There's No Escaping the Ottoman Empire--Part 1
On March 25, 1821 the Greeks declared themselves free of Ottoman rule. War ensued. On May 11, 1832 Greece was finally recognized as a sovereign state and this state of affairs was formally recognized by the Turks and the European powers with the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832. Go here for an account of the Greek War of Independence.
The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries subsequently witnessed the gradual withdrawal of the Ottoman empire from Europe as various Balkan states sought and achieved independence from Ottoman rule. In the First World War the Ottoman empire was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Following military defeat in 1918 these three empires vanished from the face of the earth and a multitude of successor states arose. Most of the Ottoman empire in western Asia was divided into territories that became League of Nations mandates under British or French rule. In 1923 the Republic of Turkey was founded, in some sense the heir of the Ottoman empire. Today Turkey seeks membership of the European Union. Although the events of the First World War and its aftermath now seem very distant, they cannot be so easily forgotten for they continue to have a profound impact on our lives.
Today, Monday, April 25, marks the ninetieth anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. The Gallipoli campaign, a futile eight-month effort to capture Constantinople and so enable French and British forces to join the Russians in the war against Austria-Hungary and Turkey, cost the lives of more than 100,000 Allied and Turkish soldiers with another quarter of a million wounded. Australian casualties were 8,000 dead and another 18,000 wounded, and New Zealand casualties were 7,500. Australian and New Zealand nationalists regard the Gallipoli campaign as the coming of age of their respective states. The irony is that they were actually fighting for the British empire. For more on Gallipoli see here and here. And let us not forget Peter Weir’s fine movie Gallipoli (1981) starring the young Mel Gibson.
Kenneth R Gregg - 4/28/2005
Gallipoli was a tragedy, that should never have happened, That could have been averted, that, due to the insufferable imperialism of the leadership of Britain, sent thousands of young men to their death.
Just a thought.
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