At Arıburnu in Gallipoli Peninsula | Photo by Volkan Yüzer

By mid-1918, the Ottoman Empire was totally exhausted after almost four years of fighting in several different fronts. Militarily the situation was no more tenable following the rapid collapse in Syria and Macedonia. In September 1918, British forces had achieved a breakthrough in Palestine, Damascus had fallen in October, and the Ottoman forces had to make a retreat, all the way to the north of Aleppo in Syria. In the meantime, Ottoman forces in Mesopotamia were withdrawing to Mosul. There was a similar situation in the Macedonian front, which had been silent since 1916. In September 1918, the Allied forces launched a sudden offensive; the Bulgarian army was defeated, which had led to an unconditional surrender of Bulgaria on September 29. With Bulgaria out of action, the link between Turkey and its ally Germany was broken, and Turkish territory was left vulnerable to an enemy invasion. There was hardly any power left in the Ottoman Army to protect the capital of the empire, let alone to recover the lost territories. There were serious shortages in manpower, equipment, supplies, and most importantly, morale. In October 1918, the Ottoman Army numbered only 100 thousand men, i.e. less than 15 percent of its peak strength, which was reached in early 1916. No help could be expected from Germany, not only because the Bulgarian exit had severed the links, but also and mainly because Germany itself was in a very unfavorable situation militarily and economically.