Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire

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Image:20pxOttomanicon.png History of the
Ottoman Empire
Rise (1299–1453)
Growth (1453–1683)
Stagnation (1683–1827)
Decline (1828–1908)
Dissolution (1908–1922)
See also:

This article describes the process of dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, in particular its final years in the early part of the 20th century.


[edit] Balkan Wars

The Ottoman army in the Balkans was large and appeared on the surface to be modern. However, this was just a facade as the Ottoman army was largely corrupt, poorly led, poorly trained, and ineffective.

In 1913 a nationalist uprising broke out in Albania, and on October 8, the Balkan League, consisting of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria, mounted a joint attack on the Ottoman Empire, starting the First Balkan War. Albania declared independence on November 28, Turkey agreed to a ceasefire on December 2, 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.

For more details on this topic, see First Balkan War.
For more details on this topic, see Second Balkan War.

The three new Balkan states formed at the end of the 19th century and Montenegro, sought additional territories from the Albania, Macedonia, and Thrace, behind their nationalistic arguments. The incomplete emergence of these nation-states on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century set the stage for the Balkan Wars. Initially under the encouragement of Russia, a series of agreements were concluded: between Serbia and Bulgaria in March 1912 and between Greece and Bulgaria in May 1912. 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. The Second Balkan War soon followed.

[edit] Relations before World War I

For more details on this topic, see Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913.

Italy declared war on the Empire on September 29, 1911, demanding the turnover of Tripoli and Cyrenaica. When the empire did not respond, Italian forces took those areas on November 5 of that year (this act was confirmed by an act of the Italian Parliament on February 25, 1912).

[edit] World War I

The Ottoman Empire, ruled effectively by the Three Pashas, sided diplomatically with the Central Powers, in large part because Russia was one of the Allies.

Ottoman-German alliance was negotiated. In exchange for money and future control over Russian territory, the Ottoman Government abandoned a neutral position and sided with Germany.

[edit] Entering the War

By allowing the German battlecruisers the Goeben and the Breslau (flying the flag of the Ottoman Empire no less) to shoot at Russian ships in Odessa on October 24 1914, the Ottoman government clearly allied itself with Germany and Austria-Hungary. As a result of this apparently deliberate and unprovoked attack, Britain, France, and Russia all declared war on the Ottoman Empire within the first 5 days of November.

see: Notification of Neutrality, August 18, CUP Declaration of War, November 14

[edit] Military Conflicts

In a final effort to regain some of these lost territories and to challenge British authority over the Suez canal, a triumvirate—the Three Pashas, led by Minister of War Enver Pasha—agreed to join the Central Powers in World War I. The military activities of the period is covered under Middle Eastern theatre of World War I.

The Allies—including the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ("ANZACs")—were defeated in the Battle of Gallipoli, Iraq, and the Balkans, while British naval landing attempts were repulsed and some territories were regained. Fighting the Russians in the Caucasus, however, the Ottomans lost ground—and over 100,000 soldiers—in a series of battles. The 1917 Russian revolution gave the Ottomans a chance to regain these areas, but continued British offensives ultimately proved to be too much. The Ottomans were eventually defeated due to key attacks by the British general Edmund Allenby, as well as assistance from the Arab Revolt.

During the World War I Ottoman government also faced difficulties on the home front, including isolated Armenian rebellions in eastern Anatolia that led to an order for the Tehcir Law of June 1-1915 to February 8-1916 (deportation) of Armenians from the region. Most academics define the deportations as the Armenian Genocide. This view is disputed by the Turkish Goverment, which maintains that most of the Armenian mortality was the result of conditions that had effect on World War I casualties, and the civil war within the historical roots of the region, which pushed Armenian and Muslim population, back-and-forth within the war zone. Turkish authorities also claim that deportations (Tehcir Law) were not the main contribution to total Armenian mortality during the World War I and the claims for an organized crime against the Armenians, by Teskilati Mahsusa or the special organization were also in dispute, even if the very bad conditions of the Armenians (also some Muslims) were not.

[edit] Sèvres to the End

For more details on this topic, see Treaty of Sèvres.

The initial peace agreement with the Ottoman Empire was the Armistice of Mudros, followed by the Treaty of Sèvres. The United Kingdom obtained virtually everything it had sought—according to the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement made together with France in 1916, while the war was still going on—from the empire's partition. The Treaty of Sevres was signed by the Ottoman Empire but it was destined never to be ratified. Its terms were admittedly severe, and they were widely criticized as vindictive. The subsequent years showed that it was also impracticable. Sèvres was the end of the Ottoman Empire.

On November 2 after the Armistice of Three Pashas, escaped from Constantinople, but they will be faced with the executors of the Armenian Genocide. The parliament in Istanbul could not function, and in the end the British closed the parliament.

Elections were held throughout Anatolia and with the participation of some parliamentarians, who had escaped from Istanbul, a new government was formed in Ankara. The rest of the story is the Turkish War of Independence.

For more details on this topic, see Turkish War of Independence.

The Treaty of Lausanne announced the new Turkish State internationally. This new state gave the 'coup de grâce' to the Ottoman state, in 1922, with the overthrow of Sultan Mehmet VI Vahdettin by the new republican assembly of Turkey. The last official remnant of the empire—the title of caliphate—was constitutionally abolished several months later, on 3 March 1924.

[edit] See also

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