Not all migrations within the Ottoman Empire were for political or economic reasons – the migration patterns of pastoral and nomadic peoples had existed for centuries.
In the Ottoman Empire, Arab, Kurdish and Turkoman nomads lived a life of regular migration. Kurds and Turkomans lived mainly in Anatolia and the villages between Aleppo and the Euphrates; Bedouin Arabs across Iraq, Syria, the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. Nomadic groups affected the history of the Arab and Ottoman world by supporting, opposing or eluding the objectives of the authorities. Traditionally bound to migratory patterns and lifestyles linked to seasonal pastoralism or agriculture, they also interacted with settled communities as casual labourers, traders or guards protecting land and borders. Cooperation between authorities and tribal leaders benefited both sides well into the 19th century, when changing social, economic and political conditions made the Ottomans move towards settling nomads and curtailing their migratory freedom.