While Americans were celebrating Memorial Day and remembering those who had given their lives in defense of our freedoms, wanna-be EU member Turkey held a celebration of an entirely different variety – 558 years of their illegal occupation of the Christian capital city of Constantinople. The city (renamed by the Ottoman occupiers as Istanbul) was sacked by Sultan Mohammad II on May 29, 1453 in what is now known as the Byzantine nakba (or, catastrophe).
One eyewitness described the scene:
Nothing will ever equal the horror of this harrowing and terrible spectacle. People frightened by the shouting ran out of their houses and were cut down by the sword before they knew what was happening. And some were massacred in their houses where they tried to hide, and some in churches where they sought refuge. The enraged Turkish soldiers . . . gave no quarter. When they had massacred and there was no longer any resistance, they were intent on pillage and roamed through the town stealing, disrobing, pillaging, killing, raping, taking captive men, women, children, old men, young men, monks, priests, people of all sorts and conditions
The Kuwaiti News Agency noted this weekend’s celebration:
Thus, Istanbul saw today another glorious day with thousands of people who have their hearts throbbing with the city’s historic triumphal entry having flocked to Esmat Pasha Stadium in the nearby Kocaali city, while chanting the old songs of conquest which revived the feelings of thousands. These acts of remembrance revived the nostalgic feelings of thousands who recalled again Sultan Mohammad, the Conqueror, Sheikh Aq Shams Al-Din, Ulubatli Hassan, and Abu Ayoub Al-Ansari, may God be pleased with him, and so the joy turned into a gala with fireworks launched in the middle of the program and at its last. Then, a group of Istanbul’s youth have carried, amid calls of Allahu Akbar, stating Allah is the Greatest, as well as the military music a wooden ship signifying the ships which Mohammad II made his soldiers carry from the western coast of Bosphorus…
And who was behind this celebration of half a millenium of illegal occupation? The Turkish government.
The celebrations marking this historic event were held under the sponsorship of Istanbul’s Metropolitan Municipality with the participation of a big number of Turkish officials, and at their forefront came Istanbul’s governor Hussein Ahbeuni Mutlu, and the city’s mayor Kadir Topbas who laid a wreath at the unknown memorial in remembrance of those who fell at the battle field.
It should be noted that less than a century ago non-Muslims were still the majority in occupied Constantinople notwithstanding the illegal occupation by the Ottomans. That’s no longer the case. Perhaps Israel should set as a precondition for negotiations with the Palestinians the return of Anatolia to the Greeks, Armenians and Jews? The issue should at least be raised in anticipation of another Turkish flotilla about to be sent to Gaza.
Here is a short video detailing the siege and sacking of Constantinople, and the slaughter and enslavement of the Christian population of the city.