Turkish state historical society blasts doubt over sultan’s faith

The Turkish Historical Society, a state-run historical institute with a key role in the preparation of school history curricula in the country, has issued a statement condemning a historian who claimed that Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror had doubts about his Islamic faith.

“The Turkish Historical Society announces to the public that it condemns the unsourced declarations particularly in recent days which offend our ancestors and discomfit our nation aimed at Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror – who changed the current of world history by opening one historical era and closing another,” the society wrote.

The statement appeared to be aimed at historian Celal Şengör, who told a television channel last week that Mehmet’s Islamic beliefs were in question.

“The Conqueror’s Islamic beliefs are also under debate,” Şengör said. “He told his secretary that ‘I don’t believe in what Muhammed said’.”

“We greatly regret and disapprove of this situation in which important individuals in our history are painted in a style and language that divides society and is distant from the seriousness of the discipline,” the Turkish Historical Society said.

Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror is best known for successfully conquering Istanbul from the Byzantine empire.