Title Deeds (tapu) Research in Ottoman Archive

January 31, 2020 Gökhan Cindemir 0 Comments

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Ottoman title deeds has different classification depending on the date of the document. In 19th century, “defteri hakani” documents are issued as a property document and this documentation started after tanzimat reformation period which was the time that right of property is given to non-muslims. Christians were able to purchase land and immovable property as muslims. Previously , private ownership as a land was also restricted for muslims and all lands used to be assets of the sultan. Modernisation of Ottoman government also brought reforms in ownership.

There are title deeds relates to that period and some of them are still valid under Turkish Law. Sened-i Hakani (Deeds issued during Sultan Abdulhamid Han) have still legal impact under Turkish law. However, the most complicated part of these documents are to determine the boundaries of land from the the content. There was no any parcelling at that time. Parcel numbers and cadastral maps became widely used after foundation of Turkish Republic. Content of sened-i hakani (late ottoman deed) describes the land based on the information related to the boundaries. In sened-i hakani, there are statements like “south east border touches to the graveyard of the village and north east is next to the mosque.” . In that sense,  investigation is required by an expert in order to determine the location of the land. Location can be found by the experts specialized in that field. Ottoman archive are opened to all citizens and lawyers have right to access to these knowledges. In that regard, deed records can be found in the archive and more detailed descriptions regarding the location can be understood from the records. It must be noted that Ottoman archive documents are all in Ottoman script and Ottoman Turkish. Today’s modern Turkey’s people cannot read these scriptures and even they will read the language is barely understandable due to heavy influence on the language by Persian and Arabic language.

Therefore, experts who can read these scriptures are the must to access the archive files. Lawyer and expert coordination can assist to the persons who seek their land remained from Ottoman era.

You can find chronological historical explanation :

Directorate of the Registry of Real Property) was established within the structure of “Defter-

hane-i Hakani” (Imperial Office of the Registry of Real Property). For the purpose of

putting title deed transactions and affairs in order and carrying out affairs within certain rules and procedures however “Regulation to be Executed on Title Deed” had been promulgated. on 21st May, 1847. The date of “21 May 1847” has been accepted as the anniversary of establishment of the present “Directorate General of Land Registry and Cadastre”.

According to the Regulation (Nizamname) dated 1847, exercising all sorts of disposals related with “miri arazi” ( demesne/public property), and works for keeping books were assigned to “Defter- hane-i Amire Kalemi” (Clerical Office of Directo¬rate of the Registry of Real Property) set up in “Defterhane-i Hakanı Eminliği” ( Office of Imperial Trust of the Registry ofReal Property). Procedure regarding dispatching one copy of the books for the records kept in situation according to the Regulation to the headquarters and issuance of sealed (Sultan’s Signature) title deeds according to these books kept by “Defterhane-i Hakani Eminliği” and sending them to their locality and delivering them to land- owners commenced to have been implemented.

Upon starting of implementation of the Regulation to be Executed on Title Deeds, with “Arazi Kananname-i Hümayunu” (Imperial Law of Land) promulgated on 23 Şeval “October” 1274 (1858 A.D.) legal arrangements related with land and property were made and as such was reconstructed on much more secure and strong foundations.

With the Law of Land dated 1858 land was treated in 5 sections, namely property, demesne, endowment, desolate and “mevat” (waste land). For the purpose of not being contradictory to the Islamic Law, having consulted with “Sheikhulislam” (Grand Islamic Scholar), integrity and unity were provided with this statutory law promulgated so as to cover all affairs and transactions related with land.

Throughout the process of reformist movements gained acceleration with “Tanzimat Fermani” (Imperial Decree for Reformist Movements), performance of consecutive a lot of arrangements on the particulars related with the property has been continued to be made until the Republican Period. All of these arrangements have constituted steps of establishment of organization of modern Land Registry Office.

Cadastral surveys however have commenced rather a recent period in our country compared to Title Deed. As the result of studies carried out by “Mahmut Esat Efendi” who appointed to the ofîıce of the Ministry of the Imperial Superintendent of Registry of Landed Property (Defterhane-i Hakani Nezareti Nazırlığı) in 1911, Cadastral Surveys were begun pursuant to the “ Provisory Law No. 1384 on Restriction and Determination of Real Estates” (Emvali-Gayrimenkullering Tahdit ve Tespiti Hakkındaki Kanunu Muvakkat).

While initially in our country cadastral surveys were begun in district of Çumra/Konya, unfortu- nately, works were discontinued due to Wars of Balkan and then the first World War and thus the Law could not be fully implemented. Nevertheless, since initially cadastral works were commenced in Turkey by “Mahmut Esat Efendi”, the Minister of the Registry ofLanded Property (Defteri-i Hakani Nazırı), he is accepted as the founder of the Cadastre in Turkey.

In modern meaning, while “Defterhane-i Haka¬ni Nezareti” was a department at the level of Mi¬nistry, it was affiliated to the Ministry of Finance under the name of “Defter-i Hakani Emaneti (Office of Trustee of the Registry ofReal Property) in the year 1329 (1913 A.D.). It was reorganized on 28 Teşrini Sani (November) 1338 (1922 A.D.) under the name of “Umur-i Tasarrufiye Müdüriyeti Umumiyesi” ( General Directorate of Disposal Affairs).

In 1924 following foundation of the Republic of Turkey our Administration was given the name of “Tapu Umum Müdürlüğü” (General Directorate of Land Registry) and thereafter a cadastral unit was added to our General Directorate by the Law No. 658 dated 22 April 1925 (Hegira 1342). In the year 1927 however our Administration was given the name as used today which called in the Law of “General Equilibrium” (Muvazenei Umumiye) as “Tapu ve Kadastro Müdüriyeti Umumiyesi” (Gene¬ral Directorate ofLand Registry and Cadastre).

Present day establishment of the General Di¬rectorate of Land registry and Cadastre, its tasks and powers have been defined by promulgation of the LawNo. 2997 of 29 May 1936 on Organization and Tasks of the General Directorate ofLand Registry and Cadastre and our Administration has been organized as a General Directorate affiliated to the Ministry of Finance on the strength of the said Law.

Title Deeds (tapu) Research in Ottoman Archive was last modified: February 1st, 2020 by Gökhan Cindemir