As part of Cemal’s policy to reinforce the Ottoman state’s authority over Syria, the struggle against the influence of foreign powers created one of the most crucial aspects of his policy in Syria. As noted above, considerable cultural investments by the Great Powers there, especially those of France, had made the Ottoman government appear weak in the eyes of its subjects in Syria throughout the entire nineteenth century. During this century, the Ottomans had to compete with these powers for the allegiance of its Syrian citizens, because of their influence stemming from cultural and educational investments and privileges provided by the capitulations. Therefore, in addition to the struggle against internal “threats” to Ottoman supremacy in Syria narrated in the previous chapters, Cemal also endeavored to put an end to the Ottoman-European competition for Syrian loyalty, replacing sympathy for European states with “loyalty to Ottomanness,” which would transform the Syrians into citizens like those in modern nation-states. The relations between the Ottomans and the Great Powers constitute a

multidimensional issue with a long history. Beginning from the end of the eighteenth century, the Great Powers enjoyed significant influence in the Ottoman realm in general, and in Syria in particular. This influence had political, economic, and cultural aspects, created with the privileges provided by the capitulations.2 The dissemination of foreign influence with the long experience of the capitulations throughout the nineteenth century created a negative attitude in the minds of the Ottoman statesmen against the Great Powers, which, in their view, prevented the integration, independence, and development of the imperial realm, as well as the Ottoman government’s coordination and control of its citizens’ conduct. Thus, the “governmentalization” of the Ottoman realm in the Foucauldian sense was prevented by this Western influence. Resentment against the political interventions of

these powers had so increased that, at the beginning of World War I, even the German soldiers under the service of the Ottoman army were seen as occupation forces by the people and the officials.3