Innovation and Empire in Turkey: Sultan Selim III and the Modernisation of the Ottoman Navy
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Of note, the Turkish air force, army, and navy conducted a brilliant amphibious campaign to secure northern Cyprus in , which demonstrated an ability to conduct combined arms operations of the most difficult type. After the American arms embargo in , the Turkish General Staff embarked on a systemic and deliberate program to encourage and assist Turkish firms to forge a domestic armaments industry.
This was designed to achieve strategic autonomy by making the nation self-sufficient in the domestic production of armaments and munitions. The effort was innovatively unique among the global roster of American allies and recipients of military assistance packages.
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Of note, the Turkish military became one of three NATO nations using unmanned drones — a harbinger of the future in the s. Turkey also became a full partner in the deployment, and planning for employment, of NATO tactical nuclear weapons. It should also be noted that, starting in the late s, the Turkish military also fought a successful domestic counterinsurgency campaign against the PKK which was largely won by the end of the century. A path-breaking White Paper published by the Turkish General Staff in fundamentally changed Turkish military policy from a defensive posture to a more proactive and offensively minded posture.
The White Paper explicitly stated that Turkish military forces would be prepared and capable of transferring operations across borders when necessary in order to maintain a forward defense. The general staff subsequently announced defense targets which committed the military to form a Peace and Security Zone in the surrounding region when necessary.
Turkey also provided peacekeeping forces for Lebanon and provided command and control support for NATO air operations over Libya in Turkish armed forces also provided stabilization in northern Iraq through observers and forward presence as well. Throughout this period Turkey maintained its NATO commitment but transitioned its armed forces from heavy defensive forces to lighter expeditionary rapid reaction forces.
Simultaneously the Turkish armed forces successfully crushed a renewed outbreak of PKK terrorism in the southeast. Although a tiny number of military members supported the attempted July coup the vast majority of military members remained steadfastly loyal to the constitutionally elected government. It is clear that in the same way Ottoman armed forces recognized the need for change in the s, and reacted to that imperative, modern Turkish armed forces have reacted to change in similarly successful ways.
I would highlight three enduring signatures which unify these threads. First, since their foundational periods, Ottoman and Turkish armed forces have proven exceptionally resilient and combat-ready, both in victory and in defeat, Second, military innovation driven by the recognition of change has been a hallmark of these forces throughout their history. Third, dynamic and brilliant leadership has been an outstanding characteristic of Ottoman and Turkish armed forces for almost a thousand years.
By any measurement this is a remarkable history which shows no signs of slowing down in the twenty-first century. Part of the historical literature on one of the most vital Ottoman military industrial plants, the imperial dockyards, this study may be regarded as a continuation of Idris Bostan's seminal work Osmanli Bahriye Teskilati: XVII. Because Zorlu's account stresses the continuity and change in terms of organization, administration and technology, the book has been received in a generally positive light for its concrete contributions to the field despite a number of criticisms about sources, approaches, and content.
As a student of Ottoman military history, however, I would like to bring up a couple of questions that are not raised in previous reviews. Although the prohibitive costs may explain the conspicuous lack of illustrations and plans, one still would expect to see a user-friendly table of reference to various Ottoman measurements of length, volume, and weight in a work on shipbuilding. The reader consequently cannot appreciate the multitude of figures and numbers in a meaningful way, especially when the author retains original Ottoman versions without citing their equivalents in current metrology.
An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. The prominence of Minangkabau in the letters to Turkey may suggest that the mediator in question had experience of the west coast conflict. What is clear is that the idea of a distant imperial sovereign had become much more attractive to Aceh in the nineteenth century than it ever was in the sixteenth.
The mission and letters of Muhammad Ghauth. Both were entrusted to a wealthy Acehnese pepper-trader from Meulaboh, Muhammad Ghauth, who was already embarking on his pilgrimage to Mecca with a small entourage, and thus possibly saved the embattled sultan the expense of a mission. Both the Malay and Arabic letters appeal for military help on the basis of prior Turkish suzerainty over Aceh and all Sumatra, but the Arabic letter does so with much explicit data which appears to come from a known source.
Clearly flattered by the visit, the Ottoman Majlis nevertheless responded cautiously in a series of decisions over He was sent off almost immediately in the company of the Turkish Governor of Yemen, whose responsibility it would be to send him on further and to select the appropriate official perhaps a Hadhrami trader? However, it was not Ghauth but one of his entourage who enjoyed the hospitality of the French government in Paris for several months. When the Crimean war began in , Ibrahim sent a contribution of 10, Spanish dollars to his Ottoman counterpart to show his loyalty and solidarity against the Russians.
He received in return an imperial decoration the Mejidie , which he made a point of wearing when receiving Dutch envoys in The Crimean war, generously covered in the Straits press, aroused considerable pro-Turkish enthusiasm in Aceh and the Malay world, as evidenced by a number of surviving poetic celebrations. Other initiatives, Elsewhere, in South Sumatra, in the midst of a highly polarised struggle between pan-Islamic resistance and pragmatic accommodation with the Dutch, a new young sultan ascended the Jambi throne in and declined to declare his allegiance to the Dutch sovereign.
Although a generous 30, Straits dollars was provided for the mission, Syarif Ali appears to have gone no further than Mecca where, perhaps knowing he would get no such support in Constantinople, he had letters forged appearing to be from the Caliph, and authorizing the expulsion of the Dutch from the Indies. Although a Dutch expedition occupied the Jambi capital in , sultan Taha himself remained at large, and continued well into the s his attempts to have Jambi declared Turkish.
One Arab 98 Anthony Reid. He succeeded in overcoming some of the entrenched divisions of Aceh, and made himself a threat to sultan Ibrahim by marrying the widow of his rival, Sulaiman. He therefore needed to leave Aceh in , but did so by travelling to Mecca carrying an appeal for Turkish help from 65 Aceh leaders, notably not including the sultan. This letter, perhaps drawn up by the Habib himself, declared that:.
The Ottoman cannons and military equipment remained in Aceh left from these former times. The Acehnese harbours and ships carried the Turkish flags and the Friday sermons and the festival prayers were read in the name of the Caliph. When Acehnese officials met the representatives of a foreign state, they wore the Ottoman official dress. Aceh had no relation with foreign powers other than the Ottoman Empire. A personal letter from the Habib himself was added to this in Mecca, proposing that the Ottomans should arrange to pay a salary to the Aceh sultan and his key officials, no doubt a way of ensuring that his proposals would be accepted in Aceh.
These proposals, we now know, were seriously discussed by the Council of Ministers, who however foresaw multiple problems in accepting the Acehnese position. Other Southeast Asian rulers would immediately follow the Acehnese example, bringing difficulties with the Dutch and ultimately their more powerful allies the British. If the Dutch were to attack Aceh after Turkey had accepted suzerainty over it, the Ottomans would be in an impossible position.
Turkey as Aceh’s Alternative Imperium
Instead, a typical bureaucratic response was adopted of appointing an Arabic-speaking official to enquire further into the matter. This strategy was approved by the sultan on 30 April, Nevertheless, Dutch diplomatic officials in Turkey and the Hejaz grew increasingly anxious in the early s about assertions that Aceh was part of the Ottoman empire.
The Aceh War. Habib Aburrahman az-Zahir nevertheless returned to Aceh in better provided with credentials to bolster his position there— letters from the Sharif of Mecca and the Ottoman Pasha of Jidda, as well as a Mejidie medal for his sultan. By the end of it was clear also that the British would do nothing to help, despite much support for Aceh in Penang. He departed again for the Middle East early in , carrying the Ottoman sword Ibrahim had been granted, and other tokens of Turkish patronage. As before he was received very sympathetically by Arab and Turkish officials in the Hejaz.
Once the Dutch invasion took place in March , he hastened to the Turkish capital to press the case for Ottoman suzerainty and protection. There his persuasive powers won over both the reformist and the pan-Islamic press for the cause of the underdog Acehnese fighting for survival against European imperialism. He and his Turkish sympathisers insisted that the Turkish archives be searched for earlier evidence that both sides had accepted Turkish suzerainty.
This search yielded two impressive Ottoman firman— the letter of written by sultan Selim II to the Aceh sultan al-Kahhar, and the letter given by sultan Abdulmecid to Ibrahim Mansur Shah in , both recognizing some degree of Ottoman suzerainty. Dutch diplomats, supported strongly by the Russian envoy Ignatiev who sought to prevent any precedent for Turkish intervention in Central Asia, pulled out all the stops to prevent a painfully weak Turkey from doing anything that would stir up Acehnese and Southeast Asian resistance.
In the end, through developments already adequately told, 54 Turkey decided that the most it could do was to offer to mediate for peace in the war, following the defeat of the initial Dutch expedition and the awkward position Holland was therefore in. This letter was worded with much diplomatic tact, which did not however conceal the astonishing claim it made of historic Turkish suzerainty over Aceh.
The Acehnese [ in the s] sent a deputation to the feet of the conqueror, recognized the supremacy of the powers inherent in his title of Caliph, made an act of submission into the hands of the famous Sinan Pasha, raised the Ottoman flag in their ports and on their vessels, declared themselves vassals of sultan Selim and asked in return for his high Anthony Reid. Sultan Selim received these offers favourably. By his orders the Vezir Sinan Pasha sent to the vassal sultan the cannons and swords of honour which are still to be seen in Aceh.
This Acehnese fealty, it continued, was renewed as recently as the s. Pan-islam, jihadism and the ottomans. A mind-set which we might today call jihadist or Islamist, and attribute to the global projection of struggles in Palestine and Iraq, do in fact have a long history in Southeast Asia.
A century later, with nationalism again vigorously challenged by concepts of solidarity with a global umma, the situation looks very different. This current must be seen as a continuing one within the Islamic world, emerging with far greater salience at some periods, such as the present, than at others. The period between and was another such period when the solidarity of the umma loomed particularly large in the region at another time of Muslim frustration, with some very specific consequences.
At the point of their terminal decline, paradoxically, the Ottoman sultans were a central part of this mind-set. Especially during the reign of the last Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid II , the movement for a universal and effective Caliphate received consistent encouragement from the top. After the disastrous Russo-Turkish war of , Abdul Hamid turned his back on the West and suspended the liberal constitution of Encouraged by the sympathy he received from all over the Muslim World, including Southeast Asia, he hoped to make up in Asia for the influence he had lost in Europe.
SALT Araştırma / SALT Research: Innovation and Empire in Turkey
The sultan made clear that he wished to be regarded as a sort of Pope and protector for Sunni Muslims everywhere, and the Turkish press reflected this changed mood. Southeast Asian Arabs would readily claim the status of Turkish subjects when it seemed likely to benefit them. Middle East and made the pilgrimage to Mecca but also visited Istanbul, and took a substantial interest in Turkish affairs. They also sympathised with the Acehnese and other Indonesian Muslims they thought to be oppressed by the Dutch. The actions of Turkey in Asia, however symbolic, assumed greater importance through the mediation of such men, and their counterparts throughout the Archipelago.
This last phase of hopes of Turkish suzerainty in Southeast Asia, however, might be considered another story, partly covered elsewhere, 57 and this paper may reasonably end with the remarkable diplomatic affirmation of that suzerainty in the Ottoman letter of Dissertation, University of Wisconsin, , pp. Iskandar ed. Archipel 87, Paris, 7. Snouck Hurgronje, the Achehnese, trans A. I, pp. I Medan, , pp. Zainuddin, tarich Atjeh dan nusantara Medan, , pp.
An indonesian Frontier, pp. Michael Laffan, islamic nationhood and Colonial indonesia : the umma below the winds London : Routledge, , p.
source url Maka dikirim sultan Rum daripada jenis utus dan pandai yang tahu menuang bedil. Maka pada zaman itu-lah di-tuang orang meriam yang besar2. Teuku Iskandar ed. Reid, An indonesian Frontier, p. Snouck Hurgronje, the Achehnese, vol.
The quote is from p. Reid, An indonesian Frontier, pp.