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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

delpiero1234

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The Rise of the Turks

Selamünaleyküm and welcome to my third AAR. After restoring the Imperium Romanum as Savoy and completing a world conquest as the Angevin Union, I am back with another Veritas et Fortitudo AAR called The Rise of the Turks. In this AAR I'll be starting as Osman.

VeF's timeline begins roughly 135 years before vanilla's in the March of 1309. The political situation in 1309 is highly interesting because the Byzantine Empire is a slightly stronger position, Castile is not united, the Hordes, namely the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde are threatening Europe, and most importantly for this campaign, the Ottoman Empire does not exist.
At that time, Osman is one of several Anatolian Beyliks, which in history succeeded in uniting them. The country is named after Osman I of House Osmanli, the starting ruler of our nation.

Why did I choose Osman? I wanted to raise the bar higher after completing my Angevin Union world conquest AAR by starting as a non-Western OPM (One-Province-Minor for those not familiar with the term). Conquering the world like I did with the Angevin Union would be fun and it is my ultimate goal but I want to point out that there is no guarantee that I will succeed with that. Join the ride and you'll find out if I will :)
I was asked to do a colonization-driven AAR as Portugal but the colonial gameplay is quite repetitive and so I decided against it. Maybe in the future I will do that. And who knows; maybe we will see Turkish Brazil in this AAR?

What else should you know?
  • I will use the latest version of VeF.
  • Enabled DLCs are CoP, WoN, Res Publica and AoW
  • No other mods used.
  • Lucky nations are off.
  • No reloading unless the save crashes. However, I will keep multiple saves in case one corrupts (happened in my Savoy AAR..)


This AAR will be a mixture of gameplay and narrative with a good amount of screenshots. You can be assured to find some cheese a long the way. Why? love cheese – I always have some in the fridge!


Below are my early plans for the first few chapters to give you some ideas of what you can expect.
  • Unite the Anatolian Beyliks and form Turkey (very easy)
  • Expand into Greece and Persia
  • Complete modernization to get rid of Ottoman tech penalty (+20% cost for technology and +10% for ideas)


Thanks for reading! Comments, feedback and criticism are highly appreciated. After all, I write this AAR for you so I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
 

delpiero1234

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Chapter I - The Rise of the Turks​

It's the year 1309 and the First Byzantine-Ottoman war had just began. Osman I and his son Orhan of House Osmanli were able to gather an army of 20.000 with the goal of driving the Byzantines out of Anatolia. The political situation was already delicate and the Byzantines were making it even more complicated. The Anatolian Beyliks hated each other and refused to form any alliances and so Osman was fighting this war without allies. Nevertheless, the people of Eskisehir had high hopes and expected a victory.


The sultan was a skilled general and expert at sacking enemy fortifications and so it was no surprise that he decided to lead the troops. The goal was to conquer Bithynia and if everything was going as planned then to take Optimatoi and Paphlagonia, too. That would remove the Byzantines from the Ghazi Region
After defeating the Byzantines in the plains of Bithynia in the April of 1309, they retreated to Greece and left their Anatolian provinces unprotected. Osman I gave orders to carpet-siege them and the siege corps were making quick progress by breaching the walls of the key forts. Byzantium kept resending her army but every time they engaged the Ottoman army they suffered a heavy defeat. Because the sultan was leading the army, he had put his first-born son, Orhan, in charge of the government. Orhan was still rather unexperienced he consulted often with his father's advisors. One of them suggested that Orhan should sell off titles to rich men. He pointed out that it was going to fill the treasury with additional ducats. Knowing that his father had a high opinon of the nobility, Orhan decided against it: “Nobility cannot be bought” was his repsone.


The battle of Optimaton proved to be decisive: 6000 Byzantines who attacked 13000 Osmani soldiers were slaughtered like pigs. With the Byzantine army gone, Osman I decided It was time to declare war on the hostile Karesi who owned three Osmani core provinces. Karesi, one of the Beyliks, was weak and the sultan confident that he could handle two wars at once.
The military was looking for more trained men and the Ghulams were looking for work. They sent one of their own to the sultan's palace and asked for work. The choice was between hiring them for diplomatic services or as soldiers. The military pressured Orhan to recruit them for the army and so he did.


It turned out that the wise sultan did not err and in no time Karesi was occupied and in the November of 1310 finally annexed. Byzantium had no chance to turn the tide but they refused to agree to the Osman I's demands to cede their Anatolian holdings and so he marched with his loyal men on Göynük and Germiyan, both were Beyliks in the Ghazi region who owned Osmani cores. The 52-year-old sultan wanted to reunite the Ghazi people as quickly as possible and therefore wasted no time by waiting on the Byzantine Basileus to accept his demands. The sultan knocked on Germiyan's walls but Sultan Yakub refused to let him in and so he sacked his cities and sized Ankara and Anatolikon for his realm. Expansion happened at an incredible pace.
Both parties had sent diplomats to the nearby Genoese island Chios to negotiate a treaty but so far they came to no agreement.


At last, the Osmani delegation safely returned from Chios with good news: Byzantium agreed to Osman's demands! Bithynia, Optimaton and Paphlagonia were all ceded. Mission accomplished! The citizens of Eskisehir celebrated their victorious sultan and Orhan awaited his father with open arms. Defeating the Byzantines was a big deal and they celebrated victory with five days of festivities. Everybody in the narrow streets of the capital was talking about the latest conquests and the standarf of life improved heavily since goods like cloth and fish were now much cheaper for the population since they were being produced within the nation's borders and were no longer being imported.
The city live was not for Osman I and even though his son begged him not leave the city again for another campaign, he was worried he might die on the battlefield, the sultan left and marched on Saruhan. Saruhan was another Turkish minor with its capital being Akbisar. When the local city guards spotted the Osmani forces on the horizon, they fled and left the capital without defense. The siege corps sacked the city and Osman I annexed it. In two and a half years, the sultan had extended its realm from just one province to eleven!




The next few months were spend dealing with the former Byzantine provinces. Autonomy was increased to lower revolts from the mostly Orthodox population. Giving them more autonomy pleased the locals and allowed the sultan to focus on more important things. He knew that he was not going to live forever and that without skilled generals his dream of uniting the Turkish Beyliks was not going to come true and so he funded a military academy to further improve the army's siege abilities. A skilled siege corps was necessary to win wars efficiently.


The nation had no fleet but her rivals had a powerful navy and on the advice of Army Reformer, Thomas Boumbalis, the sultan implemented a policy that focused on a strong navy. His first decision was to implement a program of emergency naval construction.
Integrating the provinces took longer than anticipate but to not slow down expansion, the military academy came up with a plan to invade Candar, a small Sunni Iqta outside of the Ghazi region. His son was skeptical if more conquest was the right way. It turned out that the sultan had other plans for Candar: He wanted to make them his subject. That was a brilliant idea admitted Orhan.
Not too long after the declaration of war, Candar was vassalized. The sultan was pleased but feared that his neighbors might gang-up against him if he continued expanding and to counter a potential coalition he secured a royal marriage with the Mamluks with the intention to turn it into a military alliance. The sultan felt that a military alliance with the Mamluks was highly beneficial but so far no alliance.


Osman officially adopted an expansion policy and everything was going according to plan. Beylik after Beylik was annexed, the realm's first corp of siege engineers graduated from Eskisehir's military academy, and the overall size of the army was reduced by 2 regiments to lower maintenance cost. 'Quality beats Quantity' was the credo.
Being constantly at war also had its downside and foreign powers criticized the sultan for annexing too many countries. The diplomatic corps tried to smoothen relations with them but they failed and the sultan's reputation suffered.




Anatolia was mostly inhabited by Sunnis and Orthodox Christians but there were two Beyliks with a mostly Shiite population. One of them was Ladik, which had been conquered by Osman I in the year 1315. Upon conquest an imam informed Osman I that the religious followers had converted. The sultan hoped they adopted the true faith but it turned out that the imam was a liar because the majority of the population remained Shiite (take a close look at the effect of the event in the screenshot below). Religion remained a big issue: The Holy Father in Rome had called for a crusade against the Mamluks! Crusaders from Sweden, Aragon, the Italian Peninsular and many other places invaded the Holy Land. It was a bloody war; one that did not end well for the Mamluks. The Sunni faith suffered but there was always going to be a payback day.


The size of the realm had reached 16 provinces and live in the nation was good. Essential goods like olive oil were now produced within the realm; the same applied to more lucrative goods like opium, which was produced in high numbers in the province of Beysehir.
With all that wealth and military power, Osman was looking into a bright future. Word was spreading through Persia and the Mediterranean that the Rise of the Turks had begun!
 
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volksmarschall

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VeF is always so aesthetically pleasing! Anyways, good luck. Make Europe tremble in fear!

Cheers!
 

delpiero1234

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VeF is always so aesthetically pleasing! Anyways, good luck. Make Europe tremble in fear!

Cheers!
I know right! VeF artwork is so nice :) It enhances the overall game experience.
Cheers!
 

volksmarschall

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I know right! VeF artwork is so nice :) It enhances the overall game experience.
Cheers!
Truly! And since I spent a year in the university studying the Ottomans, I personally have a vested intellectual interest in how you proceed in the game. I'm such a romantic nerd. Whenever I play as a nation in EUIV that is going to rival the O.E., and I start beating up on them, much earlier than their descent into "sick man" status, I always feel bad about what I'm doing... :( :p

On a completely unrelated note. Per international cultural politics, the Ottoman model of cultural governance is making a comeback in academic writing as a possible alternative to homogenous globalism. And I find all that fascinating...oh well, now you got me off topic! :D
 

delpiero1234

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Ghazi United

Chapter II - Ghazi United​

Osman I invited his son Orhan and Spymaster Ahmed Piyale to his palace in Eskisehir to discuss state business. Orhan was a skilled diplomat and Piyale one of the best spymaster in all of Anatolia. The sultan instructed Piyale with fabricating claims on the cities Gallipoli, Byzantium, and Burgas, Bulgaria. His son Orhan was given the order to meet with a Mamluk delegation in Cairo to discuss a potential alliance. Orhan sailed with a vessel to Alexandria and from there he traveled along the Nile River via Tanta to finally reach Cairo, a magnificent metropolis. Muhammad Bahri, hire to the Mamluk throne, greeted him and the two had a long conversation. On that day, March 28, 1315, the two nations became allies.
With his son far away, Osman I entrusted his younger half-brother Murad with the administration of the realm because he left the capital for Alanya. He intended to force the Karamanids into vassalage. At the same time, a war was declared on the Shiites in Tavas.


The Knights of Saint John, based on Rhodes, were caught fabricating a claim on Troas. They clearly had less-skilled spies than Osman. One of the two spies was hung, the other managed to escape. It was rumored that he continued his shameful work in Eskisehir.
The recent conquests had upset Trebizond and so it was no surprise when they formed a military coalition against Turkey.
Displeased by how long the siege of Tavas had lasted, the sultan fired the head of the siege corps and provided the military academy with additional funds. He was hoping that one day Turkish siege corps were going to be known throughout the world. After 446 days, the siege was won, Tavas annexed and the sultan returned home; knowing that his his subject Candar had legitimate claims on the province Kanghari, which belonged to Rum. Rum was a former vassal of the Ilkhanate. That was enough reason to go to war.


The truce with Byzantium was about to expire and so the sultan positioned a siege corps of 2.000 men in Troas from where it could easily reach Limnos. The plan was invade Lesbos from a military camp outside of the port of of Neokastra. Rum was ally-less and so taking on the Byzantines at the same time seemed like a good plan to the Osmani military. Basileus Andronikos II on the other hand had made powerful friends. Among them were Kiev, Wallachia and Trebizond. Naturally, the Byzantine allies joined the war and outnumbered the Osmani forces but quantity rarely beats quality.
Osman I speculated that the Byzantines were going to advance into Anatolia and he rarely erred. When a large hostile army was spotted on the horizon by city guard in Troas, he sized the opportunity and ambushed them before they had a chance to retreat to Greece.


Progress was only slightly gained and especially the war against Byzantium looked stalled. More problematic was that smugglers were finding ways of getting around paying fees & taxes on goods that arrived in the Osmani ports. This was harming the economy but stopping them seemed to be too expensive and so Orhan, who had returned from Cairo, took no means to stop them.
A second problem was that the Osmani invasion of Limnos had failed because the siege corps was killed by defending Byzantine knights. The situation looked better on the other front: Rum was pretty much defeated but to be able to solely concentrate on Byzantium, the ongoing sieges were abandoned and a peace treaty signed that expanded the territory of Candar and Karamanids each by two provinces. The emir of Karamanids was full of joy when he was told that the size of his realm had increased. Osman I was a just overlord and celebrated for his victory by his people and subjects alike.




Once the war with Rum had come to an end, the Osmani forces were able to first defeat Trebizond and later on invade Greece. In the April of 1320, Trebizond sent diplomats to Eskisehir where Orhan offered them a way out of the war by ceding multiplie provinces to Sultan Süleymân of Candar. Trebizond accepted because the alternative would have been a full annexation after a pro-longed siege of their capital. No losing side likes full annexation.
Four months later, Thrace and Gallipoli had already been occupied, Osman I instructed his men to build some siege camps along the Aegean coast. Province after province fell into the hands of the Turks who terrorized the occupied population – Civilians were robed and stores plundered. Nobody was save.
Both parties had been at war for four years; time for peace. The Turkish manpower pool was deleted. The Basileus agreed to cede Thrace, Gallipoli and Lesbos and to Turkey. Limnons remained under Byzantine control – at least for now. Over all this was a successful campaign that increase prestige as well as military and economic power.


Everybody was in shock and surprised when they foun out that Byzantines had decided to move their capital from the city of world's desire, Constantinople, to Serres. The Basileus had to be insane to make such a decision. Good for Osman.
In a quick war, the sultan grabbed Germiyan, the last one of the independent Ghazi Beyliks. The Ghazi region was now united once again. Orhan believed that a new name was necessary for the realm. In his opinion Turkey was the ideal name for a united Turkish people but his father disagreed. He liked the name Osman, probably only because that happened also to be his own name. The sultan had turned 63 and so Orhan was speculating on his death but until then any plans for a name change were put on hold.
Meanwhile, the maritime industry had been improved and docks were built in key regions. Furthermore granaries were constructed to generate extra income.


Manpower had to recover. This had the absolute highest priority after the Osmani-Byzantine war. Otherwise the nation was going to face a Peasants' War. Therefore, 2.000 mercenaries were hired for a war against Pervane. Candar had laid a claim on their province Sampsunda. Mercenary captain Mahmud Müezzinzade was a fierce general with an impressive siege skill. He was much better than any of the generals from the Osmani military academy. The sultan was pleased that Müezzinzade was now fighting for his realm but also angry with his own military for not producing such well-skilled personnel. This was the first war were Osman I remained in the capital. He was getting weaker every day and the battlefield was not for him anymore. Supported by the army of Candar, Müezzinzade conquered Pervane and full annexation was demanded. Sampsunda was then transferred to Candar whereas Sinope was turned directly into an Osmani core.


The mercenaries demanded a higher salary for their war contributions. Orhan wanted to fire them because they were costing the state too much money but Osman I kept them, accepted their demands and sent them to conquer Tekke, a Turkish OPM on the Anatolian coast that was a vassal of Hamid. The two armies engaged in the desert mountains of Karahisar and the forces under Müezzinzade were victorious. He sent a scout to Eskisehir to inform the Osman I that the war was going as planned. Tekke fell first and once the siege corps managed to breach the wall of Egrudur, Hamid, the city was taken, too. Both provinces were ceded to Emir Yashi, monarch of Karamanids.
To strengthen relations with the Sunni world, an alliance was formed with Najd, making them Osman's second ally after the Mamluks.




Peace was a wonderful thing. It allowed Orhan and Osman I to take a closer look at the political situation around them. The fall of the Ilkhanate had created many new Shiite states – some of them in close proximity. Among them were Kurdistan and the nomads of Aq Qoyunlu. Further east rose Muzaffarids and Sarbadars to power. They were nomadic tribes just like Aq Qoyunlu. To the north was the scary blob of the Golden Horde. The Mediterranean was mostly calm but Croatia had managed to break free from their Hungarian personal union and were also winning a war against Venice. An interesting period with an unknown future...

 
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Morkazar

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Nice! Subbed :)
 
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eliaspays

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Very good AAR! Subbed.
Oh, and in the second chapter your soldiers fight in the dessert mountains :p
 

delpiero1234

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Very good AAR! Subbed.
Oh, and in the second chapter your soldiers fight in the dessert mountains :p
Thank you! I'm glad you like it!
Dessert mountains :blush: Imagine fighting in mountains of chocolate cake or ice cream :D That's a funny typo - Thanks for telling me about it. I fixed it.
 

ghyslain

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Quality gameplay, good narration as well! I like how you're securing some strong allies before going too deep into the aggressive expansion. Sub'ed :)
 

RepublicanIV

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I'm liking this :)

Also Ottomans can into New World!
 

delpiero1234

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Quality gameplay, good narration as well! I like how you're securing some strong allies before going too deep into the aggressive expansion. Sub'ed :)
Thanks! Allies are important - especially when you are not the strongest power yet. If I had not allied the Mamluks then they would have entered a military coalition against me because of all the aggressive expansion.

I'm liking this :)

Also Ottomans can into New World!
Thanks :)
Ottomans can into the New World, true. But in VeF that is much more difficult than it is in vanilla because non-Western countries cannot take Exploration ideas until very late in the game but I am confident that I will form Turkish Brazil and more at some point :cool:
 

Jedediah

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I do love this mod and you showcase it very well. Good job so far and definitely coming back for more
 

delpiero1234

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I do love this mod and you showcase it very well. Good job so far and definitely coming back for more
Thanks for the comment Jedeiah :) VeF is a good mod.

Next chapter is coming later today.
 

delpiero1234

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The Birth of a Nation

Chapter III – The Birth of a Nation

By November of 1325, the officers of the barracks had counted around 8.400 potential recruits who were eligible for military service – enough to start a war against the infidels of Imereti and their ally Cilicia. Trebizond and Rum had both refused Osman the necessary military access to reach Imereti and a naval invasion was the last available option. It was quite risky given the desolate state of the Osmani navy.
Said and done. Müezzinzade and his sell-swords were entrusted with the mission. Candar and Karamanids were taking care of Cilicia.


Osman I remained in the capital. One morning representatives of the Greek cities Gallipoli and Adrianople came to the royal palace to have an audition with the sultan. For centuries they were allowed to freely administrate themselves under Byzantine rule but Osman I favored a centralized state with little local autonomy. The Greek cities disliked that approach and criticized the national government for its poor government policies that had not considered the old traditions of the Greek cities. The sultan tried to improve the situation and bribed them with some ducats. But maybe they weren't so wrong and delegating some power to vassal states was not a bad idea. He consulted with his son and together they decided that the state should focus on delegative ideas. This was surely going to reduce further conflicts.



Shockingly that was the last time Osman I saw his son. The next day he went missing only to be found dead several days later in the rat-ways of Eskisehir. There was no doubt – Orhan had been murdered! The question was: Who did it? Byzantines? Venetians? Assassins from the Holy Father? An investigation of the crime scene was on going but so far no results. A new heir was needed and Osman I chose his 17-year-old grandson Süleyman, who had only recently graduated from the military academy. Not only was Süleyman an excellent soldier and general, he also had outstanding administrative skills.
Süleyman wanted to earn the respect of the military and therefore called for a war against Rum. Even though he did not lead any of the armies as general, he was responsible and credited for coming up with the battle plan. Rum was conquered much quicker than Imereti.
King Alexander I of Imereti met with an Osmani envoy on the nearby Genoese province Kaffa where they signed a peace treaty which stated: “Karamanids demands full annexation of Cilicia, Imereti cedes Abkhazia to Turkey; Imereti pays immediate war reparations”


Osman I was not the only one who was on a conquering spree; the nearby Order of Saint John had succeeded with annexing Menthese – a Turkish-Greek state across the sea of Rhodes. The Knights were beginning to core the territory when a mighty national rebellion rose up. Maybe it was time to make a move against the Order before it got too powerful. Crusaders in Anatolia were an unacceptable offense anyways. The Knights had formed alliances with the fellow crusaders of Cyprus and the Greek city Athens.
The crime investigations for the murder of the dead heir had come to an end and everything pointed in the direction of the Papal State. The lead investigator was sure that the Pope was behind the murder of Orhan. Osman I was old but he wanted to revenge his fallen son. It's always sad when the children die before their parents do.


Trade was flourishing in Anatolia but the profits were going elswhere – mostly to Byzantium which controlled Constantinople and its important center of trade.
On a warm summer's morning, Osman I was found dead in his chambers. The sultan had passed away peacefully. His grandson Süleyman rose to the throne and promised after his crowning ceremony to revenge the death of his father Orhan. Only a couple of months later, his wife delivered a first child: It was a son! Ee was named Abdülhamid. The succession was safe and the existence of House Osmanli secured!


Athens was annexed in a separate peace and the Knights later on ceded the former Menthese territory to Karamanids. The country was at peace again and Süleyman's first decision as sultan of Osman was to rename the country to Turkey – a name it should have adopted a decade ago. Inspired by Italian free thinkers, he also adopted a program to modernize the nation. The clergy opposed that but they had no say in it. National unrest increased consequently.
The sultan had some time to think about the anti-Turkey coalition while he was waiting for the manpower pool to recover. He sought advice from Philosopher Isa Candarli, his most-trusted advisor, and Mercenary Captain Müezzinzade. The mercenary captain was worried that the coalition was going to declare a punitive war on Turkey and had to admit that the Turkish military was not strong enough to defeat the entire coalition – especially with manpower being low. Süleyman asked Candarli for advice. The philosopher pointed out that they could get rid of the coalition by giving up some claims in foreign countries. Süleyman was most surprised about this and asked Candarli to continue elaborating his plan. He guaranteed that it was going to work but it seemed quite risky to the sultan.


Süleyman enjoyed risky moves and so on January 18,, 1333, Turkey declared an anti-coalition war on Thessaly only to peace out one month later. Turkey gave up claims in Candar, Karamanids, Ilkhanate, Karvuna and on Rhodes. Thessaly accepted and the anti-Turkey coalition was disbanded. Like magic. Candarli's plan had worked – brilliant! Immediately after signing the peace treaty, spies were sent to Rhodes and Karvuna to re-fabricate the “lost” claims. The claims in Karamanids and Candar were not needed anyways since both countries were Turkish subjects. The philosopher was a big fan of cheese and Süleyman hired the best cheese-maker he could find who produced the finest possible cheese for Candarli.
At the same time, administrators were sent to Karamanids to complete the integration process. It was estimated that this was going to take about one and a half years. Karamanids had simply become too large and their attitude had turned hostile. Not a good sign..


The modernization policy eventually led to hostilities between opposing military schools. One favored the traditional approach of focusing on a strong defense, the other school believed that “attack is always the best option”. Süleyman supported the traditionalists in this matter because their tactic had proven to be successful in countless wars.
Turkey was not friends with Rum and Aq Qoyunlu, in fact Turkey hated both. It must have been a coincidence that Rum and that backwards nomadic tribe became allies. This allowed Turkey to deal with them in one go. Aq Qoyunlu was too big to get annexed in a single war but cutting them down in size was possible. And that is exactly what happened – Rum was annexed by Candar and the nomads ceded 4 provinces to Turkey.


A Tripolitan revolt had successfully rebelled against Tunisia and became independent. They were looking for allies but Turkey was not interested and rejected the Tripolitan offer.
At the age of 29, Süleyman completed additional military training and went to lead the troops in small wars against neighboring states. In those wars he gained experience on the battlefield. He also dealt with the occasional uprising here and there. Most annoyingly where the rebels that originated in foreign countries and “visited” Turkey.
In late September of 1340, the military reported to the sultan that the truce with the Byzantines was about to expire in February. That was the perfect opportunity to make a move against them. It was expected that they were going to reenter the anti-Turkey coalition and so the generals urged Süleyman to prepare for war.
10.000 men led by the sultan himself were stationed in Attica, the small Turkish fleet was patrolling the Aegean Sea, 5.000 soldiers each were awaiting further orders in Gallipoli and Thrace. The captain of the sell-swords led a small small siege corps that was positioned in Troas. The ultimate goal was to conquer the city of world's desire. Turkey was more ready than ever for that...

 

RepublicanIV

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Oct 3, 2013
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Wow.

Well Turkey can into everything. Can you actually form the Ottoman Empire?

Also, just to make it historical, could you please not take Constantinople until Byzantium is small enough to full-annex?