Ottoman Empire

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Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire.png
Government type Absolute Monarchy
Ruling party Janitschars (reactionary)
Capital Istanbul (ID 860)
Population 5.1 Million
Primary culture Turkish
Accepted cultures
Religion Sunni.pngsunni
Literacy 7.8%
National value Order
Tech school Military-Industrial Complex
Status Great power
A picture of the European parts of the Ottoman Empire along with Greece in 1836

The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate, But in this world a spell of health is the best state. What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war; Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates. - Suleiman I

The glory days of the Ottoman Empire are long past. Beaten down by stagnation, corruption, nationalism, and those pesky Austrians and Russians, the so-called "Sick Man of Europe" is in dire times. The Empire is a shell of what it once was, and to make matters worse, the so-called "vassal" in Egypt Egypt is independent and the Emir of Tripoli Tripoli seems to be following the same path. To restore the glory of the Osman Dynasty and the power Suleiman the Magnificent achieved, one will need to re-conquer these wayward nations, modernize the army along Western standards, and ultimately fulfill the goal of generations longs past; take Vienna and extend the Ottoman realm from Gibraltar to the island of Java.

"Ottomanism" - the idea of a single state embodying multiple, peacefully co-existing cultures and religions is dying. The idea of a Unified Islam and the restoration of the Caliphate is dying. The Armed Forces are in horrible condition and nationalists in northern Greece and the Balkans threaten to tear the Empire of the Turks apart. If one dares take up the mantle of the Ghazi state, know that it will be a long, difficult, and blood-strewn road to glory, as it was during the original Ottoman expansion almost 400 years ago.

Events and decisions


The Ottoman Empire has two unique decisions:



The Ottomans begin with no industry; however the economic policy of the party starting in power is State Capitalism meaning one can start building from the start of the game. If the Ottomans do build industry from the beginning, those factories will likely lose money, will require subsidies and will provide a poor income for those POPs dependent on money-losing factories. Ottoman factory technology is frankly terrible and literacy is low, which will slow POP promotion into clerks and capitalists. Depending on factory efficiency and productivity, Ottoman industry will be very low until the 1870s or 1880s.

The best industrial policy for the Ottomans is to develop factories beginning in the 1870s. Factories producing Resource liquor.pngliquor and Resource wine.pngwine are often profitable, and factories producing Resource cement.pngcement and Resource machine parts.pngmachine parts often come in handy during later phases of industrial expansion. After establishing a core industrial base, switching to an interventionist party by the mid-game and a laissez faire economic policy by late game will help the empire's industrial capabilities bloom into a modern industrial state. Achieving the number one industrial ranking in the world is possible however difficult by the end of the game. The Ottoman Empire does not have adequate coal resources internally. Coal.pngCoal is vital to so many industrial processes that a shrewd, forward-looking Ottoman sultan will look to obtain more. This can be done through sphering large coal producing states, or conquering large coal-producing uncivs. This must be a priority for the early to mid-game for the Ottoman sultan.

The Ottoman economy will not see clerks until literacy levels are into the 40% in industrial states, and while clerks can be a NF eventually, make sure to get the clergy population up to where it needs to be. All of the Ottoman Empire's problems with poor industry and technology will eventually be solved should that occur.

Budget & Taxation

The early game Ottoman budget is in poor condition. On top of that losing prestige in a bankruptcy could very well send the Ottoman down to be a secondary power.

In order to avoid this fate, a combination of high taxes on POPs and high tariffs will be needed until the budget can be stabilized. Adjustments must be made to both the revenue and the spending sides of the ledger. The Ottoman Navy is far larger than needed to deal with the Egyptian navy, but not enough to fight the UK or Russia. A priority for budget savings can be the Ottoman starting fleet.

The most important investments are:

  1. Education must be fully funded to increase literacy, and
  2. Administration should be fully funded to increase revenues.

Literacy and taxes are the weakest point of the Ottoman state, and funding should be prioritized on Education and Administration. In time, the situation can be improved. But savings must be found quickly.

Problems with Population

The Ottoman Empire begins the game with the lowest population among the Great Powers as well as being the most illiterate and generally backwards. Persia Persia, in general, offers the best growth opportunities and the most likely regions to be converted into states due to the high literacy rates. In response to the overall low population of the empire, focusing on the chemistry technology tree will boost population. and implementing health care reforms early are critical components to building the native Turkish population of craftsmen and soldier POPs.

The Ottoman weakness in overall population (and a population divided among many nationalities, which further diminishes province-specific soldier POPs), means that the Ottoman Empire ought not to take risks with its armies that do not have a strong payoff. A long war with either Austria or Russia (or a crisis war where the Ottoman ruler does not control the peace agreement), can result in heavy losses of scarce POPs for little to no gain. So be careful about engaging in wars with Austria and Russia until The Ottomans have adequate strength in numbers. Even a carefully planned war against nearby uncivs Persia or Egypt will see the Ottoman army take more attrition losses than combat losses, and often the losses cannot be replaced, and the army sees brigades disbanded.

National Focus

There are two schools of thought with respect to initial National Foci; more Clergymen mini.pngclergy to combat the problem of slow research and poor literacy and more Bureaucrats mini.pngbureaucrats so as to improve tax efficiency. Remember that 2% clergy gives the maximum research points, but 4% clergy will increase literacy the fastest. Since the Ottomans have, by far, the lowest literacy of any GP, clergy is a sound first national focus.


The Ottomans begin the game at a severe technological disadvantage. In fact, aside from a few techs, they are no better than the uncivilized neighbor Persia, and with lower literacy (8%). Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire starts with the lowest literacy of any GP, and with fewer clerks. Research points are desperately needed. This means that one will be spending a lot of time catching up with other GPs in Europe in terms of technology. Therefore, it is useful to get the clergy population to 4% for the maximum literacy increase.

Important technologies to research:

Of course, culture techs which provide increased research points, literacy and NFs are very important. Army techs are important to preserve the forces while still managing to expand. Industry and commerce techs which improve factory efficiency, taxation and administrative efficiency are also important. The mining and farming efficiency techs (located in the Market Functionality section of Commerce, and the Power section of Industry) are very helpful in getting income.

The biggest choices that the Ottoman sultan must make is what not to research. The Ottoman Empire must postpone research into non-essential areas until it has modernized its society, economy and military.


Without adequate naval bases and Commerce raider.pngcommerce raiders/Steamer transport.pngsteamers, the colonization of Africa will be hampered. The Empire is so close to that vast continent, and when Colonial Negotiations occur, the Ottoman Empire has much to gain if it properly positioned; and this requires Naval Doctrine research. Africa is a source of prestige, resources, and strength. The Ottoman Empire should share in this bounty.


The Ottoman Empire has four feasible political parties for the majority of the game:

  • Janitschars: Best for the early game (first 10 years or so). This party allows the player to kickstart Ottoman industry by building factories in some of the most populous states before Capitalists exist in large numbers.
  • Imperial Party: A slightly more business friendly government with more tolerant religious views.
  • People's Union: A relatively liberal party with the advantage of Full Citizenship, but the disadvantage of Pacifism.
  • Radical Party: This is a useful party in late game, where the laissez faire capitalists go crazy in factory building.


Diplomacy is needed to (1) obtain allies for defensive and offensive purposes; (2) amass nations in the Ottoman sphere of empire, which will prevent the expansion of other powers, and (3) ensure that adequate resources are available through the Ottoman sphere of influence. This becomes more important in the later game, when bottlenecks appear in certain resources like rubber, oil, coal and iron. The Ottoman sphere can be expanded faster, if the empire places foreign investment in its sphere and it helps with the weak industrial score early on. It can be helpful to make those foreign investments in railroads, so that the Ottoman sphere is protected, and the industrial score increased.


The Ottoman Empire needs alliances primarily due to the threat from the Russian Empire, and to a lesser extent other large GPs. An important ally to secure early is Austria Austria or Prussia Prussia who are able to field a powerful army in central Europe from the beginning of the game.

Other alliances in the early game came include Two Sicilies Two Sicilies, and possibly even France France or the United Kingdom United Kingdom (particularly helpful in a Crimean War situation). The Ottoman Empire should raise Russia Russia to maximum relations to help avoid war and it is possible to enter an alliance with Russia, which is the best alliance the Ottoman Empire could have. Until its grows sufficiently strong, the Ottoman Empire is simply not powerful enough to go to war alone with a major power. It is possible to defeat Russia in a war. However, the losses in POPs compared to the gains in terms of poor, low-literacy Russian provinces simply is not worth it.

Sphere of Influence

The Ottoman Empire begins the game with three nations in its Sphere of Influence: Serbia, Wallachia and Moldavia. There are several neighbors that are not worth conquering because they would further lower literacy in the empire, cost some infamy to conquer and do not provide significant population centers. There are several opportunities for expanding the sphere:

Expect that Montenegro will be the subjects of attempts by other powers, including France, the UK, and Germany, to get them into their sphere. Looking at Montenegro's population, it is a fairly minor and insignificant place. Moldavia and Wallachia are satellites, and therefore one have an advantage. They also get some good resources later on, including oil. They are excellent members of the Ottoman sphere.

One way of looking at the Ottoman sphere of influence is to review what the sultan's empire needs for industrialization. Coal.pngcoal is needed, so sphering coal-heavy uncivs makes sense. These include Korea Korea, Qinghai Qinghai, Manchuria Manchuria and Persia, among others. Naturally, future Resource oil.png and Resource rubber.png producing regions and nations should be targeted, for influence, conquest, and investment. In collecting a sphere of influence, be sure to avoid trouble with Russia until the Ottoman army can quickly handle the military situation, either alone or with allies.

Austria and Prussia typically spend time influencing German minor states. The Ottoman Empire can spend its diplomatic points amassing a respectable Asian and South American sphere, and other nations in Europe. But early struggles with Russia are best avoided.



The game begins with a war against Tripoli. This can be finished within about a year with the local Libyan forces, but it can be considered to move more troops over in order to finish the war quickly.


Ottoman Irregulars occupy vast portions of the Egypt Eyalet with more powerful lead armies in front.

The most obvious target for Ottoman aggression is Egypt for a number of reasons: First, it has Ottoman cores. Second, Egypt has a large population that can be brought under control. Third, Egypt owns the land for the future Suez Canal. Fourth, Egypt has rubber in the south that will be useful in the late-game industrial economy. Fifth: It is a good gateway to Scramble of Africa. Last, Great Power interest in Egypt intensifies, making it harder to dominate Egypt. Egypt can be annexed through a series of three wars:

  1. The first war is arguably the most challenging: all Ottoman forces should be brought into the battle. Irregulars should serve only as rear-guards for territory occupations, while infantry and cavalry are used as the front-line armies. Also it´s possible to wait for an eventual war between Ethiopia and Egypt or Two Sicilies (not advisable) which likes to conquer Crete Crete and the Sidi Barrani region. This war can win most Ottoman cores on Egypt, in addition to the Suez Region. It is wise to leave two core provinces out of the peace deal, thus providing easy future casus belli.
  2. The second war can be used to take the majority of Egypt's remainder, though here it is wise to balance territorial conquest to prevent too much infamy. A generally safe move is to exclude Egypt's poorest regions such as Kordofan and Farafra Regions. This war is significant because it will provide the Ottoman Empire with contiguous land spanning from Tripoli through to Suez and onto Istanbul.
  3. The third war will provide the opportunity to completely annex Egypt, a worthwhile endeavor for the sake of the populous Giza region.


Persia is the best target for Ottoman expansionism and should be the priority. Tabriz is a highly appealing region: with a population of over 350,000 people at the start of the game (easily growing to over 2.5 million by the end of the game), it also offers a reasonable number of Clergymen, Soldiers and Officers. Russia have a friendly opinion of Persia, which means that one have to watch their actions and avoid conflict with them. It might be the best choice to remove the Russian influence beforehand.


Tunis provides a populous region with a reasonable number of Clergy and Soldiers. France will likely declare war within the first few months, thus the war must be waged early. This is a fairly easy war to win. The key is to use troops from the European portion of the Empire to ensure a rapid occupation. Unfortunately, due to low literacy, it is extremely difficult to turn Tunisia into a state. Therefore, this is a questionable goal.


Greece Greece is a tough challenge: firstly UK must lose its influence. Secondly, due to being a civilized nation, annexation will cost a lot of infamy. On top of that, the Greeks will start a lot of crises.


The Ottoman Empire is in a very good position to colonize most of Africa. With fast research and an aggressive posture, most of Africa can be successfully colonized. The addition of an African empire is very important to Ottoman designs. It is contiguous to Ottoman territory, has large resources for the taking, and the prestige gained can be very helpful to a struggling Ottoman Empire.

If Egypt or Ethiopia is conquered, some regions can be colonised early on without the risk of interference from other nations (Darfur, and the uncolonised regions of Ethiopia)

One does however need to invest in a big fleet, but the Ottoman Empire has an abundance of coast to do so.

Ottoman Empire in 1861

Unlike some countries, the Ottoman Empire in 1861 is in better shape than it was in 1836, though not through its own efforts. The European powers have propped up the "Sick Man of Europe" for their own purposes; the Ottomans emerged from the Oriental Crisis of 1840 and the Crimean War victorious, but the empire still had huge challenges ahead. Russia, now the Ottomans' great enemy, is bidding its time to turn the tables.