14.11.

1914: Turks Declare Holy War (Jihad) against Entente

1914: Turks Declare Holy War (Jihad) against Entente
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Story Highlights

  • historical event: It is interesting that the Ottoman Empire was at that time largely associated with Germany. Military training and military reform was conducted precisely by Germans, which made the Turkish army more competent than it was earlier.

On this day the Ottoman Empire declared a holy war (Jihad) against the Entente: France, Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, and Montenegro. This also marked Turkey’s entry into World War I, and on the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary).

It is important to note the fact that the Ottoman Empire at that time stretched all the way to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Namely, the Empire still encompassed the territory of present-day Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Armenia, a good part of Arabia, and even parts of distant Yemen.

Holy war was declared by the Sheikh-ul-Islam, which was the title of the supreme religious leader in the Ottoman Empire. Such a call for holy war nominally binds ALL Muslims all over the world! Namely, the Turkish Empire was considered the protector of Islam, and the Sultan was also the Caliph (successor or representative of Muhammad). Of course, Muslims who responded to the holy war and died a martyr’s death, obtained, according to Muslim beliefs, heavenly bliss.

The Turkish sultan at that time was Mehmed V. It is interesting that the Ottoman Empire was at that time largely associated with Germany. Military training and military reform was conducted precisely by Germans, which made the Turkish army more competent than it was earlier. There was also a project of building a Berlin-Baghdad railway line. All in all, it was logical that Turkey entered the war on the side of the Germans.

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