Home / news / The “European” Ottoman Sultanate .. A French reading of the Six-Centuries Empire and its interaction with the Old Continent

The “European” Ottoman Sultanate .. A French reading of the Six-Centuries Empire and its interaction with the Old Continent

The Ottoman history continues to generate controversy in contemporary European discussions. From the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 to the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920; The empire located in the east of the old continent went through many events since its inception in Asia, and the expansion of its political, religious and artistic ambitions, until it reached the heart of Europe.

But the story begins before that; About a thousand years AD, the Ottoman Empire appeared for the first time on the map of world history, as a small principality surrounded by the Seljuk state in the east and the Byzantine Empire in northwest Anatolia, but this small emirate expanded rapidly. It turned into a superpower during the period between 1402 and 1489, and later extended its borders to reach the Danube River in the north and the Euphrates in the east, and it extended its rule over more than 20 nationalities.

‘Sick man’

In an article published in the French newspaper Le Figaro, writer John Seville says that the Treaty of Seville, which was signed 100 years ago, symbolizes the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, which suffered a loss in the war when it aligned itself with the Axis powers, to sign Sultan Mehmed VI This treaty, which reduced Turkey and besieged it within Anatolia only, ended an empire founded more than 6 centuries ago by his Ottoman predecessors.

The writer notes that the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas I, had mentioned in a correspondence to the British ambassador to Saint Petersburg, Sir George Seymour, in 1853 that the Ottoman Empire had become “the sick man of Europe.” Although this phrase remained engraved in the memory of history, Europeans before that – and for a very long time – were trembling in fear in front of this empire.

The author states that the Turks set out from Central Asia at the beginning of the 11th century, to appear in the Anatolia region, then in 1071 the Seljuks (who are Turkish Muslim tribes) managed to emerge victorious from the Battle of Malakkid against the Byzantine Emperor Roman IV Diogenes, which allowed them to establish their feet in Asia. Micro.

By the end of the 13th century, the Seljuk state suffered from internal divisions and conflicts, so Osman, the leader of one of the clans in North Anatolia, was able to take advantage of this circumstance and declare his independence, using the legitimacy he had acquired in fighting the Byzantines. Unbeknownst to him, Othman was then the founder of a dynasty bearing his name.

During the 14th century, Orhan Ibn Uthman was able to control the Bursa and Iznik regions, which are now within the Turkish borders. In 1345, at the invitation of John VI of Cantagosen, the Greek nobleman who was seeking to seize the Byzantine imperial throne; The Ottomans crossed the Dardanelles and subdued Thrace (present-day northwestern Turkey and eastern Greece). Although this was done in the name of the Byzantine Emperor, they took advantage of this step, to take a foothold in the Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkish Canyon Castle) in 1353, becoming the first Turkish land on the European continent.

The decisive battle of Kosovo

By the end of the 14th century, the Ottomans continued to advance at a slow pace, but confident with Sultan Murad I, who established the Janissaries, an elite division of infantry who, when they were children, from their Christian families, and raised them in the teachings of the Islamic religion.

Under Murad I, the Ottomans attacked the Balkans after they were able to conquer the eastern part of Thrace and establish their capital in 1365 in Edirne, then advance into Bulgaria. The Sultan was killed in 1389 during the Battle of Kosovo, but the Serbs were nonetheless defeated and brought under Ottoman rule. In 1396, it was the turn of the Hungarian-Bulgarian, Welsh, Franco-Burgundian-German coalition army and various forces (with the help of a Venetian fleet at sea), as they were defeated in the Battle of Nicopolis, and the Bulgarians also came under the authority of the Turks.

Sultan Bayezid I was able to expand the Ottoman Empire into Anatolia, and ended with the conquest of Serbia and Thessaly (in present-day Greece), and then besieged Constantinople. But he lost the Battle of Ankara in 1402 and died in captivity.

Hagia Sophia becomes a mosque

After about 20 years, another Sultan, Murad II, came to restore the siege of Constantinople. Despite his failure to enter the city, he forced the emperor to make concessions, and then Murad II was able to take control of Thessaloniki in northern Greece in 1430.

In 1440, he imposed a siege on Belgrade (the present-day Serbian capital), but this city resisted fiercely. The king of Poland and Hungary tried to organize a crusade against the Turks with the help of Pope Eugene IV, but they lost against the forces of Murad II in 1444 in the Battle of Varna (present-day eastern Bulgaria on the Black Sea). After that, the Sultan annexed the Greek region of Moria, then crushed the Magyars in the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448, bringing the entire Balkan region under Ottoman rule.

Then came the turn of Mehmed II (the Conqueror), son of Murad II, to end the Byzantine Empire by besieging Constantinople in April 1453 and bombing its walls, and the Ottoman fleet attacked it from the Bosphorus and the Sea of ​​Marmara, and also penetrated from the Golden Horn Canal, and by May 29 1453 the capital surrendered Byzantine.

These developments left Western Europe in shock after the fall of Constantinople, and suddenly Europeans began to feel that the Turks were a great power in the world at that time. In 1458 Constantinople was renamed Istanbul, and Mehmed II made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

This emperor invaded Bosnia, Albania and eastern Anatolia until the Euphrates, and placed his hands on the Trabzon region, then occupied Athens and the regions of the Republic of Genoa and the Republic of Venice in the Aegean Sea. Ultimately, he also captured the Crimea from Genoa, and set his feet in southern Italy by taking control of the city and castle of Otranto.

The Ottoman Empire reached the peak of its power with Sultan Suleiman the First, since with his death in 1566 this empire had come to include Anatolia, Armenia, part of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, Syria, Hejaz, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli. The Sultan’s fleet controlled large parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and could attack all ships sailing under the Christian flag.

On the European continent, the Balkan Peninsula, Greece, the Danube and Transylvania provinces, Eastern Hungary and Crimea were all under Ottoman rule. Christian Europe was no longer united before the Turks, as in 1536, King of France Francois I was looking for an alliance against the Roman Emperor Charles V, so he placed his hand in the hands of Sultan Suleiman.

The author said that this empire, which was born from the confluence of the Islamic faith with the Roman and Byzantine imperial heritage, was one of the greatest countries that influenced the course of history and stood in the way of Europe, but it was exhausted humanly and materially by the external and internal conflicts, and it collapsed with the beginning of the twentieth century.

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