With the Crescent Above Us 2.0: An Ottoman Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Nassirisimo, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: The Crisis of the 1870s

    Nassirisimo Angry Arab

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    [​IMG]

    Fadıl Necmi; The Sublime Ottoman State: A History of the Ottoman Empire: Istanbul University Press

    The Crisis of the 1870s

    For all the wrong reasons it seemed, 1873 would be a turning point for the Ottoman Empire. It had been almost a half-century since the destruction of the Janissary Corps and their ossifying influence was broken, and much had changed in the Empire. The Tanzimat statesmen had declared equality between all the religions of the Empire, they had established the beginnings of a modern bureaucracy and built modern schools. They transformed not only the administration of the Ottoman State but its military too, building one of the world’s mightiest navies and ensuring that the army was well-supplied with modern Western arms. The economy was growing and foreign trade booming as Istanbul became a great centre of trade, hosting a community of Europeans in Pera. The reforms had touched even the habits of individuals, with traditional social mores amongst Muslims being increasingly influenced by those of the Europeans who many wished to emulate. French became a prestige language, and it was an Ottoman subject who had commissioned the scandalous L’origine du Monde [1]. Only in Egypt was there an equal effort to integrate the country into the political and cultural fabric of the West.

    Yet for all the achievements of the Tanzimat Era there were great adverse effects on the Empire and its people. The old order had been relatively tolerant of regional differences, a key strength in an empire which stretched over three Continents. While sometimes attracting little dissent in the centre, some of the Tanzimat reforms produced great deals of outrage in outlying provinces of the Empire, contributing toward a general sense of disenchantment with the government. The peoples of the provinces still remained largely poor, uneducated and to some extent increasingly alienated from the government. Huge amounts of money went not only on administration, defence and the other necessities of the state, but on building huge palaces such as the Dolmabahçe Palace and the ever-increasing expenses of the court [2]. The provinces saw little return from the taxes that were raised, and the reforms of the Tanzimat had sometimes led to armed uprisings. This perceived mis-rule contributed not only to an image of backwardness in the West, but also inspired the Yeni Osmanlılar or Young Ottomans, who disagreed with the autocratic manner of Sultan Abdülaziz as well as the Tanzimat statesmen. Others, inspired by Islamic reformists such as al-Afghani, turned away from the Westernization of the Tanzimat and advocated for an end to the capitulations and missionary activity.

    With the death of the last significant Tanzimat Statesman Ali Paşa, some of the Young Ottomans returned from exile. However Sultan Abdülaziz also took the opportunity to wrest back as much power as possible from the Sublime Porte. In this backdrop of political struggle, the Great Eastern Crisis erupted. In 1873 Europe entered a long period of economic depression, coinciding with a famine in Anatolia, both of which increased pressure upon the already greatly indebted treasury. The government responded by increasing taxes to meet its financial obligations, in particularly the cost of its debt which now accounted for almost 8 million TL a year, more than what was spent on the army. Combined with crop failures however, the increased burden of taxation instead pushed the peasants of Herzegovina to revolt, with the rumoured support of both Montenegro and Serbia. Faced by rebellion as well as a deteriorating financial situation, the Ottoman Government defaulted on its debt repayments in the October of 1875. In light of the rebellion and the financial difficulties of the empire, it was not until the May of 1876 that a definitive solution to the rebellion that was acceptable to all powers had been worked out.

    This brought only a short respite before an even greater series of catastrophes struck the empire. Rebellion broke out in Bulgaria, and the stretched Ottoman government turned to Başıbozuks, irregular soldiers drawn mainly from the Tatar and Circassian population of the Dobrudja. These Başıbozuks killed not only rebels but thousands of innocent Bulgarian civilians as well. Reports of Bulgarian villages filled with the corpses of their victims filtered back to the West, replacing the previously positive image of the reforming Tanzimat Ottoman with that of the “Terrible Turk”. Liberal Party leader William Gladstone lambasted the Turks as “the one great anti-human specimen of humanity”. Public opinion in Britain, the erstwhile ally of the Ottomans, had deteriorated to such a level that it was uncertain whether Britain would be able to intervene should another power threaten the Ottomans.

    With the internal and external situation rapidly deteriorating, neither Abdülaziz nor his minister Mahmud Nedim Paşa were able to fend off the Young Ottomans, and they were both deposed within a month of each other. Abdülaziz committed suicide (or was possibly murdered) a few days later, and the Young Ottomans now had real influence within the government. Tensions between them and the conservatives soon mounted however, as Hüseyin Avni Paşa disagreed with Midhat Paşa’s drafting of a constitution that would provide for an elected parliament. When Hüseyin Avni was lightly wounded in an attempted assassination attempt, rumours soon began to spread that this had been organized by the Young Ottomans [3]. The threat of political violence, so soon after the death of Abdülaziz was beginning to take its toll on the apparently delicate psyche of the new Sultan Murad. With both the internal and external situations of the Empire desperately requiring firm leadership, Hüseyin Avni and Midhat both agreed that Murad should be replaced by Prince Abdülhamid. Known to be intelligent and ambitious, as well as familiar with liberal ideas, he remained one of the only figures who could unite the Young Ottomans and conservatives in cabinet.

    While Istanbul was in a state of political tumult, the Serbs and Montenegrins had attempted an invasion of the Ottoman Empire, leading to discussions between the Austrians and Russians at Reichstadt to discuss what would happen once the Ottomans were defeated. By August however the Ottomans had defeated the Serbs at Alexinatz and were in a position to invade Serbia itself, which they refrained from for the time being. However the Serbs attacked once again in September and were once again defeated with relative ease by the Ottomans, whose modern rifles made short work of the unprepared Serbs. Although the Ottomans steered clear of taking Belgrade, they had occupied a good part of the country when an armistice was signed. The European powers had toyed with various solutions to the Balkan Crisis, from a partition of the Ottoman Empire to an international conference, which was finally settled upon as an acceptable solution by the British Prime Minister Disraeli. The conference was ultimately a failure however, with neither the powers nor the Ottomans finding each other’s proposals adequate.

    The diplomatic impasse between the Ottoman Empire and the Great Powers allowed Midhat Paşa to progress with a more unorthodox solution. Midhat’s suggestion that a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for Christian subjects may make the European powers amenable to continued Ottoman rule in areas the Great Powers wanted to give over to the Serbs and Montenegrins did not sway Hüseyin Avni, but made a greater impression on the Sultan. The first Ottoman Constitution, the Kanûn-u Esâsî or “Basic Law”, was promulgated on the 23rd of December 1876. Far from presenting a political coup-de-grace to opponents of the empire in Europe however, there was scepticism amongst many (the leader of the opposition in Britain, the Turkophobe Gladstone noted “Turkish Constitution!!!” sarcastically in his diary at the news). Certainly the Russians, who were as opposed to Constitutional government as they were to Turkish massacres in the Balkans, saw the promulgation of the Constitution as a threat more than anything else. Midhat’s gamble that a constitution would remove the need for the empire to implement the reforms suggested by the Europeans appeared not to have paid off.

    Despite the efforts made to clean up the reputation of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of the Bulgarian massacres, the conference ultimately ended in failure due to the unwillingness of either the Great Powers, Young Ottomans or indeed the Sultan to compromise with the other parties. Abdülhamid had wanted to find a working compromise with the Europeans to avoid war, but ultimately lacked the clout to overcome his cabinet [4]. Rumours that he had told Midhat that “The price for your obstinacy will be a sea of Muslim blood” may have been an invention of the enemies of Midhat, but the Sultan was highly disappointed in the results of the conference. The British Foreign Minister Salisbury had warned the Ottomans that without accepting the demands of the powers, the British would be unable to assist the Ottomans should the Russians choose to attack the Empire. The position of the Ottoman Empire was far from enviable, heading toward bankruptcy and completely devoid of allies in the face of renewed Russian aggression. Salisbury bemoaned that “Russia shall be free to take her picking of Ottoman territories, and we shall have to do what we can to secure our own imperial defence”. Bismarck similarly began plans for a great European conference to be held once the Russians had reached Istanbul.

    * * * * * *

    [1] – This is completely true, of course. The commissioner (Khalil Bey) naturally lost the painting through excessive gambling.

    [2] – The Dolmabahçe Palace cost around 5 million TL, or around 75% of the yearly Ottoman budget when it was built.

    [3] – Perhaps it goes without saying, but this is the POD as in the previous timeline.

    [4] – Abdülhamid favoured a strategy of appeasement and concessions in OTL, but it was actually the constitutionalist Young Ottomans who settled on an uncompromising stance that resulted in war.
     
  2. Nassirisimo Angry Arab

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Once again rather than continuing with an existing timeline, or trying a new idea for once, I have decided to revive a dead timeline. This time around at least it was a fairly popular one that has been inactive for nearly half a decade at any rate.

    Ever since stealing the idea from a long-departed forum member I have quite liked the idea of exploring just what the consequences of an Ottoman victory in the war of 1877-78 would be. In our own world the war was a decisive one, proving to the world that the Ottomans no longer had the strength to defend themselves. An Ottoman victory is not the only possible POD centred around the war however, and interesting possibilities also include a more rapid Russian victory than OTL which would likely have effects just as profound.

    Of course like the previous iteration of With the Crescent Above Us, this timeline will be one in which the Ottomans win the war of 1877-78. The previous timeline had been something of an “Ottoman Wank” in which the victory was a spur to a far more vigorous reform act for the Empire and a number of happy chances that eventually led it to being one of the world’s greatest powers once again and humbling the Europeans.

    While we all enjoy a good Ottoman Wank every now and again, I have questioned as to the likelihood of it all happening. I was a younger man when I wrote it originally of course and I have done a lot more reading since then not only about the Empire but about other parts of the world. While not meaning to sound too conceited I at least hope that I’ve managed to gain a better grasp of historical processes in the over five years since I started the original timeline. A number of things have always bugged me somewhat about the original, such as the magically quiet Balkan Christians, who never mounted a serious challenge to Ottoman rule again after 1876 which is a bit strange to say the least.

    This timeline will not try to be a hard examination achieving ultimate plausibility, simply because I’m definitely not good enough of a historian to do that. What it will be is an attempt to be interesting but to try and be as plausible as possible. It is worth mentioning there will be a few “rule of cool” happenings and other PODs down the line too. The format will largely be one of non-fiction books as opposed to narrative, simply because I know very well where my strengths lay.
     
  3. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Cool! Im subbed please tell me atleast ottomans get egypt again and pan-islam is still pushed. So whats different here as your original timeline you tried to ignore wanking the ottomans.
     
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  4. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    So is A Destiny Realized done or just on hold?
     
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  5. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

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    I liked the first iteration of this TL. Looking forward to this one.
     
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  6. Aghstadian Well-Known Member

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    We already have a conversation about this before, and I'm glad you finally realized it in a tl. Will looking forward to this one.
     
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  7. MiniaAr Well-Known Member

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    Mar 8, 2015
    I read the first one back in the day, and really like it. But it is true that at some point I felt the Ottowank (and also a kind of Britwank going along with it) was a bit too much and didn't finish the timeline.

    Glad you're starting anew with a more plausible focus. :)
     
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  8. Mightyboosh5 Well-Known Member

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    May 7, 2015
    one of my favourite alt history scenarios is if the ottomans won the russo turkish war particularly in how it relates to the armenian question, really interested to see how this TL develops!!!!
     
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  9. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    Sarajevo
    Followed...
     
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  10. Arctodus simus New Member

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    Bangladesh
    I've read your TL and it's the best Ottoman TL there is. There were so many times I would listen to payitaht abdülhamid plevne marsi while reading your TL. It was a mesmerising experience indeed.

    Now about the wank, yes I think no rebellion in Balkans is a bit of wank. But otherwise, it's all plausible. But hey, it's your TL and I am just an eager reader.

    Do you plan to use the characters from your previous timeline or do you want to make new characters and new scenario but ultimately the result remains unchanged? Also, I hope you'll have photoshopped pictures this time at your aid. I really hope to see some ottoman troops in wehrmacht style uniform in your alt ww2.

    Lastly , your TL has left an impression on me that is everlasting. Unless of course, you deliver something even more of amazing than last time❤❤.

    Hope you've finished your graduation and thus we hope to have more dedication to your work here (even if it's a bit unfair, but hey that's what fans are for XD). I wish Allah may give you resolve to finish this TL according to your plan. Rooting for a world where the Crescent is truimphant!

    Assalamualaikum.
     
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  11. Nassirisimo Angry Arab

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    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Depends what you mean by "get" Egypt. In regards to Pan-Islam, it'll be a different shade of it, at least in the sense that it is pushed by Abdülhamid. In the original Abdülhamid began promoting a muscular Pan-Islamic policy almost from the get-go which based on what I've read since, wasn't totally likely. Abdülhamid's Pan-Islamism in OTL was part of his deck of cards that he used to preserve the Empire's independence as well as secure a relevant role on the international stage in the wake of the disaster of 1877-78. I had said that I had tried to ignore wanking the Ottomans in the original timeline though it was more or less how it ended up working out. This timeline is going to be better for them than OTL was of course, though they will suffer plenty more reversals than they did in the original With the Crescent Above Us.
    On hold at the moment, though that's indefinite for the time being. The plan for the next few decades (and about half of the next update for that) is done but I have found it a bit difficult to be motivated to continue unfortunately.
    Thanks! If you liked the first one, hopefully my writing style hasn't changed too much then.
    Well I've enjoyed writing it so far so lets hope that continues.
    I always thought it was more of a Germanowank than a Brit Wank. It wasn't too bad in terms of the logical consistency of the world, but if it makes you feel any better I only took the timeline up to the 1960s at any rate.
    The Armenian Question will definitely play a role, though without the example of the Bulgarian nation the evolution of Armenian Nationalism in the closing decades of the 19th century will likely be different.
    Thanks!
    I'd actually watched a few episodes of Payitaht Abdülhamid but for me it suffered from the kind of unquestioning glorification of the past as well as the one dimensional characters which Turkish historic dramas sometimes suffer from.

    The results will be what definitely changes in the scenario. The first few updates will be treading what is fairly familiar ground but the better research should begin to tell soon enough, and by 1900 the world of the timeline will be as different from the world of the original as it is from our own. In regards to writing narrative style updates alongside the textbook ones, it is something I've given quite a bit of thought about but which I've not been able to think of a satisfactory answer for. I had tried to write a few narrative stories from the perspective of one person (and to have various new characters as well as characters from the original and historical figures interact with them) but to some extent I was hoping that it would be something I could ask other members for.

    Luckily at this point I'm closer to 30 and twenty and it's more likely that work and other real life issues will get in the way rather than university but we shall see what happens. Waalaikumussalam!
     
  12. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Understandable.
     
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  13. Arctodus simus New Member

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    Please don't tell me the ottomans are going to lose more territory other than balkans. But retaining egypt is the point of contention here. Without it, they won't get the vast amount of African lands which they did in your previous TL. So its more or less a middle eastern empire. But since you're not going all blitz over Pan-Islamism, then I'd suggest you to retain at least some territory in the balkans. Initially, Pan-Islamism was pursued as a consequence of losing the more Christian parts of the empire.

    Assalamualaikum
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  14. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

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    Oct 22, 2009
    It'll be great to see this again. I enjoyed the original, but as per your own admission it turned into a bit of a wank- a Germanwank as well, which I'm not sure ever quite worked. That being said, one thing that it did better than most timelines on the site was balance the wider narrative with smaller vignettes that actually showed us real people.
    Most narrative interludes on ah.com focus on rulers and the famous. But timelines really soar when we can see how they illuminate the lives of ordinary people with ordinary families.

    I am very much looking forward to this.
     
  15. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    True i don't want ottomans to lose any land. But it can work, as long as east rumelia and bosnia and the 1911 borders are kept they can keep ottoman strong enough. Population swaps could do the trick pay the greeks to move to greece, move the serbs to Montenegro, and Serbia etc. Keep the balkan land as much muslim as possible.

    Im with you egypt is needed to keep the ottomans a great power and kicking, maybe they lose south sudan, the Ethiopian lands and Somalian lands. Tunisia i think is lost (france).

    So what would the major differences between pan-islam here look to the original version. Don't see aceh surviving, sokoto or Zanzibar surviving. Ottomans last muslim stronghold most likely.
     
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  16. Nassirisimo Angry Arab

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    Well to a certain extent, Egypt was lost by 1877 as an integral part of the Empire, but also it very much wasn't as a part of the Empire per-se. The Ottomans continued to receive a substantial tribute from the Khedive of Egypt (amounting to around a million Pounds Sterling most years), and a formal political separation from the Ottoman Empire was unthinkable in Egypt. It's worth noting that the Egyptians sent most of their army to serve in the Russo-Turkish War of OTL, and will do so in TTL as well. Rest assured I have read around Egyptian-Ottoman relations, and although it won't be a re-run of what happened in the last TL, don't expect the events of OTL to take place either.

    And you are quite right about Pan-Islamism. I suppose it's a bit of a grey area as to whether Abdülhamid really believed in Pan-Islamism from the get-go (although a drinker, he was otherwise fairly religious) or whether it was a response to the collapse of Ottomanism in the wake of the 1878 defeat. For the purposes of this timeline I'll try to walk a fine line, so Ottomanism won't collapse but there will still be the Pan-Islamist impulse that had been making itself felt since the reign of Abdülaziz, who was really the first Sultan to start systematically emphasising his role as Caliph.
    Hopefully this one will work out a little better! I have had a good think about what you've said, and I do think that there would be a layer lost without exploring the lives of ordinary people in this world. I've decided to go with a series of stories that will run along with the rest of the updates, so I really do appreciate the input!
    The problem with population exchanges is that up until the Turkish Republic in OTL, Christians in the Ottoman Empire were highly important economically. Interestingly enough the economic structure can be understood to have passing similarities to that of OTL Malaysia's before the NEP, in which a non-Muslim minority finds itself more prosperous due to commercial enterprises than the small-holding Muslim majority (or plurality in Malaysia's case at the time), but that foreigners have a huge role in the economy too. So unless the Muslim population makes greater moves toward commercial enterprises in agriculture, industry and finance, getting rid of Christians could be troublesome to say the least.

    Without Egypt, the Ottomans almost certainly aren't a great power. Even with Egypt, their status is questionable as was Italy's at the time, though that large navy and the army certainly kept the Ottomans in play until 1878. It's also worth noting as an interesting aside that the Empire in this period was actually wealthier than Japan on a per-capita basis and its government received higher revenues.
     
  17. Threadmarks: Vignette #1 - Journey to the East

    Nassirisimo Angry Arab

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    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Ibrahim Osman, Zeynep Osman; Adventures in the East, A Memoir of a Naturalised Mohammedan: Palgrave Macmillan

    Brief notes on the papers of Ibrahim Osman

    [​IMG]


    Ibrahim Osman, around 1905 [1]

    Ibrahim Osman, my great-grandfather, is a man little remembered by history. In my own studies of politics in the Islamic World around the turn of the century (which I should hopefully have finished my PHD on next year) his name appears but little else besides. Earlier this year however my attention was brought to a few old papers that my grandmother had in her room after she had died. The papers themselves were a bit of a confusing mess, mostly written in English but some of the later parts in Turkish [2]. Amongst the family we had an idea that my great grandfather was born “In the East” and educated in England the truth was much more interesting.

    I’ve taken care to censor various offensive words that were unfortunately amongst common usage at the time and whose full inclusion would not add to the text, and have added a few notes here and there to add context to what Ibrahim says but otherwise have left the writings as I have found them.

    [1] – Actually a photo of an Arab officer from Damascus, but in the absence of photoshop skills, use your imagination guys!

    [2] It’s worth mentioning that Turkish as its referred to here is different than the Turkish of our own world, retaining more of the Persian and Arabic vocabulary that Ottoman Turkish had. Think of it as a continuation of Ottoman Turkish without the reforms of Ataturk it underwent in OTL.

    * * * * * *

    Journey to the East

    The story of how I had come to be in the service of the Sultan of Turkey is a strange one, but I suppose I should not have expected anything different from my upbringing. From the time I was conceived it would seem that the path I would walk on would be a bit more difficult than that of my fellows. This difficulty was in part due to my father or the lack thereof. My mother had always been most evasive on the whereabouts of, or any other details regarding, my father besides explaining he was “from the East, somewhere”, which didn’t quite square up to the boasts that he had once been an Eton boy, but I digress. Due to the race of my father, which I was ignorant of at the time, I had an appearance unlike that of most British boys, who were quick to identify me as a “W*g” or “Half-N****r” and exclude me on the basis of my distinctly Mediterranean appearance. So I suppose you could say that my childhood was a lonely one and by the time I was coming of age had produced in me an inalienable sense that something was lacking in me, some kind of masculinity.

    And as an eighteen year old man there was only one thing for it! I had endeavoured to become an officer in the British army. The 1870s had been a relatively quiet time, with only the odd war against African blacks to keep the soldiers sharp, and perhaps that accounts for what happened at the end of the decade and the beginning of the 1880s when the English began experiencing setbacks to an alarming degree. Alas my own career was to take me to a rather quite different place, as a violent disagreement with an officer of the Lancashire fusiliers. I had only disagreed with his insulting manner of addressing me – w*g– but the unsympathetic army authorities discharged me, leaving me disgraced already before my twentieth year of life, and with but a little income with which to support my mother. Perhaps I should have known better than to try and make a name for myself in what was essentially a white section of the army.

    I had by that point made the acquaintance of a man who had told me that he was off to the Near East to “show the Russian bear what for”. The newspapers had talked about the growing crisis in the Balkans, and to be honest the stories of the atrocities that the Turks had committed in Bulgaria made one’s heart sink, and even the Prime Minister Disraeli was not able to follow his usual prescription of support for the Turk against the Russian, leaving them open to the machinations of the Russians. The Russians, insofar that I am able to tell, had the ambition of seizing the city of Constantinople, capital of the Turkish Empire, and restoring the Christian rule that had prevailed in the city prior to 1453. No doubt that behind this were great strategic plans, but these have no doubt been covered in more detailed and well-read histories than my own.

    Originally my journey to Turkey was to simply be one to see “what all the fuss was about”, so to speak. By the time that I’d arrived in the January of 1877 the oriental city full of indolent, fatalistic Turks that I had expected was not what I saw. There is of course the old city south of the Golden Horn, in which can be found the old Topkapi Palaces and all the mosques that one expects, but north of this in neighbourhoods like Pera one finds a city which is in every way the match of any in Europe, right down to the inhabitants. Besides the expatriate European inhabitants, there are a great many Greeks, Armenians and even Bulgarians which bring the Christian population of the city to almost half the total. The Turks themselves had been most energised by the impending conflict with Russia, and various guides explained to me the situation amongst the Turkish section of town. I must confess that I was rather taken up in the great storm of emotion in the city, both amongst the Turks and the Turkophile English acquaintances I had made, and before long I had decided to renew my military career in a different setting by enrolling in the military academy.

    I still remember the day that I enrolled and began my journey as a Turkish officer. The recruiting officer, a man on the older end of middle age with sunken eyes and a drooping moustache had eyed me sceptically when I had initially attempted in my atrocious Turkish to communicate my wish to sign up. With a raised eyebrow he spoke to me in French, which I thank God I understood. “Another European? I suppose we have room for another one of you. What is your nationality?”

    “I’m British monsieur”

    “Aha, another Englishman? We have had a few of your countrymen join recently” He looked up and down as if to study me, in a way that made me rather quite uncomfortable. “Most of them speak better Turkish than you”

    “I am learning. I already know how to write the alphabet and…”

    “Do you have any experience? Combat experience I mean?” the man cut me off brusquely.

    “I was commissioned as an officer back in England before I was discharged” I had told a little white lie, as although trained I had never received a commission. Realistically, I knew all that there was to know about being an officer or so I thought, and the rather shabby nature of some of the soldiers surrounding me gave me something of an air of confidence.

    However when I told him this, the man’s face suddenly seemed to lift. “Turkish can be taught easily enough, and at any rate one in three of our men find writing beyond their limited capacities. Teaching someone the instincts of an officer is harder. I suppose you will be useful…”

    “Then I’m accepted?”

    The man shrugged. “You’ll have to bring someone from your embassy. Swear that your disbelief in Islam shall not be an impediment to your service, and this kind of thing. But provided that it all goes well, than you will be one of the Sultan’s soldiers. So I would learn some Turkish in the meantime young man. What’s your name?”

    “Abraham Haslam sir”

    “That’s easy enough to Turkify I suppose. Any objections to being ‘Ibrahim Osman’?”

    I hadn’t quite intended to be a Turkish officer when I had been turfed out of the British army, but the prospect did not seem so bad now. An upcoming war against long odds always promises military glory for those willing to fight for even, even if they are foreigners. Besides improving my Turkish which I was to refine from that point until now, I grew to understand the specifically Turkish way of warfare, which admittedly was inferior of the British In many respects but which had its own strength. By the time that war with the Russians actually broke out in the April of 1877, I had been commissioned as an officer in the Turkish army, in part owing to the military education that I had already received in Britain, and I was ready to play my part in the upcoming war.

    * * * * * *

    Author's Notes - I had strongly considered adding vignettes to the story when I had began writing it, but I feel as though without this element the timeline will be a bit "dry" for lack of a better word. Rather than focusing on a number of POV characters, for the time being we will focus on Abraham Haslam/Ibrahim Osman, for the simple fact that I already have a story planned out for him that will take him to many interesting places.

    A good inspiration for Ibrahim's original journey and subsequent enlistment in the Turkish army is William von Herbert's rattling good read "The Defence of Plevna". Herbert had actually fought in Plevna in OTL and wrote an account which was published several decades later, which besides being an interesting window onto Turkish society through the war, is unfortunately laden with anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. Interestingly enough though it is far from the most bigoted book I had to read while researching the timeline, and reading though some of the contemporary academic books is certainly an interesting window into how far academia has come along in a century or so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  18. Noblesse Oblige Reaper Squad Member

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    Aug 2, 2014
    Location:
    Deling City, Galbaldia
    Oh god, it's back...

    ...And there's still no earrape Ottoman music.
     
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  19. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Jan 17, 2017

    There you go.
     
  20. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Oh, I am very much looking forward to this.

    That is exactly the kind of writing I enjoy. A few hundred words and already we sense the human.
     
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