28 December 2007
2258) “Hopes Of Secularization In Ottoman Empire: Armenian National Constitution & Armenian Newspaper, Masis, 1856-1863”
By Aylin Besiryan,
BOĞAZİÇİ UNIVERSITY, 2007
This thesis deals with the proclamation of a new statute law in 1863 for the internal administration of the Ottoman Armenian community. The discussion over the statute going back to the years of the Crimean War (1853-1856), the aim of this work is to describe the political and social context, which led both the Ottoman government and the Armenian community to such a regulation and to reconstitute the debate from the perspective of an Armenian newspaper, Masis, published from 1852 to 1893 in Istanbul by Garabed Ütüciyan, who took an active role in the process.
The main concern of the thesis is to reveal the diversity of standpoints in which the statute was perceived by the different strata of the Armenian community itself, as well as by the Ottoman state, by proceeding to a discourse analysis as the discourse was reflected in Masis from 1856 to 1863. The second concern is to focus on the differences in political concepts used particularly in the Armenian, Armeno-Turkish and Ottoman Turkish, versions of the statute law to trace the differences of approach between the Armenian community and the Ottoman state vis-à-vis the new regulation. The fact that the statute is entitled “National Constitution” in Armenian while the Ottoman version bears the title of “Regulation of the Armenian Patriarchate” is one of the most controversial points at issue. The thesis will try to reply to what extent the statute law was a constitution, to what extent it differed from previous privileges granted to the Armenian community, and to compare the Armenian case with the other non-Muslim communities of the Ottoman Empire, as well as with the status of Russian Armenians during the nineteenth century.
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