Who is Turkish Admiral Çaka Bey?

Who is Turkish Admiral Çaka Bey?
Who is Turkish Admiral Çaka Bey?

Çaka Bey is a Seljuk commander and sailor. After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, when the Seljuks spread to Anatolia, an independent principality based in Smirni was established. He is regarded as the first Turkish admiral in history, as he formed the first navy in Turkish history.

Çaka Bey, who participated in the Seljuk raids in Anatolia after 1071 and was taken prisoner by the Byzantine Empire around 1078, Emperor III. Attracting the attention of Nikiforos, he was taken to the palace with the title of protonobilissimus. When Alexios I became emperor in 1081, he left the palace due to the revocation of the titles and privileges given to him. In the same year, İzmir achieved the first Turkish domination in its history. After a while, he expanded his borders and established dominance in some islands in the Aegean Sea and some places on the coastline of the sea. Around 1092, he besieged Abidos, but was killed by Kılıç Arslan upon the provocation of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I, the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Kılıç Arslan, and the siege failed.

After the Battle of Manzikert, which was fought between the Great Seljuk State and the Byzantine Empire in 1071, the Byzantine Emperor Romanian Diogenes was captured, and principalities established by the Turkmen tribes emerged in Anatolia.[1] Çaka Bey, a member of the Çavuldur clan of the Oghuzes, who participated in the raids on the Byzantine lands in the West, as a bey affiliated to Danishmend Gazi, the founder of the Danishmend Principality, which was established in 1080 in Sivas, was captured by Byzantium in one of the raids around 1078. After the capital was taken to Constantinople, Emperor III. Attracting the attention of Nikephoros, he was taken to the palace and given the title of protonobilissimus. By learning Greek here, he rose to good positions in the palace like some other Turkish prisoners. When Emperor Alexios I came to the throne in 1081, the title and privileges given to him were taken back and he left the palace and returned to the Turkmens in Anatolia.

Çaka Bey, taking advantage of the struggle between Byzantium and Pechenegs, captured Smirni, which was in the hands of Byzantium, in 1081 with approximately 8.000 soldiers. Using the Greek masters here, he created a 40-piece navy. The year 1081, when the navy was formed, is also accepted as the founding date of the Turkish Naval Forces. Caka Bey, who was aware of the battles of Byzantium in the Balkans and with the Pechenegs, first captured Klazomenai with the aim of expanding the borders of his Smirni-centered principality. Then, in his first attack on Fokaia, he annexed the city. After a while, he wrote to Alopus, who was responsible for the administration of Lesbos, that he would punish himself if he did not leave the city. While Alopus left the island after these threats, the forces under the command of Çaka Bey captured the city of Mytilene in 1089 without encountering any resistance. However, the city of Mithymna on the other side of the island could not be taken due to its strong walls and unsuitable geography for attacks. The Byzantine Emperor Alexios I, who learned that Lesbos was under the control of Çaka Bey, immediately sent a navy to the island. On the other hand, Çaka Bey, who left Lesbos, took the island under his control after his first attack on Chios in 1090. In the same year, he won the battle at Chios with the Byzantine forces under the command of Niketas Kastamonites. After this defeat, the emperor sent another Byzantine fleet under the command of Konstantinos Dalassenos to Chios. After the siege of the castle on the island by Dalassenos, Çaka Bey left Smirni with about 8.000 Turkmen; On May 19, 1090, he won the naval battle in the Koyun Islands, between Chios and Karaburun, and captured some Byzantine ships after this victory. Çaka Bey, who met with Dalassenos for peace negotiations after the battle, said that if he was given Byzantine titles by the emperor and his son was accepted to marry a daughter of the emperor, he was ready for peace and would return the islands he had conquered. However, these demands were not accepted by the emperor. Although Dalassenos recaptured Chios after Çaka Bey returned to Smirni, the island was again under Çaka Bey's control before the end of 1090. In 1090 and later, he established dominance in the islands of Rhodes and Samos.

Çaka Bey, who gave himself the title of emperor after increasing his power and aimed to besiege Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire; In this direction, the Turkish tribe in the east of the empire came into contact with the Pechenegs. On the other hand, Emperor Alexios I, who made an agreement with another Turkish tribe Kipchaks, put the Pechenegs, including women and children, to the sword on April 29, 1091, and eliminated this danger. Soon after, he established a relationship with the Seljuk Sultan Kılıç Arslan I, who came to the throne in Nicaea. On the other hand, Çaka Bey had his daughter married to Kılıç Arslan I.

In 1092, Alexios I sent the navy under Konstantinos Dalassenos and the land army under the command of Ioannis Dukas against Çaka Bey. While the Byzantine forces besieged Lesbos under the rule of Çaka Bey's brother Yalvaç; Çaka Bey, on the other hand, was stationed off the island with his navy. After three months of struggle, Çaka Bey left the island on the condition that he could return to Smirni freely. Soon after, the Byzantine navy took back Samos and returned to Constantinople. After a while, Çaka Bey, who took advantage of the Byzantine navy's dealing with the rebellions in Crete and Cyprus, re-established dominance over the Aegean islands and took Western Anatolia under his control until the Dardanelles. In the same year, after capturing Adramytteion, he besieged Abidos. Thereupon, Alexios I, arguing that Çaka Bey was a danger to both Byzantium and Seljuks, formed an alliance with Kılıç Arslan I against Çaka Bey. During the siege of Abidos, the Byzantine navy took action against Çaka Bey from the sea and the Seljuk army from the land. Çaka Bey, who was unaware of the alliance between the two states, requested a meeting with Kılıç Arslan I. I. Kılıç Arslan, who welcomed him with a ceremony, drew his sword and killed Çaka Bey during the banquet.

After Çaka Bey's death, Alexios I mobilized the Christian states in Europe to drive Kılıç Arslan I out of Nicaea and repel possible Turkish attacks, and started the First Crusade. The Crusaders, who captured the city in 1097, handed it over to Byzantium. While the Crusaders advancing towards the interior of Anatolia defeated the Seljuks in the battle in Dorlion, the Byzantine forces attacking Smirni surrounded the city from land and sea. Although the Turkish commander there surrendered the city, some 1097 Turks were put to the sword in the summer of 10.000. The Byzantine army, which also captured Ephesos, which was in the hands of another Turkish lord, Tanrıvermiş, dispersed about 2.000 captured Turks to the islands.

Çaka Bey's Turkmen withdrew first to Polybotum and then to Philadelphia. After Philadelphia was taken by Byzantium, these Turkomans regressed even further to the east, around Gerede.

Çakabey District of Çeşme district of İzmir province takes its name from Çaka Bey. In 2008, a monument with Çaka Bey's bust was erected by the Çeşme Municipality and the Naval Forces Command in the İnönü neighborhood of İzmir's Çeşme district. The monument built on an area of ​​600 square meters; It consists of a 20-meter bust of Çaka Bey on a 17-meter pedestal placed between two sail figures, one 3,5 meters high and the other 2 meters high. A bust of Çaka Bey is exhibited in the Istanbul Naval Museum in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, and the exhibition hall in the museum bears the name of Çaka Bey. There is also a bust of Çaka Bay in the Mersin Naval Museum. On the other hand, there are primary schools named after Çaka Bey in Aydın's Kuşadası district, İstanbul's Kartal district, İzmir's Buca district and Kocaeli's Derince district, and Gölcük Çakabey Anatolian High School named after Çaka Bey in Kocaeli's Gölcük district. and Private Çakabey Schools in Çiğli district of İzmir. One of the sea buses in the Istanbul Sea Buses fleet and a ferry that joined İZDENİZ's ferry fleet in 2014 were named after Çaka Bey.

In 1976, it was written by Yavuz Bahadıroğlu and novelized Çaka Bey's life. Mr. Caka his book was published. In 2005, a novel of the same name by Mehmet Dikici was published by Akçağ Publishing.

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