There can be no possible doubt that the success of the Ottoman-Turks and their military enterprises was huge. However, the question is what the Ottoman-Turks owed this success to and whether their incredible victories were the result of a specific strategy which they adopted for their battles or a product of their specific culture and mindset. In addition, since for successful operation of any state, not only the war strategy, but also the home policy, the relationships among the Ottoman-Turks and the minorities are to be discussed.
It can be supposed that the Turkish conquerors were successful mainly because of the military principle that ruled the entire empire of the Ottoman Turks. To be more precise, it was the entity within the Empire which led to the victory of the Ottoman Turks – the latter, in contrast to their European colleagues, displayed considerably more cohesion than any of the European states. As Sowards (2008) claims, there were four main reasons that kept the Ottoman Turks winning their battles: 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, who were 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. (Sowards, 2008) Hence, it is obvious that the Ottoman Turks preferred to follow the policy of tight control over every single administrative district so that the entire empire could be easily controlled and that the actions of separate units could be coordinated easily by a small group of people. However, another element of the Ottoman policy which left a huge impact on the state of the entire empire was the relations within the Ottoman Turks and the rest of the population, i.e. the people of different religious confessions and nationalities. Surprisingly enough, the Ottomans displayed an extraordinary tolerance towards the national minorities inhabiting the empire.
According to the historical facts, the Ottoman Turks never imposed their own religious beliefs on any of the minorities: The Ottoman Empire developed a policy of “Open Doors” and religious tolerance, beginning with the Greeks of Constantinople and the Haik of Bursa, and later the Haik of Crimea; continuing with the Jews expelled from Spain and later from Russia. (Turkish American Political Action Committee, 2006) With such policy, the Ottoman Turks could be certain that the minorities would not protest against the actions of the Empire. Even though most of the minorities did not applaud to the Turks’ expansionist policy, the atmosphere within the state was rather peaceful. Thus, maintaining peace between the Turks and the rest of the population, the Ottoman Empire managed to reach a considerable level ofprosperity. Therefore, it is clear that with the help of their specific policy, Ottoman Turks not only managed to conquer other tribes, but also establish their own principles, which helped to reunite the Middle East region, thus, bringing the kindred cultures together.
In addition, the policy towards the strangers to the Muslim religion and the people who were not considered as the Ottoman Turks should be considered as rather wise one. Therefore with the help of a specific policy, rather flexible for the given culture and time slot, Ottoman Turks managed to build their Third Empire, influential and omnipotent.
Sowards, S. (2008).
The principles of Ottoman rule in the Balkans. Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History. Retrieved from http://staff.lib.
msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lecture3.html Turkish American Political Action Committee (2006). Treatment of minorities by Ottomans.
TurkishPac. Retrieved from http://turkishpac.org/history-and-archives-armenian-issue/treatment-of-minorities-by-the-ottomans