Get Original Mehter CD !


The Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, has its roots in two historical resources well in the depths of the past. One of these resources inherited by modern Turkey is the successful and  bright history of  the Turks over a time frame of more than 4000 year. The other is fact that Turks have settled in Anatolia since the 11th century.


The Huns
The first Turkish  tribe  that is mentioned is the  Huns made  their appearance  in  the 8th Century B.C. Chinese sources refer to the Huns as Hiung-nu and its is here that the culture of horseback migration first makes its appearance in history. The Huns who migrated to the West in time achieved superiority over the Germans, of the same horseback discipline as themselves, and over the highly cultured Romans, because of their splendid state of readiness and amazing mobile capabilities.

The Gokturks
Founded in 552 AD by Bumin Kagan, the Gokturks engaged in widespread diplomatic activity. Although the Gokturks were forced to become subjects of  China  in the 7th Century,  they  regained their  independence in 632, led by a hero named Kutluk. In the year 716 Kutluk’s son Bilge Kagan  became the ruler, and  prosperity with  the aid of his  brother Kultegin and his father’s elderly vezir, Tonyukuk. This  lasted  until the  year 745. The famed Orhun  Epitaphs  from this period are made up of the tombstone inscriptions of Tonyukuk (d.720), Kultegin (d.731) and Bilge Kagan (d.734).

The Uygurs
The rule of the Gokturks was brought to an end in the  year 745  by  the  Uygur, who were of the same  ethnic stock as themselves. In this manner all the Turks who had converged under the banner of the Gokturks were dispersed to that of the Uygurs and other tribes. It is because of the Uygurs that the agricultural basin became known as Turkistan. In the year 1229, the Mongols put an end to Uygur sovereignty; the Uygurs however became their cultural and political mentors.

The Turks and Islam
Contacts  between  the Turks a nd  Moslems  commenced  in  the beginning of the  8th Century and some of the Turks favoured Islam. However the pro-Arab policies of the Omayads (661-750 A.D.) restricted these relation somewhat. It is because of this that a major part of the political struggle  against  the  Omayads  at  that  time,  helping  the Abbasside dynasty to attain sovereignty, rested on the efforts of Moslem Turks and Iranians of the area (750 A.D.).Many Moslem Turks took office in the Abbasside government, and because of this, great interest  in  the  Islamic world  spread among the Turks beyond the River Ceyhun. The interest became even more pronounced when the Calph of the time Muktasim established an elite army formed only of Turks in 835. Commercial  relationships  also played a major role in the spread of Islam into the steppes of Central Asia. Turkish Sufi dervishes who joined the caravans  were  instrumental  converting the Turks to Islam. The Turks had become Moslem by the 10th century, and this resulted in the achievement of political unity. Following these developments, the first Muslim Turkish state was formed by the Karahans.

The Karahans
The Karahans ruled between 990-1212 in Turkistan  and  Maveraunnehir  and  put an  end  to  the  sovereignty  of  the Samanogulları. The founder of the state is Satuk  Bugra  Khan, and this is  inscribed in the legend praising  Bugra  Khan. The reign of the Karahans is especially significant from the point of view  of  Turkish culture and art history. It  is  during this period that mosques, schools, bridges and  caravansarays  were  constructed  in  the cities. Buhara and Semerkand became centres of learning. In this period, the Turkish language found the means to develop. Among the most important works of the period is Kutadgru Bilik  (translated  as  The  Knowledge  That  Gives  Happiness) by Yusuf  Has  Habib, written between the years 1069-1070. It is a political work expressed in verse. This work in fact comprises knowledge for the ruler, in which Yusuf personalises his key principles of justice, power (state), comprehension (reason) and belief.

The Ghaznavids
The Ghaznavi state was formed in the year 963 by the Turkish  ruler Bevuktekin and is one of the first  Moslem Turkish states. It is in the time of Bevuktekin’s son Mahmut that the state lived its brightest period (977-1030) Mahmut realized 17 sorties  and  missions  into  India;  he  worked  relentlessly  for the  expansion of Islam in the area and expanded the borders of the state from Toharistan and Maveraunnehir to Puncab, Multan  and  some districts of  the Sind. During the time of Mahmut’s son Mes’ud, the Ghaznavids lost a large part of their lands, following the battle of Dardanakan (1040) against the founder of  the Great  Selcuk  Empire  Tugrul  Bey . The  Ghaznavids  finally  collapsed  in  1186  and  were assimilated by the Oguz.

The Turkish scholar Ebu Reyhan el-Beyruni, brought to Gazne  by  Sultan  Mahmut  from  Harzem,  helped  make  this period an important one within Islamic cultural history. Beyruni, who wrote his works in Arabic, also wrote  the  famed Kitabn’ı-Hind (the Book of India)i which discussed the language, the literature, the religion and philosopy of India, from the campaigns of Mahmut. The famed work by the poet Firdevsi, the Sehname, was also presented (in 1009) to Sultan Mahmut during this period.

The Seljuks
The Oguz, who destroyed the Ghaznavid state, succeeded in putting Anatolia, Iraq, the southern part of the  Caucasus, Azerbaijan and the north of Iran under Turkish rule. The Oguzs had first formed the Gokturk Empire in the 6th century; after the expansion of Islam among the Turks, the Oguz came to be called the Turkmens among the other Turks.

Seljuk,  whose  name  the  Seljuk  dynasty  adopted,  is the son of Dukak of the line of Kiniks, which is a branch of the Ucoks of Oguz. Tugrul Bey and Cagri (Cakir) Bey are the grandsons of  Seljuk,  in  whose  time  they, and  the  Oguzs, known  as  the  Seljuks  in  history,  subjected  Horasan,  defeated  the  Ghaznavid  ruler  Mesud  and   established  the  Great Seljuk Empire in 1040.

In 1071, the nephew of Tugrul Bey, Alp Arslan (1063-1072) fought the battle of  Malazgirt  and  having  defeated  the Byzantine Emperor’s forces in this battle opened the doors of Anatolia to the Muslim Turks.

The Anatolian Seljuks
The year 1071 is considered to be the beginning of the Turks and that of  Islam in Anatolia. It is following this date that the Turks fully conquered the whole of Anatolia and establihed the Anatolian Seljuk state in Anatolia  as  a  part  of  the Great Seljuks Empire.

Although the first ruler and founder of the Anatolian Seljuks Suleyman Shah (d.1086) first establihed the capital in Iznik, in Bursa, he was later compelled to move the capital well into the interior of Anatolia, to Konya, during the  time  of  the First Crusade.

The first schooling institutions, the Moslem theological medreses, were formed in Anatolia during the time of Kilic Arslan (1153-1192). Following  the  establishment  of  two  medreses by Kilic Arslan, one in Konya and the other in Aksaray,
the  medreses  of  Sircali  in  Konya  (1242-1243),  Karatay  (1251),  Ince  Minareli (1252-1253),  Atabekkiye  (after 1251-1268), Gokmedrese in Sivas (1271), Buruciyye (1271-1272), Cifte Minareli (1271), and the Cacoglu in Kirsehir (1272) were established.

The Seljuks also attributed much importance to the medical sciences and in almost  all  their  cities  treatment  institutions called Darush-Shifa, Darul-Afiye and Darus-Sihna and hospital were set up. The main medical treatment centres are the Gevher  Nesibe  in  Kayseri  (1205),  the Izzettin  I  Keykavus  in  Sivas (1217),  the  Torumtay in Amasya (1266), the Muinuddin Pervane in Tokat (1275), and the Pervaneoglu Ali in Kastamonu (1272).

Because of the influence of Persian aspects coming from Iran among the enlightened, the administrators, the men of arts and the traders, the anatolian Seljuk state became increasingly affected by Iranian culture and language.

The Beyliks
The Period of Principalities
Political unity in Anatolia was disrupted from the time of the collapse of the Anatolian Seljuk state at the beginning of the 14th century (1308), and until  the  beginning  of  the  16th  century  each  of  the  region  in  the  country  fell  under  the domination of  Beyliks (Principalities).  The  Principalities  were  formed  in  the  following  regions:  The  Eshrefoguls  in Beysehir (1328), the Karesioguls in Balikesir-Bergama (1336),  the Inancoguls  in  Denizli  (1368),  the  Hamidoguls  in Beysehir (1328), Hamidoguls in the Isparta-Antalya area (1391), the Aydinoguls in  the  Aydın-Izmir  area  (1405),  the Saruhanoguls in Manisa (1410), the Mentesoguls in Mugla area  (1425),  the  Candaroguls  in  Kastamonu  (1461),  the Dulkadiroguls in the Maras area (1521), and  the  Ramazanoguls  in  the Cukurova area (1608). The  Osmanoguls, who were to eventually destroy these Principalities and establish political unity  in Anatolia, lived in the Eskisehir, Bilecik  and Bursa areas.

On the other hand, the area in central Anatolia east of the Ankara-Aksaray line as far as the area of Erzurum remained under the administration of the Ilhani General Governor until 1336. The infighting which resulted  upon the death  of  the Ilhan ruler Ebu Said Bahadir Khan in 1338 gave the principalities in Anatolia their complete  independence. In  addition to this, new Turkish principalities were formed in the locaties  previously  under  Ilhan occupation. One of  these  is  the Eretna Principality formed by  the  Uygur  Turks  at  Eretna  in  the  Kayseri-Sivas  region.  In  the  same  area, another principality, the Turkmen  Kadi  Burhanettin  State,  was  formed  in  the  second part of the century. In this period, the Karakoyuns and the Akkoyuns started political activities in Eastern Anatolia.

During the 14th century, the Turkmens, who made up the western Turks, started to re-establish their  previous political sovereignty in the Islamic world.

Rapid developments in the Turkish language and culture took place during the time of the Anatolian Principalities. In this period, the Turkish language became used in the sciences and  in  literature,  and  became  the  official  language  of  the Principalities. New medreses were established and progress was made in the medical area during this period.

Gulsehri, Nesimi (d.1404) and Ahmedi (1335-1412) are the prominent Turkish language poets of the 15th century.

In the cities, the Turkish communities composed of villagers and Turkmen migrants started  to  form  guilds  among  the more populous craftsmen, calling themselves “Ahi”. These guilds pioneered the development of city life.


The Ottoman Principality was founded  by  a Turkmen  tribe  living on  the Turkish-Byzantine border. The geographic location of the principality and the weak state of Byzantines combined to make the Ottoman  principality the strongest state within the Islamic world by the 14th century.

When, in the year 1402, Tamerlane defeated the forces od  Yildirim  Beyazit, the principalities  which had come under Ottoman  sovereignty all became independent. A  unity between  them was  achieved  again in the middle  of  the 15th century.

When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered  the Byzantine capital in 1453, the Ottoman state became the  strongest  of  the time. The tolerant approach taken by Fatih Sultan Mehmet to other religions  and to  the adherents  thereof  became  a tradition adopted by his successors. Following the capture of Istanbul, the Orthodox Church was feed from obedience to the Catholic Church and granted its independence.

On  the  other  hand,  the  technical  superiority  of t he Ottoman army began to be evident; Selim the first (1512-1520) conquered the Safevi Ruler Shah Ismail (1514) with such an army and thereby obliterated  the Mamelake state in 1517. At the end of these battles, the Ottomans had added, in addition to the major part of east Anatolia, the lands considered holy in the Islamic worl-Mecca and Medine-to their territories.

The brightest period of the Ottoman State was during the reign of Sultan Suleyman (1520-1566)  when  the  boundaries of the Empire spread from the outskirts of Vienna to the Bay of Basra and from the Crimea to an expanded north Africa as far as Ethiopia.

The  Ottoman  Empire  continued  to  acquire  territory  until  the middle of the 17th century. In 1683, it suffered its first major loss with defeat in the siege of Vienna.

When the losses of land and defeats continued, the Ottoman Empire sought salvation in a series of renewal movements, taking the western institutions which had shown great developments after  the  Renaissance. As  a  result,  the  (nautical engineering) Muhendishane-i-Bahr-i Humayun was founded in 1773 and the  (civil engineering) Muhendishane-i Berri-i Humayun in 1795.

The declaration of the Tanzimat Reform movement in 1839 is considered a major  link  in  the  chain  of  modernization events which had continued unabated since the beginning of the 17th century. The Tanzimat Reform period started with the reading on November 3, 1839, of the royal Tanzimat Decree by Mustafa Reshit Pasha in  Gulhane Park in Istanbul.

The  Tanzimat  Decree  is  considered  to  be  a  kind  of  constitution  giving  Turkey  the  means  to  enter  the road to
contemporary civilisation.

The constitutions  of  the 19th  century  mostly  contained  provisions  that limit the rights and powers of monarchs. The major point in the Tazminat Reform Decree, that of equality under the law, brought about the development  of  political unity in the Ottoman state in a spirit of equality before the law. It is because of this policy  that  the  salient  point  in  the Islahat (Improvement) Decree of 1856 is t hat  of  egality  before the law. Later,  the  1876  constitution  contained  the following provision: “All individuals who are citizens of the Ottoman State are considered Ottoman regardless of Religion or Sect”.

The development of the principle of equality before the law in the west and its application in the Ottoman state  resulted in the different ethnic groups within the Empire becoming equal with Moslems in every sense and it is in this regard  that the first steps toward the separation of religion and state affairs were taken. In this period, the statues of more and more public bodies started to be changed away from  the  provisions  of  Islamic  jurisprudence  to  that  of  civil  codes.  The principles inherent in the Tanzimat Reform Decree thereby laid the basis for the constitutional regime of modern  Turkey and the realization of laicism.

Despite many internal problems and disturbances during the  reign  of  Abdulaziz  (1861-1876)  who  ascended  to  the throne after Abdulmecit, the effects of westernization in society became even more evident.

This influence was apparent in the field of literature. It is in this period that Constitution,  Parliament  and  similar  words began to be used. The group known  in  history  as  the  “Young Turks”  was  to  a  large  degree  responsible  for  this development. Namik Kemal, Ziya Pasha, Mustafa  Fazil  Pasha  and  his  friends  published  the  newspaper  “Hurriyet” (Freedom) in London in the year 1864. The literary beginnings  of  the  newspaper  later  gave  way  to  political  issues. Although it is because of these trends that the first constitution was promulgated under the leadership of Mithat Pasha in 1876,  Sultan  Addulhamid  II  (1876-1909)  used  the  Ottoman-Russian  war  (1877-78)  as  an  excuse  to  dissolve Parliament and effectively put an end to this constitutional period. This action of Abdulhamid the Second paved the way for an organized opposition movement. One of these organizations, the  Ittihat ve Terakki (Union and Progress) Society compelled Sultan Abdulhamid the Second to accede to a second constitutional  government system.  Ittihat  ve  Terakki won the majority and entered Parliament in 1908 as a party. It is during this period that  the  wars  of  Tripoli (1911-12) and the Balkans (1912-13) were lost, and the Ottoman State entered the First  World  War  in  1914.  On  side  of  the allied powers.

The Ottoman State emerged defeated from the war, together with her allies, and was compelled  to  sign  the  Mudrow Armistice on October 30, 1918. According to the terms of the armistice, the states were to be occupied by  the victors and opened to all shipping:; the Ottoman army was to be disbanded and all communication and transport  handed  over to the control of the victors.

Also among the terms of the armistice was a provision that the entente power  might  occupy  areas deemed  to  be  of strategic importance; the powers started to occupy Anatolia on November 1, 1918 according to these terms.

The  occupation  started  to  spread  out,  and  on  May  15, 1919,  the Greeks occupied  Izmir. A national  resistance movement commenced. In many areas of the country the Society For Defence of Rights (Mudafaa-i Hukuk) started to spring up, and the military arm of the society, called the Kuvayi Milliye, started to take action.

The resistance movement was, until Mustafa Kemal landed at Samsun, sporadic and disorganized: under his leadership the resistance became cohesive, its forces progressively turned into an organized army and the movement became a full scale war of independence.

Upon  the  foundation, on  April  23, 1920, of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, a second Parliament to conduct the War of Independence outside of occupied Istanbul came into existence.

When  the  decisive  battle  at  Dumlupinar  on  August   26,  1922,  called the  “Battle  of   the  Commander-in-Chief” (Baskomutanlik Savasi), ended with victory for the Turkish force, and following this, Izmir was liberated, on September 9, 1922, the War of Independence finally ended in victory.
On November 1, 1922, the Sultanate was abolished. The last Ottoman Sultan Vahdettin left Istanbul on board a Brithis warship on November 17, 1922. Abdulmecit the second was appointed the Caliph in his place. More on Ottoman Empire


On July 24, 1923, the Lausanne Peace Agreement was signed, and  the Turkish Grand National  Assembly  announced on October 13, 1923 that Ankara was the new capital.

On October 29, 1923, the Republic was proclaimed. On March 3, 1924, the Caliphate was abolished.

Following the foundation of the Republic, a series of reforms took place one after the other; through amendments to the civil code, women were given social rights and privileges, the Latin alphabet was adopted, and a secular state was formed.
Source : Turkey : an official handbook /The General Directorate of Press and Information. --Ankara, 1990. --286 s.

Bookmark and Share  

Porcelain Gallery

National Palaces
Turkish Cuisine
Turkish Music
Ottoman Painters
Nasraddin Hodja
Turkish Proverbs
Ottoman Poetry
Brief History
The Flags
The Promise
The Maps
National Library
The Capitals
The Coinage



The Ottoman Army Band


Please Do Not Hesitate To Contact Us!