Ottoman casualties of World War I covers the casualties of the Ottoman Empire during that war. Ottoman Empire's casualties can be certified to have been enormous regardless of the method used in the calculations. After the war, the Ottoman Empire had lost its territories in the Middle East, which makes the estimation of the total civilian casualties harder as the timeline approaches 1918.
Among the 5 million, we know that 771,844 is military casualties which killed in action and other causes The military only covers 15% of the total casualties. The main question is what happened to 85% (all millets) of the casualties, which is more but not less than 4,000,000. Ottoman statistics analyzed by Turkish Kamer Kasim (Manchester University, Ph.D.), claims that cumulative percentage was 26.9% (higher than 25% reported by western sources) of the population, which this size stands out among the countries that took part in World War I. To understand the size of the issue, Kamer Kasım's %1.9 increase on the totals would add 399,000 civilians to the total number, which has not been reported in western sources.
|%||1914 Census||Other sources||Military perished||Civilian perished||Total perished||Survived|
|Muslim||71.7%||15,044,846||12,244,846(81%)||2,800,000 (18.6%)||771,844 (5.1% of its group)|
|Total:millets||100%||20,975,345||771,844 (3.6% of its group)||5,000,000|
The conditions on the whole in the Ottoman army were almost bad beyond description. Soldiers, even at the front and who received the best care in comparative terms, were often (a) undernourished, (b) underclothed; troops deployed at high altitude in the mountains of Eastern Anatolia often had only summer clothes; Ottoman soldiers in Palestine often took great risks just to rob the British dead of their boots and even clothing; and (c) largely suffering from diseases (primarily cholera and typhus) which took many more lives than the actual fighting . The German general Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, in a report he wrote to army group headquarters on 20 October 1917, describes how a division (the 24th) which had departed from Istanbul-Haydarpaşa Terminal with 10,057 men had arrived at the Palestinian Front with only 4,635. 19% of the men had to be admitted to hospitals since they were suffering from various diseases, 24% had deserted and 8% were allocated on the way to various local needs.
H. G. Dwight, the author of the travellers guide book "Constantinople settings and traits", published in 1926, relates his experience of witnessing an Ottoman Military burial in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and took pictures of it. The soldiers were from every nation, but they were only distinguished by their religion, in groups of "Mohammedans" and "Christians". The sermons were performed as based on the count of Bibles, Korans, and Tanakhs in provenance of the battlefield. This is what the caption of one slide reads (on the right):
|Total number of conscripts and officers mobilized||*2,873,000|
|Killed in action||*243,598|
|Missing in action||*61,487|
|Perished from diseases and epidemics||*466,759|
|Dead: Killed in action and other causes||*771,844|
|Seriously wounded (permanent loss)||*303,150|
|Total wounded in action||*763,753|
|Prisoners of War (combined from all theaters of war)||*145,104|
|Absent without leave||*500,000|
The military records of the era are open to the public in the Ottoman Archives. These show somewhat different figures than Western European sources. These are the statistics recorded in the Ottoman military archives:
One plausible explanation that needs further study may be attributable to the productivity patterns of the Muslim millet which could have dropped beyond sustainable levels since most of the men were under arms.
Turkish peasantry of Anatolia had dropped to 40% of the pre-war levels.
It was not a novelty in world history to see from time to time people forced to move from one region to another, be it in the form of refugees, of population transfer or of search for political asylum, but World War I and its aftermath caused migrations at unprecedentedly large scales. The Anatolian refugees included people who had migrated from war zones and immediate vicinity attempting, by doing so, to escape persecution. For World War I, the relatively most reliable sources can be found for Anatolia, especially in relation to the Caucasus Campaign. There is a total number reached and reported by the Ottoman Empire at the end of 1916. On the basis of previous Ottoman census, the Turkish historian Kamer Kasim (Manchester University, Ph.D.), arrives at the conclusion that the movements of refugees from the Caucasus war zone had reached 1.500.000 people who were relocated in the Mediterranean region and Central Anatolia under very difficult conditions. Kamer Kasım's number or any other number on this issue has not been reported in western sources.
The most horrible cases originate from the current region of Syria, a part of Ottoman Empire until the end of the war. The civilian casualties of Syria was covered in a detailed article (the whole of Greater Syria, and thus including Akkar) by Linda Schatkowski Schilcher . Contributing to as many as 500,000 deaths of the civilians living in this region in the 1915-1917 period, the study lists eight basic factors: (a) the Entente powers’ total blockage of the Syrian coast; (b) the inadequacy of the Ottoman supply strategy; deficient harvest and inclement weather; (c) diversion of supplies from Syria as a consequence of the Arab revolt; (d) the speculative frenzy of a number of unscrupulous local grain merchants; the callousness of German military official in Syria, and systematic hoarding by the population at large.
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