Oya Dağlar / War, Epidemics and Medicine in the Ottoman Empire from the Balkan Wars Through Great War (1912-1918)

War, Epidemics and Medicine in the Ottoman Empire from the Balkan Wars Through Great War (1912-1918)

This thesis focuses on the period of Balkan Wars and the First World War, which affected the political history of the 20th century deeply and caused the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and examines the concerned period in terms of the epidemic diseases. Taking into account that wars are important contributors in the emergence of epidemic diseases, I have attempted to evaluate the destruction caused by the epidemic diseases during the war years and effects of these diseases on the results of the wars in a historical framework.

The Ottoman Empire spent its last century with wars coming one after another and as a consequence had to suffer many physical as well as demographic casualties. With a significant decrease in the population, one of the main factors that had kept the Empire up disappeared and therefore the 600 year-old Empire collapsed at the end of the First World War. This particular study argues that, despite the popular belief, the decrease in the population was mainly caused by the epidemic diseases and health problems, which emerged as a result of the wars, not by the direct armed conflict at the front. Epidemic diseases seen as a consequence of lack of hygiene during the war, congestion caused by mass movements like migration and inadequacy of the health services resulted in death of many servicemen and civilians. Since the loss of human force during the war as a result of the epidemic diseases directly affected the war making capability of the Empire, the Ottoman government obligatorily placed an importance on the health services, however, despite all efforts, none of the precautions taken brought the desired level of success due to lack of proper health personnel. Nonetheless, precautions taken against the diseases and the struggle made during the war introduced the modern medicine methods into the Empire and as a result important steps were taken for the preservation of both military and public health. Furthermore, it is beyond doubt that the experiences gained in this period, in the long run, constituted the infrastructure of the developments seen in the area of health in the Republic of Turkey.

In short, this thesis examines the epidemic diseases that were caused by the war, the methods pursued by the state in its struggle against the same and the effects of the diseases on the social transformation and on the result of the wars.

Balkan Savaşları'ndan Birinci Dünya Savaşı'na Kadar Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda Savaş, Salgın Hastalıklar ve Tıp

Bu tez 20. yüzyil siyasi tarihini derinden etkileyen ve Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun yikilisina sebep olan Balkan Savaslari ve I. Dünya Savasi dönemini, bulasici hastaliklar konusu çerçevesinde ele alan bir çalismadir. Savaslarin salgin hastaliklarin ortaya çikmasinda son derece önemli bir faktör oldugu dikkate alinarak, bu iki savas döneminde salgin hastaliklarin sebep oldugu yikimlar ve bunlarin savasin sonucuna olan etkileri tarihsel bir çerçevede ele alinmaya çalisilmistir.

Osmanli Imparatorlugu son yüzyilini arka arkaya gelen savaslarla geçirmek zorunda kalmis ve bu savaslar sonucunda fiziki olarak büyük kayba ugradigi gibi beseri sermayesinin de son derece büyük bir bölümünü kaybetmistir. Nüfusun büyük ölçüde azalmasi ile devleti ayakta tutan en önemli faktörlerden biri daha ortadan kalkmis , bu yüzden I. Dünya Savasi’nin sonunda 600 yillik Imparatorluk yikilarak, tarihe karismistir. Bu tezde Imparatorlugun yikilisina neden olan bu nüfus kaybinin, genel kabulün tersine, dogrudan cephedeki silahli mücadeleden çok, savasa bagli olarak ortaya çikan salgin hastaliklar ve bazi saglik sorunlarindan meydana geldigi gerçegi açiklanmaya çalisilmistir. Savas içinde hijyenik olmayan kosullar, göç gibi büyük kitle hareketlerinin yarattigi izdiham ve saglik hizmetlerindeki yetersizlikler dolayisiyla görülen salgin hastaliklar, çok sayida asker ve sivilin ölümüne yol açmistir. Savas sirasinda hastaliklara bagli olarak meydana gelen insan kaybi Imparatorlugun savas gücünü de dogrudan etkilediginden, devlet saglik islerine zorunlu olarak öncelik vermis, fakat yeterli bir saglik teskilatinin olmamasi dolayisiyla alinan tüm tedbirler istenilen basariyi saglayamamistir. Fakat savas sirasinda hastaliklara karsi alinan tedbirler ve yürütülen mücadele, modern tip yöntemlerinin Osmanli’ya girmesinde etkili olmus ve hem askeri hem de toplumsal sagligin korunmasinda önemli asamalar kaydedilmistir. Ayrica bu savaslarda yasanan tecrübelerin, uzun vadede, Türkiye’de saglik alanindaki gelismelerin alt yapisini olusturduguna ve devletin saglik politikalarinin belirlenmesinde etkili olduguna süphe yoktur.

Özetle, bu tezde savasin sebep oldugu salgin hastaliklarin neler oldugu, devletin hastaliklarla mücadelede izledigi yöntemler, hastaliklarin toplumsal dönüsüme ve savasin sonucuna olan etkisi tarihsel bir süreçte incelenmeye çalisilmistir.