Ask the Turks and they will say they committed mass-suicide.
Beheaded for Refusing to Convert to Islam: Pope Canonizes Hundreds of 15th-Century Martyrs
The “Martyrs of Otranto” were 813 Italians slain in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel to renounce Christianity.–ReadÂ MoreÂ Â»
In 1480, after conquering Constantinople – modern day Istanbul – the Ottoman Sultan Mohammed II planned to invade Rome, and Otranto became his army’s port of entrance into Italy.
The local population fought back in a week-long siege, putting up a brave but hopeless resistance. When Ottoman soldiers finally overrun the town, they were ordered to kill every man over the age of 15 who refused to convert to Islam.
More than 800 resisted, locking themselves up into the town’s Cathedral. Their ringleader, local shoemaker Antonio Primaldo, was first to be beheaded. AccordingÂ to local legend, his headless body remained standing until the last of his fellow townspeople was killed.