The Turks in Egypt
Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Mar 15, 2007 at 14:05
Hi , dhimmi no more,
Thanks again for your valuable comment.
>>as you have pointed out the Arabs hated the Turks
> And in the case of Egypt this is indeed very correct. The funny thing here is the Turks were seen by Egyptians as Europeans that did not speak the language or have the same customs as the locals.
Who were the Turks for Arabs in the first place ? The Turks did not belong to the chosen" race of the prophet. They had resisted and stopped for three centuries the advance of the Arabs and their religion beyond Khorasan. They served as slave soldiers (kölemen") for the Baghdad caliphs and as such gained superior power over their masters who despised them. It was only in the 10th century that they embraced Islam and as Moslems conquered Moslem Iran and Syria.
> There was also stories more urban legends than reality about Turkish women abducting Egyptian men and forcing them to have sex with them and men having orgies and being drunk in the middle of the day. Egyptians felt that Turks did not bring anything to Egypt that Egyptians did not already have neither a new religion or language.
What is even more fundamental is that the Turks snatched something Islamically priceless from the Egyptians – the caliphate. During his campaigns of 1517 Selim got hold of the last Abbasid shadowy shadow of Allah on earth" Mutawakkil III and carried him off to Constantinople together with the Moslem totems the prophet's banner, mantle and sword. The Arabs never believed in the story spread by the Turks that Mutawakkil had voluntarily transferred the caliphate to the Osmans and so they din't acknowledge the legality of the Turkish caliphate.
> The Arabs brought Arabism and Islamism.
> When the majority of Egyptians converted to Arabism (i'm very convinced that we can very much speak about the process of Arabism then Islamism and these two steps are very separate and it seems to be the only explanation for why Egyptians stopped speaking Coptic and opted for Arabic by both Muslims and Christians ) then to islam.
How did Arabisation of Egypt generally occur then ? A mass immigration of Arab tribes ? But Fustat was a closed military camp whereas the surrounding areas were not overflooded by the Arabs as far as I know.
> I also happen to believe that a more subtle and profound reason is that in 642CE and afterwords Egyptians were already in the process of a cultural shift and that the Arab invasion was nothing but the catalyst and not the cause of such shift (see C. Becker) nothing more and nothing less.
But didn't perhaps the reason for the quick Arab conquest lie somewhere else ? During the great Byzantine-Persian war (602-628) Egypt was badly devastated and its resources depleted . Alexandria was conquered by Chosroes II and burnt down in part. So the wounds from the recent war against the Persians were still fresh and the unwillingness or impotence to fight correspondingly overwhelming when another aggressor came out of a sudden. Now there was not enough men and material to throw against the Arabs. Alexandria was reconquered but lost again by the Byzantines. Of course , the century-old animosity between the monophysite subjects and the orthodox authorities played a fateful role in the conflict and was fully exploited by the Arabs who promptly promised the non-Greeks all the latter had been longing for. Playing them against the Greeks they made them defenceless towards the new masters from the desterts of Arabia. How do you see that ?
> But when the Turks occupied Egypt there was no such process and this is why the cultural legacy of the Turks in Egypt is marginal at best, and Turks that moved to Egypt converted to Egyptianism.
They were still primivite nomads that succumbed to a higher culture in Egypt.
Well, one of the saddest events in history was that they converted to Islam and took up the slackening sword of Islam to spread the evil Arabian death cult. The Byzantines had beaten back the Arabs and reconquered Syria. Emperor Basil II was going to launch an attack on Jerusalem. Had he lived longer or had he not been diverted by the major Bulgarian war he would have succeeded. But all these hopeful events and bright possibilities were thwarted at Manzikert in 1071 when the Seldjuk Turks derouted the army of Romanus IV Diogenes.Had the Turks converted to Christianity – as the Russians did – or to Judaism - as the the Khasars did – Islam might have been long wiped out or at least reduced to what it should be – a marginal bizarre cult of no importance. Instead the new Turkish Moslems wiped out or enslaved Eastern Christianity reducing it to a marginal phenomenon.
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