By Murat Gül

In its transition from 18th century capital of the Ottoman Empire to fiscal powerhouse of the Turkish Republic, the town of Istanbul has been reworked past recognition.  utilizing newly published archive assets, Murat G?l charts the city transformation of Istanbul through the past due Ottoman, early Republican and the Democrat get together sessions of Turkish history.  After the institution of the Republic, Turkey more and more grew to become to the West for concepts approximately easy methods to strengthen a contemporary tradition, rather in its such a lot populous city.  Istanbul grew to become a discussion board for the several regimes to demonstrate their political, ideological and social regulations within the context of the equipped environment.  G?l lines the effect of those altering regulations at the very textile of the town itself -- in its streets, structures and landscapes -- and within the technique offers new insights into the background of Turkey.

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Advancing source criticism has made it obvious that even a list of taxpayers is not the unmediated reflection of an ‘objective’ reality, but the product of the assumptions, often quite unconscious, of the people who put it together (Ludden, 1989, pp. 102–14 discusses the problem on the basis of an example from Indian history). If primary sources are full of biases the extent of which we can never fully measure, the same is obviously true of present-day historiography as well. A reader of Edward Said’s work may well come away with the melancholy reflection that present-day western culture is so ingrainedly racist and full of prejudices vis-a`-vis whatever has been defined as the ‘other’, that any attempt to produce Middle Eastern history is doomed from the outset (Said, 1978).

The sheer accumulation of information which has taken place in the past years probably forms a necessary though not a sufficient precondition for the questioning of proble´matiques we are presently experiencing. People who wish to challenge the ruling paradigms now can obtain the data with which to do this, which was not usually true even twenty years ago. More importantly, changes in political climate have permitted some scholars to doubt the national state as a suitable yardstick by which to measure the performance of non-national empires, including the Ottoman.

It is quite amazing what will get transmitted from one author to another over the generations. Some errors may be just amusing, such as the story that the heads of the Ottoman religious-cum-legal hierarchy, the s¸eyhu¨lislams, if executed, were ground to death in a gigantic mortar and pestle (Majer, 1989). Others are more serious, and have much hampered research, such as the inclination to explain anything and everything by ‘Ottoman decline’ (for a challenge to this tendency, see Darling, 1996, pp.

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