The Great Turk returns - Alternate resurging Ottomans (1747-1947)

Not open for further replies.
Mahmud I (1747-1752)
Background information: I wanted a TL where the Ottomans keep the Balkans under its rule (no Serbia, Greece etc...). I could have started with a POD during Selim III but I felt like having the Crimean Khanate exist for not being the only Islamic State in Europe and I mean, why not? It is interesting to see another Islamic State to develop in the 19th century. So I came to a choice were to start... as latests as 1774 with Abdul Hamid ascending the Throne and as early as Nader Shahs death for opportunities. Initially I planned Osman III/Mustafa III rule as a beginning but at the very last moment changed to Nader Shahs death.

So to give you an insight... I want a reforming Ottoman Empire from the earliest time possible without affecting too much of European politics that happens in the 19th century. And from the 19th Century onward, things may change more. This is also why try to go through the 18th century as fast as I can without leaving important information behind.

Hope you keep enjoying it.

The death of the lion

The year: 1747

The lion of Persia is dead. The great lion of the East is Nader Afshar. Words have come from the East that this lion was betrayed by his own soldiers. They say, killing your own leader will bring you nothing but death and destruction. The people of those lands will be victims for foreign invaders. No longer will his mighty roar be heard in Persia. But the neighbours and victims of this great ‘lion’ are relieved. One of those is the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mahmud I Osmanoglu. A sultan who fought back the Russo-Austrian alliance. A man who was believed to be the restorer of the Ottoman Golden Age. Nader’s realm is torn apart by warlords and tribes. There is no better advantage. It will be the age remembered how the Ottomans restored themselves.

The great Mahmud I, reformer of the empire

In the Fall of 1747, the Empire was at peace. Unlike its European neighbours who would fight each other. Regardless, for the sultan it was better not to wait out opportunity until it was gone. Since the last war 7 years ago, the grand viziers of the Empire followed a peace policy. There would be no war in Europe and no more pointless war with Afshar ruled Persia. The borders of the Empire were big enough. But with the death of Nader Shah, the game has changed. Mahmud was ambitious, his pasha’s were not.

The Death of Nader Shah

After the death of Nader Shah in 1747, his great empire fragmented to pieces. His successor ruled only a fragment of a once mighty Persian Empire. The Zand dynasty has emerged in Shiraz, various khanates in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus ruled free from influence of Mashhad and Shiraz. And then there was the original ruler of Persia, a Safavid prince, Suleiman II. The latter would possibly be a good puppet for the Ottomans in their Iranian policy. And of course Mohammed Hasan Khan, leader of the Qajar tribe. All these people play a role for the domination of Persia. In the far east, the Afghan Abdali tribe ruling most of Afghanistan and Balochistan. For Ahmad Shah, the focus lay more on India.

Mahmuds letter to the Persian rulers (1748)

In 1748 Mahmud sendt numerous letters to rulers and warlords in Persia. He asked to swear loyalty to Mahmud as Caliph of all Muslims. Like he expected, there was only little interest to swear loyalty to Mahmud. Especially not by the Afshars, Zands and Qajars. The Durrani accepted Mahmud being the Caliph but not much further. When the letters were sent, Mahmud quickly reacted to the response. His first target was Azerbaijan. the region would be used for further expansion of influence. When Mahmud explained his plan to Hekimoglu Ali Pasha, he reacted with that there is no possibility to control all of Persia and an alliance was necessary with several kings and warlords. The biggest surprise to Mahmud and Hekimoglu Ali Pasha was the arrival of Ismail Safavi, a Safavid Prince. Having the ambition to rule Persia again and getting rid of his rival Suleiman II Safavi. It was told to Mahmud that Suleiman was using both Afshars and Zands in order to become the legitimate ruler of Persia. One free from foreign influence as much as possible. A young man he is, Ismail was welcomed and used for the campaigns in Persia. Mahmuds plans changed. His vassal would now be Ismail Safavi. And the plans for the campaign start to look more complex…

Europe in 1748:

In 1748, the war of Austrian succession ended after 8 years of war. The biggest winner of the war was Prussia with their conquest of Silesia. The Spanish gained some land back in Italy and Austria got back the Southern Netherlands from the French. Even though the British and French were not happy with the results, the Austrians were least happy. The loss of Silesia was not forgiven by the Austrian empress Maria Theresa. The conquest of Silesia alone would lead to more wars later in Central Europe. One war was over, the next was looming in.

Europe in 1748
Last edited:
French Colonial policies and War in the Caucasus
The French Colonial policies

What became a burden for the French was their colonial defence against the British. Louis XV was warned already by the his advisors about the rising costs of wars in the colonies. One advice was that the colonial population should be raised and in the towns of Quebec, Montreal and New Orleans, making it harder for the British to occupy it. The larger the population there the more chance to let the regionals to defend the colonies rather than Paris doing it. Louis XV heard these plans many times since the start of the war but did not think it was too necessary. But then he was convinced when he heard about the following. The new colonists would be the poor French in the major cities. Having them send to the colonies in America would mean more influence around towns and less of the poor to taken care of by the church. Both the crown and the poor would benefit from it. By 1748 Louis XV agreed and ordered that the crown would fund these plans. Between 1748 and 1756, around 13,000 Frenchmen left for Louisiana and New France.

The last attempt of the Dutch

The Dutch Republic did not experience a good time from the start of the 1700s. The century started with a long exhausting war with only a little gain. The Dutch did not gain what they hoped and, like the Austrians, felt somewhat betrayed by the British whom secretly made a deal with the Bourbon rivals. It has been 35 years since the end of the war and the Dutch are in no better position. The last war about the Austrian succession was already a war the Dutch did not want to enter proved that they were in no position to fight more wars without gaining something in return. And that’s where Willem IV, stadtholder of the United Provinces, came in. Not experienced with state affairs, Willem IV first attempt was regaining the asiento of the Spanish Empire for the WIC*. The Spanish were already uneasy with the British about the treaty. Any better deal may convince the Spanish. Deemed to ambitious, this could work for the the declining economic power. It might be the last attempt to restore at least one company.

The Ottoman armies mobilise (War in the Caucasus: 1748-1755)

The first target of Mahmud I were the small fractured states in the Caucasus. In the first months of 1748, Seyyid Abdullah Pasha was ordered to mobilise 40.000 men and 100 artillery pieces to invade Georgia. The rulers of Georgia are ordered to accept Ottoman domination of the Caucasus. If they do not accept it they will lose their lands. From there, the Grand Vizier is ordered to conquer the Khanates north of the Aras river all the way to the Caspian Sea. These plans did not fall from nowhere. Since the time of Ahmed III, the Russians were starting to influence Persia and set their eyes on the Caucasus. Ahmed III intervention prevented a large scale Russian rule which in return was completely gone with Nader Shah's rule. But with Persia now fractured, the Persian treasure should not go to the Russians. The conquest of Azerbaijan can prevent such nightmare scenario’s. From Azerbaijan the Porte can also expand influence in Persia, with his most important card: a Safavid prince.

At the same time, Ali Pasha is ordered to negotiate with any European power with a decent Navy to reform and upgrade the Ottoman Naval power. Something that already was bothering his predecessor Ahmed III after a conflict with the Holy League. Something that the Pasha’s don’t know yet is that Mahmud has set his eyes on Preveza. The fortification on the Western Coast of Greece. Venice is a declining power and if they sell this important fortification to a major power, be it Austria or Russia, then the state is in big danger. This must be prevented at all costs. An attempt to buy it will be made. But if the Venetians remain stubborn then it will be a conquest. In case of a large scale war with Venice, there should be a navy to protect against a coalition fleet. The last Naval warfare was something that should never happen again.

First Phase: Georgian campaign (1748-1755)

Situation of Georgia in 1748

Seyyid Abdullah Pasha arrived in Kutaisi with his vast army. He invited all Georgian rulers to convince them to accept Ottoman protection over the small kingdoms. All but one kingdom accepted being an Ottoman vassal. It was the King of Kakheti. Convinced of its strength, capabilities and experience against neighbouring Khanates, the king refused to accept even one Ottoman flag, one Ottoman soldier as a garrison in his kingdom. Seyyid Pasha, being the patient man he is gave the King of Kakheti 30 days the time to reconsider his decision. This man was the young Heraclius II. A brave man and a king to be proud of the people say. Seyyid Pasha waited for 30 days and not one day longer for an answer. And on the last day the answer came. Heraclius II tells Seyyid Pasha that he will die fighting for his Kingdom and his people and the rivers of his Kingdom will fill with the blood of the invaders, be it the Persian or the Turk. Seyyid had his answer. He immediately moved to Surami to capture it. His plan was to move along the river to Tbilisi and effectively control all the Kingdom. Heraclius can no longer fight except hiding in the mountains and the countryside for an opportunity. Just as he hoped, he had only a little resistance and Surami was captured. His hope was to capture Gori before retreating to Diyarbekir to wait out Winter. In his next year he would continue his fight. But the problem began to start. Heraclius men started a hit and run tactic to weaken morale of Ottoman troops before they reach Gori. This had some success but the amount of Turkish troops did not lower. The biggest success was hindering supplies coming to the front. When Seyyid Pasha reached Gori in early September, he had two months the time to conquer the town. If he failed he was to wait for next year which could hinder his plans. The siege took off for 1,5 month only to be ended when Seyyid Pasha realised he could not conquer the town. Seeing the morale of his men going down and Winter coming in he broke the siege and retreated. With only a limited gains, Seyyid failed his campaign which should have been finished by early spring next year. It seemed to look like it would take quite some years to succeed. Heraclius nevertheless was seen as a hero among the people of Tbilisi.

*WIC - West Indische Compagnie: (Dutch) West Indian Company
Last edited:
So with the demise of nader shah will russia also move south if anything just to counter ottoman move. Btw will Mahmud try to assert authority from mameluke in egypt and other near east local strongman. Maybe north africa is too much and too far but with absent of power in persia to intervene, Mahmud should be possible to reassert central authority in near east.
So with the demise of nader shah will russia also move south if anything just to counter ottoman move. Btw will Mahmud try to assert authority from mameluke in egypt and other near east local strongman. Maybe north africa is too much and too far but with absent of power in persia to intervene, Mahmud should be possible to reassert central authority in near east.
Mahmud I first target is to strenghten control over his Eastern borders. The result of this campaign will decide his future actions. There is up to this moment no reason yet to get rid of Mamluk rule in Iraq or Egypt.

The Russians have certainly interests in the area but need to consolidate power in the Northern Caucasus first. The Russians have ties and will try to influence various Persian states to counter the Ottomans there. Getting lands in the Caucasus is not their priority yet. For now it is watching how things go.
He means 'what was the point in which this timeline diverged from ours, like say a death, winning a certain battle etc.'

POD = Point of Divergence

OTL = Our timeline

Don't worry, the acronyms will make sense gradually.
Ahh okay...

Instead of Selim III rule, the Ottomans will start an earlier time reforming. I've noticed that there was no major effort between Ahmed III and Selim III (1730-1789).

And... a slightly alternative 7 years war.

Istanbul, 1748

With Seyyid Pasha campaigning in Georgia, Ali Pasha is left to negotiate with European ambassadors. Ali Pasha is trying to convince the Dutch ambassador to allow send Naval officers. At the same time he also negotiate with the British and French. After a short negotiation, the Dutch ambassador agreed to talk with his superiors to send naval officers. When Ali Pasha told the sultan about successful negotiation the sultan told him about his future ambition. Within 10 years, there will be a forced occupation of Venetian possessions in Greece and Dalmatia. The Venetians don’t have the navy nor the manpower to counter the occupation. These acquisitions are necessary as Venice is a declining power in Italy and will give up their possessions sooner or later. To prevent them from giving it to the rivals of the Empire they will have to be taken. In a worst case scenario, the czar gets all the Greek possessions. Ali Pasha, surprised by the sultan ambition, asks if the Sultan told other pasha’s of his plan. Mahmud hasn’t told anyone yet. Ali Pasha realises this means a lot to him as the Sultan trusts him more than any other Pasha. And the development continues…

Kars, 1749

Seyyid Ali Pasha is awaiting in Kars. Just a month ago he sent a force to Gori to besiege it as long as he orders. Seyyid is preparing to attack Revan. He wouldn’t want to appear without any gain before the sultan. From Revan he will move to Ganja and prepare his own attack on Tbilisi. The Kakheti King is not facing the Ottoman forces on open fields due to numerical inferiority. All he can do now is to enforce a hit and run tactic to break Ottoman motivation. It worked the first time and the hope is for a second time. The first success of Heraclius hasn’t gone unnoticed by fellow Georgian rulers in the West. But they don’t give him much chance or a hand to help against the Ottoman troops in the long run. As times past by, Seyyid Pasha defeated the forces of the khan of Revan without much trouble, occupying Revan fortress and sending the leaders to Constantinople. In order to consolidate power the Caucasus the leaders and their families can’t stay here. When Seyyid was preparing a second campaign against Ganja he got the news that the Kakheti forces attacked the besiegers of Gori at night unprepared and killed the commander of the siege, Mehmed Pasha. The 15,000 men besieging Gori had only minimal losses during the retreat but are too demoralised to continue. The men have retreated to Akhalkalaki. Even more annoyed than before, Seyyid continues to Ganja and will continue to the Caspian shores. The Next year he will lead the forces himself even if it will kill him at the end.

The letter of Seyyid Pasha, 1749

During the campaign in the Caucasus, the Grand Vizier wrote in his last letter about the lack of discipline of the soldiers. He blamed the the failure in Gori to the janissaries who were more interested to loot nearby villages than to look out for Heraclius forces. The Sipahis are only a little more disciplined but there morale and discipline is affected by the behavior of the janissaries. In the wars Seyyid Pasha fought, he observed the declining effectiveness of the Sipahis. Without directly writing it, Seyyid Pasha considers an idea to replace the janissary corps as the main force as well as the Sipahis. Mahmud, reading the letter of the troubled Grand Vizier knows what will happen when one would consider to reorganise the Janissary Corps let alone abolish them. His father (Mustafa II) was deposed because of it. Mahmud burns the letter and starts writing his own letter. He orders Seyyid Pasha to return to Constantinople immediately and sends Koca Ragip Pasha as the commander of the force in the Caucasus.

The effective campaign (1750-1753)

When Heraclius II proved to be successful in his resistance, it motivated the other Georgian rulers as well to revolt against Ottoman Rule. However, Ragip Pasha, used his intrigues to turn the Georgians against each other especially against Heraclius. Before a major revolt even happened by the Western Georgian principalities they found out about a letter to ‘Heraclius II’ become king of all the Georgians. This disturbed most of the rulers of the principalities and when a response came from ‘Heraclius’ to the army commanders and nobles of the principalities. The rulers wanted to revolt but they wanted to get rid of Heraclius as well. Anymore victories against the Turks will make Heraclius a saint in the eyes of the Georgians and nothing will save the rule of the Georgian kings. Ragip himself purposely did not attack Georgia in his first year, giving the Georgians the idea that the Turks were afraid of Heraclius. Instead, Ragip Pasha decided to move south to Tabriz and hunt down Turkmen tribes deemed hostile to Ottoman rule in Azerbaijan. Ragip Pasha started to consolidate power in Azerbaijan. Tribes who resisted Ottoman rule were displaced to other parts of the Region. What Ragip did not realise was that Heraclius attacked Ottoman territory and raided two towns: Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. Ragip was angered but also pleased at the same time. Heraclius victory in Ottoman territory might bring the fear to Georgian rulers. The most loyal prince to the Porte, the Prince of Abkhazia, was informed by Ragip Pasha to fuel the fear against Heraclius and spark their own revolt. At the end, the prince will be rewarded to rule over all of Georgia. As he did, Heraclius was asked to come Sachkhere to plan a major revolt. Heraclius came with a small force, believing that this is the time to be free from Turkish rule. A joint campaign against the Turks. In the early Sunday Heraclius arrived, went to church with the Georgian rulers. On Monday they talked about what region should be attacked by whom. Heraclius was to campaign in Armenia to put pressure. The Western principalities would go for the Black Sea Coast and the fortress of Kars. If the Turks start losing battles outside Georgia, the Russian may intervene on behalf of the Georgians. At that point, the Turks can no longer threaten Georgia with the Czarist troops on their door. Plans were made and at night they celebrate their alliance with a lavish feast. Little did Heraclius know that his friends were his rivals and wanted him dead. Drinking all night, Heraclius was drunk and assassins were send when Heraclius was outside. Outside, Heraclius men rushed to town to warn them about the Ottomans approaching. When Heraclius men realised Heraclius was about to be killed, they saved him, took him and fled with him to the capital. No time to warn the forces of Heraclius still in time, the men fled East. The same night the Janissaries caught the Georgian forces and Kings off guard and a massacre followed. Of the 2,000 men of Kakheti troops, only 450 men made it back to Tbilisi. The rebellious rulers were all captured or executed. The Prince of Abkhazia was awarded with the lands of the killed Kings for his loyalty. All but one plan of Ragip Pasha succeeded. The rebellious rulers were exterminated but Heraclius was still alive. Heraclius learned two things from this experience.
Don’t trust fellow powerful kinmen for the devil is too tempting. And the support of the Russians is still possible.
Last edited:
Well the janissaries already past their time anyway. At this point they behave more like bandit rather than elite troop they suppose to. But any move that might reduce their power like raise another troops if not carefull can lead to a coup. Maybe sipahi too. Still support of sipahi corps is a must in order to disband them.
Well the janissaries already past their time anyway. At this point they behave more like bandit rather than elite troop they suppose to. But any move that might reduce their power like raise another troops if not carefull can lead to a coup. Maybe sipahi too. Still support of sipahi corps is a must in order to disband them.
Bandits would be a God gift. They were placing and deposing Sultans anytime they saw it was necessary which in return caused chaos. There is no point to save or reform the Janissary corps. They will be gone sooner or later.
Not open for further replies.