Ottoman Empire Alliance

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: 16 Oct 2004 02:34
Location: USA

Ottoman Empire Alliance

Post by tracker4502 » 16 Oct 2004 11:49

What does everyone here think is the main reason that the Ottoman Empire joined on the side of Germany and Austria instead of France, Great Britain, and Russia?

So far, this is what I think:

Religious tensions: The OE was mainly Muslim, and the countries surrounding it were Orthodox. A holy war, perhaps?

Claiming lost land: Since the OE was weakening, maybe it thought if it joined the war it would regain lost land. If the OE joined the Triple Alliance, it could get the land directly next to it if it won, countries in the Triple Entente.

Revenge: Getting back at the countries that were trying to take the land from the OE, such as Russia, by becoming allies with Rusia's enemy's such as Germany and Austria-Hungary.

So, what do you think are the reasons? Am I close to what everyone here thinks? Or am I horribly wrong? :?
Last edited by tracker4502 on 17 Oct 2004 19:52, edited 4 times in total.

Posts: 29
Joined: 13 Oct 2004 17:47
Location: United States

Post by uglystkvictm » 16 Oct 2004 17:42

I think they were crazy to get involed in the war at all, it's obvious they were in no state to wage war, I also believe they were not interested in recovering their lost European territorys so it must be gains against Russia they wanted and a free hand in Persia.

Gwynn Compton
Posts: 2840
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Post by Gwynn Compton » 17 Oct 2004 08:09

And no doubt they wanted Egypt and Libya back as well. I suspect that they were mainly after gains in their former Middle Eastern and North African territories.


User avatar
Wm. Harris
Posts: 424
Joined: 04 Mar 2003 22:10
Location: Festung Kanada

Post by Wm. Harris » 17 Oct 2004 17:27

The Turks were opportunists; they saw the Germans winning the war in 1914 and believed they could benefit by joining them. Had the Allies gained the upper hand early on, the Ottoman Empire might have stayed neutral.

As for territorial gains, it was as much about what they might lose as much as what they might gain. Russia and Turkey had fought numerous wars in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, so it was no secret they had aspirations on Turkish territory. Relations between the two nations had been especially strained in the years before 1914. During the Balkan wars, Russia feared she would lose access to the Bosphorus, and in 1913 they threatened to occupy parts of the Ottoman Empire when a German military mission arrived in Turkey. Britain and France were also making noise about Turkey's willingness to provide a safehaven for German warships.

Of course, opportunists in the upper levels of the Turkish government saw a chance to grab lost territories in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus, but I don't think these aims were widely shared. As was mentioned earlier, Turkey was too weak to think about conquest; they were having a hard enough time keeping the empire they had in one piece.

Tolga Alkan
Posts: 1893
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 16:00
Location: Turkey

Post by Tolga Alkan » 17 Oct 2004 19:23

Here a good article of Ottoman involvement on Alliance:
Two major factors led to Ottoman involvement on the side of the Central Powers: German pressure and the opportunism of Turkish minister of war Enver Pasha. Other motives for joining the Central Powers were the German victories early in the War and Turkey's friction with the Triple Entente. Germany's aim was clear: to keep Turkey from joining the enemy (and by gaining Ottoman support, encourage Romania and Bulgaria to enter the Alliance). The German military mission of 1913 to Turkey under Liman von Sanders organized the Turkish army and navy under German leadership and brought forth the Turco-German Alliance. The secret treaty (only five people in Turkey were aware of it, one being Enver Pasha) was signed 2 August 1914.

The Allies had strategic interests in the Turkish Straits but failed to provide a coherent defense of Turkey from Germany. To that extent, Turkey was driven into the Turco-German alliance; but Turkish leadership, fearful of disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, was divided on a course of action. Turkish ambassador in Paris Rifat Pasha advised that neither side would hesitate to dismantle the Empire. According to Rifat, Germany was not as strong as Enver Pasha perceived and considered Turkey to be merely a pawn. Nonetheless, Enver Pasha defied Rifat's pleas to avoid alliance with either side and took what he saw as an opportunity to claim a victory in war.

Enver Pasha chose to ally Turkey with the Central Powers, justifying the alliance by citing Germany's early victories in the War. Being on the winning side would provide the opportunity to forge a swift victory over neighboring enemies and avoid the imminent disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

Alliance with the Central Powers appealed more to Turkey than alliance with the Allied Powers for additional reasons. Friction with the Entente came on two levels: firstly, Turkey and the Allies clashed over Turkey's harboring of German warships and, secondly, over Russia's interest in the Turkish Straits. On top of a long-standing objective to possess that territory, the Balkan Wars caused Russia to fear loss of access to the straits in 1912. Then in 1913, Russia threatened to occupy Ottoman territory if German military under Liman von Sanders was not removed. Russia was an archenemy and relations with the other Allied Powers were weak. ... ntral.html

bob lembke
In memoriam
Posts: 774
Joined: 31 Oct 2004 18:53
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Turkey's Reasons

Post by bob lembke » 01 Nov 2004 11:23

One relatively minor, but not insignificant reason, not mentioned was the way the Brits seized a battleship they had built for the Turks, even, I believe, before the war started. The Turks had the Brits build an absolutely first-class dreadnought, possibly the most powerful warship in the world, paid for, in large part, by the contributions of thousands of Turkish schoolchildren. The ship was completed, but in stead of delivering it, the Brits seized it and added it to their fleet. So when the Germans "gave" the Turks the Goeben and Breslau, with their crews, it really struck a good note.

Bob Lembke

Return to “The end of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1923”