2018-04-23 02:11:32 UTC
...was a companion of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who had an even longer lasting impact on modern Turkey because of his personal longevity (1884 to 1973) which allowed him to be President and Prime Minister on more than one occasion. He was Turkish President during WWII for instance.
He died on Christmas Day 1973.
What if, upon death, Ismet Inonu's consciousness went back in time 60 years to Christmas Day 1913, to occupy the mind of Enver Bey at that time.
Enver Bey at this time is one of the CUP triumvirate effectively ruling the Ottoman Empire at the time. He is probably at the peak of his career popularity, having been credited with the recovery of Adrianople/Edirne from Bulgarian occupation a few months before.
OTL's Enver Pasha ran the Ottoman Empire into the ground and had a sense of priorities and instincts quite opposite of Ismet Inonu.
How will Ismet Inonu use his knowledge and judgement for the betterment of his country and himself?
Indeed, what does he see as his country? The political formula that brought him to power was secular Turkish ethnonationalism in the aftermath of the WWII defeat, and that is what he stuck with the rest of his career.
However, December 1913 is premature for that concept since the Ottoman Empire, although driven from Africa and almost entirely from Europe, still controls most of Southwest Asia including large Arabic speaking lands and has a diverse, ethnically and religiously mixed population.
Some big decisions are coming up, as WWI is about to break out this year. Staying out of the war seems the likeliest choice given Ismet's foreknowledge, experience and leadership record. At a minimum, he would not kick off involvement with the war in such an incompetent fashion.
But anything he does means the details of history start to rapidly diverge from the history he knew in the following few years.
What does he do in the ensuing years, and what goals is he aiming to achieve for the Turks, and the Ottoman Empire as a whole?
I would think the first thing Inonu/Enver does is try to stop the Ottoman slide into the world war he knows is about to start.
And he can act on this is within mere days of his consciousness arriving in 1913. His first step would be to stop the purchase of the Brazilian dreadnought Rio De Janeiro under construction in Britain. From wiki, "she was sold to the Ottoman Navy for £2,750,000 on 28 December 1913." The Rio De Janeiro in OTL was renamed the "Sultan Osman I". However, Britain seized it when WWI was imminent, and this outraged Ottoman opinion, and OTL's Enver used that to move closer to Germany. Britain ultimately brought it into the RN as the HMS Agincourt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Agincourt_(1913)
So within a couple days of becoming Enver, Ismet Inonu has an opportunity to stop a costly purchase (that will never come into Ottoman service anyway), and a source of discord with Britain and opportunity for Germany.
Unfortunately for Inonu/Enver, the Ottomans had already purchased another dreadnought, the Resadiye, from Britain that was in OTL doomed to be impounded and renamed the HMS Erin by Winston Churchill at the same time as the Sultan Osman I.
The best Inonu/Enver could try to do about this would be to try to speed the delivery schedule for the Resadiye so it is delivered before the July Crisis starts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Erin. This might have been possible, and could, along with other changes, make prolonged Ottoman neutrality more tenable.
How would the mechanics of the straits under a neutral Ottoman regime in World War I work under the treaties of the day?
I assume, the "wartime" provisions of the straits convention applies to warring powers even when the Ottomans are themselves neutral.
So - no Entente or Central Powers warships can legally pass through the straits for the duration of the conflict?
Submarines can sneak their way through I presume.
However, merchant traffic of all nations can pass through the straits?
And this all helps the Entente more, because Russia did not need to send its fleet out of the Black Sea or get naval aid in the Black Sea, but it really could have benefitted from merchant traffic, non-war ships, exporting grain and importing weapons and machinery and vehicles that way?
Is this reading of the straits conventions correctly?