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A Kaymakam (also Kaimakam ) is the title for the highest official of a district ( Turkish İlçe ) in the Republic of Turkey , which was already used in the Ottoman Empire for a similar rank.


The modern Turkish term Kaymakam comes from two Arabic words, viz قائم / Qāʾim for 'standing' andمقام / Maqām for 'place', but in this context 'office', 'position' and 'rank'. During the Ottoman period, a Qāʾim-Maqām was a state official who was seen as the Sultan's representative at the local level. Today the Kaymakam is the representative of the government or the state at the county level.


The title seems to have been used for the first time in the 15th or 16th century in the Ottoman Empire. It mostly referred to the dignitary who had to stay in the city as the representative of the grand vizier when he embarked on a military campaign. The title was retained until the end of the empire. In the last decades of the Ottoman Empire it was a minister or Sheikhul Islam who acted as a kaymakam.

The term has an even more specific meaning in Moldovan and Wallachian history, where a kaymakam could be both a temporary representative of a gospodar and a delegate of the Minor Walachian ban in Craiova after the main office was moved to Bucharest in 1761 . In this context, the word caimacam is spelled while the Romanian word for it is căimăcămie .

Four emirs from Qatar and three emirs from Kuwait also carried the title of Kaymakam when these emirates were part of the Ottoman Empire.

In the Ottoman Army and also in Egypt under Muhammad Ali Pasha , the title Kaymakam was synonymous with the rank of lieutenant colonel . It was also applied to naval commanders in the same context. Mustafa Kemal , the founder of modern Turkey, also served as a kaymakam for the 57th Regiment in the Battle of Gallipoli .

See also

List of Ottoman titles


  • E. Kuran, PM Holt: Ḳāʾim-Maḳām. In: The Encyclopaedia of Islam . Volume IV, Brill, Leiden 1997, pp. 461-462.

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