Nestorians and British Missionary Activities in the Ottoman Empire in the Nineteenth Century
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Non-muslim, Nestorians, XIX. Century
In the nineteenth century, western powers were competing with each other to extend their influence over the Ottoman Empire. One of the ways with which they could achieve this was to establish themselves as the protector of Empire's Christian subjects. Therefore, missionary activities that they encouraged and supported served as a means of achieving their political-imperialist goals. Nestorians was one of the Christian minorities living in the Ottoman Empire that missionaries tried and succeeded to manipulate for their own interests. Missionaries changed Nestorians' approach toward the Kurds, their neighbors, in specific and the Ottoman Empire in general. While seriously damaging the relations between the Nestorians and Kurds who had already been in good terms, missionaries contributed greatly to the development of ethnic sentiments among Nestorians and subsequently their revolt against the Ottoman rule during the World War I. This study focuses on British missionaries of Canterbury archbishopric, their activities toward Nestorians and the response of the Ottoman authorities to them. Also, it examines whether or not British missionary activities were a tool of British foreign policy.