Save

Pragmatism and expediency: Ottoman calculations and the establishment of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic

In: Caucasus Survey
Author:
Stefano Taglia Oriental Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czechia

Search for other papers by Stefano Taglia in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$40.00

This article interrogates Ottoman sources from the period leading up to and following the creation, in 1918, of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR) to shed light on the reasons behind Istanbul’s initial backing for this Caucasian state. Despite the suggestion that Ottoman Unionist policies were informed by pan-Turkist ideals, it emerges that Istanbul considered, first and foremost, the geopolitical interests of the Empire. Whether this entailed using foreign Muslims to control a strategic area or favouring the creation of a political entity that was not considered fully feasible, Ottoman self-interest was paramount. Controlling the Caucasus, limiting German, British and Russian influence, and re-gaining lost territory were the only considerations that guided Ottoman policies. This explains Ottoman ambivalence in supporting the emergence of the TDFR, as well as Ottoman willingness to pursue further territorial claims which undermined the very existence of the TDFR itself. The conclusions reached in this article have significance for the larger understanding of Ottoman policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as too often pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism are used to explain the policies of Istanbul, while the Ottoman political elite was more usually guided by pragmatic considerations.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 152 76 11
Full Text Views 6 3 0
PDF Views & Downloads 25 11 2