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Minority Accommodation through Territorial and Non-Territorial Autonomy$
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Tove H. Malloy and Francesco Palermo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746669.001.0001

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Non-Territorial Millets in Ottoman History

Non-Territorial Millets in Ottoman History

(p.119) 5 Non-Territorial Millets in Ottoman History
Minority Accommodation through Territorial and Non-Territorial Autonomy

Jan Erk

Oxford University Press

Facing the limitations of territorial options, forms of non-territorial autonomy (NTA) are now debated as potential new strategies to deal with various minority issues. NTA is often attributed to the writings of Austro-Marxists Karl Renner and Otto Bauer; however their ideas were remarkably similar to the 600-year-old millet system of Austria’s Ottoman neighbours. The millet system gave non-territorial religious/cultural communities internal autonomy over civil law affairs, while being subject to imperial jurisdiction in other areas. The way the Ottoman millet system worked was inseparable from the particular type of territorial authority that it co-existed with. Before we embrace NTA as a novel strategy to manage minority affairs, it is imperative that its complex workings, promises, and pitfalls, are studied. An examination of the Ottoman millet system is thus likely to help paint a more nuanced and informed picture, with potential lessons for contemporary minority issues calling for non-territorial strategies.

Keywords:   non-territorial autonomy, millets, minority issues

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