The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors (2013) s01e03 Episode Script

Episode 3

On the edge of Europe is a city that was once the heart of a mighty empire.
From here in Istanbul, the glories of the Ottoman Empire came to match those of Ancient Rome.
Wow! Look at this! This is the view that the Ottoman sultans would have seen and it just simply takes your breath away.
For 600 years, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, one dynasty of Ottoman sultans, a single family, ruled over huge swathes of the world.
The Ottomans were staggeringly wealthy.
This is an empire of a million square miles.
It's a superpower.
The empire stretched south to Baghdad and Cairo, controlling the holiest sites of Islam.
Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
But it also reached deep into Europe, taking in Sarajevo and threatening the gates of Vienna.
What's more, it was the world's last Islamic empire and it collapsed less than a hundred years ago.
In this series, I'm discovering why the Ottoman Empire seems to have vanished from our understanding of the history of Europe, why its story is exciting global interest once more and how this year's struggles at the heart of the Ottoman story have reignited on the streets they once ruled from Syria to Turkey and Egypt.
It's remarkable how some of the most important, yet unresolved, issues confronting us today were also faced by the Ottomans.
The conflicts between the Christian West and the Muslim East, the need to reconcile secular politics with religious ideology and balancing the demands of the clergy with the ambitions of the generals.
All this was faced by one dynasty that ruled for 600 years, across three continents.
In this last episode, I'll discover how this great empire was finally destroyed, why its achievements were largely lost in the trauma of its final few years and how the fallout from its collapse created tensions that still resonate across Europe and the Middle East.
Across the continents, down the centuries, I'll be getting to grips with what we all need to know today about Europe's Muslim emperors.
The Ottomans had been part of the power politics of Europe since their rise to power in the 13th century.
They defeated the Byzantine Empire and turned its capital, Constantinople, into THEIR imperial heart - modern day Istanbul.
By the 16th century, they had become the leaders of the Muslim world.
Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ushered in a golden age.
But 1683 marked the start of decline.
At the gates of Vienna, the Pope's troops imposed a crushing defeat.
All empires had great successes and losses, and they are the same, but they have been seen only as negative.
As industrial and democratic revolutions transformed Europe, the Ottoman Empire became known as the sick man of Europe.
The sick man could have cured himself and the sick man, rather late in the day, realised what he needed to do.
The Ottomans tried to modernise along Western European lines.
But the empire was already fracturing from within.
Its lands began shrinking in the face of an increasingly appealing concept - nationalism.
People who used to be peoples of the empire said, "Now we want our country.
Why don't we become independent? "Why don't we become a whole new nation?" And that's why you had a Greek revolt, that's why you had a Serbian revolt and the Bulgarian revolt and Albanian revolt.
Nationalism created a host of new hostile neighbours.
With every one of those nationalist struggles came tremendous violence done by the state to its society, by insurgents against the state.
I thinkeveryone was scarred.
In a last ditch attempt to hold onto power, the Ottoman sultan tried to play the Islam card to rally what was, for the first time, an overwhelmingly Muslim population.
But by the start of the 20th century, Istanbul was a city in turmoil.
CHANTING Recent scenes on Turkey's streets were mirrored in the early years of the century.
Tensions produced by nationalism and the struggles to modernise the empire affected the ideas of a new generation.
So-called Young Turks demanded democracy to replace the old world autocratic rule.
One of the last Ottoman sultans, Abdul Hamid II, like his father and grandfather, attempted to modernise.
The very schools and academies that the Ottomans had created were churning out people convinced that the empire needed their ideas to reform and they found the greatest obstacle to their participation in the sultan himself.
And in their resentment against Abdul Hamid II, you can really see where people who believed in meritocracy were determined to end autocracy.
The result is 1908, the Revolution of the Young Turks, and it's a very it's the first example of a very widely supported revolution, political revolution, which involve not only the Muslims but also the Christians, and there's a euphoria, there's a hope of the Armenian population, of the Greek population, of the Jewish population, of the Muslim population, that things are going to change for the best.
But even as the reforming generation tried to reshape the empire from within, the Ottomans faced one final fight with the outside world.
It was the moment modern European history collided with that of the Middle East in the First World War.
The great powers of Europe had been waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the Ottoman's lands.
It came in 1914.
It was a very serious situation for the Ottomans.
They knew that this would be a struggle of life and death for the 600 years empire.
The Ottomans had entered World War I on the side of Germany.
They soon faced an Allied attack within striking distance of their capital, Istanbul.
'Under Churchill's direction, 'the British fleet makes a surprise attack on Turkey.
' When you are looking down there to the entrance, how many ships can you see? One, two, three, four, five On the 18th of March 1915, a fleet of 103 ships sailed into this very small area.
16 of the 103 were some of the biggest in the world at the time.
Just to see them, that was a shock for the Turks who were here on the shores.
This was the Battle of Gallipoli - an attack the Ottomans had long dreaded.
When the Allies made a landing, Ottoman troops were overwhelmed.
But a young officer, Mustafa Kemal, or Ataturk, began his rise to prominence when he commanded the troops to sacrifice their lives for the empire.
"I do not order you to attack.
I order you to die.
"Within the time which will pass by, "other soldiers and officers will take our places.
" And with his division, he stopped the Allies on that day.
What followed was stalemate.
Both armies were entrenched here for eight long months.
And sometimes the opposing trenches were only nine yards apart.
There were terrible losses on both sides.
The total casualty figure in terms of both dead and wounded is thought to be at around 340,000.
Eventually the Allies had to accept a humiliating defeat.
Gallipoli convinced the Ottomans that they were in a fight to the death.
After years of battles that had seen them lose vast territory and great wealth, this was a war they felt they had to win at any cost.
Up to the First World War, Kurdish Muslims and Armenian Christians lived in Van in southeast Turkey.
This is what's left of the old city today.
This picture is very important for the Van history, because it's taken before the World War I, and it shows how the city was.
And now we are seeing there, the minarets.
And then the other major monuments, quarters, Armenian church right over there.
After years of nationalist struggles in the empire, Ottoman tolerance had worn out.
Thousands of Armenians had already been massacred.
But here in the remote East, some fought for autonomy supported by Russia, until tensions escalated into a single, dreadful event.
Looking down on it now, it is completely and utterly flattened, save for just a few minarets.
Why? What happened? During the World War I, especially starting 1915, bad things happened there.
The Russian Army came to the Van and the Armenian Army burned all the Muslim quarters of the city and many Muslim population left the city.
When the Ottoman Army came here, take revenge, all the city destroyed it.
The Ottomans had dealt brutally with Armenians before.
But in 1915, their actions were unprecedented.
They forcibly rounded up whole villages of Armenians and marched them to the desert.
The justification that the Turks will use is the need to secure their own lines of communication and the fear of a rebellion when it's facing a major military danger.
What clearly happens very quickly is a move from there to outright massacre of Armenians, come what may.
There's a British parliamentary report on the deportations, containing eye-witness accounts.
I looked at it with Armenian historian Ara Sarafian.
Just to give you one example, we have the American consul in Harput, modern day Elazig, who describes the arrival of deportees from further north and he gives a very vivid account of what deportation actually meant.
He says, for example, "If it were simply a matter of being obliged to leave here "to go somewhere else, it would not be so bad, "but everybody knows it is a case of going to one's death.
"The entire movement seems to be the most thoroughly organised "and effective massacre this country has ever seen.
" The British report has been dismissed by Turkey as wartime propaganda.
There's intense debate about what happened to the Armenians and whether it should be described as genocide.
Genocide is about a deliberate intent to destroy a race, that's what it means.
And why the controversy has arisen as to whether the word "genocide" is appropriate has been, in part, because of the difficulty of establishing absolutely clearly that intent.
Well over 2,000 villagers individually were targeted, were sent away and, by and large, murdered, so we can argue whether that's genocide or not, but that's pretty close to the definition.
The round figure that tends to be used is a million Armenians die out of a possible population of two or three times that.
It's a story, though, which did not happen because of the Ottoman system but happened because of the fall of the Ottoman system.
Armenians had lived in the Ottoman Empire side by side with Turks for six centuries, and because of the fears of nationalism, ethnic conflict, they had this tragic end.
These ruins are a testament to the final troubled years of the Ottoman Empire.
It's incredible that this is all that remains from what was once a thriving city.
This kind of rough cut crosses, are memories of the Armenian community of the Van.
Did anyone win in the end, do you think? No.
We lost the city and we lost the friendship between two communities.
When World War I finally ended in 1918 it was the Allies who were victorious.
It signalled the imminent death of the Ottoman Empire.
It wasn't solely European aggression that had defeated it.
Nationalism had fractured the Ottoman's diverse peoples, helping to destroy the empire from within.
As the Allies set about shaping the post-Ottoman world, the deals done to win the war would sow seeds of conflict that divide the world to this day.
The victors - Britain and France - now set about carving up the Ottoman lands.
Russian ambitions were no longer a threat, because that country had been thrown into chaos in 1917 by the Bolshevik revolution.
France claimed kind of northeastern corner of Turkey, around Edirne, and they wanted the Syrian coastline into Jalad.
The British had discovered oil, so they wanted Basra and Mesopotamia.
A whole series of new countries was created in the Middle East.
France got modern day Syria and Lebanon.
The British took control of modern day Iraq, Palestine and Jordan.
The borders of these countries were not designed according to any geographical reality or any ethnic reason.
Iraq is the consolidation of three former Ottoman provinces.
It was not logically shaped to form a state, so the differences in terms of ethnicity differences, in terms of religion, meant that it was storing up future problems.
The British had encouraged Arabs in the Ottoman Empire to pursue the dream of self-rule.
Those who had joined the fight got their reward.
So, the sons of the sharif of Mecca became the kings of modern day Jordan and Iraq.
Descendants of the Arab Wahabi uprising, who rejected the authority of the Ottomans over a century before, became the new rulers of today's Saudi Arabia.
Britain had been using the possibility of territory within the Ottoman Empire to secure allies, and so Britain makes contradictory promises, but in entering those agreements Britain has stored up terrible problems for the future, not only for Britain's own interests in the least, of course, but for the Middle East itself.
What Britain didn't tell the nationalists was that it had promised Arab territory to its allies, including Zionists who wanted a new Jewish state in the region.
In a matter of decades, Israel became a reality in former Arab Palestine.
It left many Arabs feeling betrayed.
It is in the Middle East above all, we continue to see the effects of the First World War and I have to say, in my moments of gloom, if I want to think where could a third world war break out, it would be there.
Modern day Saudi Arabia and Yemen escaped control by the great powers of Europe.
Only one other major Muslim country would achieve this.
Remarkably, that nation was the heartland of the Ottoman Empire.
Modern day Turkey.
In 1918, the future of this country looked bleak.
Ottoman power had passed on for the final time to the last Ottoman sultan, Mehmed VI.
He wanted to negotiate with the European powers.
But the Allies had other ideas.
Lloyd George likened, actually, the Turks to cancer, that they were bloodthirsty, you know, Muslim tyrants who suppressed, actually, civilised Christian peoples for centuries.
This was really merely tapping into long-standing prejudice that had both a religious and a racial element to it.
And so Britain's Prime Minister, Lloyd George, decided to allow the Greeks to attack.
What followed was a defining moment in the relationship between Greeks and Turks.
With the approval of Britain, Greece landed troops in western Turkey in 1919.
They wanted control of lands which were already home to a sizeable Greek population.
But officers in the old Imperial Army were outraged.
One determined to lead the fight back.
He was the same man who had rallied the troops at Gallipoli.
Mustafa Kemal - Ataturk.
Ataturk deliberately depicted jihad, a holy war between two major religions, you know, between Christianity and Islam.
It's pretty normal in the history of this part of the world that you raise the flag of religion to get everyone marching.
Ataturk began mobilising a rebel army to fight the Greek invaders.
When the pushback against the Greeks came, it was incredibly rapid.
The Greeks advanced too far into the interior, they overextended their lines of communication.
And before long, they were exhausted and the Turks were able to turn the tide of war.
Greek troops were pushed back to the western seaport of Izmir, or Smyrna, where there was a large Greek community.
In September 1922, Turkish troops followed.
The city was set alight.
The only escape, on the waterfront.
Thousands perished in the flames and smoke.
Tens of thousands had to be evacuated.
It was an event that the Greeks have not forgotten, the Asia Minor disaster.
There was a fascinating combination of cultures all living cheek by jowl, which was destroyed, and it's left a real hole in people's lives, it's left a sadness for a lost world.
A lost way of life.
The rebel army had defeated the Greeks.
And they'd done it without the support of the sultan.
He now paid the price.
Mehmed VI would be the last of the Ottoman dynasty, stretching back 600 years and through 22 generations.
From its founder Osman, to Sultan Mehmed, who'd conquered Istanbul, to Suleiman the Magnificent, who took the Ottomans to the peak of their power.
It was all over.
The Ottoman Empire began at the time of the Dark Ages in Europe and ended in the era of modernity during the 20th century.
It went from before the Peasants Revolt in Britain to the period when aviation had been invented.
In 1922, the sultanate was abolished, and Mehmed left for a life in exile.
In the aftermath of the war with Greece, Greek Orthodox Christians living in parts of modern day Turkey were told to leave.
For centuries, they had lived side by side with Muslims in villages like this in southern Turkey.
The Greeks knew it as Livizzi.
Today, it's Kayakoy.
1,500 people needed to leave their houses.
They cleaned their houses, made everything ready for the newcomers.
They even left their keys.
Some of them left it into the local Jandarma to be given The local police? Yes, local police, to be given to the newcomers.
Despina Mavrikou and her daughter Vera are descendants of refugees from the village, now living in Greece.
The forced relocation is still a difficult family memory.
SHE SPEAKS GREEK My mother says that she feels pain, she feels sorry for what happened to them because they didn't deserve such bad circumstances to live.
When Greeks left, they opened the churches and took all things out.
They painted the pictures inside the churches.
They didn't need to do that.
They raped girls within the Holy Table of the Church.
They didn't need to do so savage, so wild things to the Greek people.
It was as if they wanted to take revenge from the Greeks.
The relocation of Christians was one side of a population exchange sanctioned by the League of Nations.
Any Muslims still living in Greece also had to move.
The Evrenos family left Greece in 1912.
The ancestors of this family were responsible for founding some of the first Ottoman towns in 14th-century Greece.
After more than 500 years of calling it home, the family found it difficult to come to terms with their exile.
It is a painful story.
The reason why my grandfather and my grandmother moved into Istanbul is that because they tried to assassinate him in Greece.
Living there for more than 500 years, it's your home.
Of course, they left everything behind and they created their old lives again from scratch.
So, it's not an easy thing to do.
In total, around two million people were uprooted by conflict and the subsequent population exchange.
The exchange of populations enormously damaged relations between Greeks and Turks.
To me, it is a sad tragedy, a lost opportunity that, in modern times, Greece and Turkey have not been able to establish closer relations.
In the end, the steep location of this village proved too challenging for newcomers.
It was eventually abandoned.
Today, it's preserved as a reminder of the human cost of war.
This is a disturbing place.
Britain encouraged Greece to invade.
But, of course, it was ordinary people in villages like this one, across Turkey and, of course, Greece, who paid the price for that decision.
It's a cautionary tale of the West intervening in a country it doesn't really understand.
In a matter of years, everything had changed in the old Ottoman heartland.
Where once about a fifth of the population had been non-Muslim, by 1923, it was only 2%.
And with the sultan gone, there was no figure to lead the new country.
But there was a man widely credited with saving the nation twice over.
Ataturk.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a war hero from Gallipoli, but what really made his career, was his leadership of the Turkish War of Liberation.
He emerged as a hero, you know, victory personified.
He was the political leader and the military leader of the struggle and therefore, he immediately became a saint-like figure in Turkey.
That's what sealed his role, basically, as the unchallenged President of Turkey for life.
Ataturk grew up in Salonica, the modern Greek city of Thessaloniki, when it was still part of Ottoman lands.
He had been born outside the borders of the state he would lead.
But he had experienced the tensions at the end of the empire and they shaped his thinking.
He had a vision of a new state, rising from the ashes of the failed empire.
On the 29th of October 1923, in a new capital, Ankara, the Republic of Turkey was formally declared.
It soon began to impose fundamental changes to society.
This factory was one of the first built in the new republic and it was a bold statement.
Drinking alcohol is not permitted in Islam, but this was a brewery.
The new state was calling time on its Muslim past.
Ataturk would sit in cafes, drinking alcohol in public, so that people could see him do it.
He wanted people to behave like Europeans and he saw drinking alcohol as something which Turkey could move towards.
He wanted Turkey to be the equal of Europe, which in those days, of course, was the civilised world in his mind.
Ataturk was a product of his time.
Educated Turks viewed history in the same way as intellectuals in the West.
It was a struggle between religion and science, and religion held back progress.
Ataturk was convinced that for the republic to succeed, it had to adopt modern Western ways and leave behind its traditional Muslim outlook.
One of his famous maxims is that the only true guide is actually science.
He really believed religion will fade away and science will reign supreme.
And so Ataturk subsumed religion to his state.
Almost overnight, the country started to look very different.
Traditional Islamic dress, such as the headdress for women, was banned.
Ataturk's vision for a secular state touched every aspect of people's lives.
One of the most commonly used calendars was the Islamic calendar.
Now, if Turkey had to be a European nation, it had to have a European calendar, so Ataturk implemented what is known as the "Calendar Reform".
The Turks went to bed one night, it was 1341, they woke up the next morning, it was 1926.
When Ataturk adopted Sunday as the holy day instead of Friday, it deeply affected people, because Sunday was associated with Christianity.
He decides that Turkey has to switch to a Roman Latin-based alphabet.
That switch happens, once again, very fast, in less than three months.
He gave rights to Turkish women and this happened, really, before such rights actually were granted to women in many Western societies.
Women being discouraged from wearing the veil, the Christian calendar being adopted instead of the Islamic one and the traditional Arabic script being replaced by the Western Latin alphabet.
It was a social revolution of incredible proportions.
In a way, the Ottoman Empire raised its own nemesis.
Ataturk wants to do away with the Ottoman legacy, eliminate everything that has to do with the Ottoman Empire and establish a republic from scratch.
Seyda Kayhan was a child in the new republic.
She feels Ataturk's reforms transformed their lives for the better.
"Look to the West," he said, "because the result is progress "and enlightenment getting out of this mess.
" And then schools were opened, where we could learn English, they learned how to put on European clothes, they learned how to throw off their fezs.
That's what they did and they did it with pleasure, I mean, nobody forced them to do it.
They were poor, they wanted to be Western.
Why shouldn't they? But Ataturk could be ruthless with anyone who didn't share his vision.
In 1925, a new reform was introduced which forced the Turkish people to show their acceptance of the new secular society.
At the start of the 20th century, Muslim men in Turkey wore a hat known as the fez.
And this is the last place in Istanbul where it was made.
At the time, it was an incredibly advanced workshop with steam-powered looms, but it all came to an end in 1925.
From that point on, the fez was banned.
It's ironic, because the fez itself had been installed by a Westernising sultan in the 19th century who had banned the turban.
Yet a hundred years later, the fez has now the invented tradition had become what people thought was their tradition going back hundreds of years.
The fez became a symbol for those who resented Ataturk's sweeping reforms.
An Islamic scholar called Atif Hodja decided to make a stand.
Atif Hodja, he had actually prepared a pamphlet and said that this was really un-Islamic.
So he was arrested and brought before, actually, one of those, court martialled and sentenced, actually, to death.
And he was actually executed.
This is 1926, right after he objected to the reform of wearing the Western-style hat.
To build a republic out of post-war chaos, Ataturk believed the needs of the state had to come before the rights of an individual.
If you were an opponent of Ataturk's, you would know about it.
But on the other hand, there was nowhere near the level of brutality or brutalisation that you saw with, shall we say, Stalin, his exact counterpart in the Soviet Union.
There was nowhere near the level of brutalisation you see in China with Mao Tse Tung.
He's very criticised today by multiple groups, but as a nationalist leader that started a new country and was able to adapt this old imperial state and society very quickly to become a productive nation in the new world, he was very successful at that.
Ataturk's choice of presidential residence in Istanbul reflected his Western focus.
The Dolmabache Palace was built by the Ottomans, but influenced by the fashions of 18th-century Europe.
For Ataturk, it embodied his ideology.
But his new state was built around the idea of a single Turkish identity, and it didn't suit everyone.
In particular, the tribal Kurds of southeast Turkey.
The Kurds and the Turks, they fought together for the Turkish republic.
But then the Turkish side with Ataturk pushed them off overboard, as it were, and said, "No, actually, you're going to be Turks now.
" Some Kurdish nationals say that Kurds were free under the Ottoman Empire, so we should have those rights.
Kurdish resistance to the idea of a single Turkish identity had its origins in the 1920s and has continued right up to the ongoing peace talks.
That's one of the big drivers of the current conflict with the PKK.
Most Kurds are absolutely insistent now that their identity be recognised as equal and that they be treated fairly, and that wasn't an issue in the Ottoman Empire.
At 9.
05 on the 10th of November 1938, Ataturk died.
The teacher came in, her eyes were swollen, she said, "Ataturk died.
" Because we saw our teacher crying, we began to cry, but when we walked out to the recess, there, everybody was crying.
I was taught to love Ataturk, but then, as I grew up, I realised it was the truth.
He was the saviour and I feel gratitude and I feel appreciation for him.
75 years after his death, Ataturk's presence is still felt in modern Turkey.
It's just after nine o'clock on a pretty cold and miserable Saturday morning.
But something unique is just about to take place.
CAR HORNS BLARE Every year on the 10th of November, at 9.
05 in the morning, everyone stops for one minute.
They remember the moment the founder of the modern Turkish republic passed into history.
A man who created a state that is still distinct in this part of the world.
What Ataturk does is he makes the transition from military rule to civil regeneration and does so with less harshness than was the case across much of the world in that period.
Ataturk built his republic at the heart of the former empire.
But the transformation of Turkish society didn't happen in isolation.
One of Ataturk's revolutionary changes reverberated around the Islamic world.
For centuries, the Ottoman sultans had also held a role of supreme significance to Muslims.
In the 16th century they laid claim to the title of caliph, religious leader to all Sunni Muslims.
Basically, when Prophet Muhammad died, Muslims sat down and said, "What are we going to do now?" So, they ultimately chose one among them, the person they thought the most pious, and he became the first caliph.
But Ataturk saw the caliph as a potential threat, an alternative leader.
So after the sultanate was abolished, he also got rid of the caliphate.
This was a shock for many people and it felt for many like the centre had been taken out of the Islamic world.
It was a trauma for Turkish Muslims, it was a trauma for Arab Muslims.
For the first time in its history, the Islamic world became devoid of the caliph, a leader.
Now, nobody has any authority to say what is right or wrong from an Islamic point of view.
When there are some radical terrorists like Al-Qaeda do some very unacceptable things in the name of Islam, there is no caliph to come up and say, "This is Islamically wrong, Islam doesn't allow targeting innocent people".
So there's a post-caliph chaos, if you will, in the Muslim world.
And the forgotten fallout from the break-up of the Ottoman Empire is playing out today with bloody civil wars and the toppling of tyrants from Damascus to Cairo.
But now some in the region are starting to make sense of the present day by referring to its Ottoman past.
And the reason is the remarkable change in Turkey itself.
The country that so dramatically turned its back on the Ottomans is once again looking to its Islamic heritage.
In the decades that followed Ataturk, secular Turkey clung to its leaders' mantra that to modernise, it needed to Westernise, and that meant to secularise.
Driving many of its reforms was the ultimate goal of joining the elite club that is the European Union.
And a sign of that was if you looked at Turkish weather forecasts, the map would not centre on Turkey, it would centre somewhere in Hungary and you would see Turkey as part of European weather patterns, so it kind of shows you the Turks thought of themselves as part of Europe, but not part of the Middle East.
Eventually, Turkey adopted a Western-style free-market economy, but it produced unexpected results.
Many of the entrepreneurs who seized the opportunity came not from the cities in the west of the country but from its more central heartlands, Anatolia.
By the late 1980s, this new economic policy was paying off.
Newspapers began to describe a phenomenon known as the Anatolian Tigers.
This new breed of entrepreneur transformed regions like Konya in southern-central Turkey.
I looked around one of its factories where they produce vegetable oil for export to 50 countries.
What do you think personally about the title Anatolian Tiger? Do you like it, or do you prefer something else? We like it too much.
We like it because this is a A tiger is a good animal, a strong animal.
So Anatolia is the We are Anatolian, so this is a really big honour for us.
Despite Ataturk's secular vision, religion remained important to people in these conservative heartlands.
Islam is seen by many as a crucial part of their business success.
The Muslims must be hard-working and trustable and always they said true things.
So you have to be trustworthy as a Muslim and as a businessman.
Yes, all the Muslims must do the trustable .
.
after then they do the good business, after then, all over the world, people give the respect.
The economic success of the Anatolian Tigers gave them political muscle.
In 2002, they helped elect modern Turkey's first Islamic government.
The AK Party have held power for over a decade.
In the old days, Islam was seen as being part of the problem.
The current party in power is the one that has seized upon the Ottoman story as a way to show that it is the heir of a great empire.
It likes the fact that most people see the Ottoman Empire as an Islamic empire as well in Turkey because they tend to emphasise the religious side of things, and they've repackaged it, in their own way, they've reinvented the story to serve their political purpose and they believe that it makes them seem like an eternal and powerful ideology and force.
With an elected Islamic party in government, Turkey's undergoing a change.
One which is reconnecting with its Ottoman past.
But not everyone is happy.
Secularists worry that it's turning back the clock in Turkey, undoing decades of social reform.
CHANTING There's even been controversy over a hit TV show about the Ottomans.
THEY SPEAK IN TURKISH HE SPEAKS IN TURKISH Set in the 16th century, the golden age of the empire, Magnificent Century attracts 200 million viewers worldwide.
HE SPEAKS IN TURKISH HE SPEAKS IN TURKISH But it's a show that polarises people and the directors have faced a storm of protest.
THEY SPEAK IN TURKISH You are just making a TV series and everybody in the country, suddenly, was talking about it.
I mean, we were sitting at our homes and all the channels All the channels.
.
.
all of them was talking about your show.
You couldn't believe.
It was like a horror movie for us! Before that, no-one wanted to make a thing like that, about Ottoman, because it is very sacred issue, you know, untouchable.
Some dislike the TV show because they revere this Islamic history.
Others don't approve because they blame the Ottomans for everything that went wrong in their nation.
I detest it.
I don't like it, because it's gone.
Who goes back.
Who is going back? I don't know what makes it so attractive.
Which part of it? People are interested only to know what was happening in the palace, the fine arts, the music, the poetry.
Oh, I love it.
The costumes are very nice, the jewellery is beautiful, the miniatures also, but it wasn't all.
Ottoman Empire had its ups and downs and it had huge sufferings as well.
The actor in the lead role of Sultan Suleiman welcomes the debate.
People started to read history.
They started to discuss about history and they are trying to learn what's right and what's wrong and they are discussing.
So this is good for the future, very promising, because if you know your history, then you can build your future in a healthy way.
APPLAUSE TANNOY ANNOUNCEMEN The resurgence of this interest in the Ottoman Empire today is both positive and also negative.
Religious extremism has given us this image of Islam as intolerant, so the Ottoman Empire is a very good example of tolerant Islam for a very long time.
On the other hand, the end of the Ottoman Empire was horrendous, where massacres happened, where populations were eliminated.
MUSIC PLAYS HE SINGS IN TURKISH Every Turk today has a vision of the Ottoman Empire.
If you just ask a Turk what do you think about the Ottoman Empire, you'll get an answer and that answer will tell you what political camp that Turk is probably in.
Conservatives generally identified with the Ottoman Empire, praise it as their model, as the source of their heritage, whereas more secularist Turks look at the empire as somewhat corrupt.
But the TV series about the Ottomans doesn't just attract viewers in Turkey.
This history is being opened up across former Ottoman lands, from the Balkans to the Middle East.
500 years ago, it was Sultan Selim the Grim who brought Ottoman rule to cities like Damascus and Cairo.
Now the Ottoman past is a topical subject here too.
In 2006, I went for a visit to Damascus, the Syrian capital.
My guide, who was fantastic otherwise, the first morning took me for a tour of the city and he took me to the central square of Damascus.
I'm originally from Turkey.
He looked at me and he said, "This is where your grandparents executed my grandparents.
" Of course, my grandparents were not in Damascus, but this is how the Arabs look at Turkish legacy.
They see it as the former imperial masters.
In Cairo as well, discussion of the old era of Ottoman rule was back on the agenda after the Arab Spring uprisings.
The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was greeted like a visiting celebrity by supporters of the former government of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.
They appeared delighted to see a strong, outwardly Muslim leader ready to speak out against Israel and for the Palestinians.
There's a Turkish leader who shows up in Cairo right after the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship there and he's met by a million people at the airport, so he receives a very warm welcome.
But when the Turkish Prime Minister appeared to advocate the value of a secular transformation in Egypt, the enthusiasm cooled in some quarters.
I think Turkey's plans to become a regional leader will be checked by the reality that the Arabs don't want a big brother to come and tell them what to do.
And yet, Ottoman history is unmistakably present within the debate about the future.
The spectre of what's been termed "neo-Ottomanism" is used to raise concerns about Turkey's growing prestige.
Syria's embattled President Assad, for example, has accused the prime minister of aspiring to be an Ottoman-style sultan.
Personally, he thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottomans and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman Empire, under a different, let's say, umbrella.
But that umbrella in Turkey IS democratic, unlike President Assad, who effectively inherited his rule from his father, or the Ottoman dynasty sultans whose family also passed power down the generations - this government can be voted out.
Turkey is a combination of its current Islamic leadership, its secular century and its Ottoman past.
Even in the post-Ataturk phase, Turkey's leaders have a little bit of Ataturk in them.
This idea that this country has some unique aspects of its identity, that it's secular, that it's Western, and a little bit of an Ottoman sultan also, but it tells us so much about modern Turkey, that this is a country that is rooted in the Ottoman Empire.
And a democratic Turkey, reconnecting its public life to Muslim traditions, offers not fear but hope to politicians in the West.
America in particular has been keen to see Turkey as a role model for other Middle Eastern countries.
Some people are hoping that Turkey has a magic wand and that these other countries can somehow magically become Turkeys and become somehow tame, but I think it's very unwise to try and transfer the very individual experience of Turkey onto the other very difficult experiences of the very separate countries in the Middle East.
There is a debate about whether Turkey serves as a role model that Islam and modernity can coexist.
I think Turkey is as far advanced a case that can be made that a country can be mostly Muslim, yet at the same time part of both the global society and the global economy.
The Ottoman story tells us that, for centuries, a Muslim empire, based in Europe, was a global leader.
An advanced, highly organised state with a sophisticated culture and, for its time, tolerant of religious difference.
The modern day politics of the region continue to be buffeted by Western powers, as they have been since it was the sick man of Europe.
This is both a European story and a Middle Eastern story.
Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, the hot spots of the 21st century in the Middle East.
All former Ottoman lands bound together once more by political aspirations for change.
And re-emerging as a role model for this revolutionary Middle East, straddling East and West, Islam and democracy, is Turkey.
This is a nation that knows what it is to have an imperial, expansionist past.
It understands that it lives in a truly secular society.
And it's learning what it is to be Islamic and democratic.
From this melting pot of options, Turkey will decide its future, a decision that will affect all of us.
The relationship between East and West isn't just symbolised in this country where the continents meet.
Since the Middle Ages, it's a relationship which has been defined by what happened here.
And today it's at the heart of a battle between democracy, secularism and Islam.
At stake are regional and global ambitions and agendas that cannot be understood without grasping the history and legacy of the Ottomans, Europe's Muslim emperors.
TENOR SINGS ROUSING ITALIAN SONG