The First Turkish Seaman – Çaka Bey

Çaka-BeyÇaka Bey, whose actual name is Çakan Bey, is the first Turkish Admiral. The first Turkish naval fleet has been established by himself. Many troops in this fleet have gained accomplishment through the years. He is known to be the one who made the Turks recognise the Maritime. Hence he is the first Turkish Seaman in the history.

Çaka Bey, member of Çavuldur tribe in the Turkish relative to Oghuzs, has been captured during a battle against Byzantines after the Battle of Manzikert in 26 August 1071 and has eventually been taken to Constantinople (İstanbul).

Emperor N. Botaniates the Third has taken him to the palace. He has here been bespoken as “Protonolilismus” derived from the “Proto noli lis” – “Trouble-free Senior”, an adjective of romance. Having drawn interest, permission has also been granted for his free presence inside the palace. Thus he has managed to familiarize himself with Byzantines and had a chance to investigate their maritime affairs in details.

Aleksios Komnenos the First, who came to the throne in 1081, did not quite like him which in this case caused Çaka Bey loose the royalty in a sense. For that reason Çaka Bey has managed to flee of Constantinople. With the help of tribe therewithal, he hath managed to capture Smyrna (İzmir), which is under the Byzantines Empire, and establish İzmir Principality thro 16 years.

Now it was the turn to rule Aegean. After two – three years of period, he hath captured Foça, Urla, Çeşme and Sığacık. Within this scope he hath established a Turkish fleet inclusive of 17 towaway and 33 sails in the shipyard constructed.

That fleet set up vanquished Byzantines fleet off Köstence island (Uzun Ada) in Aegean Sea in 1081. Nevertheless he did not settle with such victory for he concurrently proceeded Rodos and Sisam islands and even invaded them.

After Çaka Bey had conquered Midilli in 1089 and Sakız island in 1090, Byzantines Empire were merely disturbed due to his ambition and they were awaken to set over the fleet. Turkish fleet under the command of Çaka Bey defeated Byzantines Empire in 19th May 1090 in the battle placed between Sakız island and Karaburun in the Battle of Koyun Islands.

These victories startled Kılıçarslan I, Emperor of Anatolian Seljuk and his precious groom. With this regard, Byzantines Empire provoked Kılıçarslan I against Çaka Bey. Thereafter Çaka Bey, during his visit, was taken off by the order of Kılıçarslan I in 1093.

That killing has been a major victory for Byzantines Empire, yet a grand impact to Turkish Maritime. After his death there has been no dominance on islands in Aegean Sea and Byzantines Empire recaptured their past. Through the years 1096 – 1099 during the First Crusade, İzmir Principality was taken down by Byzantines Empire in 1097.

To say the least the date Çaka Bey established the fleet in 1081 was regarded to be the foundation of Turkish Naval Forces.

Translation By: Burak Konakoğlu

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