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OTTOMAN EMPIRE.

Called by the Turks Osmanlls, after the name of the founder of the dynasty Osman I (Ar., `Uthman), the Ottomans were Oghuz (Tk., Oguz) Turks who came out of Central Asia and created a vast state that ultimately encompassed all of southeastern Europe up to the northern frontiers of Hungary, Anatolia, and the Middle East up to the borders of Iran as well as the Mediterranean coast of North Africa almost to the Atlantic Ocean.
Conquest, 1300-1600. The Ottoman Empire was created by a series of conquests carried out between the early fourteenth and late sixteenth centuries by ten successive capable rulers of the Ottoman Turkish dynasty. Starting as nomadic gazis (Ar., ghdzi, “raider”), fighting for the faith of Islam against the decadent Christian Byzantine Empire on behalf of the Seljuk Empire of Konya (“Seljuks of Rum”), Osman I and his successors in the fourteenth century expanded primarily into Christian lands of southeastern Europe as far as the Danube, while avoiding conflict with the Muslim Turkoman principalities that had dominated Anatolia after they defeated the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert in Ions. These conquests were facilitated by policies that left the defeated Christian princes in control of their states as long as they accepted vassalage and provided tribute and warriors to assist further Ottoman conquests and that allowed Christian officials and soldiers to join the Ottoman government and army as mercenaries without being required to convert to Islam. This first Ottoman Empire incorporated territories that encompassed the modern states of Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia; it bypassed the Byzantine capital Constantinople, which, despite the depopulation and despoilage inflicted by the Latin Crusaders early in the thirteenth century, held out as a result of its massive defense walls as well as the services provided by soldiers from Christian Europe, though its emperors for the most part accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman leaders. Efforts by the Byzantine emperors to reunite the Orthodox church with Rome in order to stimulate the creation of a new Crusade to rescue their empire led to new internal divisions that prevented any sort of unified resistance to the Ottomans.
This initial period of Ottoman expansion came to an end during the reign of Bayezid I (r. 1389-1402) who, influenced by the Christian princesses and their advisers at the Ottoman court, replaced the gazi tradition of conquering Christian territories with seizure of the Turkoman Muslim principalities in Anatolia; at the same time he substituted Byzantine for Muslim practices in his court and administration. The Muslim Turkomans who had led the conquests into Europe as gazis refused to participate in attacks on their Muslim coreligionists, however, particularly since the booty available was far less than in Europe, so the conquests to the East were accomplished largely with contingents furnished by Christian vassals. Many of the displaced Anatolian Turkoman princes fled to refuge with the Mamluk sultans who since 125o had displaced the Ayyubids in Egypt and Syria, or with the rising Tatar conqueror of Iran and Central Asia, Tamerlane, where they sought assistance in regaining their territories. The Mamluk Empire was then attempting to expand its influence north from Syria into Cilicia and the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates, but it was by this time too weak to provide substantial military assistance to the Turkomans. Tamerlane also preferred to move through Iran into India, but fearing that Ottoman expansion eastward past the Euphrates might threaten his rear, he mounted a massive invasion of Anatolia that culminated in his rout of the Ottoman army and capture of Bayezid I at the Battle of Ankara (1402). To ensure that no single power would rise up to dominate Anatolia and threaten his domains, he went on to ravage the peninsula and restore the surviving Turkoman princes before resuming his invasion of India.
Bayezid I died in captivity, but enough of his sons survived to contest for power during the Ottoman Interregnum (1402-1413) that followed. Initially Prince Sfileyman, based at Edirne, managed to retain Ottoman power in Europe with the assistance of the Christian vassal princes of southeastern Europe. Ultimately, however, his efforts to restore Ottoman rule in Anatolia were defeated by his bother Mehmed, supported by the Turkoman gazis who had remained along the Danube fighting against the Hungarians, and who had opposed Bayezid’s expansion into the Muslim East as well as the Christian tendencies in his court. As Mehmed I (r. 1413-1421), he restored Ottoman rule between the Danube and the Euphrates, driving out Christian influences in the court and inaugurating a policy, continued by Murad I (r. 1421-1451) and Mehmed II (r. 14511481) “the Conqueror” (Fatih) that instituted direct Ottoman administration in both Europe and Anatolia in place of the indirect rule through vassals which had characterized the previous century.
This restoration was accompanied in 1453 by Mehmed II’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople after a long siege. The city had been ravaged and largely depopulated since its occupation by Latin Crusaders in 1204. But Mehmed intended to restore it to its old splendor and prosperity so it could serve as the capital of the restored Roman Empire that he wished to create. Therefore, instead of following the Muslim tradition of sacking cities that resisted conquest, he used his army to rebuild it and then carried out a policy of forced immigration (surgun) of peoples from all parts of his empire to repopulate it and restore its economic life as quickly as possible. Mehmed repopulated the new capital with Christians as well as Muslims and Jews, but because of his mistrust of his Christian subjects, who openly encouraged new crusades from Europe to “liberate” them from Muslim rule, he made special efforts to attract into his dominions the Sephardic Jews of Spain and the Ashkenazi Jews of western and central Europe who were then being increasingly persecuted by Christian movements soon to culminate in the horrors of the Inquisition. To this end he stimulated the newly established chief rabbi of Edirne, Isaac Tzarfati, himself an immigrant from Germany, to send messages to Jews throughout Christian Europe urging them to enter the Ottoman dominions, where, he said, there was no persecution and Jews could achieve peace and prosperity. As a result, even before the mass expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, thousands of them immigrated into the Ottoman dominions from all over Europe, providing substantial support to Mehmed’s massive effort to rebuild Istanbul and to make it the political and economic center of a prosperous new empire.
The rapid expansion of the Ottoman dominions created severe financial, economic, and social strains. These were, however, successfully resolved during the long and relatively peaceful reign of Sultan Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512), thus making possible substantial expansion in the first half of the sixteenth century beyond the boundaries of the first empire, across the Danube through Hungary to the gates of Vienna and eastward into the territories of the classical Islamic empires of the Umayyads and `Abbasids. Sultan Selim I (r. 1512-1520) “the Grim” (Yavuz), in response to the rise of the Safavid empire in Iran starting about 1500 and its threat to conquer the increasingly weak and divided Mamluk Empire of Syria and Egypt, first defeated the Safavids at Chaldiran (1514) in eastern Anatolia, and then went on to conquer the Mamluk dominions during a rapid campaign through Syria and Egypt in 1516-1517, soon afterward adding the Arabian peninsula to his domains. Sultan Suleyman “The Lawgiver” (Kanunt; called “The Magnificent” in Europe), who ruled from 1520 to 1566, supported by an alliance with France against their common Habsburg enemy, went on to conquer Hungary (1526) and to put Vienna under a siege (1529), which though unsuccessful was followed by the creation of a system of border gazi warriors who carried out guerrilla warfare with raids well into central Europe during the next two centuries. With the stalemate in land warfare, the struggle between the Ottomans and Habsburgs was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea. Suleyman created a powerful navy under the leadership of the pirate governor of Algeria, Grand Admiral Hayruddin Barbarossa; the commander not only brought Algeria into the empire as a province whose revenues were set aside in perpetuity for support of the Ottoman navy, but also made the entire Mediterranean into an Ottoman lake. Suleyman also expanded Ottoman power in the East; after conquering Iraq and the southern Caucasus from the Safavids (1535), he built an eastern fleet that from bases in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea conquered the Yemen and broke European naval efforts to blockade the old international shipping routes through the Middle East and then went on to assist Muslim rulers in western India and Indonesia against the Portuguese and others.
Government and Society. The reign of Kanuni Siileyman marked the peak of Ottoman power and prosperity as well as the highest development of its governmental, social and economic systems. The Ottoman sultans preserved the traditional Middle Eastern social division between a very small ruling class (osmanhlar, or “Ottomans”) at the top, whose functions were limited largely to keeping order and securing sufficient financial resources to maintain itself and carry out its role, and a large subject class of rayas (redyd, or “protected flock”), organized into autonomous communities according to religion (millets) or economic pursuit (esnaf, or “guilds”) that cared for all aspects of life not controlled by the ruling class.
Ruling class. Membership in the ruling class was open to all who declared and manifested loyalty to the sultan, his dynasty, and his empire; who accepted the religion of Islam; who knew and practiced the Ottoman Way, a highly complex system of behavior including use of the Ottoman language, an artificial dialect derived from Turkish, Arabic, and Persian; and who knew and carried out the particular practices used by one or another of the groups into which the ruling class was divided. Those who failed to meet these requirements were considered members of the subject class regardless of their origins or religion. Thus ruling class members could be the children of existing members, but only if they acquired and practiced all the required characteristics. Members could also come from the devsirme system of recruitment among Christian youths, which was carried out on a large scale in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; the recruits were converted to Islam and educated in the Ottoman Way in the palace school established by Mehmed II and continued by his successors. Other members entered the ruling class as slaves or captives of existing members, or as “renegades” who came to the Ottoman Empire from all the nations of Europe, seeking their fortunes under the banner of the sultans. In general, all ruling class members who came from a Turkish or Muslim heritage, including the former members of the ruling classes of the Seljuk and Mamluk empires and their descendants, formed a Turko-Islamic aristocracy; converts from Christianity formed a separate devsirme class. The two groups struggled for power and prestige, with the ruler usually balancing them with equal positions and revenues in order to control and use both.
Members of the ruling class were divided into “institutions” according to function. The Palace or Imperial Institution (mulkiye) in the Topkapi Sarayi palace consisted of two branches: the Inner Service (enderun), often called the Harem, was charged with producing, maintaining, training, and entertaining sultans, and as such comprised the sultans themselves, their wives, concubines, children, and slaves; the Outer Service (birun) was led by the grand vizier (sadr-i azem) and included other officials holding the rank of vizier and the title pasha (pasa) who met as the imperial council (divan) in the kubbealti section of the second courtyard of the palace and were in charge of supervising and leading the remainder of the Ottoman system on behalf of the sultan. The Scribal Institution (kalemiye), constituting the treasury of the sultan and including all the “men of the pen” (ehl-i kalem), carried out the administrative duties of the ruling class, in particular assessing and collecting taxes, making expenditures, and writing imperial decrees and most other administrative documents. The Military Institution (seyfiye) included the “men of the sword” (ehl-i seyf) charged with expanding and defending the empire and keeping order and security: the sipahi cavalry, commanded for the most part by members of the Turko-Islamic aristocracy; the Janissary (yeniceri) infantry, military arm of the devsirme, which comprised the most important part of the Ottoman army starting in the sixteenth century and constituted the principal garrisons and police of major cities and towns of the empire; the Ottoman navy, long commanded by grand admirals who were given the governorship of Algeria as well as control of the customs duties of most of the ports of the Mediterranean to provide them with necessary revenues; the artillery (topciyan); and various other corps. Finally there was the Religious or Cultural Institution (ilmiye), led by the seyhulislam (Ar., shaykh al-Islam) and composed of “men of knowledge” (ehl-i ilm, ulema; Ar. `ulama’), constituting not only the leaders of prayer (imam) and others serving in the mosques, but also the judges (qadi) and jurisconsults (mufti), and all others in the realm of culture; to these persons the title efendi was given, as it was to members of the scribal class, who also had to undergo religious training.
The Islam maintained by the Ottoman ulema, while basically Orthodox Sunni in its official format, was in fact a syncretistic system. It combined orthodox beliefs and rituals with. two other traditions-the practices brought into Islam by the heterodox Sufi orders that had predominated among the pre-Ottoman Turkomans of Anatolia, and those of the indigenous Christian population, many of whom converted to Islam and were absorbed into the Ottoman melting pot.
Within the institutions of the Ottoman ruling class, organization was maintained largely in accordance with financial functions. Each position had certain sources of revenue, either taxes of varied sorts, fees levied in return for the performance of official duties (bahsis; Pers., bakhshish), or salaries paid by the Treasury. In general, all revenues in the empire were considered to constitute the imperial wealth (havass-i humayun) of the sultan, who alienated it on occasion in perpetuity as private property (mulk) or for religious foundations (vakif, evkdf; Ar., waqf, awqaf) or maintained it in financial/administrative units (muqata’dt) intended to produce revenues for the sultan and his ruling class. Out of the revenues that were left as muqata’dt, some were assigned as emanets to collectors (emins) who were paid salaries for carrying out their duties, for the most part consisting of collecting taxes or fees without additional functions; some were assigned to officials of the state or army who used the revenues entirely as their own salary (timars) in return for performing functions in addition to collecting the revenues, as viziers in the imperial council or as officers of the sipahi cavalry or the artillery corps; and some were assigned as tax farms (iltizam) to tax farmers (multezims) as the result of bids won by those who promised to pay the treasure the largest share of their annual revenues, since unlike the timar holders they performed no other function than the collection of revenues. Regardless of the source of revenues, the holders of the muqata’dt were given only enough authority to make certain that taxable revenues were produced; the producers of the revenue, whether cultivators, artisans or merchants, maintained property rights to pursue their own occupations as long as they delivered the required taxes.
Subject class. All functions of society as well as of government and administration not dealt with by the ruling class were relegated to the redyd (“protected flock”) or rayas, who constituted the subject class. For this purpose the redyd were organized into religiously based communities called at different times cema’dt, Wife and, finally millet, as well as into guilds (esndf), mystic orders of dervishes (tariqat) and other groupings that formed a substratum of Ottoman society.
Most important were the religiously based communities, most often called millets, of which four were established by Mehmed the Conqueror soon after he made Istanbul his capital. The Greek Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian millets were led by their patriarchs and staffed by the clerics organized in hierarchies under their authority. The former included, in addition to ethnic Greeks, all the Slavs and Rumanians living in southeastern Europe; the latter included not only Armenians, but also Gypsies, Nestorians, Copts, and other Eastern Christians. The Muslim millet was led by the Seyhulis-lam and the Cultural Institution and was thus the only millet with an organic connection to the ruling class. Mehmed II and his successor Bayezid II attempted to organize the Jewish millet like those of the Christians, appointing Moses Capsali, grand rabbi of Istanbul under the last Byzantines, as chief of all the rabbis and all Jews throughout the empire. There was, however, no religious hierarchy in Judaism comparable to those of the Christians. The Jews were moreover divided among those coming from Spain (Sephardim, or “Spanish”), the remainder of Europe (Ashkenazim, or “Germans”), and the classical Islamic empires of the Middle East (Musta’rab, or “Arabized”) as well as those who had survived centuries of persecution by the Greek Orthodox church in the Byzantine empire (Romaniote). The early grand rabbis appointed by the sultans were therefore unsuccessful at controlling their followers so that the Ottoman effort to appoint grand rabbis was therefore abandoned after 1535, not to be resumed again until just three centuries later as part of the Tanzimat reforms that transformed the empire during the nineteenth century. The traditional Jewish millet therefore was composed of hundreds of small communities (kahal, kehilla), each surrounding a synagogue; relations with ruling class officials were therefore carried out not by millet leaders, as was the case with the Christian and Muslim millets, but rather by the individual rabbis or their lieutenants (kdhya) or by the wealthy and influential Jewish bankers and physicians who served the sultans and other members of the ruling class until late in the sixteenth century. [See also Millet.]
In the countryside, villages were for the most part constituted entirely of members of one millet or another. In the larger towns and cities, quarters (sg., mahalle; pl., mahalldt), surrounded by walls and guarded by gates, were set aside for each millet. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Istanbul, for example, most of the Muslim quarters, each centered on a great imperial mosque, were located in what is known today as Old Istanbul. The Greek quarter was centered in Fener, on the Golden Horn, which was next to Balat, the principal Jewish quarter; the Armenians lived in Ayvansaray, next to Balat, as well as across the peninsula of Old Istanbul at Kumkapi on the Sea of Marmara. Most foreigners and many Ottoman Christians congregated across the Golden Horn at Galata and up its hill to Beyoglu (Pera) as well as on the islands of the Sea of Marmara, while the Jews crossed the Golden Horn from Balat to Haskoy, immediately opposite. Later the Jews spread also into Galata and also, to get away from the Christians, they went up the Bosporus to Ortakoy and to its Anatolian shores at Kuzguncuk and Uskiidar.
There was no municipal government as such in traditional Ottoman society. Whether rabbis or bishops or imams, the religious leaders of each quarter or village carried out all the secular functions not performed by the ruling class, basing these duties on their own religious laws as interpreted in their religious councils and courts, and conducting their affairs in their own languages and in accordance with their own customs and traditions. Thus they organized and operated schools, old-age homes, and kitchens for the poor. They arranged to pave, maintain, and light streets. They organized security and police. Leaders of the different urban millets came together on occasion for specific functions that required general cooperation, such as the celebration of certain festivals or organization against attacks, plagues or fires; but for the most part each lived independently with little input either by members of the ruling class or by members of the other millets.
A major purpose of the millet system was to prevent the kind of conflict among people of different religions that has so bedeviled life in the recent Middle East and southeastern Europe. While this general objective was achieved by the sultans, the age-old Christian prejudice against Jews, which had caused so many of the latter to flee from Europe to the protection of the Ottomans, did result in hundreds of Greek and Armenian blood-libel attacks on Jews throughout Ottoman history. Such attacks were suppressed by the authorities only during the centuries in which the ruling class was strong enough to maintain order, but as its empire declined in later centuries, the attacks became endemic, with Muslims and Jews usually banding together to defend themselves against assaults conducted by local Christians, often with the assistance and support of the representatives of the Christian states of Europe resident in the Ottoman dominions.
Decline. The Ottoman Empire began to decline late in the reign of Suleyman. This decline continued in various forms until the empire’s final decomposition as a result of World War I. The breakup of the empire resulted from a combination of multiple and interdependent factors, many of which were both cause and result. Domination of the ruling class by the devsirme class, starting about 1540, led to a decline in the quality of the rulers and to large-scale nepotism, corruption, and misrule of all elements of the population. Overtaxation by corrupt members of the ruling class caused cultivators to flee from the land, either to form robber bands or to migrate into the already overcrowded cities, where a shortage of work and food led to famine, disease, and urban anarchy. Capitulation treaties that allowed European subjects to live in the Ottoman dominions under their own laws, as enforced by their ambassadors and consuls, were transformed into instruments of semicolonial exploitation; this made it possible not only for Europeans, but also for the Greek and Armenian subjects of the sultan who accepted their protection, to dominate the Ottoman economic system and to drive out Muslims and Jews, who were as a result left in increasing poverty in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The resulting suffering was alleviated for the mass of subjects by their millets and guilds, which at least partially protected them from the worst results of the anarchy and misrule, though many still turned away from their official religious establishments toward mystic movements that offered more emotional solace and practical protection as conditions continued to worsen as the decline accelerated.
Reform and Modernization. Most members of the ruling class made little effort to reform the abuses, since they were able personally to profit far more from the anarchy than their predecessors had been able to do under the sultans’ domination. It was only when the rising nation-states of Europe recognized the extent of Ottoman weakness and moved to conquer Ottoman possessions in Hungary and southeastern Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that the ruling class accepted some sort of reform in order to preserve the empire on which their privileges depended. Under the leadership of Sultan Murad IV (r. 1623-1640) and the dynasty of Koprulu grand viziers placed in power during the later years of the seventeenth century by Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648-1687), efforts were made to reform the system in order to save the empire. This reform, however, was undertaken on the basis of the prevailing belief that Ottoman institutions and practices were superior to anything developed in Christian Europe; that therefore Ottoman weakness was due less to any inferiority of its institutions than to a failure to apply them as had been in the centuries of Ottoman greatness. Traditionalistic reform at this time therefore consisted of efforts to restore the old ways, executing corrupt and incompetent officials and soldiers. As soon as the government and army had been restored sufficiently to beat back the European attacks, however, the corruption returned and continued until the next crisis forced similar efforts. Increasing losses to Russia and Austria during the eighteenth century, however, forced the sultans to modify this traditionalistic reform, at least to the extent of acknowledging that European weapons and tactics were superior, and to accept at least partial reforms of the Ottoman military, which were introduced by a series of European renegades who entered Ottoman service. Inevitably, however, the older Ottoman military corps refused to accept this sort of change, because their status in the ruling class depended on their monopoly of the traditional techniques and practices. This compelled the sultans to allow the creation of separate modern infantry and artillery corps, which, however, could not for the most part be used because of opposition by the older corps, supported by members of the ruling class who also feared that the new forces would be used to eliminate them.
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the tremendously increased European threat to Ottoman integrity and direct intervention in internal Ottoman affairs stimulated and supported violent Christian nationalist uprisings to break up the empire in order to secure their independence. The resulting loss of territories and large-scale massacres of Muslim and Jewish subjects by the rebels as well as by the newly independent Christian states of southeastern Europe at last compelled the Ottomans to change their concept of reform to one of entirely destroying the old institutions and replacing them with new ones largely imported from the West. This sort of reform took place during the Tanzimat reform period planned under Sultan Mahmud II (r. 18o81839), carried out under his sons Abdulmecid (r. 18391861) and Abdiilaziz (r. 1861-1876), and brought to successful culmination under Sultan Abdulhamid II (r. 1876-190g). The traditional decentralized Ottoman system was replaced by an increasingly centralized one in which the central government extended its authority and activity to all areas of Ottoman life, undermining though not entirely replacing the millets and guilds. Since functions were expanding, moreover, the traditional Ottoman governmental system in which the ruling class acted through the imperial council was replaced with an increasingly complex system of government, divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The executive was organized into ministries headed by ministers (vekils) who came together in a cabinet led by the grand vizier or, increasingly, an official called prime minister (bas vekil). The legislative function was given to deliberative bodies, culminating in a partly representative council of state (surayi devlet) in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and in the democratically elected parliament introduced initially in 1876-1877 and then again in the Young Turk constitutional period (1908-1912) following the deposition of Abdulhamid II. Administration was turned over to a new hierarchy of well-educated bureaucrats (memurs) who dominated Ottoman governmental life until the end of the empire.
The reforms introduced during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries transformed the Ottoman empire into a relatively well-governed and modern state, whose treatment of the mass of subjects was far more humane than that of most European states that its reformers sought to copy. Emphasis was laid, however, on institutional and physical reforms, with the centralized bureaucracy exercising far more control over the lives of the subjects than was the case in the traditional decentralized Ottoman system. As a result, liberal political movements, led by the Young Ottomans during the years of the Tanzimat and by the Young Turks during the reign of Abdulhamid II, demanded political and social reforms as well. In any case, however, the multinational state now was doomed to destruction by the spread of nationalism among its Christian minorities, encouraged by Russia and Austria, who sought to use these movements as vehicles to extend their influence within the Ottoman body politic and, ultimately, to replace Ottoman rule with their own. The arms, moral encouragement, and finances supplied to various Christian national movements led to violent uprisings, starting with the Greek revolution early in the century and continuing in Serbia and Bulgaria, and particularly in Macedonia as thousands of Muslims and Jews were slaughtered under policies subsequently called “ethnic cleansing,” aimed at securing homogeneous national populations for the new Christian states. The Ottoman military response was bloody, leading to the massacres and counter massacres that characterized the empire, with little break, during the last half century of its existence. The Armenian and Greek minorities remaining within the empire opposed reform and supported nationalist uprisings in order to secure their own independence. The Jewish minority, however, recognized the persecution to which Jews as well as Muslims were being subjected in the course of the revolts and following the creation of the new Christian states; they therefore strongly supported Ottoman integrity and opposed the efforts to gain their support, not only by Christian nationalists, but also by the Jewish Zionists who began their activities in the empire late in the century, though their ef forts to secure Ottoman permission to establish a Jewish state in Palestine were rejected. At the same time, thousands of Jews fleeing persecution in Russia as well as Central Europe during the late years of the nineteenth century were encouraged to settle in other parts of the Ottoman Empire, particularly during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, and they made significant contributions to the modernization of Ottoman agriculture, industry, and trade.
During the constitutional period (1909-1918) that followed, the Ottoman Empire experienced the most democratic era of its history, with a myriad of political parties electing deputies to the Ottoman parliament, which enacted major secular and liberal reforms. An initial period in which members of all the different nationalities worked to strengthen and preserve the empire was brought to an end by Austria’s annexation of Bosnia and Bulgaria’s conquest of East Rumelia. These events stimulated the Christian minorities to abandon their shortlived support of the empire and to resume violent and bloody revolutions, particularly in Macedonia and eastern Anatolia, with the forceful Ottoman military responses to restore order compounding the violence. Other factors were Italy’s conquest of the provinces of Libya in the short Tripolitanian War (19 11) and the victory of the newly independent states of southeastern Europe during the First Balkan War (1912), which pushed the Ottomans out of all their remaining European provinces and threatened their control of Istanbul itself. As thousands of Muslim and Jewish refugees from the Christian attacks flooded into Istanbul, and as the remaining parts of the empire fell into increasing despair and chaos, the Young Turk leaders Enver Pasha, Talat Pasha, and Kemal Pasha were in 1912 able to end the short-lived Ottoman democracy and establish an autocracy that successfully defended Istanbul and took advantage of disputes among the Balkan states during the Second Balkan War (1913) to regain Edirne and eastern Thrace, and that introduced major social and economic legislation. Despite the wishes of most of the empire’s politicians and people to stay out of further conflicts, the Young Turk Triumvirate also brought the empire into World War I on the side of Germany and Austria, leading to its defeat and destruction along with that of its allies, with the remaining population devastated by a massive Russian invasion in the east as well as by an Allied naval blockade which caused large-scale famine and death as the war progressed. The Turkish War for Independence that followed (1918-1923) under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ismet Inonu, however, defeated the efforts of the victorious Allies to take over the territories occupied primarily by Turks, thus leading to the establishment of the Turkish Republic in Anatolia and eastern Thrace.
[See also Tanzimat; Turkey; Young Ottomans; Young Turks; and the biographies of Abdulhamid II, Ataturk, and Enver Pasha.]
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STANFORD J. SHAW

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/ottoman-empire/
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