French language

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Peter H
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French language

Post by Peter H » 22 Apr 2007 01:46

Most accounts on the Ottoman elite state they used the French language for administrative and diplomatic purposes.

Did officers receive language lessons?


I think French was used as a common language between the Turkish officers and their German and Austrian counterparts as well?

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Bill Woerlee
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Post by Bill Woerlee » 22 Apr 2007 06:54

Peter

G'day mate

French was the international language of diplomacy so it was basically compulsory for everyone to learn it in the elites. This was true of England, Germany and Russia. The elites all spoke French and communicated in this language between the various governments.

Cheers

Bill

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 22 Apr 2007 10:30

After the Napoleonic wars Ottoman elite decided to reform the state and army. They took the French system as an example although they fought againts Napoleon at Eygypt and Palastina. Mother of Sultan Mahmut II was a French girl from a very good French Family who was takem slave by Turkish pirates of Algiers.She was a beautiful girl. She was presented to the harem of Sultan Abdulhamid I who was a very clever and good Sultan. She gave a son to Sultan Abdulhamid I. Sultan Abdulhamid died from an heart attack as he heard that the fort of Azak at Kirim fall into Russian hands. His brother Sultan Selim became the ruler. He was also a very good man. He wanted to reorganize the army and state. He established a new army. Sultan Selim III was a composer, a musician. His song are the best of Turkish classical music. Sultan Selim III took good care to his cousen mahmud. Sultan selim was killed by rebels who were againts reforms. During the time of Sultan Mahmud the first Turkish students were send to educate at Paris. Those young Turks became later the leadres of the nation. Ali Pasha, Kececizade Fuad Pasha, ect. Thats the reason why ottomans spoke French.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 22 Apr 2007 13:46

Thanks guys.

I remember reading somewhere that the German Asienkorps and their Turkish counterparts conversed in French.Only a handful of Turkish officers(like Kemal) could speak German.

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infantry
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Post by infantry » 05 May 2007 20:38

With the foundation of Mühendishane-i Berri Hümayun (Military Engineering School) in 1793 French language lessons became an indispensable part of curricula in all the following military schools i.e. Mekteb-i Harbiye (Military Academy) of 1834, Erkân-ı Harbiye (Staff College) of 1845 and Askeri İdadi (military high school) of 1845. So when the military educational system finally organized in 1845 a cadet would get French education at least eight years 3 to 4 hours per week. Later on additional foreign language classes of German and Russian were added.

However after 1883 when the German military advisory teams managed to influence military educational system directly the German language education became more important. For example before the arrival of Liman von Sanders mission selected Turkish officers were sent to Germany to improve their German and get a feel of the German military system. Most of them later on worked as translators or ADCs of the high ranking German officers.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 09 May 2007 10:52

Thanks infantry.

Of interest as well:

http://books.google.com/books?id=MsyufT ... k#PPA36,M1
..in 1915,Erwin Rommel...hoped to be sent to the Ottoman Empire and even began learning Turkish for that purpose.

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Mr Holmes
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Post by Mr Holmes » 09 May 2007 14:06

Unfortunately, I have nothing to back this up, but when studying Theology (part of Church History) our lecturer told us that most of the schools of Smyrna/Izmir taught French (from memory, the same was true of at least the Greek schooling at Constantinople). My Godfather told me the same (his parents found their way to Crete after the 1922 episode).

For some evidence of the widespread usage of French, this link shows postcards of the era, some of them do include French:

http://smyrnialbum.s5.com/photo_album_9.htm

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 09 Jun 2007 14:54

From Hew Strachan's The First World War.

Turkish language class for German officers before they are sent to Turkey.
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Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 10 Jun 2007 14:19

Dear Peter you always thanked us for our posts. Now it is my turn to thank you for a picture that I havent seen before.
On the other hand I merked that this picture was not taken before they are sent to Turkey. Some of the officers are wearing Turkish Army Uniforms while some German Army uniforms. Some of them have badges of WW1. (What kind of badges are they? Iron Cross 2nd Class?)

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 11 Jun 2007 08:51

Tosun,

I just rechecked Strachan's book and the caption does not give a location.So it might be in Turkey.

Yes,Iron Crosses 2nd Class.

Regards
Peter

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