Ottoman oil concessions during the Hamidian Era (1876–1909)
Kireçci, Mehmet Akif
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This thesis evaluates the Ottoman oil concessions in the Hamidian Era (1876–1909), by focusing on Abdulhamid II’s famous "balanced policy" in the international affairs of the Empire. The study argues that there was an Ottoman oil policy which considered the Ottoman oil concessions within the scope of Abdulhamid II’s reasonable international politics versus the European interventions seen as the greatest danger by the Sultan. In that regard, Abdulhamid II did not directly contradict the foreign oil concession demands or accept these demands. Instead, He tried to pursue a balanced policy regarding the oil concessions between the Great powers. In the begining of the Hamidian Era, the Ottoman Empire had been already dominated by financial control and restrictions of European powers especially France and Britain, which trying to locate Ottoman oil resources. Instead of working with France and Britain in oil related businesses, Abdulhamid II welcomed German involvement and their enterprises in order to take advantage of their expertise. Ottomans and Germans collaborated in projects, such as the Baghdad Railway convention, which enabled Germany to obtain oil concessions from the Ottoman Empire. As a result, Abdulhamid II attempted to use the Ottoman oil resources and concessions by manipulating the foreign intervention as an instrument of his foreign policy.