The Ottoman Capitulations

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Peter H
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The Ottoman Capitulations

Post by Peter H » 13 Mar 2007 12:17

The Capitulations(foreign privileges),some going back to the 16th Century, were a sore point for the Young Turks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitulati ... man_Empire


According to Erickson,Ordered to Die:
..the Capitulations were favorable trading measures which relieved certain nations from the burden of Ottoman import tariffs,guaranteed trading rights,and granted extraterritoriality to that nation's citizens.The Capitulations had been a crippling economic millstone and an emotional sore point for the Turks for many years.They were widely regarded by Turkish nationalists as a signigicant obstacle to modernisation.
When the Turks presented Germany with counter proposals to activate their alliance in August 1914,number one was that "Germany promises to help in the abolition of the capitulations".


In 1923 with the Treaty of Lausanne all Capitulations were cancelled.

NikosV
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Post by NikosV » 02 May 2007 09:48

Capitulations were started because of the harsh conditions facing any non-muslim visitor to muslim lands made the life of foreign non-muslim traders difficult. They could not tesfity in court, they had to bow to the lowliest of muslims even if they happened to be European royalty, they could not ride horses infront of a muslim, all sorts of non-sense.

See: The Dhimmi: Jews & Christians Under Islam for more info on the conditions making the Capitulations necessary not Ordered to Die.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 02 May 2007 10:13

By the 19th century:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... i_54359962
Capitulations" granted near-complete autonomy to Western commercial interests operating within the Ottoman Empire and, in the eyes of many Turks, were tantamount to creating Western colonies....Capitulations had a further consequence within the Empire: They eventually became an extraterritorial right claimed by Christian minorities. The Turks were affronted by this attitude toward their millets ("communities"), which had religious and commercial autonomy under Ottoman rule. Matters were further frayed when the Young Turks revolution produced a constitution offering equal rights for all Ottoman citizens. Instead of enthusiastically accepting this 1908 proposal, Christian politicians used it as a bargaining position for further entitlements. Unable to build an interfaith coalition, the Young Turks eventually adopted a restrictive nationalist ideology.

The foreign Consuls in Jerusalem:

http://www.biu.ac.il/JS/rennert/history_11.html
An important result of the new political reforms was granting permission to foreign countries to establish consulates in Jerusalem. The first consulates were established by Great Britain, Prussia and France. They were soon followed by others of the 'Great' and not so great powers of the day, including Austria, Russia, the U.S.A., Greece, Norway, Persia and Sardinia. These consulates enjoyed special rights, known as capitulations, which exempted both the consuls and their citizens from local Turkish legal jurisdiction. These capitulations became a very significant factor in local society as various foreign diplomats sought to extend their protection over local religious minorities.

The capitulations gave Jerusalem's various foreign consuls political power at a time when the power of the city's Turkish governor had declined as a result of greater central government involvement in local affairs. Often foreign consuls resided in Jerusalem for lengthy periods while the city's Ottoman governors changed constantly. This produced the paradoxical situation that various European consuls frequently knew the city better than its Turkish overlords. The British consul James Finn lived in Jerusalem for 16 years!
What had started as an advantageous policy for the Ottomans in the 16th Century had by 1900 deteriorated to what many Turks saw as "informal colonalism".

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Post by NikosV » 02 May 2007 10:24

Regarding the selection of kadis(judges) in Islamic courts:
"The fourth condition is Islam, because this is a necessary condition for the right to testify... "
Al-Mawardi, Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad. Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyaya Cairo (Mahmudiyya), n.d., p. 61-63.
cited in:
Lewis, Bernard(editor and translator). Islam: from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople: Volume II Religion and Society. Harper& Row (New York; 1974) p. 41.

Never mind how Turks felt or would feel. How would you feel if you had no right to testify in a court in your own nation?

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 02 May 2007 14:20

How far are you going back?

The Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 lead to the Allies agreeing to nullify the Capitulations in return for Turkish judicial reforms.

The Turkish Declaration to introduced such reforms to protect minorities are mentioned here:

http://www.hri.org/docs/straits/justice.html

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Post by NikosV » 02 May 2007 14:40

If you want a serious source for the conditions of Jews and Christians under the Ottoman Empire and why the Capitulations were established the work by Ye'or is where to look not the internet. It also covers changes to these capitulations and how they were extended to also offer protection to relevant religious minorities under Ottoman rule through the protection offered by foreign embassies that offered better conditions than any kadi court or any other recourse through Ottoman based institutions.
Freed from all earthly ties and burdens,
He was no longer a prey to troubles;
No one could do anything more against him,
Neither rifle, nor sword,
Nor evil thoughts, nor men's words,
NOR TURKISH COURTS!
Andric, Ivo. trans. Lovett F. Edwards, The Bridge on the River Drina (Macmillan, NY; 1959) p. 54.

When I read that I took note of it as it captured well the demoralization kadi coursts must have given to non-muslims in poetic form. Andric did research on the conditions of Ottoman rule: Spiritual Life in Bosnia Under the Influence of Turkish Rule. So from his research he probably knew Turkish(kadi) courts were a negative, similar to a cursed word for any non-muslim under Ottoman rule.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 02 May 2007 15:27

Yes the cursed affect of foreign influence--in Bosnia the kadi,in Turkey the Capitulations.

China had a similiar position with its Treaty Ports in the first half of the 20th Century.Havens for Western peddlars,who insulted the standing of China,then milked the system by economic advantages obtained from a weak central government.Then a nationalistic back lash arises and the whole pseudo-colonial system is booted out.

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Post by NikosV » 02 May 2007 16:38

I doubt there is a parallel with China.

In the Ottoman Empire the Muslim armies invaded and established the Islamic state order where you could not testify in court if you were a non-muslim. Muslims hated the capitulations, those who never were or converted to Islam loved the Capitulations. In the Ottoman Empire the Imperialism was Islamic Imperialism. For the dhimmis the Western embassy protections were a godsend.

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Post by stevebecker » 04 May 2007 02:06

Mates,

Off topic a bit but in line with what you are saying the recent happenings in Turkey have been very distressing with one side tying to turn the clock back to islamic law and the Turkish people and Army trying to keep the great reforms of ATAturk.

God's will I wonder (inshala)

S.B

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Post by G. Trifkovic » 04 May 2007 08:02

There is a saying that survived to this day: "Kadi sues you, Kadi judges you", underlying the impartiallity of the courts in those days... :roll:

Totally off-topic, but I found the word "Kadi" as a synonym for Judge in a German book on U-boats written in the fifties (with no negative conotation). How the hell did it make it's way to German?

Cheers,

Gaius

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