Turkey Early History

By | June 12, 2021

Settlement of the Turkish area

Where Turkey is today, people probably settled as early as the 7th millennium BC. Chr. People. Various archaeological finds indicate this. It is believed that the city of Troy was once located in what is now northwestern Turkey. You may know this city from the legend about Odysseus, who overcame the city gates with a ruse and a wooden horse.

Around the 2nd millennium BC BC people immigrated from Asia to today’s Turkish territory. Among them were the Indo-European Hittites, a culturally and militarily advanced people who conquered many areas by storm. They established many empires in and around what is now Turkey and thus ruled over the area. This power ended, however, when they were defeated by attackers.

After that, the Lydians were the most powerful rulers of the area. But their power did not last forever either and they became 546 BC. Defeated by the Persians. So the area of ‚Äč‚Äčtoday’s Turkey became part of the great empire of the Persians.

Alexander the Great and the Seleucids

In 336 BC The balance of power in Asia Minor changed again. Asia Minor, like Anatolia, is a name of the Asian part of today’s Turkey. The Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great won against the Persians and took over almost the entire Persian Empire.

A successor of Alexander the Great named Seleucus created after his death another kingdom and named it after himself, the Seleucids rich. At the same time many other smaller empires emerged in Asia Minor. These much smaller but very numerous empires later joined the powerful Roman Empire, which the Seleucid Empire in 64 BC. BC smashed.

Turkey Early History

From Byzantium to Constantinople

Have you ever heard the name Constantinople? Today the city is called Istanbul. In 330 AD, the Roman emperor Constantine made it his seat of power and named it after himself: Constantinople. Before that it was called something else, namely Byzantium. When the Roman Empire was divided in AD 395, Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This is also called the Byzantine Empire.

The empire of the Seljuks

The Seljuks’ empire emerged in the 10th century right on the doorstep of the Byzantine Empire. These were a Turkic people and of Islamic faith. They immigrated from Central Asia to Asia Minor. You can tell from the name Turkic people that these people later influenced the inhabitants and culture of today’s Turkey. At that time, their language and their traditions spread across today’s Turkish area. Even when they were defeated by the Mongols in 1243, the Seljuq culture persisted.

The Ottoman Empire

Under Osman I from the Oghuz Turkic people, a new empire was founded in 1299 after the victory over the Mongols. It was named after him the Ottoman Empire. It existed until 1922! The Ottomans’ influence grew and they soon controlled large parts of Anatolia.

Faith wars soon broke out between the Islamic Ottoman Empire and the neighboring Christian Byzantium. The Ottomans gradually conquered more territories and pushed further west. They were also able to take Constantinople in 1453. The Ottomans soon had control over the entire Balkan region, southeastern Europe and even Tunisia. That was the heyday of the great Ottoman Empire.

Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire

The supremacy of the Ottoman Empire ended when the Habsburgs took action against the Ottomans. The Ottomans suffered one defeat after another and lost large parts of their territory. These two great powers were at war for a long time. In the north and northeast, Russia was another enemy.

The once great Ottoman Empire continued to shrink. Greece liberated itself from the Ottoman rulers from 1821 to 1829. In 1878 the Balkan countries of Montenegro, Serbia and Romania broke away from the Ottoman Empire.

Within the empire, the Young Turks’ movement resisted the Sultan from 1876 onwards and achieved the adoption of a constitution. With the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, the rule of the Ottomans on the Balkan Peninsula finally ended.

The Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers during the First World War. These were the German Reich, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria. Their primary goal was to recapture former territories. When the war ended, however, the Ottomans had no chance against the victorious powers and from then on were largely under their control, and they also lost other territories.

There was resistance to the victors among the Ottoman population. General Mustafa Kemal, who fought at the head of the national Ottoman movement from 1919, also became famous at this time. He mobilized large parts of the population and quickly gained support so that he won the parliamentary elections in 1919.

Father of the Turks and the Republic of Turkey

According to mysteryaround.com, the new head of state Mustafa Kemal made many advances in what was later to become Turkey through his politics: three years after taking office, he finally abolished the sultanate and proclaimed a republic in 1923. The remnants of the Ottoman Empire became Turkey. With measures for democratization he gave the population more rights and separated the church from the state.

He also achieved that women were officially equated with men in court and introduced women’s suffrage. Ankara also became the country’s new capital.

After all his successes and the progress made in the newly founded republic, Mustafa Kemal was nicknamed Ataturk by the Turkish parliament, which means “father of the Turks”.