Assessing the role of Turkey in British Foreign Policy, 1908-1914.

Tate, Simon (2020) Assessing the role of Turkey in British Foreign Policy, 1908-1914. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The future of the Ottoman Empire was an important issue in international politics during the early years of the Twentieth Century. As more and more of its territory was chipped away, the events caused by this this process of disintegration became central to Great Power relations in the period before the First World War. These developments were particularly significant from the British perspective, not only because the Young Turk revolution of 1908 seemed to promise a brighter future for Anglo-Turkish relations, but because the British interest in maintaining the Ottoman Empire for as long as possible, for fear of what came next, directly conflicted with the more aggressive designs of Russia, one of the two Powers with which Britain had recently become aligned.

Much of the literature on Anglo-Turkish relations of the period has tended to argue that a ‘golden opportunity’ existed for Britain to improve her relations with the Ottoman Empire following the coming to power of the ‘Young Turks’, who were, both at the time and in more recent scholarship, asserted to have possessed Anglophile tendencies. In the literature on Britain’s Great Power relations of the period more widely, meanwhile, a discernible trend has emerged suggesting that Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Minister, was wedded to a policy of ententes, which blinded him to the wider realities of Great Power relations.

In understanding how historical events took place, it is important to view events through the eyes of those experiencing them. Through means of an analytical narrative, this work will reconstruct contemporary worldviews and decision-making processes within the British Foreign Office to examine these two conclusions critically, and demonstrate both that Grey was not fixated on a policy of ententes and that a ‘golden opportunity’ was no more than illusion.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 12:23
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2021 12:23

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