Sultan Abdul Deposed - History

Sultan Abdul Deposed - History


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Constantinople
On April 27, 1909 Sultan Abdul was deposed by the Turkish Parliament. The parliament act to depose him after he supported a counter-revolution to restore his total powers, which had been limited by the Constitution he had agreed to abide.

In Turkey, reactionary forces that supported the old order decided to stage a counter-revolution against the new Constitution. On April 13, 1909, they seized power in Constantinople, the Turkish Capital. However, army troops in Salonika, which had been one of the initial power centers of the Young Turks, stood by the revolution and the Constitution. On April 24, they recaptured Constantinople. The Turkish National Assembly was called into emergency session, and they voted unanimously to depose Abdul Hamid, who was seen as the force behind the counter-revolution. Hamid had ruled Turkey since 1876, and one of the reasons given for his ouster was his support for the Armenian Massacres of 1894-96. Hamid was succeeded by his brother Rashid Effendi, who was declared as sultan as Mohammed V.


Abdülhamid II

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Abdülhamid II, (born September 21, 1842, Constantinople [now Istanbul, Turkey]—died February 10, 1918, Constantinople), Ottoman sultan from 1876 to 1909, under whose autocratic rule the reform movement of Tanzimat (Reorganization) reached its climax and who adopted a policy of pan-Islamism in opposition to Western intervention in Ottoman affairs.

A son of Sultan Abdülmecid I, he came to the throne at the deposition of his mentally deranged brother, Murad V, on August 31, 1876. He promulgated the first Ottoman constitution on December 23, 1876, primarily to ward off foreign intervention at a time when the Turks’ savage suppression of the Bulgarian uprising (May 1876) and Ottoman successes in Serbia and Montenegro had aroused the indignation of Western powers and Russia. After a disastrous war with Russia (1877), Abdülhamid was convinced that little help could be expected from the Western powers without their intrusion into Ottoman affairs. He dismissed the Parliament, which had met in March 1877, and suspended the constitution in February 1878. Thenceforth, for 30 years, he ruled from his seclusion at Yıldız Palace (in Constantinople), assisted by a system of secret police, an expanded telegraph network, and severe censorship.

After the French occupation of Tunisia (1881) and assumption of power by the British in Egypt (1882), Abdülhamid turned for support to the Germans. In return, concessions were made to Germany, culminating in permission (1899) to build the Baghdad Railway. Eventually, the suppression of the Armenian revolt (1894) and the turmoil in Crete, which led to the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, once more resulted in European intervention.

Abdülhamid used pan-Islamism to solidify his internal absolutist rule and to rally Muslim opinion outside the empire, thus creating difficulties for European imperial powers in their Muslim colonies. The Hejaz Railway, financed by Muslim contributions from all over the world, was a concrete expression of his policy.

Internally, the most far-reaching of his reforms were in education: 18 professional schools were established Darülfünun, later known as the University of Istanbul, was founded (1900) and a network of secondary, primary, and military schools was extended throughout the empire. Also, the Ministry of Justice was reorganized, and railway and telegraph systems were developed.

Discontent with Abdülhamid’s despotic rule and resentment against European intervention in the Balkans, however, led to the military revolution of the Young Turks in 1908. After a short-lived reactionary uprising (April 1909), Abdülhamid was deposed, and his brother was proclaimed sultan as Mehmed V.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Zeidan, Assistant Editor.


Sultan Abdul Hameed II

Sultan Abdul Hameed II was the 34 th and last sultan of the Ottoman Empire having true influence. Sultan Abdul Hameed was born on 7 th September, 1842 in the Topkapi Palace Istanbul, Turkey. His father was Sultan Abdul Majeed I and Tirimüjdan Kadin was his mother.

His mother died when Sultan was very young and so Perestu Kadin (Sultan Abdul Majeed I’s another wife) adopted him. He loved and respected her so much that after accession to the throne instead of his wives, he gave “The Sultana” title to her.

He was an excellent rider, swimmer and extra ordinary carpenter. After accession to the throne he had to give up many of his hobbies due to the busy schedule. However, he would do carpentering in his free time. He would gift his work or sell them and spend the money on poors. His extra ordinary skills as a carpenter can still be seen in certain Ottoman palaces in Turkey even today.

Sultan Abdul Hameed ascended to the throne when he was 34 years old, when his brother Sultan Murad Khamis (V) was deposed. Sultan Abdul Hameed was one of the greatest sultan of the Ottoman empire, and some even think that after Sultan Suleman Alqanooni he was the most influential and greatest sultan. His enemies would tremble upon hearing his name.

When he was ascended to the throne, it was the time when the Ottoman empire was going through its worst phase and was falling apart. Sultan through his extra ordinary leading skills not only took out the empire from a hard phase but also extended the time period of the Ottoman empire by 33 glorified years.

The empire was facing threats from European countries and was sunk in debts (estimated to be 252 million Ottoman Lira in gold), which he fought and settled through his sharp and genius economical policy to 1/10 th . He opened many schools, khanqah and hospitals throughout the state. Hijaz railway was also one of his many deeds.

He had to face many difficulties like Rumelia revolts, rebellion by the Arabs, Armenians and Kurds and treachery among his own Vazirs. Despite all these difficulties Sultan never lost hope and worked very hard for the state. He was always just and fair. He was a religious man, who would never miss a prayer or fasts.

Sultan Abdul Hameed was deposed and spent his last 9 years of life in Beylerbeyi Palace, Bosphorus studying and spending time with his family. The day he was to be deposed, coming out of the Yildiz Palace he only had a small bag in his hand and nothing else. This is the proof how honest and great leader he was.

On 10 th feburary, 1918 Sultan died and was buried in Istanbul. After his death, seeing the Ottoman empire falling apart many of his Pasha confessed that they were wrong to revolt against him. He only cared for Islam, Muslims and his state. Even many European politicians praised him, how kind and welcoming he was and at the same time how furious if anybody made any threat to the Muslim World.


Sultan Abdul Hamid II: ‘The Unspeakable Turk’ Fights Back (Part II)

Sultan Abdul Hamid’s ties to the Indian sub-continent are a revelation for those more accustomed to seeing the name of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on main thoroughfares or commemorative stamps. Our knowledge of the Ottomans is usually through the lens of our British authored, Euro-centric textbooks. While French, Czarist Russia and Austro-Hungarian Empires merit their own chapters, Ottoman Turkey is lumped with the Balkans under “the Eastern Question.” In our own political history, engagement with the Ottomans is restricted to a paragraph or two on the Khilafat Movement of Fez-wearing Indian Muslims. Supported by Gandhi and the Congress Party, they had jointly protested the harsh treatment of Turkey after its defeat in the First World War, demanding the restoration of the Caliphate. Even after the Turkish monarchy was formally abolished by Kemal Ataturk, the ties between the Nizam of Hyderabad remained close enough for the daughter of the deposed Abdul Majid, (effectively the last ‘Caliph’) to have married Prince Azam Jah, his son and heir in 1930.

In the TV series, a grateful Abdul Hamid II is seen receiving chests of gold and other valuables sent by Indian Muslims to aid the cash-strapped Sultan in financing his pet

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Railway project. In one episode, the possession of a notebook, containing the names of all his Indian donors is the cause of much bloodletting by his enemies, desperate to hand these names over to British intelligence. Similarly in Islamic history, we find few references to Sultan Abdul Hamid — a curious omission since the Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph or Prince of the Faithful. He had wrested this title from the last Abbasid Caliph when the Ottomans conquered Arabia in 1517. Palestine, the Hejaz, Syria, Mesopotamia, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria were all under Ottoman suzerainty and they controlled the three Holy places, Makkah, Medina and Jerusalem.

In the light of recent events in the Middle East, the fall of Abdul Hamid and the consequences of his dethronement in 1908 are of utmost significance. It is now widely accepted that the wilful dismemberment of the Ottoman empire after World War I triggeredby the ‘Arab Revolt’ of 2016, a British financed and armed operation, (glamorised and sanitised in the epic film, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’) is a crucial turning point in world history. The subsequent occupation and partitioning of former Ottoman lands by Britain, France (and even Italy who grabbed Libya in 1912) is the crucible of the Middle East conflict and the current refugee crisis in Europe.

History is full of if and buts and admittedly hindsight has a great vantage point, but it is fair to surmise that if Sultan Abdul Hamid been in office when World War I broke out, it is unlikely that the Sharif Husain of Makkah or his sons could be persuaded by the British to revolt against their Sultan and Caliph. Unlike the secular, hyper nationalist triumvirate of Pashas who ousted him, the conservative, Zikr-chanting Abdul Hamid was a Pan-Islamist, who saw religion as the glue that held his Muslim subjects together. Arabs had held high positions in the army and his administration. Abdul Hamid had also been instrumental in backing Husain as Sharif of Makkah, against the wishes of the Pashas. “I pray that God may punish those who have prevented me from benefitting from your talents,” he told Husain before sending him to Makkah. Husain repaid the favour by assisting Abdul Hamid in the failed counter revolution in 1909, offering him a base and sanctuary in Makkah, an invitation the Sultan declined and would live to rue.

When the War reached a bloody stalemate in Europe, and following an unnerving defeat of the Allies in Gallipoli by the Turks, the Arabian theatre was activated. To prevent Turkish troops poised from attacking a vital artery, the Suez Canal, Arabs of the Hejaz were armed and financed to rebel against and harass the Turks in a bloody guerrilla style campaign. In his celebrated book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Colonel T.E. Lawrence, the British agent who accompanied the fearsome Chieftain Auda Abu Tayi in the taking of the Port of Aqaba, describes one gruesome incident when “three hundred Turkish soldiers were killed in a few minutes.”

And in return for this callous bloodletting? Sharif Hussain was given “assurances” he would be King of a unified Arab Kingdom from Palestine to the Persian Gulf Simultaneously but secretly, Zionists in London were pledged the same piece of real estate for their own “Promised Land.” And in a masterly stroke of double and triple cross, there would be a two - way division of the spoils: imperialist mandates in Palestine and Mesopotamia, for Britain, Syria and Lebanon for France, both areas intricately mapped as A and B in the infamous “Sykes – Picot” agreement. And what would become of Turkey? The third wartime ally, Tsarist Russia was to have a prize cherry, the city of Constantinople, satisfying her long coveted ambition of a passage to the Mediterranean Sea. Fortunately, Russia’s new Marxist rulers withdrew from the War and refused to partake in this imperial plunder.

Another revealing exposition of the war aims for the Ottoman territories is this letter by Mark Sykes to his friend Aubrey Herbert, an intelligence officer in the Cairo Bureau: “I perceive by your letter that you are Pro-Turk still. your policy is wrong. Turkey must cease to be. Smyrna (present day Izmir) shall be Greek. Adalia Italian. Southern Taurus and North Syria, French, Filistin (Palestine) British, Mesopotamia British and everything else Russian. And Noel Buxton and I shall sing a ‘Te Deum’ in St. Sophia and a ‘Nunc Dimittos’ in the Mosque of Omar. We will sing it in Welsh, Polish, Celtic and Armenian in honour of all the gallant little nations. stir up mischief in Syria and you will get Germans massacred and the Turks ousted… keep worrying. never leave orientals alone too long. If you don’t feel like fighting them, send money and cartridges— never give the Turks a moment of peace.”

The desire for Crusader retribution and the singing of celebratory hymns aside, it was the discovery of vast petroleum deposits, that tipped the scales first against Sultan Abdul Hamid, and later, his successors the Young Turks, who, despite their reforms and Liberal outlook were seen as “atheists and radicals who tried to ape the West without truly understanding it and who continued all the inbred oriental vices of intrigue, treachery and violence.” The post-war betrayal of Arab hopes and the arbitrary and callous manner in which Ottoman territory was delineated into fractured nation-states, Israel/ Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia suited entirely the commercial, strategic and geo-political interests of the Allies, with scant regard for religious sensibilities orethnic fault lines.As a contemporary observed “ Iraq was created by Churchill who had the mad idea of joining two widely separated oil wells, Kirkuk and Mosul byuniting three widely separated people, the Kurds, the Shias and the Sunnis.’’ A hundred years laters the aftershocks are being felt every day.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha is rightly revered as the founder of modern Turkey. After the Allies had occupied Constantinople, he prevented Turkey from being wiped off the map of Europe by organising a military fight back. Having secured its territorial integrity he then put Turkey on the path of modernisation and progress. But let’s spare a thought for the much-maligned Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Like that other so - called historical “villain,” the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, he merits a re-appraisal. If “bloody” Czar Nicholas II can be been elevated to Sainthood by the Orthodox Russian Church, the “Unspeakable Turk” needs rehabilitation too. A road or building named after him might be a good idea in historical restitution.

Ghazala Akbar was once the Feature Editor of The Arab Times, Kuwait. Now-a-days she lives in London.


1909: Sultan Abdul Hamid II Overthrown

On this day, the bloodthirsty Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II was finally ousted. He had earned his nicknames “Bloody” and “Damned” mostly because of the terrible massacres of the Armenian people which he committed during his reign. In fact, he considered the Armenians – who were Christians – to be the main reason for the weakening of his empire. According to some authors, up to 300,000 Armenians were killed.

Abdul Hamid II had 16 wives and 20 children. He also owned the tremendous Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, with a gorgeous Crystal Staircase – its fence was made ​​of Baccarat crystal and mahogany, and in the Palace’s central hall was the largest crystal chandelier in the world – a gift from Queen Victoria – weighing 4.5 tons. 14,000 kg of gold was spent to gild the palace’s ceiling. Since the palace was on the coast of the Bosphorus, Sultan later did not dare to dwell in it, because he became paranoid and feared that the opponents of his regime will attack from the sea and kill him. So he moved to another, safer palace.

Abdul Hamid II did a great job when he entrusted the Germans with the reform of the Turkish army. German officers were very professional and Turkey again became a military power. During his reign the Germans also started the construction of the famous Berlin-Baghdad railway line. Abdul Hamid II was actually the last powerful Ottoman sultan. When he was deposed he was succeeded by a younger brother who was merely a figurehead.


Jewel History: Ex-Sultan’s Jewels on View in Paris (1911)

Abdul Hamid’s [1] remarkable collection of jewels, which will be sold at auction, beginning Monday, is on exhibition this afternoon in the Galerie Georges Petit for the benefit of a privileged few.

The sale, which has been entrusted by the Young Turk Government to the Paris jeweler Robert Lingeler, has attracted the attention of amateurs and dealers all over the world. The principal American, English, and German firms have sent special representatives to attend it.

Abdul Hamid II in Constantinople, ca. 1901

The experts who viewed the collection this afternoon unanimously agree that several million dollars will be realized, but none of them is ready to give an approximate estimate, as there is a general belief that amateurs and souvenir hunters are likely to compete with professionals and send prices up beyond the intrinsic value of the jewels. The sale coming at this moment, when Turkey is in the throes of war, it was thought that the Turkish government intended to employ the proceeds toward keeping up its army. It is, however, officially stated that the money will be invested in new battleships and the general improvement of the navy.


The exhibition room afforded a wonderful spectacle, ablaze with lights reflected by the wealth of diamonds and precious stones of all kinds arranged in show cases of plain pane glass. Each case was guarded by armed policemen, while other policemen in plain clothes and detectives circulated among the crowd. Although the ensemble of the 419 lots described in the catalogue might appear extravagant to modern taste owing to a touch of Oriental gaudiness, there are some fine pieces, such as only refined artists could conceive or execute.

One of the emeralds sold in the auction, today called the “Hooker Emerald” (source) [3]

Most remarkable for workmanship and beauty is the collection of so-called zarfs, or coffee-cup stands, made of brilliants and rubies mounted on invisible settings [2]. There is, too, a Cardinal-shaped tiara finished with osprey plumes with small diamonds at the points, from which hang thirteen large pear-shaped diamonds of the first water. The collection of emeralds is most gorgeous [3]. Some are as large as walnuts and a few of them are of perfect color. There is a profusion of magnificent pearls, perfect in shape and some matchless in their wonderful hues.

Among the ex-Sultan’s personal valuables, such as studs, cigarette cases, canes, etc., many articles quite modern may be observed, and even some that, in America or Europe, would not be considered in bad taste. The sale may extend for days.


Age of Revolution

At the time, the Ottoman Empire was beset with problems. The empire was deeply in debt, nationalist rebellions had broken out in Bosnia and Bulgaria, war raged in Serbia and Montenegro, and Russia threatened to further its expansion into Ottoman territories.

However, the promulgation of a constitution and establishment of a parliament in 1877 seemed to promise new reforms that would perhaps revive the empire’s former strength.


The constitution, drawn up by the able administrator and reformer Midhat Pasha, was shortlived, as Abdul Hamid II used the 1877 war with Russia as the excuse to disband parliament and suspend the constitution. He then removed Midhat from power and sent him into exile.

Abdul Hamid II hired German advisers to rebuild the army and administer the finances. To the dismay of the British, German influence within the empire increased steadily until World War I.

Abdul Hamid II turned a blind eye to the British occupation of Egypt, although ostensibly Egypt remained part of the Ottoman Empire, it became a de facto part of the British Empire ruled by British “advisers.”

Abdul Hamid II limited the power of government bureaucrats and concentrated power within the sultanate. He also established strict censorship over publications and monitored political activities through a network of secret agents.

Although most of his predecessors had paid scant attention to their title as caliph, Abdul Hamid II reemphasized his role as caliph and protector of the Muslim world.

Abdul Hamid II vainly attempted to use the appeal of the pan-Islamic movement, popularized by Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, to counter the growing nationalism within the diverse Ottoman Empire. The construction of the Hijaz railway to facilitate the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina was part of his campaign to foster Islamic support.

Abdul Hamid II also rejected the Zionist offer made by Theodor Herzl to pay a portion of the huge Ottoman debt in exchange for an Ottoman charter allowing Zionist colonization of Palestine.

Herzl was told that the sultan was not in the business of “cutting off his arm,” meaning that Palestine was considered an integral part of the empire, but that Jews were welcome to live there.

Fearing assassination, he made himself a virtual prisoner in the palace of Yildiz. Abdul Hamid’s authoritarian rule increased discontent within the military. As a result, the Young Turks, dominated by army officers, took over the government in 1908.

Abdul Hamid II was forced to accept the reinstitution of the 1876 constitution. In 1909 he abdicated in favor of his brother, who became Sultan Muhammad V. Abdul Hamid II spent his last years under house arrest at the Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul, where he died in 1918.


Personal Life

Abdülmejid married for the first time on 23 December 1896: His wife, Şehsuvar Hanım (*1881), would bear one child:

The young prince would marry his cousin Sabiha Sultan, daughter of then-Sultan Mehmed VI, in late 1919. On 18 June 1902 Abdülmejid married his second wife, Mehisti Hanım, who would bear his second child:

Dürrüşehvar Sultan married the son of the Nizam of Hyderabad Ali Osman Kan, Prince Azam Jah, in 1932. Abdülmejid would marry in 1912 for the third time and in 1921 for the fourth time, but these marriages remain childless to this day.


Contents

Young Abdul Hamid in Balmoral Castle, Scotland (1867)

Abdülhamid II was born in Topkapı Palace in Constantinople (now known as Istanbul), on September 21, 1842. He was the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I Ώ] and one of his many wives, the Valide Sultan Tirimüjgan (16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Feriye Palace, 3 October 1852), originally named Virjin. Δ] He later also became the adoptive son of another of his father's wives, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu. He was a skilled carpenter and personally crafted most of his own furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Abdülhamid II was also interested in opera and personally wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics. He also composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-ı Hümayun which he established, and hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace which was recently restored and featured in the film Harem Suare (1999) of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek, which begins with the scene of Abdülhamid II watching a performance. Unlike many other Ottoman sultans, Abdülhamid II traveled to distant countries. Nine years before he took the throne, he accompanied his uncle Sultan Abdülaziz on his visit to Austria, France and Britain in 1867.

Accession to throne [ edit | edit source ]

He ascended to the throne following the deposition of his brother Murad on 31 August 1876. Ώ] Ε] At his accession, some commentators were impressed by the fact that he rode practically unattended to the Eyüp Sultan Mosque where he was given the Sword of Osman. Most people expected Abdülhamid II to have liberal ideas, and some conservatives were inclined to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous reformer.

First Constitutional Era, 1876–1877 [ edit | edit source ]

Ottoman troops during the Siege of Plevna (1877).

He did not plan and express any goal in his accession speech, however he worked with the Young Ottomans to realize some form of constitutional arrangements Ζ] This new form in its theoretical space could help to realize a liberal transition with Islamic arguments, which could balance the Tanzimat's imitation of western norms. The political structure of western norms did not work with the centuries-old Ottoman political culture, even if the pressure from the Western world was enormous to adapt western ways of political decision. On 23 December 1876, under the shadow of the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the cruelty used in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion, he promulgated the constitution and its parliament. Ώ]

The international Constantinople Conference which met at Constantinople Η] ⎖] towards the end of 1876 was surprised by the promulgation of a constitution, but European powers at the conference rejected the constitution as a significant change they preferred the 1856 constitution, the Hatt-ı Hümayun and 1839 Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane, but questioned whether there was need for a parliament to act as an official voice of the people.

In any event, like many other would-be reforms of the Ottoman Empire change proved to be nearly impossible. Russia continued to mobilize for war. However, everything changed when the British fleet approached the capital from the Sea of Marmara. Early in 1877 the Ottoman Empire went to war with the Russian Empire.

Disintegration [ edit | edit source ]

Seal of Sultan Abdul Hamid II

Circassian Muslim refugees uprooted from their homelands due to the Russian invasion of the Caucasus.

Abdul Hamid's biggest fear, near dissolution, was realized with the Russian declaration of war on 24 April 1877. In that conflict, the Ottoman Empire fought without help from European allies. Russian chancellor Prince Gorchakov had effectively purchased Austrian neutrality with the Reichstadt Agreement. The British Empire, though still fearing the Russian threat to British dominance in Southern Asia, did not involve itself in the conflict because of public opinion against the Ottomans, following reports of Ottoman brutality in putting down the Bulgarian uprising. The Russian victory was quickly realized. The conflict ended in February 1878. The Treaty of San Stefano, signed at the end of the war, imposed harsh terms: the Ottoman Empire gave independence to Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro it granted autonomy to Bulgaria instituted reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina and ceded the Dobruja and parts of Armenia to Russia, which was also paid an enormous indemnity. After the war with Russia, Abdulhamid suspended the constitution in February 1878, and he also dismissed the parliament after its solitary meeting in March, 1877. For the next near half century, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Abdulhamid from Yildiz Palace. Ώ]

'Black Bashibazouk' in service of the Ottoman Army by Jean-Léon Gérôme, in 1869.

As Russia could dominate the newly independent states, her influence in Southeastern Europe was greatly increased by the Treaty of San Stefano. Due to the insistence of the Great Powers (especially the United Kingdom), the treaty was later revised at the Congress of Berlin so as to reduce the great advantages acquired by Russia. In exchange of these favors, Cyprus was "rented" to Britain in 1878 while the British forces occupied Egypt and Sudan in 1882 with the pretext of "bringing order" to those provinces. Cyprus, Egypt and Sudan remained as Ottoman provinces "on paper" until 1914, when Britain officially annexed those territories in response to the Ottoman participation in World War I at the side of the Central Powers.

  • There were key problems on the Albanian question during the Albanian League of Prizren and on the Greek and Montenegrin frontiers. Where the European powers were determined that the decisions of the Berlin Congress should be carried into effect.
  • There were also troubles in Egypt, where a discredited khedive had to be deposed. Abdülhamid mishandled relations with Urabi Pasha, and as a result Great Britain gained virtual control over Egypt by sending its troops with the pretext of "bringing order".
  • The union in 1885 of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia was another blow. The creation of an independent and powerful Bulgaria was viewed as a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire. For many years Abdülhamid had to deal with Bulgaria in a way that did not antagonize either Russian or German wishes.

Crete was granted extended privileges, but these did not satisfy the population, which sought unification with Greece. In early 1897 a Greek expedition sailed to Crete to overthrow Ottoman rule in the island. This act was followed by war, in which the Ottoman Empire defeated Greece (see the Greco-Turkish War (1897)) however as a result of the Treaty of Constantinople, Crete was taken over en depot by the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. Prince George of Greece was appointed as ruler and Crete was also lost to the Ottoman Empire. Ώ]

Armenian Question [ edit | edit source ]

Starting around 1890 the Armenians began demanding the implementation of the reforms which were promised to them at the Berlin conference. ⎗] Unrest occurred in 1892 and 1893 at Merzifon and Tokat. Armenian groups staged protests and were met by violence and 300,000 Armenians were killed. Sultan Abdülhamid, referred to as the "Bloody Sultan" in the West, did not hesitate to put down these revolts with harsh methods, possibly to show the unshakable power of the monarch, and often used the local Muslims (in most cases the Kurds) against the Armenians. ⎘] In 1907, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation attempted to assassinate him with a car bombing during a public appearance, but the Sultan delayed for a minute and the bomb went off early, killing 26, wounding 58 (of which four died at hospital) and demolishing 17 cars in the process. This continued aggression, along with the handing of the Armenians lead to the western European powers taking a more hands-on approach with the Turks. Ώ]

Securing Germany's support [ edit | edit source ]

Abdul Hamid II attempted to correspond with the Chinese Muslim troops in service of the Qing imperial army serving under General Dong Fuxiang they were also known as the Kansu Braves.

The Triple Entente – that is, the United Kingdom, France and Russia – maintained strained relations with the Ottoman Empire. Abdülhamid and his close advisors believed the empire should be treated as an equal player by these great powers. In the Sultan's view, the Ottoman Empire was a European empire, distinct for having more Muslims than Christians. Abdülhamid and his divan viewed themselves as modern. However, their actions were often construed by Europeans as exotic or uncivilized. ⎙]

Over time their perceived abuse by France, the occupation of Tunisia in 1881, and Great Britain, the 1882 power grab in Egypt, caused Abdulhamid to gravitate towards Germany. Ώ] Kaiser Wilhelm II was twice hosted by Abdülhamid in Constantinople first on 21 October 1889, and nine years later, on 5 October 1898 (Wilhelm II later visited Istanbul for a third time, on 15 October 1917, as a guest of Mehmed V). German officers (like Baron von der Goltz and von Ditfurth) were employed to oversee the reorganization of the Ottoman army. German government officials were brought in to reorganize the Ottoman government's finances. Abdülhamid tried to take more of the reins of power into his own hands, for he distrusted his ministers. Germany's friendship was not disinterested, and had to be fostered with railway and loan concessions. In 1899 a significant German desire, the construction of a Berlin-Baghdad railway, was granted. Ώ]

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany also requested the Sultan's help when having trouble with Muslims. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves fought against the German Army repeatedly, routing them along with the other 8 nation alliance forces at the First intervention, Seymour Expedition, China 1900. It was only on the second attempt in the Gasalee Expedition did the Alliance manage to get through to battle the Chinese Muslim troops at the Battle of Peking. Kaiser Wilhelm was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire to find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting. Abdul Hamid II agreed to the Kaiser's demands and sent Enver Pasha to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time. ⎚]

2nd Constitutional Era, 1908 [ edit | edit source ]

The national humiliation of the situation in Macedonia, together with the resentment in the army against the palace spies and informers, at last brought matters to a crisis. In the summer of 1908 the Young Turk revolution broke out and Abdülhamid, upon learning that the troops in Salonica were marching on Constantinople (23 July), at once capitulated. On the 24th an irade announced the restoration of the suspended constitution of 1876 the next day, further irades abolished espionage and censorship, and ordered the release of political prisoners. On 17 December, Abdülhamid opened the Turkish parliament with a speech from the throne in which he said that the first parliament had been "temporarily dissolved until the education of the people had been brought to a sufficiently high level by the extension of instruction throughout the empire."

Countercoup, 1909 [ edit | edit source ]

The new attitude of the sultan did not save him from the suspicion of intriguing with the powerful reactionary elements in the state, a suspicion confirmed by his attitude towards the counter-revolution of 13 April 1909 known as 31 Mart Vakası, when an insurrection of the soldiers backed by a conservative public upheaval in the capital overthrew the cabinet. The government, restored by soldiers from Salonica, decided on Abdülhamid's deposition, and on 27 April his brother Reshad Efendi was proclaimed as Sultan Mehmed V.

The Sultan's countercoup, which had appealed to conservative Islamists in the context of the Young Turks' liberal reforms, resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Christian Armenians in the Adana province. ⎛]

Deposition and aftermath [ edit | edit source ]

The mausoleum (türbe) of Sultans Mahmud II, Abdulaziz, and Abdul Hamid II, located at Divanyolu street, Istanbul.

The ex-sultan was conveyed into dignified captivity at Salonica. In 1912, when Salonica fell to Greece, he was returned to captivity in Constantinople. He spent his last days studying, carpentering and writing his memoirs in custody at Beylerbeyi Palace in the Bosphorus, where he died on 10 February 1918, just a few months before his brother, the Sultan. He was buried in Constantinople. Abdülhamid was the last relatively authoritative Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He presided over thirty three years of decline. The Ottoman Empire had long been acknowledged as the Sick Man of Europe by its enemies, the British, French and most European countries excluding Germany, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary.


Sultan Abdulhamid II

Sultan Abdulhamid II or Abdul Hamid II (22 September 1842 – 10 February 1918) was responsible for first Armenian Genocide between 1894-1896 in Turkey, where about 300 000 Armenians & other Christians were slaughtered at least 50 000 children were orphaned.

The Hamidian massacres (Armenian: Համիդյան ջարդեր), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896 and Great Massacres, refer to massacres of Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II (last ottoman dictator), who, in his efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the embattled Ottoman Empire, reasserted Pan-Islamism as a state ideology. Although the massacres were aimed mainly at the Armenians, they turned into indiscriminate anti-Christian pogroms in some cases, such as in Diyarbekir Vilayet where some 25 000 Assyrians were killed (some Christian Greeks too).

Sultan Abdulhamid II, who ruled over the Ottoman Empire for a period of almost 33 years when it was in decline. Discontent with Abdulhamid’s despotic rule and resentment against European intervention in the Balkans, however, led to the military revolution of the Young Turks in 1908. After a short-lived reactionary uprising (April 1909), Abdulhamid was deposed/dethroned.

He was deposed/dethroned and was confined to Beylerbeyi Palace. Sultan Abdulhamid II spent six years there until his death in 1918. The palace became a prison for the sultan, one of the last rulers/dictators of the Ottoman Empire.

Sultan Abdulhamid II passed away in the palace on February 10 1918. It was claimed that the sultan died due to tons of stress. No matter how much he tried to find peace in his heart & soul, he was unable to find it. He was paranoid, he was always afraid somebody was out there to kill him. There was an attempt by Armenians on his life when he was sultan but it did not succeed. However, at least 26 of his people were killed. For the rest of his life he was afraid he will be killed.

Later on, after Abdul Hamid at least 1.5 million Armenians and about 500 000 other Christians were killed by young turks. It happened between 1915 & 1918 in the Great Armenian Genocide.


Watch the video: The intelligence of Sultan Abdul Hamid II is speechless!