Before Turkey became a modern nation state, it was the ruled by the Ottoman Empire, a large multinational empire that stretched across the Balkans from the Adriatic Sea through Asia Minor to the Arabian Peninsula and across to North Africa. Turkey's first stamps were issued in 1863 under the Ottoman Empire.
The first issue’s features a "tughra," or emblem of the ruler Sultan Abdul-Aziz. A 20-para Tughra, Monogram of Sultan Abdul-Azia stamp is shown in Figure.
Tughras are calligraphic in appearance, looking very much like beautiful, fancy writing. Below the tughra is a crescent moon, the symbol of Turkey. Within the symbol are Turkish words "Devleti Aliye Osmaniye" in Perso-Arabic script, which translated into English means "the Sublime Ottoman Empire."
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