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Great Seljuk State (1040 – 1157)

Seljuk is one of the greatest Turkish-Islamic states. They are members of Kinik tribe of Oghuz’s Ucoks Branch. They adopted Islam Religion at the start of tenth century. Seljuk; were the representative of a great culture and civilization with domination on a vast geographical region from China to West Anatolia including whole Middle East, Middle Asia, Mediterranean coasts, North-west Africa, Hedjaz, Yemen, and Russia.
Squire Seljuk who had given his name to the state was the son of Dukak Bey who held su-basi (supreme commander) position hereditably of Oghuz Yabgu State which was located between Aral Lake and Caspian Sea. When Dukak Bey was killed in 903, Seljuk Bey became supreme commander in place of his father when he was about 17-18 years old. This assignment was the second highest position after Yabgu (prince) in state government. Squire Seljuk was thought to be born in 885, and die in 1000 at about 115 ages. Yabgu and his wife got anxious when Squire Seljuk who reached such a high position in early ages had an increasing reputation. They started to find ways to get rid of him. Seljuk Bey, who was afraid of being killed, left there with his tribe. They came to Cend city which was near Seyhun River probably about 915 through south way. The region and city was at the border of Islamic countries.
Turks who were under the command of him adopted Islam here within a short period of time. Thus, Kinik people became the first Turkish and Oghuz group to adopt Islam in the history. This increased the hostility between the Yabgu and them more. This problem and competition continued all through X. century. Squire Seljuk who said "Muslims cannot be laid under tribute by non-Muslims" rejected tax officer and declared his independence. Then he started war against non-Muslim Turks. The fact that he declared his independence, didn’t pay tax to Yabgu and started fight with non-Muslims caused his reputation to expand around the region. Turks who were against Oghuz Yabgu joined him. Squire Seljuk who was also supported by Muslims gained reputation with the expeditions he made against non-Muslims. His reputation provided him to make an agreement with Samani State which was one of the Muslim States who were trying to be the head in Transoxiana (Maveraunnehir). The Sultan of Samani State permitted him to reside in Knur district which was near Bukhara in return for protecting the state borders against other Turk invasions.
Meanwhile, Islam started to expanded rapidly among all Turkish tribes which had observed the religion for about 150 years and especially in X. century Turks started to be Muslim in large groups. Islam expanded among Karluk, Yagma and Cigil tribes at first, and then Oghuz tribe rapidly.
When Satuk Bugra Khan who sat Karahanli throne with the title “Great Turkish Khan” adopted Islam with hundreds of Turks and declared Islam as formal religion (924) that was a very important landmark both for Islam and world history.

In order to differentiate Muslim Oghuz people among other Muslim Turks, they were called as “Turcoman” which meant “Muslim Turks”. This “Turkoman” word which was used in the same meaning with “Oghuz”, started to be used for the part of the Oghuz people who were nomads rather than being permanent residents after XI. Century. Turks who were settling in cities were also called as “Oghuz”. Then “Oghuz” word abandoned completely and settling Oghuz people were called as “Turk”, and nomads were called as “Turcoman”.
In 990 Seljuk raised to Yabgu position which meant kingship from supreme commander. Squire Seljuk established the foundation of Seljuk State with their elder sons; Mikail, Arslan, İsrafil, Yusuf and Musa, and two grandsons named as Tugrul and Cagri, and died at about 100 ages. Squire Seljuk’s elder son Mikail who was the father of Tugrul and Cagri had died when his father was alive. His second elder son Arslan replaced his father’s place. He took Yabgu title and organized the state which was also called as Seljuk after then.
One of the important onsets in Turkish history was made by Karahanli people who went to Bukhara and added Transoxiana into Great Turk Khan in 23rd of December 999 after adopting Islam. With this event, they eliminated Samani State which was of Iranian origin and opened Near East road to the Turks, and cleaned this road from a strong Iranian state. After the collapse of Samani state, Gazne people who were under Samani sovereignty became independent, too.
Upon the collapse of Samani by Karahanli State, Ismail Muntasir who was one of the Samani princes and escaped from Ozkend and took shelter of Arslan Yabgu caused hostility between Karahanli and Arslan Yabgu. Seljuk people who were commanded by Arslan Yabgu made successful wars with Karahanli State.
The strength of Seljuk put Karahanli who were dominant in the region and Gazne people on the spot. With the cooperation of Karahanli-Gazneli, Arslan Yabgu was captured by Gazneli in 1025, and imprisoned in Kalencer Castle in India. After this event, a distinct struggle started between Seljuk and Gazneli. During this imprisonment period Seljuk were governed by common king system. Musa became the yabgu, and Yusuf's son Ibrahim became Yinal. Mikâil's sons Tugrul and Cagri were living in another region but they recognized their uncle.
Seljuk who were formed from skillful cavaliers looked for vast plateaus with abundant pastures for their crowded animal herds and horses. For this aim they caused complaint by local people because of the fact that they sometimes exceed the borders of Karahanli and Gazneli. Karahanli found this event dangerous and they tried to raise a commotion within Seljuk family, but they could not achieve this aim. They sent military forces on Seljuk. Even they killed Yusuf Bey. Tugrul and Cagri Bey who joined with Musa Yabgu defeated Karahanli forces, and took revenge of Squire Yusuf.
Political condition became tenser. Changes occurred in the region. Seljuk lost a lot due to a raid. Then Cagri Bey collected three thousand people from the dispersed military forces in 1015, and went beyond Gazneli defense regions, and reached to East Anatolian borders. He realized the first Anatolia explorations and evaluated Byzantium force in the East of Anatolia. He realized exploration movements in the region from Van Lake basin to Tiflis at the north until 1021. He defeated Armenian and Georgian forces and explored pastures and plateaus of the region. He collected information about political, ethnic, cultural, military, and strategic properties of the region. He entered the cities of Byzantium. As a result of the explorations with desire and longing in the east borders of Byzantium, he saved his army from Gaznelis danger; and at the same time he reported to Tugrul Bey that the region had been suitable for replacement of Seljuk. Then he told that it had been required to continue Seljuk explorations into East Anatolia and prepare a suitable environment for replacement of Turks here. Only after fifty years from these first explorations, that is in 1071, his son Alparslan could completely opened Anatolia door to Turks with Malazgirt Victory.
Arslan who was the captive yabgu of Seljuk died in 1032 in India-Kalencer Castle; this caused the increase of tension between Gaznelis more. Seljuk and Turcoman forces under the command of Musa Yabgu and his nephews Cagrı and Tugrul launched a sudden attack upon Khorasan which was located on the most strategic point of the region and under Gazneli domination. They conquered Merv, Nisabur and Serahs districts. Sultan Mesud of Gazne had to recognize the power of Seljuk. He gave the governorship of the places which were conquered by Musa Yabgu, Tugrul and Cagri Bey. This agreement which was signed in 1035 continued for four months period. Gazneli-Seljuk struggle which started again became tenser. With their weak forces Seljuk gave great damage to Gazne army which was composed of infantries and supported by heavy equipment and elephants with guerilla fights.
In 1037, Cagri Bey seized Merv which was one of the biggest cities of Khorasan. In 1038 Gazneli army was suffered a thrashing defeated in the war made around Serahs. Ibrahim Yinal who was the step brother of Tugrul Bey seized Nisabur in 1038 and announced khutbe (sermon) in the name of Tugrul Bey. He welcomed Tugrul Bey with a great ceremony in Nisabur. Tugrul Bey had given Sultanu'l-Muazzam (Great Sultan), and Cagri Bey had given Meliku'l-Muluk (The Emperor of the Emperors) titles. With the conquest of Nisabur, Seljuk took whole Khorasan. They declared foundation and independence of Great Seljuk State. Gazneli Sultan Mesud who had despised Seljuk until then understood that it was a serious problem though it was too late. He left his works in India and went over Khorasan with a big army to fight with Seljuk.
At first Seljuk preferred gang warfare rather than pitched battle against great Gazneli army. They softened up the Gazneli army significantly with long gang warfare. But the condition was not very good. The important cities were seized by Gazneli again. It was very bad for Oghuzs. Even Tugrul Bey suggested stopping war with Gaznelis who had the greatest army in the world in order not to endanger the future of Oghuz people and abandon Khorasan and turning the direction to Azerbaijan and then Anatolia over Iran; he thought that it would have been easier to fight against Byzantium. Cagri Bey rejected this suggestion severely. They decided to fight at the General Assembly. However they did not think they could conquer Gaznelis due to the unbalanced conditions of the two armies. They did not think and imagine that small Oghuz army could conquer great Gazneli army. Seljuk sent their heavy materials back in order to protect them against a defeat. At the end two armies started to fight in Dandanakan which was near Merv city in 23rd of May, 1040. Seljuk army who knew the trade of war very well was seethed by military genius of Cagri and Tugrul Bey, the imagination of the world domination of Oghuz people, their faithfulness and trust to their commanders, and fear of being eliminated by Gaznelis. On the other hand, Sultan Mesud was not a great soldier in spite of his courage and various skills and he had not got the political genius that the state required. Due to some reasons, most of his soldiers and commanders did not like him. Thus, they could not struggle as required at the war. Sultan Messed who understood that they were being defeated started to retreat towards Gazne city in order to save his life, and he left conquest to Seljuk.
Dandanakan Victory is accepted as the third most important event after Conquests of Istanbul and Malazgirt in Turkish History.
Oghuzs took all military equipment and treasures of Gazanelis in Dandanakan. Gazneli Empire which had become the most powerful state in the world for fifty years by opening Indian Peninsula to Muslim-Turks successfully lost its power in the region. Gaznelis were removed from Iran and Khorasan. They had to withdraw towards South India and Afghanistan. With their struggles, Muslim-Turk sovereignty which lasted for centuries was founded in India. In this way, they laid the foundation of today’s Pakistan and Bangladesh.
This incredible success increased Seljuk’s reputation greatly. With this victory, Great Turk Khan position was passed over to Seljuk from Karahanlis. Karahanli and Gazneli Empires which were then under Seljuk’s sovereignty became Middle East states. Seljuk rapidly grew and became a Near East State. All the countries around them accepted Seljuk sovereignty without fighting. The most important countries of Iran and Turkistan accepted Seljuk’s sovereignty. The capital of the State was transferred to Rey city from Nisabur. Thus, Seljuk showed their desire to be a world state and they were conscious that they could only realize this desire via open sea.
After the first Muslim-Turk State Karahanli took Transoxiana from Iranian Samani State (999) and then Seljuk removed Gazneli State from the ways which prevented their moving along open sea towards south and west State, Great Turk Khan State dominated the whole Iran and opened West and Mediterranean way. Turks who went around closed continents for about a thousand year reached to open sea with Dandanakan Victory at first step. Dandanakan Victory which formed far-foundations of many important events -from foundation of Ottoman Empire to Crusades - should be listed under the events which turned the balance of history upside down and changed direction of history.
Cagri (Cakir) Bey’s military success and his brother Tugrul Bey’s political genius were matured by many experiences. In 1040, Cagri Bey was 50, and Tugrul Bey was 45 years old. Although Cagri Bey was older in terms of age, he left state administration to his brother Tugrul Bey because he was aware of the fact that his brother had political genius. He became the supreme commander. The surprising harmony in Middle Ages were seen among them; just like Bilge Han and his younger brother Kul Tigin; and this constituted the foundation for unattainable majesty and enthusiasm of Seljuk Empire.
Seljuk also took Abbasi Caliphs under their protection and in this way, undertook protection of Islam world which was in political and ideal chaos and uneasiness. Shi’i Fatimi Caliphate which was founded in Egypt and North Africa and dominated all countries from Red Sea to Atlas Ocean and North Syria started to threaten Sunni Abbasi Caliphate. In addition to this, Buveyhogullari which was founded and developed in Iran and Iraq and was another Shi’i state seized Baghdad and took over the administration. The Caliph stayed under Shi’i Buveyhogullari’s domination for a long time. Although almost all of the public in caliphate centre and environment was Sunni, Buveyhogullari founded a Shi’i State in Iran benefiting from weakness of Caliphate centre and inner conflicts and dominated over Abbasi Caliph in Baghdad. Buveyhis were being prepared for declaring Shi’i Fatimi Imam in Cairo as the Caliph. Caliph El Kaim who learnt this development announced khutbe in the name of Seljuk Sultan Tugrul Bey after his name in 10th of December 1055 and invited him to Baghdad. Tugrul Bey who arrived there after 10 days ended Shi’i Sultanate. He collapsed Buveyhogullari State and re-dominated Sunnites in the region. He declared war against Fatimi Imam and announced Khtube in his and Abbasi Caliph’s name everywhere. He appointed Turkish governor to Baghdad. He declared that the Caliph was the spiritual leader of the whole Islam world and Seljuk were the worldly dominant to all over the world. Abbasis left the political powers of Islam world to Seljuk completely. Therefore, nine century Turkish dominance over Islam world which continued with Ottoman Empire afterwards started in this way. Then, Turks undertook the duty of both flagman and protector of Islam Religion.
The fact that Turks conquered Anatolia extended Islam here and made it their home country is one of the most important events of Turkish and World History.
Anatolia in which the oldest civilizations were found as well as Egypt and Mesopotamia has a great geopolitical importance. Anatolia Peninsula and Thrace which is a natural extension thereof are natural transitions between Asia and Europe, Near East and Balkans, Mediterranean and Black Sea. This importance increases more towards the Marmara Region. There is no other water which is in such a small size and also has that much importance as the Marmara Sea on the Earth’s map. The Straits has been the main target of any country who wants to dominate the world and remain there. Napoleon said “The sole city which deserves to be the capital of World Empire” about city of Istanbul which is founded on the Bosporus in such a way that enables domination on Asia and Europe, Mediterranean and Black Sea. Asia and Europe Continents can not be controlled more easily other than Istanbul. Empires who had the Straits and Istanbul could be able to turn Mediterranean and Black Sea into an inland sea. Other than its geographical position Anatolia is one of the most important place in the world in terms of land resources. Iron which was one of the greatest revolutions especially in the field of war in the world was also found and processed by Hittites on these soils. Anatolia had been the biggest cereal storage over thousands of years and the most important centre which provided ship timber of Near East. Anatolia which had been one of the most important soils of the Earth in the history due to many reasons and Thrace which has been the natural extension of it experienced changes at surprising amounts through history. Anatolia which had been the cradle of many civilizations was the home country of many nations, and subjected to many evasions, seizures, depredations. As a result of inter-affection of these cultures and civilizations, Anatolia became such a region that has the richest culture and civilization heritage of the world.
Long before Seljuk’s conquest movements, there had been entrances of Turks into Anatolia. The most important of all seen when West Huns (European Huns) exposed pressure on Byzantium over west Balkans in Christian IV. century within 395–398 and over Caucasus from the east at the same time. Rider Hun forces who passed over Caucasus Mountains reached Malatya over Erzurum, Karasu and Euphrates plateau. They organized invasions over Sur (Tyre) and Jerusalem over Syria after seizing Urfa and Antioch Castles. The second biggest Turk invasions in Anatolia after Hun Empire was realized by Sabar (Sibir) in 515 who entered into alliance with Sasani State against Byzantium and founded a state between İtil, Don, and Kuban Rivers. Sabars who invaded Byzantium countries until south of Caucasus organized invasions around Laconia, Kayseri, and Ankara. Moreover, Byzantium replaced various Turkish Tribes around various parts of Anatolia due to different reasons. Most of these Turkish Tribes such as Bulgarians, Hazars, Kumans, Peceneks, and Uzlar adopted Christian Religion but they did not forget Turkish Language.
After Hun and Sabar Turks, the third important Turkish entrance into Anatolia was realized by the Turks who served for Abbasi Caliphate as of VIII. century. This group of Turks who were among the Muslim fighters coming from Turkistan and Khorasan fight against Byzantium for about three hundred years around Taurus hillsides and Euphrates coasts. Turkish units were replaced around Abbasi borders such as Tarsus, Misis, Adana, Maras, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Silvan, Ahlat, Malazgirt, and Erzurum. During these fights which continued for ages Sivas, Niksar, Sarkikarahisar, Amasya, Zamanti, Ulukisla, Cankiri, Ankara, Eskisehir, and even other Byzantine cities towards Bergama changed hand between Muslim Turks and Byzantines for several times. After the second half of X. century, Muslim forces that were mostly formed of Turk jihadists had to withdraw as a result of weakening of Abbasi State. Byzantine handed over Erzurum in 928, Malatya in 934, Adana in 964, and Misis and Tarsus again. Also they captured cities such as Beirut, Humus, and Baalbek and reached to East Mediterranean again. As a result, Byzantine Empire which was hardly removed from Syria and Lebanon could be able to dominate Anatolia until XI. century.
When Abbasi State weakened and the Caliph lost the authority in Baghdad, jihad against Byzantine was abated; the ideal of making Anatolia an Islam soil at the first century of Islam, Conquering Istanbul, and deserve praise of the Prophet Mohammed were nearly forgotten. It was even becoming harder to protect the possessed soils against efficient invasions of Byzantine army into Syria. Seljuk remembered conquering Anatolia and Istanbul for the first time again. Islam world which lost its power and took defense position regained its power, force, and superiority and dominance with Seljuk’ power.
When they became an independent and powerful state after they gained victory in 1040 with Dandanakan War, they started to give more importance on Anatolia jihad and systematically conquered this Peninsula. In 1049, Prince Kutalmis and İbrahim Yinal Beys who were from Seljuk started the first great invasions over Anatolia with the Turcoman groups under their commands. They could reach to Erzurum by defeating Byzantine army in 18th of September. At the same time, another Oghuz group advanced through Van and Diyarbakir direction, and reached to Meyyafarikin (Silvan), Mardin and Cizre. In 1053, Kutalmis Bey besieged Kars, but could not take it. In 1054, Tugrul Bey himself came to Anatolia. He advanced to Bayburt. Tugrul Bey who besieged Malazgirt Castle in the same year had to leave because of winter threat. Then Seljuk forces took it and defeated the forces sent by Emperor Constantine Ducas. After Sultan Tugrul left Anatolia, forces that were commanded by Seljuk commanders, primarily Kutalmis Bey’s forces, continued invasion and conquest movements. These invasions and conquests continued between 1057-1063 years. In this period, all Byzantine castles and defense points were largely damaged up to Sivas. Byzantine defense forces were striked heavily.
Sultan Tugrul who had no children died in September 1063, and Alp Arslan who was his elder brother’s Cagri Bey’s son took his place and became Great Turk Khan. Alp Arslan took action with his army towards Anatolia in order to continue Anatolia invasions in 1064. He could be able to conquer Kars and Ani Castle which had reputation of “impossible to be conquered”. Although he had to leave Anatolia sometimes due to the uneasiness that appeared in the East of the country, he assigned his commanders and emirs, primarily Seljuk princes Kutalmisogullari Suleiman, Mansur, Yakuti, and Erbasan to continue conquest movements in Anatolia. Popular commanders such as Seljuk emirs Afsin, Sandak, Gumustekin, Demlecoglu Mehmet, Ahmetsah and Duduoglu and Turcoman beys went on explorations to Malatya, Ergani, Ahlat, Siverek, Amid (Diyârbakır), Meyyafarikîn (Silvan), Urfa, Adiyaman, Harran, Nizip and Antakya.
In 1070, Afsin Bey advanced up to Denizli. Afsin Bey prepared a report telling that they gave great damages to Byzantines and there was no other force in front of them to prevent conquest of Anatolia and sent this report to Sultan Alp Arslan. New Byzantine Emperor Romenos Diogenes sent Byzantine forces to stop Seljuk but they could not be successful. Because of continuous defeats, the Emperor moved ahead with a big army which was formed of various nations in order to remove Seljuk completely from Anatolia. Two armies encountered in Malazgirt plain. Malazgirt Victory (26th of August, 1071) of Alp Arslan against Byzantine Emperor is not only very important in Turk-Islam history, but also constitutes a landmark in the World’s history.
No war conquered by Turks in history could affect their future to such extent as Malazgirt Victory. The sole event in Turkish history that is more important than this victory is the conquest of Istanbul. The victory achieved in Dandanakan was completed by Malazgirt, tipped with the conquest of Istanbul, and in the end the way to be a world empire was opened to Turks and Ottoman.
In Malazgirt war, great Byzantine army which was formed by using all facilities was dispersed and the emperor was captured. Then, there was no challenge that could prevent conquest of Anatolia. Turks with their culture and civilization started to move towards Anatolia in the form of a nation that was composed of various tribes from Turkistan, and Transoxiana which were inadequate for them. They were moving Anatolia for the purpose of settling, not depredation. Housing this crowded Oghuz (Turcoman) population was the greatest and most important historical problem for Seljuk Sultans. Many Turk tribes came to Anatolia with their Chiefs (Bey) in front of them. Seljuk State was in continuous fight with Byzantine, therefore they are settled at the west borders in order to provide security here. This border residents who protected their national traditions, and affiliated more to their heads than the central government not only prevented enemy attacks, but also made invasions frequently. Following Malazgirt victory, most of Anatolia was captured by Turks, and they started to found many Turk principalities. Anatolia had nearly been abandoned and damaged due to non-stopping wars for ages. Population structure was also changed rapidly and Turks constituted a large portion. In a short period of time, primarily Greeks, and then Armenians and Georgians became minorities.
In some historical resources, the primary policy of Seljuk World State is summarized as uniting Asia Islamic World under spiritual power of Sunni Abbasi Caliph and political power of Seljuk state by sending Shia to Africa and control Mediterranean by sending Byzantium from Anatolia to Europe. Due to the start of Crusades, Seljuk could not manage to remove Shii Fatimi from Egypt but they did this for Syria.
Seljuk Empire whose borders was reached to Istanbul and Dardanelle strait, the Marmara and Aegean Sea in west, Suez Canal And Red Sea in south west, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea in south, Middle India and China in east, Siberia in north, and Caucasus mountains in north-west became a powerful and great World State with fifteen million km square territory, 100 million population and 1 million soldiers. But they could not exceed Africa and Europe.
Seljuk took Islamic education off mosques and founded “madrasah” which constituted the foundation of present universities. Their state government system was modeled by Eyyubi and Ottomans.
Great Seljuk State was divided into four parts as Anatolian Seljuk, Syria Seljuk, Iraq and Khorasan Seljuk and Kirman Seljuk among dynastic members.


Sultan Alp Arslan opened the doors of Anatolia to Turks with Malazgirt Victory which created great delight among Islamic world. After then Alp Arslan assigned Seljuk princes, emirs, commanders and Turcoman Beys (Chiefs) to conquer whole Anatolia up to Marmara and Aegean. Within a few years time, nearly whole Anatolia was conquered.
Kutalmisoglu Suleyman Shah who was a member of emperor family and grandson of Arslan Yabgu entered into Anatolia from Antakya pursuant to various conquest movements all over Anatolia. In 1074, he took Konya and surroundings from Greek despots and went on to the fronts of Iznik. In 1075, he conquered Iznik, and selected this place as the centre of his forces. Thus, he laid the foundation of Turkiye Seljuk State. Upon death of Alp Arslan (24th of November, 1072), his son Melik Shah came to the throne, and he gave Anatolia to Gazi Suleyman Shah in 1077. Therefore, Anatolian Seljuk State whose capital was Iznik was formally founded. Selection of historical Iznik city which was close to Byzantine and Europe showed their enthusiasm to enter Europe at first step.
In 1079, Turks reached to Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Aegean from various points and started to siege the whole coasts of these three seas. Byzantines were trying to survive in Ionia (Izmir) and Kayra (Mugla) coasts.
In 1080, Suleyman Shah himself conquered South Marmara coasts and Kapidag Peninsula and reached to the Asian coasts of the Dardanelle Strait. Within the same year, they conquered Kocaeli Peninsula including Uskudar and Kadikoy. Suleyman Shah opened a customs office at the Anatolia coast of the strait and started to customs tax from the ships. Therefore, Byzantine lost its dominion on the Straits, and the key to Black Sea was handed over to Turks. Turk Emperor could also interfere into domestic affairs of Byzantine, and his support or rejection for the throne candidates was of great importance.
As of 1085, Anatolia was called as “Turquie”, that means Turkiye, in Europe.
Suleyman Shah made use of Byzantine’s weakness in the central government and conflicts between local tekfurluk (governorship), and he strengthened his dominion over the region. Foundation of a new Turkish State in Iznik helped to combine Turcoman around this state and caused the Muslim-Turks in the East to come to the region in large groups. After this date, Turk groups who rushed to Anatolia accepted it as their second home country. Within a few ages one third of Turk population in the world migrated to Anatolia. With the help of dense Turk migration, they turned this territory into a Turkish country at the last quarter of XI. century.
A significant amount of Turkish population was sent to Anatolia for support during crusades. In 1113, 50 000 Turks were sent to Anatolia for this aim, and then they did not return back.
In XIII. century, due to Mogul invasion from the east, millions of Turks had to leave their home country and migrated to Anatolia. Therefore, Turkish population increased again.
Seljuk and their successor Ottomans settled Turkish migrant into Anatolia with a clever policy. For example, they did not permit the accumulation of same Oghuz tribes at the same points. They dispersed tribes to various places at far distances. They settled different tribes between the same tribes. In this way, they could be able to unit the 24 different Oghuz tribes as a nation at a significant level.
With the increase of Turkish population and strength in the region; the local people who had suffered from continuous wars, rebellions, and conflicts under bad government of Byzantine found easiness under the government of Suleyman Shah. This enabled the state to form stable grounds. Local people who became independent could adopt Islamic Religion without any pressure. Some of them went to Balkans. The others could be able to go on living with their own traditions, religions, and languages. There was a significant amount of populations who were Turkish origin but adopted Christian and did not forget Turkish language completely. Most of them adopted Islam.
Turks started political, economic, and cultural relations with European countries through sea after the cities such as Samsun, Sinop, Antalya, Alanya, Iskenderun, Samandagi were conquered. The people of Anatolia found welfare in this condition. Turkiye which was over the Asia, Europe, and Africa Trade way played an efficient role in that age’s world trade and thus political life. Most of concrete cultural buildings (mosque, madrasah, public houses, hamams, hospitals, caravanserai, fountain, bridges, etc) that were built in this period all over Turkiye survive even today with their magnificence in spite of the great natural disasters and human devastation.
Kutalmisoglu Suleyman Shah who united Anatolian Turcoman under his command started to move in order to prevent Armenian groups who were trying to raise conflict around Euphrates and Kilikya by strengthening unity in Anatolia. In 1082, he provided peace and security around Cukurova by coming to Adana, Tarsus, Misis and Antioch. However, in 1086 he was defeated by Tutus who was the Emperor of Syrian Seljuk State and died during the war. His sons were sent to Seljuk SultanMeliksah. The state was temporarily governed by Ebu'l-Kasim who was appointed in Iznik as his representative by Suleyman Shah.
After he died in 1092, his son Kilic Arslan returned to Iznik and enthroned.
I. Kilic Arslan re-organized the state as soon as he was enthroned. He flourished Iznik. When he provided authority inside, he immediately started invasions. He regained the coasts of Marmara and removed Byzantines who started to settle here. After he provided security in the west, he turned towards the east and in 1096 he besieged Malatya. Meanwhile, there occurred a serious problem in the west part of the country. Pursuant to the entrance of Crusaders into the west, he raised the siege and returned.
Emperor Alexis Commindos who became the Emperor of Byzantine understood that they could not be able to stop Turks alone and they had to unit all Europe against them. This difficult, incredible, and even impossible event was realized in the end. Whole Europe united to remove Turks from Anatolia. Therefore, the Great War period which lasted for ages between Christians and Muslim-Turks and in which the most reputable emperors, kings, princes, overlords, and cavaliers joined with great fanatism started. The first one of these wars which were called as Crusades was performed between 1096–1099 years. I. Kilic Arslan gained great success against Crusaders by hit and run technique. However, he had to transfer capital to Konya because Iznik was lost. After signing an agreement with Byzantine Emperor, he started east conquests. In 1103, he conquered Malatya. Then he added Mosul into his territory. Emir Cavli was defeated at the war which he entered together with Artukoglu Ilgazi and Syrian Melik Ridvan near Habur River and he was drowned and died. Kilic Arslan’s elder son who was the governor of Mosul was captured by Emir Cavli and brought to Isfahan.
Death of I. Kilic Arslan and his Son’s seizure afflicted the state. Their enemies attacked over them under this condition. Byzantines started to besiege West Anatolian coasts. Then Turks had to withdraw towards Middle Anatolia. Sehinsah who was released in 1110 came to Konya and came to the throne. In spite of the struggles of Sehinsah and Kayseri Emir Hasan Bey, they could not stop withdrawal of Turks who escaped from Byzantine cruelties to Middle Anatolia Plateaus.
In 1116, Danismendlis deposed Sehinsah Sultan and declared Prince Mesud as Sultan. Sultan Mesud tried to get rid of dominion of Danismendlis, remove Byzantine from Anatolia, and provide unification in Anatolia. In 1182, he went on explorations towards West. Then he went on explorations towards east. In order to prevent Turkish advancement in west Anatolia, Byzantines moved towards Konya under the command of Emperor Manuel. Under this threatening condition, Sultan Mesud's son II. Kilic Arslan organized an army in Aksaray, and stand against Byzantines in front of Konya. He defeated Byzantine army in 1145 by ambushes and attacks.
Meanwhile, Europeans entered Anatolia again with the Second Crusade. Seljuk army gained victory against crusaders. Sustainability and rising period re-started with this victory. Most of the Christians preferred Turk government rather than Byzantine due to fair behaviors of Seljuk. Sultan Mesud who initiated significant building activities died in 1155 after his sultanate for forty years. II. Kilic Arslan replaced him. He followed his father’s way and progressed greatly. He tried to establish political unity and provide economical and cultural rising. He went on campaign towards the East and expanded the borders up to Euphrates. He defeated Byzantines and its allies in 1176 in War, and he proved that Turkish people could not be removed from Anatolia. He assigned his raiders with conquest of West Anatolia. On 1182, they conquered Uluborlu, Kutahya and Eskisehir. Denizli and Antalya were besieged. Danismend territory and Cukurova were seized.
They provided political unity and security at the borders with the victory and successes. They started economical and welfare activities. After a while, II. Kilic Arslan divided his territory between his eleven sons and he started to rest after long struggles. He was still the great Sultan in Konya. Each of his sons took the government of a region. Meanwhile, Third Crusade was started due to Selahaddin Eyyubî's seizure of Jerusalem. Crowded Crusaders who were trying to pass over Anatolia encountered with resistance here. The princes gave significant damages to Crusaders with gang fights. But some of the Crusaders could reach Palestine.
II. Kilic Arslan died in 1192 in Konya. Giyaseddin Keyhusrev took his place. But when his brothers did not recognize him, sultanate struggle started among them. Tokat prince Rukneddin Suleyman Shah seized Konya in 1196 and declared his sultanate. When he united the state, he laid Byzantium under annual contribution again. He punished Armenians who started border incursions benefiting from domestic conflicts. When Georgians who made use of weakening of Saltuklular reached to Erzurum, he went on East campaign. In 1201, he eliminated Saltuklu State. He went on to Georgia over Erzurum with the support of Artuklular and Mengucukler. He was defeated by Georgia-Kipcak attack near Sarikamis. He tried to go over Georgia again, but he got ill on the way and died in 6th of July, 1204. he was buried in Kumbethane in Konya. His son III. Kilic Arslan took his place. But after a short while, Giyaseddin Keyhusrev became the Sultan with the invitation of Turcoman Chiefs (bey).
Giyaseddin Keyhusrev fought with Armenians and Byzantines in order to provide security at the borders. Meanwhile, Europeans started Fourth Crusade. In 1204, Crusaders directed hostility towards Byzantines and devastated Istanbul. Latin who seized Istanbul founded an Empire and then Byzantine Empire divided and Anatolia released. Byzantine Sultanate escaped to Anatolia and founded two stated in Iznik and Trabzon.
Byzantines closed trade ways by settling along Black Sea coasts. Giyaseddin Keyhusrev went on to the Byzantines in order to open the trade way in 1206. He removed them from this region and opened the way to Black Sea. One year later, he conquered Antalya. At the same time, raider chiefs took many places in West Anatolia. These conquests got Iznik Byzantines alarmed. Seljuk army defeated Byzantines in 1211 in Alasehir. When the war was over, Giyaseddin Keyhusrev was killed by an enemy soldier while walking around the battle area. Izzeddin Keykavus took his place.
Izzeddin Keykavus solved sultanate problem within his first years at the throne. He gave importance to economy, construction, and cultural activities. In this period, caravansary, mosque, and madrasah were built. Izzeddin Keykavus caught tuberculosis and died in 1220 in Viransehir. He was buried in his tomb near the hospital in Sivas. His brother Alâeddin Keykubad took his place.
Sultan Alâeddin Keykubad period was the most powerful, the brightest and easiest era of Turkiye Seljuk State. He strengthened important cities with ramparts starting from Konya, Kayseri and Sivas provinces. He took measures at the borders against Mogul threat at the East part. He also continues conquest at the same time. He besieged Colonoras Castle which was of great importance in terms of military and commercial aspects. In 1221, he conquered the castle. This place was called as Alaiyye being inspired by the Sultan’s name. He also used diplomatic ways in addition to other measures against Mogul threat. He sent a legate to Mogul Ogedey Khan and buried the hatchet. He protected the State against Mogul invasion. Alâeddin Keykubad died in 1st of June, 1237 in Kayseri. Although he appointed Izzeddin Kilic Arslan in his throne, his elder son Giyaseddin Keyhusrev came to the throne.
II. Giyaseddin Keyhusrev (1237-1246) period went by conflicts. Mogul attacks followed Babailer rebellion. In July 1243, Anatolia was besieged by Mogul after the Kosedag Defeat and destroyed. Collapsing Anatolia Seljuk State was governed by Ilhanlilar until 1308.
In order to prevent Mogul cruelty, Anatolian public primarily several Oghuz Beys were looking for cures. Then they started to fight against them. New principalities were founded on the collapsing state by commanders.
Turcoman who were settled in the borders started to found several principalities such as Karaman, Germiyan, Esref, Hamid, Alaiye, Ramazan, Dulkadir, Taceddin, Mentese, Candar, Pervane, Sahib Ata, Karesi, Saruhan, Aydin, Inanc and Osmanogullari towards the end of 13th century upon the weakening of Moguls. Anatolia completely became a Turkish country in this period which was called as “Beylikler (Principalities) Period” and the country was rebuilt after Mogul invasion. The smallest of all, Osmanli Beyligi became one of the greatest and the long-lived world states in the history with an incredible development.