German approach about Ottoman Empire was to maintaining the unity of Ottoman Empire in the 19 th Century. The main reason of this approach was the Germany’s concerns on possibility of not gaining profit from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Germany not only helped for Ottoman Army’s modernization but also Germany aided Ottoman Empire seriously for survival of the Ottoman economy.
In the first half of the 19 th century German Unity was not established yet, Germany was not a super power and Germany did not have the ability to use force to gain profits. So Germany used the peaceful relationship methods to be effective to reach solutions. Until the end of Bismarck period Germany contented with selling weapons, trade and economic relations. In the end of the 19 Century Germany started to emerge an expansionist policy and Ottoman Empire was seen as the most suitable ally by Germany. The time for the effective policy was arrived and Ottoman lands have the priority for expansion. Germany was planning to advance Weltpolitik through Ottoman Empire. German plans were also aimed at performing Drang nach Osten through Ottoman Lands. Germany did not hesitate to make huge investments like Berlin – Bagdad railway which would threaten German economy.
In the advice letter which was sent by Austrian Prime Minister Metternich to accredit Graf Appony who was sent to Istanbul, Metternich advised the Ottomans to have an anti – European position and he explained the reasons for negative effects of revolutionary ideas so he was advising Ottomans to not perform the reforms which were offered Ottoman Empire by Europe. Ottoman Empire should be just like Austria, Ottoman Empire should not be Europeanized.
Traces of this analysis can still be seen in the Germany’s approach about Turkey’s membership process of EU. Fear of a Muslim country which has a population of 70 Millions can be counted as a tactical move for Europe’s internal policy.
Turkey as the Middle East Bridge for Europe
Being an eastern which was the characteristic for Ottoman Empire was the true choice for Ottoman Empire according to Germany. Effect of religion should be maintained in Ottoman Empire. Islam had a role for protecting Ottoman State and Ottoman Society. Leadership of the Islamic World which would be gained through the caliphate would be so much beneficial for Germany. The authority of Ottoman Empire in the Islamic World would make Ottomans advantageous against their opponents in the region. This reason leaded Germany to design and support Panislamist policy of Ottoman Empire. Germany tried to unite Islamic Countries under the rule of Ottoman Empire.
Germany has sympathy towards the Turkey’s friendly policy through Islamic Countries in the last seven years according to the German approach in 19 th century. If there will not be an Anglo-Saxon dominated Middle East than it is a wise and practical way to reach Islamic World through Turkey.
“Sick Man” was hardly maintain its territory and it had problems with controlling economy also keeping the multicultural society loyal to the state was becoming harder and harder. Ottoman Armies could not mess with European armies and it was losing lands because of the war defeats. Ottoman Empire was not able to solve its economic problems which were deriving from the huge depts. Nationalist movement of Greece showed Ottomans that it will be impossible to unite nations under a rule of an empire in the future. Ottomans would easily understand that nationalism will be a huge threat against empires. Empires were collapsing at that era and Ottoman Empire became a part of this collapsing period of the empires. Change progress of Islamic Countries today, is a reformation which has been started in the separation period of Ottoman Empire. US is stepping forward as being the determiner of this period. On the other hand, Germany wants to eliminate all problems which may prevent Europe from being an alternative power center. Problems emerge from the new members of the EU which are seemed to be economically, politically and militarily weak. Berlin is not in a need of a huge EU with several new members, Berlin needs a centralized and powerful Europe. New members and candidates can only be parts of second and third circle (like Turkey) members. Countries in the second and third circles should be under the determinacy of the central Europe and they should be bridges for enlargement to the east. US effect on this process should be minimalized.
When the missionary actions of Christian Countries did not succeeded among non-Christian Ottomans, missionary actions started to aim at Christian Ottomans. Christians from Eastern Christian Communions are attacked by Catholic and Protestant missions. Christian Propaganda Organizations transformed to organizations which are aimed at communion propaganda organizations working for their governments’ interests. These communion propaganda movements are protested by Eastern Christians time to time. Catholic and Protestant communions showed a kind of spreading among Balkans, Eastern Anatolia and Middle East. “Eastern Churches” were collapsed. New Churches established in many places. Missionary Schools which were founded by westerners started to educate missioners for European Countries. These planned actions started to work for the political benefit of European Countries. After a decade European Countries openly started political and diplomatic campaigns inside the Ottoman Borders. They were started to establish consulates in the places where they choose with using economic reasons. All religious, cultural, trade, social, political and diplomatic organizations were aimed at Ottoman Christians mainly.
The basis for those actions was already planned. Eastern Countries, Eastern History and Culture became educational disciplines. Scientific disciplines which were named as oriantalism became an advisory department for governments after a short time. Institutes, publishes and associations which were founded for researching Eastern Countries started to have political content. While cultural features of east were researched eastern products and lands became elements for marketing and selling. Writers and educators recognized the importance of the east and they were focused on east in their pieces. Some of them committed themselves to those new explored countries of the east. Some of them even died for those purposes. Explored mythologies, newly recognized cultures brought the independence ideas to the agenda for Christian and Muslim communities living in the Ottoman Borders. All those religious and cultural activities were offering the separation of the communities from Ottoman Empire. Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Armenia, Kurdistan and Arabia were planned to be the new emerged countries from Ottoman Empire by the state policy. New established colonies and economic privileges were parts of this separation policy.
New organizations established for protecting and cooperating the communities within the Ottoman Empire. These organizations had demands from government and they are functioned through the governments’ demands too. They gained support and money from people and governments. They had gathered and supported the Ottoman minorities who are living in Europe together so they had established lodges like Diaspora. Europeans gave opportunities for establishing schools, hospitals, dispensaries, public-kitchens, farms, production places and trade houses on Ottoman Lands. People who were moved to Europe for education, educated as the administrators of the “New Countries” in the future. Method was very similar with the method used in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
These studies which are mainly made in colonial countries like England and France are started to made in Germany by the mid of the 19 th century. German orientalism which was shaped through emotionalism, romanticism and individualism in 18 th century, had important reflections on German society. Importance of Eastern culture was stepping forward for newly uniting Germany in the beginning of 19 th century then the benefit of Eastern culture showed its crucial benefit for German Empire towards the end of 19 th century. German orientalism had started to managed by German State. Political and societal drift through east was raised through the accordance of both state associations and civil studies. By the foundation of legal and semi-legal associations, initiatives for defending the rights of Ottoman minorities and Ottoman nations were increased.
While Orientalische Frage (Eastern Question) was raised, Germany and Austria started to get prepared for being on the stage.
New policy of Keiser Wilhelm the 2 nd which ends up the Bismarck’s policy of not intervening out of Europe, requested new colonial activities and armament policy which was an efficient policy in that era. A new monopoly established on selling arms to Ottoman Empire, England and France pushed out from this trade. Germany started to become an imperial country and Germany was risen for world dominance.
Mechanisms and institutions of Atlantic trade were using a route across west-east Europe so Germany did not have the institutions which western Europe had in that time. Germany was located far away from the Atlantic so Germany could not get out of its borders and could not have colonials so Germany was a step behind of its rivals. Germany understood the importance of colonialism after the reign of Bismarck and prepared for being a colonial country. Deutschen Kolonialvereins„ (German Colonial Association) was established in 1882, „Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft” (German Colonial Institution) was established in 1888, „Kolonialabteilung„ (Department of Colonialism) which was an organ of Foreign Ministry was established in 1890. German Navy became the one of world’s strongest navies.
A department of Foreign Ministry, Nachrichtenstelle für den Orient” (East Intelligence Department) which was managed by famous diplomat, Explorer, middle east expert, archeologist and orientalist Max Freiherr von Oppenheim, was focused on the problems of Ottoman Lands. This new and secret department expected to work against the English and French existence in the region. Oppenheim, who traveled and explored Eastern Anatolia, Iraq and Syria, became the no: 1 enemy of the English and French. Oppenheim was announced as a spy. Secret establishment of the department and Oppenheim’s secret appointment could not hide the agency of Oppenheim.
Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft”(German Oriental Association) which was established for competing English and French orientalism in the end of 19 th century became an efficient and authorized body about the issue. Fundgraben des Orient (Oriental Treasures) magazine which was published by an Austrian researcher, Ottoman Historian and diplomat Joseph Hammer von Purgstall in 1808, was the first periodical publish on world orientalism.
In 1887, Seminar für orientalische Sprachen”(Seminar on Eastern Languages) was established in Berlin. , „Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft”(German Oriental Association Magazine) was started to get published. Deutsche Orient-Mission”(German East Mission) which has the first place in the missionary associations in Turkey was aimed at Armenian Community. After a while a special organization for Armenian Community established: Deutsch-Armenische Gesellschaft”(German – Armenian Organization). Then new associations and organizations started to established one by one “Deutscher Hilfsbund für christlichen Liebeswerk im Orient e.v.” (German Delegation for Cooperation with Eastern Christians), „Deutscher Hilfsbund für Armenien”(German cooperation Association with Armenians), in Berlin „Deutsche evangelische Mission-Hilfe”(German Protestant Cooperation Association), „Orient-und Islam Mission des deutschen evangelischen Missions Ausschußes”(German Protestant Missionary, East and Islam Delegation). These associations were managed by German intellectuals, academicians, writers and religious people. Cleric, Dr. Johannes Lepsius, Pasteur Ernst Lohmann, writer and political scientist Dr. Paul Rohrbach are the most known people among them. Lepsius was studying like he was committed himself to Armenians. His studies on Armenians will be the basis for Armenian Question which would become bigger in 20 th century. He wrote books against Ottoman Empire. These books helped anti-Ottoman ideas to spread among the world.
These attempts of Germany did not lead Germany to its goals; Germany started to walk through a end which was not desired by Germany. Separation of Ottoman Empire prevented the German Strategy which was aimed at having a share from the east. This failure paved the way for Second World War.
Turkey seems to be the key element for Germany to increase German efficiency in the east. Germany is making a historical mistake again with supporting the arguments against Turkey like supporting Armenian Question and Kurdish Question. If Germany continues to insist on this mistake, Turkey would be pushed more to the US side. Established economic cooperation would change its way. Germany may get so much away from Turkey. This kind of an inclination would collapse the eastern bridge for Germany. It would be a big mistake to think that Russia or Iran would be the eastern bridge on their own.