Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ottoman Empire

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Requested move[edit]

There is a requested move at Talk:Ayşe Hafsa Sultan#Requested move 13 June 2016 on a page that lists this WikiProject as interested in the article's subject. You are invited to the talk page to give your input.  OUR Wikipedia (not "mine")! Paine  01:18, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Transliteration of Ottoman Turkish[edit]

It would be beneficial for Wikipedia to adopt a standard method of transliterating the Ottoman Turkish language into the Latin alphabet. There are numerous systems in use, two of which are particularly common in English-language publications: the İslam Ansiklopedisi (İA) system, and the system used by the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES). They are both very similar, differing only in the transliteration of the letters غ, خ, and sometimes ك. I would appreciate it if anyone else with experience in Ottoman Turkish would comment with their preference or with suggestions for an alternate system. Personally my vote goes toward the İA system, which more carefully distinguishes between differences in spelling in Ottoman words using the letter خ, whereas in IJMES one can't tell the difference between a خ and a ه, as both are transliterated as 'h'. Ultimately it's not a huge difference, so I await the opinion of the other editors here. Let's see what everyone thinks. Chamboz (talk) 22:54, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

If it′s any help, in the German Wikipedia we prefer the İA system. -- Hukukçu (talk) 20:49, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

On the Historical Inaccuracy of Ottoman "Decline"[edit]

Modern historians almost unanimously agree that there was no such thing as the "Decline of the Ottoman Empire," so it's a very serious problem that "Decline" is presented as fact across most of Wikipedia. I've started the first steps toward fixing this problem by creating a historiographical article discussing the Ottoman Decline Thesis and placing a new up-to-date article into the Ottoman chronology covering the period 1550-1700, known as the Era of Transformation. I hope other editors will recognize that "Decline" is no longer seen as correct by modern historians and will assist me in rewriting the Ottoman history articles to reflect that, since it's too much work for me to possibly do on my own. Chamboz (talk) 13:58, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

In Turkish history textbooks the Ottoman history is treated in 5 periods :Rise (upto 1453), Growth (upto 1579 or 1603), Stagnation (upto 1683 or 1699), Decline (upto 1839), and Tanzimat. Of course with serious sources these periods can be challenged. But changing everything without a discussion is not Wiki-like. Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 16:55, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
School textbooks don't necessarily reflect the modern scholarly consensus. Wikipedia should be based on what modern scholars believe, not what gets taught in school, which as most people know is often distorted, out of date, and oversimplified. Here are some quotes from modern historians about Ottoman Decline:

Linda Darling, Revenue Raising and Legitimacy: Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560-1660 (1993) pp. 1-2.

“Specialists have become skeptical of this decline paradigm, feeling that it fails to explain Ottoman transformation and change. It is teleological; because we know that eventually the Ottomans became a weaker power and finally disappeared, every earlier difficulty they experienced becomes a "seed of decline," and Ottoman successes and sources of strength vanish from the record.” 

Jane Hathaway, The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule 1517-1800 (2008) pp. 7-8.

“One of the most momentous changes to have occurred in Ottoman studies since the publication of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent (1966) is the deconstruction of the so-called 'Ottoman decline thesis' - that is, the notion that toward the end of the sixteenth century, following the reign of Sultan Suleyman I (1520-66), the empire entered a lengthy decline from which it never truly recovered, despite heroic attempts at westernizing reforms in the nineteenth century. Over the last twenty years or so, as Chapter 4 will point out, historians of the Ottoman Empire have rejected the narrative of decline in favor of one of crisis and adaptation: after weathering a wretched economic and demographic crisis in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire adjusted its character from that of a military conquest state to that of a territorially more stable, bureaucratic state whose chief concern was no longer conquering new territories but extracting revenue from the territories it already controlled while shoring up its image as the bastion of Sunni Islam.” 

Leslie Pierce, “Changing Perceptions of the Ottoman Empire: the Early Centuries,” Mediterranean Historical Review 19/1 (2004): 22.

“Scholarship of past [30] years has liberated the post-Süleymanic period from the straightjacket of decline in which every new phenomenon was seen as corruption of pristine ‘classical’ institutions.”

Metin Kunt, “Introduction to Part I,” in Süleyman the Magnificent and His Age: the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World, ed. Metin Kunt and Christine Woodhead (London and New York: Longman, 1995), 37-38.

“…students of Ottoman history have learned better than to discuss a “decline” which supposedly began during the reigns of Süleyman’s “ineffectual” successors and then continued for centuries. Süleyman’s sons and grandsons, as sultans, merely continued in the same detached imperial tradition that was first fashioned during Süleyman’s long reign. As for broader institutional and social fluctuations and dislocations, these are properly to be seen as features of a transition which eventually reached a new equilibrium in the seventeenth century. The “time of troubles” may have seemed of millennial significance to Ottomans themselves; we should see its features rather as aspects of the Ottoman effort to confront the challenges of a changing and widening world, beyond their frontiers and experience.”

Baki Tezcan, The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 9.

“Ottomanist historians have produced several works in the last decades, revising the traditional understanding of this period from various angles, some of which were not even considered as topics of historical inquiry in the mid-twentieth century. Thanks to these works, the conventional narrative of Ottoman history – that in the late sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire entered a prolonged period of decline marked by steadily increasing military decay and institutional corruption – has been discarded.” 

None of these scholars are saying that only they personally believe that there was no decline. They are all saying that Ottoman historians, as a collective whole, believe that there was no decline. This fact is plain as day to anyone who has read modern up-to-date scholarly work on the Ottoman Empire. Chamboz (talk) 17:08, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Please read what I've written above. I wrote these periods can be cahanged after a serious discussion. But you changed everything (including templates) and just informed us about your edits without trying to consult or discuss.(By the way if there is no Decline period how can you explain the tragic end of the empire?) Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 17:38, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia encourages its editors to be bold, so that's what I did. I wrote an article on the period 1550-1700 which is of higher quality than the other periodization articles because it's based on modern sources and incorporates more than just military-political history. I don't think that was a bad thing. In any case, I first raised this issue almost two months ago on the Ottoman Empire talk page without receiving a single response. I wasn't going to wait forever while old and long-ago disproven theories about Ottoman history are being presented as fact. And it's certainly not true that I've changed everything - the main page for the Ottoman Empire is still the same as it was before. I'm hoping we can change that together!
You should read the article I've written on the Ottoman Decline Thesis so you first understand what it is - if you believe that the empire must have declined in order for it to have come to an end, then you might be misunderstanding the meaning of decline. "Decline" was an all-encompassing explanation for Ottoman military defeats and European economic strength in the 19th century, which argued that the Ottomans were weaker than Europe because the empire was suffering from some sort of internal decay which had begun centuries earlier. But there is no need for an internal decay to explain Europe's strength, or the empire's fall at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is entirely possible for Europe to have become stronger without the Ottoman Empire having become weaker. In the words of Linda Darling, during the eighteenth century the Ottoman Empire became only relatively weaker than Europe, not weaker in some sort of broad general fashion. And this relative strengthening of Europe vis-a-vis the Ottoman Empire certainly did not go all the way back to the sixteenth century, when Kanuni Süleyman died and the stagnation/decline supposedly began. In addition to this, it's now regarded as Eurocentric to periodize Ottoman history entirely by comparing it to Europe, as if the Ottomans didn't have any significance of their own. It's also hopelessly teleological to frame Ottoman history as this inevitable story of "rise-peak-decline-fall" since it means ignoring the actual developments which the empire was experiencing in each of these periods, which did not all point in favor of this interpretation of rise and fall. You don't have to take my word for it. The historians I've cited above know what they're talking about. Chamboz (talk) 17:58, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
My 2 cents: kudos to Chamboz for writing this article, and although I only dabble in Ottoman history I agree that the modern historiographical perspective has changed. That being said, the "traditional" periodization is still very widespread, if by virtue of inertia alone, and may possibly still have some virtue. Therefore I fully agree with Nedim Ardoğa that this requires a careful and measured approach. WP:CONSENSUS and a careful consideration of how this new approach should be woven into the existing fabric is required, otherwise one risks throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The introduction of the newer perspective is long overdue, perhaps, but one should be careful not to exchange one bandwagon with another; "transformation" instead of "decline" is all the rage in modern historiography, not only with the Ottomans, but also for the Roman Empire, etc. All of which fails to explain quite why the respective states eventually did indeed lag behind others, fail and fall, or why the glories of Classical Antiquity were not quite matched by the Middle Ages... If one adopts the "Decline" viewpoint, then one's interpretation of all events after a notional "peak" becomes subjective, leading to distortions, e.g. Gibbon and his thesis that the Roman state declined for a thousand and more years. The new view provides a necessary corrective to the distorting lens of the "Decline Thesis", but it should not be proclaimed the last and final word on the subject. This is nothing new: a generation ago, a Marxist interpretation of history was, in many minds, the "final word" in explaining societies as far back as ancient Rome and Greece, and a bit earlier, the very notion that nations are social constructs whose definition and composition changes was unimaginable. One should always be mindful that historical theories and schools of thought have their day, and then the pendulum swings the other way, and the truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. Constantine 21:11, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi Chamboz According to a sourced definition in WP, A thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. Your article summerizes a research on Ottoman decline, OK. But this does not authorise you to change the long-established classification of the Ottoman history unless a clear consensus is reached. (By the way, I read the said article and as far as I can see, the greatest problem of the Ottomans in the 17th century , the never ending rebellions in Anatolia, and consequently the blow to manpower of the empire is almost ignored .) Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 17:17, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
'Thesis' also means 'theory.' defines it as "a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections." It's commonly used in describing the idea that the Ottomans declined, along with "Ottoman Decline Paradigm." And your classification of Ottoman history is not "long-established." Professional historians definitively abandoned it more than a decade ago and had been challenging it for decades before that, as all the citations I listed above can attest to. When Wikipedia is so demonstrably wrong in its presentation of Ottoman history, of course I'm going to be active in changing it. People are being taught long-ago disproven stereotypes as fact every day by this website. Just look at the main article on the Ottomans - it tends to cite books written decades ago, books by historians who aren't specialists in the Ottoman Empire, or even books by people who aren't professional historians at all (like Kinross). And if you think any of my articles have deficiencies, you're totally free to edit them too, so long as you use modern academic sources.
Also, thank you Constantine for the vote of confidence! Your points are certainly valid and worth considering. My position is that our duty should be to reflect the current academic consensus as closely as possible. Should the pendulum swing the other way, we can subsequently update Wikipedia to reflect that. Chamboz (talk) 18:09, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
You think thesis may also mean theory. OK. But a theory is not a theorem. The same phenomenon can be explained by a number of conflicting theories. In this case there are many fringe theories. For example I remember reading an essay which starts the stagnation of the empire as early as in 1540s (during Süleyman’s two Hungarian campaigns. ) You also seem to reject the concept of decline altogether. Well if the progress in a country is much slower than the rest of the world, this is clearly decline. You can see how anxious and hopeless the risale of Koçi Bey in the 17th century was. Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 07:54, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
You can argue about whether or not the Ottomans declined all you want (and I'd be happy to do so with you), but your personal beliefs about decline don't really matter. Wikipedia must reflect what professional historians believe, not what you believe. Above I have cited five historians who say that the idea of decline has been rejected by the academic community. I can produce even more similar citations if you need me to. For instance:
Gabriel Piterberg, An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play (2003), 146. (Emphasis mine)
"The study of the Ottoman state has made a significant leap in recent years. After decades of adherence to intellectually stifling and ahistorical concepts [...] the Ottoman state is being rendered increasingly historical in three related ways. [...] Third, the intuitive attitude has been altered as a result of the demise of the decline narrative: changes are instinctively felt to have been historically natural, given the longevity of the state's existence and the variety of circumstances it faced, rather than being deviations from or corruptions of a classical model."
Citing Koçi Bey as evidence of decline would seem to indicate that you haven't read much of the modern literature. Nasihatname was demonstrated as biased and unreliable way back in the 1980s. I would recommend looking up the work of Douglas Howard on this topic, particularly "Ottoman Historiography and the Literature of Decline of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" (1988). Chamboz (talk) 11:48, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
By the way, if you really want to understand Koçi Bey and other Nasihatname writers, another must-read is Rifa'at Abou-El-Haj's famous work, Formation of the Modern State: The Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries (1993, 2nd edition published in 2005). His study emphasizes the inherently biased nature of the Nasihatname writers, characterizing their works as "ideological tracts designed to further specific political schemes" (see pages 23-6 in particular). Chamboz (talk) 12:27, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Frequently used unreliable sources[edit]

Wikipedia's pages on the Ottomans make extensive use of unreliable sources, so much so that it would be impossible to purge them all. But there are some particular unreliable sources which are worth focusing on removing, namely pop-history books written by non-historians. The main one I see is Lord Kinross' The Ottoman Centuries, which is cited all over the place. Kinross is not only unreliable pop-history, but his book is also 40 years old, making it out of date as well. On articles pertaining to Suleiman the Magnificent, a similar pop-history book by Andre Clot is frequently cited and should be replaced with citations of reliable and up-to-date scholarly works. On pages dealing with the Habsburg-Ottoman wars, pop-history books by Andrew Wheatcroft are often cited. Likewise, they should be replaced with reliable citations. Less of an issue, but an issue nonetheless, is frequent citation of Stanford Shaw's 1977 history of the Ottoman Empire. Shaw was an academic, so he's of course better than Kinross, but his book is also 40 years old. Not appropriate to be cited any longer, given the state of Ottoman Studies as a field. The frequent citation and unreliable nature of these books in particular is something I think editors should be aware of. Chamboz (talk) 02:03, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

The Ottomans and the Kayı Tribe[edit]

In some historical works, there commonly appears a claim that the Ottomans were descended from the Kayı tribe of Oğuz Turks. The entire basis of this claim are some fifteenth-century genealogies in which the Ottomans claim such a descent. However, modern historians recognize that the claim was fabricated at that time in order to shore up Ottoman legitimacy vis-a-vis their Turkic rivals. It doesn't appear in the earliest Ottoman genealogies. However, the "Kayı lineage" has since come to play a role in Turkish nationalist ideology, which uses it to fortify the Turkish nature of the Ottoman dynasty. Of course not being Kayı doesn't mean the Ottomans weren't Turks, but this nevertheless makes it a controversial topic. I think references to the Ottomans as descended from the Kayı should be removed from Wikipedia, except when noting that it's a forged genealogy.

"That they hailed from the Kayı branch of the Oğuz confederacy seems to be a creative "rediscovery" in the genealogical concoction of the fifteenth century. It is missing not only in Ahmedi but also, and more importantly, in the Yahşi Fakih-Aşıkpaşazade narrative, which gives its own version of an elaborate genealogical family tree going back to Noah. If there was a particularly significant claim to Kayı lineage, it is hard to imagine that Yahşi Fakih would not have heard of it."

Kafadar, Cemal (1995). Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. p. 122.

"Let us recall here that behind the translation of this work [Tevarih-i Al-i Selçuk] was the Ottoman administration’s establishment of a political construct as proof that they came from the Kayı branch of the Oğuz in order to oppose the challenge of the Karakoyunlu."

Ahmet Yaşar Ocak, "Social, Cultural, and Intellectual Life," in The Cambridge History of Turkey, Volume 1. (Cambridge University Press, 2009) p. 410.

"Based on these charters, all of which were drawn up between 1324 and 1360 (almost one hundred fifty years prior to the emergence of the Ottoman dynastic myth identifying them as members of the Kayı branch of the Oguz federation of Turkish tribes), we may posit that..."

Lowry, Heath (2003). The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. SUNY Press. p. 78.

"In fact, no matter how one were to try, the sources simply do not allow the recovery of a family tree linking the antecedents of Osman to the Kayı of the Oğuz tribe. Without a proven genealogy, or even without evidence of sufficient care to produce a single genealogy to be presented to all the court chroniclers, there obviously could be no tribe; thus, the tribe was not a factor in early Ottoman history."

Lindner, Rudi P. (1983). Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia. Indiana University Press. P. 10.

I think it's worth emphasizing, additionally, that Kafadar, Lowry, and Lindner are three of the foremost experts on the early Ottomans, and have been at the vanguard of debates over the nature of the early Ottoman state. All three of them agree that the Kayı genealogy was a myth.

Chamboz (talk) 13:33, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Ottoman Caliphs[edit]

All the Ottoman Sultans are also listed as caliphs with numbering starting from Selim I. The problem is that for most of their history the Ottomans didn't actually count themselves as caliphs in this manner. The idea of the Ottomans having been granted the Caliphate starting with Selim I was invented in the eighteenth century (See Finkel, Osman's Dream, 111). I'd like to remove this. We should note that the Ottomans claimed the caliphate, but not depict it as a linear progression from the Abbasids to Selim I to the rest of the Ottomans, since that's not how it worked out historically. That narrative was created later and projected back onto the past. Chamboz (talk) 22:35, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

I agree. Even Selim I preferred the title "servant of two holy cities". Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 18:41, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

Ottoman Algeria[edit]

Hello guys

There is a problem in the Ottoman Algeria. Two editors having an edit war from 30 November 2016 to this day. I asked help from Doug Weller. He warned them and protected the page for one week. Now my request is Is there an expert in ottoman history who can put an end to this problem ? Just take a look in the Revision history of this page to know what I'm talking about. Regards --Aṭlas (talk) 23:20, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Peer review for Transformation of the Ottoman Empire[edit]

G'day all, not sure if this has been posted here yet, or not, but if not please be aware that the Transformation of the Ottoman Empire article has been listed for peer review. The review page can be found here: Wikipedia:Peer review/Transformation of the Ottoman Empire/archive1. Interested editors are invited to join the discussion to determine further improvements to the article. Thank you for your time. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 03:10, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

I had previously objected against the "transformation of the Ottomn Empire" concept. In the history books the 17th century of the Ottoman Empire (more specifically the period between 1579 (or 1606) and 1699) is known as the "stagnation" (not decline) of the empire. In this period there was no reform or transformation except for the unfortunate attempt of Tarhoncu Ahmet Pasha who tried to establish budget system in vain and consequently was executed. How can this period be called transformation ? Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 14:50, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
As I've said before, that is the old view of Ottoman history. Read modern work on the Ottomans, and you will not find that perspective. For example, in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, perhaps the most magisterial text on Ottoman history produced in modern times, Suraiya Faroqhi notes that:

"Given these considerations, we adopt the more neutral term "transformation" for what happened in the political life of the seventeenth-century Ottoman Empire. This term allows for a variety of divergent trends, and does not imply that any deviation from the standards of an idealized "Süleymanic Age" is equivalent to deterioration."

— Suraiya Faroqhi, "Crisis and Change, 1590–1699". In İnalcık, Halil; Donald Quataert. An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914. 2. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 553.
Nedim Ardoğa, if you're wondering what transformation there actually was during this period, you could start by reading the article - perhaps the most obvious examples are the disestablishment of the timar system and its replacement with tax-farming, or the transformation of the army from feudal cavalry into a firepower-heavy infantry force, or the reduced presence of the sultan in political life, replaced by the bureaucracy and vizier and pasha households. Chamboz (talk) 17:11, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Suleiman the Magnificent[edit]

I have nominated Suleiman the Magnificent for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. DrKay (talk) 17:29, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Relisting of requested move at Talk:List of Sheikh-ul-Islams of the Ottoman Empire[edit]

Greetings! I have recently relisted a requested move discussion at Talk:List of Sheikh-ul-Islams of the Ottoman Empire#Requested move 1 April 2017, regarding a page relating to this WikiProject. Discussion and opinions are invited. Thanks, Yashovardhan (talk) 06:52, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

Balfour Declaration 100 - Featured Article Candidate[edit]

The Balfour Declaration article is currently a receiving a Featured Article Candidate review. The declaration is considered to be the birth certificate of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and its 100th anniversary is in less than two months' time. It is a level 4 vital article in History, and a Top-Importance article at both Wikiproject Israel and WikiProject Palestine. Any input would be appreciated. Onceinawhile (talk) 10:57, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

Translation request[edit]

Hello! Could someone please translate into English the Islam Ansiklopedisi's entry on the Mihaloğlu family for use in our article? Thank you in advance. Constantine 20:17, 23 October 2017 (UTC)