A CHURCH, A MOSQUE AND FINALLY A MUSEUM: THE NEARLY 1,500-YEAR-OLD STORY OF THE HAGIA SOPHIA

Built by the Byzantines as a church, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. It was later converted into a museum after the declaration of the Turkish Republic. Its situation has always being controversial during the Republican periodand there have been different initiativestaken by politicians to change its status
23 Mayıs 2015 Cumartesi

THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE: A SHELTER FOR ALL KINDS OF REFUGEES

Throughout its history, not only Muslims but also non-Muslim people and groups who were exposed to discrimination because of their religion, ethnicity or lifestyle resorted to taking shelter in the Ottoman Empire. In turn, they were openly welcomed by Ottoman society
16 Mayıs 2015 Cumartesi

THE MOSQUE THAT STANDS ON THE SEA: KILIÇ ALI PASHA MOSQUE

The Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque is a beautiful structure that decorates the Bosporus on the Tophane Pier on Istanbul’s European side. It was built by Mimar Sinan by filling the sea with rocks, and was named after Kılıç Ali Pasha, one of the most prominent figures in Ottoman maritime history
9 Mayıs 2015 Cumartesi

THE ROLES OF MAJOR POWERS DURING THE 1915 ARMENIAN INCIDENTS

Today, the 1915 events are not discussed between Armenia and Turkey, but major powers take up the issue. This is a historical process, as eastern Anatolia of the Ottoman Empire, where most Armenians were living, was an area that saw a power struggle between France, Russia and the U.K., where each had their own projects for region
1 Mayıs 2015 Cuma

HOW WERE THE 1915 INCIDENTS CONFRONTED BY THE OTTOMANS?

The pains endured in 1915 by Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, due to a powerful diaspora, have become an international issue of propaganda. Ankara denies the claims of genocide, defending that the matter was nothing but the relocation of Armenians who were close to the Russian front for military security and that the real massacre was done by Armenians
24 Nisan 2015 Cuma

MYSTERIOUS SCHOLAR BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: LEGEND OF JAMAL AL-DIN AL-AFGHANI

Jamal al-Din al-Afghani whose influence continues to this day, is one of the most debated personalities of recent history. Was he a great reformist who aimed to revive the Muslim world, or a mad man who thought he was the Mahdi, or a spy?
17 Nisan 2015 Cuma

A UNIQUE PERIOD IN TURKISH HISTORY: THE TULIP ERA

Historians refer to the years between 1718 and 1730 as the ‘Tulip Era' in Ottoman history. It references the people who were fascinated by the flower and their interest in tulip gardens. However, it is not just a period that saw high aesthetic tastes on the rise, but draws interest as a peaceful and prosperous time between periods of intense war
10 Nisan 2015 Cuma

YEMEN: SEARCHING FOR A SIGN OF PEACE

Being a cradle of some of the world's oldest civilizations, Yemen has not been able to establish a stable political structure for almost a century due to its divided groups. Now, the country is experiencing another bloody civil conflict followed by yet another foreign intervention
3 Nisan 2015 Cuma

FROM KAFFA TO ISTANBUL: COFFEE'S JOURNEY TO TURKEY

Originating from the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, coffee was introduced to Turks in the early Ottoman period. Gradually,it gained an important place in Ottoman culture and became popular among patrons of coffee houses in Istanbul
27 Mart 2015 Cuma

JIHAD: A MISUNDERSTOOD ISLAMIC TERM

The Islamic term ‘jihad,' meaning ‘struggle' in Arabic, is misinterpreted in today's lexicon. It does not mean forcing someone to abide by Islamic rules because, as it says in the Quran, ‘There is no compulsion in religion'
20 Mart 2015 Cuma

THE BITTER STORY OF THE OTTOMAN DYNASTY’S EXILE

On March 3, 1924, the leaders of the newly-formed Turkish Republic ordered the exile of the members of the Ottoman royal family. This did not just mean deportation, but also meant the beginning of a journey that included harsh living conditions in different parts of the world
13 Mart 2015 Cuma

THE HISTORIC JOURNEY OF YOGURT: FROM TURKIC PEOPLES TO THE WORLD

While debates continue about the origins of yogurt, certain scientific studies indicate that Turkic peoples may have been the first to discover this salutary food. Later, it spread to other continents with mass migrations
6 Mart 2015 Cuma

THE HISTORICAL ADVENTURE OF THE TOMB OF SULEYMAN SHAH

Last week, the Turkish Army relocated the Tomb of Süleyman Shah to a location closer to the Turkish border. Yet, there have been some controversies about the identity of the remains in the tomb, which belong to a predecessor of the Ottoman Empire
27 Şubat 2015 Cuma

SHOULD TURKEY SWITCH TO A PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM?

The post-coup Constitution of 1982 introduced a tragic presidential practice in Turkey that gives a largely ceremonial role to presidents who were elected by Parliament. Now, it is reasonable to implement a more systematic practice by adopting a presidential model
20 Şubat 2015 Cuma

WAHHABISM: PURE ISLAM OR EXTREMISM?

The followers of Wahhabism claim that they are trying to purify Islam and see themselves as devotees of early Muslims and their practices. However, it is a mistake to include Wahhabis within the framework of mainstream Sunni Islam, as their interpretation and methods differ significantly
13 Şubat 2015 Cuma

WORLD WAR I: THE HEAVY TOLL OF A DEADLY CONFLICT

The declaration of World War I, one of deadliest conflicts in history, led to major transformations in the societies of both the victors and the losers. As one of the losers, the Ottoman Empire paid an especially heavy price, as those responsible who had plunged the empire into the war fled and left the destruction behind
6 Şubat 2015 Cuma

LOOKING BACK ON THE LIFE OF A KING

King Abdullah, the late king of Saudi Arabia, died at the age of 90 last week. The new king, Salman, is 80-years-old and his half-brother Muqrin, 72, has been announced as the new crown prince, meaning the period of elderly kings will continue in the country
27 Ocak 2015 Salı

THE OTTOMANS’ EXEMPLARY TREATMENT OF STREET ANIMALS

Many foundations, shelters and hospitals were established during the Ottoman era dedicated to the protection of street animals, as people considered doing so a religious responsibility and feared the effects of mistreating animals
19 Ocak 2015 Pazartesi

HURREM SULTAN: A BELOVED WIFE OR MASTER MANIPULATOR?

As one of the most famous and controversial historical figures in Ottoman history, Hürrem Sultan is usually depicted as an ambitious and power-hungry character that manipulated Sultan Süleyman. But is this really the truth?
9 Ocak 2015 Cuma

AN ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE WITH A DIFFERENT ALPHABET

Recently proposed as an elective course at high schools, the Ottoman language is not entirely different from Turkish. lt is the ancestral language of Turks who have been living in Anatolia for centuries. The difference lies in its letters and the lack of invented words
3 Ocak 2015 Cumartesi

DISCOVER THE SEALS OF OTTOMAN SULTANS

The emperors’ seal, which was one of the most significant indicators of imperial authority, varied in ornamentation depending on cultural and regional characteristics. While European emperors had illustrated and ornate seals, Ottoman sultans merely featured decorative calligraphy
26 Aralık 2014 Cuma

MEMORIES OF ISTANBUL SHELTERED IN FIREPROOF LIBRARIES

Fires in Istanbul had been a centuries-long problem for the Ottomans. The libraries of the city, which were contructed with thick walls and brick roofs, survived the fires over the centuries and have kept the city’s memories alive
2 Aralık 2014 Salı

SEA BATHING, THE GOOD OLD FASHION WAY

Unlike swimming in a pool, the practice of sea bathing was once very popular. Women and men used to have their own public sea baths. Reminiscent of swimming pools, sea baths were not only seen as a refreshing and fun activity, but also a place for socializing.
10 Eylül 2014 Çarşamba

SMILE AND SAY 'CHEESE'

Tripod cameras attracted a great deal of attention when they were first introduced to Turkey in the 19th century in the final stages of the Ottoman Empire
7 Haziran 2014 Cumartesi

THE OTTOMAN AQUADUCT LEGACY

Water is a problematic issue facing humanity. Legends tell the story of men carrying water from mountains to marry the daughters of wealthy families. The Ottoman Empire resolved the problem by building aqueducts.
13 Mayıs 2014 Salı

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ARMENIANS (MILLET-I SADIKA)?

Under the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians were one of the three non-Muslim communities along with the Orthodox and Jewish people. They were called "millet-i sadıka" ("loyal people or nation") since they lived in harmony with the new rulers of Anatolia. According to Ottoman records dating back to 1914, the Armenian population was 1.23 million
25 Nisan 2014 Cuma

OTTOMAN MILITARY MARCHING BAND

It is well known that Ottoman janissary music inspired European composers. German composer Richard Wagner once said, "That is the real music"
20 Nisan 2014 Pazar

MUSLIMS COME FIRST IN THE HISTORY OF CONSTITUTIONS

The world's oldest written constitution was announced 14 centuries ago in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The constitution featured a precursor to democracy. Turks are recognized as the leading actor of modern constitution, history since 1808 and the Ottoman Empire adopted the regime of constitutional monarchy with the Constitution of 1876
12 Nisan 2014 Cumartesi

ISTANBUL COMES TO BLOOM WITH TULIPS

Turkish people are known to love flowers.
5 Nisan 2014 Cumartesi

AN EXOTIC COMMUNITY IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE: THE LEVANTINES

There were once many Europeans settled in the eastern Mediterranean region for trade. This community was known as "Levantine," which means "eastern Mediterranean" in French
28 Mart 2014 Cuma