Yorulmaz, Naci, Arming the Sultan: German Arms Trade and Personal Diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire Before World War I, London, I.B.Tauris & Co, 2014, 256p.

NaciAt the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman arms industry was self-sufficient. But from the 1880s to World War I, German arms companies held a monopoly position in the Ottoman arms market. How did Germany manage to conquer what had until then been an extremely competitive market, where British, French and American firms had been dominant for years? While acknowledging the importance of economic and political factors, Arming the Sultan suggests that the main determinants of the German success cannot be ascribed only to the market theory of supply and demand, but lie instead in a range of manipulative instruments built on foundations that were formed through close personal relations. Yorulmaz’s innovative book suggests that the value of these relationships has been overlooked, and ensured German success over British, French and American competition. Based on extensive multinational archival research in Germany, Turkey, Britain and the United States, Arming the Sultan explores the decisive impact of arms exports on the formation and stimulation of Germany’s expansionist foreign economic policy towards the Ottoman Empire.

Making an important contribution to the field of the historiography of the political economy of the international arms trade in the case of Germany’s arms sales in the Ottoman Empire, Arming the Sultan reveals that arms exports proved to be an indispensable and integral part of Germany’s foreign economic policy during the period under review.

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