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Turkey: Land of Refuge
Turkey: Land of Refuge

Author(s): Stanford J. Shaw
Subject(s): History
Published by: Dış Politika Enstitüsü

Summary/Abstract: Ottoman Turkey was a land of refuge ever since it was first created in the early years of the fourteenth century. It was in fact an empire of refugees from the start, for both Turks and non Turks were fleeing into the Middle East from attacks by the Mongols in Central Asia and Transoxania. The founder of the Ottoman dynasty, Ertugrul himself, and his Turkish followers from the Göktürks entered the Middle East and came to Anatolia as refugees from the expansion of the Mongol Empire from China across Central Asia. When the Ottomans conquered the Byzantine Empire, and in particular its capital Constantinople, and transformed it into their capital as Istanbul starting in 1453, they rescued those of its inhabitants who were not members of the Greek and Armenian Orthodox faiths from the persecution which they had suffered at the hands of the Byzantines, in particular the Jews of Byzantium who had been persecuted by the Orthodox church since ancient times. As Istanbul was being built into the Ottoman capital by Sultan Mehmed II Fatih, the Conqueror, in the later years of his long reign, people from all over the Empire were settled in various places around the capital as refugees from the turmoil from which they had suffered since the decline and fall of the Byzantine Empire and its successor states during the previous century. As a result, from the fourteenth until the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire continued its role as haven from persecution for peoples of all ethnic origins and all religions. Over the centuries people of almost every religion and race found refuge in the Ottoman dominions.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 73-135
  • Page Count: 63
  • Language: English