By Bulent Gokay
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As soon as stretching from Vienna within the north to Iraq and Yemen within the south, the Ottoman Empire has performed an quintessential function within the historical past of Eurasia and the center East. The dynamics and complexity of the present-day center East and Balkans can't be understood with no an exam of the heritage of the Ottoman Empire that governed those areas for hundreds of years.
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Extra info for A Clash of Empires: Turkey between Russian Bolshevism and British Imperialism, 1918-1923 (Library of Modern Middle East Studies, 13)
A battle line of Christian knights should form and march to Jerusalem, driving out the Turks on the way. ’5 God had blessed the knights of Europe with an outstanding ability in battle, great courage and strength. 7 He went on to describe the rewards awaiting those who took up arms: whoever made the journey east would be eternally blessed. All were encouraged to take up this offer. Crooks and thieves were urged to become ‘soldiers of Christ’, while those who had previously fought against their brothers and kinsmen were told to now join forces and fight lawfully against the barbarians.
It was a crucial staging post in the genesis of the First Crusade, and a prerequisite for the Pope’s appeal to the knighthood of Europe to march to Byzantium’s defence just a few years later. Urban reacted quickly to the positive signs from Constantinople. He travelled south to meet with one of his few supporters, Count Roger of Sicily, and seek his approval for improving links with Byzantium. Roger had long been concerned by Henry IV’s aggressive intervention in Italy. 29 This was exactly what Urban wanted to hear: it gave him the chance to take on the role of unifier of the Church.
The knights were heading east to take on the Turks, a formidable enemy, who had brought the Byzantine Empire to its knees. Originally part of the Oguzz tribal confederation which Arab historians located to the east of the Caspian Sea, the Turks were a steppe people whose military prowess gave them increasing influence over the caliphate in Baghdad as it fragmented in the later tenth century. From the 1030s, not long after their adoption of Islam, the Turks were the dominant force in the region, less than a generation later becoming masters of Baghdad itself after their leader, Tughril Beg, was appointed sultan with full executive powers by the caliph.