Sunday, 15 February 2015

Germans driven by Turks

This photograph shows German officers being driven about in Turkey in a gigantic car. If you can identify the make, I would be interested to know. It looks to me as if it might be German, but that's a guess.


Turkey controlled the Ottoman empire, which had been slowly collapsing for centuries, but which managed to retain a strong sense of its own usefulness. It was reputedly labelled "the Sick Man of Europe" by Tsar Nicholas I.

Turkey made the mistake of siding with the Germans in the First World War. (The Germans gave them a cruiser and a battle-cruiser, which may have helped.) During the war they famously took against the Armenians and behaved badly, slaughtering large numbers, for what reason I still do not know. British forces, having failed to force the Dardanelles strait and lay siege to Istanbul, then pushed up from Egypt. General Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem on 11th December, 1917, and subsequently went on to capture Syria.

After the war, the Ottoman empire was cut up and the parts given to Britain and France to administer – and what a thankless task that has proven to be! Turkey itself, reduced more or less to the borders we know today, began to modernize. It eschewed religion in favour of secular government and got rid of Arabic script. It now makes more refrigerators than you could comfortably shake a stick at, and is becoming an absolute hive of industry.

It's a shame that a few other places I could mention, don't choose to do the same.


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