Dept. of History - Ph.D. / Sc.D.

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A godly progressive nation: The Korean War and Turkey’s Cold War reordering
    (Bilkent University, 2024-02) Kubat, Muhammed Cihad
    On June 25, 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea and started the Korean War. The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 82, which urged North Korea to withdraw from South Korea’s soil. North Korea’s failure to abide by the United Nations’ call prompted Security Council Resolution 83, which called on all member states to support South Korea. The newly elected Democrat Party in Turkey elaborated on this issue very carefully. Eventually, Turkey became the second country after the U.S. to positively respond to Security Council Resolution 83 and committed a brigade of 6092. Relying extensively on American, Korean, and Turkish declassified archival materials, this dissertation brings the impact of foreign policy decisions on inner politics to the forefront of Turkey’s Korean War experience. It argues that Turkey’s decision to intervene in the Korean War and its spillover effects not only changed Turkish diplomacy but also altered Turkey’s international perception and its society in a fundamentally different way than the period preceding the Korean War.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The global history of the Ottoman and Turkish tea trade
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Ansel, Esra
    This study aimed to write the global history of a commodity, namely tea, that was consumed in the late Ottoman Empire and early Republican Turkey but not produced locally and imported from various places such as China, Russia, Europe, South Asia and Japan. This research attempted to write the history of a product and how it connected people, places, and continents from a global framework, using primary sources in multiple languages, including documents from the Ottoman and Republican State Archives, British Trade Reports, Trade Statistics, advertisements, travelogues, and contemporary newspapers. Rather than presenting a single linear narrative, the current dissertation gives multiple viewpoints and insights based on a critical review of the sources and making connections that other scholars had not considered.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A matter of belonging: place attachment of ordinary people in the 18th century Ottoman society
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Karakaş Demir, Handan
    This dissertation is a quest to discover the bonds established between ordinary Ottoman people and places by engaging with the concept of place attachment, an instrument of environmental psychology. It seeks to answer how place attachment affected relevant phenomenons such as identity formation, collective actions, and the idea of vatan by questioning how the Ottoman people’s daily practices and use of space shaped the place attachment under the 18th century atmosphere of transformations. In order to provide a holistic framework, all main elements of the place attachment are presented, including socio-economic factors, communal ties, residential conditions, occupations, life experiences, symbolic and ancestral connections, emotional tendencies, and the role of “unattached” ones. In this context, the embedded meanings of Ottoman space and the forms of place attachments developed by ordinary people in different spatial planes ranging from houses to Ottoman mahalles and cities, are examined through textual and linguistic analysis of primary sources. This study has revealed that ordinary Ottoman people, similar to their professional or religious communities, formed “spatial communities” at different scales, transcending their other affiliations and ties. Place attachment developed at various scales, such as among those who share the same cul-de-sac (tarîk-i hâss), among those registered to the same avârızhanes, among the guests of inns (hans), or among those who settled in the tehnâ corners of a city, paved the way for the formation of spatial communities. Sometimes everyday responsibilities, economic interests, symbolic ties, or sometimes efforts to protect the environment have been influential in shaping these ties between people and space. Within this framework, this study points to the decisive importance of “spatial communities” formed based on place attachment rather than the policy of tolerance, which was commonly used to explain the possibility of coexistence in Ottoman society. This thesis also discusses that place attachments were not strong enough to transform the practice of coexistence in Ottoman society into a higher identity after the 18th century. Therefore, the traditional forms of place attachments may have transformed into other forms of affiliations influenced by modernity, as Ottoman people’s place identity changed during the nation-based disintegration process of the Ottoman State.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Diplomacy and business in capable hands: The American officials who shaped U.S.-Turkey economic and commercial relations in the early Cold War period
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) İplikçi, Murat
    Turkey-U.S. relations, which started to deepen at the beginning of the Cold War, turned into a political and military partnership with Turkey's joining NATO in 1952. As another significant pillar of this partnership, an integration in economic and commercial relations between the two countries can be mentioned. Turkey's inclusion in the Marshall Plan announced in 1947 not only increased American goods and services entering the Turkish market. At the same time, concepts such as free trade and privatization, which have an important place in the American economic model, have been adopted by Turkish decision-makers, and new laws encouraging foreign investment have been enacted in these years. The American political actors and economic consultants working in Turkey during this period played key roles in such changes. It is seen that high-ranking multinational company executives and academics from various branches of the American business world have been appointed to Turkey with titles such as ambassador and economic consultant representing the U.S. administrations. These actors, benefiting from their business orientation and political titles, significantly influenced the Turkish decisionmakers and have helped many American multinational companies to enter various markets and business areas of Turkey. This thesis aims to provide a comprehensive reading of the commercial and economic structure shaped between Turkey and the U.S. in this period through these people. Based on the personal memories of American political actors and primary sources such as company, state, and newspaper archives, this study aims to contribute both to the literature on Turkey- U.S. relations in the early Cold War period and to concepts such as business diplomacy and business diplomacy that are becoming more common nowadays.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Turmoil in the Crimean Khanate (1623-1628)
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Türk, Ahmet
    The objective of this study is to analyze the socio-political causes and effects of the turmoil in the Crimean Khanate (1623-1628) depending mainly on the Crimean Tatar, Ottoman, Polish, Russian, Romanian, and Persian sources The Karaçi system, inherited from the Golden Horde, that forced the Khans to share the power with the Karaçi leaders was the major obstacle for the stability of the Khan. The Ottomans were depending on the cooperation of the Karaçi leaders and their superior fire arms in order to keep the Khans under control. Mehmed Giray III Khan and Kalgay Şahin Giray Sultan brothers who realized this fact put the Karaçi leaders under strict control and made an alliance with the Zaporozhian Cossacks who were effectively using fire arms and defeated the Ottomans. Consequently, they have managed to remain in the power for five more years, contrary to the Ottoman’s plan to replace them with Canıbek Giray Khan and Devlet Giray Sultan.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An Island and its king: Peter I of Lusignan
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Hakalmaz, Turaç
    Peter I of Lusignan, the King of Cyprus who ruled between 1358 and 1369 is one of the most picturesque rulers of Medieval Cyprus and the Mediterranean history. From the very beginning of his rule to his murder, Peter raided to the Anatolian coasts and launched two tours to Europe to be able to gain support for his planned Crusade. He was unable to obtain financial support he sought to receive, but he managed to strengthen his position to throne and, after a few years of effort, in control of a small army he had been harvesting for years, launched the Alexandrian Crusade despite the fact that he could only sack the city and was forced to retreat. In the following years, he continued the raids against the Mamluks and the Turkish emirates in Anatolia, but Peter’s plans failed to go as planned as he was killed by his lords as a result of never-ending conflicts and troublesome domestic affairs. Peter is considered as one of the most energetic rulers in Lusignan Cyprus, but Available studies predominantly and separately focus on the economics or the political aspects of this period. These studies are shortfall as they are unable to generate integrated works. This thesis proposes that Peter’s actions in his life are derived out of his ambitious and dedicated character. In this context this thesis, developing a new point of view, aims to provide a convincing biography of Lusignan king Peter I, and aims to portray the king by uderlining the rationale behind the important developments during his reign.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Diplomatic encounters between the Venetians and the Ottomans in case of captivity (1560-1590)
    (Bilkent University, 2023-01) Nalçacı Baş, Nida Nebahat
    This dissertation is about the transformation of the legal, economic and social status of captives taken during the wars between the Ottomans and Venetians. It also covers how the events between 1560-1590 affected both countries' and the Mediterranean's history. This study argues that the political, military, and economic interaction between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire profoundly affected the history of slavery in the Mediterranean. This dissertation focuses mainly on these two states. The changes in the status of war captives and slaves through the years were studied, along with the changes caused by the establishment of Ottoman domination in the region. After the emergence of the Ottomans, a regional power, it took a long time for the Venetian Republic, a European state with active commercial operations both in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, to develop a reflex for liberating her subjects from captivity. While other states usually outsourced their liberation operations to religious institutions, Venice used her government agencies for such purposes. But as the number of Venetians increased steadily, they introduced some regulations. By tracking the transformation of such practices, this study contributes to the historiography of the Early Modern Mediterranean. This dissertation argues that the War in Cyprus in 1570 was a major turning point during the aforementioned transformation. The events that occurred during and after the war significantly affected the law of war captives and slaves through social, economic, and military means.
  • ItemOpen Access
    From height to crisis: The last half century of Nizâm-i Kadîm and Ottoman society as seen by the Gazette de France, 1740-1787
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Flynn, Sébastien
    This dissertation focuses on the period of 1740-1787 which was one of the last high points in the history of the Ottoman Empire. It uses the French monarchy’s official periodical, the Gazette de France, as its main source to find new and valuable information on the Ottoman Empire during this era. This period saw Ottoman society and elites prosper as they were able to accumulate wealth over multiple generations. Ottoman women played a prominent role in this dissertation and their role within the Empire’s political culture is examined in detail. The city of Istanbul and Ottoman society take center stage along with Ottoman diplomacy as major topics covered in this work. Overall, this dissertation demonstrates the length to which this period in Ottoman history has been under researched and to what extent it is one of the more interesting periods in the history of the Ottoman Empire.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Freemasonry in the Ottoman lands: a transnational history
    (Bilkent University, 2022-07) Tiryaki, Rüştü Murat
    Early encounters with Freemasonry in the Ottoman lands took place in the eighteenth century. Its significance as a sociocultural institution developed after the Crimean War, when Ottoman subjects belonging to different ethnic and religious backgrounds joined an increasing number of lodges formed in Istanbul and Izmir, as well as the Balkans, Egypt and Palestine. Following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, Ottoman Freemasonry formed its own sovereign administrative body and was highly engaged in the political climate of the period during which the Committee of Union and Progress became a major political actor. A significant characteristic of Ottoman Freemasonry after the middle of the nineteenth century was its inclusivity towards different elements in the empire. It was seen by its adherents as a vehicle towards the ideal of a fraternal existence within the remaining territories of the empire, epitomized in the Young Ottoman movement and later that of the Young Turks. This work endeavors to place Ottoman Freemasonry in the broader sociopolitical picture of the Ottoman Empire from the late 18th century until the collapse of the empire following the First World War. The history of Ottoman Freemasonry during this period is significant historically because of its association with individuals from Ottoman society’s diverse ethnic and denominational components, many with prominent standing in the cultural and political history of the empire, and also, because of its relation with the various significant sociopolitical processes which took place during this period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The notion of hassa soldiery and kul identity in the early Ottoman state – example of the janissary corps a comparative study
    (Bilkent University, 2022-05) Mergen Türk, Nazlı Esim
    This study aims to reveal the conceptual origins of the notion of hassa soldiery and the idea of kul system in the early Ottoman state on the example of janissary corps by using the early Ottoman chronics, fourteenth and fifteenth century vakf registers, foreign memories and a later source of Kavanin-i Yeniçeriyan. A comparative approach referring to the pre-Ottoman and contemporary Turkic-Islamic near eastern states, Turco-Mongol states, as well as the Roman and the Byzantine states, reveals that the terms ghulam, kul or kapıkulu had a different meaning and function in the near eastern tradition and in the Ottoman context which cannot be found in western terminology, even though similar formations can be found in the Medieval states which are similar to the ghulam-kul system of the near east in terms of structure, as a result of the longue duree of acculturation between east and the west.The Ottomans seemed to establish a special form of hassa soldiery in the kul identity of the janissary corps peculiar to themselves.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Struggling for individuality: the Istanbul YWCA
    (Bilkent University, 2021-08) Karabağ, Müzeyyen
    This study argues that the YWCA’s mainly American staff, observing that familial, social and educational structure prevented women from independent decision-making in Istanbul, promoted individuality by their labor and health practices between 1913-1930. The YWCA contributed to a discourse on the role of women that accentuated their individuality by promoting an autonomous professional identity instead of women’s maternal and marital roles. Putting emphasis on their individual’s needs first, they encouraged women to stand on their own, and to formulate and pursue their own professional goals as well as take care of themselves. The YWCA’s American staff promoted both having a profession and a healthy body as aims in and of themselves without links to nationalism, or motherhood, thus forming a contrast with the late Ottoman State’s and Early Republican state’s ideologies while simultaneously challenging the gender roles and patriarchal codes. Their prioritizing having a career over marriage and motherhood contributed to feminist activism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reconstructing the self and the American : Civil War veterans in khedival Egypt
    (Bilkent University, 2020-08) Yiğit, Tarık Tansu
    Between 1869 and 1878, American officers from both sides of the Civil War were recruited into the Egyptian Army. The former foes collaborated in reforming the khedival military by reorganizing the units and professional training, building up defenses, exploring territories down to Equatorial Provinces, and mapping the peripheries. As an earlier example of ex-Confederate-Union amalgamation, the Egyptian experience provided the veterans, whom post-war economic and political conditions in the United States pushed for new quests to restore their professional and economic dignity. This dissertation narrates the story of their sojourn in Egypt, their activities, how they were able to reconcile in a profoundly foreign setting, and the sense of alienation in the host society, which contributed to this (re)constructed national identity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Power politics in Ottoman provincial administration: a case study of Gürcü Osman Pasha (1789-1807)
    (Bilkent University, 2019-09) Küçükoğlu, Lütfiye Sevinç
    This dissertation examines Gürcü Osman Pasha, who was a promising military origin Ottoman state official at his early career stages, but then turned into a rebel sacking Rumelian districts in collaboration with the most unruly figures of the region. When his political, military and financial sources of power eventually evolved to pose a significant threat to the central authority, he ended up being executed by the government. Although he was not a primary figure of his time, both his political networks and dynamics of his rebellion refer that he had strong connections with many prominent characters of the period. Through analyzing reasons behind Osman Pasha’s rebellion, his patronage relations, alliances and conflicts, the dissertation depicts the volatile and delicate structure of the early modern Ottoman politics and places Osman among other prominent characters of the time. It also focuses on formation of Osman’s household and his various revenue sources, discussing how they enabled him to become a prominent pasha without a powerful family, or a local notable origin, or a considerable wealth of his own at the beginning of his career. As a conclusion this study attempts to explain Osman Pasha’s career cycle with a vicious circle of acquiring power, behaving disorderly and power again, and so on. It also offers a principle that might help us comprehend the dynamics of the Ottoman politics and the shifting power from the center to the provinces and vice versa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Electrification of İstanbul (1878-1923)
    (Bilkent University, 2019-01) Aysal Cin, Ulaş Duygu
    This dissertation focuses on the history of introduction and development of electrical technology in Ottoman Istanbul with a special focus on the 1910 concession, and its implementation, which was held to construct the first power plant in Istanbul, the Silahtarağa Power Plant. The concession became the arena for international competition, and revealed the critical roles of multinational companies, consortiums, and the international banking in the electrification business of Istanbul, along with the various diplomatic maneuvers of European and American states, which depicted the diffusion of foreign capital into the Ottoman lands. Under this complex competitive environment, rather than being a passive receptor of technology, the Ottoman bureaucracy and engineers played an active, well-informed and sophisticated role that they were able to select the appropriate technology to be applied in Silahtarağa plant, design necessary rules and regulations for it and control technology’s implementation stage.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The news agencies in the Ottoman Empire: Havas, Reuters and the Ottoman Telegraph Agency (1862-1914)
    (Bilkent University, 2019-01) Uçan, Ceren
    Established in the nineteenth century, Havas, Reuters and Wolff’s became three major and influential news agencies in the world. Especially Havas and Reuters gave utmost importance to the Ottoman Empire and competed to gain control of news collecting and dissemination in the imperial capital. Being challenged by the Great Power politics of the century, the Ottoman Empire tried to have control of the news Havas and Reuters disseminated in the empire and abroad along with other carriers and makers of information through financial means. Not satisfied with the outcomes of this policy, the empire searched for ways to have its own news agency for more than three decades. The Ottoman Telegraph Agency, the first semi-formal news agency of the Ottoman Empire came into existence in 1911.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mehmed Fuad Köprülü and the rise of modern historiography in Turkey
    (Bilkent University, 2018-05) Sönmez, S. Erdem
    This dissertation focuses on the intellectual and historical work of a historian who played a crucial role in the emergence and institutionalization of history as an academic discipline in Turkey: Mehmed Fuad Köprülü (1890-1966). Situating his scholarly work and activity within its historico-political context, this study thus aims to present an extensive and historicizing analysis of Köprülü’s historiography and his substantial contribution to the professionalization of Ottoman-Turkish historical writing. It, moreover, treats Köprülü as one of the most important agents of the Turkish nation-building process in the late Ottoman and early republican era, and reveals how his programmatic historiographical production contributed greatly to the nationalist project by providing it with a scholarly valid historical master narrative regarding Turkish history and national past.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fragile alliances in the Ottoman East: the Heyderan Tribe and the empire, 1820 - 1929
    (Bilkent University, 2018-04) Çiftçi, Erdal
    This dissertation discusses how tribal agency impacted the eastern margins of the empire in terms of tribe-empire relations during the nineteenth century. The Heyderan, a confederative form of tribal social organization, acts as a case study, used to explore and analyze how local, provincial and imperial agencies confronted the real political situation. This study follows the transformation of the Ottoman East from a de-centralized to a centralized structure, until the emergence of the modern nation-state. During the long nineteenth century, this study argues that the tribes and the empire were separate agencies, and that the two bargained in order to expand their power at the expense of the other. As a separate imagined community, the Heyderan were not passive and dependant subjects, but rather, enacted their own political and economic agendas under a separate tribal collective identity. Relations between local and imperial agencies were dynamic and fragile, but tribe and empire often supported each other and became allies who benefited from shared missions. Therefore, politics in the Ottoman East did not develop through a top-down implementation of the imperial agenda, but rather in combination with the bottom-up responses and agency of the local Kurdish tribes. Finally, rather than completing this study in July of 1908 with the collapse of the last Ottoman Sultan, this thesis concludes by analyzing the changes in the region until 1929, when the tribe lost its political-military power, and paramount Heyderan tribal leader, Hüseyin Pasha, due to the emergence of the modern nation-state.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “I curse no one without cause”: Identity, power, rivalry, and invective In the early 17th-century Ottoman court
    (Bilkent University, 2018-01) Sheridan, Michael D.
    In the early 17th-century Ottoman Empire, a series of sociocultural, administrative, political, and economic changes were underway that left their mark on how the learned and cultural elite viewed the empire and themselves. Though contemporary sources reflect these shifts in many ways, this period’s rich corpus of invective verse, centering around the poet Nefʿī, has been understudied as a historical source. This dissertation rectifies this neglect by examining this invective corpus as a locus of rivalries and enmities revealing how those involved agonistically defined and were defined by their others, thus necessarily defining themselves in the process. Observing this process of definition and self-definition in the light of contemporary historical developments and sources, the dissertation examines invectives produced against both patrons (i.e., vertical invective) and fellow poet/clients (i.e., horizontal invective) in such a way as to demonstrate how the ferocity of the period’s invective verse, and reactions thereto, laid bare how Ottoman elites’ imaginary of themselves was in fact a marginalizing construct. Through analysis of the discourse of the period’s invective corpus alongside contemporary chronicles and advice literature, the dissertation explores how Ottoman elite identity came to be defined, or redefined, during this turbulent period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An Ottoman administrative response to the Macedonian question: The General Inspectorate of Rumelia (1902-1909)
    (Bilkent University, 2018-01) Dinçyürek, Sadiye Sena
    This study focuses on the General Inspectorate of Rumelia which was established on 29 November 1902 by Sultan Abdülhamid II. In the aftermath of the 1878 Berlin Treaty, there was a constant diplomatic pressure on the Ottoman Empire by the European Powers to implement reforms in its European territories. Hence, the Sultan introduced the Instructions for reforms in the Rumelian provinces and appointed an able statesman, Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, as the Inspector-General to provide an administrative solution to the Macedonian Question. The Inspectorate went through a fundamental transformation in the year 1903 with the European initiated reform schemes for Ottoman Macedonia and functioned uninterruptedly until 1909. Throughout these years, with the appointment of Austrian and Russian Civil Agents, reorganization of the Gendarmerie by the European officers and the establishment of the International Financial commission, the Inspectorate turned into a complicated international mechanism led by Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha. As the highest representative of the Hamidian Regime in Rumelia, the General Inspectorate played an important role in a number of historical developments that took place in the region, as well as the rise of the Young Turks in Macedonia. This study aims to provide a monograph of this Ottoman institution and an in-depth analysis of its historical significance during the first decade of the twentieth century.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Crescent, the Lion and the Eagle: re-analyzing the Ottoman Apulian Campaign and Attack on Corfu (1537) in the context of Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry
    (Bilkent University, 2018-01) Otman, Elvin
    This dissertation produces a detailed historical narrative of the Ottoman Apulian Campaign and the Attack on Corfu in 1537. Although the Apulian Campaign, a natural consequence of the Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry, which characterized the sixteenth-century Ottoman policies and discourse of universal sovereignty, was originally planned as an Ottoman-French joint military operation, it remained as an individual Ottoman attack on the south eastern Italy since the French King did not offer his already promised military support during the campaign. The attacks of Andrea Doria and the Venetian captains on the Ottoman ships during the campaign changed the course of the initiative and Sultan Süleyman I ordered the attack on the island of Corfu, under Venetian control. The Ottoman attack were ended since the season of war ended and the Ottoman army returned to Constantinople without having completed the conquest of Corfu. This dissertation mainly argues that one could not understand why the Ottomans engaged in such a venture without analyzing the nature of the rivalry between the Ottoman and Habsburg dynasties in the sixteenth-century. The study defines the campaign as the Apulian Campaign and defends the argument that the Ottoman sought to establish some sort of suzerainty in south eastern Italy, bound to the Habsburg realm. Moreover, it asserted that the campaign should not be evaluated as the “Expedition of Corfu” by stating that Corfu was not the principal target of the Ottomans in 1537. The impact of the 1537 Campaign on the Ottoman-Venetian relations is also discussed in this study.