Turkomans between two empires : the origins of the Qızılbash identity in Anatolia (1447-1514)

Date
2008
Advisor
Özel, Oktay
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Bilkent University
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English
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Thesis
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Abstract

This thesis aims to evaluate the emergence of the Qizilbash Movement and the Qizilbash Identity during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century within the struggle between the Ottoman and the Safavid power. The process of the making of the Qizilbash Identity, which was, in essence, the concurrent process of the Turkoman milieu’s gradual divergence from the Ottoman axis and convergence to the Safavid affiliation, is reflected in available sources as if it were predominantly a religious issue. The present study argues, however, that the religious aspect of the developments was simply the ‘surface’ or ‘outcome’ of a rather inclusive process including anthropological, cultural, sociological, and political dimensions. It is argued that the Qizilbash Identity was a product of the intercession of two separate but interrelated lines of developments: on the one hand being the alienation of the ‘nomadic-tribal Turkoman world’ from the ‘Ottoman imperial regime’, while on the other hand being the synchronized rapprochement between the ‘Turkoman milieu’ of Anatolia and the Safavid Order. One of the prominent promises of the present thesis is that the most decisive factors governing the course of both lines of the developments stemmed from the structural inconsistencies, or ‘unconscious structures’ of societies as Lévi-Strauss states, between two ‘ways of life’: one is sedentary life, which accomplished its socio-political organization as bureaucratic state, and the other is nomadic or semi-nomadic life organized around tribal axis.

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Keywords
Qizilbash, tribe, Turkoman, Ottoman, Safavids
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)