29 May 2009

2850)Example Of “Art Of Living Together” In Ottoman Society: Socio-Cultural Interactions & Mutual Support Between Turkish-Armenian Societies In Yozgat

Assoc Prof Taha Niyazi KARACA
Bozok University Faculty of Arts and Science Department of History / Yozgat


INTRODUCTION

Yozgat is a city which deserves special attention and research on Turkish-Armenian relations and the Armenian revolts. Because the formation of the Armenian population was totally dependent on the memnuniyet principle1, the Armenian population reached 13,736 according to the 1914 census in respect to 10002 Armenians at the beginning of 18003. This situation was the result of tolerance towards Armenians. This 1 Armenians settled in Yozgat without forcing of goverment. This settlement was not a planned immigration. In one way Yozgat was a open market. The monopoly was been prohibited by Capanogullari family who are founders of Yozgat city. So people from other cities began to come to Yozgat for commerce and settlement. This comfortable city from the point of trade presented peace and satisfaction its people. In short time Armenian population reached amount of thousands. For detailed description of the people living and relations in Yozgat, see Taha Niyazi Karaca, Yozgat’ta Türk Ermeni İlişkileri, Ankara 2005, p.31-70. . .

2 M. Baptistin Poujoulat, Voyage Des l’Asie Mineure En Mesopotamie, A Palmyre En Syrie En Paletsine Et En Egypt, Paris 1840, p.293.

3 Kemal Karpat, Ottoman Population 1830-1914, Demographic and Social Characteristics, The University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin/London 1985, s.172-173; For demographic structure of Yozgat and its change according to years, see



indicates that Armenians preferred to emigrate to Yozgat from different regions, and they did not leave the city for any reason. Many voyagers who visited Yozgat, like Charles Texier, Poujoulat, Kinnier, Cuinet, and Perrot, gave information on the comfortable living conditions of the Armenians and their affluence4. The subject of this presentation will be the Armenians’ social relations with the Turks and some examples of solidarity with the Turks.

I. SOCIAL INTERACTION

Religious groups were named as cemaat (congregation) or millet (nation) in the Ottoman State. Social interaction refers, as it is understood in the Ottoman State, to the influence of a cemaat’s way of life on another cemaat. Characteristics of the influence can be derived from Şeriyye Sicilleri belonging to the city and from the memoirs of travellers.

1. Family Life, Traditions and Customs

Travellers who visited Yozgat specifically focused on the similarities of the two millets in terms of their ways of life, traditions and customs. The conservative family structure that both Turks and Armenians adapted in daily life can be given as the first example. Fred Burnaby indicated that although the Armenian women in different cities of Anatolia were quite unrestricted in their relations with the outside, family life of the Yozgat Armenians had a conservative character due to the influence of Muslim-Turkish relations5.

Another traveller and researcher, Charles Texier, mentions common characteristics of the Turkish and the Armenian family structures. According to Texier’s account, the domestic life of both groups shows similarities. Women were highly respectful to their husbands. Both the Taha Niyazi Karaca, Yozgat Şehrinde Demografik Yapı, IV. Kayseri ve Yöresi Tarih Sempozyumu Bildirileri (10-11 Nisan 2003), Kayseri 2003, p.307-321.

4 For the information about the city life of Yozgat edited from the memoirs of voyagers who visited Yozgat see Taha Niyazi Karaca, 19. Yüzyıl Avrupa Seyyahlarının Gözü İle Bir Anadolu Şehrinin Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapısı, Doç.Dr. Günay Çağlar Amağanı, (Editör: Mehmet İnbaşı), Erzurum 2004, p.150-163.

5 Fred Burnaby, At Sırtında Anadolu, (translator: Fatma Taşkent), İstanbul 1999, p.148


Turkish and Armenian women partook of meals at the dinner table with their husbands as a demonstration of respect. In the same way, the Armenian sons behaved toward their fathers consistent with Turkish custom, and they never smoke in front of their fathers. After pointing out these similarities, he especially emphasizes that Turks and Armenians lived together without any problems, and he insists that “the social relations of people are based on good relations”6.

An account by both Burnaby and Texier is that the Turkish traditions and customs were the dominant element in family life of the two groups. This can be supported by a document acquired from the Ottoman Archives. The Armenian cemaat indicates that there were two sections7 in their church, and they had asked for permission for restoration of the women’s section. This demonstrates that the church was divided as women’s (haremlik) and men’s sections (selamlık). In respect of Perrot who is another Eropean traveller, the influence of Armenians’ religious beliefs on their lifestyle had not completely disappeared. While some Armenians, who felt an affiliation to Europe, were eating at tables, Turks were continuing to eat on floor. In opinion of this traveller, eating at tables was related to religious lifestyles8.

One of the observed influences on social interaction was tolerance of the Muslims to wine production and consumption by the Armenians. Moreover, viniculture was very widespread among the Muslims. Although the Muslims did not drink wine, they kept wine in their houses to offer their Christian guests9. This was more than likely the result of the Christians’ influence on the Muslims.

6 Charles Texier, Küçük Asya, III, (translator: Ali Suad), İstanbul Matbaa-ı Amire, 1340, p.46.

7 Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivleri-BOA), Hariciye Nezareti Mektubi Kalemi, Dosya:32, Gömlek:70 (10 Cemazielahir 1266/23 Nisan 1850)

8 George Perrot, Souvenirs D’un Voyage En Asie Mineure, Paris 1867, p.385-393.

9 Perrot, Asie Mineure, s.385, and see Henry Fanshawe Tozer; Turkish Armenia and Eastern Asia Minor, Longman&Co.,London 1881, p.83.



2. Architecture and Buildings

When social interaction is considered, architectural buildings are undoubtedly one of the most important elements which reflect common cultural values. The buildings in the city were described by travellers. According to them, the appearance of the buildings and especially the houses in Yozgat completely resembled the buildings in European cities10.

The houses of the Muslims and the Christian were similar, and there was no difference in their construction11. Most of these houses had two stories, wide gardens and tiled roofs12.

European influence could be observed in the design of other buildings apart from the religious ones13. Traditional Turkish house plans were generally used in Yozgat. These plans consisted of iç sofalı (interior long room or hall), dört eyvanlı (vaulted hall open to a court on one side), and köşe odalı (corner rooms)14. The houses were constructed in the Turkish style but the inner decorations of the houses consisted western style furnishings and pictures. This was probably due to the influence of the Armenians in the city. The most concrete sample of this influence was the grand bazaar. Travellers said that they did not see one like it in any other city. The bazaar was a masterpiece having two stories and being covered with glass all along two sides15.

Hamams were one of the most important places of social life. The Christians and the Muslims normally had separate hamams in Ottoman society. This situation was different in Yozgat. Hamams of the Muslims and the Christians were joint buildings. According to Hamilton, who visited the city in 1837, the hamams were the most colorful and entertaining parts of social life in the city. As a result, hamams were built

10 Tozer, op. cit, p.80-81. 11 Texier, op. cit, p.46 12 Vital Cuinet, La Turquie D’Asie, Paris 1891, p.297

13 For the European influence extending up to Anatolia and Yozgat see Rüçhan Arık, “Sanatta Batılılaşma Sürecinde Balkan-Anadolu Beraberliği”, Balkanlarda Kültürel Etkileşim ve Türk Mimarisi Uluslararası Sempozyumu Bildirileri, Cilt:1, Atatürk Kültür Merkezi Yayınları, 2004.

14 Hakkı Acun, Tüm Yönleri İle Çapanoğulları ve Eserleri, Ankara 2005, p.190.

15 Burnaby, op. cit, p.137; Tozer, Loc. cit, s.81.



as magnificent buildings16. In the Hamilton’s example, the interesting point is that two different groups were using the hamams as places of entertainment, and they did not exclude each other.

Embellishment and inner decoration of buildings belonged to the Armenian artists. Konaks (mansions) were decorated with pictures. Moreover, Başçavuş Mosque, one of the rarest inner pictured mosques, was built in Yozgat between 1800 and 180117. The inner walls of the Mosque were adorned with pictures of landscapes. In the same way, the outer mahfil (balcony) of the Mosque was decorated with pictures18. Inner adornments of the Mosque were undoubtedly a result of the Armenian artists’ influence on the Muslim society.

3. Clothes

Another element that should be considered in the relations between societies is clothes. According to accounts of the travellers, there were not great differences between Muslim and Armenian women’s clothing. The quality of clothes changed according to wealth.

The salta was the most preferred clothes of women. It was a kind of cardigan (hırka) made of velvet, and it was bought from Venice. Collars and sleeves of the clothes were embellished with silk. This item of clothing was a favorite of rich Muslim and Armenian women in Yozgat. Lower income groups used to wear entari, fistan, maşlah, fermaniye, ferace, and other clothes19.

Men were generally wearing setre (a type of coat). Other clothes were jacket, cepken, cemedan, palto, sako, aba, and men’s salta20. Because the city had a cold climate fur and clothes with fur which of models like genoa, rumeli, lamb, and nafe were widely used21.

16 William Hamilton, Researches in Asie Minor, Pontus and Armenia, London 1842, p.386

17 Acun, op. cit, p.258-261.

18 For detailed description of the mosques see Acun, Ibid, p.101-144.
19 İsmail Cansız, “Osmanlı Döneminde Yozgat’ta Sosyal ve Kültürel Hayat”, Osmanlı Devleti ve Bozok Sancağı, Yozgat 2000, p.227-228.

20 Cansız, Ibid, p.228.
21 Cansız, Ibid, p.230-31.



4. Names and Nicknames

Names and nicknames constitute another interesting aspect of their social life. Because the Armenians were living a society in which the Muslims were majority, many changes occurred in the Armenian names, thanks to the Muslim influence. The Armenian women received Muslim names like: Sultan, İpek, Maviş, Gülkız, Melek, Güllü, Yosma, and Elmas. The Armenian men received names like: Arslan, Ayvaz, Ateş, Burak, Bahadır, Civelek, Hacı, Hıdır, İskender, Kaplan, Murad, and Rüstem.

Apart from these names, men were given nicknames like: Balta, Bakla, İnce, Kara, Kişi, Kahya, Kafadar, Kalfa, Ölmez, Şişman, Kocaoğlan, and Körpe etc. 22

5. Quarters

Although the Armenians and the Turks were living as two different societies, their living spaces were inter-mixed. According to the 1844 temettuat (property) registrations, most of the quarters in Yozgat were mixed. Medrese (123 houses), Taşköprü (260 houses), Mutafoğlu (148 houses), Çatak (267 houses), and Nohutlu quarters had only a Muslim population. Tekye (250 Muslim, 199 Armenian houses), İstanbulluoğlu (130 Muslim, 63 Armenian, 48 Greek houses), Köseoğlu (108 Muslims, 238 Armenian houses), and Tuzkaya (68 Muslim, 186 Armenian houses) quarters had a mixed population23.

This mixture demonstrates that the two societies were living together, and they had neighborhood relations. These relations even reached to property partnership, and this indicated mutual trust24. According to the gendarme incident reports and Şeriyye Sicilleri received from the Prime-Ministry Ottoman Archives, the rate of crimes committed by the two sides against each other were few. The number 2 Şeriyye Sicili, which

22 Cansız, Ibid, p.226.

23 For a study on 1844-1845 Yozgat Temettuat Defteri see Ahmet Akgündüz, Said Öztürk, Yozgat Temettuat Defterleri,I-III, Yimpaş Holding Yayını, İstanbul 2000; For another study, also see Z. Ahmet Bağdatlı, Tanzimat Dönemi Yozgat Kasabasının Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapısı, Unpublished M.A Thesis, Marmara Üniversitesi, İstanbul 1991.

24 Karaca, Yozgat’ta Türk Ermeni İlişkileri, p.43-45.



covers 1882-1887, mentions only one case of injury25. We can detect from the same registrations that both sides became representatives for each other in the courts26.

While George Perrot was analyzing the relationships between the two cemaats, he mentioned the Muslim friends of Hacı Ohannes. Ohannes had many friends not only in the city center but also in surrounding villages. When these friends came to the city, they did not leave without visiting Hacı Ohannes27.

If we interpret the Turkish-Armenian social interactions in light of the given examples, it can be said that each side affected the other with its dominant peculiarities. The Turks explicitly affected the Armenians in terms of family life, traditions, customs, and life style. On the other hand, the Armenians affected the Turks in the fields of some artistic and architectural applications.

II- EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY

The examples demonstrate that the Muslims and the Christians had good relations in Yozgat. In the case of adversity, their relations turned to social solidarity. The first example can be given for the 1874 famine28. In the famine, thousands of people and animals perished because of hunger.

According to Hamilton, 100,000 cattle and 150,000 peoples died in the famine29. The government, which could not prevent the destructive 25 Hatice Yüzgeçer, 2 Numaralı Yozgat Şeriyye Sicilinin Transkripsiyonu ve Değerlendirilmesi (H.1299-1304/M.1882-1887), Unpublished M.A Thesis, Erciyes Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Kayseri 2005, s.297.

26 Yüzgeçer, Ibid, p.298.

27 Perrot, Op. cit, p.385-393.

28 Halime Çamçır,who was born 1852 in Ankara, was one of the eyewitness of the 1873-74 famine. According to her testimony in 1952, during the famine thousands of sheeps died and they could not find anything to eat despite their wealth. And they had to eat broom seed and dried grass to survive. In the famine year, more than a thousand people died per day in Ankara and the streets were full of deaths. See Kemal Bağlum, Beşbin Yılda Nereden Nereye Ankara, Ankara 1992, p.25.

29 Tozer explains emergence of the famine as follow: In 1873, the harvest was very poor due to the drought. And there occurred heavy rains on the following November-December and there was heavy snow fall on January-February. Cities were the most unfortunate places because all the food reserves were exhausted.



results of the famine at the time, published an announcement in newspapers and called the people of Anatolia to aid Yozgat30. The government reduced destructive results of the famine with the aid which came from other cities and Britain31. However, the impact of the famine continued for a long time and famine sometimes occurred in following years. In that situation, Papazyan Hamparsum, a wealthy Armenian, supplied the needs of Keskin in spite of government didn’t demand help. For his benevolence, the government rewarded Hamparsum with a third rank State medal32.

Another example of solidarity was observed with the oath taking by the Crete Parliament in the name of the King of Greece in 1910. To protest the event, Turks and Armenians organized demonstrations together. Twenty thousand Ottoman citizens participated in the protest, and they together proclaimed their obedience to the Ottoman State. The speeches of two Armenian citizens, Kirkor and Nersis, demonstrated unity of the two cemaats33.

The best example of good neighborly relations and solidarity was the aid from the Turks for the Armenians returning from deportation. When the law for return of the Armenians was announced on October 1918, thousands of the Armenians returned to Yozgat. Because the government could not give necessary aid at the time, the Armenians faced Because snow had closed the ways, inevitable hunger devastated peoples of cities until coming of spring. See Tozer, op. cit, p.45-93.

30 BOA, Sadaret Mektubi Kalemi Mühimme Kalemi (A. MKT. MHM), D: 476, G:13, (9 Rebiülevvel 1291/26 Nisan 1874)

31 İsmail Hakkı Paşa, the governor of Diyarbakır, undertook responsibility of sending cereals and cattle to supply needs of the city. And he began to work. BOA, A.MKT.MHM. D:74, G:23 (23 Rebiülevvel 1291/10 May 1874). Some aids were gathered in Britain and sent to the government after the publications of Levant Herald. For the news of Levant Herald related to the famine aid see The Famine in Asia Minor, its History, Compiled From the Pages of the Levant Herald, Constantinople 1875.

32 BOA, Yıldız Perakende Başkanlığı Kataloğu, (Y.PRK.BŞK.) D:12, G:43 (07 Safer 1305/25 Ekim 1887

33 Karaca, op. cit., p. 182.



some difficulties. At that point, the Muslims of Yozgat initiated an aid organization to provide for the needs of the Armenians34.

CONCLUSION

Yozgat constituted its population via internal migration from other regions. The region became attractive for Armenians because of the tax exemption introduced by the Çapanoğulları who are founders of Yozgat. All the travellers who visited the city until 1878 mentioned the harmonious togetherness of the Turks and the Armenians. Fred Burnaby was among these travelers; he had actually come to Anatolia and Yozgat with prejudice from the influence of negative propaganda. After visiting the region, he expressed in his memoirs that the allegations about massacres on Armenians were shameless lies.

The long lasting harmony between social groups was destroyed with the interference of the Great Powers. The Armenians were portrayed as heroes struggling for independence while the Turks were portrayed as killers. In their propaganda it is especially claimed that the Turks waited for a suitable time over the centuries to destroy the Armenians. However, the micro-studies focused on the city life clearly demonstrate that this propaganda was constructed on great lies. The Turks and the Armenians have lived through the centuries with good relations not with enmity. The documents prove this situation.

34 Karaca, Ibid, p.227.


REFERENCES

ACUN, Hakkı; Tüm Yönleri İle çapanoğulları ve Eserleri, Ankara 2005.
AKGÜNDÜZ, Ahmet- Öztürk, Said; Yozgat Temettuat Defterleri,I-III, Yimpaş Holding Yayını, İstanbul 2000.
ARIK, Rüçhan; “Sanatta Batılılaşma Sürecinde Balkan-Anadolu Beraberliği”, Balkanlarda Kültürel Etkileşim ve Türk Mimarisi Uluslar arası Sempozyumu Bildirileri, Cilt:1, Atatürk Kültür Merkezi Yayınları, 2004.
BAĞDATLI, Z. Ahmet; Tanzimat Dönemi Yozgat Kasabasının Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapısı, Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Marmara Üniversitesi, İstanbul 1991.
BAĞLUM, Kemal; Beşbin Yılda Nereden Nereye Ankara, Ankara 1992.
PRIME MINISTRY OTTOMAN ARCHIVES, (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivleri- BOA), Hariciye Nezareti Mektubi Kalemi, Dosya:32, Gömlek:70 (10 Cemazielahir 1266/23 Nisan 1850)
BOA, A.MKT.MHM. D:74, G:23 (23 Rebiülevvel 1291/10 Mayıs 1874)
BOA, Sadaret Mektubi Kalemi Mühimme Kalemi (A. MKT. MHM), D: 476, G:13, (9 Rebiülevvel 1291/26 Nisan 1874)
BOA, Yıldız Perakende Başkanlığı Kataloğu, (Y.PRK.BŞK.) D:12, G:43 (07 Safer 1305/25 Ekim 1887)
BURNABY, Fred; At Sırtında Anadolu, (çeviren: Fatma Taşkent), İstanbul 1999.
CANSIZ, İsmail; “Osmanlı Döneminde Yozgat’ta Sosyal ve Kültürel Hayat”, Osmanlı Devleti ve Bozok Sancağı, Yozgat 2000.
CUINET, Vital; La Turquie D’Asie, Paris 1891.
HAMILTON, William; Researches in Asie Minor, Pontus and Armenia, London 1842.
KARACA, Taha Niyazi; “19. Yüzyıl Avrupa Seyyahlarının Gözü İle Bir Anadolu Şehrinin Sosyo-Ekonomik Yapısı”, Doç.Dr. Günay çağlar Amağanı, (Editör: Mehmet İnbaşı), Erzurum 2004.
KARACA, Taha Niyazi; “Yozgat Şehrinde Demografik Yapı, IV. Kayseri ve Yöresi Tarih Sempozyumu Bildirileri (10-11 Nisan 2003), Kayseri 2003.
KARACA, Taha Niyazi; Ermeni Sorununun Gelişim Sürecinde Yozgat’ta Türk Ermeni İlişkileri, Ankara 2005.
KARPAT, Kemal; Ottoman Population 1830-1914, Demographic and Social Characteristics, The University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin/London 1985.
PERROT, George; Souvenirs D’un Voyage En Asie Mineure, Paris 1867.
POUJOULAT, M. Baptistin; Voyage Des l’Asie Mineure En Mesopotamie, A Palmyre En Syrie En Paletsine Et En Egypt, Paris 1840.
TEXIER, Charles; Küçük Asya, III, (Mütercimi: Ali Suad), İstanbul Matbaa-ı Amire, 1340. The Famine in Asia Minor, its History, Compiled From the Pages of the Levant Herald, Constantinople 1875.
TOZER, Henry Fanshawe; Turkish Armenia and Eastern Asia Minor, Longman&Co.,London 1881.
YÜZGEçER, Hatice; 2 Numaralı Yozgat Şeriyye Sicilinin Transkripsiyonu ve Değerlendirilmesi (H.1299-1304/M.1882-1887), Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Erciyes Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Kayseri 2005.

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