Field Research in Turkey
(August 20-September 10)

posted on November 11


My stay in Istanbul in this summer was to work on the preparation of the pilot program "A Joint Project on the Temettuat Registers Kept in the National Ottoman Archives of the Turkish Prime Minister's Office", organized by the Project Management Unit. It included preliminary research on the relevant registers as well. In the following, I will briefly explain why our pilot program is necessary, how it is proceeding, and what was accomplished during my stay there.

The Temettuat Registers were compiled during the property evaluation in Anatolia and the Balkans in the Tanzimat period. In H. 1256 (1840)and in 1260-1261 (1844-5) the Ottoman Government carried out property evaluations twice, in these evaluations all individually owned property was examined and evaluated. This was done in order to introduce a new tax. Since the Registers contain descriptions of everyone's property in both towns and villages, they are indispensable sources on the socioeconomic situation of the time.

Most of the Temettuat Registers available today, the number of which runs to 17,747, are catalogued in the Temettuat Catalogue of the National Ottoman Archives. Since they were opened to the public in 1988, they have been attracting researchers' attention because of their concrete and precise descriptions.

Although the study of the Tanzimat period is outside my field, I became interested in these registers since their usefulness was frequently mentioned among local researchers. So I decided to propose the study of the Temettuat Registers as a pilot program with the assistance of Ms. EGAWA Hikari, a Japanese researcher already working on them, in order to promote joint international research, through which the analysis of an enormous number of Registers would be possible. This summer I discussed the project program with local and Japanese researchers in Istanbul, and also carried out a preliminary investigation of the Registers.

As a result of the discussions, Dr. Mahir Aydin of the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University agreed to participate in our project as the Turkish counterpart. His field is the socioeconomic history of the 19th century Balkans. Within the framework of our project, he is planning to apply the Temettuat Registers to the case study of one region in Bulgaria. Mr. SAHARA Tetsuya, a Japanese member of our project, will join him. I also requested the cooperation of Dr. Ilhan Sahin and Dr. Feridun Emecen of Istanbul University.

The other Japanese participants are Ms. EGAWA Hikari, whom I already mentioned above, and Mr. TAKAMATSU Yooichi. The topic Ms EGAWA will be in charge of is the analysis of the registers concerning Balikesir in Western Anatolia. Dr. Agnur Yunyol of Balikesir University will cooperate with her. Mr. Takamatsu will study the historical background of the compilation of the Temettuat Registers in relation to the Tanzimat Reform. He is presently staying in Istanbul.

It is necessary to identify each register in the catalogue in order to know how many registers were compiled concerning each region, since the total numbers of registers are only available for very roughly divided areas. Thus, for preliminary research, I chose the districts of Ankara and Bolu, and during my two week stay in the National Ottoman Archives, I collected information on the Temettuat Registers of these two districts, identifying each register in the catalogue. As a result, I found 1401 registers for the Ankara district and 2298 for Bolu. I will post the list of the Ankara and Bolu registers on the project home page. Using this information, I hope to fix the target regions and contribute to our project.