Overcoming Old Grievances: the Ottoman Way to the Signing of the Alliance Treaty with Russia in 1798
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Overcoming Old Grievances: the Ottoman Way to the Signing of the Alliance Treaty with Russia in 1798
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Taras Kobishchanov 
Affiliation: Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The article is devoted to the unique episode in the history of the Ottoman Empire: its participation with Russia in the war of the Second coalition. The entrance to the military alliance with the Chris-tian power was innovative in the history of the Ottoman Empire by itself. But even more extraordi-nary was the fact that its ally became the traditionally hostile Russia, which overpowered Turks in two precedent wars. By that time the Ottoman elite had an ambivalent perception of Russia: on the one hand as a model of successful military-political and economic modernization, on the other hand — as a deadly enemy that was preparing to conquer the major part of the Ottoman empire including its capital. By planning the Egyptian expedition of 1798, the French Directory underestimated the Ottoman authorities’ flexibility and pragmatism. In the most expeditious manner, the sultan Selim III and his environment became able to rearrange the centuries old paradigm of foreign-policy be-havior, to refuse the dichotomous views of the world and the feelings of hatred and resentment to-wards the winning power. Meanwhile, this turning was made rather smoothly, basing on the tradi-tional Islamic institutions and with the minimal change in rhetoric. The changes that have occurred became an important component of the Ottoman state’ modernization.

Russian-Turkish relations, Ottoman Empire, Second coalition, French campaign in Egypt, Selim III
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