The Land Code of (Arazi Kanunnamesi) was the first milestone in the movement toward legalization of private land ownership. It was preceded by the Tapu. The Ottoman Imperial Land Code, which was promulgated on 6 June , was ve Tarihyazimi: Osmanli Arazi Kanunnamesi’ne Yönelik Yaklaçimlar’. sarsan asıl dönüşümlerin tohumları Tanzimat Fermanı ve tarihli Arazi Kanunname- Bu gerekçeyle Arazi Kanunnamesi’nin birinci maddesi Osmanlı .

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. As the harbinger of private property in Ottoman realm, kanunnamesii Land Code of mostly made smallholder peasants cultivating state-owned lands owners of kanunnameai possession. Small-scale landholding aside, this paper argues that the Code led to the emergence of large landowners. The Ottoman government, however, auctioned kanunnamezi escheated family domains following the promulgation of the Code with fiscal concerns.

Based on the archival resources, this paper elucidates the transformation of the family domains into full-fledged private property in Diyarbekir, Ottoman Kurdistan. The transformation was a highly contested process by which the central government has encountered many actors. As once-family domains and now-state-owned lands were auctioned as a result of the economic policy of the Ottoman government, the encounter involved actors from the same family, but also local notables in the environs of land and peasants.

Ottoman Land Code of 1858

As the Kurdish rulers, who inherited and possessed the lands from the mid-sixteenth to early nineteenth century, had readily adopted in their petitions a repertoire in accordance with the Code, they succeeded in restoring their o -p i ate property. Highlighting the extraordinary transfer of the family domains, this paper will therefore underline the creation of large tracts of land in accordance with the Kahunnamesi taking the political and economic aspects into account.

The Ottoman Land Code of A Brief Evaluation The Ottoman Land Code ofwith both its aims and consequences, brought about a contested domain in Ottoman historiography Arwzi, Given the context of political and fiscal centralisation of the Ottoman government, i. With regard to continuity, Barkan argues that the Code emerged as a culmination of the existing legal practices of the previous centuries on different land tenure arrangements, and therefore a transformation of what araxi been de facto into de jure.

Noting the preceding reforms of the Ottoman government, Jorgens, in a rather recent study, maintains the continuity view, stating that the ode also ep ese ted a o ti uatio of the classical Ottoman system of landholding, which sought to maintain state ownership of arable land and at the same time to consolidate and strengthen the rights of the actual cultivators on la ds Jorgens, Arai can be safely argued that the consequences of the Code have attracted a wider scholar attention than its aims.

While scholars emphasising the continuity with regard to the Code expectedly argue that the impact the code brought about was minimal, scholars emphasising the rupture point at the change in landholding relations. While the general consequence of the Code was the predominance of smallholding peasants in the central provinces of arzai empire, i.

That is, the Code as ofte lai ed to ha e ee i st u e tal i eati g the la ge p i ate estates which came into existence in Syria and other parts of the empire Sluglett and Farouk-Sluglett, In this context, Ottoman Kurdistan was no exception. Basing his account on those of the contemporary British statesmen, van Bruinessenargues that the Code benefited only a small elite, while it apparently intended the actual tillers of the soil to become its legal possessors, and contained clauses preventing corrupt practices.

Discussing this impact—spurred by the centralising policies of the Ottoman states and the emergence of a world capitalist market—upon the social organisation of tribes and settled communities, she argues that the very transformation brought about a long term shift from largely autonomous household or clan units to the cultivation of dependent individuals and families who worked as tenants and sharecroppers Klein, Klein bases her discussion on studies Haj, ; Jwaideh, on lower Iraq which highlighted the period between and as a time of commercialisation and Ottoman centralisation policies.

While conceding that there are few comparable studies for regions fu the o th, she states that the e e e at least so e ge e al si ila ities Klein, Given that the literature upholds views associated with the Middle East, in general, and Syria and Iraq, in particular, it would be correct to claim that most studies in this context reiterate conventional wisdom from a geographically broader perspective.

Departing from these premises, the present study avoids clear-cut generalisations and focuses on the making of private property in Ottoman Kurdistan in the mid-nineteenth century. While doing that, it neither attributes a unifying meaning to the text of the code nor underlines oanunnamesi role of an omnipotent state.

While acknowledging the impact of the Code, this study, however, underscores that the eatio of la ge p i ate estates as a p o ess p e edi g the p o ulgatio of the ode a d kaninnamesi the code only facilitated this creation as a result of struggles among the state and societal actors. The Zirki emirs, who were the Kurdish emirs in Hazro, Hani, and Lice in the environs of modern Diyarbekir, possessed vast lands in these three districts for almost three centuries with significant levels of political and fiscal autonomy.


However, due to the Ottoman policies of conscription and taxation imposed on these family domains, the Zirki emirs rebelled to be subdued by the Ottoman government in BOA, HAT. True, the family estates were confiscated by the Sublime Porte, however it does not mean that they were regarded as state- owned lands by the Zirki beys, the three-century-long possessors of the lands.

While the lands in question were tax farmed to provincial governors of Kurdistan BOA. In their petitions, the emirs were aware that the encounter between a petitioner and ruler was heavily asymmetrical and also dialogic, yet it did not prevent them from laying claims on the family estates they believed to have possessed Chalcraft, Having started as a process of asking for imperial pardon, the Zirki emirs gradually asked in their petitions for the restoration of their family estates to their possession.

In other words, the Zirki beys manipulated their states of being in order to negotiate their exile and the restoration of the property. While their state of being was brought forward in order to justify their requests, their petitions had the ultimate end of accomplishing their pardons and consequently the restoration of wealth to which they had been entitled before the exile. The petitions penned by the Zirki emirs indicate that the relation the emirs established with their possessions were beyond the dichotomy of state-owned and freehold property, the conventional classification according to the Ottoman landholding practices.

Sale of Family Estates in Ottoman Kurdistan after Two years after the promulgation of the Land Code ofan imperial decree furthered the sale of state-owned property in accordance with the stipulations of the Code BOA. With respect to the abolition of the distinction between state- owned and freehold property, the procedure termed the transfer of property as selli g satmak. According to this decree, such property would be auctioned this time not to kanunnameesi farmers but to their prospective owners and the auction of property took place in a two-tiered manner: The property in question would first be auctioned locally, the verdict of which would be dispatched to the Imperial Treasury.

If the bids at a Treasury auction did not exceed the local bid, the property would be given to the local claimants. Since state-owned property attracted a wider audience in the Ottoman capital, the decree made sure that the results of auctions were dispatched in the countryside. Accordingly, the highest bidder, either in the capital or the countryside, was obliged to make a down payment BOA. Needless to say, the property in the district of Hazro was the confiscated family estates of the Zirki emirs.

The local kanunnamfsi carried out in Hazro concluded the transfer of the property with a down payment of 70, piasters and dispatched the conclusion of the affair kanunnamesi the Sublime Porte in line with kanunnamesl procedure. I the au tio held i Ista ul he increased the down payment to 71, piasters and apparently let officials in the Treasury know that the property in question had been confiscated while under the possession of his father.

Yusuf Bey added that the imperial decree granted him kanubnamesi right to return to his ho ela ds BOA. As the implementation of the Land Code altered the land possession in Ottoman Kurdistan, in general, and Diyarbekir, in particular, the success of Yusuf Bey in acquiring the family estates on his kanunnamesi did not go unchallenged.

That is, in the course of the auction procedures, Bedirhan and Behram beys, another faction of the Zirki emirs, started laying claims on the once family estates that the Ottoman government was offering to their bidders. Petitioning the Sublime Porte, the two emirs argued that the property in question had been under the collective possession kaninnamesi the entire Zirki emirs.

Furthermore, they also claimed their traditional rights on the rice lands madrabs in the districts of Hazro and Mihrani, which were claimed to be outside the bundle of the family estate BOA.

We, se a ts of his Majesty, ki dly ask ou ights a ued as a esult of our share in the aforementioned one hundred and six items of property that had been au tio ed, stated the eys, addi g that e supplicate the execution of [the restoration of] the said rice lands, apart from these collective property, to our party in accordance with p e ede ts BOA.

Upon this petition, the Imperial Registry immediately decided to investigate the rice lands in question, and whether they were among the same bundle of family estate sold to Yusuf Bey BOA.


Even though the Registry rejected the restoration of their 1 The name of the person who bid the said amount is not mentioned in the document. In a report on madrabs in Diyarbekir, it appears that the term, beyond the definition of irrigated lands devoted to the rice cultivation, has janunnamesi the meaning of water resources and canals made on water springs irrigating not only rice lands but also lands in the immediate vicinity.

That is, the discourse of Bedirhan and Behram Beys, while resembling the inheritance rights associated with state-owned lands, had more in common with the language of freehold property with respect to possession rights, if not property rights.


Kanunnamezi the aftermath of the implementation of the Land Code ofthe family estates, which had been close — if not identical — to freehold property in the early nineteenth century, were restored to their original status as private property in a modern sense.

A faction of the Zirki emirs succeeded in obtaining the family estates that the Ottoman state regarded as belonging to the state do ai.

Ottoman Land Code of – Wikipedia

In this sense, while most of the scholarly discussion entertains the notion of private property within a dichotomy of state-owned and freehold property, thus failing to offer about actual views of possessors, the present study demonstrates that the making of private property was not a straightforward process, but rather a complicated one with many actors including state officials, the Kurdish emirs, and local notables in the countryside.

Conclusion The case of the Zirki emirs in Hazro shows that, the Land Code indeed resulted with the creation of large tracts of land in the province of Kurdistan. In the case of the family estates, however, there is an important point. As the creation of large tracts are argued to have been originated from the amassment of smaller state-owned lands, the family estates in Ottoman Kurdistan were far from the common category of state-owned lands. Particularly, they were maintained, administered, and eventually sold to private parties in their original statuses.

In this vein, the Land Code can be said to have facilitated the emergence of large-scale landholding patterns starting from the early s. However, such conclusion should not be relegated to the tradition represented by Gerber. Despite his ulterior motive was to strengthen the view that the oriental societies lacked class structures and were thus doomed to stagnation, Gerber also asks the questions of what actually happened to lands in the Middle East, how much passed into the hands of large landlords exactly, and whether this phenomenon was universal or whether it was circumscribed by other circumstances Gerber, Within the context of questions posed by Gerber, this study offers an answer to the question of what happened to the lands in Ottoman Kurdistan in the particular case of Hazro and Mihrani.

The amassment of land in which Yusuf Bey succeeded led to the emergence of large-scale commercial agriculture in the two districts in the s. In accordance with the post period, the same madrabs demonstrate the scope of sphere of private property delineated by the Ottoman government. Rather, the result of the implementation of the Code depended on the power relations among emirs, tribal leaders, and tribe members.

That is, as poorer tribes tend to own collective property, leaders of wealthier and stronger tribes acquired large tracts of land Rogan, Even though tribal presence of the Zirki emirs begs future research, it was evident that the second case was applicable to the case in Hazro and Mihrani. As strong leaders of their districts, at least a faction of the Zirki emirs manipulated the reform process in their favour. Land amassment aside, the present study shows that legal readings kanunnamesu the Code and the consequent legal categories associated with landholding does not suffice to understand the change in the property relations in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Kurdistan.

Particularly, the narrow definitions of state-owned and freehold property did not always reflect what actually happened to land in Ottoman Kurdistan. As this study demonstrates, after three-centuries of inherited possession, it was clear that the Zirki emirs no longer perceived the lands in their possession as state-owned 18588. Even though the Ottoman state confiscated the lands in question and reverted to the state-owned property, it was constantly challenged by the emirs with the counter-claims of possession.

Criticising the political and economic visions associated with the Land Code, Mundy and Smithargues that the law mediated the changes that are simultaneously political and economic.

In this sense, it was the Land Code of arazu facilitated the transformation of de facto possession of family estates in Ottoman Kurdistan to the formal private ownership. Co fusio i the Cauld o: Social Relations in Ottoman Diyarbekir, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 37, The Making of Iraq, P ope ty as a Co tested Do ai: A Ree aluatio of the Otto a La d Code of araxi St Anthony’s Papers Number Politi s of P ope ty Regist atio: Landholding and Commercial Agriculture 18588 the Middle East.

State University of New York Press. The Margins of the Empire: Village Land and Individual Title: Village, Steppe and State: The Social Origins of Modern Jordan. Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Ruli g the Periphery, Governing the Land: Frontiers of State in the Late Ottoman Empire: American University of Beirut.

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