There is the myth that Christians under Ottoman rule were treated well.But we know of:
This is a system that lasted in essence for 300 years,from 1330-1630 and where:
1.Every year or every several years thousands of children were stolen from Christian parents,usually from ages 8-12.
2.The number of children stolen was at least 500,000,others put it at 1 million.
3.The children were forced to become Muslim.
4.The great majority became soldiers of the Sultan,the janissaries and they had to fight for him.
5.A very small number of the most intelligent were trained to become administrators,even vizirs of the empire.The reason was that the Sultan was afraid of the aristocratic Turkish families,that they would kill him.So he depended on stolen children who had no family ties.
6.The most famous of the devshirme group was Sinan (1490-1588),who was taken at a late age,21 years,and forced to become a Muslim and janissary.He was Greek,others,on more evidence,say he was Armenian,and he became the most famous architect in Ottoman history.
He is famous for 2 mosques,copied after the Hagia Sophia Church built by Justinian in Constantinople.They are the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul and the Selim Mosque in Edirne.He was responsible for some 300 constructions all over the Empire under 3 sultans.
Christians were Enslaved by the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire for Hundreds of Years
The Case of Christian Women
In their case the Koran sanctions having non-Muslim women as slaves for sex.For example:
1.When Sultan Suleiman(called “the Magnificent”) failed to capture Vienna in 1529 he took 50,000 Christian and European girls and women as sex slaves back with him.
2.When the Turks were defeated in front of Vienna again in 1683 by the Polish king John Sobieski (who said:”I came,I saw,God conquered“),30,000 Poles defeating 90,000 Turks,they took 80,000 Christian and European girls and women back as sex slaves.
3.Scholar Alan Fisher has conservatively calculated that between 1463-1694 the Tatars of the Crimea,who were subjects of the Sultan, enslaved 3 million men,women and children from Poland,Ukraine and Russia and sold them to the Ottoman Turks.
Read from Madeline Zilfi’s book (online)”Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire”(2010)
Here is an Overview of the Book:
“Madeline C. Zilfi’s latest book examines gender politics through slavery and social regulation in the Ottoman Empire. In a challenge to prevailing notions, her research shows that throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries female slavery was not only central to Ottoman practice, but a critical component of imperial governance and elite social reproduction.
As Zilfi illustrates through her graphic accounts of the humiliations and sufferings endured by these women at the hands of their owners, Ottoman slavery was often as cruel as its Western counterpart.
The book focuses on the experience of slavery in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul, also using comparative data from Egypt and North Africa to illustrate the regional diversity and local dynamics that were the hallmarks of slavery in the Middle East during the early modern era. This is an articulate and informed account that sets more general debates on women and slavery in the Ottoman context.”
Here are Extracts from the Book
The Enslavement by the Barbary Pirates,Subjects of the Sultan
They enslaved Christians of the Mediterranean with the approval of the Sultan.Their center was Algiers.90% of those enslaved were men and only 5% of those captured were ransomed or escaped.Three famous Europeans were slaves of the Muslims:
1.Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
With Leo Tolstoy of “War and Peace” he is considered to be the greatest novelist who has ever lived.He wrote the 1000 page Don Quijote,where Don Quijote,the nobleman on a horse,represents idealism and Sancho Panza,his illiterate peasant companion,who is on a donkey,represents realism.
He was a slave of the Muslims for 5 years (1575-1580),from age 28-33 and tried to escape 4 times.He was ransomned on the day he was to be taken as a slave to Istanbul.
2.St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
He is a beloved French saint who helped the poor.He was captured in 1605 and converted his master to Christianity and they fled to France in 1607.
3.Antonio Veneziano (1543-1593)
He was a Sicilian poet,who wrote in the Sicilian dialect.He was a slave from 1575-1579 and shared a cell with Cervantes.They became friends and Cervantes wrote about him.
Read this Great Article about the Enslaving of Europeans by Muslims
It is serious and gives a bibliography so the reader can check,citing scholars Andrew Bostom,M.A.Khan(ex-Muslim from Pakistan),Bat Yeor,etc.
The Massacre of Innocent Greeks in Chios
Chios is an island and the Greek war of independance had began.A few Greeks in Chios had rallied to the cause but the vast majority did not participate.The Sultan sent an army of 45,000 that:
1.Killed 20,000-25,000 unarmed men,women and children.
2.Enslaved(yes,slavery of Europeans by Muslims still existed) some 25,000.They were captured and sold as slaves.
The massacred horrified Europe and led to help that resulted in the independance of Greece.The greatest painter of the time was Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863),the greatest painter of the Romantic school of art (which was a reaction to the Neoclassical style)and one of the greatest painters of all time.To show support for Greece he painted “The Massacre at Chios”(1824).He also painted “Greece at the Ruins of Missolonghi”(1826) and his masterpiece was inspired by the Parisian revolt of 1830 for liberty,equality and fraternity and against the king.It is the world-famous “Liberty Leading the People“(1830).
The Massacre of 30,000 Innocent Bulgarian Civilians in 1876
There was a revolt for independence and the Ottoman army killed 30,000 helpless,unarmed men,women and children.
The Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896
At that time Christians made up 30% of what is now Turkey.There was a Sultan who ruled from Istanbul till 1924.For no reason except hatred of non-Muslims 100,000-300,000 innocent Armenian Christians were killed by the Muslims.
The Adana Massacre of Armenians(1909)
From 15,000-30,000 innocent Armenians were killed by the Muslims.
The Armenian Genocide (1914-1917)
Some 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by the Muslims.Only for being non-Muslim.200,000 Armenian women became Muslim to avoid death but they had to marry a Muslim man,so it was forced.
The Greek Genocide (1914-1923)
From 1914-1923,during the reign of the Sultan,by the way,500,000 Greeks,a Christian group, were killed by the Muslims.
Read the Details Here:
The Assyrian Genocide(a Christian group that speaks Arabic)(1914-1920)
It happened from 1914-1920.At the time of their genocide contemporaries estimated 250,000 had been killed by the Muslims.Recent estimates place it at 500,000 and even 750,000.Again this was at the time of the Sultan.
The Young Turks were Responsible for the Genocides
In 1831 the great and noble Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini founded an organization for Italian independence called Young Italy.
Later a group of German writers,of which the great Heinrich Heine(author of the beloved poem The Lorelei) was one,was called Young Germany.They were for democracy and liberty in Germany.
In 1837 a group of Argentine intellectuals against the dictator Rosas was formed called Young Argentina.It included the fine poet Echevarria and the great writer Sarmiento(who wrote the famous book against tyrants called Facundo).
The Young Turks was a movement,made up in general of Turkish officers,who wanted to modernize Turkey and the Empire.They were very,very nationalistic.
One argument one hears is:
1.That the genocides were done only for nationalistic reasons.
2.Islam had no importance in deciding who was killed.
The reality is the Young Turks only killed Christians.
1.They never killed Muslims,they did not commit a Kurdish massacre(the Kurds are Muslim).
2.Again,200,000 Armenian women saved their lives by changing religion.
3.So religion,Islam, was a part of the nationalistic identity of the Young Turks.To deny it is foolishness.
Read about the Responsibility of the Young Turks in the Genocides