On the Other Shore: The Things of a Sufi Saint in Istanbul
Esther Voswinckel Filiz (Orient-Institut Istanbul)
Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi (1541-1628), the “second Pir” (pir-i sani) of the Celvetiyye Sufi-order, is a famous Sufi saint in Istanbul. His mausoleum (türbe) on the slope of a hill in Üsküdar has not ceased to be a vital focus of pilgrimage up to the present. Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi is known as one of the four protectors of the Bosporus, and according to local lore, seafarers between the opposite shores of Sultanahmet and Üsküdar cling to the “Hüdayi-way” (Hüdayi yolu), on which the saint is remembered to have crossed the waters on a stormy day.
Until the 1980’s, a large collection of personal belongings (emanetler) of the saint and his followers such as several mantles (hırka), ritual headgear (tac-ı şerif), shoes, a stick (asa), ritual paraphernalia and many contact relics such as pieces of the cover (kısve) of the Kaaba or small pieces of musselin called destimal used to be kept in the türbe. In the past decades however, this extraordinarily rich collection of the mausoleum was gradually transferred to the archive of the State Directorate of Mausoleums and Museums (Türbeler Müze Müdürlügü) in Sultanahmet. While many historical inventories of Istanbul’s Sufi mausoleums dispersed and fell prey to looting after the closure of the Sufi shrines in 1925, among the locals of Üsküdar it is considered as one of the miracles of the saint that “not even a handkerchief” of the collection of his türbe got lost. Yet, presently, this rare collection is inaccessible to the public.
Drawing on my fieldwork at the türbe of Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi in Üsküdar and on my archival research, I wish to offer a close look at this inventory of a famous Istanbul Sufi türbe and to shed light on the ways and stories of some of its items after 1925. An enquiry into the “biographies” of the belongings of the shrine of Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi invites us to pay attention to the vitality of portable and textile things in the aesthetics and materiality of Sufi shrines and to some local practices of Sufism in Istanbul past and present.
Esther Voswinckel Filiz M.A. is a fellow at the German Orient-Institut Istanbul in the research field “History of Religions of Anatolia”. She studied Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies. Her Ph.D. thesis with the title Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi in Istanbul - Biography of a Place (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) was completed in June 2020. She conducted a long-time ethnographic fieldwork at the mausoleum of Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi in Üsküdar.
Intervention en anglais
|Date de l'événement||16/11/2020 6:00 pm|
Mustafa Aydın (Kadir Has University) and Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Kadir Has University)
The relations between Greece and Turkey find themselves in a state of increased tensions for most of 2020 with no end in sight regarding their alleviation. The two nations sharing a common geography, a flank state mentality, and complex historical relations, have been facing the challenge of addressing their outstanding differences at a time when the regional and global order is undergoing systemic change. The delicate status quo that has shaped the relations between the two countries since 1999, with the beginning of a rapprochement process predicated on the jumpstarting of Turkey’s accession process to the European Union, been challenged in recent years due to a number of reasons. Some of these include the stalling of Turkey’s EU bid, the ownership of possible fossil fuels located in disputed waters, the continued inability to resolve the Cyprus governance context, and the ongoing structural administrative changes in Turkey accompanied by a more coercive foreign policy approach. The objective is a peaceful resolution of their differences where the option of a status quo ante situation is not sustainable anymore while a further militarization of the crisis both between Turkey and Greece and in Cyprus could potentially lead to an armed conflict. The path chosen by both countries to resolve their differences could have fundamental implications for Turkey’s foreign policy in terms of how closely it remains aligned with or how it irrevocably disengages from that of its European and western partners.
Interventions en anglais
|Date de l'événement||11/11/2020 6:30 pm|
Nikos Sigalas (CETOBAC)
This conference aims at outlining the history of the word millet (Arabic millah) in Turkish-Ottoman texts from the 15th century up to the beginning of the 20th.
During the early ottoman centuries, two distinct uses of “millet” correspond to two independent linguistic registers. These registers are: the learned (‘ulamā) tradition; and the Turkish vernacular chronicles. In the learned tradition, the meaning of “millet” draws on medieval Arabic lexicography and qur’anic interpretation and is therefore systematically associated with the notions of dīn and šarīʿah. On the contrary, in Turkish vernacular chronicles and treaties – which mostly rely on Persian and Turco-Mongolian literate models – “millet” constitutes a synonym for “Λαός” and “populous” in Medieval Greek and Latin, i.e. a people. Besides, in Turkish vernacular sources, “millet” is often synonym for “ṭā’ife”. However “millet” belongs to a power legitimacy vocabulary, whereas “ṭā’ife” does not.
A third linguistic register, particularly significant for the uses of “millet”, and more generally for the power legitimacy vocabulary, were the titles of the sultanate’s officials (elḳāb). Alongside with the standardization of power rituals in the palace – including foreign ambassadors’ receptions – the extensive titles of ottoman officials became very important for the imperial rhetoric and were increasingly used by the ottoman chronicles and books of counsels. Τhe uses of “millet” in the elḳāb rely on the learned tradition. But, due to their formulaic character, the original meaning of these elḳāb becomes all the more obscure and is open to reinterpretation.
“Millet” undergoes a major semantic shift in the turn of the 18th century, when the ottoman sultanate practically integrates the westphalian diplomatic system. From then on “millet” becomes occasionally a synonym for the modern English word nation and its translations in western European languages. This new meaning evolves together with an emerging semantic register: modern diplomacy, which embodies the integration of the Ottoman Empire into an “inter-national” (beyn-el-milel) world. The uses of “millet” as a synonym of “nation” become more frequent during the last quarter of 18th and the beginning of 19th centuries.
During the 19th century, some Ottoman literati, who aimed to create a uniform Ottoman-Turkish national language, brought together the different premodern linguistic registers. Owing to this attempt, and despite some lexicographers’ resistance, the transformation of “millet” into “nation” became a fait accompli.
In the light of such findings we finally deal with the question of the so-called “millet system”. Starting from a close reading of the ottoman reform edict of 1856 (ıṣlāḥāt fermānı) and of a number of related diplomatic and administrative documents, I argue that the “millet system theory” leads to a complete misunderstanding of both the ottoman power concepts and the political practices. In fact, the 1856 reform edit introduces a form of governance based on the recognition of the “non-Muslim cemā‘ats” (and not “millets”). Rather than a medieval remnant, this was a calculated reaction to foreign intervention and nationalism. Nonetheless, these “cemā‘ats” were regularly called millets, i.e. nations, in most of the non-administrative sources. Therefore, the governance introduced by the ıṣlāḥāt fermānı reinforced the preexisting tendency to ascribe national attributes to confessional communities, with far-reaching consequences for the Balkan and Middle-eastern nationalisms.
Intervention en anglais
|Date de l'événement||09/11/2020 6:00 pm|
Mitat Celikpala (Kadir Has University) and Soli Özel (Kadir Has University)
Turkish foreign policy appears to have been in a state of change. It was trying to rely more on soft power elements in the 2000s, radically shifted to a more aggressive position including sending troops to Syria and muscle flexing in high seas of the Mediterranean. In line with its new perception of its role in the world, Turkey has increasingly asserted itself as a rising actor that is determined to make a contribution to regional and global issues. In the process, Turkish foreign policy has been transformed, not only in its content, but also in the instruments and mechanisms for formulating and conducting foreign-policy agenda. Furthermore, Turkey developed a special dialogue with Russia and Iran while distancing itself from its Western allies.
Dr. Mitat Çelikpala is Professor of International Relations and Vice-rector at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Eurasian security, energy and critical infrastructure security/protection, Turkish foreign and domestic policy and the Caucasus. Prof. Çelikpala is the board member of the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), the International Relations Council of Turkey and the Managing Editor of the Journal of International Relations: Academic Journal. He previously served as an academic advisor to NATO’s Center of Excellence Defense against Terrorism in Ankara (2009-2012), especially on the regional security and the critical infrastructure protection; and was the board member to the Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM), Turkish General Staff (2005-2011); Academic Adviser to the Center for Strategic Research (SAM), Turkish Foreign Ministry (2002-2010) and Caspian Strategy Institute, Istanbul Turkey (2012–2013). He was a Senior Associate Member at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, UK (2005-2006). He has written for a number of academic publications including Middle Eastern Studies, International Journal of Turkish Studies, Insight Turkey and Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. He also contributed many conference papers on Turkish foreign policy, Turkish-Russian relations, Eurasianism and Turkish geopolitics.
Soli Özel holds a BA in Economics from Benningon College (1981) and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-1983).
He is currently a senior lecturer at Istanbul Kadir Has University. He was a Bernstein Fellow at the Schell Center for Human Rights at Yale Law School and a visiting lecturer in the Political Science Department of Yale. He has been a columnist at Nokta magazine and GazetePazar, Yeni Binyıl, Habertürk and Sabah newspapers. Currently he writes for T24, DuvarEnglish and Yetkin Report as well as the blog of Institut Montaigne. He held fellowships at Oxford, the EU Institute of Strategic Studies and was a Fisher Family Fellow of the “Future of Diplomacy Program” at the Belfer Center of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He taught at SAIS, University of Washington, Northwestern University and Hebrew University. He was a Richard von Weizsacker fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin between 2015-2017 and a visiting fellow at Institut Montaigne in Paris in 2018.
Most recently he published “US-Turkey Relations since WWII: From Alliance to Transactionalism”, The Oxford Handbook of Turkish Politics co-authored with Serhat Güvenç and “The Economics of Turkey-Russia relations” co-authored with Gökçe Uçar for EDAM, “How the Syrian Civil War shifted the balance of power in Turkish-Israeli relations”, co-authored with Selin Nasi, “The Transatlantic Drift and the Waning of Turkey’s 'Strategic Westernness’ for Heinrich Böll Stiftung, co-authored POLITICS OF POPULISM: POWER AND PROTEST IN THE GLOBAL AGE” with Evren Balta The Crisis in Turkish-Russian Relations, “The Kurds in the Middle East” with Arzu Yılmaz, in SIPRI Yearbook 2017. An article co-authored with Serhat Güvenç, “US-Turkey relations 1945-2020: From alliance to transactionalism” will be published in an edited book on Turkey by Oxford University Press. He is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
|Date de l'événement||14/10/2020 6:00 pm|
Vural Genç (Associate Professor of History of Early Modern Era)
A bureaucrat and historian of Iranian provenance, Idris-i Bidlīsī is undoubtedly one of the most original and important intellectual figures in the 16th-century Ottoman-Iranian world. He lived in a very turbulent period of the Ottoman-Aqquyunlu, Ottoman-Mamluk and Ottoman-Safavid rivalry [rivalries] and established different relationships with these dynasties at the end of the 15th century and at the begining of the 16th century. He and his work have been the focus of long-standing historical debates that have continued till the present day. His active role in the Battle of Chaldiran (1514), sectarian belongings and Machiavellian patronage relations established with different dynasties are among these. Until now, the focus of most modern scholarly works on Bidlīsī has usually been romantic and heroic without providing a proper, in-depth textual, historiographic, or historical analysis. As a result, such modern works have come to present a skewed, romanticized image of Bidlīsī, which has been largely detached from the nature and dynamics of the historical context in which Bidlīsī evolved as an intellectual and writer.
In this conference I am going to portray Bidlīsī’s realistic image by eliminating shortcomings in the modern historiography on him. By looking at Bidlīsī and his corpus, and more specifically at the ways in which the latter was shaped by Bidlīsī’s patronage relationships, this lecture aims to open up a window into Bidlīsī’s evolving mindset and worldview. On another plane, through an in-depth analysis of his corpus and new archival sources I am going to unveil intellectual life and career of an Iranian provenance bureaucrat and historian positioned between Ottoman-Iranian world and provide a glimpse into the nature of patronage and in the 16th century. In this context, I will touch upon his early education in Iran, the Sufi and bureaucratic circles he was in, bureaucratic years in the Aqquyunlu Tabriz, years of patronage in the Ottoman palace and the cultural and political projects he was involved in, patronage relations fostered with Shah Ismail during his sojurn in Istanbul, active roles in the Iran and Egypt expedition, and last years in Istanbul.
Ferenc Csirkes sera discutant.
Intervention en turc
|Date de l'événement||12/10/2020 6:00 pm|
The talk will be about Yonca Köksal’s recent book The Ottoman Empire in the Tanzimat Era: Provincial Perspectives from Ankara to Edirne (Routledge, 2019). It will explain the Ottoman reforms and their variation across the two provinces and the crucial role of local intermediaries such as notables, tribal leaders, and merchants. It attempts to understand the Tanzimat as a process of negotiation and transformation between the state and local actors. The author argues that the same reform policies produced different results in Edirne and Ankara. The talk will explain how factors such as socioeconomic conditions and historical developments played a role in shaping local networks, which influenced the outcome and variation in reform outcome. Therefore, it invites audience to rethink taken for granted concepts such as centralization, decentralization, state control, and imperial decay.
Yonca Köksal is an Associate Professor of History at Koç University. She has a PhD from Columbia University. Her research focuses on three areas: social networks and provincial reform in the Tanzimat period, Muslim minorities in Bulgaria and Romania during the Interwar era, and animal trade in Anatolia and meat provisioning of Istanbul. Her publications include three books (The Ottoman Empire in the Tanzimat Era, Avrupa Arşivlerinde Osmanlı İmparatorluğu and Kıbrıslı Mehmet Emin Paşa’nın Rumeli Teftişi) and several articles in international journals including American Behavioral Scientist, Middle Eastern Studies, New Perspectives on Turkey, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, and Turkish Studies.
|Date de l'événement||21/09/2020 6:00 pm|
The paper sheds light on the politics of language (Turkish, Arabic, and Persian) and literary patronage in Safavid Iran in the first few decades of the eighteenth century, offering parallels to the attitude to the hierarchy of literary languages in the Ottoman and Safavid cultural spheres, with a subject matter related to the confrontation between Iran and the Ottomans in the 1720s. It focuses on a short collection of poetry written by a hitherto largely unknown physician and litterateur by the name of Masih of Tabriz (fl. late 1720s), who was active during the last years of centralized Safavid rule and saw the demise of the dynasty in 1722 with the fall of Isfahan to the Afghans, and that of Tabriz to the Ottomans, and died probably towards the end of Nadir Shah’s (r. 1736-47) reign. The bulk of the poems is made up of elaborate forms of acrostics written in the aforesaid three languages and interconnected with each other in graphic, metalinguistic and translinguistic ways. I will argue that this poetic experimentation, the peculiar attitude to the question of language in Masih’s collection and the mutual prestige relations between literary languages that Masih displays, might perhaps be best seen against the background of changing literary patronage in the post-Safavid and Afsharid periods. Masih’s short collection of poetry illustrates how these languages were conceptualized and spatially represented in the manuscript, as both connecting and separating the Ottoman and Iranian cultural enterprises.
Ferenc Csirkés is an Assistant Professor of History at Sabancı University. He read Turkic and Persian at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and received his PhD at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the politics of language in the late medieval and early modern Islamic world, especially Iran, Central Asia, and the Ottoman Empire.
|Date de l'événement||14/09/2020 6:00 pm|
Covid-19 en Turquie : quels impacts sur sa politique étrangère ?
Bayram Balcı, directeur de l'IFEA
le 12 juin 2020 à 18h30 (Paris)
Les Webinars du CAREP
|Date de l'événement||12/06/2020 6:30 pm|
Covid-19, surging dramatically around the world in the first half of 2020, categorically impacted Turkey in many regards, not the least of which being its already frail economy. Despite various negative occurrences and political actors’ curious professions of the nation’s dearth of assistance for its own citizens Turkey offered support for numerous countries. It supplies healthcare to more than 70 foreign countries through its own hyperactive transnational state apparatuses. Notable among the institutions providing the assistance are the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, Diyanet), Turkey’s domestically and internationally controversial religious institution, and the Turkish Diyanet Foundation (Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı, TDV), the Diyanet’s branch tasked with distributing foreign aid. The Diyanet and the TDV delivered this assistance with written materials from the president of Turkey to Muslim countries such as Bangladesh, Mauritania, and Yemen, and to Muslim-majority countries with which Turkey shares historical bonds in the Balkans and North Africa. From these activities of Turkey, one should ask these questions; what is the role of religion in these humanitarian aid activities? Can we read all of these activities as a religious soft power or are they serving another multidimensional leadership desire for the New Turkey?
Biography: Ahmet Erdi Öztürk is lecturer of politics and international relations at London Metropolitan University. Between 2021-2023 he will work as Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at Coventry University in the UK and GIGA in Germany. He was a Swedish Institute Pre and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), at Linköping University, Scholar in Residence at the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He is the author of more than 20 articles, co-editor of four special issues and two books on religion and politics and Turkish politics. He is a regular contributor to media outlets such as Open Democracy, The Conversation, Huffington Post and France 24.
|Date de l'événement||09/06/2020 2:00 pm|
Espaces culturels et médiatiques arabes à Istanbul
Franck Mermier (CNRS, IFEA)
le 5 juin 2020 à 18h30 (Paris)
Les Webinars du CAREP
Modéré par Salam Kawakibi
|Date de l'événement||05/06/2020 6:30 pm|