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Oghuz Turkmen presence in Anatolia/Middle East

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    Posted: 08-Jan-2009 at 19:46
The Oghuz Turks presence in the Middle East can be traced to the mercenary armies of the Caliphate, in Anatolia the Pechenegs and also mercenary armies of the Byzantines are the earliest contacts. 

What do historical sources claim the population of the Oghuz Turks were? in a relatively short amount of time branches of nearly all the major 22/24 Oghuz tribes had a presence in Anatolia. What

Here is an introduction to the topic by Halil Inalcik.

Halil Inalcik. "The Question of the Emergence of the Ottoman State"

in International Journal of Turkish Studies, vol. II, 1980, pp. 71-79

n 1256 the Mongol general Bayju asked the Seljukid sultan, Izzeddin Kaykawus II, to assign him summer and winter quarters in Anatolia for his army tribes to settle in. This was after Hulagu Khan had ordered the evacuation of Arran and Mughan plains to make way for the Mongol imperial army. The sultan rejected Bayju's demand. The ensuing battle ended with the defeat of the Seljukid army and their evacuation of the best pasture lands in the Tokat-Amasya area, including the lush Kazova plain. This event brought a new flow of Turcoman immigrants into the western border areas. Kaykawus eventually fled to Byzantium (1261), but the Turcomans continued their support for him and his sons against the Mongols. The following thirty years were an era of struggle in Anatolia -- a struggle that brought still more immigration. The figures provided by the Arab geographer Ibn Said (d. 1274 or 1286) give at least a general idea of the relative distribution of the Turcomans on these frontiers: 200,000 tents in the Tonguzlu (or Ladik, ancient Laodicaea) region, 100,000 tents in the Kastamoni (Paphlagonia), and 30,000 tents in the Kutahya (Cotyaeum).

The next period of massive population movement in Asia Minor began in 1277 when the native Seljukid aristocracy and their Turcoman supporters allied themselves with the Mamluks of Egypt and rose up to fight a Holy War against the ''impious" domination of the Mongols. Now the aggressive spirit of jihad, resuscitated by the victor over the Mongols, Sultan Baybars of Egypt, appeared to generate within Anatolia intense enthusiasm for the battle against the Mongols, especially among the frontier Turcomans Hard pressed by the Mongol forces, the most warlike and mobile elements of the frontier Turcomans moved further west and south and directed their energies for Holy War in raids (ghaza) against the inadequately protected territories of Byzantium in western Anatolia and in Lesser Armenia in Cilicia. In order to establish direct Mongol control in Seljukid Anatolia, fresh Mongol forces, actually whole tribes, were sent to settle there after 1277, again mostly in the Amasya-Tokat region. By the end of the thirteenth century these forces amounted to five tumen's (50,000 men) and several ming's (one ming was 1,000 men).

In about 1330, Al-'Umari's two sources estimated that the sixteen Turcoman principalities established by that time could mobilize over half-a-million cavalrymen -- the figure given by Balaban the Genoes -- or over a quarter-of-a-million -- according to Haydar al-Uryan.'' In addition, they mentioned an unspecified number of infantry. The figures were obviously greatly exaggerated. However, if we remember that the majority of these forces consisted of Turcoman tribesmen, the figure given for each individual principality can be interpreted as the relative number of fighting tribesmen dependent upon a particular lord or ruler. It is noteworthy that the highest figures in these accounts were given for the Mentese-oghlu (100,000 in Caria), the Aydin-oghlu (70,000 in lonia), the Osman-oghlu (Ottomans -- 40,000 in Bythinia), the Karasi-oghlu (over 40,000 in Mysia), and the Sarukhan-oghlu (18,000 in Lydia) -- all of whom were operating in the area captured from the Byzantines in western Anatolia between 1260 and 1330.

To sum up, a new Turkey with great demographic potential and a heightened Holy War ideology, was emerging in the old Seljukid frontier zone east of a line from the mouth of the Dalaman (Indos) River to that of the Sakarya (Sangarius). A thrust by this explosive frontier society against the neighboring Byzantine territory in western Anatolia and in the Balkans was almost inevitable. The expansion was accomplished in the following stages: (I) it began with the seasonal movements of Turcoman nomadic groups into the Byzantine coastal plains; (2) it was intensified by the organization of small raiding groups under ghazi leaders, mostly of tribal ongin, for booty raids or for employment as mercenaries; (3) it continued with the emergence of successful leaders capable of bringing together under their clientship local chiefs to conguer and then establish beyliks (principalities) in conquered lands on the model of the principalities founded in the old Seljukid frontier zone; and finally (4) with the involvement of these ghazi-beyliks, with their definite political and economic aims, in the regional struggle for supremacy in the Aegean and in the Balkans, the previously undirected thrusts of the war bands became focused on new goals.

      What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine

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