Anglo-Ottoman Treaty

Having a favourable balance of trade up until the mid nineteenth century; ‘In the years 1820-22, the Ottoman Empire exported goods worth £650,000 to the United Kingdom. By 1836-38, that figure had reached £1,729,000.’ Given that the majority of the share of trade was made by Ottoman merchants, the Europeans, especially the British and the French, became irritated and unhappy with this trade arrangement and pushed for intervention and transformation of the economic policies of the Middle East. Indeed, the French foreign ambassador posted a letter to Louis-Mathieu, Comte de Mole in 1837 stating:

I realized with pleasure that for our merchants the main question was not so much the amount of the new duties as their equality and stability. For what our merchants are requesting is, as far as possible, the abolition of monopolies and prohibitions that have diverted almost the whole export trade into the hands of a small number of favored Barataries.

European dissatisfaction with the status quo played a large role in this period of Middle East history. European dissatisfaction ultimately resulted in the Anglo-Ottoman treaty, sometimes also referred to as the Treaty of Balta Liman. More specifically, under the Egyptian rule of Muhammad Ali, the Anglo-Ottoman Treaty was passed in 1838 between the British and the Ottomans, leading to the collapse of Ali's rule. This treaty outlawed monopolies and trade controls; in addition, it gave the British the right to buy from the people directly. Thus, because it was enforced in Egypt, the treaty spelled the demise of Ali's hopes of an industrialized Egypt. While the people of Western Europe was experiencing an industrial revolution the Ottoman Empire were deprived of its main economic base, namely The Black Sea, through the peace treaties of Kücük Kaynarca and Jossi in 1774 and 1792, which had opened the sea to Russian trade. As Kemal Karpat argued :

The Black Sea had been an exclusive Ottoman trade area, which compensated for the French and British domination of Mediterranean commerce.

In the late nineteenth century, the European involvement in Middle East economics and politics expanded rapidly. The peace treaties of Kücük Kaynarca and Jossi in 1774 and 1792, and the political pressure the Ottoman Empire had to endure from the west, had a great impact on the economic and political environment of the Ottoman Empire later lead to the Anglo-Ottoman Treaty.

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