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     A crescendo of war

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A crescendo of war: 1911-1914

The new constitutional government in Istanbul is soon confronted by war on several fronts, as enemies circle for the next bite of the crumbling Ottoman empire.

Austria's unopposed seizure of Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1908 perhaps inspires the king of Italy with similar ambitions on the north African coast. In 1911 Italian forces occupy the Turkish provinces in the region now known as Libya. The small Christian countries in the Balkans also sense their chance. Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, recently independent of Turkey, join forces in 1912 to extend their frontiers at the expense of their previous overlord.


Warfare has barely ceased in the Balkans when a much wider conflict erupts, from within the same region, in 1914. There is much debate in Turkey as to how the nation should be positioned in the coming world war. Russia and Italy (Turkey's oldest and most recent enemies) are allies, so it is inconceivable that Istanbul should side with them. Neutrality or support for the Central powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) are the only options.

An event decides the issue. The Germans have lent two warships and their crews to the Turkish navy. After the outbreak of war, these ships shell Russian targets in the Black Sea. In retaliation Russia declares war on Turkey, in November 1914, followed the next day by France and Britain.


This History is as yet incomplete.


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