ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Osman Köse

Keywords: World War One, Provisioning, Canik, Ottoman, 1914-1918


Canik was a leading port town on the Black Sea, with inland communications to centers like Sivas, Çorum, Tokat and Amasya. Its importance in this respect increased, particularly after the 19th century. The outbreak of the First World War imposed significant economic, political and social hardships on Canik as well as on other parts of the country. The provisioning of Canik was dependent on both the production of nearby fertile areas, like Çarşamba, Terme and Bafra, and, to a greater extent, foodstuffs and grains transported from the interior-Amasya, Tokat, Çorum and Sivas-and basic commodities that arrived by sea. In addition, Canik also supplied the needs of the region lying between Canik and Trabzon. During the early years of the war, both local production and the basic commodities delivered by ship transport were sufficient. But, with the occupation of Trabzon by the Russians, the uncontrolled influx into Canik of people in the region worked to upset the economic balance in Canik. Canik was now compelled to meet not only the needs of the local residents, but also those of the refugees who had newly settled in Canik and environs. In addition, the transformation of Canik into a transit zone for the emigrants on their way to the interior resulted in a heavy economic burden on the region, particularly after 1917. In consequence of the defeats at the front, priority was awarded to military over civilian needs, and foodstuffs no longer flowed to Canik from the interior. Because the basic provisioning requirements of the immediate region, which extended as far as occupied Trabzon, were also secured by way of Canik, the coastal towns of the Black Sea were especially hardhit by the scarcity in the food supply. Though the government made an effort to handle the existing crisis by the establishment of a provisioning organization, the situation continued unchanged until the end of the war.