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Following the taking of Constantinople and Greece with the help of cannon in the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks had begun to raise modern-styled armies with firearms. These units were the terror of Europe, and were also highly skilled in their trade. Although the Ottomans were enthusiasts of gunpowder, records of how exactly effective they were as regards to other remains debatable: some say that Turkish gunpowder was of better quality than that produced in the West; accounts coming from Europe however dismiss the effectiveness of Ottoman guns, stating that it was the skill of their gunners that mattered more.

What is definitely established is that this mastery of artillery and a strategic position in the Middle East ensured that the Ottoman dynasts would be able to project their power from the Atlantic all the way to Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa well until the 19th century, when Western rifled guns and steamships could out-perform smoothbore cannon and galleys.

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