Charity and Old Age Care: The Non-Muslim Community Hospitals in Istanbul
This thesis scrutinizes the non-Muslim community hospitals in Istanbul concerning their present social function and specialties that differentiates them from other private hospitals. Covering the investigation of Greek Hospital of Baloukli, Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital, Balat Or-Ahayim Jewish Hospital and Surp Agop Hospital, the thesis explores how the outstanding function of the non-Muslim community hospitals today is charitable old age care. The analysis of the social role of the hospitals is situated within a conceptual framework that addresses questions pertaining to social assistance through the analysis of charity patterns in the concerned hospitals.
The research, which was primarily based on in-depth interviews and the publications of the hospital waqfs, detailed the social role of the aforementioned hospitals in the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire in the context of millet system. Demonstrating the changing status of the hospitals in the Republican era in terms of their benevolent character, the thesis focuses on the charitable old age care provided in the non-Muslim community hospitals in Istanbul at present. The conclusion reached was that the hospitals provide free old age care to the poor elderly. Supported by the prosperous members of each community, the charitable old age care in the hospitals provide precedence to the community-origin poor elderly although the old age care in the hospitals are open to all elderly. Also, the decision of the community-origin elderly to accept old age care is found related to the communitarian bonds promoted in the hospitals.