Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis
|Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis|
|Years of service||Unknown|
|Unit||Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet|
|Commands held||Admiral of the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet|
|Battles/wars||Ottoman expedition to Aceh|
Background and family origins
Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was the son of the famous Turkish privateer and Ottoman admiral Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis, who was known as Curtogoli in Europe, particularly in Italy, France and Spain. The name Kurtoğlu or Kurdoğlu means Son of Kurt (Wolf) in Turkish, a family name which Muslihiddin inherited from his father, Kurt Bey, a Turkish seaman from Anatolia who went to northwestern Africa for privateering together with the other famous Turkish corsairs of that period such as the Barbarossa brothers, Oruç Reis and Hızır Reis. Hızır Reis became a close friend of Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin, who named his son after him. Oruç Reis, Hızır Reis, Kemal Reis, Piri Reis and Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis often sailed together in the Mediterranean Sea.
Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra (1568–1569)
In 1565, Sultan Alaaddin of Aceh declared allegiance to the Ottoman Empire and sent a request for assistance to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (which was received by the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Pasha due to the absence of Suleiman who was heading for the Battle of Szigetvár, his final military campaign) for defending his land from Portuguese aggression. Due to Suleiman's death in 1566, the Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra was sent by his son, Selim II, who appointed Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis with the mission.
Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was the Admiral-in-Chief of the Ottoman Indian Ocean Fleet based in Suez, with other homeports in Aden and Basra. In 1568 he set sail with a force of 22 ships carrying soldiers, military equipment and other supplies, and visited Aden, Djibouti, Muscat, Hormuz, Debal, Surat, Janjira, Lanka (Sri Lanka) and then arrived at Aceh in 1569, an event which effectively marked the easternmost territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire, was noted by his Portuguese rival Fernão Mendes Pinto. Simultaneously, the Ottoman Empire informed Portugal that Aceh was from that time on an Ottoman territory and any attack against Aceh would be perceived as an attack against the Ottoman Empire, and the Portuguese fleet stopped its activities in the areas surrounding Aceh.
Aceh effectively remained as an Ottoman protectorate until the late 18th century, and an ally of the Ottoman Empire until 1904, when it largely went under Dutch control. The bells of several Dutch churches in Aceh are made from melted Ottoman cannons, and some of them still carry the Ottoman crest which were originally on these cannons.
References and sources
- Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis (Turkish)
- Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis (Turkish)
- Bono, Salvatore: Corsari nel Mediterraneo (Corsairs in the Mediterranean), Oscar Storia Mondadori. Perugia, 1993.
- Corsari nel Mediterraneo: Condottieri di ventura. Online database in Italian, based on Salvatore Bono's book.
- Bradford, Ernle, The Sultan's Admiral: The life of Barbarossa, London, 1968.
- The Ottomans: Comprehensive and detailed online chronology of Ottoman history in English.
- Comprehensive and detailed online chronology of Ottoman history in Turkish.
- Turkish Navy official website: Historic heritage of the Turkish Navy (in Turkish)
- Ottoman-Aceh relations according to Turkish sources