Ottoman Decline European Great Powers Essay

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But it was the British who would have the greatest impact on the decline of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Gaining control of Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars, Britain administered Egypt as an independent province of the Ottoman Empire. However, it was World War One that gave Great Britain the opportunity to directly expand into the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans allied themselves with the Central Powers, enemies of France, Russia, and, most importantly, Great Britain. By first fomenting a revolution among the Arabs, the British were able to destabilize the Turks in the Middle East, which then led to the conquest of Palestine and Syria. While the British had promised their Arab Allies independence, the Sykes-Picot agreement actually split the Middle East into four "mandates," and "recognized long-standing French claims to Syria." (Cleveland, 2009, p 164) Three of the four "mandates" were controlled by the British, one by the French, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire was effectively dismantled.

It was the European Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Exploration and Discovery, and especially the Industrial Revolution that transformed Europe into a modern, advanced region capable of expanding around the globe. This caused the Europeans to expand their territorial control, taking over whole parts of the world. In the Middle East, the Europeans used their technological and military edge to slowly eat away at the Ottoman Turks, who had not embraced the new, modernizing ideals of the Europeans. First the Russians and Austrians, but later the French, British, and other Europeans began to eat away at the decaying remnants of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Finally, the Turks' siding with the losing side of World War One was the final straw. The victorious allies divided up and occupied most of the Ottoman Empire, leaving just Anatolia for the Turks to establish a modern state.


Cleveland, William, and Martin Bunton. (2009). A History of the Modern Middle East.

Westview Press, Harper Collins. Print.

Goldschmidt, Arthur. (2006). A Concise History…

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