Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

On Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha's Report on Ottoman Iraq in 1880

Though it has been 12 years since the American occupation of Iraq in 2003, the country continues to be in the top agenda of international affairs. Considering the close ties between the 19th and 20th centuries in terms of social, political and economic relations, it can be argued that the reports on 19th century Iraq have significant repercussions for under- standing present-day Iraq. The provincial reports (lâyihas), especially those written in the second half of the 19th century, have been crucial sources on Ottoman provinces. These reports were very important for Abdülhamid II, a sultan who typically did not travel throughout the empire. As with many other provinces, the sultan ordered the preparation of re- ports on Ottoman Iraq, one of which was written by the governor of Baghdad Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha in 1880. The report focuses on five main themes, of which lack of security was the most significant one. In fact, this problem affected the remaining four directly: education, agriculture, handicrafts and commerce. In Baghdad, where the tribal structure was quite dominant, the governor preferred to adopt a hawkish attitude toward the rebelling tribes. Having detailed the reasons for military weaknesses in the province, he underlined the necessary measures to be taken. The governor seems to analyze the rivers and irrigation facilities in the province in a detailed manner and give priority to the construction and restoration of river walls. The river walls, especially in Hilla, Divaniya and Kurna were to provide efficient irrigation, open new areas to cultivation, rise in agricultural production and, in return, meet the costs needed for this construction. The improvement of the roads and transportation facilities was also very important for Baghdad where agriculture dominated the provincial economy. With regard to education and handicrafts, the governor emphasized the need for reform in the curriculum and under- lined the importance of handicrafts and teachers in this field because they were to help people meet their daily needs.. Though in his report Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha in- formed Istanbul in detail, he interestingly did not touch upon the hot issues of the period, such as Sunnite-Shiite relations and the delivery of title deeds in Iraq. As the report is about social, political and economic situation of Iraq in the late 19th century, it may shed light on the background of present-day Iraq.

Ebubekir CEYLAN

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