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This paper will examine how the Ottoman Empire or Turkey became actively involved in the First World War on the side of the Central Powers The paper will briefly discuss the political and economic state of affairs in the Empire from the time the last Sultan Abdul Hamid II was deposed until the summer of 1914 The Ottoman search for a powerful European ally will be examined in greater detail as will be the reasons for the final alliance between the ottomans and Germany Finally the paper will discuss the events of the summer and fall of 1914 which led to the Turkish entry in to the War in November of 1914 As an empire under a single government the Ottoman Empire had been on the decline since the Seventeenth Century Composed of many different ethnic groups who spoke several languages other than Turkish the Empire was divided into several different regional factions which did not mix well with each other The single unifying factor in the Empire was Islam but fully 25 percent of the Empires population was not Islamic by the beginning of the Twentieth Century this was one of the eventual reasons for the numerous rebellions in the empire especially in the Ottoman-controlled Balkan territories Fromkin 34-35 Prior to 1908 the Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Sultan although his rule was absolute and personal in form in actuality rule throughout the Empire depended upon the local leaders who often ignored the Sultan In addition foreign countries especially European countries exercised a large degree of influence and power in various parts of the Empire Fromkin 36 In fact the Empire was subject to the capitulatory system whereby the European powers enjoyed special privileges within the empire including the right to veto any changes in the external tariff rates of the Empire Trumpener 12 When the Sublime Porte the Ottoman government defaulted on a public debt of more than a billion dollars in
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