The Ottoman History and the Paradigmatic Principles of History -XVII-
When the Ottoman State is considered globally in the nature of its historical essence with the general lines taken into considerationin terms of the functionality in its structure in parallel to its stratification, the existence ofthree main organizational structures is observed as the foundation of the state system: Military, religious, and professional. On the other hand, it stands out that these three institutionsin question had also created a stratification as military, intellectual, and ahi community cadres as actual entities within theframework of the stratification in the social structure.
The military class, which originally came from Seljuks as the organization and maintained its presence as old Principalities that might be considered provincial, has increasingly been over time an element of the central structure focused on Dynasty with the opportunities provided by the expansion in Rumelia as a region in Europe. Again as a class close to the Dynasty, the intellectuals, who have been represented by the chiefs of the sects as the organization in the provinces during the period of establishment, have started to be represented later on by the scholars in the “capital” of the Dynasty with the seizure of the power of this area by such people.
On the other hand, it should especially be noted here at this juncture that the center of gravity of the ruling power has exhibited an oscillatingmovement throughout the Ottoman historybetween the center and the periphery. It would be correct and appropriate to state that this situation, that is to say, the volatility of the center of the ruling power between the center and the periphery, has been the result of a state structure based on conquest rather than production, namely, one based on superstructural, instead of infrastructural, social system.
Also, it is known that a class of “bureaucrats” emerged in this process that has taken place in the last centuries of the Empire as a result of the bureaucratization which is an unavoidable maturation phenomenon occurring over time in the structure of the state. As the beginning of this bureaucratic institutionalization in question, it would be appropriate to acknowledge the “Tulip Era“, which was the time when the Western type of diplomacy appeared in the Ottoman Empire. However, I think that the Reforms period was necessary to wait for a processof Western-typebureaucratizationin a real sense.
There is also anothersimilar case that needs to be emphasized too along with the shifts in the center of power of horizontal dimension occurring between the center and the periphery. They are the shifts in the power base that have been seen throughout the historyas an oscillating movement between the organizations of ahi community and the intellectuals as the most important basic–elemental indicator of the vertical dimension, which is an dichotomous polar form of embodiment.
On the other hand, it is clearly noticeable, with respect to providing material and spiritual aspects to the people as individuals, hence to the formation of communityas a collectivestructure, the institutionalization of commercial (economic) nature has provided the Ottoman Imperial System with a lower level of representation in total than the one of the religiousnature in terms of providing social values. It would be an appropriate determination to say that the first one of these two social institutions gained strength especially in periods of rise of the Empire and the other onein periods of stagnation and decline.
Considering the subject again to in this context, the goal of the Ottoman as an imperial order appears to have been the provision and supervision of the security of physical access to trade and commodity transactions and a healthy global communication in the broad geography that has been conquered.
In this regard, it may be said that the Ottoman Empire has, as a form of “hegemonic order“ providing for its existence for the purpose that was mentioned, provided the last example of the “Medieval Imperial Order“of the West and the Middle East with respect to the extent of natural-continental limits in the geographythat it accessed, considering the population density.
Therefore, I think it is worth emphasizing that the term “Pax Ottomana” is not misleading at all. (*)
Mustafa Özcan (15.03.2016)
(*) To be continued.