Who is Charles Arbuthnot

Who is Charles Arbuthnot?

Charles Arbuthnot was the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1804 and 1807. He was also behind the failed operation of the British navy attack on the Dardanelles Strait and its coming to the offshore waters of Prince Islands to threaten Istanbul.

Prior to the Dardanelles Operation of 1808, Russia invaded the Turkish lands of Moldavia and Wallachia without any declaration of war. Urged by the French ambassador Horace Sébastiani, the Ottomans began war preparations against Russia. However, British ambassador Arbuthnot, who was working in liaison with the Russians, issued an ultimatum to the Ottomans, demanding that Sébastiani be removed from Istanbul, a peace treaty be signed with Russia, an alliance treaty with the British be renewed, and British and Russian navy fleets be allowed to freely pass the Straits. Following this ultimatum, the British supported the Russians when they entered Moldavia and Wallachia, and then demanded that Dardanelles forts be surrendered to Britain. Ambassador Arbuthnot said that unless those demands were met, he would go to Bozcaada and come back with the British fleet to start bombarding Istanbul.

Arbuthnot on board, the British navy in Dardanelles sank four Turkish ships, with ten large galleys, and entered the Sea of Marmara to advance towards Istanbul. When the British fleet anchored at Istanbul, there were new demands on the list and the British insisted the Turkish navy be entrusted to the British. This attitude sparked immense outrage, first in the military and then among madrasah students. The people of Istanbul and, finally, the government decided to fight back. Key positions along the shore were arranged as defensive positions and some 300 cannons were placed. At the same time, people of the Prince Islands and fishermen were waging guerilla warfare on the British. This entire defense effort forced the British fleet to retreat. When their final attempt of a threat failed, the British navy withdrew completely. Artillery defense at Dardanelles did not let the British fleet pass through.

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