Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Marj Dabiq (1516)

After 1514’s Battle of Chaldiran demonstrated clearly that a) the Safavids were no military threat to the Ottomans and b) the Ottomans couldn’t sustain an extended campaign deep inside Safavid territory, the Ottomans turned their focus to the third great Middle Eastern power, the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria. Not coincidentally, the Mamluks were at the same time getting ready for what looked like an inevitable war with the Ottomans. The two empires were direct competitors for east-west trade (the Mamluks controlled the Indian Ocean-Red Sea route while the Ottomans were the western terminus of the Silk Road), hence the inevitability. On top of that, the Mamluks had something that the Ottomans coveted: control of Islam’s three holiest sites (Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem). Controlling those cities would be a huge boost to Ottoman legitimacy, something the forever-trying-to-justify-their-success Ottomans valued highly. With the Ottomans having decisively ended any Safavid threat to their control of Anatolia, the Mamluks knew that the growing Turkish powerhouse could very well be coming after them next.

Source: Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Marj Dabiq (1516)

Author: DWD

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