What is the Bigger Picture?

The bigger picture: the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the Republic of Turkey 2

The Russian-Ottoman War of 1877-78 further weakened the Empire and led to further internal conflict and wars of independence. The Congress of Berlin, 1878, was meant to provide more stability for the Porte but only succeeded in further destabilising it, particularly in the Balkans.
The widespread perception of the Porte as the sick man of Europe led the Allies to underestimate the Ottoman forces and this led to the disastrous Gallipoli campaign during World War I. But the Arab Revolt and subsequent Allied successes brought the Ottoman Empire to a state of collapse by 1918.
A Turkish national resistance movement emerged which was led by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). Its military successes enabled Kemal and other nationalist supporters to establish a provisional government in Ankara in 1921 and the process of creating the Republic of Turkey began.


Mustafa Kemal


Mustafa Kemal was born on 19 May 1881 in Salonika (present day Thessaloniki) in the Ottoman Empire. He graduated from the Ottoman Military College in Constantinople in 1905 and was assigned to the 5th Army. He served in the Balkan Wars and World War I and in July 1917 he took command of the 7th army. During the Turkish War of Independence (1919-22) he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish forces under the Grand National Assembly, and was given the rank of Marshal after the defeat of the Greek army at the Battle of Sakanya in September 1921. He served as the 1st President of Turkey from 29 October 1923 until his death on 10 November 1938.



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