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The Ottoman Empire

During the Ottoman Empire (15th-20th Century), the official Islam adopted a dogmatic and regressive attitude. This was mostly due to the establishment of a class of ulemas who were at the service of the Sultan, from then on called Caliph (1512). The ottoman power given to the Orthodox Islam started persecuting the other heterodox religions such as Alevism and its brotherhood expression called Becktachism since the 16th Century.
Even though the Ottoman Empire was theocratic, it however, managed to establish an original system of religious coexistence called millets. These are ethno-religious groups with their individual religious hierarchy. The millets system evolved over time to take, in the 19th Century, both a national and religious nature. It gave rise to the use of religion in the formation of the nation, especially in the Balkans.

During this period of the formation of the nation, the Turkish Muslims living in Asia Minor slowly began to affirm itself, through a double process: firstly, with the arrival, throughout the 19th Century, of Muslims coming from the Balkans and the Caucasus to settle in Anatolia, as these regions were gaining independence with time and secondly, they chased out non-Muslim populations from Anatolia. This eviction was on the one hand, exile and genocide of the Armenians who were accused of betraying the "sublime door" by forming allies with Russia in the World War I; on the other hand, the mandatory exchange of people between Greece and Turkey in 1923, which led to the expulsion of the Anatolian Orthodox population. The continental Greece and the Aegean Islands were at the same time stripped of their Muslim population (see the Treaty of Lausanne under the heading Legal status – main texts).

D 8 October 2012    ASamim Akgönül

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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