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How powerful could a surviving modern day Ottoman Empire be?

The Gulf States as a whole have been trying to move away from oil for a while now with plans continuing into the future with projects such neom .
 
Dubai is not going to be anywhere near capable of supplanting the oil revenue. It is questionable if it will even exist when oil collapses since the wealth that allows attractions and stores to function is based on it. And even if it were Dubai can’t carry entirety of Arabia. There needs to be more. Importing slave labor and using the money to buy off your people as they spend lives of leisure is not a recipe for success.
You're moving the goalpost. You claimed that the Gulf Kingdoms, all of the Gulf Kingdoms, did the equivalent of selling their oil, and then just burning the money they get from it. Dubai as it is simply would not exist if the leadership of the UAE just assumed that the oil was going to last forever. Exactly how efficient they are at investing their wealth is irrelevant; the moment it's pointed out that any kind of investment into a post-oil future is being made at all, your blanket statement of the economics of an entire region is proven false.
 
You're moving the goalpost. You claimed that the Gulf Kingdoms, all of the Gulf Kingdoms, did the equivalent of selling their oil, and then just burning the money they get from it. Dubai as it is simply would not exist if the leadership of the UAE just assumed that the oil was going to last them forever. Exactly how efficient they are at investing their wealth is irrelevant; the moment it's pointed out that any kind of investment into a post-oil future is being made at all, your blanket statement of the economics of an entire region is proven false.
But it’s not a post oil future. They built a city in desert funded trough oil and attractions oil money provided. They didn’t invest in education, breaking technologies of the future for their population to work in once oil dries up etc.
 
But it’s not a post oil future. They built a city in desert funded trough oil and attractions oil money provided. They didn’t invest in education, breaking technologies of the future for their population to work in once oil dries up etc.
Really, no investment in education? They haven't spent a single penny in oil money to build or allow schools and training programmes to improve the skills of their population. Can you back that up?

Not every job has to be in tech; because of sectors like tourism and banking, Dubai's emirate now has about 1% of its GDP represented by oil production. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai#cite_ref-16 No, that doesn't mean the country is ready for a post-oil future, but guess what, basically nobody is ready for a post-oil future yet. Norway would definitely still feel it if the oil stopped coming tomorrow. And again, appreciate that you've had to go from claiming it's all spent on toilets and wars to saying that they 'just' built a city (it's really more than just one city, but Dubai gets the top billing). What else should natural resource wealth be spent on, if not infrastructure to support jobs and sectors that won't have to depend on those resources when they're gone? What's stopping me from taking your logic and saying that Norwegians are terrible at handling natural resource wealth, because all they've done is build cities in their fjords using oil money and get their citizens used to richer lifestyles that depend on more resources?
 

CalBear

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Wouldn't the much needed reforms come sooner or later?
Why?

More importantly, if reforms DID come it would almost certainly mean the END of the Empire. At most you wind up with today's Commonwealth with some ceremonial connection to the Sultan. That would defeat the entire original question.
 
The Ottoman Empire with the borders of 1914?

The Ottoman empire with the borders of 1914 would be richer, and wealthier than today. However to what extent is not capable of being predicted, and one will have to take leaps of faiths to determine that.

First and foremost, the Ottoman Empire in 1914 had recovered somewhat from the Balkan Wars. The yearly deficit was decreasing every month, and the Ottomans had increased their payment of the ottoman public debt administration by 18%, which according to the British deputies in April, 1914 meant that the Ottomans could pay off their entire debt by 1925 and end the OPDA for good. Considering the behemoth of debt that the Ottomans owed to the OPDA, that is a massive compliment in favor of the Ottomans. The Ottomans were also going on a railway building spree and road building spree. From 1910 - 1914, the Ottomans built around 1800 kilometers of road throughout the empire and replaced around 700 kilometers of older roads not suitable for modern motorways. The construction of the Constantinople-Angora-Mersin Railway, the Baghdad Railway, the Hejaz Railway added hundreds of kilometers of railway to the empire as well. They also created credit markets linked throughout the empire. These credit markets collapsed in 1921 due to the collapse of the empire, and the credit sectors of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan had to be rebuilt from scratch in the interwar years, avoiding which is certainly a very good outcome for the Ottomans.

In regards to Oil, many people here are misattributing the Ottomans. The Ottomans in 1914, were the second most industrialized power in Asia after Japan, and even then Japan had only risen above the Ottomans in 1912, after the Ottomans lost control of most of the Balkans, where most of its riches laid. The Ottomans were by contrast in 1914 shifting the private industries they had owned in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania back to the Anatolian heartlands after 1913 and were slowly becoming successful in their endeavor (it led to the slow and gradual decrease of the deficit), and the increase in literacy rates made the Ottoman empire more and more lucrative in 1914, economically and certainly they had started to recover from the losses in the Balkans.

In terms of the Christian Minority and the Arabs, well there a lot of ways things can go, and everything hinges on the political development. IOTL, the Three Pashas were basically on borrowed time and managed to stay only due to the war. There is a reason why Enver went through with the war, as he rightly thought that the war would distract the populace from the rising agitation against the Three Pashas. The Moderate faction of the CUP, the Liberal Entente, the Ottoman Democratic Party, the Armenakan Party, the ARF, and the OPAD as well as Socialists were all plotting together to conduct a coup that would restore the 1908 constitution in its entirety that was stopped due to the war. Within November or December of 1914, the coup would have gone ahead (with the tacit agreement of Mehmed V) and would have deposed the 3 Pasha's regime. Also considering that some of the main conspirators of the coup would have been the Armenakan and the ARF parties, which were both Armenian regionalist parties, the same situation for Armenians like OTL would not exist. For the Arabs, the Arab population would remain loyal? Why? Even after the rise of Arabian nationalism and idea of an Arab empire, the Arabs called Abdulmejid II their Caliph all the way to his death. The House of Osman which had been so vilified in western countries and their homeland found refuge in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and Transjordan, welcomed by the local population. Arab nationalism otl was completely fostered by the British, French and Russians, and even then majority of the Ottoman arab population remained loyal to the state.
Most countries with a huge natural resource: economy ratio that are not already developed and stable tend to get hit with the resource curse hard*, and odds are the Ottomans would be neither by the time their oil deposits are found.
The Ottoman economy was massively diversified though. It had textile industries, cotton industries, agricultural industries, maritime industries, a small burgeoning aviation sector, war industry, a small nascent tourism industry as well as a growing credit economy based on the service sector. Unlike Saudi Arabia or much of the gulf states for much of their history, oil was not the only resource the Ottomans had, and the Tanzimat had ensured that the Ottomans had a diversified economy that would not be dependent on one material. focusing on only oil would make around 40% of the Ottoman economy of the aforementioned sectors redundant which would have harmful effects on the entire national economy, making such a proposition invalid in the eyes of the administration.
 
Why?

More importantly, if reforms DID come it would almost certainly mean the END of the Empire. At most you wind up with today's Commonwealth with some ceremonial connection to the Sultan. That would defeat the entire original question.
I disagree. The reforms would be there, because it would be necessary for keeping the stability in the empire. Add this with German investment in modernization and the Berlin-Baghdad Railway, which in OTL wasn't even finished by the time the Ottomans entered the war. So Germany then would intervene to protect its interests if the Ottomans collapse.

If we're referring to the empire's ethnic groups, @CalBear, then we would still have pogroms against them. Whether a genocide happens in the scale of the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Genocides combined, I don't know.
 

CalBear

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I disagree. The reforms would be there, because it would be necessary for keeping the stability in the empire. Add this with German investment in modernization and the Berlin-Baghdad Railway, which in OTL wasn't even finished by the time the Ottomans entered the war. So Germany then would intervene to protect its interests if the Ottomans collapse.

If we're referring to the empire's ethnic groups, @CalBear, then we would still have pogroms against them. Whether a genocide happens in the scale of the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Genocides combined, I don't know.
Interesting perspective. It would, however, run very much counter to the historic practices of most empires.
 
Why?

More importantly, if reforms DID come it would almost certainly mean the END of the Empire.
Why? Earlier reforms likely saved the Empire from extinction; the Tanzimat reformers prevented the Empire from sharing the fate of Iran and India, and also created a modern infrastructure, centralized bureaucracy, codified legal system, almost completely wiped out tax farming, and developed a modern army. Even Abdulhamit II -- as odious as he was -- did quite well when it came to saving the Empire; he expanded railroads, secured the loyalty of the population (with the exception of the Armenians) to a degree almost unmatched until then, and significantly strengthened the Empire's financial situation after the troubles of the mid-19th century.

I think the problem is that you're applying a mostly-Western model of reform to the Ottomans, which isn't the case. 'Reform' meant a lot of things to the Ottomans; but the idea of setting up a commonwealth similar to the British was never on the table. Yes, there were European (especially British) dreams of developing an Ottoman commonwealth; those were never taken seriously amongst reformers themselves (IIRC the 19th c. Grand Vizier Fuad Pasha, despite admiring Western Europe, refused to even consider the idea of a 'Etats desunis de la Turquie').
 
Why? Earlier reforms likely saved the Empire from extinction; the Tanzimat reformers prevented the Empire from sharing the fate of Iran and India, and also created a modern infrastructure, centralized bureaucracy, codified legal system, almost completely wiped out tax farming, and developed a modern army. Even Abdulhamit II -- as odious as he was -- did quite well when it came to saving the Empire; he expanded railroads, secured the loyalty of the population (with the exception of the Armenians) to a degree almost unmatched until then, and significantly strengthened the Empire's financial situation after the troubles of the mid-19th century.

I think the problem is that you're applying a mostly-Western model of reform to the Ottomans, which isn't the case. 'Reform' meant a lot of things to the Ottomans; but the idea of setting up a commonwealth similar to the British was never on the table. Yes, there were European (especially British) dreams of developing an Ottoman commonwealth; those were never taken seriously amongst reformers themselves (IIRC the 19th c. Grand Vizier Fuad Pasha, despite admiring Western Europe, refused to even consider the idea of a 'Etats desunis de la Turquie').
Funnily enough Abdul Hamid's most fervent supporters were mostly from the Balkans. Many from the Muslim Balkan Community, but many also from the Christian community. As tyranical as he was, and despite his pan-islamic rhetoric, except the Armenians, he inspired a great deal of loyalty in the empire's christian populace.
 
Now I am hardly an expert on the topic, but what little I do know of the empire suggest that it was not on its last legs or at all doomed to fall. It makes a nice neat little thing to suggest that states like the Russian empire, Austro-Hungary and the Ottomans were on their last legs and WWI kicked in the door on the whole crumbling edifice. States have survived much worse than the Ottomans did.

In a scenario where the empire sits out the first world war reforms to the government and army, industrialization, infrastructure and urban development would probably go ahead on schedule. The empire may be talked into allowing military aide to go to Russia and Romania through the Bosporus as well. As has already been said Arab nationalism seems to have been mostly an Entente invention and if that had no happened then its likely the empire could have held onto much of the middle east.

In the chaotic post war the empire would have gained significant breathing room as many of the nations which had previously eyed their territory would now be distracted or dissolved entirely. Hopefully a policy of religious and ethnic tolerance would be pursued to gain the loyalty and support of minorities in the empire rather than attempting to simply eradicate them.
 
The UAE has been diversifying and investing their oil wealth for decades now. Their human rights record is absolutely horrid, but it's just false to suggest that Dubai as a city and capital of tourism and finance is just a big golden toilet. I wouldn't even bother saying this if your statement wasn't as strong as "The Gulf Kingdoms are utterly wasteful of all natural wealth they have".
Just to back up your point here, while the UAE as a whole is still pretty dependent on oil, I'm pretty sure that Dubai itself has moved away from oil almost entirely, and its economy now is mostly stuff like financial services, tourism, and stuff like that.
 
First and foremost, the Ottoman Empire in 1914 had recovered somewhat from the Balkan Wars. The yearly deficit was decreasing every month, and the Ottomans had increased their payment of the ottoman public debt administration by 18%, which according to the British deputies in April, 1914 meant that the Ottomans could pay off their entire debt by 1925 and end the OPDA for good. Considering the behemoth of debt that the Ottomans owed to the OPDA, that is a massive compliment in favor of the Ottomans. The Ottomans were also going on a railway building spree and road building spree.

A great post with a lot going on but there's something important buried in here that I wanted to highlight: the capitulations. While not as extreme as say, China, by the late 19th century the Ottomans had via losing wars and various financing missteps/ bankruptcy crises wound up with a whole raft of unequal treaties and economic arrangements with European powers that created quasi-colonial relations in whole sectors of the Ottoman economy (banking, tax collection, the postal system, etc). It's become a bit of an AH cliche to assume that a surviving Ottoman govt would immediately have to reckon with ethnic tension or crises of separatism.

I think a more likely big political event in a late 1910's/early 20's Ottoman Empire that could actually lead to a much more cohesive Ottoman society would be some form of anti-colonial economic populist movement directed at the capitulations. This could either break good (renewed civic ottoman nationalism and invigorated civil society) or break bad (scapegoating of wealthier urban minority populations as compradors and agents of economic exploitation). Any surviving Ottoman govt. would be by definition smart enough to avoid military confrontation with European powers, so I don't think there would be an armed component to this struggle, but if the Ottoman economy goes into the 1920's growing, the capitulations will be too incongruous to ignore.
 
In case of Saudis and various other kingdoms - the money goes to buying golden toilets and loyalty of population with little investment. In case of Iraq or Syria it was thrown into armament and pointless wars. The Gulf Kingdoms are utterly wasteful of all natural wealth they have and had.

The main difference would be that it would go to golden toilets in Istanbul instead of Riyadh.
 
Just to back up your point here, while the UAE as a whole is still pretty dependent on oil, I'm pretty sure that Dubai itself has moved away from oil almost entirely, and its economy now is mostly stuff like financial services, tourism, and stuff like that.

Abu Dhabi use Dubai as a financial center, looking at Dubai outside the context of the rest of UAE, is like ignoring the rest of USA when talking about the economy of Las Vegas. Dubai have successful made itself into a financial and entertainment hub of the Persian Gulf, but that only work as long as the rest of the region have money to spend. The only country on the Arabian peninsula which maybe won’t turn into Yemen when the oil money run out will be Oman, which have a more diverse economy and is a well placed for international trade.
 
I’ll have to have a dig around for some figures, but I’ll try and make some overall points on the Ottoman economy:

As of 1889/90, Ottoman GDP was 13th in the world at $18,749 million (1990 USD). Factoring in both growth (1890-1914) and the loss of European territories, they are well back from the pack and probably close to being overtaken by Brazil and Mexico. This isn’t the basis for a second rank power in this era, but a third or fourth rank one.

Whilst it did have industries, I would be wary of giving it more credit than what it really had. Agriculture was present, but it was not a major exporter of any significant crops outside of tobacco. Their textile sector wasn’t large, even if it was growing.

Their heavy armaments industry wasn’t on the level of the Great Powers at this time.

I can dig out more than this on domestic industry, exports and what not given time.

Navally, their last major warship was Abdul Kadir in 1892, which was never completed and scrapped in 1909; armour and guns were imported.

The Ottoman aviation industry? It amounted to 0 domestic designed aeroplanes and, to the best of my knowledge, not even any domestically assembled ones. Call me Lord Oldfashioned, but that doth not an aviation industry make.

An ongoing Ottoman Empire of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Greater Syria and Arabia has a lot going for it, but it doesn’t really have diversity of resources, a viable heavy industrial base, the potential for a sophisticated internal economy or the potential population base to really make the most of its opportunities. That is the basis for national power in the 1914-1950 timeframe, at least.

If we are proposing Ottoman survival, there has got to be a reasonable narrative as to how it makes it through this period into the modern epoch when different things are seen as important.
 
Economically, from Halil Inallik's book, the Ottoman Empire's GDP in 1913, was somewhere between £400 million to £1.2 billion. It predicts that the Ottomans lost something like 35% of their total GDP in the Balkan wars due to the loss of the manufactories and textiles, as well as manpower in the balkan wars. Around 48% of the country's GDP came from agriculture, whilst manufacturing made by 22% of the total GDP. In terms of its industry it was a net exporter of guns and artillery (it had no local indigenous companies, but instead license produced german, british and french and sometimes Austrian company's weapons). In 1913, they exported around £55,000 worth of weapons to Bulgaria, Albania, and Iran. Not a large amount, however for an empire walking wounded, it was a respectable amount. Similarly, it's main strength lied in textiles, coal and chromium of which it was a massive exporter, amounting to altogether 70% of all Ottoman exports. According to Stuart Cline, the Ottomans bought 7 REN planes in 1912, and in 1913 during the start of the 2nd Balkan War managed to receive permission to start local license produce of some French planes. The Ottomans built a grand total of 2 planes during the 2nd balkan war before they halted the construction scheme due to financial difficulties. The expelling of French engineers in 1914 took the blueprints with them so the construction stopped indefinitely as war finances meant that the ottomans could not afford to construct planes during wartime. They just loaned the planes from austria and germany as a cheaper alternative. The Ottoman credit sector grew by 43% between 1908 - 1914, with a small slump during 1912, mainly in part due to the explosion of the railroad and highway industries. The ottomans had stopped building warships since 1906 due to the budgetary restraints and Abdul Hamid II's rather big disregard of the navy (which is predictable, he was afraid of a coup, no warships = no big guns = no large sailor officer class = less chance of coup), however continued to build civilian ships. In 1913, 6 merchant ships were build for example in Imperial Arsenals. The Ottoman slipways also continued to build torpedo boats and gunboats independently which were more than a match for enemy gunboats and torpedo boats during the balkan wars. i will have to dig in with my Turkish books to find more data, but this is it for now.
 
Out of curiosity, how would this surviving Ottoman Empire fare in the Cold War? Do you think they'd pursue a more western-friendly foreign policy (especially with the US) or maybe go on a path of Finlandization?
 
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