History Final A

History Final A - Kunkle 1 Sarah Kunkle Professor goston...

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Kunkle 1 Sarah Kunkle Professor Ágoston Emrah Safa Gurkan Middle East Civilization I 17 December 2007 Ideology, War and Imperial Rivalry: An Analysis of the Ottomans Interactions with the Safavids and Habsburgs For centuries, the Ottoman Empire was feared and admired for its vast size and power. Spanning three continents at its peak, it was inevitable for the Ottoman Empire to come into contact with other rival empires . While many conflicts of this era are often portrayed as ideological and religious battles, most of the encounters between the Ottoman Empire and its Safavid and Habsburg rivals were the result of astute economic and political calculations . As the balance of power shifted between these three empires, the Ottomans respectively adjusted their priorities. Initially, these imperial confrontations were marked by Ottoman victory due to their economic and military superiority . Ultimately, however, both external and internal factors influenced the Ottoman’s decline and it’s gradual loss of territory . The subsequent decline of the East and rise of the West created a new international political and economic structure that continues to have implications in modern international relations. While the Ottoman-Safavid conflict is often placed into the context of the Sunni- Shi’ite schism, religion was actually more of legitimizing tactic, rather than an underlying cause of the conflict . Beyond their religious orientations, the Ottoman and Safavid
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Kunkle 2 empires were similar in many ways . Both relied upon gunpowder technology to create military success and stable, lasting policies (Hourani 215) . Shah Isma’il, founder of the Safavid dynasty, recruited many Turkmen to his cause . Morgan identifies this active recruitment as the primary origin of the Ottoman-Safavid clash (Morgan 115) . As the Safavid state extended its power to regions surrounding the Ottoman state, it began to win the loyalties of many disgruntled Ottoman subjects and Turkish tribesmen . Again, political, social, and economic factors were more influential than religious or ideological factors; in the early sixteenth century, the Turkmen of Anatolia suffered from plague, famine and general economic instability . Feeling that Ottoman policy was exacerbating their situation, many chose to follow Shah Isma’il over the Ottoman sultan . With the consequent Qizilbash revolts of 1511 and 1512, the Ottomans recognized the need to address the Safavid problem . When Sultan Selim I came to power in 1512, he began a policy of brutal repression of the Qizilbash . Tens of thousands were massacred and others deported . Just like countless historical leaders before him, Selim used religion as a legitimizing tactic in his campaigns against the Safavids . Labeling the Safavids as “heretics” and “infidels”, Selim advocated that the Ottoman’s Shi’ite neighbors be dealt with before the Ottoman’s Christian and European rivals (Ágoston: Information, ideology, and limits of imperial power 93)
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2008 for the course HIST 160 taught by Professor Agoston during the Spring '08 term at Georgetown.

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History Final A - Kunkle 1 Sarah Kunkle Professor goston...

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