c. 1844 to 1923
For much of its history, the Navy was led by the position of the Kapudan Pasha
(Grand Admiral; literally "Captain Pasha"). This position was abolished in 1867, when it was replaced
by the Minister of the Navy (Turkish
: Bahriye Nazırı
) and a number of Fleet Commanders
: Donanma Komutanları
). After the end of the Ottoman Empire and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey
in 1923, the Navy's tradition was continued under the modern Turkish Naval Forces
Pre-Ottoman Turkish fleets Expansion to the Aegean, Black, Ionian and Adriatic Seas
The conquest of the island of Kalolimno (İmralı Island
) in the Sea of Marmara
in 1308 marked the first Ottoman naval victory. The Ottoman fleet made its first landings on Thrace
in 1321. The first Ottoman fortress in Europe was built in 1351, and the Anatolian shores of the strategic Bosporus
Strait near Constantinople
in 1352, and both shores of the equally strategic Dardanelles
Strait were conquered by the Ottoman fleet.
In 1373 the first landings and conquests on the Aegean
shores of Macedonia
were made, which was followed by the first Ottoman siege of Thessaloniki
in 1374. The first Ottoman conquest of Thessaloniki and Macedonia were completed in 1387. Between 1387 and 1423 the Ottoman fleet contributed to the territorial expansions of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkan peninsula and the Black Sea coasts of Anatolia. Following the first conquests of Venetian
territories in Morea
, the first Ottoman-Venetian War (1423–1430) started.
In the meantime, the Ottoman fleet continued to contribute to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Aegean and Black Seas, with the conquests of Sinop
(1426) and the reconquest of Thessaloniki from the Venetians (1430). Albania
was reconquered by the Ottoman fleet with landings between 1448 and 1479.
In 1453 the Ottoman fleet participated in the historic conquests of Constantinople
. The conquest of the Duchy of Athens
and the Despotate of the Morea
was completed between 1458 and 1460, followed by the conquest of the Empire of Trebizond
and the Genoese
colony of Amasra
in 1461, which brought an end to the final vestiges of the Byzantine Empire
. In 1462 the Ottoman fleet conquered the Genoese islands of the northern Aegean Sea, which were administered by the Gattilusio family
, including their capital Mytilene
in the island of Lesbos
. This was followed by the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1463-1479
. In the following period the Ottoman fleet gained more territory in the Aegean Sea, and in 1475 set foot on Crimea
on the northern shores of the Black Sea
. Until 1499 this was followed by further expansion on the Black Sea coasts (such as the conquest of Georgia in 1479) and on the Balkan peninsula (such as the final reconquest of Albania in 1497, and the conquest of Montenegro in 1499). The loss of Venetian forts in Montenegro, near the strategic Castelnuovo
, triggered the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499-1503
, during which the Turkish fleet of Kemal Reis
defeated the Venetian forces at the Battle of Zonchio
(1499) and the Battle of Modon
(1500). By 1503 the Ottoman fleet raided the northeastern Adriatic
coasts of Italy
, and completely captured the Venetian lands on Morea
, the Ionian Sea
coast and the southeastern Adriatic Sea
According to Kâtip Çelebi
a typical Ottoman fleet in the mid-17th century consisted of 46 vessels (40 galleys and 6 maona's) whose crew was 15,800 men, roughly two-thirds (10,500) were oarsmen, and the remainder (5,300) fighters.
Expansion to the Levant and Maghreb, operations in the West Mediterranean
In 1527 the Ottoman fleet participated in the conquest of Dalmatia
, and Bosnia
. In 1529 the Ottoman fleet under Salih Reis
and Aydın Reis
destroyed the Spanish fleet of Rodrigo Portundo near the Isle of Formentera
. This was followed by the first conquest of Tunisia
from Spain and the reconquest of Morea
by the forces of Hayreddin Barbarossa
, whose fleet later conquered the islands belonging to the Duchy of Naxos
in 1537. Afterwards, the Ottoman fleet laid siege on the Venetian island of Corfu
, and landed on the coasts of Calabria
, which forced the Republic of Venice
and Habsburg Spain
ruled by Charles V
to ask the Pope to create a Holy League
consisting of Spain, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa
, the Papal States
and the Knights of Malta
. The joint fleet was commanded by Charles V's leading admiral, Andrea Doria
. The Holy League and the Ottoman fleet under the command of Hayreddin Barbarossa met in September 1538 at the Battle of Preveza
, which is often considered the greatest Turkish naval victory in history. In 1543 the Ottoman fleet participated with French forces in the siege of Nice
, which at the time was part of the Duchy of Savoy. Afterwards, Francis I of France
enabled the Ottoman fleet to overwinter in the French harbor of Toulon
. This unique Ottoman wintering in Toulon
(sometimes inaccurately called an occupation; the Ottomans merely stayed the winter and did not impose any form of governance on the populace) allowed the Ottomans to attack Habsburg Spanish and Italian ports (enemies of France); they left Toulon in May 1544. Matrakçı Nasuh
, a 16th-century Ottoman Janissary
, and swordmaster
, reportedly participated in the wintering in Toulon.
In 1541, 1544, 1552 and 1555, the Spanish-Italian fleet of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria was defeated in Algiers
, and Piombino
Operations in the Indian Ocean and the final conquests in North Africa
Between 1547 and 1548, Yemen was reconquered from the Portuguese, while in the Persian Gulf
and Arabian Sea
, other important Portuguese ports such as Oman
were conquered in 1552,
but the Ottomans failed to take Hormuz Island
and therefore the control of the Persian Gulf remained firmly in Portuguese hands.
The Ottoman naval victory at the Battle of Preveza
in 1538 and the Battle of Djerba
in 1560 ensured the Ottoman supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea for several decades, until the Ottomans suffered their first ever military defeat at the hands of the Europeans at the Battle of Lepanto (1571)
. But the defeat at Lepanto, despite being much celebrated in Europe, was only a temporary setback: it could not reverse the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus
, and within a year, the Ottomans built an equally large fleet, which in 1574 conquered Tunisia
from Spain. This completed the Ottoman conquest of North Africa
, following the operations of the Ottoman fleet under Turgut Reis
which had earlier conquered Libya
(1551); and of the fleet under Salih Reis
which had conquered the coasts of Morocco
beyond the Strait of Gibraltar
Operations in the Atlantic Ocean
Starting from the early 17th century, the Ottoman fleet began to venture into the Atlantic Ocean (earlier, Kemal Reis
had sailed to the Canary Islands
in 1501, while the fleet of Murat Reis the Elder
had captured Lanzarote
of the Canary Islands
In 1617 the Ottoman fleet captured Madeira
in the Atlantic Ocean, before raiding Sussex
, Hartland Point
and the other counties of western England in August 1625.
In 1627 Ottoman naval ships, accompanied by Barbary corsairs
under the leadership of Murat Reis the Younger
, captured the Isle of Lundy
in the Bristol Channel
, which served as the main base for Ottoman naval and privateering operations in the North Atlantic for the next five years.
They raided the Shetland Islands
, Faroe Islands
Between 1627 and 1631 the same Ottoman force also raided the coasts of Ireland
Ottoman ships later appeared off the eastern coasts of North America, particularly being sighted at the English colonies like Newfoundland
Black Sea operations
The failure of the siege of Malta
in 1565 and the victory of the Holy League navies over the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto
in 1571 indicated that the pendulum was beginning to swing the other way,
but the Black Sea
was, for a time, regarded as a "Turkish Lake".
For over a hundred years Ottoman naval supremacy in the Black Sea rested on three pillars: the Ottoman Turks controlled the Turkish Straits
and the mouth of the Danube
; none of the states in the region could muster an effective naval force; and the virtual absence of piracy
on the Black Sea.
However, after the 1550s, it was the start of frequent naval raids by Zaporozhian Cossacks
that marked a major change in control of the Black Sea.
The Cossacks' keelless rowing boats, called chaikas
, could accommodate up to seventy men and outfitted with cannonades
, the boats made formidable sea vessels. They had the advantage over the Ottoman galleys in that being small, and low in the water, they were difficult to spot and highly manoeuvrable. In the early 1600s the Cossacks were able to assemble fleets of up to 300 such boats and send them to every corner of the Black Sea.
They began attacking large towns such as Caffa
, and even the suburbs of Constantinople
Guillaume Levasseur de Beauplan
, a French military engineer, provided a first-hand account of the Cossack operations and their tactics against the Turkish ships and towns on the Black Sea Coast.
The high point of the Cossack attacks came in 1637, when a large party of Zaporozhian and Don Cossacks
laid siege to the fortress of Azov
. After a two-month land and sea battle, the fortress was conquered by the Cossacks.
The Ottoman Navy also engaged in blockades of Georgia
's western coast during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in order to coerce local kingdoms into submission.
An Ottoman galleon in the 18th century.
The 18th century was a period of stalemate for the Ottoman fleet, with numerous victories matched by equally numerous defeats. Important Ottoman naval victories in this period included the reconquest of Moldavia
from the Russians
in 1711. The Ottoman–Venetian War of 1714–1718
saw the reconquest of Morea from the Venetians and the elimination of the last Venetian island strongholds in the Aegean.
During the Greek War of Independence
(1821–1829), the Greek rebel navy consisting of converted merchant ships originally challenged Ottoman naval supremacy in the Aegean, blockading Ottoman forts in the Morea and contributing to their capture by Greek land forces. Following the intervention of the Ottoman eyalet of Egypt
in 1824, the far superior Ottoman-Egyptian fleet under the command of Ibrahim Pasha
gained the upper hand and successfully invaded Crete and the Morea until the arrival of the combined British
fleets which destroyed most of the Ottoman-Egyptian naval force at the Battle of Navarino
-class Ottoman submarine Abdül Hamid
(1886) was the first submarine
in history to fire a torpedo
while submerged under water.
Two submarines of this class, Nordenfelt II
, 1886) and Nordenfelt III
, 1887) joined the Ottoman fleet. They were built in pieces by Des Vignes (Chertsey) and Vickers (Sheffield) in England, and assembled at the Taşkızak Naval Shipyard in Constantinople (Istanbul).
The 19th century saw further decline in Ottoman naval power, despite occasional recovery. Following the defeat against the combined British-French-Russian fleet at the Battle of Navarino
in 1827, Sultan Mahmud II
gave priority to develop a strong and modern Ottoman naval force. The first steam ships of the Ottoman Navy were acquired in 1828. In 1829 the world's largest warship for many years, the 201 x 56 kadem
= 37.887 cm
) or 76.15 m × 21.22 m (249.8 ft × 69.6 ft) ship of the lineMahmudiye
, which had 128 cannons on 3 decks and carried 1,280 sailors on board, was built for the Ottoman Navy at the Imperial Arsenal
on the Golden Horn
. In the 1830s, about 2.500 Christian sailors (mainly Armenians and Greeks) were recruited in the Ottoman navy. This caused negative reactions from the Christian communities. Many Greeks from Rhodos and Chios fled to the neighboring smaller islands. In 1847 Christian sailors demanded their own priests and chapels on the warships, which was refused on the basis of Sharia. The Great Admiral and the Great Vizier
were in favour of the Christians' demands, but the Sheih ul-Islam declared that Christian services on board were equivalent to the construction of new churches, and thus forbidden by the religious law.
In 1875, during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz
, the Ottoman Navy had 21 battleships and 173 other types of warships, ranking as the third largest navy in the world after the British and French navies. But the vast size of the navy was too much of a burden for the collapsing Ottoman economy
to sustain. Abdülhamid II was aware that the empire needed a navy to shield herself from the ever-growing Russian threat. However, the Ottoman economic crisis of 1875
and the additional financial burden of the disastrous Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)
deprived the Ottoman Empire from the financial resources and economic independence
to maintain and modernize a large fleet. The second half of the 19th century was a period of breakthroughs in the field of naval engineering. The Ottoman Navy was rapidly becoming obsolete, and needed to replace all her warships once a decade to keep up with the pace in technological progress – which, given the dismal state of the economy, was clearly not an option.
The aforementioned submarines were an attempt to gain an edge over the Greek navy (which had only one Nordenfelt submarine, a smaller and older version). However, it was quickly realized that – like the other Nordenfelt submarines ordered by Russia – they suffered from stability problems and were too easy to swamp on the surface. The Turks could not find a crew that was willing to serve on the primitive submarines. Abdül Hamid
ended up rotting at dock, while Abdül Mecid
was never fully completed.
Following the Young Turk Revolution
in 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress
which effectively took control of the country sought to develop a strong Ottoman naval force. The poor condition of the fleet became evident during the Ottoman Naval Parade of 1910, and the Ottoman Navy Foundation
was established[by whom?]
in order to purchase new ships through public donations. Those who made donations received different types of medals according to the size of their contributions.
The Italo-Turkish War
of 1911–1912 and the Balkan Wars
of 1912–1913 proved disastrous for the Ottoman Empire. In the former, the Italians occupied Ottoman Tripolitania
) and the Dodecanese Islands
in the Aegean Sea and the Regia Marina
defeated Ottoman light naval forces in the battles of Preveza
and Kunfuda Bay
. In the latter, a smaller Greek fleet successfully engaged with Ottoman battleships in the naval skirmishes of Elli
. The better condition of the Greek fleet in the Aegean Sea during the Balkan Wars led to the liberation of all Ottoman-held Aegean islands
other than those in the Italian-occupied Dodecanese. It also prevented Ottoman reinforcements and supplies to the land battles on the Balkan peninsula, where the Balkan League
emerged victorious. The only Ottoman naval successes during the Balkan Wars were the raiding actions of the light cruiser Hamidiye
under the command of Rauf Orbay
In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, the Ottomans remained engaged in a dispute over the sovereignty of the North Aegean islands
with Greece. A naval race ensued in 1913–1914, with the Ottoman government ordering large dreadnought battleships
like Sultan Osman-ı Evvel
with the aforementioned public donations made to the Ottoman Navy Foundation. Although Istanbul had made full payment for both battleships and sent a Turkish delegation to Britain to collect them after the completion of their sea trials, the United Kingdom
confiscated them at the outbreak of the First World War
in August 1914 and renamed them as HMS Agincourt
and HMS Erin
. This caused considerable ill-feeling towards Britain among the Ottoman public, and the German Empire
took advantage of the situation when the battlecruiserSMS Goeben
and light cruiser SMS Breslau
arrived at the Dardanelles and entered service in the Ottoman Navy as Yavuz Sultan Selim
, respectively. These events significantly contributed to the Porte
's decision to enter the First World War on the side of the Central Powers
. However, Germany and the Ottomans had already signed a secret alliance, the Ottoman-German alliance
on 2 August 1914, before the British naval seizures.
World War I and aftermath
The Ottomans' first military action in the First World War
was a surprise attack by the Ottoman Navy on the Russian Black Sea coast on 29 October 1914. The naval raid prompted Russia and its allies, Britain and France, to declare war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914. During WWI, the Ottoman Navy engaged the Entente Powers in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Silhouettes of the warships of the Ottoman Navy, as projected for 1914 (including the undelivered dreadnought Sultan Osman-ı Evvel
In the last year of World War I, while returning from a bombardment mission of the Allied port of Mudros
on the Greek island of Lemnos
ran into a minefield between Lemnos and Gökçeada
on 20 January 1918, and sank after being severely damaged by five consecutive mine hits. During the mission, Midilli
, together with Yavuz Sultan Selim
, had managed to sink the British warships HMS Raglan
and HMS M28
, as well as a 2,000-ton transport ship, and had bombarded the port of Mudros
, together with the communication posts and air fields of the Allies on the other parts of Lemnos. The battlecruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim
became one of the most active Ottoman warships throughout the First World War; she bombarded numerous ports on the Black Sea
and Aegean Sea
, while engaging with Russian dreadnought
battleships of the Imperatritsa Mariya class
and sinking a number of Russian and British warships and transport vessels.
After the independence of the Republic of Turkey
in 1923, the remaining major warships of the former Ottoman fleet, such as the battlecruiserTCG Yavuz
, the pre-dreadnought battleship TCG Turgut Reis
, protected cruisers TCG Hamidiye
and TCG Mecidiye
, torpedo cruisers Berk-i Satvet
and Peyk-i Şevket
, destroyers TCG Samsun
, TCG Basra
and TCG Taşoz
, and torpedo boatsTCG Burak Reis
, TCG Kemal Reis
, TCG Îsâ Reis
and TCG Sakız
were overhauled, repaired and modernized, while new ships and submarines were acquired
Ottoman Ministry of the Navy (Bahriye Nezareti
) in the Kasımpaşa
quarter of the Beyoğlu
district in Istanbul
, along the northern shoreline of the Golden Horn
. It is currently the headquarters of the Northern Sea Area Command (Kuzey Deniz Saha Komutanlığı
) of the Turkish Navy
Famed Ottoman admirals include:
- Kemal Reis, who twice defeated the Venetian fleet at the First Battle of Lepanto in 1499 and the Second Battle of Lepanto in 1500
- Hayreddin Barbarossa, who defeated the fleet of the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the island of Peñón in 1531, Battle of Preveza in 1538 and Algiers in 1541
- Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), who conquered Libya in 1551 and defeated the fleet of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Ponza in 1552
- Piyale Pasha, who defeated the Holy League of Philip II of Spain under the command of Giovanni Andrea Doria at the Battle of Djerba in 1560
- Aruj, who established the Ottoman presence in North Africa which lasted four centuries
- Salih Reis, who conquered Morocco in 1553 and extended Ottoman territory into the Atlantic Ocean
- Uluç (Kılıç) Ali Reis, who restored the Ottoman domination of the Mediterranean after the Third Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and conquered Tunisia from Spain in 1574
- Murat Reis, who fought the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean between 1552 and 1554 and captured Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean in 1585
- Seydi Ali Reis (known as Sidi Ali Reis in the West), who fought the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean in 1554 and is famous for his books of travel which have been translated into many languages
- Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis (known as Curtogoli in the West), who played an important role in the conquests of Egypt in 1517 and Rhodes in 1522, and established the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet based in Suez which was later commanded by his son, Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis, who led the Ottoman naval expedition to Aceh (1568–1569) which marked the easternmost territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire
References and sources
- ^ Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700, Rhoads Murphey, 1999, p.23
- ^ Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis The Cambridge history of Islam 1977.
- ^ Soucek, Svat (June 2013), "Piri Reis. His uniqueness among cartographers and hydrographers of the Renaissance", in Vagnon, Emmanuelle; Hofmann, Catherine (eds.), Cartes marines : d'une technique à une culture. Actes du colloque du 3 décembre 2012., CFC, pp. 135–144, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2018, retrieved 21 August 2016
- ^ a b c d e Turkish Navy Official Website: "Atlantik'te Türk Denizciliği" Szkk.tsk.tr
- ^ Konstam, Angus (2008). Piracy: the complete history. Osprey Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-84603-240-0.
- ^ Turkish Raid – anniversary exhibition in Westman Islands at 5 pm Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "Discover South Iceland - Vestmannaeyjar, The Westman Islands". Archive.is. 24 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008.
- ^ "Barbary pirates in Ireland: The Sack of Baltimore, Co. (...)". Divainternational.ch. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
- ^ "The O'Brien Press - The Stolen Village - Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates By Des Ekin". Obrien.ie. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
- ^ Gábor Ágoston. Asia Minor and Beyond: The Ottomans. The Great Empires of Asia. Ed. Jim Masselos. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 2010. p.121 ISBN 978-0-520-26859-3
- ^ "The Ottoman Navy". Naval Historical Society of Australia. 6 September 1978.
- ^ a b c d e f Charles King, The Black Sea: a History, Oxford University Press, 2004 ISBN 978-0-19-924161-3 pp. 125, 131, 133–134
- ^ Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters (eds.) Infobase Publishing, 2009 ISBN 978-0-8160-6259-1 p.450
- ^ "Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan. Description d'Ukranie, qui sont plusieurs provinces du Royaume de Pologne". Litopys.org.ua. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
- ^ Arming the State: Military Conscription in the Middle East and Central Asia, Erik J. Zurcher, page 45
- ^ Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700, Rhoads Murphey, 1999, p.235
- ^ "Submarine Heritage Centre – Submarine History of Barrow-in-Furness". Submarineheritage.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
- ^ kadem, which translates as "foot", is often misinterpreted as equivalent in length to one imperial foot, hence the wrongly converted dimensions of "201 x 56 ft, or 62 x 17 m" in some sources.
- ^ Mehmet Hacısalihoğlu, "Inclusion and Exclusion: Conscription in the Ottoman Empire", J.of Modern European History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (2007), pp 266, 269
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- ^ See Massey, Castles of Steel
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- E. Hamilton Currey, Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean (London, 1910). ISBN 978-1500883430
- Bono, Salvatore: Corsari nel Mediterraneo (Corsairs in the Mediterranean) (Perugia, Oscar Storia Mondadori, 1993); Corsari nel Mediterraneo: Condottieri di ventura. Online database in Italian, based on Salvatore Bono's book.
- Bradford, Ernle, The Sultan's Admiral: The life of Barbarossa (London, 1968). ISBN 978-1845117931
- Wolf, John B., The Barbary Coast: Algeria under the Turks (New York, 1979). ISBN 978-0393012057
- Melis, Nicola, "The importance of Hormuz for Luso-Ottoman Gulf-centred policies in the 16th century: Some observations based on contemporary sources", in R. Loureiro-D. Couto (eds.), Revisiting Hormuz – Portuguese Interactions in the Persian Gulf Region in the Early Modern Period (Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2008, 107–120 (Maritime Asia, 19).
- Tuncay Zorlu, Innovation and Empire in Turkey: Sultan Selim III and the Modernisation of the Ottoman Navy (London, I.B. Tauris, 2011). ISBN 978-1848857827
Representations in popular culture
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