Greece &Turkey; key historical events
See below for classical Olympic Games
Page last modified 14/7/2020
Click Here for map showing frontiers of Greece, 1830 – present day.
See also Cyprus
See also Islam
Modernisation of Turkey (Kemal Ataturk) 1922-35.
End of the Greek monarchy 1922-24.
Armenian massacres, 1894-96 & 1915.
Egyptian rebellion 1831-41.
Independence of modern Greece 1821-32.
Russian involvement in Turkey, 1774-1878.
Law of Fratricide, 1481-1595
1000s – 1600s expansion of Ottoman Turkey.
10/7/2020, The Turkish Council of State voted unanimously to reconvert the Hagia Sofia museum back into a mosque. There were protests from Greek Christians, noting that the building had been built as a church in AS 537 for Byzantine Emperor Justinian, before conversion to a mosque in 1470, and then a museum in 1934 as Turkey secularised under Attaturk. There were suspicions that the move by Turkish President Erdogan was intended to distract from Turkish economic problems.
10/8/2018, US President Trump announced a doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium. The US was in dispute over the detention of a US pastor on dubious charges of terrorism. There were concerns over Turkish President Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Erdogan refused to raise interest rates, and the Turkish lira plummeted in value.
16/4/2017, A referendum in Turkey was narrowly won by President Erdogan, with 51.3% of the vote. The victory gave him wider powers.
31/12/2016, A nightclub in Istanbul packed with New Year’s Eve revellers was attacked by a gunman who killed 39 and injured 69.
19/12/2016, The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in an art gallery in Ankara by an Islamist gunman in revenge for the Russian intervention to support pro-Assad forces in Syria. Turkey was in opposition to the Russian policy in Syria, being very anti-Assad.
10/12/2016, An explosion at a football match in Istanbul killed 35 people and injured 155. Kurdish militants were blamed.
15/7/2016, A military coup began in Turkey. The military wanted to preserve the secular nature of Turkey and were against the Islamist policies of President Erdogan. However by 16/7/2016 the coup had failed, with 161 dead, over 1,400 injured and some 3,000 arrested.
24/11/2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter that was taking part in Russia’s pro-Assad campaign in Syria, against both ISIS and non-ISIS rebels. Turkey said the aircraft had transgressed into Turkish airspace, and was warned several times. Russia denied the warnings, and it appeared the jet had at most been in Turkish airspace for 2 or 3 seconds as it (might have) crossed a finger of Turkish territory jutting into Syria.
5/7/2015, A referendum in Greece solidly rejected the austerity measures demanded by the IMF and Brussels as a condition of further loans to Greece to rescue its economy. However these measures were largely implemented after the Greek banks and stock exchange closed and drastic limits were imposed on cashpoint withdrawals.
25/1/2015, In Greece the Left-Wing populist party Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, won the elections. Greece was suffering the effects of an austerity programme having gone through a major recession and owing massive debts to the EU. Syriza now threatened to default on Greece’s repayment schedule, much to the consternation of Germany. Greek debts in 2015 amounted to 175% of its GDP, with 25% unemployment.
29/10/2014, 150 Kurdish fighters set off from Erbil (Kurdish Iraq) to travel through Turkish territory to reinforce Kurdish fighters across the Turkish-Syria border battling ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani. ISIS began to lose ground there, as Syrian Kurds were reinforced by US arms drops and US air strikes against ISIS. The fight for Kobani assumed increased importance as the global TV media focussed on the battle from just across the border in Turkey. The issue of Turkey allowing Kurdish reinforcements across its territory was sensitive because Turkey has its own Kurdish minority region in the south-east.
2013, The European Court of Human Rights demanded that Turkey pay Euro 90 million compensation in damages to Greek Cypriots. Turkey refused to comply.
31/5/2013, Turkish police burnt down a protestors camp in Gezi Park, Istanbul. The protests were against plans to redevelop the park, one of the few green spaces in the city, for commercial uses.
27/10/2011, An emergency meeting in Brussels concerning the Greek Debt Crisis. A writedown of 50% of Greek bonds was agreed, recapitalisation of European banks, and an increase in the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability facility.
2/5/2010, The EU and the IMF agreed a Euro 110 billion bailout for Greece; Greece would adopt austerity measures.
6/12/2008, Rioting in Greece after Greek police shot a 15 year old in the head, killing him.
2007, Turkish-Armenian community leader Hrant Dink was assassinated.
2006, Talks on Turkey joining the EU broke down over the northern Cyprus issue.
2003, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the AK Party became President in Turkey. Restrictions on using the Kurdish language in Turkey were eased.
20/11/2003, Suicide bombers struck again in Istanbul at the British Consulate and the headquarters of the HSBC bank. They killed 27, including the British Consul, Roger Short.
2002, Greece adopted the Euro.
23/6/1996, Andreas Papandreou, Greek statesman, born 1919, died.
2/7/1993, In Turkey, 40 died in an arson attack on a hotel by Islamist terrorists protesting against Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses.
2/12/1992, The Prime Minister of Greece, Constantine Mitsotakis, dismissed his entire Cabinet after dissent over austerity measures broke out.
1991, Turkey relaxed some laws that repressed Kurdish culture. Speaking Kurdish was now allowed, but publishing or broadcasting in Kurdish remained banned; it was also an offence to own a recording of Kurdish music.
1987, Turkey applied to join the EEC.
6/12/1983, Turkey’s National Security Council dissolved, ending three years of military rule.
24/4/1983. Turkey restored political parties.
18/10/1981. The first Socialist government in Greece was elected under Andreas Papandreou.
1/1/1981. Greece became the 10th member of the European Community.
12/9/1980, General Kenan Evren headed a military takeover in Turkey. Demirel was ousted.
15/10/1979, Bulent Ecevit, leader of the governing leftist secular Republican People’s Party, resigned amidst growing unrest in Turkey. At the start of 1979, martial law was in force in 13 of Turkey’s 67 provinces, due to clashes between Sunni and Shia Muslims. In April 1979 unrest in Kurdish regions caused martial law to be instituted in a further 6 provinces. There were also Left-Right wing clashes. The Turkish Army began to ally with the Right wing opposition Justice Party, led by Suleyman Demirel. Demirel took over governing Turkey, and announced that during Ecevit’s 22-month rule, there had been 2,444 murders by terrorists. However the killings continued. The US was hoping to store nuclear weapons at its bases in Turley, but Ecevit had not allowed this, without USSR approval, which was not given.
24/8/1975, The officers responsible
for the military coup in
12/6/1975. Greece applied to join the EEC.
8/12/1974, Greece voted against restoring the monarchy by 62%.
17/11/1974. The rule of the colonels ended in Greece, and Karamanlis became Prime Minister.
19/8/1974, The US Ambassador to Nicosia, Rodger Davies, was shot dead during a Greek Cypriot demonstration outside his Embassy.
1/8/1974, Restoration of the 1952 Constitution in Greece.
27/7/1974. Greek military leaders handed political power to a civilian government.
23/7/1974, The Greek ‘Colonels’ military junta resigned. Civilian rule returned to Greece, under President Karamanlis.
25/12/1973, Ismet Inonu, Turkish statesman, died aged 84.
14/11/1973, Greek students, in a protest against the military rule of the Colonels, occupied the Polytechnical School of Athens. The protest was ended by brutal police violence.
5/8/1973, A terrorist attack at Athens Airport left 3 dead and 55 wounded.
1/6/1973. The Greek monarchy was abolished and George Papadopoulos became first president of the Republic. The Greek Colonels (see 21/4/1967 and 13/12/1967) alleged that ex-King Constantine II was plotting to overthrow their regime from exile.
23/5/1973, The Greek Government foiled a naval mutiny.
10/4/1970, The Greek government relaxed martial law.
1/11/1968, Georgios Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, died.
21/4/1967. Colonels in
17/8/1964, Greece withdrew its
forces from NATO because of tension with
6/3/1964, Constantine II became king of the Hellenes, succeeding his father Paul I.
29/10/1961, General elections in Greece were won by the National Radical Union. Constantine Karamanlis became Prime Minister.
17/9/1961. The ex-President of
27/5/1960, President Adnan Menderes (1889-1961) of Turkey was ousted in an army coup. He founded the Democratic Party in 1945 and became Prime Minister in 1950. Pro-Western, he took Turkey into NATO in 1952. However he was also sympathetic to Islam, and the Turkish army, very secularist, found this intolerable. The Army believed that Menderes posed a threat to the secularisation of Turkey begin by Ataturk in the 1920s. Ultimately, severe inflation from 1954 eroded Menderes’s support in the towns; Menderes relied on rural peasant support. Menderes was forced to assume dictatorial powers in April 1960, just before his overthrow. See 17/9/1961. In September 1990 Menderes was posthumously ‘rehabilitated’ and given a State Funeral, attended by the Turkish President.
25/12/1959, The USSR agreed to supply financial and technical aid to Syria.
14/6/1959, The US agreed to provide Greece with nuclear information and supply ballistic missiles.
27/10/1957, Celal Bayar was re-elected President of Turkey.
16/10/1957, Syria declared a State of Emergency following Turkish troop movements on the Syrian border. US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warned the USSR against attacking Turkey.
5/10/1955, Karamanlis became Prime Minister of Greece, succeeding Alexander Papagos on his death.
6/9/1955, Anti-Greek riots
24/2/1955, Turkey and Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact. This was an alliance of mutual support against Communist activity within their borders or as an external threat. Iran joined later in 1955.
23/8/1954, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey signed a treaty of mutual assistance.
16/11/1952, In Greece, Field Marshal Alexandros Papagos formed a government after the success of Greek Rally in the elections.
18/2/1952, Greece and
20/9/1951, NATO invited Greece and
2/4/1950 Recep Peker, Prime Minister of Turkey 1946–1947, died aged 61
16/10/1949, The Greek civil war ended with the defeat of the rebels.
27/12/1947, The Greek Government banned the Communist Party.
1/4/1947. King George II of Greece died aged 56, and was succeeded by his brother, 45, as King Paul I.
28/9/1946, King George II returned to Greece. A referendum had shown a majority in favour of restoring the monarchy.
1/9/1946. A Greek plebiscite favoured return the of the monarchy.
27/6/1946, Italy ceded the Dodecanese islands to Greece.
23/2/1945, Turkey, reluctantly, declared war on Germany – only because the Allies had announced that only those nations who did so would be invited to take part in the United Nations Conference at San Francisco.
12/2/1945, The Treaty of Varkiza was signed. The Greek resistance agreed to disarm and relinquish control of all the territory it occupied in exchange for legal recognition, free elections, and the removal of Nazi collaborators from the armed forces and police.
20/12/1944, British troops rescued 350 military personnel from Greek ELAS Communist fighters at Kifissia, near Athens. Since Greece was liberated from the Nazis, there has been a vicious power struggle between Communist and Nationalist factions.
17/10/1944, Rival partisans in Athens began to fight each other.
13/10/1944, Athens was liberated from the Germans, who occupied it on 27/4/1941.
4/10/1944, Allied troops landed on the Greek mainland, at Patras.
2/10/1944. British troops landed on
2/8/1944. Turkey broke
off relations with
3/1944, The EAM (National Liberation Front) of Greece, a Leftist coalition dominated by the KKE (Communist Party of Greece), set up the PEEA (Political Committee of National Liberation). This was effectively a rival to the Greek Government-in-exile; the PEEA ran, in areas liberated from the Nazis, systems of healthcare, education and ustice. It was vehemently opposed to the return of King George II. In 1945 the EAM disintegrated and the KKE took over. After the War, the Communists, Republicans and Royalists started a civil war that lasted until 1949.
See France-Germany for main European events of World War Two
concluded a two-year non-aggression pact with
29/5/1941. Axis forces took the capital of Crete, Canea.
20/5/1941. Germany began an aerial invasion of
14/5/1941. Germany began a week-long bombing of Crete. On 20/5/1941 German paratroopers attacked the islands three airfields. They managed to seize only one airfield, Maleme, but this was enough, and the British had to evacuate Crete, leaving 13,000 wounded behind.
27/4/1941. The Germans occupied Athens. They held it until 12/10/1944.
22/4/1941. British forces left Greece.
9/4/1941, Salonika was taken
by the Germans. This cut off
28/3/1941, The Battle of Matapan, off the coast of Crete. The British navy beat an Italian fleet, sinking seven warships for no loss of its own.
22/11/1940. The Greeks routed the Italians at Koritza.
29/10/1940, British troops landed in
28/10/1940. Italy invaded Greece, from Albania. This opened a Balkan Front, and was a complication to Hitler’s plans to invade Russia, as the British would become involved.
2/6/1940, Constantine I, King of the Hellenes, was born the son of King Paul.
24/6/1939, Turkey concluded a pact of mutual assistance with
23/6/1939. Hatay, formerly the
Syrian town of
12/5/1939, Turkey concluded a pact of mutual assistance with
18/11/1938, Twenty people were trampled to death at the funeral of Kemal Attaturk.
11/11/1938. Ismet Inonu succeeded Kemal Ataturk, who died the day before, as President of Turkey.
10/11/1938. Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923, died aged 57. Ismet Inonu, 54, was elected to succeed him.
31/7/1938. Bulgaria signed a non-aggression pact with
3/7/1938, By agreement with
27/4/1938. A friendship treaty was signed between
15/2/1937, The Balkan Entente Conference was held at
5/8/1936, The Greek Communist Party attempted to call a General Strike. However this precipitated a Right Wing dictatorship which broke up the Communist Party.
13/4/1936, After the inconclusive Greek general elections of 26/1/1936, a period of uncertainty, and the death of Prime Minister Demerdjis, General John Metaxas became Greek Prime Minister.
18/3/1936, Eleutherios Venizelos, Greek politician, died.
25/11/1935, The monarchy was restored in Greece.
3/11/1935, Plebiscite in Greece favoured the restoration of King George II, with 97% voting in favour.
9/6/1935, General election in Greece. The Populists (Monarchists) won 243 seats, although the Liberal party boycotted the election,
1/1/1935. Mustafa Kemal changed his name to Kemal Ataturk.
25/11/1934. Mustapha Kemal told all Turks to adopt a surname by 1/1/1935. His was to be ‘Ataturk’, or ‘Father of the Turks’. He also banned hereditary titles in Turkey. Turkey decreed that the Hagia Sofia mosque in Istanbul was now to be a secular museum.
16/1/1933, Eleutherios Venizelos again became Prime Minister of Greece.
31/10/1932, In Greece, after an inconclusive general election, Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos resigned and was replaced by Panyoti Tsaldaris, a moderate Royalist.
20/4/1931. The Republican party of Mustapha Kemal won a landslide in the Turkish national elections.
1930, The Balkan Entente was set up. It included Greece, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia; it was essentially a defensive alliance against the expansionist aims of Bulgaria, which was seeking to regain territories lost to Greece and Yugoslavia under the Treaty of Neuilly (1919). In the 1930, as authoritarian regimes gained power in all members of the Balkan Entente, the entire region moved politically closer to Germany and Italy.
30/10/1930. Greece and
12/8/1930. Turkish and Iranian forces launched attacks on Kurdish rebels.
had its name changed to
27/6/1929, In Turkey, President Kemal outlawed Communist propaganda.
3/11/1928. Turkey abolished the use of the Arabic script and adopted the Roman alphabet. The Turkish Post Office was ordered to return to sender all post not bearing the new-style ‘correct’ addresses.
19/8/1928, Greek elections produced a victory for the Liberals under Venizelos.
3/7/1928. In Greece, Eleutherios Venizelos was again appointed Prime Minister, following his return in March.
9/4/1928. Turkey abolished Islam as the State religion.
30/10/1927, Admiral Paul Kondouriotis, the President of Greece, survived an assassination attempt by a 25-year-old waiter. Zafioios Goussies shot President Kondouriotis in the head as the he was leaving a conference of Greece's mayors in Athens.
2/9/1927, Mustafa Kemal made Turkey a one-party state.
1/9/1926, Civil marriage was established in Turkey.
5/6/1926, At the Treaty
of Angora, Turkey accepted the
Brussels Line, setting the northern boundary of
17/2/1926, Polygamy was prohibited in Turkey.
3/1/1926, In Greece, Pangalos assumed dictatorial powers; in April 1926 he was elected President.
16/12/1925, The League of Nations voted to uphold the Brussels Line, dividing
25/11/1925, In Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, as part of his Westernisation program, outlawed the traditional fez and substituted western hats.
21/11/1925, The Permanent Court of International Justice agreed to the Brussels Line, dividing
29/10/1925, Greek troops withdrew from
22/10/1925. Border dispute flared between
26/6/1925, Coup in Greece; General Theodoros Pangalos seized power.
2/4/1925, France and Turkey agreed on the autonomy of Alexandretta.
28/2/1925. Kurdish uprising in Turkey.
20/11/1924, Kurds in Turkey rebelled; they were suppressed with considerable force.
29/10/1924, The Council of Brussels drew the Brussels Line, dividing the villayet of Mosul into Turkish and Iraqi areas. See 21/11/1925, 16,12,1925.
20/4/1924, Turkey continued its modernisation plan, with the abolition of tithes and the shortening of military service.
25/3/1924, Greece was proclaimed a Republic, as conformed by plebiscite on 13/4/1924. Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis became President.
2/3/1924, The Turkish National Assembly abolished the caliphate, disestablishing the Islamic religion.
27/1/1924. Rauf Denktash, Turkish-Cypriot politician, was born.
11/1/1924, Eleutherios Venizelos accepted the Premiership of Greece under the National Assembly.
19/12/1923, King George II left Greece at the request of the ruling Revolutionary Committee.
17/12/1923. The Greek Army deposed King George II.
29/10/1923. Mustapha Kemal
12/10/1923. The Turkish capital was officially moved from Istanbul to Ankara.
31/8/1923. Italy seized the Greek
13/8/1923. Mustapha Kemal, (Ataturk), was elected President of Turkey.
24/7/1923. The Treaty
of Lausanne was signed. This restored Adrianople to
11/1/1923, Constantine, King of the Hellenes, died of a brain haemorrhage in Palermo (born 2/8/1868).
1/11/1922. Mustafa Kemal
announced a new
13/10/1922, The Armistice of Mudanya ended the Greek-Turkish War. Relations between Ankara and the Allies wree settled, and the Allies now allowed Turkish troops to enter Istanbul.
11/9/1922. The British Mandate in
9/9/1922, The Turkish Army entered
26/8/1922. Turkey began an offensive
29/7/1922. The Allies forbade
1921, The chief organiser of the Ottoman massacre of Armenian Christians, Talaat Pasha, was himself assassinated by a survivor of that genocide. Pasha had rfecorded that the population of Armenians under Ottoman rule had fallen from 1,265,000 in 1915 to just 284,157 in 1917.
20/10/1921, France recognised the Turkish Government in Ankara.
concluded a peace with the Republic of Armenia at Alexandropol.
18/12/1920 King Constantine was restored to the Greek throne.
5/12/1920, A Greek referendum result called for the return of King Constantine, deposed by the Allies in 1917.
was forced to conclude a peace treaty with Turkey
that not only annulled the Wilson Line but gave the district of Kars, formerly Russian/Armenian,
to Turkey. This treaty also stated that
‘there were no Armenian majorities anywhere in
22/11/1920, US President Wilson
set a proposed border (The Wilson Line) between Turkey and Armenia that would
have given Armenia lands as far west as Trebizond, Erzingan,
However on the ground both
17/11/1920, Dowager Queen Olga became Regent of Greece.
25/10/1920, King Alexander of Greece died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a monkey. His father, who abdicated in 1917, resumed the throne, continuing the struggle against Turkey.
14/11/1920, In Greece, supporters of Venizelos were heavily defeated in general elections.
25/7/1920, The Greeks took Adrianople.
9/7/1920, The Greeks took Bursa.
24/6/1920. The Greeks defeated the Turks at Alashehr.
22/6/1920, With British support, Greek forces attacked Turkish Nationalist troops.
Nationalists set up a provisional government at
20/3/1920. In response to the Syrian claim of 8/3/1920, the Lebanese Christians proclaimed their independence, choosing as their flag the French tricolour with a Lebanese cedar at its centre.
16/3/1920. Allied troops occupied Istanbul; Turkey arrested the Nationalists and the Sultan closed Parliament. Some Nationalists escaped to Ankara.
8/3/1920. Syria proclaimed
independence from Ottoman Turkey, with Emir Faisal, hero of the Arab
revolt, as King. He claimed not just the smaller
12/2/1920, A conference began in London to settle the main frontiers of Turkey to be demarcated in the Treaty of Sevres. This conference ended on 23/2/1920, see 19/4/1920.
28/1/1920, The new Turkish Parliament, with a Nationalist majority, issued the Pact of Ankara affirming the integrity of Turkish territory, based on the resolutions of the Nationalist Congress of 1919.
5/8/1919, Kemal declared Turkey independent of the Sultan at the Turkish Nationalist Congress.
23/7/1919, Turkish Nationalists met at Erzurum to resist Allied plans to carve up Turkey.
11/7/1919, The Turkish Sultan outlawed Kemal.
8/7/1919, The new Turkish Sultan Mohammed VI dismissed Mustapha Kemal.
19/6/1919, In Turkey, Mustafa Kemal and other nationalist leaders signed the Amasia Protocol, declaring their resistance to the Allied plans for Turkey and the Sultan’s co-operation with these plans.
19/5/1919, The Turkish war hero Mustapha Kemal resisted the further reduction of Turkish territory, organising military resistance.
5/2/1919, Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, was born.
26/12/1918, George Rallis, Prime Minister of Greece, was born (died 2006)
30/10/1918. (1) An armistice
was concluded aboard the British warship Agamemnon,
(2) Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lawrence, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, shocked King George V by turning down the Order of the Bath and Distinguished Service Order. Lawrence was disappointed at how the Arabs had not achieved independence after World War One but their land had been carved up between Britain and France. France, Catholic, took the Christian sites of Lebanon and Syria; Britain took Jordan and Iraq.
26/10/1918. Aleppo, Syria, was captured from the Turks by British and Arab troops advancing from the south.
13/10/1918, British troops occupied Tripoli,
7/10/1918, British troops took
1/10/1918. Arab forces under Emir Faisal, including the
British officer T
E Lawrence, captured
22/9/1918. Turkish resistance in
20/9/1918. The British captured
18/9/1918, The British under General Allenby started a major offensive against the Turks, pushing them north out of Palestine, starting with a British victory at Megiddo. This offensive pushed the Turks out of Palestine, captured Damascus, and forced the Turks to accept an armistice on 30/10/1918.
9/9/1918. Allied victory at Megiddo.
29/7/1918. Germany severed diplomatic relations with Ottoman Turkey.
13/6/1918. A Turkish offensive in
26/4/1918, The Turks captured Kars, Caucasus, from Russia, however their cause was doomed as General Allenby made major gains in Palestine.
14/4/1918, Following the collapse of
10/2/1918, Abdul-Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey from 31/8/1876, died (born 21/9/1842).
9/12/1917. Jerusalem was surrendered by the Turks to the British under General Allenby, who had advanced from Gaza in 10/1917 into Judaea and on to Jerusalem. The Turks had ruled Jerusalem since its capture from the Crusaders in 1244.
14/11/1917. Jaffa (Joppa) was captured by the British, under General Allenby, from the Turks.
9/11/1917. Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary,
unveiled plans for a Jewish national
31/10/1917. British forces under General Allenby captured
Meanwhile in 1916 Britain and France had secretly signed the Sykes-Picot agreement to divided up the Ottoman Lands in the Middle East after the War. France was to get the north-western half of the Fertile Crescent, that is Syria and Lebanon; Britain was to get the south-east, Jordan and Iraq. The Catholic church wanted French control of the Mediterranean coast, where many Maronite Christians lived, and Britain wanted French lands between them and the Russians to the north. Britain retained an air corridor to Iraq through Jordan; Britain was dropping poison gas on rebellious Iraqi Arabs. France divided off Lebanon as a Christian Republic from Syria; it also divided off Hatay and gave that to Syria, due to lobbying from Hatay’s Turkish minority. The Allies also considered giving Palestine to Belgium. They also, at the Treaty of Sevres (10/8/1920) backed the formation of a Kurdish State, but refused to allow the Kurds in Iraq or Syria to be part of this State; the idea never materialised.
4/7/1917, Lawrence of Arabia reassured the Arabs, who were wary of attacking the Turkish fort of Kethira under a full moon, that “for a while there will be no moon”. Lawrence knew a lunar eclipse was due. Turkish defenders panicked as the moon vanished, and the fort fell to the Arabs.
12/6/1917. The pro-German
26/3/1917. British attack the Turks at
17/3/1917. The British heavily defeated the Turks near
11/3/1917. The Allies captured
16/10/1916. The Allies took
27/9/1916. Greece declared war on Bulgaria, which itself had declared
10/9/1916. The Allies launched an offensive in
20/8/1916. The Allies began an offensive against
5/8/1916. The British defeated the Turks in a naval battle
9/6/1916. Sherif Hussein of Mecca led a revolt against the Ottoman Turks. The Arabs were angered by the Young Turks nationalist and secular policies.
16/5/1916, French diplomat Francois-Georges Picot and British diplomat Mark Sykes began a secret correspondence to decide how the Middle East would be divided up after World War One (see also 30/10/1917). The Western Powers had already decided that the Ottoman Empire was too vast and too corrupt to be allowed to survive. Britain would claim Jordan, most of Iraq, and the port city of Haifa. France would take SE Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Palestine would be jointly administered between Britain and France. Russia would be granted the city of Constantinople and several Armenian-dominated regions. In fact the Russian Revolution of 1917 and further diplomatic developments meant that not all these provisions became reality, but the Sykes-Picot agreement set the scene for many of the issues of the Middle East during the 20th century.
29/4/1916. British troops surrendered to the Ottoman Turks
after a siege of 143 days at Kut-el-Amara in
14/4/1916. The Allied bombarded Istanbul.
2/3/1916, The Russians took Bitlis,
16/2/1916, The Russians
in the Caucasus, from
17/1/1916. Russia began an offensive against Turkey.
8/1/1916. Gallipoli was evacuated by Allied troops.
This was the end of an unsuccessful attempt to capture
22/11/1915. General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend was advancing by boat on Baghdad with a force of 9,000 men of the 6th Indian Division. The land was roadless, an ‘arid billiard table’ as he described it. At Ctesiphon, 20 miles short of Baghdad, Townshend came up against a large, well supplied force. He was short of supplies because a stingy and over-optimistic government in India expected him to get all the supplies he needed in Baghdad. Townshend’s forces drove out the Turks but at a loss of 40% of his men. He was now unable to withstand any Turkish counter-attack, let alone advance further, so he retreated to Kut with 1,600 Turkish prisoners of war and 4,500 wounded from both sides. The Invasion of Mesopotamia was to secure the oil but that only required the occupation of a small area around Basra. This would, keep the Turks away from the Iranian port of Abadan, terminus of the Anglo-Iranian pipeline which supplied the Royal navy with oil. Kut was besieged by the Turks, from 8/12/1915. Townshend had 13,500 inside to feed, including some 2,500 Indian non-combatants and 2,000 sick and wounded. There were also 6,000 Arabs. They had to contend with freezing cold and torrential rain. A relief force never got near enough; three relief attempts were made, at a cost of 23,000 casualties. The Indians would not eat meat, although the oxen were slaughtered for food by the British, then the camels, horses, and finally cats, starlings, dogs, and hedgehogs. Gallipoli had been evacuated by the British on 8/1/1916 and elated by this, and now with troops to spare from there, the Turks refused a ransom of £2million (£67million in 2002 prices) to let the defenders leave. Kut was the first siege in which supplies were dropped by air, including flour for the Indian’s chappatis. However the Turks and their German allies had more and better aircraft. Finally Kut surrendered on 27/4/1916, with rations down to seven ounces of grain a day for the 12,000 men there. More Indian and British soldiers died during the forced march from Kut to captivity in Mesopotamia or even all the way to Turkey. However Townshend was in relatively comfortable captivity near Constantinople. Kut finally fell to the Allies in February 1917, and Baghdad fell in March 1917.
5/10/1915. Allied troops landed at
28/9/1915. The British defeated the Turks at Kut El Amara in
23/9/1915. King Constantine of
15/9/1915, The Entente (France,
21/8/1915. Italy declared war on the
15/8/1915, The Allied landings at Suvla, Dardanelles, were completed.
6/8/1915. New Allied landings on Gallipoli. See 8/1/1916.
27/5/1915. The Turkish government decided to deport the
entire Armenian population to
26/4/1915. Allied forces
established themselves on the Gallipoli Peninsula, having landed the previous
day, 25/4/1915. This was an attempt to
take control from the Dardanelles from
24/4/1915. The arrest in Constantinople (now Istanbul) of 235 Armenian academics, politicians, lawyers and journalists. Another 600 were later detained. All were sent to Anatolia, most of them slaughtered. Turkey feared they would collaborate with Russia. On this day the Ottoman Interior Minister, Talaat Pasha, gave the order for the Armenian Massacre. Many Armenians were deported to the Syrian desert to die.
19/2/1915 The Dardanelles campaign began. A Franco-British fleet began shelling Turkish fortifications along the Dardanelles, to open up the strategic waterway to get munitions to Russia via the Black Sea, and deliver Russian grain to France and the UK. Spotter planes from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal were directing the gunners by radio.
2/2/1915. The Turks were defeated on
14/11/1914. The Sultan of Turkey declared a Jihad, or Holy War, against the Allies.
6/11/1914, British troops landed at Fao
4/11/1914. The Russians
declared war on Turkey and invaded
warships bombarded the Russian ports of Sevastopol, Odessa and Novorossiysk. This provoked a declaration
of war by
1/10/1914. Turkey closed the
2/9/1914. The Ottoman Empire mobilised its forces, in World War One.
13/6/1914, Greece annexed the islands of Chios and Lesbos from Turkey.
14/3/1914, Peace was concluded between
14/12/1913, Greece formally annexed Crete.
13/11/1913, Peace was
concluded between Turkey and Greece.
17/10/1913. Serbia invaded
29/9/1913, The Treaty
of Constantinople, an addition to the Treaty
of Bucharest (see 10/8/1913), settled the frontier between
21/9/1913. Turkey and
13/8/1913, Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus 1960-77, was born near Paphos, the son of a farmer.
10/8/1913. The Third Treaty of
18/7/1913, Turkish forces recovered Adrianople from the Bulgarians, who took the city in March 1917.
12/7/1913, Turkey seized
11/7/1913, Romania invaded
10/7/1913. Russia declared war on
3/7/1913. Romania mobilised its troops. in
1/7/1913. Greece and
29/6/1913. Bulgaria launched a surprise attack on
30/5/1913. Turkey signed a peace treaty with the Balkan League (the Treaty of London), ending their war. Under this Treaty Salonika was formally assigned to Greece. The Great Powers formally recognised Albanian sovereignty.
22/4/1913. Montenegro captured Scutari after a 6 month siege.
16/4/1913, Turkey signed an armistice with
26/3/1913. The Balkan allies took Adrianople from
18/3/1913, George I, King of Greece from 1863, was assassinated in Salonika by a Greek
called Schinasi. Constantine I became King of Greece, in the
newly-occupied city of Salonika. Constantine opposed the pro-Allied policy of Venizelos,
and in June 1917 the Allies forced his abdication in favour of his second son, Alexander,
who ruled until dying from a monkey bite in October 1920. A plebiscite two months later voted
overwhelmingly for the return of Constantine I.
was unfairly blamed for Greek military failure in action against
6/3/1913. Hostilities resumed in the Balkans; the Greeks took Janina, capturing 32,000 Turks.
7/2/1913, 5,000 Turks died in a battle with
3/2/1913. Bulgaria re-stared the Balkan War. On
7/2/1913 a Turkish-Bulgarian battle left 5,000 Turks dead, and on 26/3/1913 the
Bulgarians captured Adrianople from
23/1/1913, Enver Pasha, leader of the Young Turks, entered the principal council chamber of the Sublime Porte with Talat and Kemal and shouted “Death to Kamil Pasha”. They forced the Grand Vizier to resign at gunpoint and shot dead the Minister of War, General Nazim. Enver then forced the Sultan to appoint his ally, Shevket, as Grand Vizier. The British ensured safe passage for Kamil out of Turkey but he was never reinstated as Grand Vizier. Enver, Talat and Kemal went on to establish a military junta to govern Turkey.
22/1/1913, Turkey accepted a ceasefire ultimatum.
17/1/1913, Serbian troops massacred Muslims.
9/1/1913. Turkey breached the armistice by attacking Bulgaria.
6/1/1913, A peace conference in London broke down when Turkey refused to cede Adrianople, the Aegean Islands and Crete.
2/1/1913. Turkey agreed to give up almost all its European territories.
1912, Electric lighting was introduced in Istanbul.
16/12/1912, The Balkan Peace Conference began in London.
4/12/1912. Turkey concluded an armistice with
30/11/1912, Bulgaria and
28/11/1912. Albanian independence was proclaimed and
18/11/1912. The Serbs occupied Monastir.
8/11/1912. The Greeks occupied Salonika. This was during the First Balkan War, and ended 482 years of Turkish occupation.
3/11/1912. Turkey appealed for mediation in the war with Italy, by the great European powers.
1/11/1912. The Greeks occupied
23/10/1912. The Greeks routed the Turks at Sarandaporos.
19/10/1912. Allied Balkan armies invaded Turkey.
18/10/1912. The Ottoman Turks agreed to cede Tripoli and Cyrenaica (now Libya) to Italy, at the Peace of Lausanne. Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia declared war on Turkey. The Greek Army had been well-equipped under Venizelos, and the Turks were pushed back, to the point where Istanbul itself was threatened; the city was only saved by bad weather making the roads impassable and a cholera outbreak, halting military operations.
15/10/1912, Turkey made peace with Italy at Ouchy.
14/10/1912. The Turks invaded
8/10/1912. Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
1/10/1912, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia prepared to fight Turkey.
30/9/1912, Russia mobilised its forces in response to unrest in the Balkans.
29/9/1912, British and French forces quelled riots on Samos, after Turkey withdrew troops from there.
3/8/1912. The Ottoman Turks granted Albania limited autonomy.
2/7/1912, Serbia allied with
29/5/1912. Greece signed an anti-Ottoman alliance with
4/5/1912. The Italians occupied the
25/3/1912, The Greek Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos won a majority of seats in elections in Greece.
13/3/1912, Under Russian influence (wanting to undermine Austro-Hungary), Serbia and Bulgaria buried their territorial rivalries for the time being (but see 29/6/1913), and, along with Greece and Montenegro, formed the Balkan League. Originally directed against the large multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire (which contained many ethnic Serbs within its borders), the League redirected its efforts against Ottoman Turkey, ultimately aiming to oust the Turks entirely from all its European territories. Serbia and Bulgaria signed a mutual defence pact. Balkan nationalism was on the rise. The pact also divided northern Macedonia between them. It was assumed that southern Macedonia would be divided between Bulgaria and Greece. On 30/5/1913 the Treaty of London divided up the Balkans amongst the members of the Balkan League, leaving Ottoman Turkey with only a sliver of European territory immediately west of Istanbul.
5/11/1911. Italy announced that it had taken from Turkey the territories of Libya, Tripolitania, and Cyrenaiaca.
20/10/1911. Italy defeated the Turks at
30/9/1911. Italian troops attacked the Turks in
declared war on Turkey, having been
assured of the neutrality of other European countries. The Italian Navy bombarded Preveza, and
Italian forces landed at
6/2/1911. A large part of
11/12/1910, In elections for the Greek National Assembly, supporters of Venizelos received 300 seats out of 364.
9/12/1910, The Turks suppressed an Arab uprising in Palestine.
28/8/1910. Montenegro declared independence from Turkey under King Nicholas I, 69, who ruled for 9 years.
21/8/1910, First meeting of the Greek National Assembly (officially opened by the King on 14/9/1910).
27/7/1910. Turkey threatened Greece with war if it accepted Cretan representatives in Parliament.
16/3/1900. Sir Arthur Evans uncovered the ancient city of
27/4/1909, Mehmed V (1844-1918) succeeded his father, Abdul Hamid II (born 1842, died 1918; Sultan from 1876 – 1909) as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
24/4/1909, The Turkish Army coup of 13/4/1909 was suppressed, and its leaders executed.
23/4/1909. Moslem fanatics backed by the sultan massacred at least 30,000 Armenians.
recognised Bulgarian independence. On 27/4/1909,
13/4/1909, Army insurrection in Constantinople. The First Army Corps deposed Hussein Hilmi Pasha. See 24/4/1909.
4/4/1909, The Young Turk, Mahmud Shevket,
13/2/1909, In Turkey, Kiamil Pasha, 76-year-old Ottoman Grand Vizier, was deposed and replaced by Hussein Hilmi Pasha.
12/1/1909. Turkey accepted
1/12/1908, Italy demanded that Austria pay compensation for the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, see 7/10/1908.
7/10/1908. Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, taking advantage of
instability within the Ottoman Empire. Though formally part of the Ottoman
Empire, its Serb-Croat population favoured union with
6/10/1908. Crete declared itself independent of Turkey and joined Greece.
5/10/1908. Prince Ferdinand declared
24/7/1908, Sultan Abdulhamid II, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, was forced to implement reforms by the Young Turk (Jonturkler) Movement. This included the reinstatement of the 1876 constitution and the recall of Parliament, both suspended under the Sultan’s autocratic rule. The Young Turk Movement began in 1889 when a group of medical students at the Istanbul Academy started a campaign to overthrow the Sultan. The Movement spread to other colleges, and the authorities tried to suppress it; they exiled many Young Turks to Paris, where they continued to plan for a revolution.
3/7/1908, In Ottoman Turkey, Major Ahmed Niyazi revolted against the provincial authorities, under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The rebellion quickly spread to other army divisions, forcing concessions by the Sultan.
8/2/1908. Czar Nicholas II ordered Russian troops to the Iranian border after Turkey made incursions into Iran.
13/6/1905, Theodoros Delyanni, Greek statesman, born 1826, was murdered in revenge for the strict measure shad had taken against gambling houses.
10/10/1904. Kurdish tribesmen massacred
26/3/1904, Xenophon Zolotas, Prime Minister of Greece, was born
17/9/1903, Turks massacred 10,000 in Macedonia.
8/9/1903. Turks massacred 50,000 Bulgarians.
2/8/1903, The revolutionary organisation VMRO (Vnutrasnja Makedonska Revolucionarska Organizacija, or Internal Revolutionary Macedonian Organisation) staged the Illinden Uprising against Ottoman rule. They hoped to bring in the major European powers, but the rebellion was badly organised and its leader, Gotse Delchev, was captured and executed before it even began. The European powers avoided involvement in the uprising and it was brutally suppressed by the Ottomans. However post-event the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russiaforced the Ottoman Government to pay compensation to Macedonia and allow in foreign observers.
29/8/1896. Many Armenians, perhaps 3,000 or more, were being killed in Turkey three days after the Armenians seized the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul, to draw the world’s attention to their fight against Ottoman rule. The Armenian uprising began in 1894, and they hoped to break free of Turkish rule as Bulgaria had done. Some 200,000 Armenians were killed in Anatolia. Britain’s support for Armenia threatened the favoured position it had held for over 40 years in Istanbul. Germany began to manoeuvre to take Britain’s place, eager to secure concessions for its Berlin to Baghdad Railway project.
1894, The Armenians within the Ottoman Empire, numbering some 2.5 million, refused to pay greatly increased taxes demanded by Sultan Abdu l Hamid II. From the late 1880s, Russia had been eocnouraging these Armenians to demand greater autonomy from Turkey. This refusal of the tax demands precipitated a massacre of thousands of Armenians by Turkish soldiers. In turn this sparked off the raid by Armenians on the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul, see 29/8.1896.
13/7/1878. At the Congress of Berlin, (Treaty of Berlin) Britain, Russia, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire reached agreement on the future of the Balkan states, superseding the Treaty of San Stefano. Northern Dobruja, formerly part of Bulgaria under Turkish rule, was given to Romania. At the same time, Romania ceded Bessarabia to Russia. Bessarabia was more desirable than Dobruja, and Romania wanted Transylvania, which belonged to Hungary but had a mainly Romanian population. The independence of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro were recognised by Turkey; Bulgaria was also divided into two parts, one of which, Eastern Rumelia, was to be a self-governing Turkish Province. In 1885 an uprising in Eastern Rumelia resulted in the union of that province with Bulgaria. Russian naval expansion was limited, Austro-Hungary was allowed to occupy Bosnia-Hercegovina, the location of Sarajevo.
3/3/1878. The Treaty of San Stefano ended the war between Russia and Turkey. Bulgaria, Russia’s ally, was enlarged to include much of Thrace and Macedonia, with ports on the Black Sea and Aegean. Britain objected. The arrival of a British fleet on 15/2/1878 as the Russians stood at the gates of Istanbul persuaded the Russians to make peace. Russia and Britain were now on the brink of war.
8/2/1878. Britain dispatched a fleet to Constantinople. A Conference concerning the growth of Russian influence in the Balkans and the waning of Turkish power there had broken down without agreement. In the summer of 1877 war broke out between Russia and Turkey. Britain was concerned that if Russia advanced to the Bosphorus, British interests in the Mediterranean would be threatened so she intervened in favour of Turkey.
15/1/1877. Russia and Austria agreed that Austria was to be neutral in any war in the Balkans between Turkey and Russia. The two states rejected the idea of a Slav state in the Balkans. Russia declared war on Turkey on 24/4/1877. Rumania entered the war on the side of Russia in May 1877 and a joint Russian/Rumanian army laid siege to the Bulgarian town of Plevna. The Turks in Plevna surrendered in December 1877. See 31/1/1878.
30/5/1876, Abdul Aziz, 32nd Sultan of Ottoman Turkey, born 9/2/1830, was forced to abdicate. Succeeding his brother, Abdul Mejid, in 1861, he promised economic and political reform, but instead wasted money on personal luxuries and grand building projects. Insurrections occurred in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1875. He was assassinated on 3/6/1876.
30/12/1875, Russia, Germany, and Austro-Hungary agreed on the terms of a note to Constantinople calling for Ottoman Turkey to deliver on its promises of equality for Christians with Muslims and measures to protect Christians in the Balkans from persecution. This was the so-called ‘Andrassy Note’, see 31/1/1876.
14/6/1873. King Priam’s treasure of 8,7000 priceless pieces was discovered in Turkey by the German – American Heinrich Schliemann. In disinterring this treasure he destroyed what was left of ancient Troy.
1862, King Otto I, King of Greece, second son of Louis of Bavaria, abdicated. He had been elected King in 1832. However his pro-German policies caused disputes. He spent the latter part of his life in Munich.
25/6/1861, Sultan Abdul Mejid died. Born 23/4/1823, he succeeded his father, Mahmud II, as Ottoman ruler in 1839. The Ottomans had then just been defeated by the Egyptians at the Battle of Nisib under Ibrahim Pasha and they would have advanced to take Constantinople, where they had sympathisers, had Europe not intervened.
18/2/1856, Abdul Mejid, the Ottoman Sultan, issued the Hatt-i-Humayun Edict. This guaranteed full civic rights for his Christian subjects, abolished torture and reformed prisons. These reforms were effectively forced upon the Sultan by the western European Allies.
27/3/1854. Crimean War began; Britain and France declared war on Russia. On 12/3/1854 the British and French formally allied with Turkey. See 30/11/1853. The ostensible cause of the Crimean War was a dispute between Russia, France, and Turkey over control of the Christian Holy Places in Turkish-controlled Palestine. The Turks refused Russia’s demands and Russia marched into the Turkish vassal states of Wallachia and Serbia. This threatened Russian occupation of Istanbul and hence Britain’s communications with its Indian Empire, so Britain entered the war against Russia.
20/3/1854, Russia sent troops southwards across the Danube, threatening Ottoman Turkey. Ultimately this posed the threat of Russia on the Mediterranean, putting communications between Britain and India at risk, and so was unacceptable to the UK.
4/10/1853. The Russians refused to withdraw from the Danubian Principalities, and Turkey declared war on Russia. On 23/10/1853 the Turks, under Omar Pasha, crossed the Danube into Wallachia. See 30/11/1853.
13/7/1841, The Straits Convention, signed by the five great European powers, guaranteed Ottoman sovereignty and closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles to all foreign warships. This was directed at preventing Russian expansion.
6/10/1840. France, Britain, and Russia entered the war between Turkey and Egypt on Turkey’s side. They occupied the Syria-Palestine coastland to cut off the Egyptian Pasha from the route to Anatolia. On 4/11/1840 the British fleet bombarded the ports of Beirut and Acre.
15/7/1840, The Treaty of London. Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia agreed to form a military alliance against Egypt, which was being pressured to give up the Ottoman fleet it held, and abandon claims on northern Syria, Medina, Mecca and Crete.
24/6/1839. The Ottoman Sultan, Mahmud II, launched another offensive against Mohammed Ali, the pasha of Egypt. However this day at the Battle of Nezib Egyptian forces under Ibrahim Pasha defeated the Ottomans. The battle took place near the present day Turkish-Syrian border.
8/7/1833. Turkey, by signing the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, gave Russia the right to close the Dardanelles Straits in times of war. This treaty was signed by the Ottoman Sultan due to the threat faced by the Ottoman Empire from the revolt in Egypt. Europe became very concerned over growing Russian influence over Ottoman Turkey.
20/2/1833, At Constantinople’s invitation, a Russian squadron entered the Bosphorus. The Russians had promised to protect the Ottoman capital against Mehemet of Egypt and Russia got to be effective gatekeeper of the entrance to the Black Sea. The western European powers had procrastinated about helping Constantinople, whilst Russia had come up with concrete assistance.
21/12/1832. Russia offered military assistance to Turkey against Egyptian forces who were 50 miles from Istanbul. The Egyptians had invaded Turkish lands after Turkey broke a promise to give Syria to Egypt in return for help during the Greek war of Independence. See 4/5/1833.
1/11/1831, Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, began a revolt against Sultam Mahmud, Ottoman ruler in Constantinople. Mehemet had helped to suppress initial rebellions by the Greeks in Morea (southern Greece) but now feared that Constantinople would not reward but dispose of him. On this day Mehemet entered Syria and began a siege of the Ottoman garrison in Acre. See 27/5/1833.
14/9/1829. The Treaty of Adrianople preserved the Ottoman Empire. Reeling under a series of defeats, the Turks faced occupation of Istanbul by the Russians; they held back from this for fear of destroying the Turkish Empire entirely and starting another European War. The Turks retained nominal sovereignty over Wallachia and Moldavia, but Russia has the real power here. Europeans grew anxious over the growing power of Russia.
20/10/1827. In response to the rebuffed ultimatum of 6/7/1827, British, French, and Russian forces destroyed the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Navarino. Over 50 Turkish and Egyptian ships were sunk. This ensured the creation of an independent Greek State, whose exact boundaries had yet to be established.
6/7/1827. At the Treaty of London, France, Britain, and Russia threatened to use force against Turkey if the Ottoman Empire did not agree to an armistice with Greece. In August 1827 the Turks refused this. See 20/10/1827.
23/4/1826, The Turks captured Missolonghi. This town was famous in Europe because the poet Lord Byron had died there in 1824, after a lifetime promoting the cause of an independent Greece. After a prolonged siege that began in 4/1825 the Greeks attempted a break-out, but most were massacred. This incident appalled liberal opinion in western Europe, which led to the intervention at Navarino 20/10/1827.
4/4/1826, The Anglo-Russian protocol was issued. It proposed that Greece be an autonomous State within the Ottoman Empire, paying a tribute to the Porte, with its ruler appointed by the Sultan. In return Ottoman Turkey was to withdraw its troops from Greece. However Sultan Mahmud II believed he was winning against the secessionist Greeks and would render the negotiations moot by soon reconquering Greece. Meanwhile the British negotiator, Foreign Minister George Canning, was in failing health and due to retire; his successor, the Duke of Wellington, was much less concerned about the fate of Greece.
18/7/1823, The Treaty of Erzerum was signed, between the Sultan of Ottoman Turkey and the Qajar Shah of Persia; this Treaty defined their common frontier in lower Iraq. However the two powers continued to dispute possession of the town of Muhammara, at the mouth of the Karun River, a disagreement dating from 1812. In 1847 a second Treaty of Erzerum was signed, giving Muhammara to Persia.
19/6/1822. The Greeks under Constantine Kanaris destroyed an Ottoman Turkish fleet. A large Ottoman army invaded Greece in July 1822. In January 1823 the Ottomans failed to capture the key fort of Missolonghi at the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth and were forced to withdraw.
2/4/1821, The Greeks under Turkish rule began a revolt under Archbishop Germanos of Patras. The Greek population rose en masse, captured the capital of the Morea Peninsula, Tripolitza, and the revolt then spread north, and to the Greek Islands. These islands were the main recruiting ground of the Ottoman Navy, so Turkish sea power was weakened.
8/1/1792. The Ottoman Turks bowed to the inevitable and accepted Catherine the Great’s Russian sovereignty over Georgia. Britain feared further Russian expansion in the Black Sea as this could threaten British Mediterranean interests.
16/7/1774. The Russians and Turks signed the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji, ending their six-year war. Moldavia and Wallachia were returned to Turkey and the Crimea became independent. Russia gained control of much of the northern Black Sea coast. The Sultan was allowed to remain spiritual leader of the Crimean Moslems; however Russia gained the right to build and protect an Orthodox church in Istanbul. Russian merchants were to have unrestricted access to the Black Sea and Mediterranean across Ottoman territories. This gave Russia a pretext to intervene in Turkish internal affairs.
21/7/1718, The Peace of Passarowitz ended the conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. The position of the two Empires was stabilised in the Balkans until well into the nineteenth century.
26/1/1699, Prince Eugene, having invaded Serbia and Bosnia, forced the Turks to conclude the Peace of Carlowitz. This restored the entire Kingdom of Hungary, with the exception of the Banat of Temesvar, to Austria from Turkey. This was the start of the rise to power of the Hapsburg Dynasty.
6/2/1695, Ottoman Sultan Ahmed II died (born 1642, acceded 1691, succeeding his brother Suleiman II). He was defeated by the Austrians at Slankamen (20/8/1691), which denied possession of Hungary to the Ottomans, This battle established the Danube as the boundary between Austria and Ottoman Turkey.
26/9/1687. The Parthenon and the Propylea were destroyed when the Venetians bombarded Athens. The Venetian army was besieging the Turks when a mortar bomb fired by the Venetians set off Turkish gunpowder stored in the Acropolis.
11/9/1683. The conquering armies of Islam under Vizier Kara Mustafa were defeated at the gates of Vienna. The Turks had been besieging Vienna since July 1683. Relief came under Poland’s King John III and Charles, Duke of Normandy. The Ottoman Sultan ordered Mustafa to commit suicide.
27/9/1669. Candia, the capital of Crete, was captured by the Ottoman Turks from the Venetians after a 21 year siege. Spain, Britain, France, the Pope, Tuscany, and Malta, had all supplied troops to the Venetians but to no avail. Towards the end the Ottoman Turks intensified the blockade and disagreements broke out between the allies leading to the withdrawal of some of the Europeans.
8/8/1648, In Constantinople, the Janissaries deposed Sultan Ibrahim after he ordered the lifting of the siege of Candia (Heraklion), Crete. On 18/8/1648 Ibrahim was strangled by his own executioner and replaced by his eldest son, 9-year old Mohammed IV.
20/5/1622, Ottoman Sultan Osman II was murdered. He had alienated the powerful Janissaries by attempting to eliminate them; instead, he was imprisoned in his own palace by them, before being strangled this day.
1595, The last killings under the Law of Fratricide, see 1481. Sultan Mehmet III ordered the execution of his 19 brothers. The succession now automatically went to the eldest male member of the ruling House. The system of sending Ottoman princes to the provinces to learn how to rule now ended. Instead they spent their lives in the kafe (cage), a group of buildings in the royal palace, from which they emerged only to rule or when dead. They lived lives of ;uxurious imprisonment, surrounded by concubines. This resulted in a significant decline in the quality of the Sultans, who often came to rule feeble on body or mind.
7/10/1571. The Ottoman Turkish fleet under Ali Pasha was defeated by the navies of Spain, Venice, and the Pope at the Battle of Lepanto, in the Gulf of Corinth. Christendom was concerned at the fall of Cyprus to Turkey, under Selim II, Suleiman the Great’s successor. This was the last battle fought between galleys. The Turks used ramming tactics, but allied ships used firepower to defeat the Turks. Although Ottoman Turkey retained control of Cyprus, its western expansion in the Mediterranean was halted. The Ottomans lost 230 galleys to the Christians 17.
6/9/1566. Suleiman the Magnificent, leader of the Ottoman Empire for 46 years, died. He had brought the Ottoman Empire to the peak of its power, ruling an area from Hungary to Mesopotamia, and promoting justice and culture. His eldest surviving son, the incompetent drunkard Selim, succeeded him. All other potential rivals had been eliminated by intrigue and murder.
18/5/1565. The Ottoman Turks arrived at Malta to try and capture it, see 21/12/1522. However the island held out until relieved by a Christian fleet from Sicily arrived in September 1565. Casualties had been heavy for both the Turks and the Maltese; however the Turks had been riven by disputes between their naval and army commanders. The Turks returned to Istanbul, their hopes of dominating the western Mediterranean dashed.
28/9/1538, At the Battle of Preveza, the Turkish fleet under Suleiman the Magnificent, commanded by Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, defeated the Holy League forces of Charles V, commanded by Andrea Doria.
24/2/1538, The Treaty of Nagyvarad; peace was declared between King Ferdinand and the Turks. John Zapolya was recognised as King of Hungary, whilst Ferdinand retained northern and western Hungary and was recognised as heir to the Hungarian throne.
29/8/1526, The Battle of Mohacs. The Turkish army under Suleiman I defeated the Hungarians under King Loius II, who was killed whilst retreating. Suleiman took Buda, whilst Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and John Zapolya, Prince of Transylvania, disputed over the succession. As a result of this dispute, Dubrovnik achieved independence, although it recognised Turkish overlordship. The Hapsburgs now ruled Bohemia and Hungary.
21/12/1522. Rhodes, formerly the base of the Knights of St John, was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, led by Suleiman, after a six-month siege. The Knights of St John, driven out of Rhodes, were given permission by Emperor Charles V in 1530 to settle in Malta. See 18/5/1565.
23/8/1514, At the Battle of Chaldiran, Selim I , ruler of the Shia Muslim Ottoman Empire, defeated the Sunni Muslim Persians under Shah Ismail I. Drawing on lessons learnt from fighting European armies, the Ottoman Army was well disciplined and equipped with heavy cannon and musket-armed infantry. In contrast the smaller Persian Army relied on the cavalry charge and possessed no artillery. The Safavid capital at Tabriz was taken by the Ottoman Turks, forcing the Persians to move their capital further east. This battle was instrumental in fixing the present day frontier between Turkey and Iran.
1512, Death of Bayezid I (1448-1512), Ottoman Sultan 1481-1512. He succeeded his father, Mehmed II. he fought wars against Hungary, Poland, Venice, Egypt and Persia, establishing further the power of the Ottoman Empire.
25/8/1499, The Venetian fleet was defeated at the Battle of Zonchia by the Ottomans. This was the first time cannon had been used in a naval battle. The Venetian-Ottoman War, 1499-1503, started. Venetian sea-power in the Mediterranean was an obstacle to Ottoman expansion. Ottoman Turkey gained the upper hand, and by 1503 Ottoman cavalry raids were reaching into Venetian territory. Venice was forced to recognise Turkish gains.
3/5/1481, Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, died and was succeeded by his 34-year old son Bayezid II.Mehmet II promulgated the Law of Fratricide – that whichever son inherited the Sultanate should assassinate all his brothers, to preserve order. This law lasted for over 100 years, see 1595.
11/8/1473, Ottoman Turkey defeated the Turkomans at the Battle of Otlukbeli. The ‘White Sheep Turkomans’, under Uzun Hasan, had comprised the most significant threat to the ottomans since the Mongols under Timur in the early 1400s. However at Otlukbeli the overwhelming firepower of the ottoman Army comprehensively defeated the Turkomans.
6/7/1439, Emperor John III of Constantinople (by then he ruled very little outside Constantinople, Salonika and Morea, and was known in western Europe as ‘Emperor of the Greeks’, not as he was officially, Roman Emperor) travelled to an Ecumenical Council in Florence and accepted papal primacy and union with Rome. The Decree of Union (Laetentur Caeli) formally uniting the Latin and Greek churches was issued. This was a last-ditch attempt to save his dominions from the Ottoman Turkish advance. However the Greek clergy rejected this union; there were too many fundamental differences of doctrine between the two Churches. Those who had formally accepted the union recanted upon return home. They preferred, in the words of a Byzantine dignitary, ‘the power [in Constantinople] of the Turkish turban rather than the Latin tiara.
1403, Death of Bayazid I (ca. 1360-1403), Sultan of Turkey 1389-1402. He succeeded his father, Murad I, who died at the Battle of Kosovo. Within three years of his accession he had conquered Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, Macedonia and Thessaly, and most of Asia Minor.
21/7/1402, The Ottoman Turks were decisively defeated by Timur at the Battle of Ankara. The Ottomans lost control of Anatolia. However they had expanded territorially into Europe, and were able to recover Anatolia after Timur departed.
6/4/1326. Orhan, son of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, captured Bursa from the Byzantines and made it his capital. By 1341 Orkhan had reinforced his influence in the Byzantine Empire by marrying twice into it; first to Theodora, daughter of Byzantium’s new joint Emperor John Cantacuzene, whom he had lent 6,000 troops for his coup. Secondly, Orkhan’s new sister in law, Helen, married the other joint Emperor and coup victim, John Paleologus.
3/9/1260, The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut (Goliath’s Spring) in Galilee, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire. Damascus had fallen to the Mongols in 1259 and Hulegu, Mongol leader, now turned on Egypt, the major military power in the region. The Mongols now ruled an area from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, The Mameluke rulers of Egypt responded to Hulegu’s demands for capitulation by killing Hulegu’s envoys and marching into Palestine to fight. Mameluke cavalry was crucial in the Mongol defeat.
1071, At the Battle of Manzikert, an army of Seljuk Turks under King Alp Arslan heavily defeated a Byzantine Army twice its size. This heralded the push into Anatolia by Seljuk Turks, whose successors, the Ottomans, took Constantinople in 1453. Arslan then set his aims on conquering lands to the south, towards Baghdad and Damascus.
197 BCE, At the Battle of Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, the Romans under T Quinctius Flaminius defeated the Macedonians under Philip V. The Romans forced Philip V to surrender Greece to Rome, reduce his army to 5,00 men and his navy to five ships, promise not to make war without Rome’s permission, and to pay Rome 1,000 talents over ten years.
315 BCE, The Macedonian port city of Thessalonica was founded by Cassander. It was named after his wife, whom her father, Philip II of Macedon, had named Thessaloniki to commemorate his victory (Niki) over Thessaly in 2/8/338 BCE.
13/6/323 BCE. Alexander the Great died, of a fever, at Babylon; he was just 32 years old.. His body was taken to Alexandria, but the location of his grave is unknown. His son, born to Alexander’s wife Roxana in August 332 BCE, was killed in 310 BCE by one of the Generals competing for Alexander’s Empire.
30/1/330 BCE, After gaining the Pass of the Persian Gates, Alexander entered Persepolis. There he ceremonially burnt down the palace of Xerxes I, as a symbol that the Panhellenic war of revenge was at an end
336 BCE, Philip II of Macedon was killed by an assassin named Pausanius; in turn Pausanius was cut down by Philip’s bodyguards as he ran for his horse. Alexander the Great then mounted military expeditions to cement his claim to the throne, but these were expensive, requiring a war on Persia to secure loot and refill the Macedonian royal treasury.
359 BCE, King Philip II of Macedon acceded to the throne, after his brother Amyntas III was killed in battle. Macedonia was then an unimportant border State, with aggressive Danubian tribes to the north and west, and the Persian frontier not far to the east. The cultural centre was Greece to the south. Macedonian governance was weak, with independent warlords following the monarch’s direction as and when it suited them to. However King Philip revolutionised the Macedonian Army with the latest weaponry, making the region a powerful State by 345 BCE. The Danubian tribes wqere then defeated, and the Greek city states forced to ally with Macedonia for self-preservation.
4/7/362 BCE, Battle of Mantinea. The Thebans, having been victorious at Leuctra, were now faced by an alliance of other Greek city states, including Sparta and Athens. The Theban leader Epaminondas took the offensive to Sparta’s ally, the city of Mantinea. Epaminondas decided on a repeat of the flank attack that had worked well at Leuctra,371 BCE. He did indeed rout the army of Mantinea, but in the fighting Epaminondas himself was killed. This caused the Thebans, now leaderless, to withdraw as if they had been defeated. Greece was now open to the assertive Philip II of Macedon, and 27 years later Thebes itself was devastated by Philip II’s son, Alexander the Great.
6/7/371 BCE, Battle of Leuctra. Thebes was leader of a groups of Boetian city-states that Sparta, the dominant power in the region, saw as a threat to be squashed. The Spartan Army moved on Thebes, which was outnumbered and her allies were unreliable. However Epaminondas, the Theban leader, placed his best troops to his left flank and used these to deliver a surprise attack to the Spartan’s right flank As the Spartans pressed forward on the Theban centre. This resulted in a Theban victory, and Sparta never recovered her dominance after this.
25/4/404 BCE, Athens, under starvation from siege, capitulated to Spartan forces, so ending the Peleponnesian Wars. The Spartans allowed Athens to retain some autonomy, as Theramenes secured terms that saved the city from destruction. The walls of Athens were demolished. Alcibiades was murdered in Phyrgia at the request of Sparta.
9/405 BCE, The Spartan General Lysander captured the Athenian fleet without resistance in September; just 25 ships escaped under the command of Conon. Meanwhile the Spartan King Pausanius laid siege to Athens, and Lysander’s fleet blockaded Piraeus. In Athens, Cleophon was executed and Athens endured severe food shortages for 6 months as the siege progressed. Corinth and Thebes demanded the total destruction of the city.
8/406 BCE, Alcibiades was replaced by a Board of Governors. An Athenian fleet was blockaded in Mitylene harbour by a Spartan fleet under Callicratidas. Athens sent a larghe fleet to relieve Mitylene, and Callicratidas was drowned in August at the Battle of Arginusae. Sparta again attemnpted to negotiate peace with Cleophon and again Cleophon spurned them.
407 BCE, The Spartan General Lysander refused to be lured out of the port of Ephesus to do battle with Alcibiades, who then ran low on supplies and had to sail north to plunder enemy towns. Alcibiades left a squadron at Ephesus under the command of his boyhood friend, Antiochus; however Antiochus, against orders, taunted Lysander; provoking the Spartans to sail out and rout the Athenian fleet at Notium. This gave the enemies of Alcibiades in Athens a chance to strip him of his command.
16/6/408 BCE, Alcibiades entered Athens in triumph after seven years absence. He was appointed General, woth autocratic powers, and then left for Samos to rejoin his fleet. Meanwhile, however, the Spartan Admiral Lysander arrived in Ephesus and began to build up a huge fleet with assistance from the new Persian satrap, Cyrus.
410 BCE, A Spartan army, with its Persian land army reinforcements, was heavily defeated by Alcibiades at Cyzicus on the Sea of Marmora. Sparta attempted to negotiate an end to hostilities with the Athenian ruler, Cleophon, but Cleophon passed the opportunity by.
411 BCE, The Athenian democratic government was overthrown in a revolt by the oligarchs Antiphon, Peisander and Phrynichus, who then opened treasonous negotiations with Sparta. However these oligarchs were themselves deposed by the moderate Theramenes, who then recalled Alcibiades from Sardis, who was elected ruler of Athens.
412 BCE, Alcibiades fell out with King Agis and retired to the court of the Persian Satrap, Tissaphernes. He urged Tissaphernes to withdraw his support for Sparta. Other Spartan allied cities broke away in a series of revolts.
9/413 BCE, The Athenian fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Syracuse; Demosthenes and Nicias were executed. The foot soldiers fled into the hills; many were captured and died as slaves in the stoine quarries.
414 BCE, Athens captured Syracuse and fortified it by land and sea. However (commnded by Nicias) the Athenians ran short of supplies; meanwhile Sparta reinforced the Syracusans. Athens sent out a supply fleet of 73 ships under Demosthenes.
22/5/415 BCE, A bad omen in Athens; the Hermae Statues were found to be mysteriously damaged. Despite this bad omen, Athens started its plan to conquer Sicily. Whilst away in Sicily, Alcibiades was recalled for trial in Athens; instead he defected to Sparta, and was sentenced to death in absentia.
11/4/421 BCE, The Peace of Nicias temporarily halted the Peloponnesian War. Alcibades, however, then set up an anti-Sparta alliance between Athens and the democracies of Argos, Mantinea and Elis. Sparta then allied with Corinth and Boetia.
27/8/479 BCE, Battle of Plataea. Although Xerxes had returned to Asia, and the Persian fleet now moved to the eastern Mediterranean, the Persian General Mardonius remained in the area. He had an army still larger than the Greeks, and he established a base in the territory of Thebes, which was allied to Persia. The Greeks, commended by the Spartan Pausanius, assembled on the hills above the Persian camp. The Persians raided the Greek supply lines and blocked up some of the springs the Greeks used for water supplies, so Pausanius decided to move camp at night. The Persians attacked at this time but the disordered nature of the Greek position gave them the advantage over the Persians, with the hoplites infantry picking off individual Persian soldiers. The Persian Army was routed and withdrew north into Thessaly. Skirmished between the Greeks and Persians continued for years afterwards, but Persia never again attempted a full scale invasion of Greece.
25/9/480 BC Battle of Salamis. King Xerxes of Persia, after his victory at Salamis, now advanced on Athens. The outnumbered Greek Alliance under Themistocles withdrew across the narrow isthmus of Corinth into the Peloponnese. Athens was evacuated by its citizens, who moved to the island of Salamis nearby. Xerxes should perhaps have blockaded the Greek fleet where it had assembled inside the Bay of Salamis, then taken his army across into the Peloponnese and outflanked the Greek Army, routing it on land., Instead, Xerxes opted for a naval battle, ordering his fleet to attack the Greek fleet., Xerxes even set up a throne on a nearby hill to watch the naval battle unfold. In fact choppy seas and the cramped nature of the Bay sent the Persian naval lines into disarray, whilst the smaller and more manoeuvrable Greek ships carried out pinprick attacks on individual Persian vessels, eventually causing it to retreat in chaos. Xerxes now realised winter was approaching and his supply lines were vulnerable to Greek attack, so he took most of his army home to Persia. Some Persian forces remained in Greece, but were routed at Plataea the following year. This proved to be a turning point in history, with Greece now left in control of the eastern Mediterranean, not Persia; a position maintained until the rise of Rome.
11/8/480 BCE, Battle of Thermopylae. Persian forces under Xerxes defeated the Spartans. However the heroic Greek defence, at this narrow pass, against a superior Persian force, bought time for Athens to be evacuated (it was burnt by the Persians) and for Greek forces to regroup and subsequently fight off the Persians.
28/9/490 BCE. The original Marathon was run by a breathless messenger who ran 24 miles from the scene of the Battle of Marathon to the city of Athens. ‘Rejoice, we conquer’ he gasped, the dropped dead. The Athenians had beaten a huge Persian fleet. Athens then expanded its own fleet and military power. By 500 BCE the Persian Empire had expanded to encompass modern-day Turkey and Macedonia, whilst Greece was split into small city-States. Persia now resolved to conquer Greece too. To accomplish this conquest, Persia sent a huge army and 600 ships which landed at Marathon, 24 miles from Athens. Athens sent its smaller army of 10,000 men, supported by a contingent from Plataea, to meet them. After a 5-day stand-off, the Greeks attacked. Their tactics were based on the hoplite; a soldier with a large shield and long stabbing spear. They charged at the Persians, through a hail of Persian arrows, taking them by surprise. Persia could not believe the Greeks would attack, in smaller numbers, without support of cavalry or archers. In fact the Greeks got the upper hand in the close combat, and the Persians, routed, retreated to their ships. Persian casualties amounted to 6,000 out of 20,000; Greek casualties were 200 out of 10,000.
546 BCE, Peisistratus regained power for a third time in Athens;
he had the support of Thessaly and also from Lydarnis
of Naxos. He exiuled his opponents,
redistributed land to peasants, and encouraged insudtry
556 BCE, Peisistratus was removed from power a second time, having split with Megacles. He went on to make a fortune from his mines in Thrace.
23/7/776 BCE. The first Olympic Games (see also Sports for modern Olympic Games) opened in Olympia (in some form, the Olympic Games may have been staged since 1350 BCE). The games, consisting only of a 200 yard foot race (see 724 BCE), was won by a cook called Coroibos.