Mehmet Yetişgin

Keywords: The Ottoman Empire, the Turks, the Minorities, the Armenians, Marash, the Muslims, the non-Muslims

Abstract

In the late Ottoman period, Marash was a subprovince of Halep province till it was made a free sandjak (subprovince). it was an important place because of population, socio-economical conditions and most importantly because of Muslim and non-Muslim relations. Under the Ottoman rule, the Muslims and the non-Muslims who had an amazingly similar life in cities and rural areas in the large territories of the Empire, showed an agreeable life in social and economical spheres and experienced very few problems among themselves. Though they specialized in different social and economical structures- the Muslims were mostly raising animals and working on lands while the nonMuslims were merchants, artisans and shopkeepers-their wealth, powerty and every-day challenges were similar in their daily life. Although different cultures and languages continued to exist in this joint-life, the Turkish language and culture were dominant.

Most of the people lived in the sandjak of Marash had similar family structures in monogamous and polygamous marriages, wealth, literacy and legacy sharing. A shared-culture was there in vvealth, poverty, daily concerns and stocking of goods for survival among the different societies. However, there were some very wealthy Turkish and minority families in the city. These families had not only large lands, orchards and vineyards, but also large part of industrial organizations and commerce.

Because of its mountainous geography and crowded non-Muslim population, Marash had been suffered frequent Armenian rebellions. The Caza of Zeytun vvas a place of Armenian convicts, militants and separatist. From 1860 to 1915, many Armenian uprisings occurred in the region. Among these, Zeytun revolt of 1895 lasted for months and vvas the bloodiest. Furthermore, the Armenians sided with the invaders during the Great War and its aftermath and fought against the Turks. Since the victory stayed at the hands of the Turks and since the establishment of a strong Turkish Republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, the hopes of the Armenians for an independent Armenia in Anatolia faded, and last remaining Armenians in Marash decided to leave this place with their own will.