An Evaluation of the State of Thracian Cities During the Ottoman ConquestHacer Ateş
The Byzantine province of Bithynia served as the core area for the newly emerging Ottoman Principality in Asia Minor, whereas the Trakhia served as the main settlement zone in the Balkans. The latter also became the main defensive line to protect Constantinopolis - the capital of the Empire - from any external threats from the west. The cities of Gelibolu (Gallipoli), Dimetoka (Demotica) and Edirne (Adrianople) were the most important urban centers located in this Balkan frontier zone. While the developments of the 14th century weakened the Byzantine power and caused an urban decline, it contributed to the Ottoman penetration into the region. The Ottoman forces first crossed into Thrace following Orhan Bey’s alliance with Ioannes Kantakuzenos VI, which turned into a permanent settlement zone within a short period of time. The present paper deals with the impacts of the historical events in Thrace on the history of the afore-mentioned urban centers as well as on the process of Ottoman penetration into the region.
Osmanlı İlerleyişi Esnasında Trakya Şehirlerinin Durumu Hakkında Bir DeğerlendirmeHacer Ateş
Osmanlı Beyliği’nin teşekkülünün ilk yıllarında Bizans’ın Bithynia bölgesi beyliğin kuruluş coğrafyasını oluştururken, Trakhia bölgesi ise Balkanların fethini hazırlayan ana yerleşim sahasını teşkil etmiştir. Trakya bölgesi, imparatorluğun başkenti Konstantinopolis’e batıdan gelebilecek muhtemel saldırıların bertaraf edildiği savunma hattını oluşturmaktadır. Gelibolu, Dimetoka ve Edirne gibi şehirler bu hattın en önemli noktalarını teşkil etmektedir. XIV. yüzyılda Trakya’da cereyan eden hadiseler mezkûr kentlerin güçlerini kaybetmesine sebep olurken, bölgede Bizans hâkimiyetini de zayıflatmıştır. Yaşanan bu gelişmeler Osmanlıların Trakya’ya geçmesine vesile olmuştur. Orhan Bey zamanında VI. Ioannes Kantakuzenos’la kurulan ittifak neticesinde Trakya’ya ayak basan Osmanlı kuvvetleri çok geçmeden burada kalıcı olmayı başarmışlardır. Bu çalışmada Trakya’da yaşanan hadiselerin bölge şehirleri üzerindeki etkileri ve bu sürecin Osmanlıların ilerleyişine katkısı ele alınmıştır.
Ottoman Turks named Thrace as Rumelia. This name was also used in the Balkans. Thrace region was the intersection of the roads connecting Asia, Europe and Anatolia. It is a very strategic region for this. For this reason, it was frequently invaded by those who wanted to take it over. XIII. At the beginning of the century, the crusaders invaded the region and captured Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The emperor, who was expelled from the capital, re-established a state in Nikaia. However, years later, he saved Konstantinolios and settled in the capital again. Byzantine Empire IV. It lost its former power after the crusade. XIV. Since the beginning of the century, it has been attacked from all sides. Turks captured in Anatolia. Serbs and Bulgarians continued to threaten the Byzantines on European soil. Emerging as a small state in the territory of Byzantium, the Ottomans captured the Bithynia region in a short time. After that, they wanted to cross to the European side and capture other Byzantine lands. The bad conditions of the Byzantine Empire made it easier for the Ottomans. XIV. The isyna and civil wars that started towards the second half of the century put the country even more difficult. Thrace region was affected the most in this process. The safety of Konstantinolopis was endangered. The search for allies in the struggle between the rival powers against each other has led to events that will cause Thrace to be lost. Ottomans with Thrace XIV. met in the middle of the century. The Thrace region is very important for the security of Constantinople, the capital of the empire. There were cities with strong walls such as Gallipoli, Dimetoka and Edirne. Most of the Byzantine cities were characteristic Medieval cities that stood out with their military features, known as the castrum surrounded by walls. They had strong ramparts protecting these cities. For this reason, it was difficult to get them. The Ottomans applied the classical policy of siege to get them. They began to suppress the mighty walls. The Ottomans passed to Thrace for the first time as an ally of the joint Emperor Kontakouzenous. Relations started during the time of Ottoman Sultan Orhan. Ottoman soldiers went to Thrace shortly after. This situation gave them the opportunity to get to know the region. Later they started to act independently. The weak Byzantine administration was not in a position to resist this. The situation of the Byzantine people worsened day by day. The people of the cities could not get out of the castles out of fear. The farms of the peasants were plundered. Farmland was damaged in wars. The Beret Thracian lands are now barren like a desert. The peasants left their places. they settled in safer cities. Farms thus remained empty. Sending wheat to Constantinople ended. Food prices increased in the capital. Byzantine administration tried to overcome this crisis with foodstuffs brought by Genoese sailors. However, this was a very expensive solution. Byzantium could not cope with these difficulties very much. The people in Thrace waiting for help from the emperor were disappointed. These bad conditions they had created an opportunity for the Ottomans. This situation enabled them to progress in a short time. Ottoman conquests accelerated. Thracian cities surrendered to the Ottomans one by one. In a period of ten years, the Thracian lands were now under the control of the Ottomans. This situation caused a crisis in the Byzantine rule. The co-emperor abdicated. Constantinople was threatened enough. This place became the new target of the Ottomans. The Ottomans settled the Turks they brought from Anatolia to the Thrace region they conquered. Thus, new Turkish villages, cities and neighborhoods were established. They created new residential areas. Most of the Byzantine farmers had abandoned their lands. Turks started farming in places left empty of them. When Thrace came under Ottoman rule, the chaos in the region ended. Wars ended, the region became safe. This atmosphere of trust has relaxed the public and their fears have ended. Some of the farmers who left their places returned to their villages and started farming. With the new farms established by the Turks, agricultural lands became fertile again. The Ottomans made arrangements not only in villages but also in cities. In some cities, they repaired the destroyed castle walls. They built new ports. Cities that were destroyed during the Byzantine period were revived. Cities have started to get crowded now that they are safe. Many immigrants continued to come from Anatolia. Thracian cities have become safe, rich and crowded cities. It moved from its Ottoman capital Bursa to Edirne. Edirne also became a military base. The Ottomans, who settled in Tarkya, started to organize their expeditions first to the Balkans and then to the interior of Europe.