How the powerful maintained their power: land, violence and identity in fin de siècle Palu

Date
2023-05-16
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Source Title
Middle Eastern Studies
Print ISSN
0026-3206
Electronic ISSN
1743-7881
Publisher
Routledge
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Pages
1 - 13
Language
en
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Abstract

This article is set in the environs of the Eastern Anatolian town of Palu at the turn of the twentieth century. At the heart of this investigation is a puzzle: how did the local elite manage to maintain their power in the face of first Tanzimat (1839–1876) and then Hamidian centralization (1876–1908)? Based on the study of a range of primary sources, it appears that the local elites were able to ‘use’ the Armenian Question, and the fears of the central authorities, to their advantage. The elites increasingly presented themselves as ‘loyal Muslims’ in the face of supposedly ‘seditious Armenians’ to maintain control of the land. In addition to British Foreign Office documents, our article relies primarily on a voluminous legal file compiled from the catalogues of the Ottoman Archives, Istanbul composed by different segments of the region’s population.

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