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Last Updated: December 10, 2006
Dr Azmi Ozcan’s Profile


Dr Azmi Ozcan is a leading Turkish historian. He did his Ph D. from the University of London in 1990. His areas of interest include: Islamic thought in the 19th century, and Middle-Eastern and Ottoman history. He also specialises in studies of England and the Muslim World. He did teaching assignments in universities like Bosphorus and Marmara (1991-1996) before joining University of Sakarya in 1999. He was the chairman of Islamic Studies, Istanbul (1996-1999).

Dr Ozcan is a member of “Turkish Journal of Islamic Studies” and on the editorial board of “Turkish Encyclopedia of Islam”. His noted works include “Indian Muslims, the Ottomans and Britain (1877-1924)” and “The Question of Freedom of Conscience in the Ottoman World”, published from New York in 1997 and Istanbul in 2000, respectively.
He participated in many international conferences on Ottoman Empire and on the Islamic World.

He has presented many research papers on relations between Turkish people and culture and Indian Muslims. His important articles include “The Turks in Urdu Literature in the Age of Pan-Islamism (1992)”; “Pan-Islamism in British Indian Politics (2000)”; “The Ottomans and Muslims of India during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (2002)”; and “Tablighi Jamaat (2003)”. He presented a paper on “Turkish Image in the Subcontinent” in the Indo-Turkish Joint Conference of History that was held in New Delhi in 2005.

Review: Dr Azmi Ozcan’s Book
“Indian Muslims, The Ottomans and Britain (1877-1924)”

Dr Azmi Ozcan’s “Indian Muslims, The Ottomans and Britain (1877-1924)” examines the Indo-Muslim attitude towards the Ottomans from the start of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 until the end of the Caliphate in 1924. The period treated coincides with what is commonly described as the Pan-Islamic Movement; the British reaction to the Pan-Islamic developments is also discussed extensively.

No comprehensive study to date has dealt with the nature of the relations between the Ottomans and other Muslims, and therefore, this work provides new historical, religious and political perspectives on the modern history of Indian Muslims. In addition to Indian, Pakistani, Ottoman and British archival material, publications such as diaries, memoirs, newspapers and books have been incorporated, including writings in Urdu which are generally inaccessible to most historians studying late nineteenth-century Ottoman history.

Comment-I

Reviewer: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)

The Indian romance with the Ottoman Empire has been known from British and Indian sources, but Ozcan fleshes out the story---and a fascinating one it is - with information from the Turkish archives. First, he shows that the Indian connection did not begin, as is usually thought, in the 1870s, but goes back to the 1530s, when the Ottomans sent a fleet of two thousand men to Diu and Indian Muslims expressed a desire for Ottoman suzerainty. By the 1550s, a cultural nexus had also grown up, so that a renowned Turkish architect was building in Agra and Delhi. It then continued; inn 1777, for example, the sultan of Malabar sought financial help from Istanbul.

Second, Ozcan shows how the Ottoman Empire filled this same role for a variety of other Muslim countries-such as the khanates of Central Asia and distant Atjeh (in today's Indonesia). Interestingly, these states not only asked for Ottoman help (which they sometimes got-twenty battleships to Atjeh to fight the Portuguese in 1556) but also offered their own services (the khan of Bukhara offered all help in 1719 against Russia).

With the collapse of Muslim power in India in 1857, a longing developed there for the symbols of Turkish sovereignty, which the British agilely exploited their own purposes (for example, prevailing on the Ottoman sultan to encourage Indians to accept British rule). Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876-1908) put great stress on his pan-Islamic role, going so far as to assert that "one word" from him "would be enough for starting a jehad against ...the Christians." Of course, when war came in 1914, that "one word" proved not to be enough, and although the Indian Muslims remained attached to their Turkish coreligionists, they did not revolt against British rule. Contrarily, the Indians could do nothing to stop Kemal Ataturk from abolishing the caliphate in 1924, an act that effectively cut the links between Turkey's and India's Muslims.----

Middle East Quarterly, June 1999


Comment-II
Reviewer: A Reader

There are a few works on the relations between the Ottomans and the Indian muslims. The existing one is, however, mainly based on the English sources. The fact that the Ottoman archival material used for the first time in a study dealing also with the modern history of the Indian muslims vis a vi the British and the Ottomans, makes this study indispensable for those who are interested in the history of respective lands. Therefore Dr. Ozcan's work is a great contribution and deserves every credit....

---Prof. Dr. Nejat, The Journal of the Ottoman Studies, XVIII, 1988, Pp 285-288. (Book Reviews)

 


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