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Mayors    EN


The institution of the modern municipalities, which initiated from İstanbul, was generalized by the administrative acts of 1864 and 1867, firstly to the port cities and afterwards to the rest of the country. We don’t know when the municipality was first establihed in Trabzon, but in the first volume of the Trabzon Vilayet Salname (the official yearbook published by the Trabzon government) we see that the municipal council and the mayor are present. [1]

After the Tanzimat, the central government intended to increase its power in the country by way of appointing powerfull governers to the provinces. The legal frame made provision for an administrative town council, where some of the members were to be elected and the rest were to consist of important bureaucrats working with the governor and representatives-leaders of the present religious communities. Whereas the elected members, coming from those who were land-owners and paid a certain amounth of taxes, were to be approved by the govenment and serve for two years, in fact they constituted of people who succeeded in turning their economic power to an administrative/political one (and vice versa) and elections never got to be a political reality. The economic strength of these land-owners did not come from agricultural production only, but also from tax-farming; so this on the one hand made state-administrative power very important for them, while on the other both the goverment and the appointed bureaucrats were in great need of good relations with this caste. to have their post secured if not intempted by illegal ways.

It was not only in the town council that the local landlords and the big bureaucrats worked together.. In almost every ‘modern’ department of administrative power, the same people acted as selected members; at the local courts of appeal, at the offices of public works, in education and health departments etc., getting also organized in chambers of commerce and industry.

As the rival parties antagonized each other or allied accordingly in their attempt to influence the bureaucracy and especially the governor himself, it became a never-ending story, , where the governor would ultimately have to obey or leave. The central government was happy to collect the taxes and run a successful drafting service and if there weren’t any uprising, the combination of these two – taxes and recruitment - would make for a negligible price, in order to make sure that eveything was ‘calm’ in the region. The municipal council was only a tool inside that ‘system’; it served either as an organ of persuading the landlords and the people to enforce certain central orders or as an appeasement organ. The power of the municipality altered depending on the circumstances and on who was elected to the council and why. Finally, the mayor was to be elected by the council members.

When the Constitution was proclaimed by the force of the New Ottomans (‘Yeni Osmanlılar’) in 1876, the parliament consisted mainly of the members of the town councils (the elections had been in name only as there was a consensus who the legitimate deputies would be). One of the bills enacted by the parliament of the council members-deputies was the Municipality Law of 1877. This law increased the power of the mayors to settle the relations with the state governors, as the ruling caste had matured into acting as a block, and the needs of the society had increased both in variety and content.

The Trabzon municipality set up new departments and had new jurisdictions, such as the municipal police, the fire brigade, public works and water supply, electricity, healthcare, sanitary works, quarantine and vaccination, cleanliness keeping and charity work. In fields like education, healthcare and public works, although the responsibility of the relative ministries, the municipalities in accordance with the ruling notables adopting a more bourgeois life, made the central government take necessary steps towards financing, where the newly appointed institutions together with the governor, who wanted to be of service, collected donations from the wealthy and the artisans and the working class. The modern hospital, the high school, paved roads etc. were accomplished through this collaboration.

The mayors were never that important in the history of Trabzon (we don’t have their full biographies and the list of mayors can only be deduced from the Salnames); governors, such as Sırrı Paşa and Kadri Paşa, were important and the notable families worked either with them or against them. The mayors up to the 1877 Act were local bureaucrats but after that members of the notable families became the mayors, changing according to the political/economic/sociological circumstances, while the mayor and the municipality institutions became much more important as the city prospered and legality became important. Regarding the political balance and the municipal services, the mayors became equally active, if not at the same level as the governors themselves.

In the vilayet salnames, there are lists of notables from the provinces given official ranks and medals by the state (“eşraf ve mütehayyızandan haiz-i rütbe ve nişan sahibi olan zevat). Out of the 133 people named in the 1903 Salname, 25 are from the ulema (‘learned’) class, of the 108 remaining names, 55 had gotten official posts and 35 of them were relatives. [2] In the 1904 Vilayet Salnamesi, for example, Nemlizade Şükrü, from the trading Nemlizade family, was a member of the city council; Nemlizade Hakkı was member of the chamber of commerce and the public works commission; Nemlizade Osman a member of the civil court; Nemlizade Kaşif a member of the municipality council. [3]

Trabzon Mayors by the years they served:

Feyzi Efendi, 1869-1871, land register official.

Hacı Halil Efendi, 1872

Ali Rıza Efendi, 1873

Hacı Derviş Ağa, 1873-1875

Ali Rıza Efendi, 1876 (second time)

Eyüpzade Ali Galib Efendi, 1877 (d. 12 October 1910). Member of the Trabzon city council, the municipality council, the education commission, the commission of pious foundations , member of the civil court and the chamber of agriculture. Deputy in the 1876 Parliament.

Hacı Derviş Ağa, 1877 (second time)

Ali Rıza Efendi (1827-23 January 1880), 1878-1881 (third time)

Arif Efendi, 1892

Rifat Bey, 1894

Mehmet Paşa Zade Hasan Bey, 1896-1898, Member of the city council.

Hacı Kadızade Hacı Mustafa Efendi, 1900. Member of the Education Council.

Hacı Polatzade Hacı Şakir Efendi, 1901. Co-partner of the company founded in 1870. Member of the public works comission, the municipality council and the council of Ziraat Bank.

Hacı Kadızade Hacı Mustafa Efendi, 1901 (second time). Member of the council of education.

Hanzade Ziya Bey, 1903-1904. Merchant. Member of the civil court, the criminal court, the financial collection commission, the chamber of agriculture. Member of the Freedom and Accord Party after 1908, active during the National Salvation War.

Nemlizade Cemal Bey (d. 1961), 1907. Son of the Nemlizade family, branches trading in İstanbul, Samsun, İzmir, Erzurum. Active in the establishment of the French school in Trabzon. Settled and died in İstanbul. Appointed as mayor to mitigate the tensions caused by the 1907 uprisings aganist the new taxes.

Barutçuzade Hacı Ahmet Efendi (1871-1939), 1912-1916 (two times). Son of mayor Arif Efendi; member of the municipality council, the chamber of commerce, member of the financial collection comission, member of the council of Ziraat Bank, member of the public works comission. Member of the Committee of Union and Progress. Played an important role in the establishment of the society and convenement of the 1919 Erzurum Congress at the start of the National Salvation War.

Chrysanthos (1881-1949), 1916-1918. Greek Metropolitan of the city, served as mayor during the Russian occupation. Archbishop of Athens and all Greece between 1938-1941.

Barutçuzade Hacı Ahmet Efendi (1871-1939), 1918-1919 (second time)

Kazazzade Hüseyin Efendi (1878-1938), 1921, 1922, 1923 (elected three times). Founding co-partner of the Trabzon Electricity Turkish Corporation, which brought electricity to Trabzon.


[1]Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, 1286/1869, V. 1.

[2]Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, 1321/1903, V. 21.

[3]Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, 1322/1904, V. 22.


Çiçek, Rahmi; İstikbal Gazetesine Göre Trabzon’da Belediye ve Belediyecilik (1919-1925), Serander Y., Trabzon, 2011.

Emiroğlu, Kudret; “Vilayet Salnamelerine Göre Trabzon’da Bürokrasi ve Eşraf”, Kebikeç İnsan Bilimleri İçin Kaynak Araştırmaları Dergisi, Sayı: 14, 2002, 155-172.

Özdiş, Hamdi; Taşrada İktidar Mücadelesi: II. Abdülhamid Döneminde Trabzon Vilayeti’nde Eşraf, Siyaset ve Devlet (1876-1909), Hacetepe Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Tarih Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, 2008, unprinted thesis.

Şimşek, Rasim; Trabzon Belediye Tarihi I Osmanlı Dönemi, Trabzon Belediyesi Kültür Y., Trabzon, 1993.

Trabzon Vilayeti; Trabzon Vilayet Salnameleri, 1286-1322 (1869-1904), V. 1-22, Kudret Emiroğlu, Trabzon İli ve İlçeleri Eğitim, Kültür ve Sosyal Yardımlaşma Vakfı, Ankara, 1993-2009.