So as to please AHP who wasn't pleased when I crushed the Ottomans recently in a TL, I've decided to make an Ottomanwank TL. The POD is an Ottoman victory in the Russo-Turkish war in the 1877-'78. Enjoy . The Rebirth of the Ottoman Empire Chapter I: The Russo-Turkish War and Reshaping the Alliances, 1877 – 1890. The Russo-Turkish War was the tenth conflict between the Russian and Ottoman Empires so far and in hindsight it was a turning point in the decline of the Ottoman Empire as it scored the much needed victory it needed which restored the credibility in its viability both among its subjects and the European community. From here on, the Ottoman Empire would no longer be dismissed as ‘the sick man of Europe’. The Ottoman Empire had started to weaken from the end of the seventeenth century onward as its control over Middle Eastern trade routes was no longer relevant as European powers built their own colonial empires and set up trade routes of their own. The Ottoman defeat at the hands of the Habsburgs, Russia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Venice and the subsequent Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 put an end to its dominant political and military position as they were no longer feared and had lost their position as dominant power in the Balkans and Central Europe. The Tanzimat reforms between 1839 and 1876 had greatly enhanced the Ottoman Empire’s strength with fiscal, political, military and democratic reforms largely based on what western states already had, but this didn’t end the restiveness of the Empire’s minorities. The war with Russia starting in 1877 had its origins in Balkan nationalism as well as the Russian desire to regain territory lost in the Crimean War although it had some wider causes too. In 1875 Anatolia was struck by a period of drought and famine which weakened the Ottoman Empire as it heavily burdened its finances. In 1875 the Sublime Porte was declared bankrupt and the subsequent draconic tax increases weren’t much liked by the Empire’s subjects, especially the Christian ones in the Balkans who, despite equality with Muslims, were still bound to certain aspects of dhimmi status. The result was revolt in Bulgaria and also Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the former irregular troops were dispatched and massacred the Bulgarians and allegedly “left no Christian woman in Bulgaria unspoiled”, something which was broadly measured out in western press and aroused a patriotic fervour among the Russian people who supported the Slavic peoples of the Balkans. In 1876, Serbia and Montenegro, who were de facto sovereign, declared war on the Ottomans, but were defeated and pleaded with St. Petersburg for help. What ensued was a period of more than a year of futile negotiations as Russia considered Ottoman peace conditions too harsh. The Constantinople Conference, to which the Porte was not invited, was begun which gave the Bulgarians autonomy, but the Porte discredited this agreement by means of a new constitution which gave the Bulgarians and other religious minorities equal rights to Muslims. The London Convention, a Russian initiative, tried to persuade the Ottomans to reform, but the latter felt strong and rejected the notion because it was in violation of the Treaty of Paris. The result was a Russian declaration of war in April 1877, but the Ottomans, unfortunately for Russia, had recognised which way the wind was blowing. Seeing that war was likely, the Ottoman government had shown some foresight by preparing for war against Russia and increasing the total Ottoman force in the Balkans to some 300.000 men. The war started with Romania letting Russia pass through its territory which resulted in Ottoman artillery bombardment of Romanian positions and towns in retaliation. The Russo-Romanian attempt to destroy Ottoman vessels on the Danube and mine it were actively hindered by the Ottomans although the momentum of the Russian offensive led to a successful crossing of the Danube by means of a pontoon bridge at Svishtov, albeit with serious casualties and the recognition by Russian commanders that they lacked the means to persecute an offensive war. Nonetheless, the Russian steamroller went on in the spur of the moment with the Ottoman main force located further east. This situation was soon corrected by Ottoman generals, mainly Oman Hadi Pasha who saw that the main Ottoman bulwark in the Danube delta had been bypassed. Russian forces reached Bulgaria and took the fortress of Nikopol, but were decisively halted at Plevna by a larger and stronger Ottoman forces equipped with the latest western weapons such as German rifles and American artillery. This force of some 35.000 men was commanded by Oman Hadi Pasha who had set up a defensive position at Plevna upon learning that Nikopol had already fallen. A Russian force some 8.000 strong attacked the Ottoman position at Plevna, but strong Ottoman forces who had entrenched themselves repelled the Russians three times which cost the Russians many men for negligible gains, although reinforcements were underway. The Russians and their Romanian allies fought bravely and hurled themselves at Ottoman redoubts around Plevna, but reaped nothing but many casualties although they heroically managed to hold onto the Grivitsa redoubt against large odds. Osman, while not ordered to attack, realized he had superior forces at his disposal and broke the Russian siege with relative ease and drove them back across the river Vit. Russian and Romanian forces were routed with heavy losses in a chaotic retreat after the rumoured death of general Dragomirov in which they lost a lot of ground, including the Nikopol fortress. Serbia, having secured Russian financial aid, intervened on behalf of the Bulgarians and for settling its own irredentist claims, but failed to go far and was rebuffed by Ottoman troops. After the short Siege of Plevna and the recapture of Nikopol and thereby Bulgaria, the Ottomans had gained the initiative and Oman Hadi Pasha was promoted after his victory and a more aggressive course than previously was followed which included Ottoman counteroffensives. The Russians were now in the inferior position and fielded a smaller force and so the Russians were forced into a defensive strategy. Ottoman counteroffensives drove off the smaller Russian forces although with some serious casualties for the Ottomans too as the Russians fought ferociously in defensive warfare. The Russians managed to hold defences on the Danube for several weeks, but eventually the Ottomans managed to establish a bridgehead on the northern bank of the river and retook Bucharest in March 1878 upon which the Russians requested on armistice, thus ending the war and starting the Conference of Adrianople in which the Ottomans were supported by the great powers who had no desire to see Russia controlling the Danube or the Bosporus. The Conference of Adrianople was a major setback for Russia and it reverberated into Europe’s alliance systems too since the Ottoman Empire was suddenly perceived to be much stronger than once believed. The autonomy of the principalities of Wallachia, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro was reaffirmed, but the Ottomans stationed larger garrisons there and heavily cracked down on any rebellious stirrings. Bulgaria remained part of the Ottoman Empire without an autonomous status. Russia had had wild aspirations of establishing an autonomous pro-Russian Greater Bulgaria with access to the Aegean, but those dreams were now voided by the Ottoman successes in the war and the great powers that supported the Porte. A humiliating war indemnity equal to some 6 billion gold francs was imposed on Russia and strengthened the Ottoman financial situation. To further diminish its influence in the Balkans, the Ottomans accepted the proposal made by Austro-Hungarian Count Andrássy to establish Habsburg princes as the rulers of the autonomous principalities of Wallachia, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro which the Habsburgs disguised as help toward Russia and Ottoman clemency although in reality it was Habsburg and Ottoman opportunism. Austria-Hungary itself had no interest in seeing Russia re-establishing itself on the mouth of the Danube which would surround Austria-Hungary. Likewise, the Habsburgs had no interest in breaking up the other multiethnic empire because it would only serve to encourage their own numerous minorities. Moreover, Russia’s ambitions would lead to a smattering of bickering little national homelands in the Balkans who would all have irredentist claims on Habsburg lands, leading to a potentially volatile situation. Lastly, the Ottomans annexed Northern Bessarabia and Akhalzic, thereby concluding the Treaty of Adrianople which left Russia humiliated and betrayed by its German and Habsburg Allies while the Ottomans reaffirmed themselves after more than two centuries of stagnation and decline and portrayed Russia as the redheaded stepchild of Europe. The Ottoman decline was over and this would cause changes in the international situation. Russia unilaterally withdrew from the Three Emperors’ League as St. Petersburg felt betrayed by its allies Germany and especially Austria-Hungary which had now succeeded in setting itself up as the dominant power in the northern Balkans, excluding Russia and cheating the Motherland out of what the Russian leadership saw as rightfully belonging to the Russian sphere of influence. This left the Germans and Austro-Hungarians who formed the so-called Dual Alliance or Central Powers, a name derived from their central position in Europe. Chancellor Bismarck and Andrássy now sought a military alliance with the reinvigorated Ottoman Empire and so the Porte joined the Central Powers in 1880 with Emperors Franz Josef, Wilhelm I and Sultan Abdul Hamid II signing the alliance personally under Bismarck’s supervision. The Ottomans did this because of fear for Russian revanchism and also because Austro-Hungarian support during the peace conference had led to friendly relations between Constantinople and Vienna which were strengthened by mutual interests, namely keeping Russia out of the Balkans and away from the Straits and thus the much coveted warm access to the Mediterranean Sea. The Ottoman Empire would next see a major revival as German investment flowed in. Germany itself was a growing industrial power which would soon surpass Britain, the greatest industrial power of the time. Germany had coal, iron ore a large labour force which exceeded those of Britain and France and its populace was generally highly educated too with many of the world’s greatest scientists coming from German universities. Germany rapidly industrialized, starting in the 1880s with steel industry, heavy industry, mining, but also the chemical and electronic industries growing at a rapid pace which made Germany the dominant power on the European continent. The Ottoman Empire was allowed to share in Germany’s successes as Bismarck negotiated economic treaties which formed a customs union including Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans, and stimulated German investment into its allies. One of the largest successes was the Trans-Orient Express from Tirana on the Adriatic coast to Basra through Constantinople, Anatolia, Kirkuk, Mosul and Baghdad. In the late 1890s it was expanded to Vienna and Berlin. In any case, German investment improved Ottoman infrastructure and communication which greatly increased the efficiency of the Empire’s government. Military reforms were introduced too with the Ottoman army being modelled on the Prussian model and receiving weaponry from manufacturers like Krupp and Skoda. The Ottoman Empire experienced a period of economic bloom and increasing strength undreamed of. These developments led to Russian ambitions being curbed by a strong military alliance which spanned the entirety of Russia’s western frontier and much of the Caucasus border. The Triple Alliance or Central Powers could thus easily contain Russia and defeat it if need be. The loss of Russia’s Austro-Hungarian and German allies with the dissolution of the Three Emperors’ League and the formation of the Triple Alliance left Russia diplomatically isolated. In France, there was increased fear of Germany’s growing power and dominance. Therefore the Russians and French seemed natural allies and made a rapprochement to each other as they now had mutual interests, namely crushing Germany. Italy, in the meantime, saw its ambitions to establish the provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica as a colony curbed due to the formation of the Triple Alliance much like France saw its ambitions on Tunisia cut short. Russia, France and Italy formed the Triple Entente in 1881 with King Umberto I, Tsar Alexander II and President Jules Grévy making their own shows of solidarity. Britain, for the time being, remained aloof from continental affairs, but Emperor Wilhelm II’s ambition to create a German navy second to none and his overly imperialist ambitions would do all the work for France, Russia and Italy as the nineteenth century drew to a close.