2083 A European Declaration of Independence

August 2, 2011

1.15 History of the Islamic Ottoman Turkish Empire I (1299-1876) 1. Rise of the Ottomans

Filed under: Uncategorized — sitamnesty @ 12:05

By the year 1300, a weakened Byzantium had seen most of its Anatolian provinces lost among some ten Seljuk Ghazi principalities.

Ertugruls son Osman becomes Bey in 1281, by 1299 declared himself a sovereign from the Seljuks, establishing the Ottoman Empire.

– Flag of the Ottoman Empire 1299-1453

– Flag of the Osmanli 1326-1517

– Capture of Bursa 1326

– Battle of Plocnik 1386

– Ottoman Battle Flag

– Battle of Kosovo – 1389

– Constantinople – 1452

– Capture of Constantinople – 1453

– Ottoman Flag 1453 1844

– Battle of Chaldiran – 1514

– Sultan Suleiman I 1520-1566

– Battle of Mohacs – 1526

– Battle of Preveza 1538

– Battle of Lepanto – 1571

– Capture of Yerevan 1635

– Capture of Baghdad 1639

– Second siege of Vienna – 1683

The Ottoman society comprised of many ethnicities: Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Arab, Jew, Kurd, Persian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Serb, Hungarian, Croatian, Romanian, Albanian, etc. The Turk was the ruling and superior element to all others. The Sultanate, government sectors, viziers, pashas, judges, and the military establishment had to be Turkish and Muslim. The Janissary Corps was the backbone of the Military. Its members were forcefully taken from Christian families, converted and raised as Turks. The Ottoman traditionally got their wives and harem girls from Christian families.

Non-Muslims had to wear a different colour, they could not ride horses, nor carry weapons. Christians and Jews were called Kafir or Gyavur (Infidel). The Law of the land was Islamic Sharia Law.

2. Era of Stagnation (1683-1808)

After its defeat in 1983, the Ottoman Empire went through a stagnation period, during which many territories ceded. New forces appeared on the horizon, Austria, Britain, France and Russia. Peter the Great of Russia defeats the Ottomans in 1723 and takes Dorbent, Baku, and North Atrpatakan (Azerbaijan) from the Turks and Persians. In the decisive Russian-Turkish War of 1768-1774, Catherine II brings Southern Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, and Crimea within the orbit of the Russian Empire. The Turks try to regain the lost territories, but a united Russian-Austrian force defeats them in 1791 and 1792, and takes Transylvania, Bessarabia and Hungary.

Napoleon invades Egypt in 1798 and takes control over Christian Malta and Christian Palestine. However, Britain fights France defending the Ottomans. Napoleon withdraws, the Turks regain Egypt, and Britain is rewarded with Malta.

Following a short battle in 1807 with Britain, the enraged Janissaries depose Sultan Selim III for his cousin Mustafa IV. Mustafa is deposed after one year for his brother Mahmud II. Each Sultan subsequently murders his brother. The Ottomans lose more lands from their crumbling Empire. During the series of wars between 1806 and 1812, the Russians crush the Ottomans, who sign the Treaty of Bucharest. One day after the Treaty, Napoleon attacks Russia.

With the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815, Serbia gains independence from the Ottoman Empire with heroes like Karadorde Petrovic and Milos Obrenovic.

Influenced by the writings and murder of Greek author Rigas Feraios, The Greek War of Independence begins in 1821 and lasts for almost ten years. The Greek people struggle to rid themselves of Ottoman Turkish tyranny and win their recognised independence in 1832.

At the Battle of Navarino, the Sultan closes the Dardanelles for Russian ships and revokes the Akkerman Convention.

After the Russian-Persian and Russian-Turkish Wars of 1828-1829, the Ottomans recognise Russian sovereignty over Georgia and Eastern Armenia.

Starting in the 1830s, the Ottoman Empire became known as the Sick man of Europe.

3. Three Reformist Sultans (1808-1876)

Despite the political and military fateful years, Sultan Mahmud II has the courage to introduce a series of fundamental reforms into the Ottoman Empire. His Vizier, Mustafa Pasha takes the initiative in resuming reforms but he is killed by the Janissaries. Mahmud abolishes the Janissary corps in 1826 and establishes a modern Ottoman Army, naming it Nizam-i Cedid, (New Order).

In 1831 Sultan Mahmud opens the first Government Hospital, and in 1833 introduces a wide series of reforms in legal, educational, scientific and other policies in an edict called Tanzimat (Reforms). Sultan Mahmud forbids the abuses of the governors and vakifs, killing of people at will by pashas and agas, and places legal and property arbitrations under state administration. He dies in 1839.

Sultan Abdulmejid continues his fathers reforms by replacing the Islamic Sharia Law by a European model Civil Code and Banking system. He establishes the first modern universities and academies, abolishes some unfair taxes on non-Muslims, and brings various provisions for the better administration of the public service.

In 1854 Britain and France along with the Ottomans go to war against Russia in the Crimean Peninsula. The allied forces defeat Russia and impose heavy conditions in the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1856. At the closing of the Crimean War of 1856, Sultan Abdulmejid decrees the Hatt-i Humayun thus promising equality in education, government appointments, and administration of justice to all regardless of creed. The greatest change was the Ottoman States acceptation of the notion of minorities. Muslim government organisations (civil and military schools) begin to accept non-Muslim citizens. The official state language (in documentation) principle (Turkish) was broken, and the Empire becomes a multi-language system. Patriarchates begin to administer justice on the state level. Sultan Abdulmejid dies at the young age of 39 in 1861.

Sultan Abdulaziz continues his brothers reformist works. He authorises the Armenian National constitution in 1863, granting them rights in running educational, cultural, civic, social, charitable and religious matters. In 1871-76, Sultan Abdulaziz faces opposition from Islamic conservative and fanatic elements, demanding the return of the Sharia Law and the rule of Islam. His reformist Viziers, Fuad and Ali Pashas die in 1869 and 1871. The reaction from the conservatives was the rise of the liberal party, led by Midhat Pasha. As a result of the ensuing inner conflict, Sultan Abdulaziz was deposed and murdered in 1876.

After the 1870-71 French-German War, Nationalism was on the rise across Europe. It was fanning the feelings of independence among its subjects, even among Turks. The Empires in Europe were heading towards war.

The three reformist sultans, worked hard to gather all their subjects under the idea of Ottomanism, in order to keep the falling Empire. They rejected the notion of Turkishness, as historians E. Chelebi and I. M. DOhson testify. As a result of the Russian-Turkish wars and the rising local nationalism, the ruling Ottoman element began calling itself as the Turk. Abdulmejids son, Murad V rules for 93 days in 1876. He is deposed on the accusations of being mentally ill. He is placed under house arrest for the rest of his life, dying in 1904.

History of the Ottoman Turkish Empire II (1876-1909)

4. The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were mainly living on their millennial ancestral homeland, called the Eastern Six Vilayets under the millet system. They were also populous in Cilicia and the major cities of Ottoman Turkey, where many rose to prominent positions in finance and business. In accordance to the dhimmi system, Armenians, as Christians and Jews, living under the Islamic laws, were guaranteed limited freedoms such as the right to worship but were, in effect, treated as second-class citizens. They were forbidden to carry weapons and to ride horses, their children were subject to the Devshirmeh system (giving up boys to be forcefully converted to Muslims and raised as Turks), their houses could not overlook those of Muslims, and the ringing of church bells could not disturb Muslims. Testimony against Muslims by them was inadmissible in courts no matter the crime. Violating the dhimmi system, would result in punishment carried out by the authorities ranging from paying fines to the execution of the offender.

In the nineteenth century, frustrations with these restrictions lead many of the minorities to protest for greater freedom. In 1839, the Ottomans implemented the Tanzimat reforms to help improve the situation, although they were mostly ineffective. When several ethnicities of the Balkans, frustrated with the prevailing conditions, had often revolted against Ottoman rule, Armenians remained dormant during these years, earning them the title of millet-i sadika or the loyal millet.

In the mid-1860s to early 1870s under the reform laws of Sultan Abdulmejid, Armenians began to ask for better treatment from the Ottoman government, after amassing the signatures of peasants from eastern Anatolia. The Armenian Communal Council petitioned the government to relieve the situation of towns: Widespread forced land seizure, forced conversion of women and children, arson, protection extortion, rape and murder was common. Other problems were improprieties during tax collection, criminal behaviour by government officials and the refusal to accept Christians as witnesses in trial. Despite the set rules, local Turks, Kurds and other Muslims treated their Christian neighbours as before.

5. The Red Sultan (1876-1909)

At this crucial time, Abdulhamid II accede the throne, becoming the 34th Sultan. He was tyrannical, debauched, mistrustful and ruthless. He takes over a country with an empty treasury and banking defaults. While power being in the hands of Midhat Pasha and the New Ottomans (a progressive movement), Abdulhamid promises Midhat a constitution on the European model. He passes the first constitution of Ottoman Turkey in 1876 on the eve of an international conference on the question of reforms in the Balkans. By January 1877 and at the end of the conference, he removes Midhat Pasha as Grand Vizier and dissolves the Parliament. Midhat Pasha is exiled and murdered on his orders in 1884. Abdulhamid considers that the political structures of western norms are not applicable with the centuries old Ottoman political culture. To build his treasury, he imposes a heavy tax burden over his subjects, especially the Christians.

Bosnia revolts against the taxation in 1875 and Bulgaria follows in 1876 to become free from the Ottomans. The Turks ruthlessly massacre more than 12 000 men, women and children in Bulgaria, and thousands more all over the Balkans. The Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca of 1774 gave Russia the right to interfere in Ottoman affairs to protect the Sultans Christian subjects. The British Government defends the Ottoman actions, and a furious Russia declares war.

The war of 1877-78 takes place in the Balkans and on the Caucasus fronts. The Russians along with other volunteer ethnic armies deal the Ottomans a crushing defeat. Able generals from the Balkan and Armenian generals in the Tsars Army like Mikhail Loris-Melikov and Ivan Lazarev among others bring victories to the Russian forces. In March of 1878 and under pressure from Britain, Russia enters into a settlement under the Treaty of San Stefano, in which the Ottoman Empire recognises the independence of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and autonomy of Bulgaria. Article 16 states that Russians would leave the Armenian provinces, once the Sultan implemented the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security from Kurds and Circassians. For commercial and political interests in mind, Britains Disraeli and the Austrians insist that a new treaty be drawn up in June of that year, at a congress of powers in Berlin.

At the Congress of Berlin, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro were recognised as independent. And autonomous Bulgaria was greatly reduced and the Austro-Hungarian Empire occupies Bosnia-Herzegovina. An Armenian delegation headed by Bishop Mkrtich Khrimian is sent with a formal request for implementation of the reforms for Armenians. Germanys Bismarck dismisses the delegation and refuses them a place on the agenda. Britain secretly agrees with the Ottoman Empire that it would militarily protect it from Russia and receives Cyprus in exchange. Disraeli reverses article 16 to 61, which returns two Armenian provinces with no Russians or Europeans to protect the Armenians. It leaves the same abusing Sultan as the guarantor of their security from Muslim continuing abuses.

After the Russo-Turkish War, the treatment of the more than 2,5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Government became an international issue. Despite the promises of reform by the Sublime Porte at the Congress of Berlin, the situation even grew worse. Not only Russia but the other European powers were to oversee the Armenian reforms. An angry Abdulhamid made sure that the conditions of the Armenians grew worse. Now it was dangerous to be identified as an Armenian across the Empire. As the Millet structure degraded and as a result of constant persecutions, Armenians begin to rethink their position in the world. In this analysis the Armenian subjects of the Empire influenced by the Armenian Diaspora and following the Balkan examples.

Years passed, and the masses simply yearned for reforms, dreaming only for a normal administration under Ottoman rule… The mere mention of the word reform irritated him (Abdul Hamit), inciting his criminal instincts writes historian Osman Nuri. Armenian small organisations started printing newsletters and bulletins to enlighten the Armenian public about their rights and ways to protect them. Later the first major organisation was the Armenakan Party in 1885, and the Huntchak Party in 1887. In 1890 the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaksutyun) was formed in Tbilisi. Its members armed themselves into fedayee groups to protect the people from Ottoman oppression and massacres in the Armenian provinces. Armenians begin clamoring to obtain the reforms which were promised. They protest in 1892 and 1893 at Merzifon and Tokat and are met with violence and harsh methods. Abdulhamid declares that Without Armenians there would be no Armenian problem

In 1894, systematic pogroms swept over every district of Turkish Armenia. The wholesale slaughter of Armenians, forced conversion of villages, the looting and burning of hundreds of settlements, taking away their possessions. Sultan Abdulhamid prepared special attacking force from Kurds calling them Hamidieh. Along with the Ottoman Army they attacked men women and children killing them without distinction. His First Secretary wrote in his memoirs about Abdulhamid that he decided to pursue a policy of severity and terror against the Armenians, and in order to succeed in this respect he elected the method of dealing them an economic blow. He ordered they absolutely avoid negotiating or discussing anything with the Armenians and inflict upon them a decisive strike to settle scores. More than 300 000 Armenians were massacred in 1894-1896. In Sasun the Armenians resisted the massacres. But they eventually succumbed to superior numbers. A group of Dashnak volunteers stormed the Ottoman Bank in 1896 in order to alarm the Europeans. Hamid had 6000 Istanbul Armenians massacred.

In 1897, Abdulhamid declared that the Armenian question was closed. All the Armenian revolutionaries had either been killed, or had escaped to Russia. The Ottoman government closed Armenian societies and restricted Armenian political movements. The formation of Armenian revolutionary groups began roughly around the end of the Russo-Turkish War of 1878 and intensified with the first introduction of Article 166 of the Ottoman Penal code, and the raid of Erzerum Cathedral. Article 166 was meant to control the possession of arms, but it was used to target Armenians by restricting them to possess arms. Local Kurdish tribes were armed to attack the defenceless Armenian population.

ARF members attempts to assassinate Abdulhamid in 1905, but he escapes death by luck. He eases the Armenian persecutions as a result.

The Young Turk revolution of 1908 reverses the suspension of the Ottoman parliament in 1878, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era. Armenians hail the revolution. Hamid restores the Constitution in July. In April 1909 he and Islamist forces attempt a countercoup. It fails to restore him, but more than 30 000 Armenians are massacred in Adana by revolting army units, religious students and clerics asking for Sharia law. Hamid is finally deposed in April 1909 after 33 years of tyrannical rule. His 65 years old brother Resat Mehmet becomes Sultan Mehmed V, a mere rubberstamping figurehead for the new government.

a. The Early Years (1923-1934)

With the Treaty of Lausanne, an estimated 200 000 Greeks were to remain in Turkey following the 1923 population exchange. The Armenians were reduced from 2,5 million to around 150 000 after the Genocide. Turkey declared that no Armenian was ever allowed to return of the people that escaped (now Republic of Armenia).

Mustafa Kemal becomes the republics first president and subsequently introduces many radical reforms in political, social, legal, educational, and economic sectors. Kemal urges his fellow Turks to look and act like Europeans. On October 28, 1927 the first population census counted the population at approximately 13,6 million, with a 9% literacy rate. A new Turkish alphabet based on the Latin alphabet was accepted on November 1, 1928. After 10 months, Kurdish, Arabic and Persian languages were banned, replaced by only the Turkish language.

With the Liberal Republican Party, Jihadi groups joined the liberals. They were suppressed with widespread and bloody methods. The liberal party dissolved on 17 November 1930 and Turkey became a single party dictatorship until 1945.

The Kurds declared independence in 1927. By September 17 1930, the Turks suppressed the rebellion with 66 000 troop and 100 planes. The most important Kurdish rebellion in modern Turkey was in 1937-1938, based around the Kizilbash heartland of Dersim. The Turkish Army mobilised 50 000 troops to suppress the rebellion. Turkish forces claimed at least 40 000 Dersimlis, who were deported and massacred following this defeat. Southeast Anatolia was put under martial law and was subject to military occupation. In addition to destruction of the villages and massive deportations, Turkish Government encouraged Albanians and Assyrians to settle in the Kurdish area to change the ethnic composition of the region.

During WW2, Turkey imposed Jizya, an increased property tax on all Christians and Jews in the country (Greeks and Armenians). The Jizya was even imposed on the Dnmeh (converts to Islam). Those who did not pay were condemned to forced labour in the quarries of Askale, near Erzurum. They did this to turkify the economy. With the draconian Varlik Vergisi in 1942; anticipating the fall of Stalingrad, Turkey concentrates troops on the Caucasian border. Turkey quarantines all Christian men between 18-45 years old, and orders 3 large crematory ovens from Germany… The Turkish officer committee with the leadership of General Cemil Cahit Toydemir invited by Hitler, visits the Eastern front and English Channel coasts on 25 June 7 July 1943. Gen. H. Erkilet, Gen. Ali Fuat Erden and Hitler at Wolfsschanze discussed various strategies.

With Germany nearing defeat, Turkey declares war on the side of the Allies on February 23, 1945 as a ceremonial gesture, to become a charter member of the United Nations in 1945.

b. The West and NATO (1945-1954)

After the war the Soviet Union attempts to annul the Treaty of Kars with Turkey and return parts of Northwestern Armenia. These efforts are halted by intervention from Winston Churchill and Harry S. Truman.

The close relationship with the United States begins with the Second Cairo Conference in December 4-6, 1943 and the agreement of July 12, 1947 which implements the Truman Doctrine. After 1945, in light of the Soviet domination over Eastern Europe, the US supports Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere. The act grant Turkey more than 100 million USD in aid.

On June 25, 1950 the Korean War starts. Despite being criticised inside Turkey, the Army along with other 16 nations goes to war against North Korea. Turkey participates in this campaign in order to gain membership in NATO, which Turkey joins in 1952.

c. Pogroms, Coup and deportations of Christians (1955-1961)

On September 6 and 7, 1955, a pogrom directed primarily at Istanbuls 100 000 strong Greek minority takes place. Jews and Armenians living in the city and their businesses were also targeted in the pogrom. A Turkish mob, most of which was trucked into the city in advance, assaulted Istanbuls Greek community for nine hours. Shovels, pickaxes, crowbars, ramming rods and petrol was used. 4000 private taxis were requisitioned to transport the perpetrators. Dozens of Greeks (two Orthodox priests) and at least one Armenian died during the pogrom as a result of beatings and arsons. Thirty-two Greeks were severely wounded. Many Greek women were raped, a number of men were forcibly circumcised by the mob. 4348 Greek-owned businesses, 110 hotels, 27 pharmacies, 23 schools, 21 factories, 73 churches and over a thousand Greek-owned homes were badly damaged or destroyed. The mob chanted Death to the Gavours, Massacre the Greek traitors, Down with Europe [My emphasis]

The riot died down by midnight with the intervention of the Turkish Army and martial law was declared. Eyewitnesses reported, however, that army officers and policemen had earlier participated in the rampages and in many cases urged the rioters on.

After a clash over the separation of religion and state between Inonus Republican Peoples Party and his opponents, president Celal Bayar and prime minister Adnan Menderes; and due to the level of influence the Islamists had gained in the nation, on May 27, 1960 General Cemal Gursel led a military coup detat removing President Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. They were charged with high treason, misuse of public funds and abrogation of the constitution.

According to Zorlus lawyer at the Yassiada trial, a mob of 300 000 was marshaled in a radius of 40 miles (60 km) around the city for the pogrom. Menderes and two others were sentenced to death by hanging.

Deported with two days notice, the Greek community of Istanbul shrunk from 100 000 persons in 1955 to only 48 000 in 1965. Armenians and Jews were also thrown out of Turkey.

d. Divide and Conquer (1961-1974)

The census of 1960 in Cyprus showed that Greek Cypriots comprised 77%, Turkish Cypriots 18%, and 5% were other ethnicities.

Cyprus was declared an independent state on August 16, 1960 with Archbishop Makarios as President and a constitution with equal Turkish governance, (Turkish vice-president) despite their minority status on the Island. Turkish Cypriots saw themselves as Turks living in Cyprus rather than Turkish Cypriots. They developed the concept of Taksim, the partitioning of Cyprus into a Greek Cypriot-controlled region, and a Turkish Cypriot-controlled region.

The Zurich and London Agreements, drawn among Greece, Turkey and the UK became complex and atypical, granting the Turkish Cypriot community political rights disproportionate their numbers and containing permanent restrictions on Enosis and Taksim alike.

In 1965, the Justice Party of Suleiman Demirel won an absolute majority, which it increased in 1969, with an increasing polarisation between the Justice Party on the right and the Republican Peoples Party of Ismet Inonu and Bulent Ecevit on the left.

In 1969, Alparslan Turkes, a member of the Turkish branch of NATOs stay-behind army, known as Gladio, founded the right wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose youth organisations became known as the Grey Wolves (Fascists).

On March 12, 1971 the Turkish military threatens intervention, forcing the Demirel government to resign. The 1971 coup leads to mounting violence between ultranationalists and communists in the cities of Turkey, killing more than 5000 at the hands of MIT.

In July 1974, dissatisfaction among right-wing Greek nationalists favoring Enosis (unification) with Greece precipitated a coup detat against President Makarios. The coup was sponsored by the military government of Greece and led by Cypriot officers.

On 20 July 1974, Turkey launches an air- and sea-based invasion of Cyprus. Large numbers of Greek Cypriots lost their lives in the areas overrun by Turkish forces, and 170 000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes and forced to move to the south. Cities are attacked with napalms. Large numbers of Greek Cypriots lost their lives. Churches are destroyed, desecrated or converted into hotels. Turkey captures thousands of soldiers and executes them. As of today, there are 1534 Greek Cypriots unaccounted for, as well as over 150 000 Greek Cypriot refugees displaced persons.

Turkey initiates a campaign and ships more than 150 000 Turks from mainland Turkey to Cypruss for the purpose of settlement. The Turkish Cypriots proclaim a separate state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), under the leadership of Rauf Denktas, on November 15, 1983, recognised only by Turkey.

Turkey now occupies 37% of Cyprus even though there were only 18% Turks in Cyprus in 1960. Half of the Capital Nicosia remains occupied.

e. Minorities Disallowed (1975-1990)

Kurdish nationalism began resurgence in the 1970s when Turkey was racked with Left-right clashes. The Marxist PKK was formed demanding a Kurdish state, led by its chairman, Abdullah Ocalan. Kurds counted almost 20% of Turkeys population. The Turkish Army violently suppressed the Kurds, killing thousands of Kurdish civilians indiscriminately. After the Kahramanmaras massacre of Alevis in 1978, martial law was declared.

On September 12, 1980 another coup detat, headed by General Kenan Evren, Chief of the General Staff, was successful.

The World being silent regarding the Armenian Genocide, Marxist-Leninist groups like ASALA, target Turkish diplomats, to bring Turkey to terms of its bloody past and to raise awareness to the denied Armenian issues. In 1983 the Justice Commandoes of the Arm. Genocide attempts to take over the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon but it fails. The five men avoid capture by blowing the building after releasing the staff.

Kurdish music, dance and culture gets banned in Turkey between 1983 and 1991, it was forbidden to publicise, publish and/or broadcast in any language other than Turkish. Armenians in Turkey become target to daily harassment and persecution.

The Turkish Army commits acts of extreme violence in order to fight terrorism. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are killed ore systematically tortured in prisons from the early 80s to the early 90s. However, in 1990-91 the World was to change forever.

f. Fall of the Iron Curtain (1991-1994)

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia breaks free. The Armenians in Karabakh who wanted to unite with Armenia for decades, decide to protest their case. Even before its independence, Soviet Azerbaijan (94% Muslim where majority are Turkic) suppresses the voice of the Armenians with street pogroms and massacres in Sumgait in 1988 and Baku in 1990. Faced with brutal Azeri methods to quell the Armenians, Karabakh Armenians vote to secede from Azerbaijan, to which the later responds with full scale war in 1992, backed and aided by Turkey. The Armenians fight back as they remember the past. Even with food and power shortage in Armenia and Azerbaijan often bombing civilian targets with military aeroplanes. Karabakh takes the offensive and scores vital victories in late 1992 and 1993. Azerbaijan recruits Afghan, Chechen and other voluntary Mujahedeen.

In light of the Armenian successive victories, Turkeys Prime Minister Tansu Ciller threatens to invade Armenia with thousands of Turkish troops. Russia warns Turkey and counters their movements to ward them off. Aliev tries with every method to win the lost territories, to no avail. After six years of fighting an exhausted Azerbaijan finally asks for a cease fire in 1994. Turkey and Azerbaijan subsequently blockade Armenia. In addition, Azerbaijan takes revenge by wiping out the Armenian Cemetery in Julfa, Naxichevan and desecrating Armenian churches.

Current situation of Armenia (2008, source CIA): Armenia is primarily a source country for women and girls trafficked to the UAE and Turkey for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; Armenian men and women are trafficked to Turkey and Russia for the purpose of forced labour. My comment: The EU and the US have showed little or no will at all to support Armenia in any way. They remain to be the last survivors of Byzantine Christianity, largely ignored by the Christian world.

g. European Union? (1995-2007)

On 14 April, 1987, Turkey submitted its application for formal membership into the European Community. It was refused, citing Turkeys economic and political situation, poor relations with Greece and the conflict with Cyprus.

The 1995 elections brought a short-lived coalition between Yilmaz and Ciller at the helm. In 1997, the military, committed the fourth coup by sending a memorandum to Erbakan government requesting that he resign and banning his religious Party.

A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the religious Justice and Development Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who introduced a series of new reforms.

Status as of today:

Turkey restricts religious rights of Christians and converts. Their murder is indirectly encouraged. Millions of Kurds, Assyrians, Alevies, Yezidies and other minorities have no status. Women in Turkey are often subjected to honour killings and employment discrimination.

Turkey occupies 37% of Cyprus with half of its Capital Nicosia and refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

Search Turkish history and compare…

What is expected from a country that murders its intellectuals and journalists for uttering a word… Genocide… Not forgetting to honour those same murderers…. What is expected from a country that restricts speech, jails and fines its authors, pressmen, thinkers for daring to think and insulting Turkishness, and regards all minorities as Turks… With centuries of unrepentant murders and violations, is Turkey fit to enter the European Union? Or is it still The sick man of Europe.

All EU and national level parliamentarians who supports EU membership for Turkey should travel to the Turkish countryside, wear a sweater with a cross, and see how long before it takes before they are beaten or gets murdered. Then he will bear witness himself how tolerant Turkish Muslims are

Current situation in Turkey will continue in another section.

Sources: Written by Hay Brountsk,

1. Are the Turks European?: B. Munnich

2. The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire: Alan Palmer

3. Abdul Hamid II, The Red Sultan: K. Yazejian

4. A History of the Armenian People, Volume II: George A. Bournoutian

5. Haykakan Harts Encyclopedia

6. Seljuk, Tatar, Turkish History: P. Yeghyaian

7. The Burning Tigris: Peter Balakian

8. The Turks in World History: Findley, Carter Vaughn

9. Turkey: A Modern History, Revised Edition: Erik J. Zurcher

History of the Ottoman Turkish Empire I (1299-1876)


History of the Ottoman Turkish Empire II (1876-1909)


History of the Turkish Republic 1923-2007


History of the Turkish Republic 1961-2007


1.16 Jus Primae Noctis – Institutionalised rape of Christians under the Ottoman Empire

Jus primae noctis or droit du seigneur is the right to sleep with a nubile (young and sexually attractive) servant before turning her over to her servant husband (the right by which a landlord may sleep first night with the bride of a newly married serf), although the custom may be avoided by the payment of a fine.

This law was imposed by the Ottoman rulers and widely practiced in countries under the Ottoman rule (provinces of the Ottoman Empire were: Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia) until the very end of the 19th century.

The picture, painted by Paja Jovanovic, shows a bride preparing for the wedding night. The first night she is going to spend with her landlord. Landlords (beg, aga) were usually Turks but there were many local nobles converting to Islam to save their privileges when the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

* The right was used on a braid of a feudal dependant or servant, any dhimmi. They were Christians and the right wasn’t used on Muslim brides.

On the day before her wedding the young Christian bride will be visited by a representative of the landlord (beg, aga). The representative is usually accompanied by a file of soldiers. The representative takes the bride to the house of the landlord for a day and a night, raping her repeatedly, and returns her to her home at dawn on the wedding day.

An interesting detail on the picture is that all women on the picture are dressed in traditional oriental (Turkish style) clothing. Under the Ottomans textile styles has influenced by Islamic tradition. Women on the picture except the one on the right have their hair covered with a shawl (also called shamija or mahram) according to the Islamic custom.

Women wore "dimije" (it looks like baggy trousers) of thin, often gold-woven, silk brocade, emphasising the female figure.

1998 Yugoslav postal authorities issued 4  stamps dedicated to national customs. The motif on the stamp of 6,00 din. value is the painting "Dressing/Adornmnet of the Bride" by Paja Jovanovic



Jus Primae Noctis – Details

The historical acceptance of rape may have influenced the incidence of rape in the wars of the last decade in former Yugoslavia. However, there were other historical factors which tended to promote its use and lend themselves to propaganda promoting it, in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as Serbia. Under Ottoman rule, within which much of Serbia gained autonomy in 1830 but Bosnia-Herzegovina was to remain until 1878, there had been a disadvantaged position of Serbs and Croats.

The use or misuse of Serb and other Christian minority women by Muslim men, especially Ottoman officials and the landlord class, has been a major source of grievance. Polygamy and concubinage by Muslim men, especially Ottoman officials and landlords or begs, resulted in wives and concubines being taken from the Christian population as well as the Muslim one, and often abandoned when no longer wanted. The insecurity of these women resulted in their having relatively few children, and resorting to abortion, infanticide and other birth control measures (Stoianovich 1994, p. 159).

The other misuse was through first night arrangements, more generally known as the jus primae noctis (right to the first night) or droit de seigneur (the right of the feudal lord), by which the janissary in charge of an estate or the local landlord had the right to the virginity of all brides among Serb and other serfs. These arrangements are a folk memory rather than attested by literary sources. They were mentioned by Bosnian Serb former politician Biljana Plavsic in 1993 in an attempt to assert that rape was the war strategy of the Muslims and Croats. She noted that it was quite normal of Muslim notables to enjoy the jus primae noctis with Christian women during the Ottoman period (Cohen 1998, p. 222). Levinsohn (1994, p. 274) quotes Belgrade publisher Petar Zdazdic as saying that there was a tradition that the Serb serf or peasant would have to walk around the house with his shoes in his hands when an Ottoman official or landlord came to the house to have intercourse with his wife. In the early phase of Ottoman occupation the janissaries, who were in control of major agricultural estates as well as forming the core of the military, were forbidden to marry until they retired from the service of the empire. First night and similar arrangements may have been important substitutes for marriage.

However, the landlords became an increasingly hereditary class. In Bosnia some three hundred years ago they had to persuade Serbs to come from Montenegro to work their land as serfs or sharecroppers. Muslim peasants had chosen increasingly to purchase their own land and work it as smallholders rather than be serfs, but this option was not open to Christians in Bosnia-Herzegovina until after 1830. Hence first night and concubinage arrangements for Serb and Croat kmet or serf women would have become less common in the later phases of Ottoman rule. Also, the landlord class accounted for no more than 5 to 10 per cent of the Muslim population there were 4000 families who had land redistributed from them in the 1919 land reform. Hence only a small proportion of the Muslim population had access to Orthodox and Christian women where this was common, certainly not the majority. In Kosovo the majority of Serbs were in effect serfs working the land for Albanian clan leaders as well as Turkish landlords prior to the first Balkan War of 1912, but it is not known what impact this had on access to women.

Arrangements whereby one community, or at least its privileged class, has access to the women of another are controversial. A Greek film shown on the Australian Special Broadcasting Service several years ago depicted such a use of Greek brides and wives who were serfs on an agricultural estate by the Ottoman landlord and a visiting relative of his a couple of decades before Greek independence in 1830. A film of the 1950s shown on SBS also indicates this, but the misuse did not extend to breaking the prospective brides virginity, and the land tenancy was seen as a form of dowry given in exchange for the sexual services rendered.




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