Ertugrul frigate: Greatest Turkish naval disaster in Japan

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From Todays Zaman


The Ertuğrul, which departed from İstanbul on July 14, 1889, upon the decree of Abdülhamid II, continued its travel by visiting the ports along the route.

The vessel was welcomed by the Muslims living in the visited places. Large groups head to the frigate to see what is inside.

Eleven months after departure the frigate arrives in Japan.

The date is June 7, 1890, when the vessel arrives in Yokohama port in Japan. This was also a sign of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Ottoman state.

In response to a visit of friendship paid by the uncle of the Japanese emperor to İstanbul in 1887, Sultan Abdülhamid II ordered a reciprocal visit.

The Ertuğrul, constructed at the İstanbul shipyards, was able to move both by sail and by steam engine. The primary means of movement was, however, the sail. The engine was supplemental.

It was a wooden vessel with a weight of 2,400 tons and was 25 years old. One year prior to its final journey, its wooden parts were repaired, but its machinery and boilers remained untouched. The delegation leader was Col. Osman Bey and the vessel’s commander was Lt. Col. Ali Bey.

The vessel had a crew of 607, including 56 military officers. That year young lieutenants who graduated from the naval college were assigned to duty on the vessel.

The frigate was charged with carrying valuable gifts from Abdülhamid II for the Japanese emperor while young graduates would also have the opportunity to further their experience on the open seas.

At the same time, the power and strength of the Ottoman Empire would be displayed. It would also be stressed that Muslims living in different parts of the world were not alone.

The caliph and sultan’s determination and will to protect Muslims throughout the world would be demonstrated.

During the journey of the frigate, Col. Osman was promoted to the rank of admiral.



japan Frigate Ertugrul Abdulhamid II Turkish Ottoman Empire