Turkey History Part I

By | September 25, 2021

Prehistory and pre-Ottoman history have the area of ​​Asiatic Turkey in common with Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region.

From the beginning of the Turkization of Anatolia to the capture of Constantinople (1071–1453)

The starting point for the Turkization and Islamization of today’s territory of Turkey was the Sultanate of the Anatolian Seljuks (Rumseldschuken) around Konya and Kayseri. This emerged after the invasion of the Great Seljuks (Seldschuken) under Sultan Alp Arslan in what was previously largely Byzantine Asia Minor (victory at Mantzikert over Emperor Romanos IV. Diogenes , 1071). In the wake of the Seljuks, Turkish nomads, predominantly Ogus, but also other ethnic groups, pushed into Asia Minor in large numbers. This influx was to increase with the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. After the collapse of the Greater Seljuk Empire, more than 20 small principalities were formed, including the Rumeljuk Sultanate and others. the emirate of the Danischmend in Cappadocia belonged. Another important Turkmen principality was formed by the sons of Karamans, who maintained their position in Konya and the central Taurus until the late 15th century. In the second half of the 12th century the Rumeljuks, whose upper class was strongly influenced by Persian culture, ousted the Danischmend, but also Byzantium, from large parts of their Asian possessions; Asia Minor experienced in the first half of the 13th

After the conquest by the Mongols (1243) and the gradual dissolution of the Anatolian Seljuq Empire, new small Turkish states emerged, including a border principality in northwestern Anatolia under the Ogus tribal leader Ertogrul († 1280) and his son, Osman I. Ghasi (independent prince from around 1300), after which the later empire and its ruling dynasty were named. A major part of the struggle against Byzantium was carried out by him. The Ottomans gradually spread into Asia Minor. In 1326 they conquered Orhan under Osman’s son (1326–60) Prusa (today Bursa), which they established as the capital, crossed the Dardanelles in 1354 and established the first base on European soil near Gallipoli (today Gelibolu).

The real founders of the Ottoman Empire are Murad I (1360–89) and Bajasid I (1389–1402), under whose rule the Ottomans rose to become the leading power in Southeast Europe and Asia Minor. Around 1365 Adrianople (since then Edirne) was conquered and soon afterwards made the capital of the emerging empire. Byzantium had to accept the status of a tributary vassal. When the united armies of the Serbian despots of Macedonia were defeated on the Maritza in 1371, Thrace and Macedonia with Thessaloniki (1378) came into Ottoman possession. After Murad I victory on the Blackbird Field in 1389 over the Serbian prince Lazar I. Hrebeljanović and its allies, Serbia paid tribute to the Ottomans. By 1393 the Ottomans conquered most of Bulgaria and Thessaly. 1394–97 they also established themselves in Attica and the Peloponnese. Constantinople was first included in 1394. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit Homeagerly.

The attempt of a crusader army to free Byzantium from the Turkish embrace was repulsed in 1396 near Nikopolis (today Nikopol, Bulgaria). Bajasid I could now have moved against Hungary, but he turned against Karaman in Asia Minor in 1397. In 1402 the Ottoman army was defeated by Timur near Ankara and the sultan was taken prisoner.

During the second half of the 14th century, the essential foundations of the internal structure of the Ottoman state were also laid. At the head of the state administration stood one, later three or four viziers, of whom the highest ranking (later grand vizier) represented the ruler as the owner of the imperial seal. In addition, chancellors (Nischandschi) and army judges (Kadiasker) had all powers in their areas. Deserved warriors (only later also civil officials) received entire villages as benefices (timar). For this they were obliged to set up feudal riding (sipahi). In addition there was the permanently paid foot troop armed with rifles, the Janissaries.

Despite the overwhelming victory of Timur , the Ottoman Empire remained in its basic structure after an interregnum with battles for the throne of the sons of Bajasid I. Murad II (1421–51) succeeded in completely restoring Ottoman power; in addition, he conquered most of Greece. Further expansions failed because of the resistance organized by the Hungarian general and (since 1445) imperial administrator J. Hunyadi. A last crusade to save Byzantium (from 1441) collapsed in 1444 in the defeat near Varna. After Hunyadi was finally defeated in the second battle on the Blackbird Field in 1448, Sultan Mehmed II was able to(1444–46 and 1451–81) annex the rest of the Byzantine Empire; on May 29, 1453 he finally conquered Constantinople.

Internal consolidation and rise to a great power (1453 to the end of the 16th century)

With Constantinople, the empire received a new capital, which was quickly populated by the resettlement of Muslims and Christians and became the political and economic center of the country. The appointment of Gennadios II as patriarch (inauguration in 1454) meant for the Greek Orthodox Church its continued existence as a religious and civil authority. In the following hundred years the Ottoman Empire achieved its greatest power and expansion (Turkish Wars). The prerequisites were laid by Mehmed II when he annexed Serbia in 1459, Trebizond (now Trabzon) in 1461, Bosnia in 1463 (without Banja Luka and Jajce) and, after Skanderbeg’s death (1468), subjugated Albania (finally 1478/79). The war with Venice in 1463–79 secured rule over Albania. Between 1466 and 1483 there are reports of Turkish invasions in Carinthia. The Ottoman Empire rose to become the dominant naval power in the eastern Mediterranean and was successful in the naval war against Venice from 1499–1503. The Genoese had been expelled from the Black Sea as early as 1459–75; the Khan of the Crimean Tatars (Girai) had to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottomans in 1475. In the same year the principality of Karaman in Central Anatolia was finally subjected.

Turkey History 1