1396) Harmonious Life In 17th Erzurum: Turkish-Armenian Harmony

Assoc. Prof Bilgehan PAMUK
Atatürk University Faculty of Science and Letters History Department Erzurum

One of the oldest and largest cities of Anatolia, Erzurum is located on a sloping surface at the foot of the Palandöken Mountains near the headwaters of the Euphrates River. The Ottomans became the rulers of the city in the early 16th century. At the time, Erzurum was a key trade center since it connected Anatolia with the Caucasus, Iran, and Trans-Caucasus. On account of its military significance, it was called intiha-yi serhadd-i Acem1 which comes to mean one of the border cities. In order to study the beginning of Turkish-Armenian harmony under Ottoman rule, archive records were examined first. In the first records of the city dated 1520, it was indicated that the city was in ruins and thus not included in accounting.2 . . Therefore, it seems to appear that there was no population at all in the city at the time. However, there must have been because there were 12 quarters in the city and a revenue of

1 Bilgehan Pamuk, XVII. Yüzyılda Bir Serhad Şehri Erzurum, Istanbul 2006, pp.27,61.
2 Basbakanlık Osmanlı Archives (hereinafter BOA.) Tapu Tahrir Defter (hereinafter TD.) 387, p.436.

15,000 akça (silver coins) as indicated in the records.3 In the first census, no information relating to the existence of Armenians was gathered. In the records of 1540, there were 27 quarters and 76 Muslim households in the city. However, there was still no information about the presence of Armenians.4

There was an obvious rise in the population in 1591.5 There were 548 nefer6 (soldiers) and while 186 of them were Muslims, 362 of them were non-Muslims.7 According to a widely-accepted idea, a household was made up of five individuals.8 Thus, the population of the city in 1591 was 548 x 5 = 2,740. However, it should be mentioned that there was also another less popular belief that a household was made up of three individuals.9 Accordingly, the population of the city was 548 x 3 = 1,644. In any case, the population of Erzurum at the time was between 1,600 and 2,800. After taking into consideration the number of those paying taxes as well as those free from taxation, the true population of the city was probably between 4,500 and 5,500.10 Although 362 non-Muslim tax-paying households were recorded, there is later evidence that indicate there were only 325.11 There was no information about the ethnic identities of the non-Muslims, who were called zimmîyan. However, almost all of the non-Muslim names listed

3 BOA. TD. 387, p.436; BOA. TD. 966, p.78.
4 BOA. TD. 205, pp.15–24.
5 Tapu Kadastro Kuyûd-ı Kâdime Archives Tapu Defteri (hereinafter TKKATD.)
41, pp.10–13.
6 In the survey of late 16th century the term nefer was used instead of “household”, Turan Gökçe, XVI. ve XVII. Yüzyıllarda Lazkiyye (Denizli) Kazâsı, Ankara 2000, p.88.
7 TKKATD. 41, p.13; the results indicate that there were 549 households and that 224 of them were Muslims while 325 of them were Non-Muslims.
8 Ömer Lütfi Barkan, “Tarihi Demografi Araştırmaları ve Osmanlı Tarihi”, Türkiyat Mecmuası, vol. X, Istanbul 1956, p.12; Feridun M. Emecen, Manisa Kazâsı, Ankara 1989, p.55.
9 Mehmet Oz, “Tahrir Defterlerindeki Sayısal Veriler”, Osmanlı Devletinde Bilgi ve Istatistik, Ankara 2000, p.21; Ronald Jennings, “Urban Population in Anatolia in the Sixteenth Century A Study of Kayseri, Karaman, Amasya, Trabzon and Erzurum”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 7, 1976, p.51.
10 Pamuk, Ibid, p.122.
11 TKKATD. 41, pp.10–13.

were those used by Armenians.12 Among the Armenians, there were those who carried such Armenian names as Agob, Aleksanos, Arutin, Avak, Bagdasar (Baghdasar)13, Bedros, Bunyad, Garabed (Karabed), Hacik (Khachig), Kirkor (Krikor), Ovannes (Hovhannes), Samavin, Serkis (Sarkis), and Toros and others who had Turkish names, such as Ag Baba, Babacan, Hudaverdi, Iskender (Alexander), Karaca, Karaman, Kaya Shah, and Murad (Mourad).14 Reviewing the records along with the list of names, it is possible to estimate the Armenian population of Erzurum. When the number 5 was used to calculate the population, it was 362 x 5 = 1,810. However, later documents reveal that the figure of 362 was inaccurate and there were actually 36 less households and, thus, the population was 325 x 5 = 1,625. When the number 3 was used to calculate the population, 362 x 3 = 1,086 and 325 x 3 = 975 were obtained. As a result, the estimated Armenian population was between 900 and 1,800.

Although the population density of the city between 1520 and 1540 was low, the Armenian population rose significantly towards the end of the century. It is indicated in the sources that the population rose ten times as much as its previous amount.15 Although there is no information about how the Armenian population in the city expanded so much in a period of 50 years16, it is thought to be a result of migration.17 The non-Muslim people living in the rural areas of Eastern Anatolia immigrated to the cities after the Ottomans had begun to rule over the region.18 Probably, the rise of population in Erzurum also stems from that.

12 Jennings, Ibid, p.49; Dickran Kouymjian, “The Decline and Revival of Erzurum: Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries”, Armenian Karin/Erzerum, California 2003, p.127.
13 The names in parentheses are the English spellings.
14 TKKATD. 41, pp.10–13; Jennings, Ibid, p.49; Kouymjian, Ibid, p.127; See, Nejat Göyünç, Türkler ve Ermeniler, Ankara 2005, pp.56–57, for the Armenians who used Turkish names.
15 Jennings, Ibid, p.49.
16 TKKATD. 41, pp.10–13.
17 Jennings, Ibid, p.49.
18 Göyünç, Ibid, p.61; Mehmet Ali Unal, XVI. Yüzyılda Harput Sancağı (1518–1566), Ankara 1989, pp.61–62; Mehmet Ali Unal, XVI. Yüzyılda Çemizgezek Sancağı, Ankara 1999, p.61.

A avâriz and djizya defters (tax records) belonging to 1640 and 1646 were reviewed to gain understanding about Turkish-Armenian relations in the 17th century.19 As stated previously, one of the most significant problems encountered during the studies of archive records was that there was no information related to the ethnic identities of the non-Muslims. Again, in order to partly solve the problem, the non-Muslim names found in avâriz and djizya defters were examined. Almost all of the names belonged to Armenians. The information gathered from state records was compared with what was found in other sources. There was much information discovered in the works of Armenian travelers that came to the city.20 For example, Evliya Chelebi mentioned that there were seven Armenian quarters21 while Tournefort indicated that there were about 6000 Armenians.22

The non-Muslims living in Erzurum at the time (1642) bore such names as Abraham (Apraham)23, Adis, Ador (Adour), Agob, Ahsador (Asadour), Aleksan (Alexan), Andernas, Andon, Arakil, Arslan, Arto, Arutin, Aslan, Asnik, Avadis (Avedis), Avak, Avid, Azad, Bagdasar (Baghdasar), Bali, Bedros, Bogos (Boghos), Budak, Davit, Elis, Gaspar (Kaspar), Gevher, Gukas (Ghougas), Hacadur (Khatchadour), Hacik (Khachig), Hirand (Hrant), Iskender (Alexander), Kara oglan, Karabed (Garabed), Karagöz, Karahan, Kazzaz, Kevork, Kirakos (Giragos), Kirkor (Krikor), Magar, Manok (Manough), Mardiros, Margirid, Melek, 19 Linda Darling, Revenue-Raising and Legitimacy Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire 1560–1660, Leiden 1996, pp.100–108; Oktay Ozel, “17. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Demografi ve Iskan Tarihi Için Önemli Bir Kaynak: Mufassal Avârız Defterleri”, XII. TTKong. (12–16 Eylül 1994) Kongreye Sunulan Bildiriler III, Ankara 1999, pp.738–739.

20 Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Les Six Voyages de Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Ecuyer Baron Daubonne Qu’il a farten Turquie en Perse et aux. Indes vol. I, Paris 1676, p.19; Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi II, Istanbul 1335, pp.210,213; Josep P. De Tournefort, A Voyage into Levant II, London 1718, p.195; Par K. Kostaneants, “Erzeroum Ou Topographie De La Haute Armenie - De Hakoub Karnetsi (XVII. Siecle), Journal Asiatique, tome. XIII, Paris 1919, p.156; Hrand D. Andreasyan, Polonyalı Simeon’un Seyahatnamesi 1608–1619, Istanbul 1964, pp.153–154; Kouymjian, Ibid, pp.128–129.

21 Evliya Çelebi, Ibid, p.210.
22 Tournefort, Ibid, p.195.
23 The names in parentheses are the English spellings.

Melkon, Maryam, Mıgırdic (Mgrditch), Mihran, Minas, Minasyan, Movses (Moses), Murad (Mourad), Orhan, Ovannes (Hovhannes), Sahak (Sahag), Sefer, Semavin, Serkis (Sarkis), Simon, Sinan, Susan, Shah Begi, Shahbaz, Tavit, Toros, Vartan, and Varteres. As with the previous census, there were also some Armenians with Turkish names.

In addition to 335 tax-paying (avâriz) Armenian households, there were 74 households who had been freed from taxation due to reasons such as poverty, unemployment, blindness, old age, and previous services rendered. In total there were 409 households.24 The Armenians formed 18.3 percent of the population and the number of their population could be either 409 x 5 = 2,045 or 409 x 3 = 1,227. In the avâriz icmal defter of the following year, it was written that there were 262 non-Muslim households responsible for paying tax.25 Accordingly, the population of the non-Muslim people could be either 262 x 5 = 1,310 or 262 x 3 = 786. Therefore, the Armenian population was between 1,200 and 2,000.26 Another significant source used to determine the number of non-Muslim people was the detailed djizya defters.27 These were the account books in which poll-taxes were recorded.28 Those paying djizya taxes paid it for the security provided to them by the state and had a certain income. Priests, children, women, old people, and physically-disabled ones were free from djizya.29 In addition, those working in the public sector were not required to pay the tax.30

A detailed djizya calculation for Erzurum was completed in 1643. There were such Armenian names as Abraham, Agob, Agobyan, Ahsa-

24 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.2–75.
25 BOA. MAD. 6422, p.6.
26 See Table 1 for the population of Erzurum City.
27 Darling, Ibid, p.100.
28 Cevdet Küçük, “Tanzimat’ın Ilk Yıllarında Erzurum’un Cizye Geliri ve Reâya Nüfusu”, Istanbul Universitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Tarih Dergisi, no. 31, Istanbul 1978, p.199.
29 Boris Christoff Nedkoff, “Osmanlı Imparatorluğunda Cizye”, (Translated by: Şinasi Altundag), Belleten, no. VIII, Ankara 1944, p.623.
30 BOA. MAD. 4621, pp.4–5,7–12; BOA. MAD. 2929. pp.13–16; BOA. MAD. 15633, p.1.

dor (Asadour)31, Aleksan (Alexan), Andernas, Andon, Arakil, Arslan, Arto, Arutin, Ashan, Avadis (Avedis), Avedik (Avedig), Avak, Aydın, Babacan, Baben, Bagdasar (Baghdasar), Bali, Bedros, Bogos (Boghos), Bozan, Budak, Davit, Gaspar (Kaspar), Gukas (Ghougas), Hacadur (Khatchadour), Hacik (Khachig), Hagob, Hirand (Hrant), Humahan, Iskender (Alexander), Karabed (Garabed), Kara oglan, Karagoz, Karahan, Karaman, Kazzaz, Kevork, Kirakos (Giragos), Kirkor (Krikor), Levon (Leon), Manok (Manough), Mardiros, Melkon, Mesih (Messiah), Migirdic (Mgrditch), Mihran, Minas, Minasyan, Movses (Moses), Murad (Mourad), Muradyan, Orhan, Ovannes (Hovhannes), Sahak (Sahag), Sanos, Sefer, Seferyan, Semavin, Serkis (Sarkis), Simon, Sinan, Tavit, Tomas (Thomas), Toros, Vartan, and Varteres in the records. There were also non-Muslim people who bore Turkish names.

A plague epidemic occurred in Erzurum just after the census. The local governors decided to organize a new census in order to gather a more accurate population count and fairly assess taxation.32 Before the epidemic, there were 604 households. After the epidemic, the number was 544. There were also households exempt from taxation since they served the State in some way or another. When these were taken into consideration, the total number was 574.33 Accordingly, the population could be 574 x 5 = 2,870. However, a more general multiplier of 3.5 was used.34 Thus, the population was approximately 574 x 3.5 = 2,009, making the Armenian population probably between 2,000 and 2,900.35

The effects of the plague were felt after 1643 as well. The non-Muslim population argued that most of the non-Muslim people had died, and that the rest could not afford to pay the taxes levied upon them. Thus, the non-Muslim people requested a new census for taxation. The Ottoman government accepted this request.36 In 1648, the census was carried out and it determined that there were 500 taxable households and that

31 The names in parentheses are the English spellings.
32 BOA. MAD. 2929, p.440.
33 BOA. MAD. 2929, pp.6–19; MAD. 4621, pp.2–15.
34 Darling, Ibid, p.101
35 See Table 2 for the distribution of Non-Muslim Population to the Quarters.
36 BOA. MAD. 2765, p.128.

15 households were exempt from paying tax.37 This census proved there was a decline in the Armenian population as a result of the plague. The population at the time was either 515 x 5 = 2,575 or 515 x 3.5 = 1,803, making the non-Muslim population somewhere between 1,800 and 2,600.38 Hakop is a priest in Erzurum, who in an essay that appeared in a compilation of Kostaneants claims that there were about 2,000 Armenians in the city in 1662.39

It has been claimed that there were 6000 Armenians in Erzurum in 1701.40 However, the state records of 1691 and 1692 indicated that there were only about 4,000 non-Muslim people in the city. Since such a rise in the population within ten years seems improbable, the information obtained from the works of European travelers must be viewed cautiously.41 Because the European travelers generally lived together with the non-Muslim people wherever they went, it is possible that they exaggerated the numbers.

In addition to the plague, the wars with the Safavids and the Abhaza Mehmed Pasha Revolts also had a negative effect on the Armenian population of Erzurum. However, in spite of all these factors, it still rose during this time period. One explanation for this might be the Celali revolts, which were a series of rebellions in Anatolia against the authority of the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. These revolts uprooted both Muslims and non-Muslims. Many settled in Erzurum.

There were no restrictions on Armenian settlement in Erzurum. The Armenians could live in quarters where only Armenians settled or live together with the Turks. Having an undeniable effect on the city life, the Armenians had equal rights with the Turkish people. Their churches and places belonging to these churches had a distinguished status. They had their own lands and buildings. There was such trust and tolerance

37 BOA. MAD. 15633, p.1.
38 See Table 3 for the distribution of Non-Muslim Population to the Quarters.
39 Kostaneants, Ibid, p.156.
40 Tournefort, Ibid, p.195.
41 Pamuk, Ibid, p.134.

between the Turks and the Armenians that the Turks rented the houses of the Armenians and vice versa.42

The Ottomans were always very tolerant of the Armenians.43 Mehmed II (The Conqueror), although nobody could force him to do so, provided the Armenians with some privileges so that they could freely practice their religious rituals, and he helped with the foundation of the Armenian Patriarchate by taking the Armenian Bishop named Hovakim from Bursa to Istanbul.44 When Selim I (The Grim) captured Jerusalem, he treated the Armenians there with high regard and made it possible for them to pray freely in their Kamame church.45 The fact that the Ottomans, who had been trying to rule the whole world, were very tolerant of the minority groups within the boundaries of the state, openly demonstrated its respect for people’s freedom of conscience.

The same acceptance was extended to the Armenians in Erzurum. The inner order of the Armenian churches was secured by the state. The priests were appointed through the approval of the Sultan.46 Those who died or who didn’t carry out their service were replaced by other people through appointment. In 1692, the delegate of the Mudurge monastery died, and a priest named Aharon was appointed to the position in accordance with the request of the Armenian Patriarch.47 In Erzurum, Armenian churches were in the suburbs of the Erzincan-gate and in the Gürcü-kapı (Georgian-gate) quarter.48 There were houses belonging to the

42 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.7,55,56,57,61,65.
43 Yavuz Ercan, “Tarihi Belgeler Işığında Ermeni Iddiaları”, Tarih Boyunca Türklerin Ermeni Toplumu Ile Ilişkileri Sempozyumu (8–12 Ekim 1984), Ankara 1985, pp.204,211; Levon Panos Dabağyan, Paylaşılamayan Belde Konstantiniyye, Istanbul 2003, p.237.
44 Levon Panos Dabağyan, Türkiye Ermenileri Tarihi, Istanbul 2004, pp.69–72.
45 Bilgehan Pamuk, “Osmanlılar Zamanında Rum-Ermeni Kiliseleri Arasındaki Ilişkiler (Kudüs Örneği)”, Atatürk Universitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi, no.16, Erzurum 2001, p.235.
46 Yusuf Oğuzoğlu, “XVII. Yüzyılda Türklerin Ermeni Toplumu Ile Ilişkileri Hakkında Bazı Bilgiler”, Tarih Boyunca Türklerin Ermeni Toplumu Ile Ilişkileri Sempozyumu (8–12 Ekim 1984), Ankara 1985, p.269.
47 BOA. Ibnü’l-Emin Tevcîhât 746.
48 Evliya Çelebi, Ibid, p.214; Tavernier, Ibid, p.19; Kouymjian, Ibid, pp.128–130; Christina Maranci, “The Architecture of the Karin/Erzerum Region”, Armenian

churches in the Iskender Pasha and Georgian-gate quarters.49 Although there was a quarter named “black church” it was not clear whether there was indeed a church there and if so, if it was used or not.50 The Armenians freely performed their acts of worship and the Ottomans were very tolerant of them. Nevertheless, problems emerged from time to time. A mosque had been built by Suleiman I (The Magnificent) and in time fallen into ruin through years of neglect. Taking advantage of that situation, the Armenians re-built it as a church. The church had come into use through the efforts of Sanos Chelebi, an officer in Erzurum customs. When the Saint-Etienne church began to function in 1629, there was a public outcry. The church’s opening caused a great sensation in both Erzurum and Istanbul. Since the building of the church was formerly a mosque, it was argued by some that it could not be used as a church. Therefore, the newly-built church was converted to a mosque again.51 Dramatically told by priest Hakop, this event is mentioned in detail in state records. Although the Saint-Etienne church was closed, the Armenians were permitted to perform their religious services in other churches in the city. The missionary Philippe Avril enviously mentioned the splendid Armenian churches of the city in 1692.52 The Miabon Sourb Astwadzadzin was the church most preferred.53

The Armenians lived at ease and felt secure under the rule of the Ottomans. Their lives, properties, honor and religious freedom were secured by the government.54 In return for this, male Armenians between 14 and 75 who were healthy and had a certain income were required to pay djizya. Like other Ottoman citizens, the Armenians were supposed to pay their taxes in accordance with their incomes. Those who earned little, the unemployed, those who could not work those without any companions, the widows, the orphaned, the old, the blind, and those Karin/Erzerum, California 2003, pp.96–100.

49 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.7,57.
50 BOA. MAD. 5152, p.2,57.
51 Kostaneants, Ibid, p.155–156.
52 Kouymjian, Ibid, p.129.
53 Kostaneants, Ibid, pp.154–156.; the traces of the above – mentioned churches are non-existent today.
54 Oğuzoğlu, Ibid, p.265.

living in the houses of the foundations were freed from paying tax.55 The Armenians who served in the public sector were also free from some tax liabilities. Among the Armenians employed in the public sector, there were those who dealt with such important duties as the maintenance of the tombs of Abdurrahman Ghazi and Ebû Ishak Kazerûnî and the Erzurum Citadel as well as the maintenance of fountains and water channels.56

The people who dealt with the maintenance of the Erzurum Citadel, which was a significant place in terms of not only the security of the city but also that of the region, were two Armenians named Asador of Chukur quarter and Arslan of Ayas Pasha quarter.57 Another non-Muslim from Daragacı quarter named Han Azer was in charge of removing the rubbish from Tebriz-gate without doing any damage to the Citadel.58 Another non-Muslim named Hacador was responsible with providing water for the fountains both inside and outside the Citadel, which was a very significant job.59

Even the attention of the places considered sacred by the Muslims was carried out by the Armenians. The Armenians were given responsibility for dealing with the protection of the tombs of such highly-praised persons as Ebû İshak Kazerûnî and Abdurrahman Ghazi, which proves the positive nature of the relationship between the Turks and the Armenians.60

55 BOA. MAD. 5152, s.2-74; Yorgi pir olmağla nefere dâhil olunmamasına tezkire virildi, BOA. MAD. 4621, pp.2-3.
56 BOA. MAD. 2774, p.32; BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.7,25,54,56,73,75; BOA. MAD. 2929. pp.13–16; BOA. MAD. 4621. pp.8-10; BOA. MAD. 14739, pp.2–3; yedi nefer zimmîler Erzuruma dâhil olub Ayas Paşa hidmetinden câri olan çeşmelerin şehre girince ve şehir içinde olan meremmeta muhtaç yerlerine tamir ve tezhim itmek şartıyla hâneden muaf ve tekâlif-i sâirenin cümlesinden müsellem olmak üzre olan muafiyetleri ibkâsıyla tahrir oldıklarına …., BOA. MAD. 15633, p.1. 57 BOA. MAD. 4621, pp.4,6; BOA. MAD. 15633, p.1.
58 BOA. MAD. 5152, p.43.
59 BOA. MAD. 4621, p.8.
60 BOA. MAD. 4621, p.15; MAD. 14739, p.2; Erzurumda asûde ve medfun olan kûtbu’l-arifin ve umdetü’l-vasilin meşhur afâk-ı Hazret-i Ebu İshak kuddise’s-sırruhu’l-‘aziz hazretlerinin künbed-i şerîflerinin ta’mir ve meremmetine ve kanâdil ve revgân baha virmek için cizye ve avârız ve sâir tekâlifden muâf olmak üzere emr-i şerîf-i alişân ile ta‘yîn olan zimmîlerdir...., BOA. MAD. 5152, p.75.

Evliya Chelebi mentions a legendary event related to the Armenians in the city. According to the account, an Armenian girl who died during the revolt of Abhaza Mehmed Pasha prayed to God out of respect in order to get rid of the rebels. It is narrated by Evliya Chelebi that right after the prayer the girl turned into an old man with beard and got rid of the rebels. Then the girl converted to Islam and became the guardian of the tomb of Ebû İshak Kazerûnî. Evliya Chelebi himself met this woman as he indicated in magnum opus “Seyahatnâme”.61

The governor of Erzurum province was strictly reminded that he was to prevent tyranny as it could break the order, and he himself would be responsible in that case; thus, he was to rule accordingly.62 The governor tried hard to maintain peace by ruling justly without discriminating against anyone. Another significant figure was the kadi and he was responsible with providing justice and solving judicial problems fairly, upholding everyone’s rights.63 The kadi was supposed to apply the law and was charged with solving legal problems of all kinds. However, there were no records belonging to the Erzurum kadis. It was not possible to examine some specific cases.64 Still it is clear that the problems encountered in Erzurum were more or less similar to those that occurred in other Ottoman cities.65

All measures were taken to maintain a peaceful and secure life in Erzurum. Any problems unsolved in Erzurum were discussed in the Council of State (Divan-ı Hümayun) and solved there. Everyone was equal before law and no discrimination was allowed. The problems were solved justly and great care was taken that no one was unjustly treated. If a person was right he would be defended. At the beginning of the 17th century, an event occurred in which the daughter of a man named Simon, Eleni, was disturbed by a group of soldiers while she was

61 Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi II, Haz. Zekeriyya Kurşun, Seyyit Ali Kahraman, Yücel Dağlı, Istanbul 1999, pp.110-111.
62 BOA. Mühimme Defteri (hereinafter MM.) 79, p.605.
63 Ozer Ergenç, Osmanlı Klasik Dönemi Kent Tarihçiliğine Katkı XVI. Yüzyılda Ankara ve Konya, Ankara 1995, p.83.
64 Province of Erzurum was all in ruins, Belgelerle Arşivcilik Tarihimiz(Osmanlı Dönemi), Ankara 2000, p.54.
65 Pamuk, Ibid, p.182.

going to Istanbul from Georgia. Following this event, which occurred somewhere between Erzurum and Chıldır, the government ordered that Eleni and her companions should not be disturbed again and allowed to go wherever they wanted.66 During the period of the Celali revolts when their effect was felt in Erzurum and the areas around it, efforts were made to quell the unrest. The central government ordered the local governors in Erzurum to arrest the rebels and give back what they stole from the people to their owners in an attempt to re-establish order.67 Both Muslim and non-Muslim people worked together during this event.68

The public of Erzurum not only experienced problems resulting from the Celali revolts or activities of the rebels, there were sometimes problems stemming from the attitudes of state officers. The officers, who abused their authority when the central government lost power, decided to levy illegal taxes.69 In order to try and prevent such injustices, representatives were sent from the capital.70 Nevertheless, such problems occurred from time to time.71

The Armenians openly indicated that they were tyrannically treated by various Christian groups and that they lived at ease under the rule of the Ottomans.72 This fact can be easily supported. For example, in one instance, an Armenian merchant named Serkis had his money of 1,500 kurush stolen while he was on the way to Erzurum in 1645. He applied to the court so that the thieves could be arrested and his money could be given back to him. He claimed it was the police superintendent (subashi) and his men who stole the money. However, the suspects were well-known people who had significant authority in Erzurum. Therefore,

66 BOA. Kamil Kepeci Ahkâm (hereinafter KKA.) 70, p.332.
67 BOA. KKA. 70, p.603.
68 One of the leaders of the Celali revolts named Karayazici had killed 20 000 Turkish and Armenian people in Sivas. Some of the Armenians in Tokat had to immigrate to Crimean because of the fear of the Celalis, Göyünç, Ibid, p.61.
69 Halil Inalcık, “Adaletnâmeler”, Osmanlı’da Devlet, Hukuk, Adalet, Istanbul 2000, pp.78–79.
70 Mücteba Ilgürel, “XVII. Yüzyıl Balıkesir Şer‘iyye Sicillerine Göre Subaşılık Müessesesi”, VIII. TTKong. II, Ankara 1981, p.1277.
71 BOA. MM. 79, p.109; BOA. MM. 89, p.54; BOA. MM. 100, p.109.
72 Kostaneants, Ibid, pp.154–156; Dabağyan, Ibid, pp.59-60.

Serkis brought the case to the Council of State. The decision was for Serkis, and the thieves were arrested and ordered to return the money to Serkis.73

Whenever the Armenians received unfair treatment, they could seek justice, even when it was a state officer who did wrong. In 1675, an Armenian named Hirand lent the Kighi county governor, named Musa, 180,000 akça. However, Musa did not pay his debt. Thus, Hirand applied to the Council of the State and complained about Musa. The council decided that Hirand should be paid his money back.74

In a divorce case dated 1615, the just treatment of the Ottoman government is visible. One of the citizens of the city named Ibrahim married a girl named Aline, who was then 12 years old. Ibrahim also paid 2000 akça to the girl’s family for marriage. However, it was later learned that the girl was not of age to marry; thus, the marriage became invalid. Ibrahim then applied to the court. The kadi decided that the marriage was not lawful. Dissatisfied with the verdict, Ibrahim then applied to the Council of the State. It was indicated by the Council that the marriage age was not valid.75

The attitude of the Ottomans towards the Armenian citizens was remarkably just under the conditions of the 17th century.76 However, it was a balanced fairness. That is, the Armenians did not receive unfavorable treatment but they were subject to rules and expectations as well. For example, an Armenian named Hace Zadik did not pay the customs for what he owned, claiming he was the secretary of the governor of Erzurum Province. Since this situation negatively influenced the economic stability of the customs, it was brought to Council of the State and Zadik was required to pay the tax.77

73 BOA. MM. 90, p.94.
74 Hans George Majer, Das Osmanische Registerburch der Beschwerden (Şikâyet Defteri), Von Jahre 1675 Österreichische National bibliothek cod. mixt. 638 Wien 1984, p.93a.
75 BOA. KKA. 71, p.494.
76 Oğuzoğlu, Ibid, p.267.
77 BOA. MAD. 5712, p.91.

Under the Ottomans, there was no racial discrimination targeting the Armenians. They led a comfortable life and many held respectable and significant jobs.78 Simeon of Poland and the priest Hakop wrote considerable reports that included information about the jobs held by the Armenians. According to both writers, the Armenian named Sanos was a significant tax-farmer who had clear authority in the city. There is also information about Sanos in the State records. He was the officer of the Gumushane mines and the mint there, both important to the economy of Erzurum.79 When Abhaza Mehmed Pasha revolted, Sanos fled to Aleppo probably due to the fact that Abhaza Mehmed took control of the income sources.80 After the end of the revolt and re-establishment of the order81, Sanos was brought back from Aleppo to Erzurum with the help of Husrev Pasha in 1628-1629 and re-gained his former position.82 Favored by the Sultan, Sanos acquired great authority in the city. He was in charge of the mukataa (government office) of the customs83 between 1631 and 1638.84 His yearly income was about 40,000 kurush / 320,000 akça. One of the few rich people in the city, he saved the Armenians who had been taken as slaves during the Ottoman-Safevîd wars between 1635 and 1638. 85 In addition, he bought a ruined building in the city center, converted it to a church and opened it to the public.86 Sanos’ position was eventually given to his brother Bedros.87 The mukataa of the customs, run by Bedros, was the most lucrative position in the city

78 Andreasyan, Ibid, pp.153–154; Kostaneants, Ibid, p.199.
79 BOA. MAD. 3449, p.50.
80 There were not any records relating mukataa of customs in the records of the national treasury of the period between the years 1622 and 1628, Pamuk, Ibid, p.268.
81 BOA. MAD. 752, pp.6–7.
82 Kostaneants, Ibid, p.199.
83 Mukataa of Erzurum customs included such secondary types of mukataa as Ihtisâb, Kassâbiyye, Darphâne, Boyahâne, Beytü’l-mâl-ı ‘Amme ve Hassa, Ardanuc Mines., Pamuk, Ibid., p.264.
84 BOA. MAD. 9829, pp.12,14,123,125; BOA. MAD. 7382, pp.6-35; BOA. MAD. 4383, pp.26,114,160; BOA. MAD. 3779; pp.1-2.
85 Kostaneants, Ibid, p.200.
86 Kostaneants, Ibid, pp.201–202.
87 Andreasyan, Ibid, p.153–154.

during the years between 1643 and 1650.88 In 1650 he lost the position and it was given to Ibrahim.

Erzurum was a settlement where trade was very lively thanks to its geographical and geopolitical position.89 The enterprising merchants were generally called Haci or Hacegi90, and they mostly preferred the quarters in the outskirts of the city where international trade was actively maintained. The merchants who came from Arabia, Persia, India, China, and East Turkistan usually stayed in the Georgian-gate quarter.91 The Armenians actively took part in trade, and the center of their trade activity was in the Georgian-gate quarter as well.92

The Armenians in Erzurum were also involved in industrial activities. They were included in the tradesmen’s guilds based on the principles of Ahi. That is, they were not excluded from the traditional guilds.93 Yigitbashı Ovannes, who had the most important rank after sheikh or steward, lived in the Georgian-gate quarter in 1642.94 He had the responsibility for carrying out the regulations of a guild. The pasbans elected by the tradesmen to prevent theft were two Armenians named Serkis and Agop.95

In Erzurum, the local artisans marketed the products they produced in accordance with traditional rules. Those having the same professions worked together in their shops which were located side by side.96 The 88 BOA. MAD. 2475, pp.5,233.

89 Bilgehan Pamuk, “The Silk Road and Erzurum in the Ottoman Periods (16-17th Centuries)”, 1st International Silk Road Symposium 25-27 June 2003 Tbilisi/Georgia, Izmir 2004, p.176.

90 The merchants were could hace in Erzurum at the time., Hace Mehmed, BOA. MAD. 326, p.91; Hace Zadik, BOA. MAD. 5712, p.8; Hace Toros, Hace Avedis, BOA. MAD. 2929, p.14.
91 Evliya Çelebi, Ibid, (Comission), p.108.
92 Kostaneants, Ibid, p.204.
93 Ahmet Kal‘a, Istanbul Esnafı Birlikleri ve Nizamları I, Istanbul 1998, pp.34–39.
94 BOA. MAD. 5152, p.56.
95 BOA. MAD. 2929, p.14.
96 Ergenç, Ibid, p.37.

Turks and the Armenians who practiced the same profession worked together.

In 1642, there were 84 different professions exercised in the city. There were 307 Muslims and 212 non-Muslims that belonged to various professional guilds. 97 The Muslims dealt more with the food sector and the non-Muslims were active in the leather and weaving sectors. Djizya defters, in addition to avâriz defters, provided a great deal of information about the non-Muslim tradesmen. Although there were 212 non-Muslims that paid avâriz in 1642; the number of those who paid djizya was 132 in 1643.98 There were also professional groups who could not afford to pay djizya and avâriz. As mentioned, one of the most significant factors in determining which people would be freed from paying tax was their income level. Those who did not earn much or make enough profit were not required to pay tax. 99 The Armenians benefited from this just as other Ottoman citizens.100

Figure 1. Distribution of the Tradesmen in Erzurum City in 1642

97 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.2-74.
98 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.2-74; BOA. MAD. 2929, pp.6-19; BOA. MAD. 4621, pp.2-15; See Tabloid 4 for the tradesmen in the city.
99 BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.5,10,13,22,30,40,45,67,71.
100 Kulhancı Hacadur, Retired; Bedros Saddle-maker, Sami-zâde mescidinde vakıfdır avârız icâb itmez; Ador Tanner, pir ve ‘amel-mandegan, BOA. MAD. 5152, pp.8,47,57.

In conclusion, the Ottoman subjects lived harmoniously in Erzurum in the 17th century. There were no differences between the Muslims and the Armenians, except religious ones. Also called “Millet-i Sadika”, the Armenians adopted the Turkish traditions so completely that they were called “Christian Turks” by foreigners. In addition, some of the Armenians bore Turkish names. The Armenians were not excluded from the society; on the contrary, they were given significant responsibilities. They took on the responsibility of the Erzurum Citadel and other places considered sacred by the Muslims. They also dealt with the maintenance of water canals. They collaborated with the Turks in business life. They were included in the tradesmen’s guilds and given the authority to provide security in markets. The governments required help from the Armenian citizens during times of economic stagnation. The officer named Sanos had who been brought back from Aleppo to Erzurum even revitalized the customs and increased its income in service to the State. Both Turks and Armenians shared the same destiny. They were similarly affected by the political and social events of the time. Both were considered equal by the governments. Those in need were provided with the necessary help. The Armenians, who were terribly affected by the plague epidemic in the 1640s, were given support and especially helped with respect to paying taxes. In short, both the Turks and the Armenians led a harmonious life at the time.

Table 1. Distribution of the Population throughout the Quarters in 1642
QuarterS muSLimS non-muSLimS totaL
Ali Pasha 162 - 162
Ayas Pasha 8 - 8
Cami-i Kebir 405 1 406
Cedid 52 32 84
Chukur - - -
Daragaci 237 18 255
Donukler 50 - 50
El-Hâc Ilyas 35 - 35
Gez 10 28 38
Gürcü-kapi (Georgian-gate) - 224 224
Hasan-ı Basrî 99 - 99
Iskender Pasha 102 70 172
Kara Kenise 28 - 28
Kazan Big 66 - 66

QuarterS muSLimS non-muSLimS totaL
Kul-oglu 39 - 39
Mehdi Baba 154 2 156
Mirza Mehmed 50 - 50
Mumcu 56 20 76
Murad Pasha 209 14 223
Sultan Melik 62 - 62
Total 1,824 409 2,233
Estimated Population (Hx3) 5,472 1, 227 6,699
Estimated Population (Hx5) 9,120 2,045 11,165
Table 2. Distribution of the Non-Muslim Population throughout the Quarters in 1643
QuarterS houSehoLd free houSehoLd totaL houSehoLd
eStimated PoPuLation
hx3.5 hx5
Ayas Pasha 63 6 69 241 345
Chukur 65 1 66 231 330
Daragaci 36 - 36 126 180
Gez 13 - 13 45 65
Gürcü-kapi 182 5 187 654 935
Iskender Pasha 86 4 90 315 450
Kara Kenise 70 1 71 248 355
Mumcu 29 - 29 101 145
Other - 13 13 45 65
Total 544 30 574 2,009 2,870

Table 3. Distribution of the Non-Muslims Population throughout the Quarters in 1648

QuarterS houSehoLd free houSehoLd totaL houSehoLd
eStimated PoPuLation
hx3.5 hx5
Ayas Pasha 58 2 60 210 300
Chukur 62 1 63 220 315
Daragaci 33 - 33 115 165
Gez 13 1 14 49 70
Gürcü-kapi 169 4 173 650 865
Iskender Pasha 78 - 78 273 390
Kara Kenise 62 - 62 217 310
Mumcu 25 - 25 87 125
Other - 7 7 245 35
Total 500 15 515 1,802 2,575

Table 4. The Tradesmen in Erzurum According to Avâriz and Djizya Defters
1642 1643
1642 1643
Attar/Herbalist 3 1 - Kalemci/Pen-seller - - 1
Bakkal/Grocer 11 4 2 Kassâb/Butcher 10 8 3
Balikchi/Fishmonger 4 - - Kashikchi/Spoon-maker - - 1
Baytar/Veterinarian 1 - - Katirci/Muleteer 6 2 -
Bazirgan/Peddler - 1 - Kavalci/Pipe-maker 1 - 3
Bennâ 5 1 - Kavukchu/Kavuk-seller - 6 -
Berber/Barber 15 1 1 Kayıshchı/Belt-seller 1 - 7
Bezzâz/Cloth seller 6 6 2 Kazânci/Boiler-maker - 11 -
Bostanci/ Gardener 12 1 - Kazzâz/Silkworm 4 5 5
Boyaci/Painter - 1 - Kecheci/Felt-seller 1 - -
Bozaci/Boza-seller - 2 - Ketenci/Linen-weaver - - 1
Börekchi/Pie-seller 1 1 1 Kilinchci/Sword-maker - 1 1
Cigerci/Liver-seller 1 - - Kirishchi - 1 -
Chadırci/Tent-seller - 3 2 Kitabchı/Book-seller - 1 -
Cherchi/Hawker - 2 - Kundakchi/
Gun-stock maker 1 - -
Chilingir/Locksmith - 1 - Kuyumcu/Jeweller 2 8 7
Chullah 1 1 2 Kulahchi/Trickster 1 - -
Debbag/Taner 11 35 19 Kurekchi/Oar-seller 1 11 8
Degirmenci/Miller 2 4 3 Kurkchu/Furrier - 8 -
Demirci/Blacksmith 1 6 5 Lavashchi/
Flat Bread Seller 1 - -
Delici - - 1 Meremmetchi/
Repairer - - 1
Dellak/Hamam Attendant 5 - 1 Meyhaneci/Tavern-keeper
Dellâl/Town-crier 10 5 - Meshinci/Leather-maker 3 - -
Derzi/Tailor 10 12 7 Mumcu/Candle-seller - 1 1
Dorbaci - - 1 Mutaf/Goat’s-hair weaver 2 3 4
Dokmeci/Moulder - - 2 Nalband/Shoeing-smith 7 5 4
Dulger/Carpenter 7 1 5 Nalcheci/Iron tip maker 1 - -
Egerci/Saddler 1 - - Natir/
Servant in the Hamam 1 - -
Ekinci/ Farmer 87 13 - Pasban/Security officer - - 2
Eskici/Harvester 8 1 1 Renchber/Farm-labourer 11 1 -
Eshici 2 - 1 Sabuncu/Soap maker 1 - -
Etmekchi/Bread-maker 5 3 1 Sarrâch 11 - -
Firinci/Baker 1 - - Sazci - 1 -

1642 1643
1642 1643

Haffaf/Cobbler 12 9 7 Semerci/Saddle-maker - 16 15
Hallach/Cotton fluffer 1 1 - Sucu/Water-seller - 1 1
Hamam Proprietor 2 - 1 Tashchi/Stone-cutter - 1 -
Hasirci/Basket-weaver - 1 - Topchu - - 1
Helvaci/Havla-seller 1 - - Tuzcu/Salt-maker 1 - -
Hollukchu 1 - 1 Tuccar/Merchant 1 3 -
Secondhand metal dealer 3 - - Yarici/Wood-cutter 1 - -
Kahveci/Coffee-seller 6 - - Yuncu/Wool-seller - 1 -
Kalaschi/Beam-seller 1 - -
TOTAL 307 212 132
Kalayci/Tinsmith 1 - -
* Muslim ** Non-Muslim

BOA. MAD 2929 Djizya Defter
BOA. MAD. 5152 Avâriz Defter

(C) Erciyes University



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