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An Ottoman Gift to America

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Topic: An Ottoman Gift to America
Posted By: Murabit
Subject: An Ottoman Gift to America
Date Posted: 04 April 2007 at 6:15am
An Ottoman Gift to America

By M. Ugur Derman

Translated By Mohamed Zakariya

In June of 1959, I saw the exhibition “150 Years of Turkish-American Friendship” at the American Information Center on Istiklal Street in Istanbul’s Beyoglu District. What drew my attention most was a photo of an Ottoman inscription inside the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. I read the poem that was shown inscribed in stone. At that time, my mentor, Dr. Süheyl Ünver (1898–1986), was in the United States. With excitement, I wrote to him, asking that he go see it. He answered my letter from New York, writing that although he had been in the vicinity of the monument, the wait to enter the monument had been too long because of the huge crowds. Essentially, because he had no proof that such an inscription existed, he explained that he could not justify a return to Washington to search for it.

Finally, about forty years later, on September 15, 1998, I was able to see the inscription up close. I was able to climb a ladder to exactly its level, touch it with my hands, and take some photographs of it. How did this Ottoman inscription, the like of which has not been encountered in any other country, come into being and find its way to such an honorable spot in the Washington Monument? It will be easier to explain this, I think, with a few preliminary facts.

From the time the United States gained its independence in 1776, the Ottoman state was interested in establishing trade relations with the new country. The first such treaty was concluded in 1830, during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839). As a result of this treaty, the warship Nusratiye was built with the help of two American naval officers who were sent to Istanbul to supervise the project. It was launched in 1835.

Close relations between the two countries were further strengthened during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid (r. 1839–1861). As a result of the rebellion that broke out in 1848 in France, the Hungarians rebelled against the Austrian Empire, and the Poles rose in rebellion against the Russians; both rebellions were eventually stifled. As the Austrian Empire and Russia began to extirpate the rebellion forces, they were soon pushing against the Ottoman borders. Our country Turkey was not intimidated by the ...

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Posted By: usama
Date Posted: 28 October 2007 at 7:37am

Salaam alaikum

Jazakullah khayrun ya akhi.  very interesting and bit of history...  Ironically, one of the most despicable American presidents in American history, George Bush, has been at the forefront of condemning any Muslim effort to reestablish the caliphate.  Yet American history shows that America lived with mutually respectable relations with the Ottoman caliphate/sultanate.   Which history is right?


Let there arise from amongst you a group inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and they are the successful ones. Al Imran:104

Posted By: Turquaz
Date Posted: 20 February 2009 at 10:45pm
Unfortunately, Ottomans were alone in the world in late 18th and 19th centuries. Ottomans and the whole Muslim world by the time, were under pressure by Russia, Austria and France.

Until WWI, UK did not get involved within a war against Ottomans, but still, they supported acts and wars and rebellions against Muslims.

Because of that, Istanbul were trying to establish friendly relationships with the new 'alternatives'.

USA was one of them. And the other one was..


Theres a sad event in Ottoman history on relationships with Japan. I hope, one day I could tell that. But in basic; when Japan opened its borders again to the West; Ottomans also sent a ship, called Ertugrul.

Ertugrul's mission was to establish friendly relationships with Japan and introducing Islam. For that purpose, there were many Imams on that ship.

Japans welcomed Ottomans and it was a successful mission. Unfortunately, on the way of their return, close to Japanese coast, Ertugrul sinked.

And just a few months later, a coup happened in Istanbul and Sultan Abdulhamid II was forced to left the throne. New government in Istanbul never had time to continue relationships with Japan; because they were st**id; they caused several wars and they destroyed the whole Ottoman state in just a few years.

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