Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Dağılma Döneminde Balkan Milliyetçiliği ve Büyük Güçler

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Selçuk Üniversitesi

Erişim Hakkı



Modernleşme dönemi Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun temel sorunlarından birisi de çeşitli dinamiklerin etkisi sonucunda ortaya çıkan millet sisteminin çözülmesi ve buna bağlı olarak artan siyasal bilinçlenme ve milliyetçilik hareketleri olmuştur. Özellikle 19.yüzyılın ikinci yarısında ivme kazanan milliyetçilik hareketleri, bir taraftan Osmanlı egemenliği altında yaşayan farklı unsurların ulus-devlet olma sürecine girdiklerini gösterirken, diğer taraftan da “Pax Ottomana”nın sonlarına gelindiğini haber veriyordu. Ancak bu süreci tamamen modern zamanların temel olgularından biri olan ulus-devlet diyalektiği ile açıklamak yanlış ve eksik olur. Çünkü bu oluşumun ortaya çıkmasında doğal tarihi seyrin etkisi olduğu kadar, yine aynı dönemin temel dinamiklerinden olan emperyalizm olgusu içinde büyük devletlerin bu süreci hızlandırıcı etkilerinin de önemli bir payı vardır. Özellikle Rusya, İngiltere, Fransa ve Amerika Birleşik Devletleri, dinsel ve mezhepsel farklılığı bir nüfuz alanı olarak kullanmak suretiyle İmparatorluğun Balkanlardaki hakimiyetini sekteye uğratmaya dönük bir politika izlemişlerdir. Bu iki bileşenin sonucunda 20. yüzyıl başlarında Osmanlı Devleti’nin Balkanlardaki varlığı büyük ölçüde sona ermiş ve siyasi harita yeniden şekillenmiştir. Bu çalışmada; Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun dağılma dönemini hızlandıran Balkanlardaki milliyetçilik hareketlerinin doğası, temel nitelikleri ve arka planındaki Büyük Güçler’in emperyalist politikalarına yer verilerek 20. yüzyıl içinde değişen siyasal ortamın farklı dinamiklerine dikkat çekilmek amaçlanmaktadır.
The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire is the result of various factors. Playing an essential role in world history, The Ottoman Empire is the last of the classical empires. But in line with the historical process of medernity, it was exposed to various serious problems of change and tranformation in its late decades. Reduced to the status of a periphery of the capitalist Europe in the 19th century, doubtless as a result of its exclusion from the early process of formation of the European capitalism, Ottoman Empire had to face new tensions. Additionally, great central powers of the age put pressure on the empire, which, eventually gave rise to political, economic and social problems. These developments allowed the non-muslim subjects of the empire to better recognize their identities, which, in the course of time, encouraged the separatist demands aimed at political freedom. The phenomenon of nation-state, one of the elementary components of modernity, has affected not only Europe but also other states outside Europe in the long run. And one of these states was the Ottoman Empire, who felt the impact of the changes associated with the growth of nation-state deeply, as it was true for other euro-centric changes. One of the major problems of the Ottoman Empire of modernization period was the collapse of the millet system and and ensuing increase of political consciousness and nationalistic movements. Gaining further momentum in the second half of the 19th century, nationalistic movements witnessed the inclusion of the non-muslim subjects of the empire in the process of the formation of nation state on the one hand, and heralded the end of the age of “Pax-Ottomana” on the other hand. Having managed to maintain the peace and stability for about five centuries in the Balkans, a region world-wide famous for its divergent ethnic and cultural structure, the Ottoman Empire began to lose its previous mission in the region in modern times under the influence of nationalistic trends. The Ottoman state structure, based on the millet system, a view of a society organized as congregational compartments according to religious sects, originally tracing back to the reign of Mehmed II (the Conqueror), began to deteriorate by the 19th century. This deterioration, further aggravated by the current socio-economic factors in addition to contemporary nationalistic ideas, began to be felt first among the Balkan nations. Differing substantially from the movements of nationalism seen elsewhere, Balkan nationalism, with its unique peculiarities, adopted a more riotous and violent character and began to jeopardize the political unity of the empire starting from early days. Starting with the Serbian revolt of 1804-1817 under the influence of natianalistic trend occasioned by the French Revolution (1789), this process went on by the succeding revolts in Greece (1821-29), Wallachia and Moldavia (1856-66), Serbia and Montenegro (1856-67), Crete (1866-69), Bulgaria (1867-76) and Bosnia-Herzegowina (1875), whereby all the nations of the listed regions gained their liberties from the Ottoman Empire and set up their own states. Balkan nationalism had an anachronic structure, a result of the transformation of German nationalism among mondern nationalism, which had rather been shaped on the basis of etnicity and/or culture-language-history. Thus, it was regarded by the Europeans as a primitive (uncivilized) variety of nationalism and preferrably conceived as “Balkanization”. The earliest of these kinds of natinalisms was that of Greek, which had essentially always been extant, romantically at least, at imperial level. Greek nationalism, together with that of Albanian, stand up for an autoctone nature. As for Bulgarian (Slavic) nationalism, deprived of a political and religious autonomy and subordinate to the Greek (Orthodox) Church, it can be conceived as a kind of popular nationalism arising from a reaction to the current inferior status. As to the Rumenian nationalism, it was also fostered by a reaction to the appointment of Greeks to Wallachia and Moldavia as princes (Woivode), wherein a semi-autonomous status had been preserved until the 18th century. Apart from these, the Turkish and Albanian nationalism came into being in response to other movements of nationalism and developed only afterwards. To ground the natinalistic movements, Balkan nationalism in particular, one of the primary causes of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, exclusively on the nation-state dialectic, one of the major phenomena of modern times, is wrong and incomplete. Because, not only the impact of the spontaneous occurence of events paving the way for the growth of natinalism, but also the policies of the great powers, as a requisite of imperialism, one of the principal dynamics of the age, to accalerate this process became influential. The policies called “eastern question” by the great powers in the 19th century and invented for the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire in the medium and long run, resulted in the formation of different political map by the 20th century. Especially England, France and Russia adopted a policy of exploiting the ethnic, religious and secterial differences within the Ottoman Empire and tried to frustrate the Ottoman influence in the Balkans. Russia, in order to increased its influence in the Balkans, particularly made use of its religious intimacy with the Balkan nations by using a pan-orthodox religious policy. This policy evolved into an ethnic line afterwards. Before long, this pan-slavist policy of Russia proved to be influential and thanks to this policy, the Balkan nations, following the footsteps of the Bulgarians, began to do away with the Ottoman Empire. As for England, it was stimulated by her interests along the sea routes to India. Thus, it backed the unity of the Ottoman Empire tried to follow a policy of balance of power. Yet, this policy of England changed after Russo-Ottoman war of 1777-78. France, quarrelling now and then with England and Russia to defend its interests in the region during this period, followed a similar course of action with England and Russia. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, on the other hand, went against Russia and tried to be one of the active states in the region. A late comer to the great powers, Italy, took up a direct policy of colonization in the 20th century and went into opposition with the Ottoman Empire. Germany, contrary to other European states, established an intimate relation with the Ottoman Empire towards the end of the 19th century and became a new partner of the Ottoman Empire in the Ottoman foreign policy of balance of power. The United States of America, remaining within the limits of the Monroe Doctrine ostensibly, contributed still to the revival of the Balkan nationalism by means of the foreign schools it opened within the Ottoman Empire. The concrete results of the above listed policies bore their fruits even during the Russo-Ottoman war of 1877-78, which was one of the turning points in Ottoman political history. By the treaties of Ayastefanos (1878) and Berlin (1878) signed at the end of the war, great powers managed to deal a blow to the Ottoman sovereignity in the Balkans, wherein they set up satellite states. The clashing interests of the great powers in the newly created environment, as part of the Eastern Question, in a sense, paved the way for the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Paradoxically, this new environment did also allow the Ottoman Empire to broaden the extent of its policy of balance of power, which lately began to be used more intensively in Ottoman foreign policy. The Bulgarian revolt breaking out abrubtly after the uprising in Bosnia-Herzegowina, for example, could be managed to be suppressed, although depicted as a genocide among the English public opinion. The reason behind this depiction must have been to win over the European support against Russia and to prevent Russia from helding supremacy in the Balkans alone. Actually the Ottoman Empire managed to utilize the conflicting interests of the great powers over the Balkans optimally and succeded in preserving its current situation. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the great powers began to agree among each other on certain imperial schemes and after the breakout of the Balkan Wars (1912-13) the Ottoman presence in the Balkans substantially came to an end and the European map was re-drawn. This study aims to describe the nature and the major characteristics of the Balkan nationalism precipitating the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, together with the imperial policies of the great powers in the background. In doing so, the research draws attention to the different dynamics of the changing political environment.


Anahtar Kelimeler

Milliyetçilik, Büyük Güçler, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, Balkanlar, Doğu Sorunu, Nationalism, Great Powers, Balkans, Eestern Question


Selçuk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi

WoS Q Değeri

Scopus Q Değeri





Yetim, F., (2011). Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Dağılma Döneminde Balkan Milliyetçiliği ve Büyük Güçler. Selçuk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 25, 285-296.