Blood Ties

Blood Ties: Religion, Violence and the Politics of Nationhood in Ottoman Macedonia, 1878–1908

İpek Yosmaoğlu
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 336
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    Blood Ties
    Book Description:

    The region that is today the Republic of Macedonia was long the heart of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. It was home to a complex mix of peoples and faiths who had for hundreds of years lived together in relative peace. To be sure, these people were no strangers to coercive violence and various forms of depredations visited upon them by bandits and state agents. In the final decades of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, however, the region was periodically racked by bitter conflict that was qualitatively different from previous outbreaks of violence. InBlood Ties, Ipek K. Yosmaoglu explains the origins of this shift from sporadic to systemic and pervasive violence through a social history of the "Macedonian Question."

    Yosmaoglu's account begins in the aftermath of the Congress of Berlin (1878), when a potent combination of zero-sum imperialism, nascent nationalism, and modernizing states set in motion the events that directly contributed to the outbreak of World War I and had consequences that reverberate to this day. Focusing on the experience of the inhabitants of Ottoman Macedonia during this period, she shows how communal solidarities broke down, time and space were rationalized, and the immutable form of the nation and national identity replaced polyglot, fluid associations that had formerly defined people's sense of collective belonging. The region was remapped; populations were counted and relocated. An escalation in symbolic and physical violence followed, and it was through this process that nationalism became an ideology of mass mobilization among the common folk. Yosmaoglu argues that national differentiation was a consequence, and not the cause, of violent conflict in Ottoman Macedonia.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6980-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Note on Transliteration
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    From the Congress of Berlin to the outbreak of the Balkan Wars, a potent combination of zero-sum imperialism, irredentist nationalism, and modernizing states transformed southeast Europe into a violent conflict zone. As empires collapsed and the boundaries of nation-states were drawn, first on paper and then through the land, a long period of suffering started for the people inhabiting an area stretching from Eastern Europe though the Black Sea littoral and Asia Minor into the Fertile Crescent; they were caught in the riptide of geopolitics, and worse was yet to come. The demarcation lines drawn on paper cut through not...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Ottoman Empire, the Balkans, and the Great Powers on the Road to Mürzsteg
    (pp. 19-47)

    The Crimean War marked the accession of the Ottoman Empire into the Concert of Europe, which, ironically, was also a confirmation of Ottoman dependency on external power to preserve its territorial integrity.¹ The positive publicity and sympathy the Crimean War generated in favor of the Ottomans faded as quickly as it appeared. No sooner had the ink on the Paris Treaty dried than the Ottomans found themselves back in the position they would occupy until the end of the empire: as an entity too big to be dismantled without major disruption to the European balance of power. Even though the...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Education and the Creation of National Space
    (pp. 48-78)

    The Museum of Macedonian Struggle in Salonika occupies an elegant neoclassical building that used to be the Consulate of the Hellenic Kingdom in Ottoman Selânik. The street in which the museum is located is named after Consul Koromilas, who was one of the most illustrious residents of the building and a chief facilitator of the Greek nationalist movement in Macedonia. Material and personal belongings of the heroes of the Greek struggle for Macedonia are kept and displayed here, much like relics in a shrine, as is an impressive collection of photographs from the era. Before a recent upgrade, the basement...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Territoriality and Its Discontents
    (pp. 79-130)

    Roumeliis not to be found on maps of present-day Greece,” wrote Patrick Leigh Fermor at the start of his eponymous account of travels in northern Greece, published in 1966, which has since become a classic and required reading for students of anthropology. Fremor explained that he was “perhaps seduced by the strangeness and the beauty of the name.”¹ The meaning ofRoumeliis of course more obvious to those familiar with the history of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, yet it is not one that can easily be attributed to a fixed entity. The simplest definition ofRoumeli(Rumeli...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. CHAPTER FOUR Fear of Small Margins
    (pp. 131-168)

    When he made this declaration, Dr. William Farr, later called the “Father-in-Law of the British Census,” was voicing an opinion prevalent among western European geographers.¹ That is, the Ottomans were different than the rest of Europe in yet another matter: they refused to procure and publish detailed statistics that were considered to be among the very basic tools of effective administration, such as population figures, import and export values, and distribution of natural resources. This was a deficiency that was both an indication and the cause of their backwardness. It certainly did not bode well for the future of “Turkey,...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE A Leap of Faith: Disputes over Sacred Space
    (pp. 169-208)

    Until recently, the historiography of the Balkans viewed the relationship between religion and nationalism as straightforward and even self-evident, and mostly treated it as such. The millet system and the endurance of the Orthodox Church were seen as the saving grace of Balkan nations, which kept them “free for their national awakening, in which Orthodox affiliations, linked up with the medieval background, played a very conspicuous part.”¹ Likewise, textbook explanations attributed the emergence of the national churches in the nineteenth century simply to the resuscitation of their forbears, which “were historically national churches and symbols of a nation’s sovereignty.”² Although...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Logic and Legitimacy in Violence
    (pp. 209-288)

    The photographs of Leonidas Papazoglou, saved from oblivion thanks to a selection published in 2004 by the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, provide a rare panorama of life in Ottoman Macedonia, more specifically in the province of Monastir, during the time of the struggle for Macedonia.¹ Through Papazoglou’s lens, we catch glimpses of newlyweds, street vendors, actors, and entertainers, the well-heeled and the modest, urban dandies and pastoral tradition, all, of course, mediated through Leonidas Papazoglou’s own sense of mise en scène. The album also is a sobering reminder of the extent to which violence was a part of the daily...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 289-294)

    The conditions described in this book were to a large extent shaped by the vacuum left by a failing state. It is a challenge to gauge the degree of that failure, however, because the actions of the Ottoman government did not exactly duplicate those of a completely defunct state nor was its legitimacy, eroded as it was, entirely absent in the minds of its subject populations. This was a state that had a difficult time feeding its army, half of which happened to be stationed in Macedonia, but that still had officials who prepared detailed post-mortem reports after an attack...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-310)
  15. Index
    (pp. 311-320)