On this day in 1914, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war on behalf of the Ottoman government on France, Russia, Britain, Montenegro and Serbia in World War I in Constantinople (now Istanbul) the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, which was founded by Osman Mehmed II in 1453. The empire grew in strength and numbers under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent in the sixteenth century stretching from Caucasus up in the north down to Egypt in the south, to Persian Gulf in the east and to Hungary in the west.
In 1912, the First Balkan war between the Ottoman Empire and Balkans was a great defeat for the Ottoman Empire after losing nearly all of Europe she has already conquered. Following the defeat, coupled with the heavy migration of its inhabitants to territories belonging to the Balkans and Anatolia, it became a necessity to regain its power, wealth and the shrinking military size.
As the First World War began in the summer of 1914, the Ottoman Empire decided to merge it forces with one of the great European powers in order to protect the empire against future loss having lost the Balkan War two years earlier. The leaders of Ottoman Empire including members of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) also known as the Young Turks quickly responded to the proposals made by Germany in August of 1914.
Although the Germans and the Ottomans did not openly declare their treaty, yet a secret military alliance had already been concluded on August 2 thus establishing the Ottoman-German Alliance aimed at fighting a common enemy Russia, even though they did not officially involve in the WWI until several months later. The Ottoman Empire entered the war officially on October 29, when the Ottoman navy alongside the two German ships "Geoben and Breslau," which it gave safe harbor to after fleeing British ships. The ships were transferred to the Ottoman navy but still under the Germans control attacked Russian ports of Sevastopol in the black sea signifying the involvement of the Ottoman Empire in the Great War.
Ottoman leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declaration of a holy war made two weeks later encouraging all Muslims all over the world including those in the Allied countries to come together in defending the Ottoman Empire against their common enemies. In his words, "the fate of those that are alive is happiness, while that of the dead is martyrdom. In accordance with Allah's promises, those who fight the Jihad war for the sake of the truth will have their rewards not in this world alone, but hereafter."