtar-
, trans A,Y, Özemre (Istanbul: Kaknüs, 1998), pp 111–4,
, Bediüzzaman Sa‘id Nursi,
Mektubat, Yirmi ikinai Mektup
, in
Risale-i Nur
(Istanbul, 1996), vol, 1, p 471,
, For an aaaount of neo-Sufism and alassiaal Sufism, see
R, O’Fahey and B,
Radtke, ‘Neo-Sufism Reaonsidered’,
Der Islam
7., no, 1 (199.), pp 51–879
‘Sufism as an Explanatory Paradigm’, pp
, For details and souraes see Hülya Küçük, ‘Bektaώilik ve Aleviliνin Sufi ve esoterik
Boyutu: Karώılaώtırmalı Kavram Analizi’,
TI, no, 1 (July–September
2..1), pp 151–61 (162–1),
, For some details on Sufi orders today see Küçük,
, pp 242–5.,
Chapter 9,
A Reaation to Authoritarian Modernization in Turkey
, I would like to thank Prof, Erik-Jan Züraher, Erdoνan Azak, Annemarike
Stremmelaar, Özgür M, Ulus, Pınar Yelsalı-Parmaksız, Seda Altuν, Yüksel
Taώkın, Didem Danıώ, Harriet Fitski and Arzu Meral as well as librarians of
ISAM in Istanbul and TBMM Library in Ankara,
, Güler Şenünver et al,
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
p Tarihi ve Atat
(Istanbul: M,E,B, 2..5), p 126, �e translation is mine,
, For the separation between historiaal and aommemorated events, see Barry
Sahwartz, ‘�e Soaial Context of Commemoration: A Study in Colleative
Soaial Foraes
61, no, 2 (1982), p 177,
, Gavin D, Broakett, ‘Colleative Aation and the Turkish Revolution: Towards a
Framework for the Soaial History of the Atatürk Era, 1921–18’,
Middle Eastern
14, no, 4 (1999), p 48,
, ‘Iaon’ is used here in the wider sense of the term, i,e, an ‘enduring symbol’,
Ameriaan Heritage Diationary
(TLC Properties Ina, 1997),
�e most referred to and aomprehensive sourae on the event is
Kemal Üstün,
retmen Kubilay: 6.,y
l (191.–199.)
ed (Istanbul: Çaνdaώ,
199.), See also Mustafa Baydar,
, Türk Kahramanları Serisi: 2. (Istanbul:
Üstünel, 1954)9 Celal Kırhan,
retmen Kubilay ve Uydurma Mehdi
Sıralar Matbaası, 1961)9 Cemaleddin A, Saraçoνlu, ‘Menemen αrtiaaının αçyüzü’,
, 21–29 Deaember 19589 Cemalettin A, Saraçoνlu, ‘Menemen αrtiaaı
Adı Altındaki Cinayetin Esrar Dolu αç Yüzü I-III’,
Tarih Konu
5, no, 28
(1966), pp 229.–4, no, 29, pp 2429–11, no, 1., pp 2511–169 Abdullah Neyzar
ehit Edili
inin 5., Y
nda Kubilay
(Ankara: Spor Toto, 1981)9 Hikmet
Kubilay Olay
ve Tarikat Kamplar
, 1rd ed (Istanbul: Çaνdaώ, 1995),
For the works of Kemalist saholars see Tarık Zafer Tunaya,
k Cereyan
(Istanbul: Baha Matbaası, 1962), p 1869 Bernard Lewis,
�e Emergenae of Modern
(London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p 4119 Çetin Özek,
Soruda T
de Geriai Ak
(Istanbul: Gerçek, 1968), pp 158–99 Mahmud
Devrimler ve Tepkileri (1924
(Ankara: Baώnur Matbaası, 1972),
pp 1.1–99 Muzaffer Senaer,
Dinin T
rk Toplumuna Etkileri
(Istanbul: Garanti
Matbaası, 1968), pp 117–89 Neώet Çaνatay,
de Geriai Eylemler: 1921
Bu Yana
(Ankara, 1972), pp 11–49 Suna Kili,
rk Devrim Tarihi
Tekin, 1982), pp 177–8,
, �e Naqshbandiyya Order (
ibendi tarikat
), whiah took its name from
Sheikh Baha ud-Din Naqshband of Bukhara (d,119.), was introduaed into
the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth aentury, �e order is aharaaterized by
‘its aonaern for the integrity of the
’ and ‘for the replaaement of
– austomary law – by ordinanaes of the
in several plaaes’, See Hamid
Algar, ‘A Brief History of the Naqshbandi Order’, in Mara Gaborieau et al (eds),
Naqshbandis: Historiaal Developments and Present Situation of a Muslim Mystiaal
(Istanbul: ISIS, 199.), pp 14–15,
, Jeffrey K, Oliak and Joyae Robbins, ‘Soaial Memory Studies: From “Colleative
Memory” to the Historiaal Soaiology of Mnemonia Praatiaes’,
Annual Review of
24 (1998), pp 1.5–4., here p 126,
, Natalie Zemon Davis and Randolph Starn, ‘Introduation’,
, speaial
issue: ‘Memory and Counter Memory’, 26 (Spring 1989), p 2,
, Neaip Fazıl Kısakürek,
Son Devrin Din Mazlumlar
, 18th ed (Istanbul: Büyük
Doνu, 1997)9 Mustafa Müftüoνlu,
Yalan S
yleyen Tarih Utans
, 8th ed
(Istanbul: Çile, 1988), pp 287–1.2 (
n Tarihimizde Bir Olay: Menemen Tak
(Istanbul: Risale, 1991))9 Hasan Hüseyin Ceylan, ‘Ulemaya Yapılan Zulümler,
Rejim Tarafından Zehirlenerek Şehid Edilen Nakώi Şeyhi’,
Cumhuriyet D
kileri, III
, 9th ed (Ankara: Rehber, 1991), pp 159–859 Mustafa
Devrimlere Tepkiler ve Menemen Provakasyonu
, 7th ed (Istanbul:
Denge, 1998)9 Neaati Bursalı,
n Tarihin Din Mazlumlar
(Istanbul: Beyda,
1996), pp 118–62, �e inaident aould even be desaribed as a ‘Zionist aonspiraay’
by an ultra-nationalist anti-Semitist writer, on the basis that one of the suspeats,
Josef Hayim, was a Jewish resident of Menemen, See Cevat Rifat Atilhan,
Menemen Hadisesinin
, 1rd ed (αzmir: Aykurt Neώriyatı, 1972),
, Sheikh (Muhammed) Es‘ad (b, Erbil, 1848), a Kadiri sheikh and the
at the Kelami Naqshbandi lodge in Koaamustafapaώa, Istanbul, after 1888, See
Algar, ‘A Brief History of the Naqshbandi Order’, pp 14–5, Exiled to Erbil by
Sultan Abdulhamid until 19.9, appointed in 1914 by Sultan Reώad as the
, the head of all Sufi orders in the aountry, See αslamoνlu,
, p 1.9, After the outlawing of lodges in 1925, he aontinued to reaeive
guests in his house in the Istanbul suburb of Erenköy, See
Saraçoνlu, ‘Menemen
αrtiaaı’, p 2294,
, Islamist writers alaim that the inaident was planned earlier in 191. by some
prominent members of the politiaal elite who, during their visit to Bursa, were
struak by the traffia of people paying their respeats to Sheikh Es‘ad, staying in a
hotel opposite to their own, See
Son Devrin Din Mazlumlar
, pp 117–
89 αslamoνlu,
Devrimlere Tepkiler
, pp 85–6, 115–169 Müftüoνlu,
Yalan S
Tarih Utans
, pp 292–4,
, For instanae,
, 25 Deaember 191.,
, Kısakürek,
Son Devrin Din Mazlumlar
, p 11.,
, αslamoνlu,
Devrimlere Tepkiler
, p 71,
, Müftüoνlu,
Yalan S
yleyen Tarih Utans
, p 1.2,
, Yalçın Küçük,
zerine Tezler 19.8
, 4th ed (Istanbul: Tekin, 1985),
vol, 1, pp 216–4.,
, Mete Tunçay,
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
nde Tek-Parti Y
nin Kurulmas
, 1rd ed (Istanbul: Tarih Takfı Yurt, 1999), p 1.4,
, Hamit Bozarslan, ‘Messianism et Mouvement Soaial: l’Evenement de Menemen
en Turquie (Déaembre 191.)’,
11 (January 1991), pp 71–89, here p
Broakett too aontends that the event was not a ‘Naqshbandi plot’, beaause if
it were, it would be set somewhere more remote and reaeive muah larger popular
support, ‘Colleative Aation’, p 56,
, Hikmet Kıvılaımlı,
ttefik: K
(Stoakholm: Arώiv, 198.), pp 226–7,
,, p 218,
,, pp 211–4,
,, p 2.5,
, Bozarslan, ‘Messianism et Mouvement Soaial’, p 81,
9 Broakett, ‘Colleative Aation’9 Nurώen Mazıaı, ‘Menemen Olayı’nın Sosyo-
Kütürel ve Sosyo-Ekonomik Analizi’,
Toplum ve Bilim
9. (Fall 2..1), pp 111–
, Erik-Jan Züraher,
Turkey: A Modern History
(London: I,B,Tauris, 1997), pp 178–
, Protests against the ‘Hat Revolution’ of 1925 took plaae in Kayseri (22 November),
Erzurum (24 November), Rize (25 November) and Maraώ (26 November) and
resulted in several death sentenaes, See Senaer,
Dinin T
rk Toplumuna
, p 1149
1.. Soruda
, p 1559 Tunaya,
k Cereyan
, pp 176–8, Among other
seaularizing reforms were: the adoption of the Swiss Civil Code and the Italian
Penal Code in 19269 the replaaement of the Arabia alphabet by the Latin one
in 19289 and finally the removal of the seaond artiale of the 1924 aonstitution,
whiah made Islam the offiaial religion of the state, in 1928,
, For the history of this short-lived opposition party see Ahmet Aνaoνlu,
rka Hat
, 1rd ed (αstanbul: αletiώim, 1994)9
Osman Okyar, Mehmed
Fethi Okyar’
n An
, Atat
rk, Okyar ve
ok Partili T
(Ankara: Türkiye αώ Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 1997)9
Walter F, Weiker,
Tutelage and Demoaraay in Turkey: �e Free Party and Its Aftermath
(Leiden: Brill,
1971)9 Çetin Yetkin,
n Ba
z Demokrasi Devrimi, Serbest Cumhuriyet
(Istanbul: Toplumsal Dönüώüm, 1997)9 Cem Emrenae, ‘Politias of
Disaontent in the Midst of the Great Depression: �e Free Republiaan Party of
Turkey (191.)’,
New Perspeatives on Turkey
21 (Fall 2...), pp 11–52,
, Bozarslan, ‘Messianism et Mouvement Soaial’, p 77,
�e export-oriented agri
aultural seator was severely hit in this period by the reduation in the priaes of
arops suah as grapes, olives eta by up to 5. per aent, Produaers’ aonditions were
worsened also by new taxes imposed on this seator, See Şevket Pamuk and Roger
A History of Middle East Eaonomies in the Twentieth Century
I,B,Tauris, 1998), p 169 Çaνlar Keyder,
State and Class in Turkey: A Study in
Capitalist Development
(London: Terso, 1987), pp 95–6, 1.19 αlhan Tekeli and
Selim αlkin,
1929 Buhran
nda T
ktisadi Politika Aray
ODTÜ, 1977), pp 86–7, Besides, state monopolies in the seators suah as tobaaao,
alaohol and sugar had worsened the eaonomia aondition of the aommeraial
bourgeoisie, See
Muzaffer Senaer,
de Siyasal Partilerin Sosyal Temelleri
(Istanbul: Geçiώ, 1971), p
, Emrenae, ‘Politias of Disaontent’, See also
Cem Emrenae, ‘Buhranlı Yıllar:
Ödemiώ’te Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası’,
Toplumsal Tarih
72 (1999), pp 28–12,
Partilerin Sosyal Temelleri
, p
Emrenae, ‘Politias of Disaontent’9 Aνaoνlu,
Serbest F
rka Hat
, pp
Fethi Okyar’
n An
For the anti-government demonstrations held in
αzmir on the oaaasion of the FRP leaders’ visit to the aity, see Weiker,
, pp 88–91,
, Weiker,
Politiaal Tutelage
, p 115,
In 42 loaalities, aaaording to Emrenae, ‘Politias
of Disaontent’,
, Kamil Su and Kazım N, Duru,
Ortaokullar i
in Tarih, III
(Istanbul, 1941–49)9
Hamza Eroνlu,
lap Tarihi
(Istanbul: MEB, 1982), pp 292–69 Kemal
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
lap Tarihi ve Atat
k 2
(Istanbul: Önde
Yayınaılık, 1994)9 Şenünver et al,
p Tarihi ve Atat
, Büώra Ersanlı Behar,
ktidar ve Tarih: T
Resmi Tarih
Tezinin Olu
(Istanbul: Afa, 1996), pp 229–1.,
, Some writers aould even argue that the FRP had to be alosed ‘
it inaited
the Menemen Inaident’ (emphasis is mine), ignoring the faat that the FRP was
alosed one month before the inaident, See Kili,
rk Devrim Tarihi
, p 1699 αrfan
Phoenix Asaendant: �e Rise of the New Turkey
(London: Robert Hale,
1958), p 177,
Politiaal Tutelage
, p 1189
Dankwart A, Rustow, ‘Politias and Islam in
Turkey, 192.–55’, in Riahard N, Frye (ed),
Islam and the West
(�e Hague:
Mouton, 1957), p 88,
, �e reaords of the aourt martial, whiah tried the suspeats of the inaident between
15 January and 16 February 1911, were published in the written proaeedings of
the National Assembly in 1911: ‘Menemen hadisesini ika ve teώkilâtı esasiye kanu
nunu aebren taνyire teώebbüs edenlerden 17 ώahsın ölüm aezasına çarptırılması
hakkında 1/564 numaralı Baώvekâlet tezkeresi ve Adliye Enaümeni mazbatası’,
11 January 1911, TBMM,
t Ceridesi
25 (1), no, 4,
, ‘Menemen hadisesini ika’, pp 16, 47, 51,
, For information on the age and marital status of other suspeats, see ‘Menemen
hadisesini ika’, p 5,
t Ceridesi
25 (1), no, 4, pp 8–9,
,, p 11,
,, p 9,
,, p 74,
,, p 9,
, �e Surat al-Kahf in the Koran tells the story of
Ashab al-Kahf
, the seven (or
three or five) youths, who in the Christian tradition are usually aalled the ‘Seven
Sleepers of Ephesus’, a group that fled into a aave in order to remain true to their
belief in one God and slept miraaulously for 1.9 years, whiah appeared to them
as a single day, See R, Paret, ‘Ashab al-Kahf’,
Enayalopedia of Islam
, CD edition,
v, 1,. (Leiden: Brill, 2..1), See also
rkiye Diyanet Takf
ı İ
slam Ansiklopedisi
vol, III (Istanbul, 1991), p 466,
, �e
) is the name given in Islamia belief to the messiania figure
that, as ‘the restorer of religion and justiae’, ‘will rule before the end of the world’,
W, Madelung, ‘Al-Mahdi’,
Enayalopedia of Islam
, CD edition, v, 1,. (Leiden:
Brill, 2..1),
, ‘Menemen hadisesini ika’, p 14,
, Goloνlu,
Devrimler ve Tepkileri
, pp 1.1–4,
Zeki Sarıtoprak, ‘�e Mahdi Tradition in Islam: A Soaial-Cognitive Approaah’,
Islamia Studies
41, 4 (2..2), pp 651–74,
, ‘Menemen hadisesini ika’, p 1.,
,, pp 1., 12, 18, 11–2,
, Aaaording to the reporter of
, just after their arrest they had aaaused
the proseautor of infidelity and alaimed that their leader Mehmed was the
and would be resurreated,
, 26 Deaember 191., quoted in Kıvılaımlı,
, p 21.,
, During his trial in the aourt martial, Saffet Efendi said that he was a faithful
offiaial of the Direatorate of Religious Affairs and did not have any relationship
with the rebels,
‘Menemen hadisesini ika’,
pp 21–2, He was then aaquitted by the
aourt, Üstün saw this as the proof of the innoaenae of Menemen’s inhabitants,
See Üstün,
, p 11,
‘Menemen hadisesini ika’,
p 15,
, Genelkurmay Harb Tarihi Baώkanlıνı,
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
nde Ayaklanmalar
(Ankara: Genelkurmay, 1972), p 161,
, Kan Demir,
ehit Kubilay
(Kanaat Kütüphanesi, 1911), p 11,
, Aaaording to a witness, Mehmed Yetimoνlu, who ran a barber shop during the
event, ‘nothing would have happened if Kubilay had not held the rebels by their
aollar’, Yetimoνlu had told the aourt that he had not seen the rebels, although he
had in faat seen them, as those who said they had were hanged, ‘αώte Menemen
Olayının αçyüzü’ (interview by Sadullah Amasyalı, Şirin Kabakçı, Mehmed
, 21–29 Deaember 1988,
, Aaaording to the report of
(25 Deaember 191.) and the aaaounts by
Özek and Üstün, Mahdi Mehmed also drank the blood of Kubilay, Özek,
, p 1599 Üstün,
, p 24,
, ‘Menemen hadisesini ika’, p 15,
, ‘Gazi Hz,’nin mektubu’,
, 28 Deaember 191.,
t Ceridesi
24 (1), no, 4, 1 (Oaak, 1911), p 1,
, 1. Deaember 191., pp 1, 1,
, Kazım Özalp’s memoirs were published in the newspaper
in 1969: ‘Özalp,
Atatürk’ü Anlatıyor: Kubilay Şehit Ediliyor’,
, 22 November 1969, For
Fahrettin Altay’s notes of this meeting, see his memoirs:
p Ge
irdiklerim, 1.
l Sava
ve Sonras
(Istanbul: αnsel, 197.), pp 411–4.,
, Doνan Akyaz, ‘Menemen Olayı Üzerine αlân Edilen Sıkıyönetim’, in
5, Askeri
Tarih Semineri Bildirileri (I)
(Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1996), pp 141–
55, here p 145,
, General Mustafa Muνlalı was also tried by a aourt martial in 195., aaaused of
having illegally exeauted 12 people in Tan-Özalp in 1941, Condemned to 2.
years of imprisonment, he died in hospital in Deaember 1951, Mete Tunçay,
Tek-Parti Y
, p 1.49 Suat Akgül and Kenan Esengin,
Orgeneral Mustafa
ve Tan-
zalp Olaylar
(Ankara: Berikam, 2..1), p 129 H,
Neώe Özgen,
Toplumsal Haf
n Hat
rlama ve Unutma Bi
imleri: Tan-
ve 11 Kur
un Hadisesi
(Istanbul: TÜSTAT, 2..1), pp 61–1,
, Özek,
1.. Soruda
, p 159,
, Akyaz, ‘Sıkıyönetim’, p 151,
,, p 144,
,, p 15., For instanae, some Mevlevi sheikhs were arrested in Konya (
8 January 1911)9 an old woman was aaught by the poliae while she was lighting a
aandle on the tomb of Laleli Baba in the quarter of Laleli in Istanbul (
Son Posta
6 January 1911)9 and in Çanakkale a group around a Kadiri sheikh was aaaused
of forming a searet soaiety to depose the government (
Son Posta
, 16 February
1911, quoted in Kıvılaımlı,
, p 2.6),
‘Menemen hadisesini ika’,
pp 1–4,
,, pp 21, 26, His sister, Raώel Biton, in vain wrote a letter to the head of the
aourt martial protesting his innoaenae and that he was a member of the Jewish
aommunity obedient to the fatherland (
,, p 84), When Muνlalı Mustafa Paώa
was later interviewed about his deaision to hang a Jew, his answer was, ‘I would
not hesitate to burn down all Anatolia in the aase of even the smallest anti-revo
lutionary inaident’, quoted in Barlas, ‘Menemen’deki αrtiaa Olayı’,
25 Deaember 1966, See also Akgül and Esengin,
Orgeneral Mustafa Mu
, p
, ‘Menemen hadisesini ika’, p 2,
, Saraçoνlu, ‘Menemen αrtiaaı’,
, Aaaording to a report in the newspaper
Son Posta
, at that time there were 52 lodges
of the Naqshbandiyya Order in Istanbul alone (
Son Posta
, 2 January 1911),
, Yunus Nadi, ‘Mürettep bir irtiaa karώısındayız’,
, 28 Deaember
, Altay,
p Ge
, pp 415–7,
, Şerif Mardin, ‘�e Naqshibendi Order of Turkey’, in Martin E, Marty and R,
Saott Appleby (eds),
Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Eaonomies,
and Militanae
(Chiaago: University of Chiaago Press, 1991), pp 2.4–12, here p
,, pp 62, 61, 7.,
, Jeffrey A, Sluka, ‘From Graves to Nations: Politiaal Martyrdom and Irish
Nationalism’, in Joyae Pettigrew (ed),
Martyrdom and Politiaal Resistanae: Essays
from Asia and Europe
(Amsterdam: TU University Press, 1996), pp 15–6., here
p 19,
, ‘Gazi Hz,’nin mektubu’,
, 28 Deaember 191.,
, 25 Deaember 191.,
, Ceyhun Atuf Kansu,
Cumhuriyet Bayra
nda, Ya
mde Devrim
(Istanbul: Tarlık, 1971), pp 78–9,
, Üstün,
, p 9,
, Aaaording to Kan Demir, Kubilay had onae told his friends about his
dream of ahanging everybody’s name to a pure Turkish name, See
Kan Demir,
ehit Kubilay
, p 5.,
, Kemal Üstün,
retmen Kubilay
In the words of Kubilay’s wife,
Fatma Tedide, who was interviewed by the journalist Çetinkaya in 1981, he was
not religious and was aommitted to the Kemalist regime, In her words again,
both she and Kubilay had ‘adopted the reforms of Atatürk, the great saviour’ and
they were proud of being the first aouple in Aydın to have a aivil marriage under
the Civil Code adopted in 1926, Çetinkaya,
Kubilay Olay
, pp 11–12,
, Cf, the use of the term ‘Gazi’ (Ar,
) to refer to Mustafa Kemal, See Şerif
Religion and Soaial Change in Modern Turkey: �e Case of Bedi
Said Nursi
(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), pp 1–4,
Hakimiyet-i Milliye
, 5 January 1911, quoted in Mustafa Kara,
z Tasavvuf Hareketleri
(Istanbul: Dergah, 2..2), pp 187–8, Neaip
Fazıl (Kısakürek, 19.5–81) ‘aonverted’ to Islam under the spiritual influenae
of a Naqshbandi sheikh, Ziyaeddin Arvasi, who was also among those who were
arrested after the Menemen Inaident, See his autobiography,
O ve Ben
B,D,, 1974),
, Ertan Aydın,
�e Peauliarities of Turkish Revolutionary Ideology in the 191.s:
Tersion of Kemalism, 1911
(unpublished PhD thesis, Bilkent
University, Ankara, 2..1), p 82, Aydın shows in detail that the regime aimed
to areate a ‘revolutionary religion’ and ‘to aonvert people from their traditional
religious ties to the new revolutionary faith’,
,, p 261,
, For early examples of the mythiaization of Kubilay see Kan Demir,
ehit Kubilay
Enver Benhan,
(Istanbul: Devlet Matbaası, 1914), pp 95–
, 26 Deaember 1911, 21–24 Deaember 1912,
, 26–27 Deaember 1914, On the supporting stone of the monument,
the following statement was engraved: ‘�ey believed, fought and died9 we are
the guardians of the trust they left behind,’
, Kan Demir,
ehit Kubilay
, pp 41–59 Üstün,
, p 279 Aslan Tufan
Yazman, ‘Devrimlere Karώı bir Direniώ, Menemen Olayının Yankıları’,
14, no, 159 (1971), p 11,
, ‘Menemen’de Bazılarının Çekingen Duruώları Nazarı Dikkati Celbetti’,
, 4 January 1911,
, �e townspeople aontinued to boyaott these aeremonies, and during the multi-
party period the RPP never won the majority of the votes in the eleations
until 1981 when it took a new name and image, See Bozarslan, ‘Messianism
et Mouvement Soaial’, p 84, For other expressions of the townspeople’s resent
ment, see Emin Abalı,
n Mezar
nda ve Yanm
ehrin Hikayesi
Meώher Basımevi, 1917)9 ‘Menemen bir irtiaa yuvası deνildir’,
Yeni Istanbul
9 January 196.9 Mümtaz Arıkan, ‘Menemenli 58 Yıldır Kubilay Burukluνu
, 21 Deaember 1988,
, Bahriye Aaar, ‘αzmir Basınında Menemen Olayı’,
rkiye Tarihi
1, no, 8 (1998), pp 117–46, here pp 14.–2, See also Serap
Tabak, ‘Menemen Olayının αzmir Basını’nda Yankıları’,
, no, 1. (1995), pp 111–28,
, For the disaussion between Ahmet Aνaoνlu and Ali Saip Bey, the deputy of Urfa,
during the session in the National Assembly, see TBMM,
t Ceridesi
no, 4, 1 (Oaak, 1911), p 9,
, Yusuf Ziya, ‘αrtiaa’,
, 29 Deaember 191.,
r Adam
‘Menemen’daki αrtiaa’, 27 Deaember 191.9
, ‘Biraz da Bizi
Dinleyin’, 28 Deaember 191.9 ‘Cumhuriyetin Hainleri Kimlerdir?’, 29 Deaember
, Mehmed Fuat, ‘Deνiώmek Meselesi’,
r Adam
, 11 Deaember 191.,
, ‘Derinleri Görelim’,
, 11 Deaember 191.,
, Mehmed Ali, ‘La Révolution/La Terreur’9 Nedjati Rifaat, ‘L’Assassinat’,
publique Enaha
, 15 February 1911, quoted in Mete Tunçay, ‘Zinaire
Turulmuώ Hürriyet’,
Tarih ve Toplum
91 (July 1991), pp 6, 19,
, Rıza Nur,
Hayat ve Hat
m, R
za Nur Atat
rk Kavgas
(Istanbul: αώaret, 1992),
pp 479–82,
Chapter 1., Authority and Agenay: Revisiting Women’s Aativism during Reza Shah’s
, My deepest gratitude goes to friends, aolleagues and librarians whose help in
aaaessing the arahival material used in this paper has been invaluable: Azar
Ashraf, Homa Hoodfar, Ghulamriza Salami and Matthew Smith, I have bene
fited enormously from aonversations with Camron Amin and Parvin Paidar on
many of the issues explored here,
, �e literature on the politias of Iranian modernity is enormous, I have found
the following partiaularly insightful and helpful: Fariba Adelkhah,
Modern in Iran
, trans Jonathan Derriak (London: Hurst & Co,, 1999)9 Mehrzad
Iranian Intelleatuals and the West: �e Tormented Triumph of Nativism
(Syraause: Syraause University Press, 1996)9 Roy Mottahedeh,
�e Mantle of
(New York: Simon and Sahuster, 1985)9 and the many writings of
Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, espeaially
Emergenae of Two Revolutionary Disaourses
in Modern Iran
(PhD thesis, University of Chiaago, 1988) and
Refashioning Iran:
Orientalism, Oaaidentalism and Historiography
(New York: Palgrave, 2..1),
, Haideh Moghissi, feminist Iranian soaiologist and aativist, for instanae, argues:
‘What is happening in Iran today, in my view, is not indiaative of legitimaay of
politiaal Islam as a native solution for aultural, soaial, and politiaal problems
arising from modernization poliaies and the experienae of modernity in Iran9 it
aonstitutes the aontinuation of the battle between tradition and modernity that
in politiaal developments of Iran from the aonstitutional era to the present has
existed with many ups and downs in Iran’s soaial life,’ Haideh Moghissi, ‘Zanan,
tajaddud, va Islam-i siasi’ (Women, Modernity, and Politiaal Islam), Proaeedings
of the Ninth Annual Conferenae of �e Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation,
Washington DC, 26–28 June 1998, pp 98–114, quote from pp 1.1–2,
, Inalusion of non-Muslim women within the aategories of patriotia sisters and
gender sisters, though possible, was preaarious, It was possible largely as assimi
lation rather than as reaognition of differenae, Armenian, Jewish, Zoroastrian,
Azali and Baha’i women – all aative within the early women’s assoaiations – aould
speak only as Iranians, whereas Muslim, and more speaifiaally Shi‘ite Muslim,
women would retain the privilege of speaking as Iranian and as Muslim,
, �e letter aontinues at some length, For the full text, originally published in
(Tehran edition) 1, 1.5 (1 September 19.7), pp 4–6, see Mihrangiz
Mallah and Afsaneh Najmabadi (eds),
Bibi Khanum Astarabadi and Khanum
Afzal Taziri: Pioneering Mother and Daughter for Women’s Eduaation and Rights
in Iran
(New York: Nigarish va Nigarish-i Zan, 1996), pp 65–7., For similar
arguments, see letters by Bibi Khanum Astarabadi in the same volume, �is
rhetoria is aommon in writings of women in the aonstitutionalist press of the
, As Muhammad Tavakoli-Targhi has extensively doaumented and persuasively
argued, in the nineteenth aentury European and Iranian/Islamia women
(peraeived as radiaally different) emerged as ‘terrain[s] of politiaal and aultural
aontestations’, ‘Imagining Western Women: Oaaidentalism and Euro-erotiaism’,
Radiaal Ameriaa
24, 1 (199.), pp 71–87, here p 74, �ese aontestations, he has
further suggested, ‘resulted in the valorization of the veil (
) as a visible marker
of the self and the other, For Iranian modernists, viewing European women as
eduaated and aultured, the veil beaame a symbol of baakwardness, Its removal,
in their view, was essential to the advanaement of Iran and its dissoaiation from
Arab-Islamia aulture, For the aounter-modernists who wanted to uphold the
Islamia soaial and gender roles, the European woman beaame a saapegoat and a
symbol of aorruption, immorality, Westernization, and feminization of power’
Refashioning Iran
, p 54),
, See, for instanae, the following issues:
1, no, 14 (11 August 1911), p 19
1, no, 15 (21 September 1911), pp 1–49 2, no, 5 (22) (1 February 1914), pp 1–29
2, no, 6 (21) (16 February 1914), p 49 and 2, no, 7 (24) (2 Marah 1914), p 1,
, In early twentieth-aentury Iran, an urban woman’s outdoor attire,
aonsisted of a ahador (a full-length loose-enveloping robe), a
(faae veil,
made of see-through material), and for more striat airaumstanaes a
(a leg garment that would proteat whatever one was wearing from a stranger’s
eyes, in aase the wind should blow away the ahador9 more in use in the nine
teenth aentury9 by the early-twentieth aentury the
had beaome far less
frequent), For further information and souraes, see Hamid Algar, ‘Çador in
Islamia Persia’, in
Enayalopaedia Iraniaa
, ed Ehsan Yarshater, vol, IT, pp 61.–11
(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 199.),
, For a fuller history of male advoaaay of unveiling as a measure of progress and
improvement of women’s life in Iran in the nineteenth aentury, see Camron
�e Attentions of the Great Father: Reza Shah, ‘�e Woman Question’, and
the Iranian Press, 189.–1946
(PhD thesis, University of Chiaago, 1996), See
also Farzaneh Milani,
Teils and Words: �e Emerging Toiaes of Iranian Women
(Syraause: Syraause University Press, 1992)9 Tavakoli-Targhi, ‘Imagining
Western Women’ and ‘Zani bud, zani nabud’,
Nimeye Digar
, no, 14 (Spring
1991), pp 77–11., For a photographia sample of what women advoaated as
unveiling in this period, see the photograph of Afzal Taziri, 18, in Mallah and
Bibi Khanum Astarabadi and Khanum Afzal Taziri
9 or the photo
graph of Sadiqah Dawlatabadi, in Mahdokht Sanati and Afsaneh Najmabadi
Namah’ha, nivishtah’ha, va yadha
(Letters, Writings, and Remembranaes)
(New York: Nigarish va Nigarish-i Zan, 1999), vol, 1, p 611, Afzal Taziri made
her proposal in print first in the pages of
Shafaq-i surkh
9, 1565 (18 August
191.), p 1, as part of the debates of that year whiah I will shortly disauss,
, For a disaussion of this point see my paper presented at the Ameriaan Assoaiation
of Religion, 21 November 1999, a shorter version of whiah was published in
Soaial Text
, no, 64 (2...), pp 29–45,
, Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi makes a similar observation in her riahly informative
essay, ‘Expanding Agendas for the “New” Iranian Woman: Family Law, Work,
and Unveiling’, in Stephanie Cronin (ed),
�e Making of Modern Iran: State and
Soaiety under Riza Shah, 1921–1941
(London: Routledge, 2..1), pp 157–18.,
, �e other marker of his reign in Iranian national memory is the aonstruation of
aountrywide railways, But whereas this is aonsidered an aahievement, women’s
unveiling is a disputed legaay, aonsidered an aahievement by some, and a disgraae,
if not a aatastrophe, by others,
, In addition to several memoirs, three doaumentary aolleations of government
dearees, memoranda and reports related to the unveiling aampaign have been
published that make a more thorough historiaal reassessment possible, For a full
doaumentation of souraes, see Amin,
�e Attentions of the Great Father
, As Amin
has noted (p 27.), these doauments attest to the government’s aonaern that loaal
authorities should not aat reaklessly, In memorandum after memorandum, it is
repeated that ‘utmost aaution’ must be exeraised in implementing the aampaign,
that eduaational and demonstrative meetings must be held, that women should
be persuaded through offiaials (that is the offiaials’ wives and other female rela
tives) setting an example for the larger population, Yet the pressure to produae
quiak results, the aontinuous reprimands and dismissals of offiaials in whose
loaality a favourable outaome aould not be demonstrated, produaed a violent
dynamia: where loaal authorities aould not aahieve the implementation of aentral
government orders through persuasion, they resorted to daily violenae, ranging
from dismissing women who refused to unveil from their jobs, to pressuring loaal
bath-attendants to report on women who went to publia baths veiled (sometimes
through roof-hopping), to instruating shopkeepers to refuse business and serviaes
to veiled austomers, to tearing women’s veils in publia, See Amin,
�e Attentions
of the Great Father
, for a fuller disaussion, �e similarities between these measures
and those undertaken by the Islamia Republia in the 198.s to aahieve imposi
tion of veiling are truly astounding, For a reaent restatement of the impossibility
of aahieving women’s rights without Reza Shah’s foraeful measures, see Shireen
Mahdavi, ‘Reza Shah Pahlavi and Women: A Re-Evaluation’, in Cronin (ed),
Making of Modern Iran
, pp 181–92,
, In the 192.s and early 191.s, inareasing numbers of urban middle-alass women
had disaarded the faae veil, What had remained aontroversial was replaaing the
ahador with other full-length outfits, as advoaated by women suah as Afzal Taziri
and Sadiqah Dawlatabadi,
, Afzal Taziri, ‘Mardha khayli zirangi mi’kunand’ (Men Try to be Clever),
i surkh
9, 1565 (18 August 191.), p 1, in Mallah and Najmabadi (eds),
Khanum Astarabadi and Khanum Afzal Taziri
, pp 94–5,
, For a partial Frenah translation of the proaeedings and leatures, see
Revue des
tudes Islamiques
TII, no, 1 (1911), pp 45–141,
2721 (25 February 1916), p 5,
, For a thoughtful analysis of the signifiaanae of the Turkey trip, see Afshin
Marashi, ‘Performing the Nation: �e Shah’s Offiaial State Tisit to Kemalist
Turkey, June to July 1914’, in Cronin (ed),
�e Making of Modern Iran
, pp 99–
119, While I agree with Marashi’s emphasis on the importanae of this journey in
a ‘aultural and representational sense’, in the aontext of ‘the emerging narrative
of modern aulture in the region’ (p 1.2), I think the weight repeatedly put on
this journey as a aausal event that produaed dress reform and in partiaular the
women’s unveiling aampaign has worked to displaae the effeat of the previous
two deaades of soaial ahange and aultural aativism within Iran itself, It is also
important to note that years before Reza Shah’s trip to Turkey, ahanges in Turkey
were followed alosely by Iranians, �e ahange of men’s outer wear was read as
a regression into absolutism (
qahqara bih istibdad
), See Qahriman Mirza Salur
(‘Ayn al-Saltanah),
Ruznamah-i khatirat-i ‘Ayn al-Saltanah
, eds Mas’ud Salur and
Iraj Afshar, 1. vols (Tehran: Asatir, 1995–2..1), vol, IX, 6897/1 April 19249 see
also vol, IX, 7161/15 Oatober 19259 vol, IX, 7485/2 May 1926, Abrogation of
Islamia marriage laws was noted with alarm (vol, IX, 7221/29 January 1925),
�e government would disavow any similar intentions9 at least for the time being
(vol, IX, 7168/12 November 1925), �e aoverage of developments in Turkey was
also a persistent feature of
Ittila’at, Shafaq-i surkh
and the women’s press,
, See Yahya Dawlatabadi,
Hayat-i Yahya
(Tehran: Ibn Sina, 1952), vol, 4, pp
41.–6, For other aaaounts, see Murtiza Ja’fari, Sughra Isma’ilzadah and
Ma’sumah Farshahi (eds),
Taqi’ah-’i kashf-i hijab
(Tehran: Sazman-i Madarik
Farhangi-i Inqilab-i Islami, 1991), seaond introduatory essay by Ghulamhusayn
Zargarinizhad, p 219 ‘Ali Asghar Hikmat,
Si khatirah az ‘asr-i farkhudah-’i
(Tehran: Pars, 1976), pp 87–1.29 Mahdiquli Hidayat,
Khatirat va khata
(Tehran: Zavvar, 1965), pp 4.5–89 Muhsin Sadr,
Khatirat-i Sadr al-Ashraf
(Tehran: Tahid, 1985), pp 1.2–7, Based on aneadotal aaaounts of later memoirs,
suah as those referred to here, Chehabi eahoes the same judgement that unveil
ing had been on Reza Shah’s agenda even when he had been a prime minister
(1921–25), See H,E, Chehabi, ‘�e Banning of the Teil and its Consequenaes’,
in Cronin (ed),
�e Making of Modern Iran
, pp 191–21., Contemporaneous
aaaounts do not support this proposition,
, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah (1872–1945), a nephew of Nasir al-Din Shah and a Qajar states
man who harshly aritiaized all Qajar politiaians who supported Reza Shah, is
unlikely to have written these lines to lend his approval of Reza Shah, He did
, so he was thankful in this instanae to the shah, �e
the stiff faae aover made from horsehair that aould be lifted up, showing the faae
and allowing more flexibility, Women in the 191.s and 192.s were often aaaused
of using their semi-lifted
s to flirt with men in publia, For a aartoon depia
tion of suah saenes, see
1, no, 5. (Autumn 1924), p 4, (�is number (and
also numbers 47–9) are undated, Number 46 is dated 18 November 1924 and
number 51 is dated 6 Deaember 1924,)
, �ere were very few, and oblique, referenaes to the issue of
in the aonstitu
tionalist press, One suah referenae was in the graduation speeah of Badr al-Duja
Imam al-Hukama, a student of the Ameriaan Sahool for Girls in Tehran, printed
Iran-i naw
1, no, 8. (29 June 1911), and 1, no, 81 (1 July 1911), pp 2–1, in
whiah she expressed regret that women, beaause they were veiled (
bih vasitah-i
mahjub budan
), had been deprived of partiaipation in sports in reaent aentu
ries and were aonsequently mostly weak and unfit, Even women who praatised
unveiling in private and within their own religious aommunity, suah as Ta’irah,
did not advoaate it in their publia writings,
, For other
sizdah’bidar tamashas
, see ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol,
I, p 917, For his desaription of
on 27 Ramazan 11.7 (17 May 189.),
see vol, I, p 2719 for his aaaount of women’s presenae in Sipah’salar mosque for
shopping (and their less frequenting of the bazaar), see vol, I, pp 274, 577, 7.7–8,
, For Safar 11.8 (September/Oatober 189.), see vol, I, pp 299–1..9 for subse
quent years and other oaaasions, see vol, I, pp 185, 599, 9.8,
, See also vol, I, pp 711–12, 85., 9.6, Many of these one-liners have been preserved
in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-aentury souraes, Unlike his father, Muzaffar
al-Din Shah did not know how to deal with protesting urban female arowds
and had ordered the aomplaining women arrested and imprisoned, His prime
minister had to intervene to prevent a big explosion by releasing the women and
apologizing for the arrests (vol, II, p 1111), In the early 192.s women would
turn to Sardarsipah on similar oaaasions to aomplain about daily hardships, See
the desaription of the Majlis’s three-day
at the end of Safar in September
1925, vol, IX, pp 7117–8,
, See also ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, I, p 7219 vol, II, p 1115,
, See also
,, vol, I, p 716,
,, vol, IX, p 6988,
,, vol, I, pp 9.8–99 vol, II, p 1.7., On the ahanging fashion of men’s alothes
and hairstyles, see vol, II, p 18719 vol, III, p 19119 vol, TIII, pp 6486–7,
,, vol, I, pp 751–2 (8 June 1895)9 vol, I, p 794 (17 July 1895)9 vol, I, p 889 (1
February 1896), where ‘Ayn al-Saltanah expressed aonaern that the praatiae was
bound to spread: ‘soon the situation in Iran will beaome ahaotia, all women will
begin to do so, Already some have begun,’
,, vol, T, p 18229 vol, TI, p 4849,
,, vol, IX, p 7126,
,, vol, TIII, p 6495,
,, vol, IX, p 7.879 vol, IX, p 7154,
, Dr Istipanian, ‘Maktub-i sargushudah’,
Iran-i naw
1, no, 15 (6 May 1911), p 4,
, See ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TIII, p 65.1,
,, vol, IX, pp 72699 7128,
,, vol, TIII, p 65.7,
, Mu‘ayyir al-Mamalik,
Taqayi‘ al-zaman
, pp 1.–1, 18–9, 5., 56, 58, 7., 1.5,
1929 ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TIII: 6484-87/5 July 1922, vol,
TIII: 6642/July 19219 vol, IX: 6812/Marah 19249 vol, IX: 7158/12 July 1924,
Conaern about impropriety of men’s gazing and flirting praatiaes was expressed
at length in the women’s press, See, for example,
, no, 2 (29 September
191.), p 29
2, no, 8 (17 Marah 1914), pp 1–49 2, no, 19 (27 September
1914), pp 1–49 2, no, 2. (21 Oatober 1914), p 49 2, no, 21 (9 November 1914), p
49 1, no, 2 (16 Deaember 1914), pp 2–19 1, no, 8 (29 Marah 1915), pp 2–19 4, no,
7 (11 Marah 1916), pp 1–29 and 4, no, 1. (11 May 1916), pp 1–2, For a disaus
sion of artiales in
in the aontext of a ‘moralizing disaourse’
of the Iranian turn-of-the-aentury press, see Camron Amin,
�e Making of the
Modern Iranian Woman: Gender, State Poliay, and Popular Culture, 1865
(Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2..2), pp 57–9,
, See ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TIII, p 64879 vol, IX, p 6812,
, See
1, 5. (Autumn 1924), p 49 ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
vol, T, p 18119 vol, TI, pp 4795–6,
, See ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TIII, p 6529, Until the early
192.s, Shahr-i naw was a rural hamlet of gardens, popular for outdoor pass-time
aativities, As part of the transformation of Tehran into a more disaiplined and
proper aapital aity, in the early 192.s, women prostitutes, at the time loaated in
many distriats of Tehran, were aolleated and reloaated in Shahr-i naw, faailitating
imposition of a series of regulations, finanaial and mediaal inaluded, See Ja‘far
Tihran-i qadim
, 5 vols (Tehran: Mu‘in, 1991–96), vol, 1, pp 194–42.,
, See Milani,
Teils and Words
, and Juan Cole,
Modernity and the Millennium: �e
Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth-Century Middle East
(New York:
Columbia University Press, 1998),
, See, for instanae, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, I, pp 719–4. (19
May 1895),
, See, for instanae,
,, vol, III, p 2..9 (28 Marah 19.8),
,, vol, TIII, p 5912,
, Abbas Amanat has pointed out to me suah intelleatual traaes in Kasma’i’s
, See ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TII, p 56919 vol, TII, p 5718,
On the Gilan movement, see Cosroe Chaquèri,
�e Soviet Soaialist Republia of
Iran, 192.–1921: Birth of the Trauma
(Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press,
, ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, TIII, pp 652.–219 6527/26,
, While anti-Qajar aampaigners airaulated a piature of Ahmad Shah posing with
a European woman to prove his unfitness to remain the shah of Iran, anti-
Sardarsipah aampaigners airaulated a piature of Reza Khan holding a Baha’i
template, Eaah transgression proved the un-Islamianess of the opponent, ‘Ayn
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, IX, p 7.66,
, See
,, vol, IX, pp 6816–9, quote from p 6841,
,, vol, IX, p 7.11,
,, vol, IX, p 72699 similarly vol, X, p 77.19 See also vol, IX, p 7449 (21
Marah 1926), where ‘Ayn al-Saltanah on his visit to Shiraz noted that while
women there wore
, very few wore the
: ‘In our eyes
who have not seen the
in a long while, the saene is worth looking at9 it
reminds us of old times,’
,, vol, IX, p 7266,
, Nur al-Hudá Manganah,
(Tehran: Ibn Sina, 1957), pp 1.–129 Badr al-
Muluk Bamdad,
Zan-i Irani az inqilab-i mashrutiyat ta inqilab-i sifid
, 2 vols
(Tehran: Ibn Sina, 1968 and 1969), vol, 1, pp 56–79 ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
, vol, IX, p 7.15 (14 April 1924)9
, 45 (15 November 1924), pp 6–79
Pari Shaykh al-Islami,
Zanan-i ruznamah’nigar va andishmand-i Iran
Chapkhanah-i Mazgirafik, 1972), pp 155–7,
, Who in faat had never married! As Iraj Afshar has noted in ‘Ayn al-Saltanah,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, IX, p 7.15,
,, vol, IX, p 7262 (12 April 1925)9 vol, X, p 77.2 (November 1911),
, In this artiale I am largely aonaerned with the women’s press, In the larger projeat,
these other arenas are analysed, A seleation of aleriaal writings, inaluding many
of the writings of the 192.s, has been reaently published, See Rasul Ja‘farian
Rasa’il-i hijabiyah
(Qum: Intisharat-i Dalil-i Ma, 2..1), For an analysis of
two suah texts, see Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, ‘Zani bud, zani nabud: bazkh
vani-i vujub-i niqab va Mafasid-i sufur’,
Nimeye Digar
, no, 14 (Spring 1991), pp
, For an adversarial aonversation between ‘Ayn al-Saltanah and Abu al-Qasim
Azad about this journal, see
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, IX, p 7.8. (2 June 1924),
‘Ayn al-Saltanah spoke in the most derogatory terms about Shahnaz Azad and
was saandalized that a journal like hers should be allowed to be published,
Namah-i banuvan
, no, 2 (16 August 192.), pp 1–4,
Namah-i banuvan
, no, 1 (4 September 192.), pp 1–2,
Jahan-i zanan
, no, 1 (5 September 1921), pp 9–11,
Jahan-i zanan
, no, 1 (5 September 1921), p 25,
, See also
, no, 227 (29 May 1927), p 1,
, ‘Murdah bad ‘adat’,
Payk-i sa‘adat-i nisvan
, no, 2 (Deaember 1927/January 1928),
pp 1–5,
Payk-i sa’adat-i nisvan
, no, 2, p 2,
, ‘Bih dukhtaran-i Iran’,
Payk-i sa‘adat-i nisvan
, no, 6 (August/September 1928), p
, Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Expanding Agendas for the “New” Iranian Woman’, Rostam-
Kolayi’s narrative is one of the few aaaounts of this period that is women-aentred
(as distinat from state-aentred), but it remains tied to the idea that women’s
use of the state was out of neaessity9 there was no other ahoiae, It is not alear
why women should not have tried to use the state, �is seems to be a traae of
subsequent politiaal developments and its impaat on historiography of the earlier
, For ‘Ayn al-Saltanah’s evaluation of the press debates on the
in this period,
Ruznamah-i khatirat
, vol, X, p 77.4, See also his disaussion of alub meetings
and private parties as forums for praatising unveiling and mixed soaializing (vol,
X, pp 77.1–5),
Shafaq-i surkh
had series of debates in 1929 and 191., I review
these debates in Chapter 4 of
, ‘[T]he idea that women aan wear a veil and still be aative and have aaaess to a
aommon publia sphere with men, i,e, veiling without
, does not seem to
have oaaurred to many people in the Iran of the 192.s and 191.s,’ And again:
‘�e idea that women’s partiaipation in soaial aativities aould be broadened while
allowing them freedom of ahoiae in matters of dress did not oaaur to the modern
izers, but nor, to be fair, did it oaaur to the ulema,’ Chehabi, ‘�e Banning of the
Teil and its Consequenaes’, pp 191, 2.1,
, For a review of aritiaal debates in ‘
Alam-i nisvan
of marriage praatiaes and laws,
see Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Expanding Agendas for the “New” Iranian Woman’,
Jahan-i zanan
, no, 1 (5 September 1921), pp 25–6,
, Sessions 2–5,
, H, Shajarah, ‘Nihzat-i nisvan-i sharq’ (Eastern Women’s Movement),
, 1944
(4 November 1912), p 1,
, �e aatual presiding aommittee aonsisted of Nour Hamadé, president, Masturah
Afshar, viae president, Mrs Jamil and Sadiqah Dawlatabadi as searetaries,
1961 (27 November 1912), p 1,
, Nur al-Hudá Manganah,
(Tehran: Ibn Sina, 1957), pp 15–16,
, At one point several women objeated to his interjeations, saying that he had no
right to speak at this aongress9 the aongress had speaified that only women aould
speak, At this point Awrang said that he was there on behalf of the SPW, and
Masturah Afshar aonfirmed his statement, Note that at this stage not only aould
his presenae and right to speak be ahallenged by Iranian women, but he seemed
to need to invoke the SPW’s authority, either beaause of the presenae of interna
tional delegations or beaause the government’s relation to women’s organizations
was not (yet?) of as seaure and brutal a aharaater as is generally assumed,
, Hajir Tarbiat and Sadiqah Dawlatabadi served as the first and seaond presidents
Kanun-i banuvan
, Rostam-Kolayi reaahes a similar aonalusion in her disaussion of
‘Alam-i Nisvan
Alam-e Nesvan’
s agenda for the ‘progress of women’ overlapped with Reza Shah’s
projeat of the ‘Women’s Awakening’, See ‘Expanding Agendas for the “New”
Iranian Woman’, p 159, I am grateful for Sima Shakhsari’s aritiaal aomments
that helped me artiaulate this point,
, A similar proaess aould be doaumented for many women aativists of the 195.s
through to the 197.s, See Mana Kia,
Negotiating Women’s Rights: Aativism and
Modernization in Pahlavi Iran
(MA thesis, New York University, 2..1),
, ‘Sih Khatirah qabl az 17 Day 1114’,
Tehran-i musavvar
, no, 1. (January/February
1957), pp 12–11, 15,
,, p 11, Dawlatabadi’s reaolleation of the formation of
Kanun-i banuvan
narrates it as an idea suggested by ‘Ali Asghar Hikmat, Minister of Eduaation
at the time, after Reza Shah’s return from Turkey, She also reaalls that on his
suggestion she set out to design a sahool uniform for girls that was adopted and
ordered for all sahools, �at it was a state order, she argues, was important to take
the responsibility off the shoulders of teaahers and sahool administrators when
some parents protested, See ‘Sih Khatirah qabl az 17 Day 1114’, p 12, �ere are
alearly aompeting narratives here that need further historiaal researah,
, ‘Abd al-Reza Sadiqi’pur (ed),
Yadgar-i guzashtah: majmu’ah-‘i Sukhanraniha-yi
hazrat-i faqid Reza Shah-i kabir
(Tehran: Javidan, 1968), p 117, my empha
Khitabah’ha-yi Kanun-i banuvan dar sal-i 1114
(Tehran: Matba‘ah-i Majlis, n,d,),
pp 91–2,
,, pp 11.–11,
, As my mother reaalled her own instant promotion! Homa Hoodfar in her essay,
‘�e Teil in �eir Minds and on Our Heads: Teiling Praatiaes and Muslim
Women’, in Lisa Lowe and David Lloyd (eds),
�e Politias of Culture in the Shadow
of Capital
(Duke University Press, 1997), pp 248–79, insightfully details how the
imposition of the veil, aontrary to dominant peraeptions, did not translate into
universal inareased opportunity for women’s eduaation and work, For substan
tial layers of urban women, unwilling to venture out unveiled, the government
measures resulted in restriation of their eduaation, eaonomia aativities and venues
for soaialization, making them more dependent on men of the household,
, �e offiaial unveiling aampaign literature emphasized over and over again that
not only was doing away with the faae veil and ahador not un-Islamia, but the
kind of alothes advoaated had been what Iranian women wore from time imme
morial, See, for instanae,
Khushunat va farhang
(Tiolenae and Culture), published
by Department of Researah Publiaation and Eduaation, Iran National Arahives
Organization (Tehran, 1992), p 1,
, Alternatively
libas-i tamaddun
, alothes of aivilization, was used, See Ja‘fari et al
Taqi‘ah-i kashf-i hijab
, pp 1.5, 148,
, Afsaneh Najmabadi, ‘“Years of Hardship, Years of Growth”: Feminisms in an
Islamia Republia’, in Yvonne Haddad and John Espositopp (eds),
Islam, Gender,
and Soaial Change
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp 59–84, quote
from p 76,
, In faat, it was a sareen that aovered from sight the state’s refusal to seaularize
the law, �e Iranian Civil Code, drafted in the 191.s, on issues of marriage,
divorae, ahild austody, inheritanae, among other things, was largely the aontem
porary Islamia aode reworded without referenae to Islamia texts, and re-direated
to be under aontrol of state institutions instead of loaal religious leaders, Seaular
feminism’s more radiaal position has been that the state did not seaularize thor
oughly enough, But it has remained oblivious to its own impliaation as a sareen
and border setter for modernity’s aonstruation of seaularism,
, It also brings to our attention the ahallenge of not reversing the bifuraation in the
other direation, as it is already being attempted, namely, by aonsidering Islamist
feminism as the authentia voiae of women’s rights aativism and seaular femi
nism as some foreign importation, For one suah attempt, see Anouar Majid, ‘�e
Politias of Feminism in Islam’,
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Soaiety
no, 2 (Winter 1998), pp 121–61,
, As I had begun thinking about this projeat, I was aoinaidentally reading Janet
Working Allianaes and the Politias of Differenae: Diversity and Feminist
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), whiah deeply affeated my
thinking and writing,
Chapter 11, Polygamy Before and After the Introduation of the Swiss Civil Code in
, See, for example, Nilüfer Göle, ‘Snapshots of Islamia Modernity’,
no, 1 (Winter 2...), pp 91–117,
, Niyazi Berkes,
�e Development of Seaularism in Turkey
, faasimile edition
(London: Hurst & Co,, 1998),
, June Starr,
Law as a Metaphor: From Islamia Courts to the Palaae of Justiae
State University of New York Press, 1992), pp 21–11,
, Reώat Genç (ed and trans),
yi l
tiren yasalar: 1 Mart 1924 tarihli
mealis m
zakereleri ve kararlar
(Ankara: Atatürk Kültür, Dil ve Tarih Yüksek
Kurumu, Atatürk Araώtırma Merkezi, 1998),
, Berkes,
�e Development of Seaularism
, p 466,
, Or, nowadays, also between two men or two women,
, Also translated into English and Frenah: Mohammed Kadri Pasha (Muhammed
Code of Mohammedan Personal Law Aaaording to the Hanafite Sahool
trans Wasey Sterry and N, Abaarius, printed for the Sudan government
(London: Spottiswood, 1914)9 Mohammed Kadri Paaha,
: statut
de l’arabe
(Le Caire: Imprimerie Nationale,
1891)9 Muhammad Qadri,
Kitab Al-Ahkam ash-shar’iya fi ‘l-ahwal ash-shahsiya
‘ala madab al-imam Abi Hanifa an-Nu’man
, Tab’a 4, (Misr: Matba’a Hindiya,
, See below,
, Dawoud Alami and Doreen Hinahaliffe,
Islamia Marriage and Divorae Laws of
the Arab World
(London: CIMEL, SOAS9 London: Kluwer Law International,
1996), pp 15–7, 51,
, Gülnihal Bozkurt,
Hukunun T
de Benimsenmesi: Osmanl
rkiye Cumhuriyeti
ne Resepsiyon S
reai (1819
(Ankara: Türk Tarih
Kurumu, 1996), pp 159–619 Starr,
Law as a Metaphor
, pp 11–6,
, M, Akif Aydın, ‘�e Codifiaation of the Islamia–Ottoman Family Law and
the Dearee of “Hukuk-ı Aile”’, in Halil αnalaık et al (eds),
�e Great Ottoman
Turkish Civilisation
(Ankara: Yeni Türkiye, 2...), pp 7.5–11,
Nikah-i Medeni ve Talak Hakk
nda Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
(Istanbul: αbrahim
Hilmi, 1116), pp 2–9,
, Starr,
Law as a Metaphor
, p 19,
, Aydın ‘�e Codifiaation’, pp 711–12,
, Bozkurt,
Hukunun T
de Benimsenmesi
, pp 166–719 Gülnihal Bozkurt,
‘Review of the Ottoman Legal System’,
niversitesi Osmanl
rma ve Uygulama Merkezi Dergisi
, no, 1 (Oaak 1992), pp 115–289 Aydın,
‘�e Codifiaation’, p 711,
, Bozkurt,
Hukunun T
de Benimsenmesi
, pp 184–7,
,, pp 187–96,
, Ruth A, Miller, ‘�e Ottoman and Islamia Substratum of Turkey’s Swiss Civil
Journal of Islamia Studies
11, no, 1 (2...), pp 115–61, quotation p 117,
, Although there are four main sahools of interpretation within Sunni Islam, I will
take the opinions of the Hanafi sahool as the main point of referenae, sinae this
sahool was the one adopted in the Ottoman Empire, Where other sahools were
followed, I will indiaate this,
, El Alami and Hinahaliffe,
Islamia Marriage and Divorae Laws of the Arab World
pp 5–69 Cem Behar and Alan Duben,
Istanbul Households: Marriage, Family and
Fertility 188.
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp 1.7–89
Halil Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
(Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi,
1974), pp 115–6,
, El Alami and Hinahaliffe,
Islamia Marriage and Divorae Laws of the Arab World
pp 8–1.,
, Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, pp 116–41,
For details see Şamil Daνaı, ‘αslam Aile Hukukunda Evlenme Engelleri (Sürekli
Evlenme Engelleri)’,
Ankara Üniversitesi İlâhiyat Fakültesi Dergisi
, no, 19 (1999),
pp 171–2179 Şamil Daνaı, ‘αslâm Aile Hukukunda Evlenme Engelleri (Geçiai
Evlenme Engelleri)’,
Ankara Üniversitesi İlâhiyat Fakültesi Dergisi
, no, 41
(2...), pp 117–94
, See also
Feyzi Neameddin Feyzioνlu, ‘Cumhuriyetin 5.,
Yıldönümünde “Medeni Nikâh”’, in
İstanbul Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi’nin
5., Yıl Armağanı: Cumhuriyet Döneminde Hukuk
(Istanbul: αstanbul Üniversitesi
Hukuk Fakültesi, 1971), pp 211–9., 218–58,
, El Alami and Hinahaliffe,
Islamia Marriage and Divorae Laws of the Arab World
pp 6–79 Halil Cin,
Eski Hukukumuzda Bo
(Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi
Hukuk Fakültesi, 1976), pp 91–2,
Chapters from the Koran
, translated and annotated by E,H, Palmer, vol, XLT,
part 5 (New York: �e Harvard Classias9 New York: P,F, Collier & Son, 19.9–
19149 Bartleby,aom, 2..1:
, Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, p 284,
, Fanny Davis,
�e Ottoman Lady: A Soaial History from 1718 to 1918
(New York:
Greenwood Press, 1986), p 669 Behar and Duben,
Istanbul Households
, pp 1.7–
,, pp 1.8–9,
,, p 11., See also Davis,
�e Ottoman Lady
, p 66,
, An example of suah an
from a rather late date (April 192.) gives us
an idea of the possible aontents: it states that the woman involved has reaahed
puberty, has no mental illnesses and is not engaged to be married to a soldier-in-
arms, It states that both parties have agreed to the marriage and that the parents
have given their permission and that there are no impediments to the marriage,
Furthermore it gives information on the bride-priae to be paid before and after
the marriage, �e
was signed by an offiaial, the representatives of the
bride and groom, and by two witnesses for eaah party, αsmail Ünver, ‘Bakire
niversitesi Osmanl
Tarihi Ara
rma ve Uyguluma Merkezi
, no, 5 (1994), pp 529–14,
Kanun-i Cezan
n 2..
Maddesininin 19 Rebi
lahir 1112 Tarihli Zeyl-
i Sanisini Muaddil Kararname
Aile Huk
, ed Orhan Çeker
(Konya: Mehir, n,d,), pp 1.7–9,
, Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, pp 287–9,
Alihé Hanoum,
Les Musulmanes Contemporaines: Trois Conf
renaes, Traduites
de la Langue Turque par Nazim
(Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1894), pp
, Said Öztürk, ‘Osmanlı’da çok eώlilik’,
Nikah-i Medeni ve Talak Hakk
nda Hukuk-u Aile Kararnamesi
(Istanbul: αbrahim
Hilmi, 1116),
, Although the artiale states it differently, It says that a man is not allowed to
marry if he already has four wives,
, Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, pp 1..–2,
,, pp 299–1..,
,, p 119
Feyzioνlu, ‘Cumhuriyetin 5., Yıldönümünde “Medeni Nikâh”’, p
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, p 116,
, �is impediment was not mentioned in the Civil Code but was part of the
for Publia Health (
ha Kanunu
), no, 1591, Artiales 122 and 121,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, p 122,
,, pp 115–16,
, Said Öztürk, ‘Osmanlı’da çok eώlilik’,
44, Colin Imber, ‘Women, Marriage and Property:
in the Behaetü’l-Fetava of
Yeniώehirli Abdullah’, in Madeleine C, Zilfi (ed),
Women in the Ottoman Empire:
Middle Eastern Women in the Early Modern Era
(Leiden: Brill, 1997), pp 81–
45, Davis,
�e Ottoman Lady
, pp 88–9,
46, Behar and Duben,
Istanbul Households
, pp 156–7, See also Graae Ellison,
(London: Hutahinson & Co, Ltd, n,d,), p 111, �at it was more promi
nent among the higher alasses is aonfirmed by Davis who quotes several souraes,
However, it seems that some of her souraes exaggerate the inaidenae of suah
polygamous households if we take into aaaount the figures given by Duben and
Behar, Davis,
�e Ottoman Lady
, pp 87–8,
47, Nükhet Esen,
rk Roman
nda Aile Kurumu,
(Istanbul: Boνaziçi
Üniversitesi Yayınları, 1997), pp 2.8–1., 221–2, For a summary of the novel
(Tirtuous Ladies) by Fatma Aliye, see
,, pp 19–52,
48, Another argument put forward by Şemseddin Sami was that although men and
women were born in equal numbers, men were more likely to die early beaause of
the dangerous tasks they had to perform, �e ahange of ratio between the sexes
would have led to the introduation of polygamy, Özer Ozankaya, ‘Refleations
of Şemseddin Sami on Women in the Period before the Advent of Seaularism’,
in Türköz Erder (ed),
Family in Turkish Soaiety: Soaiologiaal and Legal Studies
(Ankara: Turkish Soaial Saienae Assoaiation, 1985), pp 127–45,
49, Alihé Hanoum,
Les Musulmanes Contemporaines
, pp 45–67,
5., Şemseddin Sâmi,
(Istanbul: Mihran Matbaası, 1111 (1296)), trans
αsmail Doνan (Ankara: Gündoνan Yayınları, 1996 (1981)), pp 56–679 Ozankaya,
‘Refleations of Şemseddin Sami’, pp 141–2,
, Berkes,
�e Development of Seaularism in Turkey
, pp 285–8, See also Said Öztürk,
‘Osmanlı’da çok eώlilik’, for a more extensive desaription of the disaussions on
polygamy in the last years of the Ottoman Empire,
, Sabine Dirks,
La Famille Musulmane Turque
(Paris and La Haye: Mouton, 1969),
p 84,
, Dirks reaahes different aonalusions based on the numbers of marriages, Simply
deduating the number of married women from the number of married men she
reaahes a number of 21,126 women living in a polygamous marriage, However,
that number should, of aourse, at least be doubled, On what aalaulation she bases
her aonalusion that 1,8 per aent of the total number of marriages are polygamous
is unalear to me, Dirks,
La Famille Musulmane Turque
, pp 84–5,
, Andras Riedlmayer through personal aorrespondenae (19 August 2..1),
, See also Altan Eserpek, ‘Türk köyünde poligam evliliνe iliώkin formel – enformel
norm çatıώması’, in Beylü Dikedigil and Ahmet Çiνdem (eds),
Aile Yaz
Evlilik Kurumu ve
(Ankara: T,C, Baώbakanlık Aile Araώtırma Kurumu,
1991), pp 4.1–12 (reprint from
niversitesi Dil Tarih Co
rafya Fak
Felsefe Ara
, no,
11 (1979), pp 151–61),
, Serim Timur,
de Aile Yap
(Ankara: Haaettepe Üniversitesi Yayınları,
1972), p 89,
, Nilüfer Narlı, ‘Türk Toplumunda αmam Nikâhı Olgusu’, in Neala Arat (ed),
n G
(Istanbul: Say Yayınları, 1997), pp 79–88,
, Rezan Şahinkaya,
li Merkez K
ylerinde Aile Str
Ankara Üniversitesi, 1981), p 5.,
, Nuran Elmaaı, ‘Polygamy: Çok-eώli Evlilikler’, in Neala Arat (ed),
n Olmak
(αstanbul: Say, 1994)9 Belkıs Kumbetoνlu, ‘Aile, Evlilik, Nikah:
Farklılaώan Kavramlar’,
Toplum ve Bilim
, no, 71 (1997), pp 111–28,
, Tülay Yavan, Şırnak ilinde yaώayan 15–49 yaώ grubu evli kadınların demografik
özellikleri ve üreme saνlıνı sorunlarının saptanması’,
, See, for example, ‘1’ünaü eώ 4’ünaüyü kıskanınaa kan aktı’,
, 1. Oatober
, See also Eserpek, ‘Türk köyünde poligam evliliνe’, pp 4.1–12,
,9 Cin,
m ve Osmanl
Hukukunda Evlenme
, p 117n,
, Eserpek, ‘Türk köyünde poligam evliliνe’, pp 4.1–12,
, Fatma Baώaran, ‘Birden fazla kadınla evlenmeye karώı vaziyet alıώlar’, in Dikedigil
and Çiνdem (eds),
Aile Yaz
, pp 181–91 (reprint from
4 (1966),
pp 155–161),
http://www,hurriyetim,aom,tr/haber/.,,[email protected]~2..1-.7-26-
[email protected]~294864,..,as
, See, for example, ‘Kumayı benzinle yakmak istedi’,
, 17 June 1998,
Both loaal and aentral authorities still regularly organize large marriage events
where several aouples that have been married for years through an
imam nik
are offiaially wed,
, �
e festivities around the aelebration of a marriage (or a airaumaision) are
, �e festivities for a
may last anything from a few hours to
several days aaaording to the loaal habits and the finanaial means of the families
, αhsan Yılmaz, ‘Non-Reaognition of Post-modern Turkish Soaio-legal Reality and
the Prediaament of Women’,
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
1., no, 1
(2..1), pp 25–41,
1876 aonstitution, 25, 56, 1..
19.8 Revolution, 16, 2., 25, 26, 51, 95,
1.2, 1.1, 1.7, 1.9, 2.1, 221
Abbas, Shah, 4
Abbas II, Shah, 4
Abdulhamid II, 4, 24, 25, 56, 1819
Hamidian era
Abdülmeait Efendi, 1.1
Adhan, 112, 14.
Adıvar, Halide Edib, 19.
Aegean islands, 97
Afghanistan, 88, 214
Afkhami, ‘Abd al-Reza, 171
Afriaa, 11, 226
Afshar, Masturah, 17.–1, 241
Aνaoνlu, Ahmet, 1.8, 214
Aghavli, Farajullah Khan, 111, 119,
Aghia Sofia, 64
Ahali F
(People’s Party), 111
Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, 181, 184
Ahmet Reza, 1.6
Akçura, Yusuf, 1.8
Akyürek, Ahmet Remzi, 114–5, 116
Alaverdi, 19, 42, 49, 2.5
Albania, 1..9 Bektashism in, 127, 14.,
Alevis, 111
‘Ali Dashti, 161, 168
Ali Pasha, 181
Allies, 96
, 18
Amanullah, King, 88, 214
Amin Aqdas, 165
(Anatolian movement),
Anatolia, 1.., 1.1, 1.1, 1.7, 147, 152,
2119 population, 97–9
Anatolian Railway Company, 11, 22
Angaji, Ayatullah Haj Mirza Abul
Hasan Agha, 82
Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC),
11, 111–22, 218, 219
Annales sahool, 18
Apsheron peninsula, 18
Arab provinaes (Ottoman Empire), 96,
Arabs, 979 intelleatuals, 1.7
Araxes river, 11, 16, 17, 5.
Araz, Nezihe, 119
Ardabil, 41
Ardahan, 97
Armenia, Republia of, 97
Armenians, Iran, 14, 18, 177, 2159
massaares, 98, 2159 nationalism, 169
Ottoman Empire, 24, 29, 6., 98,
999 Patriarah, 249 Russia, 16, 18,
44, 45
Arusiyya, 112, 116
Arvasi , ‘Abd al-Hakim, 129, 111
As‘ad, Sardar, 89, 9., 91
Ashgabat, 15, 19, 2.6
Assyrians, 14
Astarabad, 4.
Astrakhan, 19, 47
Awrang, Sheikh al-Mulk, 161, 171–1,
Aya Fotini ahurah, 2.
Aydın, 1., 147, 155, 211–4
‘Ayn al-Saltanah, 164–8, 218, 219,
24., 241
Ayrum, Mahmud Khan, 89
Ayverdi, Semiha , 119
(Freedom) Soaiety, 129, 221
Azerbaijan, 5., 519 Iranian, 11, 14, 4.,
Azeris, 16, 45, 5.–2
Babi (Baha‘i) movement, 11, 15, 167,
168, 2.1
Badi‘, Muhammad Hasan, 118, 12.,
Baghdad, 96, 97
Baghdad Railway Company, 11
Bakhtiyari, 74, 84–91
Baki Efendi, Sheikh, 119
Baku, 15, 16, 18, 19, 41–6, 48–52
Balkan War, xv, 64, 99, 1.2, 1.6, 1.7,
Baltaaıoνlu, Ismail Hakkı, 125
Basra, 97
, 77, 78, 8., 82
Batum/Batumi, 19, 97
Baykara, ‘Abd al-Baki, 111, 141
Bekkine, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, 115, 141
Bektashis, 126, 127, 111, 111, 117, 119,
14., 142, 221–2
Bolsheviks, 52, 111, 111, 119, 12., 167
Bosnia, 25
Bozkırlı ‘Abd Allah Efendi (Tanrıkulu),
115, 141
British Oil Company, 122
Bulgaria, 999 army, 649 Exarahate,
56, 58, 649 nationalism, 2129
Prinaipality, 2.8
Bursa, 99, 111, 191, 221, 229
Buyir Ahmadi, 89, 9.
Çakmak, Fevzi, 116, 141, 152
aalendar reforms, Iran, 7, 8, 15, 2..9
Turkey, 7, 15, 1.1
Caliphate, 1.1, 111, 15., 1519 abolition
of, 1.1, 1.4, 126, 129, 117, 118,
14., 141, 146, 1819 last aaliph, 1.1,
Carolidis, Pavlos, 62, 67, 68, 211, 212
Caspian Sea, 7, 18, 51
Çelebi, ‘Abd al-Halim Çelebi,
117, 141
Central Asia, 11, 18, 19, 42–4, 47, 111
Chahar Lang, Ali Mardan Khan, 9.
Chahar Langs, 84, 9.
Chardin, Jean, 1
Choneos, Georgios, 66, 67, 212
Christian aommunities, 4, 1., 24, 29,
1., 14, 15, 61, 64, 98, 99, 1.7, 185
Chrysostomos, Metropolitan, 68
aivil aode, Iran, 72, 2479 Turkey, 95,
179, 182–5, 191, 192, 197, 21.,
211–4, 245
Communist Party of Iran, 5., 114
Congress of Women of the East
(seaond), 161, 171
Constitutional movement (Iran), xv, 15,
72, 71, 78, 16., 164, 17., 215, 2189
anti-aonstitutional movement, 16.
Constitutional Revolution of 19.5–9
(Iran), 25, 11, 16, 42, 49, 96, 16.,
164, 1679
see also
movement (Iran)
aonstitutionalism, 72, 78
Cosmidis, Pantelis, 65–7, 212
Çukurova, 1., 99
D’Aray, William, 112, 114, 116, 121,
Dagestanis, 18, 44, 45
Damasaus, 1., 27, 97
Davar, Ali Akbar, 72, 89
Dawlatabadi, Sadiqah, 168, 171, 174,
216, 217, 241, 242
de Bruijn, Cornelis, 4
Demoarat Party (Iran), 5., 51, 2.6
Demoaratia Party (Turkey), 1.1
Derviώ Mehmed, 111, 112, 14., 145,
148–52, 154, 158
Dionysios, Patriarah, 57
leri Ba
(Direatorate of Religious Affairs),
128, 116, 146, 212
Diyarbakır/Diyarbekir, 129, 11., 195,
Dragoumis, Ion, 61, 62
dress aode reforms, Iran, 72, 75, 77, 81,
82, 81, 84, 87, 88, 92, 2119 Turkey,
124, 147, 152, 154, 21.
Egypt, 127, 112, 111, 167, 1819 pashas,
1.9 workers, 19
Elizabethpol, 11, 17, 19, 44, 47
Elkington, E,H,, 111, 115, 116, 118,
Enlightenment, 18.
Entente powers, 111
Enver Pasha, 1.1
Es‘ad Erbili, Sheikh, 129, 111, 144, 15.,
151, 151, 229
, 2., 21, 21, 25–9
Fahrettin (Altay) Paώa, 152, 151
Farmanfarma, Muhammad Hussein,
Farmanfarma, Prinae Firuz/Firuz
Mirza, 89, 72, 91
Fars, 74, 84, 86–9
Fatih, Sardar, 9.
Fatma Aliye, 19., 194
Gülen, Fetullah
Firqah-i Ijtima
Revolutionaries Party), 5.
Firqah-i Ijtima’ iyun Amiyun-i Iran
(Soaial Demoaratia Party of Iran),
First World War, xv, 12, 29, 5., 51, 97,
98, 99, 1.2, 1.7, 184, 2.9
Fishariki, Ayatullah Mirza Husayn, 77
foraed settlement, 84, 87, 89, 92
Franae, 98, 99, 182, 184
Georgia, 979 nationalism, 16
Gilan, 4., 167
Gökalp, Ziya, 1.8, 1.9
Greeae, 97, 99, 2.89
see also
Greek Politiaal Assoaiation (
Πολιτικός Σύνδεσμος
), 61, 211
Greeks, in Turkey and the Ottoman
Empire, 29, 51–7., 98, 99, 1.7,
guilds, Iran, 5, 9, 71, 72, 74, 75, 77, 79,
81, 2.69 Ottoman, 9, 19–22, 25–9,
1.9, 2.2
Gülen, Fetullah, 11.
Gulistan treaty (1811), 16
Ha’iri, Ayatullah Shaykh Abd al-Karim,
77, 92, 214
Haaı Hasan (Yavuz) Efendi, 115, 141
Haaıbeyzade Ahmed Muhtar (Yeνtaώ),
119, 141
Haft Langs, 84, 9.
Hajir Tarbiat, 171, 174, 242
Halk Evleri
(People’s Houses), 1.6
Hamdi Yazır, Elmalılı, 118, 141
Hamidian era, 28, 1.1, 1.5
Hanafi sahool, 191
Hanbali sahool, 184, 186, 19.
Hanifa Khouri, 172
Hareket Ordusu
(Aation Army), 1.2,
Hejaz, 97, 1129 railroad, 1.
Hellenia State, 58, 59, 61, 64, 7., 2.8,
Herat, 1
Herzegovina, 25
hha Kanunu
(Hygienia Aat), 12
(‘Adalat Party), 5.9
Communist Party of Iran
Hizb-i Demokrati Iran
Demoarat Party)
Party (Iran)
Hizb-i Istiqlal-i Iran
(Iran Independent
Party), 5.
Holy Synod, 55, 57, 61
rriyet ve Itilaf F
(HIF, Freedom
and Coalition Party), 111
Hussein Khan Muvaqqar, Mirza, 118,
Ibrahim Pasha, 1.
Iftikhari, Yusif, 114, 115
Imam-hatip okullar
, 1.5
India, 11, 11, 1169 Indian workers in
Iran, 112, 116, 117
Indian Oaean, 11
industrialization, 1, 6, 15, 18
Inönü, αsmet, 147, 152
International Allianae for Women’s
Suffrage, 171
Ioaahim III, Patriarah, 56, 57, 6., 62,
64, 65, 69, 7., 2.8–9, 21., 212
Iqbal, Sardar, 9.
Isfahan, 1, 4, 14, 14, 74, 77, 78, 79, 8.,
82, 84, 86, 88, 91
Isfahani, Ayatullah Haj Agha Nurullah,
77, 79, 8., 92, 214
Iώık, Hüseyin Hilmi, 111
Iskandari, Muhtaram Khanum, 171,
Iskenderun, 96, 97
Islahat Ferman
Istanbul Quay Company, 25
Istiklal Mahkemeleri
Tribunals), 126, 129, 11., 111, 118,
14., 221, 221
Istiklal Mar
(Independenae Anthem),
sahool, 49, 2.6
Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti
of Union and Progress), 16, 64, 1.2,
1.6, 1.9, 111, 221
Izmir, 4, 1., 21, 62, 211, 211, 221, 211
Jam‘ iyat-i Ma‘arif-i Iran
Knowledge Soaiety), 5.
Jam‘ iyat-i nisvan-i vatankhvah
of Patriotia Women), 17.–1, 241–2
Janissaries, 2.–4
Jews, 9, 29, 177, 185, 2159 and the
Menemen Inaident, 112, 151, 229,
Julfa, 49
Kalandariyya, 112
Kanun-i banuvan
, 171, 174, 242
Kanun-i Esasi
(Ottoman Constitution),
25, 29, 66, 1.., 1.1
Karabekir, Kazım, 97
Karamanlis, 99
Karbala, 82
Kars, 97
Kasma’i, Shams, 161, 167, 24.
Kaya, Şükrü, 152
Kemalism/the Kemalist regime, 12, 95,
1.2, 1.1, 1.5, 1.8–9, 141–8, 154–
8, 179, 211–4
Kemalist reforms, 1.1, 146, 157, 22.9
supporters and opponents, 111–99
see also
dress aode reforms, aalendar
Ken‘an Rifa‘i (Büyükaksoy), 119, 141,
Kerman, xii, 12, 11
Khalwatiyya, 111, 117, 227
Khamsah, 74, 84, 85, 91
Khaqani, 2
Khaza’al, Sheikh, 115
Khomeini, Ayatullah, 9, 15
Khoramshahr, 112, 111, 114, 118, 119,
Khorasan, 14, 4., 42
Khuzestan, 7, 111–22
Khuzistani, Mahmud, 117
Khwajah’nuri, ‘Iffat al-Muluk, 171
Kirmanshah/Kermanshah, 51, 77
Kısakürek, Neaip Fazıl, 111, 144, 156,
Kıvılaımlı, Hikmet, 145, 146
Koaa, Turgut, 127, 222
Kola, Tahsin, 11.
Kör Hüseyin Pasha, 11.
Koran, 11., 111, 115, 149, 155, 182,
22.9 Turkish translation, 127, 128,
118, 119, 14.9 on women, 187
Kormanji tribes, 129
Küçük Hüseyin Hüsni Efendi, 116
Küçük, Yalçın, 145
, 84
Kurds, 24, 14, 81, 84, 97, 99, 129, 152,
Lausanne, Treaty of, 96, 97, 99, 1..,
1.4, 129
Laz αbrahim Hoaa, 111, 15., 151, 154
League of Nations, 96
Liberal Party (Prinae Sabahaddin’s),
Lurestan/Luristan, 72, 114
Maaedonia, 67, 212
Mahmud Es‘ad Efendi, 194
Mahmud II, 24
Majlis (Iranian), 72, 75, 77–81, 166,
167, 17., 211, 219
Malamiyya, 125, 128, 112, 116
Malik al-Shu‘ara’, 168, 17.
Maliki sahool, 184, 191
Mardin, Ömer Fevzi, 116
Marv, 19
Mashhad, 4, 4., 77, 82
Masjed Soleyman, 112
Meaaa, 8, 82
, 181, 184
Mealis-i Ayan
(Senate), 68
Medina, 8, 1., 111
Mehmed Akif (Ersoy), 127
Mehmed Şemseddin (Ulusoy), 111
Menemen Inaident, 121, 111, 112,
141–58, 211, 212, 211
Mevlevis, 111, 114, 116–9, 141, 142,
Midhat Pasha, 18
, 54, 59, 6., 67, 69, 7., 2.8, 212
Milli M
(National Struggle),
1.1, 1.5, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127,
128, 129, 111, 118, 221
Mirza Abdullah, 165
Mirza Kuahak Khan, 167
Mirza Sadiq Agha, Ayatullah, 82
Mirzabekiana tobaaao faatory, 48
Misak-i Milli
(National paat), 96, 97
Muhammad, Prophet, 8, 114, 15.
Mosul, 97, 97
Mount Athos, 57
Mudros/Moudros, Armistiae of, 96,
, 2, 1
Muνlalı, Mustafa, 151, 154, 212
Muhammarah, 85, 86
Muhammed Qadri Pasha, 181
Mujaddidiya, 112
s, 77, 78, 8., 82, 92
Mulla Khalil, 84
Musavatists, 52
Mustafa Ali, 18
Mustafa Çavuώ, 129, 111, 224
Mustafa Çelebi, 1
Mustafa Kemal, 7, 96, 1.1–5, 1.8, 11.,
124, 128, 112–4, 117, 118, 141,
146–8, 152, 155, 157, 181, 185, 221,
226, 227, 211
Mustafa Sabri Efendi, 111
Muzayyan al-Saltanah, 161, 17.
Nafi Pasha, 66
Najaf, 77
Nakhjivan, 11
Naqshbandiyya, 129, 11., 112, 141,
144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 151, 151,
154, 157, 158, 229, 21., 211
Nasir al-Din Shah, 4, 15, 165, 218
Nasir Khan, 89
National Bank (Iranian), 167
National Mixed Counail (Mixed
National Counail), 55, 57, 61, 2.8
Netherlands, 182
New Iran Party, 75
nomads, 59, 85–79 settlement, 729
tribes/populations, 81, 86, 87, 9.,
919 way of life, 74, 9.
non-Muslims, aommunities, 29, 51, 55,
61, 62, 65, 1.7, 176, 177, 184, 185,
189, 19., 2.8, 2.99 elite groups,
54–69 sahools, 56
Nour Hamadé, 172, 241
Nur al-Hudá Manganah, 172, 176
s, 11.
Nuri, Sheikh Fazl’allah, 16., 161
Nuru’l-Arabi, Muhammad, 125
Oil industry, Iran, 88, 111–229 Russia,
18, 4., 42, 41, 44, 45, 48
Okyar, Fethi, 147, 224
opium monopoly (Iran), 72, 71, 84, 87
Orbay, Rauf, 116
Orient Express, 1.
Ormanian, Malahia, 6.
Ottoman arahives, 18
Ottoman Bank, 24
Ottoman studies, 17
Pahlavi hat,
dress aode reforms:
Pahlavi period, 12, 71, 79, 84, 116, 17.,
172, 1759
see also
Reza Shah Pahlavi
pan-Turkism, 1.7
Parsa, Fakhr Afaq, 169, 171
Patriarahate (Greek Orthodox), 51,
Persian Empire, 5, 1., 16, 116
Persian Gulf, 112, 118
Pilavoνlu, Kemal, 112
polygamy, 179–98,
see also
polygyny, 161, 179, 191–7,
see also
populism (
), 1.9
Qaffarzadah, Asadollah, 5.
Qajar, dynasty, 4, 1., 12, 15, 71, 78, 89,
2189 anti-Qajar aampaigners, 24.9
pro-Qajar women, 168
Qashqa’i, 74, 84–9, 91
Qavam al-Mulk, Ibrahim Khan,
Qazvin, 77
Qum, 77, 78, 79, 8., 87, 214
Raf‘at’zadah, Batul, 169
Rahmi (Sezgin), Sheikh, 114, 141, 229
Rasht, 7, 4., 169
Razi, Sheikh Muhammed, 117, 141
Republiaan People’s Party (CHP), 1.5,
1.6, 146, 224
republiaanism, 1.1, 1.5, 168
Rey, 1.
Reza Shah Pahlavi/Reza Khan/Riza
Khan, 7, 12, 71, 71, 76, 86, 88–92,
111, 115, 116, 118, 122, 159, 162,
161, 167, 171–5, 214, 217, 218, 24.,
Rıza Nur, 157
Rıza Tevfik (Bölükbaώı), 111, 14.
Roman Catholia Churah, 182
Rufai, 118
Rukn al-Din Khan Mokhtary,
Rum Mekteb-i Kebir
Μεγάλη του Γένους
(Great Sahool of the Nation),
66, 212
Russia, 11–51, 97, 99, 1.7, 1.9, 112,
167, 2.8, 221,
see also
Empire, Soviet Union
Sa‘id Maraghah’i, 5.
Sa‘id Nursi, 1.8, 126, 128, 129, 11.,
Sa‘ida Murad, 172
Sabahaddin, Prinae, 64
Safiye Erol, 119
Salih Niyazi, 126, 127, 14., 222
Samarkand, 19, 44
Samih Rıfat, 117
Sardarsipah, 161, 168, 219, 24.
Sarim al-Dawlah, Akbar Mirza,
Sawlat al-Dawlah, Isma‘il Khan, 84, 85,
86, 89, 91
Seaond Constitutional Period
seaularization, 179 Iran, 75, 92, 1219
Ottoman/Turkish, 54, 55, 59, 6.,
121, 146, 154, 179, 18.–1, 185
Selman Cemali, 127, 14., 222
Şemseddin Sami, 194, 246
Şerafeddin Daνıstani, 126, 14., 221
Serbest Cumhuriyet F
Republiaan Party), 111, 147, 148,
157, 211
Serbia, 99
Sertel, Zekeriya, 147
Şevki Koaa, 127
Sèvres Treaty, 129
Sha‘baniyya, 118, 227
Shadhiliyya, 116
Shahahiragh of Shiraz, shrine of, 4
Shahnaz Azad, 161, 168, 169, 241
Shamakhi, 17
Shams al-‘Imarah, 5, 166
Shams Pahlavi, Prinaess, 171, 172
, 78, 95, 118, 151, 18.–6, 188,
192, 2299 aourts, 1.4, 185
Sharifi, ‘Ismat al-Muluk, 169
Sharifi, Ahmad, 169
Shawkat al-Mulk, Ibrahim, 85
Shaykh Khaz‘al of Muhammarah,
Sheikh Sa‘id Revolt, 121, 129, 11., 14.,
141, 146–8, 152, 154
Shi‘ism, 141, 15., 159, 1759 alergy, 15,
77, 79, 82, 81, 87, 92, 165, 168, 175,
1769 women, 219
Shiraz, 74, 77–8., 82, 87–9, 91, 24.
Shushtari, Sayyid ‘Ali, 167
irket-i Hayriye
(Istanbul Ferryboat
Company), 22
Soaiety of Constantinople (
), 61
Solomonidis, Sokratis, 68, 21.
, 64
Souliotis-Niaolaidis, Athanassios, 61,
Soviet Union, 12, 97, 114, 119
Sublime Porte, 2, 57, 65, 68, 2.8
Suez Canal, 11
Sufi orders, 121–42, 144, 148, 151,
22.–1, 229
Şükri Efendi, 118
Süleyman Seyfullah Efendi, 128
s, 128, 115, 116, 14.
sultanate, abolition of, 1.., 1.1, 185
Sümbüliyye, 117
Surkhi, 87
Surkhi, Mahdi, 87
Syria, 96, 1.., 169
Tabriz, 1, 1, 4, 11–5, 4., 5., 74, 77,
8.–4, 88
kun Kanunu
of Order Law), 1.2, 125, 11., 146,
Talat Pasha, 61
, 51–6, 58, 1.2, 1.5, 124,
181, 189, 2.7–8, 21.
Taqi al-Din b, Muhammad b, Ahmad,
, 95, 11., 147, 151, 154, 158,
see also
Sufi orders
Tatar, 16, 44, 45
Taymurtash/Teymurtash, Abd al-
Husayn, 72, 75, 79, 8., 81, 88, 89,
111, 119, 161, 172
Tbilisi, 16, 17, 19, 42, 44, 48, 51
TBMM (Turkish National Assembly),
97, 1.., 1.1, 1.5, 124, 146, 152,
221, 211, 214
Tehran, 4, 5, 8, 1., 12, 19, 71, 74, 77,
79, 8., 82–9, 91, 92, 111, 114, 117,
119, 121, 122, 161, 165, 168, 171–1,
214, 219–4.
Esasiye Kanunu
(Law on
Fundamental Organization), 1.1,
Tevhid-i Tedrisat Kanunu
(Unity of
Eduaation Law), 181
Tijaniyya, 129, 112, 14., 225
Tirana, 127
Tolun, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Meadi, 125, 128,
116, 14.
Trans-Caspian, 4., 449 network, 189
railway, 19
Transaauaasia, 19
Trans-Iranian Railway, 72, 75
rk Oaaklar
(Turkish Hearths), 1.6,
Turkmen desert, 18
Turkmenahay treaty (1828), 16
Uniform Dress Law (Iran),
aode reforms
USA, 18, 99, 1.4, 111, 182
Tahdettin, 1.1
Tassilios, metropolitan of Izmir, 69
Tatan textile faatory, 14
Taziri, Afzal, 162, 215, 216, 217
Teled Çelebi (Izbudak), 118, 141
Teli Dede, 129, 111, 14., 224
Tolga, 19
Western �raae (
Garbi Trakya
), 97
Westernization, Westernists, 81, 95,
1.6, 1.8, 147, 216
Yahya Galib (Kargı), 117
Yerevan, 17, 19, 4., 42, 44, 49
Yetkin, Safvet, 117, 141
Young Turks, 12, 16, 25, 28, 59, 6., 62,
7., 95, 98, 1.1, 1.6, 1.7, 11., 2.9,
21.–11, 216–17
Zahidi, General Fazlullah Khan, 89
Zaza tribes, 129
Zeynelabidin Efendi, 111, 115, 14.
Zia, Sayyad, 12
Zonguldak, 11, 12

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