Foreign relations of the Ottoman Empire

Foreign relations of the Ottoman Empire

The foreign relations of the Ottoman Empire were characterized by competition with the Persian Empire to the east and Europe to the west. The foreign relations of the Ottomans began to collapse in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire eventually leading to the loss of many important territories. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bulgarian Declaration of Independence soon followed, and eventually most of the Arab lands became independent soon before the Empire entered World War I.

The Ottoman Empire's diplomatic structure was unconventional and departed in many ways from its European counterparts. Traditionally, foreign affairs were conducted by the Reis ül-Küttab (Chief Clerk or Secretary of State) who also had other duties. In 1836, a Foreign Ministry was created.[1]

Ambassadors from the Ottoman Empire were usually appointed on a temporary and limited basis, as opposed to the resident ambassadors sent by other European nations.[2][3]The Ottomans sent 145 temporary envoys to Venice between 1384 and 1600.[4] The first resident Ottoman ambassador was not seen until Yusuf Agah Efendi was sent to London in 1798.[2][5]

Ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire began arriving shortly after the fall of Constantinople. The first was Bartelemi Marcello from Venice in 1454. The French ambassador Jean de La Forêt later arrived in 1535.[6] In 1583, the ambassadors from Venice and France would attempt unsuccessfully to block William Harborne of England from taking up residence in Istanbul. This move was repeated by Venice, France and England in trying to block Dutch ambassador Cornelius Haga in 1612.[7]

Capitulations were a unique practice of Muslim diplomacy that was adopted by Ottoman rulers. In legal and technical terms, they were unilateral agreements made by the Sultan to a nation's merchants. These agreements were temporary, and subject to renewal by subsequent Sultans.[8][9] The origins of the capitulations comes from Harun al Rashid and his dealings with the Frankish kingdoms, but they were also used by both his successors and by the Byzantine Empire.[9]

The Ottoman Empire was a crucial part of the European states system and actively played a role in their affairs, due in part to their coterminous periods of development.[10][11]
Towards the end of the 15th century, the Ottomans began to play a larger role in the Italian Peninsula. In 1494, both the Papacy and the Kingdom of Naples petitioned the Sultan directly for his assistance against Charles VIII of France in the First Italian War.[12]

Ottoman policy towards Europe during the 16th century was one of disruption against the Habsburg dynasties.[10] The Ottomans collaborated with Francis I of France and his Protestant allies in the 1530s while fighting the Habsburgs.[10] Although the French had sought an alliance with the Ottomans as early as 1531, one was not concluded until 1536. The sultan then gave the French freedom of trade throughout the empire, and plans were drawn up for an invasion of Italy from both the north and the south in 1537.[13]
Francis I later admitted to a Venetian ambassador that the Ottoman Empire was the only thing that prevented Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor from creating a Europe-wide empire under Habsburg dominion.[14][15]

Later, the Dutch would ally with the Ottomans. Prince William of Orange coordinated his strategic moves with those of the Ottomans during the Turkish negotiations with Philip II of Spain in the 1570s.[10] After the Habsburgs inherited the Portuguese crown in 1580, Dutch forces attacked their Portuguese trading rivals while the Turks, supportive of the Dutch bid for independence, attacked the Habsburgs in Eastern Europe.[16]

In the 19th century the Ottoman Empire grew weaker and Britain increasingly became its protector, even fighting the Crimean War in the 1850s to help it out. Three British leaders played major roles. Lord Palmerston in the 1830-65 era considered the Ottoman Empire an essential component in the balance of power, was the most favourable toward Constantinople. William E. Gladstone in the 1870s sought to build a Concert of Europe that would support the survival of the empire. In the 1880s and 1890s Lord Salisbury contemplated an orderly dismemberment of it, in such a way as to reduce rivalry between the greater powers.[17]

Turkey–United Kingdom relations
Turkish–British relations are foreign relations between the Republic of Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The two nations have been at war several times, such as within the First World War. They have also been allied several times, however, such as in the Crimean War. Both countries currently maintain relations via the British Embassy in Ankara[1] and the Turkish Embassy in London.[2]
Turkey and the United Kingdom maintain good bilateral relations.[3] The President of Turkey Cevdet Sunay paid a state visit to the United Kingdom in November 1967.[4] The President of Turkey Kenan Evren paid a state visit to the United Kingdom in July 1988.[4]Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom paid state visits to Turkey in October 1971 and May 2008.[5] Britain and Turkey are both members of the G20, and Britain has supported the accession of Turkey to the European Union.

Mandate of Palestine
The Ottoman Empire, of which Palestine was a part, broke up shortly after the First World War and was officially dissolved in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne. Palestine was previously a part of the Ottoman Empire. Britain had declared its intention to support the creation of a Jewish "homeland" in the Balfour Declaration, 1917. The British had, in the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, previously been in discussions with the Hashemite family concerning the concept of an independent Arab state. These discussions remained inconclusive and vague but contained the implied support from Britain of an independent Arab state in exchange for a successful Arab Revolt during World War I. The British, under General Allenby during the Arab Revolt under the guidance of British intelligence officers, the most famous being T. E. Lawrence, contributed to the defeat of the Ottoman forces in 1917 in which British and French forces occupied the Sinai and the majority of Greater Syria. The land was administered by the British for the remainder of the war.
Cyprus dispute

The Ottoman Empire leased the island of Cyprus to the United Kingdom in 1878. The UK formally annexed Cyprus as a British colony in 1914 at the outset of the Great War. Britain maintained two sovereign military base areas on the island of Cyprus after the country's independence in 1960. In a response to a coup d'état orchestrated by the military junta of Greece to unite the island with mainland Greece Turkey invaded the island in June 1974 which had as a result more than one quarter of the population of Cyprus been expelled from the occupied northern part of the island where Greek Cypriots constituted 80% of the population. A little over a year later in 1975, there was also a flow of roughly 60,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south to the north after the conflict.[6] The Turkish invasion ended in the partition of Cyprus along the UN-monitored Green Line which still divides Cyprus. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence, although Turkey is the only country which recognises it.[7] The UK is a signatory to the Treaty of Guarantee, together with Greece and Turkey concerning the independence and status of Cyprus.[8]

The United Kingdom is the second biggest importer of goods from Turkey, after Germany. Turkey exports around 8% of its total goods to the United Kingdom.[9] Annually, around 2,000,000 Britons take holidays in Turkey,[citation needed] while 100,000 Turks travel to the UK for business or pleasure.
EU membership
The United Kingdom has been the strongest supporter for the Accession of Turkey to the European Union. The EU and Turkey are linked by a Customs Union agreement, which came in force on 31 December 1995.[10] Turkey has been a candidate country to join the European Union since 1999. In 2010, the BBC reported Prime Minister Cameron's 'anger' at slow pace of Turkish EU negotiations.[11] Boris Johnson, mayor of London has historically been a passionate supporter of Turkey's EU aspirations.[12] However, as a support of the UK's Brexit, he is arguing for Turkey - as the UK - to be outside the EU.[13] As the fifth and eighteen largest global economies (by GDP) respectively, the UK and Turkey are also the second and seventh largest European economies.[when?]