Article: ermenisorunu.gen.tr  ///  02.12.2019

The importance of this period, which starts with the Seljuqs and continues with the phase of Turkish beyliks and then with the Ottoman State, is that is the period of time during which the Turks and the Armenians officially started living together. The period between the Turkish settlement in Anatolia and roughly the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca represents the longest period in the Turkish-Armenian relations, for what is at hand now is two communities that have started to coexist. Even though this relation is not completely unproblematic, almost all experts studying the subject within a framework of Muslim- non-Muslim relations acknowledge that the Turkish-Armenian relations were carried out in relative peace and prosperity until the mentioned period. In this sense, the importance of the period resides in the story of coexistence that spreads over centuries. However, because 1915 is the focal point of studies, this period has either been rendered invisible or has fallen victim to a distorted interpretation.

Among the actors of this period, which is quite extensive in terms of mutual relations, the Seljuqs up to a certain point, Anatolian Turkish beyliks, Byzantines and Safavids can be listed. In addition, the Ottoman imperial administration and the Armenian community are without a doubt among the actors of the period. Additionally, the Armenian Church and the Catholicos, undertaking missions in addition to acting as religious bodies, should also be mentioned individually. Another significant actor of the period is the Western missionaries.

The characteristics of the mutual life led by the Turks and the Armenians can be listed first among the important headings and debates of the period. How the positive and negative aspects of the Pax Ottomana – which, in a sense, frames the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims – are interpreted by certain milieu; in a related sense, the millet system and how the Armenians were treated within it; the understanding of law within the millet system are some of the other headings of the debates surrounding the period. Additionally, the significance and duty carried by the Armenian Church and Etchmiadzin, a spiritual center, are also important. Finally, the question of whether or not one can talk about certain movements of independence starting from the 11th century as suggested by nationalist Armenian historiography; whether the Armenian community lived under Ottoman rule in oppression and persecution or in peace, are among other subjects that are debated.