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Turkey Enters the War

Orient's Erwachen - The East Awakens. The sun rises on a red fez, and the army of Turkey streams out, weapons at the ready. A beautiful design by Heinz Keune.
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Orient's Erwachen - The East Awakens
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Künstler-Kriegs-Postkarte No. 1 von J.C. König & Ebhardt / Hannover (Artist war postcard No. 1 from J.C. König & Ebhardt / Hannover

Orient's Erwachen - The East Awakens. The sun rises on a red fez, and the army of Turkey streams out, weapons at the ready. A beautiful design by Heinz Keune.

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Orient's Erwachen - The East Awakens

signed: Heinz Keune

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Although Britain had been a traditional ally of the Ottoman Empire, the relationship had frayed by 1914, particularly with the 1908 ascendency of the Young Turks who developed closer ties to Germany. These bonds had been enhanced by General Liman von Sanders who led a German mission to Turkey to improve its military organization and armaments.

On August 3, 1914, Turkey issued a declaration of neutrality. But Enver Pasha and other leaders favored an alliance with Germany and had been pursuing one since July.

With the war underway, on August 5, two German battleships in the Mediterranean, Goeben and Breslau, fired on the French-Algerian ports of Bone and Phillipville, attacked coaling ships further east off Messina, continued across the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas while evading Allied ships, entered Turkish waters in the Dardanelles Strait, one of the bodies of water separating Europe from Asia, and anchored in Constantinople, capital of Turkey.

As a neutral nation, Turkey was obligated to impound the vessel: not doing so threatened its claim to neutrality. Instead, Germany turned the ships over to Turkey, which welcomed them to the Turkish navy, renamed them, and enlisted the German crew in the Turkish Navy.

The two ships were superior to any Russian ship in the Black Sea, and threatened Russian shipping, 70????% of which passed from the Black Sea through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. Goeben and Breslau also threatened British and French ships in the Mediterranean.

Turkey did not declare war with Russia, but began shelling Russian ports and sinking Russian ships in the Black Sea on October 29, 1914. Russia declared war on Turkey on November 2. Great Britain and France did the same on November 5. When Turkey counter-declared war on November 11, it did so invoking jihad.

1914-08-02

1914-11-11

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Turkey Enters the War