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The End of the Ottoman Empire - Part 2
Directed by Mathilde Damoisel
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For six centuries, the Ottomans, named after the Osman dynasty in Turkey, ruled over three continents and seven seas: in Eastern Europe, from Vienna to Crimea, all around the Black Sea and the Caucasus; in Mesopotamia; in Arabia, from Cairo to Aden; in the Mediterranean, from Greece to Alexandria...

A great power, home to an unprecedented mosaic of peoples and faiths, the Empire controlled the Holy Places of Islam, Christianity and Judaism-yet would collapse in less than a century.

From 1830, when Greece won its independence, until 1923, when Mustafa Kemal abolished the Sultanate and proclaimed the modern Republic of Turkey, THE END OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE explores the political, economic, and social processes that led to the fall of the Ottomans. On the ruins of the Empire, a whole new world was born, one of new nation-states, borders, and ethnic and religious fractures.

With rare footage, archival images, and interviews with the most renowned international historians, this two-part film analyzes these new lines of division and reminds us that the Ottoman past still matters today, across the Balkans and the entire Middle East.

Second Part: “A Fragmented Middle East”

In 1914, a weakened Ottoman Empire joined World War 1 on the side of Germany, Bulgaria and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It literally had to fight on every one of its borders. After losing the Balkans, the Empire withdrew to Anatolia – Asia Minor – and to the Arab provinces of Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Hedjaz. This withdrawal into the Anatolian and Muslim core of the Empire, as historian Hamit Bozarlan describes it, is an essential feature of the time. The extermination of the Armenian, Christian, population of Anatolia, the first genocide of XXth century, took place in this specific context.

It is also in the same context that the Ottoman power tried to keep hold of its Arab provinces, their last protection. But the truth was that the Arab peoples had grown angry at the centralizing policies led by the Young Turks government, and they had started to express their own national ambitions. In 1916, Hussein, Cherif of Mecca, launched the Arab revolt. The divorce between Arabs and the Ottoman Empire was complete. The enemies of the Empire would soon see the advantage of it. Right after the war, the victorious Allies, France and Great-Britain, would swiftly forget the promises made to the Arab leaders for a united Arab kingdom. Instead, the peace treaties would dismantle what remained of Ottoman territories in the Middle East and create fragile Nation-States and disputed borders - Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jewish Homeland, Jordan, Iraq… These new States primarily served French and British ambitions, as they sought expansion.

In 1921, the Allies tried to impose the Ottomans reduced sovereignty over an even more reduced territory – Istanbul and Western Anatolia. It triggered a fierce rebellion, led by a Turkish officer, Mustafa Kemal. He fought the Allies as well as the last imperial troops. In 1923, he abolished the Sultanate and proclaimed the Republic of Turkey. In order to obtain “homogeneous” territories, where diverse and mixed populations used to coexist, the new Turkey expelled more than a million Christians to Greece. Nearly half of million Muslims were at the same time deported from Greece to Turkey. A massive population exchange which really marked the end of the Ottomans, and the victory of the Nation-States.

52 minutes / Color
English; French / English subtitles
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2016

For individual consumers (home video)

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

Subject areas:
Geography, History (World), Middle East, Political Science, Turkey

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