W.E.Gladstone and British Policy Towards the Ottoman Empire
Yildizeli, Fahriye Begum
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I would like to publish my thesis and protect sensitive information.
Beyond being an international question of the status of the Ottoman Empire, it was The Eastern Question that determined the course of diplomacy towards the Ottoman Empire throughout the nineteenth century. Lord Palmerston’s policy of preserving Ottoman territorial integrity (with domestic reforms), and guarding Ottoman independence against the Russian threat provided a close relationship with the Ottoman Empire based on mutual trust and friendship. Gladstone’s keen interest in the condition of Christian subjects of the Porte permeated every aspect of his long life. In arguing for Gladstone’s consistent attitude towards the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Christian subjects of the Porte since his early life, this thesis emphasizes the need to re-examine the degree of Gladstone’s passionate involvement in Eastern affairs which contributed significantly to the dynamics of British foreign policy. It argues that the political, humanitarian and ideological role that Gladstone played was far greater throughout his life than has previously been acknowledged. Given the inflammatory rhetoric that he employed in ‘Bulgarian Horrors’ pamphlet, the reasons for Gladstone’s indignation over Turkish administration as well as his attitude towards Islam demands attention. However, there is a clear distinction between Ottoman centric and Europe-centric historiography as to Gladstone’s engagement with Ottoman affairs. Yet, very few studies have analysed Gladstone’s central role in shaping of British policymaking towards the Porte. By placing Gladstone’s attitudes towards the Ottoman Empire at the core of the research, this study seeks to reassess the impact of Gladstone’s background and the key events for his concern with the civil rights and religious liberty of the Christian minorities of the Porte. It further explores whether Gladstone altered the historic British policy of maintaining Ottoman territorial integrity. An analysis is made, therefore, of Gladstone’s humanitarian perspectives and the ‘Concert of Europe’ approach by examining what he said and did in respect to Anglo-Ottoman relations throughout his long life.
PhD in History