Organizational Structure and Relationship Networks of Kelek Raftsmen in the Ottoman Diyarbakır
Mardin Artuklu Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Mardin/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Diyarbakır, Ottoman, kelek raftsmen, kelek, guilds
Kelek, an ancient type of raft, made of timber and wooden frames laid upon inflated goatskins, had been the sole vehicle of transportation and carrying in the Diyarbakır-Mosul part of the Tigris River during the Ottoman period. The goods and commodities produced in Diyarbakır and its surroundings got into Iraqi markets by means of keleks and from there to international markets. In addition to commodities, the utilization of kelek also in passenger transportation has made the kelek raftsmen, who manufactured and used kelek on the river road, an important component of the economic organization of the city.
In the professional sense, the organizational structure of kelek raftsmen and the lack of study on the network of relationships stemming from this structure have led us to address this issue. This study, which we prepared in order to fill the deficiency in question, gives detailed information based on documents related to the profession of kelek raftsmen. Based on the data collected from the Ottoman Archives and Diyarbakır Court Records, this study examines the organizational structure and functioning order of kelek raftsmen, which was an important business line of the economy of Diyarbakir in the Ottoman period. In this framework and within the context of functioning of their professional organization, the relationship networks established by kelek raftsmen with the state and other craftsman’s organizations were determined and the structure of these relationships were tried to be analyzed.