Bizans İmparatorluğu ve İslâm Hilâfeti Arasında Paylaşılamayan Ada: Kıbrıs (28-353/648-965)Murat Öztürk
Hulefâ-yi Râşidîn (11-40/632-661) devrinde denizcilik faâliyetlerine çok sıcak bakılmamasına rağmen Suriye (Şâm) Vâlisi Muâviye b. Ebû Süfyân’ın (ö. 60/680) denizlerden gelebilecek tehlikelere yönelik endişeleri, 25 (645) yılında Bizans İmparatorluğu tarafından İskenderiye’ye yapılan çıkarmayla her Müslümanın hissedebildiği bir gerçeğe dönüştü. İslâm ordusunun denizlerde cihad faâliyetlerini yürütebilmeleri için daha önceden bulunduğu sefer talepleri müteaddid defa reddedilmesine rağmen ortaya çıkan yeni durumu iyi bir şekilde değerlendiren Muâviye, Hz. Osmân’dan (23-35/644-656) Kıbrıs’a harekât düzenlemek için müsâade istedi. Halifenin belirlediği şartlara uyması kaydıyla sefere çıkma iznini alan Muâviye, kendi kumandanlığında 28 (648-649) senesinde Kıbrıs’a 1.700 gemiden müteşekkil bir filoyla çıkarma düzenleyerek büyük bir galibiyet ve ganîmet elde etti. Bununla birlikte yapılan antlaşma şartlarına uyulmaması üzerine Kıbrıs Adası’na 33 (653-654) yılında 500 gemi ile ikinci bir sefer daha yapıldı ve bu harekâtın nihâyetinde adaya 12.000 kişiden müteşekkil askerî birlik yerleştirildi. Müslüman Arapların mezkûr yıllarda kazandığı iki zafer ile Akdeniz’de yeni bir devir başlamış ve 353 (965) senesinde Bizans İmparatorluğu’nun adayı ele geçirdiği zamana kadar Kıbrıs’ta ortak idâre (condominium) tesis edilmiştir. Bu çalışmada Hz. Osmân, Emevî (41-132/661- 750) ve Abbâsî Hilâfeti (132-656/750-1258) dönemlerinde gerçekleşen Kıbrıs çıkarmaları için yapılan hazırlıklar, düzenlenen seferler neticesinde vuku bulan hâdiseler, 353’e (965) kadar Bizans ile müşterek bir sûrette yürütülen adadaki ikili idâre yanında iki tarafın Kıbrıs Adası’na yönelik hâkimiyet mücâdelesi İslâm ve Hıristiyan kaynaklarının verdiği bilgiler ışığında kronolojik bir şekilde ele alınarak değerlendirilecektir.
Cyprus (28-353 AH/648-965 AD): An Island Unable to be Shared Between the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic CaliphateMurat Öztürk
Despite the fact that maritime activities were not very warmly considered during the reign of the Rashīdūn Caliphate (11-40/632-661), the concerns the al-Shām [Syrian] governor Muʻāwiya b. Abī Sufyān (d. 60/680) had about the dangers that could come from the seas became a reality that every Muslim could feel with the landing of the Byzantine Empire in Alexandria in 25 AH (645). Muʻāwiya made a good assessment of the new situation and asked Caliph ʻUthmān b. ʻĀffān (23-35/644-656) for permission to organize an operation to Cyprus, despite his previous requests for an expedition to carry out djihādi [jihad] activities in the seas having been repeatedly rejected. Muʻāwiya did receive permission to go on an expedition, provided that he complied with the conditions set by the caliph, and organized a landing in Cyprus with a fleet of 1,700 ships under his command in 28 AH (648-649 AD), achieving a great victory and large amounts of plunder. However, once the terms of the treaty were abandoned, a second expedition was made to the island of Cyprus with 500 ships in 33 AH (653-654 AD). At the end of this operation, a military unit consisting of 12,000 people was placed on the island. With the two victories of the Muslim Arabs during this time, a new era began in the Mediterranean and condominium [joint administration] was established in Cyprus until the Byzantine Empire seized the island in 353 AH (965 AD). The present study chronologically examines and evaluates in the light of the information from Islamic and Christian sources the preparations for the Cyprus landings under Caliph ʻUthmān’s reign and during the Umayyad (41-132/661-750) and ʻAbbāsid (132-656/750-1258) Caliphates, the outcomes of these military campaigns, and the dual administration of the island with the Byzantine Empire until 353 AH (965), as well as both sides’ struggle for dominion over Cyprus.
Due to its strategic importance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus has always been an island that attracts attention. The struggles that started with the birth of Islam on the island, which apart from certain periods has never been able to have an independent administration, increased the importance of Cyprus. Due to its geographical location and military and commercial importance, the island in fact has been one area where the struggles between Muslims and Christians have been intense for centuries. In the time of Caliph ʻUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (13- 23/634-644), the rapid capture of Bilād al-Shām [Syria] and Egypt by Muslim armies paved the way for the birth of a new sea age in the Mediterranean. However, Caliph ʻUmar, being aware of Arabs’ inexperience with naval warfare compared to the Byzantines and Iranians, rejected Muʻāwiya b. Abī Sufyān’s request to sail following consultations, instead asking him to strengthen the coastal ports, repair their fortifications and walls, and establish permanent garrisons.
However, certain events came to pass that caused the Islamic maritime activities to reach a new stage during the reign of Caliph ʻUthmān b. ʻAffān (23-35/644-656), due to the Byzantines capture of Alexandria, which had been under Muslim rule, with a fleet of 300 ships under the command of Manuel and the help of the city’s people during the reign of Emperor Constans II (641-668 AD). Although the Muslims ended up defeating the Byzantines in the Nikiu region and reconquering the city with the efforts of ʻAmr b. al-ʻĀṣ, this situation made them realize that their easily accessible city was impossible to protect without a navy. Muʻāwiya, the governor of Damascus found the opportunity he was looking for with the Byzantine landing in Alexandria and again asked Caliph ʻUthmān for permission to run an expedition to Cyprus. The caliph gave permission for the expedition upon acceptance of the conditions he’d put forth.
After completing the necessary preparations, Muʻāwiya appointed ʻAbd al-Allāh b. Qays as the commander for this expedition, and the Islamic navy moved from Acre to the island of Cyprus at the end of winter in 28 AH (possibly 29 AH; 648-649 AD). The governor (Arkhon) of Cyprus understood he could not repel Muslim forces of such great numbers and power and sued for peace once his people found this appropriate. When the people of Cyprus failed to comply with the treaty in 33 A.H., Muʻāwiya organized another expedition to Cyprus with 500 ships and recaptured the island in 653-654 AD [35 or 37 AH].
While the navy had been strengthened and some military attempts been made in the Mediterranean during the reign of Muʻāwiya, who would become the head of state after Caliph ʻAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (35-40/656-661), military expeditions would then come to a standstill during the reign of his son, Yazīd I b. Muʻāwiya I (60-64/680-683) and Muslims left Cyprus. During the reign of ʻAbd al-Malik b. Marwān I (65-86/685-705), who came to the throne during a period of turmoil in the state, the Umayyads entered the recovery phase and an agreement was made between the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II (685-695 and 705-711) and the Umayyad Caliph ʻAbd al-Malik b. Marwān I. According to this treaty, the island of Cyprus was to remain joint property shared between the Umayyads and the Byzantines.
During the ʻAbbāsid period when Muslims began to search for political renewal, the capital moved from Damascus to Baghdād. At the same time, the center of power also moved from Egypt and Syria, which were on the Mediterranean coast, to the inner parts of Western Asia with Baghdād at the center as a political sphere of influence during the Umayyad rule. Relocating the capital to Baghdād not only distanced the state from the Mediterranean, but also caused the caliphate army to form more effectively as ground forces. However, during the ʻAbbāsid period, naval activities were carried out in the Mediterranean within the scope of the struggle against Byzantium, and in this sense, Cyprus changed hands between Muslims and Byzantines at various times.
This study will chronologically evaluate in light of the information presented by Islamic and Christian sources the preparations for the Cyprus expeditions that started during the reign of Caliph ʻUthmān, the events that took place as a result of these first campaigns, the bilateral administration on the island that had been carried out jointly with Byzantium until 353 AH (965 AD), and the two sides’ struggle for dominance over the island of Cyprus.