War Decision and Neoclassical Realism: The Entry of the Ottoman Empire into the First World War

Why did the fracturing Ottoman Empire enter the Great War? Why did the Ottomans drag their feet for a period of three months although the alliance treaty stipulated that the Ottomans should enter the war against Russia if the latter fought with Germany? This article sets forth a neoclassical realist analysis of the war decision by the members of Ottoman foreign policy executive as the outcome of dynamic interactions between the systemic stimuli/structural modifiers and unit-level variables that occurred in a limited time frame (August to November 1914) and sequentially influenced the strategic calculus of the actors involved. It demonstrates that a changing amalgamation of systemic and unit-level factors were instrumental in the Ottoman decision to enter the Great War, the most prominent of which was the divided foreign policy executive.