Ironically, one of the most Islamophobic countries in present time, France, has a long history of agreements, alliances and collaborations with Islamic powers. The most famous and well known example of this is the Franco-Ottoman alliance which lasted more than 250 years.

After the defeat of the French king Francis I by the Habsburg armies of Charles V at the field of Pavia in 1536. French kingdom found itself isolated and territorially locked between the realms of the Habsburgs, the lands of the Henry VIII in the north and the unfriendly, Habsburg dominated Burgundians in the west.

It was in this moment that the French king Francis had written a letter directed directly to Suleiman the Magnificent, asking him for an alliance. Suleiman accepted and thus the Franco-Ottoman alliance was born.

One year later, a massive Ottoman fleet commanded by the admiral Barbarossa wintered in the French city of Nica, Christian chroniclers who visited it were shocked that the churches were given to the Muslims to offer prayers and that the adhans were sounded all over the city 5 times a day.

The alliance continued for another 250 years into the future, the most notable periods being the Franco Ottoman invasion of Corsica ( and the capture of the same by the French ). Military collaboration during the famous Italian wars, raids against the Habsburg and Italian holdings by a combined Franco-Ottoman fleets and the military cooperation on the European mainland against the common adversaries.

The alliance lasted as long as the French kingdom existed. With the revolution and the establishment of the empire by Napoleon and his subsequent invasion of the Ottoman Egypt in 1798. the two and a half centuries old alliance came to an end.

The alliance was exceptional, as the first non-ideological alliance between a Christian and non-Christian state, and caused a scandal in the Christian world. Carl Jacob Burckhardt called it “the sacrilegious union of the lily and the crescent”.

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