Set and Forget? The Evolution of Business Law in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey

Agir S. , Artunc C.

BUSINESS HISTORY REVIEW, vol.95, no.4, pp.703-738, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 95 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s000768052000094x
  • Title of Journal : BUSINESS HISTORY REVIEW
  • Page Numbers: pp.703-738
  • Keywords: business and government relations, government and politics, legal transplants, commercial law, Turkey, Ottoman Empire, ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT, INTERNATIONAL-LAW, LEGAL-SYSTEM, INSTITUTIONS, FINANCE, RISE


This study examines the transplantation and evolution of business law in the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish republic, drawing broader implications for the economic and political determinants of legal transplantation for late industrializers. We show that the underlying political economy context was influential in shaping the way commercial law was transplanted and evolved in Turkey. Extraterritorial rights in the nineteenth century eroded the incentives to demand legal change by providing alternative legal rules to the non-Muslim commercial elite; the nation-building efforts of the twentieth century cultivated a new Muslim business class that was reliant on the state's goodwill for success and could not effectively push for more open access to novel forms of business organization.