State-society relations in the Ottoman empire have been an intriguing topic pro-voking the interest of several historians and social scientists. Earlier interpretations emphasized the centralist character of the Ottoman state and the lack of intermediate structures in a western sense, which bridged the gap between state and society. Recent studies have tended to concentrate on other elements indicating that the gap between the Ottoman state and society had never been as large as was supposed. In this vein, Michael Meeker emphasized the interpersonal relations between Ottoman statesmen in Istanbul and those elsewhere, as well as conscription to the army and religious education as instruments of imperial participation which reduced the gap between the imperial centre and people in the provinces.1