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Janissaries living abroad
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 25 Dec 2011 Sun 11:24 am


Janissaries living abroad

Todays Zaman.
With their baggy trousers, dolama (an overgarment with a pronounced cross closing), yemeni (low shoes) and üsküf (janissary helmet) on their heads, they look just like a janissary (Ottoman soldier).

 What is interesting is that they aren’t Turkish. Rick Orli from the US, Ivan Belicka from Slovakia and Gabar Szollosy from Hungary are foreign janissaries. Their hobby is collecting munitions and clothes of Ottoman soldiers, which they exhibit on special occasions. Also acting in historical films and documentaries, the foreigners hail the janissary corps as the strongest army at the time.

When Mahmut II abolished the Janissary corps on June 15, 1826, he thought he did a good thing. After all, this army went out of control and became a burden when the Ottoman Empire entered a period of stagnation. With the burden removed, a great history full of ups and downs was left behind.

Janissaries” can be found in the US, Slovakia, Hungary and Russia. A number of janissary enthusiasts have set up a janissary orta, meaning battalion or troop, in their country. According to historical sources, the number of soldiers in an orta ranged between 60 and 300.

These foreign janissaries visit museums in Turkey and attend horseback archery competitions. Some of them act in films and series produced by Turks. According to Hilmi Arıç, an expert on battle scene sets, foreigners give more importance to janissaries than we Turks do. The Turks’ consideration of janissaries can’t go beyond hostility. Without any bias, non-Turks wear baggy trousers and the dolama, which Turkish actors don’t want to wear. Pointing to the fact that the most important issue in shooting a battle scene is to be loyal to historical truth, Arıç says janissaries living abroad don’t only collect items concerning the janissary corps but also research the janissary culture and consider it as a lifestyle.

‘Janissaries most professional army in history’

According to Rick Orli, a Pole living in America, the most professional army in history was the janissary corps. Orli, a consultant at a computer company, says an empire emerged with the formation of this army. Rick has been interested in the janissaries since 2003. He gained detailed knowledge about the janissaries and came to Turkey. Afterwards he started to design janissary costumes and to collect swords, arrows, bows and muskets. Attending the annual Turkish festivals organized in the US in his janissary costume, Orli also exhibited his special collection of janissary costumes. Indeed, Orli is the most experienced member of the janissary orta in the US. This orta consists of around 25 people from different nationalities. This team also acts parts in films and documentaries. Noting that several armies were influenced by the janissaries, Orli says some battle terms in the Polish language were borrowed from Turkish.

He acted a part in the movie Conquest 1453

Ivan Belicka, a Slovak, and his friends established a janissary orta in 2006. This orta now has over 70 members. Belicka is a lawyer by profession and appreciates the janissaries in the same way as Rick Orli. Slovak janissaries even have a janissary band of musicians. Having read several history books since the day he became interested in the janissaries, Belicka visited İstanbul’s museums many times. He then began to design true copies of janissary costumes and munitions. He had a janissary tent tailored and all his efforts aroused interest among his friends. This hobby enabled him to act parts in historical battle scenes in films and documentaries such as “Fetih 1453” (Conquest 1453). Belicka thinks that in order to act as a janissary in battle scenes one needs to perform a perfect janissary march in addition to knowing how to use swords and guns well.

‘Uncle Gabbar’ of Turks

Gabar Szollosy, a Hungarian, works at a museum where agricultural tools used in years past are displayed. His Turkish friends call him “Uncle Gabar” and he can speak Turkish quite very. He learned it as a result of his interest in the janissaries. Szollosy memorized the parts regarding janissaries in history books written by historian Ismail Hakkı Uzunçarşılı and Reşat Ekrem Koçu. Additionally, he researched about the Bektashi order, an Islamic Sufi order founded in the 13th century that was very common among janissaries, and translated 99 Bektashi jokes into Hungarian. These jokes are mainly aimed at answering questions raised about religion. His interest in the janissaries goes back to primary school. Learning that the janissary corps comprised soldiers of different nationalities increased his curiosity. In later years, he started collecting janissary costumes and made imitations of munitions and acted as a janissary representing the enemy army of Hungary at Hungarian national festivals. Stating that more than 20 people in Hungary have janissary costumes, Szollosy says makes sure he attends every single horseback archery competition in Turkey

Note : Maş
allah !

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