Agrarian Relations, Property and Law: An Analysis of the Land Code of 1858 in the Ottoman Empire

Aytekin E. A.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, vol.45, no.6, pp.935-951, 2009 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263200903268694
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.935-951
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Contrary to the prevalent tendencies of 'state-centrism' and legal formalism in the literature, this article studies the Ottoman Land Code of 1858 not as an initiator of trends but as a product of social change. The Code recognized private property on land, enlarged liberties of landholders, and pushed inheritance rules further towards gender equality. Deeply influenced by the uneven development of the capitalist relations of production, agrarian conflict, and the complex matrix of the interests of ruling groups, Ottoman land law in the nineteenth century unmistakably evolved in the direction of modern law based on the abstract individual and full commodification of land.