The Capitulations and the Ottoman Legal System
Maurits H. van den Boogert
Pre-modern Western sources generally claim that European mercantile communities in the Ottoman Empire enjoyed legal autonomy, and were thus effectively immune to Ottoman justice. At the same time, they report numerous disputes with Ottoman officials over jurisdiction (“avanias”), which seems to contradict this claim, the discrepancy being considered proof of the capriciousness of the Ottoman legal system. Modern studies of Ottoman-European relations in this period have tended uncritically to accept this interpretation, which is challenged in this book.