||by a dam, in which the village water buffalo wallow in the long dry summer.
To one side of the meadow stands the Turbeh, the tomb of Mehmet Miktat. It
is reverenced by the villagers, and on occasion the people of neighbouring
villages, especially the women, visit it on pilgrimage.
Above the village is a large flat area called the harman - threshing floor -
which grows a little pasture in the spring, but is dry and dusty by mid-
summer. This area is also used for threshing, as its name suggests. The oldest
village homes, which line the escarpment, have caves hollowed out beneath
this, and on the village side it is often difficult to know where terra firma ends
and the roofs of these houses begin. Between the harman and the road lies the
graveyard, a mass of unkempt mounds marked by uncut headstones.
Until recently, the village must have had very nearly a subsistence economy,
living off the grain grown in its fields and the milk of its animals. The old
men say that when they were boys there was much less money about in the
villages. Now many of the villagers go to town for work and bring home
substantial cash earnings, and at the same time the cultivation of vegetables,
vines, and fruit trees has greatly expanded.
For the most part, the agricultural tools in use are the traditional locally made
wooden tools, the light wooden plough drawn by oxen, and wooden forks and
rakes. Threshing is down by dragging flat boards, studded with flints on the
underside, round and round over the crop until the grain is broken out of the
heads, and the straw is chopped up fine. The grain is then separated by tossing
it into the wind until the fine straw and the husks have all blown clear. The
villagers talk about machinery and modern tools, but in the village so far only
a type of scythe has been introduced, to replace the sickle for reaping the
taller crops, and a few steel ploughs, which are not all in regular use.
All transport within the villages is either by donkey back, or by the ox cart.
The ox car has two solid wheels fixed to an axle which turns with them,
rubbing against the frame of the cart. The kagni, as this is called, can be
fitted with a framework of poles and rope for carrying the crops in from the
fields, or with boards and sacking to take the chopped straw. In some of the
richer villages, one may find one or two four-wheeled horse carts, but these
would not be suitable for use over the rough terrain of Sakaltutan, with its
steep slopes and rocky tracks.
Sakaltutan is served by the lorries which run daily from Kayseri to Tomarza,
the next administrative centre out. These run when they are full - most days
there are two to four into Kayseri fairly early, and a like number back in the
||afternoon or evening. During the winter, the road is closed by snow for three
months, and coming and going is confined to foot, unless the snow is firm
enough to bear horses or donkeys. The end of threshing, on the other hand,
sees a great increase in the coming and going of the lorries, carrying grain to
the railway at Kayseri.
Such a general description would apply roughly to any of the villages in this
area. Sakaltutan is perhaps slightly poorer than most of the eleven villages
which lie within one and a half hours walk distance. Three of these contained
families with more education and closer urban ties than anyone is Sakaltutan.
But both in appearance and in way of life, the differences are slight.
||VILLAGE AND HOUSEHOLDS
||The villages are strikingly compact and self contained. There are no solitary
homesteads or straggling outskirts. This physical unity is paralleled by social
unity. In spite of divisions into quarters and agnatic kin groups, loyalty to the
village overrides internal dissension. The male population of the village is
highly stable. Everyone, from childhood up, knows all the people of the
village, knows the detailed affairs, even of his enemies, and sees almost daily
most of the inhabitants. By kinship ties, by economic transactions, or by
village affairs a man is brought from time to time in contact with even the
most distant of his neighbours.
The village is a corporate personality. It has joint rights in pastureland and a
common interest in the whole area within its boundaries. It has
representatives and public servants and owns a common fund, subscribed
household by household. It owns the village Mosque, in which all the men of
the village join in common worship.
At religious festivals and weddings the normal boundaries of intimacy with
kin and immediate neighbours are broken down. At the Seker Bayrami, at the
end of Ramazan, every man in the village greats with a special festive greeting
every other man - on this day, they say, there should be no kus - latent
hostility. The obligation is not taken too seriously. Today, remarked Ali
Osman (BK1), they make peace, tomorrow they get their guns out again.
Every man is proud of his village. Not only are its men more truthful, more
hospitable, less quarrelsome, and its women more honourable and more
healthy, but the fields are better, the air - or perhaps one should translate
||weather - is better, the water is better. Within the village they tell each
other all this in all seriousness; with men from other villages there is
bantering rivalry on the same themes, and they are always ready to insult, on
any grounds convenient to hand, the morals and amenities of neighbouring
The village is quite ready to fight for itself in spite of the law and order
established by the Republic, and the punishment which follows taking the law
into ones own hands. Two years ago there was a boundary dispute between
Ck village and Sakaltutan. Men of Ck village ploughed land claimed as
pasture by Sakaltutan, and the men of Sakaltutan went out in a body and threw
rocks on to it. This not unnaturally led to fighting, in which all the village is
said to have joined. Abdurrahman, (elder son of T1), was fined during my
stay for a leading part in this incident.
The villagers recognise within the village a division into quarters. But the
quarter is not a clearly defined unit, and has no specific common rights or
interest to defend. In Sakaltutan the road (see map 3) divides off about thirty
houses of the Lower Quarter from the rest by a clear boundary, but the Upper
Quarter has no clear boundary, and in fact the usage of the term varies with
context. In some contexts, a third quarter would be recognised, the Mosque
Quarter, in between the other two, but I never heard anyone claim to belong
to such a unit in the way people claimed to be members of the Lower and
Upper Quarters. The houses in the centre of the village are spoken of as
Upper or Lower according to the point of view of the speaker, each term
covering a wider area in the usage of the opposite came than it does in their
own. Quite often the Lower Quarter includes all the village up to the Mosque,
and such a boundary coincides roughly with the social line. In the summer,
very roughly, the men from near the Mosque and below it congregate mainly
by the roadway, the men from the centre in the square by the Mosque, and the
men of the Upper Quarter in a small open space a little farther up.
Both Quarters spoke slightingly of each other. There was a good deal of
joking rivalry, comparison of water supplies, and foolery about it, but
underneath this there was a genuine hostility which had from time to time
exploded into fighting. Only the year before my arrival a quarrel about
female inheritance of land had led to shooting between the Quarters, but
apparently no casualties. Where personal ties of kinship or personal
friendship linked people, those individuals might be excepted from the general
condemnation of the opposite area. But personal hostilities which followed the
general line of group hostility were reinforced and kept alive by absence of
day to day social intercourse.
||This year, for the first time, the government insisted on a properly conducted
election for muhtar. After much uncertainty, two candidates were put up,
Duran (DS3) from the Upper Quarter and Selahaddin (BA5) from the Lower.
Although the ballot was secret, people made little secret of their support, and
it was quite clearly a matter of Quarters, though the Upper Candidate who
won the election by a short head was considered a fair choice even by his
opponents, and there were no serious feelings involved.
||Below the village, the next definite and obvious social unit is the household.
Households belong to agnatic groups, which I shall discuss under kinship, but
these groups are not clearly defined. The casual visitor would see, not
households, but dwelling blocks containing from one to four or five
households. Such dwelling blocks usually contain the households of an agnatic
The village household contains a highly stable patrilocal family. There is no
word in the villages for family as distinct from the house in which it lives.
The town Turkish for this, aile, does not mean family in the villages, but is
commonly used in the sense of wife. The word for house, ev, is used for
home or family. In this sense ev has a clear meaning; it is defined as a social
unit which cooks in common, and separately from any other group. The
village always puts its negatively - people have separate evler if they cook
and eat apart from others. In a few cases, brothers share land or have never
divided their fathers land, and yet have separate evler, but in these cases the
produce will be divided and apportioned. Normally, a separate household is
economically entirely independent. Within the ev, everything is held in
Ev is used also in many other shade of meaning, according to context. Two
main meanings are directly relevant here. In the first place, ev means, like the
English house, any building in which people are living. This leads to a
paradox, of which the villagers are fully aware, and which illustrates the
criterion of common resources. Zubeyr (SI4), who had a large household -
seventeen people in all - with two married sons occupying houses not adjacent
to the main ev, because there was no room for expansion there, said to me I
have three ev, but we are all one ev. Within the household, ev
distinguished the family living room, the special centre of feminine activity,
from the oda, and from the stables and the samanlik, the straw store.
The full household should contain the male head of the family, his wife or
||wives, his sons and their wives and children, and his unmarried daughters.
The fathers death is normally the signal of separation of the brothers, though
sometimes this may be postponed for months or even years. The length of this
interval depends upon many factors - personal relationships, whether the
brothers are full or half, the economic situation, relationships among the
womenfolk. The house expands physically with its population; each new
incoming bride should be, and almost always is, given a room of her own in
which to sleep with her husband and to keep her personal possessions. Rarely,
this room may be a separate building at a distance from, but still socially part
of the paternal ev. On the death of the father, the brothers may divide the
old house, or may build beside it a new house; or one or more of them may
move out, either to a vacant house belonging to him or his group by a female
link, or to a new one specially built on the outskirts of the village. This
process is reflected in the village layout. Next door neighbours are often
brothers or agnate cousins, often also cognate or affines, since both kinship
and neighbourhood are strong inducements to marriage. But while some
agnate groups are to be found very near each other, quite often one or two
members of the group may be living at the other side of the village.
Table I gives the distribution of households according to a classification based
on their kinship relation to the head of the household. It may seem surprising
that, in a society where children are expected to remain with their fathers until
Figure 1 - Distribution of village population by households: -
Table 1 - Distribution of families according to type:-
One or Two Male Generations
Elementary families (ie. married couple and their children, if any)
||Elementary families with fathers mother still living in ev
||Elementary families with children of former wives
||Elementary families with other children (ie. nephews, younger siblings)
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