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The Turks in Egypt and Their Cultural Legacy

The Turks in Egypt and Their Cultural Legacy

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu
Translated by Humphrey Davies
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    The Turks in Egypt and Their Cultural Legacy
    Book Description:

    Though Egypt was ruled by Turkish-speakers through most of the period from the ninth century until 1952, the impact of Turkish culture there remains under-studied. This book deals with the period from 1805 to 1952, during which Turkish cultural patterns, spread through reforms based on those of Istanbul, may have touched more Egyptians than ever before. An examination of the books, newspapers, and other written materials produced in Turkish, including translations, and of the presses involved, reveals the rise and decline of Turkish culture in government, the military, education, literature, music, and everyday life. The author also describes the upsurge in Turkish writing generated by Young Turk exiles from 1895 to 1909. Included is a CD containing Appendices of extensive bibliographic information concerning books and periodicals printed in Egypt during this period.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-349-9
    Subjects: History, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Authorʹs Acknowledgments for the English Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Foreword to the English Edition
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Nelly Hanna

    It is often thought that the nineteenth century, as a result of the French Expedition (1798–1803) and the reform policies of Muhammad ‘Ali (1805–48) and his successors which were influenced by European models, brought an end to the influence of Ottoman and Turkish culture. The introduction of a new educational system inspired by the French lycée model, the educational missions for students to study in Europe, and the creation of cultural institutions like the Opera House and the Cairo Museum—all these innovations support this view. Thus, although the presence of Turks in the army and the administration...

  5. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Halit Eren

    It was Egypt’s fate to be ruled from the Tulunid period (868–905) until 1952 by a succession of individuals who were all (with the exception of the Fatimids) of Turkish origin or had been raised according to the traditions of the Turkish state. Within this lengthy period, the era of Ottoman rule holds a position of particular significance in that the Turkish culture of that time left traces, some of which remain visible to this day. That said, the Turkish culture of the days of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha (1805–48) and his descendants was of particular and unprecedented impact...

  6. Translatorʹs Note
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. About This Book
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Despite its manifold ramifications and wide range, the history of the Turks in Egypt has until now failed to receive the care and attention that it deserves. There can be no doubt, however, that the turning of the Turks, in the wake of their migration from Central Asia, toward the west and to Egypt, birthplace and homeland of one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, as well as their special contributions to Islamic history in terms of a particular understanding of governance and military management and the dynamic cultures with which this brought them into fruitful contact, must constitute a...

  9. Abbreviations Used in This Book
    (pp. 11-18)
  10. PART ONE The Turks and Their Culture in Egypt since the Nineteenth Century

    • 1 The Numbers of Turks in Egypt and Their Status within Egyptian Society
      (pp. 21-38)

      Despite the long Turkish presence in Egypt, many of its aspects have yet to be subjected to serious study. At the forefront of the topics scholars have neglected come the number and status of Turkish inhabitants not belonging to the military class within Egypt’s demographic make-up.

      The word ‘Turkish’ was often used in Egypt synonymously with ‘Ottoman,’ and this is especially apparent during the reign of Muhammad ‘Ali. When Egypt was under Mamluk rule, before its conquest by Selim I, the Ottomans were more commonly known as ‘the Rum,’ while the Ottoman sultan was similarly referred to as the ‘sultan...

    • 2 The Turkish Language and Ottoman Culture at the Palace and among the Aristocracy
      (pp. 39-80)

      Muhammad ‘Ali and the first generation of his dynasty knew no language other than Turkish. They had acquired a moderate amount of Ottoman culture in the town of Kavala, and then had come to Egypt as they were and settled there.¹ Given the great influence he had acquired and the wealth he had amassed in Egypt, the pasha was dissatisfied with this limited cultural compass and undertook, first, to improve himself culturally and, second, to work to provide an atmosphere that would allow the sons of his family to be raised in an elevated Ottoman culture. In addition, he was...

    • 3 Turks in the Egyptian Administration and the Turkish Language as a Language of Administration
      (pp. 81-98)

      Muhammad ‘Ali grew up knowing only Turkish and possessed no other language that he might use for the central bureaucracy that he had established and which he ran himself. From the day that he officially acceded to the governorship in 1805, he, along with his intimate supporters, held the reins of government in the province of Egypt and continued to do so after setting up the strong central administration and modern regular army that he needed in order to realize his political goals. His attitude to administration and the criteria to be applied to it were, inevitably, in conformity with...

    • 4 Turks and the Turkish Language in the Egyptian Army
      (pp. 99-112)

      The establishment of a modern army held an important place among Muhammad ‘Ali’s efforts to strengthen his position in Egypt and formed the driving force behind the reorganizations that he undertook after 1820. The modern army that was set up depended on the principle of conscription of young males, while the strong central bureaucracy formed by the pasha during his governorship, which at that point had lasted fifteen years, was the mechanism that helped him to achieve this goal. When Muhammad ‘Ali arrived in Egypt he was as well aware of the strength and discipline of the French army as...

    • 5 The Teaching of the Turkish Language and Ottoman Culture in Egyptian Schools
      (pp. 113-142)

      Muhammad ‘Ali embarked on his preparations for the establishment of a modern army and bureaucracy aimed at strengthening the bases of his rule in Egypt using trial and error and taking as his inspiration the reforms that were being carried out in Istanbul. The most important aspect of these was the establishment of military and civilian schools designed to serve the country’s needs. Our research indicates that teaching in most of these institutions (the School of Medicine was an exception) was based, at the beginning, on the Turkish language. Given the lack of detailed data on these schools at this...

    • 6 The Teaching of Persian Language and Literature in Egypt
      (pp. 143-148)

      The Persian language and its literature enjoyed high status during the reign of Muhammad ‘Ali due to the fundamental role it played in the Ottoman cultural tradition. Persian was an ideal language for the production of the lofty literature, and especially of the poetry, created by Ottoman men of culture during the classical period. Persian also proved capable of preserving that status in the period of Ottoman modernization and up to the announcement of the Republic of Turkey, while sharing its place with French. In Egypt too, the teaching of Persian, as one of the ‘three tongues,’ was the subject...

    • 7 The Place of Turkish in Egyptʹs Translation Program
      (pp. 149-174)

      The active and multifaceted translation program launched in Egypt under Muhammad ‘Ali calls for attention. One of its most conspicuous features was that it did not confine itself to translations made, in accordance with established custom, among the languages of Ottoman culture—Turkish, Arabic, and Persian—but went beyond these to include European languages. The types of books translated from the European languages under this program include a variety of topics; they did not merely continue the translations of military and technical works first made in Istanbul in obedience to the needs of a developing modern army. Both areas of...

    • 8 An Overview of Turkish Books Printed in Egypt
      (pp. 175-242)

      The first work printed in Egypt using the Turkish alphabet was, as we mention in this chapter, theAlphabet arabe, turk[sic]et persan: À l’usage de l’Imprimerie orientale et françaisethat was printed in 1213/1798 at the press established by Napoleon during the French campaign. The last Turkish book whose existence we have been able to confirm in the course of this study wasSolgun bir gül(A Wilted Rose) by the late Husayn Mujib al-Misri, printed in 1997. We have verified the printing in Egypt, during the 199 years between 1798 and 1997, of 534 Turkish books appearing...

    • 9 The Turkish Press in Egypt
      (pp. 243-296)

      The early date of the beginning of the Turkish press in Egypt gives it a pioneering role in the Ottoman world, in that the first Turkish–Arabic newspaper,Vekâyi-i Mısriye(Egyptian Events), appeared in 1828, while its counterpart in Istanbul,Takvim-i Vekâyi(Calendar of Events), was launched only three years later, in 1831.

      The evolution of the Turkish press in Egypt was linked to the status of the Turkish language, as it was also directly linked to political developments and the resulting changes in that status over time. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Egypt had become the center...

    • 10 Books Translated from Turkish into Arabic and Printed in Egypt
      (pp. 297-314)

      From its founding, the Bulaq and other presses printed books in Turkish as well as numerous books in Arabic. A portion of those Arabic works were translated from Turkish. Part Three of this study contains 204 entries for books whose translation from Turkish into Arabic and subsequent printing in Egypt we have been able to confirm.¹

      Most of the books translated from Turkish into Arabic and printed, from the founding of the press until 1858, are collections of legislation and administrative and legal regulations, as well as military training books, and respond to the needs of the bureaucracy and the...

  11. PART TWO Printing in Egypt and Works of Turkish Culture Printed There

    • 11 The Beginning of Printing in Egypt
      (pp. 317-322)

      The first press known to have existed in Egypt after it became part of the Ottoman Empire (1517) was set up by Jews. Gershom ben Eliezer Soncine, descendant of a four-generation family of printers, printed two books in Cairo in 1557—Refu’ot ha-Talmud(Medicine of the Talmud) andPitron halomot(The Interpretation of Dreams)—using presses imported from Istanbul. Ben Eliezer continued to work as a printer until 1562. A second Jewish press was founded by Abraham ben Moses Yatom in 1740, and printed a book entitledHok le-Yisrael(Law for Israel).¹ Despite signs that Hebrew books were printed in...

    • 12 The Bulaq Press and the Turkish Books Printed There
      (pp. 323-344)

      Because of the different dates on which the building was constructed, printing machines installed, printing activities started, and the first book published, opinions differ over the assignment of a date to the establishment of the Bulaq Press. Each of these issues must therefore be dealt with individually.

      Opinions differ as to the first space in Bulaq occupied by the press, and on what date it occupied it.¹ Over the door of the building constructed for the use of the press in Bulaq, we find fixed the following lines of Turkish verse (see plate):²

      The Present Khedive of Egypt, Muhammad ‘Ali,...

    • 13 Presses Other Than the Bulaq Press Printing Turkish Books in Egypt
      (pp. 345-352)

      For ten consecutive years, the Bulaq Press established by Muhammad ‘Ali was the only press in Egypt printing Turkish books. The second press to carry out the same work was the Matba‘at Diwan al-Jihadiya (The War Office Press), which was set up along with the military college. The first Turkish book that we have established was printed at this press, in 1248/1833, was entitledKanun-ı evvel kavâid-i talimiye beyanındadır(The First Law, on the Rules of the Drill). We have discovered that between 1833 and 1836 the Diwan al-Jihadiya Press printed nine Turkish books, most of them concerned with military...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 353-400)
  13. General Bibliography
    (pp. 401-418)
  14. General Index
    (pp. 419-462)