The Ottoman Empire was considered the most effective dynasties in the ancient world. The fame is because of its rapid expansion spread to North Africa, Asia, and Central Europe. The main motive that led to its successful expansion and conquest in the 16th century was its naval powers. Furthermore, the Empire played a significant role. It was also referred to as the Turkish Empire, which comprised various institutions perpetrated in the kingdom, including the deshirme, military, the seat of the Sultan, and the Islamic culture, which played a significant role in shaping Turkey’s foreign policy today. However, during the 16th century, Ottoman conquered and led Cyprus despite it being ruled by various suzerains but never came under Greek rule through its history. During the Ottoman regime, the Greeks and Turks of Cyprus lived in harmony and peace, considering the differences in communal traditions, culture, language, religion, and ethnicity.
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Ottoman Empire’s Conquest of Cyprus In The 16th Century involved numerous aspects that facilitated its victory. Therefore, this research paper will discuss the various elements, the Empire’s naval power, and how it helped shape the Turkeys’ foreign policies to this day.
The Conquest of Cyprus by the Ottoman’s Empire
Conquering the island of Cyprus was the principal motive of Ottoman Empire leaders even before they ascended to power. For instance, when Selim II was crowned the Sultan, he wanted to achieve his objective, and all the pashas supported his concept apart from the Great Vizier (Aksakal, 2011). The great Vizier was against his ideology since he was more focused on preserving collaboration with the Venetians. However, on realizing the firm decision that Selim II took, he tried to convince him to settle the matter in a diplomatic strategy instead of using firearms. Thus, Vizier sent some of his envoys to Venice to send a petition to the Venetians for the sake of assuring them of his intentions. On the other side, the Ottoman envoy declared to the Venetians that it was not acceptable for Vizier to avoid the announcement of war since it is impossible for anyone to resist the idea of the most powerful monarch (Hadjikyriacou, 2014). The demand was met with numerous rejections by the Venetians, who requested the pope and other protestants for support and helped protect their territorial possession of Cyprus.
The pope of Rome and Phillipe II agreed to help. The latter contributed 12 warships and the former 148 (Brambilla, 2009). Despite the aid and support, this great movement, whose intention was to protect Cyprus from being conquered by the Ottoman Empire, failed because of bad organizations and disputes that arose. In addition, Sultan Salim II had already armed and prepared himself and his troops to be ready for war. He allocated military commanding to fleet Admiral Piali and Lala, Mustafa, who were mandated with organizing the movements against Cyprus.
In 1570, the first collection of Ottoman fleet warships was flagged off from Constantinople, with commander Pasha heading the troop (Jennings, 1993). This showed how ready they were to conquer the island. They were destined to take over the island of Cyprus no matter what they would encounter along the way. The Ottoman fleet’s 30 galleys and 80 galliots attempted unproductively to besiege the Tinos that the Venetians heavily occupied. Lala Mustafa also came in with another cluster of warships from Constantinople to join the Ottoman fleet, awaiting him at Rhodes. This occurred in early June, while the land forces of the Ottoman were mustering the minor coastal regions of Asia that were directly opposite Cyprus so that they wait for transportation into the island. The first successful attempt happened towards the end of June on the North West costs of Cyprus Island.
The commander who led the first landing decided that his team was the one to carry out a combat action, particularly in the Lara area, on the Pafos’ southeastern region (Hurewitz, 1961). According to Calepio, this information was familiar with the events that led to the occupation of the islands by the Ottoman Empire. The troops were then forced to go into battle even after being overwhelmed and attacked by an army of soldiers commanded by Petros.
At the beginning of July, a fleet let by the Ottoman Empire gathered opposite the Lemesos coast. Still, their landing was hindered by the troop which Vincent Mali Piero and Rontakis commanded. Despite the hindrance on the advancement of the Ottoman, a part of Polemida village up to Lemesos was ablaze with fire. Another fleet that was transporting the troops arrived at the bay of Larnaka since there was a lack of adequate defense, making it easier to invade the island of Cyprus (Jennings, 1993). Regarding the invasion, the leaders who were fighting back the Ottomans during the siege were taken to a captive, but they managed to escape safely to Venice after the conquest of Cyprus. One of them was Sozomenti, who claimed that the landing of the troops on the island could cause more damage to the rivals, and it was too late for them to make any changes in their plan. His admission demonstrated that most people were only interested in defending Famagusta and Lefkosia, especially the Venetians, whose objective was to leave the rest of Cyprus Island to the authority of the invaders giving them more power and a straightforward approach to conquering the region.
More so, the Salines zone was utilized by Mustafa to form a site that would be used by ottoman to plan and organize military operations for the complete defeat of Cyprus. The region was also used in gathering the military that was arriving from Asia to help in the battle of conquering Cyprus. In addition, the whole troop of the Ottoman Empire succeeded a complete landing on the island towards the end of July. They were mandated to go around Cyprus to send a message to the people that they should submit themselves to the Ottoman (Aksakal, 2011). However, some of the individuals rejected the submission, and the troops were instructed to set fire to Stavrovouni monastery and loot areas around Larnaka to serve as a warning. The concept created tension among the people of Lefkara village, who were forced to submit to be offered some false civil rights. This facilitated an easy invasion of the Ottoman Empire into the Cyprus island, thus providing them with a better opportunity of conquering the island.
Condition of Cyprus Before the Conquest
Cyprus was in the governance of Venetians who had possessed the island during the 15th century, just before the Ottomans’ occupation during the 16th century. During the regime of Venetian control, the island of Cyprus was under a unique and effective authority that always ensure they impose an enhanced command during the Frankish rule. Moreover, the region had been under the honor of Cairo’s Sultan in the 15th century (Brambilla, 2009). Therefore, the Venetians were required to admit the responsibility of paying yearly honor to the Egyptians until the 16th century. Egypt was then defeated by Sultan Salim I, who forced the Venetians to accord acknowledgment to Constantinople.
The Plan of Ottoman for Cyprus
The intent of the Ottoman Empire to conquer Cyprus had been with them even before the island was occupied by The Venetians. In 1488, Bayacint II accompanied a convoy to overcome Famagusta, but his effort was challenged because of the favorable involvement that was with the Venetians (Libby, 1978). However, they remained close to Cyprus to attack the island with better strategies of defeating the Venetians. In 1517, the condition of affairs transformed into being riskier when Sultan Selim I conquered Egypt, a region already secured by the Venetians. In 1539, the Ottoman fleet organized a severe attack to destroy the declining city of Lemesos. It gave a better opportunity for Selim II to incorporate Cyprus into the Ottoman Empire by conquering it after ascending into power.
Venetians Defensive Tactic for Cyprus Island
In as much as Ottoman had so much interest in Cyprus Island, Venetians had great worries; hence they introduced numerous measures that will help them protect their territory. However, the measures implemented were not very operative since they were so reluctant to inject more funds into the island’s protection. Nevertheless, they tried to emphasize protecting part of the borders towards the end of their power through a special consideration focused on fortifying the axis of Famagusta, Kyrenia, and Lefkosia (Hadjikyriacou, 2014). The innovative defensive measure deployed on the city of Lefkosia was mandated to the Venetian engineer Savorniano who was required to execute as a commander. Defending the boundaries began in 1567 but failed because the Ottoman army performed their first attack while they were unaware (Libby, 1978). Therefore, they decided to protect Kyrenia while living the rest of Cyprus to remain without a proper defensive mechanism. The Venetians implemented the same strategy for the forts of Larnaka, Pafos, and Lemesos because of their inability to manage the defenses and insufficient money to maintain the boundaries. Another major problem they had that led to their failure of protecting the forts is a lack of trust towards the Cypriots, who were uncertain of their military presence and aid during the battle of safeguarding the island.
Reason for Ottoman Conquering Cyprus
Ottoman had numerous motives to their interest in conquering Cyprus. Angelo Calepio, who was considered the religious leader of Saint Dominic, documented some aspects that facilitated the interest of the Ottoman Empire in beating Cyprus (Hadjikyriacou, 2014). According to the monk, their primary motive is to be famous and considered more potent than other Empires besides the divine permission, differences of religion, diabolic suggestion, and their high appetite to have an additional territory to their Empire.
Conquering Cyprus would provide better opportunities for financial advances to the Empire since during the same period, Europeans from the western part of the island were required to vacate the eastern Mediterranean. In addition, the most crucial strategy of Cyprus, which was located on the east side of the Mediterranean, was under the sway of the Venetians, thus giving tension to the Ottomans (Brambilla, 2009). Europeans also wanted to turn the island into their military base. The Ottoman Empire realized it would challenge them towards losing their territorial borders since the ground would be situated at a strategic position (Jennings, 1993). Religious motives also contributed to their interest in conquering the island since they wanted to ensure that they are superior in all aspects that will derail their success. Moreover, their success in defeating the island of Cyprus was facilitated by their reliable naval power.
Ottomans Empire Naval Power
Ottoman naval power was very effective from 1520 to 1570. It started with creating a powerful navy in a short time through ships that had special sailing techniques. The Ottoman naval supremacy in the 16th century was mainly due to technological developments, particularly advances in ship design and gunnery (Aksakal, 2011). At the same time, it should be noted that geographical issues played an important role as well, with many parts of Europe being too far from Ottoman territory for them to exert maritime pressure without risking significant losses continuously.
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Besides, the overland campaigns aided naval aggression into being the most powerful compared to those of other Empires. As Byzantine forts and ports were often the targets of Ottoman raids, the Ottomans created a network of coastal forts to protect shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. This relatively quick expansion of Ottoman naval power can be understood because after Sultan Beyazid I died, his son Selim I replaced him as Sultan only three years later. Turkish military expeditions were also launched from Anatolia into lands that are now part of Greece, Macedonia, Crete, and southern Italy during the 16th century.
The Ottoman Empire, which was developing rapidly economically, militarily, and culturally, had built a powerful fleet in the 15th century to expand its territory in Anatolia and the Aegean Sea. The chief architect of Ottoman maritime power was Admiral Kemal Reis, who learned about naval techniques from his travels in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1475, he oversaw the construction of Bursa Ulucami (Jennings, 1993) at a dockyard near Bursa because it was the only building that could house his amassed boats. At this time, the sea walls of Bursa were heavily guarded to prevent unwanted people from entering or leaving the city.
The Ottoman fleet was mainly based in the eastern Mediterranean, used primarily as an instrument of naval aggression. For this reason, in 1475, Kemal Reis moved his fleet to Archangel and ordered him to attack the city with cannons after fending off an attack by the Livonian Knights. In 1476 the Ottomans took control of the Aegean Sea forts around Adalia, Limni, Chios, and Mytilene (Hadjikyriacou, 2014). The following year they captured Tripoli after a long siege. They also captured Cyprus from Venice in 1474 but let it go after receiving a large sum of money and help from Egypt in 1480.
In addition, the Ottoman Empire has often been hailed as one of the finest navies in history, and it is true. The Ottomans were the only maritime power to maintain a standing professional navy until the early 20th century. The Empire boasted itself as a “ship-of-the-line” and had a wider variety of ships than any other navy on earth. At the height of its naval superiority, it held mastery over the entire Mediterranean. The Ottoman Navy was able to accomplish this by using an integrated approach that relied on a combination of naval and land warfare, well-trained personnel, extensive training, and a concerted effort to build up its fleet from scratch. The first half of the 17th century was when the navy was placed at the forefront of Ottoman military operations, and it started to build ships by European standards (Brambilla, 2009).
Although the long-standing naval power during the mid of 16th century, maritime primacy gradually supplemented the efficiency of the marine power in the eastern and western ends of the Mediterranean Sea. This led to Ottoman power that was situated in the levant to overwhelm the last remainders of Byzantium. Moreover, Spain in the 16th century also became an international power with commercial and security interests crossing large stretches forming a new geographical dispersion of the economic opportunities and military responsibilities, increasing the presence and power of the naval. However, it had some major competitors, such as the Ottoman Empire and France, based along the Mediterranean Sea but with a position of secondary power (Hadjikyriacou, 2014). The competitor’s main agenda was to support and enhance commercial activities instead of putting more interest in acquiring territorial borders.
Ottoman Naval Sailing Ships
When the Turks landed in Asia from the eastern side of the island and realized maritime life, they also became conversant with the marine culture of the Mediterranean, which their predecessors had created. The navy of the Ottoman Empire was based on the customs of Islamic warriors and faith famously known as the ghazi, whose presence was heavily felt in the western Anatolia maritime since the beginning of the 14th century (Jennings, 1993). After settling in the eastern side of Europe, they implemented a powerful fleet and shipyard facilities intending to control the Dardanelles and coast of the Marmara Sea.
They later became the most powerful naval army in the Mediterranean region in the early period of the 16th century. This was because of the maritime policies initiated by Sultan Mehmed II, who continued serving during Beyazid II. Akkerman and Kili, which were the most significant ports in the coastal lines, attracted the attention of the Ottoman Empire, who had the intentions of setting up their fleet to facilitate a smooth transition of their trade on the northern and southern coast and have full authority of the ports (Brambilla, 2009). After they secured the dock, they needed a better strategy that will help maintain the coastal line of both ports; hence their engineers went back to the Mediterranean to build ships and develop navy yards. The structures of their ships were imitated from the Venetian styles who had galleons and oared fighting ships that were perceived to be more powerful than any other naval army.
During the regime of Sultan Bayezid II, there were two vital conflicts of the Ottoman in the sea: one was against Portugal, and the other against Spain, which had conquered ports in the Indian ocean and the red sea. By the end of the 15th century, there was a significant number of Ottoman pirates along the Mediterranean coast with no certified titles but collaborated with the Ottoman naval army to aid in their operations. The pirates were referred to as the Levent since they combined their power and instruments to facilitate the strength of the naval power (Libby, 1978). They collaborated in 1327 to build the first Ottoman shipyard at the bay of Izmit, leading to the development of Istanbul as the base of the Ottoman navy and command center of their government.
The Devshirme System
The increase of military requirements in the naval power of the Ottoman Empire forced Sultan Murad II to acquire more people who would aid him in fighting his rivals. It drove him to seek more civil servants, administrative, and massive loyal army that was efficient in executing orders under his command. In 1420, he formed and implemented the taxation of humans called the Devshirme, whereby young males were handed over to become the property of the Sultan.
Examiners stated that the system was enacted to remove the dangers from the leader and help him maintain his family in the lineage of military kingship (Aksakal, 2011). However, it contradicted the Muslim laws and culture since it required the person to safeguard Christians throughout his regime. This led to protest by the Muslim community, who formed a constitution that aimed at helping the Ottomans naval power overthrow the existence of the current government through aiding in the construction of the naval ships and gun powders.
Ottoman’s Conquest of the Island in the 16th Century Help Shape Turkey’s Foreign Policy
The Ottoman’s Empire foreign relations were linked with the Persian Empire to the east and Europe to the west. Moreover, the Ottoman Empire made sure that it had many allies to continue making its rule over the world for many centuries until the late 19th century when it collapsed (Aksakal, 2011). In addition, the rise of the nationalism concept in the early 20th century under the Ottoman Empire leadership lead to the loss of many crucial allies. First, it began with the Austria-Hungary territory, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bulgarian territory. Thus, by the time the Ottoman entered the first world war, it had already lost the most important Arab lands who acted as military support.
Ottoman Diplomatic Structure
Ottoman Empire relied on the unconventional type of foreign relations separate from those of its counterparts, such as the European. Moreover, the Reis Ul-Kuttab was the chief clerk who was constitutionally mandated to conduct the Ottomans’ foreign affairs. However, the creation of foreign ministry in 1836 made the Ottoman council amend the constitution by leaving all the foreign affairs issues to the foreign ministry, unlike in the past (Aksakal, 2011). Therefore, the change in the laws suggested various structures within the foreign relations catalog for the foreign ministry to consider when signing any international treaty.
Ambassadors’ appointment in the Ottoman Empire was limited and temporary, which was contrary to the resident ambassadors appointed by the European countries. The Ottoman sent about 145 temporary ambassadors or envoys to Venice in 1384 and 1600 (Hurewitz, 1961). But the first resident Ottoman ambassador never returned to the Empire until 1798 when Yusuf Agah was sent to look for them in London. Moreover, after the fall of Constantinople, the Ottoman’s ambassador began returning, with the first one being Bartelemi Marcello from Venice. The role of the ambassadors was to ensure that the Dutch ambassador Cornelius Haga did not support capitulations in 1612. Thus, the part of the ambassadors was to act as peacekeepers and Ottoman representatives in their respective allies or territories.
Europe and Ottoman Empire Relations
The Ottoman Empire appreciated the European state system for its critical role in their foreign affairs, which led to coterminous durations of massive developments within the region. Moreover, towards the end of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire revived its interest, mainly contributing to the Italian peninsula incident (Hurewitz, 1961). For instance, in 1494, the kingdom of Naples and Papacy petitioned the Sultan directly for having been involved in helping Charles VIII of France during the first Italian war. Therefore, the Ottoman’s Empire policy towards Europe in the 16th century was much of a disruption against the Habsburg ruling.
Furthermore, the Ottomans decided to collaborate with Francis 1 of France with the help of other protestant allies in the 1530s to end the Habsburg dynasty ruling in the 16th century. Even though the French had earlier sought the Ottoman’s alliance in 1531, the deal was not official until 1536 where the Sultan decided to offer the French freedom of trade in and out of the Empire. Through the trade freedom offered to France by the Sultan, the two allies came up with plans and strategies for invading Italy from south and north in 1537 (Hurewitz, 1961). Later, Francis 1 admitted to the Venetian ambassador that Ottoman Empire would stop Charles V, the Roman emperor, from the spread of Habsburg dominion in the European Empire.
However, by the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire began to grow weaker. In contrast, one of its allies, Britain, began to grow stronger and became the protector of the Ottoman Empire by fighting the 1850s Crimean war (Aksakal, 2011). Moreover, the famous three British leaders played a critical role in the Crimean war because they considered the Ottoman Empire the central and essential factor in the balance of authority concerning Constantinople’s perspective. For instance, William Gladstone, in the 1870s, was responsible for mobilizing a Concert of Europe which was intended to protect and support the Ottoman Empire’s ruling (Aksakal, 2011). Other rulers such as Salisbury engaged in orderly dismemberment, which was geared towards reducing the great rivalry piling up between the more extraordinary powers in the world.
United Kingdom-Turkey Relations
The British-turkey relationship is international relations between the United Kingdom of Northern Ireland and Great Britain with that of the Republic of Turkey. Moreover, the two nations have been involved in several wars, such as within World War 1. For instance, Turkey strengthened their foreign relations with the United Kingdom during the Crimean war since both powers had the long-term interest to protect. Thus, the United Kingdom and Turkey maintain their connections through the British embassy in Ankara and the Turkish embassy within London.
Also, there is maintaining a good relationship between the United Kingdom and Turkey through bilateral relations. Moreover, there have been various exchange visits among the two countries’ leaders between 1967, 1988,1971, and 2008 (Aksakal, 2011). For instance, Turkish president Cevdet Sunay was the first turkey president to visit the United Kingdom palace in 1967, followed by president Kenan Evren in 1988. In return queen, Elizabeth visited Tukey in 1971 and 2008 to appreciate the Turkish contribution towards the economic and social development of the United Kingdom since the start of their bilateral relations (Aksakal, 2011). Further, both of the nations, Turkey and Britain, belong to the G20 forum, and this has made Britain help and support Turkish accession to the European Union.
After the First World War Palestine broke up shortly from the Ottoman Empire but, through the treaty of Lausanne in 1923, officially resolved the dispute (Hurewitz, 1961). Palestine was among the first allies to become part of the Ottoman Empire. Still, due to some international misunderstandings among the Ottoman partners, Palestine had to break off during the First World War. The British had established its initial intention of supporting the development of the Jewish homeland during the 1917 Balfour declaration (Hurewitz, 1961). However, the British had been in previous discussions with the Hashemite family in the Hussein- McMahon Correspondence concerning having an independent Arab state.
In addition, most of the talks concerning an independent Arab state remained vague and inconclusive; still, it comprised Britain’s support of the independent Arab state in return for a successful Arab revolution in the First World War. Therefore, Britain contributed heavily to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire military in 1917 by having French and British forces occupying the more significant part of Syria and Sinai hence making Palestine remain under British rule during the first world war (Hurewitz, 1961).
Trade Relations Between the Ottoman Empire and The United Kingdom
When it comes to importation United Kingdom falls in second place of biggest Turkish importer of products after Germany. Moreover, Turkey exports approximately eight percent of its total commodities to the United Kingdom. For instance, around 2,000,000 Britons take trips to turkey for holidays, whereas about 10,000 Turks visit the United Kingdom for pleasure and business purposes (Aksakal, 2011). Also, the Turkish absorption into the European Union has been because of the United Kingdom’s effort to support its ideas and other projects that benefit the whole region. However, the UK’s Brexit has also affected the general United Kingdom-Turkish relations because some of the trade terms are strict and do not support the usual trade agreements between the two nations. Therefore, the trade relations between the United Kingdom and turkey have made the nations to be the fifth and the eighteenth largest global economies consecutively.
The Cyprus Disputes
At the outset of the Great War, United Kingdom decided to annex Cyprus as a British colony in 1914 after being leased by the Ottoman Empire in 1878. Moreover, to continue with the strong relations between the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire, Britain decided to embark their sovereign troop base regions on the Cyprus island after its independence in 1960 (Aksakal, 2011). Also, during the orchestrated coup d’état by the army junta of Greece to unify the mainland and the island, Turkey decided to interfere with the process by invading the island to rescue about a quarter of the Cyprus population. The population had been expelled from the northern region of the island to be resided by Greek Cypriots. Further, after the Turkish government had resolved the dispute, the same incident happened to about 60,000 Turkish Cypriots being displaced from the south to the north of the island (Hurewitz, 1961). Therefore, the participation of the United Kingdom and Turkey in the partition of Cyprus led to the declaration of independence in 1983, with Greece being signatories to the Treaty of Guarantee.
Reclamation of the Ottoman Empire by The New Turkish Map
Turkey’s new map has led to various conflicts between Baghdad and Ankara when it comes to the Turkish government’s role in the liberation relation of Mosul. According to president Recap Tayyip the Treaty of Lausanne was unethical when creating the current borderlines of turkey because it left the nation small (Hurewitz, 1961). Moreover, the president emphasized the nation’s interest when it comes to the Turkish minorities who are living beyond the Turkey borders concerning the historical claims on Mosul where there is an established military base of turkey. Besides, Turkish jets have been linked with several bombings of the Kurdish forces in Syria has made Turkey’s pro-government media bring amendments to Turkey’s map with new, improved borders.
Further plans have been made to stop Turkey from annexing a section of Iraq in modern society. Moreover, the combination of rhetoric and irredentist cartography provides some changes in Turkey’s current foreign and domestic policies regarding Ankara’s reputation or self-image. Also, Turkey’s new map reveals the continued significance of Turkish nationalism, which incorporates a long-standing component of the nation’s statecraft which is reinvigorated with few revised amendments of religion. However, suppose the past continues to act as an indication of military confrontation and interventions within the state. In that case, the Turkish nationalism inspiration might interfere or threaten the already regional and security standing of turkey (Libby, 1978). Thus, the Turkish interest in Mosul has made Erdogan rely on sectarian, ethnic, and historical rationales to urge Russia and the United States to continue offering support even if they are not strongly connected politically.
Ottoman Empire conquest of Cyprus in the 16th century was a success due to numerous factors despite its downfall after the 156th century. The naval power and the aspects also aided in shaping the foreign policies in Turkey today. More so, the Ottoman Empire made determined performance to ensure they have a naval power that was effective compared to another during their regime so that they can stand out as the most powerful government and protect its citizens. Venetians who tried to fight back the Ottoman Empire and stop them from taking over the Cyprus Island were faced with a more significant challenge since they had fewer people to support their objective of fighting back a more equipped kingdom with knowledge and instruments. Therefore, Venice decided to collaborate with the Ottoman Empire to get some benefits of the island, such as the cloth trade and spice, which was the economic aspect that sustains most island regions.
The signing of the collaboration deal was the official motive that facilitated the fall of Cyprus in the 16th century, leaving the Venetians with no benefits. The conquest of Cyprus further enhanced the establishment of the competition for the Mediterranean with the proper utilization of naval power. Therefore, the conquest of the ottoman in Cyprus generated numerous negative and positive aspects, as highlighted in the research paper. Besides, their strong naval power facilitated the major confidence that enhanced a better foundation that led to them overthrowing the Venetians.
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