Options and directions

Capturing, Processing Information, Integration

 Enterprise Content Management technology is a recent development in Information technology market that came as follow up of the ERP explosion that took place a few years ago.

Avery implementation of an ECM solution will most certainly generate significant benefits to any part of an organization.

Management has come to realize only some of its benefits and advantages.

The problem arises when different priorities are imposed, either from market conditions or changes in technology as well as internal company needs.

Management need first to fully understand the use and benefits that may come from the adoption of ECM strategy so that it can fully exploit its potential and then take decisions on how and in which areas it can be applied.

This article is written to simplify some attributes, so that management can obtain a closer understanding and analyze the basic constitutes of this strategy.

ECM technology consists of three main parts:

  1. Capturing Information both from incoming external and internal documents that are produced from IT applications  such as  ERP etc
  2. Processing and distributing information to all participants in work flow processes
  3. Integration with existing IT infrastructure systems.

Capturing Information

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This is the part that mainly replaces data entry manual effort that usually relates to ERP operations.

This is an area which is easily understood by management, but it is also an area which constitutes only a small part of the operational cost of the total operational cost in an organization.

Computers have developed intelligent characteristics that have risen expectations for future significant improvements in automatically reading digitized documents to a degree that can even understand hand written notes or adopt voice recognition technologies.

But we have not reached there yet, for such systems to become fully reliable.

Implementations are happening but the cases have to be specific while most of them prove to be comparably very expensive.

On the other side, business practices are changing capitalizing on widely applied technologies that allows   the production of electronic documents which are rapidly replacing hard copy documents, so that the requirement for digitization and automatic reading is eliminated.

For example we experience increase of electronic invoicing and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which totally eliminates the need for automatic reading of documents.

So it is questionable if one needs to invest on expensive capturing technology that will become redundant in the next few years.

Processing of Information.

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This is the area where ECM investment can be proved to be more cost effective.

Here we observe a paperless environment to be created in parallel with the introduction of automatic work flow processes allowing participants to intercommunicate, accessing information, faster.

This will help to improve daily activities, achieving, better control, faster decision making, continuous monitoring of operations, automatic filling and retrieval, data protection and security, elimination of errors, and finally, independence from existing IT infrastructure, etc.

Avoiding data entry is an easily calculated savings number. According to international statistical reports, this saving consist about 6% of the total operational cost in an organization.

It appears that the investment required to eliminate data entry cost with current technological tools is too high.

On the other hand it is important to stress that ROI results have proved to be impressive due to savings and benefits achieved from, fast and better decision making processes, continuous real time monitoring of operational activities, data integrity and security, immediate access to information from one central depository that incorporates all information otherwise scattered in different systems included in the company’s infrastructure.

Finally, how can anyone evaluate additional non tangible benefits, such as process simplification with lean management applied in operational workflows, as well as identification of operational redundancies and bottlenecks that this technology helps to eliminate?

This is where major improvements have been achieved.

So in conclusion, any decision for an ECM implementation needs to be the result of a careful study that will identify the areas investments should take place.

Integration  

The final part of an ECM implementation project that needs to be considered is the capability of an ECM platform to intercommunicate with any existing IT infrastructure to avoid process duplication, to allow data interchange and interoperability but most of all to ensure independence of the central ECM information repository and workflow designs to remain when any IT infrastructure is to be replaced.

A big advantage of an ECM system is to retain its centralized data repository for a long period even after changes of the rest of IT infrastructure.

NK

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The second part of a review on historical events that lead to conflicts between Greece and Turkey over Aegean Sea, the Aegean island and Cyprus in an effort to provide a point of view that could be considered as neutral as possible considering that I am Greek and both sides of my family came to Greece as refugees after the defeat of the Greek army during 1922.

 In part I of this article I tried to cover the period from the fall of Constantinople during 1453 to the Greek upraise against the Ottoman Empire during 1821.

In the first part I referred, mainly to the way Ottoman administration treated its subjects, mainly of Christian religion. The oppressive ways reached to extreme situations in the Greek mainland and Crete where heavy taxes were imposed and the practice of “grabbing” Christian children, which was probably the worst wound for Hellenism, since these children were going to become “janissaries”, the most well trained part of the Turkish army, usually confronting Greek populations and revolutionaries.

In the second part of this article I want to concentrate on events following 1821 fight for Greek independence, the Balkan wars, the defeat of the Greek army following the invasion of Asia Minor, the fate of Greek population that suffered terrible atrocities, mass killings and deportation of 1.5m people from their homes, up to contemporary periods when conflicts still prevail over Cyprus the Aegean sea and the Islands.

 

The influence of Renaissance and the French revolution.

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Before I proceed with a description of the actual events over this period I think it will be a mistake if I don’t, mention the influence that Renaissance had on Greeks living under Turkish rule around 400 years, during medieval times, as well as the effect that the French revolution had in the European states which inevitably influenced Greece and other national movements in the Balkans.

It would have been very difficult for Greece to regain its national identity just as a reaction to Ottoman oppression, even suffering cruelty, if it was not for the freedom Greek Tradesmen acquired with the help of Greek ship-owners, who managed to grow in the Aegean Islands.

From the 17th century Greeks from the islands, Asia Minor even as far as Caucasus, the Black sea and the rest of the Balkans developed a strong commercial power that, in turn, produced a generation of scholars who benefited by the cultural explosion  that was taking place in the rest of Europe. It would have been a very strange development if the West, which was finding its way out of the dark medieval period, rediscovering classical Greece, to leave untouched this generation of Greeks. Hence the explosion of the just anger from the Ottoman oppression came to meet the cultural revolution of the generation of Greek tradesmen and scholars who grew, either within Ottoman Empire or in “Diaspora”. This coincidence generated the spirit for independence, which started from Greece but, very quickly, spread over the rest of the Balkans.

Conflict of cultures

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The fact is that Greece happened to be in the middle of a wider “clash” of cultures, between East and West, which include religious aspects, other issues involving national and imperialistic aspirations from every side, commercial and political interests all of which, inevitably, involve Greece.

Every such involvement had both positive and negative side effects.

Every military conflict between West and Turkey was creating an expectation for the Greek independence. As consequence, every conflict between Turkey and West was followed by Turkish retaliations with real “blood baths” for innocent as well as revolting Greeks. The Turkish response to these accusations for retaliations that were disproportional expose the Turkish cruel way of thinking, so they say: What do you expect?   

There were several uprisings, not only in Peloponnese but also in Macedonia and in many other areas, including many of the islands such as Chios Island, Crete etc.  The massacre in Chios Island inspired the French painter Delacroix who helped to make the Turkish atrocities well known all over Europe creating a lot of sympathy for the Greek cause.

An early Greek uprising took place after the Battle of Lepando (between Venetians and Turks), as early as (October 7th, 1571) that ended in massacres of the Greek population,

This was repeated many times i.e., during the Russian war with Turkey (Orlof Brothers and Crimean wars).

Hence Turkey cannot claim that Greeks lived as happy subjects of Ottoman Empire, or even that they did not maintain their national identity.

Yet, there is a question that is still bothering me, why Turks still maintain such animosity with Greece even today?  There were many European nations that managed to overcome national conflicts that caused many battles, even two World Wars. What is so special, unsurpassed with the problem between Greece and Turkey?

I believe that Turkey never overcame the shock of their defeat during the Balkan Wars, especially from Greece. This led to serious national hate and consequently to extermination of all Christian population from Asia Minor, following the defeat of the Greek army after the invasion. An invasion which was encouraged by Great Britain and other western powers, allies during the First World War 

But even this Turkish victory during 1922 did not seem to satisfy the Turkish side, this may be an additional reason why Turkey currently adopts a revisionary approach. Turks are still nostalgic of the greatness of their past and feel betrayed, pushed in the corner against West.

Greece, for Turkey, is, once more, the instrument of West. Even if Greece was supportive for Turkish entry to European Union, Turkey still retains aspirations in Aegean, the islands, Cyprus, east Mediterranean and may be even West Thrace.

Turkey cannot forget their outdated practices on minority rights and comes in conflict with other European standards regarding civil and other human rights hitting back with actions that damage the heart of Christian Orthodoxy, otherwise why they have closed the High School for Orthodox Clergy in the island of Chalki that deprives the Ecumenical Patriarch of succession in the existing ecclesiastic hierarchy? This attitude in no way complies with European or even international standards for freedom of religion in the civilized world.      

But, let’s go back to the events covering the period from 1821 to current situation that seriously threatens new conflicts, even the braking out of a new full scale war between our countries. .

Aegean Sea and the islands according to international treaties

 

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I will start, this time, from an analysis on Aegean Sea and the Turkish claims on the sovereignty of certain islands, what Turkey is bringing up as “gray areas”.

International community is confused with this situation especially when they hear Tayip Erdogan to proclaim:  “Turkey is bigger than…. Turkey, we cannot be restricted within the existing 720.000 square km. Turkey’s frontiers are within the physical and other “Frontiers of our heart”

This, together with many revisionary statements of Tayip Erdogan, have created serious concern to Greece and others, about Turkey’s long term intentions.

International treaties regarding National Frontiers are final and are valid indefinitely, because they are set and signed after considerable sacrifices and blood.

So, to clarify the issue, it is important to note and make reference to specific articles of such treaties which are fundamental and cannot be changed at each one’s will.

First, Lausanne treaty, signed during 1923, was the original treaty that defined frontiers between Greece and Turkey. The treaty gave to Turkey East Thrace, the area around Smyrna and the islands, Imvros and Tenedos. In the same treaty, Turkey agreed for Cyprus to be given to UK and the group of Dodecanese islands to be given to Italy.

Details about the Aegean islands were described specifically in articles 6,12,14,16 of the treaty

Article 6 defines the Turkish Sea frontiers specifying that all islands within a 3 miles limit from the Asia Minor coasts will belong to Turkey.

Article 12 refers to all major islands of North Aegean by name, quoting also the treaty of London dated 13th/17th of May 1913 as well as the treaty of Athens 1st/14th of November 1913, in which the two islands of Imvros and Temedos as well as the group of Lagouson islands (Mavrion Taysan Adas) are excluded and will belong to Turkey, together with all islands that lay within the 3 miles limit, no other names of islands are mentioned.

In spite of this, Turkey is occupying a number of islands outside the 3 miles limit ‘defacto’, which according to the Turkish way of thinking could be claimed as ‘gray’ areas by Greece.  This argument could be used against Turkey in many such cases, even for islands within the Sea of Marmara. This, of course, would sound ridiculous. Even so, Turkey is applying the same argument for the Greek islands, which similarly sounds ridiculous.

It would be inconceivable to assume the possibility to different phrasing could have been used, more over that status of sovereignty in the Aegean would be left ambiguous, leaving open even the slight possibility for future claims on smaller islets situated among the larger islands of Aegean archipelago. Any such idea would indeed be counter to the declared fundamentals principles of Kemal’s policies.

This basic hypothesis was confirmed by the unimpeded implementation of Italian sovereignty, after the signing of the Treaty of in the Dodecanese maritime zone, Ankara never raised the slightest objection when the Italian government determined the boundaries of its sovereignty through legislative acts and internationally recognized military maps, or when after years of ‘on –the-spot’ , detailed work, it mapped the Dodecanese  to its eastern limits exercising its rights within all political and administrative bodies. But even more evidence exists in a form of agreements between Turkey and Italy that I will not bother you for the sake of detail which extends over the objective of this article.

 

In conclusion:

  1. Article14 Specifically mentions details about the rights of Greek inhabitants on the islands of Imvros and Tenedos that passed to Turkish sovereignty. These rights were violated and never respected.
  2. Article 15 specifically mentions that Turkey abandons any right for the islands of Dodecanese that were then occupied by Italy including the island of Castelorizo and all smaller islands dependent from the major named ones.
  3. Article 16 specifically mentions that Turkey is abandoning any rights on all islands laying beyond the 3 miles limit mentioned, except for the ones mentioned in this treaty.
  4. In addition to the Treaty of Lausanne there are other treaties such as the Treaty between Turkey and Italy of January 1932 including the minutes (PROCESS-VERBAL) of December 1932 that clarifies and reconfirms the ownership of all islands of Dodecanese including Imia (Kardak) to Italy.
  5. Finally with the signing of the peace treaty of Paris 1947 Greece becomes the full successor, from Italy, as the sole owner of all Dodecanese.
  6. The Turkish argument that there were special conditions due to pre Second World War conditions were rejected from the Vienna Treaty of 1969.

I don’t want to go to a deeper analysis of all details in support of this, not even the Turkish claim   for the so called violation of these agreements regarding the defense of these islands, with the provision of defense equipment, because it is evident that Turkey, since 1970, has made obvious that is challenging the sovereignty of these islands, hence Greece has all rights to defend same.

Challenging the sovereignty opens a series of issues regarding territorial waters, FIR, the right of the islands to have territorial waters, reticle delimitations, economic zone etc. The problem cannot be resolved unless claims for sovereignty will be cleared, so international law can be applied or even negotiated. Turkey is claiming that Greece wants to make Aegean a closed lake and deprive Turkey of rights to access open sea. This is definitely an excuse because there are always amicable ways to solve such issues. Yet amicable ways is not a traditional way that Turkey has been resolving international issues.

At some stage I lost interest to provide further legal evidence or make further research of all International law and consider other consequences, since, in every step of the analysis, when every time a conclusion is reached, with negative results for the Turkish point of view, I was confronted with the same argument, “Turkey does not respect international law, neither Hague international jury, neither UN or EU, since all such organizations are controlled by major western  powers, mainly using Greece as an instrument to promote their interests.”

So what is the point of any further discussion on this line of thought?

I believe none, for as far as sovereignty of the islands, Greece would only negotiate reticle delimitations.

Hence I will proceed to other areas, some of which are of historical interest, and some of National importance that are still unresolved.    .

The Cyprus issue

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Once again Cyprus became an issue of conflict and ground for propaganda among involved parties, especially to provide excuses for the deportation of the last remaining group of Greeks of Istanbul.

Greek Cypriots revolted against British colonialist who betrayed their promise given to them during the Second World War when Churchill was encouraging Greek Cypriots, who were fighting with UK against Germans by saying to Greek Cypriots: “Fight for Union of Cyprus with Greece” ! Let us not forget that Greece payed a heavy penalty for remaining loyal to its allies fighting against both Italy and Germany during the Second World War, 350.000 losses of human lives.

Following the defeat of Germany, UK forgot these promises and the fight for union with Greece started during the fifties. The Turkish minority did not like the eventuality of Cyprus uniting with Greece, hence animosity developed among Greeks and Turks who were, till then, living a quiet life under the British colonial rule. The Turkish minority, at that time, did not exceed 18% of the total population of the island.

Cyprus gained its independence (Convention of Zurich) after many years of fighting against the British. During this period the relationships between Greeks and Turks grew bitter.

Independence was eventually granted under three guaranteeing powers UK, Greece and Turkey.

Unfortunately, internal fighting started n not between Greeks and Turks but between Greek Nationalists and Greek Cypriot supporters of the constitution of an independent Cyprus and its President Archbishop Makarios, it is important to note that in spite the internal fighting not any atrocities took place against the local Turkish Cypriots, in fact when US mediated with Attkison plan for Union with Greece of the whole island, the Cypriot Turks did not raise serious objections. The real problem started when Nick Samson tried to overthrow Makarios,   during the period of the Greek Dictatorship. Even then the conflict was among Greeks not against Turks

This gave the perfect excuse to Turkey to intervene by invading Cyprus as a guarantor power, under the pretense of atrocities happening against Turkish Cypriots.

This invasion went as far as the Turkish army to occupy almost half of Cyprus confiscating all Greek lands and property, an action that was condemned by United Nations three times.

In addition to losses of property there were significant losses of civilian lives including prisoners of war that were never returned or accounted for. Mass graves were also found.

A line dividing the island was created and maintained under UN troop’s protection.

UN had recognized Cyprus as a legitimate member state of UN while the North part remained under Turkish occupation with the presence of Turkish troops.

Turkey tried to change the demographics of the island by importing inhabitants from the Turkish mainland.

Since then repeated efforts by UN to unite the island have failed, effectively partitioning Cyprus.

The situation is now further complicated because Turkey does not want to recognize South Cyprus as an independent country although the country is, by now, a member of UN and EU.

I wonder how anyone can negotiate with a country that disrespects, UN, EU and International law, stating that these international organizations are non-credible because they are controlled by western powers that will use Greece and Cyprus as instruments to promote their interests and destroy Turkey. I don’t believe this is the long term intention West of West, on the contrary I believe that west values the geopolitical  position of Turkey against the Russian effort to expand its influence in South Balkans and East Mediterranean Sea.

So, it appears we need to establish new terms of reference and rules as a basis for negotiation with Turkey. How could we do that?  It is a matter of common sense to recognize that Turkey intends to take advantage of its geopolitical position and   impose its own interests by negotiations and force, if needed. So Greece has no option but defend its own position by joining alliances to counter balance Turkey’s military superiority.

Especially for Cyprus where Turkey is using Turkish Cypriot minority to control territorial waters as well as reticle delimitations, economic zone etc.

Turkey keeps arguing that mainland countries with long coastal lines have more rights to reticle delimitations, and economic zone than islands. Turkey does not want to obey by international laws and regulations regarding islands.  They don’t reply what are the rights of these islands, especially when these islands are independent countries or consist a major part of a country.

It is obvious that Turkey is using the Turkish minority in Cyprus, to defend not so much the rights of this minority but the rights of Turkey itself. This will not work, the Turkish minority will get an equal share of the rights and benefits in proportion to their population ratio in Cyprus. But the decision will not involve Turkey which will have nothing to share.

Bringing arguments of deported Turkish populations in the past, or Greek animosities against the Turkish Cypriots will not work as an excuse to blare the issue. It is a childish pretense.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots are both victims and up against bigger interests. We will never get to the bottom of this.

But whatever we can say about the history the proof of the way Turks think and behave becomes evident under recent statements of Turkish politicians («Bahchelli) who proclaim as follows:

«Why are Greeks bothered? Because our maps show Cyprus as a Turkish territory. I will ask these fools and bumps what we would do, how would we show it? I state and stress: Cyprus is Turkish. It is a Turkish homeland and Turkish will remain, «Bahchelli said according to yenisafak press and continued:

 

«The Greek government, which plays games in the Aegean islands, should learn its limits and not forget what her ancestors did when they were thrown into the sea. The same will happen again. Thank God, the will to make the Aegean a tomb of the Greek’ desires, is still alive. And it will continue to be. «

What a proper basis for honest negotiations!! There is nothing more I can say. If that is the level of Turkish politicians who inspire hate by passing misleading histories to Turkish people, I can predict a period of disasters for both our Nations.

Turkish point of view is also expressed by Mr Sukan Gukaynak a Turkish person living in Germany today.
“For me the feeling is not Greece saying I will now expand. They say that and that has belonged to me since antiquity, the Turks should end their occupation.

Take Cyprus, this is by treaty no sovereign state. Greeks say they are the majority and it belongs to them, Turks should go.

I once told a gentleman from the official German think tank Science and politics that the EU membership of Cyprus is against valid treaties. He said, yes but treaties are only valid as long as the balance of power holds.

So the West thinks Turkey is weak and they can take her assets ignoring treaties. The only way to show them the balance of power holds is by using military force. Business and cooperation is good. We had that before 1912. It did not prevent the Greek invasion of Macedonia which at that point had only a Greek minority. They claimed they were liberating what had always been theirs.”

What can I say as reply?

The whole argument lacks any real foundation.

Cypriot Greeks are not saying that Turkish Cypriots will have to go. How can anyone quote such a statement? Cypriots Greeks are saying that Turks are a minority in Cyprus and should coexist in Cyprus under European equal rights. Nobody wants the Cypriot Turks to disappear from the island.

What the German thinker said about treaties is wrong

Treaties are to be respected.

But using force under the pretention of protecting Turkish minority is not a legal activity that can be respected even under the treaty of Zurich that has three guarantying powers, not just Turkey.

There are many ways to protect minorities.

Finally Turkey invaded Cyprus under pretenses to control the island by changing its population ratio. The long term intentions are exposed now, as Turkey is trying to protect their own interests against Cyprus using the Turkish minority as their own instrument.

Whatever one can say for the past positive or negative the fact is that Cyprus is a UN and EU member recognized by the international community. There is no better way to protect minorities than EU and UN any other protection would require the agreement of the three guarantying powers not just a single member that naturally will exercise its own rights to promote one sided  interests. This is common sense. Nobody can deny the right of one country to be independent. The Maximum that Turkey can do is to detach the northern part and totally divide Cyprus, an act that will deprive Turkish Cypriots of their right to be member of EU.

Regarding the argument of Greeks invading Macedonia brings back the issue of reviving the old Turkish aspiration of reviving the Ottoman Empire. Fights for independence of many nations have taken place in the Balkans and Central Europe that established a new status that cannot change by reviewing treaties.

The new Turkish nation was established on the basis of these treaties after serious loss of lives and sacrifices from many sides, nobody in his rights senses wants to bring back this period.

As for the issue of majorities versus minorities we can argue endlessly region by region, town by town and the argument will never be conclusive, especially for Macedonia and Thrace there are conflicting data  i.e The 1904 Ottoman census of Hilmi Pasha shows Christian populations to be higher than  Muslim   with a majority of Greeks compared to other nationalities 648,962 Greeks by church, 307,000 identified as Greek speakers, while about 250,000 as Slavic speakers and 99,000 as Vlachs

But I don’t raise this issue as a most credible one because even today Turkey does not allow researchers to access details of numbers of populations in order to hide genocidal activities that had been taking place in many areas.

The Ottoman archives are undergoing a purging campaign to destroy all incriminating evidence relating to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23, say scholars. According to one source, the evidence—at one time or another—indicated that what transpired in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire was purely and simply a “slaughter

The Macedonian Issue

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Will we accept the deliverance of Macedonia?

A while ago, an Athens newspaper, with its headline, wrote that a European Prime Minister urged us to accept to deliverance of Macedonia to these thieves, as a tradeoff for a six months delay in implementing the reduction of the pensions due at the beginning of 2019

The Greek poet, Oskar winner, Seferis writes in his way:

«We were told that you will win when you submit.

We have subsided and found the ashes.

They told us you will win when you abandon-sacrifice your life.

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

It remains to revive back to life, now that we have nothing more «.

The Macedonian issue has been a matter of significant concern over the last 27 years, even more, following the attack raged by the Americans against the communist state of Yugoslavia.

As a result Yugoslavia broke up into various states, each one seeking for their ethnic origin which was suppressed under the dominance of Serbs that Tito, a great Croatian politician, managed to keep together as a single multi ethnic state which maintained one of the strongest armies in the Balkans considered to be a strong but independent ally of the Soviet union.

Hence, many new states immerged and old religious and ethnic minority issues, which existed since the Ottoman times reappeared among Turkish Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic Christians, Slavs, Albanians, Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Jews, Croatians, Pomaks, Romani etc.

Tito gave the name Macedonia to the Southern district of Yugoslavia with the support of Soviet Union because, since the period of the Second World War, the Communists with national identity either Bulgarians or Slavs or Albanians or Yugoslavs were looking at Greek Macedonia as an obstacle to access Aegean Sea.

The fact is that the geographic area of Macedonia was split among three countries, Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.

Unfortunately, after the defeat of the Greek Communists, during the Greek civil war, a lot of Greek Communists fled to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria where they were mixed with local Greek minorities that existed there scattered in many towns and nationalities, which gave them refuge.

Even today there are around 400.000 Greeks living around Skopia. The Communists during 1949, recognized the part of Southern Yugoslavia as Macedonia to satisfy their Communist allies. This was later denounced (1956) even by the Greek Communist Party, to eliminate the accusation of traitors.

So the real question that has been raised for the layman is who are the Macedonians? I remember distinctively an American lady, head of the American Mission in the area, saying to me in Skopia: Who could imagine that a small country like this created an empire so great like the Empire created by Alexander the Macedonian?

I couldn’t find words to express my disappointment about the ignorance of this Head of American Mission. I was aware of the lack of international and specifically European history knowledge that Americans were famous for, but this was over and above the limit anybody could contemplate.

So the question raises stronger and sounds less rhetorical, if we are phased with such ignorance.  Who are the Macedonians? Are they a nation or a region in North Greece? If they are a nation then what are the Greek Macedonians? Who are the Slavo-Macedonians, who are the Albanian-Macedonians? Who are the Bulgarian Macedonians? Who are the Turkish Macedonians? Why all these people claim Greek Macedonia? Why don’t they call themselves North Macedonians, and they insist to call themselves simply Macedonians?  What is hidden under this identity issue?

Are they Slavs who lived for centuries in the district of South Yugoslavia that was destroyed by the Americans, or the Albanians who have strong Albanian National identity, or the Bulgarians who still maintain a third part of the wider geographical area within Bulgarian territory or Greeks who lived there as subjects of the Ottomans and managed to gain their independence fighting against the Ottomans, or may be Turks who were living there during the Ottomans?

Are the national and cultural roots, the historical roots, the language and the traditions of any importance? Are the results of conflicts, and wars between countries of any importance? All these questions very recently unfolded and had to be answered. So it is important to examine the Macedonian issue in its wider perspective.

As this article is being written there has been a first step for an agreement, between FYROM, the so called Macedonia and Greece that the new name will be North Macedonia inserting a note that this country has no relation or link to Ancient Greek Macedonia, never the less it provides that there is a Macedonian Nationality and citizenship as well as a Macedonian language that leaves Greek Macedonians strongly objecting this development.

This agreement has to be ratified by a referendum in North Macedonia as well as to be voted in the Greek Parliament, where there seems to be strong opposition, in spite the international consensus from the international community, EU and NATO for obvious reasons, they have nothing to lose. Has there been a hidden agreement under which Greece is getting some rewards in view of its weak financial situation? This would consist a major violation of the Greek constitution, if ever can be proved.

Macedonian roots

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Alexander’s the Great letter to Darius III:

“Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Greece and harmed us though we had done nothing to provoke them. Me as the supreme commander of all Greeks as i have been appointed, i invaded Asia with the aim of punishing the Persians for this act, an act which must be laid wholly to your charge.”

Another statement from Alexander:

I said to them:

“Men of Athens, I give you this message in trust as a secret which you must reveal to no one but Pausanias, or else you will be responsible for my undoing. In truth I would not tell it to you if I did not care so much for all Hellas. Because as always I am a Hellene by ancient descent, and I would not be willingly to see Hellas change her freedom for slavery.

Herodotus, Histories. Greek historian – 440 BC.

http://www.greek-language.gr/digitalResources/ancient_greek/library/browse.html?text_id=30&page=222

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=93&v=ziJJBsZTt4Y

Slavs and other Ethnicities, the myth of indigenous people.

Slavs,  as they did not exist  in the area  before the 6th  century AD , they tried to relate Illyrians with ancient Macedonia, that is why they  invented a myth proclaiming that Macedonians were not Greeks but were  Illyrians who invaded the area and extinguished the indigenous people integrating  the rest.

So the story insists that this is the way the Slavs inherited the culture and are the successors of the culture and the influence of the great empire of the Hellenistic period of Alexander the Great.

This approach, of bringing the myth of indigenous people, is very often used by Turkish propaganda to dilute or minimize the influence of Greeks in the greater area in the Balkans and Asia Minor. Especially for Asia Minor Turks have gone as far to confuse tourist by introducing nonexistent indigenous civilizations to replace all Greek evidence of existence, influence and languages. I quote here my personal experience, I have heard of a Turkish guide to say about the statue of Attalus, in a Turkish museum, that the inscription under the status was written in Attalian language!

Next argument that Turkey is proclaiming is that the majority of inhabitants in Macedonia were Muslims Turks who were exterminated or forced to depart during the fight for independence that was concluded during and after the Balkan wars.

The 1904 Ottoman census of Hilmi Pasha people were assigned to ethnicity according which church/language they belonged, it recorded 373,227 Greeks in the vilayet of Thessaloniki,   261,283 Greeks in the vilayet of Monastir (Vitola) and 13,452 Greeks in the villayet of Kosovo.

For the 1904 census of the 648,962 Greeks by church, 307,000 identified as Greek speakers, while about 250,000 as Slavic speakers and 99,000 as Vlachs

Hugh Poulton, in his Who Are the Macedonians, notes that «assessing population figures is problematic» for the territory of Greek Macedonia before its incorporation into the Greek state in 1913. The area’s remaining population was principally composed of Ottoman Turks (including non-Turkish Muslims of mainly Bulgarian and Greek Macedonian convert origin) and also a sizeable community of mainly Sephardic Jews  (centered in Thessaloniki), and smaller numbers of Romani Albanians and Vlachs

But even these reports are not fully presenting what has really happened during the Ottoman period.

Most of the Greeks of Macedonia had been linguistically converted to Slavonic speaking since the Middle Ages. However, they continued to retain the Greek (Romaic) identity of the Eastern Roman State (Byzantines) and denied that they were Bulgarians. Besides, «Bulgarian» did not mean a national identity but was synonymous with farmers. The Romaic’ Slavonic speech was started after the schism of the so-called Bulgarian Exarchy (1870), which was supported by the Ottoman Empire in cooperation with Tsarist Russia to stop the expansion of Hellenism to the Danube. At the same time, panslavism had a plan to maculate Macedonia to give Russians exit to Mediterranean sea.

Whichever line one decides to adopt, the fact is that Greek Macedonia was liberated by Greeks who sacrificed their lifes fighting Ottomans and Bulgarians. The result was ratified by international treaties hence preserving a continuation path between Greek Macedonia and Ancient Greek Macedonia.

During the first half of the twentieth century, major demographic shifts took place, which resulted in the region’s population becoming overwhelmingly ethnic Greek. In 1919, after Greek victory in World War I, Bulgaria and Greece signed the Treaty of Neuilly, which called for an exchange of populations between the two countries. According to the treaty, Bulgaria was considered to be the parent state of all ethnic Slavs living in Greece. Most ethnic Greeks from Bulgaria were resettled in Greek Macedonia; most Slavs were resettled in Bulgaria but a number remained, most of them by changing or adapting their surnames and declaring themselves to be Greek so as to be exempt from the exchange.[ In 1923 Greece and Turkey  signed the Treaty of Lausanne in the aftermath of the ‘Greco –Turkish War’ 1919-1922 , and in total 776,000 Greek refugees from Turkey  (674,000), Bulgaria  (33,000), Russia (61,000), Serbia (5,000), Albania (3,000) were resettled in the region.

They replaced between 300,000 and 400,000 Macedonian Turks and other Muslims (of Albanian, Roma, Slavic and Vlach ethnicity) who were sent to Turkey under similar terms.

Year Greeks Bulgarians Muslims Others Total
1913 ] 42.6%
(513,000)
9.9%
(119,000)
39.4%
(475,000)
8.1%
(98,000)
1,205,000

After the Treaty of Neuilly-sur Seine  ten thousands of Bulgarians left and after the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey almost all Muslims left the region, while hundreds of thousands of Greek refugees settled in the region, thus changing the demography of the province.

Year Greeks Bulgarians Muslims Others Total
1926 League of nations data 88.8%
(1,341,000)
5.1%
(77,000)
0.1%
(2,000)
6.0%
(91,000)
1,511,000

The 1928 Greek Census collected data on the religion as well as on the language.

Year Christians Jews Muslims Total
1928 Greek Census data
Religion
95.51%
(1,349,063)
4.28%
(60,484)
0.21%
(2,930)
1,412,477

 

Year GREEK Slavic dialect Turkish Latino Aromanian Armenian Other Total
1928 Greek Census data
Language
82.52%
(1,165,553)
5.72%
(80,789)
5.09%
(71,960)
4.19
(59,146)
0.95%
(13,475)
0.84%
(11,859)
0.69%
(9,695)
1,412,477

The population was badly affected by the Second World War through starvation, executions, massacres and deportations.

Central Macedonia, including Thessaloniki, was occupied by the Germans, and in the east Nazi-aligned Bulgarian occupation forces persecuted the local Greek population and settled Bulgarian colonists in their occupation zone in eastern Macedonia and western Thrace, deporting all Jews from the region. Total civilian deaths in Macedonia are estimated at over 400,000, including up to 55,000 Greek Jews. Further heavy fighting affected the region during the Greek Civil War   which drove many inhabitants of rural Macedonia to emigrate to the towns and cities, or abroad, during the late 1940s and 1950s.

Current agreement between Greece and “North Macedonia” makes no reference to 400.000 Greek inhabitants still remaining in this country.

Turkey has tried to capitalize on the conflict between Greece and “North Macedonia” encouraging the people of this country to claim the status of Macedonian ethnicity just to add another problem to Greece’s North frontiers, as well as to reduce Greek commercial and cultural investments in west Balkans.

 The history of Pontos

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The Turkish point of view regarding the area of Pontus is that Greeks in Pontus were a minority which tried to establish a Greek independent state within an area where there existed a Turkish Muslim majority.

This article, is written to question whether the above statement, can justify the national cleansing that took place during the period from year 1914 to 1922.

The fact is that the Pontians, after 1461, experienced persecutions and attempts for Islamization and extortion. The decision to exterminate the Greeks (and Armenians) was taken by the New Turks in 1911, was implemented during the First World War and was completed by Mustafa Kemal in the period 1919-1923

In December 1916, Emver and Talaat, leaders of the Young Turks, designed a plan of extinction of the Pontians, «the immediate extinction of men of cities from 16 to 60 years and the general exile of all the men and women of the villages in the inland of the East with slaughter and extermination program «. Turkey’s defeat by the Entente forces brought a temporary postponement of the plan to exterminate the Greeks.
During this period atrocities were so harsh that even the Russian communists who were, at the time, supportive towards Turkey, made allegations of Turkish barbarities to Kemal Ataturk who responded:

«I know these barbarities. I am against barbarism. I have given orders to treat the Greek prisoners in a good way … You must understand our people. They are furious. Who should be accused of this? Those who want to establish a «Pontian state» in Turkey”

This is an indication of what was really taking place.

Every where we were looking corpses.jpg

AMERICANS AND SOVIETS WERE SAYING «EVERYWHERE WE WERE SEEING CORPSES»

The genocide of the Greeks in the Pontus was the result of the decision of the Turkish nationalists to resolve the national problem of the Ottoman Empire with the natural extermination of indigenous ethnicities. The normal future of this Empire had been bluntly described by Rosa Luxemburg: «Turkey cannot be born again as a whole because it consists of different countries. No material interest, no common development that could link them had been created! On the contrary, the oppression and the misery of joint submission to the Turkish state are becoming ever greater! This created a natural tendency for the various ethnicities to detach themselves from the whole and to seek through an autonomous existence the way for a better social development. The historic crisis for Turkey had come out: it was going to break up”.

This was the conception that West had at the time for the Ottoman Empire

Of course the situation is different today, so any reference to the past is just for historic reasons, to learn from history to resolve current problems, if possible.

The Black Book of the Pontian Central Council mentions on the genocide the following: «The massacred and in any case exterminated Greeks of the Pontus from 1914 to 1922 amount to the following numbers»: Amasia Region: 134.078, Rodopoli District: 17.479, Chaldeia Region – Kerasounta: 64,582, Neokesareia Region: 27,216, Region. Trebizond: 38,435, Cologne: 21,448: Total: 303,238 people ».

Until the spring of 1924 the Pontians’ martyrdom included another 50,000 victims, the total number of Pontians who were assassinated by March 1924 was 353,000, more than 50% of the total population of the Pontians.

The Pontian genocide forced to abandon their homes and relocate in Greece, the USSR (there were persecuted by the Stalinist regime of the interwar period) period, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere (Australia, USA).

From 1100 BC until 1923 AD, Hellenism of the Pontus was one of the most important parts of the nation. The economic recovery of Pontian Hellenism has been matched by the demographic rise.     In 1865 the Greeks of Pontus were 265,000 people     In 1880 the Greeks of the Pontus were 330,000.     Pontic Hellenism at the beginning of the 20th century numbered 600,000 people, according to estimates by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ottoman authorities.     At the same time in southern Russia, in the Caucasus region, there lived about 150,000 Pontians who had moved there after the fall of Trebizond.     The main cities of Pontus were Trebizond, Kerasounta, Tripolis, Kotyora, Amisos (Samsonta), Sinope, Nikopoli, Argyroupoli and Amassia.     The area was divided into the following 6 metropolises: 1. Trebizond. 2. Rodopoli. 3. Cologne. 4. Chaldia – Kerasounta. 5. Neocaesareia and 6. Amaseia while there were 376 schools, 386 teachers and 23,600 students. Throughout the region 1,047 schools with 1,247 teachers and 75,953 pupils attended. There were also 1,131 temples, 22 monasteries, 1,647 chapels and 1,459 clergy.

Finally, for anybody who wants to learn the real history of this branch of Hellenism can access a very conclusive study in the following link:

http://pontos-genoktonia.gr/sites/default/files/books_text/pontos_justice_and_honor_to_memory.pdf

«We were told that you will win when you submit.

We have subsided and found the ashes.

They told us you will win when you abandon-sacrifice your life.

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

It remains to revive back to life, now that we have nothing more «.

Seferis Nobel winner, Greek from Asia Minor

http://www.nickkouzos.com

η Ελλάδα σβείνει.jpg

Οι τελευταίες ομιλίες των Ελλήνων πολιτικών σχετικά με τις Ευρωεκλογές 2019 σε συνδυασμό με τις Τουρκικές προκλήσεις- εισβολές στο Αιγαίο και την Ελληνική και Κυπριακή ΑΟΖ μου προξενούν μεγάλη απογοήτευση.
Βλέπω να ξαναγεννιέται μπροστά μου το αιώνιο πρόβλημα του Ελληνισμού, ο διχασμός.
Μόνο που αυτή την φορά η ζημιά μπορεί να αποδειχθεί θανάσιμη.
Οι παγκόσμιες συνθήκες που επηρεάζουν ακόμα και την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, πάνω στην οποία βασίστηκε ολόκληρη η πολιτική της Ελλάδας, η σύγκρουση των συμφερόντων της Τουρκίας με τις ΗΠΑ, το BREXIT σε συνδυασμό με την δραματική οικονομική κατάσταση της Ελλάδας μετατρέπουν την χώρα σε αδύναμο κρίκο στο μέσο μίας διαμάχης που εύκολα μπορεί να την καταντήσει θύμα μέσα στα μεταβαλλόμενα συμφέροντα μεγαλύτερων συνασπισμών κρατών και των ευρυτέρων διεθνών επιπτώσεων του εμπορικού πολέμου ΗΠΑ-ΚΙΝΑΣ, του προσφυγικού που έγινε όπλο εκβιασμού του δυτικού κόσμου αλλά και της μετανάστευσης μεγάλου όγκου πληθυσμών λόγω επιδείνωσης κλιματικών και οικονομικών συνθηκών στην Αφρική και άλλων περιοχών της υδρογείου.
Στο εσωτερικό βλέπω τις πολιτικές διαμάχες πολύ σοβαρότερες από τις διαμάχες παλαιότερων πολιτικών όπως πχ του Τρικούπη με τον Δεληγιάννη, σοβαρότερες ακόμα και από τον εμφύλιο, η ακόμα και μετά την μεταπολίτευση, των συγκρούσεων Καραμανλή Α. Παπανδρέου η Γ Παπανδρέου και Κ Μητσοτάκη κλπ.
Η κρίση που έφερε την ουσιαστική πτώχευση της Ελλάδας της αφαίρεσε την πολυτέλεια να ενδώσει σε μία ακόμη ανταλλαγή λαϊκισμών από οπουδήποτε και αν προέρχονται.
Ο λαϊκισμός έχει την ιδιαιτερότητα να προσελκύει μάζες απλοϊκών ανθρώπων που αποτελούν και τα ευάλωτα θύματα και την πλειονότητα των λαϊκών πληθυσμών που ταυτόχρονα είναι και η βάση της δημοκρατίας.
Γι’ αυτό ακούμε τόσο συχνά εκφράσεις και συνθήματα όπως ‘ Δημοκρατία των πολλών’ Εξυπηρέτηση των πολλών, ‘ανάπτυξη επιτυγχάνεται με την ανταπόδοση από την βελτίωση του βιοτικού επιπέδου των πολλών. Κλπ
Γιατί ποιος θα μπορούσε να αντιταχθεί στο συμφέρον των πολλών;

Όμως το πρόβλημα είναι πιο σύνθετο γιατί η διανομή πλούτου είναι το εύκολο μέρος της εξίσωσης. Το δυσκολότερο μέρος είναι πρώτα η παραγωγή, τα μέσα παραγωγής και μάλιστα μέσα σε μία αυξανόμενα ανταγωνιστική κοινωνία.
Δυστυχώς ο προβληματισμός στο σημείο αυτό μένει σε θεωρητικό επίπεδο, έτσι που δεν αντιμετωπίζονται οι συνέπειες από την καθυστέρηση στην ανάπτυξη, που με κάθε τρόπο υποβαθμίζονται η έντεχνα αποκρύπτονται .

O λαϊκισμός αποκρύπτει,

Πως φορτώνεται ο λογαριασμός στις επόμενες κυβερνήσεις ή ακόμα στις επόμενες γενιές,

Γιατί δεν γίνονται δημόσιες επενδύσεις προκειμένου να ικανοποιηθούν προεκλογικές σκοπιμότητες,

Γιατί οι επενδύσεις από το εξωτερικό αναστέλλονται ή καθυστερούν,

Γιατί δεν υλοποιούνται φορολογικές μειώσεις σε επιχειρήσεις εξαγωγικού εμπορίου,

Γιατί δεν εφαρμόζονται αξιολογήσεις προσωπικού στο δημόσιο τομέα,

Γιατί δεν επιτρέπουν την δημιουργία ιδιωτικών πανεπιστημίων,

Τι σημαίνει και γιατί επιβλήθηκαν  capital controls,

Ποια η ζημία που προκαλείται από την μετανάστευση των νέων

Ποια η συμμέτοχή στην ευθηνή της διοίκησης ενός κράτους της αντιπολίτευσης και των συνδικάτων.

Γιατί οι Ελληνικές τράπεζες εξαγοράστηκαν

Πως δημιουργήθηκαν οι προβληματικές επιχειρήσεις τις προηγούμενες δεκαετίες

Τι πρόβλημα υπάρχει με την αριστεία όταν το μέλλον εξαρτάται από τις νεοφυείς επιχειρήσεις.

Γιατί πτωχεύει η ΔΕΗ.

Τι σημαίνει για την οικονομία η πολιτική αστάθεια.
Η ανεπαρκής οικονομική ανάπτυξη έχει διαφορετικές επιπτώσεις σε διαφορετικά κράτη ή κοινωνίες.
Δυστυχώς για την Ελλάδα η ανεπαρκής ανάπτυξη έχει πλέον φτάσει σε σημείο να αποκαλύπτεται ο πραγματικός κίνδυνος σταδιακού αφανισμού του Ελληνισμού που μέχρι πρόσφατα δεν γινόταν αντιληπτός.
Ο Σεφέρης είχε αναφερθεί σχετικά με τον αφανισμό του Ελληνισμού από την Μικρά Ασία ότι ο θάνατος ή εξοστρακισμός ενός πληθυσμού δεν αφορά τον αφανισμό του συγκεκριμένου πληθυσμού αλλά και τον πληθυσμό και τις γενιές που θα ακολουθούσαν στα μελλοντικά έτη
Αυτή η φράση κάνει κάθε σκεπτόμενο άνθρωπο να αναλογιστεί τις συνέπειες λόγω και άλλων τύπων αστοχιών από τις επιπτώσεις της έλλειψης οικονομικής ανάπτυξης.
Με αυτή τη βάση καταλαβαίνουμε γιατί ο Τούρκος Πρόεδρος, πρόσφατα προέτρεψε τον λαό του να αυξάνει τις γεννήσεις. Προφανώς για να αντιμετωπίσει την αύξηση των γεννήσεων του Κουρδικού λαού. Το πρόβλημα των άλλων εθνοτήτων το έλυσαν με μία τρομακτική εθνοκάθαρση.
Ο Τούρκος Πρόεδρος ακολουθεί την πάγια στρατηγική της χώρας του που βασίζεται στην πληθυσμιακή υπρτοχή που ανεξάρτητα από την οικονομική ανάπτυξη ή το βιοτικό επίπεδο καταφέρνει να επιβιώνει διατηρώντας την πληθυσμιακή της αύξησης με οποιεσδήποτε συνέπειες.
Σε αντιδιαστολή, στην Ελλάδα η πτώση του βιοτικού επίπεδου είναι τέτοια που επηρεάζει άμεσα την υπογεννητικότητα, στοιχείο που υπονομεύει ουσιαστικά το μέλλον και την επιβίωση του Ελληνισμού.
Επιπλέον η ανεμική ανάπτυξη προξενεί πρόσθετη αφαίμαξη της Ελλάδας λόγω της μετανάστευση εκατοντάδων χιλιάδων νέων που και πάλι μας θυμίζει τα λόγια του Σεφέρη…

Από το 1980 και μετά  η ελληνική γονιμότητα κατέρρευσε φτάνοντας στο 2011 όταν οι
γεννήσεις ήταν λιγότερες από τους θανάτους (αρνητικό ισοζύγιο γεννήσεων και θανάτων) ,για πρώτη φορά από το 1944.
Επομένως η σημερινής πτωχευμένη Ελλάδα δεν μπορεί να κάνει αποδεκτό τον λαϊκισμό καμίας πολιτικής παράταξης που είτε για ιδεολογικούς λόγους η λόγους τακτισμού υιοθετεί στρατηγικές που αναπόφευκτα οδηγούν την χώρα σε αφανισμό.

Prosfyges.jpg

Δεν μπορεί παρά να πιστέψει κανείς ότι η ανθρώπινη μνήμη είναι πολύ κοντή όταν αναλογιστεί  τα  σημερινά γεγονότα, με τις συγκρούσεις, τους εμπορικούς και συμβατικούς πολέμους  και τις επιπτώσεις που βιώνουν οι σημερινές γενιές σε σχέση με τις προηγούμενες.

Είναι εμφανές ότι οι μνήμες και οι εμπειρίες της κάθε γενιάς δύσκολα μεταλαμπαδεύονται στις επόμενες, με αποτέλεσμα η κάθε γενιά να περνά, υποχρεωτικά, από την οδυνηρή διαδικασία της ωρίμανσης μέσα από τα δικά της λάθη και εμπειρίες.

Τα λέω αυτά παρατηρώντας τα σύννεφα των πολέμων και των συγκρούσεων κάθε μορφής που βρισκονται μπροστά μας.

Η ιστορία κάτι διδάσκει, αλλά δυστυχώς τίποτα δεν  αντικαθιστά τις βιωματικές εμπειρίες.

Τις μόνες διαφορές, στην σημερινή πραγματικότητα, αποτελούν η ταχύτητα στην εξέλιξη  των γεγονότων, και τα μεγέθη των κινδύνων αλλά και των επιπτώσεων που δημιουργούνται.

Τα προβλήματα υπήρχαν και παλαιότερα αλλά σε μικρογραφία  και επαναλαμβάνονται,  για λόγους, επιβολής εξουσίας, οικονομικούς, ιδεολογικούς, θρησκευτικούς, γεωπολιτικούς., μόνο που σήμερα στις επιπτώσεις έχουν προστεθεί και άλλοι παράμετροι όπως, οι κλιματολογικές συνθήκες, πληθυσμιακές διακυμάνσεις, περιβαλλοντολογικές καταστροφές, που έχουν ακόμα μεγαλύτερες ανθρωπιστικές επιπτώσεις σε νεκρούς και μεταναστευτικά και προσφυγικά κύματα.

Εμείς σαν Έλληνες  βιώσαμε πολλές από τις επιπτώσεις αυτές λόγω γεωπολιτικών, Ιστορικών, οικονομικών και ιδεολογικών παραγόντων.

Στην πράξη η μία γενιά θυσιαζόταν για την επόμενη, κυρίως με βάση τις οικογενειακές και πολιτισμικές παραδώσεις.

Η θυσία έπαιρνε την μορφή μετανάστευσης, κυρίως των ανδρών αλλά και γυναικών, εργατών και ναυτικών σε κοινωνίες που μπορούσαν να προσφέρουν συνθήκες επιβίωσης.

Αυτός ήταν ένας από τους λόγους που συνέβαλε στην επιβίωση. Όμως υπήρξαν και άλλοι λόγοι που συνέτειναν, όπως, η μορφολογία του εδάφους και η τοποθεσία, δημιουργούσαν δύσκολες συνθήκες επιβίωσης που πέρα από το προσφυγικό, λόγω των Ελληνο Τουρκικών,  από τον 19 αιώνα, έσπρωξαν  τους Έλληνες στο ελεύθερο εμπόριο και την ναυτιλία  .

Τι βλέπουμε όμως σήμερα;

Νέες συνθήκες  υποχρεώνουν ξανά  νέους παραγωγικούς Έλληνες να μεταναστεύουν ενώ ταυτόχρονα, άλλοι πρόσφυγες και οικονομικοί μετανάστες κατακλύζουν την Ευρώπη και την Ελλάδα λόγω πολεμικών συγκρούσεων αλλά και κλιματολογικών συνθηκών.

Αυτοί οι πρόσφυγες που μοιάζουν πολύ στους Έλληνες  του 19ου και 20ου αιώνα βλέπουμε να  διακινδυνεύοντας ακόμα και την ζωή τους, για τι αντάλλαγμα; Για ένα διαβατήριο! Ελληνικό η Ευρωπαϊκό η Αμερικανικό.

Η Ιστορία επαναλαμβάνεται, η σημερινή γενιά θυσιάζεται για την επόμενη για ένα διαβατήριο που θα επιτρέψει την επιβίωση των παιδιών της. Πόσο ευγνώμονες πρέπει να είναι η δική μας γενιά για τις θυσίες των προηγουμένων, γονιών και Παππούδων;

Ένα διαβατήριο για την επιβίωση και βελτίωση των συνθηκών ζωής της επόμενης γενιάς.

Εμείς οι Έλληνες είμαστε ακριβώς στη θέση να εκτιμήσουμε τον πόνο και τις θυσίες αυτών των γενεών.

Ευγνώμονες για αυτούς που θυσιάστηκαν αλλά και σε θέση να επαναλάβουμε το ίδιο.

Την ίδια ευγνωμοσύνη αισθάνομαι ότι οφείλω σε αυτή την γενιά των σημερινών παραγωγικών  Ελλήνων,  νέων,  που τόλμησαν είτε από ανάγκη η επιλογή να προτάξουν το όφελος και την επιβίωση της επόμενης γενιάς.

Στην πραγματικότητα γίνονται ένας βατήρας,  πλατφόρμα για το άλμα που είναι σήμερα απαραίτητο για την επιβίωση αυτού του παραπαίω ντος έθνους.

timesforchange

Σύλληψη, Επεξεργασία Πληροφοριών, Διασύνδεση.

Η εφαρμογή Στρατηγικής Διαχείρισης Εταιρικης Πληροφοριας  (Enterprise Content Management)  είναι η πλέον πρόσφατη εξέλιξη στην εφαρμοσμένη  πληροφορική των επιχειρήσεων που επιβλήθηκε σαν   χιονοστιβάδα ακολουθώντας και συμπληρώνοντας στην έκρηξη των εγκαταστάσεων  ERP που έγινε πριν από μερικά χρόνια στη διεθνή αγορά.

Η εφαρμογή μιας λύσης ECM σε οποιοδήποτε τομέα, είναι βέβαιο ότι θα αποφέρει σημαντικά και άμεσα οφέλη στους περισσότερους οργανισμούς και επιχειρήσεις.

Η διοικήσεις των επιχειρήσεων  έχουν αρχίσει να  συνειδητοποιηθούν αρκετά από τα οφέλη και τα πλεονεκτήματά της στρατηγικής αυτής.

Παρά την θετική εξέλιξη αυτή προκύπτουν ορισμένα  προβλήματα, κυρίως  όταν επιβάλλονται διαφορετικές προτεραιότητες για διάφορους λόγους, είτε από συνθήκες αγοράς, είτε από αλλαγές στην τεχνολογία καθώς και από εσωτερικές ανάγκες της κάθε εταιρείας.

Για τον λόγο αυτό η διοίκηση πρέπει να κατανοήσει πλήρως και στην λεπτομέρεια την χρήση της τεχνολογίας ECM, προκειμένου να αποφασίζει πώς και από ποιους τομείς μπορεί να ωφεληθεί περισσότερο. Θα…

Δείτε την αρχική δημοσίευση 684 επιπλέον λέξεις

 

Σύλληψη, Επεξεργασία Πληροφοριών, Διασύνδεση.

Η εφαρμογή Στρατηγικής Διαχείρισης Εταιρικης Πληροφοριας  (Enterprise Content Management)  είναι η πλέον πρόσφατη εξέλιξη στην εφαρμοσμένη  πληροφορική των επιχειρήσεων που επιβλήθηκε σαν   χιονοστιβάδα ακολουθώντας και συμπληρώνοντας στην έκρηξη των εγκαταστάσεων  ERP που έγινε πριν από μερικά χρόνια στη διεθνή αγορά.

Η εφαρμογή μιας λύσης ECM σε οποιοδήποτε τομέα, είναι βέβαιο ότι θα αποφέρει σημαντικά και άμεσα οφέλη στους περισσότερους οργανισμούς και επιχειρήσεις.

Η διοικήσεις των επιχειρήσεων  έχουν αρχίσει να  συνειδητοποιηθούν αρκετά από τα οφέλη και τα πλεονεκτήματά της στρατηγικής αυτής.

Παρά την θετική εξέλιξη αυτή προκύπτουν ορισμένα  προβλήματα, κυρίως  όταν επιβάλλονται διαφορετικές προτεραιότητες για διάφορους λόγους, είτε από συνθήκες αγοράς, είτε από αλλαγές στην τεχνολογία καθώς και από εσωτερικές ανάγκες της κάθε εταιρείας.

Για τον λόγο αυτό η διοίκηση πρέπει να κατανοήσει πλήρως και στην λεπτομέρεια την χρήση της τεχνολογίας ECM, προκειμένου να αποφασίζει πώς και από ποιους τομείς μπορεί να ωφεληθεί περισσότερο. Θα ήθελα λοιπόν Θα επωφεληθώ αυτής της ευκαιρίας για να οριοθετήσω  ορισμένα στοιχεία των προβληματισμών που προκύπτουν σχετικά με αυτή τη στρατηγική.

Η τεχνολογία ECM κατα βάση αποτελείται από τρία κύρια μέρη:

  1. Μέθοδοι σύλληψης-συλλογής πληροφοριών
  2. Επεξεργασία και διακίνηση πληροφοριών
  3. Διασύνδεση με την εκάστοτε υπάρχουσα υποδομή συστημάτων πληροφορικής.

 

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Μέθοδοι σύλληψης -συλλογης πληροφοριών

Αυτό είναι το μέρος που αντικαθιστά κυρίως την προσπάθεια καταχώρησης δεδομένων, η οποία συνήθως σχετίζεται με την εισαγωγή στοιχείων στο  ERP.

Πρόκειται για έναν τομέα ο οποίος είναι εύκολα κατανοητός από τη διοίκηση, αλλά είναι επίσης μία διαδικασία που συμμετέχει κατά το  μικρότερο ποσοστό στο λειτουργικό κόστος  της επιχείρησης που μπορεί εύκολα να εκτιμηθεί.

Είναι γεγονός ότι οι υπολογιστές έχουν εξελιχθεί σημαντικά και συνεχίζουν να εξελίσσονται, αναπτύσσουν   χαρακτηριστικά «αυτό -εκπαιδευσης» που έχουν δημιουργήσει προσδοκίες για μελλοντικές σημαντικές βελτιώσεις, στην αυτόματη ανάγνωση εγγράφων, αυτόματης Ψηφιοποίησης ή ακόμη και αυτόατης ανάγνωσης χειρόγραφων σημειώσεων. Ήδη διαπιστώνουμε καλό επίπεδο ακόμα και  σε αυτόματες μεταφράσεις κλπ

Αλλά δεν έχουμε φτάσει ακόμα εκεί.

Πολλές υλοποιήσεις πραγματοποιούνται ακόμα και από σήμερα, με την αξιοποίησή των παραπάνω τεχνολογικών επιτεύξεων , αλλά οι περιπτώσεις αυτές βρίσκουν εφαρμογή σε πολύ συγκεκριμένες περιπτώσεις και οι περισσότερες από αυτές αποδεικνύονται ιδιαίτερα δαπανηρές.

Από την άλλη πλευρά, ταυτόχρονα,  η παραγωγή ψηφιακών ηλεκτρονικών πληροφοριών αντικαθιστά πολύ γρήγορα τα έγγραφα σε έντυπη μορφή, με ηλεκτρονικά έγγραφα ώστε μειώνεται η απαίτηση για αυτόματη ανάγνωση των εγγράφων αυτών.

Για παράδειγμα, βιώνουμε σημαντική αύξηση της ηλεκτρονικής τιμολόγησης και γενικά  της ηλεκτρονικής ανταλλαγής δεδομένων (EDI), η οποία εξαλείφει πλήρως την ανάγκη για αυτόματη, έξυπνη,  ανάγνωση των εγγράφων αυτών.

Επομένως, είναι αμφίβολο αν πρέπει να επενδυθούν χρήματα  σε δαπανηρές τεχνολογίες σύλληψης πληροφοριών που δεν θα αξιοποιηθούν τα επόμενα χρόνια.

 

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Επεξεργασία πληροφοριών.

 Αυτός είναι ο τομέας στον οποίο η επένδυση στην στρατηγική ECM αποδεικνύεται μακροπρόθεσμα περισσότερα επωφελής.

Αυτή είναι η περιοχή όπου δημιουργείται ένα περιβάλλον χωρίς την χρήση και διακίνηση  χαρτιού. (Paperless office)

Στην φάση αυτή αξιοποιούνται οι διαδικασίες αυτόματης ροής εργασιών, που επιτρέπουν στην διοίκηση και τους υπαλλήλους να επικοινωνούν μεταξύ τους, να έχουν πρόσβαση σε πληροφορίες οποιασδήποτε μορφής ταχύτερα, προκειμένου να  επιτυγχάνεται καλύτερος έλεγχος , ταχύτερη λήψη αποφάσεων, συνεχή παρακολούθηση των διαδικασιών, αυτόματη αρχειοθέτηση, αποτελεσματική προστασία δεδομένων, εξάλειψη σφαλμάτων και, τέλος, ανεξαρτησία από την υπάρχουσα υποδομή συστημάτων πληροφορικής κ.λπ.

Ας σημειωθεί ότι ο υπολογισμός του κόστους εισαγωγής δεδομένων που γίνεται με ανθρώπινη συμμετοχή Data entry,  είναι απόλυτα εμφανής και μπορεί να συγκριθεί άμεσα με την απαιτούμενη επένδυση για την αυτοματοποίηση.

Αλλά η αυτοματοποίηση είναι δυσανάλογα μεγάλου κόστους ενώ το κόστος της εισαγωγής στοιχείων με ανθρώπινα μέσα αποτελεί το 6% του συνολικού λειτουργικού κόστους της επιχείρησης.

Που πρέπει λοιπόν να εστιαστεί η προσπάθεια; Που βρίσκεται το πραγματικό κόστος λειτουργίας;

Πόσο σημαντικό είναι να εκτιμηθεί η εξοικονόμηση και το όφελος που επιτυγχάνεται από την γρήγορη και καλύτερη λήψη αποφάσεων, την συνεχή παρακολούθηση των επιχειρησιακών δραστηριοτήτων σε πραγματικό χρόνο, την ακεραιότητα και ασφάλεια δεδομένων και την άμεση πρόσβαση στις πληροφορίες;

Τέλος, πώς μπορεί κάποιος να αξιολογήσει την απλούστευση της διαδικασίας και την σημασία της άψογης διαχείρισης των επιχειρησιακών ροών εργασίας, καθώς και τον εντοπισμό επιχειρησιακών εργασιών που αναλίσκουν πλεονάσματα ανθρώπινων πόρων και άλλων μέσων;   Και τέλος πόσο σημαντικός είναι ο εντοπισμός των σημείων συμφόρησης που πρέπει να αντιμετωπισθούν;

Στα σημείο αυτά μπορούν να επιτευχθούν σημαντικές βελτιώσεις, δυσανάλογα μεγαλύτερες από την οικονομία που ενδεχομένως προκύψει από την εφαρμογή αυτοματισμών στην φάση της εισαγωγής δεδομένων  όσο και αν αυτή φαίνεται φαντασμαγορική η εντυπωσιακή.

Έτσι, εν κατακλείδι, οποιαδήποτε απόφαση για την εφαρμογή της στρατηγικής ECM πρέπει να είναι το αποτέλεσμα μιας προσεκτικής μελέτης που θα προσδιορίσει τους τομείς εκείνους στους οποίους θα πρέπει να πραγματοποιηθούν οι επενδύσεις.

Διασύνδεση συστημάτων

.Το τελευταίο μέρος ενός έργου εφαρμογής ECM που πρέπει να εξεταστεί είναι η δυνατότητα μιας πλατφόρμας ECM να επικοινωνεί με οποιαδήποτε υφιστάμενη υποδομή συστημάτων πληροφορικής για να αποφευχθεί η αλληλοεπικάλυψη των διαδικασιών και δεδομένων, να επιτρέπει την ανταλλαγή δεδομένων και τη συνεργασία, αλλά κυρίως να διασφαλίσει την ανεξαρτησία της κεντρικής βάσης πληροφοριών της ECM (δεδομένα και ροές εργασίας) που θα  διατηρούνται όταν πρέπει να αντικατασταθεί οποιαδήποτε υποδομή των υπολοίπων συστημάτων πληροφορικής.

Ένα μεγάλο πλεονέκτημα ενός συστήματος ECM είναι η διατήρηση της κεντρικής βάσης δεδομένων  για πολύ μεγαλύτερο χρονικό διάστημα ακόμη και μετά από αλλαγές στην υπόλοιπη υποδομή πληροφορικής.

The National Geographic documentary for he Greek Genocide in Asia Minor

A summarized record of the history of Turkish people people  thru the ages.

The Ottoman State To 1481: The Age Of Expansion

The first period of Ottoman history was characterized by almost continuous territorial expansion, during which Ottoman dominion spread out from a small northwestern Anatolian principality to cover most of southeastern Europe and Anatolia. The political, economic, and social institutions of the classical Islamic empires were amalgamated with those inherited from Byzantium and the great Turkish empires of Central Asia and were reestablished in new forms that were to characterize the area into modern times.

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Ottoman Empire, empire created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia (Asia Minor) that grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ottoman period spanned more than 600 years and came to an end only in 1922, when it was replaced by the Turkish Republicand various successor states in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. At its height the empireencompassed most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, including present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine; portions of the Middle East now occupied by IraqSyriaIsrael, and EgyptNorth Africa as far west as Algeria; and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. The term Ottoman is a dynastic appellation derived from Osman I (Arabic: ʿUthmān), the nomadic Turkmen chief who founded both the dynasty and the empire about 1300.

Origins and expansion of the Ottoman state, c. 1300–1402

In their initial stages of expansion, the Ottomans were leaders of the Turkish warriors for the faith of Islam, known by the honorific title ghāzī (Arabic: “raider”), who fought against the shrinking Christian Byzantine state. The ancestors of Osman I, the founder of the dynasty, were members of the Kayı tribe who had entered Anatolia along with a mass of Turkmen Oğuz nomads. Those nomads, migrating from Central Asia, established themselves as the Seljuq dynasty in Iran and Mesopotamia in the mid-11th century, overwhelmed Byzantium after the Battle of Manzikert (1071), and occupied eastern and central Anatolia during the 12th century. The ghazis fought against the Byzantines and then the Mongols, who invaded Anatolia following the establishment of the Il-Khanid (Ilhanid) empire in Iran and Mesopotamia in the last half of the 13th century. With the disintegration of Seljuq power and its replacement by Mongol suzerainty, enforced by direct military occupation of much of eastern Anatolia, independent Turkmen principalities—one of which was led by Osman—emerged in the remainder of Anatolia.

 

Osman and Orhan

Following the final Mongol defeat of the Seljuqs in 1293, Osman emerged as prince (bey) of the border principality that took over Byzantine Bithynia in northwestern Anatolia around Bursa, commanding the ghazis against the Byzantines in that area. Hemmed in on the east by the more powerful Turkmen principality of Germiyan, Osman and his immediate successors concentrated their attacks on Byzantine territories bordering the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara to the west. The Ottomans, left as the major Muslim rivals of Byzantium, attracted masses of nomads and urban unemployed who were roaming through the Middle East searching for means to gain their livelihoods and seeking to fulfill their religious desire to expand the territory of Islam. The Ottomans were able to take advantage of the decay of the Byzantine frontier defense system and the rise of economic, religious, and social discontent in the Byzantine Empire and, beginning under Osman and continuing under his successors Orhan (Orkhan, ruled 1324–60) and Murad I (1360–89), took over Byzantine territories, first in western Anatolia and then in southeastern Europe. It was only under Bayezid I (1389–1402) that the wealth and power gained by that initial expansion were used to assimilate the Anatolian Turkish principalities to the east.

OrhanOrhan.Stapleton Historical Collection/Heritage-Images

By 1300 Osman ruled an area in Anatolia stretching from Eskişehir (Dorylaeum) to the plains of İznik(Nicaea), having defeated several organized Byzantine efforts to curb his expansion. Byzantine attempts to secure Il-Khanid support against the Ottomans from the east were unsuccessful, and the Byzantine emperor’s use of mercenary troops from western Europe caused more damage to his own territory than to that of the Turks. The Ottomans lacked effective siege equipment, however, and were unable to take the major cities of Bithynia. Nor could they move against their increasingly powerful Turkmen neighbours, the Aydın and Karası dynasties, which had taken over Byzantine territory in southwestern AnatoliaOrhan’s capture of Bursa in 1324 (some sources date the event to 1326) provided the first means for developing the administrative, economic, and military power necessary to make the principality into a real state and to create an army. Orhan began the military policy, expanded by his successors, of employing Christian mercenary troops, thus lessening his dependence on the nomads.

Orhan soon was able to capture the remaining Byzantine towns in northwestern Anatolia: İznik (1331), İzmit (1337), and Üsküdar (1338). He then moved against his major Turkmen neighbours to the south. Taking advantage of internal conflicts, Orhan annexed Karası in 1345 and gained control of the area between the Gulf of Edremit and Kapıdağı (Cyzicus), reaching the Sea of Marmara. He thus put himself in a position to end the lucrative monopoly enjoyed by the city of Aydın, that of providing mercenary troops to competing Byzantine factions in Thrace and at the Byzantine capital, Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). The expansion also enabled the Ottomans to replace Aydın as the principal ally of the Byzantine emperor John VI Cantacuzenus. The consequent entry of Ottoman troops into Europe gave them a direct opportunity to see the possibilities for conquest offered by Byzantine decadence. The collapse of Aydın following the death of its ruler, Umur Bey, left the Ottomans alone as the leaders of the ghazis against the Byzantines. Orhan helped Cantacuzenus take the throne of Byzantium from John V Palaeologus and as a reward secured the right to ravage Thrace and to marry the emperor’s daughter Theodora.

Ottoman raiding parties began to move regularly through Gallipoli into Thrace. Huge quantities of captured booty strengthened Ottoman power and attracted thousands from the uprooted Turkmen masses of Anatolia into Ottoman service. Starting in 1354, Orhan’s son Süleyman transformed Gallipoli, a peninsula on the European side of the Dardanelles, into a permanent base for expansion into Europe and refused to leave, despite the protests of Cantacuzenus and others. From Gallipoli Süleyman’s bands moved up the Maritsa River into southeastern Europe, raiding as far as Adrianople. Cantacuzenus soon fell from power, at least partially because of his cooperation with the Turks, and Europe began to be aware of the extent of the Turkish danger.

Murad I

Orhan’s son Murad I was the first Ottoman emperor to use Gallipoli for permanent conquests in Europe. Constantinople itself was bypassed, despite the weakness and disorganization of its defenders, because its thick walls and well-placed defenses remained too strong for the nomadic Ottoman army, which continued to lack siege equipment. Murad’s initial conquests extended northward into Thrace, culminating with the capture in 1361 of Adrianople, the second city of the Byzantine Empire. Renamed Edirne, the city became the new Ottoman capital, providing the Ottomans with a centre for the administrative and military control of Thrace. As the main fortress between Constantinople and the Danube River, it controlled the principal invasion road through the Balkan Mountains, assured Ottoman retention of their European conquests, and facilitated further expansion to the north.

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Murad I, detail of a miniature painting, 16th century; in the Topkapı Palace Museum, Istanbul.Sonia Halliday Photographs

Murad then moved through the Maritsa River valley and captured Philippopolis (Philibé or Filibe; modern Plovdiv) in 1363. Control of the main sources of Constantinople’s grain and tax revenues enabled him to force the Byzantine emperor to accept Ottoman suzerainty. The death of the Serbianemperor Stefan Dušan in 1355 left his successors too divided and weak to defeat the Ottomans, despite an alliance with Louis I of Hungary and Tsar Shishman of Bulgaria in the first European Crusade against the Ottomans. The Byzantine emperor John V Palaeologus tried to mobilize European assistance by uniting the churches of Constantinople and Rome, but that effort only further divided Byzantium without assuring any concrete help from the West. Murad was thus able in 1371 to rout the allies at Chernomen (Çirmen), on the Maritsa, increasing his own confidence and demoralizing his smaller enemies, who rapidly accepted his suzerainty without further resistance.

Murad next incorporated into the rapidly expanding empire many European vassals. He retained local native rulers, who in return accepted his suzerainty, paid annual tributes, and provided contingentsfor his army when required. That policy enabled the Ottomans generally to avoid local resistance by assuring rulers and subjects that their lives, properties, traditions, and positions would be preserved if they peacefully accepted Ottoman rule. It also enabled the Ottomans to govern the newly conquered areas without building up a vast administrative system of their own or maintaining substantial occupation garrisons.

Moving rapidly to consolidate his empire south of the Danube, Murad captured Macedonia (1371), central Bulgaria (including Monastir [1382], Sofia [1385], and Niš [1386]), and Serbia, all culminating in the climactic defeat of the Balkan allies at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. South of the Danube only Walachia, Bosnia, AlbaniaGreece, and the Serbian fort of Belgrade remained outside Ottoman rule, and to the north Hungary alone was in a position to resist further Muslim advances.

Bayezid I

Murad was killed during the Battle of Kosovo. His son and successor, Bayezid I, was unable to take advantage of his father’s victory to achieve further European conquest. In fact, he was compelled to restore the defeated vassals and return to Anatolia. That return was precipitated by the rising threat of the Turkmen principality of Karaman, created on the ruins of the Seljuq empire of Anatolia with its capital at Konya. Bayezid’s predecessors had avoided forceful annexation of Turkmen territory in order to concentrate on Europe. They had, however, expanded peacefully through marriage alliances and the purchase of territories. The acquisition of territory in central Anatolia from the emirates of Hamidand Germiyan had brought the Ottomans into direct contact with Karaman for the first time. Murad had been compelled to take some military action to prevent it from occupying his newly acquired Anatolian territories but then had turned back to Europe, leaving the unsolved problem to his successor son.

Bayezid IBayezid I, undated engraving.Photos.com/Jupiterimages

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Karaman willingly cooperated with Serbia in inciting opposition to Ottoman rule among Murad’s vassals in both Europe and Anatolia. That opposition strengthened the Balkan Union that was routed by the Ottomans at Kosovo and stimulated a general revolt in Anatolia that Bayezid was forced to meet by an open attack as soon as he was able. By 1390 Bayezid had overwhelmed and annexed all the remaining Turkmen principalities in western Anatolia. He attacked and defeated Karaman in 1391, annexed several Turkmen states in eastern Anatolia, and was preparing to complete his conquest in the area when he was forced to turn back to Europe to deal with a revolt of some of his Balkan vassals, encouraged and assisted by Hungary and Byzantium. Bayezid quickly smashed the rebels (1390–93), occupied Bulgaria and installed direct Ottoman administration for the first time, and besieged Constantinople. In response, Hungary organized a major European Crusade against the Ottomans. The effort was beaten back by Bayezid at the Battle of Nicopolis (Niğbolu) on the Danube in 1396. Europe was terrorized, and Ottoman rule south of the Danube was assured; Bayezid’s prestige in the Islamic world was so enhanced that he was given the title of sultan by the shadow ʿAbbāsid caliph of Cairo, despite the opposition of the caliph’s Mamlūk masters (the rulers of Egypt, Syria, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina), who wanted to retain the title only for themselves.

Turning back to Anatolia to complete the conquests aborted by his move against the Crusaders, Bayezid overran Karaman, the last Turkmen principality, in 1397. His advances, however, attracted the attention of Timur (Tamerlane), who had been building a powerful Tatar empire in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mesopotamia and whose invasion of India in 1398 had been halted by his fear of the rising Ottoman power on his western flank. Encouraged by several Turkmen princes who had fled to his court when their territories were taken by Bayezid, Timur decided to destroy Bayezid’s empire before turning his attentions back to the east and thus invaded Anatolia. As Bayezid and Timur moved toward battle, the former’s Turkmen vassals and Muslim followers deserted him because he had abandoned the old Ottoman ghazi tradition of advancing against the infidel. Left only with forces provided by his Christian vassals, Bayezid was decisively overwhelmed by Timur at the Battle of Ankara in 1402. Taken captive, Bayezid died within a year.

Restoration of the Ottoman Empire, 1402–81

Timur’s objective in Anatolia had been not conquest but rather a secure western flank that would enable him to make further conquests in the east. He thus followed his victory by retiring from Anatolia after restoring to power the Turkmen princes who had joined him; evidently Timur assumed that a divided Anatolia would constitute no threat to his ambitions. Even Bayezid’s sons were able to assume control over the family’s former possessions in western Anatolia, and the Ottoman Empire in Europe was left largely untouched. At that time a strong European Crusade might have pushed the Ottomans out of Europe altogether, but weakness and division south of the Danube and diversion to other matters to the north left an opportunity for the Ottomans to restore what had been torn asunder without significant loss.

Internal divisions, however, were to hinder Ottoman efforts to restore their power during a period that has come to be known as the Interregnum (1402–13), during which four of Bayezid’s sons competed for the right to rule the entire empire. His eldest son, Süleyman, assumed control in Europe, establishing a capital at Edirne, and gained the support of the Christian vassals and those who had stimulated Bayezid to turn toward conquest in the East. The descendants of the Turkmen notables who had assisted the early Ottoman conquests in Europe supported the claims of Mehmed. With the additional support of the Anatolian Muslim religious orders and artisan guilds, Mehmed was able to defeat and kill his brothers Mûsa Bey, who had established his capital at Bursa, and İsa Bey of Balıkesir in southwestern Anatolia, as well as Süleyman, and so assume undisputed possession of the entire empire as Sultan Mehmed (Muḥammad) I.

Mehmed I and Murad II

Under Mehmed I (ruled 1413–20) and Murad II (ruled 1421–51), there was a new period of expansion in which Bayezid’s empire was restored and new territories were added. Mehmed restored the vassalsystem in Bulgaria and Serbia, promising that he would not undertake new European adventures. Murad II was also compelled to devote most of the early years of his reign to internal problems, particularly to the efforts of the ghazi commanders and Balkan vassal princes in Europe, as well as the Turkmen vassals and princes in Anatolia, to retain the autonomy and—in some areas—independence that had been gained during the Interregnum. In 1422–23 Murad suppressed the Balkan resistance and put Constantinople under a new siege that ended only after the Byzantines provided him with huge amounts of tribute. He then restored Ottoman rule in Anatolia and eliminated all Turkmen principalities left by Timur, with the exceptions of Karaman and Candar (Jandar), which he left autonomous though tributary so as not to excite the renewed fears of Timur’s successors in the East.

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Mehmed I, miniature from a 16th-century manuscript illu

  • strating the dynasty; in the Istanbul University Library, Istanbul (MS Yildiz 2653, fol. 261).Courtesy of Istanbul University Library

Murad II, detail of a miniature painting, 16th century; in the Topkapı Palace Museum, Istanbul.Sonia Halliday Photographs

Murad then inaugurated the first Ottoman war with the city-state of Venice (1423–30), which had maintained friendly relations with the sultans in order to develop a strong trade position in the Ottoman dominions but had accepted Salonika (present-day ThessaloníkiGreece) from Byzantium in order to prevent Ottoman expansion across Macedonia to the Adriatic Sea, its lifeline for trade with the rest of the world. The war was indecisive for some time. Venice was diverted by conflicts in Italyand in any case lacked the force to meet the Ottomans on land, while the Ottomans needed time to build a naval force sufficient to compete with that of the Venetians. In addition, Murad was diverted by an effort of Hungary to establish its rule in Walachia, between the Danube and the Transylvanian Alps, a move that inaugurated a series of Ottoman-Hungarian conflicts which were to occupy much of the remainder of his reign. Murad finally built a fleet strong enough to blockade Salonika and enable his army to conquer it in 1430. Subsequent Ottoman naval raids against Venetian ports in the Adriatic and the Aegean seas compelled Venice in 1432 to make a peace in which it abandoned its efforts to prevent the Ottoman advance to the Adriatic but was allowed to become the leading commercial power in the sultan’s dominions.

Murad, who had been put on the throne by Turkish notables who had joined the Ottoman state during the first century of its existence, soon began to resent the power they had gained in return; the power of those notables was also enhanced by the great new estates they had built up in the conquered areas of Europe and Anatolia. To counteract their power, he began to build up the power of various non-Turkish groups in his service, particularly those composed of Christian slaves and converts to Islam, whose military arm was organized into a new infantry organization called the Janissary (Yeniçeri; “New Force”) corps. To strengthen that group, Murad began to distribute most of his new conquests to its members, and, to add new supporters of that sort, he developed the famous devşirme system, by which Christian youths were drafted from the Balkan provinces for conversion to Islam and life service to the sultan.

With their revenues and numbers increasing, the devşirme men and their supporters achieved considerable political power. Because the new European conquests were being used by the sultan to build up the devşirme, they wanted the conquests to continue and expand, while the Turkish notables, whose power was diminished by the increasing status of the devşirme, opposed further conquest. Murad, wanting to return to aggressive policies of European expansion in order to help the devşirme reduce the power of the Turkish notables, renewed the struggle with Hungary in Serbia and Walachia in 1434. He took advantage of the death in 1437 of the Hungarian king Sigismund to reoccupy Serbia (except Belgrade) and to ravage much of Hungary. He then annexed Serbia in 1439, beginning a policy of replacing the vassals with direct Ottoman rule throughout the empire. Hungarian control of Belgrade became the primary obstacle to large-scale advances north of the Danube. Ottoman attacks on Belgrade and raids on Transylvania failed to move the Hungarians, largely because of the leadership of János Hunyadi, originally a leader of the Walachian border resistance to the ghazis in 1440–42. Although Murad finally defeated Hunyadi at the Battle of Zlatica (İzladi) in 1443, the increased influence of the Turkish notables at Murad’s court led the sultan to agree to the Peace of Edirne in 1444. By its terms Serbia regained its autonomy, Hungary kept Walachia and Belgrade, and the Ottomans promised to end their raids north of the Danube. In 1444 Murad also made peace with his main Anatolian enemy, Karaman, and retired to a life of religious contemplation, voluntarily passing the throne to his young son Mehmed II. Mehmed already showed the leadership qualities that were to distinguish his long reign, though at that time he relied primarily on devşirmesupporters for advice and assistance.

The Byzantines and Pope Eugenius IV sought to use the opportunity created by the rule of a youthful and inexperienced sultan to expel the Ottomans from Europe, organizing a new Crusade—joined by Hungary and Venice—after the pope assured them that they were not bound to honour the peace treaty they had signed with Muslim infidels. A Crusader army moved through Serbia across the Balkan Mountains to the Black Sea at Varna, Bulgaria, where it was to be supplied and transported to Constantinople by a Venetian fleet that would sail through the straits, while using its power to prevent Murad from returning from Anatolia with the bulk of the Ottoman army. Though the Crusaders reached Varna, they were left stranded by a Serbian decision to remain loyal to the sultan and by Venetian reluctance to fulfill its part of the agreement for fear of losing its trade position in the event of an Ottoman victory. Further quarrels among the Crusade leaders gave Murad time to return from Anatolia and organize a new army. The Turkish victory at the Battle of Varna on November 10, 1444, ended the last important European Crusading effort against the Ottomans.

Murad reassumed the throne and restored the power of the devşirme party, whose insistent demands for conquest led him to spend the remainder of his reign eliminating the vassals and establishing direct rule in much of Thrace, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the process he divided the newly acquired lands into estates, the revenues of which further increased the power of the devşirme at the expense of the Turkish notables. Only Albania was able to resist, because of the leadership of its national hero, Skanderbeg (George Kastrioti), who finally was routed by the sultan at the second Battle of Kosovo (1448). By the time of Murad’s death in 1451, the Danube frontier was secure, and it appeared that the Ottoman Empire was permanently established in Europe. Whereas the victory at Varna brought new power to the devşirme party, the grand vizier (chief adviser to the sultan) Candarlı Halil Paşa was able to retain a dominant position for the Turkish notables, whom he led by retaining the confidence of the sultan and by successfully dividing his opponents. Prince Mehmed therefore became the candidate of the devşirme, and it was only with his accession that they were able to achieve the political and military power made possible by the financial base built up during the previous two decades.

Mehmed II

Under Sultan Mehmed II (ruled 1451–81) the devşirme increasingly came to dominate and pressed their desire for new conquests in order to take advantage of the European weakness created at Varna. Constantinople became their first objective. To Mehmed and his supporters, the Ottoman dominions in Europe could never reach their full extent or be molded into a real empire as long as their natural administrative and cultural centre remained outside their hands. The grand vizier and other Turkish notables bitterly opposed the attack, ostensibly because it might draw a new Crusade but in fact because of their fear that the capture of the Byzantine capital might bring about the final triumph of the devşirme. Mehmed built Rumeli Fortress on the European side of the Bosporus, from which he conducted the siege (April 6–May 29, 1453) and conquest of Constantinople. The transformation of that city into the Ottoman capital of Istanbul marked an important new stage in Ottoman history. Internally, it meant the end of power and influence for the old Turkish nobility, whose leaders were executed or exiled to Anatolia and whose European properties were confiscated, and the triumph of the devşirme and their supporters in Istanbul and the West. Externally, the conquest made Mehmed II the most famous ruler in the Muslim world, even though the lands of the old caliphate still remained in the hands of the Mamlūks of Egypt and Timur’s successors in Iran. Moreover, the possession of Constantinople stimulated in Mehmed a desire to place under his dominion not merely the Islamic and Turkic worlds but also a re-created Byzantine Empire and, perhaps, the entire world of Christendom.

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Rumeli Fortress, IstanbulRumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı) on the European bank of the Bosporus, Istanbul.© William J. Bowe

To pursue those objectives, Mehmed II developed various bases of power. Domestically, his primary objective was to restore Istanbul, which he had spared from devastation during the conquest, as the political, economic, and social centre of the area that it formerly had dominated. He worked to repopulate the city not only with its former inhabitants but also with elements of all the conquered peoples of the empire, whose residence and intermingling there would provide a model for a powerful and integrated empire. Special attention was paid to restoring Istanbul’s industry and trade, with substantial tax concessions made to attract merchants and artisans. While thousands of Christians and Muslims were brought to the city, Greeks and Armenians were disinclined to accept Muslim Ottoman rule and sought to secure new European Crusades. Mehmed thus gave special attention to attracting Jews from central and western Europe, where they were being subjected to increasing persecution. The loyalty of those Jews to the Ottomans was induced by that of their coreligionists in Byzantium, who had supported and assisted the Ottoman conquests after the long-standing persecution to which they had been subjected by the Greek Orthodox Church and its followers.

Under Ottoman rule the major religious groups were allowed to establish their own self-governing communities, called millets, each retaining its own religious laws, traditions, and language under the general protection of the sultan. Millets were led by religious chiefs, who served as secular as well as religious leaders and thus had a substantial interest in the continuation of Ottoman rule. Mehmed used the conquering army to restore the physical structure of the city. Old buildings were repaired, streets, aqueducts, and bridges were constructed, sanitary facilities were modernized, and a vast supply system was established to provide for the city’s inhabitants.

Mehmed also devoted much time to expanding his dominions in Europe and Asia in order to establish his claim to world leadership. To that end he eliminated the last vassal princes who might have disputed his claims to be legitimate successor to the Byzantine and Seljuq dynasties, establishing direct Ottoman administration in most of the provinces throughout the empire. In addition, he extended Ottoman rule far beyond the territories inherited from Murad II. From 1454 to 1463 he concentrated mainly on southeastern Europe, annexing Serbia (1454–55) and conquering the Morea (1458–60), in the process eliminating the last major claimants to the Byzantine throne. When Venice refused to surrender its important ports along the Aegean coast of the Morea, Mehmed inaugurated the second Ottoman-Venetian war (1463–79). In 1461 he annexed Trebizond and the Genoese commercial colonies that had survived along the Black Sea coast of Anatolia, including Sinop and Kafa, and began the process by which the Crimean Tatar khans were compelled to accept Ottoman suzerainty. In 1463 he occupied and annexed Bosnia. When Albania continued to hold out, helped by supplies sent by sea from Venice, Mehmed sent in large numbers of Turkmen irregulars, who in the process of conquering Albania settled there and formed the nucleus of a Muslim community that has remained to the present day.

Since the papacy and Venice were unable to raise a new Crusade in Europe, they diverted Mehmed by encouraging attacks by his enemies in the east, the Turkmen principality of Karaman and the Tatar Ak Koyunlu (“White Sheep”) dynasty, which under the leadership of Uzun Ḥasan had replaced Timur’s descendants in western Iran. Mehmed, however, skillfully used dynastic divisions to conquer Karaman in 1468, thereby extending direct Ottoman rule in Anatolia to the Euphrates. When Uzun Ḥasan responded by invading Anatolia with the support of many Turkmen princes who had been dispossessed by Mehmed, Venice intensified its attacks in the Morea, Hungary moved into Serbia, and Skanderbeg attacked Bosnia. Mehmed, however, was able to defeat each of those enemies. In 1473 he routed Uzun Ḥasan, who acknowledged Ottoman rule in all of Anatolia and returned to Iran. That brought the Ottomans into conflict with the Mamlūk empire of Syria and Egypt, which sought to expand into southeastern Anatolia. Mehmed neutralized Mamlūk forces, though he could not defeat them. He then turned to Venice, initiating several naval raids along the Adriatic coast that finally led to a peace in 1479, whereby Venice surrendered its bases in Albania and the Morea and agreed to pay a regular annual tribute in return for restoration of its commercial privileges. Mehmed then used his new naval power to attack the island of Rhodes and to send a large force that landed at Otranto in southern Italy in 1480. Success appeared imminent, but his premature death in 1481 brought the effort to an end. Nevertheless, Mehmed had laid the foundations for Ottoman rule in Anatolia and southeastern Europe that was to survive for the next four centuries.

In addition to conquering a large empire, Mehmed worked to consolidate it and to codify the political, administrative, religious, and legal institutions developed during the previous century by promulgating a series of secular laws (kanun) compiled by subject into law codes called kanunnames. The immensity of the task, however, and his diversion in numerous campaigns delayed the process to such an extent that it was completed only during the mid-16th century. Mehmed also had only limited success in building the economic and social bases of his empire. His most important problem was securing enough money to finance his military expeditions and the new apparatus of government and society. The tax systems inherited from his predecessors did not provide the required resources, particularly because most of the conquered lands were turned into estates (timars) whose taxes went entirely to their holders in return for military and administrative services.

Mehmed therefore turned to a number of financial expedients that achieved their immediate objectives, but at the cost of grave economic and social difficulties. He regularly withdrew all coinsfrom circulation and issued new ones with a larger proportion of base metal alloys. To enforce acceptance of the new issues, he sent armed bands around the empire with the right to confiscate without compensation all the older and more valuable coins that were not being voluntarily exchanged for the new. The debasement of the coinage soon caused inflation, which greatly disturbed the industry and trade that the sultan had hoped to promote. In addition, in his search for revenues, Mehmed created monopolies over the production and use of essential goods, distributing them among the highest bidders, who in turn charged excessive prices and created artificial scarcities to secure their profits. Finally, Mehmed established the principle that all revenue-producing property belonged to the sultan. In pursuance of that idea, he confiscated much private property and religious foundation lands, creating tremendous resentment and opposition among those who lost their revenues, including members of the religious ulama (theologian) class, the Turkish notables, and even some devşirme men, whose discontent threatened to undermine both state and sultan. It was only by playing those groups off against each other that Mehmed was able to maintain his own position and power and to continue his conquests.

Ottoman institutions in the 14th and 15th centuries

Changing status of the Ottoman rulers

Ottoman dynasts were transformed from simple tribal leaders to border princes (uc beys) and ghazi leaders under Seljuq and then II-Khanid suzerainty in the 13th and early 14th centuries. With the capture of Bursa, Orhan had been able to declare himself independent of his suzerains and assume the title of bey, which was retained by his successors until Bayezid I was named sultan by the shadow ʿAbbāsid caliph of Cairo following his victory over the Christian Crusaders at the Battle of Nicopolis (1396). Those title changes reflected changes in the position of the Ottoman ruler within the state and in the organization of the state itself.

As uc bey and even as bey, the Ottoman leader remained little more than a tribal chief, sharing administrative and military leadership with the Turkmen tribal chiefs surrounding him. Like them, he was owed the loyalty and obedience of his followers only so long as he led them to victory and only in relation to his military functions. Beyond that, he was only one among equals in the councils that decided general internal policies; the tribes and clans remained autonomous in their internal affairs. The bey was accessible to the tribe and clan leaders as well as to their followers. He could intervene in disputes among the clans, but jurisdiction was temporary and restricted. Muslim law and jurists had little influence, whereas Turkish tribal law and custom prevailed. In such a situation the idea of rule was very limited. Administration was conceived mainly in financial terms, with each clan or family or tribe accepting Ottoman military leadership largely for the financial rewards it could bring. Ottoman chiefs collected the booty in conquered lands and had the right to collect taxes from lands left in their possession after conquests. The only advantage that the bey, as tribal war leader, had over the chiefs surrounding him was the pençik (“fifth”), or right to collect an extra fifth of the booty taken by his followers. Because the bey was dependent for his power and revenues on the assent of his followers, his authority was limited in scope and in time.

As the territory of the Ottoman principality expanded, however, and the Ottomans inherited the administrative apparatus left by the Byzantines, that simple tribal organization was replaced by a more complex form of government. By the time the Ottoman rulers became sultans, they already had far more extensive power and authority than had been the case a half century earlier. The simple tribal organization of the Ottoman bey could suffice only while the state was small enough for the individual tribal leaders to remain on their lands to collect their revenues and fight the nearby enemy at the same time. As the empire expanded and the frontiers and enemies became further removed from previously conquered territory, the financial and administrative functions at home had to be separated from the military. Taxes had to be collected to exploit the conquered territories and support the officers and soldiers while they were away. The treasury of the sultan had to be separated from that of the state so that each would have an independent income and organization.

Institutional evolution

Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, therefore, the Ottoman state gradually reshaped its government and military institutions to meet the needs of administering and defending an expanding empire. That process naturally was influenced by those states that had preceded the Ottoman Empire, not only in the areas it came to rule but also in the lands of its ancestors. So it was that the developing Ottoman state was influenced by the traditions of the nomadic Turkic empires of Central Asia, particularly in military organization and tactics. It was also heavily influenced by the classical high Islamic civilization of the ʿAbbāsids, as passed through the hands of the Seljuqs, particularly in the development of orthodox Islam as the basis of its administrative, religious, legal, and educational institutions and in the organization of its financial systems. In the court hierarchy, the central financial structure, and the tax and administrative organizations developed in the European provinces, the Ottomans were influenced by the Byzantines and, to a lesser extent, by the Serbian and Bulgarian empires. Although conversion to Islām was not demanded of the conquered, many Christians and a few Jews voluntarily converted to secure full status in the new empire. Most, however, continued to practice their old religions without restriction.

A particularly important source of Christian influence during the 14th century came from the close marriage ties between the Ottoman and Christian courts. Orhan was married to the Byzantine princess Nilüfer, mother of Murad I. Murad married Byzantine and Bulgarian princesses, and Bayezid Imarried Despina, daughter of the Serbian prince Lazar. Each of those marriages brought Christian followers and advisers into the Ottoman court, and it was under their influence that Bayezid I abandoned the simple nomadic courts and practices of his predecessors and isolated himself behind elaborate court hierarchies and ceremonies borrowed primarily from the Byzantines, setting a pattern that was continued by his successors. The triumph of Sultan Mehmed I in 1413 was at least in part because of the support of the Turkish notables and Muslim religious orders of Anatolia, who strongly resented the Christian predominance in Bayezid’s court and attributed his abandonment of the ghazi tradition and attacks in Turkish Muslim Anatolia—as well as the defeat at the hands of Timur—to Christian influence. As a result, Turkish and Muslim influences dominated the Ottoman court during the 15th century, although the hierarchies, institutions, and ceremonies introduced in the previous century remained largely unchanged. The same process that isolated the sultans from their subjects also removed them from the daily administration of government. Formal institutions of administration therefore evolved to take their place, with the rulers delegating more and more of their duties to executive ministers, to whom the Seljuq title vezir (vizier) was given.

The continued close connections of the Ottoman ruling family with the urban guilds and orders of Anatolia, many of the members of which were descendants of officials of the Great Seljuq and Il-Khanid empires, as well as the empire of the Seljuqs of Konya, provided continuity with the Islamic Turkish traditions of government. With them came the basic unit of Islamic administrative and financial organization, the mukâṭaʾa, which associated each office with a source of revenues and made each official the collector of his own salary. At the same time it circumscribed his administrative powers to those tasks directly involved with the financial function. It was relatively simple for the Ottomans to preserve previous methods of local taxation in different parts of the empire while weaving them into a united whole through the veneer provided by the mukâṭaʿafinancial units, whose tax revenues were assigned to Ottoman officials. As the central administration was divided into functional departments, a vizier was appointed to direct each. Most of the early viziers were former Turkmen princes who had entered Ottoman service, though some, particularly under Bayezid I, were Christians and Christian converts. State policy was discussed and decided in a council (divan) of those viziers, who were joined by religious, judicial, and military leaders under the direction and chairmanship of the sultan. As the duties of the state became more extensive and complex, the individual viziers gained increased financial and political power, and, as the Byzantine influence caused the sultan to isolate himself, it was inevitable that the viziers would come to dominate the administration. As if to emphasize his removal from the daily affairs of state, the sultan began to appoint one of his viziers as his chief minister, or grand vizier (sadr-ı azem). From 1360 until the conquest of Constantinople, that powerful position was reserved for members of the Candarlı family, which came to lead and represent the powerful and assertive Turkmen notable families; those families thus benefited most from the 14th-century expansion of the empire.

Military organization

The first Ottoman army had been composed entirely of Turkmen nomads, who had remained largely under the command of the religious orders that had converted most of them to Islam. Armed with bows and arrows and spears, those nomadic cavalrymen had lived mostly on booty, although those assigned as ghazis to border areas or sent to conquer and raid Christian lands also had been given more permanent revenues in the form of taxes levied on the lands they garrisoned. Those revenue holdings were formalized as mukâṭaʿas, held by tribal leaders and ghazi commanders who used their revenues to feed, supply, and arm their followers. It was that type of mukâṭaʿa that developed into the Ottoman form of fief, the timar, which was the basis of Ottoman military and administrative organization as the European portions of the empire were conquered from the vassals in the 15th century and placed under direct Ottoman administration. Those nomadic troops had predominated through Orhan’s reign, until he saw that such undisciplined cavalrymen were of limited use in besieging and taking large cities. In addition, once he had established his state, he had found it difficult to maintain order with such an army because the nomads still preferred to maintain themselves by looting, in the lands of their commander as well as in those of the enemy.

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Ottoman Empire: armyLearn about the Ottoman Empire’s army, which was renowned for its archers.Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

To replace the nomads, Orhan organized a separate standing army of hired mercenaries paid by salary rather than booty or by timar estates. Those mercenaries organized as infantry were called yayas; those organized as cavalry, müsellems. Although the new force included some Turkmens who were content to accept salaries in place of booty, most of its men were Christian soldiers from the Balkans who were not required to convert to Islam as long as they obeyed their Ottoman commanders. As Murad I conquered more and more of southeastern Europe, those forces became mainly Christian, and, as they came to dominate the Ottoman army, the older Turkmen cavalry forces were maintained along the frontiers as irregular shock troops, called akıncis, who were compensated only by booty. As the yayas and müsellems expanded in numbers, their salaries became too burdensome for the Ottoman treasury, so in most cases the newly conquered lands were assigned to their commanders in the form of timars. That new regular army developed the techniques of battle and siege that were used to achieve most of the 14th-century Ottoman conquests, but, because it was commanded by members of the Turkish notable class, it became the major vehicle for their rise to predominance over the sultans, whose direct military supporters were limited to the vassal contingents.

Only late in the 14th century did Murad I and Bayezid I attempt to build up their own personal power by building a military slave force for the sultan under the name kapıkulu. Murad based the new force on his right to a fifth of the war booty, which he interpreted to include captives taken in battle. As those men entered his service, they were converted to Islam and trained as Ottomans, gaining the knowledge and experience required for service in the government as well as the army, while remaining in the sultan’s personal service. During the late 14th century that force—particularly its infantry branch, the Janissary corps—became the most important element of the Ottoman army. The provincial forces maintained and provided by the timar holders constituted the Ottoman cavalry and were called sipahis, while the irregular akıncis and salaried yayas and müsellems were relegated to rear-line duties and lost their military and political importance. But, when Bayezid I abandoned the ghazi tradition and moved into Anatolia, he lost the support of the Turkish notables and their sipahis before his new kapıkulu army was fully established. He therefore had to rely only on the Christian vassal forces at the Battle of Ankara (1402), and, although they demonstrated considerable valour and fighting ability, they were overwhelmed by Timur’s powerful army.

When the Ottoman Empire was restored under Sultan Mehmed I, the Turkish notables, in order to deprive the sultan of the only military force he could use to resist their control, required him to abandon the kapıkulu, justifying the action on the basis of the Islamic tradition that Muslims could not be kept in slavery. The European and Anatolian revolts that arose early in the reign of Murad IIwere at least partly stimulated and supported by members of the kapıkulu, as well as the Christian slaves and vassals who had been losing their power to the Turkish notables. As soon as Murad II came to power, however, he resumed earlier efforts to make the sultanate more independent, building up the strength of the Janissaries and their associates and playing them off against the notables. He distributed most of his conquests to members of the kapıkulu force, occasionally as timars but more often as tax farms (iltizāms), so that the treasury could obtain the money it needed to maintain the Janissary army entirely on a salaried basis. In addition, in order to man the new force, Murad developed the devşirme system of recruiting the best Christian youths from southeastern Europe.

Whereas Mehmed II used the conquest of Constantinople to destroy the major Turkish notable families and build up the power of the devşirme, Murad sought only to establish a balance of powerand function between the two groups so that he could use and control both for the benefit of the empire. Thus he enlarged the concept of kapıkulu to include members of the Turkish nobility and their Turkmen sipahis as well as the products of the devşirme. Now only persons accepting the status of slaves of the sultan could hold positions in the Ottoman government and army. Persons of Muslim and non-Muslim origin could achieve that status as long as they accepted the limitations involved: absolute obedience to their master and the devotion of their lives, properties, and families to his service. From then on, all important ministers, military officers, judges, governors, timar holders, taxfarmers, Janissaries, sipahis, and the like were made members of that class and attached to the will and service of the sultan. The salaried Janissary corps remained the primary source of strength of the devşirme class, whereas the sipahis and the timar system remained the bases of power of the Turkish notables. Mehmed II thus avoided the fate of the great Middle Eastern empires that had preceded that of the Ottomans, in which rule had been shared among members of the ruling dynasty and with others and rapid disintegration had resulted. The Ottomans established the principle of indivisibility of rule, with all members of the ruling class subjected to the absolute will of the sultan.

 

After the peak of Ottoman rule under Süleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire struggled to maintain its bloated bureaucracy and decentralized political structure. Several attempts at reform kept the empire afloat but mostly addressed immediate issues, and any success was short-lived. The most far-reaching of these reforms, the Tanzimat, contributed to a debt crisis in the 1870s. Its fragile state left it unable to withstand defeat in World War I, and most of its territories were divided as spoils as the empire disintegrated.

Read more below: The empire from 1807 to 1920: The Tanzimat reforms (1839–76)

 

ottoman culture like roman culture has been criticized for its lack of originality