Geography was […] a science of which the statesmen and admirals of the Ottoman Empire remained abysmally ignorant. There is a legend of an Ottoman admiral who was sent out with orders to capture Malta and who returned to Constantinople, after cruising round the Mediterranean for many weeks, to report “Malta yoq” […].
In contrast, one supposes, with the Arab statesmen and admirals who had preceded them. No source stated.
A Study of History, Vol III, OUP, 1934 (footnote)