Initiatives to Establish the Operation of Ferryboat Service on Lake Van (1879-1907)
Keywords: Lake Van, Ferryboat, Turks, Anatolia, 1879-1907
Turkic peoples were actively interested in marine activities prior to their arrival in Asia Minor, and this interest increased in this region during the Ottoman period. Particularly in the sixteenth century, important advances were recorded in this field. The advances brought about in this area were not restricted to the military sphere, for important progress was also made by the Ottomans, domestically, in the area of public transport. But, the Ottomans, who experienced decline and backwardness relative to European countries from a certain period henceforth, also underwent a slowdown in this area until the first half of the nineteenth century when, most notably, the Ottoman Empire and Ottoman waters were introduced to the ship technology of Great Britain and the activities of enterprising Europeans. Subsequently, Ottoman subjects embarked on enterprises directed at the transport of passengers and cargo in Ottoman waters. One of the bodies of water where this kind of activity made its presence known was Lake Van. Abraham Kafafyan and Artin Efendi toward the end of the decade of the 1870's set about to obtain an imperial concession to operate a ferryboat line on this lake, and who were finally rewarded with success after extended efforts. Due to conditions in the region, however, the operation of this concession was for some unknown reason never realized. Later, the proposals for the government to operate a ferryboat service on this lake put forward by Assistant Public Inspector Şakir Pasha of the Anatolian Reform Commission were taken under consideration and as an outcome of extensive fieldwork, operation of the ferry service began in 1907.