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The Essay: The Ottoman Empire, Power and the Sea

From Turkish raiders who occupied an island in the Bristol Channel in the seventeenth century to questions about patrolling the Mediterranean Sea now.

Michael Talbot asks how can power be exerted over water? What do borders mean in the featureless desert of the ocean? These were questions faced by the Ottoman Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries when an imaginary line was used to create a legally enforced border at sea for the Sultans in Istanbul who called themselves “rulers of the two seas”, the Black and the Mediterranean.
Michael Talbot lectures about the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Modern Middle East at the University of Greenwich, London.
The Essay was recorded at Sage Gateshead as part of the Free Thinking Festival.
New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Producer: Luke Mulhall

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21 minutes