Cibali Postası covers local news with a historical twist
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The historical area that Kadir Has University’s building situated was used by başıbozuks, irregular soldiers os the ancient Ottoman army, the Cibali Postası has reported.Kadir Has University’s Cibali Postası newspaper, known for its news related to the neighborhood, covers stories connecting the past and present of the Golden Horn area. The latest issue has revealed that a university building was used by irregular Ottoman soldiers known for their lack of discipline, while its involvement in a children’s photography project captures modern aspects of the neighborhood.
According to Ulaş Tosun, the editor of the newspaper, their aim is to write about history and the effects of it. “We are trying to write about the historical aspects of the area.”
Cibali Postası aims to discover the area and start a new era for Cibali, Balat and Fener area. The newspaper reveals the realities behind the still-standing Byzantine walls, covering one of the oldest parts of Istanbul. The ramparts distinguish and define Cibali, the neighborhood where Kadir Has University’s main campus is situated. It is only a few meters away from the Haliç, the harbor inlet known to English speakers as “the Golden Horn,” since Ottoman times. Cibali takes its name from the time of the conquest of Istanbul when, according to common belief, a soldier from Bursa named Cebe Ali Bey entered the city by breaking through the rampart doors. Since that time this entryway into the city has been called Ali Bey, and the neighborhood, Cibali.
The Golden Horn neighborhoods of Cibali, Fener and Balat are very important in terms of shaping the culture of Istanbul, Tosun said.
Başıbozuks at Kadir Has
The building of Kadir Has University was used by başıbozuks, (literally “damaged head,” meaning “free-headed,” “leaderless” and “disorderly”), irregular soldiers in the Ottoman army, the Cibali Postası reported. They were particularly noted for their lack of discipline.
Although Turkish armies always contained başıbozuk adventurers as well as regular soldiers, the strain on the Ottoman feudal system caused mainly by the empire’s wide expanse required heavier reliance on irregular soldiers. They were armed and maintained by the government, but did not receive pay and did not wear uniforms or distinctive badges. They were motivated to fight mostly by expectations of plunder. Though the majority of troops fought on foot, some troops (called akıncı) rode on horseback. Because of their lack of discipline, they were incapable of undertaking major military operations, but were useful for other tasks such as reconnaissance and outpost duty. However, their uncertain temper occasionally made it necessary for the Turkish regular troops to disarm them by force.
The Ottoman army consisted of the following: the Sultan’s household troops, called Kapıkulu, which were salaried, most notable being janissary corps, provincial soldiers, which were fiefed (Turkish Tımarlı), the most important being Timarli Sipahi (“fiefed cavalry”) and their retainers (cebelu, meaning armed, man-at-arms), but other kinds were also present. Soldiers of subject, protectorate or allied states (the most important being the Crimean Khans), başıbozuk usually did not receive regular salaries and lived off loot.
Under the best conditions, an Ottoman commander-in-chief would be able to muster hundreds of thousands of soldiers and lead an excursion into Austria or Iran, whichever posed the greatest threat, capturing or extorting sufficient lands or money to cover the expenses of the next campaign in the process. Frequently, the actual number of soldiers deployed to the battlefield was one order of magnitude less.
Kadir Has University has launched an exhibition, the Kadir Has Neighborhood Project, that provides a look at the Golden Horn through the eyes of the children that live there, Tosun said.
“The photographs revealed the details that children see every day.”
Tosun provided photography tutorials to children aged 13 to 16 from the local neighborhood of Cibali.
The ultimate goal of the project is to capture the area from the perspective of local children. The children were given two days of instruction and received free cameras at the end of the training.
The works include photographs from students at Cibali Primary School and Fener Rum High School.