Emre Gul / Historical Document / World Bulletin
When Sultan Abdulhamid II took to the Ottoman throne in 1876, the Ottoman Empire was in a phase of weakness and was falling apart. His opponents were to call his 33-year reign the ‘era of oppression', but in order to rid the threat of the empire falling apart completely due to dangers both within and outside its borders, he completely reformed the empire’s governance. Putting a great deal of emphasis on establishing a firm foundation, he showed the importance of investing into the education sector and re-organized the treasury in order to decrease the empire’s debts.
In terms of his foreign policy, as the recognized Caliph of all Muslims both inside and outside the empire, he utilized his position of influence over the Muslim world to the maximum, which made the British Empire very uncomfortable. Ottoman flags and posters of Abdulhamid II were put up in even the remotest of Indian villages. Supplications were made in Indonesia, China, Africa and central Asia in the name of the Caliph and Commander of the Believers, Abdulhamid II. Simply from money collected from the financing and construction sectors alone, without resorting to loans or interest, he built the Hejaz railway from Istanbul to the holy city of Mecca. He also laid out the blueprints for bridges going across the Bosphorus and Halic River in Istanbul.
His pan-Islamic approach impeded on British interests in the Muslim world. Additionally, his open opposition to Zionism and the settlement of Jews in the lands of Palestine upset
many Zionist lobbyists in the western media. Using the Armenian crisis as an excuse to get Europe to intervene, the British Empire and Jewish capitalists decided that the only way to secure their interests was to bring Abdulhamid II down. For this reason, a propaganda campaign against Abdulhamid II was started in Europe. Working with opposition groups in the empire, an assassination attempt took place on July 21, 1905, as Abdulhamid II was leaving the Hamidiye Mosque.
During Abdulhamid II’s 33-year reign as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, he was called names like ‘oppressor’, ‘tyrant’ and ‘dictator’ by the likes of French historian Albert Vandal and English prime minister William E. Gladstone. Even after he was dethroned by a military coup in 1909, the propaganda campaign against him continued, with calls for him to be hanged.
Last Mod: 05 Aralık 2013, 09:22