The bulk of the Turkish navy fleet returning from the largest naval drill in its history enlivened a long forgotten Turkish maritime tradition as they saluted the tomb of the most famous Turkish sailor of all ages.
Sailors of TCG Barbaros frigate, one of the main warships of the Turkish navy named after Barbaros Hayreddin, salute the Ottoman sailor's tomb as they are cross the Bosporus off the coast of Beşiktaş district.
Eleven warships including TCG Barbaros, Oruçreis, Kemalreis and Yıldırım frigates, Burgazada and Bandırma corvettes, torpedo boats and submarines, returning from the Black Sea exercises of the "Blue Homeland 2019" drill, held in all three seas surrounding Turkey, crossed the Bosporus on Saturday to return to Gölcük and Aksaz naval bases in the northwestern province of Kocaeli and southwestern province of Muğla. A total of 103 warships and naval assets participated in the drill, which also took place in the Mediterranean and the Aegean.
The Spanish, the main opponents of the Ottomans in Central Europe (as rulers of Austria) and the Mediterranean theaters, launched an expedition to Algeria. Oruç and Ishak were killed in the Battle of Tlemcen in 1517. Khizr, now appointed senior provincial governor "Beylerbeyi," took the helm of Oruç, captured various Spanish-held ports in Algeria and Morocco and fended off Spanish-Italian efforts to recapture their lost possessions, while even raiding the Spanish and Italian mainland. After numerous successes and a cordial relationship with the Sublime Porte, Khizr was summoned to Istanbul by Sultan Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent) in 1532 where he was appointed the Kaptan-ı Derya (Grand Admiral) and named by the Sultan as Hayreddin (Khayr ad-Din - best of the faith).
This Ottoman-era miniature shows Barbaros Hayreddin before Sultan Suleiman I.
In 1538, the Ottoman fleet under Barbarossa's command dealt a heavy blow to the Crusader Fleet led by Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza on the coast of western Greece. Until the heavy Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Lepanto in 157 that unfolded some 100 kilometers southeast, the Ottomans were virtually unopposed in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. Barbarossa also played an important role in establishing the Franco-Ottoman alliance against Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, the ruler of Spain, Austria and their possessions in Italy and the Netherlands. Hayreddin helped the French to recapture Nice in a campaign and siege laid in 1543, while helping them to hold in their southern front through various attacks and raids on the Spanish and their Italian allies. The alliance lasted to some degree until Napoleon Bonaparte's Egypt Campaign in 1789.
Barbarossa retired in 1545 and died soon after in 1546, and was buried in the tomb constructed by famed Ottoman architect Sinan in Beşiktaş at his will. In the spring, the Ottoman fleet setting sail from the historic Golden Horn Shipyard in Kasımpaşa neighborhood first anchored off Beşiktaş and visited the tomb, firing their guns in the honor of the deceased sailor. This practice featuring the maritime honorary salute known as "çimavira," became a tradition in the centuries to come, until the Tanzimat (Reform) period in the 19th century, when the Empire started suffering setbacks and retreats in all fronts. This year's salute was the first time in centuries that the Turkish navy saluted the famed sailor's tomb.
During the period of Barbarossa's oblivion, the Islamic waqf established as part of his inheritance and its possessions in Beşiktaş, along with the tomb itself where dozens of his freed slaves were also laid to rest, was occupied by other structures. The area surrounding the tomb was later cleared in 1930 and 1940 in the early Republican era and organized as a square while the Istanbul Naval Museum, established in 1897, was moved to a new and larger complex right next to the square.