|Conventional short name:|
|English:||Turkey ("Türkiye," rarely)|
|Others:||Sandžacki, Albanian, Hungarian, Syriac, Cilician (Armenian), Greek, Judeo-Arabic, Aragonese, Italian, Anatolian Kurmanji and Zaza (Kurdish)|
|Other:||İstanbul, İzmir, Adana, Antalya, Urfa, Ankara|
|Population:||35,268,424 million Ottomans|
|State Religions:||Sunni Islam (69.96% of the country, 82.89% of all Muslims)|
|Other Religions:||Shi'ite Islam (15.73% of the country, 17.11% of all Muslims), various denominations of Judaism (1.19%), Oriental Orthodox Church (.59%), Eastern Orthodox Church (3%), Catholic Church (2.68%), Assyrian Church of the East (.59%)|
|Currency:||1 Ottoman Lira (₺)=100 Kuruş=40 para|
|Organizations:||Silk Road League|
The Ottoman Empire was a state that existed from 1281 to 1922, one of the largest empires to rule the borders of the Mediterranean Sea which, at its height, comprised Anatolia, the Middle East, part of North Africa, and south-eastern Europe, established by a tribe of Oghuz Turks in western Anatolia and ruled by the Osmanli dynasty. It was sometimes referred to in diplomatic circles as the "Sublime Porte" or simply as "the Porte", due to the greeting ceremony the sultan held for foreign ambassadors at the Palace Gate. This also refers to the Empire's position as gateway between Europe and Asia.
The Empire was founded by Osman I (in Arabic Uthmān, hence the name Ottoman Empire). In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire was among the world's most powerful political entities and the countries of Europe felt threatened by its steady advance through the Balkans. At its height, it comprised of an area of 11,955,000 km². From 1517 onwards, the Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph of Islam, and the Ottoman Empire was from 1517 until 1922 synonymous with the Caliphate, the Islamic State. In 1453, following the capture of the city, Constantinople (in modern Turkish İstanbul) became the capital.
During the 19th century and the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire lost its European possessions one by one: Serbia (1804-1813), Greece (1863), Hungary (1869), the Monastic Republic (1870), Muntenia (1877), Montenegro (1883), Hercegovina and Eastern Bosnia (1890), Bulgaria (1893), and Albania (1894). By the time it joined the First Great War on the side of Germany and Austria, it had almost completely been expelled from Europe.
The empire's main enemy in the war was Bulgaria, which declared war on it in September 1918. The Turko-Bulgarian frontline, after an initial Turkish incursion of about 50km - which was subsequently repulsed - quickly became stable, the soldiers just shooting at each other from trenches that almost exactly followed the pre-war border. Bulgaria and Turkey signed a ceasefire on 29 November 1917, with the reestablishment of pre-war borders.
Nevertheless, the collapse of Austro-Dalmatia instigated a period of minority unrest in Eastern Europe and separatist movements spread, which eventually precipitated the break-up of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. The Sublime Porte even lost its premier capital. Konstantiniyye was again known as Constantinople and was restored to the Roman (Greek) people.
First Great War
Turkish Civil War
Turkey is a constitutional monarchy with a ruling sultan-caliph, Murad, who has been in power since 1992.
Turkey is a politically unstable land of 37,268,424 people, that has been governed by successive administrations of political Islamists, Turkish nationalists, and people who think that identity should revolve around loyalty to the royal dynasty (Ottomanists).
The Ottoman Empire has been a safe haven for Muslim refugees of all stripes for centuries. The expulsion of Muslims from Spain in 1492 brought the first wave officially accepted by the crown explicitly for religious reasons (although the raiding confederacy had taken in renegades from Rome and other European and Middle Eastern countries before). These bilingual Arabic-Romance speaking muladís (descendants of native converts with Arabs and Berbers) did not feel comfortable fleeing to North Africa with more Arab-identifying refugees nor to the New World with their Jewish neighbors. Occupied Constantinople, with its Genoese quarter and millions of inhabitants was just European and cosmopolitan enough for their tastes. As a reward for their loyalty to the sultan, the Sublime Porte chased the Franciscan missionaries out of the Gothic church of San Domenico in the Genoese quarter, Pera/Galata, and gave it to the Moors as their primary mosque.
The 19th century independence movements of southeastern Europe caused mass migrations out of the Balkans and into Anatolia. It is for this reason that even to this day there can be found speakers of Slavic, Romance, Albanian, and Caucasian tongues in modern Turkey. Indeed, most of the population of modern Anatolia is likely more descendants of 18th-20th Century Muslim refugees who were themselves the descendants of native converts who wanted to avoid heavy taxes and the jannisary system (blood tax) than they are of the first Turkic raiders who entered Anatolia in the post-Macedonians Dynasty sequence of civil wars in the mid 1000’s, or the native, pre-Turkic Anatolians. Around 2.5-5 million people out of 35 million most likely have at least one Slavic ancestor.
The Turkish nationalist party that governed the country during the late ‘50’s to 1975, while not politically progressive by any means, was at the very least the most generous with giving residence and eventually citizenship to people who could prove their Turkishness regardless of their religion. This is precisely how Orthodox Christian Oghuz-speakers from Romania (the Gaguaz)
The Ottoman Empire pursued policies of import substitution industrialization for the better part of 50 years, from the years following the Second Great War to the dawning of the 21st Century. The results of ISI on the Ottoman economy were mixed, with the Ottoman economy still lagging behind by the year 2000. Turkish labor is incredibly cheap and with one of the largest pools of unskilled labor in the Eastern Mediterranean, Western corporations have been relocating their factories and customer-service callcenters to the country. Neighboring Bulgaria is the main competitor in attracting Western capital, Greece workers having become not cheap enough and corporate taxes becoming too high for domestic and international companies. As with many Balkan banks, numerous smaller banks are actually owned by Greek lenders, although the Imperial Ottoman Bank (Bank-ı Osmanî-i Şahane) has implemented stringent capital controls to stem Ottoman money from flowing back to Greece.
Almost everyone speaks Ottoman Turkish, which has several dialects. About 148,058 people speak Cilician, a highly Latinized and Turkified dialect of Armenian. There are around 113,660 speakers of Pomak (part of the Smolyan dialect of Bulgarian) mostly in the İstanbul and on the Marmara Sea Coast, with an additional 42,711 speakers of the Moesian dialect of Bulgarian, all Christians. The other Slavic language spoken in Anatolia is Sanjaki (Serbo-Croatian), brought over by southern Slavs who converted to Islam who were pushed out of their native lands several different times: the first wave came as refugees during the struggle for independence in Serbia, Croatia, Dalmatia, and Hungary from the Ottoman Empire. The second time more came as refugees fleeing the tumult of GWII and the formation of the communist Confederation of Soviet Danubian States. The third wave are coming to Anatolia as economic migrants who started to leave following the breakup of the CSDS, part of which fell to an islamist revolution in Sanjak, whose economy and standard of living have crashed and exponentially plummeted. Around 2.67% of the population of Anatolia is descended from Muslim Slavs, which is some 941,667 people (if not more). For the exact same reasons, Dalmatian (a Romance language), Albanian (which is also an Indo-European language but with no other similar languages in the family), and Hungarian (an Ugro-Finnic language unrelated to any of the others listed above), are also spoken by a few thousand Turks as a first language and many more as a second language.
Around [TBD] people speak Greek and almost all are currently located in the Smyrna/İzmir area. Originally, the entire Anatolian peninsula spoke Greek during the Roman era and even up up until GWII, there were over two-and-a-half million speakers in Anatolia alone (not even including the Pontos region which is today part of Armenia). Many Muslims spoke Greek even into the 1970's. There was an extreme stigma against all things Rûm/Greek after GWII, causing many Turkish nationalist mobs to shout "‘Hamvatandaş, Osmanlıca harf bezan!" (هموطنداش عثمانليجه حرف بزن!) at hapless Greek-speaking Muslims and Christians alike. Only the Rûm of Smyrna and the adjoining area of central-western Anatolia weathered the storm of extreme, xenophobic hostility. It is estimated that .061% of the Sunni population (about 21,600 people) still speak Greek in private either as a first or second language. Almost all of these Greeks are in the İstanbul and Çanakkale regions or on the border with Armenia in the final Turkish possession of the Pontos (the city of Sinope [Σινώπη/ سينوب] and its environs). Smyrna and its immediate environs have 165,838 Orthodox Christian Greek-speakers (Rûm) and 57,416 Greek-speaking Catholics (Leventiler aka Francolevantines). Although Smyrna has had its own local Greek converts to Latin rite Catholicism in the 16th Century, about 52,000 alone trace their ancestry back to the Cyclades and Chios to those thoroughly assimilated, mixed-background Catholics who during the Greek Revolution in 1821 made the mistake of staying loyal to the Sublime Porte. Their Orthodox neighbors engaged in violence against them for choosing economic stability over liberation from Muslim rule. After Parliament under a very Protestant king chose to confiscate Catholic properties in the fledgling nation state instead of land held by the Orthodox Church, the Franco-levantine community all agreed to move to the increasingly cosmopolitan city of Smyrna where limited tolerance was awarded to non-Muslims. The thousands of Catholics who moved there dwarfed the more polyglot and Franco-Italian character of Smyrna's Levantine community, where previously not all Catholics spoke Greek. Ironically, their movement to Smyrna forced all local Catholics to switch to Greek. In a sense, the Greek Revolution spread Romiosyne to a group of people who were pretty open avout their dislike ot all things "schismatic" (Greek). Even to this day, the Francolevantines of Smyrna speak Greek by and large as their first language (only 154 people reported speaking Ottoman Turkish natively), although they still write the language using the Latin alphabet, not the Greek. Intermarriage is still rare between the Rûm and the Levantiler and both sides uphold the gentleman's agreement that children will be baptized and raised in the father's faith and the wife does not have to convert for her spouse. The latter clause is relatively recent. The Levantine communities in İstanbul, Gordion, & Mersin do not by and large speak Greek. In fact, Mersin's "Latin" community are mostly descended from Maronites and Orthodox Arab (Rûm) converts to Catholicism who mixed with the Western European expats in the city. This city's Levantine community by and large speaks Turkish natively now, with Arabic and French as distant second languages. Due to Turkey's chronic instability since the First Great War, some Francolevantines returned to their ancestral islands (just Syros & Tinos for the most part), although nowadays most live in Athens and Piraeus. There are only slightly over 10,000 who live in modern Greece.
The country's Jews, while thoroughly Byzantine in character, have in the past half century fallen victim to the "Citizen, speak Ottoman!" Campaign and while their liturgy might be conducted in Greek, those 40 or so and up only speak Greek at home. Those younger than 40 might not even speak Greek at all and might by now be [Ottoman] Turkish-monolinguals. As the Karaite community was located on the European side of Konstantiniyye, the indigenized Karaites who had nothing to do with Crimea all stayed in Greece. The Karaites of modern Anatolia are all immigrants from the Crimean peninsula, who all stress that they're ethnic Turks who just happen to be religiously Jewish. As such, none of them would speak Greek. The last of the four confessional groups to speak Greek would be the Sunni Muslims, but their numbers are opaque since only in a few villages in what little of the Pontos the Ottoman Turks still hold speak Greek openly with impunity since they're so far removed from civilization.
There are several Romance languages spoken in Turkey indigenously. The Crusaders brought with them many Romance tongues that came together to from one simplified pan-Romance language for trade, known literally as "the Frankish language" aka "Lingua Franca" or "Sabir," which is the infinitive verb for "to know" in the language. It is still spoken by most if not all of the Ottoman Empire's 124,000 or so Latin Rite Catholics, known as the Levantines. Distinct from the Sabir-speaking Levantines are the Aragonese speakers who reside in a very small area within the Marmaris peninsula right across the water from the island of Rhodes in two towns known officially as Selimiye (السليمية) and Söğütköy (سوغو تكوي). There are only 5,600 speakers of Aragonese left in Turkey, which another 3,400 on the island of Rhodes. The final Romance language brought to Anatolia is Ladino, also known as Judaeo-Spanish or Judezmo, and it is spoken by the descendants of Sephardic Jewish refugees who fled Aragon, Castile, and Portugal in 1525, 1492, and 1497 respectively. Many more Jews who fled Iberia during this time period went west, across the Atlantic to find an island they made their new homeland. Today this island is known as Mueva Sefarad. The Sephardic of Turkey is much more conservative and retains much of its 16th Century character than its island variety in the New World, with a much smaller percentage of its lexicon coming from Greek, Turkish, Arabic, French, Italian and English in than Mueva Sefaradi adopted from English, French/Laurentian, Beothuk, Algonquian, and Basque. In addition to all these nativized languages, there are about 34,500 Judean professionals who live in the Ottoman Empire for business purposes and perhaps another 17,500 with Ottoman visas who have married native Jewish or male Muslim spouses (but not female spouses as only Muslim males may marry 'People of the Book' and not the other way around). Once again, there are also a couple of thousand (between 10 and 20) speakers of Dalmatian who fled with the shrinking Ottoman Empire to safety in Anatolia but there are many more Turks who are partially descended from Dalmatian-speaking Muslims who might not know it: between 172,000 and 940,000.
Standard Ottoman is not the only Turkic language of the peninsula. About 98,751, or .28% of the population, speak another Turkic language. The vast majority of these are immigrants from Turkestan, Crimea, Russia, Romania, the RTC, and parts of Azerbaijan. Not all of these speakers are Muslims: during the Turkish nationalist years of the 1950's and '60's, many Christian Volga and Crimean Tatars, Christian Gagauz from Romania, Christian Chuvash, and Jewish Tatars (Karaites and Krymchaks) moved to a decreasingly islamist Ottoman Empire that offered benefits to Turkic immigrants during the succession of Turkish nationalist governments in the 1950's and '60's. All three of the adherents of each faith got along well with their native coreligionists.
The next biggest grouping of languages are from the Caucasus. Many millions of Caucasians were brought to Anatolia as slaves starting during Seljuk times. Turks have always been involved in the slave trade and Ottoman Konstantiniyye was the hub of the slave trade for many centuries. The Circassian, Chechen, Georgian, and Abkhaz speakers of Turkey (perhaps adding up to a few tens of thousands altogether) are unique from their kin in their homelands because they were all converted to Sunni Islam by their masters whereas the Abkhaz, Circassians, and Georgians are all Eastern Orthodox Christians and the Chechens are practitioners of the Vainakh religion, a henotheistic, animist faith found amongst the Vainakh people (although there are minorities of Orthodox Christians). Only the Laz are almost all Muslim. The Cilician speakers of southeastern Turkey speak a dialect of Armenian although they no longer call it this for fear of reprisal. Regardless of this fear, it still stands that the Cilician language/dialect descends from an Indo-European language whose cradle is in the Caucasus Mountains. Unfortunately, modern academics in the Cilician/Catholic community estimate that the language is in danger of dying out forever. Catholic schools in this part of Anatolia have had to shift to Turkish more and more over the course of the past 35-40 years. A panel of experts in 2018 even estimated that only 18% of the community speaks Armenian (Cilician) at all either as a first or second language, whereas the other 82% are Turkish-speaking monolinguals. Even more alarmingly, 92% of Cicilian Catholics between the ages of 15 and 24 speak only Turkish.
Levantine Arabic is spoken by Mizrahi Jews, Alawites, and by Muslims along the Syrian border and many millions of Muslim Turks have a working knowledge of Quranic Arabic that varies in skill-level between individuals, with imams and other religious leaders perhaps being able to fluently speak and comprehend it, and people uninterested in the Muslim being able to prattle off a few sentences.
There are speakers of Kurdish and non-Cilician Armenian still in Turkey to this day, but the speakers of each language must speak it in hiding only with people they trust, because after all Armenians (sans Cilicians) and Kurds (but not Zazaki or Gorani speakers) were expelled from the country and their languages banned, which makes speakers of both fear reprisal.
Sunni Islam is the national religion, enforced by the law of the land. The sultan doubles as caliph of all Sunni Muslims, and Turkey is ruled by a blend of sharia law with a modified civil code derived from 19th Century French laws. It is illegal for Muslims to leave Islam and for anyone to proselytize to Muslims, and the punishment for these acts is still death. The Hanafi madhhab is the largest in the Ottoman Empire and the official school of jurisprudence of the Ottoman state although the Shafi'i school is present in the country as well. Orthodox Hanafi and Shafi'i Sunni Muslims make up about 24,951,210 people out of the country's 37,268,424 citizens.
Sufi orders have a large presence in the country, with the Bektashi Order having a renaissance in the mid-1960's and has since regained the sultanate's favor after its repression in the 1820's after the failed janissary uprising of 1826. The next largest order is the Mevlevi Order, followed by the Naqshbandi Order, the Qadiri Order, the Halveti and Cerrahi Orders, and finally the Shadhili Order. Approximately 26% of all Sunnis in the Ottoman Empire belong to a Sufi tariqa, one of the largest percentages in the world, and all orders have about 6,989,214 practitioners. Many of the orders have their international headquarters located in the Ottoman Empire and enjoy various levels of favor within the sultanate that provide funding for their members all around the world. The Naqshbandi Order has been accused of instigating Islamist uprisings in Sancak during the breakup of the Danubian Confederation in the late 1990's, Albania in the early 2000's, and the Karpass Peninsula in the summer of 2017, possibly with Ottoman state funding.
There is a large minority of Shia Muslims, mostly descended from Turkified Kurds who did not leave to join their ethnic brethren in the new Kurdish state and chose to live publicly as Turkish-speaking Muslims loyal to the House of Osman. The lion's share of Shia Muslims in Turkey are actually Alevis whose classification of Muslims is highly controversial and questioned by scholars, however, for the purposes of their legal status within the Ottoman Empire, being a Shia Muslim is better than being a non-Muslim, so publicly many Alevis do not object to this. The remaining Alevi practitioners in the Anatolian peninsula have translated all of their works in Ottoman Turkish and do not worship publicly at all and use Turkish now in private. The Kurdish language has died out amongst them rather quickly. Indeed, it has not been widely spoken privately for perhaps three generations by many Anatolians. Proper Jafari Twelvers (İsnâaşeriyye) make up about 4.37% of the population at about 1,541,230 people and are mostly descended from Kızılbaş militants who survived the purges and periods of extreme persecution in the Ottoman Empire and who have joined more orthodox Shiism and left behind their Ghulat tendencies to deify their strongest leaders and also from Indian and Turkestani immigrants. The final grouping of Shia in the Ottoman Empire are the Alawites who number about 754,744-1,562,910 people (2.14%-4.43% of the population, although most scholars put the actual number at about 1,327,324 people, or 3.76% of the population) who are unrelated to the Alevis and are exclusively Turkified Arabs found on the Syrian-Turkish border. Their classification within Shiism and indeed within Islam is also highly controversial.
Christianity is the next biggest religion in the Ottoman with about 31.86% of the population, which is about 11,873,720 people. The Eastern Orthodox Church, with its own autocephalous Orthodox Church, is the largest and is mostly made up of five disparate groups. During the chaos of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent Treaty of Sèvres, the Ottoman Empire ceded all of its remaining European possessions to the Greek state, including the capital city of Konstantiniyye (formerly and now presently Constantinople), and even a tiny sliver of land on the other side of the Bosporus in Asia Minor. The treaty guaranteed the rights of Muslims in Greece and Christians in the Ottoman Empire, but unfortunately riots against Christians of all stripes got out of hand and the state turned a blind eye to these pogroms. In an effort to save his people, the ecumenical patriarch of the time gave autocephaly (meaning that its most senior bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop) to the Church in the Ottoman Empire and ceded possession of the Pontus to the much closer and newly-reestablished Tbilisi patriarchate. The metropolitanate of Nicea was elevated to the chief-bishop of this new Turkish Orthodox Church, however, with the Ottoman resurgence after GWII, the Christian populations of Chalcedon, Nicea, Nicomedia, Prousa, and Cyzicus were dispersed, with Greek-speakers who identified as Rûm (روم) being ethnically-cleansed and exiled to Greece, and Turkish-speakers or bilingual Greek-Turkish speakers dispersed in small numbers across Anatolia, mostly either ending up in abandoned villages in or around Smyrna or in the new Christian heartland of the country, Cappadocia. Only Orthodox Bulgarians in the 20 villages around the Sea of Marmara between Çanakkale, Balıkesir and Bursa such as Karacabey (Mihaliç in Turkish, Miletopolis in Greek) and Urumçe were allowed to stay, and their descendants still live in small, rural towns along Turkey's northwestern coast to this day and number about 42,711 people. There numbers might have even increased after the institution of communism in Bulgaria drove some rightists away post GW-II. The new metropolitan of the Turkish Orthodox Church (Bağımsız Türk Ortodoks Piskoposluk) by Turkish law must be based in Gordion, which is why the position of the senior bishop in the new metropolitanate went to the formerly-named metropolitan of Ankyra and exarch of All Galatia and since 1949 has been known as the metropolitan bishop of Ancyra, Galatia, and All Anatolia. The Orthodox Christians least affected by GWI and GWII were the Turkish speakερσ in inland Anatolia known as Karamanlides (οἱ Καραμανλήδες, كارامانليدس) and also the mixed Greek-Turkish speaking Christians of Anatolia, who were quick to rally around their sultan when he sounded the call for all Christians to defend his throne during the Turkish Civil War. Indeed, they became some of his biggest supporters with many of these poor and rural folk become his biggest sycophants along with the Armenian Uniates of Cilicia who started going just by the term "Cilicians," distancing themselves from their Oriental Orthodox compatriots revolting in the east. To this day, they form the largest part of the Orthodox body in the Ottoman Empire, with some switching to standard Ottoman Turkish but many still speak their Cappadocian dialect, a mixed language of Byzantine Greek and medieval Oghuz Turkish (known as the 'Kapadokya lehçesi' or 'Kapadokya Rûmcası'). They tend to vote for Ottomanist parties primarily and Turkish nationalist parties secondarily, avoiding the islamist parties for the most part. There are around 730,000 'Christian Turks' (who might also go by the terms 'Karamanlides' and 'Cappadocians') in the present. The next biggest group, of around 165,000 people are the Smyrniote Rûm/Greeks who stood their ground and indeed came back after an ethnic cleansing in 1975 after angry islamists and Turkish nationalists in power worked to have them exiled to Greece and Cyprus after the failed Greek coup of Cyprus in 1971. Around 121,000 live within the city of Smyrna proper and another 44,000 live in the surrounding area within the Izmir province, mostly in Kordelio (Karşıyaka). These people, against all odds, have maintained their authentic Greco-Roman traditions, their Greek language, and their Orthodox Christian faith and indeed speak it perhaps not exactly openly in the region's most open secret. It is around Smyrna (ايزمير, 'İzmir' in Turkish) that the liturgies of the Turkish Orthodox Church are celebrated in Koine Greek as opposed to modern Turkish (not even the Bulgarians along the Sea of Marmara coast are allowed to use Church Slavonic or modern Bulgarian) even when officially this is not allowed. Smyrniote Greeks are militantly pro-western and treasure Smyrna's cosmopolitan place in Ottoman history and contemporary society even when the country sometimes devolves into anti-Greek and anti-Christian sentiments. The fourth group is an Ottomanized mishmash of the descendants of Christian Volga Tatar immigrants (Kryashens and Nağaybäk, each formerly distinct from each other but such a distinction no longer exists in Turkey and whose descendants are approximately 54,000 and 15,000 each) and Christian Crimean Tatar immigrants known as Urumlar, from "Rûm," i.e. Roman (about 35,000). These Orthodox Christians felt undervalued and indeed even oppressed by SNORist Russian rule and by newer Tatar converts to Orthodox Christianity in Russia and a few who left the country went to the Ottoman Empire and Turkestan as fellow Turks (although most went to non-SNORist Greece, Cyprus, and Georgia). They all easily assimilated to Ottoman life and although some did convert to Islam due to societal pressure, the vast majority stayed Christians and readily joined the autocephalous Turkish Orthodox Church and are found almost entirely in Gordion with some Crimean descendants in Smyrna. The fifth final group are Levantine Arab economic immigrants, mostly from Syria but some from Iraq, Lebanon, Judea, and the Bedouin Free State who tend to learn Turkish instead of any Anatolian dialect of Greek and who number about 18,000.
Catholics make up the next largest body in Turkey, with about 946,778 members, or 2.68% of the population. The lion's share are Eastern Catholics of the Armenian Rite known as 'Cilicians' (Kiliçler in Turkish, Kilikean/կիլիկեան in Armenian). Formerly, the Cilicians identified as "Armenian Cilicians" but after the persecutions by the Young Turks government of Armenians thanks to the independence uprisings of the early 1900's, these Catholics distanced themselves from their Oriental Orthodox brethren. Indeed, when the First Great War began and the Ottoman state moved to banish all Armenians from the realm, the Armenian Catholic patriarch of Cilicia wrote to the sultan to ask for leniency and he pledged his people's support to the Exalted Ottoman State. When the civil war began in the 1920's, the sultan and his loyalist forces realized that Christian help could turn the tide of battle and so the sultan from his exile in Ada Kaleh issued a firman reaffirming the loyal Christians of his empire were allowed to stay within his realm should they proclaim their loyalty to the Sublime Porte and his throne first. The Armenian Catholic patriarch was the first to respond to the sultan's call and direct that Uniate militias form and fight the republican menace threatening to take over the country where Catholics and Armenians had no place. Since around 1919, the Armenians of Cilicians no longer identify as Armenians for fear of violent reprisals. Their unique dialect of Armenian has a great deal of French, Italian, Aragonese, and now Turkish influences. In fact, many individual parishes worship in modern Turkish written in the Armenian alphabet. The next grouping of Catholics are known as the Levantines (شوام, Levantenler) or Franks (فرينك/فرنگ, Frenk) and are the heterogenous descendants of Crusaders and merchants from Western Europe and their Greek, Seljuk Turkish, Armenian, Syriac, Jewish, and Arab convert wives to Catholicism. The Levantines are perhaps the most privileged of all Christian minorities because of the extreme Francophilia of the Ottomans sultans in the 1920's and '30's. They established themselves in the Ottoman Empire's fine arts scene, producing some of Turkey's best opera-singers, painters, composers, and architects. Indeed, when the famous Jovian architect and father of modernist architecture «Ih Xarbaeru» (Carrul-Eobur Jonnarde) was sent by the Entente to rebuild Turkey's new capital of Gordion from scratch, he found waiting for him a corps of Turkey's most accomplished artisans and architects, almost all of them Levantines. Smyrna has the largest population of Levantines, followed by Gordion, İstanbul, and the village of Nueva Alicarnà (Selimiye in Turkish) and its environs in the Marmaris district of Muğla Province. Levantines nowadays tend to speak standard Ottoman Turkish, but many are still bilingual in Sabir (also known as 'lingua franca'), a kind of trade creole that evolved from Genoese with healthy influences from all languages in the Mediterranean, and almost all Smyrniote Levantines are trilingual in Turkish, Greek, and Sabir.
Finally, both Oriental Orthodox Christians of the Syriac rite and Assyrian Church of the East members make up 1.18% of the population altogether, which is 206,500 people. While the most extreme southeastern border of Turkey across from Syria might have a few tiny villages of Assyrians, the vast, vast, vast majority of these Assyrians of both confessions are immigrants from Iraaq (and to a much lesser extent Syria and Kurdistan) are economic migrants who have settled in Gordion, Smyrna, İstanbul, and Antalya. With the Oriental Orthodox Syriacs are also a small community of Copts originally from Egypt who have naturalized and have Ottoman passports, but they are only 3,527 in number (.01% of the population) and have but one parish in Smyrna, operating out of an old Armenian parish left abandoned after the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire recently purchased by the Coptic Alexandria patriarchate in 2003, having operated out of homes by Coptic sailors and merchants for centuries.
Judaism is the next largest religious movement in the Ottoman Empire, accounting for about 1.19% of the population, or 443,494 people. The majority are Romaniotes, who number about 250,323 people. They speak Greek rather openly than even their Christian compatriots since Jews are not considered a threat to the Ottoman state, and they worship in Greek with their own minhag (liturgy) which over the millennia has become quite byzantinized, using the same musical notation and sounds of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy. While they have a much bigger presence in Greece, they are found mostly in Smyrna and then İstanbul, although Gordion has at least two smallish synagogues for these Greek-speaking Jews. While linguists consider them to have their own dialect, this scoffed at by native speakers because the only things that separate them from their Christian kin are the use of loanwords from Hebrew and Aramaic and the use of the Hebrew alphabet to write signs and liturgical books as opposed to the Greek alphabet. They have no distinct accent or sound changes of their own. The next biggest are the Sephardim, speakers of Judaeo-Spanish or 'Ladino' (also known as Judezmo). They are found almost entirely in Smyrna with four congregations in Prousa/Bursa, three in Istanbul, and one in Gordion. Their ancestors were expelled from Portugal, Castile, and Aragon in 1497, 1492, and 1525 respectively and they went east to the open arms of the Ottoman Empire as opposed to traversing the wide open Atlantic Ocean to find a new and nigh-empty homeland waiting for them in the New World. They lost a great deal of followers to Sabbatai Zevi's 17th Century Kabbalist movement (whose followers are known as 'Dönme' in Turkish, literally meaning 'convert' but much closer to the concept of 'turncoat'). These millenarian Jews were lead by the Romaniote Sabbatai Zevi (Σαββάτιος Ζέβης), although hardly any Romaniotes joined his movement which got its start in one of Smyrna's two congregations for Sephardic Jews, and the movement was only flush with converts to its third breakaway sect the Jakubi branch (who followed Zevi's brother-in-law, Jacobo Querido, himself a Sephardic Jew) from the Ashkenazi, Italian, Krymchak and Karaite (non-rabbinical) branches of Judaism who flocked to the Ottoman Empire in the 18th-20th Centuries during the chaos and tumult wracking Europe. While the Dönme officially were Muslims, they practiced a post-Jewish religion wherein they reversed Jewish law/halakhah's rulings and did the opposite of what was proscribed by rabbis of years past, following also a highly Sufiized interpretation of Kabbalism (indeed, Sabbatai Zevi became an adherent of the Bektashi Tariqa and was a mendicant of a tekke in Konstantiniyye after his public acceptance of Islam to avoid death for treason). These sort of "post-Jews" have mostly fled the Ottoman Empire for Greece where they could throw off the mask of being Muslims in public and be what they truly are. There are still some Dönme underground allegedly in Smyrna and İstanbul, although they dare not renounce Islam publicly and continue the charade until their prophet returns to them to lead them to Israel. The next biggest group of Jews are the Karaites who are 43,279 in number and almost entirely from Eastern Europe although they have had an indigenous presence in Anatolia since at least the 800's AD. The indigenous, Greek-speaking community who worship in Hebrew are found entirely in the new city of İstanbul while the assimilated descendants of immigrants from Crimea, the RTC, and Russia live almost entirely in the capital of Gordion although some live in Smyrna as well. The related group of staunchly rabbinical Tatar Jews, the Krymchak, who are 17,523 in number are 100% descended from mid-20th Century Eastern European immigrants and had no prior presence in Anatolia before the 1950's. The final grouping of Jews are the Judaeo-Arabic and Aramaic-speaking Mizrahim who lived in Syria for millennia but found themselves on the Turkish side of the border following the downsizing of the Ottoman Empire and the independence of the Republic of Syria. There are approximately 26,631 Arab/Mizrahi Jews in Turkey.
Finally, the one group who are completely underground are the nonreligious. The Ottoman Empire, despite being an Islamic state, has some of the lowest religious rates in the Middle East. A Eurobarometer poll from 2014 found that only 19% of Sunni Muslims went to mosque at least twice a year and only 2.7% went to mosque every Friday. As the survey was 100% anonymous, a whopping 24% of those Sunni Muslims surveyed across Turkey said that they did not believe in God, second only to the Workers' Republic of Kurdistan nextdoor which had a rate of about 40%. 63% found that religion was not important in their lives. As apostasy from Islam is punishable by death and is in fact enforced and societal pressure against the nonreligious is quite repressive, many Turks use their atheism as agnosticism to claim asylum in Europe and North America. The first wave of Turkish secularists, republicans who lost the civil war, fled to Crimea. The avowedly secular Tauridian Republic of Crimea still accepts Turks fleeing religious oppression to this day, as do London, Castreleon, Thessaloniki, Berlin, Paris, Warsina, New Amsterdam, and Québec. New Amsterdam in fact last at least seven clubs registered for Turkish 'secularists', atheists, agnostics and agnostic-atheists.
North: Black Sea.
West: Greece, Aegean Sea.
South: Mediterranean Sea, Syria.
East: Armenia, Kurdistan.
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