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Ottoman Navy

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Ottoman Navy

Naval ensigns of the Empire
1844 to 1923
1793 to 1844
1453 to 1793
Part of a series on the
Military of the
Ottoman Empire
Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Navy (Turkish: Osmanlı Donanması or Donanma-yı Humâyûn), also known as the Ottoman Fleet, was established in the early 14th century after the Ottoman Empire first expanded to reach the sea in 1323 by capturing Karamürsel, the site of the first Ottoman naval shipyard and the nucleus of the future Navy. During its long existence, it was involved in many conflicts and signed a number of maritime treaties. At its height, the Navy extended to the Indian Ocean, sending an expedition to Indonesia in 1565.

For much of its history, the Navy was led by the position of the Kapudan Pasha (Grand Admiral; literally "Captain Pasha"). This position was abolished in 1867, when it was replaced by the Minister of the Navy (Turkish: Bahriye Nazırı) and a number of Fleet Commanders (Turkish: Donanma Komutanları). After the end of the Ottoman Empire and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Navy's tradition was continued under the modern Turkish Naval Forces.


  • Pre-Ottoman Turkish fleets 1
  • Rise (1299–1453) 2
    • Expansion to the Aegean, Black, Ionian and Adriatic Seas 2.1
  • Growth (1453–1683) 3
    • Expansion to the Levant and Maghreb, operations in the West Mediterranean 3.1
    • Operations in the Indian Ocean and the final conquests in North Africa 3.2
    • Operations in the Atlantic Ocean 3.3
    • Black Sea operations 3.4
  • Stagnation (1683–1827) 4
    • Danube Fleet 4.1
  • Decline (1827–1908) 5
  • Dissolution (1908–1922) 6
    • World War I and aftermath 6.1
  • Admirals 7
  • Ships 8
  • See also 9
  • References and sources 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12
  • Representations in popular culture 13

Pre-Ottoman Turkish fleets

The first Turkish naval fleet in Anatolia, which consisted of 33 sail ships and 17 oar ships, was formed at the port of Smyrna (İzmir) by Tzachas in 1081, following his conquest of Smyrna, Vourla (Urla), Kysos (Çeşme), Phocaea (Foça) and Teos (Sığacık) on the Aegean coast of Anatolia in that same year. Tzachas's fleet raided Lesbos in 1089 and Chios in 1090, before defeating a Byzantine fleet near the Oinousses Islands off Chios on 19 May 1090, which marked the first major naval victory of the Anatolian Turks in a naval battle. In 1091 Tzachas's fleet raided the islands of Samos and Rhodes in the Aegean Sea, but was then defeated and driven out by the Byzantine admirals Constantine Dalassenos and John Doukas. In 1095 Tzachas's fleet raided the strategic port city and Gulf of Adramyttium (Edremit) on the Aegean coast of Anatolia and the city of Abydos on the Dardanelles Strait.

Seljuq sultan of Rûm Alaeddin Keykubad I conquered Alaiye (Alanya) and formed a naval arsenal there. Alanya became the homeport of the Seljuk fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Keykubad I later formed a fleet in the Black Sea based in Sinope (Sinop), which, under the command of Amir Chupan, conquered parts of the Crimean peninsula and Sugdak on the Sea of Azov (1220–1237).

Rise (1299–1453)

Expansion to the Aegean, Black, Ionian and Adriatic Seas

The Battle of Zonchio in 1499.

The conquest of the island of Kalolimno (İmralı Island) in the Sea of Marmara in 1308 marked the first Ottoman naval victory. The Ottoman fleet made its first landings on Thrace in 1321. The first Ottoman fortress in Europe was built in 1351, and the Anatolian shores of the strategic Bosporus Strait near Constantinople in 1352, and both shores of the equally strategic Dardanelles Strait were conquered by the Ottoman fleet.

In 1373 the first landings and conquests on the Aegean shores of Macedonia were made, which was followed by the first Ottoman siege of Thessaloniki in 1374. The first Ottoman conquest of Thessaloniki and Macedonia were completed in 1387. Between 1387 and 1423 the Ottoman fleet contributed to the territorial expansions of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkan peninsula and the Black Sea coasts of Anatolia. Following the first conquests of Venetian territories in Morea, the first Ottoman-Venetian War (1423–1430) started.

In the meantime, the Ottoman fleet continued to contribute to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Aegean and Black Seas, with the conquests of Sinop (1424), Izmir (1426) and the reconquest of Thessaloniki from the Venetians (1430). Albania was reconquered by the Ottoman fleet with landings between 1448 and 1479.

Growth (1453–1683)

The Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa defeated the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza in 1538.

In 1453 the Ottoman fleet participated in the historic conquests of Castelnuovo, triggered the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499-1503, during which the Turkish fleet of Kemal Reis defeated the Venetian forces at the Battle of Zonchio (1499) and the Battle of Modon (1500). By 1503 the Ottoman fleet raided the northeastern Adriatic coasts of Italy, and completely captured the Venetian lands on Morea, the Ionian Sea coast and the southeastern Adriatic Sea coast.

According to Katib Celebi a typical Ottoman fleet in the mid-17th century consisted of 46 vessels (40 galleys and 6 maona's) whose crew was 15,800 men, roughly two-thirds (10,500) were oarsmen, and the remainder (5,300) fighters.[1]

Expansion to the Levant and Maghreb, operations in the West Mediterranean

The Ottoman fleet during the Capture of Tunis at La Goulette in 1574.
In the Siege of Nice in 1543, the combined forces of the Franco-Ottoman alliance managed to capture the city.
Ottoman fleet anchored at the French port of Toulon in 1543. Miniature by Matrakçı Nasuh who was travelling with the fleet.

Starting from the conquest of Syria in 1516, the Ottoman fleet of Selim I started expanding the Ottoman territories towards the Levant and the Mediterranean coasts of North Africa. Between 1516 and 1517 Algeria was conquered from Spain by the forces of Oruç Reis who declared his allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, which was followed by the conquest of Egypt and the end of the Mameluke Empire in 1517. In 1522 the strategic island of Rhodes, then the seat of the Knights of St. John, was conquered by the naval fleet of Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis; Suleiman I let the Knights leave the island, who relocated their base first to Sicily and later to Malta.

In 1527 the Ottoman fleet participated in the conquest of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Bosnia. In 1529 the Ottoman fleet under Salih Reis and Aydın Reis destroyed the Spanish fleet of Rodrigo Portundo near the Isle of Formentera. This was followed by the first conquest of Tunisia from Spain and the reconquest of Morea by the fleet of Hayreddin Barbarossa, whose fleet later conquered the islands belonging to the Duchy of Naxos in 1537. Afterwards, the Ottoman fleet laid siege on the Venetian island of Corfu, and landed on the coasts of Calabria and Puglia, which forced the Republic of Venice and Habsburg Spain of Charles V to ask the Pope to create a Holy League consisting of Spain, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa, the Papal States and the Knights of Malta. The joint fleet was commanded by Charles V's top admiral, Andrea Doria. The Holy League and the Ottoman fleet under the command of Hayreddin barbarossa met in September 1538 at the Battle of Preveza, which is often considered the greatest Turkish naval victory in history. In 1543 the Ottoman fleet participated with French forces in the Siege of Nice, which at the time was part of the Duchy of Savoy. Afterwards, Francis I of France enabled the Ottoman fleet to overwinter in the French harbor of Toulon. This unique Ottoman occupation of Toulon allowed the Ottomans to attack Habsburg Spanish and Italian ports (enemies of France); they left Toulon in May 1544. Matrakçı Nasuh, a 16th-century Ottoman Janissary, polymath and swordmaster, reportedly participated in the occupation of Toulon.

In 1541, 1544, 1552 and 1555 the Spanish-Italian fleet of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria were defeated in Algiers, Naples, Ponza and Piombino, respectively.

Operations in the Indian Ocean and the final conquests in North Africa

Selman Reis defending Jeddah against a Portuguese attack in 1517.
Ottoman and Acehnese guns, dismantled following the Dutch conquest of Aceh in 1874. Illustrated London News.

In the meantime, the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet, based in Suez and Basra, defeated the Portuguese forces on several occasions near the Arabian peninsula, conquering Aden and Yemen (1538–1539) which were important Portuguese ports, along with Jeddah, Djibouti on the Red Sea coast. The Ottoman Siege of Diu in 1538, which aimed to remove the Portuguese from India, failed to achieve this goal.

Between 1547 and 1548, Yemen was reconquered from the Portuguese, while in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, other important Portuguese ports such as Oman and Qatar were conquered in 1552.[2]

In 1565 the Sultanate of Aceh in Sumatra (Indonesia) declared allegiance to the Ottoman Empire, and in 1569 the Ottoman fleet of Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis sailed to new ports such as Debal, Surat, Janjira and finally set foot on Aceh with a well-equipped fleet of 22 ships, which marked the easternmost Ottoman territorial expansion.

Surviving fragment of the first World Map of Ottoman admiral Piri Reis (1513) showing the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas.

The Ottoman naval victory at the Battle of Preveza in 1538 and the Battle of Djerba in 1560 ensured the Ottoman supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea for several decades, until the Ottomans suffered their first ever military defeat at the hands of the Europeans at the Battle of Lepanto (1571). But the defeat at Lepanto, despite being much celebrated in Europe, was only a temporary setback: it could not reverse the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus, and within a year, the Ottomans built an equally large fleet, which in 1574 conquered Tunisia from Spain. This completed the Ottoman conquest of North Africa, following the operations of the Ottoman fleet under Turgut Reis which had earlier conquered Libya (1551); and of the fleet under Salih Reis which had conquered the coasts of Morocco beyond the Strait of Gibraltar in 1553.

Operations in the Atlantic Ocean

Starting from the early 17th century, the Ottoman fleet began to venture into the Atlantic Ocean (earlier, Kemal Reis had sailed to the Canary Islands in 1501, while the fleet of Murat Reis the Elder had captured Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in 1585).[3] In 1617 the Ottoman fleet captured Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean, before raiding Sussex, Plymouth, Devon, Hartland Point, Cornwall and the other counties of western England in August 1625.[3] In 1627 Ottoman naval ships, accompanied by Barbary corsairs under the leadership of Murat Reis the Younger, captured the Isle of Lundy in the Bristol Channel, which served as the main base for Ottoman naval and privateering operations in the North Atlantic for the next five years.[4] They raided the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Denmark-Norway, Iceland and Vestmannaeyjar.[3][5][6] Between 1627 and 1631 the same Ottoman force also raided the coasts of Ireland and Sweden.[3][7][8] Ottoman ships later appeared off the eastern coasts of North America, particularly being sighted at the English colonies like Newfoundland and Virginia.[3]

Black Sea operations

Zaporozhian Cossacks in chaika boats, destroying Ottoman galleys and capturing Caffa in 1616.
German map of the final phase of the Siege of Candia during the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1645–1669. It clearly illustrates the city's trace italienne fortifications, and the proximity of the characteristic Ottoman siege trenches.

Before the Ottomans, the Seljuq sultan of Rûm, Alaeddin Keykubad I, had formed a Black Sea fleet based in Sinop, which, under the command of Amir Chupan, had conquered parts of the Crimean peninsula and Sugdak on the Sea of Azov between 1220 and 1237.

In the years following their conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Turks had dominated the Mediterranean with their fleets of galleys. In 1475, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II employed 380 galleys under the command of Gedik Ahmet Pasha, whose fleet conquered the Greek Principality of Theodoro together with the Genoese-administered Crimean port towns of Cembalo, Soldaia, and Caffa ("Kefe" in Turkic languages.)[9] As a result of these conquests, starting from 1478, the Crimean Khanate became a vassal state and protectorate of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted until 1774.

The failure of the Siege of Malta in 1565 and the victory of the Holy League navies over the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 indicated that the pendulum was beginning to swing the other way,[10] but the Black Sea was, for a time, regarded as a "Turkish Lake".[11] For over a hundred years Ottoman naval supremacy in the Black Sea rested on three pillars: the Ottoman Turks controlled the Turkish Straits and the mouth of the Danube; none of the states in the region could muster an effective naval force; and the virtual absence of piracy on the Black Sea.[11] However, after the 1550s, it was the start of frequent naval raids by Zaporozhian Cossacks that marked a major change in control of the Black Sea.[11] The Cossacks' keelless rowing boats, called chaikas, could accommodate up to seventy men and outfitted with cannonades, the boats made formidable sea vessels. They had the advantage over the Ottoman galleys in that being small, and low in the water, they were difficult to spot and highly manoeuvrable. In the early 1600s the Cossacks were able to assemble fleets of up to 300 such boats and send them to every corner of the Black Sea.[11] They began attacking large towns such as Caffa, Varna, Trabzon, and even the suburbs of Constantinople.[12]

Guillaume Levasseur de Beauplan, a French military engineer, provided a first-hand account of the Cossack operations and their tactics against the Turkish ships and towns on the Black Sea Coast.[11][13] The high point of the Cossack attacks came in 1637, when a large party of Zaporozhian and Don Cossacks laid siege to the fortress of Azov. After a two-month land and sea battle, the fortress was conquered by the Cossacks.[11]

Stagnation (1683–1827)

In the rest of the 17th and 18th centuries, however, the operations of the Ottoman fleet were largely limited to the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The long lasting Ottoman-Venetian War of 1645–1669 ended with Ottoman victory and the completion of the conquest of Crete, marking the Empire's territorial zenith. In 1708 another long-lasting objective, the conquest of Oran (the final Spanish stronghold in Algeria) was accomplished.

The 18th century was a period of stalemate for the Ottoman fleet, with numerous victories matched by equally numerous defeats. Important Ottoman naval victories in this period included the reconquest of Moldavia and Azov from the Russians in 1711. The Ottoman–Venetian War of 1714–1718 saw the reconquest of Morea from the Venetians and the elimination of the last Venetian island strongholds in the Aegean.

However, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, the Ottoman fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Chesme (1770). The next Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792) again saw numerous naval defeats at the hands of the Russian Black Sea Fleet under Admiral Fyodor Ushakov.

During the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829), the Greek rebel navy consisting of converted merchant ships originally challenged Ottoman naval supremacy in the Aegean, blockading Ottoman forts in the Morea and contributing to their capture by Greek land forces. Following the intervention of the Ottoman eyalet of Egypt in 1824, the far superior Ottoman-Egyptian fleet under the command of Ibrahim Pasha gained the upper hand and successfully invaded Crete and the Morea until the arrival of the combined British-French-Russian fleets which destroyed most of the Ottoman-Egyptian naval force at the Battle of Navarino in 1827.

Size of crew in Ottoman ships in 1699 and 1738[14]
Size of crew ships in 1699 ships in 1738
1500 - 1
1300 - 1
1100 - 1
1000 - 1
800 - 6
750 - 5
650 - 4
600 1 -
500 - 1
450 - 7
400 2 3
350 3 1
300 8 1
250 3 1
200 3 -
Total 20 33
Note: Between 1699 and 1738 the Ottoman navy started to use more sailing ships who needed more crew on each ship instead of galleys with less men.

Danube Fleet

The size of the Danube Fleet of the Ottoman Navy at the time of the Great Turkish War in the late 17th century was 52 vessels (4 galliots, 28 frigates and 20 flat-bottomed river boats) manned by 4,070 crew.[15]

Decline (1827–1908)

Mahmudiye (1829), built by the Imperial Naval Arsenal on the Golden Horn in Constantinople, was for many years the largest warship in the world. She participated in numerous important naval battles, including the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) during the Crimean War.
Nordenfelt-class Ottoman submarine Abdül Hamid (1886) was the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged under water.[16] Two submarines of this class, Nordenfelt II (Abdül Hamid, 1886) and Nordenfelt III (Abdül Mecid, 1887) joined the Ottoman fleet. They were built in pieces by Des Vignes (Chertsey) and Vickers (Sheffield) in England, and assembled at the Taşkızak Naval Shipyard in Constantinople (Istanbul).

The 19th century saw further decline in Ottoman naval power, despite occasional recovery. Following the defeat against the combined British-French-Russian fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827, Sultan Mahmud II gave priority to develop a strong and modern Ottoman naval force. The first steam ships of the Ottoman Navy were acquired in 1828. In 1829 the world's largest warship for many years, the 201 x 56 kadem (1 kadem = 37.887 cm) or 76.15 m × 21.22 m (249.8 ft × 69.6 ft) ship of the line Mahmudiye, which had 128 cannons on 3 decks and carried 1,280 sailors on board, was built for the Ottoman Navy at the Imperial Arsenal (Ottoman Empire) on the Golden Horn in Constantinople (kadem, which translates as "foot", is often misinterpreted as equivalent in length to one imperial foot, hence the wrongly converted dimensions of "201 x 56 ft, or 62 x 17 m" in some sources.)

In 1875, during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz, the Ottoman Navy had 21 battleships and 173 other types of warships, ranking as the third largest navy in the world after the British and French navies. But the vast size of the navy was too much of a burden for the collapsing Ottoman economy to sustain. Abdülhamid II's fears of a coup and his suspicion of the reformist admirals (who supported Midhat Pasha during the First Constitutional Era of 1876–1878) made things even worse, and consequently almost the entire Ottoman fleet was kept locked inside the Golden Horn for three decades (until the Young Turk Revolution in 1908) during which the ships decayed. Abdülhamid II often cited the poor performance of the navy during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) for justifying his decision of cutting naval spending and reducing the size of the active Ottoman fleet.

Abdülhamid II has often been blamed by Turkish historians for the long inactivity and decay of the Ottoman Navy between 1878 and 1908. It has been suggested that the two Nordenfelt class submarines acquired by Abdülhamid II himself, Abdül Hamid (1886) and Abdül Mecid (1887), could seldom leave the Golden Horn due to the sultan's suspicions of a navy-based coup against him; which eventually started to take place with the naval demonstration at the port of Selanik in 1908.

In fact, despite his suspicions of the reformist admirals who supported the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, Abdülhamid II was painfully aware that the empire needed a navy to shield herself from the ever-growing Russian threat. However, the Ottoman economic crisis of 1875 and the additional financial burden of the disastrous Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) deprived the Ottoman Empire from the financial resources and economic independence to maintain and modernize a large fleet. The second half of the 19th century was a period of breakthroughs in the field of naval engineering. The Ottoman Navy was rapidly becoming obsolete, and needed to replace all her warships once a decade to keep up with the pace in technological progress – which, given the dismal state of the economy, was clearly not an option.

The aforementioned submarines were an attempt to gain an edge over the Greek navy (which had only one Nordenfelt submarine, a smaller and older version). However, it was quickly realized that – like the other Nordenfelt submarines ordered by Russia – they suffered from stability problems and were too easy to swamp on the surface. The Turks could not find a crew that was willing to serve on the primitive submarines. Abdül Hamid ended up rotting at dock, while Abdül Mecid was never fully completed.[17]

Dissolution (1908–1922)

The Ottoman Navy at the Golden Horn in Constantinople, in the early days of WWI.

Following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress which effectively took control of the country sought to develop a strong Ottoman naval force. The poor condition of the fleet was evident during the Ottoman Naval Parade of 1910, and the Ottoman Navy Foundation was established in order to purchase new ships through public donations. Those who made donations received different types of medals according to the size of their contributions.

In 1910, the Ottoman Navy purchased two pre-dreadnought battleships from Germany: SMS Weissenburg and her sister ship SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm. These ships were renamed Turgut Reis and Barbaros Hayreddin, respectively.

The Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912 and the Balkan Wars of 1912–13 were disastrous for the Ottoman Empire. In the former, the Italians managed to occupy Ottoman Tripolitania (present-day Libya) and the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea. In the latter, a smaller Greek fleet successfully engaged with Ottoman battleships at the naval skirmishes of Elli and Lemnos. The better condition of the Greek fleet in the Aegean Sea during the Balkan Wars led to the liberation of all Ottoman-held Aegean islands, other than those in the Italian-occupied Dodecanese. It also prevented Ottoman reinforcements and supplies to the land battles on the Balkan peninsula, where the Balkan League emerged victorious. The only Ottoman naval successes during the Balkan Wars were the raiding actions of the light cruiser Hamidiye under the command of Rauf Orbay.

In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, the Ottomans remained engaged in a dispute over the sovereignty of the North Aegean islands with Greece. A naval race ensued in 1913–1914, with the Ottoman government ordering large dreadnought battleships like Sultan Osman-ı Evvel and Reşadiye with the aforementioned public donations made to the Ottoman Navy Foundation. However, despite full payment for both battleships, and the arrival of the Turkish delegation to Britain for collecting them after the completion of their sea trials, they were confiscated by the United Kingdom at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 and renamed as HMS Agincourt and HMS Erin. This caused considerable ill-feeling towards Britain among the Ottoman public, and the German Empire took advantage of the situation by sending the battlecruiser SMS Goeben and light cruiser SMS Breslau which entered service in the Ottoman Navy as Yavuz Sultan Selim and Midilli, respectively. These events significantly contributed to the Porte's decision of entering the First World War on the side of the Central Powers.

World War I and aftermath

Muâvenet-i Millîye was a torpedo boat (in service between 1910–1923) that sank the pre-dreadnought battleship Goliath during the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I. Considered in the same league as the minelayer Nusret in terms of the role that she played in the naval engagements during the battle, Muâvenet-i Millîye strongly influenced the course of the conflicts by generating a domino effect which caused the failure of the Allied strategy.
Silhouettes of the warships of the Ottoman Navy, as projected for 1914 (including the undelivered dreadnought Sultan Osman-ı Evvel)

The British, French and ANZAC fleets could not pass through the Dardanelles Strait (Çanakkale Boğazı) during the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 thanks to the heavy Turkish fortifications lining the strait and mining by Turkish minelayers like Nusret, and fierce fighting by the Turkish soldiers on land, sea and air, who were well aware that they were resisting the capture of Istanbul and the occupation of their homeland.[18]

During the battle, Barbaros Hayreddin was sunk by the British submarine HMS E11 on 8 August 1915. In the last year of World War I, while returning from a bombardment mission of the Allied port of Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos, Midilli ran into a minefield between Lemnos and Gökçeada on 20 January 1918, and sank after being severely damaged by five consecutive mine hits. During the mission, Midilli, together with Yavuz Sultan Selim, had managed to sink the British warships HMS Raglan and HMS M28, as well as a 2,000-ton transport ship, and had bombarded the port of Mudros, together with the communication posts and air fields of the Allies on the other parts of Lemnos. The battlecruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim was one of the most active Ottoman warships throughout the First World War; she bombarded numerous ports on the Black Sea and Aegean Sea, while engaging with Russian dreadnought battleships of the Imperatritsa Mariya class, and sinking a number of Russian and British warships and transport vessels.

Following the end of World War I, the Ottoman Navy was dissolved by the victorious Allies and the large ships of the Ottoman fleet were towed to the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara under the control of Allied warships, or locked inside the Golden Horn. Some of them were scrapped.

After the independence of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the remaining major warships of the former Ottoman fleet, such as the battlecruiser TCG Yavuz, the pre-dreadnought battleship TCG Turgut Reis, protected cruisers TCG Hamidiye and TCG Mecidiye, torpedo cruisers Berk-i Satvet and Peyk-i Şevket, destroyers TCG Samsun, TCG Basra and TCG Taşoz, and torpedo boats TCG Burak Reis, TCG Kemal Reis, TCG Îsâ Reis and TCG Sakız were overhauled, repaired and modernized, while new ships and submarines were acquired.


Ottoman Ministry of the Navy (Bahriye Nezareti) in the Kasımpaşa quarter of the Beyoğlu district in Istanbul, along the northern shoreline of the Golden Horn. It is currently the headquarters of the Northern Sea Area Command (Kuzey Deniz Saha Komutanlığı) of the Turkish Navy.

Ottoman admirals like Kemal Reis (who twice defeated the Venetian fleet at the First Battle of Lepanto in 1499 and the Second Battle of Lepanto in 1500); Hayreddin Barbarossa who defeated the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Island of Peñón in 1531, Battle of Preveza in 1538 and Algiers in 1541; Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West) who conquered Libya in 1551 and defeated the fleet of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Ponza in 1552; Piyale Pasha who defeated the Holy League of Philip II under the command of Giovanni Andrea Doria at the Battle of Djerba in 1560; Aruj who established the Ottoman presence in North Africa which lasted four centuries; Salih Reis who conquered Morocco in 1553 and extended Ottoman territory into the Atlantic Ocean; Uluç (Kılıç) Ali Reis who restored the Ottoman domination of the Mediterranean after the Third Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and conquered Tunisia from Spain in 1574; Murat Reis who fought the Portuguese at the Indian Ocean between 1552 and 1554 and captured Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean in 1585; Seydi Ali Reis (known as Sidi Ali Reis in the West) who fought the Portuguese at the Indian Ocean in 1554 and is famous for his books of travel which are translated into many languages; Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis (known as Curtogoli in the West) who played an important role in the conquests of Egypt in 1517 and Rhodes in 1522, and established the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet based in Suez which was later commanded by his son, Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis, who led the Ottoman naval expedition to Aceh (1568–1569) which marked the easternmost territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire, and numerous others have all made it to the hall of fame of great mariners in history.

The Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis crafted maps and books of navigation, including his first world map (1513) which is one of the oldest surviving maps of America and possibly the oldest surviving map of Antarctica. The first world map (1513) and second world map (1528) of Piri Reis are today preserved at the Library of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. Other works of Piri Reis are preserved at the Naval Museum[19] in Istanbul.


See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700, Rhoads Murphey, 1999, p.23
  2. ^ Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis The Cambridge history of Islam 1977.
  3. ^ a b c d e Turkish Navy Official Website: "Atlantik'te Türk Denizciliği"
  4. ^ Konstam, Angus (2008). Piracy: the complete history. Osprey Publishing. p. 91.  
  5. ^ Turkish Raid – anniversary exhibition in Westman Islands at 5 pm
  6. ^ Discover South Iceland: Vestmannaeyjar, the Westman Islands
  7. ^ The Sack of Baltimore, Ireland
  8. ^ Des Ekin: The Stolen Village
  9. ^ Gábor Ágoston. Asia Minor and Beyond: The Ottomans. The Great Empires of Asia. Ed. Jim Masselos. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 2010. p.121 ISBN 978-0-520-26859-3
  10. ^ Grazebrook, Lieutenant, "The Ottoman Navy"
  11. ^ a b c d e f Charles King, The Black Sea: a History, Oxford University Press, 2004 ISBN 978-0-19-924161-3 pp. 125, 131, 133–134
  12. ^ Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters (eds.) Infobase Publishing, 2009 ISBN 978-0-8160-6259-1 p.450
  13. ^ Description d'Ukranie, qui sont plusieurs provinces du Royaume de Pologne. Contenues depuis les confins de la Moscovie, insques aux limites de la Transilvanie. Ensemble leurs moeurs, façons de viures, et de faire la Guerre. Par le Sieur de Beauplan. — A Rouen, Chez Jacques Cailloue, 1660.
  14. ^ Arming the State: Military Conscription in the Middle East and Central Asia, Erik J. Zurcher, page 45
  15. ^ Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700, Rhoads Murphey, 1999, p.235
  16. ^ Submarine Heritage Centre – Submarine History of Barrow-in-Furness
  17. ^ The Invention of the Submarine, Greg Goebel,
  18. ^ See Massey, Castles of Steel
  19. ^ [2]


  • E. Hamilton Currey, Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean (London, 1910).
  • Bono, Salvatore: Corsari nel Mediterraneo (Corsairs in the Mediterranean) (Perugia, Oscar Storia Mondadori, 1993); Corsari nel Mediterraneo: Condottieri di ventura. Online database in Italian, based on Salvatore Bono's book.
  • Bradford, Ernle, The Sultan's Admiral: The life of Barbarossa (London, 1968).
  • Wolf, John B., The Barbary Coast: Algeria under the Turks (New York, 1979).
  • Melis, Nicola, “The importance of Hormuz for Luso-Ottoman Gulf-centred policies in the 16th century: Some observations based on contemporary sources", in R. Loureiro-D. Couto (eds.), Revisiting Hormuz – Portuguese Interactions in the Persian Gulf Region in the Early Modern Period (Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2008, 107–120 (Maritime Asia, 19).
  • Tuncay Zorlu, Innovation and Empire in Turkey: Sultan Selim III and the Modernisation of the Ottoman Navy (London, I.B. Tauris, 2011).

External links

  • The Ottomans: Comprehensive and detailed online chronology of Ottoman history in English.
  • Turkish Navy official website: Historic heritage of the Turkish Navy (in Turkish)
  • Turkish Navy official website: Turkish seamen in the Atlantic Ocean (in Turkish)
  • Istanbul Naval Museum Official Website
  • Navy pages in 'Turkey in WW1' web site
  • History of the Ottoman Navy
  • See World War I ship list

Representations in popular culture

  • The Ottoman Navy and Admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa are depicted in the novel The Sultan's Admiral: Barbarossa: Pirate and Empire Builder by Ernle Bradford.
  • The Ottoman Navy, Admiral Turgut Reis, and the Siege of Malta are depicted in the novel The Religion by Tim Willocks.
  • The Ottoman Navy and Admiral Kemal Reis are portrayed in the novel The Sultan's Helmsman by Robert Colburn.
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