Proliferation of printing press in the Ottoman society caused an increase in state monitoring and control of publishing. Within the framework of the press policies of the Abdülhamid II era, the existing control mechanisms were operated in a more organized and professionalized manner during the publication of both religious and non-religious texts. Distorting religious books, pulling the books off the shelves and burning them out were considered among the reasons behind Abdulhamid II's dethronement. This article examines the ways in which the publication of religious books played a key role and the means the state took part in this process of publication during the reign of Abdulhamid II. These control mechanisms have not been examined from the viewpoint of actors (writers and publishers) of the religious publishing yet. This study will be based on the interlocutors of the control mechanisms, and aims to give a different perspective to the criticized printing policies of the period of Abdülhamid II era. This article tries to determine the identities of the actors, the texts they wanted to publish and answers the question whether the control mechanism approveed publication of these texts or not. The main aim of this article is to find out the authors of the religious texts/books. This problematic is related to the question of which religious texts were allowed to be published by the state and to what kind of publications state offered incentives. This article examines the data derived from the registers of the Concultation Commission (Tedkik-i Müellefat Heyeti) in Bâb-ı Fetva between 1889 and 1906. The annual demand for publication of religious books and the course of this demand in the above mentioned period are presented according to registers. Moreover, the demands from both the countryside and the center have been taken into account without making a distinction between the successful and the unsuccessful ones in obtaining printing license to make a more clear and complete description of the religious publications of the Abdülhamid II era.
Keywords: Abdulhamid II, Giritli Sırrı Pasha, Meşihat (Ministry of the Şeyhulislam), printing, state control
DOI Number: 10.9737/hist.2017.514