Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Othoman Empire

This article is not about Elliot Ness TV series of cracking down on bootleggers in Chicago of the 30’s.  It is about millions living in India and ranked the lowest in the caste system; they are called the “Untouchables”.  India wants to be fair to its thousand of minorities in religion, caste, community, and tribe in the government’s administrative positions and public services; it is currently trying to carry out a general census; among the thorny questions are selecting  the most pertinent castes and communities an individual believes he is part of. 

There are problems in this census: First, if an individual feels proud of his caste and agrees to be classified then he is a t a loss how to define his caste; for example, should he classify his social status according to his religious sect, his community, his historical class system, or his working class jobs assigned to every caste?  Second, if an individual disagrees with including caste information then the censor will choose for him and thus rob him from any fair opportunity to education, health facilities, public openings, and private enterprises biases.  Private enterprises don’t need an applicant to mention his caste since they have their idiosyncracies and rely totally on their pre-dispositions toward religious, or districts, or community, or color, or gender preferences to discriminate unabashedly: India do not enjoy anti-discrimination laws in the private sector. Even the USA and the Western European States cannot apply effectively anti-discrimination laws on peoples behaviors.

Fact is, designated “educated” censors, going house to house collecting data, feel very uncomfortable broaching the questions on castes.  My intuition is that censors will answer the question relying on their “common sense” of the most probable caste of the individual.  Consequently, even if the Indian government has the political will to be fair with all its citizens (Equality is said Samaata in Hindu) the odds are that the census will be hugely biased since illiteracy is pre-dominant in India among the lowest castes based on the political and social caste structure.

India believes that it has over 3,000 castes and distinct communities classified under “Other backward classes” (OBC) and representing over 50% of the entire population.  It is believed that only 27% of these OBC are represented in the public services.

There are many Indians quick to put the entire blame on the British colonial power for this caste structure or subdivision in order to efficiently selecting the most appropriate Indians in the army and administrative jobs.  I beg to differ.  Caste system is as old as antiquity in India and has been refined and structured by the Buddhist religion and Brahmans.  Fact is, the Ottoman Empire borrowed the Indian caste system and applied it in the 16th century to all his extended conquered lands. 

The Ottoman Empire was expanding militarily into Europe and economic and cultural embargo and boycott between the Ottoman Empire and the Western European nations settled in for over two centuries.  Thus, the Ottoman Empire turned toward Persia and India for whatever it lacked in administration knowhow, economy, and culture.  The caste system in Lebanon is consequent to the Ottoman administration for over four centuries.  The British made used of the existing de-facto structure to legislate it and fine tune it according to its interests.

Most religious sects in India do not discriminate among castes within their religion but many try to convert to other more favored religions in order to get out of their caste.  This strategy does not work:  It is how you are perceived through many centuries of traditions and customs that effectively discriminate among people.

The Indian Constitution guaranties equality among its citizens but the effective application is far too slow and lacking political will.  Gandhi worked relentlessly to eliminate the Untouchable notion in India and he was relatively successful in his life time to making the Indian culture getting more aware of this horrendous injustice.

Turkey’s Strategy

In part one, I explained the many problems that Turkey resolved with its neighboring States such as Greece, Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  The long-term strategy of the Turkish State in the coming two decades is to be at a par  with Italy, France, and Spain in deciding for the Mediterranean Sea peace, security, and development. To be able to be a credible partner and valued mediator Turkey has, in the mean time, to iron out all its historical and current difficulties with its global neighboring regions such as the Balkan States (such as Bulgaria, Romainia, Albania, and Serbia), the Caucasus States (such as Armenia, Azerbajan, Georgia, and Tchechnia), the Central Asian States (such as Tajikistan, and Uzbakistan), the Middle East States (such as Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan), the Near East States (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine), the major north African States (Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco), and the Arab Gulf States. 

The Balkan States have over four centuries of interactions with the Othoman Empires.  Even in the 15th century, most princes in the Balkan States were vassals to the Turkish Prince who later will be called Sultan and the Caliph of Moslem after defeating the Mamelouk Sultan of Egypt in the 16th century.  Even the Byzantium Emperor was a vassal, paid tribute,  and had to join the Turkish Prince in his expansion wars.  After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, (the Turkish Prince had build a navy and blocked any sea entrance to Constantinople for sea supplies and secour by Genoa and Venice), the Othoman Empire expanded to all Central Europe and the Caucasus region. 

The Othoman Empire set siege twice to Vienne (later the Capital of the Habsburg Empire) and Vienna suffered famine and was saved at the nick of time.  At that time, there was no Russian Empire and the only Kingdom that could come to the rescue was the Catholic Kingdom of Poland that included current Belorussia and Ukraine.  Obviously, Greece was also part of Othoman Empire and the dividing line between Turkey and the rest of Europe was the Danub River (the eastern part of Hungary was under Othoman domination.)

Emperess Catherine of Russia in the 18th century expanded the Russian Empire toward the Caucasus and Central Europe.  The Balkan States were freed from the Othoman occupation but were vassals to various European Nations such as France, England, Russia, and mainly Austria (that was desintegrated after WWI) as the Othoman Empire (allied to Germany) was then defeated.  Communist Russia or the Soviet Union set claim to most of the Caucasus States and a few Central Europe States. 

The Caucasus region and many Central European States share many cultural, customs, linguistic, and culinary traditions (even among the Orthodox Christians) with the Turkish traditions.  It seems that Turkey managed diplomatic and political entente with most of these States and the oil pipelines crossing Turkey from the oil production sources in Azerbajan and the Ural region of Russia are vital economic relief to all these regional States. Turkey managed a peaceful settlement of the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabach within Azerbajan.

During the Cold War, the military regime in Turkey sided with the USA against Communist Russia and Turkey was included in the OTAN.  As West Germany was the main buffer Zone to the remaining Western European States, Turkey was the main buffer zone to the effective expansion of the Soviet Unions in the Middle East.  Israel was but a secondary ally and a typical mercenary State that the Western Powers supplied financially, militarily, economically, and politically so that the Israeli Jewish soldiers pay the price for believing that they were building their ancestral mythical State (that never existed historically but in stories in their Bible).  Fact is, most Arab States had sided with the US who purchased oil and supported the Arab monarchies and dictators.

The Soviet Unions extended defensive arms to the Middle East States because it refused to witness a reverse immigration of the Russian Jews.  Egypt was the main State that received substantial economic and financial aid from Soviet Unions, not because Egypt was viewed as the largest Arab State but mainly because Egypt did not consider itself directly concerned with the Israeli/Palestinian cause until the invasion of Israel, France, and England in 1956 on the Suez canal.

Turkey and Iran have a long history of interactions since antiquity.  Fact is, most of the Persian dynasties were Turkish in origine.  In the 18th century, the Persian Safafid dynasty was indeed a Turkish tribe and then, it turned to Chiaa Islamic sect and expanded its territory all the way to Afganistan and Central Asia.  Then, as it wanted to expand westward, the Othoman Sultan defeated badly the Safafid monarch and the current borders between the two nations were drawn at that period and remain intact since then.  Thus, the Othoman Sultan got control of Iraq and the Arabic Peninsula (current Saudi Arabia).

As the tribe of Seoud in the Hijjaz reverted to a fundamentalist Wahhabit sect and expanded in the Arabic Peninsula then, the Othoman Sultan dispatched one of his generals Muhammad Ali (Albanian of origine) to crush the Wahhabit revolts.  Muhammad Ali was very successful and destroyed the Seoud tribe Capital.  Thus, Muhammad Ali was appointed governor of Egypt and then, turned against his master and established his own dynasty in Egypt.  Consequently, the political relationship between Turkey (OTAN) and Egypt of Gamal Abdel Nasser (who had no option left but to side with Russia for military hardware and economic development) were mainly cold for over 35 years.  Turkey is attempting to warm up with Egypt, but the current Mubarak political regime in Egypt is viewing the growing power of Turkey with suspicion since it supplanted Egypt as the main power broker in the Middle East with the Western nations.

Modern Turkey is no longer an Othoman Empire but its rapid strategy, in the last two decades, to link up with all its regional States that were part and parcel of its vast Empire for over 4 centuries is giving ammunition to the so-called “moderate” isolationist and defeatist States in the Arab World (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco) that refuse to reform and plan for the future.

Fact is, Turkey is the cornerstone State for the larger alliance among Iran, Syria, and Iraq for a stronger and much more stable Middle East political climate.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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