In October of 1889, the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, arrived in Istanbul. He was received aboard his ship Huntsollern, on the impact of 21 rounds of artillery from two military ships accompanying him from Germany. The chants of the hymn of the Prussian Empire ring in the Ottoman capital. The purpose of the visit was to deepen the friendship between the two empires and the common destiny in politics and geography. The project to connect Baghdad to Berlin with a railway expressed all this and more, in a sign of strengthening strategic benefits between the Royal Turkey and Imperial Germany. The ambitious project promoted and excited by the German Kaiser "Hajj Glium", as Arabs and Muslims called it, was overflowing with indications of the apparent intimate relationship between two serious allies, directed against the opponents of the future.
The Eastern Caesar’s visit lasted for six weeks, during which he toured the countries of the Levant to increase his enthusiasm to implement his plan, exerting tremendous pressure on the ancient German bank, Deutsche Bank, which was entrusted with the task of financing. Even the CEO of the bank, Georg von Zemens, who was hesitant due to the great risks attached to the project, stood helpless in front of the pressure of the Kaiser, to say his famous speech: "To hell with this privilege and with the Baghdad train." German engineers planned to extend a thousand six hundred Kilometers railway, linking Istanbul to Baghdad and from there to Basra on the Shatt al-Arab, which means connecting the Middle East to the European continent, and thus the Germans reaching Baghdad and the Gulf and the Pearl of the British Crown, India.
This angered the English, despite showing their initial blessing for the project, as the German-Ottoman rapprochement was serving royal goals, which justifies the French and English dissatisfaction with it. Development and modernization was not far from the approach of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
He is allowed to enter the telegraph machine into the Sultanate’s lands for the first time. As for this project, it represented an opportunity for the Ottoman Empire to catch up with the industrialized countries, as it was complaining of a significant backwardness in the transportation sector, specifically the transportation of goods and military forces from the east of the empire to other parts of it, which required many months. This is in addition to the modernist title represented by the project, a title and propaganda that the high door desperately needed, as European newspapers were talking a lot about the backwardness of the sick man of Europe (the Ottoman Empire) at the time.
In 1903 work began on the project. German engineers then faced great challenges and obstacles in implementation. Planning is one thing, implementation is another. The supervisors found themselves aboard a camel, wandering the mountains and valleys to explore the areas and roads suitable for the passage of the railroad, searching among the difficult terrain for the best paths. It is enough to erect the Taurus Mountains in front of them, which is about three thousand seven hundred meters in height, not to mention the valleys and twisted rivers.
The engineers met the challenges of the project with persistent German perseverance, using blasting to dig tunnels, bridge engineering to remove obstacles, and united the pride of geography. However, the movement of history added to the difficulties, which could not be circumvented by explosives. The Orient Express, as it was called, took 37 years to build. There is no doubt that the Berlin-Baghdad line was an Ottoman concession that was given to Germany, and benefited it politically and economically.
Although it is a ruse for Istanbul to destroy Britain and France's links with its colonies in India and Suez, by creating a parallel and less expensive road transport link. This privilege sparked Anglo-Saxon and Francophone anger and prompted the British and French to fight Ottoman and German fraud. Thus, men who drew borders with ethnic and religious colors and brushed interests on the Arab land went to register their names in the pages of history. Among them are Lawrence, McMahon, Weizmann, Balfour, Sykes, and Picot, and in order not to forget, Lady Gertrude Bell. The project unveiled a political struggle playing on the stage of Europe.
It is the harbingers of the first cosmic war. In the midst of the acceleration of events, implementation work continued. Then in 1908, a Turkish Turkic revolt forced the Sultan to step down. It is the Revolution of the Union and Progress Party, and it was under the slogan of what they seized from the French Revolution (freedoms, justice, equality, sisters), or as Muhammad Hussein Zidan says: For the Armenians, there is no equality with the Arabs or his brother with Egypt in particular. "
In effect, the Federalists announced greater cooperation with Germany when they sent their officers to learn in the Reich country. And the heads of the federal government appeared in their new look. They took off the suit of the Islamic caliphate and wore a Turkish Anatolian suit. At the head of the government was Talaat Pasha, with him Anwar Pasha, his uncle Khalil Pasha, Javed and Jamal Pasha, the governor of Damascus, and Fakhri Pasha, the governor of Medina.
They all highlighted the turbulent face ferociously, a face that does not exercise power by the rules of the twentieth century, and its impact has reached the highest levels in the Arab world, including Tetris, deportation, arrest and killing. Like an earthquake slit the earth, souls and hope. The Arabs rose up and moved. A revolution in the Hijaz led by the Sharif of Mecca. And a revolution in the Nile led by Arabi Egypt. And a storm in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula, its imam Ibn Saud. And the Maronite Patriarch in the Cedars Mountains began to negotiate with the Franks the independence of Greater Lebanon.Everyone is pushing towards, and the alleged train project is pushing them in the same direction: toppling the Ottoman Empire.
All of that and the race for self-rule ended early for the Kurds, to become a nationalist living in the dispersal on its soil, and even today. The Armenians emerged from the competition with a massacre that was sufficient to exclude them from their national dream for many generations. It is the game of the nations that has spread its shadow from Central Asia in Afghanistan, through the Near East to the Balkans. When the railroad construction was completed in 1940, the project found itself in another world,A world with which the political and social map has changed. At that time, there was no longer an Ottoman Empire, as the leader Ataturk transformed it into Turkish and transformed Istanbul into a Atlantic with it. And Baghdad is no longer from that empire, but rather the capital of King Faisal bin Al Hussein, King of Iraq, Berlin, London, Paris and the rest of Europe was living in the second global war.
And the Hijaz with Najd and its attachments have become in an old new era. Barr al-Sham and Mount Lebanon entered into the compassionate mother ark, France. As for Egypt, I found that cohabitation between it and the English occupant is the best arrangement. Palestine then came out from under the feet of the Arabs as a gift to European Jews, a gift of Franjs in compensation for the suffering of the people of the Franjian Ashkenazi, compensation for the alleged injustice that is not related to the Arabs, Turks and the whole East in it. Important, the project was completed and the convoy went.Some may claim that history is more balanced, that it is too heavy for a transport project to stir it, and that the Ottoman Empire was inevitably bound to fall. Accurate words.
However, it is certain that the Baghdad-Berlin railway project accelerated the downfall. It is the project of death for the Ottoman Empire, according to many historians. The Berlin-Baghdad railway is the cause of death for the sick man of Europe. The reason is also the birth of new countries. The Orient Express, whose fame expanded and became the title of the famous English novelist Agatha Christie, is the train that changed the course of human beings and stone and with it thought, to Arabs at least.