930) Ottoman Administration of the ME has Become a Book

The Middle East has suffered from constant bloodshed since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The current tragedy in Lebanon and Palestine is an example of the Middle East tragedy.

The Turkish Prime Ministry has published a book describing the Ottoman administration in the Middle East. Prepared by the Ministry State Archives Directorate General, the book titled “Living Together Under the Sky as Canopy”. The preface touches upon the main problem World “is facing today , lack of tolerance ”, The book gives the details of Ottoman administrative philosophy that would benefit the current governments in the area. . .

The book also refers to English translations and imperial edicts related to the issue. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is closely monitoring preparations and is expected to present the book to foreign leaders.

The 367-page book was printed on high quality paper, and includes ninety documents selected from the Ottoman archives in four main chapters. The first chapter includes Ottoman strategies in tolerance and highlights support for church and synagogue constructions. In fact, the required construction money was often provided by the Turkish treasury.

Appreciation letters by Christian and Jewish representatives for the assistance given by the Ottomans are also among the documents presented in the publication. The second chapter focuses on the Ottoman’s “refugee policy,” and includes documents that indicate the Ottoman Empire was known to be a safe haven to refugees fleeing from neighboring countries. A number of Greek and Serbian members of parliament were known to have acquired Ottoman nationality.

The third chapter looks at the relations with the West, and includes examples of the material support given to countries in need of assistance. The final chapter focuses on their relations with Muslim countries.

State Archives Director General Yusuf Sarinay expressing his thoughts about the book said the administrations that have shown tolerance and just survived for longer, and therefore, the Ottoman’s experience of tolerance is crucial.

In the introduction, Sarinay writes: “What is required is to find system that will embrace different religions, nations, religious orders and cultures. I assume that Turkey with its rich and proven experience will be able to make contributions to humanity’s search for peace.”

Ottomans ruled an area that extended from Central Europe to Arabia, Africa to Central Asia for 600 years. The difficulties facing the empire related mostly to the ability of so many different cultures, nationalities, languages and religions to live peacefully together. The Ottomans had 600 years of experience on this issue, yet it remains the main problem facing the modern world today.

By Erdal Sen, Ankara
August 12, 2006


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