Author: Özge Eda Köse
Elif Fatma Bahadır, “An Attempt to Establish a City: Beersheba Town (1900-1917)” Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University, MA, 2018.
“In compliance with the policies of the period of II. Abdülhamid, issue of the reconstruction of the authority seen in all areas enabled the Beersheba to be organized as a first-degree town center. In this study, the questions of why a modern city was established in the desert and the desire for the sedentarization of the Bedouin tribes while Ottoman Empire was having the financial crisis, are discussed. The sources investigated clearly state that the benefits to be derived from the establishment of the city are greater than the pecuniary loss occurred in the construction process. Because, the lands in Beersheba are partially fertile. However, the taxes were not able to be collected from the region accurately. In addition, it is necessary to take measures by the state in the area against the British threat formed in the border of Egypt. With the sedentarization of the Bedouins, the state considers it beneficial both to increase the obedience of these communities to the state and build a natural security line through the people who know the desert well. Thus, works have been started to construct a modern city in Beersheba. Here public buildings such as grid-planned roads, water tunnels, a telegraph line, a mosque, a mill, a park, and gardens were built. In addition, various buildings that will provide the state representation such as the government office, the school, the state bank branch, were also constructed. By way of the experienced civil servants assigned to these structural units, and members selected among tribes, the Beersheba was administered according to the procedures and principles of the state such as administrative, financial, judicial, and military issues. The years of the First World War were a process for Beersheba to be organized as the vi “Desert Range Inspectorate” (Çöl Menzil Müfettişliği). During these years, Cemal Pasha continued the construction process of the city, especially the structural units that the army needed. The tribes living in the region have taken sides with the state by joining the military forming volunteer units and helping the construction works. However, the wrong martial measures applied in the front have led to the loss of Beersheba.”