Yemen as an Ottoman frontier and attempt to build a native army: Asakir-i Hamidiye
Akgül, Önder Eren (2014) Yemen as an Ottoman frontier and attempt to build a native army: Asakir-i Hamidiye. [Thesis]
This thesis is a study of the Ottoman attempts to control its frontiers and the frontier populations by basing upon the experience of the native army (Asakir-i Hamidiye) organized by Ismail Hakkı Pasha, who was a governor of Yemen province, between 1800 and 1882. This thesis positions Yemen into the context of the literature produced for the frontier regions; and tries to investigate the dynamics of the institutions and practices pursued in Yemen that differentiated from the financial, military and judicial institutions of the Tanzimat-era. This thesis puts forth that the Ottoman Empire was not a passive audience of imperial competitions of the nineteenth century, but engaged into the imperial struggles by undertaking aggressive measures with an imperialist mind and strategy. Herein, with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the Ottoman ruling elites detected the Red Sea as a strategic region too. Therefore, the Ottomans reoccupied the highlands of Yemen and San’a; and this study delves into the governing strategies enforced in the province immediately after the reoccupation that contradicted with the Tanzimat reforms. At the same time this study discusses the similarities and distinctness of the different governing strategies sought for the frontiers with the colonial governing techniques by taking into consideration the references of contemporary Ottoman ruling elites. In particular, using Asakir-i Hamidiye as a case study, this study probes why a native army was organized, and examines its similarities and distinctness with the colonial native armies by comparing it with other frontier militia forces as well. The debate on Asakir-i Hamidiye is based on a research at Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, and a survey on the provincial newspaper.
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