Military of the Ottoman Empire

The history of the military of the Ottoman Empire can be divided in five main periods. The foundation era covers the years between 1300 (Byzantine expedition) and 1453 (Fall of Constantinople), the classical period covers the years between 1451 (enthronement of Sultan Mehmed II) and 1606 (Peace of Zsitvatorok), the reformation period covers the years between 1606 and 1826 (Vaka-i Hayriye), the modernisation period covers the years between 1826 and 1858 and decline period covers the years between 1861 (enthronement of Sultan Abdülaziz) and 1918 (Armistice of Mudros).

Foundation period (1300–1453)

The earliest form of the Ottoman military was a steppe-nomadic cavalry force.[1] This was centralized by Osman I from Turkoman tribesmen inhabiting western Anatolia in the late 13th century.

These horsemen became an irregular force of raiders used as shock troops, armed with weapons like bows and spears. They were given fiefs called timars in the conquered lands, and were later called timariots. In addition they acquired wealth during campaigns.

Orhan I organized a standing army paid by salary rather than looting or fiefs. The infantry were called yayas and the cavalry was known as müsellems. The force was made up by foreign mercenaries for the most part, and only a few Turks were content to accept salaries in place of timars. Foreign mercenaries were not required to convert to Islam as long as they obeyed their Ottoman commanders.

The Ottomans began using guns in the late 14th century. Following that, other troop types began to appear, such as the regular musketeers (Piyade Topçu, literally "foot artillery"); regular cavalry armed with firearms (Süvari Topçu Neferi, literally "mounted artillery soldier"), similar to the later European reiter or carabinier; and bombardiers (Humbaracı), consisting of grenadiers who threw explosives called khımbara and the soldiers who served the artillery with maintenance and powder supplies.


Classical Army (1451–1606)

Ottoman Classical Army was the military structure established by Mehmed II, during his reorganization of the state and the military efforts. This is the major reorganization following Orhan I which organized a standing army paid by salary rather than booty or fiefs. This army was the force during rise of the Ottoman Empire. The organization was twofold, central (Kapu Kulu) and peripheral (Eyalet). The classical Ottoman army was the most disciplined and feared military force of its time, mainly due to its high level of organization, logistical capabilities and its elite troops. Following a century long reform efforts, this Army was forced to disbandment by Sultan Mahmud II on 15 June 1826 by what is known as Auspicious Incident. By the reign of Mahmud the second, the elite jannisaries had become corrupt and always stood in the way of modernization efforts meaning they were more of a liability then an asset.

Janicsár aga
Ralamb Sipahi
Mundy-Acsi basi, head cook of the Janissaries
Head cook
Mundy-Rumeli sipahi

Reform on Classical Army (1606–1826)

The main theme of this period is reforming the Janissaries. The Janissary corps were originally made up of conscripted young Christian boys who became military educated under the Ottoman Empire. During the 15th and 16th Centuries they became known as the most efficient and effective military unit in Europe. Aside from the Janissary infantry, there was also the Sipahi Cavalry. They were, however, different from the Janissaries in that they had both military and administrative duties. The Janissaries were tied strictly to being able to perform military duties at any time, however the Sipahi were treated differently primarily in that they got their income from the land that was given to them from the Sultan. Within these agricultural lands, the Sipahi were in charge of collecting the taxes which would serve as their salary. At the same time they were responsible for maintaining peace and order there. They were also expected to be able to serve in the military whenever the Sultan deemed their service necessary. [2]

The Ottoman Empire made numerous efforts to recruit French experts for its modernization. The French officer and adventurer Claude-Alexandre de Bonneval (1675–1747) went in the service of Sultan Mahmud I, converted to Islam, and endeavoured to modernize the Ottoman army, creating cannon foundries, powder and musket factories and a military engineering school.[3] Another officer François Baron de Tott was involved in the reform efforts for the Ottoman military. He succeeded in having a new foundry built to make howitzers, and was instrumental in the creation of mobile artillery units. He built fortifications on the Bosphorus and started a naval science course that laid the foundation stone for the later Turkish Naval Academy.[4]

One example of an advisor who achieved limited success was François Baron de Tott, a French officer. He did succeed in having a new foundry built to make artillery. As well he directed the construction of a new naval base. Unfortunately it was almost impossible for him to divert soldiers from the regular army into the new units. The new ships and guns that made it into service were too few to have much of an influence on the Ottoman army and de Tott returned home.

When they had requested French help, a young artillery officer by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte was to be sent to Constantinople in 1795 to help organize Ottoman artillery. He did not go, for just days before he was to embark for the Near East he proved himself useful to the Directory by putting down a Parisian mob at 13 Vendémiaire and was kept in France.[5][6]

Coloured Illustrations of Ottomans by Jean Brindisi, 1855 - 001
Coloured Illustrations of Ottomans by Jean Brindisi, 1855 - 003
Coloured Illustrations of Ottomans by Jean Brindisi, 1855 - 004
Coloured Illustrations of Ottomans by Jean Brindisi, 1855 - 005

Efforts for a new system (1826–1858)

The main theme of this period is disbanding the Janissary, which happened in 1826, and changing the military culture. The major event is "Vaka-ı Hayriye" translated as Auspicious Incident. The military units formed were used in the Crimean War, Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), and Greco-Turkish War (1897).

The failed efforts of a new system dates before 1826. Sultan Selim III formed the Nizam-ı Cedid army (Nizam-ı Cedid meaning New Order) in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This was the first serious attempt to transform the Ottoman military forces into a modern army. However, the Nizam-ı Cedid was short lived, dissolving after the abdication of Selim III in 1807.

Sultan Mahmud II, Selim III's successor and nephew, who was a great reformer, disbanded the Janissaries in 1826 with so-called known as "Vaka-ı Hayriye" (the auspicious incident).

The Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye was established, as a contemporary modern army.

Egypt, as part of the empire, also underwent drastic military changes during Muhammad Ali Pasha's reign. The two largest military reforms were the effective practices of indoctrination and surveillance, which dramatically changed the way the military was both conducted by the leadership and also perceived by the rest of society. New military law codes resulted in isolation, extreme surveillance, and severe punishments to enforce obedience. The Pasha's goal was to create a high regard for the law and strict obedience stemming from sincere want. This shift from direct control by bodily punishment to indirect control through strict law enforcement aimed to make the soldiers' lives predictable, thus creating a more manageable military for the Pasha.

Vues iv41089
(1854) Infantry unit
Kırım Savaşı, Türk piyadeleri 1854 senesi
(1854) Infantry unit
Kırım Savaşı, Türk topçu birliği 1854 senesi
(1854) Artillery unit
Kırım Savaşı, Ömer Paşa subaylarıyla 1854
(1854) Pasha & his Staff

Modern Army (1861–1918)

The main theme of this period is organizing and training the newly formed units. The change of French system to German system as the German military mission was most effective during the period. The military units formed were used in the Balkan Wars and World War I.

The shift from Classical Army (1451–1606) took more than a century beginning from failed attempts of Selim III (1789) to a period of Ottoman military reforms (1826–1858) and finally Abdulhamid II. Abdulhamid II, as early as 1880 sought, and two years later secured, German assistance, which culminated in the appointment of Lt. Col. Kohler. However. Although the consensus that Abdulhamid favored the modernization of the Ottoman army and the professionalization of the officer corps was fairly general, it seems that he neglected the military during the last fifteen years of his reign, and he also cut down the military budget. The formation of Ottoman Modern Army was a slow process with ups and downs.

Turkish howitzer 10.5cm leFH 98 09 LOC 00121
Artillery (Howitzer)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1970-073-17, Türkische Kavallerie südlich von Jerusalem
Turkish troops en route to the Suez Canal, 1914
Turkish heliograph at Huj
Engineering (Heliograph)
Communication (Telephone)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0142, Türkei, Gallipoli, Lazarett
Medical (Field Hospital)
Turkish soldiers
Uniform, standard
Battle Sarikamis winter gear
Uniform, winter


The Ottoman Navy, also known as the Ottoman Fleet, was established in the early 14th century after the empire first expanded to reach the sea in 1323 by capturing Karamürsel, the site of the first Ottoman naval shipyard and the nucleus of the future Navy. During its long existence, it was involved in many conflicts and signed a number of maritime treaties. At its height, the Navy extended to the Indian Ocean, sending an expedition to Indonesia in 1565.

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 (Turkish: Donanma Komutanları).

After the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the Navy's tradition was continued under the Turkish Naval Forces of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

Mahmudiye (1829)
Mahmudiye, 1829
Ottoman Fleet 1914
Silhouettes of the warships of the Ottoman Navy, as projected for 1914


The Ottoman Aviation Squadrons were military aviation units of the Ottoman Army and Navy.[7] The history of Ottoman military aviation dates back to June 1909 or July 1911 depending if active duty assignment is accepted as the establishment. The organisation is sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Air Force. According to Edward J. Erickson, the very term Ottoman Air Force is a gross exaggeration and the term Osmanlı Hava Kuvvetleri (Ottoman Air Force) unfortunately is often repeated in contemporary Turkish sources.[8] The fleet size reached its greatest in December 1916, when the Ottoman aviation squadrons had 90 airplanes. The Aviation Squadrons were reorganized as the "General Inspectorate of Air Forces" (Kuva-yı Havaiye Müfettiş-i Umumiliği) on 29 July 1918. With the signing of the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the Ottoman military aviation effectively came to an end. At the time of the armistice, the Ottoman military aviation had around 100 pilots; 17 land-based airplane companies (4 planes each); and 3 seaplane companies (4 planes each); totalling 80 aircraft.

Yesilkoy Air Base Istanbul 1911
Air Base Yesilkoy 1911
Turkish pilots in 1912
Pilots, 1912
Balkan Wars


1526-Suleiman the Magnificent and the Battle of Mohacs-Hunername-large
Battle of Mohács in 1526, Ottoman miniature


In 1389 a system of conscription was introduced in the Ottoman military. In times of need every town, quarter, and village should present a fully equipped conscript at the recruiting office. The new force of irregular infantrymen was called Azabs and it was used in a number of different ways. They supported the supplies to the front-line, they dug roads and built bridges. On rare occasions they were used as cannon fodder to slow down an enemy advance. A branch of the Azabs were the bashi-bazouk (başıbozuk). These were specialized in close combat and were sometimes mounted. They became notorious for being brutal and undisciplined and were recruited from homeless, vagrants and criminals.[9]


Ottoman Military College

Ottoman Military College was a two-year military staff college of the Ottoman Empire. Its mission was to educate staff officers for the Ottoman Army.

Ottoman Military Academy

The Academy was formed in 1834 by Marshal Ahmed Fevzi Pasha together with Mehmed Namık Pasha, as the Mekteb-i Harbiye (Ottoman Turkish: lit. "War School"), and the first class of officers graduated in 1841. Its formation was a part of military reforms within the Ottoman Empire as it recognized the need for more educated officers to modernize its army. The need for a new military order was part of Sultan Mahmud II's reforms, continued by his son Abdülmecit I.

After the demise of the Ottoman Empire the school renamed itself as Turkish Military Academy under Republic of Turkey

Imperial Naval Engineering School

The origin of the Naval Academy goes back to 1773, when a naval school under the name of "Naval Engineering at Golden Horn Naval Shipyard" was founded during the reign of Sultan Mustafa III on the command of Grand Vizier and Admiral Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha. François Baron de Tott, a French officer and advisor to the Ottoman military, was appointed for the establishment of a course to provide education on plane geometry and navigation. The course, attended also by civilian captains of the merchant marine, was given on board a galleon anchored at Kasimpaşa in Istanbul and lasted three months. The temporary course turned into a continuous education on land with the establishment of "Naval Mathematical College" in February 1776. With growing numbers of cadets, the college building at the naval shipyard was extended. On 22 October 1784, the college, renamed the "Imperial Naval Engineering School" (Ottoman Turkish: Mühendishâne-i Bahrî-i Hümâyûn‎), started its education for three years in the new building. From 1795 on, the training was divided into navigation and cartography for officers of the deck, and naval architecture and shipbuilding for naval engineers. In 1838, the naval school moved into its new building in Kasımpaşa. With the beginning of the reformation efforts, the school was renamed "Naval School" (Ottoman Turkish: Mekteb-i Bahriye‎) and continued to serve in Kasımpaşa for 12 years. Then, it was relocated in 1850 to Heybeliada for the last time. During the Second Constitutional Era, an upgraded education system was adapted in 1909 from the Royal Naval Academy.

After the demise of the Ottoman Empire the school renamed itself as Naval Academy (Turkey) under Republic of Turkey


Classic Army

  • Aghas were commanders of the different branches of the military services, like "azap agha", "besli agha", "janissary agha", for the commanders of azaps, beslis, and janissaries, respectively. This designation was given to commanders of smaller military units, too, for instance the "bölük agha", and the "ocak agha", the commanders of a "bölük" (company) and an "ocak" (troops) respectively.
  • Boluk-bashi was a commander of a "bölük", equivalent with the rank of captain.
  • Çorbacı (Turkish for "soup server") was a commander of an orta (regiment), approximately corresponding to the rank of colonel (Turkish: Albay) today. In seafaring, the term was in use for the boss of a ship's crew, a role similar to that of boatswain.

Modern Army

The system of ranks and insignia followed the patterns of the German Empire[10].


Ottoman Army Strength, 1299–1826
Year Yaya & Musellem Azab Akıncı Timarli Sipahi (Total) Timarli Sipahi & Cebelu Janissary Kapikulu Sipahi Other Kapikulu (Total) Kapikulu Fortress guards, Martalos and Navy Sekban Nizam-ı Cedid Total Strength of Ottoman Army
1350 1,000 est. 1,000 est. 3,500 est. 200 est. 500 est. - - - - - - - 6,000 est.
1389 4,000 est. 8,000 est. 10,000 est. 5,000 est. 10,000 est. 500 est. 250 est. 250 est. 1,000 est. 4,000 est. - - 37,000 est.
1402 8,000 est. 15,000 est. 10,000 est. 20,000 est. 40,000 est. 1,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 2,000 est. 6,000 est. - - 81,000 est.
1453 8,000 est. 15,000 est. 10,000 est. 20,000 est. 40,000 est. 6,000[11] 2,000 est. 4,000 est. 12,000 est. 9,000 est. - - 94,000 est.
1528 8,180[12] 20,000 est. 12,000[12] 37,741[12] 80,000 est. 12,000 est. 5,000 est. 7,000 est. 24,146[12] 23,017[12] - - 105,084 – 167,343 est.
1574 8,000 est. 20,000 est. 15,000 est. 40,000 est. 90,000 est. 13,599[13] 5,957[13] 9,619[13] 29,175[13] 30,000 est. - - 192,175 est.
[1] [2] [3] 44,404 (1607)[14] 50,000 est. (1609) 105,339 (1607)[14] 137,000 (1609)[15] 37,627 (1609)[16] 20,869 (1609)[13] 17,372 (1609)[13] 75,868 (1609)[13] 25,000 est. 10,000 est. - 196,207–247,868 est.
1670 [1] [2] [3] 22,000 est. 50,000 est. 39,470[13] 14,070[13] 16,756[13] 70,296[13] 25,000 est. 10,000 est. - 70,296- 155,296 est.
1807 [1] [2] [3] 400 est. 1,000 est. 15,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 16,000 est. 15,000 est. 10.000 est. 25,000[17] 25,000–67,000 est.
1826 [1] [2] [3] 400 est. 1,000 est. 15,000 est. 500 est. 500 est. 16,000 est. 15,000 est. 15,000 est. - 47,000 est.

Notes: [1][a] |[2]|[b]|[3][c]

Awards and decorations

The Category:Military awards and decorations of the Ottoman Empire collects the individual wards and decorations. The Ottoman War Medal, better known as the Gallipoli Star, was instituted by the Sultan Mehmed Reshad V on 1 March 1915 for gallantry in battle. The Iftikhar Sanayi Medal was first granted by Sultan Abdulhamid II. Order of the Medjidie was instituted in 1851 by Sultan Abdülmecid I. The Order of Osmanieh was created in January 1862 by Sultan Abdulaziz. This became the second highest order with the obsolescence of the Nişan-i Iftikhar. The Order of Osmanieh ranks below the Nişan-i Imtiyaz.

See also


  1. ^ (Yaya & Musellem) Yaya, light infantry, Musellem, light cavalry, over time they lost their original martial qualities and were employed only at such tasks as transportation or founding cannonballs. The organisation was totally abolished in 1582.[18]
  2. ^ (Azab) light infantry, during the last quarter of the 16th century, the Azabs disappeared from the Ottoman documentary record.[19]
  3. ^ (Akıncı) light cavalry, the Akıncıs continued to serve until 1595 when after a major rout in Wallachia they were dissolved by Grand Vezir Koca Sinan Paşa.[20]


  1. ^ Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk, Pleager Security International, ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0, 2009, p. 1.
  2. ^ Cleveland, William L & Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East: 4th Edition, Westview Press: 2009, pg. 43
  3. ^ Tricolor and crescent William E. Watson p.11
  4. ^ History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey Ezel Kural Shaw p.255 [1]
  5. ^ Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte p.29
  6. ^ History of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, etc. by John Jacob Lehmanowsky p.4
  7. ^ Edward J. Erickson, Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, "Appendix D The Ottoman Aviation Inspectorate and Aviation Squadrons", ISBN 0-313-31516-7, p. 227.
  8. ^ Edward J. Erickson, Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, "Appendix D The Ottoman Aviation Inspectorate and Aviation Squadrons", ISBN 0-313-31516-7, p. 227.)
  9. ^ mohammad nasiru din baba
  10. ^
  11. ^ Teaching world civilization with joy and enthusiasm, Benjamin Lee Wren, page 146
  12. ^ a b c d e An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Halil İnalcik, page 89
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ottoman warfare, 1500–1700, Rhoads Murphey, page 45
  14. ^ a b History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, Stanford J. Shaw, page 127
  15. ^ Ottoman warfare, 1500–1700, Rhoads Murphey, page 42
  16. ^ Guild dynamics in seventeenth-century Istanbul: fluidity and leverage, Eunjeong Yi, page 134
  17. ^ The state at war in South Asia, Pradeep Barua, page 57
  18. ^ An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Halil İnalcik , page 92, 1997
  19. ^ Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk, Pleager Security International, ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0, 2009, p. 62.
  20. ^ History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, Stanford J. Shaw, page 129

External links


Under the Ottoman Empire, an askeri (Ottoman Turkish: عسكري) was a member of a class of imperial administrators.

This elite class consisted of three main groups: the military, the court officials, and clergy. Though the term itself literally means "of the military", it more broadly encompasses all higher levels of imperial administration. To be a member of this ruling elite, one thus had to hold a political office in the service of the Ottoman Empire, meaning that both Muslims and non-Muslims in those positions could be considered askeri.

After Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, there was a reform movement in Sultan Selim III’s regime to reduce the numbers of the Askeri class, who were the first class citizens or military class (also called Janissary).

Sultan Salim III was taken prisoner and murdered by the Janissary revolt. The successor to the sultan, Mahmud II was patient but remembered the results of the uprising in 1807. In 1827 he caused a revolt among the Janissaries, kept them all in their barracks and slaughtered thousands of them.It was contrasted with the reaya, the tax-paying lower class, and the kul, or slave class, which included the Janissaries.


The bajrak (pronounced or , meaning "banner" or "flag") was an Ottoman territorial unit, consisting of villages in mountainous frontier regions of the Balkans, from which military recruitment was based. It was introduced in the late 17th century and continued its use until the end of Ottoman rule in Rumelia. The bajrak included one or more clans. It was especially implemented in northern Albania and in parts of Kosovo (Sanjak of Prizren and Sanjak of Scutari), where in the 19th century these regions constituted the frontier with the Principality of Serbia and Principality of Montenegro. These sanjaks had notable communities of Gheg Albanians (Muslims and Catholics), Serbs and Slavic Muslims. The Albanians adopted the system into their clan structure, and bajraks endured during the Kingdom of Serbia (1882–1918) and People's Socialist Republic of Albania (1944–1992).


Boluk-bashi (Turkish: bölükbaşı) was an Ottoman officer rank equivalent to captain (see Military of the Ottoman Empire). The holder was in command of a bölük, a sub-division of a regiment. It was higher than oda-bashi (lieutenant).

Conscription in the Ottoman Empire

Conscription in the Ottoman Empire examined by close reference to what period ("Classic Army (1451–1606)," "Reform Period (1826–1858)" or "Modern Army (1861–1922)") or a complex set of rules which included a poll-tax (in the very early times named cizye on non-Muslims, later it was Bedl-i askeri, an exemption tax, which applied to everyone), which was theoretically a substitute for military service. The introduction of western style conscription was closely linked to the introduction of a European-style army, Modern Army (1861–1922), but it did not coincide with it.


Devshirme (Ottoman Turkish: دوشيرمه‎, devşirme, literally "lifting" or "collecting"), also known as the blood tax or tribute in blood, was chiefly the practice where by the Ottoman Empire sent military officers to take Christian boys, ages 8 to 18, from their families in Eastern and Southeastern Europe in order that they be raised to serve the state. This tax of sons was imposed only on the Christian subjects of the empire, in the villages of the Balkans and Anatolia.The boys were then converted to Islam with the primary objective of selecting and training the ablest children and teenagers for the military or civil service of the empire, notably into the Janissaries.Devshirme started in the mid 1300s under Murad I as a means to counteract the growing power of the Turkish nobility. According to Alexander Mikaberidze the practice violated Islamic law. Mikaberidze argues that the boys were "effectively enslaved" under the devshirme system, and that this was a violation of the dhimmi protections guaranteed under Islamic law. This is disputed by certain Muslim scholars of Ottoman history, including Halil İnalcık, who argues that the devshirme were not slaves.By the middle of the seventeenth century, the practice formally came to an end. An attempt to re-institute it in 1703 was resisted by its Ottoman members who coveted its military and civilian posts. Finally in the early days of Ahmet III's reign, the practice of devshirme was abolished.

Eski Ordu Marşı

Eski Ordu Marşı ("Ancient Army March") is a Rast Mehter song composed by Muallim İsmail Hakkı Bey (1865-1927).

Frommer Stop

The Frommer Stop is a Hungarian long-recoil pistol manufactured by Fémáru-, Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG) (Metalware, Weapons and Machine Factory) in Budapest. It was designed by Rudolf Frommer, and its original design was adopted as the Pisztoly 12M in 1912, created for the Royal Hungarian Army. The handgun was manufactured in various forms from 1912 to 1945 and used in the Hungarian Armed Forces as well as, during the First World War, by military of the Ottoman Empire in limited quantities. The Stop is 165 millimeters (6.5 in) long with a 95 millimeters (3.7 in) 4-groove rifled barrel. Unloaded weight is 610 g (22 oz), and the detachable box magazine holds seven rounds.The Stop incorporated design features of earlier Frommer pistols including the Model 1901 (M1901) and M1904 derived from the Roth–Theodorovic pistol. The predecessor to the Stop pistol, the M1910, was chambered in a proprietary 7.65mm (.32-caliber) cartridge having a crimp in the casing at the base of the bullet. This round achieved a velocity of 920 feet per second (280 m/s) from the gun. Frommer redesigned the pistol with a more conventional layout. Patented in 1912, this variant was produced from 1919 to 1939, under the name Pisztoly 19M. It was adopted as the official sidearm of the Hungarian Armed Forces. The last variant of the Stop, the Pisztoly 39M, was produced in 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP); however it was never adopted as a service pistol.

Gunpowder Empires

The Gunpowder Empires were the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. Each of these three empires had considerable military success using the newly developed firearms, especially cannon and small arms, in the course of their empires, but unlike Europe for example, the introduction of the gunpowder weapons prompted changes well beyond simply army organization.

Holy League (1684)

The Holy League (Latin: Sacra Ligua) of 1684 was an alliance organized by Pope Innocent XI to oppose the Ottoman Empire in the Great Turkish War. The League's initial members were the Papal States, the Holy Roman Empire under Habsburg Emperor Leopold I, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth of John III Sobieski, and the Venetian Republic; the Tsardom of Russia joined the League in 1686. The alliance lasted until the Treaty of Karlowitz brought an end to the war in 1699.Pope Innocent was aided by Capuchin Friar Marco d'Aviano during the formation of the League, and the Friar was prominent in defending Vienna. The events to the League's creation and the 1683 Battle of Vienna are fictionalized in the film September Eleven 1683.


Humbaracı corps were bombardier and mortar troops of the Ottoman army.

It is considered as the first organized and specialized troops in the corps level for this class, in the military history of the world.


A kazasker or kadıasker (Ottoman Turkish: قاضی عسكر‎, ḳāḍī'asker, "military judge") was a chief judge in the Ottoman Empire, so named originally because his jurisdiction extended to the cases of soldiers, who were later tried only by their own officers. Two kazaskers were appointed, called Rumeli Kazaskeri and Anadolu Kazaskeri, having their jurisdiction respectively over the European and the Asiatic part of the Empire. They were subordinated to the Grand Vizier, later Şeyhülislam, and had no jurisdiction over the city of Constantinople. Moreover, they attended the meetings at the Imperial Council.A Kazasker handled appeals to the decisions of kadı's, had the power to overrule these, and suggested kadı candidates to the Grand Vizier.

Kurds in Jordan

Kurds in Jordan refers to people born in or residing in Jordan who are of Kurdish origin. The Kurdish population in Jordan is approximately 30,000 and they mainly live in the cities of Amman, Irbid, Salt and Zarqa. The approximately 100 years old community are almost completely integrated into the Jordanian society. Because of the integration of the Kurdish community, they do not have a granted seat in the Parliament of Jordan.Kurds have been living in Jordan since 1173 with the establishment of Saladin's Ayyubid dynasty. Kurds in the military of the Ottoman Empire later settled in Salt.

Kurds fled to Jordan as a result of the Kurdish massacres in Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s, more Kurds arrived to Jordan from Palestine during the Nakba and the 1967 Palestinian exodus and later Kurdish refugees arrived to Jordan from Iraq after the Gulf War. There are also many Iranian Kurds in Jordan as refugees as a result of the Islamic revolution of Iran.The former Jordanian Prime Minister Saad Jumaa was of Kurdish origin.


Mehmetçik (literally: Little Mehmet) is a general term used affectionately to refer soldiers of the Ottoman Army and Turkish Army. It is similar to the colloquialisms Tommy Atkins, Doughboy, and Digger used for the British, U.S., and Austrialian armies. Although it is used for especially infantryman (foot soldier), terms such like Piyade Mehmetçik (Infantryman Little Mehmet) and Süvari Mehmetçik (Cavalryman Little Mehmet), Topçu Mehmetçik (Artilleryman Little Mehmet) have occasionally been seen.It is considered that "Mehmetçik" was coined after Ottoman Army Sergeant Bigalı Mehmet Çavuş (1878–1964), who fought during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I.

Military ranks of the Ottoman Empire

The military ranks of the Ottoman Empire may be visually identified by the military insignia used during the Military of the Ottoman Empire.

Nöker (military)

Nöker was a group of military comrades in the medieval Mongolian and Turkic armies. The word nöker means "comrade" in Mongol Langıage.

The nökers were led by a leader and they were loyal to their leader. These relationships lasted for life. In turn, the leader was responsible for maintaining the wealth of the nökers. According to historian Halil İnalcık, the nöker was comparable to commendatio or homage of the medieval armies in Europe.


A Pirzada (Persian: پیرزاده ‎) is historically described as official custodians of Sufi mausoleums and shrines in Muslim lands, with their earliest mentions being in Baghdad, Iraq, during the period of the Umayyad caliphate. Often a Peerzada was a descendant of those buried within the tomb they were assigned to, hence most of the Peerzadas are syeds.

It also serves as surname for their ascendants in many Indo-Aryan cultures and their accompanying languages, with Peerzada translating into “the son of a saint” in Persian. Today, predominantly-Muslim families bearing the name can be found in various regions around the world, including Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and the northern regions of India. Much of their lineage can be traced to the central Asian plateaus, consisting of the Soviet Union’s former republics, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Much of the modern-day Peerzada diaspora derives from the mass migration of the community from Central Asia towards several different areas immediately at a date that is estimated to be sometime during the 15th century.

Polish Legion in Turkey

The Polish Legion in Turkey (Polish: Legion Polski w Turcji) was a military force formed in Istanbul by emigrants from Partitioned Poland to fight with the Ottoman Army in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). At the beginning of the nineteenth century the unit consisted of around 20,000 troops.It was divided into two branches: European and Asian. The European branch, with about 70 people under the command of Józef Jagmin, became part of the division under Salha Pasha. On August 23, 1877, it took part in the Battle of Kizlarz, where many legionnaires died. The Asian division fought on the Caucasian front.

Silahdar Agha

The Silahdar Agha was a palace office of the Ottoman Empire, denoting the principal page of the Ottoman Sultan. As such its holders were persons of great influence, and provided many senior officials and even Grand Viziers.

The title derives from the Persian silahdar, meaning "arms-bearer", a title originally adopted by the Great Seljuks to denote one of the Sultan's principal aides, who bore his weapon and was responsible for the army's arsenal. The Ottomans inherited this title and elevated it further: by the time of Mehmed II (r. 1451–81) the Silahdar Agha was the second-in-command of the Sultan's Privy Chamber (Hass Oda) underneath the hass oda bashi. The Privy Chamber in turn was the senior of the four chambers making up the palace's Inner Service (Enderûn) under the Kapi Agha.The Silahdar Agha's duties in the palace involved handling all communications to and from the Sultan, as well as assisting him in all public ceremonies or travels, where the Agha accompanied the sovereign carrying his sword. The Silahdar Agha was also in charge of a special bodyguard regiment, the silahdar bölüğü or sarı bayrak bölüğü ("Yellow Banner Division") after its distinctive flag. The unit grew from 2,000 silahdars under Mehmed II to 2,780 in 1568, 2,930 in 1588, 5,000 in 1597, 6,244 in 1660, 7,683 in 1699, 10,821 in 1713, reaching 12,000 under Mahmud II (r. 1808–39).Due to their proximity to the Sultan, the holders of the post were highly influential, and many occupants moved on to senior positions in the Ottoman government, including the supreme post of Grand Vizier. The post rose to such importance that in 1704 its holders assumed the last remaining powers of the once powerful Kapi Agha. The last holder of the office was Giritli Ali Pasha, who died in 1831. Sultan Mahmud II thereupon abolished the post, merging it with the steward of the treasury (khazine kethüdası).

Telli Baba

Telli Baba, a Muslim saint and Shaykh of the Qadiri Sufi order buried on the Bosphorus coast in the Sarıyer area of Istanbul.There are several legends about the identity of Telli Baba. According to some sources, his real name was Imam Abdullah Efendi, and he was killed in action while serving as chaplain in the Military of the Ottoman Empire of Mehmed the Conqueror.People have reported their wishes coming true after visiting and supplicating at the tomb.

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