28 Ocak 2011 Cuma

Center-Periphery Cleavage in Ottomans and in Turkey

All societies have centers regarding their institutional frameworks. In Middle Eastern societies efforts for constituting centers were weak and short-lived. However, Ottoman State had a strong center that allowed the survival of the system for more than six centuries. Ottoman State achieved this through a complex system. First of all, Ottoman bureaucracy consisted of well-educated elite largely recruited at an early age from religious minority groups via devshirme system. Bureaucracy’s loyalty to the Palace was very high and they had their own bureaucratic culture. By tımar system, Ottomans were able to control agricultural production and imposed taxes on producers in order to prevent the evolution of a rich feudal or bourgeois class. The center had its privileges and was weakly connected to the peripheral subjects (teba or reaya). The first reason of the center-periphery cleavage was the existence of duality in lifestyles (urban and nomadic). While central elements had urban resident lifestyle, among peripheral elements (especially among Turkic population) nomadic life was widespread. Secondly, the center was afraid of the emergence of a new class, feudal family or clan that would threaten its position and that is why it imposed heavy burdens (tax, forced military etc.) on the periphery. According to Şerif Mardin, center and periphery was loosely related in the Ottoman system. Center had its own lifestyle, culture and world based on rationalism whereas periphery was involved in religious brotherhoods and other heterodoxy institutions in order not to be alone in the system. In a sense, Mardin saw these institutions as pre-modern civil society organizations.
Starting from the 19th century Ottoman modernization reforms aimed at establishing a nation-state by integrating periphery to the center with the center’s rules. Non-Muslim population’s integration to the system tried to be realized by the adoption citizenship rights (Tanzimat and Islahat reforms). Although it was partially achieved, the territorial losses of the state and the weakening of the non-Muslim population both in quantity and quality, helped the state to achieve this more or less. Later, Turkish Republic also by making population exchanges and Turkification efforts tried to strengthen its nation-state project. The integration of the peripheral Muslim elements (especially Kurds) was a more difficult task. Ottomanism, Islamism and later Turkish nationalism were three main ideologies used for integrating the periphery into the system. During the National Struggle, Islamism and Turkish nationalism were successfully used but after the establishment of a modern, secular state both Turkish nationalism and secularism created problems in the peripheral world. Turkish nationalism was challenged by Kurdish nationalism although other ethnic elements of the state accepted civic Turkishness ideology of the state. Secularism on the other hand created problems among the pious peripheral segments that involved in heterodoxy institutions. Turkish State in a sense inherited Ottoman tradition of center-periphery cleavage and although center rightist political parties (also leftist parties in the 1970s and 1980s) tried to solve this problem by a populist rhetoric and political program, today still Turkish state has center-periphery clash in its political agenda (closure case against JDP, secularism concerns, Kurdish separatism etc.).
Ozan Örmeci

Hiç yorum yok: