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I made this short story for class. I am Turkish and it fascinates me thinking about the accomplishments of the Ottoman Empire.
MAY 2, 1422 IZNIK, BURSA, OTTOMAN EMPIRE
“They are waiting for me. I better get going,” Esin says as he kisses his four year old son called Ekrem and his wife, Ela. Ela is on the verge of tears.
“Bye Baba!” Ekrem says to his dad, Esin, who is going to fight for the Ottoman Empire as they attempt to conquer Constantinople.
“I will be back soon!” Esin says as he looks at his son and wife, Ela, one last time before leaving.
TWO MONTHS LATER
It was a rainy afternoon in the town of Iznik in Bursa. The sky was a dull gray and you couldn’t see 50 meters in front of you because of the fog. There was nothing to be seen or heard except for the raindrops smacking against the ground. It was like life had stopped. Ekrem and Ela were at home, Ela was cooking in the kitchen while Ekrem was looking out the window, waiting for his father’s return. They lived in an old house which creaked when you walked. Ela wasn’t so sure her husband was going to return after she heard the siege was unsuccessful but was still hopeful and prayed to Allah everyday for Esin’s return. There was a splashing of water outside. Someone was coming. Then there was a knock on the door. Ela quickly rushed to the door and opened it. It was Esin’s best friend, Abdullah. Ela knew what that meant. She burst into tears while Ekrem was confused.
He asked Abdullah, “Where is my father, why isn’t he with you?”
Abdullah ignored Ekrem and tried to calm Ela down. He he finally managed to make her sit down and gave her a cup of water.
He turned to Ekrem,“Your father fought for this empire. He was a very strong man. Your father will not come back, but he will be watching you from Heaven.”
MARCH 28, 1453 IZNIK, BURSA, OTTOMAN EMPIRE
“Your friends are waiting for you!” Ela shouted.
“I’m coming Anne!” Ekrem said as he came running down the stairs.
It had been 31 years since Ekrem’s father had died in the unsuccessful siege of Constantinople in 1422. Ekrem was now 35 years old and he had married Emine, and had a 5 year old daughter named Emel. They all lived in the same house. He had followed in his father’s footsteps. He was preparing to go fight for the Ottoman Empire to conquer Constantinople after Sultan Mehmed II had decided so. He had heard that Constantinople was a magnificent city with beautiful churches and a huge, stunning palace. He was about to head out with some of his friends to meet with the rest of the army in the centre of Bursa. First they were going to join their group of soldiers which was going to be led by Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos Pasha was one of the best military commanders in the Ottoman Empire’s army. Ekrem had heard that he was very strict. Ela, Emine, and Emel all kissed Ekrem goodbye one last time. Ela couldn’t keep herself from tearing up.
“Don’t cry Anne, we talked about this, you are going to make me cry too,” Ekrem said trying to stop himself from tearing up.
“Okay, okay,” Ela said as she wiped her tears away with her hands.
“I will be back and then we will all move to a bigger house in Constantinople,” Ekrem was a very optimistic person.
“I have lived in this town all of my life I can’t move. You take your wife and daughter to Istanbul,” Ela responded.
“Oh, come on, Anne,” Ekrem was frustrated.
“We will see,” Ela said which Ekrem had learned meant no.
And with that, Ekrem joined his four friends, Abidin, Adam, Adil, Adnan. Abidin was tall and thin. Despite being thin, he was still very strong. Adam had blue eyes and blond hair. His height was average and so was his weight. He had always wanted to fight in a big battle and this was his chance. Adil and Adnan were brothers. However, they were very different from each other. Adil was always serious, Adnan was never serious. Adnan would always joke around and although Adil said all of Adnan’s jokes were horrible, Ekrem knew that Adil found some of them funny. They went along the stone road but Ekrem, Adnan, Adil, and Adam noticed something. Adnan wasn’t joking around.
So Ekrem asked Adnan, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Adnan murmured. It was like he was far away from them, he was thinking about something.
“You aren’t joking around we know something’s wrong,” Ekrem replied.
“I’m nervous, you know that in 1422 we were unsuccessful and what if we fail again?” Adnan said in a concerned tone.
“But right now the Byzantine Empire is weak and we have to be optimistic to achieve our goal,” Ekrem assured him. “It’s going to be fine”.
So they continued walking on. And sure enough, a couple of minutes later, Adnan started again with his jokes. After around 30 minutes, the five of them reached the place that they were going to meet with the rest of their group. And sure enough, there were thousands of soldiers. The five of them quickly joined them. One hour later, everyone that was supposed to join had joined, and the whole army set off to Constantinople which wasn’t very far away, it would take around two days. Since they weren’t part of the cavalry, they didn’t have horses. When it was night, they stopped and they set the camps they had brought with them and slept.
All the soldiers including Esin were woken up by the shout of their leader. They all quickly got out of their tents and they all saluted. Esin then saw that their leader was Zaganos Pasha. He knew that Zaganos Pasha was going to be their leader but he had forgotten about that as he was in the back of the army the day before so he couldn’t see him. He was amazed. He was standing in front of one of the most important janissary. After they all ate breakfast, they continued on their way. The next day, they arrived. Ekrem could see the cavalry to their left and the huge cannons to their right. They stood right in front of the wall of the Constantinople.
There was tension in the air, it was like you could reach out into the air and grab it. It wasn’t that loud, there were just some murmurs from the soldiers preparing for the battle. Both sides were getting ready. Soon the battle begun. The cannons started firing, one after the other, but the walls of Constantinople were surprisingly strong. Ekrem and his friends didn’t have a major role yet so they watched the battle, standing at a distance to make sure they weren’t shot by any arrow that the soldiers of the Byzantine Empire were shooting. They were going to charge in with their swords and climb the walls when they were damaged a lot and at the right time. However, the walls looked very tough. There was going to be soldiers coming in with ships to the Golden Horn gulf. A couple of days passed. During the days the cannons kept on shooting at the walls, Ekrem and his friends watching. At night, the armies would go in their tents and sleep, preparing for the next day of battle. One night came the bad news. Zaganos Pasha told the cavalry that the military support coming from the Golden Horn gulf couldn’t pass chains at the gulf and were killed. This upset the whole military and no one spoke with each other for a while. One month and a half passed. The cannons continued shooting at the walls. The Ottoman Empire was starting to accept defeat although Sultan Mehmed II was hopeful and encouraged his army. One night, Zaganos Pasha explained to the whole cavalry that Sultan Mehmed II had made a different type of cannon. It was much more powerful. There was a bit of damage done, some small parts of the walls had fallen off, but nothing major. The fleet anchored at Dolmabahce was also going to move to the Golden Horn gulf by land to surprise the enemy. They wouldn’t expect them to go to the Golden Horn gulf by land after failing by ship. The next day the new cannons started firing. It was already more effective than the older ones.
It was May 29, 1453. The walls had been damaged more and the fleet was at the Golden Horn gulf. Early the next morning, the fleet charged in from the gulf while the cavalry charged in from the other side. Ekrem and his friends along with the cavalry climbed the wall. Ekrem saw lots of Byzantine knights in front of him. He had heard that they were very good fighters but he didn’t let that make him scared. He killed two Byzantine soldiers. Suddenly he felt a stabbing pain from his back…
MAY 29, 1454
Ekrem, Emine, Ela, and Emel all stood in the ceremony honoring all the soldiers that died in the battle to conquer Istanbul. Ekrem was stabbed with a sword, but his friends had immediately rushed him to the Ottoman doctors. He was almost dead when the doctors saved him. He returned to Bursa with his friends. He was thinking about how his dad would’ve been so proud of him. He managed to persuade his mom and got his family and moved to Istanbul. Now they were heading to the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul.