JAMRAH: THE HERALD of SPRİNG

The spring has not yet fully shown itself, but jamrah, the herald of spring, has already arrived. It is believed that jamrah brings warmth to the three aspects of nature of air, water and soil and had a deep cultural place among nomadic Turks
26 Şubat 2016 Cuma

HANDKERCHIEFS: THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Throughout history, there have been very few items used for multiple purposes. Among them, handkerchiefs have an interesting story both as decoration and clothing as well a means of communication between lovers
19 Şubat 2016 Cuma

KARAITE JEWS: THE READERS of HEBREW SCRIPTURES

The Karaim are a Jewish community that completely reject the Talmud oral law and only recognize the Torah. They continue their existence in different regions, including Lithuania and Turkey, and it is rumored that Istanbul's Karaköy neighborhood is named after them
12 Şubat 2016 Cuma

150 PERSONAE NON GRATAE: THE BLACK LIST OF THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED REPUBLIC

The Treaty of Lausanne marked the independence of Anatolia while also sealing the fates of 150 randomly selected people who only carried out their duty to their country and sultan
5 Şubat 2016 Cuma

WHY THE ISLAMIC WORLD FELL BEHIND IN SCIENCE

The Islamic world made significant contributions in different scientific fields up until the 15th century. These contributions are inevitably seen not only in science, but also in other fields such as art, trade and politics. So what happened to make the Islamic world fall behind in science while it rose in Europe? What are the reasons behind this downward trend?
29 Ocak 2016 Cuma

ADA KALEH: A TURKISH ISLAND IN THE DANUBE RIVER

Facing the port city of Orsova in southwestern Romania, Ada Kaleh was an island, whose previous population was entirely Turkish. Conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I, the island was under Romanian rule after the World War I. The island was submerged with the construction of a dam in the early 1970s and the residents either moved to Turkey or Balkan cities
22 Ocak 2016 Cuma

THE MOSUL QUESTION: A CLASH FOR OIL

Mosul was the last city that the Ottomans lost in World War I. The city was also the main reason for a long dispute between the Turkish and British governments, which suspended the Lausanne Peace Negotiations
15 Ocak 2016 Cuma

THE GOOD OLD DAYS, WHEN DUMPING SNOW IN THE BOSPORUS WAS AMUSEMENT

Snow was much more fun in the past. People used to forget everything when glittering snowflakes were falling on the ground. For some it was a pain. There were times when harsh weather and snow brought the end of a sultan
9 Ocak 2016 Cumartesi

NEWSPAPERS: AN INTELLECTUAL LEGACY of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Newspapers have always played an important part in society, shaping life both socially and politically. A number of newspapers were published in different languages including Arabic, Persian, French, Greek, Armenian and Bulgarian in the Ottoman Empire
1 Ocak 2016 Cuma

THE GALATA BANKERS: FINANCING OTTOMAN STATE

Bankers were very active in financing Ottoman-era trade. Based in the Galata quarter, the empire relied on them for long-term loans. Galata bankers, whose financial power reached its peak in the 19th century, were involved in the establishment of the state's first banks
18 Aralık 2015 Cuma

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TURKISH-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

The rivalry between Russia and the Ottoman Empire had shown itself in a series of wars, the most significant of which happened between 1877 and 1878. Balkan nationalism was the main reason behind the Russo-Turkish War, bringing many changes to both politics and economics
11 Aralık 2015 Cuma

FRAMING WOMEN'S STATUS THROUGH THE AGES

Throughout history, women have struggled for equality and gained political and civil rights gradually. In Islamic law, a number of binding provisions, although not very well known, were introduced to empower women at home and in society
4 Aralık 2015 Cuma

SICILY: AN ETERNAL MEETING POINT BETWEEN AFRICA AND EUROPE

Having harbored different civilizations for centuries, the gorgeous island of Sicily offers unparalled cultural richness bearing both Islamic and European heritage
27 Kasım 2015 Cuma

TURKISH-ARAB RELATIONS FROM PAST TO TODAY

The long-rooted relations between Turks and Arabs go back to the eighth century, notably after the Battle of Talas in 705. The ties between Arabs and Turks strengthened over the years, yet confronted difficult times when the Party of Union and Progress took power from the Ottoman government and instilled nationalist sentiments in the public
20 Kasım 2015 Cuma

SLAVERY AND ISLAM: A TRANSFORMATIVE MEETING

Slavery has existed in different civilizations over millennia. With the arrival of Islam, the institution of slavery was rehabilitated and many slaves were set free. During the Ottoman-era, slaves were trained as professional soldiers and statesmen
13 Kasım 2015 Cuma

THE BRIEF HISTORY of ELECTIONS in TURKEY

The first election in the Ottoman Empire took place in 1840, which established local councils in order to address issues related to administration and public order. While women's suffrage was introduced in 1935, the transition to a multi-party system occurred during the 1946 elections
30 Ekim 2015 Cuma

ASHURA: THE TRADITIONAL DESSERT EMBRACING PEOPLE FROM EVERY RELIGION

There are days in history on which many well – known incidents occurred, such as today. Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is one of those days. Ashura means 10th day in Semitic languages, and the customary dessert prepared on this day is also called ashura. Today, Oct. 23, is the Day of Ashura
23 Ekim 2015 Cuma

TURKISH CHEESES OFFER A VARIETY OF TASTES

Even though Turkey is not usually considered successful at commercializing cheese, Turkish cuisine offers just as good of a selection as other countries and has a variety of cheeses thanks to its proximity to Rumelia and the Caucasus, the homeland of dairy products, and the Middle East
16 Ekim 2015 Cuma

TRANSFORMATION OF OTTOMAN COFFEEHOUSES TO THE PRESENT

Coffehouses started to spread in Istanbul after 1554 when the first two coffeehouses opened in the city. First, the Ottoman administration did not interfere with the actions of the public as long as they did not disturb the political order and social life, but when they became the place for secret meetings, coffee houses began to draw the authorities' attention
9 Ekim 2015 Cuma

THE STORY OF THE STAR AND CRESCENT ON THE ARMS OF TWO EUROPEAN CITIES

There are many theories explaining the star and crescent on the coats of arms of the Irish city of Drogheda and the English city of Portsmouth. What is the story behind these symbols?
2 Ekim 2015 Cuma

QURBAN BAYRAM: HOW DO MUSLIMS CELEBRATE A HOLY FEAST?

Muslims celebrate Qurban Bayram, one of most important festivals in the Islamic calender along with Eid al-Fitr. The holiday marks the end of the hajj period and involves animal sacrifices as a symbol of Abraham's sacrifice to God
25 Eylül 2015 Cuma

MAHPEYKER KOSEM SULTAN: THE WOMAN WHO OVERSAW 3 GENERATIONS of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Kösem Sultan was one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history. She found herself in the midst of political chaos after her husband Sultan Ahmed I died, but she eliminated her opponents even though she suffered a bitter death. While some historians say she was a master manipulator, others think she was a prominent actor who helped ensure the empire's survival
18 Eylül 2015 Cuma

LITERACY IN OTTOMAN SOCIETY WAS HIGHER THAN BELIEVED

The statistics of the early Republican era suggest the literacy rate in the Ottoman Empire was lower than 10 percent. However, these numbers do not reflect the truth, as the alphabet reform introduced Latin letters to replace the Ottoman Arabic alphabet, thereby making much of the literate population effectively illiterate
11 Eylül 2015 Cuma

HOSTILITY BETWEEN SELIM I AND ISMAIL I UNDERLIES SECTARIAN DIFFERENCES

Selim I and Ismail I, two Muslim rulers that reigned over the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Persian Empire, two major powers in the 16th century, always had a hostile attitude toward each other that arose from political conflicts and sectarian differences. This conflict led to the Çaldıran War, which concluded with a decisive Ottoman victory and started the dissolution of the Safavids
4 Eylül 2015 Cuma

IMAM SHAMIL: A PIONEER OF THE CAUCUSES'S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

As a member of a noble Avar family, Imam Shamil burned the fire of independence in Dagestan against its Russian oppressors by uniting local tribes. When he was captured after 25 years of heroic resistance, Russian Tsar Alexander II personally met with him and even admired him for his resistance
28 Ağustos 2015 Cuma

THE DEVŞIRME SYSTEM: A LADDER TO THE TOP OF THE STATE FOR NON-MUSLIMS

The Devşirme Act, which was issued in the 15th century, allowed the taking of sons of non-Muslim citizens and putting them into government service to be trained. The system trained 64 grand viziers as well as many important statesmen and army officers. The system worked functionally until 1633, when it began to fail due to the inclusion of children from Muslim families
22 Ağustos 2015 Cumartesi

THE SPANISH TREASURE LYING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ATLANTIC

After the Spanish reached the shores of the Americas they began exploiting the continent, but struggled against pirates while carrying plundered treasure back to Europe. Even though other powers cut them down to size in the 19th century, it created many areas with Spanish culture and the Spanish language
14 Ağustos 2015 Cuma

THE HISTORY of FRATRICIDE in the OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Undoubtedly, fratricide is one of the most controversial topics in Ottoman history. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror's Law of Governance imparted the right of executing the male members of the dynasty to his son in order to prevent an interregnum. There were different practices regarding fratricide throughout the empire's history, with most of them seen as legitimate, but some executions, done to prevent a possible revolt, were criticized as illegitimate
6 Ağustos 2015 Perşembe

THE HISTORICAL CITY GATES OF ISTANBUL

Built in the 5th century, the walls of Istanbul, which are some of the oldest remaining city walls, were used for military and public purposes in the past. Today, most of the gates to the city are associated with the name of neighborhoods that settled around them throughout history
31 Temmuz 2015 Cuma

THE STORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE'S CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY

The Ottoman Empire imposed a constitutional monarchy for the second time on July 23, 1908, 30 years after the first unsuccessful attempt. While the sultan's authority was limited, power shifted to the military and bureaucracy, which dragged the country into WWI
24 Temmuz 2015 Cuma