Useful Notes / Turks with Troops

"Osman saw himself and his host reposing near each other.
From the bosom of Edebali rose the full moon,
and inclining towards the bosom of Osman it sank upon it, and was lost to sight.
After that a goodly tree sprang forth, which grew in beauty and in strength, ever greater and greater.
still did the ambracing verdure of its boughs and branches cast an ampler and an ampler shade,
until they canopied the extreme horizon of the three parts of the world. Under the tree stood
four mountains, which he knew to be Caucasus,
Atlas, Taurus, and Haemus."
Osman's Dream, the traditional epic of the Ottoman Empire

Oghuz Turks have long and not without justice been reputed to be a Proud Warrior Race. The present day nation of Turkey was descended from the Ottoman Empire which was founded by border raiders in Asia Minor. These formed themselves into a conquering Empire which was able to subjugate large parts of the Balkans. At one of its key moments the Ottomans were, in 1453, able to take Constantinople which was the last trace of The Roman Empire. After this they grew to become one of the greatest powers in the world.

The Ottomans were checked by the improvements in military technique and increase in economic production by European powers. They were driven back in a series of wars by Austria and Russia. Subjugated powers began revolting in the nineteenth century, and the Ottoman Empire itself became a Vestigial Empire. So Vestigal in fact that one of the main reasons it survived was that other powers were afraid Russia would conquer it first and upset the Balance of Power.

During World War I the Ottoman Empire fought on the German side. It gave a fairly good account of itself, but in the end lost most of its empire, and upon surrendering, significant chunks of its Anatolian heartland were given—directly or indirectly—to Greece, Italy, and France. However in a curious twist of fate it managed to resurrect itself. The Turkish General Kemal Ataturk, who had distinguished himself at Gallipoli, put himself at the head of a nationalist movement which prevented the total collapse of Turkish independence (ironically, despite being a militant secularist, the mass of peasants who followed him showed up because he managed to convince an assembly of muftis to declare a jihad). Turkey reformed itself from a Vestigial Empire into a nation state under Ataturk who was, for the Turks, sort of a semi-benign cross between a Glorious Leader and a Cincinnatus. During World War II it stayed neutral and was able to do so both because of its formidable if old fashioned army, and because of the geopolitical skills of its leaders. During The Cold War the Turks took the anti-communist side and Turkish troops fought with distinction in The Korean War (amusingly, the Greeks showed up, too; there are no reports on what they thought of one another). Turkey joined NATO in 1952 as part of the first enlargement, at the same time as Greece. Turkey now has the second-largest army in NATO after the Yanks with Tanks.

Appearances in fiction

  • America America is Elia Kazan's semi-fictionalized account of his uncle's escape from oppression in latter 19th century Ottoman Empire Turkey.
  • Gallipoli.
  • Lawrence of Arabia.
  • Kurtlar Vadisi (English title Valley of The Wolves note )
  • Ararat
  • O Şimdi Asker (He is a Soldier Now): Chronicles the experiences of a group of soldiers scheduled for short-term conscrption but ended up getting stuck in the military when a crisis with Greece breaks out. Somewhat critical of the army but ultimately focusing on the True Companions that grow between the diverse range of characters.
  • The Lark Farm (La Masseria Delle Allodole), an Italian-made film about the World War I-era deportations of Armenians by the Turkish military.
    • Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan, the novel which the above film was based on.
  • Rampage, aka. Turkish Rambo.

  • The Turkish Gambit novel from Erast Fandorin series (also the movie).
  • Emilio Salgari (better known for his Sandokan novels wrote two novels, Capitan Tempesta e Il Leone di Damasco, centered around the war between Venice and the Ottoman Empire for control of Cyprus and the Battle of Lepanto.

Live-Action TV
  • Mash shows the Turks as part of the Korean War fighting force, and as such visiting the 4077th every so often. One scene had a Turk/Greek fight broken up by a pissed-off Father Mulcahy.
  • Diriliş Ertuğrul, a Turkish historical television series chronicling the deeds of Ertuğrul Bey, father of Osman Ghazi Haan, that could be best described as "Vikings with Central Asian nomads". Not that there isn't a significant amount of overlap between those two groups.

Video Games
  • In Battlefield 1, the Ottoman Empire and its forces face off against the British Empire in multiplayer. In singleplayer. they are the main opposing force in two of the War Stories, The Runner (based on the Battle of Gallipoli) and Nothing Is Written (based on the Arab Revolt).
  • The Total War series features the Ottoman Empire as a playable faction in the original Medieval, Medieval II, Empire, and Napoleon.
  • The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power plays an important role in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Most of the game takes place in and around Constantinople, and various factions within the Sultan's court serve as allies or enemies to the Assassins' cause.


Alternative Title(s): Ottoman Empire