Attempts to gain a foothold in southern Italy (Otranto , 1480) had to be abandoned in 1481. In 1482/83 the Ottomans subjugated Herzegovina, in 1484/1538 they brought Bessarabia and Moldova under their suzerainty. The Armenian highlands became Ottoman up to Lake Van; In 1516/17 Mamluk Syria and Egypt were occupied. The sultan became the patron of the holy places of Islam in Mecca and Medina. Suleyman I, the legislator (1520–66), known in the West as “the Magnificent”, saw himself as the head of the Islamic world (“Caliph of Muslims”). The Turkish sultans had used the title caliph since 1424, but used it more rhetorically.
Süleiman expelled the Order of St. John from Rhodes in 1522/23, in 1521 he crossed the Danube, occupied Belgrade and, after the Battle of Mohács (1526), large parts of Hungary. In 1529 he reached Vienna. Despite several campaigns, Suleymanachieved no resounding success against the Safavids in Persia; Iraq, with Basra as its most important port, became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1538; complete control of the Persian Gulf failed because of the Portuguese blockade at Hormuz. Parts of the Caucasus were conquered; Azerbaijan was only able to hold Suleyman temporarily. His maritime power encompassed the south of the Mediterranean; Cheireddin , Lord of Algiers, entered the service of the Sultan in 1519 and became Grand Admiral of the Ottoman fleet. In 1551 Tripoli, 1570/71 Cyprus, 1572 parts of Yemen and 1574 Tunisia came under Ottoman rule.
The period of external expansion brought with it the internal expansion of the state. Süleiman had the current law codified and created a central state that remained exemplary for centuries. The supporting layer of the state, which was composed of members of the most diverse peoples of the empire (numerous non-Turkish Muslims rose to the highest offices, Köprülü ; Sokollu), supplanted the old Turkish tribal aristocracy. Local feudal lords (derbeis) ruled in many provinces. – The non-Muslim religious communities (Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Jewish; so-called “Millet”) were granted a certain degree of autonomy; however, they were excluded from participating in political decisions. However, its members were free to appeal to Islamic courts. The sultan reserved the appointment of their dignitaries. When the livelihood of the army was no longer secured by the booty gained during the conquests, a considerable budget deficit arose towards the end of Suleyman’sgovernment , which was not evened out by higher tax burdens.
Decline of Ottoman power (late 16th century to 1918)
While Selim II (1566–74) was still able to maintain the power of the empire and, despite the destruction of his fleet at Lepanto in 1571, which was celebrated in Europe, he expanded the Ottoman influence in North Africa (Tunisia), the weakness was already evident under his successors. At the end of a 13-year war with Austria, Sultan Ahmed I had to recognize the emperor as an equal partner in 1606. In the 6th Turkish-Venetian War (1645–69) Crete was conquered, in the war against Poland (1672–76) Podolia and the Polish Ukraine; with the advance to Vienna in 1683 and its unsuccessful siege by Mehmed IV. however, the strength of the Ottoman army was exhausted. The following Great Turkish War (1683–99) with the Holy League of 1684 only ended with the peace treaties of Karlowitz and Constantinople (1699/1700), in which v. a. the Peloponnese and Athens, western Dalmatia, Hungary, the largest part of the since the 15./16. Century with large parts of the Ottoman Empire belonging Croatia with Slavonia, Transylvania, Podolia, the Polish Ukraine and Azov had to be ceded. The first half of the 18th century brought a certain stabilization, although the Ottoman Empire lost further territories in the Peace of Passarowitz in 1718 ; however, the majority of the Greek parts could be recovered.
There was also an internal disintegration. The sultans more and more renounced the actual management of the business of government and (according to Murad IV , 1623-40) active participation in campaigns. The influence of the Janissaries grew; the local rulers in the provinces became more and more independent, revolts weakened the power of the Sublime Porte (the government), corruption grew, and the position of the Greeks (Phanariots) had been strengthened considerably since 1711. The dominant position passed more and more from the military to civil servants. In the “tulip time” (after the special preference of court society for the garden tulip), the Ottoman Empire under Ahmed III. (1703–30) a cultural boom (introduction of printing in 1727, increased translation activity). Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit Localbusinessexplorer.
In the second half of the 18th century, Russia, which had emerged stronger from the wars with Sweden, became the main opponent of the Ottomans. It led, temporarily with Austria, 1768–74 and 1787–92 war against the Ottoman Empire and forced the High Porte in the peace treaties of Kütschük Kainardschi (1774) and Iași (1792) to give up all areas in the north of the Black Sea up to the Dniester (Further territorial losses up to the Prut followed the Russo-Turkish War 1806-12). Both powers were granted protective rights over Christian subjects, which gave them the opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire, while in Kütschük Kainardschi the view of the Sultan as the spiritual head of all Sunni Muslims (Calif) was contractually established.
Selim III. (1789–1807) ushered in a period of reforms that Mahmud II (1808–39) and his successors continued. This led to a reform of the army (elimination of the Janissaries, 1826), which, with the participation of European military advisers (including von Moltke in the 1830s), also brought about European influences in other areas: in administration (Tansimat), Judiciary and legislation, general and secondary education, literature and belief. In addition, there was a first, incomplete attempt to codify Islamic civil law (1869–76). Some of the provinces on the periphery made themselves increasingly independent (such as Egypt). The European powers France, Great Britain and Russia enforced the independence of the Greeks after they won on October 20, 1827 at Navarino had largely destroyed the Turkish-Egyptian fleet. The Russians occupied Ottoman territories in the Balkans and the Caucasus in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29; The Sultan had to recognize the autonomy of Serbia, Moldova and Wallachia as well as the independence of Greece in the Peace of Adrianople in 1829 and in the London Protocol in 1830, and ceded Caucasian territories to Russia. Egypt too sought to increase its power at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, now known as the “sick man on the Bosporus”. It was not until the Quadruple Alliance of London (1840) between Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia forced Egypt to withdraw from Syria and to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan. In 1841 the Dardanelles Treaty (Dardanelles , History) completed.