Great Game

Still reading A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. It is fascintating how the super powers at the time were manuvering to carve up a piece of empire for themselves.

I am reading the part about revolution in Salonika by Young Turks.  How a junior officer named Enver, slipped out of Salonika and took to the hills beause he was  afraid that his membership in the secret sociey (CUP/Young Turks. CUP stands for Committee for Union and Progress) by Sultan’s authority. Then another officer followed taking troops and ammunition with him. Sultan sent a troops to catch them and troops joined the rebels. Here is the quote from the book…

“The leaders of the successful uprising at first enjoyed a good enough press in the western world so that in common parlance “Young Turks” came to mean any brash group of young people with dynamic ideads who rebel against an outmodeled leadership”

This part of very interesting because even in Marathi we have “Tarun Turk”. I never knew that there was actual history behind it.

Book also talks about interesting example of negotiations between Young Turks and Germany. Ottoman Empire  was trying hard to get Germany/Britain/France to get them to support the empire against age old threat of Russia but all these great powers were trying to isolate ottoman empire so that its pieces can be devoured by each one of them. When WW I was starting, Turks realized that they could not get german support without helping their war efforts in a substantial way, they promised them their best ship, Sultan Osman,  that they ordered british shipyard to build. There was only little problem with this arrangement, Turks already knew that British had seized Sultan Osman and had no intentions of delivering them to Turk just before the war. Churchil had realized that it would be like shooting themselves in the foot and had ordered that ship should not raise Turkish Flag. This is like the hindi movie where couple of people sell Taj Mahal to somebody else.

This book is about creation of Middle east as we know it today from what was flat desert filled with tribes and ottoman empire. It talks about the “Great Game“. This book talked about how super powers of that time drew lines on the map and created these different countries such as Iraq, Iran, Jorden etc. They are random borders created to fit the needs of the strategy those super powers had to curb each other’s powers. These random lines now jeoparadizes peace in many different ways.

In physics they teach about Stable equilibrium and unstable equilibrium. The way these countries were created, it is natural that they are in constant state of unstable equilibrium where tiniest changes in policies can results in great deal of swings. Interesting I came across another article that talked about another way to look at the same reason. Game will Continue….


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