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Turkey History



Turkey has such a rich history that it's hard to summarise on one page, but here at Direct Traveller we want you to understand this country's history and see how colourful and interesting it is, and how Turkey has formed in the path of over 25 thousand years of history. 

Turkish Historical timeline 

23,000 BC - A cave north of Antalya in Karain is inhabited by humans - 7500 BC - The first human community is formed 50km southeast of Konya 

5000 BC - Stone and Copper Age. - 2600 BC - Old Bronze Age. The Hittite empire flourishes 

1900 BC - The Hittite empire battles Egypt. Biblical Abraham leaves Turkey for Israel 

1250 BC - The battle for Troy rages between the Trojans and the Greeks, leaving Troy destroyed 

1200-600 BC - The Hellenic civilisation in Greece and Aegean Anatolia. King Midas reigns and coinage is invented by King Croesus. The kingdoms of Izmir (Ionia), Fethiye (Lycia), Marmaris (Caria) and Side (Pamphylia) thrive. 

547 BC - Cyrus of Persia invades and conquers most of Anatolia - 334 BC - Alexander the Great marches through on his way to India 

279 BC - Celts/Gauls invade and establish the kingdom of Galatia (near Ankara) 

129 BC - Anatolia becomes the Roman Province of Asia (Asia Minor) and Ephesus is the capital 

47-57 AD - St Paul travels to the Christian and Jewish communities in Anatolia 

330 AD - Emperor Constantine dedicates Istanbul (then Constantinople) as the "New Rome" - 527-565 AD - Reign of Justinian, greatest Byzantine emperor. Hagia Sophia built. 

1071-1243 - Seljuk Sultanate of Rum established in Anatolia with capital in Konya. Whirling Dervish Sufi Order inspired. 

1288 - Foundation of an Ottoman State by Osman a warrior chief near Bursa. 

1453 - Conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II - 1699 - Treaty of Karlowitz - First time that the Ottomans were decisively defeated and forced to sign a peace treaty as the losers. 

1876-1909 - Reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, one of the last powerful sultans 

1914-1918 - The Ottoman empire enters into alliance with Germany. Gallipoli is invaded and successfully defended by Mustafa Kemal. Eventual loss of foreign Ottoman territories. 

1919 - Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) establishes a resistance government at Ankara 

1922 - Greece invades Anatolia through Izmir and presses towards the new government 

1923 - Expulsion of the invading forces and proclamation of the Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal becomes the country's founder and first president. 

1923-1938 - Ataturk introduces equal rights for women, a secular government, the Latin alphabet instead of Arabic, and the Turkification of city names. Adoption of Gregorian calendar. 

1938 - Death of Ataturk - 1945 - Turkey joins United Nations 

1946-1950 - Institution of multi-party democracy. 


Legends & Crusaders

A large part of Turkey's culture is closely woven with folk lore, legend and crusaders of the past, which have given much of the landscape its exciting historic nature and ambience of mystique. 

The character of Nasreddin Hoca is one of the most popular Turkish figures of tales, and is often believed to have actually lived around the middle ages. In his stories he is usually presented as a wise man beneath the exterior of a foolish man, which gives the anecdotes their comedic aspect. 

Perhaps one of the most famous of Turkey's legends though is the legend of Derivation. This is considered to be the first major legend to have originated from Turkey and it tells of the Turkish empires rise to global greatness. The legend has the idea that a Turkish emperor was the father to two of the most beautiful daughters in the world. The daughters were so beautiful in fact that it was believed they could only marry beings with supernatural powers. With this in mind the Emperor sought to keep his daughters away from humans, and did this by taking them to a part of his land where no man had been before. There he built a tower and locked them in it. After a lot of praying his God came down to Earth in the form of a great grey wolf and married both the emperors' daughters. 9 children were born with the spirit of the grey wolf within them, which included many prosperous characteristics such as strength, courage and agility. These traits are thought to have grown throughout the Turkish population, building a society of people characterised with attributes of spiritual greatness. 

There are many, many legends to discover within Turkey, all of which reveal a charismatic aura to the country. Whether or not you trace belief to these legends you can be sure that there are plenty of well known and awe inspiring truths within Turkish culture. An example would have to be that of the Crusades, and in particular those involved with the Seljuk Turks. 

In 1071 the Seljuk's defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert. They then went on to capture Jerusalem before advancing across Asia Minor where they established the Sultanate of Rum (Rome). All this trouble caused Europe to form the First Crusade, and despite the chaos throughout the Middle East that continued to spark over the following centuries it were these famous crusades that eventually led to the Ottoman Turks becoming a new power in Anatolia. The Ottoman's would then go on to make powerful history as the longest lasting Empire in Turkey. 


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