Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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TURKEY. (Turkish, Dowlet el Othmanié, or Ottoman Rule, also Othmanié vilayeti, or Ottoman provinces. Ottoman Empire and Sublime Porte—sublimine portœ—are the two phrases used in treaties. Through Asia and in most Mohammedan communities, as well as through Moslem history, the Turkish dominion is El Roum and its head Sultan el Roum, in allusion to his succession to the lower Roman empire.) The term Turkey is in general limited to the territory directly occupied by the Turkish empire, a territory in which Turks constitute probably less than one-twentieth of the population, and the term Turkish empire is in general confined to the government carried on by this small fraction of the population. Under this government, a number of races preserve a distinct organization, tribal, ecclesiastical or territorial, and the territory recognized in treaties as the Turkish empire, the government carried on by the Turks and the races inhabiting Turkey, must be carefully distinguished in the study and discussion of this subject. The territory of the Turkish empire consists of the four provinces in Europe immediately subject to the porte; the organized province of eastern Roumelia, the autonomous but tributary state of Bulgaria; the two provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, "occupied and administered" by Austria; the Asiatic provinces, including two in Arabia, directly subject to the Turkish government; the tributary principality of Samos; the autonomous administration of Crete; Cyprus, occupied, subject to fixed charges, by Great Britain; Egypt, whose relations are discussed elsewhere under that title; and the single African province directly subject to the porte, Tripoli. The extent of this territory and its population is, from the lack of statistics, extremely indefinite. The following statement can not be considered more than approximate:

Turkey in Europe:Kil. Car.Pop.
Immediate possessions 165,438 4,490,000
Eastern Roumelia 35,901 815,946
Bosnia and Herzegovina (occupied by Austria)
Sandjak of Novi Bazar
61,065 1,158,440
Bulgaria (tributary) 63,972 1,998,983
Turkey in Asia:
Immediate possessions, including Arabian
1,889,055 16,182,900
Samos 468 40,089
Turkey in Africa:
Tripoli (province) 1,033,850 1,010,000
Egypt (dependency) 2,987,000 17,577,000
Turkish empire 6,236,250 43,391,000
Immediate possessions 3,087,850 21,633,000
Dependencies 3,148,400 21,758,000


In Europe the area, undetermined, of the sandjak of Novi Bazar, with a population of 168,000, is still under Turkish administration, although a part of Herzegovina. In Asia the only portions of Arabia under the organized control of the Turkish government are the two vilayets of Habesh, or Hedjaz and Yemen, and the Haram (sacred) containing Mecca. These contain a population of 1,296,845. In Egypt the figures given above exclude Kordofan, Darfur and several provinces in the Soudan having a territory of 1,000,000 square miles, and a population of 10,800,000, whose successful revolt in 1883 renders their distant connection with the empire doubtful. Servia (48,950 kil. car; and 700,211 pop.) and Montenegro (9,030 kil. car.; 236,000 pop.) were dependencies up to the treaty of Berlin.


—The boundaries of Turkish territory, exclusive of appanages, are the product neither of geographical lines nor ethnical divisions; but of a long series of treaties, of which the last and most important is the treaty of Berlin, signed July 13, 1878. Under this treaty the northern boundary of European Turkey still includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, with the exception of the sandjak of Novi Bazar, are for all practical purposes Austrian. Serbia next bounds Turkey to the Danube, and the space between this river and the Balkans is occupied by the tributary state of Bulgaria, with the exception of the Dobrudja and the additional territory lying north of a line drawn from Silestria on the Danube to the Black sea, south of Mangolia. The Black sea, the Bosphorus, the sea of Marmora, and the Hellespont and the Ægean, constitute the remaining boundaries of Turkey in Europe until Greece is reached. The present boundary between the two countries was determined by an international boundary commission acting under the Berlin treaty, but following the line determined upon at the Constantinople conference in 1881. Instead of the original line from the month of the Kalamas to that of the Salymbria river, the new boundary, which ceded 265 geographical miles, or two-thirds the area under the original award, starts from Kara Derwent, on the gulf of Salonica, follows the southern ridge of the Olympus, passes south of Messova, and reaches the Adriatic by crossing the valley of the Arta, of which Greece receives two-thirds. The Adriatic forms the western boundary of Turkey, except where the Berlin treaty gave Montenegro (Czernagora) an approach to the sea by ceding Antivari. The 1,814 square miles constituting the previous area of Montenegro were also enlarged by adding from Herzegovina the districts of Banzani, Rudine, Nicsic, Duga, Piva, Drobuzak, Yezera, Kolashin and Saranci, 1,167 square miles, and from Albania, Spuz, Podgoritza, Zablyak, Plava Gusigne, Antivari and Krazina 661 square miles; in all, 1,828. Turkey in Asia has natural sea boundaries on the north and west, while Arabia in a sense bounds it on the south. Its eastern boundary begins, under the Berlin treaty, at Makialos, on the Black sea, and, running southeast in an irregular line, rejoins the old boundary just beyond Kaghizemann. This cession to Russia included Batoum, Kars and Ardahan, of which the last is the only place with a population of 5,000. An additional tract one-third as large, including Bajazet, ceded by the treaty of San Stefano, was retained by Turkey, its possession greatly improving its strategic line about the headwaters of the Euphrates. At the same time the new boundary between Turkey and Persia, by ceding to the former the town of Kotovi, gave a Russian ally control of the head waters of the Araxes. The Turkish sovereignty over Arabia is practically limited to Mecca, Medina, their port Jiddah and Yemen, a large tract in the interior extending to the Persian gulf being under independent control, while the desert region between Arabia proper, Syria and Mesopotamia, maintains a precarious independence. Turkish authority is also limited in Armenia, where the powers have a treaty right of interference; in the pashalic of Lebanon, a tract eighty-seven miles long, which can only be governed by the porte through a Christian pasha, satisfactory to the powers supporting the French occupation in 1861; in eastern Roumelia an autonomous province south of the Balkans, also governed by a Christian pasha; in Samos, an independent tributary principality; in Crete, an autonomous province; in Cyprus, under British control; and, as already mentioned, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These limitations sufficiently indicate the intricate nature of the sovereignty enjoyed by the sultan, whose character is more clearly conveyed by the indefinite native term "Ottoman Rule" than by any exact term.


—The ethnical character of the Turkish empire is the result of successive conquests, which have associated widely different races without uniting them in a common political society, or amalgamating them by ties of blood and intermarriage; a circumstance which explains much in the arrested development of Turkey. The European territory of the empire is inhabited by Indo-Europeans, Slaves and Greeks, with (probable) remnants of aboriginal tribes in Albania. The islands of the Ægean, Asia Minor, and the mountains which connect its central plateau with the Caucasus, are, in the main, inhabited by Indo-European races, Greek, Armenian and Kourdish succeeding each other from west to east. Syria and the great plain to the east is, in general, inhabited by races Semitic in origin, whose blood grows purer toward the south. The one notable exception is in Irak-Arabia, the borderland between Persia and the southeastern extremity of Mesopotamia, where a strong Indo-European element appears. Scattered over this entire area, but growing infrequent in the south and rarely occurring in European Turkey, are nomadic Tatar tribes still living in the black tents of the steppes. The government of the realm is in the hands of a comparatively small body of "Turks," the descendants of the original Tatar invaders, of prominent and leading families, which adopted the religion of, and were incorporated with, the conquerors, at varying intervals during the 700 years ending with the eighteenth century, and of the constant accessions to this ruling class from captives in war, or the steady draft made for 500 years (1300-1800) on the male children of subject races. The Moslem and Christian creeds have maintained one great division in the empire, language has done more, and the great difficulties of communication have maintained separate and distinct some populations almost pure in race and blood. But these influences have all been so modified by time and conquest, the great solvents of race, that a complete change in character without an alteration in form has often taken place, not unlike that occurring in a pseudomorphic crystal. A "Turk" may be one or two generations removed from a pure Hellenic descent, a "Greek" have none but Slave blood in his veins, and a "Bulgarian" be the descendant of a peasant proprietor of the Roman period.


—Statistics in regard to racial and religious divisions in the empire are mere estimates. It is probable that about one-third of the population of European Turkey is Mohammedan, most estimates agreeing at this point. In Asiatic Turkey the Mohammedan population constitutes the larger portion; but the usual estimate which gives it seven-eighths of the total is an exaggeration. Over thirty years ago Ubicini, who placed the total population 50 per cent. too high, gave the number of Armenians at 2,400,000, Greeks 2,000,000, Kurds 1,000,000, Slaves 6,500,000, and Arabs 900,000; while frequently quoted, these figures are mere approximations. If the term Ottoman or Turk is limited to the ruling class, the Turks constitute an extremely small fraction of the whole. If it is extended to the large Turkish-speaking population of Asia Minor and Armenia, and the smaller fraction using the same language in European Turkey, it includes nearly all the Moslem population in these divisions of the empire. But, while Turkish came to be the Mohammedan tongue in the region long occupied by the Seljuks, and first conquered by the Turkish sultans, the line of the caliphate dominion can still be traced by the prevalence of Arabic as the Moslem tongue among the races, chiefly Semitic, south of the Taurus, which checked the Arab advance. Greek is the familiar tongue of the seacoast of Asia Minor, which remained in Byzantine hands long after the interior was occupied by Turkish. In European Turkey, Greek and Greeks are superseded in the interior by Bulgarian. Eastern Roumelia, lying south of the Balkans, has 573,560 Bulgarians, 174,700 Turks, 42,659 Greeks, 19,549 Gypsies, 4,177 Armenians and 1,306 Jews. In Thrace and Macedonia this proportion would be reversed. The Armenians and Kurds, comparatively recent Turkish conquests, indicate the purity of their stock by the use of their own language. The empire contains, besides the races already named, in Europe, Albanians (Skipetars), Zingari, a mixed Slave-Greek race, and small settlements of Ukraine Tatars and Circassians. In Asia, besides the leading races of Ottomans, Arabs, Armenians, Greeks and Kurds, there are Druses and Maronites in Mount Lebanon, Yezidis, the fire-worshipers of Mesopotamia, and large wandering Turkoman tribes on the plateau of Asia Minor, to which the Circassian immigration of recent years has added a new element. While modern Turkish law affects to regard all these races as Ottoman subjects, each has retained its individuality, the larger divisions manage their own internal affairs, and scattered communities and districts maintain a separate existence of their own.


—Over this diversified territory and these still more heterogeneous races, the Turkish government is superimposed, obtaining its original authority by conquest and the high administrative ability of early sultans. This power has been retained in the lack of any subject peoples equal alone to rebellion, and through the early policy which early incorporated the natural leaders of the local races among the conquerors. Historically the successor of the Parthian empire, like it the result of an invasion from central Asia, and more successful in organizing an army than in civil sway, the Turkish rule leaves behind it no civil monuments but buildings constructed by Greek and Semitic architects. The circumstance that the Turkish invaders adopted the Mohammedan religion has profoundly influenced the policy of the empire; but it has no more changed the character of its rule than the like adoption of the local cult of China has altered the essential character of the Machu conquest, or left it other than an invasion encamped in a palace. Politically the empire of the sultan is divided, in part by geographical conditions, and in part by race and language, into certain grand divisions, accepted in discussions of the eastern question, and familiar in its diplomatic correspondence; but these divisions are undefined and have no administrative significance. Turkey in Europe is divided in its eastern half by the Balkans into Bulgaria and Roumelia, the latter having an eastern and western division, and covering, in the extension given it by Turkey and the treaty of San Stefano, Thrace and Macedonia. Albania occupies the remainder of European Turkey. Asiatic Turkey is divided, after the same loose fashion, into Anatolia, or Asia Minor, Armenia, Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, Syria, and the triangular plain between, usually assigned to Arabia on maps, but in all senses part of the empire. These divisions, used much more frequently in foreign discussion of the empire than its actual divisions, correspond very closely in use to the "north," "south," "Pacific slope," "west," "northwest," as employed in the United States; convenient but by no means exclusive, and often misleading, divisions. The only territorial divisions having a political and administrative significance, are vilayets, provinces or governments general, closely analogous to the French department, and governed by a wall; sandjaks, arrondissements governed by mutessarifs; kayas, cantons, governed by karmakaurs; nahiés, townships, towns or communes, governed by mudirs; and lastly villages, which in European Turkey have as their head a kodja bashi, and in Asiatic Turkey a kahya, usually of local selection.


—Of these divisions the vilayet is the successor of the Byzantine thema, whose boundaries many existing vilayets follow, and the sandjak is generally the representative of one of the ancient military fiefs, which, under the earlier sultans, were ruled by a semi-independent and hereditary bey, who furnished a contingent of troops, generally horse. Shortly after the conquest of Constantinople, the Byzantine province was adopted as the new, unit of administration, the sandjaks being grouped for this purpose under the government of a wali, or prefect, as the word is used in Arabic history. The practical result of this difference between the origin of these two divisions, is, that the vilayet is often bounded by an artificial or official line, while the sandjak, particularly in European Turkey and in the mountainous regions of Asiatic Turkey, represents a natural and historical division of territory. The sandjaks of European Turkey, whose arrangement in vilayets has not been permanent since the treaty of Berlin, are Monastir Korytya, Prisrend, Urhkul and Debra in the vilayet of Monastir, Jannina, Prevesa, Argyro Kastro Berat and Trikala, the vilayet of Jannina; Salonica Seres and Drama, vilayet of Salonica, Adrianople, Rodosto and Gallipoli, vilayet of Adrianople. The old sandjaks of Phillipopolis and Slivno constitute eastern Roumelia and Rutschuk, Tultiha, Varna, Tirnova and Widdin, Bulgaria. Novi Bazar and Scutari are sandjaks under a separate administration. The vilayets of Asiatic Turkey, nineteen in number, have remained unchanged through a long period. Constantinople, rather a metropolitan district than a vilayet; Brusa; Aidin; Kastamuni (Paphlagonia); Angora (Bozok); Konieh (Iconium), or Karamania; Adana (Cilicia); Sivas (Cappadocia); and Trebizond (Pontus and Colchis); make up Asia Minor. Erzerum and Kharput cover Armenia and part of Kurdistan. Part of the latter is to be found in the vilayets of Diarbekir and Mosul. Mosul also extends into Mesopotamia, whose southern portion is the vilayet of Baghdad. Syria is divided into Aleppo and Syria proper, with its capital at Damascus. The islands of the Ægean and Rhodes make a separate vilayet, as did Cyprus. Crete ranks as a European vilayet. The two Arabian vilayets are Hedjaz and Yemen, or Habesh, and Hedjer, or the Haram. Tripoli is also a vilayet. In the above summary, the classical division corresponding most closely to the vilayet is given. These administrative divisions originated, however, like the entire framework of Turkish administration, in the Byzantine empire. The Byzantine thema and vilayet are substantially the same unit, and their respective boundaries closely correspond. Asiatic Constantinople corresponds to thema Optimaton, with its eastern end curtailed by early Turkish conquest; thema Opsikion is Brusa; Aidin, thema Thrakesian, the Turkish administration still preserving the division which consigned a part of the seacoast to the same government as the adjacent islands. Themata Anatolikon and Kibyrrhaioton are substantially Konieh, Seljuk conquests having extended the original coast line of the southern province and including Lake Tchölli on the northeast. Adana differs little from thema Seleukeias. Various causes have united to modify the Euxine provinces, and their relation to the Byzantine divisions is less apparent. The short-lived empire of Trebizond determined the littoral vilayet of that name, and Kastamumi, Angora and Sivas are the survivals of independent sultanates, as are in all probability Kharput, Erzerum and Diarbekir. South of this point the administrative divisions of the caliphate exercise their influence on the political geography of Turkey.


Government. The Turkish government is an absolute despotism, tempered by the democratic equality of Moslem law. A standing army, a most unusual resource in oriental history, has supported it from an early period. Its administration has followed Byzantine models, and the loose character of its conquest led to the large grant and exercise of local government and administration among subject races. Only within a recent period has an organized bureaucracy been attempted, and with but partial success. The adoption by a Tartar conquest of the forms of a Semitic caliphate, modified by European (Roman and modern) administration, fills the political forms of the Turkish rule with contradictions which render a coherent statement difficult.


—The three strands of Turkish administration, civil (legislative, judicial and administrative), military and religious, all run back to the sultan, whose titles sufficiently express his relation to each. As "Caliph of the Prophet of God" and "Emir el Moumenien," (Commander of the Faithful), he is the spiritual head and military commander of Moslems. In one capacity he has the right to interpret the Koran and Moslem traditions, and is hence at the head of Moslem law. In the other he has a claim upon the military service of Moslems, two capacities further supported by the fact that he is "Guardian of the Sacred Places," not de jure but de facto, and is hence employing his spiritual and temporal powers in protecting Moslem rites. This control in addition gives him a predominant influence over the three chief sources of Moslem doctrine, in the sheriff of Mecca; the sheikh-ul-islam at Constantinople, his spiritual deputy; and the mosque of Akkbar at Cairo. The reigning prince of the house of Othman is, in addition, in his own right, "Khan," that is, prince of his tribe; "Sultan of Sultans," and "Ruler of the Two seas and Two lands which make up the Ottoman realm, by the right of the sword." In theory, therefore, the sultan is the prescriptive head of his Moslem subjects under Moslem law, and the absolute ruler and conqueror of other races in his dominions. Nor, however modified by treaties or obscured by European administration, does this distinction ever altogether disappear.


—Legislative authority vests absolutely in the sovereign as caliph and sultan, spiritual and temporal prince. Turkish law itself is divided into two great divisions, the sheriaàt, or spiritual law, and the kanouni (rules), or temporal law. The former is derived from the Koran, the traditions of the prophet, and the decisions of his immediate successors. In theory, this law is fixed and immutable; but, as the only supreme authority in its interpretation is the spiritual deputy of the sultan, and ten centuries have accumulated in addition contradictory rescripts, or fetvahs, the sheriaàt can be accommodated in practice to any exigency. Stare decisis is, however, imbedded in Turkish law in the phrase "The gates are here closed," and Turkish, like all Moslem jurisprudence, is full of instances of judicial resistance to an absolute monarch. The kanouni is the act of the prince proprio motu, like the constitutions of civil law, after which it is modeled, and from which it is directly derived. Codified by Ibrahim Halebi (of Aleppo), under the reign of Solyman I., the multequa bears at every turn the influence of the Justinian code, and is a laborious attempt to unite in one the civil legislation and judicial decisions of the Moslem law. It remains the final authority in Turkish courts, but has been modified by the Hatti Sherif of Gulhaneh (Nov. 3, 1839), in which the Sultan Abdul Medjid declared equal rights; Hatti Humazoun, 1836, in which religious liberty was enacted; a penal code, 1840; a commercial code, copied from the French, 1840, etc. In the contradictory progress of recent years, these have been greatly multiplied by a maze of decrees. Besides the Moslem law, the subject races are, for many purposes—marriage, divorce, legacies, larcenies, lesser offenses, and cases relating to ecclesiastical benefices and succession—under their own canon law. The principle of exterritoriality extends over foreigners resident in Turkey, the jurisdiction of consular courts; each administering the municipal law of its origin.


—The sheikh-ul-islam is the ultimate judicial authority of the empire, his fetvah, in the form of an answer to a case stated, deciding all administrative and judicial issues. The ancient courts of the empire (sheri courts) consist of the high court of appeal (aryodaci), divided into two chambers (soudours), presided over by the cadi-asker of Roumelia, or European Turkey, and the cadi-asker of Anatolia, or Asiatic Turkey, each having the jurisdiction indicated. Subordinate courts exist for each of the mevlievets, or grand judicial districts, which include several kayas. These judicial divisions do not correspond with the vilayet and sandjak, being less in number and differently arranged. Constantinople and Mecca are the first two, and the other divisions of the empire are arranged in three classes. The organization of the three series of courts is the same, consisting of a cadi, judge, varying in rank, but always a mollah who pronounces the decision; a mufti, who expounds the law; naibs, or deputies; and kiatibs, or notaries. Appointments to all judicial positions are annual. revocable, and divided according to rank between the sultan, sheikh-ul-islam, cadi-askers and lower judges. The distinction between civil and criminal law is not observed in the courts; corruption exists in all, and the practice is of the loosest description. Judicial positions are filled from the ulema, or learned men, graduates of schools (medrerrehs) connected with the mosques. Judicial salaries are paid out of a tax on suits. "Mixed" civil and penal tribunals for the trial of cases between Ottoman subjects and foreigners, and between Moslems and Christians, exist in the capital and seaports on the French model, with a court of cassation (Mekheméh e Temyzi) at Constantinople.


—In the civil administration of the empire the sultan is the final source of authority and appointment, acting through his personal representative, the grand vizier, an office abolished during the brief period of constitutional reform under Midhat Pasha, but restored, with some loss of position, on the abolition of the paper constitution of 1878. An elaborate administrative organization on European models succeeding in some instances to analogous departments under the old régime, furnishes ministries of foreign affairs, war, marine, artillery, interior affairs, justice, finances, commerce and agriculture, public instruction, religious tenets, public works. Of these, the foreign affairs corresponds to the reis effendi of earlier history, the subordinate title indicating the superior position in all foreign relations claimed by the sublime porte up to a very recent period, while the circumstance that the "dragoman," or interpreter of the ministry, fills as important a position in practical negotiations as the minister, in its way illustrates the long period in which the Turkish government refused the use of any language but its own in diplomatic negotiations. The minister of war is the successor of the seraskier, whose office, while distinct, in warlike reigns was always held by the grand vizier. The minister of marine succeeds the capitan pasha, a title by a familiar blunder often appearing in European history as a name. The minister of artillery remains the solitary survival of the ancient superiority of Turkey in this weapon. The other ministries are of European origin, with the exception of the religious tenets, organized as one of the reforms of Mahmoud II. The ministries holding these portfolios are organized on the French model in a council of state, or "divan," under the presidency of the sultan, or of a special minister appointed for the purpose. There is, besides, a privy council and a "senate," the successor of the old imperial "Medjliss," in which the subject races were and are represented, membership in which it would be difficult to define; but both the vizier, the sheikh-ul-islam and the leading pashas, with the heads of the six nations, sit in it. The remaining organization of the government needs no remark save that the polyglot character of the empire has given a disproportionate importance to the bureau of rescripts and translation, the calamizeh, and it has for fifty years furnished the ablest Ottoman administrators the few among their number enjoying special training. High appointments have, from time immemorial, been made from among the personal attendants of the sultan and the pashas, caprice governing the selection.


—Provincial administration in vilayets is committed to the wali, assisted by a defterdar, book-keeper, who has charge of the finances, a mektoubji, secretary, and subordinate officers. A local medjliss (council), including these officers, local dignitaries, the heads of the local Christian communities, and others, sits in each vilayet, and constitutes a popular body, whose influence varies with the vigor of the imperial administrator. The sandjak and kaya are each similarly organized. The governor of a vilayet is always, and the head of a sandjak is generally, known as a pasha. Down to mudirs, administrative officers are non-residents, and always Moslems, save where treaty regulations require Christian appointees in Lebanon and eastern Roumelia. Remnants of local self-government exist everywhere in the medjliss, the organization of villages, the management of internal affairs by particular wards or districts, many of the latter having enjoyed a rude autonomy from immemorial times. Trade-guilds, esnafs, in every city settle disputes and regulate trade customs, practically administering a very considerable body of commercial law.


—Autonomous institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, are allowed to each Christian sect, and the Israelites. Turkish administration recognizes seven "nations" (milleti) or communities: the Greek, Armenian, Uniate Armenians, Latin (Catholic), Protestant, Bulgarian and Israelite. The first of these communities was organized by the berat, or writ of investiture, granted the Greek patriarch of Constantinople by Mahmoud II., in 1453. In 1875 the Bulgarian church, previously a part of the Greek church, was organized under an exarch. The Greek, Bulgarian and Armenian are national churches. The Uniate Armenians are a small body united in faith to the Roman Catholic church. The Latin church, besides lesser bodies, includes the Maronites of Lebanon and the Chaldeans of Gebel Tour and Mesopotamia. The Jacobite or Syrian church in the latter region has also of late years received civil recognition. Besides being ecclesiastical bodies, these sects all constitute civil corporations whose head is the spiritual primate only in the case of the Greek church and Uniate Armenians. The Protestants have a civil head, the Jews are represented by a chief rabbi, and the civil representative of the rest is the archbishop, resident at the metropolis, who in the Armenian church is also a patriarch. Each of these sects is organized for civil purposes, with a synod at the capital, and is divided into dioceses and parishes. Its authorities collect the capitation or military exemption tax (kharadj), and certain traditional dues for their own maintenance. Their courts regulate subjects usually under the jurisdiction of canon law, inflict punishments for petty offenses, and once settled all civil cases to which suitors of the same faith were parties. Where a village or town is composed of a single sect, the larger share of internal administration falls to the hands of its authorities. The Protestant communities scattered over Turkey, the fruit of American missionary labor, are organized as democracies, with annual meetings for the election of officers.


—Independent of all other branches of the government stands the seraglio, a state, not a domestic, institution, not merely the residence or the family of the sultan, for the Turkish empire has had no ruling family in the European sense, but the imperial household. Unlike most Moslem sovereigns, the early Turkish sultans recognized no distinction as wives and concubines between the women of their harem. The harem thus formed, probably a survival of ancient tribal practice, was reorganized after the conquest of Constantinople, under Byzantine influence. Its body-guard was uniformed in a dress copied from the Varangar garb, its chief posts were given to eunuchs, who first become conspicuous in Turkish affairs after this date, and the sacrosanct character of the Moslem harem received the protection of an elaborate and minute organization and ceremonial foreign to oriental ideas, but which has had an extraordinary power in consolidating and rendering permanent in influence palace intrigue. In the seraglio, the mother of the sultan, validè sultana, has taken the place of the empress in Byzantine history. Its chief functionary is the kislar agha, chief of eunuchs, an officer whose personal relations with the sultan give him a rank next after the grand vizier, and an influence often transcending his. The commander of the household troops is generally the commander-in-chief of the army. Moslem succession and inheritance passing the oldest male of the family, collateral branches were in the earlier history of the reigning family carefully eliminated, thus keeping the succession in the direct line. During the last fifty years, this practice has been abandoned, and the succession has passed from brother to brother and uncle to nephew, while collateral lines begin to appear. The khans of Crimean Tartary, now the Russian Crimea, claim a descent from Othman, and are the only cadet branch of the royal family. The women of the seraglio during the last three centuries have been recruited from Circassian tribes, which have furnished the other leading harems of the capital. This circumstance has united the seraglio and the other great households in a web of feminine kindred, acquaintance and intrigue, often overlooked by the foreign observer, but deeply influencing the daily current of affairs.


Finance. The Turkish fisc has never lost the stamp of conquest. An oppressive octroi, imposed on all the traffic of walled cities, supports the charges of local government. Its rates vary, its amount is unknown; and while it is collected by imperial officers, the receipts are absorbed and expended in each province. The imperial government levies a kharadj, the capitation tax, on all Christian males for exemption from military service; tithes on all produce; the verghi, a tribute or tax on produce or receipts, a quasi income tax; sheep tax; a tobacco segie, salt, stamp, excise, fisheries, registration, forests, with a large number of lesser taxes. Of these taxes the first three are early Moslem taxes, and the sheep tax is probably the survival of a tax levied by the khan in the pastoral stage of the tribes by which the empire was founded. It is still levied in theory, not as a tax on the sheep, but as rental for pasturage. The kharadj existed unchanged in name and character under the caliphate. Its average in 1883 was twenty-eight piasters, the levy per head varying from fifteen to sixty piasters. Collected at times by Turkish officers, koldjis, and again by the heads of subject communities, in 1834 and 1850 the duty of collecting this tax was, after a rude census, definitely made over to the authorities of each "nation." The verghi appears to be derived from the inscribed tribute levied on conquered provinces by the caliphs, and is a tax on the income from real and personal property, varying greatly in amount in different provinces, and often falls upon property from which tithes are also collected. The tithes are a tenth in kind of all produce, collectible before a sale can be effected by the peasant or proprietor. By a privilege conferred by Constantine, confirmed by Mahmoud II., but in recent times modified, the inhabitants of the capital are free from taxation. Imperial taxes were farmed under the Byzantine government, and the practice was continued by the Turkish conquerors. In 1695, Mustafa II. extended the annual leases of the revenue to life grants. In the last fifty years the Turkish government has repeatedly assumed the immediate collection of its revenues, and as regularly let them again to meet present necessities, past extravagance, or to secure loans.


—Expenditure, receipts and indebtedness are alike vague in Turkish finance. The unit of account is the piaster (4.4 cents, or 22½ centimes), a coin originally of the value of the Spanish dollar, which 200 years of depreciation have reduced to its present value. The Turkish lira, or pound (£T=100 piasters) is the usual unit in debt statements. At the opening of the Crimean war, the revenue of the empire, for a number of years, had fluctuated from £T6,500,000 to £T7,500,000. The expenditure, from this period until the financial collapse of the empire in 1874-5, was all of the revenue and as much more as could be raised by loans and the issue of a paper currency. At this time the nominal receipts were £T22,552,200, and the expenditure £T23,143,276, deficit £T591,076. The actual average receipts, 1872-6, were £T18,190,000. The paper budgets for 1880-81 (1295-6, H.) give the receipts as 1,615,584,000 piasters; expenditures, 1,914,876,359; deficit, 299,292,359 piasters. The items are as follows:

Land revenue tax 225,000,000
Exemptions from military service 46,000,000
Tithes 500,000,000
Customs 180,000,000
Sheep tax 165,000,000
Tobacco 100,000,000
Various receipts 96,993,000
Real estate 5,200,000
Forests 6,070,000
Salt works and mines 72,309,000
Post 6,300,000
Telegraphs 15,700,000
Receipts from ministry of marine 36,505,000
Receipts from ministry of war 28,500,000
Ordnance 4,000,000
Sanitary administration 5,135,000
Tribute from Egypt 76,500,000
Tribute from Eastern Roumelia 24,000,000
Other tributes 13,372,000
Various products 8,991,000
Total Receipts 1,615,584,000


Foreign debt 209,647,961
Domestic debt 39,312,441
Floating debt 241,863,946
Civil list appanage 86,497,324
Senate 2,406,019
Chamber of deputies 6,593,981
Council of state 1,880,400
Audit office 1,066,640
Prime minister and his personal accounts 2,291,364
Judicial 15,081,848
Restitutions 575,000
Administration 52,704,152
Prisons 8,780,680
Post and Telegraphs 24,959,098
Various expenses 619,300
Ministry of foreign affairs 19,810,232
Ministry of justice 32,809,850
Ministry of public instruction 8,100,093
Ministry of public works 10,330,004
Ministry of commerce and agriculture 15,163,720
Administration 25,212,359
Indirect contributions 36,631,640
Verghi 21,718,702
Sheep tithes and taxes 49,638,016
Ministry of war 536,304,944
Ministry of marine 81,154,650
Grand master of artillery 86,144,487
Religions endowments 33,573,414
Pensions and reliefs 52,552,851
Extraordinary expenses 210,961,243
Total Expenditures 1,914,876,359


Turkish budgets are, however, the vaguest approximations. The territory ceded in 1878 and 1881 returned 13 per cent. of the revenue of the empire. The rest has been greatly disorganized, and its revenue can not be placed at over £T16,313,006. Of this the tributes return (omitting Bulgaria) £T1,143,720, the six revenues ceded the bondholders, tobacco, salt, stamps, excise, fisheries and silk, £T1,983,416; and customs, £T1,992,800. The other leading items are: tithes, £T5,000,000; verghi, £T2,250,000; sheep, £T1,650,000; kharadj, £T460,000. Of the expenditures one-third has for some years gone to the army, the only branch of the government whose claims receive even partial attention. The "civil list," which is little more than the sultan's personal expenditure through the seraglio and other channels, has for years been from $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.


—The Turkish debt shares the uncertainties of all Turkish finance. The standing army, organized by Mahmoud II. at the opening of the century, enabled the government to collect taxes in all parts of the empire, and greatly increased the revenues. This met the enlarged expense of European reforms in the army; but at the opening of the Crimean war foreign loans began, and by 1875 these had reached a nominal capital of £240,000,000. Fourteen issues were made in this period, beginning at 80 and ending at 43½. One of £5,000,000 in 1855 was secured by the guarantee of France and England, and the tribute from Cyprus has been sequestered for its benefit by Great Britain, while the first, for £3,000,000, was secured by the Egyptian tribute, whose balance went to the loan of 1855. During the thirty years in which Turkey paid its interest, every conceivable expenditure was met by issuing current obligations; these were regularly consolidated, a foreign loan obtained at usurious rates, and the old process resumed. At home, forced loans in the shape of irredeemable paper money (caimés) were also raised. In 1875 the empire announced that for five years the interest would be paid, half in cash and half in 5 per cent. bonds. Interest ceased altogether before this period was over, and Turkey remained among the defaulting states until the iradé of Dec. 20, 1881, reduced the debt from a nominal capital of £252,801,885 to £106,437,234, and the interest to 4 per cent. Up to August, 1883, £63,149,663 of the consolidated debt had been reissued. The Turkish government proved reasonably faithful to its share of the agreement, but Servia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece have failed to contribute to the share of the debt allotted to them. The revenues set apart to meet debt obligations yielded £T2,283,624 during the first fourteen months, Jan. 1, 1882-Feb. 28, 1883. Meanwhile the Turkish government has continued to add to its floating obligations, which, in August, 1883, were £T28,000,000. This is certain to precipitate another collapse, as the annual deficit is not less than £T7,000,000.


Land Tenure. The fee under Moslem law vests in the state. Upon conquest, believers, i.e., converts to Islam, are allowed to retain occupancy of their lands (known as tithable) upon payment of a tenth of the produce; non-believers pay a tribute tax levied either on the soil or on the produce, and when originally inscribed varying from one-half to one-eighth. Lands held under these tenures have steadily diminished in amount, and constitute the only freehold estates known. They are divided into two classes, according to the character of the fee, whether complete (mulk) or charged with various burdens (memluk), and pay a tax on transfer or succession. Besides city freeholds, large estates of agricultural lands granted for special services or held by descent from local over-lords belong to this class. A third class of free-hold (mehkemé) arose apparently from judicial sequestration. This can be mortgaged by two witnesses, the other freehold only by registry. Waste lands revert to the state, and lands belonging to religious foundations, or devoted to civil uses, aqueducts, bridges, etc., pay no tithes. The first circumstance has resulted in the ownership of large tracts by the state, and the second in the extensive transfer of realty to religious trusts, constituting vakouf lands. Estimates make three-fourths of the land in the empire of this character. While probably true of city realty, this is not true of agricultural lands, which are held in village ownership in all parts of the empire. The vakouf lands arise from two sources: state grants (sarai), and the transfers of private persons (kasamain). State grants are, in general, absolute and perpetual. Private transfers are of two classes: customary or stated (aadet), and legal (sheriah). The one is a nominal transfer, occupancy remaining in the grantor, the grantee receiving a ground rent, calculated, by a legal fiction, as interest on the purchase money, often also nominal. Upon the failure of male heirs in the direct male line, these grants revert to the mosque. The administration of vakouf property was assumed by Mahmoud II., but without obtaining the revenue anticipated. Repeated propositions to sequester the vakoufs have been made; but the government has never ventured further than plans. State lands consist chiefly of miri and waste (adiyet) lands. There are besides the private domain of the sultan, fiefs attached to particular offices, military fiefs, etc., most of which have reverted to the state and been added to the miri. This, which figures in all Turkish land schemes, is land whose revenue belongs to the public treasury. Large tracts of this land have been let from time to time, and much of it is held on perpetual leases, which are open to sale or inheritance, reverting to the state on the suspension of cultivation. Local customs greatly modify land tenure, and few definite statements are true of the entire empire. Land in Bulgaria and Roumelia is in small holdings, in Thrace and Macedonia in large estates. Village ownership obtains in southern Turkey in agricultural lands, as well as in many parts of Asia Minor and Armenia, where, however, the ownership of tracts by beys still extends over large areas.


Trade, Tariff and Products. Commerce with Christian nations was conducted in the sixteenth century under a 5 per cent. impost tax, which was reduced to 3 per cent. in behalf of England, and this capitulation was confirmed and extended in 1675 and in 1831. In 1861, commercial treaties with Great Britain and France, obtained by other nations, including the United States, placed export duties at 8 per cent., raised import duties from 5 to 8 per cent., and reduced the transit duties from 3 to 1 per cent. These treaties were denounced in 1883, the porte proposing to substitute specific for ad valorem duties—in no case higher than 20 per cent.—suppress transit duties, provide a warehouse system, and require all duties to be paid in gold. About one-fourth of the commerce of Turkey is with Great Britain. Turkish exports consist chiefly of grain, wool, opium and native manufactures. The exports and imports for a series of years are given in the following table:

Table.  Click to enlarge in new window.


At Smyrna, the second seaport of the empire, one-third of the imports consist of domestics, of which two-thirds come from Great Britain. The remainder of the imports consist of miscellaneous manufactures. Of the exports, figs, opium, valonia, (acorns), black and red, and raisins, in nearly equal shares, make up one-half of the exports from year to year. Silk cocoons, sponges, wool and rugs constitute from 15 to 20 per cent. of the exports.


—In 1876 the wheat crop of Turkey was placed at 80,000,000 bushels, and the total cereal crop at 100,000,000. The tobacco crop in 1875 was estimated at 77,880,000 pounds, and valued at $5,985,600; and in 1881 the crop was placed at 82,500,000 pounds. One-half of this is grown in European Turkey, and by far the most valuable in Roumelia, in and about Cavala, Macedonia; nearly a fifth being in the latter district. The average production of attar of roses, nearly all of which is produced on the southern slope of the Balkans, is 3,470 pounds, the crop varying from 6,000 pounds in 1866, to 1,700 in 1872. The mohair (tiftik) clip in Angora was 35,000 bags in 1880 and 30,000 in 1881, about 6,000,000 pounds. The herds producing it are estimated at 600,000 head. The importance of Turkish products rests rather upon their possibilities, than their accomplishment. In grain, in wool, and in cotton, as well as in coal and copper, it is capable of adding heavily enough to the world product to make it a serious rival.


—The mineral resources of Turkey are known to be large, but are practically untouched—the solitary exception being the copper mines of Arghana. By Turkish law all mines and mineral deposits are the property of the state, to which all land reverts on the discovery of mineral treasures. All grants of mines for working require their surrender to the state after a certain period, with plant and working tools complete. Work can be resumed only upon the purchase of the equipment from the government at a valuation fixed by the administration of mines, whose engineers add to the oppressive legal restrictions of the government the vexatious interference of half-educated men. The most important mineral deposits of Turkey are the coal fields of the Heraclea basin, on the Euxine coast of Asia Minor, 150 miles from the Bosphorus. They are 450 square miles in extent, estimated to contain 60,000,000 tons, and are probably much larger, as the Kooslov vein is from three to eighteen feet thickness, and worked with case in horizontal runs. During the Crimean war this region supplied the allied fleet. Tests showed the coal bituminous, to be equal to Newcastle, free from slag, and firing rapidly. At present 33,000 tons are raised annually, and delivered at Constantinople at $4.08 per ton. Constantinople, in the six years 1875-80, imported 1,205,935 tons of coal from England. An extremely rich deposit of carbonate of copper at Kebban Maaden, in the Arghana district, north of Diarbekir, has been worked for centuries, and is still mined under government supervision, supplying interior Turkey with the copper universally used for domestic utensils. Chrome is mined at Dag Ardi, Brusa vilayet, and near Salonia, the average output in each place being 3,000 tons. Emery is mined near Smyrna, manganese near Trebizond, argentiferous lead near Erzeroum, Akdar Maaden, in Castamuni, and near Kaiserizeh. Antimony is shipped in small quantities from Chios. Many other mineral deposits are known to exist, some of which were worked in ancient times, but none are now utilized.


Transportation. The roads of the empire are in a primitive state, but are in better condition in European than in Asiatic Turkey. In the latter a wheeled vehicle is rarely seen away from the coast, and the roads are tracks worn by caravans. The mail is carried on horseback by relays of horses after a system which has come down unchanged from the cursus publica of the Roman and Byzantine empire, and the tezkereh, or official permit to use these relays for private travel is analogous to the diploma issued under the Roman empire for the same purpose. During the French occupation a road was built from Beirut to Damascus, and a diligence line is run on it. Telegraph lines, 17,048 miles in length, connect the larger cities and the capital under government management. By special convention, the Anglo-Indian government leases for its own purposes a line connected with the land line and cable in the Persian gulf.


—European Turkey contained, in 1881, 988 miles of railroad, built by the Oriental Railways company, at $57,600 per mile, the capital of the company being $158,400,000 nominal, the actual money value of the shares as allotted being 45 per cent. of their par value. The lines built and open for traffic since 1875, with the exception of the Banialuka and Doberlin, are as follows:

Constantinople & Bellova... 351
Adrianople & Dedeagatch... 92
Salonica & Mitrovitza... 226
Adrianople & Zamboli... 115
Banialuka & Doberlin... 64
Varna & Rutschuk... 140
Total... 988


Asiatic Turkey has 250½ miles of railroad, in three lines, of which the first and most important was built by an English company at a cost of $10,665,675. It is (1883) being extended to Sevdikini, 38 miles. These lines are as follows, the last being government property:

Smyrna & Aidin, and branches 83
Smyrna & Cassaba, and branches 108
Scutari & Ismidt, and branches 59½
Total 250½


Constantinople contains 13½ miles of tramways (city horse railroads), and they are to be found in Smyrna, Sidon, Jaffa and other cities.


History. The Turkish empire arose in western Asia Minor, and had nearly reached the western limits of its European conquest before it moved eastward. The first signs of the empire appeared in the ebb of the invasions of Genghis Khan and his sons, whose advance seems to have received a check on the plateau of Asia Minor, after having swept away the minor Seljuk sultanats which divided between them what is now Asiatic Turkey. It is still doubtful whether Ertogul, the father of Othman, founder of the line, is more than a tribal hero, and the legends which assign Othman a Commenian ancestor in Byzantine story, and trace his descent from the tribal progenitor in central Asia, Kara Koum, probably express the historic fact that a rule of Tartar origin, arising in a tribe which for at least 200 years had been familiar with the civilization of Asia Minor, took its earliest form under Byzantine influence. In Turkish history Ertogul is the tribal hero, Othman (1299-1326) the founder, and Orkhan (1326-60) the organizer of the new monarchy. His tent-door became the sublime porte, his army was made up of a disciplined infantry and an enrolled cavalry, not a feudal militia. Orkhan crossed the Bosphorus, and the Turkish rule was established in its present European limits by the battle of Kassova (1356), when the defeat of Bajazet I. (1389-1402), on his eastern frontier, midway in Asia Minor, by Tamerlane, would have destroyed the Turkish empire had it been an Asiatic power. In the next three reigns, the power of the empire was further extended in Europe, and crowned by the conquest of Constantinople (1453) by Mohammed II. (1451-81).


—The oriental conquests of Selim I. (1512-20) and the assumption of the title of caliph carried the empire to its present Asiatic limits, and worked a profound change in its character. The next of the line, Suleiman I. (1520-66), the lawgiver of the dynasty, showed this at every turn. His mosques were Arab mosques, his code was drawn by an Aleppan, and the reorganization of the empire showed like influences. The Turkish rule was now at its widest, extended and stretched from northern Hungary to central Persia, from southern Russia to Egypt. The Turkish infantry remained the best in Europe; but Lepanto (1571) showed that its fleet was weak, and it never regained full mastery of the sea, although it still acquired one island after another, Murad IV. (1623-40) falling between weak and brutal sultans (1574-1623), and a drunkard, Ibrahim (1640-49) gave Turkey its last eastern conquests, reaching Tabreez. The fortunes of the empire were again retrieved in Europe by the able succession of Köprili viziers (1646-90), but no personal ability could prevent the consequences of a disaster like the siege of Vienna (1683), and the peace of Carlowitz (1703) definitely closed the era of Turkish conquest.


—Through the middle of the eighteenth century, Mahmoud I. (1730-54) deferred the advance of Russia by an alliance with France and western Europe, as Abdul Medjid (1839-61) did through the middle of the nineteenth century. Catharine II. resumed the Russian advance in the last century, and the peace of Kutchuk Kai Nardji (1774) and Jassy (1792) established the dependent position of Turkey. Mahmoud II. (1808-39) gave the empire a new lease of life by organizing a standing army, which enabled the empire to reconquer its Asiatic possessions, parceled among overlords who owned a slight allegiance. With the exception of Ibrahim Pasha, no oriental rebel has since been able to hold his own against the sultan. Against Europe, the porte remained powerless. The revolt of Greece (1821-9), Servia (1815-29), Roumania (1861), the treaty of Adrianople (1833), and other successive treaties, ending with the treaty of Berlin (1878), have reduced the empire to its present limits.


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