Tarih ve Toplum - Yeni Yaklaşımlar
Tarih ve Toplum


Suspected poisoning cases, forensic science, and medical evidence at the Ottoman courts

Given the rules of evidence in Islamic law prevailing throughout the Ottoman Empire, witness testimony and confession by the accused were the essential elements of proof in the Ottoman legal system. The proclamation of new penal codes and the establishment of the new nizamiye courts in the nineteenth century did not alter the role of witnesses and confession in criminal investigations. Nevertheless, unlike şer‘î courts, circumstantial evidence started to play a pivotal role in indictments and convictions at these new legal tribunals, if a confession could not be obtained and in case there were no witnesses to the crime. Especially in uncovering “hidden” crimes like poisoning, medical evidence provided by forensic scientists through autopsy and chemical analysis gradually became more important for the Ottoman courts from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Parallel to the legal reforms and due to the new emphasis emerged on the circumstantial evidence, the Ottoman State defined and regulated the procedural and institutional setting in which physicians conducted their forensic obligations. Moreover, medical evidence gained popular acceptance in this process and was also welcomed by ordinary people towards the end of the century when it proved its capacity to establish cause of death in suspicious cases and thus, to strenghten the hands of the defendants or the plaintiffs. However, this process was marked by various obstacles like public attitudes towards dissection and autopsy, growing responsibilities of the physicians accompanied by unpaid fees and salaries, and the reliability of toxicological-chemical evidence at the courts.
In this paper, I aim to explore the role of medical evidence in suspected poi-soning cases at the Ottoman courts and place it in the context of the Ottoman State’s rising concern over public health and security in this period. Given the limited scope of scholarly works on the subject, I primarily examined archival sources along with textbooks written by physicians and forensic scientists that are promissory in revealing clues about various aspects of forensic medical practice such as external post-mortem examination, dissection, and chemical toxicological analysis. While these sources demonstrate, on the one hand, how forensic medicine was established in the Ottoman Empire as a professional field of expertise, they also depict how forensic medical practices had an impact on the actual proceedings of courts.
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, courts, forensic practices, medical evidences

* * *

Cultural manifestations of German Imperialism in the Ottoman Empire: Paintings consolidating the Imperial Project

From the 1870s onwards, the economic and political problems of the Ottoman Empire and the international political milieu turned the German Empire into the most influential ally of the palace. The German state adopted an imperial tech-nique that is called pénétration pacifique in the literature on imperialism and consequently Sultan Abdulhamid II’s government became largely dependent on it in political and financial areas. Some cultural developments and art works produced between 1876 and 1918 reveal the imperial relationship constructed between the two countries. Especially a number of paintings produced and exhibited under the direct or indirect supervision of the German state and the illustrations prepared as a result of the special order of the German periodicals have symbolic meanings that consolidate the imperial projects of the German Empire in the Middle East. Furthermore it can be argued that the political influence of the German state (endorsed by the political rationality of the Ottoman state) is manifested in some works of the Ottoman painters.
The aim of this paper is to examine the paintings of Wilhelm Gentz, Max Rabes, Fausto Zonaro, Naciye Neyyal, Prince Abdülmecid with regard to the imperialist strategies of the German Empire and to analyze the Orientalist dis-courses which are claimed to be part of their narratives leading to the consolida-tion of these imperialist strategies.
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, German Empire, imperialism, orientalist dis-course, paintings.

* * *

Anadolu Mecmuası (Anatolia Journal) versus Turkish Nationalism during the Foundation of the Republic

Following the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, an opponent group began to publish a new journal in 1924, named Anadolu Mecmuası (Anatolia Journal). The writers were among the most talented young intellectuals of Turkey. The journal offered a new a name for Turkish nation: “Anatolian Nation”.
The group claimed that Anatolia region was gathering all the characteristics of Anatolian Turkish Nation. The borders of Anatolian geographical territory were also the historical contours of the nation’s natural homeland. According to the journal, Turkish identity was confined only to Anatolian Turkish muslim popula-tion. Nobody was to be allowed to Turkish nation from the outside of the borders of Anatolia, even they were from Turkish ethnicity. This also implies that they did not accept the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) as a member of the nation.
The journal did not share the basic common characteristics of various Turkish nationalisms, including those of Ziya Gökalp and Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). They did not declare clear opinions about Westernization problem, about non-muslim or non-Turkish native groups, or so called reactionary groups, “irtica”. Although the group was not irredentist, still they can be recognized as racist for their strict territorial exclusionism and internal colonialism.
In their journal, the group criticised the government policies rigorously, espe-cially on cultural and educational matters. The journal had to cease publication after the Law for Maintenance of Order (Takrir-i Sükun Kanunu), in 1925.
Keywords: Anatolia Journal, Anatolianism, nationalism, racism, national identity, Ziya Gökalp, Atatürk nationalism, Ziyaeddin Fahri Fındıkoğlu, Mükrimin Halil Yinanç, Ahmet Refik Altınay.

* * *

Public health policy and eugenics in early Republican Turkey (1923-1946)

One of the characteristic features of the process of modernization is medicaliza-tion of population that is seen as a value in itself and that public health becomes a political issue. Policies such as public health and public hygiene intended for maintaining and improving the biodiversity of the population have a critical position in the construction of a nation-state as a modern political formation. In Turkey, an important fund of information and practice were formed in terms of public health policy especially in the early republican period. During this period, the outlooks that medicalizes the population with biopolitical concerns and concordantly a policy of public hygiene interlocked with the discourse of raising generations correspondent with national interests. The period’s understanding of public health policy provided a basis for an eugenics-based understanding that politicizes progeneration around certain principles. There is as much impact of current understanding of public hygiene that makes progeneration activities into political object as international developments in eugenics debates increased in the 1930s.
Keywords: Early Republican period, biopolitics, public health, eugenics.

* * *

Adalet: An unusual factory team in the early phase of professional football in Turkey (1946-1965)

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Turkish football embarked on a journey from an amateur past towards a professional free-market future. These years also witnessed the birth, rise and decline of Adalet Club, a popular factory team based in Istanbul. Founded within Adalet Textile Factory in 1946, Adalet was the only team based on an industrial workplace participating at the Istanbul Professional League. As a factory team, the distinction of Adalet Spor did not stem only from its private ownership, but also from the owners’ ability to explore the commercial potential of professional football presciently. Presenting a pioneering example of the connection between football and industry, the untold story of Adalet Spor will also highlight the early phase of professional football in Turkey.
Keywords: Adalet Club, football, late republican era, social history.

Birikim Dergisi