Ankara known as Ancyra and Angora, is the capital of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center and 5,150,072 in its province, it is Turkey's second largest city after Istanbul, having outranked İzmir in the 20th century. On 23 April 1920 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established in Ankara, which became the headquarters of Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence. Ankara became the new Turkish capital upon the establishment of the Republic on 29 October 1923, succeeding in this role the former Turkish capital Istanbul following the fall of the Ottoman Empire; the government is a prominent employer, but Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city, located at the center of Turkey's road and railway networks. The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat, the Angora cat; the area is known for its pears and muscat grapes. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, at 72 square metres per head.
Ankara is a old city with various Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman archaeological sites. The historical center of town is a rocky hill rising 150 m over the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya River, the classical Sangarius; the hill remains crowned by the ruins of the old citadel. Although few of its outworks have survived, there are well-preserved examples of Roman and Ottoman architecture throughout the city, the most remarkable being the 20 BC Temple of Augustus and Rome that boasts the Monumentum Ancyranum, the inscription recording the Res Gestae Divi Augusti; the orthography of the name Ankara has varied over the ages. It has been identified with the Hittite cult center Ankuwaš, although this remains a matter of debate. In classical antiquity and during the medieval period, the city was known as Ánkyra in Greek and Ancyra in Latin. Following its annexation by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, the city became known in many European languages as Angora; the form "Angora" is preserved in the names of breeds of many different kinds of animals, in the names of several locations in the US.
Ankara has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate which borders a hot summer Mediterranean continental climate. Under the Trewartha climate classification, Ankara has a middle latitude steppe climate. Due to its elevation and inland location, Ankara has cold, somewhat snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Rainfall occurs during the spring and autumn. Ankara lies in USDA Hardiness zone 7b, its annual average precipitation is low at 400 millimeters precipitation can be observed throughout the year. Monthly mean temperatures range from 0.3 °C in January to 23.5 °C in July, with an annual mean of 12.02 °C. Ankara had a population of 75,000 in 1927. In 2013, Ankara Province had a population of 5,045,083; when Ankara became the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, it was designated as a planned city for 500,000 future inhabitants. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the city grew in a planned and orderly pace. However, from the 1950s onward, the city grew much faster than envisioned, because unemployment and poverty forced people to migrate from the countryside into the city in order to seek a better standard of living.
As a result, many illegal houses called gecekondu were built around the city, causing the unplanned and uncontrolled urban landscape of Ankara, as not enough planned housing could be built fast enough. Although precariously built, the vast majority of them have electricity, running water and modern household amenities. Many of these gecekondus have been replaced by huge public housing projects in the form of tower blocks such as Elvankent, Eryaman and Güzelkent. Although many gecekondus still remain, they too are being replaced by mass housing compounds, as empty land plots in the city of Ankara for new construction projects are becoming impossible to find; the region's history can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hattic civilization, succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, by the Lydians, Greeks, Romans and Turks. The oldest settlements in and around the city center of Ankara belonged to the Hattic civilization which existed during the Bronze Age and was absorbed c.
2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites. The city grew in size and importance under the Phrygians starting around 1000 BC, experienced a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, after an earthquake which damaged that city around that time. In Phrygian tradition, King Midas was venerated as the founder of Ancyra, but Pausanias mentions that the city was far older, which accords with present archaeological knowledge. Phrygian rule was succeeded first by Lydian and by Persian rule, though the Phrygian character of the peasantry remained, as evidenced by the gravestones of the much Roman period. Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians' defeat at the
Haydarpaşa railway station
Haydarpaşa station is a railway station in Istanbul. Until 2012 the station was a major intercity and commuter rail hub as well as the busiest railway station in Turkey. Haydarpaşa, along with Sirkeci station, are commuter railway terminals. On 19 June 2013 all train service to the station was indefinitely suspended due to the rehabilitation of the existing line for the new Marmaray commuter rail line; the station building still houses the headquarters for District 1 of the State Railways. The station building, built in 1909 by the Anatolian Railway as the western terminus of the Baghdad and Hedjaz railways, has become a symbol of Istanbul and Turkey. Haydarpaşa is situated on an embankment over the Bosphorus just south of the Port of Haydarpaşa and is north from central Kadıköy; until the suspension of rail service, ferry service was available to Eminönü, Karaköy and Kadıköy from the station's ferry dock. The closure of the station has been subject to a lot of controversy; as it was unclear if Haydarpaşa would be re-opened to rail service once the Marmaray project was completed.
Claims that the Turkish government was planning to sell the historic railway station along with the port and turn it into a residence/luxury resort surfaced. Following the closure, a publicly formed group known as The Haydarpaşa Solidarity staged sit-ins every week in front of the station, protesting the closure. In December 2015, the integration of Haydarpaşa station into the Marmaray network was approved along with the restoration and rehabilitation of the station building and platforms. Since, Haydarpaşa was placed back on official railway maps for Istanbul. İstanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire as well as the largest city in the empire. İstanbul was a major cultural hub. However, İstanbul had no rail links, so in 1871 Sultan Abdülaziz ordered a rail line to be built from Haydarpaşa to İzmit. Haydarpaşa station opened in 1872. In 1888 the Anatolian Railway took over the station. Since the station was built next to the Bosphorus, freight trains would unload at Haydarpaşa and the freight would be transferred to ships.
Haydarpaşa station saw its first regular passenger service in 1890: a daily train from Haydarpaşa to İzmit. In 1892 the CFOA shortly after a daily train ran between the two cities. Haydarpaşa was chosen to be the northern terminus of the Baghdad Railway and the Hedjaz Railway in 1904, with rail traffic increasing, a new and larger building was required; the Anatolian Railway hired two German architects, Otto Ritter and Helmut Conu, to build the new building. They chose a neo-classical structure and construction started in 1906, its foundation is based on 1100 wooden piles, each 21 metres long, driven into the mushy shore by a steam hammer. German and Italian stonemasons crafted the facade embellishments of the terminal; the German engineers and craftsmen who worked at the construction site of the building established a small German neighbourhood in the Yeldeğirmeni quarter of Kadıköy. The new pseudo-castle structure was completed on 19 August 1909; the new terminal was inaugurated on 4 November 1909 for the anniversary of Mehmed V.
The new terminal was built on land reclaimed from the sea. World War I broke out in 1914 and the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers against the Allied Powers; the Ottomans lost and İstanbul was taken over by the British Empire. Haydarpaşa was under strong military control by the British during the occupation; the Turkish Independence War ended on 29 October 1923. The Republic of Turkey was formed and the British Empire withdrew from İstanbul. Haydarpaşa terminal was still under CFOA control but in 1927 the newly formed Turkish State Railways took over the CFOA and the terminal, in an attempt to nationalise all Turkish railways. In 1927 the CIWL started a premier train service from Haydarpaşa to Ankara: the Anatolian Express; this all-sleeper train travelled daily between the two cities. In 1938 the Eastern Express entered service from Haydarpaşa to the eastern Turkish city of Kars, a distance of 1,994 km. With the completion of the Baghdad Railway to Baghdad, the Taurus Express entered service in 1940 from Haydarpaşa to Baghdad, a distance of 2,566 km.
In 1965 the Trans-Asia Express entered service from Haydarpaşa to a distance of 3,059 km. In 1969 the tracks from Haydarpaşa to Gebze were electrified with 25 kV AC catenary for the Haydarpaşa-Gebze Commuter Line. In 1979 a tanker burning on the Bosphorus damaged the terminal building, but it was restored a few months later. On 28 November 2010 a fire caused by carelessness during the building's restoration destroyed the roof and the 4th floor of the terminal building. Three people were sentenced to ten months in prison for "recklessly causing the fire". In 2011 the World Monuments Fund, the New York-based heritage preservation organization, placed the railway terminal on its 2012 Watch, drawing attention to the uncertain future of the historical site. There are plans to transform the terminal building into a luxury hotel. In November 2012 the station was the site of a three-day art exhibit entitled "Haydarpasa: Past and Uncertain Future", organised in collaboration with the WMF, featured Canadian and Turkish artists and photographers, seeking to raise international interest in preserving the station as a vibrant public transportation hub.
In October 2013 the same art event is to be held in Vienna in Austria on the theme of heritage preservation. On 2 February 2012 Haydarpaşa Railway Terminal temporarily closed to long-distance trains for at least 30 months to allow for the construction
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, the second largest city in Western Asia. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning". Baghdad was the largest city of the Middle Ages for much of the Abbasid era, peaking at a population of more than a million; the city was destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state in 1938, Baghdad regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of Arab culture.
In contemporary times, the city has faced severe infrastructural damage, most due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the subsequent Iraq War that lasted until December 2011. In recent years, the city has been subjected to insurgency attacks; the war had resulted in a substantial loss of historical artifacts as well. As of 2018, Baghdad was listed as one of the least hospitable places in the world to live, ranked by Mercer as the worst of 231 major cities as measured by quality-of-life; the name Baghdad is pre-Islamic, its origin is disputed. The site where the city of Baghdad developed has been populated for millennia. By the 8th century AD, several villages had developed there, including a Persian hamlet called Baghdad, the name which would come to be used for the Abbasid metropolis. Arab authors, realizing the pre-Islamic origins of Baghdad's name looked for its roots in Persian, they suggested various meanings, the most common of, "bestowed by God". Modern scholars tend to favor this etymology, which views the word as a compound of bagh "god" and dād "given", In Old Persian the first element can be traced to boghu and is related to Slavic bog "god", while the second can be traced to dadāti.
A similar term in Middle Persian is the name Mithradāt, known in English by its Hellenistic form Mithridates, meaning "gift of Mithra". There are a number of other locations in the wider region whose names are compounds of the word bagh, including Baghlan and Bagram in Afghanistan or a village called Bagh-šan in Iran; the name of the town Baghdati in Georgia shares the same etymological origins. A few authors have suggested older origins for the name, in particular the name Bagdadu or Hudadu that existed in Old Babylonian, the Babylonian Talmudic name of a place called "Baghdatha"; some scholars suggested Aramaic derivations. When the Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur, founded a new city for his capital, he chose the name Madinat al-Salaam or City of Peace; this was the official name on coins and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. By the 11th century, "Baghdad" became the exclusive name for the world-renowned metropolis. After the fall of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty, the victorious Abbasid rulers wanted their own capital from which they could rule.
They chose a site north of the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, on 30 July 762 the caliph Al-Mansur commissioned the construction of the city. It was built under the supervision of the Barmakids. Mansur believed that Baghdad was the perfect city to be the capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasids. Mansur loved the site so much he is quoted saying: "This is indeed the city that I am to found, where I am to live, where my descendants will reign afterward"; the city's growth was helped by its excellent location, based on at least two factors: it had control over strategic and trading routes along the Tigris, it had an abundance of water in a dry climate. Water exists on both the north and south ends of the city, allowing all households to have a plentiful supply, uncommon during this time. Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanians, located some 30 km to the southeast. Today, all that remains of Ctesiphon is the shrine town of Salman Pak, just to the south of Greater Baghdad.
Ctesiphon itself had replaced and absorbed Seleucia, the first capital of the Seleucid Empire, which had earlier replaced the city of Babylon. According to the traveler Ibn Battuta, Baghdad was one of the largest cities, not including the damage it has received; the residents are Hanbal. Bagdad is home to the grave of Abu Hanifa where there is a cell and a mosque above it; the Sultan of Bagdad, Abu Said Bahadur Khan, was a Tartar king. In its early years, the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an expression in the Qur'an, when it refers to Paradise, it took four years to build. Mansur assembled engineers and art constructionists from around the world to come together and draw up plans for the city. Over 100,000 construction workers came to survey the plans. July was chosen as the starting time because two astrologers, Naubakht Ahva
Abdülaziz was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876. He was the son of Sultan Mahmud II and succeeded his brother Abdulmejid I in 1861. Born at Eyüp Palace, Constantinople, on 8 February 1830, Abdülaziz received an Ottoman education but was an ardent admirer of the material progress, made in the West, he was the first Ottoman Sultan who travelled to Western Europe, visiting a number of important European capitals including Paris and Vienna in the summer of 1867. Apart from his passion for the Ottoman Navy, which had the world's third largest fleet in 1875, the Sultan took an interest in documenting the Ottoman Empire, he was interested in literature and was a talented classical music composer. Some of his compositions, together with those of the other members of the Ottoman dynasty, have been collected in the album "European Music at the Ottoman Court" by the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music, he was deposed on grounds of mismanaging the Ottoman economy on 30 May 1876, was found dead six days under unnatural and mysterious circumstances.
His parents were Mahmud II and Pertevniyal Sultan named Besime, a Circassian. In 1868 Pertevniyal was residing at Dolmabahçe Palace; that year Abdülaziz led Empress of France, to see his mother. Pertevniyal perceived the presence of a foreign woman within her quarters of the seraglio as an insult, she slapped Eugénie across the face resulting in an international incident. According to another account, Pertevniyal became outraged by the forwardness of Eugénie taking the arm of one of her sons while he gave a tour of the palace garden, she gave the Empress a slap on the stomach as a more subtly intended than represented reminder that they were not in France; the Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque was built under the patronage of his mother. The construction work began in November 1869 and the mosque was finished in 1871, his paternal grandparents were Sultana Nakşidil Sultan. Several accounts identify his paternal grandmother with Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, a cousin of Empress Joséphine. Pertevniyal was a sister of third wife of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt.
Khushiyar and Ibrahim were the parents of Isma'il Pasha. Between 1861 and 1871, the Tanzimat reforms which began during the reign of his brother Abdulmejid I were continued under the leadership of his chief ministers, Mehmed Fuad Pasha and Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha. New administrative districts were set up in 1864 and a Council of State was established in 1868. Public education was organized on the French model and Istanbul University was reorganised as a modern institution in 1861, he was integral in establishing the first Ottoman civil code. Abdülaziz cultivated good relations with the Second French Empire and the British Empire. In 1867 he was the first Ottoman sultan to visit Western Europe, he travelled by a private rail car. His fellow Knights of the Garter created in 1867 were Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, Charles Manners, 6th Duke of Rutland, Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Franz Joseph I of Austria and Alexander II of Russia.
In 1867, Abdülaziz became the first Ottoman Sultan to formally recognize the title of Khedive to be used by the Vali of the Ottoman Eyalet of Egypt and Sudan, which thus became the autonomous Ottoman Khedivate of Egypt and Sudan. Muhammad Ali Pasha and his descendants had been the governors of Ottoman Egypt and Sudan since 1805, but were willing to use the higher title of Khedive, unrecognized by the Ottoman government until 1867. In return, the first Khedive, Ismail Pasha, had agreed a year earlier to increase the annual tax revenues which Egypt and Sudan would provide for the Ottoman treasury. Between 1854 and 1894, the revenues from Egypt and Sudan were declared as a surety by the Ottoman government for borrowing loans from British and French banks. After the Ottoman government declared a sovereign default on its foreign debt repayments on 30 October 1875, which triggered the Great Eastern Crisis in the empire's Balkan provinces that led to the devastating Russo-Turkish War and the establishment of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration in 1881, the importance for Britain of the sureties regarding the Ottoman revenues from Egypt and Sudan increased.
Combined with the much more important Suez Canal, opened in 1869, these sureties were influential in the British government's decision to occupy Egypt and Sudan in 1882, with the pretext of helping the Ottoman-Egyptian government to put down the Urabi Revolt. Egypt and Sudan nominally remained Ottoman territories until 5 November 1914, when the British Empire declared war against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. In 1869, Abdülaziz received visits from Eugénie de Montijo, Empress consort of Napoleon III of France and other foreign monarchs on their way to the opening of the Suez Canal; the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, twice visited Istanbul. By 1871 both Mehmed Fuad Pasha and Mehmed Emin Âli Pasha were dead; the Second French Empire, his Western European model, had been defeated in the Franco-Prussian War by the Nor
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
The Baghdad railway known as the Berlin–Baghdad railway, was built from 1903 to 1940 to connect Berlin with the Ottoman Empire city of Baghdad, from where the Germans wanted to establish a port in the Persian Gulf, with a 1,600 kilometres line through modern-day Turkey and Iraq, linked to Europe by a bridge crossing the Bosphorous. Completion of the project took several decades and by the outbreak of World War I, the railway was still 960 km away from its intended objective; the last stretch to Baghdad was built in the late 1930s and the first train to travel from Istanbul to Baghdad departed in 1940. Funding and construction was provided by German Empire banks Deutsche Bank and companies Philipp Holzmann, which in the 1890s had built the Anatolian Railway connecting Constantinople and Konya; the Ottoman Empire wished to maintain its control of Arabian Peninsula and to expand its influence across the Red Sea into the nominally Ottoman Khedivate of Egypt, under British military control since the Urabi Revolt in 1882.
If the railway had been completed, the Germans would have gained access to suspected oil fields in Mesopotamia, as well as a connection to the port of Basra on the Persian Gulf. The latter would have provided access to the eastern parts of the German colonial empire, avoided the Suez Canal, controlled by British-French interests; the railway became a source of international disputes during the years preceding World War I. Although it has been argued that they were resolved in 1914 before the war began, it has been argued that the railway was a leading cause of World War I. Technical difficulties in the remote Taurus Mountains and diplomatic delays meant that by 1915 the railway was still 480 kilometres short of completion limiting its use during the war in which Baghdad was captured by the British while the Hejaz railway in the south was attacked by guerrilla forces led by T. E. Lawrence. Construction resumed in the 1930s and was completed in 1940. A history of this railway in the context of World War I describes the German interests in countering the British Empire, Turkey's interest in countering their Russian rivals.
As stated by a contemporary'on the ground' at the time, Morris Jastrow wrote "It was felt in England that if, as Napoleon is said to have remarked, Antwerp in the hands of a great continental power was a pistol leveled at the English coast and the Persian Gulf in the hands of Germany would be a 42-centimetre gun pointed at India." Had it had been completed earlier, the Berlin-Baghdad railway would have enabled transport and trade from Germany through a port on the Persian Gulf, from which trade goods and supplies could be exchanged directly with the farthest of the German colonies, the world. The journey home to Germany would have given German industry direct supply of oil; this access to resources, with trade less affected by British control of shipping, would have been beneficial to German economic interests in industry and trade, threatening to British economic dominance in colonial trade. The railway threatened Russia, since it was accepted as axiomatic that political influence followed economic, the railway was expected to extend Germany's economic influence towards the Caucasian frontier and into north Persia where Russia had a dominant share of the market.
By the late 19th century the Ottoman Empire was weak, cheap imports from industrialised Europe and the effects of the disastrous Russo-Turkish War had resulted in the country's finances being controlled by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, composed of and answerable to the Great Powers. The Europeans saw great potential to exploit the resources of the weakening empire, irrigation could transform agriculture, there were chrome, antimony and zinc mines and some coal. Not least there were vast amounts of oil; as early as 1871 a commission of experts studied the geology of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and reported plentiful oil of good quality, but commented that poor transportation made it doubtful these fields could compete with Russian and American ones. During 1901 a German report announced the region had a veritable "lake of petroleum" of inexhaustible supply. In 1872 German railway engineer Wilhelm von Pressel was retained by the Ottoman government to develop plans for railways in Turkey.
However, private enterprise would not build the railway without subsidies, so the Ottoman Government had to reserve part of its revenues to subsidise its construction, thus increasing its debt to the European powers. The process of construction of a rail line from Constantinople to Baghdad begun during 1888 when Alfred von Kaulla, manager of Württembergische Vereinsbank, Georg von Siemens, Managing director of Deutsche Bank, created a syndicate and obtained a concession from Turkish leaders to extend the Haydarpaşa – İzmit railway to Ankara, thus came into existence the Anatolian Railway Company. After the line to Ankara was completed during December 1892, railway workshops were built in Eskişehir and permission was obtained to construct a railway line from Eskişehir to Konya, that line was completed in July 1896; the two lines were the first two sections of the Baghdad railway. Another railway built at the same time by German engineers was the Hejaz railway, commissioned by Sultan Hamid II.
The Ottoman Empire chose to place the line outside the range of the British Navy guns. Therefore, the coastal way from Alexandretta to Aleppo was avoided; the line had to cross the Amanu