Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seljuk dynasty

Has Erdogan of Turkey lost it? Ill-health, internal troubles, increased external alienation…

Erdogan is ruling Turkey since 2002, backed by his Moslem Brotherhood “Justice and development” Party.  Any ruler in power for 10 years is bound to become a de facto dictator, no longer in touch with the needs of his people, the little people who want earthly kinds of happiness: Food, health, security, equality in entitled rights and responsiblities…

All the “democratic” gimmicks of fair elections cannot obscure the smokescreen tactics: Erdogan has been trying to convince the world community that Turkey is on the proper path to peaceful democratic transition of power…

Erdogan has lost it:

1. He is in terrible ill-health. He refrained from appearing in public for over 6 months and the very few new pictures of him are devoid of good health…

2. Instead of focusing his attention at resolving the Kurdish problem, integrating the kurds are equal citizens with fair treatment…Erdogan is boasting of having killed 500 Kurdish insurgents this month alone…and vowing to eradicate thousands of them by military operations…

3. The Kurds counter-reactions are as violent…cars have been exploding in large cities in Turkey and in the Capital Istanbul…and the military operations are increasing and the insurgents are learning to cope and return to the offensive…

Mind you that the internal instabilities in Turkey are much prior to the Syrian uprising. Most probably, Erdogan figured out that turning against the Syrian regime might unite the Turkish “Nation” against a fictional enemy…and relieve him from his internal pressures and delaying their resolutions…

Syria has turned down the proposal of Erdogan to help him militarily to crush the Kurdish unrest on the borders…

4. Turkey has antagonized many surrounding States, such as Iran, Iraq, and the States around the Black Sea. The previous strategy of making peace with all the surrounding States has gone to pieces. Why? The Turkish regime is turning authoritarian and nationalist chauvinist, and adopting the Attaturk slogan “Turkey is for the Turks”

5. Erdogan foreign minister convinced him to “get engaged in Syria and reflect later…”. Wrong and deadly judgment: Syria and Turkey have thousands of years of emmeshed history and common communities…(See note). The Western nations refrained from taking seriously Turkey’s direct and vast strategic plans on the Syrian problems…

6. So far, there are over 80,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, and preparations are suggesting that Turkey is expecting the number to increase to 130,000 very shortly. The political immersion in Syria’s affairs has dwindled the support for the Turkish Moslem Brotherhood Party: The Turkish citizens are very apprehensive of the massive infiltration of foreign militias and radical Islamists entering Turkey, supposedly to fight in Syria, but most of them trying to find refuge in Turkey.

The Arab States are refusing to let the former jihadists return home, and prefer to dispatch them to Hot Spots, regions specifically created to keep the jihadists on the move and away from their home States…

7. Erdogan and the President Abdullah Gul are in the process of a long internal infighting: Erdogan dismissed and retired many high officers in the army who were counted on the President and taking political engagements not to the satisfaction of Gul…

8. There is this trend of transforming Turkey into another Pakistan, very unstable, fragile, and radical, and the reactions of Erdogan are encouraging this political instability…The consequences of the long difficulties and instability in Afghanistan has affected the political/social structure in Pakistan. 

The Syrian instability is affecting the Turkish political/social structure and radicalizing the ‘minorities” in Turkey, especially the Kurds and the Alawits, both them forming at least 45% of the total population.

The Alawit Moslem sect, forming 15% of Syria population and about 20% in Turkey, is a mixture of Shia and Sufi interpretation of Islam. This sect were persecuted for a thousand years by the dominant Sunni Caliphat and they took refuge in high mountain chains. The Ottoman military formation the Inkishariyat was suppressed by the Sultan in 1826 and the disbanded soldiers assembled in secret sects, associating with the Alawit secret organizations and spreading in the Balkan region…

Note 1: Post partially inspired from an article by Jihad Zein in the daily Al Nahar.

Note 2: The “Turks” are nomadic tribes from current Turkmenistan and neighboring central Asia States who united and defeated the Byzantium army around 1080 and established the Seljuk dynasty.

Historical background: “Rainbow over the Levant”

Note: I decided to split the background chapter of my novel “Rainbow over the Levant” in two parts.

This novel has been published 5 years ago on my blog in serial chapters.

A quick summary of the history of this region, the Levant or Near East (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Turkey), starting two centuries preceding the fiction events of this novel, can shed a satisfactory understanding for the setting of this historical fiction around the last quarter of the 14thcentury AD.

The Mameluks’ Sultan Baybars of Egypt had dislodged the Christian Crusaders from every remaining city in the Near East in 1291. The chased out Crusaders forces were just holding on to the island of Cyprus.

The Caliphates of the Arab empire, who were virtual rulers in Baghdad since the 9th century, were restored to their virtual religious polarization in Cairo under the Mameluks’ hegemony.

The Crusaders from Christian Europe had been defeated previously in 1187 in a critical battle of Hittine in Palestine by Saladin who managed that feat after reigning as Sultan in both capitals of Cairo and Damascus.

To better comprehend the Levant history we need to stress on the facts that the entire region that composes the present States of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and even Iraq (from the 12th century onward) has been throughout its long history under the direct or indirect domination of empires in Iran, Turkey or Egypt.

The local Emirs or appointed governors paid tributes to one of these powerful centers in return to governing their internal affairs, participating in military campaigns and defending the political dominions and interests of the regional Great Sultans.  The reigning Sultan of Egypt had the upper hand in this period of the novel in the Near East region.

In the 10th century, two dynasties ruled part of the Middle East. In Egypt, the Shiite Moslem Fatimid dynasty, coming from Northern Africa established their Caliphate in Cairo and stretched its influence to Aleppo in Syria. Their successor, the Ayyubid Sunni Moslem dynasty, from Kurdish descent, displaced the Fatimid.

The Mamluks (the serfs who came to hold high political and military powers in the Ayyubid dynasty) rose to power and defeated the Mogul invasion in two crucial battles in Palestine in 1260 at Elbistan.

In Iran, the Seljuk dynasty stretched their empire to Samarqand, Bukhara, Khorassan, Afghanistan, part of Turkey, Syria and part of Lebanon. They fought the Crusaders in the Near East during most of their reign through the intermediary of their appointed “Atabeks” in Turkey and Syria.

The Seljuk dynasty was taken over by the Khowarasmi dynasty whose Sultans were at odd with the Caliphate of Baghdad and helped the hordes of Genghis Khan the Mogul, led by his son Holako, to enter and devastate Baghdad in 1258 which ended the Arabic Empire.

The Moguls established two Viceroys in Iraq, one at Mosul in the Northern part and the second in Baghdad for the Southern part of Iraq.  The Arabic Era that lasted for 5 centuries ended as a cultural and organizational influence. The Emirs in Palestine were generally affiliated to the Sultan of Egypt.  .

The societies in the Levant region have experienced a different level of organizational skills and the beginning of the application of the rudiment written rules of Laws from their interaction with the European Crusaders.  We don’t have much information about the status of Mount Lebanon in that period or about its Emirs, its social structure, its allegiances, its demographic constituency or its economic development.

We assume that the Crusaders left a strong impact on the inhabitants in Mount Lebanon which forced the Arab Emirs to start relocating many Arab tribes from Southern Iraq into the Mount Lebanon regions to counterbalance the Christian population.

Even before the advent of the Arabic Empire, Christian monasteries were numerous and spread out throughout the Near East and Iraq and occupied the top of mountains, hills, and the best areas near fresh water sources in the same fashion you notice them currently in Mount Lebanon.

The monks had their special chambers (kelayye) for retreats and prayers.  Monasteries were very prosperous and maintained exquisite gardens of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables and were well stocked in provisions from their land and donations of the faithful.

During the Arabic Empire, monasteries were required to set up annexes of hostels in order to receive weary travelers and to lodge and feed them.  Usually, the relatives of monks maintained these hostels.  Caliphs, Emirs, and well to do noblemen used to patronize the monasteries and spent days in these quiet domains to eat, drink local wine and beer and have great time away from the scrutiny of city dwellers.

The monasteries in the Levant suffered during the Crusaders’ period because of the bad manners of the European invaders, their robbery and plunder, but the monasteries in Iraq and Eastern Turkey were as prosperous as ever because the crusaders did not venture deep in the land of Arabic Empire.

Many castles were demolished during that bloody period, a few were partially rehabilitated, but a lot of reconstruction of war infrastructure was needed.  What is important to note is that wars were no longer waged using chars with spiked wheels that harvest feet or employed exotic animals such as elephants as during the Antiquity.

Canons of wars were not invented yet, except may be in remote China where they were used during the main ceremonies related to their standing emperors. Wars were still waged with infantry, cavalry and archers in the conventional ways. Newly designed catapults for throwing rocks at castles’ walls and entrances were in use by rich nations with well equipped and sophisticated armies.

The full metal armor used by the crusaders was reduced by the noblemen to a vest of meshed chains and a metal helmet: The climate may not have been suitable to European fashion, since we do enjoy at least 7 months of hot and dry seasons.




January 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,515,935 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 822 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: