Defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
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The period of defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908–1922) began with the Second Constitutional Era, a moment of hope and promise established with the Young Turk Revolution. It restored the Ottoman constitution of 1876 and brought in multi-party politics with a two stage electoral system (electoral law) under the Ottoman parliament. The constitution offered hope by freeing the empire’s citizens to modernize the state’s institutions, rejuvenate its strength, and enable it to hold its own against outside powers. Its guarantee of liberties promised to dissolve inter-communal tensions and transform the empire into a more harmonious place.
Instead, this period became the story of the twilight struggle of the Empire. The last of Ottoman censuses performed with the 1914 census. Ottoman military reforms resulted with the Ottoman Modern Army which engaged with Italo-Turkish War (1911), Balkan Wars (1912-1913), and continuous unrest (Counter coup followed by restoration and Saviors followed by Raid on Porte) in the Empire up to the war to end all wars. Ottoman entry into World War I in the Middle Eastern theatre ended with the partition of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. This treaty, as designed in the conference of London, gave a nominal land and permitted the title Ottoman Caliphate (compared with Vatican; an sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the Pope), not to be a further threat but just powerful enough to protect Britain from the Khilafat Movement.
The occupation of Constantinople along with the occupation of İzmir mobilized the Turkish national movement which won the Turkish War of Independence. The formal abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate was performed by Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 1 November 1922. The sultan was declared persona non grata from the lands that Ottoman Dynasty ruled since 1299. The last of the line born under the Ottoman Empire was extinguished with the death of Ertuğrul Osman on 23 September 2009.
- 1 Main Issues of the period
- 2 The Second Constitutional Era 1908-1920
- 2.1 1908–1909 Abdul Hamid II
- 2.2 1909–1918 Mehmet V
- 2.2.1 Constitution, Alliance, Political situation, 1910-1911
- 2.2.2 Italian War, 1911
- 2.2.3 Elections, political situation, 1912
- 2.2.4 Balkan Wars, 1912–1913
- 2.2.5 Political situation, 1913
- 2.2.6 Cession of Kuwait and Albania, 1913
- 2.2.7 Elections, census, political situation, 1914
- 2.2.8 World War I
- 2.3 1918–1922 Mehmet VI
- 3 Partitioning
- 4 End of Empire
- 5 See Also
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Main Issues of the period
The 19th century saw the rise of nationalism in the Balkans which resulted in the establishment of an independent Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. However neatly the process of Ottoman disintegration may have played out on the maps, it inflicted death, pain, and misery on the populations who lived on the landscapes those maps represented. As the empire quickly disintegrated the Ottoman subjects (generally Muslim members of millet) found themselves between nationalistic states. Ottoman Muslims also lacked the knowledge that gave Christian powers and peoples technological superiority for reducing mortality rates and contributing to a Christian demographic boom. The persecution of Ottoman Muslims refers to the persecution, massacre, or ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Muslims by non-Muslim ethnic groups during the dissolution. Most of the local Muslims in these countries suffered. Many died during the conflicts and others fled. The persecution of Muslims continued into World War I by the invading Russian troops in the Caucuses and south of Anatolia. During these centuries many Muslim refugees, called Muhacir, settled in what was to become the Republic of Turkey after the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire.
Ottomanism a viable solution?
The Ottoman Empire was out of its time like the other multi-national, multi-religious empires in Europe which, with the rise of nationalism in Europe was dominated by nation states. Through its life Ottoman Empire created and kept a “belt of mixed population” extending from Europe into the Near East. The Ottoman Empire differed in that its ruling class made no attempt to integrate conquered peoples culturally. Why was toleration of other religions necessary to the Ottomans? The sultans had no-policy of converting the non-Muslims of the Balkans or Anatolia into Islam (their policy was to rule through the Millet system which was the confessional community [a]) or converting them to single nation; the idea of nationality simply did not exist. It was in the interest of the Empire to be tolerant of other religions. Phanariots were members of the prominent Greek families, who came to traditionally occupy major positions in the Empire. An Ottoman Greek, a Christian, had a major position in the Ottoman Empire, could reach to such a position any other state of its time? See list of Ottoman Grand Viziers, de facto prime minister, which includes ethnic origins.
The Empire never integrated its conquests economically and therefore never established a binding link with its subjects. During decline and modernization of the Ottoman Empire (1828–1908) tried to catch up with the industrial capitalism and a rapidly emerging world market by reforming their own state and society. Ottomanism was a concept proponents believed that it could solve the social issues. Ottomanism was strongly influenced by thinkers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau and the French Revolution. It promoted the equality among the millets. The idea originated among the Young Ottomans as an acceptance of all separate ethnicities, and religion, as Ottomans. Ottomanism stated that all subjects were equal before the law. It seems as though reform alone could not stave off the fatal day as already some of the Ottoman Christians — the Greeks, Bulgars and Serbs saw a rosier future in their own national states before this period began.
Major changes were introduced into the structure of the Empire. The essence of the Millet system was not dismantled, but secular organizations and policies were applied. Primary education and Ottoman conscription were to be applied to non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
Ottoman Jews subscribed to the idea of ‘Ottomanism.’ Ottoman Jews held prominent positions in the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) even after the 1908 Young Turk revolution. Just until the end (that is partitioning of the Empire), many of them saw a homeland within the Empire as the best guarantor of their security.
The Second Constitutional Era 1908-1920
Sultan Abdul Hamid in 1876, more than 3 decades ago, established the constitutional monarchy, First Constitutional Era, only to last for two years before suspended. In July 1908, the Young Turk Revolution changed the political structure of the Empire. Young Turks rebelled against the absolute rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II to establish the Second Constitutional Era ushering a multi-party democracy. On 24 July 1908, Sultan Abdul Hamid II capitulated and announced the restoration.
Young Turk movement members once underground (named committee, group, etc.) established (declared) their parties. Among them “Committee of Union and Progress” (CUP), and “Freedom and Accord Party” also known as the Liberal Union or Liberal Entente (LU) were major parties. There were smaller parties such as Ottoman Socialist Party. On the other end of the spectrum were ethnic parties which included; People's Federative Party (Bulgarian Section), Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs, Jewish Social Democratic Labour Party in Palestine (Poale Zion), Al-Fatat (also known as the Young Arab Society; Jam’iyat al-’Arabiya al-Fatat), Ottoman Party for Administrative Decentralization, and Armenians organized under Armenakan, Hunchakian and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).
At the onset; there was a unification theme, and the groups which fought against each other wished to salvage a common country. The heads of the Macedonian bands (IMRO) fraternized with the members of the "CUP"; Greeks and Bulgarians embraced one another under the second biggest party, the "LU". The Bulgarian federalist wing welcomed the revolution, and they later joined mainstream political life as the People's Federative Party (Bulgarian Section). The former centralist of the IMRO formed the Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs, and, like the PFP, they participated in Ottoman general election, 1908. The system became multiple headed old and new living together, (until CUP became sole controller in 1913), under the chaos of change, the power exercised without responsibility (no accountability).
1908–1909 Abdul Hamid II
Abdulhamid’s reign created new economic and infrastructural enterprises (insurance companies and banks, ports and railways) but when looked closely they were foreign owned or sometimes in partnership with Ottoman non—Muslims. His period marked with high-cost of servicing the Government debt. The debt was administered by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration and its power extended to the Imperial Ottoman Bank (had powers of modern Central Banks). Government debt was administered by a council of seven, of whom five members were foreign. His period had the economic crises of the nineteenth century (the Long Depression was a worldwide economic recession), and aggressive exploitation and tutelage on the part of industrializing states the Empire became a semi-colonial state.
Election, parliament, dissatisfaction, 1908
A desire to preserve the state, not destroy it, motivated the revolutionaries. The theme of unification did not last long. The reasons for this, at least what the committees felt, under a parliamentary framework, that the “oppressive” practices of the government were likely to change. Once the enthusiasm had passed with little progress, dissatisfaction with the new regime became evident as early as 1909. The newly established political system assumed that the citizens of the Empire could unite under one flag representing Ottomanism. The process of replacing the monarchic institutions with constitutional institutions and electoral policies was neither as simple nor as bloodless as the regime change itself. The periphery of the Empire continued to splinter under the pressures of local revolutions. Also a chain of rebellions will burst by tribal leaders in Eastern Anatolia who rightfully feared for the loss of the privileges they bad held under the old regime. Due to Abdul Hamid's policies, equilibrium between Muslims and Christians was impossible to reach. Overburdened with religious and ethnic strife, the new government had little ability to solve the problems of the empire.
Summer of 1908 a variety of political proposals were put forward by the CUP. The CUP’s desire for modernization of the state by reforming finance and education and promoting public works and agriculture, and the principles of equality and justice revealed during this time. These were in CUP's election manifesto. Regarding nationalism, (Armenian, Kurd Turkic..) CUP identified itself as the properly “dominant nation” [compared to ethnic nation] around which the empire should be organized, and not [unlike] the position of Germans in Austria-Hungary.’  Only a small minority in the Empire occupied themselves with Turkism. CUP was there to save the empire and state, not dismantle it and assert Turkism. Ottoman general election, 1908, parliamentary elections, held in October and November 1908. CUP-sponsored candidates were opposed by the LU. LU became a center for those hostile to the CUP. Sabaheddin Bey, who returned from his long exile presented his view that in non-homogeneous provinces a decentralized government was best. LU was poorly organized in the provinces, and failed to convince many minority candidates that they should contest the election under LU banner; it also failed to tap into the continuing support for the old regime in less developed areas.
During September 1908 the Hejaz Railway opened, which the construction started in 1900. This was an big achievement. Ottoman rule firmly reestablished in the Hijaz and Yemen after the railroad from Damascus to Medina. Historically Arabia’s interior was mostly shaped by playing one tribal group off against another. As the railroad finished, Walihabi Islamic fundamentalists reasserted themselves under the political leadership of ‘Abd al—Aziz ihn Saud.
The remaining Christian communities of Balkans did not feel that the CUP any longer represented their aspirations. They heard the CUP's arguments before under the Tanzimat reforms. The fact was put as
Those in the vanguard of reform had appropriated the notion of Ottomanism, but the contradictions implicit in the practical realization of this ideology — in persuading Muslims and non-Muslims alike that the achievement of true equality between them entailed the acceptance by both of obligations as well as rights — posed CUP a problem.
The ideas (unity, equality, liberty, …) were tested before the year ended. October 1908 saw the new regime suffer a significant blow with the loss of three territories (Bulgarian, Bosnian and Cretan) over which the empire still exercised nominal sovereignty.
Cession of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Cretan, 1908
The de jure Bulgarian Declaration of Independence on 5 October [O.S. 22 September] 1908 from the Empire was proclaimed in the old capital of Tarnovo by Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who afterwards took the title "Tsar".
The Bosnian crisis on 6 October 1908, erupted when Austria-Hungary announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, territories formally within the sovereignty of the Empire. This unilateral action—timed to coincide with Bulgaria's declaration of independence (5 October) from the Empire. The Ottoman Empire protested Bulgaria with more vigor than the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which it had no practical prospects of governing. A boycott of Austro-Hungarian goods and shops did occur, inflicting commercial losses of over 100,000,000 kronen on Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary agreed to pay the Ottomans ₤2.2 million for the public land in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bulgarian independence could not be reversed.
Just after the revolution (1908), the Cretan deputies declared union with Greece by taking advantage of revolution as well as the timing of Zaimis's vacation away from the island. The 1908 left the issue unsolved between the Empire and the Cretans. In 1909, after the parliament elected the governing structure (first cabinet), majority CUP, decided that if order was maintained and the rights of Muslims were respected, the issue would be solved with negotiations.
Political situation, 1909
The Senate of the Ottoman Empire opened by Sultan on 17 December 1908. The new year began with the results of 1908 elections. Chamber of Deputies gathered on 30 January 1909. The task of stopping the collapse of the Empire became the majority seat holder CUP's burden. CUP required to have a strategy to the ends [which they lacked before the takeover] for the young ideals envisaged. The truth was different. Ottoman government was a big bureaucracy. They may be late to arrive in this stage to have an impact, as there was only four years to the destruction of the Great War and in between time constant conflicts.
In 1909, public order laws and police was not a match to the ideals represented. Protesters were prepared to risk reprisals on the part of police and soldiers in order to express their grievances. In the three months following the new regime there were more than a 100 strikes: Mainly in Capitol and Thessalonica. Estimated that three-quarters of the labor force of the Empire went on strike. CUP had little time with ‘we the people’. An interesting point was; the strikes and revolts happened before and Sultan remained above criticism (Anatolian tax revolts in 1905-7) and bureaucrats and administrators deemed corrupt. This time CUP was not immune and took the blame. In the parliament LU accused the CUP of authoritarianism. Abdul Hamid’s Grand Viziers Said and Kâmil Pasha and his Foreign Minister Tevfik Pasha continued in the office. They were now independent of the Sultan and were taking measures to strengthen the Porte against the encroachments of both the Palace and the CUP. Said and Kâmil were nevertheless men of the old regime.
After nine months into the new government, discontent found expression in a fundamentalist movement which attempted to dismantle Constitution and revert it with a monarchy. The Ottoman countercoup of 1909 gained traction when Sultan promised to restore the Caliphate, eliminate secular policies, and restore the rule of Islamic law, as the mutinous troops claimed. CUP also eliminated the time for religious observance. Unfortunately for the advocates of representative parliamentary government, mutinous demonstrations by disenfranchised regimental officers broke out on April 13, 1909, which led to the collapse of the government. On 27 April 1909 countercoup put down by "31 March Incident" using the 11th Salonika Reserve Infantry Division of the Third Army. Some of the leaders of Bulgarian federalist wing like Sandanski and Chernopeev participated in the march on Capital to depose the "attempt to dismantle constitution". Abdul Hamid II was removed from the throne, and Mehmed V became the Sultan.
Albanians and alphabet, 1909
The Albanians of Tirana and Elbassan, where the Albanian National Awakening spread, were among the first groups to join the constitutional movement. Hoping that it would gain their people autonomy within the empire. However, due to shifting national borders in the Balkans, the Albanians had been marginalized as a nationless people. The most significant factor uniting the Albanians, their spoken language, lacked a standard literary form and even a standard alphabet. Under the new regime the Ottoman ban on Albanian-language schools and on writing the Albanian language lifted. The new regime also appealed for Islamic solidarity to break the Albanians' unity and used the Muslim clergy to try to impose the Arabic alphabet. The Albanians refused to submit to the campaign to "Ottomanize" them by force. As a consequence, Albanian intellectuals meeting, the Congress of Manastir on November 22, 1908, chose the Latin alphabet as a standard script.
Armenian defense architecture, 1908-1909
ARF, previously outlawed, became the main representative of the Armenian community, replacing (though not abolished Armenian National Assembly and the Armenian National Constitution) the pre-1908 Armenian elite, which had been composed of merchants, artisans, and clerics who had seen their future in obtaining more privileges within the boundaries of the state's version of Ottomanism. In 1908, the ARF embrace a public position endorsing participation in government, reconciliation, and the abandonment of the idea of an independent Armenia. Stepan Zorian and Simon Zavarian managed political campaign for 1908 Ottoman Election. ARF field workers were dispatched to the provinces containing significant Armenian populations; for example, Drastamat Kanayan, went to Diyarbakir as a political organizer. Committee could only able to bring 10 Armenian representatives to the 288 seats in the Ottoman general election, 1908. Other 4 were from non-ethnic parties. ARF was aware that elections are shaky ground and maintained its organizational “self-defense architecture” intact and continued to smuggle arms and ammunition.
In 1909, while Istanbul dealing with the consequences of Ottoman countercoup of 1909 (April 13) an outbreak of violence, known today as the Adana Massacre, (April 1909) shook ARF-CUP relations to the core. 31 March Incident (April 24) and suppression of the Adana violence followed each other. The Ottoman authorities in Adana brought in military forces and ruthlessly stamped out both real opponents, while at the same time massacring thousands of innocent people. In July 1909, the CUP government announced the trials of various government and military officials, for "being implicated in the Armenian massacres." the Adana Massacres alarmed many of the participants of the Armenian Fifth Congress in Varna. It reaffirmed the right to self-defense and, in a positive act, decided to retain military capability stating that “in the case of danger that the ARF will enter the stage with all of its forces.
Russian advances, 1908-1909
The Russian empire inhabited the same anarchic and competitive environment as the Empire at the turn of the century. The conquest of the Caucasus protected Russia’s interior, but it put Russia in control of a troublesome borderland exposed to competitors. Russia's expanding economy heightening dependence on the Ottoman Straits for exports [as ¼ products passed through]. These two empires did not have obvious limits to their borders as the vast territories were contiguous and populations overlapped. Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, Greeks, Tatars, Caucasian Turks, Assyrians, and Cossacks among others inhabited both empires and moved back and forth between them. In basic statement, Armenians were the same Armenians on both side of the border. These heterogeneous subjects pointed in multiple directions with their identities, loyalties, and aspirations. Russian empire pursued competition through channels beyond the formal diplomacy, channels which included espionage and subversion.
The Russia's goals interacted in a particularly complex form in Eastern Anatolia, which constituted a double borderland where the two empires blurred into each. A Russia’s security dilemma realized in January 1908 on the Ottoman—Iranian border. Russia played a role (also the ARF) in Persian Constitutional Revolution just after signing Anglo-Russian Entente. The arrival of the Russians alarmed the Ottomans, in part because they had a border dispute with Iran over Kotur. The Russians’ presence also alienated local Kurds, and clashes along the border erupted. Fyodor Palitzin and Alexander Izvolsky argued for a war to fulfill “Russia’s historical goals in the Turkish East” and possibility of partitioning the Empire with Britain. The minister of the interior, Pyotr Stolypin, in the wake of Russia’s catastrophic loss to Japan, gave priority on internal reform, and quashed the calls for war.
During the public disorders of Young Turk Revolution and Ottoman countercoup of 1909 Russia considered landing troops in Istanbul. Russian military planners acted on establishing a rapid deployment force. But entertainment of this idea did not come to table after the March and later June 1911, as these military reviews finally concluded that Russia’s forces remained incapable of executing a surprise assault to seize the Istanbul.
1909–1918 Mehmet V
On 5 August 1909, the revised constitution granted by the Sultan Mehmed V. This revised constitution, as one before, proclaimed the equality of all subjects in the matter of taxes, military service (allowing Christians into the military for the first time), and political rights. The new constitution was perceived as a big step for the establishment of a common law for all subjects. The position of Sultan was greatly reduced to a figurehead, while still retaining some constitutional powers, such as the ability to declare war. The new constitution, aimed to bring more sovereignty to the public, could not address certain public services, such as the Ottoman public debt, the Ottoman Bank or Ottoman Public Debt Administration because of their international character. The same held true of most of the companies which were formed to execute public works such as Baghdad Railway, tobacco and cigarette trades of two French companies the "Regie Company", and "Narquileh tobacco".
The interstate system at the beginning of the twentieth century was a multipolar one, with no single or two states preeminent. Mukipolarity traditionally had afforded the Ottomans the ability to play off one power against the other, which they did at times with consummate skill. Initially — CUP and LU — turned to Britain. Germany had supported the Abdul Hamid II regime and acquired a strong foothold. By encouraging Britain to compete against Germany and France, Empire hoped to break France and Germany’s hold and acquire greater autonomy for the Porte. Hostility to Germany increased when her ally Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pro-Unionist Tanin went so far as to suggest that Vienna's motive in carrying out this act was to strike a blow against the constitutional regime and assist reaction in order to bring about its fall. Two prominent Unionists, Ahmed Riza and Dr Nazim, were sent to London to discuss options of cooperation with Sir Edward Grey and Sir Charles Hardinge.
Our habit was to keep our hands free, though we made ententes and friendships. It was true that we had an alliance with Japan, but it was limited to certain distant questions in the Far East.[b]
They [Ottoman delegate] replied that Empire was the Japan of the Near East (prompting to Meiji Restoration period which spanned from 1868 to 1912), and that we already had the Cyprus Convention which was still in force.
I said that they had our entire sympathy in the good work they were doing in the Empire; we wished them well, and we would help them in their internal affairs by lending them men to organize customs, police, and so forth, if they wished them.
Constitution, Alliance, Political situation, 1910-1911
Foreign Minister Tevfik s successor, Mehmed Rifat Pasha was a career diplomat. Mehmed Rifat belonged to the declining class of Turkish Muslim merchants, whose fortunes the CUP hoped to revive by instituting protectionism and abolishing the privileges of foreigners (capitulations). Nevertheless, the CUP, who were predominantly civilian, resented the intrusion of the army into government.
One way to challenge and undermine the army’s position was by attacking Germany in the press and supporting friendship with Germany’s rival, Great Britain. But neither Britain nor France responded to CUP's advance of friendship. In fact France resented the government's (Porte) desire to acquire financial autonomy.
Italian War, 1911
Italy declared war, Italo-Turkish War, on the Empire on 29 September 1911, demanding the turnover of Tripoli and Cyrenaica. The empire's response was weak so Italian forces took those areas on 5 November of that year (this act was confirmed by an act of the Italian Parliament on 25 February 1912). Although minor, the war was an important precursor of World War I as it sparked nationalism in the Balkan states.
Ottomans were losing their last directly ruled African territory. The Italians also sent weapons to Montenegro, encouraged Albanian dissidents, seized Rhodes and the other. Seeing how easily the Italians had defeated the disorganized Ottomans, the members of the Balkan League attacked the Empire before the war with Italy had ended.
On October 18, 1912, Italy and the Empire signed a treaty in Ouchy near Lausanne. Often called Treaty of Ouchy, but also named as the First Treaty of Lausanne.
Elections, political situation, 1912
The LU was in power sharing when the First Balkan War broke out in October. CUP won landslide the Ottoman general election, 1912. In this election CUP proved/developed into a real political party. Decentralization (Lu's position) was rejected and all effort was directed toward streamline of the government, streamlining the administration (bureaucracy), and strengthening the armed forces.
CUP, which got the public mandate from the electrode, did not compromise with minority parties like their predecessors (that is being Sultan Abdul Hamid) had been. The first three years of relations between the new regime and the Great Powers were demoralizing and frustrating. The Powers refused to make any concessions over the Capitulations and loosen their grip over the Empire's internal affairs.
The Italian war and the counterinsurgency operations in Albania and Yemen began to fail, a number of high-ranking military officers, who were unhappy with the counterproductive political involvement in these wars, formed a political committee in the capital. Calling itself the Group of Liberating Officers, Savior Officers , its members were committed to reducing the autocratic control wielded by the CUP over military operations. Supported by the Liberal Union in parliament, the Liberating Officers threatened violent action unless their demands were met. Sait Pasha resigned on July 17, 1912, and the government collapsed. A new government, so called the "Great government", was formed by Ahmet Muhtar Pasha. The members of the government were prestigious statesmen, technocrat government, and they easily received the vote of confidence. This CUP excluded from cabinet posts.
The 1912 Mürefte earthquake occurred causing 216 casualties on 9 August 1912. The Ottoman Aviation Squadrons established by largely under French guidance in 1912 . Squadrons were established in a short time as Louis Blériot and the Belgian pilot Baron Pierre de Caters performed the first flight demonstration in the Empire on 2 December 1909.
Balkan Wars, 1912–1913
The three new Balkan states formed at the end of the 19th century and Montenegro, sought additional territories from the Albania, Macedonia, and Thrace regions, behind their nationalistic arguments. The incomplete emergence of these nation-states on the fringes of the Empire during the nineteenth century set the stage for the Balkan Wars. On 10 October 1912 the collective note of the powers was handed. CUP responded to demands of European powers on reforms in Macedonia on 14 October. Before further action could be taken war broke out.
While Powers were asking Empire to reform Macedonia, under the encouragement of Russia, a series of agreements were concluded: between Serbia and Bulgaria in March 1912, between Greece and Bulgaria in May 1912, and Montenegro subsequently concluded agreements between Serbia and Bulgaria respectively in October 1912. The Serbian-Bulgarian agreement specifically called for the partition of Macedonia which resulted in the First Balkan War. A nationalist uprising broke out in Albania, and on 8 October, the Balkan League, consisting of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria, mounted a joint attack on the Empire, starting the First Balkan War. The strong march of the Bulgarian forces in Thrace pushed the Ottoman armies to the gates of Istanbul. The Second Balkan War soon followed. Albania declared independence on 28 November.
It is not possible to understand CUP policy and behavior after 1913 without realizing what a traumatic effect the Balkan Wars had. Empire had lost the very lands that had provided the life-blood for centuries. Empire agreed to a ceasefire on 2 December, and its territory losses were finalized in 1913 in the treaties of London and Bucharest. Albania became independent, and the Empire lost almost all of its European territory (Kosovo, Sanjak of Novi Pazar, Macedonia and western Thrace) to the four allies. Loss of 83 percent of their European territory and almost 70 percent of their European population.
Inter-communal conflicts, 1911–1913
Balkan Wars did not only happen as a regular warfare. In the two-year period between September 1911 and September 1913 ethnic cleansing sent hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees, or as known as muhacir, streaming into the Empire, adding yet another economic burden and straining the social fabric. During the wars, food shortages and hundreds of thousands of refugees haunted the empire. After the war there was an violent expel of the Muslim peasants of eastern Thrace.
The Ottoman refugees had their blood shed, homes burned, and families expelled from their birthplaces because as Muslims they were judged to be without legitimate claim to their birth lands in the age of nation-states. When, destitute and embittered, they arrived in what was supposed to be their land, Anatolia, they encountered in Istanbul and along the Aegean coast prosperous communities of Christians, especially Greeks whose fellow co-religionists push them out from their land preventing them mending the grand-grand-grand fathers graves, causing their resentment to burn more intensely. Most of the Young Turks lost their homes during the conflicts, a famous one was Mustafa Kemal who was colonel at the time. In his private letters of Enver expressed his anger over the “pitiless” slaughter of Muslims, even “children, young girls, the elderly, women.” Calling the Balkan Wars the “latest Crusade,” a future foreign minister Halil Bey (Mentese), addressed to the parliament with an impassioned and militant call not to forget the Balkan lands. One lesson the CUP understood from the Balkan Wars and blood of innocent Muslim lost was that the Balkan lands with their Christian populations were irretrievably lost.
Political situation, 1913
At the turn of 1913, Ottoman Modern Army failed at counterinsurgencies in the periphery of the empire, the Libya lost to Italy, and Balkan war erupted in the fall of 1912. LU flexed its muscles with the forced dissolution of the parliament in 1912. CUP dominance ended just as the Empire stood on the cusp of renewed fighting in the Balkans  The signs of humiliation of the Balkan wars worked to the advantage of the CUP, which the peace agreement was not signed yet. The cumulative defeats of 1912 enabled the CUP to seize control of the government.
LU presented the peace proposal to the Ottoman government as a collective démarche, which was almost immediately accepted by both the Ottoman cabinet and by an overwhelming majority of the parliament on January 22, 1913. The 1913 Ottoman coup d'état (23 January), was carried out in the by a number of CUP members led by Ismail Enver Bey and Mehmed Talaat Bey, in which the group made a surprise raid on the central Ottoman government buildings, the Sublime Porte (Turkish: Bâb-ı Âlî). During the coup, the Minister of the Navy Nazım Pasha was assassinated and the Grand Vizier, Kâmil Pasha, was forced to resign. CUP established tighter control over the faltering Ottoman state. Mahmud Sevket Pasha was assassinated just in 5 months after the coup in June 1913. LU supporters had been involved in the assassination. LU crush followed. Cemal Pasha was responsible for executing revenge. The execution of former officials had been an exception since the Tanzimat (1840s) period. The punishment was the exile. The public life could not be far more brutish 75 years after the Tanzimat. The Foreign Ministry was always occupied by someone from the inner circle of the CUP except for the interim appointment of Muhtar Bey. Said Halim Pasha who was already Foreign Minister, became Grand Vezir in June 1913 and remained in office until October 1915. He was succeeded in the Ministry by Halil.
The CUP, who seized power from LU in January 1913, was more convinced than ever that only an alliance with Britain and the Entente could guarantee the survival of what remained of the Empire. In June, therefore, the subject of an Anglo-Turkish alliance was reopened by Tevfik Pasha, who simply restated his proposal of October 1911. Once again the offer was turned down.
Sir Louis Mallet, who became Britain’s Ambassador to the Porte in 1914, noted that
Turkey’s way of assuring her independence is by an alliance with us or by an undertaking with the Triple Entente. A less risky method [he thought] would be by a treaty or Declaration binding all the Powers to respect the independence and integrity of the present Turkish dominion, which might go as far as neutralization, and participation by all the Great Powers in financial control and the application of reform.—Sir Louis du Pan Mallet
The CUP could not possibly accept such proposals. They felt betrayed by what they considered was Europe's bias during the Balkan Wars, and therefore they had no faith in Great Power declarations regarding the Empire's independence and integrity; the termination of European financial control and administrative supervision was one of the principal aims of CUP's policies. Sir Louis Mallet, Ambassador, seemed totally oblivious to that. The response was not based on an ignorance. Though these imperial powers had experienced relatively few major conflicts between them over the previous hundred years, an underlying rivalry, otherwise known as “the Great Game”, had exacerbated the situation to such an extent that resolution was sought. Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 brought shaky British-Russian relations to the forefront by solidifying boundaries that identified their respective control in Persia, Afghanistan. Overall, the Convention represented a carefully calculated move on each power's part in which they chose to value a powerful alliance over potential sole control over various parts of Central Asia. Ottoman Empire lied on the crossroads to Central Asia. The Convention served as the catalyst for creating a “Triple Entente”, which was the basis of the alliance of countries opposing the Central Powers. Ottoman Empire's path in Ottoman entry into World War I was set with that agreement, which was part of the Great Game.
The Hauran Druze Rebellion was a violent Druze uprising in the Syrian province, which erupted in 1909. The rebellion was led by the al-Atrash family, in an aim to gain independence. The conflict A business dispute between Druze chief Yahia bey Atrash in the village of Basr al-Harir escalated into a clash of arms between the Druze and Ottoman-backed local villagers. Though it is the financial change during second constitutional area; the spread of taxation, elections and conscription, to areas already undergoing economic change caused by the construction of new railroads, provoked large revolts, particularly among the Druzes and the Hauran. Sami Pasha al-Farouqi arrived in Damascus in August 1910, leading an Ottoman expeditionary force of some 35 battalions. The resistance collapsed.
In 1911, Muslim intellectuals and politicians formed "The Young Arab Society", a small Arab nationalist club, in Paris. Its stated aim was "raising the level of the Arab nation to the level of modern nations." In the first few years of its existence, al-Fatat called for greater autonomy within a unified Ottoman state rather than Arab independence from the empire. Al-Fatat hosted the Arab Congress of 1913 in Paris, the purpose of which was to discuss desired reforms with other dissenting individuals from the Arab world. They also requested that Arab conscripts to the Ottoman army not be required to serve in non-Arab regions except in time of war. However, as the Ottoman authorities cracked down on the organization's activities and members, al-Fatat went underground and demanded the complete independence and unity of the Arab provinces.
Nationalist movement become prominent during this Ottoman period, but it has to be mentionas that this was among Arab nobles and common Arabs considered themselves loyal subjects of the Caliph. Instead of Ottoman Caliph, the British, for their part, incited the Sharif of Mecca to launch the Arab Revolt during the First World War.
1910 was the scene of renewed problems which were characterized by, what amounted to, land grabs perpetrated against Armenian peasants in the eastern provinces between Armenians and Kurds. The ARF formed a Joint Body with the CUP to investigate the Armenian complaints and the government promised to send inspectors out to the eastern provinces to document them. Unfortunately, the left wing of the CUP (including Talat, Shakir, Nazim, and Cavid), which was supportive of collaborative efforts with the ARF, was out of power due to government change by Savior Officers. At this conjecture, Hunchakian Party (“self-defense” was part of their ideology and never changed) rejected the use of terrorism as a political weapon. Hunchakian Party's 1910 political doctrinal (publication) concerned itself only with economic, social, and political goals. A newsletter exchanged between Armenian committees in October 1910 suggested that the Hunchakian Party is dysfunctional. Hunchakian Party was not dysfunctional; a sub group was decoded and later court documents showed that Interior Minister Talat Bey was their target. Also Hampartsoum Boyadjian and Doctor Benene was performing their own surgical operations to control the Hunchakian Party.
In 1912, the Ottoman parliament dissolved on 15 January and political campaigns began almost immediately. Andranik Ozanian participated in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 alongside general Garegin Nzhdeh as a commander of Armenian auxiliary troops. Andranik met revolutionist Boris Sarafov and the two pledged to work jointly for the oppressed peoples of Armenia and Macedonia. Andranik participated in the First Balkan War alongside Garegin Nzhdeh as a Chief Commander of 12th Battalion of Lozengrad Third Brigade of the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan militia under the command of Colonel Aleksandar Protogerov. His detachment consisted of 273 Armenian volunteers, which was more than half of the 531 non-Macedonian born fighters. On May 5, 1912, ARF officially severed the relations with the system; a public declaration of the Western Bureau printed in the official announcement directed to “Ottoman Citizens.” The June issue of Droshak ran an editorial about it. Shortly after the war started, rumors surfaced that Armenians fighting together with the Bulgarians near Kavala had massacred Muslims. There were overwhelming numbers of Armenians who served the Empire units with distinction during Balkan wars. The interesting position happened, as ARF moved quickly to disprove 273 Armenian volunteers of Macedonian-Adrianopolitan militia killing Muslims by pointing out that there were no Armenian names in the list of those accused and published telegrams and testimonials from the Armenians in the Ottoman units.
In April 1913 a facility, which was owned by known Armenian operative used by ARF and Hunchakian Party exploded and grenades-armaments spread across in Erzincan. The disavow came from both parties on a single case was noteworthy, though such explosions in the region was not. The spring of 1913 the provinces faced with worsening situation, between Kurds-Armenians, created an urgent need to revive the self-defense capability for the ARF. Fund-raising drives were initiated within the Ottoman Empire, and from Armenian expatriate groups living abroad, to bring in the sums of money needed to buy weapons. An important source of funds came from the Armenian communities in the United States. In 1913, ARF's activities become a national cause, as moving out of this [Ottomanisim] context and developing [or going back] , what was just a normal extension of its national freedom concept, the "Independent Armenian State".
The first Kurds to challenge the authority of the Ottoman Empire did so primarily as Ottoman subjects, rather than national Kurds. They worked with other Ottoman subjects who were in opposition to the policies of Sultan Abdul Hamid and in 1889 formed the CUP. Abdul Hamid responded with a policy of repression, but also of integration, co-opting prominent Kurdish opponents into the Ottoman power structure with prestigious positions in his government. This strategy appears successful given the loyalty displayed by the Kurdish Hamidiye.
In 1908, after the overthrow of Sultan, the Hamidiye was disbanded as an organized force, but as they were “tribal forces” before official recognition (Hamidiye (cavalry) trained and organized Kurdish force by the Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1892), they stayed as “tribal forces” after dismemberment. The Hamidiye Cavalry is described as a military disappointment and a failure because of its contribution to tribal feuds.
Shaykh Abd al Qadir in 1910 appealed to the CUP for an autonomous Kurdish state in the east. Operating within the autonomist framework. That same year, Said Nursi traveled through the Diyarbakir region and urged Kurds to unite and forget their differences, while still carefully claiming loyalty to the CUP. Other Kurdish Shaykhs in the region began leaning towards regional autonomy. During this time, the Badr Khans had been in contact with discontented Shaykhs and chieftains in the far east of Anatolia ranging to the Iranian border, more in the framework of secession, however. Shaykh Abd al Razzaq Badr Khan eventually formed an alliance with Shaykh Taha and Shaykh Abd al Salam Barzani, another powerful family.
Russia's conundrum, 1910-1913
Russian security concerns reached highest levels during the Balkan Wars. For Ottomans (control overt their land) and Russia (invasion towards the straits) the complicating factor was the fact that nomadic Kurds and sedentary Armenians, locked in conflict with each other over land and the sharply diverging trajectories. The communities of Anatolian and Caucasian borderlands were by no means passive bystanders to Istanbul or Russia. Russian policymakers feared that in the event of an Ottoman collapse, [c] a “failed state” might emerge on Russia’s southern border and expose its turbulent Caucasus to Kurdish marauders and Armenian subversives freed to operate at will.
In May 1913 German military mission assigned Otto Liman von Sanders to help train and reorganize Ottoman army. Otto Liman von Sanders assigned to reorganization of the First Army, his model to be replicated to other units, as an advisor [he took the command of this army in November 1914] and began working on its operational area which was the straits. This became a scandal (was Russia too slow?) and intolerable for St. Petersburg. Russia developed a plan for invading and occupying the Black Sea port of Trabzon or the Eastern Anatolian town of Bayezid in retaliation. To solve this issue Germany de-ranked Otto Liman von Sanders to a point that he can barely control an army corps. Not this German trick, but Russia could not find a military solution to full invasion which the small occupation could turn into. If there is no solution through Naval occupation of Istanbul, the next thing was to improve the Russian Caucasian Army. Establish the local links to regional groups in the Empire to support the Russian army. So Russia resolved that the army, navy, ministries of finance, trade, and industry would work together to solve the transport problem, achieve naval supremacy, and increase the number of men and artillery assigned to amphibious operations. They decided also to expand Russia’s Caucasian rail network toward the Empire. The Russian drums of war set in 1913. At the time Russia was demanding the implementation of an Armenian reform package.
Cession of Kuwait and Albania, 1913
The Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913 was a short-lived agreement signed in July 1913 between the Ottoman sultan Mehmed V and the British over several issues. However the status of Kuwait that came to be the only lasting result, as its outcome was formal independence for Kuwait.
Albania had been under Ottoman rule in about 1478. When Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece laid claim to Albanian-populated lands during Balkan Wars, the Albanians declared independence. The European Great Powers endorsed an independent Albania in 1913, after the Second Balkan War leaving outside the Albanian border more than half of the Albanian population and their lands, that were partitioned between Montenegro,Serbia and Greece. They were assisted by Aubrey Herbert, a British MP who passionately advocated their cause in London. As a result, Herbert was offered the crown of Albania, but was dissuaded by the British prime minister, H. H. Asquith, from accepting. Instead the offer went to William of Wied, a German prince who accepted and became sovereign of the new Principality of Albania. Albania's neighbors still cast covetous eyes on this new and largely Islamic state. The young state, however, collapsed within weeks of the outbreak of World War I.
Elections, census, political situation, 1914
The Ottoman published the updated census. The Empire lost territory in the Balkans, where many of its Christian voters were based before the 1914 elections. The CUP made efforts to win support in the Arab provinces by making conciliatory gestures to Arab leaders. Weakened Arab support for the LU and enabled the CUP to call elections with unionists holding the upper hand.
After 1914 elections, the democratic structure had a better representation in the parliament; the parliament that emerged from the elections in 1914 reflected better ethnic composition of the Ottoman population There were more Arab deputies, which were underrepresented in previous parliaments. The CUP was in the majority Ottoman imperial government established as in January 1914 Enver became a Pasha as assigned as the minister of war; Ahmet Cemal who was the military governor of Istanbul became minister for the navy; and once a postal official Talat, became the minister of the interior. The 1914 Burdur earthquake occurred at on 4 October 1914.
Until the Ottoman general election, 1919, any other input into the political process was restricted with the outbreak of the World War One. The situation was summarized with a question and answer:
Could the Ottoman government of 1914 be described as a personal dictatorship under Enver, single party state under the Union and Progress party or a straight forward military regime? Answer lies between all three.
Armenians and Russia, 1914
The brief period, 1908-1912, of strategic pause between the exhausted Ottoman state and the Armenian revolutionary committees which tested if there was possibility of a shared political future, ended with rapidly as the Great Powers began to meddle in the affairs. This originated by demanding the implementation of an Armenian reform package. In such an prospect, Armenian comities revive their military capability, and open direct channels of communication with the governments of Russia and France. This was not easy position to take for ARF, a small disagreement over the intent accured between ARF Eastern Bureau, which was more inclined solve it internally, and the Western Bureau using the outside. In Van, the ARF Central Committee worked directly with the governor, who agreed to implement what amounted to a local reform initiative. These measures included hiring Armenians as public officials, increasing Armenian participation in the Gandarmeria, building guardhouses in especially dangerous areas, punishing perpetrators and restoring Armenian property and land, arming Armenian village guards, and returning weapons previously confiscated. In October 1912 ARF Eastern Bureau was cough unguarded when George V of Armenia, engaged in negotiations with the Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov to discuss Armenian reforms inside the Ottoman Empire. In December 1912, Kevork V formed the Armenian National Delegation and appointed Boghos Nubar. The delegation established itself in Paris. Another member appointed to the delegation was James Malcolm who resided in London and became the delegation’s point man in its dealings with the British. In early 1913, Armenian diplomacy shaped as Boghos Nubar were to be responsible for external negotiations with the European governments, while the Political Council “seconded by the Constantinople and Tiblisi Commissions” were to negotiate the reform question internally with the Ottoman and Russian governments. It was a two track special organization.
Russia, the protector of Armenians and acting on behalf of the Great Powers, played a crucial role. The Russian Ambassador at Constantinople Baron von Giers raised the Armenian question once more and handed the Minister of the Interior with the note on November 26, 1912.[d] An Armenian reform package was negotiated with Russia. The Armenian reform package, was solidified in February 1914, was based on the arrangements nominally made in 1878 (Treaty of Berlin (1878)). According to this arrangement the inspectors general, whose powers and duties constituted the key to the question, were to be named for a period of ten years, and their engagement was not to be revocable during that period. The Russians had acclaimed this agreement as a substantial political success.[e] The plan called for the unification of six provinces, and more, the nomination of a Christian governor and religiously balanced council over the unified provinces, the establishment of a second Gendarmerie over Ottoman Gendarmerie commanded by European officers, legalization of the Armenian language and schools, and the establishment of a special commission to examine land confiscations empowered to expel Muslim refugees. The most important clause was obligating the European powers to enforce the reforms, by overwriting Ottoman parliament (regional parliament based not on population ratio but each religion have equal amount,[f] overwriting Ottoman governor (new name Christian Inspectors), overwriting Ottoman security apparatus (new name European commanded Gendarmerie).
From the end of July to August 2, 1914, the Armenian congress at Erzurum happened. There was a meeting between CUP and Armenians. Armenian liaisons Arshak Vramian, Stepan Zorian and Khatchatour Maloumian and Ottoman liaisons Dr. Behaeddin Shakir, Omer Naji, and Hilmi Bey accompanied by an international entourage of peoples from the Caucasus. CUP requested to incite a rebellion of Russian Armenians against the Tsarist regime in order to facilitate the conquest of Transcaucasia in the event of the opening up of a Caucasus Campaign. At the same time, a representative meeting of Russian Armenians assembled in Tiflis, Caucasus, during August 1914. Tsar asked Armenian's loyalty and support for Russia in the conflict. The proposal was agreed upon and nearly 20,000 Armenians[g] responded to the call (Armenian volunteer units), of which only 7,000 were given arms. The Empire dismantled the Armenian reform package on December 16, 1914, a month and a half after the first engagement of the Caucasus Campaign the Bergmann Offensive on November 2, 1914.
ARF was very effective at this junction but the Hunchakian Party had a problem. The Ottoman intelligence service had an agent under Hunchakian Party as early as 1913. Government know the assassination attempt. Ottoman government captured the central Hunchakian operatives in a single operation in July 1914 using the comprehensive account of the decisions adopted by the Hunchakian Congress (1913) along the list of the participants. The trials took a year and (the 20 Hunchakian gallows) Hunchakian operatives, which were labeled as terrorists by the government and self-defense freedom fighter by the party, had the capital punishment on 15 June 1915.
Kurds and autonomy, 1914
In 1914, because of this possible Kurdish threat as well as the alliance's dealings with Russia, Ottoman troops moved against this alliance. Two brief and minor rebellions, the rebellions of Barzan and Bitlis, were quickly suppressed. The problem for these early Kurdish rebels was one of coordination. The British vice-consul in Bitlis reported that "Could the Kurds combine against the government even in one province, the Turkish troops in their eastern part of Asia Minor would find it difficult to crush the revolt."
In 1914, General Muhammad Sharif Pasha offered his services to the British in Mesopotamia. Elsewhere, members of the Badr Khan family held close relations with Russian officials and discussed their intentions to form an independent Kurdistan.
Yemen and autonomy, 1914
Yemen Vilayet was a first-level administrative division of the Empire. In the late 19th century, the Zaidis rebelled against the Empire, and Imam Mohammed ibn Yahya laid the foundation of a hereditary dynasty. When he died in 1904, his successor Imam Yahya ibn Mohammed led the revolt against the Empire in 1904-1905, and forced them to grant important concessions to the Zaidis. The Ottoman agreed to withdraw the civil code and restore sharia in Yemen. In 1906, the Idrisi leaders of Asir rebelled against the Ottomans. By 1910 they controlled most of Asir, but they were ultimately defeated by Ottoman Modern Army and Hejazi forces. Ahmed Izzet Pasha concluded a treaty with Imam Yahya in October 1911, by which he was recognized as temporal and spiritual head of the Zaidis, was given the right to appoint officials over them, and collect taxes from them. The Ottomans maintained their system of government in the Sunni-majority parts of Yemen.
World War I
There is a separate article for the years 1914-1918, under the name History of the Ottoman Empire during World War I
History of the Ottoman Empire during World War I began with the Ottoman's entry to conflicts with Russia at the Bergmann Offensive of Caucasus Campaign on November 2, 1915. The irregular forces of Russia and the Empire were in an undeclared, unconventional, but actively engaged at insurgency in the Ottoman Empire as early as on October 5, 1914. The Middle Eastern theatre had five main campaigns: the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, the Mesopotamian Campaign, the Caucasus Campaign, the Persian Campaign, and the Gallipoli Campaign. There were also several minor campaigns: the North African Campaign, Arab Campaign, Armenian insurgency (Armenian Rebellions) and South Arabia Campaign. There were several important Ottoman victories in the early years of the war, such as the Battle of Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut. The Armistice of Mudros, signed on 30 October 1918.
1918–1922 Mehmet VI
Just before the end of the war, Sultan Mehmet V died and Mehmet VI became the new Sultan.
Ottoman casualties, 1914-1918
Ottoman casualties of World War I both for civilian and military is enormous regardless of the method used in the calculations. The military casualties were published in the book Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War, but the post-war partitioning of the Ottoman Empire made the estimation of the total civilian casualties harder. Also, it was not a novelty in world history to see from time to time people forced to move from one region to another, be it in the form of refugees, of population transfer, or of search for political asylum, but World War I and its aftermath caused migrations at unprecedented large scales, including the Ottoman Empire citizens.
One result of the enormous loss of life was a shortage of manpower to work the land. At a time when the army’s requirements took precedence over civilian needs, those left at home often endured conditions as miserable as those serving at the front. By 1916, two years before the end, the cost of living risen by %2,500 and resulted in starvation in some areas.
Political situation, 1919
The occupation of the capitol by British (first), French (second) and Italian (third) forces. Occupation took place in accordance with the Armistice of Mudros. Mudros ended Ottoman participation in the First World War. The occupation had two stages: the initial occupation took place from 13 November 1918 to 16 March 1920; from 16 March 1920, it was made lasting by the Treaty of Sevres. 1918 saw the first time Constantinople had changed hands since the Ottoman Turks conquered the Byzantine capital in 1453.
Allied troops occupied zones based on the sections and set up an Allied military administration early in December 1918.
Allied inability to resolve administrative matters in an amicable fashion was symbolized by the curious episode that emerged almost immediately to convert Ayasofya back to a church from the mosque which it had been for over four and a half centuries. The event became a symbol of Christian activism to reclaim the former Byzantine basilica.[i] The occupying force has to deal with the division between Orthodox and Latin Christians with an unexpected outcome that the church should not be Greek Orthodox at all, but Greek Uniate, in union with Rome. The same argument that Ottoman Sultan faced in 1453.
The CUP's leadership was court-martialled what is known as Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20 with/including the charges of subversion of the constitution, wartime profiteering, and the massacres of both Greeks and Armenians. The courts-martial became a stage for political battles. The trials helped the LU root out the CUP from the political arena. The fall of the CUP allowed the Palace to regain the initiative once again, though only for less than a year. In those months, Sultan Mehmed VI Vahdettin reverted to the diplomacy of the Liberal Young Turks and that meant total reliance on and subservience to Great Britain. The British also rounded up a number of members of the old establishment and interned them in Malta, Malta exiles, awaiting their trial for alleged crimes during World War I. Calthorpe included only Turkish members of the Government of Tevfik Pasha and the military/political personalities.
Old and discredited members of the Ottoman ancient regime were resurrected in order to form ephemeral governments and conduct personal diplomacy. Thus, Tevfik Pasha formed two ministries between November 1918 and March 1919, to be followed by Abdul Hamids brother-in-law Damad Ferid Pasha who led three cabinets in seven months. Damad Ferid, having served in diplomatic missions throughout Europe during the Hamidian era, and having been acquainted with European statesmen during his tenure as a Liberal politician, was considered an asset in the negotiations for the very survival of the Ottoman state and dynasty.
In the end, military losses destroyed the empire. The end came just as Ottoman reforms were having their greatest success. As explained in this period, a revolution in 1908 had taken real power out of the hands of the sultan (although the sultanate remained) and put it in the hands of reforming soldiers and bureaucrats. They made great strides, explained in reform attempts in the Ottoman Empire, building on the earlier reformers. However, World War I destroyed their work. How do the Ottoman problems compare to the problems of developing countries turn of the 21st century, such as Egypt. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, even Armenia?
Ottomans had indeed sick man of Europe, but with a twist of fate, a war to end all wars prevented to cure themselves. It seemed that reforms established during this period had ultimately been a failure, defeated in war. Unity of all religions and nations left itself to separate national and religious states. It is not a remarkable event that at the end Ottoman Empire was partitioned, but the sick man of Europe held on amazingly well. Fighting against the industrial English, the French and the Russians the agrarian Ottomans lasted through almost four years of war just couple days short. After the war, the Ottomanism lost it's validity. At the turn of the 20th century, multi—ethnic empires failed to satisfy the aspirations of large numbers of their subjects, and national states were widely viewed as the wave of the future. What was it about the Europeans (English, the French and the Russians) that made them such a threat to the Ottomans? Later analysis claim that basics of economy play the major role. As the Empire was integrated into the world economy, certain of its regions (the Balkans, Egypt, Iraq, and Hijaz) established closer economic links with Paris and London, even with British India, than with Istanbul. Abdul Hamid recognized the weakness of his Empire and attempted to compensate for it by integrating local ruling groups (Albanian, Arab and Kurdish) into his system by according to each certain privileges and a measure of autonomy. When the CUP attempted to restore central authority, reversing Abdul Hamid, they were confronted with rebellions and general discontent, supported in part by some of the Powers. The millet system and the Capitulations were most consequential in undermining the authority of the Ottoman state and hastening its end. The rapid rise of nationalism among the non-Muslim population would not have been possible without European patronage. (Eastern Question, Armenian Question, ...) Members of the non-Muslim bourgeoisie would have been unable to acquire easy foreign citizenships with the Powers, thereby being able to evade Ottoman laws and taxes. Without this privilege, given by Great Great Powers, such groups might have tried to further their interests via the Ottoman state, by supporting its development rather than stunting its growth. The active participation of the non-Muslims would have strengthened both state and economy and perhaps provided the basis of a multi-national society, and therefore a different end to Empire. One could argue that the Powers propped up the Empire by their failure to agree to a partition scheme. The Great Powers accelerated the process of disintegration by encouraging the centrifugal forces in the Empire.
The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire began with the Treaty of London (1915) and continued with mostly bilateral multiple agreements among the Allies. The initial peace agreement with the Ottoman Empire was the Armistice of Mudros. This was followed by the Occupation of Constantinople. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire brought international conflicts which were discussed during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. The peace agreement, the Treaty of Sèvres, was eventually signed by the Ottoman Empire (not ratified) and Allies. The result of the Peace Settlement was that every state in the belt of mixed population, with few modifications, now claimed itself as a national state. Some historians state that, before the WWI, the Empire had maintained a modest [compared since WWI] level of peace and stability in the Middle East, which was eroded when the empire's political and economic structures were pulled apart, planting the seeds of strife conflict which lead to human suffering [then and] since 1920. The national idea had triumphed in form, but not in content. With the fall of the Ottoman government, power vacuums developed and conflicting claims to land and nationhood began to emerge. The political boundaries drawn by the victors of World War I were quickly imposed, sometimes after only cursory consultation with the local population. These continue to be problematic in the 21st-century struggles.
The Treaty of Sèvres presented one of the thorniest problems before the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. The text of the treaty were not made public with the Ottomans until May 1920. Thee Allies decided that the Empire would be left only a small area in Northern and Central Anatolia in which to live. Contrary to general expectations, the Sultanate along the Caliphate was not terminated, and it was allowed to retain capitol and a small strip of territory around the city, but not the straits. The shores of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles were planned to be internationalized, so that the gates of the Black Sea would be kept open. West Anatolia was offered to Greece, and East Anatolia was offered to Armenia. The Mediterranean coast, although still a part of the Empire, was partitioned between two zones of influence for France and Italy. The interior of Anatolia, the first seat of Ottoman power six centuries ago, continued to be under Ottoman sovereignty. All the great cities of the empire, in which reform had been most successful, were to be taken by the Allies and their friends.
Ottoman Jews who subscribed to the idea of ‘Ottomanism,’ also had the World Zionist Organization established in Istanbul; and until the First World War its activities focused on cultural matters, although political aims were never absent. Before the First Word War Herzl's attempts to reach a political agreement with the Ottoman rulers of Palestine were unsuccessful. But on 11 April 1909 Tel Aviv was founded on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa. The WZO supported small-scale settlement in Palestine and focused on strengthening Jewish feeling and consciousness and on building a worldwide federation. At the start of World War I, most Jews (and Zionists) supported Germany in its war with Russia. The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) and also Henry McMahon had exchanged letters with Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca in 1915, was a turn [a new beginning] to another concept (Jewish national home vs. Jewish state) which is explained under Homeland for the Jewish people
Whether Ottoman Armenians, Armenian national movement, favored gradual change (autonomy under the empire) or revolutionary change (Republic of Van and First Republic of Armenia), they too had had close, if uneasy, relations; like other non—Muslim groups under the Empire during this period. Many, however, saw a chance of achieving an independent state if Russia won the war, and Russian propaganda encouraged them in this hope. The idea of an independent and united Armenia of the Armenian national movement survived the demise of Ottoman Empire[j] until the Sovietization of the Caucuses. However the armed movement against the Ottomans replaced with Georgian–Armenian War 1918, Armenian–Azerbaijani War, South West Caucasian Republic, and Turkish–Armenian War until the The 11th Red Army began its virtually unopposed advance on November 29, 1920. The actual transfer of power took place on December 2 in Yerevan. The Armenian leadership approved an ultimatum, presented to it by the Soviet plenipotentiary Boris Legran. Armenia, ARF was socialist Marxist in political view at the time, decided to join the Soviet sphere by declaring Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Joining Soviet sphere was not the path for all Armenians as the Republic of Mountainous Armenia was an anti-Bolshevik state established by the forces under command of Garegin Nzhdeh, following the suppression of the February Uprising in April 1921. The Soviet Union's existence was challenged and on September 21, 1991, Armenia declared its independence and followed by the outbreak of the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Whether Ottoman Kurds favored the Empire or not, in 1918, Kurdish Tribial leader Sharif Pasha pressed the British to adopt a policy supporting autonomous Kurdish state. He suggested that British officials be charged with deputizing administer the regions and control their finances. Strategically, he desired movement towards this plan to be made before the end of the war and the Paris Peace Conference. Because of Sharif Pasha's friendship with Armenians, after he was chosen to represent the Kurds by various Kurdish nationalist organizations at the Peace Conference, a Kurdo-Armenian peace accord was reached between Pasha and Armenian representatives at the conference in 1919. The British persuaded the Kurdish and Armenian representatives to sign this Kurdish-Armenian declaration of solidarity. The British thought this would increase the likelihood of independent Kurdish and Armenian states that would create a buffer between British Mesopotamia and the Turks.
Whether Ottoman Arabs favored the Empire or not, the Arab forces were promised a state that included much of the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France provided for the territorial division of much of that region between the two imperial powers.
End of Empire
The Ottoman Empire's sovereignty was embodied in the dynasty of Osman I who was the founder and namesake which his family or lineage (Ottoman Dynasty) ruled since 1299. It is an unbroken rule by a family throughout history of the Empire. Sultan (occupied by Ottoman dynasty) was supreme authority over the Ottoman Empire polity. The sultan was the sole and absolute regent, head of state and head of government of the empire. The Grand Viziers, and polity established by Ottoman Constitution was functioned with the pleasure of the Sultan.
End of Ottoman Polity, 1920
14 March 1920 was the official day for the end of Ottoman polity, but a sign that Ottoman sovereignty was over originated from the French general Louis Franchet d'Espèrey as early as on 8 February 1919. Franchet d'Espèrey entered the city on a horse, emulating Mehmed the Conqueror's entrance after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The Occupation of Constantinople changed nature on 14 March 1920 as British decided plans for partitioning needed to be solidified and moved forward with the ideas developed at Conference of London (4 March 1920). All forms of resistance had to be dismantled. The Allies' military forces in Constantinople ordered to take the necessary actions along the political side which increased the efforts to put the Treaty of Sèvres in writing. British troops began to occupy the key buildings and arrest nationalists on the night of 15 March 1920 . On 18 March 1920, the Ottoman parliament met and sent a protest to allies;
The arrest of [our] five members is unacceptable.
That meeting was the last meeting and marked the end of the Ottoman political system. Sultan Mehmed VI dissolved the General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire on 11 April 1920. Constantinople government, with the bureaucracy, without the parliament, left active with Sultan as the decision maker. The Treaty of Sèvres was signed 10 August 1920, which gave a nominal amount of land to the Sultan without the straits. Sultan kept the Empire in the name. The title Ottoman Caliphate was another issue.
Treaty of Sèvres was destined never to be ratified by the Ottoman assembly. The Ottoman general election, 1920, was held and with the participation of some parliamentarians who had escaped from occupied Capital. A new government was formed in Ankara. It was Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The story of Turkish national movement, Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and Turkish War of Independence is not in the scope of Ottoman Empire.
End of Ottoman Sultanate, 1922
End of the Sultanate, consequently end of the Empire, was the product of events following the Turkish national movement. The Constantinople government, a government without a parliament established by the Sultan, formed the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye, known as the "Army of the Caliphate, Caliphate Army." Kuva-yi Inzibatiye established to defeat the Grand National Assembly's Kuva-yi Milliye and suppress the rebellion.
Süleyman Şefik Pasha assigned as the commander of "Caliphate Army", which was established on 18 April 1920. Conflicts occurred at Bolu, Düzce, Hendek, Adapazarı, along the other revolts during the Turkish War of Independence. Army of the Caliphate defeated by the Kuva-yi Milliye. Although the Kuva-yi Milliye was regarded the first step of resistance in the liberation of Turkey, irregular warfare was abandoned for an organized army. Kuva-yi Milliye became the seed of the organized army which then became the Turkish Armed Forces with the declaration of Republic.
On 1 November 1922, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Turkey's provisional government, gave the coup de grâce to the Empire with the abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate. The Sultan and his advisers (that is the Imperial government) declared 150 personae non gratae of Turkey. The Turkish general election, 1923, occurred without the shadow of the sultan. This election created the assembly which ratified the Treaty of Lausanne on 24 July 1923. Treaty of Lausanne nullified the Treaty of Sèvres. Treaty of Lausanne provided international recognition to the Government of the Grand National Assembly, that had previously been accorded to the Ottoman Empire. The provisional government of Turkey declared itself the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. The Empire ended on 1 November 1922 without terminating the linage of the Ottoman Dynasty. Members of the Ottoman Dynasty, except the last Sultan, stayed in Istanbul until the Caliphate abolished. There was another exile list put into effect by the Republic of Turkey. A vote come to assembly for the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate into the six months of the Republic on March 1924. The list published on the state journal which included 120 names of the Ottoman Dynasty on April 23, 1924 (revised one on June 1, 1924). The last of the line of Ottoman Dynasty born under the Ottoman Empire was extinguished with the death of Ertuğrul Osman on 23 September 2009.
More than 6 centuries of its existence, Empire left behind many Christian, Muslim, Jewish, simply from every millet, along the public works throughout Europe and Middle East. The Christian works in the Anatolia were left to Republic of Turkey. It is undeniable that Republic left many to crumble. But selected Christian works either turned into mosques or as museums to tourist by the Muslims of Turkey. In the Balkans, there isn't a Christian tradition of preserving the Muslim works, comparable to Turkey. In Balkans, few public work structures survived as storage structures (generally well build ones) or in crumble. David Nicole states that over 95% Ottoman civic buildings in the Balkans were lost. The fine 14th-century monuments were dynamited as late as in 1960.
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- from the 15th century ordinary functions of government left out of state's own control and every Millet in the system began to run their own schools, to leave money to their children according to their own laws (not those of the state), to collect taxes to support welfare for its own group, to organize and police its own neighborhoods, to punish transgressors according to its own laws in its own courts. Under this system, different religious and later ethnic groups enjoyed a wide range of religious and cultural freedoms and considerable administrative, fiscal and legal autonomy.
- Regarding the alliance's provisions for mutual defense, it was aimed for Japan to enter the First World War on the British side.
- Disarrayed Ottoman army could easily create failed Ottoman state. Ottoman Army was the main source in establishing security in the region.
- The text of ultimatum (necessary for our troops to enter) on November 26, 1912.
Since the memorable events of 1894 1896 (referring to Armenians 1890s) when Asia Minor and Constantinople were bleeding from the barbarous Armenian massacres the position has in no way improved Effect has not been given to the reforms decreed by Sultan Abdul Hamid on October 20th 1895 (referring to Armenian reform package) as a result of Russian French and English pressure The agrarian question is becoming more and more acute from day to day
Most of the landed estates have been or are being seized by the Kurds and instead of forbidding this illegal confiscation the authorities are protecting and assisting the usurpers The reports of all our consulates agree as to the acts of brigandage perpetrated by the Kurds the unprecedented exactions the murder of Armenians and forced conversion of Armenian women The miscreants are hardly ever dealt with according to law The memoir presented by the Armenian Patriarch in Constantinople to the Sublime Porte and the Minister of the Interior gives a true picture of the miseries and persecution to which the Armenian subjects of the Sultan are exposed This state of things sufficiently accounts for the fact that the Armenian nation is looking more and more to Russia The Russian consulates in Armenia all bear witness to the state of public feeling there The Armenians are demanding the introduction of reforms under Russian supervision or even a Russian occupation The Armenians professing the Catholic faith are imploring Russia the ancient protectorates of the Christians of the East in the name of the Almighty to take the wretched Armenian population in Turkish Armenia under her protection The Ambassador is of opinion that the Armenian question is of the highest importance to Russia and desires the Government will do what is necessary to remedy matters He regards an occupation as premature and advocates reforms But in doing so he does not forget the tragic fate of the decree of 1895 and insists upon the necessity of the reforms being effectively supervised by Russian or European officials
In view of the state of anarchy in which Empire is plunged at the moment the possibility must be reckoned with that the reforms will not have the calming effect desired and that it may be necessary for our troops to enter this region
- The Russian cable informing the coming agreement: "Thus the Act of January 22nd 1914 signifies without doubt the opening of a new and happier era in the history of the Armenian people. In political significance: it is comparable with the Firman of 1870 in which the Bulgarian Exarchate was founded and the Bulgars were freed from Greek guardianship. The Armenians must feel that the first step has been taken towards releasing them from the Turkish yoke. The agreement of January 26th 1914 has at the same time great significance for the international status of Russia. It has been signed personally by the Grand Vizier and Russia's representative and pledges the Turks to hand to the Powers a note the contents of which have been precisely set forth. The outstanding role of Russia in the Armenian question is thus officially emphasized and Art 16 of the Treaty of San Stefano to some extent ratified.
M Gulkievitch the Charge d Affaires of the Russian Embassy
- List of religions under the inspectorates were Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Apostolic Christian, Catholic Christian, Evangelical Christian, Syriac Orthodox Christian, and Jews. Kurds who were fighting for autonomy in the same region of the inspectorates were classified as Muslim. In the 1908 Ottoman parliament had 288 seats and only 14 were occupied by Armenians. In this design Armenians would have minimum 35% (if Syriac Orthodox Christian, and Jews would not contest) to %50 (if Greeks do not contest) of the deputies irrespective of their population size.
- For the size of the initial Armenian Volunteers the Washington Post article,The Washington post Friday, November 12, 1914, "ARMENIANS JOIN RUSSIANS" (image detail)
- Said Nursî, appealed to ethnicity, rather than religious compatriot, in 1910 at Diyarbakir, "Kudistan belong to the Kurds and Armenians, not to the Turks." He continued "... Union (Union and Progress) is the great task of our time, that non-Muslims may be convinced that our union is an offensive against the ills of our time."
- The return of the building to the Ecumenical Patriarch, under the impetus of philanthropic sentiment, was seen as a means of cementing a strategic alliance with Greece.
- About First Republic of Armenia.
"In the summer of 1918, the Armenian national councils reluctantly transferred from Tiflis to Yerevan to take over the leadership of the republic from the popular dictator Aram Manukian and the renowned military commander Drastamat Kanayan. It then began the daunting process of establishing a national administrative machinery in an isolated and landlocked misery. This was not the autonomy or independence which Armenian intellectuals had dreamed of and for which a generation of youth had been sacrificed. Yet, as it happened, it was here that the Armenian people were destined to continue [their] national existence."—R.G. Hovannisian
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