Ottomans .. When they put the Mughals’ dress on the Caliphate!!
The Ottoman Sultans comprehended after the era of Selim I (1512 AD) the importance of the Islamic Caliphate Position in the Arab World. In particular, when Selim I changed the direction of his armies from Europe, after its consecutive defeats by the French and Spanish, to the Arab world where he captured Levant, Iraq, Egypt and the Two Holy Mosques.
Arabs are sentimental and romantic, as the Caliphate and its romance formed to them a significant important at that historical phase. As the Mamelukes understood that, they established a Second Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo to give them legitimacy in ruling, however, the Ottomans employed it another way, when they decided to capture Egypt and establish themselves as Caliphs.
In its reality, it was an illegitimate Ottoman Caliphate that enabled them to rule over the Arabs for four centuries, and adding different parts of the region under the rule of Istanbul. Of course, they got inspired by the experience of the Mamelukes that they found it in Cairo which Selim I violated it during the battle of “Marj Dabiq” in which the Mamelukes were defeated.
Yes, the Sultan Selim I was surprised by the huge effect of the “Caliph” Position on Arabs, as he was coming from a different government background based in its essence on conflicts and murdering among the ruling Ottoman Dynasty. As he himself assassinated his father and his brothers to reach the throne.
The second Abbasid Caliphate was stabilized for three centuries in Cairo after the Mongols eliminated the first Caliphate in Baghdad (656 AH) corresponding to (1258 AD). The Mamelukes reached a political combination that enabled them to rule and obtain the shaky legitimacy that accompanied their rule in the beginning, that said: A simulated Abbasid Caliph in Cairo where the real rule was under the Mameluke Sultan. This was a new mechanism of the rule methods in the Arab and Islamic world. Those peoples who long lasted looking for a stable formula that continuously changed for a thousand years until the Second Abbasid Caliphate was fallen by the Sultan Selim I and those became Occupied peoples after they were governing themselves.
The effect of Selim’s I takeover and his successors for the Position of Caliphate was deep as it enabled them to rule the Two Holy Mosques that are the holiest sanctities of Muslims for the first time, and to allow them to overlook the world from two Minbars that have a significant effect; one of them is near to Kaaba and the other is close to the Noble Prophet’s tomb, by which the Position of the stolen “Caliphate” in their hands until the Arab knights get them down in 1918 AD.
The position of the alleged Caliphate was directed to the Arab world that were under the Ottoman occupation for around four centuries: however, it did not reflect on the cultural legacy in the Arab region, neither its education nor its social, urban, or developmental structure. As when the Umayyads ruled the Levant under the umbrella of the Caliphate, they preferred the Levant, Hijaz and Egypt, as well as the Abbasids who lit Baghdad and turned it into the capital of the world then.
The thirty Ottoman Sultans used the title of alleged Caliphate for three main objects, the first of them is: To suppress any attempts from Arabs to disentangle from the Turkish occupation under the pretext of resistance of the Islamic Caliphate, the second one is: To consolidate the status of the Caliph by the Two Holy Mosques and combining them, as there is no caliphate without the Two Holy Mosques, and the third one was: To transform the Arab World to be a backyard farm for the Sultanate to pay funds, Zakat and taxes for the benefit of the Turkish Treasury in Istanbul.
The New Ottomans who grow up in modern Turkey after (1924 AD) and after the Cascading setbacks that Confronted by the Sultanate, understood that recalling “the Sultanate Caliphate” that was established by Selim I and was entrenched by Abd al-Hamid I after that, is the economic key to Turkey’s wealth and consolidation as a force in the region. So, in the end, it is nothing but a political project for Turkey to achieve its dreams. As after the Turkey of the Axis powers with the Germans and Italians, after that came, Turkey of the Union and Progress, and then Turkey of the European Union. Now is the role of “Turkey of the Caliphate” ; all of these eras are just political tools to reach control and domination.