Well-preserved boundaries: faith and coexistence in the late Ottoman empire

Göktürk, Gülen
The purpose of this dissertation is twofold; firstly, it focuses on the transformation of the social identity of Orthodox Christians from religious to national in the region of Cappadocia in the late Ottoman Empire through an analysis of the relationship between co-existence practices of religious communities and their ultimate nationalization. Secondly, it opens a debate about the romanticist view of the Ottoman Empire, which portrays it as “a land of tolerance” and Ottoman plurality as “a historical example of multiculturalism”. In pursuit of these goals, this dissertation is based heavily on the Oral Tradition Archive and the library of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies. The region of Cappadocia was chosen as the setting for this dissertation due to the fact that it was devoid of any visible hostility between religious communities even during the age of nationalism; hence, if one is to talk about “peaceful cohabitation,” no other part of the Empire but Cappadocia would be better qualified to buttress the prevailing romanticism. However, even there, people maintained their community borders and established their social identities on the basis of religious differences and, when the Ottoman rule was challenged during and after the Balkan Wars, people found themselves more intensely engaged on the path of nationalization. Based on an analysis of plurality in Cappadocia, this dissertation offers a normalizing perspective against the existing romanticism with a special emphasis on the role of pre-existing social relations in national identity formation.
Citation Formats
G. Göktürk, “Well-preserved boundaries: faith and coexistence in the late Ottoman empire,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2015.