- Foreign relations of the Ottoman Empire
The foreign relations of the
Ottoman Empirewere characterized by competition with the Persian Empireto the east and Europeto the west. The foreign relations of the Ottomans collapsed after the Young Turkstook over the empire in 1908 and this led to the loss of many important territories. Austria-Hungaryannexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgariaproclaimed its independence, and eventually all the Arablands became independent.
The Ottoman Empire's diplomatic structure was unconventional and departed in many ways from its European counterparts.
Ambassadors from the Ottoman Empire were usually appointed on a temporary and limited basis, as opposed to the resident ambassadors sent by other European nations.Watson, 218.] The Ottomans sent 145 temporary envoys to Venice between 1384 and 1600.Yurdusev et al., 27.] The first resident Ottoman ambassador was not seen until
Yusuf Agah Efendiwas sent to Londonin 1798.Yurdusev et al., 2.] Yurdusev et al., 30.]
Ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire began arriving shortly after the fall of Constantinople. The first was
Bartelemi Marcellofrom Venice in 1454. The French ambassador Jean de la Forètlater arrived in 1535.Yurdusev et al., 39.] In 1583, the ambassadors from Venice and France would attempt unsuccessfully to block William Harborneof England from taking up residence in Istanbul. This move was repeated by Venice, France and England in trying to block Dutch ambassador Cornelius Hagain 1612.Yurdusev et al., 39-40.]
Capitulations were a unique practice of Muslim diplomacy that was adopted by Ottoman rulers. In legal and technical terms, they were unilateral agreements made by the Sultan to a nation's merchants. These agreements were temporary, and subject to renewal by subsequent Sultans.Yurdusev et al., 41.] Watson, 217.] The origins of the capitulations comes from
Harun al Rashidand his dealings with the Frankish kingdoms, but they were also used by both his successors and by the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was a crucial part of the European states system and actively played a role in their affairs, due in part to their coterminous periods of development.Yurdusev et al., 21.]
Towards the end of the 15th century, the Ottomans began to play a larger role in the Italian Peninsula. In
1494, both the Papacy and the Kingdom of Naplespetitioned the Sultan directly for his assistance against Charles VIII of Francein the First Italian War.Yurdusev et al., 22.]
Ottoman policy towards Europe during the 16th century was one of disruption against the Habsburg dynasties. The Ottomans collaborated with
Francis I of Franceand his Protestant allies in the 1530s while fighting the Habsburgs.Watson, 177.] Although the French had sought an alliance with the Ottomans as early as 1531, one was not concluded until 1536. The sultan then gave the French freedom of trade throughout the empire, and plans were drawn up for an invasion of Italy from both the north and the south in 1537.Inalcik, 36.]
Francis I later admitted to a Venetian ambassador that the Ottoman Empire was the only thing that prevented
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperorfrom creating a Europe-wide empire under Habsburg dominion.Yurdusev et al., 23.] Inalcik, 35.]
Later, the Dutch would ally with the Ottomans. Prince William of Orange coordinated his strategic moves with those of the Ottomans during the Turkish negotiations with
Philip II of Spainin the 1570s. After the Habsburgs inherited the Portuguese crown in 1580, Dutch forces attacked their Portuguese trading rivals while the Turks, supportive of the Dutch bid for independence, attacked the Habsburgs in Eastern Europe.Watson, 222.]
* Inalcik, Halil. (1971). "The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600". New York: Praegar. ISBN 1842124420.
* Watson, Adam. (1992). "The evolution of international society: a comparative historical analysis". New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06998-X.
* Yurdusev, A. Nuri et al. (2004). "Ottoman Diplomacy: Conventional or Unconventional?". Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-71364-8.
Foreign relations of Turkey
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