In 1908 internal Ottoman political crisis upset the balance of power. Taking advantage of the upheaval in the Ottoman Empire, Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbia, backed by Russia, protested against the Austrian annexation, but Germany supported Austria unconditionally (Yapp 1996). The Serbians and Russians were forced to back down. World War I completed the process of dismemberment. In December 1911 the Ottomans entered the war on the side of Germany and Austria. German military and economic assistance, the traditional Ottoman fear of Russia, and perhaps an ambition to restore Ottoman control over lost provinces prompted the Ottoman's control over the central powers. In response, the British, the French, the Russians, and the Italians agreed to partition the Ottoman provinces (Tibi 1997).
In the 19th century, as Ottoman power began to weaken in Southeast Europe, political domination of the region was contested between the empires of Austro-Hungary, Germany and Russia. At the Congress of Berlin (1878) Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro and Serbia, all part of former Ottoman empire in the Balkans, were recognized as independent states, and in 1912-1913 Albania freed itself of Turkish rule and established its independence of Bulgaria and Serbia, which both laid claim to it (Bora 2003). In short, World War I completely altered the European map with states like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia coming into forefront as independent states (Hobsbawm 1990).
The Ottoman Empire, family structure and secession were matters of great political importance. It is surprising to note that women could have only one husband, but the man could marry up to four wives simultaneously, and their wives could be of any social status or even to maintain the structure dynastic rule existed that allowed the man to own and have sex with as many slaves as his pocket would allow. Women's organizations multiplied as the Ottoman Empire fell. Principal among them was the Society for the Defense of Women's Rights (Tibi 1997). In 1913, its leader, Belkis Sevket, a staunch defender of gender equality in all aspects of life, flew aboard a chartered military plane on behalf of Ottoman and Muslim women to demonstrate to her female compatriots that they need not be excluded from any human activity.
The emergence of nationalist sentiment in the Middle East preceded colonial government in the region, but did, in part, reflect growing foreign influence from the ...