Emrah Safa Gürkan. The espionage in 16th century Mediterranean (2012)

Emrah Safa Gürkan. The espionage in 16th century Mediterranean (2012)
Title:The espionage in 16th century Mediterranean: secret diplomacy, Mediterranean go-betweens and Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry. Thesis for: Ph.D.
Author:Emrah Safa Gürkan
Editor:Advisor: Gábor J Ágoston
Place:Washington DC
Publisher:Georgetown University
File:PDF, 2.64 MB
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Emrah Safa Gürkan. The espionage in 16th century Mediterranean: secret diplomacy, Mediterranean go-betweens and Ottoman-Habsburg rivalry. Thesis for: Ph.D. Advisor: Gábor J Ágoston. Washington DC: Georgetown University, 2012, 496 p.

Spies played a crucial role in early modern imperial rivalries. While past scholars have emphasized the Islam/Christendom divide in the Mediterranean, these go-betweens, who mastered the codes of both cultures, easily crossed invisible boundaries between civilizations and connected the Ottomans and the Habsburgs, two imperial powers at each other’s throat. Apart from providing both empires with regular information on political and military developments, these entrepreneur information brokers played an active diplomatic role between two capitals and even participated in Ottoman factional politics.
This dissertation compares both empires’ secret services and explains the differences between the two systems of information gathering based on these empires’ differing organizational structures. It argues that the Habsburgs tried to institutionalize and standardize their secret services in accordance with their general efforts of bureaucratization and centralization, even though the effect of such efforts remained rather limited in the Levant. The Ottomans, on the other hand, maintained their longstanding decentralized approach and delegated the responsibility of gathering information to pashas and court favourites who established their own intelligence networks. This created a rather different situation whereby these networks served their masters’s interests rather than that of the state, thus giving the historian ample information on Ottoman factional politics. In relying on oral communication and not following the recent developments in steganography and cryptography, the Ottoman secret service was more personal than institutional.
Still, the Ottoman secret service produced good results. In spite of these differences that could have been otherwise considered shortcomings and contrary to the unwarranted assumptions that prevailed in Western historiography, the Ottomans successfully developed a functional information gathering mechanism which in itself was coherent. The real factor that negatively affected the efficiency of both empires was the lack of direct diplomacy between two capitals. While both empires kept themselves informed of political developments and military preparations, they failed to develop an awareness of each other’s legal, political and economic systems as well as cultural, linguistic and religious particularities.

Title Page
Copyright information
Dedication page
List of Abbreviations
Justifying the Topic
Why the 16th Century
Why the Mediterranean? The case of the Mediterranean espionage and the issue of conflicting civilizations
Why the Ottoman-Habsburg Rivalry
Why a comparative study?
A Note on Sources and their Contribution
Chapter-by-Chapter Outline
Defining the Concepts of Secret Diplomacy
Politics of information
Information gathering
Domestic Intelligence
Clandestine Operations
Usage of Modern Terms
A Couple of Clarifications
Information and Politics: Decision-Making Process(es)
Information gathering and grand strategy
Information and Policy
Factional Rivalries
The issue of the continuity of information
Information gathering and war
Information gathering and diplomacy
Bureaucratization in Central Governments and the Institutionalization of Secret Diplomacy
Improvements in cryptography and steganography
Steganography techniques
Cryptography techniques
Improvements in the transmission of news
Espionage and International Crises
Professional Background of Spies
Ransom agents
Engineers and Soldiers Corsairs
Leading and Operating a Network
Translators (Dragoman)
Network leaders (spymasters)
Espionage as a Profession
Social background
Exiles, convicts and rebels
Spies’ place in the early modern society
Educational background
Recruitment methods and employment standards
Required skills
Offering one’s self as a spy
Approval and instructions
The issue of trust
Espionage as an enterprise: Rewards
Financial rewards
Familial Connections and Espionage
Introduction: Efforts of Centralization
Habsburg Central Organization
Centralizing tendencies
Centralization of information
Centralization of transmission of state correspondence
Centralization of intelligence networks
Conclusion: Lack of uniformity
The Organization of Habsburg Secret Service in the Provinces
Habsburg Intelligence Networks in the Levant
Ionian Islands
Other networks in the Levant
Sources of information and methods of information gathering
Interrogation in the ports
Disgruntled communities: Habsburg fifth columns in the Ottoman Empire
Renegades in Ottoman employ
Negotiating with the infidel: Muslims in the Ottoman administration
European diplomats in Constantinople
Jewish communities
Information Provider Allies
Austrian Habsburgs
The Knights of St. John in Malta
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Florence)
“Everything is done with money and without it nothing gets done”:
The Financing of Operation
The Problem of Coordination and Transmission
The Quality and Nature of Information
Before the Battle of Djerba
The Establishment of Renzo’s Network
The War of 1570-1573 and the Network after the Battle of Lepanto (1571)
An Unexpected Consequence: The Truce Negotiations between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs (1575-1581)
The Network after Margliani’s Departure (1581-1600)
The Provincial Nature of Ottoman Espionage
An Empire of Patrimonies: Delegating the Responsibilities of the State
Personal Intelligence Networks at the Service of the Ottoman State
Uluç Ali’s network
İbrahim Pasha’s network
The Gritti Network
Sokollu Mehmed Pasha’s network
The Nasi Network
The Mendes Network
The Passi Network
Sources of Information
Men of both worlds
Disgruntled communities: Ottoman fifth columns
The Last Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula: The Moriscos
The Neapolitan Fuorusciti
Jewish Communities
Ottoman ambassadors and the problem of non-permanent diplomacy
Information Provider States: Vassals and Allies
In between two Empires: The Republic of Ragusa
The Most Serene Republic of Venice
Pressurizing European diplomats in Constantinople
Ottoman Transmission of News
The Efficiency of Ottoman Secret Service
Appendix A. Glossary of Terms
Appendix B. Glossary of Main Personae
Archival Guides
Printed Primary Sources
Unpublished Dissertations and Theses