Ottoman wars in Asia

Mehmet II
Selim I
Süleyman I
Murat IV

Ottoman wars in Asia refers to the wars involving the Ottoman Empire in Asia. Ottoman Empire was founded at the beginning of the 14th century. Its original settlement was in the north west Anatolia (Asiatic part of the modern Turkey) where it was a small beylik (principality). Its main rival was Byzantine Empire. In 1350s Ottomans were able to cross the Dardaneles strait and eventually they conquered whole south east Europe. Although they mainly concentrated on Europe, they also fought in Asia.

Wars against other beyliks

In the early years of the 14th century, there were many Turkish beyliks in Anatolia. The first Ottoman sultan (then known as bey) Osman I was careful not to provoke the neighbouring beyliks. Second sultan Orhan was the very first Ottoman ruler who was engaged in a war against other beyliks. He annexed the territory of Karesi beylik, another beylik to the south of Ottoman beylik. [1]His son Murat I established hegemony on most of the beyliks in Anatolia mainly by diplomacy (dowery, purchase etc.) [2] Beyazıt I continued expansion policy by harsher methods. At the end of the 14th century most beyliks were incorporated into Ottoman realm. However in 1402, Beyazıt was defeated by Timur, a Turkic conqueror from Turkestan in the Battle of Ankara and the newly annexed beyliks (except Karesi) regained their independence. [3] During the reigns of Mehmet I, Murat II and Mehmet II (the Conqueror), Ottomans reconquered all beyliks with the exception of two, which were the vassals of Mamluk Empire in Egypt.

Wars against Christian principalities in Anatolia

During Ottoman expansion, there were only three important Christian territories; Cilician Kingdom of Armenia in Çukurova (Cilicia in south Turkey) was conquered by the Mamluks of Egypt in 1375 and İzmir, a part of Knights Hospitaller, was captured by Timur in 1402.[4] Ottomans captured İzmir from Aydın Beylik and Çukurova from Ramazan Beylik. Empire of Trebizond in east Black Sea region was conquered by Mehmet II in 1461.[5] There were also some Christian (Republic of Genoa, Republic of Venice) forts some of which were in alliance with Karaman Beylik. When Ottomans conquered Karaman, the most important beylik, during the reign of Mehmet II, these forts also fell to Ottoman Empire.

Wars against Turkmens in eastern Anatolia

Towards the end of the 14th century east of Central Anatolia was under the hegemony of a Turkmen leader named Kadı Burhaneddin. Beyazıt I tried to conquer his territory without success. After his death Ottomans faced with a more powerful rival. In the 15th century tribes in the east, were united into a tribal confederation named Akkoyunlu (Turkish phrase meaning "White Sheep"). In 1473, Mehmet II defeated Akkoyunlu sultan Uzun Hasan in the Battle of Otlukbeli. [6] After this battle all of the Central Anatolia and parts of East Anatolia became Ottoman possessions.

Wars against Mamluk Egypt

Egypt was under the rule of a military cast named Mamluks. Mamluks were actually Turks and Circassians. Ottomans were unable to defeat Mamluks in the initial clashes during the reign of Beyazıt II. However the Mamluks supported Safavid Persia against the Ottomans and this give the Ottoman sultan Selim I (the Grim) the necessary cause to wage a war to Egypt. His grand vizier Hadim Sinan Pasha defeated Dulkadir Beylik in Southeast Anatolia, a Mamluk vassal in 1516. Ramazan Beylik, the other Mamluk vassal in Çukurova (Cilicia) voluntarily accepted the Ottoman suzerainty. During Selim’s long campaign to Egypt in 1516-18, Mamluks were defeated three times; in the Battle of Marj Dabiq, the Battle of Yaunis Khan and the Battle of Ridanieh (The first and the third personally commanded by Selim and the second by Hadim Sinan Pasha). Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon as well as Egypy fell under Ottoman domination. Hejaz region (of Saudi Arabia) voluntarily accepted Ottoman suzerainty. Selim took the religious title caliph.[7]

Wars against Safavid Persia

After the death of Uzun Hasan of Akkoyunlu, Ismail I of Safavid house began controlling Persia and East Anatolia. Sect differences between the two countries led to a war. In 1514 Selim I defeated Persian army in the Battle of Chaldiran and annexed most of East Anatolia. War continued during the reign of Suleyman I (the Magnificent) . Three of Suleyman’s campaigns were directed to Persia. (1534-35, 1548-49, 1553-55) The war ended by the Treaty of Amasya in 1555. Whole East Anatolia as well as mid and north Iraq became parts of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, south Iraq fell voluntarily to Ottoman suzerainty. Ottomans annexed most of West Iran and Caucasus by the Treaty of Ferhat Pasha at the end of the renewed war of 1578-1590 during the reign Murat III. But, after the attack of Shah Abbas of Persia, they had to abandon their 1590-gains by the Treaty of Nasuh Pasha in 1612 during the reign of Ahmet I. In 1623, Persians also captured Baghdad in mid Iraq, but Murat IV recaptured the city in 1639. [8] At the end of the war the present western borderline of Iran was drawn by the Treaty of Zuhab.

Further Persian wars

During Hotaki, Afsharid and Qajar dynasties of Persia, Ottomans fought against Persia several times with little gain to either side. At the end of wars, the border line drawn was almost the same as that of Treaty of Zuhab.(Present Turkey-Iran and Iraq-Iran border lines.)[9]

Naval wars in the Indian Ocean

In 1538, Suleyman I sent a navy to Indian Ocean. Although Hadim Süleyman Pasha, the captain of the navy failed to capture any bridgehead in India, he captured Aden and most of Yemen. A few years later, a Portuguese Navy tried to dominate in the Red Sea after Süleyman Pasha's return. However Ottoman captain Piri Reis (an important cartographer of the 16th century) defeated the navy and restored the Ottoman dominance in the Red Sea in 1548. In 1552, he captured Muscat and the south coasts of Arabian Peninsula. Later he also captured small forts in Persian gulf. [10] Ottoman dominance on most of Arabian peninsula continued up to 20th century.

Napoleonic wars

General Napoleon Bonaparte of France invaded Egypt in 1798 and tried to annex Palestine as well. He easily captured Jaffa. His next target was Acre (now in north Israel) for the city controlled the route between Syria and Egypt. But after the stubborn defense of the city under the governor Cezzar Ahmet Pasha he had to retreat.[11]


After the Treaty of Zuhab in 1638, Ottoman Empire was able to keep the Asiatic territories up to the 20th century except for the disputable territories of the south and east coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. In the early years of the 20th century the main problem was the rebel in Yemen which was subdued. Ottoman Empire fought against the Allies in the First World War and was defeated . According to Armistice of Mudros Ottoman Empire accepted the loss of all territories in the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and most of Iraq. Although Turkey and North Iraq were still under Ottoman rule, soon Allies occupied the Mediterranean coast and North Iraq. They also offered Aegean coast to Greece and eastern Anatolia to newly establiahed Armenia by the Treaty of Sevres. However the treaty became ineffective during the Turkish War of Independence. At the end of the war the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist in 1922. The newly established Turkish Republic kept Mediterranean and Aegean coasts as well as the Eastern Anatolia by the Treaty of Lausanne.

See also


  1. ^ İnalcık, p.52
  2. ^ İnalcık, p.95-96
  3. ^ Agoston-Masters, p.82
  4. ^ Jorga, p.291
  5. ^ İnalcık, p.185
  6. ^ İnalcık, p177-178
  7. ^ Jorga Vol 2, p.283-286
  8. ^ Agaston-Masters, p.280
  9. ^ Agoston-Masters, p.281-282
  10. ^ Lord Kinross, p.237-240
  11. ^ Agaston Masters p.10


  • Halil İnalcık (2010). Kuruluş Dönemi Osmanlı Sultanları, 1302-1481. Istanbul: İslam Araştırmaları Merkezi. p. 262. ISBN . 
  • Nicolae Jorga (2009). Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches. trans by Nilüfer Epçeli. Istanbul: Yeditepe yayınları. ISBN . 
  • Gábor Ágoston; Bruce Masters (2009). Encyclopaedia of the Ottoman Empire. p. 650. ISBN . 
  • Lord Kinross (2008). The Ottoman Centuries. trans by Meral Gaspıralı. Istanbul: Altın Kitaplar. ISBN . 
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