Erasmus/ Exchange Essay
Reform, Resistance and Revolution: The Otoman Empire 1876-1909
Ottoman/Turkish Women in Tanzimat Period and After
Women in Turkish states have always been important and it can be easily seen if a person just looks at the Turkic states before Islam. However, after Turks accepted Islam and in time almost all of Turkish people converted into Islam, the change in the people’s approach to the women is not difficult to see. Because, Islam positions women in an inferior level and Turkish women lived like this for centuries. Before Islam, in the old Turkish states women were regarded with more respect and we can see them in the state’s official sources. Other than the official sources also in the epics like Dede Korkut and Manas, women are seen same as men, they also ride horses, shoot arrows or when necessary even join wars. However with Islam, like other Muslim people, Turkish men also get right to marry four women. Also Islam does not accept a woman’s testimony; the Islamic courts require at least two women’s testimony against a man. In Qur’an, there is a verse in Nisa Sura which says
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintanance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance- [first] advice them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” This verse openly puts women in a lower position than men. As Otoman Empire which was a Muslim empire and also held the caliphate in its hands for almost four hundred years got under this kind of effects of Islam and people’s lives shaped according to the these rules of Islam. The Empire had Islamic laws which is called sharia law, Islamic...