The Ottoman Archives and Their Importance For Historical Studies: With Special Reference to Arab Provinces
Mehmet Mehdi İlhan
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Archives, Başbakanlık (Primeministerial) Archives, Topkapı Palace, Arab Provinces, History
Although the term Ottoman Archives should in fact include any archive that once fell within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire, it only reminds us of the Başbakanlık (Primeministerial) Archives and that of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. Furthermore the Ottoman archival material whether found in the National Archive of Cairo or in Ragusa Archive of Yoguslavia are of no lesser importance than those found in Başbakanlık Archive although not as abundant. The scholars of the Balkan states such as Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Hungary have not only taken interest in the Ottoman archives in their own countries, but also in the Primeministerial Archive of Istanbul, and have studied and published many documents -especially the ones pertaining to their own countries- from these archives. Unfortunately the Turks and the Arabs have only recently started taking interest in these archives and particularly the Arab scholars in this field are very scant. There is no doubt that these archives are not only important for the Muslim countries but also for the world history. The report prepared by Unesco in 1982 makes this point very clear.