Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Ottoman Empire

Kuran, The Long Divergence

Timur Kuran, The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton, 2011).

Readers looking at the title of Timur Kuran’s new book might be forgiven for thinking it had come from some pre-Orientalism time warp where it was still possible to make essentialist generalizations about Islamic law and Middle Eastern backwardness. And they would be mostly correct.

Capitalism and the Ottoman Empire

Huri Islamoglu-Inan, ed., The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, and Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 1987).

Şevket Pamuk, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 1820-1913: Trade, Investment and Production (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

These books, one a collection of 17 articles and the other a monograph, offer a significant new interpretation of Middle Eastern history and, more broadly, contribute to the discussion of the origins of capitalism in the Third World.

Armenian Genocide

To The Editors:

Thanks for your outstanding and timely issue, “State Terror in Turkey,” (MERIP Reports, #121, February 1984). We would like to clarify a few issues about Armenians that were raised in the article, “The Kurds in Turkey.” Martin van Bruinessen states there that “fears that the Armenians would prove to be a fifth column in an armed conflict with Russia led to their deportation and the massacre of hundreds of thousands of them.” Such a viewpoint is a tragic distortion of historical reality and closely resembles the official line of successive Turkish regimes to justify the pre-meditated genocide and mass expulsion of the Armenian people from their native homeland in eastern Anatolia.