WORKSHOP: From Enemies to Allies | Turkey and Britain during WWI

01 - 02 April 2016 ,10:00 - 18:00 | Ankara

USAK conference hall, Ayten Sok. No:21, 06570

The workshop dealt with Anglo-Turkish relations in the late Ottoman period, the political transformation of Turkish society resulting from the Young Turk movement and militarization, and the ethnic, religious and cultural politics of the WW1 period.

A Workshop part of the BIAA project From Enemies to Allies

Themes and Research Questions:

General: British and Turkish perceptions of one another; recurring patterns of British Turkish relations in the 19th century; European cultural bias and orientalism; How did the Ottomans view Britain prior to WW1? Crucial role of great power politics (especially GB-French-Russian entente) pre-WW1.

Specific: The effect of the CUP revolution on British-Turkish relations; the possibility of a Turkish/British alliance before WW1; the Turkish response to the British/Arab alliance; the consequences for Britain of the failure at Gallipoli; the role of key players: Churchill, Fisher, Enver, Talaat, Lawrence, Mustapha Kemal, Liman von Sanders; the specific theatres of war (Mesopotamia, the desert revolt, the Turkish-Russian front). Inter-entente agreements during WW1 and their effect on the post-war situation.

Contact Person: Daniel-Joseph McArthur-Seal



1 April

14.30-14.45    Registration and coffee

14.45-15.00     Welcome speech, Ambassador (R) Özdem Sanberk, USAK President

15.00 – 17.00    Panel 1: Anglo-Ottoman entanglements on the outbreak of war

Camille Cole, Yale University – Steamship and dams: capital and investment in Ottoman-British relations in Iraq, 1861-1914
Piro Rexhepi, University of Graz – Colonial Peripheries in British-Turkish relations during the First World War and the emergence of transnational pan-Islamism
Ambassador Altay Cengizer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Policy Planning  – British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire from the Young Turk Revolution to the First World War

17.30 – 19.00    Keynote Lecture

Eugene Rogan, University of Oxford – Soldiers on the Ottoman Front: the view from both sides of the trenches.

2 April

9.30-12.00    Panel 2: Determining the front, contending strategies for victory

Warren Docktor, University of Cambridge – Churchill’s wartime vision
Sevtap Demirci, Boğaziçi University – The Dardanelles campaign and contending strategies for war
Talha Çiçek, Newton International Fellow of the British Academy at SOAS – The holy war in Syria: the Ottoman plan to conquer Egypt during the First World War
Ayhan Aktar, Bilgi University – Who sank the Battleship Bouvet on 18 March 1915? Problems of Imported Historiography in Turkey

12.00-13.00    Lunch

13.00-14.30    Panel 3: New arrivals, Japan, America and the Anglo-Ottoman war

Selcuk Esenbel, Boğaziçi University – Japan and the Great War: negotiations between Minister Uchida Sadatsuchi, Sir Horace Rumbold, and the Turks in occupied Istanbul
Charlie Laderman, University of Cambridge – Britain, the Armenian question and American intervention in the First World War

15.00-17.00    Panel 4: The war after the war, Turkish and British visions for post-Ottoman space

David Katz, Tel Aviv University – Arnold Toynbee, the Turkish War of Independence, and the clash of civilisations
Ozan Arslan, Izmir University of Economics – An unexpected Anglo-Ottoman front of WWI: the Ottoman Caucasian Army of Islam and the British Caspian campaign in 1918
Matthew Ghazarian, Columbia University – Rethinking Britain’s Caucasus operation, 1918-1920

Download Programme in PDF here

The workshop was oarganised by the BIAA, hosted by the ULUSLARARASI STRATEJIK ARAŞTIRMALAR KURUMU (USAK) and supported by the British Academy and the British Embassy.

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