The Conquest of İstanbul in 1453, which marks the realization of an ideal first held by the Moslems beginning in 668 and then by the Turks, is one of the most significant events of the XVth century both in terms of its causes and its consequences. Excepting the individual attempts prior to İslam, the Turks have con-ducted continuous wars against Byzantium with the ultimate goal of seizing İstanbul, first under the conımand of Emperor Yıldırım Beyazid, then his son Musa Çelebi and after that Murad II. Hence, it is appropriate to consider Mehmet II, the Conqueror as the person who realized a goal with historical roots although technically he is to be credited for claiming the Byzantine heritage.
Thus, Mehmet the Conqueror was presented with the opportunity to establish a universal state the domain of which would extend both to the Christian and moslem ıvorlds through the possession of İstanbul. There are, indeed, contemporary historians who regard him as the Emperor of the East, the Greeks, and the Romans. He has worked to rebuild İstanbul, endow it with new social institutions and make it a true metropolitan and economic center of the world.
When preparations were being made to celebrate the 511th anniversary of İstanbul, a committee consisting of Ord. Prof. Dr. Kâzım İsmail Gürkan (pre-sident), Ord. Prof. Süheyl Ünver, Prof. Dr. Tayyip Gökbilgin, Prof. Dr. Şeha-beddin Tekindağ, Prof. Dr. Semavi Eyice, Doç. Dr. Lütfi Güçer, and Mr. Feridun Dirimtekin, the Director of the Hagia Sophia Museum, were established upon a decision of the Executive Committee of the University of İstanbul and in response to orders received from the Hon. Ord. Prof. Dr. Ömer Celâl Sarc, the Rector of the University. The Committee agreed to study the political, social, and eco-mic aspects of the conquest which marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the world, as well as the ideas and thoughts of the ”Conqueror” who strove to make his State a superior and most powerful state in the world. A series of lectures were given on the above topics between May 25-29 of 1964, and it was then decided to make the lectures available in Western languages in order that they may gain a larger audience. As a result, this pamphlet was published.
To insure the publication of this pamphlet (which is devoted to an investigation of the welfare and educational institutions of İstanbul founded by a ruler widely considered to be an öpen minded organizer and builder at a time when Otto-man culture established its contacts with that of the West, and also the economic and topographic situation of the city), before Friday, May 29, 1964, the lectures and other articles were printed as they were received regardless of their subject matter and content which accounts for the lack of continuity in the order in which the articles appear.
It should also be added here that a portrait of the ”Conqueror” known to have been painted by Gentile Bellini along with several of the oldest pictures of İstanbul after the conquest has been secured and added to the end of the pamphlet.