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Ottoman Reforms and Kurdish Reactions in the19th Century

Abstract: The last century of the Empire can be called a “Reform Century” since throughout the 20th century, the Empire implemented radical reforms covering its military, economic, social and administrative structures. In particular, from 1514 to the beginning of the 19th century, the relationship of Kurdish tribes with the Porte remained in balance and the agreed autonomous status was protected. However, due to greater revenue requirements to meet military expenditure, bureaucratic modernization and an overt requirement for conscription to help support a new army which was to substitute for the abandoned Janissaries units, when the administrative reforms of the Empire were implemented all across the Empire, the silent relationship was broken and the struggle between the Kurdish tribes and the Porte commenced continuing, indeed until the end of the Empire.

From the reforms in administration, in other words, centralization proved to be the most significant as it triggered events which encouraged Kurdish tribal leaders to rebel against the Centre, to protect their long enduring and established positions among their adherents and also against the Centre superseded by the Porte. My argument in providing this information is that the rebellions of the Kurdish Tribes during the 19th century should be considered as reactions towards reforms rather than a preliminary phase of Kurdish nationalism which had as its goal the establishment of a separate Kurdish state. I will consider the cases of the Abdurrahman Pasha Revolt in 1806, the Mir Muhammad Pasha of Rewanduz in 1834, the Bedirhan Pasha Revolt in 1840s and finally the Sheikh Ubeydullah Revolt in 1880 to support this argument.

Keywords: Ottoman reforms, centralization, Kurdish tribes and revolts, nationalism.

Dabar Kirin

About Rahman DAG

Dr. Zanîngeha Adiyamanê, Fakulteya Fen-Edebiyatê, Adiyaman, Turkiye. / Dr. Science-Literature Faculty, Adıyaman, Turkey.

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