Yazar: Özge Eda Köse
Husain, Faisal H.M.G.H., “The Tigris-Euphrates Basin under Early Modern Ottoman Rule, c.1534-1830”, Georgetown Üniversitesi, Doktora Tezi, 2018.
The early sixteenth century marked the beginning of a rare chapter in the long history of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. A series of military campaigns between the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf brought the entirety of their flow under Ottoman control. Since late medieval times a landscape of petty quarrels and ephemeral statelets, the drainage basin now became Ottoman under a unified imperial regime, whose leaders pledged allegiance to a single household (the house of Osman), professed a common religion (Sunni Islam), spoke a lingua franca (Turkish), and received orders from a central administration in Istanbul. Based on Ottoman, Arabic, and European archival and narrative sources, this dissertation examines the paradoxical role the Tigris and Euphrates played in the history of the early modern Ottoman Empire.
Following Süleyman I’s conquest of Baghdad in 1534, a governing infrastructure comprising fortresses, shipyards, bridges, and docks developed rapidly, all designed with the joint purpose of cementing the Ottoman presence along the southeastern frontier with Persia. Militarized and policed, the Tigris and Euphrates improved communication and tax collection, expanded the perimeter of food production, and endowed Ottoman armies with a logistical edge over domestic challengers and foreign rivals. Istanbul’s reliance on the Tigris and Euphrates, however, became a source of vulnerability since the late seventeenth century, when the combination of climate change and poorly-conceived water control projects destabilized the Euphrates and threatened to extinguish Ottoman rule in Iraq. The Tigris-Euphrates system, simply put, was both the backbone of the Ottoman imperial project in the southeastern provinces and a major source of its vulnerability.