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Unformatted text preview: to the Essentials of Modern World History. Wk 8: Mid-East and North Africa, 1453-1914, © D. G. Rowley, 2004. Rev. 2011. 3 West actually increased.
Furthermore, the Ottoman reforms were not enough
to raise its military to a level of equality with Russia, and
the only reason Russia did not drive Ottoman forces out
of Europe was because—as in the eighteenth
century—Britain and France wanted to prevent Russia
from expanding into the Balkans at Ottoman expense.
Therefore, in 1854, after Russia once again defeated the
Turkish army, Britain and France intervened. In the
Crimean War (1854-56), France and Britain defeated and
forced to give up its gains.
Great Britain and France did not attempt to colonize
the Ottoman Empire, but they were able to gain
economic rights similar to colonialism. Great Britain
gained the same trade concessions as the French had
won in the Treaty of Capitulations. In addition, both
countries pressed “modernization” loans on the Sultans,
amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. When the
government neared bankruptcy, Britain forced the Sultan
to permit the creation of the Ottoman Public Debt
Administration (it had 7 members, 5 appointed by
European powers, 1 by the Ottoman Bank, and one by
the Sultan) which began to oversee all Ottoman income
and expenditure. One-fifth of all revenues went directly
to Europe to pay the debt and the OPDA directed
investment in the Ottoman economy. It favored
railroads, telegraph, and port construction that was
useful for trade with Europe but did little for native
industrial development. Furthermore, European
investors were paid subsidies and guaranteed profits.
Officials who favored modernization realized some
major goals in 1876 when they influenced the new
sultan, Abdülhamid II (1876-1909), to approve a
constitution that provided for a bicameral legislature, a
cabinet, and freedom of the press, and turned Islam from
a state to a private religion. Although Abdülhamid
quickly dismissed the parliament and suspended the
constitution, it remained an ideal that liberals fought for.
Liberal and nationalist opposition to Abdulhamid’s
despotism and subservience to the west grew, and in
1889 a group of students at the Imperial Military Medical
college formed the Committee for Union and Progress,
better known in the west as “the Young Turks.” They
called for democratic reform and an end to slavish
Westernization. They also promoted Turkish nationalism
over Ottoman imperialism. Many of them wanted to
disassociate from the Arab Middle East and form a
federation with Turkic peoples in the Caucasus and
Central Asia (a policy known as “Pan-Turanism.”).
After 1900, the countryside experienced crop failures,
the cities suffered from inflation, and the government
was unable to pay its troops. In 1906 Turkey was swept
by rebellions, riots, and mutinies, and in 1908 the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP) led a military
revolt that forced Sultan Abdülhamid to restore the
constitution of 1877. When he blocked further reform, he
was forced to abdicate in favor of Muhammad V, a
puppet of the CU...
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