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How powerful could a surviving modern day Ottoman Empire be?

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?
Would Cold War even occur? I mean we are having a POD before WW1 that can butterfly away the Soviets.
 
Economically, from Halil Inallik's book, the Ottoman Empire's GDP in 1913, was somewhere between £400 million to £1.2 billion.
It does depend on exactly what year that pound value is from.
Looking at Madison, Britain has a 1913 GDP of $224.618 billion in 1990 USD. The exchange rate to 1913 USD is 1: 12.5, giving us $17.96944 billion, which can be worked out as £3.74 billion given the prewar exchange rate of 4.8 dollars to the pound. However, UKPublicSpending has 1913 GDP as £2.497 billion, which is more in line with contemporary sources, which gives us roughly 1: 89.96

I tend to use Britain as a baseline in this era as there is so much data on it and it was still nominally the centre of world finance.

The available total for Turkey, Iraq and Syria for 1913 from Maddison is $23.5 billion in 1990 USD, or £261.23 million. I don't think a significant amount would come from the unlisted territories, but let us be generous and bounce it up to £300 million. That puts it behind the Netherlands, Argentina and Mexico.
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.
That sounds high, but not outlandish. Around 30% would still be a bit high.
Around 48% of the country's GDP came from agriculture, whilst manufacturing made by 22% of the total GDP.
There is manufacturing and manufacturing. I would suggest on my readings that manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire was primarily light manufacturing and the majority derived from agricultural produce, such as tobacco. There is certainly an absence of the same amount of heavy industrial plant found in even second rank powers elsewhere.
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).
I'd be very interested to hear of which countries the Turks exported artillery to. I'm less skeptical on the rifle side of things, as there were certainly manufactories in Constantinople and elsewhere, but as said before, even exports of licensed production don't quite stack up to a true domestic arms industry.
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.
£55,000 doesn't get an awful lot. An SMLE Mark III cost 3 pounds/15, so even if we say a Turkish rifle is an even 2 quid, that still gets us to 27,500 rifles if it was only that quantity, which I would think not. Divided among three buyers, it is three fifths of bugger all, even if (credit where it is due) it is a fair amount for the Turks. I don't doubt their capacity to build small arms, but I don't think they had what could honestly be considered a significant export industry.
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.
Definitely agree on chromium, but the majority of their coal trade was in the immediate area; I don't have anything on textiles immediately at hand.
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 end result is that they still built none. They operated between 90 and 100 during the war, which was on the low side for a power on their level; however, to be fair, a large amount of their air support was provided by Imperial Germany.
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.
Yes, the Ottomans were certainly on the way up in terms of financial complexity. They just had a long way to rise from.
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.
Definitely. The reasons for reduction in naval construction were political and financial rather than an inability to actually build modern ships, but the major measure of the time was the ability to build guns and armour domestically. In Europe, that counts in Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Sweden. Even Spain was right on the bleeding edge of capacity, with their largest pre WW1 domestic gun being the 240mm built by Caracca Arsenal with assistance from Schneider. It is no knock on the Ottoman Empire that they were in the same boat, so to speak.

I know I was the chap who raised naval production, but it is one example of how the Turks didn't yet have the capacity for really heavy war industry/heavy arms production.

Turkey itself has the mainstay of useful minerals for industrial development through the eyes of a 1914 chappy, with the broader Levant providing oil and potential unrest.
 
It does depend on exactly what year that pound value is from.
1913
I tend to use Britain as a baseline in this era as there is so much data on it and it was still nominally the centre of world finance.

The available total for Turkey, Iraq and Syria for 1913 from Maddison is $23.5 billion in 1990 USD, or £261.23 million. I don't think a significant amount would come from the unlisted territories, but let us be generous and bounce it up to £300 million. That puts it behind the Netherlands, Argentina and Mexico.
The £200 - £300 million according to the Turkish stats book is actually only just Anatolia. It calculates the total worth of the anatolian GDP whilst leaving Ottoman Thrace and Arabia out.
That sounds high, but not outlandish. Around 30% would still be a bit high.
Considering the Tanzimat Reforms concentrated on developing the Balkans, I would say it isn't. The Ottomans who were on a moderate financial path in 1911 were knocked back to bankruptcy in 1912 by the loss of the Balkans.
There is manufacturing and manufacturing. I would suggest on my readings that manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire was primarily light manufacturing and the majority derived from agricultural produce, such as tobacco. There is certainly an absence of the same amount of heavy industrial plant found in even second rank powers elsewhere.
Partially. The ottoman Heavy industry was primarily located pre-1912 in Rumelia, which was annexed by Serbia and Bulgaria in 1912, creating a loss of heavy industrial estates in the Ottoman Empire. In early 1914, the Ottomans secured rights to transfer the industries back to Anatolia from Bulgaria and Greece, and was starting to do so in 1914, when Greece cut back due to the naval tensions between Constantinople and Athens, though the Ottomans would continue to transfer their previously owned industries from Bulgaria until the eruption of war disrupted the flow of industrial transfer. The steel mines and chromium mines were heavy industries that were present in the empire to extract mineral resources. The heavy textiles were also present in Angora (ankara) and Mersin as well as Smyrna.
Definitely agree on chromium, but the majority of their coal trade was in the immediate area; I don't have anything on textiles immediately at hand.
Certainly. The main beneficiaries of the Ottoman coal trade was Iran, Egypt, Bulgaria and to an extent Greece.
I'd be very interested to hear of which countries the Turks exported artillery to. I'm less skeptical on the rifle side of things, as there were certainly manufactories in Constantinople and elsewhere, but as said before, even exports of licensed production don't quite stack up to a true domestic arms industry.
Indeed it doesn't, but the base for one is present, unlike many of the arabian countries who had to built their armament industries from scratch taking around 40 to 50 years to complete them.
£55,000 doesn't get an awful lot. An SMLE Mark III cost 3 pounds/15, so even if we say a Turkish rifle is an even 2 quid, that still gets us to 27,500 rifles if it was only that quantity, which I would think not. Divided among three buyers, it is three fifths of bugger all, even if (credit where it is due) it is a fair amount for the Turks. I don't doubt their capacity to build small arms, but I don't think they had what could honestly be considered a significant export industry.
The Turks actually exported ammunition, not rifles. The produced rifles were stored in the army.
The end result is that they still built none. They operated between 90 and 100 during the war, which was on the low side for a power on their level; however, to be fair, a large amount of their air support was provided by Imperial Germany.
They did construct 2, and showed their capability of building 2, though on the overall side of things i to agree with you that they didn't really construct much at all. The Ottoman government was also actually very pro-aviation. Having seen it first hand in Libya, and the Balkans, the 1913 Scheme for Aviation, as it was made within the budgets with aid from Britain and France envisioned a 200 plane air corps by 1918, and 500 by 1925. The French government worked closely with the Ottomans on this issue and was the one who helped the Ottomans build their two planes and train and educate their aeronautical engineers.
Yes, the Ottomans were certainly on the way up in terms of financial complexity. They just had a long way to rise from.
very true.
Definitely. The reasons for reduction in naval construction were political and financial rather than an inability to actually build modern ships, but the major measure of the time was the ability to build guns and armour domestically. In Europe, that counts in Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Sweden. Even Spain was right on the bleeding edge of capacity, with their largest pre WW1 domestic gun being the 240mm built by Caracca Arsenal with assistance from Schneider. It is no knock on the Ottoman Empire that they were in the same boat, so to speak.
Moreso political rather than financial as well. The 1896 Warships Program was well within financial constraints but Abdul Hamid II did not approve because it envisioned recruiting 40,000 professional sailors and associated 5000 officers. A threat to his political standing in his mind, as it increased the likelihood of a navy backed coup.
I know I was the chap who raised naval production, but it is one example of how the Turks didn't yet have the capacity for really heavy war industry/heavy arms production.

Turkey itself has the mainstay of useful minerals for industrial development through the eyes of a 1914 chappy, with the broader Levant providing oil and potential unrest.
Fair enough.
Though the Levant didn't really have much unrest rather than the small scale riots between the Hashomer Militant Jews and the Anti-Hashomer Militant Jews. Which were routinely scattered by the Gendamarie easily.
 
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?
I suppose the more important question is, would the Ottomans care about any UK sanctions against the Nazis, or the Japanese? (provided they even come to power)
I sort of doubt they would care, and then the Oil flows freely.
 
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?
Assuming the POD is that World War I never happens: this would change the world so much so as to heavily impact whether the Cold War even happens. The butterflies from a lack of World War I would extend to the Cold War, after all.

If the POD is that the Ottomans stay out of World War I (which I think is unlikely; by 1914 the Ottomans were already a member of the Concert of Europe and had been involved in European affairs virtually their entire life), this would still drastically change the course of World War I. A quicker Entente victory - the OE tied down large amounts of troops and resources IOTL - would very much affect the post-war peace settlement, and ultimately the course of the 20th century as a whole.
 
I suppose the more important question is, would the Ottomans care about any UK sanctions against the Nazis, or the Japanese? (provided they even come to power)
I sort of doubt they would care, and then the Oil flows freely.
I think the RN would make them care.
 
That doesn't mean it wants to have its ports blockaded. Also trade with British Empire + USA >>> Germany and Japan!
A Blockade is an act of war.
And while you have a point regarding Japan, the Ottomans would never, ever side with the UK over Germany, in regards to balancing Russia.
At that point the Otto response is locking down the red sea, and selling whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and if the Brits don't like it, arms will flood into Egypt and Iran.
 
A Blockade is an act of war.
And while you have a point regarding Japan, the Ottomans would never, ever side with the UK over Germany, in regards to balancing Russia.
At that point the Otto response is locking down the red sea, and selling whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and if the Brits don't like it, arms will flood into Egypt and Iran.
If GB has the choice between the Ottomans and allowing Germany getting huge shipments of oil , it will pick going to war with the Ottomans. What are they going to lock the Red Sea with? They can't fight the RN and later the USN and win.
 
Does Ottoman survival somehow give them dramatically stronger forces and capacities than even a sensible line of development on a pre Great War trajectory would entail?

The Med is still a British lake, the British are still top dog in the Persian Gulf, Aden and surrounds, Britain still controls Cyprus and Egypt and there is still an Empire and Indian Army.

The Ottomans aren’t going to be able to lock down the Red Sea nor dictate to one of the then superpowers, not if there is any semblance of realism.

The oil in a 1940s/WW2 era remnant Ottoman Empire is in Northern Iraq, which raises some difficulties as to how it would be transported all the way to Constantinople and thence to Germany, as well as presenting a strategic target.
 
If GB has the choice between the Ottomans and allowing Germany getting huge shipments of oil , it will pick going to war with the Ottomans.

Pretty sure it would be trivial in ww2. Airpower would murder anything in the red sea.
What are they going to lock the Red Sea with? They can't fight the RN and later the USN and win.

And what is the CB that gets through congress? -
The Med is still a British lake, the British are still top dog in the Persian Gulf, Aden and surrounds, Britain still controls Cyprus and Egypt and there is still an Empire and Indian Army.

The Ottomans aren’t going to be able to lock down the Red Sea nor dictate to one of the then superpowers, not if there is any semblance of realism.
In a scenario where you have 1914 ottoman empire with a power increase in proportion with the time, It would unquestionably have the Airpower to lock down the red sea (If nothing else, that's what the Germans have been sending them to pay for the oil).
And this entire scenario is essentially positing that entire RoW goes as OTL (which is very implausible, i don't disagree) but the Ottos hold what they hold in 1914.
Then in 1940 the Med isn't a british lake, Egypt isn't British (because it can't be resupplied) , and the Gulf also isn't open to british traffic.
 
Pretty sure it would be trivial in ww2. Airpower would murder anything in the red sea.


And what is the CB that gets through congress? -

In a scenario where you have 1914 ottoman empire with a power increase in proportion with the time, It would unquestionably have the Airpower to lock down the red sea (If nothing else, that's what the Germans have been sending them to pay for the oil).
And this entire scenario is essentially positing that entire RoW goes as OTL (which is very implausible, i don't disagree) but the Ottos hold what they hold in 1914.
Then in 1940 the Med isn't a british lake, Egypt isn't British (because it can't be resupplied) , and the Gulf also isn't open to british traffic.
If it is trivial I can see it be overlooked.

Any number of things. If the OE is part of the Axis , no matter how and why it joins, when the US eventually gets involved (and it most likely will as Nazi Germany is a threat to US interests) it is going to go to war with the OE too. RoW?
 
The Ottomans avoiding World War I would be very interesting since this means Bulgaria likely doesn't join the Mittelmachte unless Austria-Hungary offer them land of the area or something against Romania afterwards. It would mean the Ottomans could maintain good relationships with the British and having to work to climb up.

This would have all sorts of effects. Based on the Ottomans alone, it's likely that they could probably do a fair bit to modernize once they get their act together and so on.
 
At that point the Otto response is locking down the red sea, and selling whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and if the Brits don't like it, arms will flood into Egypt and Iran.
And more importantly, arms flow into Arabia and the Levant. And then that's the ballgame on Ottoman oil wealth.

Course its not like THAT much oil was being produced at this time in the Middle East anyway. Most of that was produced in Iran, not areas under Ottoman control. And there just isn't a way for a surviving Ottoman Empire to change that without drastic changes I just don't see happening. More likely the Ottomans use the oil needs of any Allies in that scenario to get American oil businesses into the country and drilling, while technically remaining neutral. Much more profitable that way.
 
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The Ottomans avoiding World War I would be very interesting since this means Bulgaria likely doesn't join the Mittelmachte unless Austria-Hungary offer them land of the area or something against Romania afterwards. It would mean the Ottomans could maintain good relationships with the British and having to work to climb up.

This would have all sorts of effects. Based on the Ottomans alone, it's likely that they could probably do a fair bit to modernize once they get their act together and so on.
Not sure if Bulgaria would remain neutral... they had a score or 2 to settle with their other neighbors, and may have joined in out of opportunism when (or if) things appeared to be going in A-H's favour... although...
No fighting between Russia and the Ottomans makes a HUGE impact... for one the Russians will have a larger number of troops to throw toward the west. Also Enver and Talaat are deprived of the immediate excuse for their actions against the Armenians, Pontic Greeks and Assyrians...
 
Really I think that the best bet would've been a POD before WWI - either avoid the Balkan Wars completely (difficult) or have the 1st BW result in a Turkish victory (after which there would be no 2nd Balkan War :)) . As has been pointed out on another thread, Rumelia/Thrace/Macedonia/Albania was very much part of the Ottoman heartland - as much as Anatolia. The demographic shifts and population transfers (and massacres :( ) make us forget just how large the Turkish/Islamic converts share of the population of the Balkans was before the Balkan Wars...
1029px-Sanjak_Ottoman_western_Balkans1906_1907_Ottoman_census_muslim_percentage.png
 
I think the RN would make them care.
Indeed they would
How?
A surviving otto can just ship overland, to Germany and Japan has ships to trade with.
They can but there is a reason why the Ottomans could not supply Germany otl with their chromium surplus even when Germany was having chromium shortage. During this time overland trade bulk was smaller than overseas trading bulk and the ottomans could simply get more money and export more through sea than overland making the seas a more profitable path
A Blockade is an act of war.
Greece throughout ww1 just shows that it isn't. They even joined the blockading powers! It makes war likelier no doubt about that, but it doesn't make war inevitable.
And while you have a point regarding Japan, the Ottomans would never, ever side with the UK over Germany, in regards to balancing Russia.
At that point the Otto response is locking down the red sea, and selling whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and if the Brits don't like it, arms will flood into Egypt and Iran.
The Ottomans almost signed an alliance treaty with Russia in early 1911. So get rid of these preconceptions. Russia and the Ottomans had very friendly relations from 1881 to 1912. Until Enver came to the government the country was also very pro-British, because the country was basically surrounded by the Brits, and a friendly British government was required to secure territorial sovereignty
At that point the Otto response is locking down the red sea, and selling whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and if the Brits don't like it, arms will flood into Egypt and Iran.
Also no, the Ottomans could not lock down the Red Sea. They could make raids which could make an economical impact, but the British and French fleets in the Red sea would still be massively in favor of the Allies and not the Ottomans. IOTL, the Ottoman Red Sea Fleet was only a match for the Italian Red Sea Fleet which was small, decrepit and out of date. The British and French fleet in the Red Sea was anything but small, decrepit and out of date.
Does Ottoman survival somehow give them dramatically stronger forces and capacities than even a sensible line of development on a pre Great War trajectory would entail?

The Med is still a British lake, the British are still top dog in the Persian Gulf, Aden and surrounds, Britain still controls Cyprus and Egypt and there is still an Empire and Indian Army.

The Ottomans aren’t going to be able to lock down the Red Sea nor dictate to one of the then superpowers, not if there is any semblance of realism.

The oil in a 1940s/WW2 era remnant Ottoman Empire is in Northern Iraq, which raises some difficulties as to how it would be transported all the way to Constantinople and thence to Germany, as well as presenting a strategic target.
Indeed. The Ottomans throughout the interwar era could develop of a respectable navy if their finances went in the direction it was going pre-ww1, however it is not going to be able to fight head on with the Royal Navy. More importantly, being surrounded in British Abadan, British Kuwait, British Qatar, British Aden and British Egypt also surrounds the Ottomans completely forcing the Ottomans to stay on good terms with Britain, at least until those colonies are freed of colonial presence.
Pretty sure it would be trivial in ww2. Airpower would murder anything in the red sea.
Nah it wouldn't. Before 1941, the Italian Airforce in East Africa outnumbered the RAF. See for yourself how much of their red sea raids were successful.
In a scenario where you have 1914 ottoman empire with a power increase in proportion with the time, It would unquestionably have the Airpower to lock down the red sea (If nothing else, that's what the Germans have been sending them to pay for the oil).
And this entire scenario is essentially positing that entire RoW goes as OTL (which is very implausible, i don't disagree) but the Ottos hold what they hold in 1914.
Then in 1940 the Med isn't a british lake, Egypt isn't British (because it can't be resupplied) , and the Gulf also isn't open to british traffic.
In 1940 the Med was very much a British Lake, and Egypt was very much British. The Ottomans staying out of ww1 may keep the status quo of the egyptians remaining nominally under the ottomans but like the pre-ww1 order, the actually ruler of egypt would be the british. Also the Ottomans had zero naval presence in the persian gulf other than 8 torpedo and gunboats. They can be easily swept aside by the RN.
Not sure if Bulgaria would remain neutral... they had a score or 2 to settle with their other neighbors, and may have joined in out of opportunism when (or if) things appeared to be going in A-H's favour... although...
No fighting between Russia and the Ottomans makes a HUGE impact... for one the Russians will have a larger number of troops to throw toward the west. Also Enver and Talaat are deprived of the immediate excuse for their actions against the Armenians, Pontic Greeks and Assyrians...
The Bulgarians otl expressly told the German ambassador that they wouldn't enter the war until ottoman approval to it was given. They would not expose their eastern flank like they did in the second balkan war
 
In a scenario where you have 1914 ottoman empire with a power increase in proportion with the time, It would unquestionably have the Airpower to lock down the red sea (If nothing else, that's what the Germans have been sending them to pay for the oil).
Ottoman power in 1914 was not that great.

It could deploy, but not supply in full and modern fashion, several separate field armies. It could not build its own field or heavy artillery, could not build its own tanks, could not manufacture its own gas and did not progress significantly to the point of building its own machine guns.

It had a 1914 GDP of perhaps $25 billion in 1990 USD; even if we take the 1950 (!) GDP totals, it amounts to $62.904 billion, putting them behind Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Poland and just ahead of Spain, thr

It does not follow that a third rank power at best can do what Britain and Germany could not do in 1940, 1941 or 1942 - shut down maritime traffic in a waterway immediately adjacent to their most highly developed air
And this entire scenario is essentially positing that entire RoW goes as OTL (which is very implausible, i don't disagree) but the Ottos hold what they hold in 1914.
There was nothing of the sort in the initial post by sirjackalot. He postulated “either WW1 doesn't happen or the Ottomans wisely stay out of it and keep their post 1914 borders”.

I would suggest that his first scenario is the very antithesis of the rest of the world going OTL. Even if we take the second case, that still implies a very wide reaching change.

An unchanged world outside of the bounds of the Ottoman Empire is not only very implausible - it is impossible and a contrivance.
Then in 1940 the Med isn't a british lake, Egypt isn't British (because it can't be resupplied) , and the Gulf also isn't open to british traffic.
Even if we take your contrived fantastical scenario, it still doesn’t give the results you postulate.

A magic Ottoman Empire does not remove Malta from existence, nor Gibraltar, nor does it remove a British presence from Egypt, Cyprus or Sou

If Egypt is facing an enemy across the Sinai, there would be additional defences; even without, there is still a route of supply through the south.

However, it is the Persian Gulf being closed which confuses me. If we take the fantastical point of departure as 1914, how does the Ottoman Empire come into control of Oman, Southern Persia, Kuwait and the Trucial States?

Finally, if we only change one country, leave the rest of the world the same and constantly shift the goalposts, then we aren’t really dealing with alternate history.
 
Indeed they would

The Ottomans almost signed an alliance treaty with Russia in early 1911. So get rid of these preconceptions. Russia and the Ottomans had very friendly relations from 1881 to 1912. Until Enver came to the government the country was also very pro-British, because the country was basically surrounded by the Brits, and a friendly British government was required to secure territorial sovereignty
The ottomans would presumably join ww2, for about the same reasons they joined ww1.
Nah it wouldn't. Before 1941, the Italian Airforce in East Africa outnumbered the RAF. See for yourself how much of their red sea raids were successful.
Slightly different situation when you have the entire coastline and landlines to your supply.

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?

There was nothing of the sort in the initial post by sirjackalot. He postulated “either WW1 doesn't happen or the Ottomans wisely stay out of it and keep their post 1914 borders”.
See preceding quote. Again, The ottomans would presumably join ww2, for about the same reasons they joined ww1.
However, it is the Persian Gulf being closed which confuses me. If we take the fantastical point of departure as 1914, how does the Ottoman Empire come into control of Oman, Southern Persia, Kuwait and the Trucial States?
Technically those areas are part of the ottoman empire at this point. I don't think we ever decided what they owned in the area.
 
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