Ömer Demir, Mustafa Acar, Metin Toprak
Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 40, No. 6 (Nov., 2004), pp. 166-188
Publication year: 2004


Turkey has been witnessing a new and interesting phenomenon in recent decades: the emergence of what some call green capital or Islamic capital. Others call the same phenomenon Anatolian tigers. The economic formation originated in those business circles that disapprove interest and interest-based financial institutions. This is an important issue not only for academic researchers analyzing Turkish society and policymakers researching solutions to the problems of the Turkish economy, but also for those who worry about the economic future awaiting them in this country. Within this framework, this study investigates the roots and emergence of Islamic capital and discusses its challenges and prospects. First, it evaluates in a general context the characteristics of physical and human capital inherited from the Ottomans. It goes on to review factors facilitating the formation and rise of Anatolian capital. Lastly, characteristics of the pious-conservative rich are discussed along with their related problems and future prospects. As is well known, the main source of production in the Ottoman social formation was agricultural land. In addition, military-related jobs were for many years the most favored social professions. As a result, the two major economic and social activities for the Muslim subjects of the Ottoman Empire were farming and serving as an army soldier. Other professions were usually left to non-Muslims. For instance, engineering services were generally undertaken by the Ottoman subjects of Hungarian origin; financial services by the Jews; commercial activities by the French, British and Italian “Levantines” and the
Greeks; and finally, artisanship and jewelry by the Ottomans of Armenian origin. In other words, trade and artisanship, which together formed the basis for industrial transformation, were controlled by the non-Muslims. Since the classical Ottoman land-management system called timar did not allow capital accumulation, agricultural surplus did not give way to emergence of a powerful aristocratic class


islamic capital, anatolian tigers, islamic capitalists