Updated: Mar 14
Payitaht: Sultan Abdülhamid EPISODE 06 Season 01 with Urdu Dubbing by GiveMe5 This is Episode Number 6 of Payitaht Abdülhamid, Immediately after his accession, Sultan Abdul Hamid came up against the Russian ambitions in the Balkans. The Czar, declaring himself the champion of all Slavs and the protector of the Eastern Orthodox Church, encouraged an insurrection in Serbia. The Ottomans successfully put down the uprising in 1876. Realizing that active intervention on behalf of the Serbs carried a risk of war with Austria-Hungary, the Czar shifted his focus to Bulgaria. The excuse for intervention was the supposed mistreatment of Christian Bulgars by the Ottomans, while the objective was the creation of a greater Bulgaria, under Russian domination, extending south from the Danube all the way to the Aegean Sea
The western shores of the Black Sea would then be under Russian domination and the armed forces of the Czar would have access to the Mediterranean. However, this plan too required the cooperation of the Austrians. During the Crimean War of 1853-1856, Austrian troops had occupied Romania with the connivance of the Russians. For Russian troops to reach Bulgaria, they would have to cross Romania, now under Hapsburg domination.
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Fearing that overlapping Russian and Austrian ambitions might lead to war, Bismarck of Germany proposed a division of the Ottoman Empire, with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia going to the Hapsburgs while Romania and an enlarged Bulgaria would come under Russian domination. The British, fearing that a further expansion of Austrian and Russian influence towards the Mediterranean would threaten their own interests, opposed this plan and proposed instead a conference in Istanbul to reconcile the competing ambitions of the powers.
At the Istanbul Conference, held in November 1876, Britain proposed a series of “reforms” which, while mollifying Russia and Austria-Hungary, would keep them out of the Mediterranean. Bulgaria, while nominally staying within the Ottoman Empire, was to be partitioned into two provinces. The governor of each province would be a Christian, appointed with the concurrence of the European powers. Except for tobacco and customs duty, all revenues would go to the provincial government. The judicial system would be overhauled and new judges appointed with the approval of the powers.
Separate police forces would be created for Christian and Muslim villages. Ottoman troops would be withdrawn from the province and their place taken up by Belgian troops. Britain proposed similar “reforms” for Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Ausstria-Hungary would provide oversight for their implementation. These proposals, if implemented, would have meant virtual independence for both Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina and would have legalized the intervention of the powers into the affairs of these two important Ottoman provinces.
The Bulgarian issue had emerged as an important one due to a Russian engineered insurrection in that province. The Bulgars captured a large number of towns and slaughtered thousands of Turks. Unable to control the uprising, the Ottoman governor of the province, Nadim Pasha, organized local militias to protect Muslim villages. Massacres and counter massacres followed. The Europeans, always quick to point fingers when Christians were killed, while closing their eyes to massacres of Muslims, played up the Christian casualties. In the British parliament, Gladstone, in a rousing speech, referred to the Ottomans as “the unspeakable Turks” and demanded a concerted European action to curb the Ottomans. The Czar threatened military action unless sweeping reforms were implemented in the province under Russian supervision.
To preempt the European powers, the Ottoman Porte (the vizierate) pushed for the promulgation of a constitution that would remove any pretext for foreign intervention. At the request of Midhat Pasha, Chairman of the Council of State, Sultan Abdul Hamid authorized the formation of a Constitution Commission. Working round the clock, the Commission produced a constitution, which embodied far-reaching reforms and touched on every aspect of Ottoman administration.