2888) Dimension Of Turkish-Armenian Economic Relationship In Kayseri Sanjak In 19th Century & Turkish Vocabulary

Lect. İsmigül ÇETİN
Bozok Universty, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of History / Yozgat / Turkey

People from different religions and ethnic groups lived in Ottoman State which had about six hundred years of history. When religion in Europe divided people with sharp lines in Europe, Ottoman State was a place to shelter for people forced to leave their country for religious or political causes. When Catholic Spain exiled her Jewish citizens and forced Muslims to make a choice of converting to christianity or dead, . . Otoman State opened its doors to both Jewish and Muslims.1 Ottoman history has many further examples of those refugee cases.

Ottoman States had a tolerant administration in the frame of Islamic
rules over not only refugees who came from abroad but also over people
from different religions in her border. For ages, the Greeks, Armenians
and Muslims lived in the same city, village and developped good relations.
Kayseri is one of those cities.

1 Ömer İzgi, “Türkler ve Ermeniler: Osmanlı Deneyimi”, Osmanlı’nın Son Döneminde Ermeniler, ed. Türkkaya ATAÖV, Ankara, 2002, p.1.

Kayseri with a rooted and long history, accepted the control of Ottoman States in the period of Yıldırım Bayezid. The control over the city was passed down to Karamanoğulları following the Ankara War. The city was ruled by this principality until 1467, and then it was again captured by Ottomans. During the early ruling of Otoman State over the city, Kayseri was a liva of Konya-based Karaman state.2 During the restoration and renovation in state and administration structure after Tanzimat, it was included in the boarder of Yozgat-based Bozok Province as a sanjak.3 According to the regulation done in the years of 1867-68, Kayseri along with Bozok Sanjak was included in the boarder of Ankara state4 The history of Armenian populations in the city goes back to the Byzantium period. From the early 11th century on, when Byzantium invaded Armenian lands, she allocated some lands in Kayseri, Sivas and Central Anatolia to the lords of the lands she invaded. Those lords or governors brought along a big emigrant group and they settled in those lands.5 According to the census started to be done in 1905 and completed in 1914, 184.292 Muslim, 20.590 Greek and 50.174 Armenian people living in Kayseri were specified.6 Justin McCarthy notes that the number of Armenian as published who lived in Kayseri during aforamentioned period was 52.192 and that corrected population for the same period was 61.538.7 This figure constitutes % 20 of the total population. The Armenians and Greeks undertook an important role in local administration. For example, Armenian Hamunuyan Agop Efendi was appointed to Kayseri sanjak on 6 July, 1987 and Aleksiyan Servet Efendi, former Black Karye’s head offical assistant, was appointed to the same position on 5 June, 1899.8 Kayseri was also an important trade center. Almost all Ottoman Armenians who lived in urban worked as a jeweller, crafts-

2 Ramazan Tosun, Ermeni Meselesi Çerçevesinde Kayseri’de Ermeni Olayları, Kayseri, 1997, p.32
3 Orhan Sakin, Bozok Sancağı ve Yozgat, Ankara, 2004, p.72
4 Sakin, Ibid, p.74-75
5 Kamuran Gürün, Ermeni Dosyası, İstanbul(?), 2001, p.39
6 Tosun, Ibid, p. 34
7 Justin McCarthy, Müslümanlar ve Azınlıklar, İstanbul, 1998, p. 88.
8 Tosun, Ibid, p.35

man, artisan or tradesman in different fields of economy.9 Those features of Kayseri make it possible to present a good example for examining Turkish-Armenian relations’ economic dimension.

In the study, I have evaluated Turkish -Armenians Relation’s economic dimension in Kayseri in the 19th century. I have made use of Kayseri’s judical record of that period in which daily legal events and their outcomes were recorded in chronological order by kadıs (judges). It was translated into modern Turkish by Institute of Social Sciences at Erciyes University and is kept in the Center For Research of History of Kayseri and Its Neighbourhood (KAYTAM). By studying the following judical records of Kayseri, I have examined the trade and debt lawsuits which show Turkish-Armenian economic relationship. They are as follows:

Judical Record numbered 183 and dated 1809-1810; the record with the number of 191 and dated 1820-1822; the record numbered 197 and dated 1831-1832; the judical record 212 dated 1853-1856; number 213 judical record dated 1856-1857; number 223, 224 and 225 records dated 1870-1873; the record numbered 270 with the date of 1901-1904. However, the records belonging to the years 1809-1857 were ignored in that they only made a distinction of muslim and non-muslim (zımmi), and people in question in the the court were not specified as a Greek or an Armenian. As is known, Ottoman State’s concept of millet system had been religion and sect-based until Reform Edict10. The concept of millet system came to bare more ethnic meaning with the current of Nationalism and after the Reform Edict, new regulations were made peculiar to each nation.11 Those mentioned in judical records after that period were specified as Greek or Armenian.

The document dated 28 October 1857 (H.2 Cemaziyelahir 1273) in the number 213 Kayseri judical record suggests a good example to give an insight into what the situation had been like before the regulations were made in millet system. According to this document, Barber

9 Ersal Yavi, Emperyalizm Kıskacında Türkler, Ermeniler, Kürtler(1856-1823), İzmir, 2001, p.15
10 Gülnihal Bozkurt, Gayrimüslim Osmanlı Vatandaşlarının Hukuki Durumu, T.T.K, Ankara, 1996, p. 9.
11 Bozkurt, a.g.e, p.170.

Estefan, one of the residents of Talas Village (Karye) died and his wife Ilsagot and his sons Vasil and Kamados who hadn’t been adolescent yet inherited. However, Ilsagot gave up her claim to inheritance and Ahmet Aga was nominated as proxy for Estafan’s sons.As is seen a Muslim took the responsibility to take care of non-Muslim children.


This judical record covering the years of 1870-73, is the book in which relationships are written down most intensively in terms of our subject matter. I have found out 28 documents about the economic relationship between Turks and Armenians12, 24 of which are about trade, 4 of which are about debt lawsuit. We can give as an example the trade document numbered 152 and dated H.7 Rebiü’l-evvel 1289(15 May 1872 AD). According to the document, Hüseyin Aga, one of the residents of Erkilet Village(Karye), sold his vineyard in Ammiler Village to Gerhasoglu Karabet, a resident of Fakih Street and from Armenian Nation. These documents not only prove the existence of economic relationship between Turks and Armenians but also show that Turks and Armenians even corporated in trade.

Zahid Effendi from Akçakaya and Bakırcıoglu Ohanes from Armenian nation were in a partnership. According to document numbered 144 and dated H.23 Rebiü’l-evvel 1289(21 May 1872), Zahid Effendi and Ohanes bought a shop in Buyuksarachane from İbrahim bin Mehmed and his sister. It is understood from the document numbered 170 and dated H.5 Cemaziye’l-evvel 1289(11 July 1872), they bought another shop in Uzuncarsı street. The partners also according to the documents dated H. 16 Saban 1289(19 October 1872) and numbered 248 and 249 bought a shop half-owned by Bakırcızade Mehmed Yesari Effendi and Mehmed Nuri, the other half-owned by Fatma and her children, who were probably their relatives.

12 223 Numaralı Kayseri Şer’iye Sicili, (Prepared by Osman Taşdemir), E.U İnstitute of Social Science, Unpublished Master Thesis, Kayseri,1999, Bel.No.3, 30, 35, 66, 92, 93, 101, 103, 144, 151, 152, 170, 178, 180, 185, 239, 248, 249, 289, 290, 320, 354, 368, 396, 397, 408, 410, 423.

The name of the neighbours were also mentioned in the documents of the real estate which were traded. Those documents reveal that Turks and Armenians lived in the same village side by side and worked in the same malls. For example, the number 151 document in the number 223 judical record shows that Topçuoğlu Hasan Hüseyin from Cafer Bey Köyyakan neighbourhood sold his house to Karabet’s son Artin, an Armenian. Another example is the document with the number of 101 dated back to 25 Muharrem 1289(4 April 1872). According to it, Haşim -the resident of Yenice Ismail Street- sold his shop on Kurtuncu Street to Hadir, which was between Hadir’s and Hacı Mehmed’s shops and the road.

There are also documents which suggest that Turkish and Armenian women sold and bought real estate. One of those is the document number 66 dated back to H.21 Muharrem 1289 (31 March 1872). According to this document, Tellizade Ahmet Efendi and his wife Mrs. Ayşe sold some part of their vineyard in Karadere village to, Hacı Agop, an Armenian. Ahmet Efendi made 13.000 kuruş while his wife Ayşe Hanım made 6000 kuruş at this dealing. The number document 408 dated back to H.26 Muharrem 1289 (5 April 1872) suggests that Maryam, a woman from Armenian Nation, bought a shop in Sipahi Bazaar for 1200 kuruş.

According to the documents related to trade affairs in this judical document, there are 4 debt lawsuits,which are quite low. The document numbered 93 and dated back to H.12 Sefer 1289 (21 April 1872) for example, is a voucher proving that the debt had been paid rather than a debt lawsuit. The document tells us that Musa Kel Torosoglu Agbad, a resident in Oduncu Street and from Armenian Nation had lent money Ahmet Aga before and Saban Aga, a brother of Ahmet Aga’s paid the debt. The document with the number of 178 and the date of 25 Cemaziyelevvel 1289(31 June 1872) shows that Mehmet Torun Aga a resident in Baldöktü Street, was Mehmet Aga’s and his wife Mrs.Serife’s substitute who lived in another city and based on this substitution, he sold a vineyard of theirs to Dalkıranoglu Kirkor and His brother Agliya from Armenian nation and couldn’t get some of the money. Kirkor and Agliya agreed the dealing but not Torun Aga’s substitute. Torun Aga proved his substitution with witnesses and he won the case.


In this record are 346 documents in total that cover 1871-1873 years. 145 of the documents are about non-muslims and 83 of them are about Armenians. I have found a document about our subject matter which was dated back to H.3 Rebiülevvel 1290 (1 May 1873).According to it, Kalbakçıoglu Vanil from Armenian nation sold a part of halting place in Sasık Street to Mehmet Efendi and Ibrahim Efendi for 20 mecidiye gold.13


There are 402 documents in total in this judical record of the years 1871-73,64 of which are about non-Muslims and 50 of which are about the Armenians. 22 of the documents are about the lawsuits between non-Muslims and Muslims. I have come across 13 documents in this record related to my subject matter, 11 of which are about debt14 and two of which are about trading and unnecessary seizure cases15. The debt lawsuits mentioned in those records prove that trade between Turks and Armenians continued. For example, according to the document dated back to 29 H.23 Zilhicce 1288 (4 March 1872), the Turks named Niyazizade Hacı İhsan Efendi and Halil Efendi sold 97 cows to Baltacıoglu Bagos and his son Ohannes from Armenian Nation. Hacı Ihsan Efendi and Halil Efendi prosecuted because they didn’t receive some of the money for the cows. Bagos accepted the debt and appointed him as a guarantor. As the claimants proved their claim with the witnesses to be true, Bagos and Ohannes were warned to pay their debt. Again, according to another paper numbered 282 and dated H.15 Sevval 1289(16 December 1872) in this record, Hamparsom, a resident of Mancusun Village and from Armeninan Nation, bought a field from Halil Ibrahim who lived in the same village, but he found out that the field belonged to someone else. He wanted his money back. Although Halil Ibrahim refused it, show-

13 224 Numaralı Kayseri Şer’iye Sicili, (Prepared by. Meryem Ünal), E.U İnstitute of Social Science, Unpublished Master Thesis, Kayseri,1999, Bel.No:324
14 225 Numaralı Kayseri Şer’iye Sicili, (Prepared by Dilek Atmaca), E.U İnstitute of Social Science, Unpublished Master Thesis, Kayseri 1999, Bel.No.29, 34. 70, 97, 104, 106, 204, 274, 282, 344, 377.
15 225 Numaralı Kayseri Şer’iye Sicili, Bel.No. 133, 402.

ing Kasımoğlu Abdullah and Osman bin Mehmed as witnesses, Hamparsom proved his claim to be true and won the court case. As is seen, the witnesses affected and determined the results of the court cases and Armenians referred to Turks too as witness to prove their claims. Two unnecessary seizure court cases which take place in the number 225 Kayseri judical record are also the proofs for Turkish – Armenian trading relations. According to the document 133 dated H.18 Rebiü’levvel 1289 (26 May 1872), Keloğlanoğlu Manuk from Armenian Nation claimed that Ömer and Şaban, the sons of Mükremin who had died before seized his father’s vineyard which was inherited by him and his brothers. Ömer and Şaban claimed that Manuk’s father sold the vineyard to Candaroğlu Ali fifteen years before and then his sons sold it to their father Mükremin. However, they couldn’t prove their claim and Manuk won the court. Şaban and Ömer’s intervention to the vineyard was banned.


There are 124 documents in this judical record which belongs to the years 1901-1904, 30 of which are related to non-muslims. There are 3 documents that focus on lawsuits between muslims and non-muslims, and they are all about Armenians. The number of documents that talks about Turkish-Armenian economic relationship is two.16 Number two document is dated back to H.12 Muharrrem 1310(21 April,1902) and concerns about a debt lawsuit. Bağcıoğlu Ahmed Ağa claimed that Yozgatlı Aleksan from Armenian Nation borrowed 5 Ottoman liras with interest in 1899 and demanded that his wife and children pay back because Aleksan died. The inheritors didn’t attend the court nor did they nominate anyone as a proxy.Then, the court nominated Muhyiddin Efendi as a proxy for Aleksan’s inheritors to defend their rights. Muhyiddin Efendi refused Ahmed Aga’s claims and both sides demanded that the inheritors swear. In the second session on 4 May,1902, Aleksan’s sons Serkiz and Haykaz and his wife Gülisna swore that they didn’t know that Aleksan had had a debt to Ahmed Aga.Yet, the other two sons and a daughter

16 279 Numaralı Kayseri Şer’iye Sicili, (Haz.Rukiye Yüreker Akşit),E.Ü. Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Basılmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Kayseri, 1999, Bel.No. 2, 120.

of Aleksan’s couldn’t swear because they hadn’t been adolescent yet.

Therefore, the case was put off until they became their adolescent.This document is important in that it shows the court’s manner and proves that an Armenian and a Turk borrowed and lent money each other. Also, it is noteworthy that an Armenian nominated a muslim as a proxy to defend his right.

The second document dated back to H. 20 Ramadan 1321(21 December,1903) and numbered 120 in this record concerns about a debate that aroused after a dealing.The case was eventually referred to the Court of Commerce.

The third case between Turks and Armenians in number 279 judical record is also quite interesting.According to the number 124 document dated back to H. 11 Şevval 1321(30 December 1903), The mare(horse) of Deli Karabetoğlu Ahya from Armenian Nation was stolen and Nusret Efendi, an accountant at Property Office, bought her being unaware that she was stolen and registered her in the book of property. Ahya demanded that the fee of the horse be paid back to him but Nusret Efendi refused him. Upon this, Ahya referred to Feyzullah Bin Halil, Taran Bin Hasan and Dumanoğlu İsmail as witnesses and proved that the horse belonged to himself. It is considerable to keep in mind that the period was when Armenian uprising expanded and when one of them occurred in Kayseri. One of the reasons why there are few number of documents in the number 279 record concerning the relationship between the two communities could be those uprisings. However, number 124 record proves us that an Armenian still referred to Turks as a witness to his/her cases in the court.This is because the relationship between them was very sound and had a long history.


I have found 48 documents related to Turkish-Armenian trading realationship in the judical records numbered 223, 224, 225 and 279. The lawsuits in those documents include dealing and debt issues. They are the proof for the fact that both communities were in economic relation each other. Vineyards, houses and shops are mainly the subject matter of the dealing documents. It can easily be seen in the documents that Armenians and Turks were neighbours in daily life and working life as well. The relationship sometimes went beyond dealings and reached to the extent of their partnership. It should be kept in mind that I have only examined 4 judical records and I am sure that more examples for this partnership will be discovered when the rest of the records are studied.

When debt cases are examined, we can conclude that they resulted in favor of Turks as many as in favor of Armenians. When it is concerned that the witnesses determined the result of the lawsuits, we can conclude that Armenians referred to Turks as their witness to prove their claims and that two communities had good relations.

Through the end of the study, Turkish and Armenian trading relationship gradually decreased, the reason of which could be the uprising that took place in the region in 1893.

End Of Volume I of II


agha title of respect for a military commander or important officer
Ahi leader of a semi-religious fraternity of the late Seljuk-early Ottoman times
ahl al-kitab people of the book, in this case, Christians, Jews and Muslims
akça silver coin, chief unit of account in the Ottoman Empire
Alevi-Bektashi faith a religious, sub-ethnic and cultural community in Turkey??; a dervish order founded by Hacci Bektash Veli??
avâriz defter, avâriz icmal defter register of the avariz tax-payers
avâriz, Avâriz-ı Divaniye extraordinary tax levied in times of emergency

bagratid Armenian dynasty
bek title of respect for Turkoman dignitaries, see bey
Belediye Dairesi town council
bey, beg title of respect for Turkish dignitaries
beylerbeyi governor-general, commander of troops in the province
beylerbeyilik province, governed by a beylerbeyi
beytülmal emini director of the treasury
bidayet lower court

cami mosque
caza (kaza) administrative district
cemaat congregation, community
ceza reisi criminal lawyer
cizye, jizya, jizyah, djizya per capita (poll) tax imposed on non-Muslim adult males of military age who are not old or sick

defter register, usually for tax records
dervish a member of a Muslim ascetic order
devlet state, government
divani pertaining to the central government
Divan-ı Hümayun imperial council, grand vizier’s council and the central organ of the Ottoman government
dönüm a land measure of about 1000 square meters
dragoman interpreter, translator and guide in Oriental countries

efendi sir
effendi title of respect
Efrenç foreigners from Europe
Ermeni Armenian

fatwa, fatwah, fetva a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law, issued by a recognized religious authority in Islam, not necessarily “binding” on the faithful
fellah farmer, peasant
feraiz Islamic inheritance law
ferman, firman an imperial order

gazi a warrior for the Islam, a holy warrior
gelin aba (abla) a term of respect for elderly women; literally married elder sister giaour infidel, non-believer

haci, hacegi an honorific title given to a Muslim who has completed the Hajj to Mecca
haraç property tax paid by non-Muslims
harac-ı mukaseme tax on produce
harac-ı muvazzafa tax on land
harem part of a Muslim dwelling set aside for the women
haremlik-selamlık the idea that men and women occupy different quarters in the house
hazine treasury
Hazine-i Hassa The Imperial Treasury
hodja, hoca master, teacher
hüda guidance, guide
hukuk law
hukuk reis head judge

icmal survey showing the allocation of revenue sources
ihracat export, exportation
ihtidah conversion of non-Muslims to Islam
iltizam “tax farm”, farming estates sold to wealthy notables who collected the taxes
and some of the produce

Islahat Fermani Improvement Edict
Ispence name of the farm tax paid by Christians
Ittihad, Ittihad-i Muslimin a political party of Muslim Turkic-speaking peoples of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century.

kadi, cadi Muslim local judge
kaimakam the governor of a provincial district
kantar unit of weight, about 99 pounds
Karamanlıs Greek Orthodox Christians who speak Turkish
kurush, kuruş, esedi kurush, qurush the standard unit of currency in the Ottoman Empire

mahalle smallest administrative unit, neighborhood, quarter
mahkeme court of justice
Mahkeme-i Bidayet trial court, court of first instance
Majlis-i Wala Law Court established in 1837 to deal with cases of high officials
Mal Müdürü head of the finance office
Mecidiye a military or knightly order
mehir money and/or goods promised to a woman for marriage
mehter member of the Janissary military band
memur government employee, official of the government
mescid, mescit a small mosque without a pulpit
Meşrutiyet Meclisi Parliament
Mevlevi a Sufi order founded by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi in 1273 in Konya millet legally protected religious minority groups headed by its own religious leader, responsible for the allocation and collection of its taxes, its educational arrangements, and internal legal matters pertaining to personal status issues such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance
millet başı head of the millet
Millet-i Sadika “loyal nation”, refers to the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire minbar pulpit of a mosque
mücerred unmarried adult males
müdür bureaucrat
mufti, müftü officially appointed interpreter of Islamic law
muhtar head of a village or urban district
mukataa tax farm
murahhas representative, delegate
mutasarrıf governor of a district
mutawalli official appointed to care for a shrine

nahiye sub-district
naib deputy
nakd, nakd-i der-kise, nukud-i
der-kise cash, money
nefer soldier
nizam statute, law enacted by a legislature
nizamname regulations

ocak guild

örf hukuku customary laws

para coin of low value, penny
parasang an ancient Persian unit of itinerant distance,
piastre kurus

reaya, rayah, raya, raiah, re’aya commonly refers to non-Muslim subjects of Ottoman society
Reji Idaresi Finance Administration
literally Roman; Greeks living in Ottoman of modern Turkish territory; after
the Roman Empire collapsed, the Byzantine Empire was also called the
Eastern Roman Empire. Hence, the Greeks became “Romans”.

salname statistical, geographical, and biographical yearbooks
salyâne an annual tax
saniye deputy city governor
sanjak, sancak second level divisions of the Ottoman State
Seljukid, Seljuk, Seljoukid http://www.allaboutturkey.com/selcuk.htm
semai a poetic form favored by folk poets and used to create songs which are sung
according to a certain method
ser tahsildar tax collector

Şer’iyye Sicili, Şeriyye Sicilleri Ottoman Judiciary Court Records
Şer’iyye, Sharia, Shari’a Islamic code of law based on the Koran
seyyid title of respect for descendants of the Prophet
subashi police superintendent

Tanzimat Reform program in the Ottoman Empire from 1839 till 1876.
tasavvuf Sufi mysticism
tehcir, tahjir relocating a population or a sub population from one region to another within a country or a territory that the enforcing agent has the control
timar form of land tenure consisting in grant of lands or revenues by the Sultan to an individual in compensation for his services, especially military services.
Töre law based on accepted practice or custom, customary law

ushur tithe
Usta title given to skilled craftsmen

vali city governor
vergi tax
Vergü-yi Mahsusa special tax
vilayet province, second largest administrative division in the Ottoman Empire
vizier a high-ranking political advisor or minister, often to a Muslim monarch

waqf, wakf an inalienable religious endowment in Islam, typically devoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes.

zimmî, zimmiye, dhimmi, zimmîyan
a person of the dhimma, a term which refers in Islamic law to a pact contracted between non-Muslims and authorities from their Muslim government.

"Armenians In Ottoman Society" by Erciyes University


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