Spies for the Sultan
Ottoman Intelligence in the Great Rivalry with Spain
In the sixteenth century, an intense rivalry between the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish Habsburg Empire and its allies spurred the creation of early modern intelligence. Translated into English for the first time, Emrah Safa Gürkan's Spies for the Sultan reconstructs this history of Ottoman espionage, sabotage, and bribery practices in the Mediterranean world.
Then as now, collecting political, naval, military, and economic information was essential to staying one step ahead of your rivals. Porous and shifting borders, the ability to assume multiple identities, and variable allegiances made conditions in this era ripe for espionage around the Mediterranean. The Ottomans used networks of merchants, corsairs, soldiers, and other travelers to move among their enemies and report intelligence from points far and wide. The Ottoman sultans invested in the novel technologies of cryptography and stenography. Ottoman intelligence operatives not only collected information but also used disinformation, bribery, and sabotage to subvert their enemies.
This history of early modern intelligence is based on extraordinary archival research in Turkey, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Croatia, and it provides important insights into the origins of modern intelligence.
About the Authors
"Gürkan's meticulous reconstruction of Ottoman intelligence in the imperial contest with the Spanish Habsburgs is finally available to an international audience! Spies for the Sultan is essential reading for anyone interested in Ottoman-European relations and the history of intelligence—and a shining example of how to tackle these subjects."—Tobias P. Graf, Department of History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
|Georgetown University Press|
|Georgetown Studies in Intelligence History|
Other Titles from Georgetown Studies in Intelligence History