Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

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The main language in the Middle East is Arabic, however English and French considered as a secondary language. Especially in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon (there are other countries… ) people still use French daily and as a secondary language.

The main question is: When the Ottoman Empire 'conquered' several countries why didn't they force use of their language? The occupation period was long enough, comparable to English and French occupation.

Was the Ottoman colonization different in this relation from French? Or the territory was in some way different than other African territories?

The answer to the question is complex and has to do with cultural prestige, linguistic diversity, religious traditions, and the timing of colonization. English and French were (and continue to be) major languages of modern scholarly literature and people learned them to obtain access to the English or French-language education system (and career opportunities) either in the colonies or in the metropolis. Arabic enjoys similar standing in the Muslim world and is required in religious education just like Latin was in the Catholic world in the past.

So it was Turkish speakers who were exposed to Arabic after adopting Islam and the Ottoman language was enriched with many Arabic words. As a previous post mentioned, Turkish was used as an administrative language in the Levant for four centurieis, but not in the Maghreb, which was ruled by semi-autonomous beys who just paid tribute to the Ottomans.

In the Balkans, the Christian populations had their own literary traditions in languages of Orthodox Christianity (Greek and Slavonic) and administrative positions were generally reserved for Muslims. Even though Christians would learn Turkish to communicate with Muslims, formal education in Arabic and Turkish typically formed part of conversion to Islam, i.e. exiting one culture to enter the other. Modern influences in the Balkans came from Europe, not the Middle East, and Balkan Christian elites typically learnt European languages (French, Italian, Russian or German) to advance their education.

So you have to consider both the conquered population (were they largely illiterate at the time of colonization and did they have a developed native literary culture?) and the conquering population (were they numerous, did they bring a lot of settlers, did they have a developed literary culture or did they adopt that of the conquered peoples, was their culture seen as prestigious and modern?) Compare for example Latin America and the Philippines: they were both colonized and Christianized by Spain, but Spanish speakers were always too few in the Philippines and never supplanted local native speakers, even though the Philippines was colonized for about as long as Latin America.

This answer is for a previous version of the question

France did have extensive colonies in West Africa as well as a colony in Lebanon, but some of the linguistic picture you see today is due to especial effort at the end of the colonial period. Most African colonies achieved independence in the 1950's and 1960's. While the French government reconciled itself to the fact that the colonial age was over and that they would not be directly owning those lands, there was a strong desire to maintain leadership in the region. One of the ways this desire was channeled was into the concept of "la francophonie", meaning the French speaking world with its cultural center in France.

Several of the West African countries have the constitution written in French and their law courts operate based on French civil law. This sometimes has a desirable effect in countries where many languages are in common use as it can provide a useful lingua franca for the government to use, rather than the language of a specific ethnic group.

France also divested itself of its African colonies somewhat more gracefully than the British by passing the Loi Cadre in 1956. It provided a path to independence that, while not completely peaceful, allowed former colonies to associate with France for diplomatic, cultural, and military purposes. The major exception to this is in Algeria, where a very nasty war was fought from 1954 to 1962. Under colonialism, Algeria was classified as "part of France", and so they were very reluctant to let it go. That experience is more similar to the rebellions against British rule in Kenya and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

While there are many former British colonies in Africa (often Commonwealth members) that have adopted English as an official language, there was not the conscious push to weave English as deeply into the life of the nation. Egypt and Sudan had little trouble choosing Arabic as their language of government, and while Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have English as an important official language, much is instead in transacted in Swahili.

While the association with France has not necessarily brought the West African nations peace and prosperity, it has forged a bond that looks like it will continue into the future. The are far closer ties between France and countries like Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire than you would find between the United Kingdom and Tanzania or Uganda. A recent example of this ongoing relationship is when the French military was asked to recapture northern Mali from Islamic separatists in 2013.

For an extensive discussion of French and English language policy in Africa and elsewhere, I recommend the book "Empires of the Word" by Nicholas Ostler.

The Turks did not usually occupy the countries they conquered and did not impose any language requirements. They were completely satisfied as long as the countries paid their taxes. Other than a few Beys, the only Turks around would be tax collector, and perhaps a few soldiers to enforce customs. Remember, too, that most of the countries in the Turkish empire had many different languages to begin with. For example, in Algeria, Arabic, Berber and Tamasheq were just three of the many languages spoken. Turkish was just added to the list.

The French differed because they required knowledge of French for many official functions and the French involved themselves much more heavily in the their colonies beyond mere collection of taxes. In particular, they sponsored large efforts to build schools, all French-speaking.

And one should also keep in mind that Before the Ottoman Empire's capture of the Levant, the Mamluks who ruled the Levant were also of Turkish origin. If you look at the History of the region, you'll see that hundred years after Turks were forced to convert into Islam, they started to establish Turkish led governments with Arabic populations, like Ghaznavids and Tulunids. So they have had some 1200 years to do so. The main reason behind their reluctance in enforcing their language might be based on two aspects. One is that if Turks had turkified Arabs instead of Balkan people, they would also have to include them into modern day Turkey. It would be detrimental because Arabs are not keen to choose secular ways over sharia, this would be a huge blow for the Turkish side. Another point is that France and England were overwhelmingly nationalist at the time of colonization of the Levant, so they might have felt the need to do so, but not until late 19th century the nationalist movement in Ottoman Empire started to gain edge over Islamist ones. The Islamist Ottoman Empire did not care about your tongue or your race as far as you were Muslim, they did not have the national identity to pursuit national goals.

Adoption of languages is based on the populations respect for the ruling language.

The Middle east/North Africa would never have adopted Turkish because it was not seen as being as prestigious as Arabic, nor as expressive.

In contrast every people that the Arabs ruled adopted Arabic except when governments forced people to stop speaking Arabic ( Iberian peninsular etc)

Well actually, Turkish was the central language of The Ottoman Empire and the diverse lands it occupied for over 500 years. In the Balkan region, the Turkish language was spoken rather frequently in various cities and towns and the same could be said for various Middle East and North African countries under Ottoman rule. However, the existence of the Turkish language did not replace the older languages within the Balkan, Middle Eastern and North African regions;the Turkish language existed alongside the older languages of the Balkan, Middle Eastern and North African regions.

The Ottoman Empire, unlike the Spanish Empire, did not eradicate entire languages. The Spanish Empire did eradicate the indigenous Aztecan and Inca languages and supplanted the centuries old languages of the Americas with Spanish. The Ottoman Empire, did not eradicate the languages of its empire, though, one should recognize that Turkish, was an actively spoken and widely communicated language throughout its Empire.

So for example, in the Ottoman occupied Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, there were 3 languages that were commonly spoken and expressed among its population, the city's indigenous and centuries old Greek language, followed by the Turkish language, as well as Ladino-(Judeo-Spanish), due to the city's sizable Sephardic Jewish population. Other Ottoman cities, such as its Capital, Constantinople/Istanbul, as well as Smyrna/Izmir and Alexandria, as well as Cairo in Northern Egypt, were similar to the Thessalonian example-(though one could add Armenian in Constantinople/Istanbul & Smyrna/ Izmir, as well as Coptic and Arabic in Alexandria & Cairo).

Yet, despite the linguistic diversity of these above mentioned major Ottoman era cities, the Turkish language was still, by far The "Lingua Franca" of the Ottoman Empire.

Main keywords of the article below: administration, matters, official, language, used, empire, diplomacy, level, persian, 3, turkish, refined, used:, primary, religious, literature, arabic, art, languages, ottoman.

There were 3 languages used: Arabic that was used as the primary language for religious matters Persian, which was the language of art, of refined literature and diplomacy and on the official level, the Turkish Ottoman that was only used for the administration of the empire. [1] In 1928, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, widespread language reforms (a part in the greater framework of Atatürk's Reforms ) instituted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk saw the replacement of many Persian and Arabic origin loanwords in the language with their Turkish equivalents. [2] It is often claimed that in the Ottoman Empire educated elites seamlessly blended the "three tongues"--Persian for poetry, Arabic for religion, and Turkish for politics--into the syncretic "Ottoman" language. [3] Well actually, Turkish was the central language of The Ottoman Empire and the diverse lands it occupied for over 500 years. [4] The Ottoman Empire, did not eradicate the languages of its empire, though, one should recognize that Turkish, was an actively spoken and widely communicated language throughout its Empire. [4] Despite the linguistic diversity of these above mentioned major Ottoman era cities, the Turkish language was still, by far The "Lingua Franca" of the Ottoman Empire. [4] Tagged: Asia Turkey Middle East Recep Tayyip Erdogan Fatih Seven language Ottoman empire Turkish language Ottoman Turkish history. [5] The main question is: When the Ottoman Empire 'conquered' several countries why didn't they force use of their language? The occupation period was long enough, comparable to English and French occupation. [4] "Language and power in the late Ottoman Empire" (Chapter 7). [6] This panel aims to understand the multiple languages of the Ottoman Empire not as neutral tools, but as significant social and cultural forces that shaped, in myriad and unexpected ways, the empire’s religious, political, and intellectual landscape. [3] The Ottoman Empire, unlike the Spanish Empire, did not eradicate entire languages. [4] The language is most often associated with Islam -- the cornerstone of the Ottoman Empire -- and with what some say is Erdoğan's obsession to push religion on today’s citizens. [5] We invite scholars to submit papers that focus on the agency of language in the Ottoman Empire, with a strong emphasis on the connection between linguistic and social order. [3] Ethnic nationalism, based on distinctive religion and language, provided a centripetal force that eventually destroyed the Ottoman Empire. [7] In the more than six hundred years of the Ottoman Empire, the literary and official language was therefore a mixture of Turkish, Persian and Arabic, which differed considerably from the spoken Turkish of the time and which is now commonly called Ottoman Turkish. [1] It would make little diffference political at least under the empire, the official language of the Ottoman Empire was Ottoman Turkish, which was largely unintelligible to the vast majority of Turkish speakers of the Empire. [8] Ottoman Turkish ( / ˈ ɒ t ə m ə n / Turkish : Osmanlı Türkçesi ), or the Ottoman language (Ottoman Turkish: لسان عثمانى ‎, lis n-ı Osm n", also known as تركجه ‎, Türkçe or تركی ‎, Türk", "Turkish" Turkish : Osmanlıca ), is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire. [2]

How would it have influenced the development of the Ottoman Empire if Arabic was chosen as its official language? I assume here that this would happen during the reign of Selim 1. or his son, Suleiman. [8]

Another thing which reinstates this fact is that the Ottoman Empire language has many features in common with other Turkish languages like Uygur and Tatar which had an even more feeble connection with Arabic. [9] This is the first thing that comes to mind when people speak of Ottoman Empire language. 3. [9] The Ottoman Empire language conserved very archaic pronunciations. [9] The Ottoman Empire language evolved and is still regarded as one of the most beautiful ancient languages. [9] This language was quite obviously a variant of Turkish language which was used in the administrative and literary purposes of the Ottoman Empire. [9] Turkish Sephardic Jews were able to preserve their unique language for centuries within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. [10]

That's because, during the six centuries of the Ottoman Empire, laws, religious texts and literature were written in Arabic script, using a mix of Arabic, Persian and Turkish words -- that's "Ottoman Turkish." [5] From the early ages of the Ottoman Empire, borrowings from Arabic and Persian were so abundant that original Turkish words were hard to find. [2]

The Ottoman Empire ( /ˈɒtəmən/ Devlet-i ʿAlīye-i ʿOsmānīye ), also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. [7] Several historians such as British historian Edward Gibbon and the Greek historian Dimitri Kitzikis have argued that after the fall of Constantinople, the Ottoman state took over the machinery of the Roman state, and that in essence the Ottoman Empire was a continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire under a thin Turkish Islamic guise. [7]

The empire later made Ottoman Turkish the language of the two medical schools. [6] Despite newer added amalgamations, the Ottoman dynasty, like their predecessors in the Sultanate of Rum and the Seljuk Empire, were thoroughly Persianised in their culture, language, habits and customs, and therefore the empire has been described as a Persianate empire. [7] As others have noted, that didnt stop Ottoman Turkish (which is unintelligible with Standard Turkish) from becoming the official language OTL, nor did it stop Persian from becoming official in the non-Persian majority Mughal Empire, nor did that stop Turkish from being the language of court in the Arab-majority Khedivate of Egypt. among dozens of other examples. [8]

"Late Ottoman genocides: the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and Young Turkish population and extermination policies - introduction". [7] The Janissaries had been recruited from Christians and other minorities their abolition enabled the emergence of a Turkish elite to control the Ottoman Empire. [7] Thanks to these works, the conventional narrative of Ottoman history - that in the late sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire entered a prolonged period of decline marked by steadily increasing military decay and institutional corruption - has been discarded. [7] Recently, more note has been taken of the fact that the Ottoman Empire was still a formidable military and political power throughout the seventeenth century, and that noticeable though limited economic recovery followed the crisis of the years around 1600 after the crisis of the 1683-99 war, there followed a longer and more decisive economic upswing. [7] By the late 18th century, after a number of defeats in the wars with Russia, some people in the Ottoman Empire began to conclude that the reforms of Peter the Great had given the Russians an edge, and the Ottomans would have to keep up with Western technology in order to avoid further defeats. [7] The Ottoman Empire was first subdivided into provinces, in the sense of fixed territorial units with governors appointed by the sultan, in the late 14th century. [7] The Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent in Europe, under Sultan Mehmed IV in late 17th century. [7] The organization of the treasury and chancery were developed under the Ottoman Empire more than any other Islamic government and, until the 17th century, they were the leading organization among all their contemporaries. [7] By the mid-19th century, the Ottoman Empire was called the "sick man" by Europeans. [7] The Crimean War (1853-1856) was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining Ottoman Empire. [7] By this time, the Ottoman Empire was a major part of the European political sphere. [7] During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. [7] With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. [7] Before the reforms of the 19th and 20th centuries, the state organisation of the Ottoman Empire was a system with two main dimensions, the military administration and the civil administration. [7] Ahmet Ali Celikten is amongst the first black military pilots in history, clearly showing military diversification in the Ottoman Empire. [7] A rebellion that originated in Moldavia as a diversion was followed by the main revolution in the Peloponnese, which, along with the northern part of the Gulf of Corinth, became the first parts of the Ottoman Empire to achieve independence (in 1829). [7] After the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire was clearly shrinking, as Russia put on heavy pressure and expanded to its south Egypt became effectively independent in 1805 and the British later took it over, along with Cyprus. [7] In the second half of the sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire came under increasing strain from inflation and the rapidly rising costs of warfare that were impacting both Europe and the Middle East. [7] By the time the Ottoman Empire came to an end in 1922, half of the urban population of Turkey was descended from Muslim refugees from Russia. [7] The Grand National Assembly of Turkey promulgated the Republic on 29 October 1923, which ended the Ottoman Empire in history. [7] Toward the end of the Caucasian Wars, 90% of the Circassians were ethnically cleansed and exiled from their homelands in the Caucasus and fled to the Ottoman Empire, resulting in the settlement of 500,000 to 700,000 Circassians in Turkey. [7] Accordingly, King Charles XII of Sweden was welcomed as an ally in the Ottoman Empire following his defeat by the Russians at the Battle of Poltava of 1709 in central Ukraine (part of the Great Northern War of 1700-1721). [7] In 1559, after the first Ajuran-Portuguese war, the Ottoman Empire would later absorb the weakened east African Adal Sultanate into its domain. [7] The first novel published in the Ottoman Empire was by an Armenian named Vartan Pasha. [7] The Ottoman Empire started preparing its first pilots and planes, and with the founding of the Aviation School ( Tayyare Mektebi ) in Yeşilköy on 3 July 1912, the Empire began to tutor its own flight officers. [7] The shipyard at Barrow, England, built its first submarine in 1886 for the Ottoman Empire. [7] In the Ottoman Empire, illuminated and illustrated manuscripts were commissioned by the Sultan or the administrators of the court. [7] Even after land grants under the timar system became inheritable, land ownings in the Ottoman Empire remained highly insecure, and the sultan could and did revoke land grants whenever he wished. [7] Stone also pointed out that despite the fact that Sunni Islam was the state religion, the Eastern Orthodox Church was supported and controlled by the Ottoman state, and in return to accepting that control became the largest land-holder in the Ottoman Empire. [7] Transylvania, Wallachia and, intermittently, Moldavia, became tributary principalities of the Ottoman Empire. [7] France and the Ottoman Empire, united by mutual opposition to Habsburg rule, became strong allies. [7] During the Ottoman Empire (1453

1920), the Turks were one of the many linguistic and ethnic groups living in Turkey. [1] The defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908-1922) began with the Second Constitutional Era, a moment of hope and promise established with the Young Turk Revolution. [7] We hope to include contributions from the full temporal scope of the Ottoman Empire, with a slight preference for the medieval and early modern periods. [3] In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Ottoman Empire entered a period of expansion. [7] In this period, the Ottoman Empire spent only small amounts of public funds on education for example in 1860-61 only 0.2 per cent of the total budget was invested in education. [7] The history of the Ottoman Empire during World War I began with the Ottoman surprise attack on the Russian Black Sea coast on 29 October 1914. [7] Its also archaic for most of the history of the Ottoman Empire to look at it through the lens of linguistic nationalism when in fact it is often defined as a Persianate society despite having a relatively small Iranian population. [8] As the Ottoman Empire gradually shrank in size, some 7-9 million Muslims from its former territories in the Caucasus, Crimea, Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands migrated to Anatolia and Eastern Thrace. [7] The problem was that the economic centre of the Ottoman Empire was the Balkans and Anatolia, it was also where they raised their armies. [8] The modernization of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century started with the military. [7] Another point is that France and England were overwhelmingly nationalist at the time of colonization of the Levant, so they might have felt the need to do so, but not until late 19th century the nationalist movement in Ottoman Empire started to gain edge over Islamist ones. [4] Subjects of the Sultan: culture and daily life in the Ottoman Empire (New ed.). [7] This action provoked the Ottoman Empire into the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774. [7] Romania, fighting on the Russian side, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 after the end of Russo-Turkish War. [7] The war caused an exodus of the Crimean Tatars, about 200,000 of whom moved to the Ottoman Empire in continuing waves of emigration. [7] After this Ottoman expansion, a competition started between the Portuguese Empire and the Ottoman Empire to become the dominant power in the region. [7] Legal administration in the Ottoman Empire was part of a larger scheme of balancing central and local authority. [7] By 1881, the Ottoman Empire agreed to have its debt controlled by an institution known as the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, a council of European men with presidency alternating between France and Britain. [7] The greatest of the court artists enriched the Ottoman Empire with many pluralistic artistic influences, such as mixing traditional Byzantine art with elements of Chinese art. [7] In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants. [11] The Islamist Ottoman Empire did not care about your tongue or your race as far as you were Muslim, they did not have the national identity to pursuit national goals. [4] The Ottoman Empire, or as a dynastic institution, the House of Osman, was unprecedented and unequaled in the Islamic world for its size and duration. [7] Some of these were later absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries. [7] Selim was also responsible for an unprecedented and rapid expansion of the Ottoman Empire into the Middle East, especially through his conquest of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt. [7]

Ottoman Turkish was the major bureaucratic, literary and cultural language of the Ottoman Empire from its inception in the 14th century until its dissolution in 1922. [12] The Sephardic culture and Ladino language were declining as the Ottoman Empire collapsed early in the 20th century. [13] Borrowing extensively in terms of grammar, syntax and vocabulary from Farsi and Arabic, "Ottoman Turkish’ refers to the near hybrid language used by the intellectual elite and imperial bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empire. [12] In contrast to earlier similar projects in the field, Historians of the Ottoman Empire intends to comprise all the historians who have lived and produced within the geographical limits of the Ottoman Empire -- regardless of the language in which they wrote. [14] As Sephardim spread through the Ottoman Empire, they brought their culture and language. [13]

After the emergence of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Orhan promulgated the first official document of the State, the "Mülkname", in Turkish. [15] Turkish spoken in the Ottoman Empire derived from the Oghuz Turkish spoken by the Seljuqs who conquered Iran and swathes of Anatolia in the 11th century. [12] From the Middle Ages to the first decades of the 20 th century, the vast Islamic state known as the Ottoman Empire held sway. [16] Vital for those interested in studying the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turkish is the key with which modern scholars can access the vast corpus of works produced in the Ottoman realm. [12] The Historians of the Ottoman Empire is intended to be a major reference work for scholars and students of the Middle East, North Africa, South-East Europe, and the Caucasus, as well as for non-specialists interested in the histories and cultures of these regions. [14] The expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century led to the creation of a distinct Sephardic Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire until its collapse in the 20th century. [13] Culturally, Sephardic Jews changed under the Ottoman Empire as their traditional education system was replaced by French Jewish schooling. [13] For thousands of years before the resettlement of Sephardim, Greek-speaking Jews lived in the lands of the Ottoman Empire and possessed their own liturgy, customs and culture. [13] By the 19th century major incursions from the West, such as the industrialization of Europe, attacks from Russian armies and the rise of nationalism, began to divide the Ottoman Empire, Rodrigue said. [13]

Ottoman was similar to Persian, however, in that it was a written lingua franca for the governing elite of an empire whose people spoke a variety of different languages and dialects, whether other varieties of Turkish or other languages entirely, such as Greek, Serbian, or Arabic. [17] When Ottoman empire disintegrated millions of people out of todays Turkish borders continue to speak this language, even so not in formal context. [18] Among the numerous Turkic dynasties of Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, only the post-Mongol Anatolian states and then the Ottoman Empire maintained Turkish as a literary language. [19] Ottoman Turkish is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire. [20] Ottoman Turkish was used as the administration and governmental language of the Ottoman Empire, which spread across much of this area. [21] Support:Lisan-ı Osman" will be a great development for wiki! there are over 100 million documents to be archived in language ottoman turkish. since ottoman empire was one of the greatest empires in history, just imagine how useful informations we can learn. [18] Essentially, the language is spoken mostly where the Ottoman Empire used to exist. [21] If in Persia the scribes were the guardians of the stability of the written language, in the Ottoman Empire the scribal class was responsible for its transformations. [17] The language of the Ottoman Empire is linguistically extremely different from modern Turkish. [18] During the six centuries of the Ottoman Empire, the language in which laws, religious texts, and literature were written was called the Ottoman language. [22] Ottoman language was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire (1299 -- 1922). [18]

The older, Ottoman Turkish was a rather rich language, having drawn heavily from Persian and Arabic, and being influenced by the multi-lingual subjects of the Empire, whether Greek or Armenian or Slavic-speaking. [23] Support Ottoman Turkish was the language used by a huge empire that spanned three continents for centuries. [18]

The transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic was one that took place not just in the context of war and bloodshed in Anatolia and Asia Minor, but also a revolution in every sense of the word - political and social, yes, and also cultural and economic, driven by the extreme modernising and progressive vision of Mustafa Kemal. [23] From the 14th through the early 20th century, writing in Turkish flourished in the Ottoman Empire, and it subsequently continued in the Turkish republic. [19] Only until the complex changes in the political, military, cultural, and economic structures of the Ottoman empire at the end of the 10th/16th century are better understood, including the changing role of the sultan within a vast and rapidly developing bureaucratic system, can we find a satisfactory expla-nation for this cultural reorientation. [24] Support -- An Ottoman Turkish Wikipedia is extremely important in providing a historical context to Turkey and the former Ottoman Empire. [18] The ongoing succession struggle with his brother Cem (d. 900/1495), as well as the eagerness of the European powers to exploit this internal conflict with the hopes of a civil war breaking out in the Ottoman empire, made Bayezid II's less than secure. [24]

During the Ottoman Empire period Arabic and Persian words invaded the Turkish language and it consequently became mixed with three different languages. [25] Turkish is also the language spoken at home by people who live in the areas that were governed by the Ottoman Empire. [25] The Turkish language has an intriguing history of development, closely intertwined with the history of the Ottoman Empire. [26] To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkishthe variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empirespread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. [27] Turkish formed the basis for Ottoman Turkish, the written language of the Ottoman Empire. [25] Thanks to the aggressive expansion of the Ottoman Empire, the language of Ottoman Turkish, also known as Osmanli, was disseminated throughout many areas of conquest. [26] The Ottoman Empire had ensured political stability and peace for centuries in the Middle East, minimizing the conflicts potentially inherent in differences of race, ethnicity, nationalism, language and religion. [28] In contrast to earlier similar projects in the field, Historians of the Ottoman Empire intends to comprise all the historians who have lived and produced within the geographical limits of the Ottoman Empire--regardless of the language in which they wrote. [29] Within the vast domains of the Ottoman Empire was a veritable babble of language groups (Turkish was the official language there were at least 35 minority languages), ethnicities and religious affiliations. [28] Throughout the Ottoman Empire, the official language was comprised of a mixture of Turkish, Persian and Arabic, a language known as Ottoman Turkish. [26] Ottoman Turkish / ˈ ɒ t ə m ə n /, or the Ottoman language ( لسان عثمانى ‎ Lis n-ı Osm n" ) (also known as تركچه ‎ Türkçe or تركی ‎ Türk", "Turkish"), is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire bewteen the 13th and 20th centuries. [30]

Christine Woodhead, "An Experiment in Official Historiography: the Post of Shahnāmaguy in the Ottoman Empire, c. 1555-1605," WZKM 75, 1983, pp. 157-82. [24] As Turkey has only recently become independent of the Ottoman Empire, it has spent a lot of money reinventing itself, and investing a large amount of resources into the arts and culture. [21]

When the Ottoman Empire was at its most powerful, Persian and Arabic words made up to 88% of its vocabulary. [30] The Ottoman Empire was founded around 1300 by the regional chieftain Osman ("Uthman" in Arabic). [26] Of course, as history played out, the 1919 treaty of Versailles effectively labeled Germany and its allies, such as the Ottoman Empire, the losers responsible for the devastation and damage of World War I. The victors were primarily Britain and France. [28] Even in the last days of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, there were four veteran mutes who served at the Ottoman court for many years in Babıali. [31] With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the peoples of the Middle East were not allowed self-determination or even much self-rule. [28] The Ottoman Empire controlled one of the most diverse sets of people ever successfully governed. [28] For all its flaws, the Ottoman Empire provided order, peace, stability, cultural continuity and imperial persistence over a bewildering diversity of peoples and persuasions. [28] Within the Ottoman Empire, the Turks had constituted merely one of many linguistic and ethnic groups. [32] Throughout the reign of the Ottoman Empire, massive expansion was undertaken in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. [26] Now, with the death of the Ottoman Empire, the rules that had kept full-scale internal conflict from the Middle East were gone. [28]

One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman (d. 1323/4), a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. [7] Despite military reforms which reconstituted the Ottoman Modern Army, the Empire lost its North African territories and the Dodecanese in the Italo-Turkish War (1911) and almost all of its European territories in the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). [7] Did the empire really identify as Turkic? My impression from what I have read is that the Ottoman elite used the word "Turk" to describe uneducated rural people on the Balkans and that they in no way considered themselves to be Turks, but Ottomans. [8] The Turkish word for "Ottoman" ( Osmanlı ) originally referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, and subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. [7]

During the peak of Ottoman power, Persian and Arabic vocabulary accounted for up to 88% of its vocabulary, while words of Arabic origins heavily outnumbered native Turkish words. [2] The members of the civil, military and religious elites had spoken and conducted their business in the Turkish Ottoman, which was a mixture of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. [1] In the 19th century, Ishak Efendi is credited with introducing the then current Western scientific ideas and developments to the Ottoman and wider Muslim world, as well as the invention of a suitable Turkish and Arabic scientific terminology, through his translations of Western works. [7] Written in Turkish using the Armenian alphabet, the Akabi History (1851) by Vartan Pasha is considered by some to be the first Ottoman novel. [7] It is interesting that the first Ottoman novel in Turkish, Akabi Hikayesi (1851, Akabi's Story), was written and published in Armenian letters (for Armenian communities who read in Turkish) by Hovsep Vartanyan (1813-1879), known as Vartan Paşa, a leading Ottoman man of letters and journalist. [7]

Much of the cuisine of former Ottoman territories today is descended from a shared Ottoman cuisine, especially Turkish, and including Greek, Balkan, Armenian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. [7]

The Ottoman Turks began to absorb the other states, and during the reign (1451-81) of Muhammad II they ended all other local Turkish dynasties. [33] The scholarly community specializing in Ottoman studies has of late virtually banned the use of "Turkey", "Turks", and "Turkish" from acceptable vocabulary, declaring "Ottoman" and its expanded use mandatory and permitting its "Turkish" rival only in linguistic and philological contexts. [7] Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", and "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character. [7] In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were often used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being increasingly favoured both in formal and informal situations. [7] Because of bad relations between the states of western Europe and the later Byzantine Empire, the majority of the Orthodox population accepted Ottoman rule as preferable to Venetian rule. [7] During a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian Empires. [7] The body controlled swaths of the Ottoman economy, and used its position to ensure that European capital continued to penetrate the empire, often to the detriment of local Ottoman interests. [7] In the Battle of Ankara in 1402, Timur defeated the Ottoman forces and took Sultan Bayezid I as a prisoner, throwing the empire into disorder. [7] The Empire faced continuous unrest in the years leading up to World War I, including the Ottoman countercoup of 1909, the 31 March Incident and two further coups in 1912 and 1913. [7] The growth period of the Empire become the classical period of architecture, when Ottoman art was at its most confident. [7] Numerous traditions and cultural traits of previous empires (in fields such as architecture, cuisine, music, leisure and government) were adopted by the Ottoman Turks, who elaborated them into new forms, resulting in a new and distinctively Ottoman cultural identity. [7] After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman Beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. [7] Empire and Power in the reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World. [7] The Ottoman cavalry depended on high speed and mobility rather than heavy armour, using bows and short swords on fast Turkoman and Arabian horses (progenitors of the Thoroughbred racing horse), and often applied tactics similar to those of the Mongol Empire, such as pretending to retreat while surrounding the enemy forces inside a crescent-shaped formation and then making the real attack. [7] The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. [7]

One should also keep in mind that Before the Ottoman Empire's capture of the Levant, the Mamluks who ruled the Levant were also of Turkish origin. [4] This period of renewed assertiveness came to a calamitous end in 1683 when Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha led a huge army to attempt a second Ottoman siege of Vienna in the Great Turkish War of 1683-1699. [7] The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy. [7] The Ottoman constitution of 1876 did officially cement the official imperial status of Turkish. [7] Certain pre-Islamic Turkish traditions that had survived the adoption of administrative and legal practices from Islamic Iran remained important in Ottoman administrative circles. [7] The main sports Ottomans were engaged in were Turkish wrestling, hunting, Turkish archery, horseback riding, equestrian javelin throw, arm wrestling, and swimming. [7]

"Ottoman should be my first language, my mother tongue," he says. [5] The Tanzim t era saw the application of the term "Ottoman" when referring to the language ( لسان عثمانی ‎ lis n-ı Osm n" or عثمانليجه ‎ Osmanlıca ) and the same distinction is made in Modern Turkish ( Osmanlıca and Osmanlı Türkçesi ). [2]

When compared to the Turkish folk culture, the influence of these new cultures in creating the culture of the Ottoman elite was clear. [7] Besides the mosque, it is also possible to find good examples of Ottoman architecture in soup kitchens, theological schools, hospitals, Turkish baths and tombs. [7] Many common dishes in the region, descendants of the once-common Ottoman cuisine, include yogurt, döner kebab / gyro / shawarma, cacık /tzatziki, ayran, pita bread, feta cheese, baklava, lahmacun, moussaka, yuvarlak, köfte /keftés/kofta, börek /boureki, rakı / rakia / tsipouro / tsikoudia, meze, dolma, sarma, rice pilaf, Turkish coffee, sujuk, kashk, keşkek, manti, lavash, kanafeh, and more. [7] Ottoman was not instantly transformed into the Turkish of today. [2]

In the past fifty years, scholars have frequently tended to view this decreasing participation of the sultan in political life as evidence for "Ottoman decadence," which supposedly began at some time during the second half of the sixteenth century. [7] The Ottoman economy greatly expanded during the Early Modern Period, with particularly high growth rates during first half of the eighteenth century. [7]

Ottoman classical music arose largely from a confluence of Byzantine music, Armenian music, Arabic music, and Persian music. [7] In Ottoman, one may find whole passages in Arabic and Persian incorporated into the text. [2] In 1660 the Ottoman scholar Ibrahim Efendi al-Zigetvari Tezkireci translated No"l Duret's French astronomical work (written in 1637) into Arabic. [7] In 1861, there were 571 primary and 94 secondary schools for Ottoman Christians with 140,000 pupils in total, a figure that vastly exceeded the number of Muslim children in school at the same time, who were further hindered by the amount of time spent learning Arabic and Islamic theology. [7] In the Ottoman imperial system, even though there existed a hegemonic power of Muslim control over the non-Muslim populations, non-Muslim communities had been granted state recognition and protection in the Islamic tradition. [7]

Ottoman architecture was influenced by Persian, Byzantine Greek and Islamic architectures. [7] During the Ottoman period, especially the poetry Diwan, it was strongly influenced by the influence of Persian forms, through the adoption of the meters of Persian poetry and the contribution of a large number of Persian terms. [1] In the east, the Ottoman Turks took Baghdad from the Persians in 1535, gaining control of Mesopotamia and naval access to the Persian Gulf. [7] Ottoman Muslim elites often called themselves Turks (including many who were not actually Turks), and used "Turk" as a synonym for the whole Muslim community. [8] The tradition of Ottoman miniatures, painted to illustrate manuscripts or used in dedicated albums, was heavily influenced by the Persian art form, though it also included elements of the Byzantine tradition of illumination and painting. [7] By this partitioning of the Caucasus as signed in the Peace of Amasya, Western Armenia, western Kurdistan, and Western Georgia (incl. western Samtskhe ) fell into Ottoman hands, while southern Dagestan, Eastern Armenia, Eastern Georgia, and Azerbaijan remained Persian. [7] The discovery of new maritime trade routes by Western European states allowed them to avoid the Ottoman trade monopoly. [7] I dont think the Ottoman use of Arabic would make it Arabic state anymore than the Austrians use of Latin made it a Italian state. [8] Other Ottoman cities, such as its Capital, Constantinople/Istanbul, as well as Smyrna/Izmir and Alexandria, as well as Cairo in Northern Egypt, were similar to the Thessalonian example-(though one could add Armenian in Constantinople/Istanbul & Smyrna/ Izmir, as well as Coptic and Arabic in Alexandria & Cairo). [4] Similar millets were established for the Ottoman Jewish community, who were under the authority of the Haham Başı or Ottoman Chief rabbi the Armenian Orthodox community, who were under the authority of a head bishop and a number of other religious communities as well. [7] During this time, major atrocities were committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks. [7] In 1555, the Caucasus became officially partitioned for the first time between the Safavids and the Ottomans, a status quo that would remain until the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1768-74). [7] In 1867, Britain and France forced the Ottoman military to retreat from northern Serbia, securing its de facto independence (formalized after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and the Congress of Berlin in 1878.) [7]

There an invisible sultan hidden behind curtains would communicate through formal gestures with the pages and officials of his entourage," writes Oleg Grabar, a prominent scholar of Ottoman art history. [11] Over the course of Ottoman history, the Ottomans managed to build a large collection of libraries complete with translations of books from other cultures, as well as original manuscripts. [7] Studies on Ottoman social and political history: selected articles and essays. [6]

In the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over Anatolia and the Balkans. [7] The Ottomans developed an efficient system for counting the empire's population in 1826, a quarter of a century after such methods were introduced in Britain, France and America. [7] The Ottoman Navy vastly contributed to the expansion of the Empire's territories on the European continent. [7] Starting with the loss of Greece in 1821 and Algeria in 1830, Ottoman naval power and control over the Empire's distant overseas territories began to decline. [7]

It ended when Mehmed I emerged as the sultan and restored Ottoman power, bringing an end to the Interregnum, also known as the Fetret Devri. [7] Sultan Mehmet II ordered Georgios Amiroutzes, a Greek scholar from Trabzon, to translate and make available to Ottoman educational institutions the geography book of Ptolemy. [7] Sultan Abdülaziz (reigned 1861-1876) attempted to reestablish a strong Ottoman navy, building the largest fleet after those of Britain and France. [7] The highest position in Islam, caliphate, was claimed by the sultans starting with Murad I, which was established as Ottoman Caliphate. [7] The Ottoman Islamic legal system was set up differently from traditional European courts. [7] In the early 19th century, Ottoman Egypt had an advanced economy, with a per-capita income comparable to that of leading Western European countries such as France, and higher than the overall average income of Europe and Japan. [7] Due to historically close ties with France, French literature came to constitute the major Western influence on Ottoman literature throughout the latter half of the 19th century. [7]

Until the 19th century, Ottoman prose did not contain any examples of fiction: there were no counterparts to, for instance, the European romance, short story, or novel. [7] In many cases, Christians and also Jews were able to gain protection from European consuls and citizenship, meaning they were protected from Ottoman law and not subject to the same economic regulations as their Muslim comrades. [7] The Ottoman system had three court systems: one for Muslims, one for non-Muslims, involving appointed Jews and Christians ruling over their respective religious communities, and the "trade court". [7] During the period from 1821 to 1922 alone, Justin McCarthy estimates that the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Muslims led to the death of several million individuals and the expulsion of a similar number. [7] During the years of the Stagnation period, Ottoman architecture moved away from this style, however. [7] There were several important Ottoman victories in the early years of the war, such as the Battle of Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut. [7] The Ottoman Constitution and Parliament were restored 30 years later with the Young Turk Revolution in 1908. [7] Modern Ottoman studies indicate that the change in relations between the Ottoman Turks and central Europe was caused by the opening of the new sea routes. [7] After further advances by the Turks, the Habsburg ruler Ferdinand officially recognized Ottoman ascendancy in Hungary in 1547. [7] The Ottoman Turks began using falconets, which were short but wide cannons, during the Siege of Constantinople. [7] Following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress sought to develop a strong Ottoman naval force. [7] The Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, widely regarded as the last large-scale crusade of the Middle Ages, failed to stop the advance of the victorious Ottoman Turks. [7]

Aside from the loss of the Banat and the temporary loss of Belgrade (1717-39), the Ottoman border on the Danube and Sava remained stable during the eighteenth century. [7] One school of thought which was popular during the twentieth century argued that the Ottomans achieved success by rallying religious warriors to fight for them in the name of Islam. [7] It was a part of the Ottoman Book Arts together with the Ottoman miniature ( taswir ), calligraphy ( hat ), Islamic calligraphy, bookbinding ( cilt ) and paper marbling ( ebru ). [7] According to Ottoman understanding, the state's primary responsibility was to defend and extend the land of the Muslims and to ensure security and harmony within its borders in the overarching context of orthodox Islamic practice and dynastic sovereignty. [7] This resulted in around 400,000 Muslims fleeing with the retreating Ottoman armies (with many dying from cholera brought by the soldiers), and with some 400,000 non-Muslims fleeing territory still under Ottoman rule. [7] Death and exile: the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922. [7]

It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their neighbours, due to the scarcity of the sources which survive from this period. [7] Part of the Ottoman territories in the Balkans (such as Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Kosovo) were temporarily lost after 1402 but were later recovered by Murad II between the 1430s and 1450s. [7] Ottoman classical music was an important part of the education of the Ottoman elite. [7] Intercultural marriages also played a part in creating the characteristic Ottoman elite culture. [7] Slavery was a part of Ottoman society, with most slaves employed as domestic servants. [7] This diversity was, in part, due to the Tanzimat writers' wish to disseminate as much of the new literature as possible, in the hopes that it would contribute to a revitalization of Ottoman social structures. [7]

The Ottomans consequently suffered severe military defeats in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. [7] The Köprülü Vizierate saw renewed military success with authority restored in Transylvania, the conquest of Crete completed in 1669, and expansion into Polish southern Ukraine, with the strongholds of Khotyn and Kamianets-Podilskyi and the territory of Podolia ceding to Ottoman control in 1676. [7] The Ottoman military was a complex system of recruiting and fief-holding. [7]

The officially accepted state Dīn ( Madh'hab ) of the Ottomans was Sunni ( Hanafi jurisprudence ). [7] Another example is Ali Qushji - an astronomer, mathematician and physicist originally from Samarkand - who became a professor in two madrasas and influenced Ottoman circles as a result of his writings and the activities of his students, even though he only spent two or three years in Istanbul before his death. [7] These pressures led to a series of crises around the year 1600, placing great strain upon the Ottoman system of government. [7]

Throughout Ottoman history, there were many instances in which local governors acted independently, and even in opposition to the ruler. [7] "Ottoman History Writing and Changing Attitudes towards the Notion of 'Decline.'" [7]

The Long War against Habsburg Austria (1593-1606) created the need for greater numbers of Ottoman infantry equipped with firearms, resulting in a relaxation of recruitment policy. [7] Following the attack, Russia and its allies, France and Britain, declared war on the Ottomans. [7]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(34 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)



During the classical period, the Romans interacted with, and later conquered, parts of Mauretania, a state that covered modern northern Morocco, western Algeria, and the Spanish cities Ceuta and Melilla. [11] The Berber tribes of the region were noted in the Classics as Mauri, which was subsequently rendered as "Moors" in English and in related variations in other European languages. [12] Mauri (Μαῦροι) is recorded as the native name by Strabo in the early 1st century. This appellation was also adopted into Latin, whereas the Greek name for the tribe was Maurusii (Ancient Greek: Μαυρούσιοι ). [13] The Moors were also mentioned by Tacitus as having revolted against the Roman Empire in 24 AD. [14]

During the Latin Middle Ages, Mauri was used to refer to Berbers and Arabs in the coastal regions of Northwest Africa. [15] The 16th century scholar Leo Africanus (c. 1494–1554) identified the Moors (Mauri) as the native Berber inhabitants of the former Roman Africa Province (Roman Africans). He described Moors as one of five main population groups on the continent alongside Egyptians, Abyssinians (Abassins), Arabians and Cafri (Cafates). [1]

Modern meanings

In medieval Romance languages, variations of the Latin word for the Moors (for instance, Italian and Spanish: moro, French: maure, Portuguese: mouro, Romanian: maur) developed different applications and connotations. The term initially denoted a specific Berber people in western Libya, but the name acquired more general meaning during the medieval period, associated with "Muslim", similar to associations with "Saracens". During the context of the Crusades and the Reconquista, the term Moors included the derogatory suggestion of "infidels".

Apart from these historic associations and context, Moor and Moorish designate a specific ethnic group speaking Hassaniya Arabic. They inhabit Mauritania and parts of Algeria, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, and Mali. In Niger and Mali, these peoples are also known as the Azawagh Arabs, after the Azawagh region of the Sahara. [16]

The authoritative dictionary of the Spanish language does not list any derogatory meaning for the word moro, a term generally referring to people of Maghrebian origin in particular or Muslims in general. [17] Some authors have pointed out that in modern colloquial Spanish use of the term moro is derogatory for Moroccans in particular [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] and Muslims in general.

In the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, many modern Filipinos call the large, local Muslim minority concentrated in Mindanao and other southern islands Moros. The word is a catch-all term, as Moro may come from several distinct ethno-linguistic groups such as the Maranao people. The term was introduced by Spanish colonisers, and has since been appropriated by Filipino Muslims as an endonym, with many self-identifying as members of the Bangsamoro "Moro Nation".

Moreno can mean "dark-skinned" in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and the Philippines. Also in Spanish, morapio is a humorous name for "wine", especially that which has not been "baptized" or mixed with water, i.e., pure unadulterated wine. Among Spanish speakers, moro came to have a broader meaning, applied to both Filipino Moros from Mindanao, and the moriscos of Granada. Moro refers to all things dark, as in "Moor", moreno, etc. It was also used as a nickname for instance, the Milanese Duke Ludovico Sforza was called Il Moro because of his dark complexion. [23]

In Portugal, mouro (feminine, moura) may refer to supernatural beings known as enchanted moura, where "Moor" implies "alien" and "non-Christian". These beings were siren-like fairies with golden or reddish hair and a fair face. They were believed to have magical properties. [24] From this root, the name moor is applied to unbaptized children, meaning not Christian. [25] [26] In Basque, mairu means moor and also refers to a mythical people. [27]

Muslims located in South Asia were distinguished by the Portuguese historians into two groups: Mouros da Terra ("Moors of the Land") and the Mouros da Arabia/Mouros de Meca ("Moors from Arabia/Mecca" or "Paradesi Muslims"). [28] [29] The Mouros da Terra were either descendants of any native convert (mostly from any of the former lower or untouchable castes) to Islam or descendants of a marriage alliance between a Middle Eastern individual and an Indian woman.

Within the context of Portuguese colonization, in Sri Lanka (Portuguese Ceylon), Muslims of Arab origin are called Ceylon Moors, not to be confused with "Indian Moors" of Sri Lanka (see Sri Lankan Moors). Sri Lankan Moors (a combination of "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors") make up 12% of the population. The Ceylon Moors (unlike the Indian Moors) are descendants of Arab traders who settled there in the mid-6th century. When the Portuguese arrived in the early 16th century, they labelled all the Muslims in the island as Moors as they saw some of them resembling the Moors in North Africa. The Sri Lankan government continues to identify the Muslims in Sri Lanka as "Sri Lankan Moors", sub-categorised into "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors". [30]

The Goan Muslims — a minority community who follow Islam in the western Indian coastal state of Goa — are commonly referred as Moir (Konkani: मैर ) by Goan Catholics and Hindus. [a] Moir is derived from the Portuguese word mouro ("Moor").

In the late 7th and early 8th centuries CE, the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, established after the death of Muhammad, underwent a period of rapid growth. In 647 CE, 40,000 Arabs forced the Byzantine governor of northern Africa to submit and pay tribute, but failed to permanently occupy the region. [31] After an interlude, during which the Muslims fought a civil war, the invasions resumed in 665, seizing Byzantine North Africa up to Bugia over the course of a series of campaigns, lasting until 689. A Byzantine counterattack largely expelled the Arabs but left the region vulnerable. Intermittent war over the inland provinces of North Africa continued for the next two decades. Further civil war delayed the continuation of further conquest, but an Arab assault took Carthage and held it against a Byzantine counterattack.

Although a Christian and pagan Berber rebellion pushed out the Arabs temporarily, the Romanized urban population preferred the Arabs to the Berbers and welcomed a renewed and final conquest that left northern Africa in Muslim hands by 698. Over the next decades, the Berber and urban populations of northern Africa gradually converted to Islam, although for separate reasons. [32] The Arabic language was also adopted. Initially, the Arabs required only vassalage from the local inhabitants rather than assimilation, a process which took a considerable time. [32] The groups that inhabited the Maghreb following this process became known collectively as Moors. Although the Berbers would later expel the Arabs from the Maghreb and form temporarily independent states, that effort failed to dislodge the usage of the collective term.

Modern use in parts of the Maghreb

The term has been applied at times to urban and coastal populations of the Maghreb, the term in these regions nowadays is rather used to denote the Arab-Berber populations (occasionally somewhat mixed-race) living in Western Sahara, and Hassaniya-speaking populations, mainly in Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Northwestern Mali. [ citation needed ]

In 711 the Islamic Arabs and Moors of Berber descent in northern Africa crossed the Strait of Gibraltar onto the Iberian Peninsula, and in a series of raids they conquered Visigothic Christian Hispania. [35] Their general, Tariq ibn Ziyad, brought most of Iberia under Islamic rule in an eight-year campaign. They continued northeast across the Pyrenees Mountains but were defeated by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. [36]

The Maghreb fell into a civil war in 739 that lasted until 743 known as the Berber Revolt. The Berbers revolted against the Umayyads, putting an end to Eastern dominion over the Maghreb. Despite racial tensions, Arabs and Berbers intermarried frequently. A few years later, the Eastern branch of the Umayyad dynasty was dethroned by the Abbasids and the Umayyad Caliphate overthrown in the Abbasid revolution (746-750). Abd al-Rahman I, who was of Arab-Berber lineage, managed to evade the Abbasids and flee to the Maghreb and then Iberia, where he founded the Emirate of Córdoba and the Andalusian branch of the Umayyad dynasty. The Moors ruled northern Africa and Al-Andalus for several centuries thereafter. [37] Ibn Hazm, the polymath, mentions that many of the Caliphs in the Umayyad Caliphate and the Caliphate of Córdoba were blond and had light eyes. [38] Ibn Hazm mentions that he preferred blondes, and notes that there was much interest in blondes in al-Andalus amongst the rulers and regular Muslims:

All the Caliphs of the Banu Marwan (God have mercy on their souls!), and especially the sons of al-Nasir, were without variation or exception disposed by nature to prefer blondes. I have myself seen them, and known others who had seen their forebears, from the days of al-Nasir's reign down to the present day every one of them has been fair-haired, taking after their mothers, so that this has become a hereditary trait with them all but Sulaiman al-Zafir (God have mercy on him!), whom I remember to have had black ringlets and a black beard. As for al-Nasir and al-Hakam al-Mustansir (may God be pleased with them!), I have been informed by my late father, the vizier, as well as by others, that both of them were blond and blue-eyed. The same is true of Hisham al-Mu'aiyad, Muhammad al-Mahdi, and `Abd al-Rahman al-Murtada (may God be merciful to them all!) I saw them myself many times, and had the honour of being received by them, and I remarked that they all had fair hair and blue eyes. [39]

The languages spoken in the parts of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule were Andalusian Arabic and Mozarabic they became extinct after the expulsion of the Moriscos, but Arabic language influence on the Spanish language can still be found today. The Muslims were resisted in parts of the Iberian Peninsula in areas of the northwest (such as Asturias, where they were defeated at the battle of Covadonga) and the largely Basque Country in the Pyrenees. Though the number of Moorish colonists was small, many native Iberian inhabitants converted to Islam. By 1000, according to Ronald Segal, some 5,000,000 of Iberia's 7,000,000 inhabitants, most of them descended from indigenous Iberian converts, were Muslim. There were also Sub-Saharan Africans who had been absorbed into al-Andalus to be used as soldiers and slaves. The Berber and Sub-Saharan African soldiers were known as "tangerines" because they were imported through Tangier. [40] [41]

The Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed in 1031 and the Islamic territory in Iberia fell under the rule of the Almohad Caliphate in 1153. This second stage was guided by a version of Islam that left behind the more tolerant practices of the past. [42] Al-Andalus broke up into a number of taifas (fiefs), which were partly consolidated under the Caliphate of Córdoba.

The Kingdom of Asturias, a small northwestern Christian Iberian kingdom, initiated the Reconquista ("Reconquest") soon after the Islamic conquest in the 8th century. Christian states based in the north and west slowly extended their power over the rest of Iberia. The Kingdom of Navarre, the Kingdom of Galicia, the Kingdom of León, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Kingdom of Aragon, the Marca Hispánica, and the Crown of Castile began a process of expansion and internal consolidation during the next several centuries under the flag of Reconquista. In 1212, a coalition of Christian kings under the leadership of Alfonso VIII of Castile drove the Muslims from Central Iberia. The Portuguese side of the Reconquista ended in 1249 with the conquest of the Algarve (Arabic: الغرب ‎ – al-Gharb) under Afonso III. He was the first Portuguese monarch to claim the title "King of Portugal and the Algarve".

The Moorish Kingdom of Granada continued for three more centuries in southern Iberia. On 2 January 1492, the leader of the last Muslim stronghold in Granada surrendered to the armies of a recently united Christian Spain (after the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile, the "Catholic Monarchs"). The Moorish inhabitants received no military aid or rescue from other Muslim nations. [43] The remaining Jews were also forced to leave Spain, convert to Roman Catholic Christianity, or be killed for refusing to do so. In 1480, to exert social and religious control, Isabella and Ferdinand agreed to allow the Inquisition in Spain. The Muslim population of Granada rebelled in 1499. The revolt lasted until early 1501, giving the Castilian authorities an excuse to void the terms of the Treaty of Granada (1491). In 1501, Castilian authorities delivered an ultimatum to the Muslims of Granada: they could either convert to Christianity or be expelled.

The Inquisition was aimed mostly at Jews and Muslims who had overtly converted to Christianity but were thought to be practicing their faiths secretly. They were respectively called marranos and moriscos. However, in 1567 King Philip II directed Moriscos to give up their Arabic names and traditional dress, and prohibited the use of Arabic. In reaction, there was a Morisco uprising in the Alpujarras from 1568 to 1571. In the years from 1609 to 1614, the government expelled Moriscos. The historian Henri Lapeyre estimated that this affected 300,000 out of an estimated total of 8 million inhabitants. [44]

Some Muslims converted to Christianity and remained permanently in Iberia. This is indicated by a "high mean proportion of ancestry from North African (10.6%)" that "attests to a high level of religious conversion (whether voluntary or enforced), driven by historical episodes of social and religious intolerance, that ultimately led to the integration of descendants." [45] [46] According to historian Richard A. Fletcher, [47] "the number of Arabs who settled in Iberia was very small. 'Moorish' Iberia does at least have the merit of reminding us that the bulk of the invaders and settlers were Moors, i.e., Berbers from Algeria and Morocco."

In the meantime, Spanish and Portuguese expeditions westward from the New World spread Christianity to India, the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, and the Philippines. By 1521, the ships of Magellan had reached that island archipelago, which they named Las Islas Filipinas, after Philip II of Spain. In Mindanao, the Spaniards named the kris-bearing people as Moros or 'Moors'. Today this ethnic group in Mindanao, who are generally Filipino Muslim, are called "Moros".

The first Muslim conquest of Sicily began in 827, though it was not until 902 that almost the entire island was in the control of the Aghlabids, with the exception of some minor strongholds in the rugged interior. During that period some parts of southern Italy fell under Muslim control, most notably the port city of Bari, which formed the Emirate of Bari from 847–871. In 909, the Aghlabids was replaced by the Isma'ili rulers of the Fatimid Caliphate. [ citation needed ] Four years later, the Fatimid governor was ousted from Palermo when the island declared its independence under Emir Ahmed ibn-Kohrob. The language spoken in Sicily under Muslim rule was Siculo-Arabic.

In 1038, a Byzantine army under George Maniakes crossed the strait of Messina. This army included a corps of Normans that saved the situation in the first clash against the Muslims from Messina. After another decisive victory in the summer of 1040, Maniaces halted his march to lay siege to Syracuse. Despite his success, Maniaces was removed from his position, and the subsequent Muslim counter-offensive reconquered all the cities captured by the Byzantines.

The Norman Robert Guiscard, son of Tancred, invaded Sicily in 1060. The island was split between three Arab emirs, and the Christian population in many parts of the island rose up against the ruling Muslims. One year later, Messina fell, and in 1072 Palermo was taken by the Normans. The loss of the cities, each with a splendid harbor, dealt a severe blow to Muslim power on the island. Eventually all of Sicily was taken. In 1091, Noto in the southern tip of Sicily and the island of Malta, the last Arab strongholds, fell to the Christians. Islamic authors noted the tolerance of the Norman kings of Sicily. Ali ibn al-Athir wrote: "They [the Muslims] were treated kindly, and they were protected, even against the Franks. Because of that, they had great love for King Roger." [48]

The Muslim problem characterized Hohenstaufen rule in Sicily under Holy Roman Emperors Henry VI and his son, Frederick II. Many repressive measures were introduced by Frederick II to appease the popes, who were intolerant of Islam in the heart of Christendom. This resulted in a rebellion by Sicilian Muslims, which in turn triggered organized resistance and systematic reprisals and marked the final chapter of Islam in Sicily. The complete eviction of Muslims and the annihilation of Islam in Sicily was completed by the late 1240s when the final deportations to Lucera took place. [49]

The remaining population of Sicilian Muslims converted to Catholicism due to the incentives put in place by Fredrich II. [50] Some Muslims from Lucera would also later convert due to oppression on the mainland and had their property returned to them and returned to Sicily.

During the reigns of Frederick II as well as his son, Manfred, a large amount of Muslims were brought, as slaves, to farm lands and perform domestic labor. Enslaved persons in Sicily were not afforded the same privileges as the Muslims in mainland Italy. [51] The trend of importing a considerable amount of slaves from the Muslim world did not stop with the Hohenstaufen but was amplified under the Aragonese and Spanish crowns, and was in fact continued until as late as 1838 [52] [53] [54] The majority of which would also come receive the label 'Moors' [55] [56]

Moorish architecture is the articulated Islamic architecture of northern Africa and parts of Spain and Portugal, where the Moors were dominant between 711 and 1492. The best surviving examples of this architectural tradition are the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba and the Alhambra in Granada (mainly 1338–1390), [57] as well as the Giralda in Seville (1184). [58] Other notable examples include the ruined palace city of Medina Azahara (936–1010) and the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, now a church, in Toledo, the Aljafería in Zaragoza and baths such as those at Ronda and Alhama de Granada.

Corruption and nepotism

Because the sultans no longer could control the devşirme by setting it against the Turkish notables, the devşirme gained control of the sultans and used the government for its own benefit rather than for the benefit of a sultan or his empire. In consequence, corruption and nepotism took hold at all levels of administration. In addition, with the challenge of the notables gone, the devşirme class itself broke into countless factions and parties, each working for its own advantage by supporting the candidacy of a particular imperial prince and forming close alliances with corresponding palace factions led by the mothers, sisters, and wives of each prince. After Süleyman, therefore, accession and appointments to positions came less as the result of ability than as a consequence of the political maneuverings of the devşirme-harem political parties. Those in power found it more convenient to control the princes by keeping them uneducated and inexperienced, and the old tradition by which young princes were educated in the field was replaced by a system in which all the princes were isolated in the private apartments of the harem and limited to such education as its permanent inhabitants could provide. In consequence, few of the sultans after Süleyman had the ability to exercise real power, even when circumstances might have given them the opportunity. But the lack of ability did not affect the sultans’ desire for power lacking the means developed by their predecessors to achieve that end, they developed new ones. Selim II (ruled 1566–74 known as “the Sot” or “the Blonde”) and Murad III (1574–95) both gained power by playing off the different factions and by weakening the office of grand vizier, the main administrative vehicle for factional and party influence in the declining Ottoman state. As the grand viziers lost their dominant position following the downfall of Mehmed Sokollu (served 1565–79), power fell first into the hands of the women of the harem, during the “Sultanate of the Women” (1570–78), and then into the grasp of the chief Janissary officers, the agas, who dominated from 1578 to 1625. No matter who controlled the apparatus of government during that time, however, the results were the same—a growing paralysis of administration throughout the empire, increasing anarchy and misrule, and the fracture of society into discrete and increasingly hostile communities.

How Turkish TV is taking over the world

‘The first agreement we should make is: don’t call them soap operas,” Dr Arzu Ozturkmen, who teaches oral history at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, scolds me. “We are very much against this.” What Turkey produces for television are not soap operas, or telenovelas, or period dramas: they are dizi. They are a “genre in progress”, declares Ozturkmen, with unique narratives, use of space and musical scores. And they are very, very popular.

Thanks to international sales and global viewership, Turkey is second only to the US in worldwide TV distribution – finding huge audiences in Russia, China, Korea and Latin America. At present, Chile is the largest consumer of dizi in terms of number of shows sold, while Mexico, then Argentina, pay the most to buy them.

Dizi are sweeping epics, with each episode usually running to two hours or longer. Advertising time is cheap in Turkey and the state broadcasting watchdog mandates that every 20 minutes of content be broken up by seven minutes of commercials. Every dizi has its own original soundtrack, and can have up to 50 major characters. They tend to be filmed on location in the heart of historic Istanbul, using studios only when they must.

Dizi storylines, which have covered everything from gang rape to scheming Ottoman queens, are “Dickens and the Brontë sisters”, I am told by Eset, a young Istanbul screenwriter and film-maker. “We tell at least two versions of the Cinderella story per year on Turkish TV. Sometimes Cinderella is a 35-year-old single woman with a child sometimes she’s a 22-year-old starving actress.” Eset, who worked on perhaps the most famous dizi, Magnificent Century, recounts the narrative themes that dizi are usually loyal to:

You can’t put a gun in your hero’s hand.

The centre of any drama is the family.

An outsider will always journey into a socio-economic setting that is the polar opposite of their own, eg moving from a village to the city.

The heart-throb has had his heart broken and is tragically closed to love.

Nothing beats a love triangle.

Dizi are built, Eset insists, on the altar of “communal yearning”, both for the audience and the characters. “We want to see the good guy with the good girl, but, dammit, life is bad and there are bad characters around.”

According to Izzet Pinto, the founder of the Istanbul-based Global Agency, which bills itself as the “world’s leading independent TV content distributor for global markets”, the upward course of dizi imperialism began with 2006’s Binbir Gece (1001 Nights). At the time, another Turkish show, Gümüs (Silver), was already a hit in the Middle East, but it was 1001 Nights that became a truly global success. Wherever 1001 Nights was sold – in almost 80 countries – it was a ratings smash.

The show featured a blue-eyed Turkish dreamboat, Halit Ergenç, who would go on to star in the lead role of Magnificent Century. Based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, the 10th Ottoman Sultan, Magnificent Century told the story of the sultan’s love affair with a concubine named Hurrem, whom he married, in a major break with tradition. A largely unknown historical figure, Hurrem is believed to have been an Orthodox Christian from modern-day Ukraine.

When it first aired in Turkey in 2011, Magnificent Century claimed one-third of the country’s TV audience. The foreign press called it an “Ottoman-era Sex and the City” and compared it to a real-life Game of Thrones. It had multiple historical consultants and a production team of 130, with 25 people working on costumes alone.

Magnificent Century was so popular in the Middle East that Arab tourism to Istanbul skyrocketed. Turkey’s minister of culture and tourism even stopped charging certain Arab countries broadcasting fees. Global Agency estimates that, even without counting its most recent buyers in Latin America, Magnificent Century has been seen by more than 500 million people worldwide. It was the first dizi bought by Japan. Since 2002, about 150 Turkish dizi have been sold to more than 100 countries, including Algeria, Morocco and Bulgaria. It was Magnificent Century that blazed the way for others to follow.

The international success of such dizi is just one sign of the way new forms of mass culture from the east – from Bollywood to K-pop – are challenging the dominance of American pop culture in the 21st century. Ergenç feels that the runaway success of the dizi is partly due to the fact that American TV is entertaining, but not moving. “They don’t touch the feelings that make us human,” he tells me, nursing a cold cup of coffee, when we meet in Istanbul. Turkey’s gaze was once keenly turned to the west, studying its films and television for clues about how to behave in a modern, fast-paced world, but today, American shows offer little guidance.

“I was thinking of one American TV series – let’s not say its name. The philosophy of the series was being lonely. Being, um … ” – he searches for the polite word – “multi-partner at the same time, and searching for happiness. And all the people who were watching those series were very excited about it.” I can only guess he is referring to Sex and the City, but Ergenç doesn’t say. “That’s a tiring thing, isn’t it? Being alone, changing partners quickly and searching for happiness, and each time you search for it, it’s a failure. But it was in a very fancy world, so people were very interested. They’re spending and spending – spending their time, spending their love, spending everything.”

Magnificent Century, based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, the 10th Ottoman Sultan. Photograph: Tims Productions

The dizi that became global behemoths were powered by narratives that pitted traditional values and principles against the emotional and spiritual corruption of the modern world. Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne? (What Is Fatmagül’s Fault?) centered on the gang rape of a young girl named Fatmagül and her battle for justice. It was a huge hit in Argentina, and in Spain its primetime slot drew close to a million viewers per episode. Fatmagül is soon to get a full Spanish telenovela remake, adapted to a daily, half-hour afternoon format.

The show addresses a woman’s place in society, while subjecting her to myriad problems, from forced marriage to tense family relations to the suffocating power of the rich. But Fatmagül perseveres. She educates herself and defeats every hardship as she fights for, and receives, justice on all fronts: civil justice through the nation’s courts, divine justice through the punishment of her violators – and, of course, the justice of true love.

Although dizi have dealt with abuse, rape and honour killings, by and large, Turkish men are portrayed as more romantic than Romeo. “They show people what they want to see,” Pinar Celikel, an Istanbul fashion editor tells me. “It’s not real.” Yet Eset argued that Fatmagül was groundbreaking in its approach to women’s issues. Previously, agents of change and the heroes of dizi stories were always men, but “Fatmagül didn’t accept women’s place as being subjugated, almost invisible”.

It was such a persuasive vehicle for soft power that in 2012, Eset was hired by a “Republican American thinktank” to write a dizi telling the “good American story” of a woman in the Middle East out to enact positive change, “a woman who softens America’s image”. Eset declines to say which thinktank commissioned him, except to hint that a former Bush administration undersecretary was involved with the institute. “I wrote it,” Eset shrugs as he rolls a cigarette. “But they weren’t able to sell it.”

I am standing in the drizzle in a bleak parking lot on the Asian side of Istanbul in front of a white van. A man named Ferhat hands me a Glock 19 pistol. It is the same model Turkish soldiers use, he says, as he swings open the van doors. Inside, there is a rocket-launcher lying on the floor and about 60 other weapons hanging on racks. Ferhat, who is ex-military, pulls out a “bad guy rifle” – an AK-47 – and a sniper rifle. Men in military uniform prowl across the parking lot. All around us there are street signs in Arabic and extras in cheap suits.

We are on the set of Söz (The Oath), a new show made by Tims Productions, the company behind Magnificent Century. They are filming episode 38. A demolition expert saunters by, chatting to a man in a balaclava while an actor rehearses a scene, holding a rifle in each hand. Söz is a military dizi – a new sub-genre that is sweeping the nation. Although it is too early to have a sense of its global effect, Söz has already received remake offers from faraway markets including Mexico. Tims has always had an international outlook, I am told. They tried to cast Hollywood stars for Magnificent Century, and were reportedly close to signing Demi Moore to play a European princess until her divorce from Ashton Kutcher got in the way.

Of the five major channels in Turkey, each has one of these “soldier-glorifying” shows, Eset the screenwriter tells me later, and all the shows are “zeitgeist-relevant”. The baddies are either “internal enemies” or foreign villains. Söz takes place in a Turkey beset by violence and existential threats. Soldiers are everywhere, blazing through the wreckage of suicide bombings at shopping malls and hunting terrorists who are hard at work kidnapping pregnant women. In the first episode, after an attack on a mall, a soldier promises they will not rest until “we drain this swamp” – an eerily familiar refrain.

After more than 100 hours of watching dizi, Söz was the first one in which I saw a woman wearing a hijab. The father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, later renamed Atatürk, famously declared that he wished “all religions [were] at the bottom of the sea”. He removed Islam as the state religion from the constitution and banned the fez, which he described as emblematic of “hatred of progress and civilization”. The veil – which Atatürk lambasted as a “spectacle that makes the nation an object of ridicule” – did not fare much better. By the 1980s, women in all public institutions, including universities, were banned from covering their heads.

Five minutes on the streets of Istanbul presents multiple encounters with women in headscarves, yet they are nowhere to be seen on screen. “They tried it,” Eset says, “but even the conservative folks don’t like to see conservative women on TV. You can’t get them to kiss, to stand up to their fathers, to run away, to do very much at all that would be considered drama.” Women in hijabs are almost never shown in television adverts, the journalist and novelist Ece Temelkuran tells me. Her diagnosis was clear: “This country is torn between these two pieces of cloth – flag and headscarf.”

Back on the Söz set, as we move upstairs to a cold office building to watch a man pick up a phone for an hour while the demolition guys shoot glass windows in the corridor, I tell Selin Arat – director of international operations at Tims, and my guide for the day – that I watched an episode of Söz the previous night. Every time I looked down at my notebook, I explain, by the time I looked up again, everyone in the scene seemed to have been murdered. Who are the terrorists supposed to be? Arat, a delicate, strawberry-blond woman in a business suit, laughs. “It would be life-threatening if we knew who they were,” she jokes.

Whoever the terrorists are, Söz is a hit. “It’s the first Turkish show that has surpassed one million subscribers on YouTube,” Arat notes proudly. Selling Söz outside Turkey may prove tougher, though. “We do want this show to be global,” says Timur Savcı, the founder of Tims Productions. “But right now not many countries are really interested in watching Turkish soldiers be glorified.” He pauses and smiles. “The US always makes shows and, at the end, they say: ‘God bless America.’ Well, God bless Turkey!”

S avcı sits at his desk in the Levent district of Istanbul, as five TVs, all tuned to different channels, illuminate his spacious office. He sets the tone for the dizi industry at large and, today, he is preparing an English adaptation of Magnificent Century. He is not the least bit interested in taking American shows and remaking them in Turkish. “We are just making originals. It’s better!” he says with a big laugh.

Dizi have yet to penetrate the English-speaking world. That could be because audiences in the US and UK don’t like to watch subtitled shows, Savcı muses, “or it could be the fact that this is about an Islamic state at the end of the day.” I ask if that is something Tims would tone down in the English version of Magnificent Century? Savcı, a jaunty, jovial man, shakes his head. “It’s important to remember that, at the time, the Ottoman Empire was the superpower of the world. What the US is now to the world is what the Ottoman was. If people look at it from this perspective, they would understand it more, but if they don’t know this, they would feel threatened.”

Turks have been watching quality US TV since the 1970s. Turkish actors, such as Mert Fırat, told me they learned all their chops from the likes of Dallas and Dynasty. That was where they learned to emote, and to perform the melodrama that dizi require. But there was something lacking, something fundamental missing from those early guides to how to be rich and powerful in the modern world.

A still from Söz (The Oath)

Kivanç Tatlıtuğ, the star of the hit dizi Gümüs, among others, doesn’t feel it is necessarily a question of values or conservatism, but empathy. Over email, he told me why he thinks audiences around the world are turning to dizi over western productions. “Most of these audiences feel that their everyday stories are ‘underexplored’ by Hollywood and Europe,” Tatlıtuğ wrote. “This is ultimately a matter of diversity in storytelling. I understand the appeal of a story like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, these are both amazing TV shows. However, some people may also feel disenfranchised from these Hollywood themes, and may want to watch a story they can empathise with.”

“Disappearing family values are not concerns for the west,” Eset says. “For the past four years or so, 40% of the most-watched Turkish shows have been remakes of Korean dramas,” he says, pointing out that the Koreans have been swifter than the Turks at penetrating the Latin American market. “Korea is also a country that gives great importance to family, but in the west, the romantic notion of those good old family values is gone.”

At the time of our meeting, Eset is working with a Turkish-American production house, Karga 7, which has global ambitions for their shows.“When I talk to people about Turkish TV series,” he tells me, “mainly they are taken by this romantic notion of family where everyone is trying to cherish one another. The dangers are external, and socio-economic class plays a great role in the love story of the poor boy loving a rich girl, or vice versa. Normally a story like this in the west would be treated through an individual’s journey, where there is more sex, there is more violence, there are drugs.” Turkish TV has less of that. He points out that the couple in Fatmagül don’t kiss until about episode 58.

I n August 2017 in Beirut, I speak to Fadi Ismail, the general manager of the Middle East Broadcasting Center’s subsidiary O3 Productions, and the person responsible for bringing Turkish television to the Middle East. “To brag a bit,” Ismail corrects me with a laugh, “I’m the one who opened Turkish culture through TV to the whole world.” MBC is the biggest broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa, home to almost 400 million people. MBC has a news channel, a children’s channel, a women’s channel, a Bollywood channel and a 24-hour drama channel on which it broadcasts Egyptian soaps, Korean dramas and Latin American telenovelas.

In 2007, Ismail went to a buyer’s cinema festival in Turkey and chanced upon a tiny kiosk showing a local television series. “I stopped and watched it, not understanding anything,” he remembers. “But immediately I could visualise it as Arabic content. I replaced it in my mind with Arabic audio and everything else looked culturally, socially – even the food, the clothes, everything for me looked like us, and I thought: ‘Eureka!’”

Ismail bought a Turkish series for his channel. He doesn’t remember the name of that first show, because they had already hit on the formula of giving everything – the title, the characters – new Arabic names. “Every one of these titles had ‘love’ in it, so I stopped differentiating. Love Something, Blue Love, Long Love, Short Love, Killing Love.” Gümüs – renamed Noor for the Middle East market – was the first big hit.

Although the Egyptians had traditionally been known for their cinema, they also dominated TV across the region until Syria took over in the 1990s. Syrian actors were renowned for their dramatic and comedic skills. Their directors were artists. Talented scriptwriters produced shows of quality with substantial state help. The government poured money into the television industry, providing auteurs with cameras, equipment, state subsidies and permission to film in Syria’s historic sites. But then the war broke out and the country’s bright promise flickered. It was at this moment, Ismail says, that the Turks were ready to move in.

As Syrian dramas had already become a “pan-Arab phenomenon”, MBC decided to dub all the Turkish dramas they bought into the Syrian Arabic dialect. “That is one of the reasons for their huge success,” Ismail concludes. “We dubbed the Turkish dramas with the most prevalent and established drama accent: Syrian.” Before Turkish dramas flooded Middle Eastern screens, people in Lebanon watched Mexican and Brazilian telenovelas. Though they were popular, they eventually ran out of steam for two reasons. The first was language. Telenovelas were dubbed into fusha, a standardised literary Arabic that is understood from Iraq to Sudan, and is used in newspapers, magazines and newscasts. Free from local accents and slang particular to each country, it is a formal, classical Arabic.

The second was a question of values. “The Mexicans really did not resemble us at all,” says Imane Mezher, the format distribution and licensing coordinator of iMagic, a Beirut-based TV production company. iMagic makes Arabs Got Talent and the Middle East version of the X Factor, and experiments with new formats such as World Bellydance Championship, and an Islamically approved Extreme Makeover in which contestants don’t alter God’s design out of vanity, but have reconstructive surgery due to life-threatening issues.

Mezher shakes her head at the memory of the telenovelas. “You have a daughter and you don’t know who her father is, you don’t know who the mother is. The stories were moral-free. At the end of the day, like it or not, we like things to be a little more conservative. The Turks are amazing at that. They are the real mix: the European freedom that everyone longs for and, at the same time, the problems are conservative, the same we face. The people have the same names as us, the same stories as us, and people love that.”

Y et over the past 18 months, the international reach of Turkish TV has been significantly curtailed. At 1am, Saudi Arabian time on 2 March 2018, MBC took dizi off the air. Six dizi were pulled, at a cost to MBC of $25m. “There is a decision to remove all Turkish drama from several TV outlets in the region,” the channel’s spokesman said. “I can’t confirm who took the decision.”

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had been in negotiations to buy MBC, but found the $3bn asking price too high. In November 2017, MBS, as he is known, arrested most of MBC’s board and shareholders as part of what was billed as an anti-corruption sweep. After an 83-day stay in a luxury jail, MBC’s founder Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, a Saudi businessman whose sister was married to a former king, was released. His company now had a secret new majority owner, whose first order of business was to cancel all of MBC’s dizi programming.

Before then, the Middle East and North Africa region accounted for the largest international consumption of dizi. Magnificent Century was advertised alongside Game of Thrones and Oprah in Dubai, while Ece Yörenç – Fatmagül’s scriptwriter – was asked by Saudi Arabia to write TV series for its local channels, and rumours circulated of princes and politicians inquiring after show plotlines during state visits to Turkey. It is possible that this kind of Turkish soft power irked MBS. And it is certain that he was infuriated by Turkey’s brazen flouting of his 2017 blockade of Qatar. Thus, in March 2018, MBS accused Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of trying to build a new “Ottoman caliphate”, included Turkey in what he bizarrely called a “triangle of evil”, and swiftly erased dizi from Middle Eastern TV.

Diriliş: Ertuğrul (Resurrection: Ertuğrul)

It is impossible to separate politics, both internal and geopolitical, from dizi’s upward momentum. Erdoğan himself was famously antagonistic to Magnificent Century, finding it too risque and not sufficiently versed in true Ottoman history. His government withdrew permission for its producers to film in historical sites such as Topkapı Palace, and Turkish Airlines pulled it from its in-flight entertainment systems in order to avoid government ire. A deputy from Erdoğan’s AKP party even went so far as to submit a parliamentary petition to legally ban the show.

Although Magnificent Century has never been used by the state to project Turkish soft power to the world, other dizi have. Two more recent productions for TRT, Turkish state television, have the government’s wholehearted endorsement, if not their guidance. The first, Diriliş: Ertuğrul, or Resurrection: Ertuğrul, begins at the start of Ottoman glory, with Ertuğrul Ghazi, the father of Sultan Osman, the founder of the empire. The dizi’s tagline is “A nation’s awakening”, and for five seasons viewers have watched Ertuğrul battle crusaders, Mongols, Christian Byzantines and more. It has the honour of being the most popular show to air on state TV. “Until the lions start writing their own stories,” Erdoğan said of Ertuğrul, “their hunters will always be the heroes.”

Another show, Payitaht Abdülhamid or The Last Emperor, bookends the Ottoman obsession: it is based on the last powerful Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid II. It first aired in 2017, drawing in big numbers – every Friday, one in 10 television watchers tuned in as the sultan staved off rebellions by the Young Turks (who would eventually unseat him) and scheming European powers. Both supporters and detractors of the dizi pointed out that its portrayal of the sultan was modelled incredibly closely on Erdoğan. Followers of the Turkish president saw symbiosis between the two proud leaders who were unafraid to confront the west, and who dreamed of making Turkey central to pan-Muslim unity. Critics pointed out the two men’s paranoid reliance on intelligence services and an oppressive grip on power.

By 2023, the Turkish government hopes dizi will pull in $1bn from exports. In his Istanbul glass office, İzzet Pinto, the founder of dizi distributor Global Agency, told me that $500m is a more realistic target given the loss of the Middle East market. But he foresees that remake rights, expansion in Latin America and the opening of western Europe – notably Italy and Spain – will help offset those losses.

Over at Tims, Selin Arat predicts that Turkish series have reached a stable level of popularity. Demand might not grow much more, but there is a global hunger for what Turkish TV can offer. Arat concedes that the Saudi stance against dizi is a setback, but, he says: “It won’t be the end of the Turkish dizi invasion.”

Adapted from New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi and K-Pop by Fatima Bhutto, published on 10 October by Columbia Global Reports, and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk

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When Did the Ottoman Empire Fall?

This empire lasted for approximately 600 years, and began to lose political power and military advantage in the late 18th century. By the mid-19th century, the Ottoman Empire had implemented a reform aimed at modernization and secularization in an attempt to gain back some of its lost power. These attempts were largely unsuccessful, and by World War I the empire was in full decline. The Ottoman Empire fought against Great Britain, the United States, France, and Russia during the fighting. When the war ended, the empire was dismantled. Historical records indicate that the Ottoman Empire officially ended in 1922.

Muhtesem Yuzyil (Magnificent Century)

Magnificent Century is a soap drama that depicts the life of Sulaiman ‘The Magnificent’—one of the greatest Ottoman sultans who led the empire to its zenith in the sixteenth century. In stark contrast to Dirilis Ertugrul and Payitaht Abdulhamid, Magnificent Century mainly focuses on the sultan’s womenfolk—his jealous wives, competing concubines and controlling mother—all of whom were seeking to gain influence within the palace.

Magnificent Century, which was aired on TRT, was also a mega hit in Turkey however, the Turkish broadcasting regulator RTUK stated that they received more than 70,000 complaints due to the show’s depiction of the sultan’s personal sex life, of him gambling, and the extravagance of the royal family. Erdogan also weighed in on the criticisms calling the soap “disrespectful” towards a revered historical figure. The show covers the meteoric rise of Hurrem—the former Orthodox Christian slave from Crimea—who went onto to become Sulaiman’s wife and one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history.

Whilst Magnificent Century is a far cry from Dirilis Ertugrul and Payitaht Abdulhamid, the show still managed to illustrate—in consistent snippets—the glory of the Ottoman Empire, and Sulaiman as the great Caliph of Islam who took Shariah law and jihad very seriously. Considering the directors and producers of Magnificent Century are widely regarded as secularists, their inclusion of Islamic concepts and the historical distrust of Christian Europe in a soap that has been described as the Turkish ‘Sex and The City’ was surprising, and very telling of the religious sensitivities in Turkey.


[2] Jack Khoury, “Abbas Prepares to Sue Britain Over Balfour Declaration”, Haaretz, July 26, 2016, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.733256.

[3] Herzl, The Jewish State, op. cit.

[4] Theodor Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed. Raphael Patai, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Herzl Press and T. Yoseloff, 1960), vol. I, p. 88 cited in Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1992), p. 13.

[5] Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State (New York: Dover Publications, 1988), p. 96, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25282/25282-h/25282-h.htm. See the Gutenberg Project website for additional information on the translated edition, published originally on February 14, 1896 as Der Judenstaat.

[6] “The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988. Part I: 1917-1947”, UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), June 30, 1990, https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/57C45A3DD0D46B09802564740045CC0A.

[7] Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error (New York: Harper, 1949), p. 149 cited in CEIRPP, op. cit.

[10] Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry regarding the problems of European Jewry and Palestine (Anglo-American Committee Report), UK Government, April 20, 1946, pp. 2-3, https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/09305/8DB70548CC2D325459C42A7DD8664AC5E0E6E986.html.

[11] “Pre-War Turkish Administrative Districts comprised in Syria and Palestine”, British War Office, 1937 from the Palestine Royal Commission Report (Peel Commission), July 1937, https://unispal.un.org/pdfs/Cmd5479.pdf. See page 17 and the map insertion between pages 18 and 19 as numbered in the text, which is page 31 of the PDF document. See also “Introduction: The Last Days of Ottoman Rule 1876-1918” from Walid Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora: A photographic history of the Palestinians, 1876-1948 (1984), accessed online at the Institute for Palestine Studies on October 28, 2017, http://btd.palestine-studies.org/content/introduction-last-days-ottoman-rule-1876-1918.

[21] EJP, October 26, 2017. See the featured image showing the signed letter: http://www.ejpress.org/images/ArticlePhoto/23589_balfour-declaration-4.jpg. See also Palestine Royal Commission Report, p. 22.

[22] Anglo-American Committee Report, p. 61.

[32] CEIRPP, op. cit. See also Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Random House, 1992), pp. 16-17.

[33] “Crane and King’s Long-Hid Report on the Near East,” New York Times, December 3, 1922. The Times republished the editorial and full text of the report from Editor & Publisher.

[35] A Survey of Palestine: Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1946, p. 17.

[36] Council on Foreign Relations, “San Remo Resolution”, CFR.org, accessed May 28, 2016. The CFR published the text of the resolution, though the web page originally viewed by this author appears to be no longer online. The full text is, however, available at http://www.mideastweb.org/san_remo_palestine_1920.htm, as well as at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Remo_conference.

[37] New York Times, December 3, 1922, op.cit.

[38] A Survey of Palestine, p. 3.

[40] Peel Commission, p. 30. Treaty of Peace with Turkey. (Treaty of Sèvres), August 10, 1920, Articles 94-96, p. 26, http://treaties.fco.gov.uk/docs/pdf/1920/ts0011.pdf.

[41] Palestine. Disturbances in May, 1921. Reports of the Commission of Inquiry with Correspondence Relating Therto. (Haycraft Commission Report), October 1921, pp. 54-57, https://archive.org/details/palestinedisturb00grearich.

[42] Sir John Hope Simpson, Palestine. Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development (Hope Simpson Report), October 1930, https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/E3ED8720F8707C9385256D19004F057C.

[44] Ibid. The Keren Heyesod was established in 1920.

[45] Congregation of Beth El-Keser Israel, “Ottoman Land Registration Law as a Contributing Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict”, Beki.org, 2003 (accessed November 1, 2017), http://www.beki.org/dvartorah/landlaw/.

[47] Sir Walter Shaw, et al, Report of the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August, 1929 (Shaw Commission Report), UK Government, pp. 114-115, 117-119, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015066430987view=1upseq=1.

[49] British Policy in Palestine, June 3, 1922 from Correspondence with the Palestine Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organisation, UK Government, June 1922, pp. 17-21. Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Churchill_White_Paper_Correspondence_with_the_Palestine_Arab_Delegation_and_the_Zionist_Organisation._Presented_to_Parliament_by_Command_of_His_Majesty_June,_1922.djvu. The policy paper is commonly known as the British White Paper of June 1922 or the Churchill White Paper. The text is also available online at UNISPAL (https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/f2ca0ee62b5680ed852570c000591beb?OpenDocument) and the Yale Avalon Project (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/brwh1922.asp). See also Peel Commission, p. 55.

[53] The Palestine Arab Delegation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, June 17, 1922 from UK Government, June 1922, op. cit., pp. 21-28.

[59] The Palestine Mandate, League of Nations, July 24, 1922 available at the Yale Avalon Project: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp. See also the included text of the Mandate in Peel Commission, pp. 34-37.

[63] Anglo-American Committee Report, p. 61.

[70] Jamaal Bey Husseini, “The Proposed Palestine Constitution”, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 164, November 1932, pp. 22-26.

[73] Anglo-American Committee Report, p. 18.

[74] Shaw Commission Report, p. 127.

[79] Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), Kindle Edition, Locations 5717-5718.

[82] Jeremy R. Hammond, Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Cross Village: Worldview Publications, 2016), pp. 3-5.

[83] United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Special Committee on Palestine Report to the General Assembly, Volume 1, A/364 (September 3, 1947), https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/07175DE9FA2DE563852568D3006E10F3.

[84] Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, p. 5. Hammond, “Benny Morris’s Untenable Denial”, op. cit. See also Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Myth of the UN Creation of Israel”, Foreign Policy Journal, October 26, 2010, https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/10/26/the-myth-of-the-u-n-creation-of-israel/.

[85] Haaretz, April 4, 1969 cited in Said, The Question of Palestine, p. 14.

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire, also known metonymically as the Sublime Porte, and especially in the 19th and 20th centuries as the Turkish Empire, was one of the great empires of the Old World, from the 14th to the early 20th century. At the height of its power, it controlled most of the Middle East, the Balkans and parts of North Africa, with a sphere of influence across much of Europe, Asia and Africa. The empire collapsed at the end of World War I, and was succeeded by modern Turkey.

—Suleiman I 'the Magnificent'

The Turks trace their origin to Central Asia. Their current homeland in Anatolia (Asia Minor) has been home to many civilizations throughout history, including Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire was not the first Turkish empire based in Anatolia, but it was certainly the most influential.

Rise Edit

The Ottoman Empire was founded by Osman I, after whom the state is named, in northwestern Anatolia in 1299, as one of the several Turkish petty kingdoms emerged after the collapse of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, the preceding Turkish empire, as a result of the Mongol invasion. Taking full advantage of its location on the borders of the Byzantine Empire that was much weakened by that time, the Ottoman state quickly grew, crossing over to the European mainland by taking the Gallipoli Castle in 1354. As the empire expanded into the Balkans, it also annexed the other Turkish kingdoms in Anatolia one by one. This was briefly stalled by a decade-long interregnum, when five claimants to the throne, along with their supporters, fought against each other all over the land, after the 1402 defeat of Ottoman sultan Beyazıt 'the Thunderbolt', by Central Asian warlord Tamerlane (arguably of Genghis lineage). Regardless, in 1453, the Ottomans under Mehmet the Conqueror succeeded in conquering Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, and in the process desecrated many of the great churches and converted them to mosques, while also claiming Byzantine and therefore Roman culture as their own, as evidenced by the later sultans' main title, Kayser-i Rum (literally Ceasar / Kaiser of Rome). This impressive achievement for the Turks helped to spread Islam in parts of the Balkans, and was a disgrace for the Christians, giving rise to fantasies about new Crusades that in the end never materialized. Contrary to popular belief, Constantinople's name was not officially changed to Istanbul (which, in fact, is the Ottoman Turkish rendition of Istinpolin, a Greek appellation common folk used to refer to the city) in 1453, the imperial officialdom called the city Kostantiniyye (which literally translates to Constantinople in Ottoman Turkish) till the collapse of the Empire, as it served the Ottoman Empire's claim of being the continuation of Rome.

Peak (or Classical Age) Edit

The fall of Constantinople had a decisive impact on Europe. The Turks proved the superiority of gunpowder weapons, which soon became common in European armies. Christian scholars leaving Constantinople contributed to the Renaissance in Italy and other parts of Europe. The disruption of the Silk Road encouraged Europeans to find a sea route to Asia, inspiring the Voyages of Columbus to the Americas, Da Gama's trip eastbound on the Cape Route around Africa, and Magellan's subsequent voyage westbound around the world.

Especially after 1453, the Ottomans saw themselves as a diverse and tolerant Islamic Empire, protecting and synthesizing Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic cultures, as they tried to keep this vision of themselves until the 19th century. Perhaps most famously, The Ottomans welcomed Jewish refugees from persecution in Spain after the 1492 Reconquista of that country by the Christians. Despite its relatively tolerant nature for its time, however, it is important to keep in mind that the Ottomans were, in every way, an empire, which meant that it relied on the subjugation of many people under its rule. Slavery was prevalent in the empire well into the 19th century, and even if slavery in the Ottomans generally differed from the chattel slavery practiced in many other places in Europe and Asia, it still makes up many of the most painful stories people have of the Ottoman Empire, even today. Nevertheless, slaves had some legal protection, could rise to high social status, and even become the Grand Vizier - the de facto ruler of the empire, rather than the more figurehead-like Sultan - as was the case with Mehmed Pasha Sokolović, and most slaves - having no other choice - used the system as an alternate, more difficult method of 'climbing the social ladder'. In theory, the empire restricted enslavement of Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and many slaves were captive pagans from Central and East Africa. However, through the devşirme system, many Christian boys, were separated from their families and were forced to enroll in the military and civilian apparatus of the empire, and had various assignments: supporting roles in war galleys, providing sexual services to noblemen, and sometimes domestic service. An elite of slaves could become bureaucrats, harem guards, or janissaries (the Sultan's elite soldiers).

The next important event of Ottoman history was when Selim I (r. 1512–1520) took control of the Hejaz, the region surrounding the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The Ottoman sultans replaced the Islamic caliphates that had ruled the Arab peninsula since the 7th century, themselves claiming the title Caliph of Islam, and declared the empire to be a Muslim caliphate. While symbolically a turning point of the empire, in reality, this title had lost its original power very long ago, and therefore also had little influence over Ottoman society in general.

The reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566), better known in Turkey as "the Lawgiver" due to his many reforms, is often seen as some sort of golden age for the empire. By this time, the Sublime Porte, as the Ottoman government was informally known, was directly ruling over a good portion of Central Europe, and most of the Middle East and North Africa, and was exercising suzerainty over a wide range of vassal states in parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In addition, the period saw the Ottomans exerting influence in parts of the world well beyond the imperial borders, in areas as diverse as Morocco in the west to Poland in the north, down the East African coast, and Aceh on Sumatra at the farther rim of the Indian Ocean.

Transformation Edit

The century after Suleiman's death was a period of decentralization for the empire, with periods such as The Sultanate of Women, when women in court held a large amount of de facto power over the empire. Therefore, a general decrease of the non-ceremonial roles of the Ottoman sultan and an increase of oligarchical power of the court took place. This led to territorial stagnation, as evidenced by the two unsuccessful sieges of Vienna in 1529 and especially 1683, which were the high-water mark of the Ottoman expansion in Europe, but it also led to one of the golden ages of Ottoman art, when Ottoman classical music, miniature, and architecture flourished. These pieces incorporated influences from all over the empire, with Byzantine, Arabic, Hellenic, Romani, Armenian, Sephardic, Persian, and Turkic cultural elements mixing to create a rich synthesis. However, throughout the 19th and until the end of the 20th century, Turkish states tried to limit the influence of Ottoman art, so much so that the Turkish government banned Ottoman music on radios throughout the 1930s, and generally opposed Ottoman-style art, as it perceived it as anti-modernity for its positive depiction of old morals, such as hijab-wearing and Ottoman non-heteronormativity. This meant that these art forms were largely replaced by their Western counterparts in modern times, and most of them don't have an active community, the big exception being Ottoman classical music, which rejuvenated in the 1950s with figures such as Zeki Müren and Münir Nurettin Selçuk.

Decline Edit

As commerce shifted from the Mediterranean and the Silk Road to the high seas, the empire entered an era of slow but steady decline. The major blow to the Ottoman Empire, however, was the age of nationalism that arrived in the 19th century, and imperial authority began to shatter in the outlying areas of the "Sick Man of Europe" where Turks (which was a loose term for all lower-class Non-Arab Muslims at that time) were a minority. This lead to a movement of these Turks forming their own identity and laid the foundations of Turkish nationalism. This also meant that the once multi-ethnic empire changed its stance on minorities, from integration and slow assimilation, to complete and forced assimilation. By the time of the First World War, the Ottomans were a more-or-less failed state which was de facto ruled by an ultranationalist military junta composed of the "Three Pashas". As the ultranationalists' stance on minorities changed again, this time from assimilation to annihilation, the Three Pashas used the war as an excuse to systematically murder between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians — a crime that lives in infamy as the Armenian Genocide. Despite the fact that a good deal of Non-Armenians, with some being Turks, joined into the resistance against the genocide, sometimes resorting to hiding Armenians in the face of death, the modern state of Turkey actively denies it, and tries people who have made public statements supporting its recognition by claiming that they have insulted 'Turkishness'.

The Ottoman Empire ceased to exist in 1922 when the sultanate was abolished by a new republican government which, to distance itself from the imperial past, based itself in the then-remote Anatolian town of Ankara.

Turkey Edit

The bulk of the Ottoman heritage in what is now Turkey rests in the Marmara region, where the empire started and grew. Curiously, the rest of the country is mostly devoid of any major monuments built during the Ottoman era—most historic sights either date back to the Seljuks and Turkish petty kingdoms pre-dating the Ottomans, or are remnants of the civilizations that called Anatolia home prior to the arrival of the Turks altogether.

  • 41.013611 28.955 1Istanbul . The grand Ottoman capital for centuries is home to the largest Ottoman heritage anywhere in the world.
  • 40.0168 30.1813 2Söğüt . This small hillside town in northwestern Turkey was the first capital of the Ottoman state, where it began as a semi-nomadic principality in what was then the Byzantine borderlands.
  • 40.1833 29.0667 3Bursa . The first major city that the Ottomans had taken control of, Bursa, is considered to be the cradle of Ottoman civilization and is the site of most early Ottoman monuments, including the mausolea of all sultans up to Mehmet the Conqueror, who captured Constantinople and moved the throne there.
  • 41.6667 26.5667 4Edirne . There is much Ottoman heritage to see in this European co-capital of the empire, including the Selimiye Mosque, which many think is the zenith of Ottoman architecture. ( updated Sep 2015 )
  • 41.2593 32.6741 5Safranbolu . Well-preserved Ottoman-era old town in northern Turkey that is in the World Heritage list.
  • 40.429 29.7195 6Iznik . Famous for its faïence pottery-making industry from the 16th century (known as the İznik Çini, whose name is derived from China). Iznik tiles were used to decorate many of the mosques, in Istanbul and elsewhere in the empire, designed by famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. ( updated Sep 2015 )
  • 38.630556 27.422222 7Manisa and 40.65 35.8333 8Amasya . Two towns, roughly equidistant to the throne in Istanbul, where the favoured crown princes (şehzade) practiced their administrative skills before the luckier one of them replaced their father as the sultan — a situation which doomed the unlucky brothers to death (so that there are no other claimants to the throne) until fratricide was abolished by Ahmet I in 1603. Both towns feature lots of monuments built by the princes, as well as by their mothers (who were traditionally accompanying their sons), during their service as the local rulers. Manisa also has the distinction of being the site of the Mesir Macun festival, started during Suleiman the Magnificent's time as governor there, and inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Europe Edit

In addition to Turkey's Marmara region, the Balkans are where you can best experience what is left of the Ottomans — almost any town south of the Danube has at least a building or two that has a connection with the Ottomans, although sometimes in a ruinous state. Below is a selection of cities that best preserved their Ottoman heritage.

  • 43.8503 18.3864 9Sarajevo and 41.9988 21.4357 10Skopje . The capitals of Bosnia & Herzegovina and North Macedonia feature preserved Ottoman old towns. Skopje's Ottoman heritage can primarily be found in its Old Bazaar.
  • 43.3375 17.815 11Mostar . The stone bridge spanning over the River Neretva that had to be rebuilt after the Yugoslav Wars is one of the most important Ottoman monuments in the region.
    • The nearby villages of 43.1343 17.7315 12Počitelj and 43.2582 17.8924 13Blagaj are two rural communities with very well-preserved Ottoman architecture Blagaj also features a Sufi (a mystical Islamic sect) lodge at the source of the local river, in an extremely scenic setting surrounded by sheer canyon walls.
    • 47.7856 18.7403 29Esztergom . The Ottomans controlled the famed Esztergom Castle between 1543 and 1683, except for a decade-long interim from 1595 onward. The castle, along with the stockade fort of 47.799167 18.718056 30Ciğerdelen just across the river in what is now Štúrovo, Slovakia, served as the Ottomans' furthest base along their much beloved Danube. The still-popular military march Estergon Kalesi tells the tale of the last, desperate Ottoman defence of the castle. The Viziváros ("Watertown") district, just below the castle and right on the bank of the river, was the main Turkish settlement in the town, with scant ruins of the Ottoman buildings scattered about and a reconstructed mosque (except for the top of its minaret) that is a museum and cafe.
    • 46.0711 18.233 31Pécs . The historic Hungarian town is the site of the Kászim pasa Mosque with a very well preserved interior, converted to a Roman Catholic church with the addition of a Jesus on the cross. West of Pécs, 46.0481 17.8048 32Szigetvár is where Suleiman the Magnificent died of natural causes during his siege of the local castle in 1566. A local hilltop is widely believed to be where his heart and internal organs were buried (the rest of his body was taken to Istanbul for interment). The Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park in town, featuring the sculptures of the Sultan Suleiman and Zrínyi Miklós, the general in charge of the castle during the siege, commemorates the Battle of Szigetvár.
    • 47.903 20.3734 33Eger . Marking the furthest extent of the Ottoman rule in Europe, the lonely minaret of this Hungarian town is the northernmost one built by the Ottomans, with the adjoining mosque long since disappeared in favour of a small square.
    • 44.75 33.85 34Bakhchysarai . The seat of the Crimean Khanate, which, although nominally autonomous from the Ottoman Empire, adopted much of the Ottoman aesthetics and culture.
    • 35.166667 33.366667 35Nicosia . Both the Turkish and Greek halves of the Cypriot capital feature many Ottoman buildings, including the Great Inn, various mosques, some of which started life as Roman Catholic cathedrals, and bathhouses that are still in operation.

    Middle East and Africa Edit

    Already regions with a history that reaches far before the Ottoman conquest, many places in the Middle East and parts of Africa nevertheless offer something to experience for travellers seeking Ottoman heritage.

    • 33.5209 36.3065 36Damascus . One of the most important cities of the empire, Damascus hosts a wide number of Ottoman-built mosques, bazaars, and tombs, including that of the last Ottoman sultan who was exiled from Turkey after the republic was proclaimed, although it is yet to be seen how many of them will escape the destruction wrought about by the current civil war.
    • 36.2167 37.1667 37Aleppo . Syria's largest city was another favorite of the Ottomans. Most of the old town, including bazaars and mosques, dates back to the Ottoman rule, but as with Damascus, not much might be left intact after the civil war ends. ( updated Jan 2016 )
    • 33.886944 35.513056 38Beirut . Downtown Beirut has a rich collection of Ottoman-era buildings, although many mansions dating back to the era are in an advanced stage of dereliction.
    • 32.926 35.084 39Akko . Many Ottoman-built structures, including a mosque, a bathhouse, a bazaar, and a large caravanserai dot the historic city of Acre, enclosed by Ottoman city walls.
    • 31.7833 35.2167 40Jerusalem . While Jerusalem is not Ottoman in origin, except for the walls that enclose the Old City (built by Suleiman the Magnificent), the Ottomans had taken great lengths to ensure that the buildings—including those held sacred by non-Muslims—and the community of this sacred city, that they ruled for 400 years, remain intact.
    • 32.05 34.75 41Jaffa . Jaffa was the primary port of the area during the time of the Ottomans. This status is marked by a clocktower which was built at the command of Abdülhamit II (r. 1876–1909), whose affection for clocktowers saw many of them built in major Ottoman cities. ( updated Jan 2016 )
    • 31.25888889 34.79777778 42Beer Sheva . Established by the empire at the dawn of the 20th century to counter the growing British influence in nearby Sinai and the rest of Egypt, the old town of Beer Sheva features a grid plan that is rather uncommon in the region, and is one of the few planned communities founded by the Ottomans. ( updated Feb 2018 )
    • 21.4 39.8 43Mecca and 24.4667 39.6 44Medina . The sultans often viewed themselves as servants, and not rulers, of the holiest cities of Islam, and as such almost every one of them, as well as many other members of the dynasty, tried and left a mark to these cities during their time on the throne, although most of these monuments are neglected by the current Saudi authorities, to say the least some of the most important have been razed to the ground, to the protests of present-day Turkish leaders.
    • 30.05 31.233 45Cairo . The main centre of Ottoman power and culture in North Africa.
    • 19.1081 37.3332 46Suakin . Once the main Ottoman harbor on the Red Sea and the seat of the Ottoman province of Habesh, some locals in this Sudanese town still celebrate their Ottoman roots.
    • 36.7 3.2167 47Algiers . Captured by the famed Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1516, Algiers became the most important centre of Ottoman power in the Maghreb. More or less autonomous from the throne in distant Constantinople, it was put under the rule of prominent Ottoman seamen, who, using the area as a base, pursued a policy of piracy in the Mediterranean, especially against Spanish shipping. In the following centuries, these Barbary corsairs as they are known in the West, raided coastal areas as far away as Iceland and the newly emerging United States of America. Among what remain of the Ottomans in Algiers are various mosques, including the beautiful Ketchaoua Mosque in the old town. Nearby 36.365 6.6147222222222 48Constantine also features the palace of the last Ottoman governor of the town, who served before the French occupation in 1837. ( updated Dec 2015 )

    The most common elements of the imperial Ottoman architecture include arches and domes, which were strongly influenced by the Byzantine architecture. It is also possible to see some influence from the structures of the Turks in Asia adapted from the nomadic lifestyle, such as yurts. The vernacular architecture most commonly associated with the Ottomans is still visible in the urban fabric of various old towns throughout Turkey and the Balkans. It made extensive use of wood — often brightly colored timbered or half-timbered buildings that reached several floors high in the Ottoman cities. These were swept by fires of devastating scales century after century because of this. In the later centuries of the empire, there were attempts to combine the Baroque and rococo into the Ottoman architecture, but these experiments didn't spread much beyond Istanbul and the former capital of Bursa.

    Traditional Ottoman visual arts include ebru/paper marbling and miniature, both developed in compliance with the Islamic ban on depictions of living things. The Ottoman miniature, known as nakış by the Ottomans, had a very different perspective understanding than that has been commonly accepted in the West, and was often seen as a way of backing up of the written material in a book rather than pure art. The Topkapı Palace has a miniature collection but strolling through the newer stations of the Istanbul Metro will reveal many modern interpretations of miniature.

    Calligraphy (hat) was also a common art Turkish calligraphy, gracing most of the major mosques, is often thought to be the most refined form of the Islamic calligraphy.

    The Ottomans had a long tradition of tilemaking (çini), with the main workshops in the towns of İznik and Kütahya south of Istanbul. While visiting the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul or any major mosque elsewhere will satisfy those with a passing interest in tiles, two sites of special note are the Rüstem Pasha Mosque in Eminönü, Istanbul and the Yeşil Türbe ("Green Tomb") in Bursa.

    The Islamic Arts Museum in Sultanahmet, Istanbul hosts a good exhibition of woodcarving and carpets dating back to the Ottoman period.

    Karagöz and Hacivat are the main characters of traditional Turkish shadow play, developed during the early Ottoman era. Once one of the main forms of entertainment, it is now more commonly associated with the night festivities held during the Ramadan in Turkey as well as in North Africa. In Greece, where the tradition is also alive, it is called Karagiozis.

    Soak up in a hamam (bathhouse). The Ottomans were avid builders and frequenters of bathhouses, and as such, many locations which were once the possessions of the empire still feature Ottoman-era bathhouses that usually take advantage of the local thermal springs.

    The Mehter was the Ottoman military band taken to the battlefields with the rest of the army to instill courage for the Ottoman units, and fear in the opposing army. Cymbals, drums, and especially zurna, a high-pitched wind instrument, are the most dominant instruments in Mehter music. While many of the municipalities affiliated with the nationalist party found Mehter bands out of their staff, the real thing is a unit of the Turkish Armed Forces — which is perhaps the only one in the Turkish Army to allow, and indeed encourage, its members to grow facial hair — and performs weekly in Istanbul's Military Museum.

    As for the music of the court, the tradition of classical Ottoman music (Osmanlı klasik musikisi) also - somewhat inaccurately - called Turkish art music (Türk sanat müziği), a heterophonic music that is usually, but not always, performed by a solo singer and a small ensemble, is also alive today. A varied and large number of scales (makam) form the basis of classical Ottoman music, which are also the main source of musicality in the pieces, as they are often not harmonized by multiple chords. A full show (fasıl), ideally conducted in the same scale throughout, follows the sequence of an instrumental prelude (peşrev), instrumental improvisations (taksim) and vocal compositions (şarkı / beste), and is ended by an instrumental postlude (saz semaisi). While often called classical Turkish music, it is influenced by Byzantine, Arabic, Persian, Balkan folk music as well, and this is often cited as the reason why the politicians of the early republican period were hostile to this type of music. Despite this, Ottoman music has survived to this day, even if most of its composers, especially the Non-Muslim ones are unknown in Turkey, as most of its usage is now restricted to rakı tables, and unfortunately, it does not carry most of the elegant reputation that Western classical music does in people's minds, despite their similarly rich histories. Catching up with the frequent public concerts of the Üsküdar Musical Society on the Asian side of Istanbul, often considered the most respected of the social clubs offering classes in classical Ottoman music, maybe a good way of entering the vast world of this genre.

    Other folk dances and genres in the Ottoman Empire are also still popular in former Ottoman lands and are sometimes included in the periphery of classical Ottoman music. These include hora / oro, a usually high-tempo circle dance, sirto / syrtos, one of the national dances of Greece which was also favored by sultans of the Empire, especially Abdülmecid, who wrote the piece Hicazkar Sirto, kasap / hasapiko, the genre of one of the best-known Istanbulite folk songs Istanbul Kasap Havası, köçekçe / cocek, a highly diverse style that was used for many purposes, including what is now known as 'Oriental belly dance' contrary to popular belief and depictions of female dancers, this was originally exclusively meant for cross-dressing men - called köçeks - to dance to.

    If you do not plan to go to an event of this sort, the music of artists like Cihat Aşkın in his album 'İstanbulin', and Kudsi Erguner are somewhat famous entrances to late and early Ottoman classical respectively.

    Ottoman music is also performed in the Arab world and particularly the Levant, where it is considered classical Arab music, and somewhat similarly to the way Ottoman cuisine affected the cuisines of Balkan lands that were long part of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman music also greatly influenced what is now considered traditional music in lands like Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.

    The kitchens of the Topkapı Palace were often the source of many of the dishes that are popular in the Turkish and other regional dishes to this day, with the chefs experimenting on a daily basis with whatever ingredients they might lay their hands on, including lots of nuts and fruits.

    The early Ottoman cuisine was characterized by the lack of various foods that were unknown in the Old World before the voyages of Columbus to the Americas, such as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, that are now ubiquitous in the cuisines of the formerly Ottoman areas. Pepper dolma (large peppers stuffed with rice and various other fillings, such as ground meat) was made with quince instead, an ingredient that is almost completely forgotten now in Turkish cuisine. Other common ingredients during the early era were rice, eggplants, and some birds such as quails. There are many common aubergine-based dishes in the regional cuisines, such as karnıyarık, moussaka, imam bayıldı, stuffed eggplant dolma, and fried eggplant. This last one, or rather the small accidents happened during its preparation, was the main culprit behind the fires that wrecked Ottoman towns. As the empire was on the main trade routes such as the Silk Road, various spices were also widely available.

    The Ottomans were great fans of soups derivations of their word for soup, çorba, can be found in any language spoken from Russia in the north to Ethiopia in the south. Yahni, a stew of meat, various vegetables and onion that is common in the regional cuisines, was often the main meal.

    Börek/burek, savoury pies filled with cheese, meat, spinach, potato or mushrooms depending on the location, was (and is) eaten as a quick dish at any time of the day. Pogača/poğaça, of the Byzantine pogatsa origin, is another close variety of baked bread filled with cheese or sour cream and common all over the Balkans as far away as Slovakia.

    The yoghurt-based side dishes derived, or spread, by the Ottomans include cacık/tsatsiki/tarator, which often includes diluted yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and olive oil and can be considered either a cold soup or a yoghurt salad, and plain ayran, the yoghurt drink, which is salty in Turkey, but without the salt, and better known simply as jogurt in the Balkans.

    Pastırma/basturma, air-dried cured beef had two types: the Anatolian type has been heavily seasoned with fenugreek, and most of the time this is the only type that is available in Turkey today. On the other hand, only salt is added to the Rumelian type, which has a far heavier "smoky" flavour and is common in the Balkans.

    The Ottomans were big in desserts. The dessert from the former empire that is best known by the outsiders is probably baklava, which may have Ancient Mesopotamian, Central Asian or Byzantine origins (often amounting to layers of bread with honey spread in between in its original form), but it was the chefs of the Topkapı Palace that put it into current shape. Other desserts invented by the palace chefs and spread over the empire include lokma/loukoumades (deep-fried and syrup-soaked doughs), güllaç (deriving its name from güllü aş, "rose meal"), a derivative of baklava in which thin layers of dough are washed with milk and rosewater instead of syrup, tavuk göğsü, a milk pudding sprinkled with chicken breast meat (yes, this is a dessert), kazandibi, a variety of tavuk göğsü which had one side of it deliberately overcooked and burned, and, of course, Turkish delight (lokum/rahatluk), a confectionery of starch gel and nuts, flavored by rosewater.

    Various restaurants in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities claim to revive the Ottoman cuisine — check their menus carefully to find a reputable one true to the authentic palace recipes. The more unusual they sound and look, the better.

    The coffee culture is one of the biggest legacies of the Ottoman Empire in the lands it ruled over once: whether it be called Turkish, Bosnian, Greek, Arabic or Armenian, this popular beverage, cooked in copper pots (cezve/džezva/ibrik) and served strong in small cups, is prepared more or less the same way. Yemen had been the main coffee supplier of the empire since the 16th century, when coffeehouses quickly appeared all over the Ottoman cities — indeed it was the loss of Yemen during World War I that turned the Turks to the tea-drinking nation that it is, quite unwillingly at first.

    Despite the Islamic ban on alcoholic beverages, wine was widely produced by the Christian subjects of the empire, especially the Greeks and Albanians, and enjoyed by many, including the Muslim Turks, in meyhanes (Persian for "wine house"). Every now and then when a devout sultan acceded to the throne, he would ban the production of wine and shut down all the meyhanes, but these all turned out to be temporary measures. The current national firewater of the Turks, rakı, came about much later, and its production and consumption exceeded those of wine only in the late 19th century. Other anise-flavored drinks, very similar to rakı both in taste and history, are widely drunk in the areas formerly ruled by the Ottomans, and are known by the names of ouzo (Greece), mastika (Bulgaria), zivania (Cyprus), and arak (the Levant).

    Şerbet, a refreshing and very lightly sweet drink made of rose petals and other fruit and flower flavors, was a very popular summer beverage. Nowadays, it is customarily served in Turkey when celebrating the recent birth of a baby and may be available seasonally at some of the traditional restaurants. Hoşaf, from Persian for "nice water" is another variation on the theme, made by boiling various fruits in water and sugar.

    Boza, a very thick, sourish-sweet ale with a very low alcohol content made of millet or wheat depending on the location, is still popular in pretty much every part of the former empire. It is often associated with winter in Turkey (and may not be possible to find in summers), but in the Balkans, it is rather considered as a summer beverage. On a linguistic sidenote, the English word "booze" might be derived from the name of this drink, through Bulgarian buza according to some theories, and pora, its counterpart in Chuvash, an old Turkic language spoken in the Volga Region of Russia, might be the origin of Germanic bier/"beer", etc.

    One of the major stereotypes of the Ottomans in the West might be the image of an old man, with his huge turban, sitting in the shade of a tree and in no hurry puffing away his hookah (nargile), maybe with a little bit of opium for some added effect. Nargile is still popular in some of the former parts of the empire, especially in Turkey, the Middle East and parts of the Balkans. In Istanbul, you can find nargile cafes with interior designs recalling the Ottoman days in the districts of Tophane and Beyazıt-Çemberlitaş, where you will be served hookahs of tobacco or non-tobacco (and non-psychoactive) herbs, the latter for bypassing the modern laws against indoor tobacco smoking, as well as hot drinks.

    The official language of the empire was Ottoman Turkish, which differed from vernacular Turkish and is almost completely incomprehensible for modern Turkish speakers without some training. It was written in a totally different script (Persian variant of the Arabic script with some characters specific to Ottoman Turkish), and its vocabulary is very, very liberally sprinkled with Arabic and especially Persian words — in fact it can be considered a collage of Persian and Arabic words stuck onto a Turkic grammar. In most larger Turkish cities, it is possible to attend classes of varying lengths and depths for Ottoman Turkish.

    However, this was the language of the palace, the ruling elite and some literary types the common folk on the streets spoke a plethora of languages depending on the location (often the common language would differ even between districts of the same city) and ethnicity, but it was also not unusual to see a Turk speaking Greek or an Armenian speaking Turkish and so on. Indeed, the first novel written in Turkish, Akabi Hikayesi was penned in 1851 by Vartan Pasha, an ethnic Armenian, and published exclusively using the Armenian alphabet.

    Arabic was used locally in parts of the empire, and was also the language of Islamic scholarship. During the last couple centuries of the empire, learning French was also in fashion among the elite. The Ottoman Francophilia left a lasting impact on modern Turkish — take, for example, the Turkish names for the ancient cities of Ephesus (Efes, derived from French Éphèse, rather than the Greek original) and Troy (Truva, from Troie).


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