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The European states system and Ottoman-Russian relations, 1815- 1856

Aslantas, M. Ercan

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M. Ercan Aslantas


This thesis looks at the way that the European states system operated and affected the Ottoman-Russian relations between 1815 and 1856. The 1815 Settlements established a new system of international relations in Europe. Russia played the greatest role in foiling the Napoleonic bid for hegemony. The most distinguishing characteristic of this new system was that its structure made cooperation effective within the framework of the institution of Concert of Europe. In this respect the four victorious great powers, i.e. Russia, England, Prussia and Austria, did not exclude the defeated power, France, and they took on the governance of international affairs.
The new system was built on the political and territorial balance. To this end, the restriction of France and moderation of Russia was necessary. Both countries had some revisionist objectives. Consequently, Near East became the centre stage of the international politics after 1815. Ottoman Empire did not take part in the 1815 Settlements. Therefore, Ottoman-Russian relations were to continue on a bilateral base.
Russia’s strategic goal to secure her south-east frontiers clashed with her responsibility for maintaining the provisions of 1815 Settlements in Central Europe since any change in Near East would affect the territorial and political balance in Central Europe, too.
Under these circumstances, Russia faced a dilemma in her relations with the Ottoman Empire. Russia was very advantageous owing to her enormous power and her treaty rights regarding the Ottoman Empire which had acquired since 1774.
Ottoman-Russian relations developed around three main events during 1815-1856: the revolt of Greeks (1821-29), the rebellion of Viceroy of Egypt (1833 and 1839) and the Holy Place Issue (1852-1854). In all those events Russia was successfully restrained against the Ottoman Empire by the structure of the new system.
The thesis draws a number of conclusions. The underlying economic structure of the new state system almost remained the same during the 1815-1856 period. The thesis concludes that the course of Ottoman-Russian relations was increasingly determined by the elements of relationship structure. In particular, the foreign policy objectives of France played the significant role in shaping the Ottoman-Russian relations during 1815-1856.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2012


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