In the May 17 article, the author confuses the system of Ottoman rule itself with the symptoms of Ottoman decline. When the Ottomans occupied the Balkans, they subjected the peasantry to lower taxes and work requirements than they had had under Christian landlords.
Later Ottoman exploitation of the peasantry stemmed from the pressures of inflation and from loss of commerce, which was caused by the influx of gold and silver from the New World and the establishment of new trade routes. Christopher Adamo, Pocasset, Mass.
Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.