Archives for category: Uncategorized

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.


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.

MURAT 1.jpg

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


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.

MEHMED 1.jpg

MWHMED 1.jpg

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.


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.


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

nazim xikmet.jpg


Culture and art may bridge the gap and bring us closer.

I would say, along with their art works, memories remain enriched with some of the most intense forms of art that include both poetry and music which  help to bring out the best out of human beings. 

Generations are defined by arts they create. .

Technology and science certainly grow exponentially with no limit which no one can predict the impact it will have on humanity.

But art is timeless, similar  emotion are experienced when  reading ancient love poems from Lesbos Island, by Sappho (620 B.C),  ancient tragedies by Sophocles (Electra, 410 B.C.) with emotions experienced when reading later or contemporary writers and  poets such as of Victor Hugo,  le misserables, 1862 ), Shakespeare Amlet 1564 , Elytis Greek poet for Aegean,  Nobel winner 1979, Seferis Greek from Smyrna Literature Nobel winner 1963 , without necessarily dealing with the same subject.

I wish we could also listen to music from all corners of the earth and from different periods.

I am also similarly touched when reading   texts of Nasyid – Ahmed Bukhatir or Nazim Hikmet or listening to music by Manos Loizos on poems from the alboom  «Letters to the beloved», written in Prousa prison, by Nazim Hikmet

 This poetry, combined with Music composed by Manos Loisos and the translation from Ritsos, constructs bridges to cover great distances in time, as well as distances among nations, even differences in  political convictions and different points of view.

These art creations bring closer, friends with enemies, freedom fighters with  dictators, judges with convicts, oppressed with oppressors.

Yet, how can I bridge the gaps, or compromise between fundamental human differences, in values and approaches, such as  sentiment and logic, love and self-sacrifice, love for one’s country and globalization reality, love and pain of disappointment, purity and compromise? Fanaticism and faith?   Mediocrity and excellence? Equality and Diversity?  A Left-wing populist idealist and an unsuspecting naive democrat?

How can I differentiate between Nazim Hikmet, an unconventional political extremist and Dionysios Solomos, a leading, but conventional national poet? Or Beethoven a giant composer in Classical music  and Vamvakaris, an original composer of rebellious music?

How do I compromise between fighting spirit for independence and the conformity of a middle class individual?

 In the end, only the creations that a person have managed to deliver to society will remain. 

You need to listen to the poems Nazim Hikmet wrote during his imprisonment.

All of us, sooner or later will depart from this world, but if we leave something behind, such as Mano’s music and Nazim’s poetry, that will be enough.

A quote in Turkish follows, that is not an exact translation, probably because the famous Greek poet Ritsos was influenced by Nazim’s real story and wanted to pass his own personal message.

Bugün pazar.
Bugün beni ilk defa güneşe çıkardılar.
Ve ben ömrümde ilk defa gökyüzünün
bu kadar benden uzak
bu kadar mavi
bu kadar geniş olduğuna şaşarak
kımıldamadan durdum.
Sonra saygıyla toprağa oturdum,
dayadım sırtımı duvara.
Bu anda ne düşmek dalgalara,
bu anda ne kavga, ne hürriyet, ne karım.
Toprak, güneş ve ben…

Greek composer Manos Loizos regarded his music composition for Nazim’s album of poems «Letters to my beloved», translated in Greek by Yiannis Ritsos, as his top life work..


 Note: This post caused some reactions in the F / B that highlights some of the political and cultural dimensions. In particular, I find interesting the remarks made by Sukan Gurkaynak a Turkish friend in f/b, who said :

“I think Greek is more poetic than Turkish. That is why good Turkish poetry is in Persian or the persianised Ottoman language”

That puzzles me. How can I explain to Sukan that the first historical and literary works from antiquity, more than 3,000 years ago, were poetic like the works Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, where even the written and spoken words of the ancient Greek language had vowels that emphasized the rhythm and poeticism of the speech itself, (Short and long vowels )  This is also an indication of the level of superiority of the language, indicating cultural depth as well as the influence and contribution that the Greek language had to global cultural diversity and evolution.

Discussion in f/b reflecting political implications :

Sukan Gurkaynak Atatürk put him in jail because he was producing propaganda for Stalin.

Nick Kouzos I understand but this is the point .I am trying to make. I am anything else. but a communist. I am trying to pass a message over and above politics, Nationalism and conflicts that made the 20th century a hell to live in. I am not a supporter of his ideology still his poetry is very sensitive. We need to overcome our enemies. I will translate my comments from  Greek.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Stalin he loved invaded Poland. The NKVD murdered 15000 officers of the Polish army. He was producing propaganda for those people. So the Turkish officers put

Nick Kouzos I totally agree with you but still Comunists are a legal party in Greece. I am not a supporter of Stalin and I am totally against Stalin-ism but Nazim was a poet, most Greek poets are leftist and a lot are communists, not Stalinists.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Turkish left never understood what was wrong with Stalinism. After the Russians gave up they started calling themselves liberals, some like former (communist) labor party MP Cetin Altan claiming that was the same thing as Stalinism. Most of them are idiots including Nazim. I know his grand nephew, forget the family.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos There is a fascist Turkish poet Kisakürek. A nut. Erdogan loves him. they name all possible things after him. Forget most poets. They are people who cannot make money in a decent job.

Nick Kouzos I agree in a political sense and I am against Fascists as well but I love poetry

Sukan Gurkaynak I think Greek is more poetic than Turkish. That is why good Turkish poetry is in persian or the persianised Ottoman language.

Nick Kouzos I understand.

Nick Kouzos Nazim was finally executed, wasn’t he?

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos No. He was released from jail and went to Moscow. he lived there until his natural death in 1963. His grave is in a Moscow  cemetery.



Ottoman Empire expantion.jpg

Είναι εξαιρετικά ανησυχητική η αυξανόμενη επιθετικότητα της Τουρκίας στο Αιγαίο και  την Ανατολική Μεσόγειο στην ΑΟΖ της Κύπρου. Υπάρχουν καθημερινές παραβιάσεις του Ελληνικού εναέριου χώρου που αναχαιτίζονται από την Ελληνική αεροπορία γεγονός που αυξάνει τον κίνδυνο θερμού επεισοδίου, αλλά και επιβαρύνει σοβαρά  τις αμυντικές δαπάνες της χώρας σε περίοδο κρίσης. Είναι συνεπώς εύλογο να με απασχολεί αυτή η εξόχως επικίνδυνη και επιβαρυντική για την οικονομία κατάσταση.

Το τελευταίο διάστημα ανταλλάσσω απόψεις στο Facebook, σχετικά με την τρέχουσα αυξανόμενη επιθετικότητα της Τουρκίας τόσο στο Αιγαίο  όσο και στην Κύπρο αλλά και στην Δυτική Θράκη.

Πολλοί από τους φίλους αναρωτήθηκαν γιατί ασχολούμαι με την  ανταλλαγή απόψεων, και μάλιστα να δημοσιοποιώ τις απόψεις ενός ατόμου, Τουρκικής καταγωγής και Εθνικότητας με δηλωμένη θέση εναντίων των Ελληνικών θέσεων αλλά και των θέσεων των Ηνωμένων Εθνών όσο και της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης αλλά και του Δυτικού Κόσμου γενικά.

Είναι προφανές ότι θεωρώ ότι είναι σημαντικό σε ένα πολιτισμένο περιβάλλον να επικοινωνούν οι άνθρωποι  προκειμένου να κατανοούν ο ένας την θέση του άλλου.

Από την επικοινωνία αυτή πιστεύω ότι απέκτησα μία ευρύτερη αντίληψη των ιστορικών γεγονότων και του τρόπου προσέγγισης από την Τουρκική πλευρά που μου προσέφερε πληρότητα για τα γεγονότα, χωρίς βέβαια να αλλάζει την άποψή μου για την γενοκτονία που πραγματοποιήθηκε σε βάρος των Ελλήνων και άλλων χριστιανικών πληθυσμών που ζούσαν αιώνες κάτω από την Οθωμανική αυτοκρατορία, με βοήθησε όμως να καταλάβω πως η Τουρκία ανέπτυξε την ψυχολογία του καταφρονημένου Μουσουλμάνου από την συμπεριφορά του Δυτικού κόσμου.

Βέβαια το συμπέρασμα μου είναι αρνητικό όσον αφορά την Ελλάδα δεδομένου ότι διαπιστώνω ότι η μέχρι στιγμής ακολουθούμενη στρατηγική των Ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων ήταν σαφώς λανθασμένη, πιστεύοντας ότι η είσοδος της Τουρκίας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση  θα έλυνε και τα Ελληνοτουρκικά προβλήματα.

Δυστυχώς από την μέχρι στιγμής ανταλλαγής απόψεων ο βαθύτερος στόχος τόσο της Τουρκίας όσο και της υπόλοιπης Ευρώπης ήταν να συμβιώσουν με βάση ορισμένα οικονομικά συμφέροντα χωρίς να πλησιάσουν η μία την άλλη πολιτισμικά η γεωπολιτικά.

Αυτό αφήνει την Ελλάδα εκτεθειμένη στις ορέξεις της Τουρκίας που ουσιαστικά εξακολουθεί να συμπεριφέρεται σαν το καταφρονημένο από την δύση  κράτος  που ενδιαφέρεται να την διαμελίσει όπως προσπάθησε να κάνει παλαιότερα μετά τον Πρώτο Παγκόσμιο πόλεμο.

Αυτό σε συνδυασμό με τον Νέο Οθωμανισμό και μεγαλοϊδεατισμό της Τουρκίας που πιστεύει ότι αδικήθηκε από τις διεθνείς συνθήκες αλλά και το δίκαιο της Θαλάσσης αλλά και την πίστη ότι το διεθνές δίκαιο, το δικαστήριο της Χάγης,  ο ΟΗΕ και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση αποτελούν όργανα της Δύσης, δεν δεσμεύεται σε τίποτα όσον αφορά τα σύνορα, προς το Αιγαίο αλλά και προς την Ανατολή.

Στην ουσία βρίσκετε σε διάσταση με την Αμερική και τους συμμάχους της στην Ευρώπη και το ΝΑΤΟ και πιστεύει ότι αυτή η κατάσταση έχει αλλάξει από την πτώση της Σοβιετικής Ένωσης και του ψυχρού πολέμου.

Μόνο έτσι εξηγείται η αναβίωση της Εχθρότητας προς την Δύση και την Ελλάδα την οποία θεωρούν όργανο της Δύσης.

Είναι φανερό ότι θεωρεί το μισό Αιγαίο δικό της και την Ελλάδα σαν κατακτητή με δικαιώματα που δεν είναι κατοχυρωμένα ούτε πιστεύει ότι η καταφυγή σε διεθνή δικαστήρια θα την βοηθήσουν εφόσον αυτά ελέγχονται από την Δύση.

Όσον αφορά την Δυτική Θράκη και την Μουσουλμανική μειονότητα αποτελούν τον προμαχώνα για την επόμενη φάση προσάρτησης της περιοχής στην Τουρκία διότι αυτοί είναι τα… “αδέρφια” τους που προσβλέπουν στην προστασία της… ‘Μητέρας’ Τουρκίας.

Γενικότερα η αναθεωρητική κατεύθυνση που παίρνει σήμερα η Τουρκία, ανεξάρτητα εσωτερικής πολιτικής κατάστασης, εγκυμονεί πραγματικούς κίνδυνους           να βρεθεί η Ελλάδα στο μέσον μίας παρόμοιας θέσεις που βρέθηκε το 1922  με τους ρόλους των διαφόρων κρατών, Αμερικής και Ευρώπης που αντιστοιχούν την ‘Αντάντ’ (Λέξη που προήλθε εκ του γαλλικού Entente) του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου πολέμου.

Οι συνθήκες βέβαια σήμερα είναι αρκετά διαφορετικές, αλλά υπάρχουν και πολλές ομοιότητες.

Η οικονομική κρίση στην Ελλάδα αλλά και η ανάπτυξη της πολεμικής βιομηχανίας της Τουρκίας παίζουν καθοριστικό ρόλο. Όμως το σημαντικότερο είναι ότι το πραγματικό παιχνίδι παίζεται αλλού, και αφορά στις σχέσεις και στα συγκρουόμενα συμφέροντα μεταξύ Ρωσίας, Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης  και Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών .

Η ισορροπία μεταξύ αυτών των δυνάμεων  θα καθορίσει και το μέλλον της Ελλάδας γιατί θεωρώ ότι η απευθείας προσέγγιση της Ελλάδας με την Τουρκία είναι μία ουτοπία.

Ίσως αυτός είναι και ο λόγος που μία Αριστερή κυβέρνηση στην Ελλάδα έχει αναγκαστικά προσαρμοστεί σε ρόλους που παραδοσιακά δεν ακολουθούσε παλαιότερα.

Αυτό καθιστά τις αποφάσεις της Ελλάδας άμεσα επιτακτικές και θέτει όλα τα θέματα πολιτικά και οικονομικά σε δεύτερη προτεραιότητα σε σχέση με την προσπάθεια επίλυσης του προβλήματος των Ελληνοτουρκικών σχέσεων που σήμερα βρίσκονται στο χειρότερο σημείο.

Ποια είναι λοιπόν η θέση της Ελλάδας απέναντι στην ποιο ισχυρή Τουρκία;

Όταν ο Ερντογάν κέρδισε τον άτυπο εσωτερικό πόλεμο με το βαθύ κεμαλικό κράτος και κυριάρχησε στην τουρκική πολιτική σκηνή, άρχισε να ξεδιπλώνει τη δική του ατζέντα. Δρομολόγησε όχι μόνο την ισλαμοποίηση της Τουρκίας, αλλά και το σχέδιό του για πολιτική αυτονόμηση από τη Δύση.

Οι Αμερικανοί και οι Ευρωπαίοι άρχισαν να συνειδητοποιούν ότι ο νεοοθωμανισμός του Ερντογάν δεν ήταν αυτό που νόμιζαν. Όταν, λοιπόν, η Τουρκία άρχισε να διολισθαίνει, άρχισαν και οι Δυτικοί να την βλέπουν διαφορετικά.


Τυπικά δεν έχει αλλάξει τίποτα. Η Τουρκία παραμένει χώρα-μέλος του ΝΑΤΟ και υποψήφια προς ένταξη στην ΕΕ. Στην πραγματικότητα, όμως, έχει αλλάξει ο τρόπος, με τον οποίο οι Δυτικοί βλέπουν την Τουρκία. Η ευρωπαϊκή προοπτική της Τουρκίας είναι προσχηματική. Ούτε η ΕΕ θέλει την Τουρκία στους κόλπους της, αλλά ούτε και η Τουρκία είναι πια ένθερμη όσον αφορά την ένταξή της.

Η αλλαγή του τρόπου που οι Δυτικοί βλέπουν την Τουρκία αλλάζει και τον τρόπο που βλέπουν την Ελλάδα. Αυτό ισχύει κυρίως για τους Αμερικανούς, οι οποίοι έχουν πιο σφαιρική ματιά και όχι τη στενά οικονομίστικη ματιά της ΕΕ. Στην πραγματικότητα, η Ελλάδα  επανατοποθετείται στον γεωπολιτικό χάρτη. Αυτός είναι και ο φόβος της Τουρκίας. Μακάρι η Τουρκία να ήταν περισσότερο φιλική στην προσέγγισή της στις απαιτήσεις της απέναντι στην Ελλάδα και την Κύπρο για να μην την σπρώχνει με τον τρόπο αυτό στους παραδοσιακούς της συμμάχους.


Σε ξεχωριστή δημοσίευση Άρθρο στο ίδιο blog με το όνομα  THE MAIN REASON WHY GREECE’S EFFORT TO SURPASS THE CRISIS IS MADE IN VAIN υπάρχει μετάφραση στα Αγγλικά με ανταλλαγή απόψεων με Τούρκο φίλο που εκφράζει την Τουρκική άποψη με αντίστοιχες απαντήσεις





Ottoman Empire expantion.jpg

Turkey’s growing aggression in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus is extremely worrying. There are daily violations of Greek airspace suspended by the Greek Air Force, which increases the risk of a ‘hot’ episode, but also seriously damages the country’s defense spending in a period of crisis. It is therefore reasonable to be concerned with this extremely dangerous and aggravating situation for the economy.

Recently I have been exchanging views on Facebook about Turkey’s current growing aggression, both in the Aegean Sea and in Cyprus, as well as in Western Thrace.

Many of my friends wondered why I was engaging in an exchange of views, and even publicize the views of an individual of Turkish origin and nationality with a declared position against Greece as well as against United Nations, the European Union and institutions of the Western world in general.

It is obvious that I believe it is important, in a civilized environment, for people to communicate in order to understand each other’s point of view.

From this communication I believe that I have gained a wider understanding of the historical events and the way the Turkish side is thinking, without, of course, changing my view about the genocide that took place against the Greeks and other Christian populations, which lived centuries under the rules of Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, this discussion helped me understand how Turkey developed the psychology of the “despised Muslim” due to the behavior of the Western world.  I must also admit that these arguments and exchange of information helped me recognize propaganda on both sides.

Unfortunately, as many people would say, it was obvious or made common sense that the deeper objective of both Turkey and the rest of EU was to collaborate on a number of common economic interests without a real intention to achieve cultural, or financial integration or establish common geopolitical objectives.

This leaves Greece exposed to the turmoil and the desires of Turkey, which basically continues to behave like the state-despised nation of West that is interested in splitting Turkey, as it tried to do after World War I.

This, in combination to Turkey’s New Ottomanism and megalomaniatism, which makes Turkey believe that it has been infringed by international treaties and the law of the sea, while also the belief that international law, the international Hague tribunal, the UN and the European Union are institutions controlled by the West, hence Turkey is not bound by anything in terms of expanding its border’s in the Aegean but also towards the East makes Turkey a difficult country to negotiate with.

In essence Turkey’s position is opposing, US and its allies in Europe and NATO. This relationship was basically changed since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

This is the only way to explain the revival of hostility towards the West including Greece, which they regard as an instrument of the West.

It is clear that Turkey’s current strategy is to consider half of Aegean as its own to make Greece appear as an intruder with no rights, nor does it believe that recourse to international courts will resolve any conflict since these institutions, according to its view, are controlled by the Western powers.

As far as Western Thrace and the Muslim minority is concerned, it becomes obvious that they are the bastion for the next phase of annexation of the region to Turkey because they are … their «brothers» who are looking to protection from.. “Mother” Turkey. This is definitely a shift in behavior from previous visits of Turkish politicians in West Thrace who were addressing the Muslim minority as Greek Muslims of Turkish origine, citizens of EU.

In general, the strategic direction Turkey is taking today, irrespective of its internal political situation, poses real risks for Greece to find itself in the midst of a similar situation found during 1922 with the roles of the various states, America and Europe, corresponding to the (Entente Cordiale) powers of France and Great Britain of the First World War.

The conditions, of course, are quite different today, yet there are many similarities.

The economic crisis in Greece as well as the development of Turkey’s defense industry play a decisive role. Yet the most important thing is that the real “power game” is played elsewhere, and it is in the relationships and conflicting interests among Russia, EU and US where a solution will be found.

The balance between these forces will also determine the future of Greece because, unfortunately, Greece’s direct approach to Turkey looks like a Utopia, under current conditions.

Perhaps this is the reason why a Left Government in Greece adapted to roles that, traditionally, did not follow in the past.

This makes Greece’s decisions urgent and puts all issues political and financial at a second priority in relation to its efforts to solve the problem of the Greek-Turkish relations that are currently at the worst point ever.

So what is Greece’s position versus a stronger Turkey?

When Erdogan won the informal inner war with the deep Kemalist state and dominated the Turkish political scene, he began to unfold his own agenda. He worked towards not only to Islamization of Turkey but also promoted his plan for political autonomy from the West.

The Americans and Europeans began to realize that Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism was not what they thought. So when Turkey began to slip, the Westerners began to see it differently.

Typically, nothing has changed. Turkey remains a NATO member country and a candidate for EU membership. In reality, however, the way in which the Westerners see Turkey has changed. The European perspective of Turkey is pretentious and false. Neither does the EU want Turkey within its borders, but Turkey is no longer anxious about its membership.

Changing the way the Westerners see Turkey is changing the way they see Greece. This is especially true for the Americans, who have a more global look than the narrowly economical view of the EU. In fact, Greece is re-positioned on the geopolitical map. This is the fear of Turkey.

Maybe, if Turkey was friendlier with its demands towards Greece and Cyprus, would not push Greece in this way to rely on its traditional allies.

At this point it is interesting to include as an extract from the discussion that followed the publication of this article to appreciate the positioning of Turkish person who is also trying to defend the Turkish point of view:

Arguments exchanged between Sukan Gurkaynak and Nick Kouzos on the conflict

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos  To improve Turkish Greek relations, you have to understand what really happened in history. I have written you the real population situation and losses based on Ottoman census statistics. The Turkish population losses in Greek occupied Anatolia 1 million were three times as high as Greek losses with 300000. Compare Greece in the 21st century cooking the books on financial data to grab other people’s money through the EU. In the 19th century they were cooking the books on demographical data to grab territories with Muslim majority populations, in Macedonia and Anatolia, after which they cooked the books to misrepresent their losses. Any dead is too much. But keep in mind, Turkish losses were people being murdered because Greek state policy was reducing Turkish population, Greek losses were people dying as the previous sufferers took revenge. Fact is, the Ottomans had as only major European State freedom of religion. Which is what Christianity survived in the Ottoman Empire whereas no pre-Christian religion survived in any Christian state in Europe including the previously Muslim majority territories invaded after 1800 in the Caucasus, Crimea and the Balkans- This was a concerted policy of eradicating the Muslims in Europe most of them the natives of the countries where they were living, who had preferred Islam when given the freedom to decide for themselves. So talking about Turkish invaders who were then pushed out is wrong. Turkey has around 50 to 150 different ethnic groups all of whom see themselves as Turks, the way Americans see themselves as Americans. Greece got her present territories as a beneficiary of this policy. In 1920 the effort to get more by erasing the Turks from the map by partitioning Anatolia between Greeks and Armenians failed. Treaties were signed defining the borders. This held until the cold war ended. After the end of the cold war we are seeing an effort to break up Turkey. Once more Greece thinks she can use the opportunity. It does not matter whether the left or the right runs the country. The Cyprus peace was made by Konstantin Karamanlis, the only real statesman Greece had in the second half of the 20th century, leader of the right in 1960 and destroyed by the left in 1963. The alternatives Greece has are respecting the status quo and living in peace or trying to expand their country by annexing the open seas which at this point belong to us all. Hiding behind the Western dominated UN, which we all remember did nothing to help the Bosnians Muslims of whom 250000 were murdered in the 1990ies with French and British troops assisting after which it authorized the invasion and murder of up to 4 Million Muslims in Iraq is for Turkey not convincing. The West dominates the World, that helps their fellow Christians the Greeks. Turkey is a country with a population of 85 Millions with an economy far more dynamic than Greece. The West might encourage Greece to a confrontation with Turkey to wear Turkey down, but they will not actually help them win a war. The West did try to get what it wanted, land for PKK-Kurds and Armenians and the Sea for the Greeks by using Islamists against the secularist elites. The secularist elites were in love with the status quo Lausanne treaty order, whereas Islamists dislike Lausanne, The hope was they would give up assets, now everyone can see, that went the wrong way. The West has a problem, they have created. This is comparable to the fiasco, Western colonial policies accomplished all over the Middle East. Greed without brains is a recipe for disaster.

Response from Nick Kouzos:

This sounds like a manifest of a Turkish-Eastern, one sided, biased, approach which is self-proven wrong by the international community, which is controlled by the West.

The West political and cultural status cannot be described as “Greed without brains and a recipe for disaster” Especially because it is exactly this attitude that brings disaster. West has values such as human rights, democratic values and many other principles in spite the fact that they are still in the process of evolution. Even the creation of EU and UN are still in a experimental stage but still they are centuries ahead of the way Turkey and many Eastern countries are thinking. Yes history is written by the winner but equally the feeling of the looser is not the basis for progressive thinking on the contrary is dominated by the complex of the looser, or other factors that they have to do with local traditions.

i.e. Turkey, which boycotts Eurovision from 2012, will not participate in its next event, considering that the international song contest is inappropriate for the young audience, according to TRT President Ibrahim Eren.

Greece has gained its independence fighting an Empire which behaved in a cruel way against humanity and Greeks.

The fact that you describe that Ottomans assimilated so many different national entities is a self-proven fallacy and an indication why Turkey is trying to prove that Ottomans inherited every civilization that ever existed in Asia Minor-Anatolia.

Turkey does not want to accept the link between Ancient and modern Greece. It is unacceptable for the Turk that this could ever happened so that a small nation could retain its identity national and cultural characteristics on the basis of which revived and claimed its independence fighting a mighty Ottoman empire.

You quote confrontations that happened in Europe against Muslims, for hundreds of years as a reason for Turkish rights to reprise.

I could quote historical crimes, since medieval times, against Greece.

The Venetians conquered parts of Greece and treated Greeks worst that Ottomans.

This does not give me the right to claim back land and sea in a revisionary strategy accusing the rest of the world for Greed. Is it Turkish Greed to claim Istanbul as Turkey and not Greek Byzantine.

All this has been settled with wars and nobody wants to bring it back.

This revisionary strategy that Turkey adopts so that wants to revive that the Greek islands are not Greek and Turkey needs to teach West nations to behave in a way that will allow an Ottoman revival and reprisal for all the bad Muslims suffered is very close to an Islamic threat.

It is only recently that Erdogan has announced that Turkey will do whatever it likes in the case of Eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan, with his arrogance, said that Turkey will do what it wants and a new (Turkish) research vessel will be added to investigations into underground natural gas deposits in South Cyprus.

Obviously, Turkey is not in a position to fight together with Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and the United States.

Such a conflict would mean Turkey’s total end and its partition. This is something that personally I don’t want

The Turkish president has only to try to find out if the Eastern Mediterranean allies mean their words.

This arrogance is what can be called “Greed without brains and a recipe for disaster”.

As for Ottoman statics I have reasons to disclaim.

The Greek statistics is a totally different issue which I need a separate session to discuss with you. It is like the German war compensations or the loans made to Germany under the German occupation during the Second World War where Greece suffered 350.000 deaths.

Do you really believe that only 300.000 people died during the years 1914 -1922?

In any case the statistical numbers Ottomans are quoting are wrong, please remember that the total losses just for the Greeks from Pontos were 300.000.

Finally nobody is claiming that Aegean sea is not accessible to Turkey for commercial reasons, but the Greek islands is a different issue, and sending your air force is a different issue as well.

You are pushing Greece to make alliances with Egypt Israel and US. I am not so sure about the rest of Europeans.

Let us see which values and principles will survive in the next few years.

Unfortunately for Turkey the political system is not at its best. You may need west to help you return back to a democratic and stable state.


Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos At the time of Greek independence, the Philhellenes were expecting ancient Greece to be reborn when saved from the Turkish yoke. They were horrified by what the Greeks were actually doing and became convinced of a biological break between ancient and modern Greece. This is still the feeling in Germany. You would be offended if I wrote what one leading German daily wrote about that. Turks don’t care about ancient Greece. We are in love with Islamic civilization. If you are willing to read and discuss I will send you copies of one book about demography. The Ottoman statistics were an honest effort of the government to understand what they were governing. Greeks produced highly inflated figures f Greeks living in Anatolia and when they were not there propaganda claimed they had been killed. The West are the people who enslaved entire mankind in their colonies and destroyed ancient civilizations, including the Ottoman. We thought we were their allies in NATO but in 1963 when Greeks started butchering Turks on Cyprus they did not tell the Greeks to stop it. That was the beginning of the end of our confidence in the West. It is the West which has created the present state of affairs in Turkey and in no way are they ever going to help us. Greece would be foolish to trust an Egyptian-Israeli- US alliance against Turkey. Half a billion Muslims around Israel hate them they will not initiate hostilities against Turkey. Egypt is worthless as a military power and needs her army to keep political stability. The US will soon be involved in a confrontation with China and cannot add Turkey to her military challenges. I am no friend of the AKP regime in Turkey and will not defend their policies. The Ottoman Empire made no effort to assimilate anyone, that is why Greece has survived.

Response from Nick Kouzos:

I am really surprised that you quote German newspapers. If you care to to read what was happening in Turkey during the First World War regarding the financial situation you will observe that the Turkish economy was dominated by the Greek, Armenian, Juice people and companies mainly antagonizing German companies even in Banking, commerce and science, including doctors, lawyers, engineers, bankers etc. The Turks were mainly occupied with military activity. Germany was training and supporting the Turkish army. Even the Government matters such as accounting was maintained by Greeks. Most of the middle class was Greek, In addition to the army Turks were mainly agricultural occupations. This is the reason why Kemal wanted to eliminate the middle class and create a new pure Turkish middle class by eliminating the old one. Especially in Banking the Germans replaced Greek Bankers. It is not strange to listen to Germans talking against Greeks. They were antagonizing Greeks in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans in general.

“It is worth emphasizing that 50% of the capital invested in industry of the Ottoman Empire, belonged to Greek minority. 

Also, out of the 18.063 trading companies operating in Turkey 46% belonged to Greeks, 23% to Armenians and 15%  to Muslims, 46% of the Banking sector belonged to Greeks. 

In high professional individuals, Greeks, were:  52% of doctors, 49% of the pharmacists, 52% of the Architects, 37% of engineers and 29% of solicitors.

Further, 528 from a total of 654 companies involved in wholesale trade belonged to Greeks.”


Even today I was finding that the real competition between investors in the Balkan countries was between German Greek and Turkish companies. I personally was working in Central Europe for Balkans for more than ten years in Banking and IT industry and I had the opportunity to experience this. So I am not surprised for the German statements. Germany has basically been benefited even by the Greek crisis. Germany is also the main supplier of arms (Submarines and other equipment.)

As for alliances, we are not seeking a war with Turkey, but what do you expect us to do, to give up and enjoy Turkish penetration and attacks as deep to the island of Naxos deep into Aegean sea close to the Greek mainland?

I don’t expect anything else from the Germans that have destroyed Greece during the First World War.

It is very ironic to say that Greece has survived due to Turks since you have destroyed the Byzantines and occupied the country for over 400 tears. You may be right we should be thankful for allowing us to survive as a nation! All this sounds ridiculous since there are only 1000 Greek left in Turkey while there are 150 000 Muslims in west Thrace. The numbers speak themselves.

I don’t expect Egypt or Israel to protect Greece. They will only protect their interest. Greece and Cyprus will defend itself. Greek Cypriots have never Butchered Turkish Cypriots, this is Turkish propaganda. But it has become obvious to me that there is no way that one can speak for justice and common sense. Unfortunately, this has been the problem for hundreds of years, it is strange if we are to find a solution now that Turkey has moved closer to a political crisis that is also leading to a financial crisis a fact that is making any negotiation even more difficult. This is why I spend so much time on this issue which is becoming of grave importance. You represent the biggest threat ever for the Greek nation

Also regarding your statistics they are a result of pure Propaganda.

Your numbers regarding massacres and Ottoman statistics are totally wrong My figure of 1 million killed is definitely smaller than the real number especially if you compare it with either the total population of Greeks at the time which was less than 4.5 million in the mainland and 2.5 m in Asia Minor As a proof I quote: 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 genocide forced the Pontians to flee their homes and move to Greece, the USSR (where they were persecuted by the Stalinist regime during the interwar period), Iran, Syria, and elsewhere (Australia, USA).

The argument will never finish….

Nick Kouzos Markella I have been exchanging views with a number of Turks and I found that they are two types of Turks, the ones that love to approach Greeks especially those that their origin has been from Asia Minor and those that represent exactly the type of person Sukan is, I think it is important to understand the extend of their animosity «Keep your friends close and your enemies closer».



Sukan Gurkaynak
Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos So I am your enemy? I try to help you understand the real issues and you make me your enemy. That you very much. But one thing is right, the genocide survivors from Rumelia know the Greeks much better than the Anatolians.
Nick Kouzos
Nick Kouzos At the moment Greece is being ruined financially mainly due to the arms race which we could never win. I keep trying to get my figures right regarding the numbers of innocent victims at a particular period 1914 to 1922 and you are rejecting the validity of my figures. I am trying to isolate each part of the history separately.You don;t seem to appreciate that 1 million innocent people killed consisted 25% of the total Greek population of the Greek Nation. This is unquestionable. It also concists 50% of the Greeks of Pontos. This is not a war. this is a genocide. The numbers are relevant. You are referring to Muslim losses in a wider area. I don;t reject all the numbers you are quoting. These numbers were created in a wider area, not caused by Greeks. This is a background story. The reflection of past historic conflicts cannot be curried to present and cannot be used to establish new sovereignty.Turkey behaves as a real enemy at the moment. It is not you personally that you are enemy but the strategies that Turkey is following and the tactics like imprisoning young Greek soldiers under false pretenses,this is a hostile act. In any case the most important part in our discussion is to recognize the mistakes each side has made.Greece has been the party that lost the war during 1922. We have signed a treaty as a looser. We have lost 25% of our total population, you cannot expect Greeks to stop remembering this loss. The issue of Turkey’s position versus West is a much wider geopolitical and cultural issue, we cannot be responsible for such world wide issues. .


Covering the period from the fall of Constantinople during 1453 to the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire during 1821

The fall.jpg

A review of historical events that lead to the 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.  

During recent years we experience a deterioration of Greek- Turkish relationships, especially under the Presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is implementing a revisionary approach against some of its neighbors, in Middle East and west. The situation has developed to serious conflicts in Aegean Sea, the islands and the republic of Cyprus, especially over the issues of island sovereignty and the rights of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone,”

Erdoğan has said that Turkey «gave away» Greek islands that «used to be ours» and are «within shouting distance». «There are still our mosques, our shrines there,» he said, referring to the Ottoman occupation of the islands.

Map of Dodecanise.jpg

I have always tried to collect information about how and why my ancestors, from both sides of my family fled from Turkey as refugees during the years 1922-1924.

During my research, I had the opportunity to meet Nancy Horton the daughter of George Horton, US councilor to Smyrna during 1922 the year the Turkish Army, lead by Kemal Atatürk, entered the city after the defeat of the Greek Army that lead to the retreat that was followed by the massacre and expulsion of the entire Greek population from Asia Minor, allowing Turkey to reform to a new state with no Christian minorities which, at that time, consisted a major part of the middle class in Turkey.

Nancy Horton spent her life preserving evidence and reports provided by her father regarding events that took place during this period. Nancy donated to me some of this evidence, some in published books some in photocopies of articles etc. Nancy Horton passed away recently at the age of 103. She was 11 years old during 1922, the same age my closest living relative who survived the experience of the burning of Smyrna and the Turkish atrocities during this period.

George Horton.jpg

George Horton

As part of my research I had the opportunity to meet both Greeks and Turks who appeared to be both either friendly and supportive for the promotion of Greek Turkish re approach and friendship or, on the other side, people that totally reject any such approach supporting revisionary claims regarding, Aegean sea, the islands, air and sea frontiers and Cyprus issue resolution, which still causes conflicts and animosity, becoming an obstacle for any improvement in Greek Turkish relationships.

With the occasion of the recent memorial of Nancy Horton, I was approached by a Turkish friend whose family was coming from Crete who tried to challenge and counter argue, in defense of Turkish positions and activities committed against Greeks and Armenians, which according to his view were a just retaliations against Greek invasion in Asia Minor and to Greek massacre of Muslim majorities in Macedonia during the Balkan wars as well as to massacres followed by the Greek uprising for independence during 1821-1832 .


As a result of this intervention we had an interesting exchange of arguments reflecting, in many ways, the current different points of view among Greeks and Turks that have increased the tensions over the last years.

I attach a log record of these counter arguments as recorded on Facebook, at the time, for your review and possible criticism.

Personally, I felt it will be productive to make an effort to investigate the historical facts mentioned in support of arguments from both sides.

The most important statement made on his part was that the conflict between the two countries was mainly caused by Greeks who did not take advantage of the ‘progressive’ administration Ottoman administration had. As a most convincing evidence, my friend presented was the fact that Greeks were allowed to prosper in Asia Minor during the years before 1922. It is absolutely true that the Greek community was prospering in many areas of Asia Minor at the end of 19th century and up to 1914 when the movement of New Turks which was established during 1908, initiated a new policy against various minorities mainly of Christina religion, including Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians.

A lot has been written about this period, mostly against what the West is calling “Genocide” for Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, which Turkey considers as defense against Christian and imperialistic forces that were aiming the destruction of Ottoman Empire. I cannot totally reject the idea but at the same time I believe that we cannot try to explain current events with the prospective of a world which is gradually disappearing, like extreme nationalism, religious or political fundamentalism.


In this argument the Turkish point of view can be summarized as follows:

  1. Ottoman administration was progressive, consisting the first and greatest Empire that created a truly poly- ethnic state.
  2. West imperialists used Greece as an instrument to destroy Ottoman Empire.
  3. Greeks started a revolution during 1921 invading areas that had a majority of Muslim populations which were massacred by Greek revolutionists.
  4. Macedonia had a Muslim majority which was also massacred by Greeks during the Balkan wars.
  5. Turkey does not respect the rulings of UN, and other international organizations including international courts and international law because they are also controlled by a majority of Christian nations and not Muslim nations.
  6. Greeks and Armenians massacred 2.5 millions of Muslims in Asia Minor.
  7. 17 million Muslims were killed from the rest of the Balkan countries.
  8. Turks in Crete who consisted 40% of the total population were forced to abandon their homes.
  9. The expulsion of Greeks from Istanbul during the 50’s was a just retaliation against the massacres committed by Greeks against Turks in Cyprus, during their fight for independence against the British who were also justified to execute EOKA “terrorists” who killed around 300 British soldiers.
  10. Ottoman Empire was not built by just by Turkish tribes coming from Mongolia and Siberia, Turkish populations become from European local populations as early as 600 AD.
  11. Turkey has a right to all unnamed rocks and islands in Aegean Sea which is not a Greek Sea under Lausanne treaty.
  12. Greece does not respect Lausanne treaty.
  13. Cyprus territorial waters cannot be justified to be a sovereign area because Cyprus does not comply with existing agreements.

These statements summarize the main points from the Turkish points of view excluding a general statement made, about the existence of ancient civilizations that Turks are claiming they have been assimilated by the intruding Turkish tribes.

To my understanding, Turks are trying to eliminate any Greek signs of existence even the Greek identity in monuments from the Hellenistic times.

My effort has mainly been focused in investigating reasons how Greeks managed to maintain their national identity even after 400 years under Ottoman rule and what effect had the influence of western nations and western civilizations.

I personally believe that the issue is not to identify who first got to occupy Asia Minor because it is true that the rise of Ottoman Empire started its imperialistic expansion into Europe a few years before the year 1453, the Conquest of Constantinople   the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the invading Ottoman army on 29 May 1453. The attackers were commanded by the then 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II , who was called   “The Conqueror”.

It is known that Sultan Mehmed II was half Greek and was grown under the influence of a Greek step Mother. This is why he had a sensitivity and admiration to Greek culture.

The capture of the city (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, a continuation of the Roman Empire, an imperial state dating to 27 BC, which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. The conquest of Constantinople also dealt a massive blow to Christianity, as the Muslim Ottoman armies thereafter were left unchecked to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear.

So Constantinople was a critical border for the collision of two different cultures representing west and east. Till this time Byzantines were protecting both Christianity and west civilization.

After this Ottomans conquered areas up to Vienna in Central Europe and in Caucasus

To appreciate the effect of Ottoman penetration in Europe it is important to relate events in a chronological sequence.

Historical chronology

Turkish tribe known as Ottomans forms small state in western Anatolia.
Ottomans invade and begin to occupy Bulgaria.
Ottomans defeat Serbs and their allies at Battle of Maritsa.
Ottomans inflict second defeat on Serbs, now led by Prince Lazar, at the Battle of Kosovo, beginning slow conquest of Serbia.
Ottomans move their capital from Asia Minor to Edirne (Adrianople) in Europe, signaling their intention to become a major European power.
Ottomans encircle and conquer Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire.
Fall of Smederevo liquidates last remnant of independent Serbian state.
Ottomans almost complete conquest of Bosnia, executing last king of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomasevic, at Jajce.
Albanian warrior prince Skenderbeg dies. Within a decade of his death, Ottomans overrun most of Albania.
Croatian nobility annihilated at Battle of Krbava in Lika, opening way to Ottoman conquest of much of Croatia.
Hungarian army crushed at Battle of Mohacs, opening way for Ottoman conquest of Hungary.
Sultan decrees restoration of Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, vacant since the 1460s. Return of Patriarchs to Pec stimulates revival of Serbian identity within Ottoman Empire.
1645The war in Crete starts in June 1645


Habsburgs conquer Ottoman-ruled Hungary and Croatia, forging new frontier between “Austrian” and “Turkish” empires. Failed uprising among Serbs in Kosovo results in mass emigration of Serbs to Habsburg Slavonia and Vojvodina.


The Venetians retreated and abandoned Crete delivering the last fortresses to the Turkish conquerors.

Series of Serbian uprisings ends in establishment of small autonomous Serbian principality within Ottoman Empire under Prince Milos Obrenovic.


 The Greek revolution for independence started from Peloponnese
Serbian princes consolidate control over new state by expelling Ottoman garrison from Belgrade.
Uprising in Bulgaria triggers Russo-Turkish war the following year. This ends in Turkish defeat and creation at Congress of Berlin of autonomous Bulgaria within the Ottoman Empire.
Austria occupies Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia throws off last vestiges of autonomy, becoming formally independent and receiving territory to the south. Montenegro also gains territory at expense of Albanians.
So-called “Ilinden” uprising in Macedonia ends in defeat, as Serbs, Greeks and outside powers hold aloof. Ottomans remain in control of Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina, humiliating Serbia. Montenegro’s prince declares himself a king and Bulgaria’s king declares himself a tsar. Young Turk revolution in Constantinople aims to revive Ottoman Empire.
Anti-Ottoman revolts sweep northern Albania and Kosovo, but rebels’ failure to coordinate or gain support of outside powers allows Ottomans to retain control.
Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece unite and declare war on Ottomans, overrunning “Turkey-in-Europe”, but then fighting with each other over the spoils.
First and Second Balkan wars end with most of Macedonia, claimed by Bulgaria, going to Serbia and Greece. Serbia also gains Kosovo. Albania declares independence but is unable to secure most majority-Albanian land for the new state.

After more than six centuries, the Ottomans are expelled from the continent, except for Constantinople and eastern Thrace.

So it is important to understand that Muslim inhabitants were formed after 1400.

The situation in Greek mainland after   1453

But what was happening in between with Greeks in Greek mainland and Asia Minor?

The Byzantine Empire which was a truly poly-ethic state was gradually weakened by crusaders from west and became an easy pray for the Ottomans. Constantinople was sieged by Crusaders during 1204 that established a Latin state, but was reclaimed by Greeks during 1261,

Constantinople was reclaimed by the Byzantine Greeks and the Byzantine Empire was restored. From 1261 onwards, Byzantium underwent a gradual weakening of its internal structures and the reduction of its territories from Ottoman invasions culminating in the fall of Constantinople   on May 29, 1453. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople resulted in the official end of both Byzantium and the Byzantine period of Greek history though Medieval Greek life would continue well into the Ottoman period.

When the Ottomans arrived, two Greek migrations occurred. The first migration entailed the Greek intelligential migrating to Western Europe and influencing the advent of the Renaissance. The second migration was iternal, entailed Greeks leaving the plains of the Greek peninsula and resettling in the mountains. The millet system contributed to the ethnic cohesion of Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion.

The Greeks living in the plains during Ottoman rule were either Christians who dealt with the burdens of foreign rule or Crypto-Christians (Greek Muslims who were secret practitioners of the Greek Orthodox faith). Some Greeks became Crypto-Christians to avoid heavy taxes and at the same time express their identity by maintaining their ties to the Greek Orthodox Church. However, Greeks who converted to Islam and were not Crypto-Christians were deemed «Turks» in the eyes of Orthodox Greeks, even if they didn’t adopt the Turkish language. The Ottomans ruled Greece until the early 19th century.

If we look at it in more detail the first 150 years were a resettling period that displaced Greeks from their homes and Turks moved in. The second period became an opportunity for Greeks who helped Greeks to return back. This was good for the Ottoman administration because the Greeks were prospering and Ottomans collected a lot of taxes. The third period the Ottoman Empire was close to bankruptcy and increased the pressure to collect much higher taxes introducing Greek collectors who were left to collect as much money as they wanted, as long as they paid the required tax to the state. This created a real misery for the Greek community. Poverty increased enormously.

One has to differentiate between what was happening in different areas. Peloponnese was the area that suffered the worst pressure and poverty because it was of less importance for the Ottomans It was a very poor province of the Ottoman Empire.

During the 17th century the Ottoman Empire was exhausted by continues wars and financially nearly became bankrupt, so The Sultan introduces a new tax collection system that created the well-known Tsiflicts. The taxes were collected by a newly introduced class of Greeks called Cotzabasis who were collecting the taxes from the Christians, they were paying the correct tax to the state but at the same time were keeping a percentage for themselves as well as a commission to the local Turkish administrator. This process destroyed the Greek population that was lead to total poverty with no property or enough money to survive. This situation created a very wide network of autonomous areas controlled by Turks Pashas and Greeks jontly working even against the Ottoman administration.

During the 19th century the Ottoman state impose even more extremely demanding rules for the collection of money and taxes. A Greek from Smyrna was saying that the Ottoman state is like a snake that could accuse you in any way they liked imposing judgments in court as cruel as death penalties. There was not any justice, no protection. I have a personal experience of this situation as, my Grandfather was beaten to death by tax collection authorities

But collection of taxes was not the only burden that made Greeks very insecure. From 1422 till 1718, within three centuries there were eight wars between Ottomans and Venetians.  Peloponnese became a battle ground, during 1486, when Methone was conquered by the Turkish Army, all inhabitants were butchered, and new inhabitants came to reside after instructions from the Sultan.

Every village and town in Peloponnese was ordered to send five families to Methone Something similar took place in Argos and Nafplion where these new inhabitants were killed or taken as slaves and new inhabitants were brought in from Albania.

The grabbing of Greek children was another inhuman tax imposed by the Ottomans on the Christians during the first centuries of the Ottoman domination until 1638. The sultan decided where and when the boys would be recruited for the needs of the army and the administration.

The Turkish envoy appeared in the villages and demanded that all fathers and their sons should appear before them. From these he chose the most healthy and strong to become janissaries. At the beginning the Turks took children aged 6-7 years and only one child from each family. Later, however, the army expanded to 8-10 years of age and slowly increased the number of children per family, until all male children were likely to be given. Christians have reached the point of marrying their boys at an early age or changing their faith with their will to avoid the process. And that did not always benefit, since the Turks hardly took into consideration such details.


Grabbing Christian children was probably the biggest wound for Hellenism during the Ottoman domination. The children who were grabbing were considered to be permanently lost. In Epirus region, on the first Sunday after the rapture, their parents went to the church, where a sacred event was performed. The priest announced the names of the children who were considered dead.

When the sultan’s envoys completed the number children who were going to become janissaries were sent to the city. There, they had a haircut they were choosing the strongest and most beautiful ones for further training.

During 1683 The Turks retreated, chased by the Venetians. On their retreat took with them Greeks as slaves.

While Venetians were bombarding Athens, Peloponnese was totally destroyed. The population was reduced from 300 thousands to 100 thousands.

From those, many hided on the mountains. The second reason to retreat to the mountains was to avoid the tax collection. This retreat again generated many mountain villages and a new community develops that the Ottomans identified as a new source of revenue, so they organize joint groups formed from joint forces Greek and Turkish responsible for tax collection. These groups acted as policemen as well.

These Greek armed forces were called Armatoli (armed Greeks). At the same time a second armed group was created complementary to the other due to the dangerous mountainous life which was armed and lived almost like robbers because they could not pay the taxes, this group was called Cleftes (thieves).  Cleftes were basically outlaws as they consisted of people who were pushed to become outlaws out of poverty, not being able to pay taxes but they were most liked by the oppressed Greeks living on the mountains who felt sympathy, they were something like Roben of the woods.

To understand the pressure to collect taxes, a widowed woman with five children, crying, went and begged the local musters to reduce her tax a little because she could not pay. She stressed that he had sold everything she had precious. She also had to feed and dress three daughters and two sons. As soon as the man heard that she had so many children, he interrupted her and told her in cynicism: Sell two of your children and paid your taxes.

Avoiding tax payment was a serious criminal act that could bare serious and cruel punishment, even execution, nothing to do with the idea of a multi ethnic Empire.

The most barbaric possible execution by the Turks was the dismemberment of the victim and the exposure of his shredded members to public space. This execution was called partition or squatting, and the Turks enforced it in spies, rebels and prisoners. It became public and gave it a festive character. When, at the end of the 15th century, the Turks defeated the Venetians in the Peloponnese, arrested 500 captives and sent them to the city. There they executed all of them by partitioning.


The Turks tried to bribe the Cleftes by giving them land to become Armatoli hence they created a new class of rich land owners who were now armed. Some of them became very rich. But this situation could not be sustained for long.


During the Russian Turkish war the Russians believed that they could use Greeks to fight against Turks but Greeks were not organized to provide such help although they hoped that Russians could help them to gain independence.


When the Russians (Orlof Brothers) abandoned this idea Turks brought some 15000 Albanian missionaries who initially massacred 3 000 Greeks in Tripoli. But this was only the beginning they curried on killing a huge number of Greeks.

As the Russian fleet departed abandoning the idea, they burned down the town of Navarino. The Turks retaliated punishing Greeks by taking 20 000 of them to slavery. As a consequence 50.000 Greeks (which was 1/6 of the total population) escaped and never returned to Peloponnese. These 50 thousand Greeks spread around the islands and Asia Minor, spreading horror stories about Turkish barbarism.


It is true that conditions in the islands and Asia Minor was not as bad, yet tax collections were still creating serious conflicts and the only reason for Sultan to allow Christian subjects to retain their property and their job was to maintain a healthy financial and productive environment which was contributing to the Empire. This did not happen in Peloponnese.

After all these hardships it was natural that the environment was ideal for Peloponnese to become the area where ideas of freedom could grow. The rest of Greeks had less pressure, or better environment to grow, the islands were also suffering from piracy, but they were open to the outside world and its influences with ideas of freedom, due to commercial activities and the fleet they maintained.

Peloponnese could not be considered an area where Greeks could be treated as equal subjects of the Ottoman Empire. It was easy for them to accept ideas of freedom generated by French revolution and Greek culture maintained abroad and in Asia Minor.

During 1821, a major Greek revolt broke out in Southern Greece. Insurgents gained control of most of the countryside while the Muslims fled to the fortified towns and castles. Each one of them was besieged and gradually through starvation or surrender most were taken over by the Greeks. In the massacres of April 1821 some 15,000 were killed. The worst massacre happened in Tripolitsa, some 8,000 Muslims and Jews died.


In the end an Independent Greece was set up. Most of the Muslims in its area had been killed or expelled during this period.


The only census I managed to identify for Greek mainland is included in the following table.


Area 1821 1821 1828 1828 Reduction of Christian populations
Christians Turks Christians Turks
Peloponise 458000 42750 400000 …… 58000
Sterea Hellas 247850 20865 172850 11450 75000
Aegion  Islands 169300 »»»»» 169100 ……… 200
Totals 875150 63615 741960 11450 132200
Genera population 938765 753400


I have not tried to investigate every area of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and Middle East. It is certain that conflicts have been taking place in Central Europe, the Balkans and Caucasus and they were significant losses on both sides, Christians and Muslims.

My focus is on Greek areas so let me proceed whith information on Ctrete.

Situation in Crete


The «Cretan War» began in June 1645, when 60,000 Turks landed and invaded unpredictably in Chania, fighting the Venetians.

In August of the same year, the Ottomans conquered the city and a little later Rethymno. Within two years central Crete had turned into a huge battlefield.


In 1648, the whole island was under a Turkish rule, with the exception of Candia, today Heraklion, due to its impregnable walls and Koule.

After 21 years of siege, on September 27, 1669, the Great Castle fell. In the longest siege of Europe, 30,000 Greeks and Venetians, as well as 117,000 Turks, have died.

After the fall of the city, there were extensive material damages and atrocities from the Ottomans. Many residents, to be saved have abandoned the island, others were sold as slaves, and others became Turkscretes, ie Cretans who embraced Muslims. There were also several young Cretans who fled to the fortresses of Gramvousa, Souda and Spinalonga, from where they decided to confront the conquerors. When these fortresses fell, the guerrillas fled to the mountains.

This  time the Cretian equivalent to Cleftes and Armatoli called Hainides (Haines), from the Arab word hain which meant something like traitors, appeared to fight the occupying Turks.


For the Cretans, of course, the Hainides (Haines) were the rebels and revolutionaries (against Ottoman occupiers), who by their means tried to exterminate the Turks. The Haines were also known as «good-morning fighters,» as they used to descend from the mountains to the lowlands during the nights and make sudden and bloody raids against the Ottomans.

The extermination of the Christians and the atrocities of janissaries in Crete

In 1715 the Venetians surrender the last Fortresses and shelters to the Turkish conquerors.

Until 1770, Crete was in tragic circumstances. The Turkish authorities, ignoring the Sultan’s decrees, imposed heavy taxes on the inhabitants and oppressed the Christian population in every way. The most unscrupulous activities, however, were done by the Janissaries, who had settled on the island since the beginning of the Turkish invasion and gradually grew in number.


Violence and brutality against the Christian population had reached the the limit. Even Sultan orders were not enough to limit the janissaries’ impudence. In fact, some janissaries, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, were infamous about their crimes and remained in the memory and songs of the Cretan people. Aliedakis in Chania, Arif Agas in Rethymnon, Benedes the Apostinis and Hanialis in Heraklion, Meet Agas or Meetakas in Sitia, were some of them.

This information is undisputable, to explain why Cretans desired Union with Greece.
Situation in Macedonia, the Balkan Wars, Pontos and the happenings after 1908 will follow in part II of this article.


Attached please find some comments made by my Turkish friend  Sukan Gurkaynak:

«It is true that Greeks and Armenians dominated the Ottoman economy. They also paid no taxes and we never understood why they could not be thankful and live in peace. Moslems were poor and bleeding to death in wars initiated by Russia. Economic growth was at one percent a year. After 1913, the Ottoman government brutally discriminated against Greeks and Armenians. Economic growth went to 6% a year and has been there since 1924. Moslems have been getting richer ever since, Turkey is by now an industrial economy. Greece and Armenia are populated by people who think they are very able and hard working, and at least some of them we Turks are shit, have reached little. How would you explain that?

I went to the Turkish army when I was 30. There I met a Turk whose entire family was from Anatolia. All other Turks I met until then were he descendants of genocide survivors from the Caucasus, Crimea and the Balkans. In sum 30 million citizens of Turkey today. I remember an American school book from the 1890ies stated, the time would soon come when Islam, that is we European Moslems, would disappear back to the deserts of Arabia. Was that not what Greece intended when invading Anatolia in 1920?

This about the economic crisis: I remember a Turkish crisis in 1963, when I was 10, the Turks asked the Americans to save them and the Americans told them to spend less money. The Turkish press was furious that Turks were to spend less money, that was imperialism preventing Turkish prosperity. Is that not also the Greek crisis? As Europe was introducing the Euro, the Economist wrote, Britain would not because the British working class could not compete with the Germans and the British did not understand how the Greeks could imagine they could. So it was a crisis which was coming.

We do not trust institutions of the West. French president Hollande said, Greek islands gave the West a possibility to control the Mediterranean. They will not give that up. Besides no one in Turkey needs a confrontation with Greece.»


Further exchange of conflicting arguments exposing the serious differences of opinions between our points of view.

Sukan Gurkaynak My Grandfather was an officer in the Turkish army. They came to a Turkish village Greeks had evacuated. They had killed everyone except a little girl. He took the girl with him and my family adopted her. The Armenian and Greek rebellions costed the lives of 2,5 Million Turkish civilians. They were murdered to make the Moslem majority disappear from the territory Greek and Armenian nationalists coveted.

John Linaris The ones who disappeared from Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) are the original inhabitants, the Greeks and the Armenians! Their butchers, the Turks, are still there! The reality talks! Many non-Greeks and non-Armenians historians, travelers and writers verify that! George Horton was one of them! It’s time to stop hiding behind your finger! The only thing you manage to do is to ridicule yourselves!

Sukan Gurkaynak John Linaris Latin was initially the language spoken around Rome. With the Roman Empire it became the language in many countries in Europe. In its French and Spanish versions it is the language of many peoples in Africa and America. A Congolese or Paraguayan is generally not the descendant of the inhabitants of Rome 500 BC. This is how imperial languages operate. Greek after Alexander and Turkish are also imperial languages. Your presumption, anyone who speaks Turkish today must of necessity be a descendant of a Turkish tribe of 1500 years ago is simply wrong. The Turks of Turkey are the inhabitants of the European (including Anatolia) regions of the Ottoman empire. Their ancestors became Moslems when the Ottoman Empire offered them the freedom of religion. Greeks and Armenians, members of the respective churches, not necessarily ethnic Greeks or Armenians, live in peace and for 1000 years. In the 19th century came the imagination they were master race people and we sub-humans to be mass murdered. For 100 years the Ottoman Empire tried to accommodate them. They responded by mass murdering Moslems at every opportunity, the latest event in Bosnia in the 1990ies. In sum over 5 Million people were killed. After the Balkan war 1912 the situation was clear: either we let them force us out of Anatolia, or we don’t. Look at the Palestinians and the Israelis are no way as brutal as Greeks. Anatolia had in 1914 a population of 18 million, around 3 million of that Greeks + Armenians. The two wanted everything!

Nick Kouzos to Sukan Gurkaynak

The origin of Turks read my response in the link. Which gives a detailed response about historical roots of the Turkish nation.

Sukan Gurkaynak Both Greek and Turkish as languages are late comers to Anatolia. The Greeks Hellenized names which they found in Anatolia, the Turks did the same. Most Anatolian towns have pre-Hellenic names, most have been forgotten by now.

Sukan Gurkaynak When I was a boy, Greek was spoken by many Moslems and Greeks in Istanbul. When Makarios, Grivas and Papandreau started killing Turks on Cyprus, Turkey retaliated by deporting all citizens of Greece resident in Istanbul. If you look Turks of Western Thrace in Wikipedia, you will see there 1 million of them. 90% were forced into exile by Greek policies. There were large numbers of Moslems in what is now Greece. They were killed or forced into exile to get a ethnically pure Greece. Turkey has a population of 80 Million, of that 30 Million are people whose ancestors were forced out of their homes ion Europe. 15 Millions from the Balkans. Were they to, but go back, the majorities in the Balkans would change. My information is that until the Greek invasion of Anatolia, there was mass dying by Greeks. In that war around 3-500000 died. Not good but Moslem casualties are far heavier. Alone at Greek independence 300 000 a third of the population were killed. No one in that territory survived.

Nick Kouzos I cannot explain how there only 1500 Greeks left in Turkey while there are around 150.000 Muslims in east Thrace. Also why most Turkish towns still have Greek names. There were killings by both sides but there could be no comparisons. The total population in Greek mainland was about 4,5 million inhabitants. So the loss of 2.5 million Greeks that were killed or expelled was a much larger percentage in relation to the total population of Greeks worldwide.

Nick Kouzos The international reports and most independent sources do not mention figures of this magnitude. We all need to be more careful when we try to explain historical facts. I only present very credible sources of information such as Ambassadors. The origin of my family is from Kirkagats outside of Ismir and Karsi Yaka in peninsula of Kyzikos, My Grandfather was bitten to death by Turks in Kirkagats where there were 5,000 Greeks and 15000 of Turks. The total Greek population left with the retreating Greek Army, nobody touched a Turkish inhabitant and local Turks were crying when their Greek friends left. So it is not easy to generalize. The situation in Cyprus was much later and during a fight for independence against the British. The Turkish minority in Cyprus was 18%.
In any case I don’t want to excuse any atrocities by any party but, in General, Turks have been a militant society, this is why the middle class in Turkey consisted mainly from Greeks Armenians and Jews during 19th and 20th century, may be this is the real reason why Kemal decided to get rid of minorities. Greeks were prospering during this period and were contributing to the country not killing Turks this is absurd.

Nick Kouzos I think you should read a little more history about Cultures and Languages, just try to learn how many Greek words are included in English Italian and French. You can speak in Greek for half hour to English speaking audience and they will understand. It is obvious what Turkish people are trying to do regarding history and culture you despise everything Greek but the world is not convinced with this historic violation which is similar to SKOPIA calling Alexander the Great being a Slav And you may even call Homer as Omer.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Greek words in English were put there by Englishmen who wanted Greek words in their language. Turkish words in Japanese an Maya have always been there. We do not despise everything Greek. The Greek daily culture is not much different from ours. We are not obsessed with the ancient world like Greeks are. Greeks are also far more interested in Turkey than the other way around. We have other problems. I have no idea which language Alexander spoke. He used Greek as a language of culture which is not the same thing as being Greek. All of Northern Europe used Latin as a cultural language until the 19th century. Mussolini loved that. But he was Mussolini.


Nick Kouzos I am amazed that you don’t know what language Alexander was speaking. There was no other language spoken in the area since Homer. Alexander’s Teacher was Aristoteles. Ancient Greek was the everyday common language in what is today Greece as well in Asia


Sukan Gurkaynak As far as I know, Ancient Greek was the language spoken by elites and as such a cultural language. It was not the only language spoken in Anatolia and the Balkans. Strabo writes of other languages spoken in his time, we do not know which these were. We lived in peace with Greeks for centuries, that was destroyed when Greeks were euphoric about the Russia genocide of Moslems in Bulgaria 1876 and late by the Balkan war 1912. The invasion of Anatolia and the butchery on Cyprus did the rest. There was an article in the German Daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung explaining why Greece was given so much money which it could not pay back. They were saying Greece was from the very beginning devised as a counter-weight to Ottoman power. Pity that people who are so close were reengineered into enemies.

Nick Kouzos If we don’t know which languages were spoken is enough to demonstrate the importance of Greek at the time but as far as Alexander and Greek mainland no other languages were spoken. But bringing back the Balkan Wars and the Cyprus issue one needs to look each case separately. Butchery is a heavy word which could be used by each side according circumstances and not objectively. Invasion of the western powers in Turkey was not the decision of Greece, Greeks were supportive for the creation of new Turkey introduced by the New Turks movement but the killings against the Armenians during 1914-15 and against Greeks later was a very bad change. I have first hand personal experiences from both branches of my family. My father was born in Karsi yaka in Kyzikos where there were 42 villages and two Armenian there was no Turkish Villages at all. The village had the Greek name Peramos and was burned to the ground during 1915. My Grand Father was the head master of Peramos totally Greek Primary School. The building of the school is still there, The current inhabitants are Turks from the exchange of population from West Thrace during 1924.

 A lot more was exchanged that I will be publish in  PartII of the article.

More about my family history and other historical details and information about the origin of Turks and the Greek Turkish conflict is given in my blog at        I would appreciate any additional information about personal experiences from Greeks or Turks who were involved in these very dificult circomstanses.







Θέλω να μοιραστώ μαζί σας, για μια ακόμη φορά τις σκέψεις μου, για την κατάσταση που βιώνουμε με τις εξελίξεις που έχουν φέρει τους περισσότερους από εμάς  σε πολύ άσχημη κατάσταση.

Αισθάνομαι ότι περνάμε μία περίοδο οικονομικής εξαθλίωσης για όλα τα κοινωνικά στρώματα. εργαζόμενους στον ιδιωτικό και δημόσιο τομέα, εργοδότες, συνταξιούχους, ελεύθερους επαγγελματίες, αγρότες και το κράτος το ίδιο, που είναι αποτέλεσμα  του μειωμένου συνολικού παραγόμενου προϊόντος σε μία περίοδο που το παραγόμενο προϊόν στην περιοχή μας, δηλαδή Βαλκάνια, αλλά και Ευρώπη είναι αυξανόμενο, για να μην αναφερθώ και στο συνολικό παγκόσμιο προϊόν.

Αποτέλεσμα αυτής της οικονομικής εξαθλίωσης δεν μπορεί παρά έχει επιπτώσεις και στα εθνικά θέματα εφόσον οι  άσπονδοι φίλοι, σύμμαχοι και εχθροί εκμεταλλεύονται την οικονομική μας κατάσταση, βλέπε Τουρκία και όχι μόνο.

Σε οποιαδήποτε οικονομικο-πολιτική κοσμοθεωρία και αν είστε θιασώτες αποτελεί αναμφισβήτητο γεγονός είναι ότι ο διακρατικός παγκόσμιος ανταγωνισμός λειτουργεί  καπιταλιστικά.

Τα κράτη ανταγωνίζονται να παράγουν προϊόντα για να τα εξάγουν σε άλλα κράτη και με τον τρόπο αυτό να αυξάνουν τον δικό τους πλούτο, είτε αυτός είναι ιδιωτικός είτε  δημόσιος ανεξάρτητα αν ο πλούτος αυτός διανέμεται δίκαια η όχι.

Ενδεχομένως αυτό να αποτελεί  μία υπερ απλουστευτική θεώρηση, δεν παύει όμως να αποτελεί ένα από τους βασικότερους συντελεστές για την ανάπτυξη κάθε οικονομίας που σε συνέχεια διαμορφώνει συνθήκες επιβίωσης.

Η παραπάνω διαπίστωση ερμηνεύει τον λόγο για τον οποίο μία ριζοσπαστική πολιτική δύναμη της αριστεράς  προσχώρησε στην πρακτική της, παγκοσμίως πλέον γνωστής, ‘κολοτούμπας’.

Η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται πλέον στο κατώτατο επίπεδο των καταλόγων των κρατών της Ευρώπης σε ρυθμούς ανάπτυξης, κατανάλωσης, παραγωγής πλούτου, ποσοστό υλικής στέρησης, ενώ ταυτόχρονα έχει απαξιωθεί τόσο η περιουσία, όσο και ο κατώτατος μισθός, έχει εξαφανισθεί η δυνατότητα τραπεζικής χρηματοδότησης, χωρίς να έχει αναβαθμιστεί κανένας τομέας, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του τομέα της Εθνικής Άμυνας,  ενώ παραμένουν τα μόνιμα διαχρονικά προβλήματα της γραφειοκρατίας, της εγκληματικότητας, της ανασφάλειας, της μετανάστευσης της,  υπογεννητικότητας, της φοροδιαφυγής, της διαφθοράς, του μικροκομματισμού, της κρατικοδίαιτης επιχειρηματικότητας, της αναποτελεσματικότητας του δημοσίου και των προβλημάτων που αναφύονται από τις αυξανόμενες ροές προσφύγων.

Ειδικά για την υπογενητικότητα «Οδεύουμε προς το τέλος της νεοελληνικής κοινωνίας όπως την έχουμε γνωρίσει έως τώρα»  όπως ανέφερε ο Αναστάσιος Λαυρέντζος, συγγραφέας του βιβλίου «Σιωπηρή Άλωση, επισημαίνοντας ότι, σύμφωνα με στοιχεία του ΟΗΕ, ο ελληνικός είναι ο έκτος πιο γερασμένος πληθυσμός στον κόσμο. Εάν συνεχιστούν αυτοί οι ρυθμοί ο πληθυσμός το 2050 θα έχει μειωθεί σε 6,5 με 8 εκατομμύρια άτομα.

Δεν ξέρω ποιον να κατηγορήσω πρώτα για την κατάντια αυτή:

  1. Την Πρώτη μεταπολιτευτική περίοδο με τους αδηφάγους μεγαλοαστούς που έβγαζαν τα κεφάλαιά τους εκτός Ελλάδος;
  2. Την περίοδο της πρώτης φοράς αριστερά του Ανδρέα που μοίραζε τα χρήματα της Ευρώπης δημιουργώντας ένα πνεύμα ευημερίας με δανικά χωρίς αντίκρισμα, χωρίς την αναγκαία αιμοδοσία στον παραγωγικό ιδιωτικό τομέα αλλά και χωρίς την δημιουργία υποδομής στον δημόσιο, δημιουργώντας μόνο την καινούργια τάξη κρατικοδίαιτων επιχειρηματιών αλλά και στρατιές συνδικαλιστών που συναλλάσσονταν με την πολιτική εξουσία δημιουργώντας καρεκλοκένταυρους;
  3. Την νεότερη δεξιά που ευαγγελίζονταν την εφαρμογή μίας αξιοκρατικής και φιλελεύθερης πολιτικής αλλά υπέκυπτε στις βαθιές ρίζες του κακώς εννοούμενου συνδικαλισμού για τους ίδιους ψηφοθηρικούς λόγους;
  4. Tην νέα μορφή ριζοσπαστικής αριστεράς του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ που θα μείνει στην ιστορία σαν η επιτομή του τακτισμού της νέας γενιάς πολιτικών που ανέδειξαν το ψεύδος σαν αποδεκτό εργαλείο πολιτικής αναρρίχησης αλλά με αρκετή δόση ρεαλισμού για να πουλήσει και τις πιο βασικές αρχές και ιδεολογίες του σοσιαλισμού, εφαρμόζοντας τις πιο ακραίες μεθόδους αντιαναπτυξιακής πολιτικής, υπακούοντας σε όλες τις απαιτήσεις των δανειστών συμβιβαζόμενοι, για χάρη της παραμονής στη εξουσία, με τα πιο ακραία εθνικιστικά στοιχεία του Ελληνικού κοινοβουλίου;
  5. Αλλά και πέραν των δικών μας εσωτερικών προβλημάτων να κατηγορήσω και την ακραία ωφελιμιστική συμπεριφορά μίας Ευρώπης που αποτυγχάνει να ολοκληρώσει τις αρχές δημιουργίας της; Μίας Ευρώπης που βλέπει την Ελλάδα σαν το κακομαθημένο παιδί που απαιτεί δικαιώματα χωρίς να αναγνωρίζει υποχρεώσεις και συνέπεια στην εκτέλεση των συμβατικών δεσμεύσεων, με αποτέλεσμα η ίδια να αποζητά την αποδέσμευσή της από τον ρόλο του σωφρονιστής και παιδαγωγού δανειστή με κάθε μέσο και τρόπο;
  6. Τέλος πόσο συμβάλει στην κατάσταση αυτή η διαχρονική γεωπολιτική θέση της Ελλάδας και ιδιαίτερα σε αυτή την ασταθή περίοδο με την επιθετικότητα της Τουρκίας που εγκυμονεί σύρραξη με την Ελλάδα;

Είναι εμφανές, για την διαμόρφωση της δική μου άποψης, ότι η χώρα αποτελεί ένα πιόνι στην σκακιέρα   που παίζονται τα συμφέροντα πολύ μεγαλύτερων δυνάμεων χωρίς εμείς να  μπορούμε να προστατεύσουμε αποκλειστικά τα δικά μας συμφέροντα.

Δυστυχώς η ιστορία δεν μας έχει διδάξει επαρκώς. Η Ελλάδα ιστορικά έπαιξε τον ρόλο των ακριτικών συνόρων της Ευρώπης και ότι βοήθεια έχει λάβει, αυτό έχει γίνει για να παίξει αυτόν το πάρα πάνω ρόλο. Η ανταμοιβή μας  είναι η  ανεξαρτησία μας απέναντί στην επεκτατική δύναμη της ανατολής, πολιτισμικού, οικονομικού και θρησκευτικού κατεστημένου. Το τίμημα όμως είναι πολύ μεγάλο, σε ανθρώπινη και οικονομική αιμορραγία και υποτέλεια.

Για τον λόγο αυτό  καταλήγω στα πιο απλοϊκά συμπεράσματα:

Η πραγματική ανεξαρτησία μας εξαρτάτε απολύτως από την βιωσιμότητα της δικής μας οικονομίας  και αυτή ασφαλώς εξαρτάτε από την αύξηση του παραγομένου προϊόντος. και  κυρίως του εξαγώγιμου προϊόντος.

Μία γενιά πρέπει να υποστεί μία συνειδητή θησεία αλλά με πνεύμα ανταποδοτικότητας, για την επίτευξη αυτού του στόχου όπως ακριβώς και η γενιά του 21 και η γενιά των Βαλκανικών πολέμων που τριπλασίασε την χώρα, μόνο που σήμερα ο πόλεμος δεν γίνεται στο στρατιωτικό πεδίο  αλλά στο οικονομικό. Το στρατιωτικό εξαρτάτε απόλυτα από αυτό. Ο ηρωισμός σήμερα βρίσκεται στο πεδίο των εξαγωγών της εφευρετικότητας και της παραγωγικότητας .

Μακριά από τα παιδιά των κομματικών σωλήνων που επενδύουν μόνο στον έλεγχο του ψηφοθηρικού τους κεφαλαίου, μακριά από τις ιδεοληψίες και τους κομματικούς μηχανισμούς.

Προσπάθεια και ηρωισμοί μόνο στα πεδία της παραγωγής, ας παλέψουν οι νέοι στην πλατφόρμα των νεοφυών επιχειρήσεων, ας παλέψουν οι αγρότες για παραγωγή στον πρωτογενή τομέα εξαγωγών, ας αποδεσμεύσουν οι ιδιοκτήτες μέρος των δεσμευμένων κεφαλαίων ακινήτων τους στο πασίγνωστο πλέον   Airbnb,  ας αξιοποιήσουμε την μεγάλη ηλιοφάνεια της χώρας για να παράγουμε ενέργεια, ας αξιοποιήσουμε το internet για να πουλήσουμε υπηρεσίες εκτός Ελλάδος, ας σταματήσουμε να καταναλώνουμε εισαγόμενα προϊόντα, ας πουλήσουμε υπηρεσίες ιατρικού τουρισμού αντί να εξάγουμε ιατρικό και νοσηλευτικό προσωπικό στο εξωτερικό, ας σταματήσουμε να φορολογούμε τις εξαγωγές με τον ίδιο τρόπο που φορολογούμε την ντόπια κατανάλωση, ας συνεργαστούν τα πανεπιστήμια με τις ντόπιες επιχειρήσεις, ας οργανώσουμε τον πρωτογενή τομέα να προάγει τις εξαγωγές με συμμετοχή σε διεθνείς εμπορικές εκθέσεις και τυποποίηση των προϊόντων τους, ας επιτρέψουμε την λειτουργία ιδιωτικών πανεπιστημίων.

Ας αξιοποιήσουμε τις ακτές μας και τις βραχονησίδες μας με την επένδυση σε ταχύπλοες μεταφορές και υδροπλάνα.

Ας αξιοποιήσομε τον πολιτισμό και την ιστορία μας χωρίς να κλείνουμε τους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους και τα μουσεία μας με συνδικαλιστικά κίνητρα.

Αν δεν λειτουργήσουμε με αυτό το πνεύμα προβλέπω η γενιά αυτή να είναι η υπαίτιος της δημιουργίας της νέας μοιρολατρίας για την επόμενη εθνική καταστροφή. Εμείς και οι πολιτικοί της γενιάς μας θα ήμαστε οι Εθνικοί προδότες.



Ας προβληματιστούμε και λίγο παραγωγικά. Υπάρχει χώρος να κάνουμε άλματα στην παραγωγικότητα του ιδωτικού και δημοσίου τομέα. Αλλά όπως με τα μνημόνια έτσι και στην παραγωγικότητα θα προχωρίσουμε με τις υποχρεωτικές διαδικασίες που επιβάλουν οι διεθνείς οργανισμοί και πρώτα από όλους οι Ευρωπαικοί θεσμοί. Διαβάστε! ,



Η ανανέωση είναι μία φυσική διαδικασία το ίδιο όμως είναι και η φθορά.

Η φθορά είναι αμείλικτη αλλά η ανανέωση είναι εκείνο το  όπλο που την  αντιμετωπίζει αποτελεσματικά, μετατρέπει  την καθημερινότητα σε διαχρονική  παραδοσιακή αξία.

Το βλέπει κανείς αυτό σε πολλές μορφές έκφρασης στην ζωή, στην μουσική, λογοτεχνία, αρχιτεκτονική, χορό και άλλες μορφές τέχνης,  αλλά και στην πολιτική, την φιλοσοφία ακόμα και στην επιστήμη.

Ανανέωση έχει πολλές μορφές, η βασική όμως είναι η αποδέσμευση από το τέλμα μιας αδρανούς καθημερινότητας ή προσκόλλησης σε ένα τρόπο σκέψης που σε φυλακίζει και δεν σου επιτρέπει την προσαρμογή που επιτάσσουν οι συνθήκες.

Γι’ αυτό παρατηρώ νέους που γερνούν καθημερινά και ηλικιωμένους που καθημερινά ανθίζουν και δημιουργούν.


New Technology and our Future

Great text and very true.

Predictions in Technology and Health

Posted on June 6, 2016, 6 a.m. in Industry News Artificial Intelligence Biotechnology Longevity Medical Technology

What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people don’t see it coming.

– Image courtesy of Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP

– Image courtesy of Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP

INTRODUCTION: by Dr. Ronald Klatz MD, DO: We live in a miraculous time, due to the rapid growth of new technology. For those following the anti-aging lifestyle, life expectancy is increasing by three months per year. People utilizing the anti-aging tenets for health are seeing a life expectancy of 94, and that rate is also growing. Just as we predicted 25 years ago, medicine is now at last finally transforming from…

Δείτε την αρχική δημοσίευση 1.492 επιπλέον λέξεις


Δεν μπορεί κανείς να μην  αναφερθεί , την περίοδο αυτή,  στην διαμάχη που προέκυψε μεταξύ της κυβέρνησης και της αντιπολίτευσης για το θέμα συμμέτοχης της Ελλάδας στο συνέδριο που διοργανώθηκε  την Τετάρτη 23 Αυγούστου στην  πρωτεύουσα Ταλίν της  Εσθονίας,  στο πλαίσιο της «Ευρωπαϊκής Μέρας Μνήμης για τα θύματα των ολοκληρωτικών καθεστώτων», που έχει καθιερώσει το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο.

Το θέμα της άρνησης του υπουργού δικαιοσύνης Κοντονή να πάρει μέρος στην εκδήλωση της 23ης Αυγούστου του 2017 δηλώνει τα βαθύτερα ιδεολογικά θεμέλιά της κυβερνούσας παράταξης του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ που προσπαθεί να ψηφοθηρήσει από δύο ακροατήρια, του παραδοσιακού καθαρόαιμου κουμμουνιστικού και του κεντροαριστερού σοσιαλιστικού ακροατηρίου που το θεωρεί απαραίτητο και αναγκαίο συνοδοιπόρο για τις επερχόμενες εκλογές. Ταυτόχρονα ανησυχεί για την ερμηνεία που θα δώσουν τα ευρωσοσιαλιστικά κόμματα.

Η διγλωσσία είναι αναπόφευκτη΄, διότι παρά την προσπάθεια να εμφανίσει την προσπάθεια της Ευρώπης ή κυρίως των κρατών της τέως Σοβιετικής Ένωσης σαν κατάλοιπα Ναζισμού, στην πραγματικότητα αντιμετωπίζει την ουσιαστική καταδίκη της κουμμουνιστικής κοσμοθεωρίας από το σύνολο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Σαν αποτέλεσμα ο κ Κοντονής δεν κερδίζει ψήφους ούτε από το ΚΚΕ ούτε από τα κεντροαριστερά κόμματα που σήμερα προσπαθούν να ανασυνταχθούν.

Από την άλλη πλευρά η προσπάθεια της ‘Αυγής’ να εμφανίσει την Νέα Δημοκρατία σαν ακροδεξιό κόμμα  την εκθέτει γιατί το πραγματικό θέμα που τίθεται δεν είναι η εξίσωση Ναζισμού και Κουμμουνισμού σαν κοσμοθεωρίες  αλλά τα εγκλήματα που πραγματοποιήθηκαν από τους Ναζιστές και τον Κουμμουνισμό σε διάφορες φάσεις της εξέλιξής του. Ο Κουμμουνισμός σαν πολιτική οντότητα έχει νομιμοποιηθεί από τον Κωσταντίνο Καραμανλή, μετά την μεταπολίτευση. Δεν τίθεται λοιπόν κανένα θέμα εξίσωσης του Ναζισμού με τον Κουμμουνισμού, τα εγκλήματα όμως είναι εγκλήματα και δεν πρέπει να αφήσουμε τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να μας παρασύρει, για καθαρά λόγους αποπροσανατολισμού, από τα πραγματικά προβλήματα που η ιδεοληψία του μας οδηγεί.