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Administrative Structure and Population in Antalya (1915)
Mehmet Ak
One main Ottoman administrative regulation in the nineteenth century was the Vilayet Nizamnamesi of 1864. With this nizamname Teke Sanjak was taken from the Anadolu Eyaleti and attached to the Konya Vilayeti. Alaiye lost her sanjak status, but in 1868 Alaiye was attached to Teke Sanjak as a kaza. Following applications to facilitate communication with the Sublime Porte and to resolve effective decisions, Teke Sanjak was made an autonomous sanjak in 1913. The administrative structure and population of Antalya in 1915 is based on the population report (Nüfus cetveli) sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Dahiliye Nezareti) prepared in the same year for determining the population under war circumstances. However, site names were identified with fieldwork as they changed in time. In addition, the population count for females and males and then-existing distribution of ethnicities were determined.

The population report was prepared on a religion and ethnicity basis. The Muslim population was sub-divided between settled ones and Yörüks, Tahtacıs and Kıptis, who defined themselves as “Abdal”. The non-Muslim population was grouped as Greeks (Rum), Armenian and Jewish. According to the data at hand, non-Muslims constituted only 5% of the overall population in 1915, Yörüks were 8%, Tahtacıs 1.4% and Abdals 0.2%.

The records in the population report also yield information regarding gender, rural/urban distribution, taxes, sources for the army, and producers. Of the general population, 20% lived in the towns and cities while the 80% involved in agriculture and animal husbandry lived in the countryside. Thus, outside of the city of Antalya, the Turkish populace lived in the countryside while the non-Muslim populace clustered in the city and kaza centres. Of those living in the countryside, 70% were the villagers while the rest were mostly Yörüks, who constituted an important source for animal husbandry. Tahtacıs, again living in the countryside, had a part in lumber production and Abdals, very scattered around, served usually in entertainment.

In the countryside the populace lived on agriculture and animal husbandry while the populace in the city centres were mostly involved in trade and artisanship. Most of such business was handled by Greeks and Jews in Antalya and Alaiye while in Elmalı by Armenians and Greeks. The Muslim and non-Muslim populations, who had lived together for centuries, became dissociated from each other with the end of World War I. The Rums left Antalya after the Independence War and Jews started to migrate to Rhodes about the same time. They had completely left Antalya by the end of World War II. Armenians were sent out of Elmalı during the course of population exchange.

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