Understanding British/Ottoman Relations at the Twilight of the Ottoman Empire, 1880-1922

Year: 2012 

Grant Recipient:: Christopher Catherwood, Warren Dockter

The project covers specific events in British-Ottoman relations and the major personalities who helped shape the British policy concerning the Ottoman Empire during this period. The specific focus of the project is to consider and compare the cultural aspects of diplomacy from both British and Ottoman perspectives to illustrate the social and cultural forces at work inside diplomacy between the two states.

A major theme throughout the project is an evaluation of the extent to which British-Ottoman relations were prejudiced by orientalism and the British fear of pan-Islamism and political Islam. From the Ottoman perspective, the fear of nationalism, anxiety regarding Ottoman international standing in Europe, the stress of balancing traditional and modern cultural influences, and increasing fear of Russian expansionism will all be explored.

By exploring such themes, the project aims to reach an outcome that answers key questions surrounding British-Ottoman diplomacy. It will address the role Britain played in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of modern Turkey and the modern Middle East, and consider whether British-Ottoman relations were doomed because of the expanse of British imperial interests in Cyprus, Egypt and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.

An additional aim of this project is to assess how British-Ottoman relations affected major historical individuals such as Enver Bey Paşa, Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, Atatürk and others.

An attempt will also be made to raise awareness of the Ottoman Empire’s role as a governing force in the Middle East and how, after its collapse, the Middle East became increasingly complex and chaotic.

Belongs to;
Late Ottoman & Early Republican History

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