By Itzchak Weismann, Fruma Zachs
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Why did the Ottoman Empire input the 1st global battle in overdue October 1914, months after the war's devastations had turn into transparent? have been its leaders 'simple-minded,' 'below-average' participants, because the doyen of Turkish diplomatic heritage has argued? Or, as others have claimed, did the Ottomans input the struggle simply because struggle Minister Enver Pasha, dictating Ottoman judgements, used to be in thrall to the Germans and to his personal expansionist desires?
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Extra resources for Ottoman Reform and Muslim Regeneration (Library of Ottoman Studies)
61 The criticism was futile because even if the legal arguments were solid, after three and a half centuries of possession it was too late for anyone to question the Ottomans’ right to the Caliphate. ’62 Redhouse’s approach was supported by another distinguished Orientalist, George P. Badger, whose article of September 1877 was partly a response to Birdwood’s assertions. After giving a detailed etymological analysis of the terms ‘Caliphate’ and ‘Imamate’ and a brief history of the Arab Caliphs, Badger argued that the Caliphate of Islam was ‘inseparable from the suffrages of and the sovereignty over the greater portion of the Muslim community’ and that ‘the Ottoman Sultan has as much right to the dignity as any other pretender; nay more, considering the large body of Muslims who acknowledge his claim....
225. 7 Feridun Emecen, ‘Osmanli Hanedanina Alternatif Arayislar Üzerine Bazi Örnekler ve Mülahazalar’, Islam Arastirmalari Dergisi 6 (2001), pp. 63-76. 8 Cevdet Pasa: Tarih-i Cevdet, vol. 2, pp. 302-3. 9 Bâb-i Mesihat, Yunanistan ve Romanya ve Sirbiye ve Bulgaristan ve Karadag’da Bulunan Cemaat-i Islamiyenin Hususat-i Mezhebiyeleri Hakkinda Canib-i Seyhülislamiden Kaleme Alinan 32 OTTOMAN REFORM AND MUSLIM REGENERATION Talimattir (Istanbul, 1302/1884-5). I am indebted to Ilhami Yurdakul for supplying me with a copy of this document.
It seems to have emerged and been shaped in response to internal and external pressures. The loss of the Crimea was indeed only one of the serious challenges that the Ottoman Empire faced almost on all fronts. From the 1770s the Russians in particular gained the upper hand in their relations with the Ottomans, and their influence in both the Crimea and the Caucasus increased immensely. Frequent wars with Russia and Austria during the second half of the eighteenth century imposed extra burdens on the already weakened Ottoman economy and financial situation, while the reform programs of Selim III at the end of the century further increased the state’s dependence on internal and external support.