Information on the History of Baghdad Railway Line Project

anatolia bagdat railway
anatolia bagdat railway

Baghdad Railway, XIX. XXth century. The railway built between Istanbul and Baghdad in the beginning of the century. XIX, where steamships began to significantly change the classic maritime routes to the Orient ports. Railways connection and construction gained great importance at the beginning of the second half of the century. The idea of ​​combining the Mediterranean with the Persian gulf with the classical road system, so reaching India in the shortest route goes back a long time. However, in 1782, John Sullivan's road construction proposal, from Anatolia to India, was carried out by Colonel François Chesney's steam ship operation on the highway to connect Syria and Mesopotamia to India and the Euphrates River, and a railroad through Aleppo. Projects such as the transportation to the Mediterranean and the extension of the Euphrates line to Kuwait remained on paper. In addition, the construction of railways was decided in the Tanzimat Assembly in 1854, and in 1856 a British company took the construction concession of the Izmir-Aydın line and opened it in 1866. The Varna - Ruse line opened in the same year and the first important railway lines in Anatolia and Rumelia were put into operation.


The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 gave a new direction to the struggle between Britain and France on the shortest route to India. This also played an important role in increasing demand for railway projects. The Üsküdar-Izmit-Siv-rihisar - Aksaray - Fırat valley - Baghdad-Basra-Iran and Belgium-Calcutta line, which was proposed by Robert Stephenson as an alternative to the Suez Canal, could not be realized due to the large cost of the project. The military and economic importance of the railways led to the Ottoman Empire, which had a vast territory, to take new precautions, and the Nâfia Ministry was established in 1865 under the leadership of Edhem Pasha. Since 1870, extensive railway construction projects have been carried out and their implementation possibilities have been explored. For this purpose, Austrian engineer Wilhelm Pressel, also known for his work on the Sark railways project in Rumeli, was invited (February 1872). First, the construction of a large railway line that will connect Istanbul to Baghdad was decided. The Haydarpaşa-Izmit line, which started in 1872 as the first part of this project, was completed in a short time. However, the work of taking this line further was suspended until 1888 due to the financial difficulties the state faced, and foreign capital was needed to complete the line. Nâfia Nâzın Hasan Fehmi Pasha expressed the necessity of foreign capital for the construction of the railway with a good work he prepared in June 1880. In addition, it has identified two separate lines that will surpass Anatolia completely and reach Baghdad. One of them was Izmir-Afyonkarahisar - Eskişehir - Ankara - Sivas-Malatya - Diyarbakır - Mosul-Baghdad: the other was from Izmir-Eskisehir-Kutahya-Afyon - Konya -Adana - Aleppo-Anbarli following the right bank of the Euphrates and reaching Baghdad. This second route was preferred and recommended due to its lower cost and military advantage.

After the Ottoman financial situation, especially Duyûn-1 Umûmiyye (1882), started to gain credibility in the European financial circles again and the Ottoman governments' interest in railways paved the way for the development of new railway projects.

Among these projects are especially Cazalet and Tancred Tripolis, Homs, Aleppo. The Euphrates valley, Baghdad and Basra line project attracted attention. However, the rumors that Jewish immigrants who migrated to Russia from both sides of the pipeline will be settled and the sudden death of Cazalet has caused the project to fall into the water.

Many similar railway projects have been rejected because the proposal parties and states prioritized their political and economic interests and the Porte did not respond to the development goals they hoped to achieve because of the railways. In addition, Babıâli announced that he will not give concessions to any project whose starting point is not Istanbul. While these activities of the British and French capitalists increased the competition and competition between them since 1888, Germany emerged as a new force in the construction of railways. In this, despite the shy policy of Bismarck II. Abdülhamid's personal involvement in the issue played a big role. In this way, Germany became a balance in the East against England and France. With the will of 24 September 1888, a railway construction and operation between Haydarpaşa and Ankara was given to Alfred von Kaulla, Wüttenberglsche Vereins-bank, who had close relations with the Ottomans due to the sale of arms. On October 4, between von Kaulla and the Ottoman government. A contract was signed to extend the existing Haydarpaşa - Izmit line of 92 kilometers to Ankara. The Ottoman Empire gave a guarantee of 15.000 francs per year for every kilometer. The Anatolian Railways Company (Societe du Chemin de fer Ot-toman d'Anatolie) was officially established on March 4, 1889. Thus, the construction of the railway line, which was set out in 1872 towards Baghdad, was resumed, albeit with a delay.

The Anatolian Railways Company maintained its construction activities on a regular basis and fulfilled its commitments on time and in the best way with the new concessions it received for more advanced lines. In 1890, Izmit-Adapazari, Haydarpasa-Eskish-hir-Ankara in 1892, and Eskişehir-Konya in 1896 was completed and a railway network exceeding 1000 kilometers was furnished. The Ottoman government announced that it intends to extend the railway to Basra Bay at the opening ceremony of the Izapazari line and intensified its contacts with the Germans. In September 1900, the German government instructed banks and foreigners to provide the necessary support in line with the world policy of the new Kaiser Wilhelm. Russia, Britain and France opposed the project of extending the railway to Baghdad. Russia has been significantly influential in the transition of the railway from Konya to the south-east Anatolia direction, and for some other reasons. The condemnation of Britain's military presence in Egypt and the privilege of extending the İzmir-Kasaba line from Alaşehir to Afyon prevented the opposition of these states.

Concession Agreement

The Baghdad railway agreements took their final form through very complicated stages. 23 December 1899 pre-concession agreement, 21 January 1902 signed a principal franchise agreement. Finally, with the final agreement on 21 March 1903, the first line to be made was signed on the financing of the Konya - Ereğli line, which is the 250 kilometer. In 13 April 1903, the Baghdad Railway Company (Societe Imperial Ottomane) was officially established. Immediately after the completion of the construction of the financial obligations of the Ottoman Empire to fulfill immediately, Konya, Aleppo and Urfa as the monthly tax showed the provincial taxes. In accordance with the conditions of the agreement, for every mile of the company, the government would issue Ottoman bonds with a nominal value of 275.000 francs and the real estates owned by the company would be mortgaged as guarantees. Along the roads that the line will pass through, the state's forests and mines and quarries have been given the privilege to benefit from construction. These were similar to the privileges given to companies for railways in other countries. Any material related to the railway would be imported without duty. The company was to make an agreement with the Ottoman Harbiye Pact and to make stations in appropriate places, and the military transports would be given priority when war or insurgency arose. The official language of the company was French. The officers would wear special uniforms and wear fez. The company, which was dominated by German capital and had a French capital of% 30, was made available to other shareholders. The 99 year-long concession agreement granted the state the right to purchase the company when the first thirty years expired. Making II, during World War II but also ongoing and October 1918 seamlessly connects Baghdad to Istanbul this railway was nationalized in January 10 1928 purchased by the new Republic of Turkey.

The Baghdad railway was one of the main sources of the relentless competition between Germany and the UK, which brought the issue of propaganda and the issue of prestige to the East. The great states, who saw themselves as natural inheritors of Ottoman heritage, could not digest Germany's appearance as a supporter of the Ottoman Empire. It is understood that the Anatolian - Baghdad railway projects provided political and economic benefits to the Ottoman Empire from the moment it was introduced. As a matter of fact, besides the use of the line for military purposes, it is possible to say that the 100.000 taşın-lerce immigrants, who were moved along the line to move to Istanbul and saved the state center from the need for Russian and Bulgarian wheat as before, and played along the line, played an important role in the economy as well as the demographic structure of Anatolia.

Istanbul Baghdad Railway Map

Bagdat Railway Map
Bagdat Railway Map

Source : www.filozof.net


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