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Turkish Genocide ^ | SAL¬HI R. SONYEL

Posted on 12/09/2002 12:53:40 PM PST by robowombat




Russo-Greek intrigues

The peninsula of the Peloponnese (in Southern Greece), which is also known as the Morea, was first partly conquered in 1397 CE by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit I from the Byzantines, and was completely overrun in 1460 by Sultan Mehmet II, who was received as a deliverer by the Greek Orthodox Christian population, then suffering under the rule of the Roman Catholics1. In 1698 the Ottomans were compelled to cede the Peloponnese to the Venetians, under the Treaty of Carlowitz, but in 1718 it was retroceded to the Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of Passarowitz2 According to the late Professor Dr. Douglas Dakin, who was an expert on the history of modern Greece:

"This renewed Turkish rule the inhabitants found preferable to that of the Venetians; taxes were lighter; the administration was less efficient and therefore less harsh; and the (Ottoman) infidel was much more tolerant than the Roman Catholic"3.

The Ottomans established a province (pasalik) in the Peloponnese, the Greek Population of which was about 400,000, gradually augmented by about 50,000 Turks and other Muslims. Despite the comfortable and easy life which the Greeks, especially those living in urban areas, led, they began to intrigue with the Russians during the reign of Tsar Peter the Mad, These intrigues, which aimed at the resurrection of the Byzantine Empire, continued under Empress Catherine II during whose reign Russian agents roamed the countryside in the Peloponnese, inciting the people to rebellion 4.

Franco-Greek intrigues

The French revolution, which erupted in 1789, had much effect on some of the Greek Orthodox Christian leaders, who, being aware that their intrigues with the Tsar and other Russian notables were not successful, transferred their hopes and loyalty to France, following the appearance of Napoleon Bonaparte on the scene. French secret agents began to roam all over the Balkans, continuously inciting the Greeks, and deluding them with promises of autonomy or independence under French protection5. So widespread was Napoleon's fame among the Greeks that, even the women of Mani, a remote fastness in the southern Peloponnese, placed his portrait in their homely shrines6.

However, following the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, in June 1815, by the British military. forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington, the Greeks retransferred their hopes to Tsarist Russia, hoping that Tsar Alexander I's foreign minister john (Ioannis) Capodistrias, who was of Greek origin, would assist them 7.

Greek revolutionary and terrorist organizations

Meanwhile the Greeks began to establish secret revolutionary and terrorist organizations abroad, and to publish newspapers and periodicals that would serve their purpose. One of these organizations, the Athena, was striving for Greek independence with the help of France, whilst another one named Phoenix hoped to achieve the same ambition with the help of Russia.

However, a more sinister and ambitious organization, named the Philiki Eteria, was established in Odessa in 1814, which strove to provoke a rebellion among all the "Hellenes", including the Balkan Christians8.

In October 1818 the tentacles of that organization spread as far as the island of Cyprus where, its secret agent for Egypt and Cyprus, Dimitrios Ipatros of Metsovo, managed to enroll the Greek Orthodox prelate, Archbishop Kiprianos, as a member of the organization. The Archbishop promised, and later fulfilled his promise, to give moral and material support to it9.

The chief inciters of the rebellion were the "external - or outside Greeks" (Hellenes- apodimi Ellines), who lived outside Greece and aspired to initiate a national movement in the country, similar to the movements then in vogue in Europe. They were the ones who started the rebellion, and financed it in the first place. However, the Ethniki Eteria was quick to undertake the leadership of this movement when it began to spread everywhere like an octopus, and planned a widespread rebellion in the Ottoman Empire 10. Simultaneously, Russian consuls operating in the islands and the Peloponnese, carried out intrigues among the Greeks, inciting them to rebellion and trying to inculcate in them a sense of patriotism.

0n the eve of the rebellion, the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire were leading relatively peaceful and prosperous lives, whilst those with the wealth and education found employment in the Ottoman government service. In areas where the Greeks were in the majority they were allowed to establish their own municipalities (dimarchia), free from the interference of the state;

whilst the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate centered at Istanbul, the Ottoman capital, became a privileged institution, participating in the administration of the Ottoman state11. Then why did the Greek rebellion take place?

When Sultan Mahmut II, who was a patient and determined ruler, began to take action in order to reverse the weakening of the Ottoman Empire by trying to strengthen it through reform, he fell out with Ali Pasha of Tepedelen, the governor of Jannina. when the governor revolted against the Sultan in 1820, the action affected the Greek revolutionaries who rose up immediately in order to benefit from the rift among the Turkish rulers 12.

when the Ottoman authorities in the Peloponnese, headed by the governor, Hursit Pasha, became aware of the rebellious movement among the Greeks, they met at Tripolitsa, the capital of the province, and invited the local Greeks to hand over their arms to the authorities, and called upon some of the Greek leaders individuahy to go to Tripolitsa in order to discuss the situation with them. However, these Greek leaders refused to reciprocate to this invitation and instead provoked the Rebellion. The Greeks began their rebellion in the Peloponnese on 6 April 1821 {new style) with the slogan: "Not a Turk shall remain in the Morea", which inspired indiscriminate and murderous action against all Muslimsl3.

How the Greek rebellion began

The Greek rebellion began as follows: the Metropolitan of Patras, Germanos, who was enrolled as a member of the Philiki Eteria in 1819, weary about the invitation he had received to proceed to Tripolitsa, set out and arrived at the monastery of Ayia {Saint) Lavra, near the mountain town of Kalavrita. There, he met the other bishops who, like himself, were equally undetermined on what to do. Later, Germanos himself faked and read out to them a letter, describing how the Turks would throw them into prison or kill them. Then, taking advantage of the resulting excitement among the people, he unfurled the flag of rebellion on 6 April 1821, and called upon at the Greeks to join the rebellion. The first flag of the rebels portrayed a cross over an upturned crescent, or a cross over a severed Turkish head 14.

When the Metropolitan began to return to Patras, together with the other bishops, they were accompanied by an ever-growing rabble of people armed with scythes, clubs and slings. The bishops and priests, wherever they went, exhorted their parishioners to exterminnate "the infidel Muslims".

Brigand klepths and guards of remote places known as armatoli came down from the mountains and began to ravage Turkish settlements. Control soon passed out of the hands of the leaders, and the whole county was overrun by bands of armed hooligans, killing and murdering. According to British writer, Wihiam St. Clair: "the savage passion for revenge soon degenerated into a frenzied delight in killing and horror for their own sakes". Another British writer, David Howarth, observes that, the Greeks did not need any reason for these murders, "once they had started... they killed because a mad blood-lust had come upon them all, and everyone was killing" l5,.

During this period the Russian consulate at Patras handled the correspondence of the Eteria for the agents of the society in the Peloponnese, and served as their liaison with the Russians. 15a

Elimination of the Turks

It is estimated that about 50,000 Muslims, including women and children, lived in the Peloponnese in March 1821. A month later, when the Greeks were celebrating their Easter, there was hardly anyone left. A few of them who managed to escape to fortified cities were suffering from starvation. Everywhere the unburied bodies of the murdered Turks were rotting. According to Wihiam St. Clair:

"The Turks of Greece left few traces. They disappeared suddenly and finally in the spring of 1821, umourned and unnoticed by the rest of the world... Upwards of 20,000 Turkish men, women and children were murdered by their Greek neighbours in a few weeks of slaughter. They were killed deliberately, without qualm and scruple... Turkish families living in single farms or small isolated communities were summarily put to death, and their homes burned down over their corpses. Others, when the disturbances began, abandoned home to seek the security of the nearest town, but the defenseless streams of refugees were overwhelmed by bands of armed Greeks. In the smaller towns, the Turkish communities barricaded their houses and attempted to defend themselves as best they could, but few survived. In some places they were driven by hunger to surrender to their attackers on receiving promises of security, but these were seldom honored. The men were killed at once, and the women and children divided out as slaves, usually to be killed in their turn later. All over the Peloponnese roamed mobs of Greeks armed with clubs, scythes, and a few firearms, killing, plundering and burning. They were often led by Christian priests, who exhorted them to greater efforts in their holy work"16;.

According to Steven Runciman, who "rote the history of the Greek Orthodox Church, "the great fathers of the Church, such as Basil, would have been horrified by the gallant (!) Peloponnesian bishops who raised the

Standard of revolt in 1821 "17. This was not a war for Greek independence or liberation, but a war of extermination against the Turks and other Muslims, and the main provokers of it were the Greek Orthodox Christian clerics.

As soon as the rebellion began, Greek highwayman Petros Mavromichalis, alias Petrobey, descended from the mountains to the town-cum-port of Kalamata, together with his marauders, and murdered all the Muslim men, more ferociously even than the riff-raff of Patras had done, selling the young Muslim women and children as slaves, In order to celebrate this so-called "victory", twenty-four priests organized a Te Deum at the banks of the town's river, The Kalamata tragedy was followed by the total extermination of the Muslims of Patras and Livadhia 18.

Turks burnt alive

In April 1821 the Greek residents of the islands of Hydra, Spetsa and Psara joined the rebels, They attacked the ships carying the Ottoman flag;

captured the crew, killing or throwing them into the sea, They also captured and killed many Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca, According to British writers such as St. Clair, Howarth and Wihiam Miller, the Greek rebels captured the 57 crew of a Turkish vessel; took them to the island of Hydra amidst shrieks of triumph and there, on the coast, they roasted them alive on a fire 19.

Many Greeks in Thessaly, Macedonia and Halkidiki, too, joined the rebels and began to attack the Turks without mercy. In some areas the rebel leaders, in order. to provoke the local Greeks to join the rebellion, deliberately massacred the Turks living there, The Greek peasants who remorselessly killed their Turkish neighbors saw the rebellion as "a war of religious" extermination", and for the most part, the bishops and priests who led them shared this view 20,.

The massacres of Monemvasia and Navarino

The Muslims of the small town of Monemvasia, which was besieged by the Greek rebels, decided, in August 1821, to surrender to the rebels, as they could no longer endure the prevalent hunger and disease; but nevertheless they were slaughtered barbarously. These events were hailed in Western Europe as "victory of liberalism and Christianity"21. A few days later the same fate befell the Muslims of Navarino: between 2,000 and 3,000 of them were cruelly massacred. Turkish women were stripped and searched for valuables. Naked women plunged into the sea, and were shot in water; children were thrown in to drown, and babes were taken from their mothers and beaten against the rocks. Muslim girls and boys, who were kept alive, half-naked and in fear, later were offered for sale as prostitutes; some of them lost their minds and roamed round the ruins 22.

Soon a stench began to hang over the towns in the Peloponnese, emitting from the rotting headless corpses of the Muslims; pariah dogs and vultures were devouring the bodies; the water-wells were polluted and the plague began to raise its ugly head. All over the place emaciated and halfnaked young Muslim girls and boys were groaning. Meanwhile the Greeks of Navarino were relating with pride the terrible massacres that had taken place there. One of them was boasting that he had killed eighteen Turks; another one was relating how he had stabbed to death nine women and children in their beds. These merciless killers were, with pride, showing to the European volunteers, who had come to help the "Hellenic cause", the corpses of the Muslim women whom they had raped, carved up and then thrown over the fortifications some time earlier 23. But these terrible scenes did not impress the volunteers; on the contrary, they shocked and disgusted them. A German volunteer named Lieber describes how they felt hatred and disgust towards the Greek rebels who were calling upon them to rape these women when they themselves had already sexually assaulted them 24.

The Tripolitsa massacre

In the town of Tripolitsa, where the Turkish governor resided, and which consisted of a population of 35,000 Turks, Albanians, jews and others, a massacre occurred on 5 October 1821, lasting for two days, during which 10,000 people were killed. Most of the corpses were decapitated and carved Up25. The Greek rebels tortured the Muslims whom they believed hoarded their money. According to St. Clair, Howarth and the British Colonial Office and Foreign Office documents, "they were slow1y burnt to death on a fire, after their arms and legs where chopped off'. One can imagine what the rebels had done to pregnant Muslim women.

About 2,000 captives, consisting mostly of women, were stripped naked;

driven to a plain outside the town and then killed. After this event, many starving Muslim children were running from place to place, and were targeted, slaughtered or shot dead by the Greek rebels, who were elated and with their mouths foaming26. The chief Greek brigand, Theodoros Kolokotronis, who occupies pride of place in the "Greek pantheon of heroes", also took part in these massacres and pillages with relish27.

European officers, including Colonel Thomas Gordon, who happened to be at Tripolitsa during the massacre, witnessed the hair-raising incidents there, and some of them later reached these with all their ugliness. Colonel Gordon became so disgusted with these Greek barbarities that he resigned from the service of the Greeks. The young German philhellene doctor Wilhelm Boldemann, who could not bear to witness these scenes, committed suicide by taking poison. Some of the Other European philhellenes, too, who were extremely disillusioned, followed suit. 28.

The Acrocorinth massacre

Towards the end of January 1822, more than 1,500 Muslims at Acrocorinth surrendered to the rebels, but were atrociously killed by the ruffians of Kolokotronis and other Greek leaders. These bloody incidents were later related by a German officer as follows:29

" (The Greek rebels) spared the lives of beautiful Muslim women, and sold them as slaves. The proceeds from these sales went to augment the pockets of rebel leaders such as Mavrokordatos.

Mavrokordatos sold the women to the captain of a British ship" 30.

Turkish women used to be sold between 30 and 40 piastres, according to age and beauty.

An Italian volunteer named Brengeri, on a road before he came to Corinth, found the dead body of a Turk, and further on, he found his wife and a baby, still alive but very hungry. He and his friends gave her a few coins, in the hope that she would be able to feed herself and the baby a little longer. Before they had gone a few yards they heard two shots: some Greeks had killed her and the baby, and taken the coins31. Brengeri later saw some Greeks killing a Turkish family, a man, his wife and two children. Before they killed the mother they tore off her veil to see what she looked like, and at that moment Brengeri rushed up and begged them to spare her. They asked for 50 piastres, which he gave them and saved her 32.

At Acrocorinth, following the Turkish capitulation, a Turkish couple, too starved and exhausted to carry their child any further, tried to hand it to a Greek. He immediately drew a long knife and cut off his head, explaining, as a German officer was thing to prevent him, that it was best to prevent the Turks from growing up 32.

Up to the summer of 1822 the Greek rebellion had cost the lives of more than 50,000 Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Jews and others. Many more were forced to live; in slavery and depravation. Compared to this, very few people had died during direct and mutual confrontations. This so-called "Greek war of independence" hitherto was hardly a war at all in the conventional way, but mostly a series of "opportunist massacres". Many of the Turks and Greeks killed were not soldiers and rebels, respectively; the victims had merely paid the price of belonging, in their respective circumstances, to the weaker community. and the wrong religion '".

The massacres of Athens an Acropolis

Meanwhile, many Muslims, who had been besieged in the Acropolis area of Athens for a long time, and Who suffered thirst, surrendered on 21 Jhne 1822, following the Word of honour given to them by the bishops, the priests and the rebel leaders, that they would not be killed; but, with the exception of a few of them, saved with great difficulty by foreign consuls, they were allmassacred without any pity", At the same time the 400 defenceless Muslims of the town of Athens were carved up into pieces in the streets"

when the Greek rebels were attacking Modon, they caught a Turk outside the city wahs, They decapitated him; put his head on a pike; took it to Navarino where they kicked it about as if it was a football34 According to the statements of British sailors, the rebels used to turture the Turks they captured on the high seas, According to Anemat the Dutchman, the rebels used to bring round the Turkish sailors whom they captured unconscious, and then kill them with all kinds of torture, ultimately tearing them into pieces, The Dutch used to describe the Greeks as "cowards and barbarians" 35.

The Dervenaki massacre

when the Turkish army appeared before Corinth in the summer of 1822, the so-called "Greek government", which was established at Argos, tried to retreat to the coast, in panic, and to escape on ships, Thousands of Greek refugees in the Argos plain were fohowing suit, whilst the Greek brigands of Mainotis were trying to rob their own people before escaping. Soon the Thrkish army ran out of provisions and munitions, and tried to withdraw to Corinth; but as the mountain passes were under the control of Kolokotronis's marauders, thousands of Turks were massacred at the Dervenaki pass, Had the rebels not wasted time in robbing the dead bodies, the Yvhole Ottoman armv Yvohld have been routed then, Many years later travllers who toured that area, used to come across heaps of bones belonging to the massacred Turks36.

In December 1822 it was the turn of Navplia town-cum-port, In the streets of that town, which had been besieged by the rebels for a long time, one very frequently came across the dead bodies of children who had died of starvation, Emaciated women were trying to scavenge for food in filthy drains. According to the German officer Kotsch, one of the European volunteers, who happened to be at Navplia during the incidents, a Greek Orthodox priest who was suspected of establishing relations with the Turks, had his fingers scalded by the Greeks with hot water and his nails burnt. He was then buried in the ground up to his neck, and his face was brushed with Syrup so that he might be attacked by the flies. It took him six days to die in agony. A Jew who was trying to escape from the town was captured, completely undressed, his organs severed, and having been led around the town in that condition, he was hanged37.

when the town of Navplia surrendered to the rebels on 12 December, a terrible massacre took place. The rebels piled up the heads of the murdered in the form of a pyramid. At that very moment the arrival into port of the British warship Cambrian, under the command of Commodore Hamilton, was instrumental in saying some of the Muslim and Jewish residents of the town from certain death 38. During the ransack of the town the lion's share went to the Greek rebels- The European officers were only given two or three Turkish girls as booty, whom they then took to Athens and sold to the consuls; Whilst the consuls transferred them to Anatolia and thus saved their lives.

In a Turkish ship which struck the bottom of the sea just outside Misolonghi, 150 Albanians, who were returning to their own Country, surrendered to the rebels following the promise given. to them by Mavrokordatos, but another rebel leader had them all killed, after they were robbed of their belongings.

The murder of European Grecophile volunteers

The Greek rebels went so far in their barbarities that they even began to murder their foreign supporters who had come from abroad, mainly from Europe, in order to help them. After the capture of the Navplia town by the rebels, it was observed that some Greeks led their foreign supporters into a sauna-bath, in the town, and disposed of them. The Greek Owher of the sauna-bath persuaded the foreigners to take off their clothes so that when he murdered them, their clothes and boots would not be blood-stained, and he would then be able to sell them. Of Course, the naive volunteers did not suspect what would befall them. 39

The genocide orgy in the Peloponnese ended only when there were no more Turks to be killed 40. The philhellene volunteers who went to help the Greeks and began to return to their homeland in 1822 and 1823 could not save themselves from the nightmare of those terrible days. They were expecting many good things from the Hellenes ( or Greeks) , but instead they were flabbergasted. They began to hate the Greeks and to curse themselves for having been taken in by them. Despite pressure from the Greek societies in Europe, they began to put pen on paper about their own experiences. In all that was written the same sentiments were expressed: "I am writing this so that others will not make the same mistakes that I have made. Modern Greece is not like old Greece. The Greeks are a wicked and barbaric race who know no gratitude"41.

How Lord Byron was exploited

The Greek rebels also tried to exploit and abuse the well-known British poet Lord Byron in their sordid activities. In fact, all that they wanted was to lay their hands on Lord Byron's wealth 42. The British poet died on 19 April 1824, not ''as a leader bringing triumph to the co-called Greek independence fighters", but expired on his death-bed from an incurable disease. However, the Greeks have turned him into a legend as the so-called "fighter of he Greek independence revolution" 43.

Meanwhile there were stirrings up in Crete, Cyprus, Samos, Samothrace, Thessaly, Macedonia and Epirus44; whilst the strong measures taken against the rebels by the Ottoman authorities were echoed to the West by the hehenophiles and propagandists as "Turkish barbarity against the Christian people" 45. The west, which closed its eyes and ears to the extermination of the Turks in Greece, began to raise its voice aganst the Ottoman reaction.

The following leaflet distributed in August 1821 in Hamburg is very instructive:

"Invitation to the youth of Germany. The struggle for religion, life and independence is calling us to arms; humanity. and duty are cahing us to the aid of the noble Greeks, who are our brothers. we must sacrifice our blood and our life for the sacred cause. The end of Muslim rule in Europe is approaching. The most beautiful land of Europe must be saved from the monsters! Let us join the struggle with allour strength God is with US, because this is a sacred cause - it is a cause of humanity - it is a struggle for religion, life and independence..."46.

The anti-dote of this hehenophile and Greek propaganda were the Western volunteers who, having witnessed the bloody events in the Peloponnese, began to return to their own countries. Many French officers who returned from Greece to Marseilles in April 1822 were describing the Greeks as: "Vile, cowardly and ungrateful". A Prussian officer who had witnessed the Corinth massacres appealed to the volunteers, who were getting ready to go to Greece, as follows:

"There (in Greece) you will find only misery, death and ingratitude. Don't believe what they tell you ih Germany and Switzerland; believe what an old soldier is saying"47.

Another Prussian officer wrote the following:

"The ancient Greeks no longer exist. The place of Solon, Socrates and Demosthehes has been taken blind ignorance. The logical laws of Athens have been replaced by barbarism. The Greeks do not fulfih the attractive promises they make to the foreigners through the press"48.

The same officer described the ihicitness that took place after the capture of Tripolitsa by the rebels, as follows:

"A young Turkish girl, as beautiful as Helen, the queen of Troy, was shot and killed by the male cousin of Kolokotrohis; a Turkish boy, with a noose round his neck, was paraded in the streets; was thrown into a ditch; was stoned, stabbed and then, while he was still alive, was tied to a wooden plank and burnt Oil fire; three Turkish children were slowly roasted on fire in front of the very eyes of their parents. While all these nasty incidents were taking place, the leader of the rebellion Ypsilanti (? Alexandros Mavrokordatos) remained as a spectator and tried to justify. the actions of the rebels as, 'we are at war; anything can happen "49


During the Greek rebellion the British, French and Russian governments were clandestinely. helping the rebels. These governments did not raise any objection to the dispatch of money, weapons and fighters to the rebels, and also they did their utmost to help them thlrough their own secret agents. On the other hand, the "Reverend" John HartIe, who was in Greece in 1826, in his book published in London in 1831, and entitled Researches in Greece and the Levant, claimed that the Turks had suffered terrible things at the hands of the Greeks, and bloody incidents were recorded in the Ottoman Empire, because the Turks had refused to become Christians-

When, in 1825, the fortunes changed, and the army of Ibrahim Pasha, the sonl of Mehmet Ali Pasha, governor of Egypt, began to reconquer the PelopoIlncse, allthose Greek rebels who surrendered were spared. In April 1826, when Tripolitsa, Argos, Kalamata, and Missolonghi were recaptured by the Turks, allEurope began to raise an outcry against them.

On 4 April 1826 a protocol was signed at St. Petersburg between England and Russia in order to mediate between the Turks and the Greeks, which France also joined later. Fohowing the intervantion of Grecophile states England, France and Ruissia, in accordance with the London Agreement of 6 July 1827, and the complete rout of the Ottoman navy at Navarilno 0n 20 October l827 by the navies of the same powers, a protocol was signed on 22 March 1829 specifying the frontiers of an independent Greece.

A year later the Greek state was established, This state offered the Crown in 1832 to the son of the king of Bavaria, Prince Otho. The resulting Greek kingdom, taking its inspiration from the Megali Idea, the driving force of Greek imperialism, began to foliow a policy of aggrandisement, first against the Ottoman Empire and later against the government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, but received an unforgettable lesson from the Turks, in Western Anatolia, on 9 September 1922:".


*BeIleten. Nisan 1998, cilt LXII. Sayi 233 (s. 121-135.ten) ayribasimdir.

1 F. Babinger: Mehmed der Eroberer und seine Zeit. Munich. 1953. p. 195; Selahattin Salisik: Tiirk, Yunan iliskileri tarihi ve Etniki Eterya. (History of Turco-Greek relations and the Ethhiki Eteria). Istanbul. 1968. p. li.

2 Douglas Dakin: The Greek struggle for independence, 1821-1833, London, 1973, p. 5.

3 Douglas Dakin: Unification of Greece. 1770-1923, London, 1972, p. 10.

4 N.Jorga: Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, Gotha. 1908-13.vol. IV, pp. 30 and 173;

J.L Burkhardt: Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, London, 1822, p. 4; Steven Runciman: The

Great Church in captivity, Gambridge, 1968, p 337; Lord Kinross: The Ottoman centuries - the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, London, 1977. p 365; Ismail Hakki Uzunçarsili: Osmanli Tarihi (Ottoman history), Ankara, 1962-83.

pp 71 and 391 ff.; William Miller. The Ottoman Empire and its successors. 1801-1927. 4 vols., London 1966, pp 7 and 26; Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw: History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. vol 1. Cambridge, 1977,

pp 248-9; also see Lionel Kochan and Richard Abraham: The making of :Modern Russia,

London. 1990.

5 Miher, pp 4-5; Runciman, pp. 392-3; Daking: Greek struggle..., p. 27; Behjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis: Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, vol. 1, New York. 1982, pp 18-9; 6 Dakin: Greek struggle…, p 27.

7 Runciman,pp. 396-8.

8 Emmanuel Protopsaltis. I Filiki Eteria (Philiki Eteria). Athens. 1964. pp 19-20; see also S.R.Sonyel: Minorities and destruction of the Ottooman Empire,.Ankara, 1993. pp 1, 21 and

68; N: Botsaris. Visions balkaniques das la preparacion de la revoltution greeque. 1789-1821,

Paris. 1962. pp 83-100 .

9 John T. A. Koumoulides: Cyprus and the war of Greek independence, 1821-1829,

Athens, 1971, pp 69-70.

10 Sonyel, p. 173

11 William St. Clair: That Greece might still be fr-ee - the Philhellenes in the war of independence. London, 1972. p. 7; David Howart: The Greek adventure - Lord Byron and other eccentrics in the war of independence, London, 1976. p 19; Dakin: Greek suuggJe…,

pp 18-9.

12 St. Clair. pp.9-10; Dakin: Unification..., p. 43; Salisik, p. 154.

13 Kinross,p.444; Miller, p. 72.

14 St. Claire, pp. 9 and 27; see also Dakin: Unification, p. 59; Miller, p. 71.

15 St. Clair, p.12; Howarth, p.28.

15a Charles A. Frazee: The Orthodox Chruch and independent Greece. 1821-51, Cambridge, 1869, p. 13.

16 St. Clair, p. 1; Miller, p. 72.

17 Runciman, p. 411.

18 Sonyel. pp. 175-6.

19 St. Clair, pp, 1-2; Howarth, pp 30-31; see also Miller, p. 72.

20 St. Clair, p, 9.

21 The Examiner; 1831. 2/632.

22 St. Clair. pp. 41-3; Howarth, pp 56-8; Miller, p 76; George Finlay History of the Greek revolution. Edinburgh, 1861, vol. 1, p. 263.

23 E.V. Byern: Bilder ;IUS Griechenland und der Levant, Berlin 1833. p. 58.

24 Franz Lieber: Tagebuch meines Aufenhaltes in Griechenland, Leipsig, 1823, p.73; St. Clair, p.83.

25 Howarth. p 58; see also Dakin. p. 67; Miller. p 77.

26 St. Clair, pp. 43-5; Howarth. pp 60-61; British Colonial Office documents.

CO 136/1095.

27 See also Brengeri. "Adventures of a foreigner ih Greece". London Magazine. II. 1827. p.41.

28 See Le Febre: Relation de divers faits de la gueree de Grece. p. 9

29 Le Febre: ibid, p.21.

30 Howarth, p. 88.

31 Ibid. p. 87

32 Ibid. p. 87,.

32aSt. Clair, p.50

33 Ibid., p. 92.

34 Johahn Stabell, Leipsig.

35 Hastingss memoirs, 6.7.1822.

36 St. Clair, pp" 104-6; Howarth, pp 107-8; Dakin, p. 97.

40 St. Clair, p 12; Thomas Gordon: History of the Greek revolution. 2 vols., Edinburgh and London. 1832; Rev, Robert Walsh: Residence at Constantinople during the Greek and Turkish revolutions. London, 2 vols., 1836; see also Douglas Dakin: "The origin of the Greek revolution", History, 1952.

41 St. Clair, p 116

42 Ibid, pp. 150 ff.; Howarth. pp 12. and 135 ff; Edward John Trelawny: Recollections of the last days of Shelley and Byron. London, 1858.

43 Howarth, pp. 163-5.

41 Dakin: Greek struggle. p. 2.

45 The Examiner, 1821. pp 372., 456, 631 and 689.

46 Wilhelm Barth and Max Kehrig-Korn: Die PhiIhellenezeit. Munich. 1960. p. 95.

47 Le Febre, p.29.

48 L. de Bolmann: Remarques sur I'etat moral, poIitique et miIitaire de la ,Grece Marseilles, 1823.

49 St. Clair pp. 75 ff

50 See also S. R. Sonyel Turk Kurtulus Savasi ve dis Politika (Turkish War of Liberation and Foreign Policy), Ankara, vols 1-2, 1973 and 1986

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: greece; historylist; massacres; peloponnese; turkey
For those who think that I focus to much on the evils of Islam here is a lenghty essay on the how ethno-religious hatreds can cut both ways. My point is that a religion that encompasses the Jehad mentality as core value is likely to interact in violent ways with other religious communities indefinitely.
1 posted on 12/09/2002 12:53:40 PM PST by robowombat
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To: robowombat; a_Turk; Turk2
The Turks have always somehow been able to remain sane and muslim.
2 posted on 12/09/2002 12:56:01 PM PST by weikel
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To: *History_list
3 posted on 12/09/2002 12:58:36 PM PST by Free the USA
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To: weikel; dighton; a_Turk
"Franco-Greek intrigues"

'nuf said

4 posted on 12/09/2002 1:00:12 PM PST by Shermy
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To: robowombat
I don't know enough about this to answer it in detail, but a good deal of it seems pretty questionable to me.

For instance, I don't believe it has ever been the custom in modern Greece to enslave anybody, as this article asserts.

What I know about the modern Greek resistance against Turkish oppression is mainly connected with the story of Lord Byron, who went to fight for "Greek liberty" and died there. I have the impression that it was a typical war of liberation, in which a great many people got killed on both sides, rather than something amounting to genocide.

Also, I have read something about the Normans who ruled in Greece prior to the conquest of Byzantium by the Turks. It's true that the Orthodox Christians didn't like the Catholics, but I don't think it's true that they loved the Turks. The Norman rule was humane, from anything I have read about it.

I'm sure there has been bloodshed on all sides, as there has been in the Balkans. But the Greeks are the natural inhabitants of the region, and the Turks were oppressive invaders.
5 posted on 12/09/2002 1:02:47 PM PST by Cicero
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To: Shermy; a_Turk; BlueLancer
Sigh . . . . it just ain't the same without oxi.
6 posted on 12/09/2002 1:05:13 PM PST by dighton
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To: Cicero
It's quite true that the Greek rebels killed Turks and other Moslems where they had the opportunity during the Greek War of Independence. On the other hand, the Turks also killed Greeks during this war. The most famous Turkish massacre was that on the island of Chios (famous painting by Delacroix, Le massacre de Scio,) but I believe there were others.
7 posted on 12/09/2002 1:08:32 PM PST by aristeides
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To: robowombat
Homeschool bump.
8 posted on 12/09/2002 1:11:55 PM PST by SevenDaysInMay
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To: Cicero
The principles of Ottoman rule in the Balkans

To make sense of the rapid changes in the last two hundred years of Balkan history, we need some sense of what went before, by looking at the Habsburg and Ottoman "old regimes" in the Early Modern period. The Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire are often (and usefully) presented together as natural rivals: one Catholic, the other Muslim; one western and European, the other eastern and Asian. You should already have some sense of the limits and pitfalls in such paired dichotomies. Also, such an approach misses the fact that these two countries had a great deal in common. Both were products of the late medieval period, and neither was well positioned to adjust to the driving forces of "modern" history: forces like nationalism, and the industrial revolution. They operated on the basis of pre-modern assumptions and institutions. We can begin to understand both countries, and their histories, by identifying a few key principles which shaped them. Those principles dictated the form of Ottoman and Habsburg history, and when those principles reached their limits, these states fell apart.


If we make a list of the principles behind a modern Western European state, we might include nationalism, and a notion that the state and the ethnic nation are ideally identical; the rule of law, and the accompanying idea of a constitution; and the fundamental place of the citizens as the embodiment of the country. In the Ottoman Empire, wholly different principles were at work. In its prime the Ottoman Empire was defined by its ruler, by its faith, and by its military, all acting together. If we understand these forces, we can see reasons for its great successes, and later for its great failures.


All countries have a military: why then focus on this as a defining force? Because without doing so, one can't explain the rapid Turkish conquest of the Balkans, or the social institutions which were planted there.

The Turks are Muslims, but not Arabs. There was a general migration of Turkish-speaking nomads south into the Arab world after 700 CE. In 1055 Turks captured Baghdad and created the Seljuk Empire, still Islamic but no longer Arab-ruled. When the Mongols destroyed the Seljuk state in the 1200s, Turkish tribes scattered West into Anatolia: one of them came to be named for Osman, its leader. They became involved in the wars of the Byzantine Empire against Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Crusader states set up in Greece after the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Ottoman Turkish soldiers first entered the Balkans around 1345 as Byzantine mercenaries, and later returned to conquer it. They soon defeated the Bulgars and the Serbs.

Incidentally, the Serbian defeat (which took place at the field of Kosovo) was a defining moment for Serbian history. First, there was a great killing which wiped out the nobility and knights and left the Serbs as a peasant nation. The democratic, populist, often vulgar nature of Serbian politics in modern times owes something to Kosovo. Second, enshrined in national legends and epic poetry, Kosovo encapsulated Serbian identity. The story of Kosovo allowed the Serbs to remember who they were, by remembering their enemies. Kosovo as a place remains part of the present day ethnic strife in the Kosovo region: even though its population today is mostly Albanian, the Serbs are as likely to give up this sanctified battle field as, say, Texans would be to return the Alamo to Mexico.

In 1444 at Varna Sultan Murad II crushed an intervening force of Hungarian, Polish, French and German crusaders. In 1453, scarcely 100 years after the Turks entered Europe, Sultan Mohammed II (known as "the Conqueror") took Constantinople by siege, with an army of 100,000 and some of the world's most modern artillery. In taking the city, Mohammed II erased the last remnant of the Roman Empire and subjugated the Greek world. Symbolizing the transition, the great Church of the Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, became a mosque.

After conquering Syria, Egypt, parts of the Arabian peninsula, Mesopotamia, and North Africa as far as Algeria) Sultan Suleiman "the Magnificent" overran Moldavia and Bessarabia in the 1520s. At the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, his army killed 25,000 Hungarian knights and their king. The Ottoman forces reached their European high water mark in 1529, when they failed to take Vienna by siege (although they repeated the siege again in 1683).

The "military principle" behind the Ottoman Empire helps explain how a tribal society of nomadic mercenary cavalry soldiers from the steppes of Central Asia did so well. The Ottomans were successful conquerors for some good reasons:

First, by comparison with their feudal European rivals, the early Ottoman state and its armies were tightly organized and controlled.

Second, European rulers were divided amongst themselves, even at war with each other.

Third, Turkish armies were constantly reinforced by new waves of "ghazi" warriors from Central Asia, motivated by both religion and the prospect of spoils.

Fourth, early Ottoman rule was not unattractive to the mass of its conquered Christian and Jewish subjects. The Ottoman armies faced few threats from revolts in lands already conquered. More about this later.


Dynastic rule was the second principle behind the Ottoman state. In this, Turkey reflected medieval practice all over Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The country consisted of the accumulated conquests of the Ottoman ruling house, named after the border lord Osman, and passed down in the family. By the time of the Balkan conquests, the Ottoman rulers were no longer simply tribal "beys" but "sultans" who were full masters of secular life. A state treasury had appeared, distinct from the leader's private purse. To create a sophisticated state apparatus, the Ottomans freely adopted useful institutions from the societies they conquered. The Seljuk Turks had accepted Islamic religious, educational, and legal institutions, so that Ottoman society inherited a system of mosques, schools, and courts. The Ottomans now adopted a whole array of bureaucratic features from the Byzantines: taxes, court functions, feudal practices and systems of land tenure. These institutions were strong tools for the dynasty.


Islam was the third key principle for Ottoman society. Political, cultural and legal forms followed Islamic law or "sheriat". The Turks were Sunni Muslims: in contrast to Shi'i Muslim societies, religious institutions served the secular state. The sultan was recognized as God's agent in the world. The state had three purposes:

First, the preservation and expansion of Islam.

Second, the defense and expansion of the ruler's power, wealth and possessions. Because the sultan was God's agent, his interests and those of Islam coincided, and these first two purposes acted in full agreement.

Third, justice and security for the sultan's subjects, as foundations of the first two. The subjects corresponded to the flock ("rayah"), the sultan to the shepherd. In a well-run Islamic state, all elements functioned in a smooth cycle: the government dispensed justice, safe and secure subjects prospered, taxation flowed from their wealth, the state and its military were sustained at necessary strength, and the good government was preserved to begin the cycle again.

This ideal helps explain the attractions of Ottoman rule in its early days, as mentioned before. Jews, Christians and Muslims worshipped the same God; Jews and Christians were penalized only partially for failing to accept His most recent revelation through the prophet Mohammed. The conquerors tolerated the other two religions, at a time when toleration was rare in Europe. After the Frankish and Venetian sack of Byzantium in 1204, Orthodox Byzantine Greeks thought Catholic Western Europeans were as bad or worse than the Turks. In the Ottoman administration, talented men of all faiths could take at least limited parts. For peasants, the finality of Ottoman victory offered stability of life, and an end to centuries of wars between Serbs, Bulgars, Byzantines and Crusaders. Ottoman taxes were lower than the taxes of the conquered Balkan Christian kingdoms.


These three principles--Islam, the dynasty and the military--acted together in the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan, as head of state, sat at the top of a pyramid. Just below him was a small ruling class, his direct instruments. The mass of subjects were known as "raya" or "protected flock"--this included both Muslims and non-Muslims. Jews and Christians were entitled to protection, but could not join the military or the sultan's immediate ruling circle. However, if they chose to convert to Islam, men of talent from all ethnic groups could potentially wield great power.

Because of its divine foundation, the power of the sultan had no theoretical limit, so long as Islamic law was upheld. The sultan was not just an absolute ruler in an abstract sense: many of his operatives were in fact his slaves. However, we have to distinguish Ottoman slavery from the forms of Western slavery we are more familiar with. Ottoman slavery was based in the capture of military captives, who became the property of their captor. Once taken in, however, and provided that they were loyal, slaves were protected from abuse and enjoyed opportunities for responsibility and advancement, as soldiers, statesmen and officials. Their children were free, not slaves, and slaves were often given their freedom as a reward for service.


One of the most exotic of the Ottoman institutions used slavery to seek out talent, with potential advantages for both the state and the slave. This was the "devshirme" or child-contribution, established in the middle 1300s.

When recruits for the military were needed, Christian boys were confiscated from the population as slaves and converted to Islam. While there were no regular timetables or set quotas, perhaps an average of a thousand boys were taken per year. As slaves, these boys became absolute dependents of the sultan. They were not used for the army alone: after growing up and being trained, they took on all kinds of roles in the imperial establishment. They were treated well and could aspire to power and wealth. The brightest of these children were educated in the law, foreign languages, the sciences, sport, and administrative skills; they then entered the sultan's "Inner Service". Promoted on the basis of skill, they grew up to be provincial governors, treasury officials, physicians, architects, judges and high officials, and helped to run the empire. They could marry, if their careers permitted it, and their children were free Muslims. So desirable were these positions during the Ottoman heyday, that some rural Christian families bribed officials to select their sons. Because the "devshirme" was levied as a tribute on the conquered, it involved only the non-Muslim population, but some Muslim families also bribed officials to select their children illegally, in hopes of having relatives in powerful offices. Some members of the "ulema", the religion based legal and educational system, came from this background. So did members of the "divan" or council of ministers, and its supporting scribes and officials, including governors appointed to run provinces.

Levied children with less talent went into the military, and formed the "janissary" infantry, the 30,000 men kept under arms as garrisons in key fortresses and as the core of the sultan's army. The janissaries were supported by specialists such as armor makers, and an Artillery Corps supervised by experts, some of them renegades from Western Europe.

The "devshirme" was one way in which the military principle used prior conquests to strengthen the state for more success. Another involved the feudal "timariots," who made up the rest of the sultan's army and also acted as the local arm of the Ottoman state. Land was the wealth of the state. Just as the sultan's officials were his slaves, so also the country's land was the possession of the sultan, as the agent of God. To further the purposes of the state, the sultan granted temporary use of farm land to "timariots", often ghazis who had helped conquer new regions. In return they pledged to serve as cavalry.

Under the Ottoman system, ownership of land was meant to be only temporary. Landholders enjoyed "usufruct" privileges only, that is, the right to enjoy the fruits of someone else's property (in this case, the sultan's). These fiefs ("timars" or "spahiliks") legally could not be inherited by the landlord's children, although those children might be granted the same usufruct rights. Timariots and spahis were also administrative agents of the state, collecting taxes and maintaining local order in combination with local religous courts. A timar holding could be so small that it supported only a single cavalryman with its income, or it could be much larger, if the timariot had major responsibility in the provincial administration.

The Ottoman system linked the prosperity of these feudal leaders to the military success of the empire. Ambitious Turkish horsemen could come to the Balkans from Asia Minor as military pilgrims or "ghazis", help in conquest, and receive estates as a reward for their success. Successful war paid for itself, and the spoils system helped recruit soldiers. However, the same system meant that failure had social consequences: we will look at this flaw in the system later.


The Ottoman Empire has a low reputation in modern times, and is sometimes dismissed as a brutal creation of conquest. Such a view overlooks the sophisticated, complex structures which made the early Ottoman Empire a powerful, civilized place. We can set the "timar" system into a wider context of landholding and property law as one way to show this. The Ottomans recognized four kinds of real property:

1) "Miri" or state land consisted of all arable farm land and pastures. It belonged to God, and so to the sultan as God's agent, unless granted to someone's use. The state also owned forest lands, mountains, and public areas such as roadways and market places. Land without heirs reverted to the sultan as "miri."

2) "Timar" or semi-public land was miri land under usufruct grant by the sultan to civil or military officials. It was the basis of feudalism. Timar land was not meant to be private property and could not be inherited, but under certain legal or illegal conditions, timar land was often treated as if it were privately owned. Legal evasions might take the form of very long leases, or simply illegal grants resulting from bribery. Timar estates converted to private property were called "chiftliks."

3) "Vakf" land was tax-exempt property devoted to pious purposes or the support of institutions of public welfare, such as hospitals or fire companies. As a tax dodge, some landholders contrived to place their land into vakf status, creating phony foundations for the support of their heirs (this was one way to make public land essentially private).

4) "Mulk" land was true private property. Legally , it consisted of the land occupied by peoples' houses, or by gardens, vineyards and orchards--property improved by the owners. In essence, when timar land was converted to private status it illegally became mulk land. Mulk property was exempt from state control: the state could no longer demand military service from holders of "mulk" and also found it hard to protect "rayah" living there from abuses like excess taxation. The growth of private property thus damaged the power of the sultan, the central state and the military.


Islam separated the world and its inhabitants into two zones: the world of Islam, and the world of non-Muslim heretics. Distinctions of ethnic nationality were not important. The lives of the mass of population under the Ottoman system were tightly controlled, defined and divided according to three other criteria:

1) The most important was the division of the population by religion into "millets". People interacted with the state through the leaders of their own millet, through a hierarchy leading up from local representatives to greater ones. Muslims were responsible to the "ulema" for taxes and legal matters. Only members of the Muslim millet could bear arms (including the forcibly converted janissaries), and were exempt from some taxes. Balkan Orthodox Christians (Greeks and Slavs combined at first) were under the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople. In case of confict, Islamic law and state practice took precedence, but otherwise the laws and institutions of the millet remained in force (largely unchanged from local customs before the conquest). Because so much administrative, fiscal and legal business took place through the millet, the Orthodox church acted as a "state within a state." Jews were administered through the chief rabbi in Istanbul, both the Sephardic Jews who came to the Eastern Mediterranean from Spain, and the Ashkenazi Jews who were expelled from Central Europe. Finally, various small Christian minorities like the Armenians were in a hierarchy under the Gregorian archbishop of Bursa.

2) Place of residence also affected the rights of the common people. Peasants could not leave their land and move into cities, because the Turks feared that the countryside would be depopulated. Urban dwellers were exempt from certain taxes and labor dues, and from auxiliary military service (as wagon-drivers, for example). Peasants paid taxes in kind: about a tenth of their produce went to the timariot landlord. Much of the rest of their crop was purchased by the state at a low price to feed the urban poor. Villages were liable for some duties as a community, including a small cash rent for use of the sultan's land, and had to contribute labor to work the timariot's estate (Western European peasants were liable for similar but larger burdens at this time). Mountain areas unsuited for agriculture were granted to nomadic tribes, who paid taxes in kind: butter, yogurt, oil, cheese and other foods needed by the cities or the army.

3) In the cities, subjects were grouped according to their occupations as well. Craftsmen were members of guilds, which often had monopoly control of production, for example of salt or candles. Guilds regulated their own industries and taxed themselves to raise money for social welfare functions for their members. Guild representatives sat as a city council to advise the "kadi" or mayor. Fire departments, hospitals and other city services were supported by tax-exempt endowed foundations (vakf).

This was the idealized Ottoman system. Why did the Ottoman state decline? There were limits to what the principles of dynasty, Islam, and military conquest could achieve. When the state passed beyond those limits, those same principles acted together again, but now they created a cycle of failure.


The sultan was the core of the Ottoman state: when a ruling sultan was weak or incompetent, the state suffered. Beginning with Osman in 1290 and continuing through the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent who died in 1566, there were ten talented sultans in a row. Selim, known as "the Sot", then came to the throne: he was the first of a succession of non-entities.

Several Ottoman practices worsened the situation. To avoid civil war, it had been Ottoman practice to murder all the brothers of each new sultan when he came to power. When Sultan Ahmed died in 1617 without an adult male heir, there was concern that the usual fratricide could end the royal line (because it would have meant the death of all the male heirs except one child, who might have died before reaching adulthood and fathering a son himself). The new sultan thereafter was the oldest male member of the house, and the other male Ottomans were confined in the so-called "golden cage" of the palace and harem. Surrounded by officials, and insulated from moral and political lessons, later products of the "golden cage" were very bad rulers, susceptible to competing factions of corrupt officials. There were occasional strong grand viziers, but no outstanding sultans thereafter. Given the central power of the sultan, this left the state a sense of direction.


The military principle also failed when it reached certain limits. The Ottoman system depended on continued conquest. Assumptions of military victory and territorial expansion supported taxation, the land system, and the feudal cavalry. Conquest paid for war, and created estates for ghazis who became timariots, paid taxes and fought in new campaigns. When victory became defeat, spoils no longer paid for warfare, and defeated warriors became a burden.

The central role of the sultan affected Ottoman military practice. By tradition, the sultan assembled one large army in Istanbul, then marched to the frontier to make war. After 1550 the sheer size of the country created geographic limitations on further growth. The army could only travel 90 to 100 days' march before it had to turn back in order to get home before winter. In 1529, the siege of Vienna began only on September 27; it had to be called off on October 15 for the return journey. Even if later sultans had been good generals, the size of the country limited their options. Regional armies, close to the borders, could have solved this problem, but decentralization ran counter to the dynastic principle. And once decline began, centripetal forces made the risks of regional armies obvious.

The end of conquest meant lean times for ghazis and timariots: they lost income and after 1650 were sometimes forced from their lands by Austrian or Russian armies. Deprived "haves" set themselves up as local warlords or bandits in remote parts of the Balkans, too far from the capital to be forced to obey. Instead of preying on foreign enemies, they began to prey on the peasants. Taxes and labor dues increased, local courts were intimidated or bribed, and usufruct holdings became heritable, private "chiftliks" passed down in the family. No local authorities were available to enforce the law, because the timariots were the local authorities. The tax revenue stream to the center then slowed to a trickle. Officials in Istanbul went unpaid and became susceptible to bribes went up. In this way the collapse of the miltary feudal system soon damaged the rest of the state.

Changes in military science also reduced the power of the Turkish armed forces. Western European use of gunpowder and professional infantry made feudal cavalry obsolete. Meanwhile, the elite janissary infantry declined. In the early 1500s janissaries gained the right to have families, and permission to practice a trade in the winter to support them. Membership became hereditary (the devshirme ceased in 1637). The janissaries soon devolved into a mob of cobblers and weavers, only powerful enough to intimidate their own government when paid off by various cabals. Riotous janissaries blocked all military reforms from 1589 to 1826.


The inability to reform and improve was not confined to the military. The division of the country into Muslim and non-Muslim halves led to tension and oppression. In the new hard times, Muslims had better access to arms, political power, bribes and other ways to defend their interests. Corrupted courts allowed local landlords to rob their Christian peasants. The burden of bad times fell on non-Muslims, and the country broke into rival blocks based on the "millets."

The tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims also led to hostility and contempt for Christian European culture. Until 1600, Ottoman medical, mathematical and military science was as good as the West's, but after 1600 advances in science that originated outside the Muslim world were rejected. The Ottomans therefore failed to keep up in science, technology, metallurgy, navigation and other fields. No printing press, for example, was established in Turkey until 1727. Ignorance had obvious military consequences, and Turkey's wars nearly all ended in defeat after 1650.

There were also serious economic consequences. When Portugese navigators discovered the African water route to India, Ottoman trade between Europe and Asia stagnated, and this led to a decline in urban life and urban industries. After this, trade centered on the export of raw materials and the import of European industrial goods. Because Western manufactured goods were cheaper, the guilds in the Ottoman cities declined.

Another consequence was price inflation, because Ottoman consumers now competed with wealthier Western Europeans for goods. Officials on fixed salaries had to resort to bribe-taking to feed their families. Small-scale rural timariots were driven from their lands by rising expenses; vacant lands then fell under the control of powerful landlords, who raised private armies and acted virtually free of government control. By 1800, the "ayan" (or 'notable') Ali Pasha of Jannina ruled the northwestern portion of what is now Greece; Osman Pasvanoglu ruled western Bulgaria. Such men took advantage of the Napoleon wars to live like kings until the revolts in Serbia and Greece forced them out.  Such men paid few taxes to the central state, but held governors' titles as "pashas" mostly because they were too strong to evict.


By this time the downward spiral was nearly complete. The interlocking principles of Ottoman society were too complex for reform: instead new forces began to appear. These included opportunistic merchants who lived by border smuggling. These "conquering Balkan Orthodox merchants" (as one scholar dubbed them) included Greek ship-captains who owned a schooner or two, Serbian pig farmers taking hogs to markets in Hungary, and Bulgarian dockside traders who imported Russian furs. People of this kind created the revolutions which completed the pattern of Ottoman decline.

Next lecture

This lecture is a portion of a larger Web site, Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History (The Balkans in the Age of Nationalism); This page created May, 1996; last modified 17 May 2002.

Copyright 1996 by Steven W. Sowards

9 posted on 12/09/2002 1:18:29 PM PST by Turk2
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To: weikel
One of the problems with the Greeks is that they would rather be Greek than Romanish, the Turks relied on Greek Captains to pilot their ships.
10 posted on 12/09/2002 1:44:04 PM PST by Little Bill
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To: robowombat
The peninsula of the Peloponnese (in Southern Greece), which is also known as the Morea, was first partly conquered in 1397 CE by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit I from the Byzantines, and was completely overrun in 1460 by Sultan Mehmet II

What comes around, goes around. And what became of the Greek/Byzantine population in Constantinople in 1453? Ravaged. Sold into slavery. No reason now to cry over the past.

11 posted on 12/09/2002 2:15:15 PM PST by germanicus
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To: robowombat
Why didn't you post the real name of the web site where you got this - afraid folks would immediately see it as the Islamic propaganda that it is?
12 posted on 12/09/2002 4:26:00 PM PST by PAR35
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To: PAR35
What are you talking about? The site is and is not an Islamin propaganda site. Its a response to a similar Greek site hosted at a university in Thrace.



13 posted on 12/09/2002 4:56:43 PM PST by Turk2
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To: Turk2
1. The posting said that it was from "Turkish Genocide" not the site correctly named by you in your post.

2. Propaganda:
Use of the phrase "elated and with their mouths foaming" is not history or even effective propaganda - it is over the top propaganda. Vivid image, but how many folks have you actually seen foaming at the mouth?

3. Islamic:
Given your posting name, you have to be aware of the religion practiced by the Ottomans and being defended here. Further, the site goes to great length to assign blame to the clergy.

4. Greek site:
Give me a link to the Greek site (if it is also in English) and I'll be happy to critique it as well.

I recognize that, in recent years, the Turks have been more dependable allies than have been the Greeks, but the same could have been said of the Iranians prior to the mid-1970s.
14 posted on 12/09/2002 5:32:45 PM PST by PAR35
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To: weikel
Ever read bout the Armenians massacred by the Turks in WWI?... totaled in the millions. Both Greeks and Turks have indulged in mass slaughter. The moral (no ironic pun intended) is that people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds can lose their humanity and turn into insane killers.
15 posted on 12/09/2002 5:47:58 PM PST by driftless
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To: robowombat
when the Ottoman authorities in the Peloponnese, headed by the governor, Hursit Pasha, became aware of the rebellious movement among the Greeks, they met at Tripolitsa, the capital of the province, and invited the local Greeks to hand over their arms to the authorities, and called upon some of the Greek leaders individualy to go to Tripolitsa in order to discuss the situation with them. LOL. Many governments since have likewise "invited" their (subjects? serfs? peasants?) to disarm themselves and offer their leaders as hostages. How uncouth of the Peloponnese Greeks not to accept the offer.

I also laughed at the reference to the prosperous urban areas in the early 19th century Peloponnese. But I never made it to the catalog of massacres. Oh well.

16 posted on 12/09/2002 5:59:31 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin
That's what they thought too. A lot of them joined the rebellion eventhough they were against it before the invitation.
17 posted on 12/10/2002 9:48:00 AM PST by Turk2
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To: robowombat

well they are just able to kill lil children and rape innocent women but when they see the soldiers they cry like babies!!!!

18 posted on 05/21/2004 11:54:23 AM PDT by Ataman (arent they greek?)
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