The Ottoman empire

In the primary source, The Turkish Letters, 1555 CE-1562 CE, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq gives his own
thoughts on the Ottoman empire. His description was very detailed and informative in the way he explained the
Ottoman culture. He writes, “On their side is the vast wealth of their empire, unimpaired resources, experience
and practice in arms, a veteran soldiery, an uninterrupted series of victories, readiness to endure hardships,
union, order, discipline, thrift, and watchfulness” (Busbecq). The Ottoman’s had a very distinct culture that
Busbecq was very fond of. He even went as far to give praise to their rulings over his own country’s rulings.
When Busbecq encountered Sultan Suleiman he described his demeanor as serious and prestigious.
Additionally, the sultan required that the audience in attendance be carefully escorted and pay respects. This
concludes that the sultun was very unwelcoming towards Europeans due to the fact that he did not listen to
their political arguments. It can also be determined that the sultan disliked Europeans due to their religious and
cultural views among other things.
Based on his presence among the Ottoman empire, Busbecq gives a very detailed outlook on Turkish citizens.
He describes them as men of honor and character. A Turkish man could only rise in the ranks of public service
by hard work and competency. Moreover, he describes the Turkish soldier as strong and self dependant;
something Busbecq has never seen in a European warrior. Although, Busbecq does find a flaw in Turkish
culture due to the fact that there can only be one ruler in a family. The rest are killed off to avoid any
competition to the throne. In Busbecq’s description, I believe that he was trying to explain the challenges that
Europeans faced in any conflict with the Ottoman empire. In this circumstance, since Busbecq was writing to
other Europeans, I feel like he was inclined to give his true thoughts on the Ottoman empire. Additionally, his
summary feels like a warning that the Turks should not be taken lightly in any future conflicts.
Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. 1555 CE-1562 CE. The Turkish Letters.

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