The Ottoman Empire

Founded in the 13th century, the Ottoman Empire was once one of the worlds greatest powers, expanding under the rule of its sultans to within a hairs breadth of conquering both Europe and Russia. However, by 1914 the empire had been in decline for well over a century, and was routinely named 'the sick man of Europe'. Ottoman territory had shrunk dramatically over the course of the 19th century, losing it's African possessions, and ceding it's fractious Balkan territories to Austrian dominion (and thus paving the way for the Great War). Politically, despite attempts to modernise, the empire was backwards and struggling with new nationalist forces that were sweeping through its imperial subject races.

France and Britain found geopolitical reasons to prop up the tottering empire to oppose Russia, the Ottomans ancient enemy, a policy that reached its height in the Crimean War with Russia in the 1850s. However in the early 20th century came a series of events which found the Ottomans end up fighting their former allies. In 1908 a revolutionary movement, the so called Young Turks who were a group of secular Turkish nationalists, took over the Empire, causing diplomatic relations with Britain and France to sour. In addition, the Turks found it impossible to be allied with the British and French when the Triple Entente was signed, as that would mean them being aligned with their enemy Russia, which was unacceptable. The Kaiser was quick to take advantage of this opportunity, sending gold and warships to the Ottomans, while the Entente powers, who didn't think much of the Ottomans, snubbed them by confiscating two battleships commissioned by the Turks that were being built in British shipyards without compensation.

The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed IV, wished to remain neutral. But he was now only a figurehead thanks to the revolution of 1908, and many other high ranking Turkish officials cented around the 'Three Pashas' (Enver Pasha, Minister of War, the Interior Minister Salat Pasha, and the Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha) signed a treaty with Germany on August 2nd, 1914, becoming a member of the Central Powers.

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